Climate Change ☀️
Fighting climate change in America means changes to America
Climate isn’t the only thing changing.

What comes next in the nation’s struggle to combat global warming will probably transform how Americans drive, where they get their power and other bits of day-to-day life, both quietly and obviously, experts say. So far the greening of America has been subtle, driven by market forces, technology and voluntary actions.

The Biden administration is about to change that.

In a flurry of executive actions in his first eight days in office, the president is trying to steer the U.S. economy from one fueled by fossils to one that no longer puts additional heat-trapping gases into the air by 2050.

The United States is rejoining the international Paris climate accord and is also joining many other nations in setting an ambitious goal that once seemed unattainable: net-zero carbon emissions by midcentury. That means lots of changes designed to fight increasingly costly climate disasters such as wildfires, floods, droughts, storms and heat waves.
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Book excerpt: "How to Prepare for Climate Change" by David Pogue
In his new book, "How to Prepare for Climate Change: A Practical Guide to Surviving the Chaos" (Simon & Schuster), science and technology writer and "CBS Sunday Morning" correspondent David Pogue offers advice on how individuals can adapt to a quickly-changing planet.

Maybe you're liberal, maybe you're conservative. Maybe you think the climate crisis is man-made, maybe you think it's just natural cycles. Maybe you think the whole thing is a Chinese hoax.

Guess what? It doesn't matter. The world is getting hotter, natural systems are going haywire, and you should begin to prepare.

Even if we stopped burning fossil fuels and chopping down forests tomorrow, we wouldn't stop climate change. We wouldn't stop land ice from melting, millions of people from enduring forced migration, thousands of animal species from going extinct, and thousands of people from dying every year from insane-weather events that are hitting steadily more frequently.

That's because 93% of our new, improved heat has gone into the oceans, which take decades or centuries to heat up or cool down. As a result, the planet's climate would take a lifetime to reset.

In short, the time for bickering about who or what is at fault is long gone.

... It's time to accept the new realities – of extreme weather, sure, but also what that weather will mean for our everyday lives: a lot of conflict, cost, and chaos.
  • Mitigation means trying to stop climate change: Replace fossil fuels with clean power. Eat less beef. Fly less. Grow trees instead of clear-cutting them. Adopt smarter farming and industrial techniques. Drive less. Have fewer children.
  • Adaptation means coping with climate change: Build seawalls. Raise houses. Move farmland to cooler regions. Plant heat-tolerant trees. Buy out homeowners in flood-prone areas.
  • Suffering. Well, you'll be reading plenty about that.
There's no longer any intra-expert arguing over mitigation versus adaptation; it's too late for that. We have to do both, as hard and as fast as possible.

Reams have been written about what you, as an individual, can do to pursue mitigation – and you should. You should mitigate the hell out of your home, your family, your town, your employer, your voting record.

But so far, the only people doing much adaptation are governments, corporations, and institutions.

Where does that leave you, the individual? You can't build a seawall this weekend. You can't persuade farmers to move north. You can't develop drought-proof seeds.

... The planet we occupy is changing fast, and that's new information. It's affecting how people are making decisions about their lives: sometimes because they have a choice, and sometimes because they don't.

In short, it's time to prepare.
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Condition of Seals Declined During Rapid Warming in Alaska
A new study finds quantitative evidence of climate-related impacts on these typically adaptable, resilient predators.

Ribbon Seal Pup
A new NOAA Fisheries study finds some of the first quantitative signs that three species of seals are experiencing impacts of warming in the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands. These three species—ribbon, spotted, and harbor seals—are all typically resilient, long-lived predators that eat a variety of prey.

In the past decade the Arctic region has undergone a rapid transformation. Temperatures rose. Sea ice extent and thickness fluctuated dramatically, reaching both record highs and lows within the past decade.

... “Our findings point strongly to climate-related impacts. We saw declines in seal condition that coincided with recent pronounced warming,” said study leader Peter Boveng, biologist at NOAA Fisheries’ Alaska Fisheries Science Center Marine Mammal Laboratory. “Warming conditions in the Arctic seem to be affecting the condition of individual seals in a way that could impact their populations.”

... Overall, the body condition of the three seal species declined from 2007 to 2018. On top of this overall decline, pup condition declined in all three species, and ribbon and harbor seal condition decreased across all sex and age classes. In spotted seals, the decline in body condition was limited to the pups.

... “Warm conditions like those recorded in 2018 and 2019 are predicted to become more frequent,” said Boveng. “If they do, impacts from loss of sea ice on the condition of seals are likely to become clearer.”
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Too wet to woo: Scotland’s barn owls at risk as climate change makes breeding more difficult
The survival of the iconic barn owl is threatened by wetter, colder weather provoked by climate change, experts warn.

Barn Owl
Scotland’s barn owls are the most northerly population in the world, and are one of the most vulnerable species to changes brought about by global warming. Prolonged rain and cold snaps are a killer combination for the birds as they struggle to catch enough prey in wet, chilly weather to ensure they survive until spring and can breed.

Experts have described the barn owl as an early warning system for the damaging declines caused by climate change and spoken of their fears that the species will not be a long-term feature in the British countryside.

... Barn owls evolved in warmer temperatures and primarily hunt at night for small rodents.

They use their hearing rather than their sight to track prey, and rely on having a low body weight and soft feathers – which are not effective at repelling water – to hunt silently.

But long spells of rain mean they can face starvation as they can’t fly quietly enough with wet feathers, and they struggle to hear their prey.

Floodwater or snow can also change the habits of the small mammals they hunt.

Mortality rates for barn owls have peaks in autumn for juvenile birds then at this time of year for adults as they do not have enough body fat to survive if food becomes too scarce.

Even a cold snap of a week to 10 days can kill the birds due to their lack of fat reserves or they may be unable to get into breeding condition.

Wet weather also inhibits breeding, with some pairs having no chicks at all, and increasing numbers of summer storms can mean year-round problems for the owls.

Summer hunting is particularly important when there are chicks to be fed, and adults returning to the nest with wet feathers can cause their young to develop life-threatening chills.
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Biden and Pope Francis Could Make a Climate Change Miracle
How the new U.S. leader and the liberal pontiff—like presidents and popes before them—can cooperate to transform American politics.

America now has its second Catholic president. It took 60 years and, in some ways, the two eras could hardly be more different for American Catholics. In 1960, John F. Kennedy worried that many American Protestants would not vote for him because he was a Catholic. In 2020, Joe Biden had more reason to be concerned that it would be his fellow Catholics that would refuse to vote for him.

... In the United States, some Christian leaders have politicized the issue of climate change, pitting science against faith. Not the Vatican. The condemnation of Galileo was 400 years ago, and Rome insists that the faithful not see any tension between their faith and climate science—or between their faith and their public responsibility as citizens. Pope Francis’s 2015 encyclical, Laudato si’, like Pacem in Terris, was an urgent appeal for a new dialogue on “how we are shaping the future of our planet.” In this case it is the proliferation of fossil fuels and not nuclear weapons that is the cause of the urgency.

Francis’s encyclical was strategically timed to influence the Paris Climate Agreement, which was later abandoned by the Trump administration. In his new book, Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future, Francis recalls how after being elected pope, he assembled the world’s best scientists and asked them to provide a summary of the “state of our planet.” He then asked theologians and scientists to work together on the document, to serve as a blueprint to galvanize people toward engaging on climate concerns. When the pope was traveling to Strasbourg in 2014 to address the Council of Europe, then French President Franรงois Hollande’s environmental minister urged the pope to complete the letter and release it before representatives of the world gathered in Paris for what would become the climate accords, in order to help solidify support for the agreement.

With the Biden administration’s decision to rejoin the Paris initiative, the challenge now, as in 1963, is to convince more of the American public to shed their superstitions and tribal blinders and embrace the complex reality of an existential threat to the planet. The pope, who has tried to appeal to all people of goodwill to tackle the threats to the environment, can be of great help to Biden in persuading people of faith that there are no liturgical and theological roadblocks to combating global warming, just as there were none to seeking to reduce the danger of nuclear war with an atheistic Communist state.
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Climate change, periodic modification of Earth’s climate brought about as a result of changes in the atmosphere as well as interactions between the atmosphere and various other geologic, chemical, biological, and geographic factors within the Earth system.

Source: Climate change - Evidence for climate change | Britannica
Climate Change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are global in scope and unprecedented in scale. Without drastic action today, adapting to these impacts in the future will be more difficult and costly.

Source: Climate Change | United Nations