Monday, August 22, 2016

The West's "New Normal": Another Long Season of Volatile Wildfires

From:  Truth Out

Sunday, 21 August 2016 00:00

This story was originally published on August 13, 2016 at High Country News (hcn.org).
The morning of July 23, the city of Los Angeles was covered in a dusting of ash. An apocalyptic haze muted the sun, and the sky was an eerie, unnatural pink. Just a day before, a wildfire had broken out on private land 30 miles northwest, near Santa Clarita. Within 24 hours, the Sand Fire scorched 20,000 acres, and in a week, it burned another 21,000 acres. At least 10,000 people had to evacuate before it was contained by early August.

The most volatile fire activity in the West this year has occurred in Central and Southern California -- from Big Sur to Carmel-by-the-Sea to San Bernardino -- causing the closure of the Pacific Coast Highway, the destruction of hundreds of homes, and the death of at least six people. According to experts, these blazes -- along with the 85 large fires currently burning across the country, many in the West -- offer a glimpse into the West's "new normal" wildfire season that has been intensified by climate change in recent years. Warmer temperatures, less snowfall and increased drought mean that fire season begins earlier in April and lasts longer, until November or December.

Last winter, California breathed a sigh of relief during El Niño, expecting it to drench the parched landscape after four years of drought. Northern California got more rain and remains relatively wet, but El Niño didn't deliver enough to prevent fires in the southern part of the state. "It's the legacy effect of the long-term drought: these large, volatile, fast-moving wildfires in California," says Crystal Kolden, fire science professor at the University of Idaho. By the first week of June, firefighters in the state had already tackled over 1,500 fires that burned almost 28,000 acres -- twice as many acres burned as in the first half of 2015.  MORE


Monday, August 15, 2016

Evidence Suggests the Oil Industry Wrote Big Tobacco's Playbook, Then Used It to Lie About Climate Change

From:  Truth-Out

Monday, 15 August 2016 00:00  
By Reynard Loki, AlterNet | News Analysis



(Photo: Huxley_slides)
A recent analysis of more than 100 industry documents conducted by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), a Washington, DC-based advocacy group, has revealed that the oil industry knew of the risks its business posed to the global climate decades before originally suspected.

It has also long been assumed that, in its efforts to deceive investors and the public about the negative impact its business has on the environment, Big Oil borrowed Big Tobacco's so-called tactical "playbook." But these documents indicate that infamous playbook appears to have actually originated within the oil industry itself.

If that is true, it would be highly significant -- and damning for Big Oil -- because the tactics used by the tobacco industry to downplay the connection between smoking and cancer were eventually deemed to have violated federal racketeering laws by a federal court. The ruling dashed efforts by Big Tobacco to find legal cover under the First Amendment, which just happens to be the same strategy that ExxonMobil and its GOP allies are currently using to defend the company against allegations of fraud. If the playbook was in fact created by the oil and gas industry and then later used by ExxonMobil, it ruins the company's argument of plausible deniability, making it highly likely that the company violated federal law.  MORE
 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Exxon’s Latest Campaign to Stymie Climate Action

From:  EcoWatch 

by Union of Concerned Scientists

By Elliott Negin

Recent press accounts report that ExxonMobil is now actively promoting a carbon tax. If true, that's big news. It would mean that, after nearly 20 years of blocking action on climate change, the world's biggest energy company has finally come to its senses.

 
Rex Tillerson is the chairman, president and CEO of ExxonMobil.

But wait a minute. If something sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. So one might well ask: Is this anything more than a PR ploy?
Let's take a closer look.

As I reported earlier this year, ExxonMobil has paid lip service to the idea of a carbon tax since 2009 but, all the while, has continued to fund federal lawmakers who resolutely oppose it. In March 2015, for example, the Senate voted 58 to 42 to pass a budget amendment prohibiting a carbon tax. Thirty of the 40 senators who had received ExxonMobil campaign contributions since 2010 voted in favor of the prohibition. Meanwhile, in March 2013, 156 House members cosponsored a nonbinding resolution stating that "a carbon tax would be detrimental to American families and businesses and is not in the best interest of the United States." Ninety-three percent of the cosponsors were funded by—you guessed it—ExxonMobil.  MORE

Monday, August 8, 2016

Warren Buffett Is Wrong About Climate Change

From:  HuffPost 

5 Things to Consider After 14 Months in a Row of Record Heat

From:  EcoWatch 

by Union of Concerned Scientists

by  Astrid Caldas

There is just so much to digest in the latest release of monthly global temperature data by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), I thought I needed to say something. I just don't know where to start, so bear with me, please, as this news of temperature records being broken (yet again) is profoundly sobering and worth understanding in detail. It is all hard to grasp and chew on, so I will try to go bit by bit here …
1. It Is Not Just the Numbers
June 2016 was 0.90 C (1.62 F) above the global 20th century average according to NOAA—not a huge amount compared to the previous months in 2016, which were all a record also. But it still beat the previous June record, set in 2015, which is to say yeah, temperatures are still rising. No surprise here.
NOAA

But look at the Arctic—it was hit hard. The darkest reds are up there. And what is in the Arctic, among other things? Arctic sea ice and Arctic vegetation. We will get to that further down. The Arctic is also extremely important for the Earth's climate and weather patterns, sea level rise and other things: what happens in the Arctic does not stay in the Arctic, as is well explained in this blogMORE

Friday, August 5, 2016

Fissures in the Empire — Paul Craig Roberts


by Paul Craig Roberts

If you have been wondering what all the terror events in France and Germany are about, here is the answer: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2016/08/01/french-mps-visit-crimea-suggesting-early-end-sanctions.html
 
Washington has raised the cost of being a member of its Empire too high. Vassals such as France and Germany are beginning to exercise independent policies toward Russia. Observing the cracks in its Empire, Washington has decided to bind its vassals to Washington with terror. Most likely what we are witnessing in the French and German attacks is Operation Gladio.

Washington’s policy toward Russia, which has been imposed by Washington on all of Europe, benefits no one but the handful of American ideologues known as neoconservatives. Neoconservatives are crazed psychopaths willing to destroy Earth in behalf of American hegemony.

A delegation of members of the French National Assembly and Senate went to Crimea to participate in Russian Navy Day on July 28. Thierry Mariani, the head of the French delegation, addressed the parliament in Crimea and said that there are no reasons for France to continue to support Washington’s illegal sanctions on Russia. 

As the Strategic Culture Foundation reports, this “is part of a trend taking place in Europe.”
“On June 8, the French Senate voted overwhelmingly to urge the government to gradually reduce economic sanctions on Russia amid growing opposition to the punitive measures across Europe. The French National Assembly voted for lifting the sanctions in late April.”
See: https://www.rt.com/news/345898-french-senate-lifting-sanctions/ 
 
Politicians in Italy, Belgium, and Cyprus are taking the same tack. Politicians in Greece and Hungary have also questioned the sanctions.

So does Donald Trump, and that is why the servile American press is trying to drive him into unacceptability and out of the race. 

Democratic websites are spreading the rumor that Trump never intended to win the nomination. His goal was to come in second. His campaign was just an elevation of his name recognition to help him in his deals. But he and his advisors misjudged the disaffection of the voters from the Establishment parties and Trump won. 

Democratic websites claim that Trump is trying to get himself so opposed by criticizing Muslim families of war heroes and women for abortions that he can withdraw, thus allowing the RNC to select a candidate that can rival Hitlery in appeal to the ruling oligarchs and pressitute media. 

Considering the degeneration of America, this could possibly be true.

But for now we must doubt it and ascribe it to the effort to undermine Trump with his supporters. The evil that rules in America is determined to have in the White House its own servant, and that servant is Hitlery.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Huge column of flame erupts from Woodland Hills gas main break



Posted:

Los Angeles firefighters work on a burning natural gas main Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2016, at Shoup Avenue and Miranda Street in Woodland Hills. A backhoe hit a 4-inch main, sparking the blaze. (Photo by Gene Blevins/Special to the Los Angeles Daily News)

A fire fueled by a natural gas leak broke out near the Woodland Hills Recreation Center Wednesday after workers with the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power accidently struck a 4-inch gas line with a backhoe.

The blaze, which was reported just before 1 p.m. at 5858 Shoup Ave. near Miranda Street, engulfed the backhoe and other equipment DWP workers were using for excavation, as well as adjacent trees and dry brush.

Flames could be seen rising high as black smoke swirled around the charred backhoe. Firefighters were concerned about burning embers floating into the neighborhood while some nearby residents were told to evacuate.   MORE