Hansen began his career studying Venus, which was once a very Earth-like planet with plenty of life-supporting water before runaway climate change rapidly transformed it into an arid and uninhabitable sphere enveloped in an unbreathable gas; he switched to studying our planet by 30, wondering why he should be squinting across the solar system to explore rapid environmental change when he could see it all around him on the planet he was standing on.
The answer, they suggested, is that the natural life span of a civilization may be only several thousand years, and the life span of an industrial civilization perhaps only several hundred. In a universe that is many billions of years old, with star systems separated as much by time as by space, civilizations might emerge and develop and burn themselves up simply too fast to ever find one another. And yet, improbably, Ward is an optimist. So are Broecker and Hansen and many of the other scientists I spoke to. We have not developed much of a religion of meaning around climate change that might comfort us, or give us purpose, in the face of possible annihilation.
But climate scientists have a strange kind of faith: We will find a way to forestall radical warming, they say, because we must. It is not easy to know how much to be reassured by that bleak certainty, and how much to wonder whether it is another form of delusion; for global warming to work as parable, of course, someone needs to survive to tell the story. The scientists know that to even meet the Paris goals, by , carbon emissions from energy and industry, which are still rising, will have to fall by half each decade; emissions from land use deforestation, cow farts, etc.
Nevertheless, by and large, the scientists have an enormous confidence in the ingenuity of humans — a confidence perhaps bolstered by their appreciation for climate change, which is, after all, a human invention, too. They point to the Apollo project, the hole in the ozone we patched in the s, the passing of the fear of mutually assured destruction. The planet is not used to being provoked like this, and climate systems designed to give feedback over centuries or millennia prevent us — even those who may be watching closely — from fully imagining the damage done already to the planet.
For them, the alternative is simply unimaginable. The Trump administration on Friday proposed an unprecedented series of new fees for asylum-seekers and immigrants hoping to stay in the US, aiming to become one of just four countries in the world to charge for an asylum application.
The US has never before charged for asylum and, if enacted, the proposal issued Friday would make the country one of only four in the world to do so, joining Iran, Fiji, and Australia. The new fee would not apply to those who claim a fear of persecution at ports of entry or those who apply for the protections while in deportation proceedings.
More from the Times :.
For some, the increase would reach 83 percent. It would also increase renewal fees for hundreds of thousands of participants of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, also known as DACA. As Mr. Buttigieg, the millennial mayor of a town smaller than a New York City Council district, rises in the polls, he has struck a nerve with his Democratic rivals.
Many of their campaigns have griped privately about the attention and cash directed toward Mr.
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His public punditry about the race has prompted eye rolls from older rivals who view him as a know-it-all. And in a field where most candidates find themselves strapped for cash, they snipe at his ability to raise more than anyone else in the primary field except for Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.
Buttigieg candidly. They conveyed an annoyance at the McKinsey consultant certitude with which Mr. Buttigieg analyzes and makes pronouncements about the primary. There was also this bit of theatrics from Nunes on Friday:.
Adam Schiff, D-Calif. Jim Jordan , R-Ohio, who was then the assistant coach. The move is part of a package of new economic policies aimed at boosting the fortunes of middle- and working-class Americans and positioning Buttigieg as a clear alternative to more liberal candidates. While Sens. Elizabeth Warren D-Mass.
President-elect Trump and the new first family were at Arlington National Cemetery, where Trump was to lay a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknowns. He also had another revelation as he watched his father standing in front of the tomb, surrounded by more than , graves, listening to the Army Band bugler playing taps: The Trump family had already suffered, he recalled thinking, and this was only the beginning.
Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare, William
A new clue about the identity of the anonymous Trump op-ed writer: he really admires John McCain. These examples might have left Anonymous appalled, but the truly unforgivable act was when Senator John McCain died last year and Mr. Already a subscriber? Log in or link your magazine subscription.
Account Profile. Sign Out. Fossils by Heartless Machine. The most credible prediction of the effects of climate change comes from the U. It might be less than four degrees. But around four degrees or five degrees, would be the point where people would be finding it unbearable.
Keep in mind, in the tropics, two or three degrees takes the environment outside the range of natural variability. In some ways, it is easiest to talk about that business-as-usual model, because it holds so many of those variables constant. These models make a variety of assumptions, both about natural systems and manmade response, but collectively they do suggest, to me at least, that we have been far too focused on the optimistic possibilities which bring us to at or under two degrees warming and not nearly focused enough on the more dire ones.
The book was an invaluable resource in researching this article, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in picking up where this piece leaves off. This is also from Romm, also page There has been a fair amount of criticism of my use of this material. Also, most of the carbon will likely escape as C02, not methane. But I do not believe the science was fundamentally misrepresented here: There is that much carbon in the permafrost; the permafrost is melting at accelerating rates; some of the carbon will be released as methane; and methane is a stronger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Snow and Ice Data Center found that thawing permafrost will turn the Arctic from a place that stores carbon a sink to a place that generates carbon a source in the s—and release a hundred billion tons of carbon by They all extrapolate from the median and high-end IPCC projections for business-as-usual warming. Even if you take issue with my characterization of the threat from permafrost melt, it does not affect my discussion of any of the risks that follow.
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The permafrost melt is a wild card which could add to those IPCC projections. Romm calculates it could add a degree of warming by all on its own.follow link
romeo and juliet text with annotation
There was satellite data that was revised upward, but it was data that had been previously interpreted to be below estimates and adjacent data sets, and was revised to bring it more or less into line with those estimates and data sets that is, it did not change the big-picture assessment of how fast the planet was warming. As readers have pointed out, there is a debate within the scientific community about whether this calving is a natural process or the result of climate change.
In either case, it is alarming news, given that the ice now loosed into the ocean will melt faster. And, of course, the calving has since occurred.
Saturday 1 March 1661/62
That paper can be found here. This is the warming target , in Celsius, of the Paris climate accord agreement. This is the amount of carbon in the permafrost see note No. This is the current concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
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These five sentences were the focal point of much of the debate among scientists surrounding this piece: Were they explicit enough to explain to readers that this article would be a tour of worst-case scenarios, and was not intended to be read as a prediction of likely outcomes? And furthermore, was such a worst-case-scenario tour irresponsible, given that they are not the most likely scenarios?
For some of the most thoughtful commentary on all sides of the debate, I recommend reading the essays by Susan Matthews , David Roberts , and Robinson Meyer. The Arctic began losing sea ice several decades ahead of every single climate model used by the IPCC, which in turn means the Arctic region warmed up even faster than scientists expected. In and , we learned that both ice sheets are far less stable than we realized, and they are dangerously close to tipping points that would lead to irreversible collapse and dramatic rates of sea level rise.
The scary thing is that, the direct cover is what people cite, but they ignore, to date, the sideways infiltration of salt. And this, again, just a slight rise in sea level causes a huge problem. Bangladesh — you cover it up, where are those people going to go? Could some of this flooding be avoided if the world zeroed out emissions immediately and entirely if the Paris accords legislated percent carbon-neutral energy and industry and land use?
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