Embracing Climate Change (or, at least, planning for the worst case)

This report is from the same crowd that President Trump assembled shortly after his inauguration.  Shortly after assembling that crowd he disbanded it.  Phoenixes they were.  The original members and additional experts reconvened to complete this present report (link to abstract, below). The group’s conclusions makes sense to me: spend some time and money to figure out how to cope with climate change (instead of wishin’ and hopin’ that we could find a collective will to reverse the changes.

Among the recommendations in the report is for governments to accelerate the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to better analyze climate risks. With cities facing threats as varied as disrupted water supplies, rising tides and infrastructure damage from heat, AI could “reveal impacts, insights, and options that would be difficult to otherwise discover,” the report finds. The report also recommends better use of citizen science to “fill many long-standing data gaps” that could be especially useful to local governments. [from https://www.smartcitiesdive.com/news/climate-panel-disbanded-under-trump-reforms-with-local-focus/552079/ ]

Specific recommendations include: evaluating climate models and data using user-defined metrics; improving benefit-cost assessment and supporting decision-making under uncertainty, and accelerating application of tools and methods such as citizen science, artificial intelligence, indicators, and geospatial analysis.

 

Source: Evaluating Knowledge to Support Climate Action: A Framework for Sustained Assessment: Weather, Climate, and Society: Early Online Release

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Government commitments to address climate change

This report is a collaborative effort by Canada’s Federal and Provincial Attorneys-General.  It concludes “that actions taken by governments to date to address climate change across the country have fallen short of the governments’ commitments.”  Surprise, surprise.

The report includes national overviews and province-by-province analyses.

Perspectives on Climate Change Action in Canada—A Collaborative Report from Auditors General

Ontario government ponders ban on single-use plastics

No hard news or proposals here – just “pondering”.  But it’s the first pondering from the Ontario PCs that does not strike me as ridiculous.

This is the PC government’s discussion paper on Reducing Litter and Waste in Our Communities: Discussion Paper I couldn’t find any proposed bans on single-use plastics in it.  Regarding plastics in general the government is proposing more standardization for recycling, greater front-end involvement by manufacturers/packagers, and more Federal government leadership (which is unusual, coming from this particular bunch of PCs.)

Ontario government ponders ban on single-use plastics

Source: Ontario government ponders ban on single-use plastics | CBC News

Why I changed my mind about nuclear power | Michael Shellenberger

This anthropologist (by training) Michael Shellengerger makes the point that nuclear power generators are less carbon-intensive to construct than are massive solar or wind farms. It takes consume less steel and concrete to build them.  His other big point is the environmental impact that massive wind and solar farms have: degradation of the landscape, birds killed in wind turbines, rare species threatened. Nukes have a much smaller geographic footprint (when they’re operating correctly, I guess he means.)

He claims that as solar and wind generation increase as a percentage of the total they will cause require an increasing amount electricity from natural gas generation in order to quickly ramp up when the sun and wind die down.  That explains to him why some fossil fuel companies are promoting wind and solar “solutions”.

He explains (too briefly) how the waste from the reactors is much lower in volume than the millions of solar panels that will have to be recycled.

The comments on YouTube are pretty negative – “nothing new here”, but it was news to me.