Mitchell Anderson

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Mitchell Anderson is a Vancouver based researcher and writer.

He worked for eight years as a staff scientist at Sierra Legal Defence Fund and has written extensively on environmental and social policy issues for a variety of national and international publications.

His blog is found at: http://mitchellanderson.blogspot.com

Another Climate Change Bonus - Ocean Dead Zones

It has been a particularly nasty week for climate news.

First came word that Antarctica was warming with potentially catastrophic consequences. Then a study that climate change was killing off forests in North America. The latest grim finding is that global warming will lead to massive ocean dead-zones that may persist for 100,000 years.

This latest horseman of the apocalypse trotted out in the form of a study published in the journal Nature Geoscience by researchers from the University of Copenhagen. They found that warmer ocean temperatures from climate change will lead to enormous areas depleted in oxygen and unable to support marine life.

Climate Change Killing Forests

There is yet another chance to see climate change in action by simply looking out the window. Scientists report that trees in North America are dying off at a stunning rate due to global warming.

Researchers are worried this situation will only grow worse with rising temperatures and that the forests themselves will release massive quantities of carbon as the die-off continues.

“In the future, forests might store less carbon than they do at present, and it also introduces the possibility that western forests could become net sources of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, further speeding up the pace of global warming,” said study co-author Dr. Phillip van Mantgem of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Not good.

Antarctic Warming Like the Rest of the World

A paper published this week in the prestigious journal Nature shows that in fact Antarctica is getting warmer, consistent with an overall trend of global temperature rise.

For years, industry-funded “skeptics” have been harping on in the mainstream media that Antarctica was getting colder instead of warmer. This apparently was evidence that global warming was all a big mistake.

Stating the obvious, the authors of this latest study said that warming temperatures in Antarctica are “difficult to explain” without linking them to carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels.

Misinformation about Antarctic cooling has been frustrating for researchers trying to communicate the seriousness of climate change to the public.

The thing you hear all the time is that Antarctica is cooling and that’s not the case,” said Eric Steig of the University of Washington in Seattle, lead author of the study in Thursday’s edition of the journal Nature.

Are Canada's Tar Sands in Peril?

Go here to find out more details about DeSmogBlog’s FREEE monthly book give-away.

Stephen Harper could be in for rude awakening. For years, he has been dealing with likeminded climate change deniers in the Bush Administration who were only too happy to buy as much oil from the filthy Alberta tar sands as they could get their hands on.

The times they are a changing.

In the last week, key appointments in Obama’s cabinet have all made a point of detailing the perils of climate change.

At his confirmation hearing today, Dr. Steven Chu, the Nobel laureate physicist and incoming head of the Energy Department, warned of the dire consequences of unchecked global warming. In her confirmation hearing, Senator Hillary Clinton said that climate change is an “unambiguous security threat” and pledged an energy policy to reduce our carbon emissions.

Obama himself has detailed a cap and trade carbon system for the US that will rely on absolute rather than so-called “intensity” targets championed by Harper’s friends in the Alberta oil patch.

Time to Pull Over

Ever been driving down the highway and that little red engine light comes on? It’s just a small thing but it usually means something really bad is about to happen.

Something similar happened with our planet this week. A group of scientists has just discovered that the oceans ability to absorb carbon dioxide may be collapsing all over the world due to warmer water temperatures.

That is not good news. Our planet’s oceans helpfully soak up about 11 billion tonnes of human-produced carbon dioxide every year. That’s about one quarter of all the additional carbon that we are dumping into the atmosphere – and it looks like that gravy train may be grinding to a halt.

Climate Change Cancelled! (Whew!)

Good News! Climate change is all a big mistake! This remarkable finding was revealed by Michael Asher in Daily Tech – a publication more focused on iPhones than atmospheric science.

Asher’s piece Sea Ice Ends Year at Same Level as 1979 confidently states that “Thanks to a rapid rebound in recent months, global sea ice levels now equal those seen 29 years ago…”

Strange. That’s not what scientists are saying. Just last month NASA released a chilling report showing that between 1.5 trillion and 2 trillion tons of ice in Greenland, Antarctica and Alaska have melted at an accelerating rate since 2003 – enough to fill Chesapeake Bay 21 times.

Obama's science advisor no fan of Bjorn Lomborg

If the “skeptical” Dane Bjorn Lomborg had any standing with the White House it will quickly evaporate with the incoming Obama administration.

President-elect Barack Obama has chosen John P. Holdren as his science advisor - a man who was one of the most vocal critics of Lomborg’s famously inaccurate book The Skeptical Environmentalist”.

The Skeptical Environmentalist” was so offensive to the scientific community that Scientific American published a ten-page evisceration authoured by four actual researchers, including Holdren.

Bjorn Lomborg is at it Again

It must be sad for professional contrarians like Bjorn Lomborg when their well worn speaking points become more laughably wrong with each emerging study on the dangers of climate change.

That of course does not stop Lomborg from holding forth his increasingly loopy opinions at every opportunity - most recently in the Australian, where Lomborg hectors incoming President Obama for his shoddy understanding of climate science. (By the way, Lomborg’s training is in political science)

Lets get stared on pulling apart this polemic and the laundry list of errors and misinformation.

Lomborg starts by calling into question the link between tropical cyclones and climate change. The doubting Dane intones:

It is simply wrong to say that storms are growing stronger every hurricane season… hurricanes across the world for the past year have been about as inactive as at any time since records began to be kept.”

Strange. That’s not what scientific community thinks.

DeSmog Exclusive: The Policy Communications Inc. Astroturf Shell Game

Desmog Blog has uncovered an energy industry-backed astro-turf network concocted by a single PR/Lobbying firm that is working to undermine the efforts of environmental groups and organizations like the Western Climate Initiative (WCI). that are pushing for solutions to climate change.



The Top of the Pyramid

At the top of the network is a PR/Lobby firm with offices in Colorado and Washington, DC called Policy Communications Inc. The firms principals are:

Jim Sims, President/CEO

Holly Propst, Senior Vice President

Greg Schnacke, Vice President

Paul Poister, Vice President

Britt Weygandt , Vice President

Cody Stewart, Policy Specialist

Western Climate Initiative Under Attack

A powerful industry lobby group called the the “Western Business Roundtable” is scheming to derail the Western Climate Initiative

You have to start somewhere. That was the attitude of a number of progressive US states and Canadian provinces when they formed the Western Climate Initiative (WCI), an effort to begin tackling carbon emissions in the face of endless inaction from their national governments.

The WCI aims to lay the foundation for a continental cap and trade system to limit greenhouse gases 15 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. The coalition currently has 11 member states and provinces representing 20% of the US, and 70% of the Canadian economies. They recently released their detailed recommendations for a regional cap and trade system that will be voted on for ratification by the member states and provinces.

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