Climate change may force planes to lighten loads or stay grounded – study

The effects of climate change may extend further than melting glaciers and rising sea levels, according to a new study which says that hot temperatures may cause up to 30 percent of airplanes to be grounded in coming decades.

The study, published in the journal Climatic Change on Thursday, says that 10 to 30 percent of fully loaded airplanes may at some point be forced to adapt during the hottest part of the day. 

Those adaptations include removing fuel, cargo, or passengers, or waiting for cooler hours to fly.

 
Physicist Stephen Hawking and U.S. President Donald Trump © Reuters

The potential take-off problems would be due to the fact that as air warms, it spreads out and its density declines.

“In thinner air, wings generate less lift as a plane races along the runway. Thus, depending on the aircraft model, runway length, and other factors, at some point a packed plane may be unable to take off safely if the temperature gets too high,” Columbia University, whose researchers took part in the study, wrote in a press release. 

“Weight must be dumped, or else the flight delayed or canceled,” it continues.

The study’s authors estimate that fuel capacities and payload weights would have to be reduced as much as four percent for some aircraft.

To put those numbers in perspective, an average 160-seat aircraft would need roughly 12 or 13 less passengers to reach a four-percent weight reduction.

However, if carbon emissions were to somehow be sharply reduced in the near future, those reductions could amount to as little as 0.5 percent.

Planes with lower temperature tolerances would struggle more, according to the study. Airports which have shorter runways, or which are located in hotter parts of the world or in higher elevations will also suffer more than others.

 
© NERC / National Oceanography Centre

Airports which would be in danger in those cases include New York’s LaGuardia, which has short runways. Dubai International Airport in the United Arab Emirates would suffer due to its very high temperatures.

“Airports probably less affected because they are in temperate regions and have long runways include New York’s JFK, London Heathrow and Paris’s Charles de Gaulle,” the Columbia press release states.

In theory, the potential problems could be somewhat mitigated with new engine or body designs for aircraft, or expanded runways, according to study co-author Radley Horton, a climatologist at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

However, such solutions are unlikely to be implemented, as planes are already highly engineered for efficiency, and there simply isn’t room to expand runways in major cities such as New York.

“The sooner climate can be incorporated into mid- and long-range plans, the more effective adaptation efforts can be,” said co-author Ethan Coffel, a Columbia University PhD student.

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World Leaders Pressure Trump on Climate and Trade at G20

The meeting comes at a time of major shifts in the global geopolitical landscape under Trump's "America First" policies.

World leaders intend to try to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to compromise on climate and trade during the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg, Germany. 

RELATED: Germany: Protesters Demand G-20 Address Humanitarian, Environmental Concerns

In a joint communique issued on the summit's first day Friday, Brazil, Russia, India and China called on the G20 to push for implementation of the Paris climate accord despite Trump's decision last month to pull the United States out of it.

"We call upon the international community to jointly work toward implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change," the communique said.

"We firmly support a rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system, implementation and enforcement of existing WTO (World Trade Organization) rules and commitments and oppose protectionism."

The meeting comes at a time of major shifts in the global geopolitical landscape under Trump's "America First" policies. The host of G20, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, faces the difficult task of steering leaders towards a consensus on trade, climate and migration — all issues that have become more contentious since Trump entered the White House half a year ago.

Aside from the four emerging market countries, British Prime Minister Theresa May also said G20 leaders would urge Trump to reconsider his decision on Paris.

"I hope they will be able to find a way to come back into the Paris agreement ... I believe it is possible. We are not renegotiating the Paris agreement, that stays, but I want to see the U.S. looking for ways to rejoin it," she told the BBC.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told a German newspaper Friday that climate change was a challenge, but also an opportunity to invest. He added that the same was true of global trade. 

"Instead of saying we'll stop trade, we need to create opportunities for smaller companies and protect workers' rights with progressive trade agreements like CETA (Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement)," Trudeau said, referring to the EU-Canada trade deal.

The draft G20 agreement acknowledges U.S. isolation on the Paris climate accord, but claims the United States is committed to cutting carbon emissions by other routes, according to The Guardian newspaper. 

“The United States of America will endeavor to work closely with other partners to help their access to and use of fossil fuels more cleanly and efficiently and help deploy renewable and other clean energy sources,” the draft said.

RELATED: Clashes at 'Welcome to Hell' Hamburg Demos Ahead of G20 Summit

On trade, sources told Reuters that Washington was backtracking on language condemning protectionism that Trump agreed to at a Group of Seven meeting in Sicily in late May.

The final version of the communique will be negotiated overnight by attendants from the 20 participating countries.

Merkel chose Hamburg, the second-largest city in the country, to send a signal about Germany's "openness to the world," including its alleged tolerance for peaceful protests.

Police said violence that erupted during anti-capitalist protests directed at the G20 Thursday continued into Friday. At least 29 protesters were detained and 111 police officers injured, including three officers who required hospital treatment.

"There is quite a delicate balance that Angela Merkel will have to navigate in a way, because it is not clear that being confrontational won't just create even more of a credibility problem for G20 cooperation," Indonesian Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati told the Reuters in an interview.

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It's Raining in Antarctica While Trump Slashes Climate Science Funding

This Memorial Day I awoke in a tent high on Klahhane Ridge in Washington state's Olympic National Park. With the Strait of Juan de Fuca just to the north, and a sweeping view of Mount Olympus and the rest of the park to the south, the sunset the night before went on for hours.

After the sun set, slivers of red arched across the sky in streaks on the underbellies of a few wispy clouds. That night, the stars were so bright they ran all the way down to the horizons. 

To see more stories like this, visit "Planet or Profit?"

The morning sun found me crawling out of my sleeping bag early. I sat outside eating oatmeal while marveling at the majesty of the park before me. All of the high mountains, including Mount Olympus, were covered in late-spring snow, which covered everything down to 3,000 feet. The grandeur of the wild high country was augmented by the white backdrop.

Climate Disruption DispatchesThe sound of rivers and waterfalls was ever-present in the background, and aside from the one road into the park in this area, the land was unscarred. Yet all around the park, logging has left a patchwork of the forest. And now, emboldened by this particularly destructive administration, the loggers want all of these parks. And in time, I fear they will get them. Because they want everything. They are the Earth eaters. 

That day I wondered, will we have a Memorial Day for all the lost, wild places? Will we have a Memorial Day for all the glaciers that used to be here?

Meanwhile, abrupt anthropogenic climate disruption (ACD) continues apace.

As President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement, NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] released data showing 2016 saw the biggest annual jump in atmospheric CO2 levels on record, coming in at nearly double the average pace.

NASA announced that April was the second hottest April in the history of record-keeping, and that agency, along with NOAA, released data showing that 2016 was the warmest year on record globally, making 2016 the third year in a row to set a new record for global average surface temperatures.

And the records continue to be broken. NASA data showed May to be the second hottest on record, barely trailing 2016 by one-tenth of a degree, and this was the second-warmest spring on record, again only behind 2016. The first five months of this year make it likely that this will be the second hottest year on record, again only behind last year.

Meanwhile, parts of Antarctica are literally beginning to turn green, as scientists there are finding a four- to five-fold increase in the amount of moss growth on the ice continent's northern peninsula.

Even more stunning news comes from Antarctica in a study published in the June 15 issue of the journal Nature Communications which revealed that over an area of West Antarctica, scientists were stunned to find rainfall and a melt area larger than the size of Texas in 2016.

Yes, it is now raining in Antarctica.

The New York Times published a fantastic interactive piece on the ice continent that is well worth a look, while warm temperatures last fall caused water to breach the entrance of the Arctic's "Doomsday" seed vault, one of humans' last hopes of preserving seeds to survive a global catastrophe.

Meanwhile, Arctic sea ice is disappearing off Alaskan coasts more than a month earlier than normal, and due to congressional budget cuts, the 38-year continuous US Arctic satellite monitoring program is about to end, leaving researchers in the dark about ongoing sea ice losses.

And this May, atmospheric CO2 content set an all-time monthly high when it reached 409.65ppm, according to NOAA data.

Earth

Anthropogenic climate disruption has created stunning major developments in the lives of the Earth's plants and animals over recent weeks.

A recently published paper in the journal Scientific Reports shows how ACD is disrupting the timing of dozens of songbird species. Timing is critical for migratory birds, because if they arrive too late they only get the tail end of the spring's insect supply and have trouble finding nesting spots and mates. On the other hand, if they arrive too early, they will arrive in temperatures colder than they are prepared to deal with. Yet, ACD is causing spring to arrive earlier in eastern US states and later in the west, disrupting the timing of dozens of bird species.

This is threatening the survival of many species that are currently popular in many people's backyards. "The long-term concern is that this growing mismatch can lead to population declines," Stephen Mayor, the study's primary researcher said in an interview.

An interesting thing is happening to trees in the US -- they are moving westward, and nobody seems to know why, aside from the influence of ACD, which scientists say accounts for 20 percent of the reason. One main hypothesis is that the trees are following moisture as it moves westward: The east has been getting less rain, and the great plains are getting more.

Meanwhile, a vast dieback of trees caused by a tiny beetle from southeast Asia that is on track to kill 26.8 million trees across Southern California over the next few years is expected to bring about a human death toll that could reach into the thousands. A recent report cited differences in illnesses and deaths in human populations that live near greenery versus those who do not, and is predicting these ramifications from the widespread tree dieback.

In other parts of the world, ACD-driven extreme weather events and wild temperature swings are predicted to slash major staple crop production (corn, wheat, rice, soybeans) by nearly one-quarter over the upcoming 30 years, according to another report.

In another astounding turn of events, a recently released study showed that in Greenland, so much water and ice rushed through a melting glacier that it literally warmed the Earth's crust. A mass of melting ice the size of 18,000 Empire State Buildings traveled over 15 miles through the Rink Glacier in 2012, a record melting year for the ice sheet.

Eric Rignot, a leading expert on the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet from the University of California, Irvine, recently told Scientific American that in the Arctic, the Greenland Ice Sheet poses the single greatest risk for ocean levels due to the obvious fact that land ice that is melting, like Greenland, is the single biggest cause of rising seas, and that "most of the Arctic's land ice is locked up in Greenland." If the entire Greenland Ice Sheet melted, it would raise sea levels an average of seven meters.

And the consequences of a melting Greenland Ice sheet are far from limited to global sea level rise. A study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that if the melting is large enough, it could literally change global weather patterns that could result in devastating crops in Africa. In sum, the massive influx of freshwater from the melting ice sheet could disrupt a major ocean current system, which would then dry out the Sahel of Africa. The consequences of this would be devastating agricultural losses as that area's climate shifts, and upwards of tens of millions of people could be forced to migrate out of the area in the worst-case scenario.

And that's not the only place major changes in melting ice are having an impact on the planet.

In Savoonga, Alaska, a village island 164 miles west of Nome in the Bering Sea, the sea ice is arriving later and going out earlier than ever before, and with it, the walruses the natives in the village depend on. "This year it's worse. Unusual. The ice moved out in April," Larry Kava, 76, a tribal and cultural leader in Savoonga, told the Alaska Dispatch News.

Water

Not surprisingly, a recently published study in which researchers looked very closely at cities lining US coasts found that they will flood more often and more severely as ACD progresses. The study warns that cities should brace for much more flooding, from what they refer to as "nuisance" floods that cover streets at high tides, to deluges that kill people and take out vast swaths of infrastructure.

As if to underscore that point, another recent study has found that Earth's oceans are now rising three times as rapidly as they had been throughout much of the last century, showing that sea level rise acceleration is now very much under way.

At the same time, other land-based glaciers and ice fields continue to wither at ever-increasing paces. Recently released data from the USGS and Portland State University showed that ACD has dramatically reduced the size of 39 glaciers across Montana since just 1966. Some of them have been reduced by 85 percent, and on average Montana's glaciers have been reduced by 39 percent, and only 26 of the remaining glaciers are larger than 25 acres, the minimum size threshold used to decide if bodies of ice are large enough to be considered glaciers.

Seeing the writing on the wall, a team of international scientists in Bolivia called the "Ice Memory" expedition is working feverishly to transport samples of ice from a melting glacier there to Antarctica, in order to preserve and study the 18,000 years of climate history embedded within the ice before the glacier disappears completely.

Meanwhile, as oceans continue to warm, global coral bleaching continues apace.

The Australian government's primary aim of protecting the Great Barrier Reef is now no longer achievable due to the dramatic impacts of ACD, according to experts advising that country's governmental advisory committee for the plan. The reef is now likely to become listed as a World Heritage Site in Danger.

The coral bleaching event that struck the Great Barrier Reef this year was recently revealed to have had an escalating impact from north to south, killing 70 percent of all shallow-water corals north of the coastal town of Port Douglas.

Another report has gone so far as to claim that the damage already done to the Great Barrier Reef is so great that the reef is beyond repair and can no longer be saved, at least according to some scientists. This is, they said, because of the "extraordinary rapidity" of ACD, and because roughly 95 percent of the reef has been bleached since 2016.

In the US, NOAA scientists recently warned that US coral reefs are on a course to disappear within just a few decades, and the Chagos Archipelago, a small group of roughly 60 islands in the Indian Ocean, was recently found to also be devastated by ACD impacts. After back-to-back bleaching events in 2015 and 2016, scientists there found approximately 90 percent of the coral in shallow waters to already be dead.

Ocean waters in the tropics are becoming so warm that a leading fisheries expert recently warned that fish are literally abandoning tropical waters.

Meanwhile flooding is progressing apace as extreme rain events continue to happen more frequently. In late May, Sri Lanka was seeing flooding from its most torrential rains since 2003. At least half a million people were impacted, with a death toll of at least 169 according to the Disaster Management Centre.

Another recent report revealed that three-fourths of California's native species and subspecies of salmonids (fish in the salmon family) may be extinct within 100 years, primarily due to ACD impacts and severe degradation of wild river habitats, according to biologists at the University of California, Davis, and the watershed advocacy group California Trout. In their study, "State of the Salmonids II: Fish in Hot Water," the authors warned that climate change impacts and the severe degradation of habitat of wild rivers that continues to this day could extinguish almost half of California's 32 types of native salmon and trout within 50 years.

Fire

There have been several major fires over the last month, many of which affected the US.

Southern California saw a 950-acre wildfire near Big Bear Lake. And in Utah, hundreds of people had to flee a ski town due to a rapidly spreading fire. In Arizona, more than eight structures burned as more than 100 firefighters worked to contain the wildfire amid extreme heat, hot winds and bone-dry vegetation.

In New Mexico, a volunteer fire fighter died from burns, while in Portugal raging wildfires killed at least 62, many of whom died in their cars while trying to flee to safety.

In the US, at the time of this writing, 27,943 wildfires have burned more than 2.5 million acres thus far for 2017.

Air

Methane, a greenhouse gas that is at least 20 times more potent than CO2, is already being released across much of the Arctic at far higher levels than ever recorded.

Hundreds of huge craters (some of which are half a mile wide) were recently discovered in the Arctic Ocean sea floor -- craters that formed after ice sheets melted, allowing trapped methane to blow out. One of the authors of a study on these craters described the event as being like "champagne bottles being opened" -- a phenomenon that could well happen again.

Meanwhile, examples of rapidly escalating global temperatures abound.

A recent study shows that India is now 250 percent more likely to experience deadly heat waves than it was just 50 years ago, and all it took to produce this dramatic change was increasing the average temperature there by just 0.5 Celsius.

In June, a record-breaking heat wave in the Southwestern US affected 40 million people. The heat wave was so intense it cracked pavement, threatened power grids, caused escalated risk of serious injuries and grounded flights. Temperatures reached 127 degrees Fahrenheit in Death Valley, California, the hottest June 20th ever recorded there, and Phoenix saw 119 Fahrenheit. Las Vegas tied its all-time heat record of 117 Fahrenheit (the previous time it saw that kind of heat was just four years ago), and temperature records were set across other parts of Arizona, Nevada and California.

Forty-three flights were grounded in Phoenix when aircraft could not generate enough lift for a safe take-off in thin, low-density super-heated air. By the time of this writing, more than 50 flights had been grounded from the heat.

At one point in Arizona in June, it had never been that hot for that long, in the history of record keeping. For example, in Tucson, a record-setting seven consecutive days of intense heat saw highs above 110 Fahrenheit -- the longest streak of such heat in the city's history.

Also at the time of this writing, at least four people had died from the heat in the Southwest, with that figure expected to rise as the heat wave persisted.

recently released study shows that one-third of the population of the planet now faces deadly heat waves due to ACD, and the number of people in danger will grow to nearly 50 percent by 2100 even if emissions are dramatically reduced before then.

And another recent report warns that ACD is pushing tropical diseases toward the Arctic Circle as the atmosphere continues to warm. This means that rare pathogens from the hotter parts of the planet are already creeping toward the north, and some of these diseases are already appearing near the Arctic.

Denial and Reality

Never a dull moment on the ACD denial front with the Trump administration.

US Energy Secretary (and scientist extraordinaire) Rick Perry said he does not believe CO2 emissions are the primary driver of Earth's warming, hence denying a core finding of ACD science. Instead of CO2 emissions driving warming, Perry claims the driver to be "the ocean waters and this environment we live in."

Trump named a BP oil disaster lawyer, Jeffrey Bossert Clark, who has also repeatedly challenged the science behind US climate policy, as the country's top Department of Justice environmental attorney. Trump's budget request to Congress will also eliminate or shrink core programs the federal government uses to track heat-trapping gases, while 85 percent of the top science jobs in Trump's government remain without a nominee, and the White House thinks the government has been spending too much money on climate science and the new budget from Trump aims to kill "crazy" climate science.

On the reality front, climate scientists are now uniting with lawyers in order to build networks to respond to attempts by the government to subvert their research and threaten them, and a recent poll shows that eight out of 10 people see ACD as a "catastrophic risk."

More news outlets are running stories asking the question of whether or not it makes sense to bring new children into an increasingly climate-disrupted world with a dystopian future that looks more inevitable by the day, and more than 1,400 cities, states and businesses in the US have vowed to meet the Paris climate commitments in the wake of Trump announcing the US withdrawal from the accords.

French President Emmanuel Macron is actively luring US climate researchers to move to France to do their work by offering four-year research grants, staff and coverage of other expenses, and China is now looking to California Gov. Jerry Brown, not Trump, as a partner to work with in mitigating ACD.

Meanwhile, evidence of ACD becoming more abrupt continues to mount. A recently published study shows that ACD-intensified storms over the US Great Plains may well already be eroding the protective ozone layer of Earth's atmosphere, meaning that for starters, the risk of skin cancer and destruction of plants and crops is more likely.

And the final reality check comes in from another recent study that confirmed the planet is already warming 20 times faster than it did during its fastest natural climate change, which occurred when it came out of the last Ice Age.

Paris climate agreement: World leaders slam Trump decision

World leaders on Thursday condemned President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris climate agreement.

Although the president said he is willing to work for a better deal, France, Italy and Germany said in a joint statement that the accord can not be re-negotiated.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni urged allies to "speed up" efforts to fight against climate change and said they would do more to help poorer countries.

Paris City Hall was illuminated in green Thursday night following Trump's announcement.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to criticize Trump's decision, saying his country is "deeply disappointed."

"We are all custodians of this world, and that is why Canada will continue to work with the U.S. at the state level, and with other U.S. stakeholders, to address climate change and promote clean growth," Trudeau said in a statement.

British Prime Minister Theresa May's office said she "expressed her disappointment" in a phone call with Trump, and "stressed that the U.K. remained committed to the Paris Agreement."

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called the decision "irresponsible."

Prime Minister of Denmark Lars Rasmussen said it was a "sad day for the world."

The European Union's top climate change official echoed Rasmussen's sentiments, calling it "a sad day for the global community."

"The EU deeply regrets the unilateral decision by the Trump administration to withdraw the US from the Paris Agreement," European Union Climate Action and Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Cañete said in a statement.

Former Mexican president Vincente Fox unleashed a tweetstorm, saying Trump has "surrendered the hopes and future of a nation."

“He’s declaring war on the planet itself,” Fox added.

Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel also weighed in: "I condemn this brutal act. ... Leadership means fighting climate change together. Not forsaking commitment."

The 197-member climate agreement requires every country to establish ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gasses. But those targets are largely voluntary, and Trump has already made clear that he views environmental regulations as an obstacle to his goal of creating jobs and ensuring energy independence.

Under the terms of the agreement, the earliest a nation can formally withdraw is November, 2020 — the same month Trump will run for re-election.

Earlier Thursday, Russia said it supported the Paris deal. "President (Vladimir) Putin signed this convention in Paris. Russia attaches great significance to it," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said during a call with reporters, the Independent reported.

"At the same time, it goes without saying that the effectiveness of this convention is likely to be reduced without its key participants," he said.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang promised to work with the EU to uphold the Paris climate accord, saying there is a "global consensus" and an "international responsibility” to fight climate change, the Associated Press reported.

"China in recent years has stayed true to its commitment,” he said in Berlin, referring to the Paris climate deal. China has been actively promoting the Paris agreement and was one of the first countries to ratify it, he said.

 

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US Exit From Paris Climate Deal 'Stunning Abdication' of Leadership - Pelosi

US President Donald Trump's reported decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Agreement is an abdication of American leadership on the global stage, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said in a statement on Tuesday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Earlier in the day, Axios reported that Trump allegedly decided to exit from the Paris climate agreement.

"President Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Climate Accord is a stunning abdication of American leadership and a grave threat to our planet’s future," Pelosi stated.

Trump smiles as he is introduced to speak to U.S. military troops and their families at Naval Air Station Sigonella, Saturday, May 27, 2017, in Sigonella, Italy.

Pelosi noted that walking away from the agreement aimed at curbing climate change would mean that Trump is denying science, taking away safeguards that protect US health and environment, and threatening national and global security.

Trump will also ensure that other countries will receive the investments in clean energy that could bring jobs to the United States, Pelosi added.

Trump said on Wednesday that he will reveal his decision on whether the United States will remain in the Paris Climate Agreement in the next few days. But according to US media reports, he will withdraw the country from the historic accord.

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‘Trump’s only ideology is ‘me’, deeply authoritarian & very dangerous’ – Noam Chomsky

World-famous linguist, philosopher and political thinker Noam Chomsky has described US President Donald Trump’s ideology simply as ‘me’, adding that while it’s not fascist, it’s still “deeply authoritarian and very dangerous.”

However, there is no other option in the eyes of the people, Chomsky added in his interview to BBC.

“What is the alternative to Trump? The democrats gave up on the working class 40 years ago. It’s not their constituency, no one in the political system is. The Republicans claim to be, but they are basically their class enemy. However they can appeal to people on the basis of claims ‘We're gonna help you economically, even when we kick you in the face’?”

 
Noam Chomsky © Majed Jaber

In his book, Chomsky branded the Republican Party as “the most dangerous organization on Earth,” and when asked to explain, he pointed out that it’s about something they refuse to admit exists.

“Trump will do damage to the world, and it's already happening. The most significant aspect of the Trump election is not just Trump, but the whole Republican Party as they are departing from the rest of the world on climate change, a crucial issue, an existential threat,” Chomsky said.

He called the denial “an astonishing spectacle,” in which “the US, alone in the world, not only refuses to participate in efforts to deal with climate change, but is dedicated to undermining them. And it’s not just Trump – every single Republican leader is the same and it goes down to local levels.”

And US popular opinion isn’t exactly of any help, according to Chomsky.

“Roughly 40 percent of the population think it can't be a problem, because Jesus is coming in a couple of decades.”

Isn’t Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) more of a threat? It would seem so, but Chomsky isn’t sure about that.

“Is ISIS dedicated to destroy the prospects for organized human existence? What does it mean to say is Not only we're not doing anything about climate change, but we're trying to accelerate the race to the precipice. Doesn't matter whether they genuinely believe it or not, if the consequence of that is, let's use more fossil fuel, let's refuse to subsidize developing countries, let's eliminate regulations that reduce greenhouse gas emissions — if that's the consequence, that's extremely dangerous."

 
Noam Chomsky. © PeoplePowerTelevision

“Trump's only ideology is ‘me’, it’s not Hitler or Mussolini, but deeply authoritarian and very dangerous,” the philosopher concluded.

The process happening in the US is universal, though, and is taking place worldwide, Chomsky told BBC, due to “a massive assault on the large part of the population, an assault on democracy” which led to “not just anger, but contempt for centrist institutions.”

“A large part of the population feels that they are just not responsive to them,” and Chomsky enumerates the results of this: Trump, Brexit, Le Pen.

Nevertheless, Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election is “by no means the end to the populism in Europe,” he said. In fact, “Macron is an example of populism, because he came from the outside, because the institutions have collapsed. The vote for him was substantially the vote against Le Pen.”

Last, but not least, Chomsky spoke out on WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, calling his persecution and threats against him to be “completely wrong.”

“What’s keeping him in prison – and in fact he is in prison [holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London] – is the threat that the United States will go after him. Same thing that’s keeping [security whistleblower Edward] Snowden in Russia. And he is right to worry about it and it is the threat that is wrong.”

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World Bank's Credibility at Stake if Climate Change Ignored

World Bank (WB) President Jim Yong Kim said: ''if we turn our backs on science and ignore climate change, we would lose all our credibility,'' prior to his meeting with the IMF.

At a press conference before the Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund, Kim pointed out that climate change mitigation and adaptation projects would continue to be a priority.

'The science of climate change has not changed with a particular election, and I do not see it is going to do so in the future,' he said in reference to US President Donald Trump and his doubts about global warming.

On several occasions Trump expressed his decision to revert some of the environmental regulations established by former President Barack Obama, as well as reducing his contribution to the WB, an institution to which the United States is the main shareholder.

At the press conference, IMF President Christine Lagarde stated that there was room for improvement in the global trading system. However, it should be done cooperatively.

Lagarde's statements are in opposition to the trade policy promoted by Trump to encourage isolation in favor of the economy of his country.

Lagarde proposed working on how to make trade fairer and more efficient, which should include a balanced field without resorting to protectionist measures.

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Climate change: ‘human fingerprint’ found on global extreme weather

Global warming makes temperature patterns that cause heatwaves, droughts and floods across Europe, north America and Asia more likely, scientists find.

The fingerprint of human-caused climate change has been found on heatwaves, droughts and floods across the world, according to scientists.

The discovery indicates that the impacts of global warming are already being felt by society and adds further urgency to the need to cut carbon emissions. A key factor is the fast-melting Arctic, which is now strongly linked to extreme weather across Europe, Asia and north America.

Rising greenhouse gases in the atmosphere have long been expected to lead to increasing extreme weather events, as they trap extra energy in the atmosphere. But linking global warming to particular events is difficult because the climate is naturally variable.

The new work analysed a type of extreme weather event known to be caused by changes in “planetary waves” – such as California’s ongoing record drought, and recent heatwaves in the US and Russia, as well as severe floods in Pakistan in 2010.

Planetary waves are a pattern of winds, of which the jet stream is a part, that encircle the northern hemisphere in lines that undulate from the tropics to the poles. Normally, the whole wave moves eastwards but, under certain temperature conditions, the wave can halt its movement. This leaves whole regions under the same weather for extended periods, which can turn hot spells into heatwaves and wet weather into floods.

This type of extreme weather event is known to have increased in recent decades. But the new research used observations and climate models to show that the chances of the conditions needed to halt the planetary waves occurring are significantly more likely as a result of global warming.

“Human activity has been suspected of contributing to this pattern before, but now we uncover a clear fingerprint of human activity,” said Prof Michael Mann, at Pennsylvania State University in the US and who led the study published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Large scale wind patterns are largely driven by the temperature difference between the poles and the tropics. But global warming is altering this difference because the Arctic is heating up faster than lower latitudes and because land areas are heating up faster than the oceans.

Recent changes in the Arctic are particularly striking, with record low levels of ice cover and extremely unusual high temperatures. “Things in the Arctic are happening much faster than we expected,” said Prof Stefan Rahmstorf, also at PIK.

“It is not just a problem of nature conservation or polar bears, it is about a threat to human society that comes from these rapid changes,” he said. “This is because it hits us with increasing extreme events in the highly populated centres in the mid-latitudes. It also affects us through sea level rise, which is hitting shores globally. So these changes that are going on in the Arctic should concern everyone.”

Other climate research, called attribution, is increasingly able to calculate how much more likely specific extreme weather events have been made by global warming. For example, the heatwave in south-eastern Australia in February was made twice as likely by climate change, while Storm Desmond, which caused heavy flooding in the UK in 2015, was made 40% more likely.

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