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Climate Change: Permafrost

Environmental Politics presentation
by

Emma Reading

on 30 April 2013

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Transcript of Climate Change: Permafrost

Global Warming: What is Permafrost Deniers and Oppressors Believers Problems: Possible solutions?? Senator James Inhofe (R) Deniers Characteristics:
-Pingos
-Ice wedge polygons His Challenge: -A republican Senator from Oklahoma
-"Inhofe, former chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, does not believe that human activities cause climate change..."
-He says that it is "hoax"
-In a 2006 interview with the Tulsa World newspaper, Inhofe said regarding the environmentalist movement, "It kind of reminds... I could use the Third Reich, the Big Lie... You say something over and over and over and over again, and people will believe it, and that's their [the environmentalists'] strategy... A hot summer has nothing to do with global warming. Let's keep in mind it was just three weeks ago that people were saying, 'Wait a minute; it is unusually cool....Everything on which they [the environmentalists] based their story, in terms of the facts, has been refuted scientifically." "The Obama administration said the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is the "gold standard" for climate science, yet now the Environmental Protection Agency administrator won't defend it. The IPCC and Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize. Now the IPCC has retracted several false claims concerning, among other things, rain forests shrinking, crops dying, and sea levels rising. We've been told weather is not to be confused with climate, except when you have heat waves or blizzards. We've been told cap-and-trade would create thousands of green jobs, yet the Congressional Budget Office, Department of Energy, National Black Chamber of Commerce, and others say it would mean a net loss of jobs.We are told that increasing levels of CO2 will increase temperature, yet the key scientist in the climate gate scandal says there's been "no statistically significant warming" in the past 15 years--all while CO2 levels have increased. We've been told that there is an "indisputable consensus" that human-caused global warming is happening and pushing the planet to certain disaster. Yet that same scientist--Phil Jones, former director of Britain's Climatic Research Unit, the foremost such center--now says that the vast majority of climate scientists don't agree on what the data are telling us..." (Inhofe, J. 2010. 'Consensus' Is No Such Thing. U.S. News & World Report, 147(4), 20.) The Melting of the Permafrost
-Permafrost is permanently frozen soil, sediment, or rock. Its classification is solely based on temperature, not moisture or ground cover. The ground must remain at or below 0°C for at least two years in order to be considered permafrost. Although new permafrost is forming, it can be over thousands of years old. For example, some of the permafrost in western Canada's boreal peatlands has been there since the Little Ice Age of the 1600's (Turetsky et al., 2007).
- Much of the permafrost in Alaska is tens of thousands of years old. In arctic and interior Alaska, river erosion and gold mining have revealed the remains of now-extinct animals from the last great ice age 100,000 to 10,000 years ago, when animals such as woolly mammoths, mastodons, lions, and saber-toothed cats roamed what is now Alaska.
-About 470,000 mi2 (81 percent) of Alaska’s land
surface belong to the permafrost zone. Problems ` -"Scientists estimate that permafrost holds up to 950 billion tons of carbon. As it thaws, 50 billion tons of methane could enter the atmosphere from Siberian lakes alone. "That's ten times more methane than the atmosphere holds right now," Walter Anthony notes. "Since methane traps heat so efficiently, temperatures will rise higher, faster." In the atmosphere methane spreads rapidly too, circling the globe in just one year.
Walter Anthony's research in Alaska and Russia explores this dangerous, self-perpetuating cycle: thawing permafrost caused by global warming releases methane, which contributes to global warming. The bubbles she observes in the wilds of Siberia will soon be felt by the entire planet."
-the coal companies release tons of carbon dioxide and other GHG into the atmosphere which increases the temperature. ironically the earth's temperature is already being warmed up the naturally from the releases of the methane and carbon from the permafrost in the Tundras.
-Thermokarst failure: ice-rich permafrost melts...organic matter is exposed and decomposes, releasing more GHG into the air
-Precipitation: On the whole, Alaska saw a 10-percent increase in
statewide average precipitation over the period from 1949
through 2005 (Shulski and Wendler, 2007). The melting of Permafrost -Oil companies depend on the oil reserves in Alaska. TAPS (Trans-Alaska Pipeline System) was built after the 1973 Oil Crisis which caused a sharp increase in oil prices. T -Coal and oil companies also depend on natural resources for energy because it is cheaper available and less expensive.
- the one main argument in defense is that coal and oil states like Virginia and Oklahoma cannot access to the renewable energy like the other states and only has coal as a resource to use and to make a profit. The benefits:
-it provides food and vegetation to the animals native to the land
- alot of fresh water is stored in the frozen ground
- TAPS The Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) includes the trans-Alaska crude-oil pipeline, 12 pump stations, several hundred miles of feeder pipelines, and the Valdez Marine Terminal. TAPS is one of the world's largest pipeline systems.
TAPS is the transportation system that moves crude oil from the Alaska North Slope to the Valdez Marine Terminal. It was built after the 1973 oil crisis which caused the gas prices to spike.This entire infrastructure is built on the tundra plains of Alaska, above the permafrost and due to the rapid rate in which the permafrost is melting, it could cause significant and deadly consequence for the system. To supervise the construction of the pipeline, Alyeska appointed two construction management contractors to oversee all the other subcontractors in the project. Bechtel Corporation, from San Francisco, was named the management contractor for the pipeline itself.[18] Fluor Alaska Inc., a division of Fluor Corp., was named the management contractor for the pumping stations and Valdez Marine Terminal, which was the most complex single section of the pipeline, since it involved the transfer of oil from the pipeline to seagoing oil tankers. Roscow, James P. 800 Miles to Valdez: The Building of the Alaska Pipeline. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.; Prentice-Hall Inc., 1977. (Myers, Jim (2006-07-22). "Heat wave has senator sticking to beliefs". Tulsa World (Tulsa, OK). Retrieved 2009-12-23.) companies, especially Oil and coal, then emit even more GHG into the atmosphere A clip from the documentary "Greedy Lying Bastards" -"Lying Greedy Bastards" http://www.nationalgeographic.com/explorers/bios/katey-walter-anthony/ -"Drunken trees"
-Erosion: more sever storms washes away shoreline.
-landslide: As permafrost thaws, the friction needed between the frozen and thawing permafrost regions to maintain stability disappears.
-Climate warming in the Arctic currently (2012) has broad
-implications for human health, affecting vulnerability for injury and disease, water and food security, mental health problems, and damage and disruption to water and sanitation infrastructure (Berner and Furgal, 2005).
-destruction of infrastructure that is built on the permafrost:
-businesses
-houses
-roads
-The Trans-Alaskan Pipelines (TAPS) Environmentalists and supporters Doubtful scientists and senators, companies, and others -harness the methane gas to use as an alternative source of renewable energy.
-multiple source where methane gas is released into the atmosphere:
-the ocean
-Tundra: melting of permafrost
-landfills
-waste sites Work Cited: "The Kyoto Protocol is a lot of economic pain for no climate gain..." http://www.epw.senate.gov/speechitem.cfm?party=rep&id=263759 -example: an article for the Chicago Tribune talking about a method in which methane gas can be harnessed and what that can do for hundreds of homes.
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-10-13/news/ct-x-s-landfill-energy-1013-20101013_1_methane-gas-county-owned-landfill-waste-management -To adopt and impose this method of harnessing methane gas for alternative energy use for the entire state.
-Put more money towards the already existing OES Act that was passed in OK of last year and to increase the 15% of energy being generated from renewable resouces. The OES Act establishes a goal that 15 percent of all installed electric generation capacity within the state of Oklahoma be generated from renewable energy sources such as wind, solar, photovoltaic, hydropower, hydrogen, geothermal and biomass by the year 2015. Turetsky, M. R., R. K. Wieder, D. H. Vitt, R. J. Evans, and K. D. Scott. "The disappearance of relict permafrost in boreal North America: Effects on peatland carbon storage and fluxes." Global Change Biology 13, no. 9 (2007): 1922.1934. http://www.alaskacenters.gov/permafrost.cfm http://www.alaskacenters.gov/permafrost.cfm Anthony, Katey W. Aquatic Ecologist/Biogeochemist National Geophraphics. http://www.nationalgeographic.com/explorers/bios/katey-walter-anthony/ Shulski, M., and Wendler, G., 2007, The climate of Alaska: Fairbanks, Alaska, University of Alaska Press, 214 p. Roscow, James P. 800 Miles to Valdez: The Building of the Alaska Pipeline. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.; Prentice-Hall Inc., 1977. Inhofe, J. 2010. 'Consensus' Is No Such Thing. U.S. News & World Report, 147(4), 20.) Myers, Jim (2006-07-22). "Heat wave has senator sticking to beliefs". Tulsa World (Tulsa, OK). Retrieved 2009-12-23. (U.S. Arctic Research Commission Permafrost Task Force,
2003). An important societal concern is that extreme wave events have eroded inhabited shorelines of the western Alaskan coast, particularly in the southeast Chukchi Sea region (Francis, 2011). Although the waves created by these storms are not particularly high (1013 ft), their effect on the low-lying permafrost-rich bluffs can cause several feet of shoreline to be washed away by one large storm. Berner, J., and Furgal, C., 2005, Human health, chap. 15 of Arctic Climate Impact Assessment: Cambridge, United Kingdom, and New York, Cambridge University Press, p. 863–906, accessed June 8, 2011, at http://www.acia.uaf.
edu/pages/scientific.html. Francis, O.P., 2011, Atmospheric forcing of wave states in the southeast Chukchi Sea: University of Alaska–Fairbanks, Ph.D. dissertation. U.S. Arctic Research Commission Permafrost Task Force, 2003, Climate change, permafrost, and impacts on civil infrastructure: Arlington, Va., U.S. Arctic Research Commission, Special Report 01–03, accessed June 11, 2012, at http://www.arctic.gov/publications/permafrost.pdf.
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