Extreme Temperature Diary-Wednesday April 22, 2020/ Main Topic: Earth Day 2020 to Earth Century

Wednesday April 22nd… Dear Diary. The main purpose of this ongoing blog will be to track United States extreme or record temperatures related to climate change. Any reports I see of ETs will be listed below the main topic of the day. I’ll refer to extreme or record temperatures as ETs (not extraterrestrials).😉

Main Topic: Earth Day 2020 to Earth Century

Dear Diary. Obviously, a big monkey wrench has been thrown into the environmental activist works due to COVID-19, which no one saw coming during Earth Day 2019. All news outlets are focusing on the pandemic instead of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day as their main headline. Still, we should not be discouraged about this situation knowing that within a couple of years, at most, the pandemic will be tamed. The Earth will continue to heat up, so we should focus on longer term harm to our climate. Today I am reposting my Earth Day to Earth Century thoughts from the last couple of years. Also, the Guardian has written an excellent piece on the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, which I will share:

The following is a repost of what I wrote for Earth Day 2018. Sadly carbon trends in the atmosphere have not changed since then, but finally we are starting to see an increase of green energy worldwide.

It appears that Earth Day is being more widely celebrated with each passing year, which is fantastic. More publicity can lead to education and awareness of a fragile environment, which eventually will result, as hoped, in a harmonic balance between nature and human development. Yet, Earth Day is recognized on only one day of the year like a specific type of weather, only here for a short time. Since climate change is now the predominant environmental problem, I saw an idea, which might aid to focus on the concern. Let’s make the 21st century Earth Century as suggested by Eric Holthas:

Eric Holthaus‏Verified account @EricHolthaus happy Earth Century, everybody!

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6:29 AM – 22 Apr 2018

For the last two hundred years after the development and widespread use of the steam engine, the balance or harmony between man and nature has fragmented. The Industrial Revolution blackened cities with soot by the end of the 19th century. The tumultuous 20th century saw Earth’s population boom to near 7 billion but also with a surge in technology leading to overall better lives for most. The balance isn’t off so much that  mankind can’t continue to thrive on this planet, at least not yet. Future centuries beyond the 21st can be good times for humans as we strive to move beyond this sphere onto moons and planets. We know what the existential treat is:

Zack Labe‏Verified account @ZLabe

Happy #EarthDay2018 weekend! Check out this website put together by @NASA about our amazing planet: https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/earth-day-2018 …

We all can make a difference. Every day.

The 21st century will probably be a make or break 100 years for our homo sapiens civilization, if not the species itself. Displacement of populations away from the coast due to sea level rise and strain on drinking water and food resources due to added heat may overwhelm mankind should the current pattern of carbon pollution not be broken the next few years. Climate change stress on society could lead to horrific wars. I’d like to see Earth Century banners and flags unfurled on a daily basis to keep all focused on the goal of keeping planetary temperature averages below 2 degrees Celsius. The Hockey Stick graph by Dr. Michael Mann, which had its 20th anniversary this Earth Day (2018) needs to become a prominent symbol of what we are fighting against…brown energy interests that could sink what was a stable climate and environment since the dawn of civilization:

Sara Laughter‏ @GreenAwakening  “climate change is (a) real, (b) caused by burning fossil fuels, along with other human activities and (c) a grave threat if we do nothing about it. There is no legitimate scientific debate on those points…” @MichaelEMannhttp://bit.ly/2qQeKVF @SciAm

7:19 AM – 22 Apr 2018

Here is a note that I received from Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project:

Guy,

A single photo of our home from space inspired the very first Earth Day in 1970, and helped shape our modern movement to save the planet from climate change.

And as the reality of the climate crisis becomes more apparent and urgent by the day, activists like you know that every day should be Earth Day. The facts are clear that our climate is changing and that we need to take action to save our planet before it’s too late.

 On this Earth Day and in the early part of this Earth Century here is a big thank you to all trying to make a difference:

Randall Gates‏ @rgatess A few people who deserve an Earth Day Hero Award for work in education & communication on climate issues: @PaulHBeckwith@NERC_CAO@SarahEMyhre@MarkEakin@MichaelEMann@EricHolthaus@AarneClimate@KHayhoe@Climatologist49@afreedma@PeterGleick@iamscicomm@ZLabe@IceSheetMike

For Earth Day 2019, which definitely needs to be celebrated annually, I’d like to report some good progress on climate. Let’s all work hard for 365 days to make the remaining years of the 21st century, Earth’s Century, shine.

The Climate Guy

I’d like to report some very good news here, but sadly not as carbon levels spiked again during 2020. I hope to report better news on Earth Day 2021.

Now here is that Guardian article written by Bill McKibben which is very relevant for Earth Day 2020:

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/commentisfree/2020/apr/22/fossil-fuel-industry-stop-the-money-pipeline

This Earth Day, we must stop the fossil fuel money pipeline

Bill McKibben

Taking down the fossil fuel industry requires taking on the institutions that finance it. Even during a pandemic, this movement is gaining steam @billmckibben

Wed 22 Apr 2020 06.30 EDT Last modified on Wed 22 Apr 2020 07.31 EDT

A Pace College student in a gas mask “smells” a magnolia blossom in City Hall Park on Earth Day in 1970 in New York. (AP Photo)

Twenty million Americans took to the streets for the first Earth Day in 1970 – 10% percent of America’s population at the time, perhaps the single greatest day of political protest in the country’s history.’ Photograph: AP

1970 was a simpler time. (February was a simpler time too, but for a moment let’s think outside the pandemic bubble.)

Simpler because our environmental troubles could be easily seen. The air above our cities was filthy, and the water in our lakes and streams was gross. There was nothing subtle about it. In New York City, the environmental lawyer Albert Butzel described a permanently yellow horizon: “I not only saw the pollution, I wiped it off my windowsills.” Or consider the testimony of a city medical examiner: “The person who spent his life in the Adirondacks has nice pink lungs. The city dweller’s are black as coal.” You’ve probably heard of Cleveland’s Cuyahoga River catching fire, but here’s how the former New York governor Nelson Rockefeller described the Hudson south of Albany: “One great septic tank that has been rendered nearly useless for water supply, for swimming, or to support the rich fish life that once abounded there.” Everything that people say about the air and water in China and India right now was said of America’s cities then.

It’s no wonder that people mobilized: 20 million Americans took to the streets for the first Earth Day in 1970 – 10% of America’s population at the time, perhaps the single greatest day of political protest in the country’s history. And it worked. Worked politically because Congress quickly passed the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act and scientifically because those laws had the desired effect. In essence, they stuck enough filters on smokestacks, car exhausts and factory effluent pipes that, before long, the air and water were unmistakably cleaner. The nascent Environmental Protection Agency commissioned a series of photos that showed just how filthy things were. Even for those of us who were alive then, it’s hard to imagine that we tolerated this.

But we should believe it, because now we face even greater challenges that we’re doing next to nothing about. And one reason is you can’t see them.

The carbon dioxide molecule is invisible; at today’s levels you can’t see it or smell it, and it doesn’t do anything to you. Carbon with one oxygen molecule? That’s what kills you in a closed garage if you leave the car running. But two oxygen molecules? All that does is trap heat in the atmosphere. Melt ice caps. Raise seas. Change weather patterns. But slowly enough that most of the time, we don’t quite see it.

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And it’s a more complex moment for another reason. You can filter carbon monoxide easily. It’s a trace gas, a tiny percentage of what comes from a power plant. But carbon dioxide is the exact opposite. It’s most of what comes pouring out when you burn coal or gas or oil. There’s no catalytic converter for CO2,which means you have to take down the fossil fuel industry.

That in turn means you have to take on not just the oil companies but also the banks, asset managers and insurance companies that invest in them (and may even own them, in the wake of the current economic crash). You have to take on, that is, the heart of global capital.

And so we are. Stop the Money Pipeline, a coalition of environmental and climate justice groups running from the small and specialized to the Sierra Club and Greenpeace, formed last fall to try to tackle the biggest money on earth. Banks like Chase – the planet’s largest by market capitalization – which has funneled a quarter-trillion dollars to the fossil fuel industry since the Paris agreement of 2015. Insurers like Liberty Mutual, still insuring tar sands projects even as pipeline builders endanger Native communities by trying to build the Keystone XL during a pandemic

(The Guardian is partnering with Covering Climate Now, a global news collaboration of more than 400 news outlets, to boost coverage of solutions to the climate crisis.)

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This campaign sounds quixotic, but it seemed to be getting traction until the coronavirus pandemic hit. In January, BlackRock announced that it was going to put climate at the heart of its investment analyses. Liberty Mutual, under similar pressure from activists, began to edge away from coal. And Chase – well, Earth Day would have seen activists engaging in civil disobedience in several thousand bank lobbies across America, sort of like the protest in January that helped launch the campaign (and sent me, among others, off in handcuffs). But we called that off; there’s no way we were going to risk carrying the microbe into jails, where the people already locked inside have little chance of social distancing.

Still, the pandemic may be causing as much trouble for the fossil fuel industry as our campaign hoped to. With the demand for oil cratering, it’s clear that these companies have no future. The divestment campaign that, over a decade, has enlisted $14tn in endowments and portfolios in the climate fight has a new head of steam.

Our job – a more complex one than faced our Earth Day predecessors 50 years ago – is to force the spring. We need to speed the transition to the solar panels and wind turbines that engineers have worked so mightily to improve and are now the cheapest way to generate power. The only thing standing in the way is the political power of the fossil fuel companies, on clear display as Donald Trump does everything in his power to preserve their dominance. That’s hard to overcome. Hard but simple. Just as in 1970, it demands unrelenting pressure from citizens. That pressure is coming. Indigenous nations, frontline communities, faith groups, climate scientists and savvy investors are joining together, and their voices are getting louder. Seven million of us were in the streets last September. That’s not 20 million, but it’s on the way.

We can’t be on the streets right now. So we’ll do what we can on the boulevards of the Internet. Join us for Earth Day Live, three days of digital activism beginning 22 April. We’re in a race, and we’re gaining fast.

  • Bill McKibben is an author and Schumann distinguished scholar in environmental studies at Middlebury College, Vermont. His most recent book is Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
  • This story originally appeared in The Nation and is republished here as part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration committed to strengthening coverage of the climate story

More notes on Earth Day:

Now here are some of today’s articles and notes on the horrid COVID-19 pandemic:

Here is more climate and weather news from Wednesday:

(As usual, this will be a fluid post in which more information gets added during the day as it crosses my radar, crediting all who have put it on-line. Items will be archived on this site for posterity. In most instances click on the pictures of each tweet to see each article.)

(If you like these posts and my work please contribute via the PayPal widget, which has recently been added to this site. Thanks in advance for any support.) 

Guy Walton “The Climate Guy”

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