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"The battle to halt global warming, aka 'climate change', is over. We lost." — G.E. Nordell, in August 2014

"We are the first generation to feel the effects of climate change, and the last generation that can do something about it."
— Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State, in October 2014
President Barack Obama, in May 2016


G.O.P. / B.P. Megaspill 2010 Page
at Spirit of America Bookstore

U.S. Dept of Energy: Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy gateway
D.O.T. / Pipeline & Hazardous Materials Safety Administration [est. 2004] in Washington, DC
D.O.T. / P.H.M.S.A. / National Pipeline Mapping System
D.O.T. / P.H.M.S.A. / O.P.S. / Pipeline Risk management Information System {not www.}

The Climate Institute [est. 1987] in Washington, DC
Climate Solutions - practical solutions to global warming [est. 1998] based in Washington & Oregon
envirofinder search engine
Negative Population Growth [est. 1972]
U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change
Stop Global Warming website
Fight Global Warming website
Musicians United for Safe Energy [est. 1979]
official Hubbert Peak website
"Coal: The Musical" [2013] by LittleGlobe Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Hemphasis website advocating 'Hemp for Fuel & Energy'
Hemp Industries Association [est. 1992] based in California
National Clean Energy Summit [Sept 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada = #7.0]

Environmental News Network       Union of Concerned Scientists re global warming        Zero Population Growth

Earthweek: A Diary of The Planet - ecological news site [est. 1988]       Global Energy Network Institute

National Center for Science Education [est. 1981]       Truth Fights Back [est. 2008 by Sen. John Kerry] restoring truth to the energy & climate change debate

American Clean Skies Foundation [est. 2007] based in Washington, DC
A.C.S.F.'s "Energy Now!" weekly half-hour TV news magazine & archive
A.C.S.F.'s Energy Visions Prize {entry free, deadline in December}


Alternative Vehicles and Alternative Fuel Vehicles

info on Alternative Energy technologies, including wind, solar & hydrogen

Selected Books on the Subjects
of Energy & Global Warming


Polluters & Propaganda Websites
propaganda from the U.S. coal lobby [est. 2007]
Plains All-American Pipeline, LP [est. 1990s, IPO 1998] based in Houston, Texas
Common Ground Alliance [est. 2000] based in Arlington, Virginia
Pipeline 101 - 'brought to you by A.P.I. & A.O.P.L.'
American Petroleum Institute (API) [est. 1911] based in Washington, DC
Association of Oil Pipe Lines (AOPL) [est. 1947] based in Washington, DC
American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) [est. 2007] based in Washington, DC


Two News Items from August 2013

       "The last fourteen years are the driest in a century of record keeping [in the Colorado River Basin] and among the driest such periods in a thousand years of tree rings records."
        == U.S. Department of Interior report, August 2013

       An international team published a three-year study in the journal "Nature Climate Change" that shows marine species moving away from the tropics and toward the poles at an average of 45 miles per decade, compared to only 4 miles per decade for species on land.
        == per Earth Environmental Service, August 2013

President Obama delivered the "National Climate Action Plan" speech
at Georgetown University on 25 June 2013
transcript (at Bloomburg) • video [48:48] at YouTube
"The best presidential address on climate change ever." — Al Gore, Jr.

McClatchy News
Wednesday 18 January 2012

"Texas and Louisiana have introduced education standards that require educators to teach climate change denial as a valid scientific position. South Dakota and Utah passed resolutions denying climate change. Tennessee and Oklahoma also have introduced legislation to give climate change skeptics a place in the classroom. . . The National Center for Science Education . . . announced on Monday that it will launch an initiative to monitor the teaching of climate science and evaluate the sources of resistance to it."

The Associated Press
Saturday 17 November 2007

Global Warming 'Unequivocal'
       by Arthur Max

       VALENCIA, Spain — Global warming is "unequivocal" and carbon dioxide already in the atmosphere commits the world to sea levels rising an average of up to 4.6 feet, the world's top climate experts warned Saturday in their most authoritative report to date.
       "Only urgent, global action will do," said U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, calling on the United States and China – the world's two biggest polluters – to do more to slow global climate change.
       "I look forward to seeing the U.S. and China playing a more constructive role," Ban told reporters. "Both countries can lead in their own way."
       Ban, however, advised against assigning blame.
       Climate change imperils "the most precious treasures of our planet," he said, and the effects are "so severe and so sweeping that only urgent global action will do. We are all in this together. We must work together."
       According to the U.N. panel of scientists, whose latest report is a synthesis of three prev- ious ones, enough carbon dioxide already has built up that it imperils islands, coastlines and a fifth to two-thirds of the world's species.
       As early as 2020, 75 million to 250 million people in Africa will suffer water shortages, residents of Asia's large cities will be at great risk of river and coastal flooding, according to the report.
       Europeans can expect extensive species loss, and North Americans will experience longer and hotter heat waves and greater competition for water, says the report from the U.N. Inter- governmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the Nobel Prize with Al Gore, Jr. this year.

       The panel portrays the Earth hurtling toward a warmer climate at a quickening pace and warns of inevitable human suffering.
       It says emissions of carbon, mainly from fossil fuels, must stabilize by 2015 and go down after that.
       In the best-case scenario, temperatures will keep rising from carbon already in the atmosphere, the report said. Even if factories were shut down today and cars taken off the roads, the average sea level will reach as high as 4.6 feet above that in the preindustrial period, or about 1850.
       "We have already committed the world to sea level rise," the panel's chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, said. But if the Greenland ice sheet melts, the scientists said, they could not predict by how many feet the seas will rise, drowning coastal cities.
       Climate change is here, they said, as witnessed by melting snow and glaciers, higher average temperatures and rising sea levels. If unchecked, global warming will spread hunger and disease, put further stress on water resources, cause fiercer storms and more frequent droughts, and could drive up to 70 percent of plant and animal species to extinction, according to the panel's report.
       The report was adopted after five days of sometimes tense negotiations among 140 national delegations. It lays out blueprints for avoiding the worst catastrophes – and various possible outcomes, depending on how quickly and decisively action is taken.
       "The world's scientists have spoken clearly and with one voice," Ban said, looking ahead to an important climate conference in Bali, Indonesia, next month. "I expect the world's policy makers to do the same."

       The report is intended to both set the stage and serve as a guide for the conference, at which world leaders will begin discussing a global climate change treaty to replace the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.
       That treaty, which expires in 2012, required industrial nations to reduce greenhouse gases and a smooth transition to a new treaty is needed to avoid upsetting the fledgling carbon markets.
       "This report will have an incredible political impact," Yvo de Boer, the U.N.'s top climate change official, told The Associated Press. "It's a signal that politicians cannot afford to ignore."
       The United States opted out of Kyoto in 2001, arguing that the science was unproven and that the burden of mandatory emission cuts was unfair since it excluded fast-growing China and India.

B.B.C. News
Monday 4 September 2006

Deep ice tells long climate story
       by Jonathan Amos {Science reporter, BBC News, Norwich}

       Carbon dioxide levels are substantially higher now than at any time in the last 800,000 years, the latest study of ice drilled out of Antarctica confirms.
       The in-depth analysis of air bubbles trapped in a 3.2km-long core of frozen snow shows current greenhouse gas concentrations are unprecedented.
       The East Antarctic core is the longest, deepest ice column yet extracted.
       Project scientists say its contents indicate humans could be bringing about dangerous climate changes.
       "My point would be that there's nothing in the ice core that gives us any cause for comfort," said Dr Eric Wolff from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).
       "There's nothing that suggests that the Earth will take care of the increase in carbon dioxide. The ice core suggests that the increase in carbon dioxide will definitely give us a climate change that will be dangerous," he told BBC News.
       The Antarctic researcher was speaking here at the British Association's (BA) Science Festival.

Slice of history
       The ice core comes from a region of the White Continent known as Dome Concordia (Dome C). It has been drilled out by the European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica (Epica), a 10-country consortium.
       The column's value to science is the tiny pockets of ancient air that were locked into its millennia of accumulating snowflakes.
       Each slice of this now compacted snow records a moment in Earth history, giving researchers a direct measure of past environmental conditions.
       Not only can scientists see past concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane - the two principal human-produced gases now blamed for global warming - in the slices, they can also gauge past temperatures from the samples.
       This is done by analysing the presence of different types, or isotopes, of hydrogen atom that are found preferentially in precipitating water (snow) when temperatures are relatively warm.

'Scary' rate
       Earlier results from the Epica core were published in 2004 and 2005, detailing the events back to 440,000 years and 650,000 years respectively. Scientists have now gone the full way through the column, back another 150,000 years.
       The picture is the same: carbon dioxide and temperature rise and fall in step.
       "Ice cores reveal the Earth's natural climate rhythm over the last 800,000 years. When carbon dioxide changed there was always an accompanying climate change. Over the last 200 years human activity has increased carbon dioxide to well outside the natural range," explained Dr Wolff.
       The "scary thing", he added, was the rate of change now occurring in CO2 concentrations. In the core, the fastest increase seen was of the order of 30 parts per million (ppm) by volume over a period of roughly 1,000 years.
       "The last 30 ppm of increase has occurred in just 17 years.
We really are in the situation where we don't have an analogue in our records," he said.

Natural buffer
       The plan now is to try to extend the ice-core record even further back in time. Scientists think another location, near to a place known as Dome A (Dome Argus), could allow them to sample atmospheric gases up to a million and a half years ago.
       Some of the increases in carbon dioxide will be alleviated by natural "sinks" on the land and in the oceans, such as the countless planktonic organisms that effectively pull carbon out of the atmosphere as they build skeletons and shell coverings.
       But Dr Corinne Le Qu้r้, of the University of East Anglia and BAS, warned the festival that these sinks may become less efficient over time.
       We could not rely on them to keep on buffering our emissions, she said.
       "For example, we don't know what the effect will be of ocean acidification on marine ecosystems. There is potential for deterioration," she explained.
       More CO2 absorbed by the oceans will raise their acidity, and a number of recent studies have concluded that this will eventually disrupt the ability of marine micro-organisms to use the calcium carbonate in the water to produce their hard parts.

Los Angeles Times
Sunday 24 July 2006
Opinion Section

Global Warming – Signed, Sealed & Delivered
       by Naomi Oreskes

       An op-ed article in the Wall Street Journal a month ago claimed that a published study affirming the existence of a scientific consensus on the reality of global warming had been refuted. This charge was repeated again last week, in a hearing of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.
       I am the author of that study, which appeared two years ago in the journal Science, and I'm here to tell you that the consensus stands. The argument put forward in the Wall Street Journal was based on an internet posting; it has not appeared in a peer-reviewed journal – the normal way to challenge an academic finding. (The Wall Street Journal didn't even get my name right!)
       My study demonstrated that there is no significant disagreement within the scientific community that the Earth is warming and that human activities are the prin- cipal cause.
       Papers that continue to rehash arguments that have already been addressed and questions that have already been answered will, of course, be rejected by scientific journals, and this explains my findings. Not a single paper in a large sample of peer-reviewed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003 refuted the consensus position, summarized by the National Academy of Sciences, that "most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations."
       Since the 1950s, scientists have understood that greenhouse gases produced by burning fossil fuels could have serious effects on Earth's climate. When the 1980s proved to be the hottest decade on record, and as predictions of climate models started to come true, scientists increasingly saw global warming as cause for concern.
       In 1988, the World Meteorological Assn. and the United Nations Environment Program joined forces to create the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to evaluate the state of climate science as a basis for informed policy action. The panel has issued three assessments (1990, 1995, 2001), representing the combined expertise of 2,000 scientists from more than 100 countries, and a fourth report is due out shortly. Its conclusions – global warming is occurring, humans have a major role in it – have been ratified by scientists around the world in published scientific papers, in statements issued by professional scientific societies and in reports of the National Academy of Sciences, the British Royal Society and many other national and royal academies of science worldwide. Even the Bush administration accepts the funda- mental findings. As President Bush's science advisor, John Marburger III, said last year in a speech: "The climate is changing; the Earth is warming."
       To be sure, there are a handful of scientists, including MIT professor Richard Lindzen, the author of the Wall Street Journal editorial, who disagree with the rest of the scientific commu- nity. To a historian of science like me, this is not surprising. In any scientific community, there are always some individuals who simply refuse to accept new ideas and evidence. This is especially true when the new evidence strikes at their core beliefs and values.
       Earth scientists long believed that humans were insignificant in comparison with the vastness of geological time and the power of geophysical forces. For this reason, many were reluctant to accept that humans had become a force of nature, and it took decades for the present under- standing to be achieved. Those few who refuse to accept it are not ignorant, but they are stubborn. They are not unintelligent, but they are stuck on details that cloud the larger issue. Scientific communities include tortoises and hares, mavericks and mules.
       A historical example will help to make the point. In the 1920s, the distinguished Cambridge geophysicist Harold Jeffreys rejected the idea of continental drift on the grounds of physical impossibility. In the 1950s, geologists and geophysicists began to accumulate overwhelming evidence of the reality of continental motion, even though the physics of it was poorly under- stood. By the late 1960s, the theory of plate tectonics was on the road to near-universal acceptance.
       Yet Jeffreys, by then Sir Harold, stubbornly refused to accept the new evidence, repeating his old arguments about the impossibility of the thing. He was a great man, but he had become a scientific mule. For a while, journals continued to publish Jeffreys' arguments, but after a while he had nothing new to say. He died denying plate tectonics. The scientific debate was over.
       So it is with climate change today. As American geologist Harry Hess said in the 1960s about plate tectonics, one can quibble about the details, but the overall picture is clear.
       Yet some climate-change deniers insist that the observed changes might be natural, perhaps caused by variations in solar irradiance or other forces we don't yet understand. Perhaps there are other explanations for the receding glaciers. But "perhaps" is not evidence.
       The greatest scientist of all time, Isaac Newton, warned against this tendency more than three centuries ago. Writing in "Principia Mathematica" in 1687, he noted that once scientists had successfully drawn conclusions by "general induction from phenomena," then those conclu- sions had to be held as "accurately or very nearly true notwithstanding any contrary hypothesis that may be imagined…. "
       Climate-change deniers can imagine all the hypotheses they like, but it will not change the facts nor "the general induction from the phenomena."
       None of this is to say that there are no uncertainties left – there are always uncertainties in any live science. Agreeing about the reality and causes of current global warming is not the same as agreeing about what will happen in the future. There is continuing debate in the scientific community over the likely rate of future change: not "whether" but "how much" and "how soon". And this is precisely why we need to act today: because the longer we wait, the worse the problem will become, and the harder it will be to solve.

Naomi Oreskes is a history of science professor at U.C. San Diego

Time Magazine
Vol. 167 #14 - 3 April 2006
Cover Story
Time Magazine cover story on global warming - 3 April 2006       

Table of Contents

Albuquerque [New Mexico] Tribune
Saturday 28 January 2006 [page TV-28]

Another 'Hottest Year'?
       by Earth Environment News Service

       The global warming trend continued during 2005 with N.A.S.A. scientists saying [that] the year may have been the hottest since reliable weather records began in the late 1800s. The years 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004 followed as the next four warmest years, according to the agency. Other researchers had said [that] 2005 was the second warmest [year] ever recorded, based on data through November.
       But climatologists at N.A.S.A.'s Goddard Institute for Space Studies say their hottest ranking was due to inclusion of data from the Arctic. And while there are only a few reporting stations there, N.A.S.A. says [that] the region experienced unusual warmth during the year. The previous undisputed warmest year was 1998, when a strong El Ni๑o ocean warming added to the global heat. N.A.S.A. researchers say [that] what's significant about 2005 is that global warmth returned to about the level of 1998 without the influence of an El Ni๑o.

Los Angeles Times
Wednesday 8 June 2005
Main News Section / Nation [page A-10]

Academies Warn of Warming
       by Miguel Bustillo [L.A. Times Staff Writer]

Science organizations from 11 countries, including the U.S., call for global action against the changing climate.

       The National Academy of Sciences and 10 similar organizations from some of the world's most powerful nations released a statement Tuesday calling for a stronger international response to global warming, arguing there is now more than enough evidence of a changing climate to justify taking immediate action.
       The unprecedented joint statement, politically timed to coincide with British Prime Minister Tony Blair's visit with President Bush in Washington, called on developed nations to "acknowledge that the threat of climate change is clear and increasing."
       It also called on countries to begin setting stricter targets to reduce heat-trapping greenhouse gases to prevent the worst consequences of global warming from taking place.
       The statement was signed by National Academy of Sciences President Bruce Alberts as well as the heads of science organizations from Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan and Russia. That includes science academies from the Group of 8 industrial nations, as well as from the three largest emitters of greenhouse gases in the developing world.
       "There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world's climate," the joint statement began.
       "However, there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring."
       The evidence includes direct measurements of rising air and ocean temperatures, retreating glaciers and changes to biological systems, the scientists wrote. They added that "it is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities," such as the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the burning of coal and other fossil fuels.
       In releasing the statement, the president of the British Royal Society, Lord Robert May, sharply criticized the Bush administration's stance on climate change, which is focused on furthering technologies to cut greenhouse gas emissions and only asks that businesses make voluntary reductions.
       The U.S., the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, was the only major developed nation other than Australia not to sign the Kyoto Protocol, a pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to roughly 5% below 1990 levels by 2012. Blair has vowed to make climate change a central issue at next month's G-8 summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. But the Bush administration appears firmly entrenched in its position that mandating reductions in greenhouse gases would hurt the U.S. economy.
       "The current U.S. policy is misguided," May said. "The Bush administration has consistently refused to accept the advice of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences. President Bush has an opportunity at Gleneagles to signal that his administration will no longer ignore the scientific evidence."
       The National Academy of Sciences first outlined the threat of global warming in 1979, when it published a now-famous report led by M.I.T. scientist Jule Charney in response to a request by President Carter. It concluded that climate change was a serious threat and recommended that governments begin to reduce greenhouse gases as a precautionary measure.
       Since the Charney report, the science academy has published several other reviews of global warming — including one in 2001 that had been requested by Bush — all of which have largely echoed the 1979 report's conclusions.
       Bush administration officials on Tuesday strongly disputed May's criticism that the president had failed to heed scientific advice on global warming.
       "We welcome the continued efforts and leadership of our U.S. National Academy of Sciences working with its sister societies to ensure that our response to climate change is informed by the best available scientific knowledge," said Michele St. Martin, a spokeswoman for the White House Council on Environmental Quality.
       "We are taking action," she added. "President Bush has committed his administration to cut our nation's greenhouse gas intensity by 18% over the next 10 years."

Los Angeles Times
Friday 29 April 2005
Main News Section / Nation [page A-20]

Scientists Find Climate Change 'Smoking Gun'
       by Miguel Bustillo [L.A. Times Staff Writer]

       The Earth is now absorbing so much heat from the sun that the soot and greenhouse gases that humans are putting in the air appear to be the only reasonable explanation for the warming trend, according to research released Thursday by a team of prominent climate scientists.
       The scientists from NASA, Columbia University and the U.S. Department of Energy determined that precise, deep-ocean measurements showed a rise in temperature that matched their computer model predictions of what would happen in an increasingly polluted world.
       The scientists wrote that the findings confirmed the planet's "energy imbalance," a long-held theory on global warming.
       "This energy imbalance is the 'smoking gun' that we have been looking for," said James Hansen, the director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies at the Columbia University Earth Institute, and lead author of the study, published online Thursday by Science magazine.
       "There can no longer be substantial doubt that human-made gases are the cause of most observed warming," added Hansen, who has long advanced the idea that human beings have been contributing to global warming, and in recent years has criticized the Bush administration for failing to take aggressive action on the issue.
       Although the planet is now soaking up more energy from sunlight than it is reflecting back to space in the form of heat radiation, much of the excess energy remains effectively hidden in the oceans, the study found.
       Just as the sands on a beach warm faster than the waters offshore, oceans respond more slowly to temperature changes than land masses.
       But the heat trapped in the oceans will eventually manifest itself, with significant consequences for the world's climate, the scientists wrote.
       As a result, the average global temperature, which has increased by about one degree Fahrenheit over the last century, will do so again over the next century, simply based on the heat stowed away in the oceans.
       "The Hansen paper is important," said F. Sherwood Rowland, a UC Irvine professor who received the 1995 Nobel Prize for chemistry for finding that pollution from aerosol sprays and coolants was eroding the ozone layer.
       "If you have that much [heat] stored up in the oceans, that is about another degree Fahrenheit that is lagging there, and we just haven't felt it yet."
       Michael Prather, another UC Irvine professor, said that though Hansen and others had stated for years that the oceans could be a repository for much of the heat generated by the greenhouse effect, the latest paper represented the most convincing evidence yet that it was happening.
       "I always believed Jim [Hansen] was right in the first place, but now I think he has proved it," said Prather, the former editor of the Geophysical Research Letters journal.
       "You now see the heat building up in the ocean and you have a limited range of options to explain it."
       In addition to increasing global temperatures, the warming could lead to an acceleration of the ice sheet disintegration taking place in parts of the polar regions, and even a rapid rise in sea levels, the authors concluded.
       Sea levels have risen about 1 1/4 inches in the last decade, twice the rate of the preceding century, partly because the heat content of the oceans has caused the water to expand.
       Based on major climate shifts in the planet's history, Hansen estimates that if temperatures increased beyond 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit over current levels, large-scale sea level increases could take place.
       He argued that represents the threshold that human beings should strive not to exceed. Under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change, countries around the world agreed in principle to avoid "dangerous anthropogenic interference" with the climate, though they never defined what that was.
       Natural variables such as ocean circulation patterns could theoretically account for the high rate of heat storage in deep waters, the authors conceded. But they said that in such a scenario, cooler water would have been pushed to the surface of the oceans, and the measurements over the last decade showed surface temperatures warming.
       By contrast, the researchers noted that the additional heat in the oceans corresponds closely with what their computer model predicted would take place due to increased emissions of carbon dioxide, methane, ozone and black carbon, making that the more likely cause.
       Hansen estimated that if humans could slash the current amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in half, or eliminate potent methane emissions, the planet's heat would fall back into equilibrium. But such reductions, he said, are unrealistic, and thus the world probably will become warmer.

Scientific American Magazine
February 2005 [page 31]

       The Greenland ice sheet will probably cross the line into irreversible melting in this century [and] raise ocean levels eight meters, threatening major cities such as Mumbai, Calcutta and Manila and wiping out Florida below Miami.

Orion Online
November-December 2004

Chronicles of Ice
       by Greta Ehrlich

A meditation on the shrinking world embodied in the soul of a glacier.

       online article with pictures

Los Angeles Times
Saturday 16 October 2004
Main News Section / Science / In Brief [page A-21]

Ecuadorean Glaciers Threatened by Warming
       Global warming is melting Ecuador's cherished mountain glaciers and could cause several of them to disappear over the next two decades, Ecuadorean and French scientists said Wednesday.
       The country's cone-shaped Cotopaxi volcano, towering at 19,347 feet, lost 31% of its ice cover from 1976 to 1997, according to a study by Ecuador's Meteorology Institute and France's scientific research institute IRD. Other volcanoes such as El Altar could lose their glaciers entirely over the next 10 to 20 years.

Los Angeles Times
Saturday 25 September 2004
Main News Section / Science / In Brief [page A-16]

Antarctic Glaciers Sliding Into Sea Fast
       Glaciers once held up by a floating ice shelf off Antarctica are now sliding off into the sea – and they are going fast, scientists said Tuesday.
       Two separate studies from climate researchers and NASA show the glaciers are flowing into Antarctica's Weddell Sea, freed by the 2002 breaking up of the Larsen B ice shelf. Writing in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, the researchers said [that] nearby glaciers were flowing up to eight times faster after the collapse of the ice shelf. The affected area is at the far northern tip of the Antarctic [continent], just south of Chile and Argentina.

Los Angeles Times
Tuesday 17 August 2004
California News Section / Front Page [page B-1]

Risk to State Dire in Climate Study
       by Miguel Bustillo [L.A. Times Staff Writer]

Unless checked, global warming could reduce the Sierra snowpack up to 89% by century's end, new research says.

       Global warming could raise average temperatures as much as 10 degrees in California by the end of this century – sharply curtailing water supplies, causing a rise in heat-related deaths and reducing crop yields – if the world does not dramatically cut its dependence on fossil fuels, according to a study by 19 scientists published Monday.
       The study, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, contemplated the consequences of two distinct paths the industrialized world could take in response to a changing climate: maintaining its current reliance on coal, oil and gas, or massively investing in new technologies and alternative energy sources. Burning fossil fuels adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, which increases global temperatures by trapping more of the sun's heat.
       Using two new computer models on climate change, the study focused exclusively on impacts in California, citing the state's economic importance, diverse climate and longtime reputation as a leader in environmental protection.
        The scientists' findings were stark. Human activities already have caused an increase in the amount of gases that contribute to global warming, and as population grows, some further increases are inevitable, the researchers said. Because of that, the state will have to endure not only higher temperatures but significantly longer summer heat waves no matter which path is taken, they warned.
       Meanwhile, the Sierra Nevada will receive substantially less snowfall. Much of the state's water comes from mountain snow, and that snowpack could be reduced by 89% if greenhouse gases are not reduced, the study predicted. Rising temperatures could also produce more heavy precipitation in the spring, forcing managers of rapidly filling reservoirs to release water they would prefer to save for dry summer months.
       "The state is not set up to deal with what could be a thorny problem over how to deal with shortages and diversion," said Michael Hanemann, director of the California Climate Change Center at UC Berkeley.
       Nonetheless, the study concluded that aggressive measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could make a dent in the global warming problem.
       "The question is, are you going to wait 25 years to solve this, or are you going to act on the vast preponderance of evidence that we are accumulating?" said one of the study's authors, Steve Schneider, co-director of Stanford University's Center for Environmental Science and Policy.
       If the world continues to release high levels of heat-trapping gases, California's average statewide temperature is likely to rise 7 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century, the study concluded.
       On the other hand, if nations undertake large-scale reductions – which the scientists conceded would require major economic and behavioral changes – temperatures are still likely to rise 4 to 6 degrees by 2100, the study found.
       "The choices that we make today and in the near future will determine the outcome of this giant experiment we are undertaking with our planet," said Katharine Hayhoe, an Indiana-based climate consultant who was the lead author of the report. An increase of 7 to 10 degrees "is enough to make many coastal cities feel like inland cities do today, and enough to make inland cities feel like Death Valley," Hayhoe said.
       If fossil fuel use is not reduced, the study warned, heat waves in Los Angeles would become six to eight times more frequent, and heat-related deaths would increase five to seven times.
       The statewide average temperature, taking in day and night throughout the year, is about 60 degrees. It has slowly risen over the last two decades, climate records show. If it continues rising, scientists say it will exceed the range of historical variation within the next 10 years.
       The report was produced by scientists who have specialized in the study of climate change. They include researchers from Stanford, UC Berkeley and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in La Jolla, as well as government experts from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Corvallis Forestry Sciences Laboratory in Oregon.
       While the findings were largely in accord with previous predictions about global warming in California, some conclusions were more extreme, a fact that some participants attributed to new, more detailed climate modeling.
       "They are very dramatic, but we have seen similar numbers before in other studies," said Peter H. Gleick, president of the Oakland-based Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security and a 2003 MacArthur fellow who has been studying climate change since the 1980s.
       "I guess the surprise is that even the so-called good news doesn't look so good. Those scenarios look very ugly for California. Every scenario shows California's snowpack going away."
       Rising temperatures could also affect the state's multibillion-dollar farming industry, the scientists noted. A particular concern is the Napa and Sonoma wine grape harvest, which experts said could be hurt by even a slight uptick in temperature.
       "Under higher temperatures, grapes fall off the vine more quickly," and the quality of the valuable fruit can be harmed, said Chris Field, director of the department of global ecology at the Carnegie Institution. Any sizable increase in temperatures "threatens California's status as the leading producer of wine grapes," he said.

Los Angeles Times
Saturday 10 April 2004
Main News Section / Science File / In Brief [page A-21]

Global Warming Could Melt Greenland Ice Sheet
       Greenland's huge ice sheet could melt within the next 1,000 years and swamp low-lying areas around the globe if emissions of carbon dioxide and global warming are not reduced, scientists said Wednesday.
       A meltdown of the massive ice sheet, which is more than 1.8 miles thick, would raise sea levels by an average 21 feet, threatening countries such as Bangladesh, islands in the Pacific, and parts of Florida.
       Researchers have calculated that a rise in the annual average temperature in Greenland of more than 5.5 degrees Fahrenheit would be sufficient to melt the ice sheet. A British team reported in this week's issue of the journal Nature that a temperature rise of that degree is likely.

Los Angeles Times
Sunday 21 March 2004
Main News Section / Nation [page A-26]

Carbon Dioxide Levels Rising Faster; Buildup Sets Record
       [from Associated Press]

       Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii: Carbon dioxide, the gas largely blamed for global warming, has reached record-high levels in the atmosphere after growing at an accelerated pace in the last year, say scientists monitoring the sky from this 2-mile-high station atop a Hawaiian volcano.
       The reason for the faster buildup of the most important "greenhouse gas" will require further analysis, the U.S. government experts say.
       "But the big picture is that CO2 is continuing to go up," said Russell Schnell, deputy director of the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration's climate monitoring laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, which operates the Mauna Loa Observatory.
       Carbon dioxide, mostly from burning of coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels, traps heat that otherwise would radiate into space. Global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) during the 20th century, and international panels of scientists sponsored by world governments have concluded that most of the warming probably was due to greenhouse gases.
       The climatologists forecast continued increases in temperature that would disrupt the climate, cause seas to rise and lead to other unpredictable consequences – unpredictable in part because of uncertainties in computer modeling of future climate.
       Before the industrial age and extensive use of fossil fuels, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere stood at about 280 parts per million, scientists have determined.
       Average readings at the 11,141-foot Mauna Loa Observatory, where carbon dioxide density peaks each northern winter, hovered around 379 parts per million on Friday, compared with about 376 a year ago.
       That year-to-year increase of about 3 parts per million is considerably higher than the average annual increase of 1.8 parts per million over the last decade, and markedly more accelerated than the 1-part-per-million annual increase recorded a half-century ago, when observations were first made here.
       Asked to explain the stepped-up rate, climatologists were cautious, saying data needed to be further evaluated.
       Leading climatologist, Ralph Keeling, whose father, Charles D. Keeling, developed methods for measuring carbon dioxide, noted that the rate "does fluctuate up and down," and said it was too early to reach conclusions.
       He explained that warming itself releases carbon dioxide from the ocean and soil. By raising the gas's level in the atmosphere, that in turn could increase warming, in a "positive feedback," said Keeling, of San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
       The 1997 Kyoto Protocol would oblige ratifying countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions according to set schedules, to minimize potential global warming. The pact has not taken effect, however.
       The United States, the world's biggest carbon dioxide emitter, signed the agreement but did not ratify it, and the Bush administration has since withdrawn U.S. support, calling instead for voluntary emission reductions by U.S. industries.

Los Angeles Times
Saturday 20 March 2004
Main News Section / Science / In Brief [page A-24]

British Survey Indicates Major Extinction Trend
       A detailed survey of birds and butterflies in Britain shows a population decline of 54% to 71%, a finding that suggests the world may be undergoing the sixth big extinction in Earth's history, this one caused by humans.
       In a series of population surveys that combed virtually every square yard of England, Scotland and Wales over 40 years, more than 20,000 volunteers counted each bird, butterfly and native plant they could find. They reported in Friday's issue of [the journal] Science that populations of the surveyed species were in sharp decline, with some species gone altogether. Two surveys of 1,254 native plant species showed a decrease of about 28% over the same period.

Los Angeles Times
Saturday 6 March 2004
Main News Section / Science [page A-10]

Europe's Summer of 2003 Set Records
       [from Associated Press]

Temperatures from killer heat wave called the hottest in 500 years on the continent.

       The summer of 2003, when there were more than 19,000 deaths attributed to the heat, probably was the hottest in Europe in 500 years, according to an analysis of temperatures dating back to 1500 [AD].
       "When you consider Europe as a whole, it was by far the hottest," said Jurg Luterbacher, climatologist and the first author of a study appearing this week in the journal Science.
       Luterbacher, a researcher at the University of Bern, Switzerland, said increased temperatures were not limited to summer in Europe. Winters also have been warmer than the historical record.
       In the study, Luterbacher and his team analyzed the temperature history of Europe starting in 1500 to the present. For the earliest part of the half millenium, the temperatures are estimates based on proxy measures, such as tree rings and soild cores. But after about 1750 [AD], he said, instrumented readings became generally available throughout Europe.
       During the 500 years, there were trends both toward cool and toward hot. The second-hottest summer in the period was in 1757, That was followed by a cooling trend that continued until early in the 20th century.
       Record temperatures were recorded in most of the major cities of Europe last year, with many readings of more than 100 degrees [F.]. Authorities have attributed thousands of deaths to the excess heat, making the heat wave one of the deadliest weather phenomena in the past century.

Los Angeles Times
Monday 26 January 2004
California Section / Letters to the Editor [page B-10]

Many Bumps Await on 'Hydrogen Highways'
       Re "Governor Pushes for 'Hydrogen Highways,' " Jan. 20: I'm all in favor of "Hydrogen Highways," but there's a growing misconception about hydrogen fuel. In the hydrogen economy, hydrogen is not a source of energy but only a means of storing and transporting energy. The energy must come from elsewhere.
       Even though hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe, there is no free hydrogen on Earth. It is all bound up in other compounds. Energy is required to separate the hydrogen from other compounds. This energy is then released when the hydrogen is "burned." Currently, almost all of the energy to produce hydrogen comes from use of fossil fuels, so our dependence on fossil fuels is not reduced, nor is pollution eliminated.
       The key to a successful hydrogen economy is a clean, renewable source of energy that can be used to generate the hydrogen.
       Gordon Rudd
       Laguna Beach, California

Los Angeles Times
Saturday 27 December 2003
Main News Section / Science File / In Brief [page A-16]

NASA Blames Diesel Soot in Global Warming
       NASA scientists say soot, mostly from diesel engines, is causing as much as a quarter of all measured global warming by reducing the ability of snow and ice to reflect sunlight.
       Their findings on how soot affects reflective ability, known as albedo, raise new questions about human-caused climate change from the Arctic to the Alps.
       "Soot is a more all-around 'bad actor' than has been appreciated," they wrote in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
       In particular, they found soot is twice as potent as carbon dioxide in changing global surface air temperatures in the Arctic and the Northern Hemisphere.

Los Angeles Times
Saturday 6 December 2003
Main News Section / Science / In Brief [page A-14]

Warming May Force Skiers to Higher Slopes
       Global warming is threatening ski resorts, with melting at lower altitudes forcing the sport higher and higher up mountains, according to a United Nations study.
       Downhill skiing could disappear altogether at some resorts, while at others, a retreating snow line will cut off base villages from their ski runs as early as 2030.
       The report focused on resorts in Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Australia, the United States and Canada. The panel estimated that temperatures will rise from 2.5 to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100 unless dramatic action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Los Angeles Times
Saturday 20 September 2003
Main News Section / Science File / In Brief [page A-26]

Ozone Hole Expands to Match Previous Record
       The ozone hole over the Antarctic has reached the record size of 10.8 million square miles set three years ago, the World Meteorological Organization reported.
       Measurements over and near Antarctica show that ozone decreased more rapidly this year than in previous years.
       The hole is now as large as it was in September 2000, according to the WMO.
       It could continue to grow, the agency said, but there is also a possibility that it could shrink.

Los Angeles Times
Saturday 23 August 2003
Main News Section / Science File / In Brief [page A-14]

Dead Plankton Could Harm Other Marine Life
       Masses of plankton, dying as global warming heats the waters off the Seychelles, are threatening marine life in the Indian Ocean tourist haven, a government official said. The decaying plankton depletes the oxygen in sea water and suffocates other marine life.
       The resulting sludge also turns the Seychelles' turquoise waters green as algae feast on the plankton. Some fish and sea cucumbers are likely to be among the first casualties, officials said, adding that residents have already reported seeing dead fish.

Natural History Magazine
March 2003 issue [page 18]

       "Eighty percent of Mt. Kilimanjaro's ice and snow has disappeared during the past century."

Los Angeles Times
Tuesday 25 June 2002
Main News Section / Nation [page A-17]

Humans Consume More Than Earth Can Replace, Study Says
       by Gary Polakovic, L.A. Times Staff Writer

       Humans now consume more of the Earth's natural resources than the planet can replace, raising doubts about the long-range sustain- ability of modern economies, according to a new study being published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
       For the last 20 years, people have been depleting natural resources, including fish, forests and arable land, at a rapid rate. Economic expansion has boosted demand for resources and overshot the planet's ability to regenerate them by 20%, the study says.
       "You can overdraw on nature's accounts and leave a debt. We are no longer living off nature's interest, but nature's capital. Sustainable economies are not possible if we live beyond the means of nature," said Mathis Wackernagel, lead author of the study and sustainability program director for Oakland-based Redefining Progress, a nonprofit public policy group. The study, titled "Tracking the Ecological Overshoot of the Human Economy," was produced by an international team of researchers and will be published this week. It marks the first attempt to build a comprehensive accounting method to assess the cost borne by nature of human activity.
        The latest study is part of a growing body of work that attempts to calculate the cost to the environment of a variety of human activities, not just of a product in a marketplace.
        In estimating the "ecological footprint" of humanity, the authors looked at six activities over the past 40 years, calculated how much land and biological production is devoted to those activities and how much is needed to sustain them. The researchers looked at growing crops for food and other products; grazing animals for meat, milk and wool; logging; fishing; providing space and materials for houses, highways, dams and industries; and fossil fuel burning.
        According to their analysis, human demand has been outstripping nature's ability to resupply since the early 1980s. Since 1961, human demand on resources has nearly doubled and today exceeds the Earth's replacement capacity by 20%, the researchers found.
        Much of the impact is in the area of fossil fuel use. For example, energy consumption has increased so much over the past 40 years that it takes about five times more land mass to produce fossil fuels and absorb carbon-based emissions. Indeed, at the heart of the concern over global warming is the fact that more carbon is being produced than the planet can capture.
        Today, it takes at least 5.75 acres of land to sustain one average person on Earth, although it takes nearly twice that much to support one European and nearly four times that much to support one American, the study shows.
        "You can debate any one of these measurements, but whenever scientists look at this issue they come up with very disturbing answers," said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. "We are not on a sustainable path and these measures show us the situation is getting worse and we should be concerned and start taking action."
        But critics have challenged the assumptions behind such studies. They note that technological breakthroughs and better land-use practices can make farms, factories and power plants, among others, more efficient.
        Furthermore, while the study compares consumption with the Earth's replacement capacity, it does not factor in the large holdings of natural resources effectively kept in reserve. How long that "natural capital" can withstand being overdrawn is an open question.
       Wackernagel said the purpose of the study was to provide business and government leaders a clearer idea of the ecological costs of human activity and economic expansion. "We're not saying this is inevitable, but if we don't have accounts of nature, it's the same as a business that doesn't know how much it spends and earns," he said.
       Eleven researchers from six nations participated in the study.

Los Angeles Times
Tuesday 8 May 2001
Main News Section Headline [page A-1]
[abridged]

Power Cut to Parts of State
      by Mitchell Landsberg & Karen Robinson-Jacobs,
             L.A. Times Staff Writers

Electricity: First blackouts since March may be the beginning of warm-weather outages, industry officials warn

       The dreaded summer of 2001 cast its shadow over California on Monday as an early spate of hot weather forced an hour of scattered, statewide electrical blackouts – a precursor of what could be a difficult season ahead.
       With more warm weather expected today and tomorrow, state power officials warned that more blackouts might be necessary before an expected cooling trend later in the week. And they acknowledged that this could be the start of a long, dark summer.
       "I hate to be the bearer of bad news," said Ed Riley, a spokesman for the agency that operates the statewide electrical grid, "but yeah, this is the start."
       The blackouts, the first since March, were triggered at 4:45 p.m. after a day in which the California Independent System Operator struggled to patch together enough electricity to keep the grid running without outages. That worked for most of the day, but finally a combination of warm weather and power plant outages proved to be too much for the grid jockeys, and they were forced to order the hourlong blackouts, which affected about 100,000 residential, industrial and commercial customers.
       The customers hit by the outage were those served by the state's three largest private utilities – Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric – plus a number of people served by municipal utilities in Pasadena and Vernon.
       As has been the case throughout the power crisis, which began last summer, customers of the municipally owned Los Angeles Department of Water and Power were spared. The DWP operates independently of the statewide grid.
       State officials have been warning for months that this summer would probably bring frequent blackouts. Demand for electricity in California has far outstripped the supply, and the state's ability to import power from elsewhere in the West has been limited by a drought in the Pacific Northwest, which relies heavily on hydroelectricity, and by prices that have soared beyond the reach of the private utilities.
       The heat that triggered Monday's blackouts was far from the hottest that can be expected this summer. Temperatures ranged from the 70s along the Southern California coast to 80 degrees in downtown Los Angeles, 95 degrees in Northridge and Sacramento, and a statewide high of 104 degrees in Palm Springs.

article truncated
Los Angeles Times
Monday 30 April 2001
Metro Section / Letters / Little Box in the Lefthand Corner [page B-4]

High-Priced Spread
Oligarchy: rule by a few people. Oleogarchy: rule by a few oilmen.
       Robert M. Hertz
       Long Beach, California

Los Angeles Times
Friday 6 April 2001
Main News Section [page A-26]

Cal-ISO Predicts 34 Days of Blackouts

Columbus Ohio Dispatch
Sunday 25 February 2001

Glaciers, source of water for many, are vanishing [abridged]
       by David Lore, Columbus Dispatch Science Reporter

       Global melting of mountain glaciers could result in too little water – not too much – for billions of people by century's end, Ohio State University researchers say.
       According to a United Nations report last week, average atmospheric temperatures are expected to rise between 2 and 10 degrees by 2100.
       While the specter of rising seas and disappearing coastlines has dominated thinking about global warming, villages and cities in South America, Africa and Asia dependent on mountain glaciers for fresh water face a quite different problem.
       This is most evident right now in the southern Andes, where mountain glaciers are disappearing with alarming speed.
       The loss of these frozen reservoirs threatens water resources for hydroelectric power production in the region, and for crop irrigation and municipal water supplies," said OSU glaciologist Lonnie Thompson last week at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco.
        Thompson, a professor with OSU's Byrd Polar Research Center, for two decades has been leading drilling expeditions into some of the most inaccessible areas of the world to extract ice cores that contain a history of climate change over hundreds of thousands of years.
       Almost everywhere these great glaciers are in retreat, he said. For example:
       The ice atop Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania has shrunk by 80 percent over the past 80 years. "At this rate, all of the ice will be gone between the years 2010 and 2020," he said. "And that is probably a conservative estimate."
       Peru's Quelccaya ice cap in the southern Andes has retreated 20 percent since 1963, with one of its main glaciers, Qori Kalis, melting back more than 500 feet per year.
       The region around Lima in northern Peru is a special concern, said Ellen Mosley-Thompson, Thompson's wife and research partner. The city of 7.4 million depends heavily on glacial meltwater flowing down into the Rimac River for much of its water and hydroelectric power.
       The Thompsons think these glacial flows will be reduced dramatically within several decades, forcing the country to switch to fossil-fuel power plants. This in turn will put more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
       The U.N. report, by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, notes that a third of the world's population, or about 1.7 billion people, already lives in "water stressed'' countries. This number is expected to rise to 5 billion by 2025 as water shortages increase and population grows.
       At the San Francisco conference, Penn State University glaciologist Richard Alley estimated sea levels would rise only a foot or two even if all of the world's mountain glaciers melted. By comparison, the melting of either the Greenland ice cap or the West Antarctica ice cap could raise sea levels 20 feet or more, Alley said.
       The Thompsons say their research points to the need to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, thought to be the main cause of the atmospheric greenhouse effect causing global warming.
       "All we can hope is that policy makers take notice of this work," said Mosley-Thompson last week.

for original story with photos click here
Los Angeles Times
Saturday 3 February 2001
Main News Section [page A-17]

Water Officials Warn of Possible 80% Cutbacks
       by John Johnson, L.A. Times Staff Writer

Dry year: The Sierra snowpack is half of what's desirable,
though no one is willing to cry 'drought.'

       State water officials are warning of dramatic cuts – perhaps 80% – in deliveries to farms and urban centers this year, though nobody is yet using the dreaded word "drought" to characterize what authorities call a "critically dry year."
       The Sierra snowpack is "about half where we'd like it," said one official after measuring it Friday. Even though there are three months left in the rainy season, experts say it is unlikely that normal rainfall levels will be reached.
       "Meteorologists indicate to us there is a one in 10 possibility of a normal winter," said Jeff Cohen of the state Department of Water Resources.
       If the water supply doesn't grow, cuts in state water supplies to some regions could be as severe as, or even exceed, those imposed during the last drought.
       If water shortages do occur, they will exacerbate the state's energy crisis, experts say. Farmers receiving less water from the state and federal government will be forced to increase ground water pumping, draining already stressed energy supplies.
       On Wednesday, the state Department of Water Resources announced it might have to curtail deliveries as much as 80% to its 29 agency customers. They range from Butte and Plumas counties in the north and the Central Valley through Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and to the desert in Palmdale and Antelope Valley.
       Water from the State Water Project meets part of the needs of 20 million people and helps irrigate 600,000 acres of farmland.
       The warning was more dire than an earlier estimate that deliveries might be cut 60%. On Friday, the state completed the second of five snow surveys in the Sierra, where much of the water in Southern California originates. The news was no better, said the Department of Water Resources' Jeff Cohen, after visiting the Echo Summit measuring station.
       Having weathered a severe drought less than a decade ago, California is better prepared to deal with water supply problems than it was the electricity shortage. After the drought of 1987-92, agencies around the state implemented a broad range of conservation and storage strategies.
       From low-flush toilets to ground water "banking," or storage, and new reservoirs, "We have many more tools at our disposal," said Bob Muir, a spokesman for the MWD.
       The MWD's new 4,500-acre Diamond Valley Lake reservoir in Riverside County is capable of storing 800,000 acre-feet of water. It is already half-full.
       MWD General Manager Ronald R. Gastelum said that, despite any supply cutbacks, the Los Angeles water agency "will provide its region with a reliable and dependable water supply through this year and the foreseeable future."
       At the height of the last drought, in the winter of 1991, the state cut off water to farmers and met only 30% of urban needs. If today's conditions get no better, the 2001 cutbacks could be even more severe for urban users.
       "It's serious," said Ted Thomas, a spokesman for the Department of Water Resources. "On a historical basis, it ranks pretty high."
       "If it comes true, it will be the lowest [allotment] urban contractors ever got," said John Coburn, a spokesman for the State Water Contractors, which represents 27 of the state's 29 main customers.
       One of the state's largest agricultural customers is the Kern County Water Agency in Bakersfield, which supplies water to as much as 400,000 acres of farmland. An 80% cut would be "pretty drastic," said Don Marquez, a senior engineer for the agency.
       But he said farmers also learned their lesson in the last drought and have invested heavily in ground water banking. At the moment, the district has 1 million acre-feet stored in the ground.
       Increased ground water pumping has its own problems, primarily because it uses a lot of energy, and the state is expected to be short of power again this summer.
       "We're still optimistic" that more rain will fall and deliveries will increase, Marquez said. "But what concerns us is the size of the cut in the first dry year."

More Restrictions on Shipping Water
       In the last drought, drastic water cutbacks weren't imposed until several years into it. Farming experts say what's different now is that the increased population is using more water, and there are more restrictions on how much water can be shipped because of environmental and wildlife restoration efforts.
       The other big source of water shipments in California is the federal Bureau of Reclamation, which operates the massive Central Valley Project, supplying irrigation water to 20,000 farms. That water supplier is also planning big cuts – 65% to 80% – said Jeff McCracken, a spokesman for the bureau.
       "This is a critically dry year right now," he said.
       Also tightening the valve on federal water deliveries is a "whole slew of environmental obligations added in the last eight years," he said. To restore wildlife in the Sacramento Delta, there are severe restrictions on how much water can be taken from there.
       The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California has a diversified supply of water sources from which to draw in times of shortage. It gets about a third of its water from the state, a third from the Colorado River and a third from a variety of other sources, including ground water basins, said MWD spokesman Muir.
       Despite all the talk of cutbacks, state and federal water officials said there is no reason for alarm. "It's very early in the year," said Muir. "There are some very important water months ahead."

Los Angeles Times
Friday 5 January 2001
Main News Section [page A-3]

Light Snowpack Adds to Worries About Electricity
       by Bettina Boxall, L.A. Times Staff Writer

       The mountain snowpack that ultimately feeds household water taps and drives California's hydropower turbines is less than half the norm for this time of year, water officials said Thursday after taking the first official measurements of the season.
       With winter just beginning, water watchers say it's too early to raise red flags. But if the West Coast dry spell continues, it could add to the state's electricity problems.
       California gets roughly 23% of its power from hydroelectricity generated in and out of state.
       "If we have a dry year, all we're going to do is make [the energy] supply that much tighter," said Patrick Dorinson of the California Independent System Operator, which oversees the state's power grid.
       "If anybody knows any kind of rainmaking rituals, we should start them," he added.
       Similarly, the agency that supplies much of the Pacific Northwest and some of California with hydroelectricity is predicting that because of a dry fall, its system will have about 25% less runoff than normal by the end of the rainy season.
       "Unless Mother Nature treats us kindly in the next 30 to 60 days, we're going to be hard pressed" to meet energy demands and maintain water flows required for salmon, said Ed Mosey, spokesman for the Bonneville Power Administration.

Los Angeles Times
Monday 25 December 2000
Metro Section / Letters [page B-6]

California's Power Crisis

       If there was enough electricity this time last year, why isn't there enough this year? There are just as many power plants operating now as there were then, aren't there? And there aren't that many more users now than there were then, are there? So where did all of the electricity go? Last year we had plenty. This year we can't even have Christmas lights. The answers will be found when we discover who is making money on this so-called "crisis."
       Wayne Dickman
       San Bernardino, California

* *         * *         * *         * *

       At the end of the 19th century we had the robber barons, the moguls of the oil, steel and railroad companies – the underpinnings of early 20th century industry. Now, on the dawn of the 21st century, we have a new breed of robber barons, the moguls behind the natural gas and power companies – the underpinnings of modern high-tech industry. And, as did their predecessors, today's politicians have jumped into bed with these new robber barons.
        Ken Matassa
       Santa Ana Heights, California

* *         * *         * *         * *

       Re "River Flow Restoration to Cost State Electricity," Dec. 19: Economics 101 teaches the relationship between supply and demand. There has to be an adequate supply to keep prices "reasonable." Are we not reaping the results of decades of opposition to new energy plant construction by environmentalists? We've had no new plants in or serving California in decades, while our population has soared.
       And how about the latest environmental fad to tear down clean hydroelectric plants in California, the Northwest and elsewhere, so the salmon can more easily swim upstream. Or better yet, restore the original flow to the Trinity River so we can black out 31,000 homes so those salmon can enjoy the trip upriver. Certainly the energy deregulation fiasco has exacerbated the situation, but when you put salmon ahead of civilization we can expect a return to the "dark ages"!
       Charles J. O'Connell
       Stevenson Ranch, California

* *         * *         * *         * *

       There have been many articles recently about the cost of energy in the greater L.A. area. Due to the fact that we do not have enough energy for our current population, why is nothing being done to curtail home building, mini-mall explosions and empty skyscrapers?
       How can home after home be built – Castaic-area home tracts, Westside mega-mansions, tearing down perfectly good homes and replacing them with mini-mansions especially in the Arcadia area? Our legislators should pass emergency legislation curtailing and/or stopping this building. Who will be able to afford to live in these homes? Will people be able to afford their homes due to the spiraling energy costs? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that we are heading for a disaster.
       Vivian Urquidi
       Temple City, California
Los Angeles Times
Friday 27 November 2000

Researchers Attribute Global Warming to Humans, Not Nature
       [from Reuters]

       Washington, DC: New measurements make it increasingly clear that people – and not a natural force such as sunspots or volcanoes – are responsible for global warming, U.S. researchers said Thursday.
       Tom Wigley of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., and colleagues analyzed 115 years of global temperature data and concluded the release of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide explains most of the 1-degree increase in the planet's average temperature over the last century.
       "These results provide another important piece in the jigsaw puzzle of climate change, strengthening yet further our confidence that there has been a discernible human influence on climate," they wrote in a report in the journal Science.
       They used a new kind of statistical analysis, looking at the average temperature for each year in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, and then comparing these measurements to readings taken up to 20 years earlier or later.
       They also figured in the effects of volcanoes – which throw up dust that can affect the atmosphere and temperatures – and of changes in the sun's radiation, including sunspots and solar flares.
       They said the sun was probably responsible for some of the changes. But the Earth's climate would have to be about six times as sensitive to the sun's effects than it actually is for the sun alone to be responsible for global warming, they wrote.

Los Angeles Times
Thursday 23 November 2001
Metro Section / Science Watch [page B-2]

Arctic Lightning
       The native people of the Canadian Arctic are now experiencing natural events previously unknown in their oral history – thunder & lightning. Electrical storms in the high Arctic are among evidence of climate change being reported in a new study by the International Institute for Sustainable Development, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The report is being released in conjunction with a U.N. conference on global warming being held in Netherlands.

Los Angeles Times
Thursday 26 October 2000

Scientists Increase Estimate of Global Warming's Severity
       By Robert Lee Hotz, L.A. Times Science Writer

       Global warming may boost world temperatures by up to 11 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the 21st century, a figure substantially higher than previous estimates, according to a confidential draft report prepared by an influential group of climate scientists sponsored by the United Nations.
       Moreover, "there is now stronger evidence for human influence on global climate," the scientists concluded in their preliminary report, which was distributed to more than 100 governments this week for review.
       Several scientists familiar with the new report, prepared by an international group known as the Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change, said its findings significantly strengthen the case for a human role in climate change. Although there is general agreement that the climate is warming, the question of how much of the change is caused by human action has been a major topic of scientific inquiry.
       The issue has also figured in the presidential campaign. Vice President Al Gore, Jr. has frequently asserted that global warming is a major problem on which the government must begin taking action.
       Texas Gov. George W. Bush has been more skeptical. "I don't think we've got all the facts," he said in the second campaign debate earlier this month. "I think it's an issue that we need to take very seriously, but I don't think we know the solution to global warming yet."
       In the new draft report, the scientists conclude that it is "likely" that human actions "have contributed substantially" to the observed warming. The major human contribution is the release of so-called greenhouse gases into the atmosphere through the burning of coal, oil, natural gas and other fossil fuels.
       That "is a stronger conclusion" than was offered by earlier assessments, said Kevin Trenberth, head of the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. "This is not the work of one individual scientist. This is a consensus reached across scientists in the international community. It has gone through extensive reviews."
       The report is not likely to quiet all debate on the issue, however. Some longtime critics of projections about global warming said that they remain skeptical.
       Paradoxically, the report also suggests that some pollution control efforts may unintentionally be making the planet a hotter place.
       Greenhouse gases can contribute to global warming by trapping solar heat and preventing it from being reflected back into space.
       Mounting evidence suggests that the Earth's atmosphere has been steadily warming for nearly 150 years as a result of carbon gas produced by burning oil, gas and coal, with the warmest years on record occurring in the last decade.
       Overall, the panel's draft predicts that temperatures worldwide may increase 2.1 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 5.8 degrees Celsius). Earlier assessments projected an increase of 2.1 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 3.5 degrees Celsius).
       An 11-degree shift in average temperatures would be a major change in climate. This week, for example, 11 degrees was the difference in average temperatures between Los Angeles and Seattle.
       The greater increase is projected in large measure because of efforts to control pollution from industrial facilities and power plants. Pollution-control measures have greatly reduced the amount of sulfate particles that cause acid rain and a variety of health problems. But those particles also have a cooling effect in the atmosphere because they deflect the sun's heat. As sulfate levels drop, the temperature will effectively rebound.
       "These sulfate particulates have had a masking effect," said one atmosphere expert who has seen the report but who asked not to be identified. "We are cleaning up this air pollution, and that is making global warming worse."
       The new report, which will not be made final until it has been approved early next year, is the first formal update in five years of an assessment prepared by the climate change panel. The panel is a technical group sponsored by the U.N. and the World Meteorological Organization and comprising hundreds of scientists who assess scientific, social and economic aspects of global climate change. The panel does no original research of its own but attempts to arrive at a measured technical assessment of often-conflicting studies on climate change.
       The contents of the report were first disclosed Wednesday by the Associated Press. Several scientists familiar with it agreed to discuss the findings with The Times, on condition they not be identified.
       With international negotiations now underway to limit the amount of such greenhouse gases that nations may release, almost any attempt to reach a scientific consensus on climate change is controversial. So far, no major industrial nation has ratified an agreement negotiated in Kyoto, Japan, in 1997 to stave off global warming by reducing greenhouse emissions.
       The U.N. group's first report on climate change, released in 1995, generated considerable criticism over allegations that political bias had colored its assessments.
       Scientists who worked on the report were at pains to rebut such charges in advance this time. "This is a cold-eyed, objective rendition of the science," said one such climate scientist. "We could not do it any better."
       To ensure that the new draft is based fairly on the scientific data, "there have been skeptics involved, as authors and reviewers," Trenberth said.
       The report will be the subject of an international meeting next year in China, where the dozens of participating governments will all have the opportunity to review and perhaps temper its conclusions.
       "Until that point, the whole report is not considered final," Trenberth said. The final report, he said, "involves a negotiation between the scientists who determine what can be said and the governments who determine how it can be said."

Los Angeles Times
Thursday 12 October 2000
Metro Section / Science File [page B-2]

New Iceberg
       Iceberg B-20, estimated to be ten times the size of Manhattan [Island], has broken loose from Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf. Satellites operated by the U.S. Defense Meteorological Agency first detected the new iceberg, which is 30 miles long by 11.4 miles wide and floating near the part of Antarctica that is closest to Australia and New Zealand. It is far from any shipping lanes. Some scientists have theorized that an increase in the frequency of ice separation in the Antarctic has been triggered by global warming.


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