Worst Cruise Ever? Scientists Predict That In 2050, Ships Will Be Able To Sail Directly Over North Pole.

North Pole signThe northern sea route, or trans-arctic passage, has been passable by ships for the last 7 summers and now comes information that the North Pole may be open to ship traffic by 2050. According to a report from Dr. Laurence C. Smith and Scott R. Stephenson, the shortest route connecting the Pacific and Atlantic oceans will be accessible in 2050 by ice-strengthened ships that can travel directly over the North Pole. From the Guardian:

“The scientists took two classes of vessels and then simulated whether they would be able to steam through the sea ice expected in seven different climate models. In each case they found that the sea routes opened up considerably after 2049.”

The recent opening of the Northern Sea Route, for ship traffic from Norway to China, has saved shipping companies between $230,000 – 400,000 in time and bunker fuel; crossing directly over the North Pole could save shipping companies an additional 40%. To counter these savings, putting a value on the “holy crap!” factor of sending ships over the North Pole in our lifetime is incalculable. Sailing over the North Pole should not be a goal – it should be viewed as an obstacle that needs to be avoided. [Guardian]


China Is Moving Forward With A Carbon Tax. US Politicians Who Oppose Carbon Tax Lose An Ally.

Wait Until China Acts on Climate. What? They Are!? - Climate DeskThe whole childish “you go first” between the US and China on carbon taxes might be coming to an end soon. According to a report in China’s state-run Xinhua news website, taxing carbon emissions is on the agenda for the Ministry of Finance (MOF). From Xinhua:

“The [Chinese] government will collect the environmental protection tax instead of pollutant discharge fees, as well as levy a tax on carbon dioxide emissions, Jia Chen, head of the ministry’s tax policy division, wrote in an article published on the MOF’s website.

It will be the local taxation authority, rather than the environmental protection department, that will collect the taxes.

The government is also looking into the possibility of taxing energy-intensive products such as batteries, as well as luxury goods such as aircraft that are not used for public transportation, according to Jia.

To conserve natural resources, the government will push forward resource tax reforms by taxing coal based on prices instead of sales volume, as well as raising coal taxes. A resource tax will also be levied on water.”

As consumers of $400 billion worth of Chinese goods (2011), the US deserves an assist for China’s pollution problem. I never quite understood how carbon tax opposing US politicians could pass so much blame on China for their lack of pollution controls when our consumption of their goods is driving it. At least the Inhofes, Rubios and Bachmanns will still have India to blame and do the “you go first” carbon tax dance with. [Mother Jones]


CNN’s Deb Feyerick Asks Bill Nye If We Should Blame Global Warming For The Asteroid Coming Close To Earth.

CNN anchor Deb Feyerick posed the asteroid/global warming connection question to Bill Nye and he did a good job dodging it in earth-like fashion. Misinformed but honest mistake and lets hope the folks on the wrong side of the climate change debate don’t pounce on this – pretty sure they will though. I think it’s part of the denier’s credo: survive on misinformation, choke on science. [Slate]


Climate Inaction Is Like A Global Ponzi Scheme That Is Paid Into By Future Generations.

Before and After: Tar sands extraction

Uncle Charlie (Ponzi) would be so proud.

There’s a great article, “Global Ponzi Scheme Revisited: How Climate Inaction Betrays Our Children And Future Generations,” by Joe Romm on ThinkProgress. From the article:

“Fundamentally, homo ‘sapiens’ sapiens has constructed the grandest of Ponzi schemes, whereby current generations have figured out how to live off the wealth of future generations. We are all in essence Bernie Madoffs (many wittingly, most not) or at least his most credulous clients.”

It’s an update to an article Mr. Romm wrote in 2009 and the comparison is still spot on. Another powerful quote from the article:

“Madoff is reviled as a monster for targeting charities. We are targeting our own children and grandchildren and on and on. What does that make us?”

[Think Progress]


BBC One’s Africa Series Exaggerates Climate Change: 35 Years To Increase Temps By 3.5C – Not 20.

BBC One's Africa series.Here’s what narrator and presenter Sir David Attenborough states in the BBC One’s Africa series:

“Africa’s climate is certainly changing. Some parts of the continent have become 3.5C hotter in the past 20 years.”

Well it turns out the numbers they used could not be substantiated and overestimate the effects of climate change in that part of Africa. Since the 3.5C in 20 claim was disputable, the BBC has pulled the comment from the series.

It’s great that the BBC made the correction but I’m still wondering why they would risk their credibility and go with 20 years versus 35. Stating that temperatures in parts of Africa have increased by 3.5C over 35 years is still powerful. Exaggerating – that the realm of deniers. [Guardian]


Going Beyond ‘Icky’: Earthworms Contribute To Global Warming.

Earthworms - Enemy of the EnvironmentWhen you think of climate change, it’s easy to point the finger at the burning of fossil fuels, Koch Bros, and Jim Inhofe. But earthworms? Yep – according to a new study posted in Nature.com, our subterranean and planet sharing earthworms are contributing to global warming by increasing the release of greenhouse gases. Researchers from Holland, Columbia and the US found that earthworms increase nitrous oxide emissions by 42% and carbon dioxide emissions by 33% when compared to earthworm-free soil.

Sorry earthworms but we have to put a dent in your greenhouse-gas producing population; we’ll have to figure out how to eat you or we’ll go on more fishing trips. We’re in a tough spot. If we don’t reduce your population – the fossil fuel industry, Koch Bros and Jim Inhofe’s are going to blame you for global warming rather than taking responsibility for their own actions. Yes, earthworms have been making the soil more fertile for eons and your greenhouse-gas emissions are just a byproduct of that effort but when excuses are made and blame is passed by climate change deniers, you’ll be at the top of the list. [Inhabitat]