Repost from SFGate
Federal scientists say 2015 on pace to be globe’s warmestBy Kurtis Alexander, June 18, 2015 4:23 pm
This year is on track to be the world’s hottest on record, federal scientists said Thursday, continuing a warming trend that even Pope Francis called worrisome in a remarkable 184-page papal letter.
Three of the world’s foremost weather agencies have reported the warmest start to any year since they began keeping records, and this week’s climate report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration found yet another chart-topping month for the globe.
May was a whopping 1.6 degrees above the 20th century average, the agency reported. California experienced average temperatures in May, but other places in the U.S., including Alaska and parts of the Northeast, made history for heat.
Still, California headed into June with a record temperature for the first five months of the year, 5.1 degrees above the 20th century average and 0.1 degrees warmer than the previous high, last year.
“We don’t do predictions here, but I would not be surprised if 2015 ends up the hottest year on record,” said Deke Arndt, a climate monitoring branch chief at the NOAA. “We’re almost halfway through the year and have a sizable lead on the pack.”
Last year currently stands as the planet’s warmest.
Climate scientists attribute the long-term trend of rising temperatures largely to human-caused bumps in greenhouse gases. The El Niño pattern that emerged earlier this year, though, is helping push the mercury to the extreme, they said. El Niños typically move heat from the ocean surface of the tropical Pacific into the atmosphere.
The upside of the El Niño is that it could bring rain to the West Coast, at least if it’s a strong system. Federal scientists are not only giving the El Niño a more than 80 percent chance of hanging on through winter — the rainy season in California — but saying that the event may be moderate or strong.
“This is starting to look like a typical El Niño footprint, something we didn’t see last year at this time,” said Steve Baxter, a forecaster for the NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center.
The past four years in California have seen below-average precipitation, and rain is desperately needed. The warm temperatures that have come with 2015, however, could mean less snow, which is critical in filling reservoirs.
Pope Francis, in an unorthodox move for the Catholic Church, weighed in on global warming this week. He tied fossil fuels to the problem and prompted a cool response from many Republican presidential candidates.
Repost from KSL.com
[Editor: Although welcome, the Pope’s encyclical is not new in religious circles. He joins with previous popes and a substantial number of protestant Christian communities who have been calling for action on climate change over the past 20 years or more. See Interfaith Power and Light, Interfaith Moral Action on Climate, World Council of Churches, and Climate Change: Who Speaks for Christianity? – RS]
Pope urges revolution to save earth, fix ‘perverse’ economyBy Nicole Winfield, Rachel Zoll and Seth Borenstein, Associated Press, June 18th, 2015 @ 9:36am
VATICAN CITY (AP) — In a sweeping environmental manifesto aimed at spurring concrete action, Pope Francis called Thursday for a bold cultural revolution to correct what he described as a “structurally perverse” economic system where the rich exploit the poor, turning Earth into an “immense pile of filth.”
Francis framed climate change as an urgent moral issue in his eagerly anticipated encyclical, blaming global warming on an unfair, fossil fuel-based industrial model that harms the poor most.
Citing Scripture, his predecessors and bishops from around the world, the pope urged people of every faith and even no faith to undergo an awakening to save God’s creation for future generations.
The document released Thursday was a stinging indictment of big business and climate doubters alike, meant to encourage courageous changes at U.N. climate negotiations later this year, in domestic politics and in everyday life.
“It is not enough to balance, in the medium term, the protection of nature with financial gain, or the preservation of the environment with progress,” he writes. “Halfway measures simply delay the inevitable disaster. Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress.”
Environmental scientists said the first-ever encyclical, or teaching document, on the environment could have a dramatic effect on the climate debate, lending the moral authority of the immensely popular Francis to an issue that has long been cast in purely political, economic or scientific terms.
“This clarion call should guide the world toward a strong and durable universal climate agreement in Paris at the end of this year,” said Christiana Figueres, the U.N.’s top climate official. “Coupled with the economic imperative, the moral imperative leaves no doubt that we must act on climate change now.”
Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientist, said the encyclical is a “game-changer in making people think about this.”
“It’s not politics anymore,” he said, adding that science is often difficult to understand but that people respond to arguments framed by morality and ethics.
The energy lobby was quick to criticize the encyclical’s anti-fossil fuel message.
“The simple reality is that energy is the essential building block of the modern world,” said Thomas Pyle of the Institute of Energy Research, a conservative free-market group. “The application of affordable energy makes everything we do – food production, manufacturing, health care, transportation, heating and air conditioning – better.”
Francis said he hoped his effort would lead ordinary people in their daily lives and decision-makers at the Paris U.N. climate meetings to a wholesale change of mind and heart, saying “both the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor” must now be heard.
“This vision of `might is right’ has engendered immense inequality, injustice and acts of violence against the majority of humanity, since resources end up in the hands of the first comer or the most powerful: the winner takes all,” he writes. “Completely at odds with this model are the ideals of harmony, justice, fraternity and peace as proposed by Jesus.”
The encyclical “Laudato Si,” (Praise Be) is 191 pages of pure Francis.
It’s a blunt, readable booklet full of zingers that will make many conservatives and climate doubters squirm, including in the U.S. Congress, where Francis will deliver the first-ever papal address in September. It has already put several U.S. presidential candidates on the hot seat since some Republicans, Catholics among them, doubt the science behind global warming and have said the pope should stay out of the debate.
“I don’t think we should politicize our faith,” U.S. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush, a Catholic convert, said on the eve of the encyclical’s release. “I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting into the political realm.”
Yet one of Francis’ core points is that there really is no distinction between human beings, their faith and the environment.
“Everything is related, and we human beings are united as brothers and sisters on a wonderful pilgrimage, woven together by the love God has for each of his creatures and which also unites us in fond affection with brother sun, sister moon, brother river and mother earth,” he writes.
Cardinal Peter Turkson, whose office wrote the first draft of the encyclical, acknowledged that the pope was no expert in science, although he did work as a chemist before entering the seminary. But he said Francis was fully justified in speaking out about an important issue and had consulted widely. He asked if politicians would refrain from talking about science just because they’re not scientific experts.
Francis accepts as fact that the world is getting warmer and that human activity is mostly to blame.
“The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” he writes.
Citing the deforestation of the Amazon, the melting of Arctic glaciers and the deaths of coral reefs, he rebukes “obstructionist” climate doubters who “seem mostly to be concerned with masking the problems or concealing their symptoms.” And he blames politicians for listening more to oil industry interests than Scripture or common sense.
He praises a “less is more” lifestyle, one that shuns air conditioners and gated communities in favor of car pools, recycling and being in close touch with the poor and marginalized. He calls for courageous, radical and farsighted policies to transition the world’s energy supply from fossil fuels to renewable sources, saying mitigation schemes like the buying and selling of carbon credits won’t solve the problem and are just a “ploy which permits maintaining the excessive consumption of some countries and sectors.”
What is needed, he says, is a “bold cultural revolution.”
“Nobody is suggesting a return to the Stone Age, but we do need to slow down and look at reality in a different way, to appropriate the positive and sustainable progress which has been made, but also to recover the values and the great goals swept away by our unrestrained delusions of grandeur,” Francis writes.
Some have dismissed the Argentine pope as pushing what they call Latin American-style socialism, but he answered those critics just this week, saying it was not a sign of communism to care for the poor.
Within the church, many conservative Catholics have questioned the pope’s heavy emphasis on the environment and climate change over other issues such as abortion and marriage.
Francis does address abortion and population issues briefly in the encyclical, criticizing those in the environmental movement who show concern for preserving nature but not human lives. The Catholic Church has long been at odds with environmentalists over how much population growth degrades the environment.
John Schellnhuber, the scientist credited with coming up with the goal of keeping global warming below 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees F), says it’s a “myth” that a growing population is responsible for environmental decay.
“It’s not poverty that destroys the environment,” he told the press conference launching the document. “It’s wealth, consumption and waste. And this is reflected in the encyclical.”
—Zoll and Borenstein reported from New York. Associated Press writers Karl Ritter in Stockholm, Sweden, and Daniela Petroff in Vatican City contributed to this report.
Repost from EcoWatch
Pope Francis Says No to FrackingBy Stefanie Spear | January 12, 2015
We’ve been busy lately providing news on all the great ways Pope Francis is working to create a healthy, sustainable planet. In July 2014, Pope Francis called destruction of nature a modern sin. In November 2014, Pope Francis said “unbridled consumerism” is destroying our planet and we are “stewards, not masters” of the Earth. In December 2014, he said he will increase his call this year to address climate change. And, last week we announced that Pope Francis is opening his Vatican farm to the public.
Now, we learn from Nicolás Fedor Sulcic that Pope Francis is supportive of the anti-fracking movement. Watch this interview by Fernando Solanas where he met with Pope Francis soon after finishing a film about fracking in Argentina.
The movie, La Guerra del Fracking or The Fracking War, was banned in cinemas by the Argentinian government, so the filmmakers decided to post it on YouTube. We are awaiting translation of the film and then we’ll feature it on EcoWatch.
“When I was doing research for the film, every time I’d ask someone if they knew what fracking was they had no idea,” said Sulcic. The problem was that “the government didn’t call it fracking, they called it ‘non conventional gas’ so no one was making the link to what was happening in Argentina to what was happening America. I got really mad and knew something had to be done to make people aware of what was going on. I saw the website Artist Against Fracking and felt that was a very good example of what was needed to be done here to take the cause to more people rather than just environmental activists.”
With support by Peace Nobel prize Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Oscar winning Juan Jose Campanella and other very well known Argentinian intellectuals and social leaders, a website was launched to help raise awareness about the dangers of fracking Argentina.