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Thread: Climate Change

  1. #31
    Moderator NYatKNIGHT's Avatar
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    Oct 2002
    Manhattan - South Village


    Last week, conservative media attempted to make Al Gore look foolish for making a speech about global warming on the coldest day of the year. The joke's on them though, extreme hot AND cold weather is a direct result of global warming. Not that our current cold weather is necessarily the result of global warming, but the freezing weather in no way undermined the speech.

  2. #32


    And they don't bother to explain that global warming would affect climate, which is more important than hot and cold weather.

  3. #33

  4. #34


    January 25, 2004

    Warming Up

    That President Bush ignored the environment in his State of the Union address was either an admission that he has nothing to boast about on the issue or a judgment that nobody cares enough about it to make a difference in the presidential race. Whatever the reason, he has created a policy vacuum that offers substantial rewards for any ambitious Democrat willing to fill it.

    Nowhere is this truer than on global warming. Each day brings evidence that the climate is changing, that the consequences are likely to be unpleasant and that the responses offered by the administration and its allies in Congress are inadequate.

    Two recent reports illustrate the dangers. A study by an international research team, published in Nature, warned that unabated warming could drive 15 to 37 percent of 1,103 living species the team studied toward extinction by 2050. Shortly thereafter came an ominous report by The Times's Andrew Revkin on warming's impact in the Arctic, where the sea ice is in rapid retreat, and its potentially devastating effect on Alaska's fragile tundra.

    Two other reports, meanwhile, documented the need for more aggressive public policies. A Washington Post survey found that only a tiny number of American companies, 54 at last count, have agreed to participate in Mr. Bush's program of voluntary reductions of global warming gases the strategy Mr. Bush chose when he rejected the mandatory emissions caps called for in the Kyoto Protocol. As further evidence of industry's indifference, The Times's Danny Hakim disclosed recently that Subaru a company that has marketed itself as environmentally friendly had decided to redesign its popular Outback wagon as a "light truck," so as to avoid the tougher fuel economy standards that apply to ordinary cars.

    Subaru, of course, is hardly the first car company to take advantage of this country's porous fuel economy regulations. But like the companies that feel safe in ignoring Mr. Bush's half-hearted appeals for voluntary restraints, Subaru's decision reflects the failure of the administration and Congress to send tough regulatory signals that will make industry sit up and pay attention.

    As this page has noted before, simply closing the so-called S.U.V. loophole, and making light trucks as efficient as ordinary cars, would save a million barrels of oil a day, reducing global warming gases while easing our reliance on imported oil. More broadly, the country needs something along the lines of the bill sponsored by Senators John McCain and Joseph Lieberman, which would require economywide reductions in emissions while establishing market mechanisms to ease the cost of compliance. It is encouraging in this regard that nearly all the Democratic candidates, some more aggressively than others, have embraced the idea of binding limits on emissions of carbon dioxide.

    Mr. Bush regards mandatory emissions caps as "top-down" regulatory management and therefore unacceptable. But his own bottom-up voluntarism is going nowhere. Meanwhile Alaska melts. The McCain-Lieberman bill did better than anyone expected last year. It deserves another try.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  5. #35


    January 28, 2004


    Global Chilling


    BOSTON It seemed incongruous when former Vice President Al Gore gave a speech on global warming on a bitterly cold day in New York City this month. But in fact it was an appropriate topic: New Yorkers may be able to blame the city's current cold spell the most severe in nearly a decade on global warming.

    Global warming doesn't mean that every place on the globe gets warmer. The weather history that can be read in polar ice-core samples indicates that previous periods of warming affected North America and Europe far differently than they did the tropics the Northern Hemisphere got a lot colder.

    It's far too early to say for sure, but the same processes may be at work today. In the past 50 years, the top two miles of the world's oceans have warmed significantly, and that warming is melting sea ice. In just four decades, the thickness of summer North Polar floating ice shrank 44 percent. In addition, warming makes droughts drier and longer, and when the evaporated water returns to earth it does so in heavier downpours.

    Normally, water circulates in the North Atlantic like this: Cold, salty water at the top sinks; that sinking water acts as a pump, pulling warm Gulf Stream water north and thus moderating winter weather. But now, fresh water from the thawing ice and heavier rain is accumulating near the ocean's surface; it's not sinking as quickly. (The tropics are faced with the opposite phenomenon. According to Dr. Ruth Curry and her colleagues at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the tropical Atlantic is becoming saltier; as warming increases, so does evaporation, which leaves behind salt.) The "freshening" in the North Atlantic may be contributing to a high-pressure system that is accelerating trans-Atlantic winds and deflecting the jet stream changes that may be driving frigid fronts down the Eastern Seaboard. The ice-core records demonstrate that the North Atlantic can freshen to a point where the deep-water pump fails, warm water stops coming north, and the northern ocean suddenly freezes, as it did in the last Ice Age. No one can say if that is what will happen next. But since the 1950's, the best documented deep-water pump, between Iceland and Scotland, has slowed 20 percent.

    Why now? After all, the planet's previous periods of global warming resulted from changes in the earth's tilt toward the sun, and recent calculations of these cycles indicate that our hospitable climate was not due to have ended any time soon. But because of the warming brought by the buildup of carbon dioxide, mainly from the burning of fossil fuels, the equations have changed. We are entering uncharted waters. It's something for New Yorkers to ponder as they bundle up.

    Paul R. Epstein is associate director of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  6. #36


    How Oceans Regulate Climate

    Gulfstream images from TERRA satellite. The colors represent differences in water temperature from cold to warmer PURPLE BLUE GREEN YELLOW RED. Black areas are land or missing data.

    The Gulfstream passes the New York Bight

    The Gulfstream is one of the strongest ocean currents, moving northeast from the Gulf of Mexico at 4 miles per hour. The warm moist air it carries influences climate in northwestern Europe.

  7. #37


    February 23, 2004

    Uses and Abuses of Science

    Although the Bush administration is hardly the first to politicize science, no administration in recent memory has so shamelessly distorted scientific findings for policy reasons or suppressed them when they conflict with political goals. This is the nub of an indictment delivered last week by more than 60 prominent scientists, including 20 Nobel laureates. Their statement was accompanied by a report published by the Union of Concerned Scientists, listing cases where the administration has manipulated science on environmental and other issues.

    President Bush's supporters promptly denounced the statement and the report as an overdrawn and politically motivated work issued in an election year by an advocacy group known for its liberal disposition. Tellingly, however, neither Mr. Bush's friends nor the White House denied that any of the incidents listed in the report all had been reported before in newspapers, trade magazines and scientific journals had occurred. The best they could muster was a lame rejoinder from Dr. John Marburger III, Mr. Bush's science adviser, who said that these were disconnected episodes reflecting normal bureaucratic disagreements, none of them adding up to a "pattern" of distortion or disrespect for science.

    We respectfully urge Dr. Marburger to look again. On global warming alone, the administration belittled, misrepresented, altered or quashed multiple reports suggesting a clear link between greenhouse gas emissions and the burning of fossil fuels like coal and oil. A study detailing the impact of mercury emissions from power plants was sanitized to industry specifications. Another study suggesting that a Congressional clean-air bill would achieve greater pollution reductions than Mr. Bush's own plan, at approximately the same cost, was withheld. It does not take much effort to find a pattern of suppressing inconvenient facts that might force Mr. Bush's friends in the oil, gas and coal industries to spend more on pollution control.

    The report details similar shenanigans involving other agencies, including Agriculture, Interior and even, on reproductive health issues, the Centers for Disease Control. It also criticizes the administration for stacking advisory committees with industry representatives and disbanding panels that provided unwanted advice. Collected in one place, this material gives a portrait of governmentwide insensitivity to scientific standards that, unless corrected, will further undermine the administration's credibility and the morale of its scientists.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  8. #38

  9. #39


    June 15, 2004

    California Leads on Warming

    Filling a leadership vacuum left by President Bush and Congress, states have been forced to lead the fight against global warming. Yesterday California unveiled an ambitious proposal to require automakers to cut emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases linked to global warming by as much as 30 percent over the next decade.

    The plan will almost certainly be challenged in court by the automakers and possibly by the Bush administration. Given California's long history as an innovator in environmental policy, however, the initiative is likely to inspire similar efforts in other states and may have the further salutary effect of forcing the issue of climate change which even Senator John Kerry has shown little inclination to tackle onto the campaign agenda.

    The plan grows out of legislation passed by the California Legislature two years ago. It would require manufacturers to start reducing carbon dioxide emissions in the 2009 model year with the aim of achieving a 30 percent reduction by 2015. Since carbon dioxide and other gases linked to global warming cannot be filtered in the same way that catalytic converters filter out harmful smog-forming particles, the only way to cut global warming emissions is to reduce fuel use. That means making more fuel-efficient cars.

    The manufacturers are likely to argue in court that this is merely a backdoor way of mandating a tougher fuel-economy standard, which under current law is a federal responsibility. The manufacturers will also complain about having to sell cars in states with different regulatory mandates. This is a legitimate problem, for which Washington must be blamed. Given the federal indifference, California cannot be expected to refrain from acting on its own to address global warming.

    The state's plan still faces further regulatory and legislative review. Nevertheless, whatever emerges is likely to serve as a template for similar action in other states, particularly on the East Coast, where concern over global warming runs high. In New York, Gov. George Pataki, for instance, is organizing a 10-state regional plan to cut power plant emissions, and he has announced that he will follow California's lead on automobiles. Altogether, more than 30 states have approved global warming laws of one sort or another, many of them aimed at encouraging greater use of less-polluting fuels.

    All of that leaves Washington bringing up the rear of a parade it ought to be leading. Mr. Bush reneged on his 2000 campaign promise to impose mandatory caps on carbon dioxide, and Congress has rejected all efforts to mandate meaningful increases in fuel efficiency.

    Local measures alone are never going to solve the climate-change problem, which will ultimately require a global response. And that battle will never be fully joined unless America joins it. But the palpable concern on the state level may in time serve as a goad to national action.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  10. #40
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Sep 2003
    Manhattan - UWS



    July 21, 2004

    ALBANY Eight states and New York City will announce a lawsuit today seeking to force five of the country's largest power producers to cut carbon-dioxide emissions and curb global warming, according to a draft statement obtained by The Associated Press.

    The suit is being filed in Manhattan federal court.

    The five utilities own 174 fossil fuel-burning power plants that produce 646 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, about 10 percent of the nation's total, the suit will charge.

    A spokesman for New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said the lawsuit would, "for the first time, put global warming on the litigation map." AP

    Copyright 2004 NYP Holdings, Inc.

  11. #41
    Senior Member Bob's Avatar
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    Jun 2004
    Fairfax, VA


    Global warming is just so much bile. Ugh! Such pap!

    Look, the Earth has gone through many hot/cold cycles in its billions of years of existence. We had ice ages as recently as several thousand years ago, with ice as much as a mile thick covering what is now New England and New York. Where did the ice go? The Earth warmed up and the ice receded. Mother Nature globally warmed!

    Now, come on you big environmentalists. Are you against Mother Nature? What if she wanted to globally COOL? Would you be against that?

    OK, I know what your answer will be: this time, we're doing it instead of Mother Nature. So, that makes it bad. Sorry, folks, but I don't buy any of it. "Global warming" is junk science!

  12. #42


    Your post is "no science."

    What is occurring now is not as gradual as movement in and out of ice-ages.

    The last glacial period ended 10.000 years ago. We are now in an interglacial period, which statistically lasts about 12,00 years. It is interesting to note that human civilization, with the beginnings of agriculture, began after the last ice-age. Maybe our destiny is to solve this problem between the extremes.

    You can allow global warming to quickly cause environmental changes that we will be in no position to rectify, but I would rather wait the 2,000 years and deal with the next ice-age.

    We should be off-planet by then. We have to get off eventually anyway. The earth has about a half billion years left.

  13. #43



  14. #44


    July 22, 2004

    City Joins Suit Against 5 Power Companies


    New York City officials, evoking an apocalyptic vision of Manhattan's tunnels flooded and Kennedy Airport under water, joined a federal suit brought yesterday by New York and seven other states against five of the country's largest power companies in an effort to curb global warming.

    New York was the only city to join the suit, which was brought by states dissatisfied with the Bush administration's policies on controlling emissions of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that has been linked to the significant warming of the earth in recent decades.

    Painting a scenario that could have come from "The Day After Tomorrow," the city's top lawyer, Michael A. Cardozo, detailed the "extraordinary impact" he said global warming could one day have on New York. It could bring a sharp increases in asthma cases, he said, as well as erosion of beaches in Queens and the Bronx and flooding of Staten Island wetlands.

    "And it can mean, to put this most dramatically, flooding of the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels and on the landing strips at La Guardia and Kennedy Airports," Mr. Cardozo said.

    While city officials did not suggest that any of those calamities were imminent, they accepted Attorney General Eliot Spitzer's view that the scientific evidence was "rock solid" that carbon dioxide concentrations contributed to global warming.

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg decided to participate in the suit - a clear challenge to President Bush's approach to pollution control - because he believes that the city should not delay action on the issue, Mr. Cardozo said.

    The companies named in the suit, which was filed in Federal District Court in Manhattan, are the American Electric Power Company, the Southern Company, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Xcel Energy and the Cinergy Corporation. The other states participating are Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin, Iowa and California. The companies, the largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the United States, do not, for the most part, operate in the Northeast. The suit is the first by local governments to try to force companies outside their jurisdictions to curb carbon dioxide emissions.

    The companies condemned the suit yesterday, accusing the attorneys general of the eight states of trying to dictate federal pollution policy and punish a small group of utilities for a worldwide problem.

    "We view this simply as an effort to legislate through litigation rather than pursuing standards through Congress," said Steven Brash, a spokesman for Cinergy, which is based in Cincinnati.

    The lawsuit divided environmental groups, dismaying some who had been working with big power companies, including several of the defendants, to get them to reduce emissions. Representatives of several groups said the suit erred by lumping the companies together, regardless of whether they had made efforts to curb carbon dioxide.

    American Electric Power, while long criticized for its sooty pollution, has gained praise from environmentalists for its commitments to cut emissions. Eileen Claussen, the president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, which has worked with the company, called the suit "slightly perverse."

    "Of course we need a national program and of course we need some legislation," she said. "The real question is, does this help you get there? It's not clear to me that this lawsuit will help."

    In a new approach, the suit charges that the utilities are creating a "public nuisance," global warming, that harms residents in the states bringing the action. The suit seeks a court order requiring the companies to reduce their emissions by at least 3 percent per year for 10 years, said Richard Blumenthal, the Connecticut attorney general. No monetary damages are sought.

    "We're here because the federal government has abdicated its responsibility and has in fact resisted our court action," Mr. Blumenthal said.

    During his 2000 campaign, Mr. Bush promised to restrict carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, but abandoned that pledge early in his term. The Bush administration has called for voluntary measures to slow the growth of emissions.

    Most scientists now agree that most of a decades-long warming trend is caused by rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. Yet scientific projections of the possible local impacts have remained laced with caveats.

    One of the hardest things to predict is the potential impact of shifting climate conditions on health. In a 2001 report, for example, the National Research Council of the National Academies said projections of health impacts were "highly uncertain."

    July 28, 2004

    A Novel Tactic on Warming

    Moving aggressively to compensate for Washington's unwillingness to tackle the threat of global warming, New York, seven other states and New York City filed suit last week against five of the country's largest power companies. Though the suit's legal prospects are unclear, its political implications are not. Once again, the states are asserting their right to remedy environmental problems that the Bush administration and Congress have ignored.

    The lawsuit is the first by local governments aimed at forcing companies outside their jurisdictions to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide, the gas believed to be largely responsible for the warming trend. The list of defendants reads like a who's who of the industry: the American Electric Power Company, the Southern Company, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Xcel Energy and the Cinergy Corporation. Together, they own or operate 174 power plants in 20 states that emit almost a quarter of the utility industry's carbon dioxide emissions and about 10 percent of the nation's total emissions.

    The companies do not dispute the notion that carbon dioxide is a big contributor to climate warming. They complain instead that they are being unfairly singled out and, further, that the states are usurping Congress's power to regulate carbon dioxide emissions. But since neither Congress nor the administration has shown much interest in pushing comprehensive legislation to regulate these gases, the states can hardly be blamed for using the levers at hand.

    The attorneys general, including Eliot Spitzer of New York, are to some extent in uncharted legal waters. The novel basis for their action is the common law of public nuisance, and the states will have to persuade a judge that global warming is a "public nuisance'' that harms, or might harm, the residents of the states bringing the action.

    They could well prevail. Few mainstream scientists doubt that the threat of warming is real and that carbon dioxide is a major cause. Moreover, this particular group of attorneys general, mostly Northeasterners, have already demonstrated an ability to use the courts to force action on problems that Washington ignores - most recently lawsuits pressuring utilities to reduce emissions of nitrogen and sulfur dioxide. Their hope now is to do the same with a gas that could ultimately prove far more dangerous.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  15. #45


    October 26, 2004

    NASA Expert Criticizes Bush on Global Warming Policy


    A top NASA climate expert who twice briefed Vice President Dick Cheney on global warming plans to criticize the administration's approach to the issue in a lecture at the University of Iowa tonight and say that a senior administration official told him last year not to discuss dangerous consequences of rising temperatures.

    The expert, Dr. James E. Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan, expects to say that the Bush administration has ignored growing evidence that sea levels could rise significantly unless prompt action is taken to reduce heat-trapping emissions from smokestacks and tailpipes.

    Many academic scientists, including dozens of Nobel laureates, have been criticizing the administration over its handling of climate change and other complex scientific issues. But Dr. Hansen, first in an interview with The New York Times a week ago and again in his planned lecture today, is the only leading scientist to speak out so publicly while still in the employ of the government.

    In the talk, Dr. Hansen, who describes himself as "moderately conservative, middle-of-the-road" and registered in Pennsylvania as an independent, plans to say that he will vote for Senator John Kerry, while also criticizing some of Mr. Kerry's positions, particularly his pledge to keep nuclear waste out of Nevada.

    He will acknowledge that one of the accolades he has received for his work on climate change is a $250,000 Heinz Award, given in 2001 by a foundation run by Teresa Heinz Kerry, Mr. Kerry's wife. The awards are given to people who advance causes promoted by Senator John Heinz, the Pennsylvania Republican who was Mrs. Heinz Kerry's first husband.

    But in an interview yesterday, Dr. Hansen said he was confident that the award had had "no impact on my evaluation of the climate problem or on my political leanings."

    In a draft of the talk, a copy of which Dr. Hansen provided to The Times yesterday, he wrote that President Bush's climate policy, which puts off consideration of binding cuts in such emissions until 2012, was likely to be too little too late.

    Actions to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions "are not only feasible but make sense for other reasons, including our economic well-being and national security," Dr. Hansen wrote. "Delay of another decade, I argue, is a colossal risk."

    In the speech, Dr. Hansen also says that last year, after he gave a presentation on the dangers of human-caused, or anthropogenic, climate shifts to Sean O'Keefe, the NASA administrator, "the administrator interrupted me; he told me that I should not talk about dangerous anthropogenic interference, because we do not know enough or have enough evidence for what would constitute dangerous anthropogenic interference."

    After conferring with Mr. O'Keefe, Glenn Mahone, the administrator's spokesman, said Mr. O'Keefe had a completely different recollection of the meeting. "To say the least, Sean is certain that he did not admonish or even suggest that there be a throttling back of research efforts" by Dr. Hansen or his team, Mr. Mahone said.

    Dr. Franco Einaudi, director of the NASA Earth Sciences Directorate at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Dr. Hansen's supervisor, said he was at the meeting between Dr. Hansen and Mr. O'Keefe. Dr. Einaudi confirmed that Mr. O'Keefe had interrupted the presentation to say that these were "delicate issues" and there was a lot of uncertainty about them. But, he added: "Whether it is obvious to take that as an order or not is a question of judgment. Personally, I did not take it as an order."

    Dr. John H. Marburger III, the science adviser to the president, said he was not privy to any exchanges between Dr. Hansen and the administrator of NASA. But he denied that the White House was playing down the risks posed by climate change.

    "President Bush has long recognized the serious implications of climate change, the role of human activity, and our responsibility to reduce emissions,'' Dr. Marburger said in an e-mailed statement. "He has put forward a series of policy initiatives including a commitment to reduce the greenhouse gas intensity of our economy.''

    In the interview yesterday, Dr. Hansen stood by his assertions and said the administration risked disaster by discouraging scientists from discussing unwelcome findings.

    Dr. Hansen, 63, acknowledged that he imperiled his credibility and perhaps his job by criticizing Mr. Bush's policies in the final days of a tight presidential campaign. He said he decided to speak out after months of deliberation because he was convinced the country needed to change course on climate policy.

    Dr. Hansen rose to prominence when, after testifying at a Senate hearing in the record-warm summer of 1988, he said, "It is time to stop waffling so much and say the evidence is pretty strong that the greenhouse effect is here."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

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