Cars News and Reviews IPCC Report: Impacts of Climate Change- CARS NEWS AND REVIEWS

Posted by Carmella Ross on Monday

"Risk" is the word of the day. It occurs hundreds of times in the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) released today.

We now have a much clearer view of what climate change means to human life around the world. The picture is grim.

The "Summary for Policymakers" reads like a litany of human misery, and some of it has already arrived. Tallying the risks of climate change around the continents, it's all "Food shortage" - "Water stress" - "Heat waves" - "Flood damage" - "Disease spread". And, for some of us living in low-lying island states, "Loss of homeland". That's just the impact on humans. Then there's the worldwide tragedy of the unraveling ecosystems in our acidifying oceans, and the species extinction looming everywhere.

If there's a storm coming, we batten down the hatches. We need to batten down the hatches now.

We all deal with risk, all the time: That's why we pay for home insurance and car insurance. It may be a burden on the family budget. But we all pay it, because it will cover our sweet behinds in the - rare and no-to-be-hoped-for - event of some calamity like a house fire, a tree coming down on the roof, or a car accident.

Climate change mitigation IS home insurance. It may seem expensive. But if it preserves our home, our Earth, it will be amply worth it.



" Climate Change: the state of the science "

To learn more about climate change, start with the Resources at Global Warming Fact of the Day, which delivers climate change news free of denialist propaganda: I curate its Learning Center.

 

 

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Cars News and Reviews My Climate Change Talk to Parents- CARS NEWS AND REVIEWS

Posted by Carmella Ross on Friday

Yesterday, I had a chance to speak at CelloPlayer's school about climate change. Not to the students, but to their parents. The title was "Climate Change and YOU".

The talk was in the morning, right after drop-off time. This is a Waldorf School, so chairs were arranged in a half-circle around the projection screen. ViolaPlayer, who is enjoying spring break this week, occupied one of those chairs (and bailed me out when my ancient laptop froze in the middle of the talk, and I nearly froze in paralysis, by getting it going again).

I started by briefly going over the greenhouse effect, the link between global warming and the carbon emissions from fossil fuels, and the various global effects, emphasizing that we are already starting to see some of these effects in our daily lives. Take, for instance, the wild weather we've been having all over the world, with extremes both in precipitation and in temperature.

Californian drought will hit all of us in the pocketbook very soon, as California is the nation's garden, producing more than 90% of nuts like almonds and walnuts, fruits like strawberries and grapes, and vegetables like tomatoes and broccoli. Imagine walking into the produce section of the local Whole Foods, that cornucopia of offerings. Now imagine taking California out of that section: the offerings would be meagre indeed. Not to mention more expensive.

While one must talk of climate justice across national and economic lines, and across gender lines, what speaks to parents is climate justice across generational lines, so I showed this pie chart compiled by Lars Boelen of the Stormglas blog. It shows in a very intuitive way that whatever fossil fuels our generation consumes, there will be that much less in the pie for our children and their children - that is, if we want to keep global warming below 2°C.



Anybody who has ever cut a pie for their family can see the inequity of this distribution.

I moved on to encouraging parents to talk about climate change with their children, for much the same reasons that we need to have the sex talk with them: to enable them to make well-informed decisions.

Because like with sex, in some sense our children already know. I've heard a fifth grader mention global warming quite casually. But like with sex, there are a whole bunch of myths floating around. To illustrate, I showed a slide with examples of various classes of myths: the "I didn't do it" myth, the "grace period" myth, the "divine intervention" myth, and the "I've no idea what I'm talking about" kind of myth.

This one got quite a reaction. ViolaPlayer thought it was so funny, the cellphone came out and a copy of the slide was sent to some friends. (I am flattered that my teenager saw fit to share something that Mom has made).

Anyway, I went on to remind parents that the global warming talk, like the sex talk, must be age appropriate, and that while we must be truthful to our children, we may not deprive them of a sense of hope.

More than that, we parents must be role models, and walk the global warming walk by doing what we can, both to reduce our own carbon footprint at home, and to push our governments (national, state, local) to put policies in place that will help keep the earth a good home for us humans. I went through a menu of options in case anyone was wondering where to start.

And then I went on a public service announcement about the many ways in which a Waldorf school education is an excellent preparation for the future, because its curriculum and philosophy imparts on its students the kind of resilience that will stand them in good stead for life on a changed planet. As a teacher has said, "This school was green before yellow met blue!"

My last slide, number 43, points to where to start learning about climate change: a book, Paul McKibben's "Eaarth"; a website, the Resources section of Global Warming Fact of the Day (I curate its Learning Center), and a TV documentary by James Cameron, "The Years of Living Dangerously", airing in multiple parts on Sundays on the Showtime channel starting on April 13, 2014. (And whoever gets that channel, to please invite me over. Since I don't have a TV).

I am pleased to report that I restrained myself and kept car talk (or "car rants", as CelloPlayer calls it) to a minimum, sticking to the climate change topic. You can't avoid talking about cars, but I only had three slides on that (and 25 other ones ready to show, in case of questions).

The audience was not large: fifteen or so (and one was ViolaPlayer, who had already heard most of it at the dinner table). But afterwards two parents who were involved with environmetal teaching in other schools wanted to know if I could help them with their efforts. A teacher asked if I'd be willing to give the talk to the faculty, during non-school hours.

A member of the school administration asked if she may use material from my talk in the school's promotional materials, as well as in the school's sustainability plans. And I handed out cards and flyers from the local chapter of Citizens' Climate Lobby.

It goes to show that it doesn't matter so much how big your audience is, as long as there are a few who will pass the word and/or are inspired to action.

 

 

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Cars News and Reviews Paris Gets Free Public Transport for the Weekend- CARS NEWS AND REVIEWS

Posted by Carmella Ross on Saturday

The French capital has got a first-hand taste of what it's like to be Los Angeles: in the past week, Paris has emerged from a cold snap. Paris has enjoyed cool nights, and unseasonably warm days. Paris has not been visited by much wind. Paris can't breathe.



The BBC reports that a thick blanket of smog has settled over Paris, a result of pollution from automotive traffic and industry, and a combination of weather conditions much like those often seen in Los Angeles or Salt Lake City. On Friday the Parisian count of fine particles, that is so dangerous to lung health, is higher than in most Chinese cities on that same day.

But while Angelenos get to live with the smog, the Parisian authorities have called a state of emergency. They have not quite banned the use of private cars in the city, but have urged people to leave their cars at home and navigate the city using its excellent network of public transportation, which is complemented by vehicle share facilities.

To sweeten the carrot, they have made those facilities available free of charge throughout the weekend. The Paris Métro, RER commuter lines and tramways are free throughout the weekend. You can use bicycles of the bikeshare service Vélib' for free for a day, and cars of Autolib' are free for one-hour periods.

In addition, heavy trucks are banned from entering the city, and speed limits have been reduced from 130 to 110 km/hour on highways (or from 81 to 68 mph): this significantly increases fuel efficiency and decreases tailpipe emissions of pollutants.

Apparently, the pollution is not quite so bad as to call for a car-free weekend. This sounds like a radical a solution, since many European cities either have car-free Sundays scheduled periodically, and/or participate in European Mobility Week every September, when cities emphasize mobility by any means other than the car. It's when slow traffic occupies major cities and the mood turn very festive.

 

 

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