71 F. maximum temperature yesterday in the Twin Cities.
68 F. average high on May 9.
68 F. high on May 9, 2016.

May 10, 1934: ‘The Classic Dust Bowl’ hits Minnesota. Extensive damage occurs over the region, with near daytime blackout conditions in the Twin Cities and west central Minnesota. Dust drifts cause hazardous travel, especially at Fairmont where drifts up to 6 inches are reported. Damage occurs to personal property due to fine dust sifting inside homes and businesses.

A Big Sloppy Dose of Weather Gratitude

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude” wrote Brene Brown. She’s right, of course. Every waking moment is a miracle, but a fire-hose of daily distractions can make it easy to forget how lucky we really are.

The other day I was whining about something stupid. A friend smiled “Paul, the world would love to have your problems. Half the 7 billion people on this planet live on less than 3 bucks a day.” That shut me up pretty fast.

With Texas tornadoes, damaging hail in Denver, killer, late- spring freezes for the Carolinas and historic flooding from Missouri to Quebec we’ve been fortunate in the weather department.

No river flooding, few severe storms (yet) and ample soil moisture for farmers & gardeners. Weather? We don’t have anything to gripe about.

Showers brush the southern third of Minnesota (including the MSP metro) today but dry weather prevails Thursday into the weekend.

Next week brings 70s, more humidity and a few swipes of thundery-rain. No drama (for a change).

Broad Severe Threat Today. A storm intensifying over the central Plains will pull moisture from the Gulf of Mexico northward, mixing with sufficient wind shear for strong to severe T-storms. A few tornadoes can’t be ruled out as far north as Iowa and central Illinois. Map: NOAA SPC.

84-Hour NAM Future Radar. Heavy showers and T-storms push across the Upper Midwest today, while the eastern USA enjoys dry, lukewarm weather – quiet along the Gulf Coast and California, but more rain reaches Portland and Seattle during the day Thursday. Model guidance: NOAA and Tropicaltidbits.com.

Trending Warmer for the Weekend. ECMWF (above) is catching up to a warm solution from NOAA (GFS predicts highs near 80F Saturday and Sunday in the Twin Cities). 70s seem like a fairly good bet Saturday and Sunday if the sun is out for any length of time. Twin Cities numbers: WeatherBell.

Warm and Stormy End to May. GFS long-range trends continue to suggest a trough from the Rockies into the Pacific Northwest, a chilly bias for New England. Otherwise the forecast 2 weeks out suggests warm ridging for much of central Canada and the eastern half of the USA.

U.S. Drought at Lowest Level in 17 Years. Now the problem is much of the USA can’t turn off the rain. Climate Central reports: “After years of intense, record-setting drought across the U.S., particularly in the Great Plains and California, the country is now experiencing its lowest level of drought in the 17 years since the U.S. Drought Monitor began its weekly updates. Less than 5 percent of the U.S. was in some stage of drought as of May 4, the most recent update, compared to the 65 percent mired in drought in September 2012...”

Map credit: “Drought Has Disappeared from much of the U.S. Left: August 7, 2012. Right: April 25, 2017.NASA Earth Observatory

April Was USA’s Wettest in 60 Years. USA TODAY runs the numbers: “…If you thought April was unusually soggy, you were right: April 2017 was the USA’s second-wettest April on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported Monday. The onslaught of heavy rain led to deadly and devastating flooding in several states, including North Carolina, Missouri and Arkansas. The average national precipitation total for April was 3.43 inches, which is 0.91 inch above average. Only April 1957 was wetter…”

Swath of States Experiencing Warmest Year to Date. The off-the-charts warmth of February is starting to fade. Here are a couple of clips from a Climate Central recap: “For a swath of states from New Mexico over to Florida and up to Ohio, 2017 has been the hottest year on record through April. For the Lower 48 as a whole, the year is the second warmest in records going back to 1895…Fourteen states along the southern tier of the country and up the Ohio Valley are record hot for the year so far, with another 17 states having a top 5 warmest year through April. Numerous cities in those states, including Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Miami and Charleston, S.C., are also running record hot so far in 2017, according to the Southeast Regional Climate Center. Only the Pacific Northwest had temperatures at or below average for the year...”

Montreal’s Historic Flooding. When weather stalls for days or weeks on end, the consequences can be significant. Here’s an excerpt from The Atlantic: “Montreal’s mayor has declared a state of emergency and about 1,200 military troops have been deployed to the city after rising floodwater forced people from their homes. The state of emergency will last for 48 hours, though it could be extended because there are several dikes at risk and the rain is not likely to let up soon. The emergency was declared late Sunday night after three dikes gave way in the city’s north and spilled water into the nearby towns. As of Monday morning, about 1,900 homes across 130 surrounding neighborhoods and towns were affected...”

Photo credit: “Canadian soldiers place sandbags outside a home in a flooded residential neighborhood.” Christinne Muschi / Reuters.

Mississippi River To Reach Flood Stage in Memphis. U.S. News has the story.

Severe Weather, Tornadoes Plague Missouri to Start 2017. Here’s a clip from Missourian that puts spring weather-misery into context: “Missouri has been among the states hit hardest by severe weather so far in 2017, according to preliminary data from the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center. As prime time for tornadoes begins, the data suggests the worst is yet to come. Through May 4, Missouri recorded 555 reports of severe weather, made up of hail, thunderstorms, winds and tornadoes. That’s the second-highest rank in the U.S., with only Texas reporting more. This is part of an above-average start to the year for severe weather across the U.S., with 6,947 incidents of severe weather reported through the first four months of the year. Comparing preliminary data, which is subject to revision and can increase or decrease slightly, that ranked as the fourth most active start to a year since 2000…”

Photo credit: Charlie Riedel/AP. “Ethan Pederson, 9, and his mom Susan Goodman clear away debris as they help salvage items from a friend’s home on March 7 that was destroyed by a tornado after a severe storm passed through Oak Grove, Missouri.”

The Billionaire and the Flood: How a Tragedy Transformed the Greenbriar Resort and Blue-Collar Town That Depended On It. Washingtonian Magazine has a story about the 3rd worst flood in West Virginia history and the political implications: “…In the final days before the election, Justice’s team leveraged the flood explicitly, releasing an ad that portrayed him as a savior amid the wreckage. It showed fire swallowing a house in White Sulphur—an orange apparition—and dragging it toward a bridge. The scene cuts to an overturned 18-wheeler, then to a dystopic image of houses ripped from their foundations. After a tribute to Justice’s help, flood victim Toni Cooley appears. “Thank you, Mr. Justice, for everything you’ve done,” she says. “I’m gonna get my house back.” Justice is now the 36th governor of West Virginia. He won the state with nearly half the vote. In Greenbrier County, which in the previous gubernatorial race just barely went blue, he won more than 60 percent. “I didn’t think I’d vote for him,” one White Sulphur city official says, “but after seeing the way he helped us get going again, you couldn’t vote for anyone else. We saw his heart…”

Photo credit: “The flood on June 23, 2016, was the third worst in West Virginia history.” Photo courtesy of the Greenbrier.

Don Paul: A Tenuous Tie Between Tornadoes and Climate Change. Buoyancy is increasing with warming, but wind shear may actually decrease over time. The jury is still out, explains meteorologist Don Paul at The Buffalo News: “…Brooks’ and others’ research shows the suspected link is tenuous to some extent. Some of the uncertainty in research is tied to the small scale of tornadoes and the difficulty in simulating their development in larger scale computer models. There is a higher certainty of the link between a warming climate and more numerous intense thunderstorms with torrential downpours. The extra heating adds more buoyancy to moist low level air by taking advantage of the potential energy already present in that air. A warming climate is linked with more episodes of rapid upward motion of moist parcels of air, lifted to where it cools and must condense. With enough strong lift comes violent, heavy thunderstorms. Since tornadoes come from thunderstorms, and usually violent storms, it must follow the increase in those storms would have an almost linear relationship with an increase in tornadoes. The complexity and uncertainty enters the picture when models show a warming climate will probably lessen the favorable change in winds with increased altitude which feeds the spin in the atmosphere leading to tornadoes…”

Photo credit: “People clean up the debris inside homes destroyed by a tornado in Van Zandt County, Texas, on April 30, 2017.” (Jae S. Lee/Dallas Morning News/TNS).

Good Reasons to Consider Flood Insurance. I might consider spending a few extra bucks on flood insurance, even if you think you’re not in a flood zone. Remember, homeowners insurance doesn’t usually cover flood-related damage. Last year, for the first time on record, Minnesota experienced 2 separate “mega-rain” flash flood events. That means over 1,000 square miles picking up 6 inches or more. 2016 brought 160 natural disasters across North America with 19 major floods in the USA; the most since records were first kept in 1980, according to Munich Re. Epic floods are underway right now from Arkansas and Missouri to Montreal. You don’t have to live near a river to be at risk. “Drainage events” are floods that lie outside traditional FEMA flood zones. A 2015 Illinois study showed that almost all flood damage occurred outside the traditional flood plain.

Unpleasant Surprises. With increasing frequency people are discovering that they may be vulnerable to “drainage events”, serious flooding – with no stream or river nearby to overflow. FEMA flood maps don’t necessarily factor these new drainage floods into account. Cutting to the chase: drainage and sewage systems designed in the 20th century can’t handle 21st century rainfall events.

Here’s Where Heavy Rain Is Increasing the Most in U.S. Climate Central reports: “Heavier precipitation is a signature of climate change. For every 1°F of temperature increase, the atmosphere can effectively hold 4 percent more water vapor. So as the world warms from the increase in greenhouse gases, the amount of evaporation also increases from oceans, lakes, rivers, and soils. The extra water vapor is available to produce additional rain and snow, creating an environment ripe for heavy precipitation events which is exactly what we are seeing in the numbers. This week’s analysis, an update from our 2015 Climate Matters, shows an increase in the top 1 percent of daily rainfall events across the vast majority of states in the U.S…”

90% of Hurricane Deaths Aren’t From the Wind. THE WEATHER SOCIAL reminds us of the sheer power of storm surge: “…You should prepare for a reasonable worst case scenario because, albeit infrequent, storm surge is an extreme event. Water moving at only 4 mph has the same damage potential as the winds of a Category 3 hurricane. 90% of hurricane related deaths are from water. Storm surge is the deadliest hazard of a hurricane. I can go on but needless to say a few feet of ocean water in your neighborhood is a big, life-threatening deal. Which brings us to the second new storm surge product from the National Hurricane Center — the storm surge watch/warning graphic...”
Map credit: “Example of the new Storm Surge Watch/Warning graphic from the National Hurricane Center for south Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. The product is experimental for this hurricane season but is expected to become an operational watch/warning product from the National Weather Service by the 2017 hurricane season.”

West Mims Fire. This is a massive blaze near the Georgia/Florida border, and the smoke plume was easy to spot on (non-operational) GOES-16 imagery yesterday. More details at InciWeb.

FISH Project That Reduced Mercury Levels in North Shore Women is Expanding Statewide. Go a little easy on the walleye and lake trout if you’re pregnant, according to a story at MinnPost: “An initiative to reduce mercury levels among pregnant women living in northeastern Minnesota by getting them to change their fish consumption habits has been effective and is being expanded to include women throughout the state, the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced on Monday. North Shore women who took part in the initiative successfully lowered their mercury levels by being more careful about which types (species) of fish they ate — and how often they ate them. “We don’t want to discourage women from eating fish, but we want to encourage them to eat fish that is low in mercury,” said Pat McCann, a research scientist for MDH, in a phone interview with MinnPost...”

Why Electric Car Early Adopters Went Electric + Best Things About Driving Electric. For me it was the ability to save money (charging at home late at night), lower insurance and MUCH less maintenance. There are 150 moving parts on my Tesla, compared with roughly 10,000 moving parts on a traditional gas-powered vehicle. There is simply less that can go wrong. Here’s an excerpt from Clean Technica: “…Environmental benefit” was still the leading response, but the gap narrowed hugely for this question versus the previous one. Drive quality was illuminated as a dramatic benefit of EVs in this section. “The smooth and quiet drive” of EVs and “the fun and/or convenience of instant torque” were in close contention for the #2 spot. However, they both concern drive quality and could have been combined if we chose to go that route. In such a case, “drive quality” may well have risen to #1. The remaining benefits rather evenly split the pie, with some notable differences by region and type of EV, as highlighted in the previous section. However, one more benefit worth pulling out here is “low maintenance.” It didn’t perform well at all in the previous section, but it gets quite a bit of love here — comparable with several other topics, on average...”

Minnesota Sees 80 Percent Jump in Solar Energy Capacity This Year. Here’s an excerpt from Star Tribune: “Minnesota’s solar energy capacity rose 80 percent during 2017’s first three months, the second consecutive quarter of leapfrog growth as several major solar arrays were switched on. The state had 447 megawatts of solar production capacity at the end of the first quarter, a far cry from 37 megawatts at the end of 2015, according to data released Friday by the Minnesota Department of Commerce. A megawatt is 1 million watts, enough electricity to power 140 homes. Altogether, Minnesota’s solar arrays have the capacity to crank out about as much power as one of Xcel Energy’s larger natural gas-fired plants — at least when it’s sunny...”

Photo credit: Wright Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association. “Solar capacity has jumped 80 percent in Minnesota this year, provided by projects such as the Wright Hennepin Cooperative Electric Association’s in Rockford, the first community array in the state.”

60-Foot, All-Electric Bus With 275 Miles of Range? Insideevs.com has the story: “The Antelope Valley Transit Authority (AVTA) has become the first transit provider in North America to have an all-electric, 60-foot articulated electric bus in its fleet, supplied by BYD.  It’s the production version of the prototype shown some two years ago, with a ~547 kWh battery and has an expected real world range of 275 miles according to a company spokesperson. This particular vehicle is the first of thirteen 60-foot BYD buses ordered, together with a shorter version, in AVTA’s broader goal to switch its entire fleet to BEVs by 2018. Another big achievement is the delivery of BYD’s 250 kW WAVE wireless charging system that should be capable of recharging the bus in around two hours…”

Photo credit: “Antelope Valley Transit Authority received North America’s first 60-foot articulated electric bus made by BYD.”

Today, Even US Water is Overly Medicated – These Scientists Want to Change That. An interesting article at Ars Technica, here are a couple excerpts: “…The United States of America is a highly medicated country: almost seven in 10 Americans take prescription drugs. That translates to 4.4 billion prescriptions and nearly $310 billion spent on medication in 2015. Painkillers, cholesterol-lowering medications, and antidepressants top the list of drugs most commonly prescribed by doctors…Americans aren’t just putting these drugs into their bodies; they’re also putting more drugs into the environment. A growing body of research suggests all types of drugs, from illegal drugs to antibiotics to hormones, enter the environment through sewage and cesspool systems across the country. And while pharmaceutical drugs—when used as prescribed—are capable of curing disease and alleviating symptoms in people, they can wreak havoc on nature...”

Photo credit: Dr. Sylvia Lee. Joanna Blaszczak / Cary Institute

U.S. Life Expectancy Varies By More Than 20 Years from County to County. For much of America it’s going in the wrong direction, according to new data compiled at The Washington Post: “Life expectancy is rising overall in the United States, but in some areas, death rates are going conspicuously in the other direction. These geographical disparities are widening, according to a report published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine. Life expectancy is greatest in the high country of central Colorado, but in many pockets of the United States, life expectancy is more than 20 years lower, according to the report from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation...”

The World’s Most Valuable Resource Is No Longer Oil, But Data. Here’s a clip from The Economist: “A NEW commodity spawns a lucrative, fast-growing industry, prompting antitrust regulators to step in to restrain those who control its flow. A century ago, the resource in question was oil. Now similar concerns are being raised by the giants that deal in data, the oil of the digital era. These titans—Alphabet (Google’s parent company), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft—look unstoppable. They are the five most valuable listed firms in the world. Their profits are surging: they collectively racked up over $25bn in net profit in the first quarter of 2017. Amazon captures half of all dollars spent online in America. Google and Facebook accounted for almost all the revenue growth in digital advertising in America last year. Such dominance has prompted calls for the tech giants to be broken up, as Standard Oil was in the early 20th century...”

The Long, Hard, Unprecedented Fall of Sears. The original retail disrupter has been disrupted. Bloomberg tells the tale: “In 1989, Sears Roebuck & Co. ruled America as its biggest retailer. It loomed over rivals from a perch high above Chicago, inside what was once the world’s tallest building—one bearing the company’s name. The fall from that height may finally be nearing an end. Over the course of almost three decades, the company experienced what industry observers described as one of the most monumental collapses in business history. Despite its union with Kmart—the second-largest retailer from that era—and a stated belief that it can still turn things around, Sears is teetering on the edge of disaster…”

TODAY: More clouds, few showers southern Minnesota. Mild sun north. Winds: SW 5-10. High: 67

WEDNESDAY NIGHT: Showers taper. Low: 48

THURSDAY: Bright sun, springy again. Winds: N 8-13. High: 66

FRIDAY: Blue sky, punch out early. Winds: NW 5-10. Wake-up: 49. High: 71

SATURDAY: Warm sun, feels like early June. Winds: SW 8-13. Wake-up: 55. High: 78

SUNDAY: Partly sunny and sticky. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 59. High: 79

MONDAY: Mild and muggy. Strong T-storms? Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 62. High: 78

TUESDAY: Unsettled, few T-storms possible. Winds: SE 10-15. Wake-up: 61. High: 77

Climate Stories…

The Business Case for the Paris Climate Accord. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The New York Times: “…In a recent barrage of public letters and full-page ads, Fortune 100 companies are voicing strong support for remaining in the Paris accord. The breadth of this coalition is remarkable: industries from oil and gas to retail, mining, utilities, agriculture, chemicals, information and automotive. This is as close as big business gets to a consensus position. American business leaders understand that remaining in the agreement would spur new investment, strengthen American competitiveness, create jobs, ensure American access to global markets and help reduce future business risks associated with the changing climate. Leaving Paris would yield the opposite...” (File image: NASA).

To Curb Climate Change, We Need to Protect and Expand U.S. Forests. Here’s an excerpt of an interesting article at The Conversation: “Forests have been removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and storing carbon for more than 300 million years. When we cut down or burn trees and disturb forest soils, we release that stored carbon to the atmosphere. Since the start of the Industrial Revolution, one-third of all carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere from human activities have come from deforestation. To slow climate change, we need to rapidly reduce global emissions from fossil fuels, biofuels, deforestation and wetland and agricultural soils. We need to also accelerate the removal of carbon dioxide that is already in the atmosphere. In a new report published by the nonprofit Dogwood Alliance, my co-author Danna Smith and I show that we have a major opportunity to make progress on climate change by restoring degraded U.S. forests and soils…”

These People Want You To Know Climate Change Isn’t Just for Liberals. Here’s an excerpt from a story at Ars Technica: “…DeWitt sees his faith as fundamental to, rather than in conflict with, his concern about climate change. He often finds common ground with fellow evangelicals by talking about stewardship of the wonderful natural world they have been given as a home. Put in these familiar terms, climate change seems more like an issue worthy of careful consideration. Public opinion on climate change is, generally speaking, sharply divided by political and cultural identity. Research on this “cultural cognition” by Yale’s Dan Kahan has highlighted patterns of polarization around certain topics. We rely on our network of family, friends, and community for signals about what is true, and we feel pressure to harmonize our views with the views of that group. The more that political signals get tangled up with climate science, the harder it becomes for conservatives to do anything but reject it…”

Graphic credit: Climate Fingerprints. Climate science doesn’t rest on a single, slender thread of evidence. There are multiple markers pointing to warming of the atmosphere, oceans and cryosphere.

Spring’s Early Arrival is a Troubling Indicator of Climate Change. Public Radio International has the story: “…She’d just been talking with the students about Henry David Thoreau, the naturalist, and conservationist whose classic book, “Walden,” detailed his time living here at the pond. Primack explained to the students that about 17 years ago, he was trying to figure out a good way to measure the effects of climate change in the region. “And as I started looking, I heard about these records that Henry David Thoreau had made in the 1850s — from 1851 to 1858 — about when plants were flowering in Concord when birds were arriving in the spring and when trees and shrubs were leafing out,” he said. And since 2004, Primack and his students have been documenting the same things. “And so the information we have from Concord demonstrates that the warming climate associated with global climate change is already affecting the biology of the species here in Concord,” he told them...”

Photo credit: “Richard Primack, here, is searching for newly leafing trees and blooming flowers near Walden Pond.” Craig LeMoult/WGBH News.

Washington’s Broken Climate Debate. Axios reports: “Washington is a mess when it comes to climate change, split in two mutually exclusive groups of people: those who think the issue is the most urgent problem facing the world and those who refuse to acknowledge it’s a problem at all. Why it matters: Dealing with climate change should be a priority for the U.S. government, but it’s impossible with two sides that don’t even agree on the terms of the debate. Congress hasn’t seriously considered a climate bill since 2010, the last time any sizable group of congressional Republicans were willing to talk openly about addressing the issue. Meanwhile, outside of the beltway, concern about climate change is at record highs, according to a March Gallup poll…”

Image credit: Rebecca Zisser / Axios.

America’s Farmers Are Caught Between the Changing Climate and Trump’s Denial. Here’s a clip from ThinkProgress: “…Farmers also tend to be skeptical about climate change, man-made climate change in particular. According to a 2014 survey conducted by Perdue University, only 8 percent of farmers said human activity was the cause of climate change. Climate change will have widespread impacts on nearly every sector of society, from flooding coastal towns to more intense allergy seasons. Scientists predict certain areas will be more susceptible to punishing drought, and other areas will be deluged by intense downpours. It will change the way seasons come and go, which will in turn change things like migration patterns and bloom seasons. Extreme weather events, like floods or heatwaves, will be increasingly common. That’s bad news for everyone, but it’s especially bad news for farmers, whose livelihood depends on the regularity of seasons and weather...”

File photo: Gary Hawkins, Rex Features.

Thawing Alaska Permafrost Sends Autumn CO2 Emissions Surging. Troubling news about the rate of permafrost melt, reported by InsideClimate News: “…The study’s authors, researchers from Harvard, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and other institutions, measured atmospheric CO2 in Alaska and found that emissions from October through December have increased by 73 percent since 1975 and that the increase correlates with rising summer temperatures. The findings suggest that global climate models are underestimating how much greenhouse gas pollution will be unleashed as the Arctic continues to warm at twice the global average rate, said lead author Roisin Commane of the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The Arctic climate feedback loop is stronger than scientists estimated, Commane said. Global warming thaws permafrost, releasing more greenhouse gases, which causes yet more warming...”

Photo credit: “Coastal erosion reveals the extent of ice-rich permafrost underlying an active upper layer in Alaska. A new study finds that as temperatures rise, the ground is freezing later in the season and greenhouse gas emissions that normally slow in the fall are continuing into early winter.” Credit: Brandt Meixell/USGS.

Is It True 97% of Climate Scientists Believe Warming is Occurring? That  number may be low, as explained in an answer at Quora: “…So we have seven peer-reviewed and published papers which use different techniques, published from 2004 to 2015, which show that the consensus among climate science papers is in excess of 97% and that there are a tiny number of dissenters who are making obviously incorrect statements. One paper shows that there are 69,406 authors in the field in two years alone who agree, and only four in the same two year period who don’t agree. You really should be looking at those four and wondering what they are smoking, or at least who is paying for them to be smoking it.”

Image credit: Jamespowell.org.

Big Investors Urge Trump to Stick with Paris Climate Accord. Reuters has details: “Investors with more than $15 trillion of assets under management urged governments led by the United States to implement the Paris climate accord to fight climate change despite U.S. President Donald Trump’s threats to pull out. “As long-term institutional investors, we believe that the mitigation of climate change is essential for the safeguarding of our investments,” according to the letter signed by 214 institutional investors and published on Monday. “We urge all nations to stand by their commitments to the Agreement,” it said. Signatories of the letter included the California Public Employees Retirement System and other pension funds from Sweden to Australia...”

Republicans in California Say They’re Ready to Work on Climate Change. The Desert Sun has the story: “…That kind of hedging isn’t unusual for Republican politicians who want to act on climate but are worried about offending their conservative base, said David Bookbinder, chief counsel at the Niskanen Center, a libertarian think tank in Washington, D.C. that has encouraged Republicans to support a tax on carbon, the main climate pollutant. If conservatives are ever going to get behind policies to reduce emissions, Bookbinder said, they’ll do it for economic reasons, not for climate reasons. In Washington, that could mean supporting a carbon tax to raise revenue for infrastructure projects. In California, it could mean supporting a carbon pricing program — such as cap and trade — in exchange for fewer hard-and-fast regulations mandating reduced emissions...”

Photo credit: “A tanker truck passes an oil refinery in Richmond, California on March 9, 2010.” (Photo: Paul Sakuma, AP).

Editorial: On Climate Change, Abandoned by Washington. Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed from the Virginian-Pilot Editorial Board in Hampton Roads: “…Rising global temperatures warm the oceans, causing the expansion of seawater. They melt glaciers and ice caps, some of which no longer refreeze. They thaw overland ice and permafrost, releasing even more CO2 and contributing to an accelerating warming cycle. All of that helps raise sea levels. When added to subsidence of the region’s land, rising seas pose an existential threat to the future of Hampton Roads. There is already more frequent blue-sky flooding in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, and the military has spent hundreds of millions of dollars trying to protect local bases from rising water. Obviously, it would be best to have the White House as a partner in the fight against global warming and a leader on climate change. That won’t happen for at least four more years. Absent that, communities here must mobilize to produce regional solutions that can help mitigate the inevitable encroachment by the seas...”

“Climate Change Doesn’t Care Whether You Believe It” Here’s an excerpt of an Op-Ed at The Charleston Gazette-Mail: “…Regardless of what politicians do, global warming is a real menace that kills people and causes billions in damage. World temperatures set new records each year. Warmer air holds more moisture, causing worse hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, droughts, wildfires and other perils. Melting ice is raising sea levels, threatening coastal cities. Further danger could come from large numbers of people, possibly dislocated by climate change, competing for scarce or fluctuating resources. News reports of deadly twisters are like global warming indicators, telling everyone the danger is serious. Politicians may continue to sneer at climate change, but it’s happening, right before people’s eyes. The toll in human lives and damage cost undoubtedly will get worse…”

Study: To Beat Science Denial, Inoculate Against Misinformers’ Tricks. The Guardian explains: “…In short, the more we explain the techniques of science denial and misinformation, the more people will become inoculated against them. When we’re exposed to examples of people using cherrypicking or fake experts or false balance to mislead the public, it becomes easier to recognize those techniques, and we’re less likely to fall for them in the future. Teaching people to recognize those techniques is a primary goal of the Denial101x free online course mentioned by Cook. When anti-vaxxer Andrew Wakefield was confronted with the consequences of misinforming the Somali immigrants in Minnesota, he told a Washington Post reporter “I don’t feel responsible at all.” One wonders whether we’ll be hearing those words from climate deniers in the coming years…” (File image: Matt Brown).