Twelve years. According to climate scientists, that’s how long until we hit the 1.5C tipping point if we carry on as we are. Such a shift in our planetary temperature will imperil not only low-lying areas because of the increased risk of floods, but will have consequences for all of us – not least due to the necessary migration of millions of people away from areas that become uninhabitable. Coral reefs will vanish; many ancient trees will not survive; extreme weather events will become ever more common. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change paints a bleak picture. Yet the scientists are also clear that we can still hold the line on further damaging change – if we’re prepared to act fast and invest a great deal of money. By reducing CO2 emissions by nearly half from their 2010 levels, we could give ourselves a fighting chance; by planting millions of trees and using technology to further capture carbon dioxide too, we might just do it. But in … [Read more...] about ‘We have 12 years to act on climate change before the world as we know it is lost. How much more urgent can it get?’
4 differences between weather and climate
opinion USA TODAY Published 8:00 AM EDT Sep 23, 2018 Letter to the editor: Democrats have had their way and are now delaying Brett Kavanaugh’s Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation vote until later. Who cares what Kavanaugh did as a teenager? I don’t. The important thing is what he has done during these last three decades. His record is impeccable. Kavanaugh is an intelligent human being. A much better person than those who are trying to accuse him of things he might have done while in high school. Where has common sense gone? Betty Bonker; Harlingen, Texas Letter to the editor: Sexual assault and harassment of any kind cannot be tolerated, but am I the only one perplexed about the news coverage of something that was alleged to have happened in this man’s life over 35 years ago? Memories fade and can change over time with our life experiences. How can we know for sure that the allegations being made against Kavanaugh are actually … [Read more...] about Readers on Brett Kavanaugh, the Catholic Churh and hurricanes’ power
After eight years of displeasure with the presidency of Barack Obama and faced with a choice between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, Dennis Schminke of Austin, Minnesota, didn't have to think hard about how he would vote in 2016. A retired corporate manager, a staunch conservative and a county Republican official, he supported the New York businessman. Since then, there has not been a day that Schminke wished that Clinton, rather than Trump, were president. But week by week, month by month, as he has watched the events of Trump's presidency, he has become increasingly conflicted and concerned about what he has seen. The turmoil, he said, has often left him feeling "motion sick." By early spring, he expressed a different sentiment. He had not fully broken, but he was no longer as emotionally invested in the president or a reconstituted Trumpian Republican Party. "I find myself drawing back a bit," he said. Schminke lives in a section of the Upper Midwest that responded … [Read more...] about Loyalty and unease in Trump’s Midwest
To understand how big a deal Jeremy Thorpe was some four decades ago, it is helpful to transplant him into the modern day. Imagine then a Liberal political leader who burst onto the scene with even more verve and energy and impact than Nick Clegg did in 2010, if you can cast your mind back to Cleggmania. And did so with the result that he almost single-handedly denied either main party a majority at a general election. Imagine too a man with the charisma and style of a character such as Nigel Farage (though far from sharing his politics). Top that lot off with the ready wit and celebrity of the likes of Boris Johnson. He was married to an ex-wife of the cousin of the Queen and he had once toyed with the idea of wedding Princess Margaret. That was Thorpe. Now imagine someone combining those talents and of that stature in national life being put on trial at the Old Bailey on a charge of conspiracy to murder. Read more Ben Whishaw cast in Russell T Davies … [Read more...] about Jeremy Thorpe: Who was the Liberal Party leader and what led to his spectacular fall from grace?
In just one week in February 1847, 49 residents of Cork Workhouse died of hunger and dysentery. Visitors to the city recorded their shock at the sight of the dead and dying in doorways and ‘ragged spectres’ of people begging in the streets. The Great Famine, which occurred between 1845 and 1852, was neither the first nor the last of Ireland’s famine experiences, but it was the most profound, and probably the most catastrophic event in our modern history. The population had more than trebled in the century prior to the Famine’s commencement, from approximately 2.5m people in 1750 to about 8.5m in 1845. Rapid population growth put enormous pressure on the country’s land and food resources, and reduced the impoverished peasantry, the bulk of the population, to a dangerous dependency on a single food source, potatoes. In September 1845, the fungal disease phytophthora infestans, late blight, appeared in Ireland for the first time, and destroyed about one third … [Read more...] about Brutality of Cork’s Famine years: ‘I saw hovels crowded with the sick and the dying in every doorway’