Friday, September 20, 2019

Friday 20

Atmospheric CO2 and Global Surface Temperature 800 to 2020

Kids Face Rising Health Risks from Climate Change, Doctors Warn as Juliana Case Returns to Court

A federal appeals court heard arguments as the government tried again to get the children’s climate lawsuit dismissed.

Young plaintiffs in the children's climate lawsuit are already feeling the effects of climate change. Public health experts, including major health organizations and former U.S. surgeons general, warn the health risks will only get worse. (Credit: Robin Loznak) Click to Enlarge.
The 21 children and young adults suing the federal government over climate change argue that they and their generation are already suffering the consequences of climate change, from worsening allergies and asthma to the health risks and stress that come with hurricanes, wildfires and sea level rise threatening their homes.
With the case back in court on Tuesday, some of the heaviest hitters in the public health arena—including 15 major health organization and two former U.S. surgeons general—have been publicly backing them up.

Today's children will feel the health impacts of climate change into adulthood if the federal government doesn't transition away from fossil fuels and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, public health experts wrote in a letter published May 30 in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), echoing a larger court brief signed onto by major health organizations.

Read more at Kids Face Rising Health Risks from Climate Change, Doctors Warn as Juliana Case Returns to Court

With Greenland's Extreme Melting, a New Risk Grows:  Ice Slabs that Worsen Runoff

More meltwater is now pouring off these hardened surfaces and toward the ocean, a new study finds. That will have an impact on sea level rise.

Meltwater pools form on Greenland's surface as temperatures rise and feed into rivers that funnel water toward the ocean. New research shows ice slabs are now forming in areas where water used to sink into the snow layer, increasing runoff. (Credit: Dave Walsh/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
Scientists have added a new item to the long list of Greenland Ice Sheet woes.  Along with snow-darkening algae and increasing rainfall, giant slabs of ice have been thickening and spreading under the Greenland snow at an average rate of two football fields per minute since 2001, new research shows.

The slabs prevent surface meltwater from trickling down and being absorbed by the snow.  Instead, more water pours off the surface of the ice sheet and into the ocean.

That's speeding Greenland's contribution to sea level rise, said University of Liege climate researcher Xavier Fettweis, a co-author of a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature.  "It is very likely that the current climate models overestimate the meltwater retention capacity of the ice sheet and underestimate the projected sea level rise coming from Greenland ... by a factor of two or three," he said.

Read more at With Greenland's Extreme Melting, a New Risk Grows:  Ice Slabs that Worsen Runoff

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Thursday 19

Atmospheric CO2 and Global Surface Temperature 800 to 2020

Trump:  We're Stripping California’s Right to Set Tougher Auto Standards

Auto industry experts say the uncertainty would likely dampen the market for electric vehicles.  Nine other states could lose their tougher rules, too.

Coupled with the administration's plan to freeze fuel-economy improvements, President Trump's move against California's auto standards would negate one of the largest steps any nation has made to cut carbon emissions. (Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images) Click to Enlarge.
President Donald Trump announced Wednesday that his administration would strip California of its authority to enact the nation's toughest auto pollution standards, setting the stage for an epic legal battle that could squelch the nascent U.S. market for petroleum-free vehicles at a critical time.

The long-anticipated move, which Trump touted on Twitter just days before a United Nations summit on climate change, could prove to be his administration's most consequential policy retreat from efforts to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.  When coupled with the administration's planned freeze on fuel-economy improvements, it will negate one of the largest steps that any nation has made to cut carbon emissions.

California has led the nation in a slow, but steady move toward electric vehicles—a turnover that experts believe is essential for gaining control of rising U.S. carbon emissions from transportation.  Nine other states have adopted its rules requiring automakers to sell a certain number of electric cars and trucks, based on each manufacturer's overall in-state sales.

But California and those other states could now lose the power to enforce those zero-emissions vehicle requirements—at least temporarily.

Auto industry experts and analysts expect the uncertainty that would create would dampen the market for zero-emissions vehicles.

Improvements in U.S. fuel economy so far have not been sufficient to curb carbon emissions from transportation, which grew 1.2 percent in 2017 even as the nation's overall carbon emissions fell 0.5 percent, according to the latest figures from the Environmental Protection Agency.

As long as more consumers are driving more miles each year, only electric and other zero-emissions vehicles can reverse the trend that has made transportation the largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.

"You can't get serious about climate change unless you get serious about vehicle emissions," California Gov. Gavin Newsom said Wednesday at a news conference in Sacramento.  "This is such a pivotal moment in the climate change debate, not just for California, but for our leadership around the world.  It is a legacy moment."

Newsom vowed to fight the Trump administration's move in court.  "We will prevail," he said.  "It may take years, more uncertainty and more anxiety."

In August, four automakers, comprising 30 percent of the market, struck a deal with California to voluntarily implement annual fuel economy improvements across their fleets if the federal rules were weakened.

Under that agreement, made in anticipation of Trump's action, Ford, Honda, BMW and Volkswagen would continue to improve gas mileage—although at a slower rate than under the Obama administration's rules.  The deal, which served to isolate the Trump administration in its battle with California, reportedly enraged the president.  And although California has continued talks with the remaining automakers, the Trump Justice Department has been using the threat of antitrust enforcement to dissuade automakers from cooperating with the state, Newsom said.

"The innovation genie is out of the bottle," the governor said.  "Every single one of these companies knows where the country is going, and where the world is going ... and that's the elimination of the internal combustion engine."

Read more at Trump:  We're Stripping California’s Right to Set Tougher Auto Standards