Climate Change Snapshots - Taran Nadler Photography

CC #7

Climate change flip flops: American's attitudes towards climate change are shifting - they are at an all time high in their concern that the problem is serious.

Why haven't politicians followed suit? This NYT piece details "the most astounding example of influence-buying in American political history."

Tim Phillips, the president of Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs’ main advocacy organization, has boasted about the group’s success in killing the careers of politicians who broke with... anti-climate-change agenda.

“I think if you have mandatory carbon caps ...and a tax-incentive program for investing in the solutions that’s... good. And... something I would strongly support.” [Frontline 2007]

“And now... instead of making energy cheaper President Obama wants to impose a cap-and-trade regime. [The] plan would [be] an across-the-board energy tax on every American. That will accelerate American job losses.” [Newsweek 2009] - Newt Gingrich

"I believe the world’s getting warmer. And number two, I believe that humans contribute to that. ... And so I think it's important for us to reduce our emissions... and greenhouse gases ..." [2011]

"My view is that we don’t know what’s causing climate change on this planet. And the idea of spending trillions and trillions of dollars to try to reduce CO2 emissions is not the right course for us." [2011] - Mitt Romney

“I was actually on your side of this issue when I was chairing that committee. I thought it must be true until I found out what it cost.” [Maddow 2012] - James Inhofe

“We support your effort to ensure meaningful and effective measures to control climate change, an immediate challenge facing the world today. If we fail to act now, it is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and irreversible consequences for... our planet.” [ad in NYT, 2009]

“The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.” [tweet, 2012] - Trump

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CC #6

As represented by Cabbage: a peridotite rock being injected with CO2 which it transforms through natural processes into sequestered carbonate veins.

My past primary thoughts related to geo-engineering, I think like many other climate change advocates, were of suspicion and maybe exasperation - why focus on sci-fi sounding quick fixes which as a by product push the bigger problem further into the future - we pollute far too many green house gases, the solution should be to reduce our rates of pollution.

After researching this form of carbon sequestration I came away, if not convinced, at least curious and interested in how we can add more tools to our kit. We are already relying on geo-engineering, albeit in more "natural" forms, via sustainable agriculture and forestry to attempt to reach the Paris Accord climate goals. If the goal is to avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change, the sooner and faster sequestration begins, the better.

Peter Kelemen and Juerg Matter have been conducting research In Oman on a particular type of rock that does this well: peridotite, which at natural rates absorbs around a ton of atmospheric carbon each year for each kilometer of the rock. Matter and Kelemen believe that by drilling boreholes and pumping heated water "impregnated with CO2" the process could be sped up by 100,000 times, as heat greatly magnifies the reaction. Once the system was jump started the natural cracking would do the rest. The researchers estimate that - even accounting for the output required to induce the higher rates of carbon sequestration, Oman's peridotite could be harnessed to absorb nearly 15% of the annual CO2 emitted globally (4/30 billions tons).

In case you can't tell from the super clear image metaphor: Purple cabbage is peridotite, straw is boreholes full of heated water infused with CO2, white flesh of cabbage are carbonate veins and the rocks are rocks.

Sources:, Ecoshock podcast,, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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CC #5

Continuing on the theme of concrete actions that our achievable and create meaningful change: Beef sucks (re: melting the planet).

Livestock account for nearly 15% of total global per year GHG emissions with dairy and beef cattle accounting for two thirds of all livestock emissions (~9.7% of total global GHGs).

Cows, if there were their own country, would rank as the third largest GHG emitting nation behind China and the United States. And things will only get worse, demand for beef is expected to rise by 95 percent between 2006 and 2050.

Beef is such a gigantic GHG contributor because it is extremely inefficient to produce (lots more calories/water in than calories/protein out), converts land to similarly inefficient uses, results in methane from cows and has high carbon costs for manure storage, processing and transportation of the product.

The ask is simple, if we reduce our beef intake we can reduce our GHG output, and not insignificantly. If humans replaced 75% of beef meals with vegetables or non meat/dairy sources of protein, livestock emissions would drop by more than 50%.

As someone who has eaten meat indiscriminately their whole life I feel like it is inconsistent to advocate around climate change action without taking my own. I'm done with the beef.

Primary Source: Secondary Sources: CNN, FAO,, guardian, epa, insideclimatenews

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CC #4

And now, for something positive! It's spring. Officially, and in my bones I can feel the end of the absurdly long tunnel of this year's wet, cold, interminably winter. To celebrate the return of life, what better way than to add to the life party?

Planting a vegetable garden is all the benefits. You reduce costs of shopping and purchases of goods that have created large carbon footprints by being shipped across the country (or ocean), you get to work outside in nature, a proven stress reliever, eat healthier, cuz veggies/fruit, and it creates healthier soil while sequestering carbon (i.e. mitigating climate change).

Big picture first: The world’s cultivated soils have lost between 50 and 70 percent of their original carbon stock and scientists say that there is FIVE TIMES more carbon in soil than in the atmosphere and all plant life combined. Soil is a huge reservoir of carbon, but it could be much larger. Through photosynthesis, a plant draws carbon out of the air to form carbon compounds.

Carbon is the main component of soil organic matter and helps give soil its water-retention capacity, its structure, and its fertility. Scientists estimate that by restoring soils of degraded ecosystems, soil could store an addition 1-3 billion tons of carbon annually (roughly between 4-11 billions tons of CO2 emissions).

David Cleveland, a researcher at UC Santa Barbara, also demonstrated the micro effect of individual gardens. The tl;dr version, using extremely conservative estimates, Cleveland found that if half of California's single family homes grew gardens to supply only 50 percent of their vegetables, the CO2 emissions reductions from the gardens would reached 8 percent of the state's greenhouse gas emissions reductions goal and is equivalent to an 11 percent drop in CO2 emissions from driving a car.

Synopsis: Veggies are dope. Grow them. Then eat them. Save the world.

Primary Source: Secondary Sources:,,

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CC #3

California is our nation’s environmental umbrella. Although the EPA generally has complete authority to set pollution standards for cars, Section 209 of the Clean Air Act grants CA the power to set its own emissions standards for new motor vehicles through the use of waivers, i.e. – CA has the ability to set a higher standard than the federal government. In addition, other states can opt into CA’s higher standards over the federal ones. 14 states, totaling 40% of the US’s population (states in green) have adopted CA’s standards. With such a large proportion of the nation’s autos covered by the higher standards, automakers are forced to abide by the higher standards or lose money making vehicles that meet two different regulations.

For forty years the EPA has granted all but one of the more than 100 waivers sought by CA and the single denial was later overturned.

Higher emissions standards are a common sense good. Studies show that as these higher standards go into effect in the opted in (green) states, drivers will save billions of dollars, while dramatically reducing global warming pollution from tailpipes, one of the major sources of global warming pollution. By 2020 these standards are estimated to reduce green house gas emissions by over 100 million metric tons.

This is especially relevant now because Scott Pruitt, new head of the EPA, has indicated the EPA will be considering whether it will stop granting waivers to CA (legally questionable) or try to revoke CA’s current waiver (highly dubious). The battle lines over the country’s environmental health are being drawn.

For a great synopsis check out: The Atlantic: “The Coming Clean-Air War Between Trump and California” Other sources include: EPA, NRDC, Wired, Autonews

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CC #2

Think of this bowl as representing the Earth’s sea ice (a hyper accurate visual, clearly). It’s 33% gone – and it’s melting fast. There is now less sea ice on Earth than at any time in recorded history.

Since 1980, the Earth has lost about 1/3rd of its total sea ice volume. To illustrate how outside of normal climate behaviors the earth is experiencing: In December global sea ice extent fell 4.4 million sq km below average, an event eight standard deviations from the normal range. In other words, the statistical probability of that event happening under past expectations of average is 1 in 30 billion, aka: hugely unlikely aka climate change has disrupted what “normal” climate looks like.

Sea ice is important. For one, the more we lose, the worse future losses are likely to be (see Robert Scribbler’s blog re: amplifying feedback). For two, the arctic/antarctic are critical components of the climate system, they cool the earth, house numerous ecosystems, shield the earth from incoming solar radiation and (the polar regions) are among the most productive in the world for ocean life.

Sources: Robert Scribbler’s blog,, The Guardian (nov 2016)

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CC #1

Trump is allegedly considering pulling out of the Paris Agreement. Semi-briefly – here is why that sucks.

Box o wine = TOTAL cumulative C02 emissions by US from 1850-2011 (369,349*) Two glass o vino = AVERAGE cumulative emissions PER country of top 19 other most developed countries, from 1850-2011 (42,887* avg total per country – US is 8.6x higher) Shot glass o wine = TOTAL cumulative C02 emissions from ALL (46) least developed countries (LDCs) from 1850-2011 (4,854* – US is 76x higher)

IE- the US has contributed a relative and nonrelative fuckload of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Climate change will have the greatest impact on those with the least resources to cope with the coming shifts in weather/sea level rise/drought etc (eg: developing countries). The US – as the single largest contributor of greenhouse gasses (GHGs) over the past century +, and one of the top GDP producing nations, has an equitable responsibility to engage in and significantly contribute to the world’s effort to reduce the oncoming effects of climate change and mitigate future effects.

All data provided by WRI’s brilliant Climate Data Explorer (CAIT) *values = million metric tons of C02 (mtCO2)

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