John Reid yesterday accused the government’s anti-terror critics of putting national security at risk by their failure to recognise the serious nature of the threat facing Britain. “They just don’t get it,” he said.
The home secretary yesterday gave the thinktank Demos his strongest hint yet that a new round of anti-terror legislation is on the way this autumn by warning that traditional civil liberty arguments were not so much wrong as just made for another age.
“Sometimes we may have to modify some of our own freedoms in the short term in order to prevent their misuse and abuse by those who oppose our fundamental values and would destroy all of our freedoms in the modern world,” he said.
Mr Reid said Britain was now facing “probably the most sustained period of severe threat since the end of the second world war” and that the country was facing a new breed of ruthless “unconstrained international terrorists”.
The European human rights convention had been drawn up 50 years ago to protect against fascist states but now the threat came from “fascist individuals” unconstrained by such conventions, agreements or standards. Everyone across the political, media, judicial and public spectrum needed to understand the depth and magnitude of the threat.
The majority of the public understood its seriousness but there were those who “just don’t get it” …
Record temperatures across much of the world over the past two weeks could make July the hottest month ever measured on Earth, according to climate scientists.
The past fortnight has seen freak heat in the Canadian Arctic, crippling droughts in Chennai and Harare and forest fires that forced thousands of holidaymakers to abandon campsites in southern France and prompted the air force in Indonesia to fly cloud-busting missions in the hope of inducing rain.
If the trends of the first half of this month continue, it will beat the previous record from July 2017 by about 0.025C, according to calculations by Karsten Haustein, a climate scientist at the University of Oxford, and others.
The scientists stressed that this outcome is uncertain because conditions could change in the second half of the month, but it underscores a broader pattern of steadily rising temperatures caused by increasing emissions of carbon dioxide from power plants, deforestation, cars, planes and other sources.
Editor’s note: A new study by scientists in the United States, China, France and Germany estimates that the world’s oceans have absorbed much more excess heat from human-induced climate change than researchers had estimated up to now. This finding suggests that global warming may be even more advanced than previously thought. Atmospheric scientist Scott Denning explains how the new report arrived at this result and what it implies about the pace of climate change.
1. How do scientists measure ocean temperature and estimate how climate change is affecting it?
They use thermometers attached to thousands of bobbing robots floating at controlled depths throughout the oceans. This system of “Argo floats” was launched in the year 2000 and there are now about 4,000 of the floating instruments.
About once every 10 days, they cycle from the surface to a depth of 6,500 feet, then bob back up to the surface to transmit their data by satellite. Each year this network collects about 100,000 measurements of the three-dimensional temperature distribution of the oceans.
The Argo measurements show that about 93 percent of the global warming caused by burning carbon for fuel is felt as changes in ocean temperature, while only a very small amount of this warming occurs in the air.
The new study finds that since 1991, the oceans have warmed about 60 percent faster than the average rate of warming estimated by studies summarized by the IPCC, which are based on data from Argo floats. This is a big deal.
Most of the difference comes from the earliest part of this period, before there were enough Argo floats in the oceans to properly represent the three-dimensional distribution of global water temperatures. The new data are complete all the way back to 1991, but the Argo data were really sparse until the mid-2000s.
The implication of faster ocean warming is that the effect of carbon dioxide on global warming is greater than we’d thought. We already knew that adding CO2 to the air was warming the world very rapidly. And the IPCC just warned in a special report that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels – a target that would avert many extreme impacts on humans and ecosystems – would require quickly reducing and eventually eliminating coal, oil and gas from the world energy supply. This study doesn’t change any of that, but it means we will need to eliminate fossil fuels even faster.
3. What did these researchers do differently to arrive at a higher number?
They have measured tiny changes since 1991 in the concentrations of a few gases in the air – oxygen, nitrogen and carbon dioxide – with incredibly high precision. This is really hard to do, because the changes are extremely small compared to the large amounts already in the air.
Some of these gases from the air dissolve into the oceans. The water’s temperature dictates how much it can absorb. As water warms, the amount of a gas that can dissolve in it decreases – that’s why a soda or beer left open on the kitchen table goes flat. That same temperature dependence allowed the scientists to calculate total changes in global ocean heat content from 1991 to now, just using very precise measurements of the air itself.
4. If this study is accurate, what does it suggest we should expect in the way of major climate change impacts in the coming decades?
This study did not address climate impacts, but they are already well known. As the world warms, more water vapor evaporates from both oceans and land. This means that when big storms develop, there’s more water vapor in the air for them to “work with,” which will produce more extreme rain and snow and resulting winds.
What this study suggests is that the climate is more sensitive to greenhouse gases than we previously thought. This means that in order to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, emissions will need to be cut faster and deeper.
5. How will we know whether these findings hold up?
There are other groups making precise gas measurements, and many of them have data going back to the 1990s. Others will repeat the analyses made by these authors and check their results. There will also be careful work to reconcile the increased warming rate of the oceans with the Argo temperature data, the surface air temperature record, atmospheric data from balloons and measurements made from satellites. The real world must be consistent with all of the observations taken together, not just a subset.
This study very cleverly used data from the composition of the air itself going back nearly 30 years. We didn’t have Argo floats back then, but air samples are still available that can be analyzed decades later. Using a longer record of warming is much better for estimating the rate, because it’s less sensitive to year-to-year variations than a shorter record.
These scientists have given us a new and independent way to assess the sensitivity of long-term global warming to changes in atmospheric CO2 levels. I expect the findings will indeed hold up, and that we will be hearing a lot more about this new method in the future.
Nearly 80% of cities to undergo dramatic and potentially disastrous changes, study finds
London will have a similar climate in three decades’ time to that of Barcelona today, according to research – but if that seems enticing, a warning: the change could be accompanied by severe drought.
Madrid will feel like present-day Marrakech by 2050, and Stockholm like Budapest, according to a report on the likely impacts of the climate crisis. Around the world, cities that are currently in temperate or cold zones in the northern hemisphere will resemble cities more than 600 miles (1,000km) closer to the equator, with damaging effects on health and infrastructure.
Among other analogues, the study suggests Moscow will resemble Sofia, Seattle will feel like San Francisco and New York will be comparable to Virginia Beach. The researchers have created an interactive map showing hundreds of cities and their 2050 counterparts.
Water shortages will affect scores of cities now in temperate climates as a result of the global heating, which is forecast to be by as much as 3.5C in European cities in summer and 4.7C in winter.
But what about at the other icy end of the planet?
Antarctica is an icy giant compared to its northern counterpart. The water frozen in the Greenland ice sheet is equivalent to around 7 metres of potential sea level rise. In the Antarctic ice sheet there are around 58 metres of sea-level rise currently locked away.
Like Greenland, the Antarctic ice sheet is losing ice and contributing to unabated global sea level rise. But there are worrying signs Antarctica is changing faster than expected and in places previously thought to be protected from rapid change.
The threat from beneath
On the Antarctic Peninsula – the most northerly part of the Antarctic continent – air temperatures over the past century have risen faster than any other place in the Southern Hemisphere. Summer melting already happens on the Antarctic Peninsula between 25 and 80 days each year. The number of melt days will rise by at least 50% when global warming hits the soon-to-be-reached 1.5℃ limit set out in the Paris Agreement, with some predictions pointing to as much as a 150% increase in melt days.
But the main threat to the Antarctic ice sheet doesn’t come from above. What threatens to truly transform this vast icy continent lies beneath, where warming ocean waters (and the vast heat carrying capacity of seawater) have the potential to melt ice at an unprecedented rate.
Almost all (around 93%) of the extra heat human activities have caused to accumulate on Earth since the Industrial Revolution lies within the ocean. And a large majority of this has been taken into the depths of the Southern Ocean. It is thought that this effect could delay the start of significant warming over much of Antarctica for a century or more.
However, the Antarctic ice sheet has a weak underbelly. In some places the ice sheet sits on ground that is below sea level. This puts the ice sheet in direct contact with warm ocean waters that are very effective at melting ice and destabilising the ice sheet.
Scientists have long been worried about the potential weakness of ice in West Antarctica because of its deep interface with the ocean. This concern was flagged in the first report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) way back in 1990, although it was also thought that substantial ice loss from Antarctica wouldn’t be seen this century. Since 1992 satellites have been monitoring the status of the Antarctic ice sheet and we now know that not only is ice loss already underway, it is also vanishing at an accelerating rate.
The latest estimates indicate that 25% of the West Antarctic ice sheet is now unstable, and that Antarctic ice loss has increased five-fold over the past 25 years. These are remarkable numbers, bearing in mind that more than 4 metres of global sea-level rise are locked up in the West Antarctic alone.
Thwaites Glacier in West Antarctica is currently the focus of a major US-UK research program as there is still a lot we don’t understand about how quickly ice will be lost here in the future. For example, gradual lifting of the bedrock as it responds to the lighter weight of ice (known as rebounding) could reduce contact between the ice sheet and warm ocean water and help to stabilise runaway ice loss.
On the other hand, melt water from the ice sheets is changing the structure and circulation of the Southern Ocean in a way that could bring even warmer water into contact with the base of the ice sheet, further amplifying ice loss.
There are other parts of the Antarctic ice sheet that haven’t had this same intensive research, but which appear to now be stirring. The Totten Glacier, close to Australia’s Casey station, is one area unexpectedly losing ice. There is a very pressing need to understand the vulnerabilities here and in other remote parts of the East Antarctic coast.
The other type of ice
Sea ice forms and floats on the surface of the polar oceans. The decline of Arctic sea ice over the past 40 years is one of the most visible climate change impacts on Earth. But recent years have shown us that the behaviour of Antarctic sea ice is stranger and potentially more volatile.
So far in 2019, sea ice around Antarctica is tracking near or below the lowest levels on record from 40 years of satellite monitoring. In the long-term this trend is expected to continue, but such a dramatic drop over only a few years was not anticipated.
There is still a lot to learn about how quickly Antarctica will respond to climate change. But there are very clear signs that the icy giant is awakening and – via global sea level rise – coming to pay us all a visit.
Nerilie Abram, ARC Future Fellow, Research School of Earth Sciences; Chief Investigator for the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate Extremes, Australian National University; Matthew England, Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow; Deputy Director of the Climate Change Research Centre (CCRC); Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence in Climate System Science, UNSW, and Matt King, Professor, Surveying & Spatial Sciences, School of Technology, Environments and Design, University of Tasmania
… [S]tarting Monday 15 July Extinction Rebellion UK will return to block streets day after day creating open public spaces for creative resistance in five cities in England, Wales and Scotland – Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds and London. People are coming together through a set of UK wide regional acts of nonviolent civil disobedience to demand the Government ACT NOW to halt biodiversity loss and reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025.
Marking the beginning of preparations for Extinction Rebellion’s next International Rebellion which will begin on Monday 7 October 2019, the Summer Uprising will follow on from this weekend’s East London Uprising.
Each site will have family-friendly spaces, live music, print
workshops, speeches and more. Everyone is invited to join this exciting
coordinated Summer Uprising in the city of their choosing:
In Bristol the focus will be on rising sea levels. This reflects the
city’s maritime history and its risk of floods, which NASA research
warns are likely to be a regular occurrence by 2050 if climate breakdown
isn’t urgently addressed. 22,300 residential Bristol properties will be
at risk, and flooding is likely to affect power stations.
Russell Arnott, 38, Oceanographer, University of Bath “We
are taking action in Bristol to tell the Government to act now on
climate change and ecological breakdown. Average sea levels have risen
by 23cm since 1880 with devastating consequences. This is causing
destructive erosion, flooding, more frequent hurricanes and powerful
storms, killing and displacing millions worldwide. We have to wake up to
the facts. This is a crisis to deal with, here and now.”
Cardiff will be transformed by the arrival of concerned citizens from
across Wales who are determined to highlight the need for the Welsh
Government to dramatically accelerate its actions in tackling the
climate crisis and ecological emergency.
They will be occupying a central space in Cardiff – meeting from 11am
Monday outside Cardiff National Museum. Dressed in yellow, protestors
will represent dead canaries inspired by the words of Irish President
Michael D Higgins, “If we were coal miners we’d be up to our knees in dead canaries”. The sixth mass extinction is here and it’s time to act now.
Stephen Lingwood, 37, Extinction Rebellion Cardiff “People
are dying right now of climate chaos in places like India. It’s only
going to get worse. We’re at the beginning of the sixth mass extinction
and a climate genocide and the government’s inaction is, in my view,
For updates on Cardiff, follow Extinction Rebellion Cardiff on facebook and their twitter.
Glasgow / Scotland’s focus for the Summer Uprising is solidarity with
climate refugees. Climate crisis and ecological breakdown are not
distant threats: all around the world people are already dying and being
displaced. The future effects of the Climate and Ecological Emergency
that we in the UK are terrified about – floods, food shortages, droughts
and resulting conflicts – are already a reality for millions of people
in the Global South/Majority World. The Glasgow event will have live
music, a ceilidh, speakers on climate justice and refugee solidarity,
and family activities with Wee Rebellion.
Daniel Armstrong, 24, Extinction Rebellion Scotland “As
the climate continues to break down, more and more parts of the world
will become uninhabitable. Immigration is already seen as a big issue
but it will only increase as more people are displaced. But if you’re
faced with unlivable conditions due to extreme weather, food shortages
and drought, you have no choice but to leave. From the perspective of my
hometown Glasgow, where refugees are welcomed, we stand in solidarity
with those affected not just by climate chaos but also those displaced
by this global crisis.”
For updates on Glasgow, follow Extinction Rebellion Glasgow on facebook and their twitter.
Rebels will target Leeds’ financial sector, which is the biggest and
fastest growing outside London, to draw attention to the links between
banking and the climate and ecological emergency. Demands will be made
for the finance industry to radically clean up its act and invest to be
part of the solution, not the problem.
Rev’d Jon Swales (B.A Hons, M.A, MLitt), 41, Leeds “Too
often we remain silent in the face of injustice, oppression and
extinction. I will not be silent for the sake of the world’s most poor.
“The Extinction Rebellion protests in Leeds will allow the alarm
bell to ring loud and clear in the City in which I live and work. If
this call is heeded perhaps we can avert the worst of what is yet to
come. I intend to play my part in non-violent and love shaped protest.”
For updates on Leeds, follow Extinction Rebellion Leeds on facebook and their twitter.
People are invited to gather outside the Royal Courts of Justice
(time TBC) in solidarity with all climate activists defending our planet
around the globe. We demand climate justice for all and call on
Government to make ecocide law. We stand with those laying their bodies
on the line to defend the natural world and commend their courage. We
are nature defending itself!
Fletcher Horobin-Worley, 45, Extinction Rebellion London: “The
time to debate climate change is over. Now we must talk of climate
justice. Now we must talk of moral obligations. Right now thousands
suffer and die every year in the global south due to climate change.
Entire island nations are being wiped of the map. Now we must meet our
duty to shoulder the burden of adapting to climate breakdown. ”
Right now, you can be fined more for touting tickets at a football match than you can for subverting British democracy, with the max fine being £20k. The Electoral Commission imposed the maximum fine on Vote Leave – just 0.003% of its £7m budget.
Whichever way you voted on Brexit, it can’t be right that political machines with millionaire donors can break our electoral laws with impunity. The Electoral Commission has repeatedly asked for the maximum fines they can impose to be increased. But our political leaders don’t like being held to account. And so far, they’ve refused.
We could have another election or referendum at any moment – so the Electoral Commission urgently needs more power now to guard our democracy. We must make sure fines are proportionate to how much campaigns actually spend, so they act as a real deterrent. Please sign openDemocracy’s petition today and sign up to hear more about our investigations.
Climate crisis disasters are happening at the rate of one a week,
though most draw little international attention and work is urgently
needed to prepare developing countries for the profound impacts, the UN
Catastrophes such as cyclones Idai and Kenneth in Mozambique and the drought afflicting India
make headlines around the world. But large numbers of “lower impact
events” that are causing death, displacement and suffering are occurring
much faster than predicted, said Mami Mizutori, the UN
secretary-general’s special representative on disaster risk reduction.
“This is not about the future, this is about today.”
This means that adapting to the climate crisis could no longer be seen as a long-term problem, but one that needed investment now, she said. “People need to talk more about adaptation and resilience.”
I would point out that it is a legitimate political perspective – although expressed rather directly – to object to upper-class twats having political power. It is actually totally logical to believe that rich twats who have been born rich and have attended public schools (actually private private schools with ridiculously expensive fees that only the filthy rich can afford) are so ignorant that they are effectively alien from reality.
I need to finish THE STATE WE’RE IN short series although it hardly needs to be said. The main point is that business as usual is unsustainable. How is that so difficult to understand? There is a climate emergency, a crisis. We can’t carry on in the same way. It’s not enough to issue platitudes and carry on regardless. That’s going to kill the planet.
Jeremy Corbyn is annoyed that civil servants have been briefing against him. I am also pissed off with civil servants acting in a partisan way. I understand that Nosey Parker’s job is to be a fking nosey parker. I don’ t agree that he and his gang should be taking such an interest in me but I think that it’s totally unjust that the blond upper-class twat gets to know my business.
[8/7/19 Hey Nosey Parker, I’m sure you’ll agree that I’m getting better at it (although I might have been pretty good when that fat-arsed Home Secretary was moaning about OpenBSD? What was that acronym I used? Something about him being a fat b’stard?)
I was looking forward to open-source mobile devices. Not sure that it will happen now. C’mon, open-source mobile devices please, that would be great.
[8/7/19 later. I really enjoyed that one Hey Charlie, I’ve got a preacher of hate for you …. ;)
[I remember now. It was SIUYBFA.
Can we get those c’nuts locked up? Those New-Labour evil shits? Reid, Blunkett, Clarke, Ian Blair, Tonee Blair, et al. There is cabinet responsibility so that they’re all guilty
A short series of statements that recognises the current urgency and absolute primacy of the climate crisis. May be revised or corrected. Undecided how this series will go. Away njoio over the weekend (no not Glastonbury).
Let’s get this clear from the outset: I represent nobody except myself. Despite supporting Jeremy Corbyn’s UK Labour party I have never been a member of the Labour party. I may have briefly been a member of SERA (Socialist, Environment and Resources Association) approximately 40 years ago while I was an active anti-nuclear activist. SERA was and continues to be closely associated with the Labour party.
I have been publishing inconsistently on the internet since 1998 or 1999 and I am certainly amoung the earliest bloggers. I have a portfolio of posts and articles that establishes me a competent and accomplished blogger, journalist or political activist – whatever I am. I warned of climate crisis online – from memory – in 1999.
Politicians encounter problems addressing the climate crisis because of 1. the short-termism inherent in contemporary politics and 2. the huge influence of climate crisis deniers on them.
Politicians are typically elected for terms of four or five years. They are concerned with one or at most two terms only by which time they will have lost power to the opposition.
I have difficulties comprehending climate change deniers. Perhaps I understand it in the ignoramus US resident Donald Trump.
Climate crisis activist protocol says stay positive, promote the notion that climate crisis can be averted. I am breaking with that protocol. I believe that the tipping point has been passed, that climate change has now acquired it’s own frightening dynamic. Apologies for saying this to those of you who have children.
10/7/19 There’s an issue with normally intelligent people having minds closed to the state we’re in. I’m talking in terms of the world having been destroyed, having passed tipping points that develop their own frightening dynamic. Their minds are closed and they cannot contemplate the state we’re in.
Thank you for your email. While I am very supportive of your direct action and watch your activities online e.g. BP rig makes u-turn amid Greenpeace protest there is actually somehow an error. I didn’t have a direct debit with you and my name is Rhys not Ryys.
I had a bicycle stolen from me very recently. It was nothing special – a cheapish rigid-framed aluminium bike fitted with cheap semi-slick road tyres. I’ve got one or two other bikes – three [8.45pm two now] actually, all second hand – but that was my favourite and I was intending to pass the others on.
I’ve been designing the ideal ‘Slinky …’ bike to replace it and was intending to tax users of the design with a donation to yourselves. Here’s a preview of the spec. This is an early draft and I’ve been considering different sized wheels, etc.
If any of my loaded readers are so inclined, I can only accept an anonymously donated bike e.g. I can’t accept if I see your details on the delivery note.
… I want a donation of at least £10 to Greenpeace for each one built to this design for yourself. Don’t forget the Slinky …
I like rigid mountain bikes with slick or semi-slick tyres.
Specification Decent quality so that it will take many years of reqular use, 70 miles per week
Aluminium frame or better
Cartridge bottom bracket
Medium size I like a fairly upright riding position, swept back cruiser or bullhorn style bars 25cm rise
Target weight 9kg or less if possible. No heavier than 12kg. 24 gear derailleur. Need a low first for the hills while the bike is loaded, clunk on the highest cog
175mm or 180mm crank options
Black metal cage pedals SYMMETRICAL!
26″ sealed bearing double-walled wheels. Wheels may need to be rebuilt to accept wider, higher pressure tyres
Rim brakes, quality cantilever fitted with replacable pad cartridges – do not need pad position adjustment once set properly
Tapered roller bearing with adjustment like motorcycle swinging arms for head bearings. Uncertain that this is necessary and may be overkill introducing unnecessary weight. Sealed bearings? Push-fit sealed bearings won’t have any adjustment – so what? – but will be durable
Slick or semi-slick tyres 26 x 2.10 with puncture protection. Tyres to accept at least 90/110 PSI. At least 65 psi spec if not possible and will run 65/70.
Twist grip gear change is acceptable Stubby wide mudguards in black gloss or matt
The squareish black alloy low-riders front and rear if possible. Otherwise sturdy black alloy rack at rear.
Midnight blue with
Slinky … in small but noticable pink handwriting style both sides front of top tube. No other branding
Legally required deflectors ,[8.50pm reflectors, deflectors would be great] to be satisfied using discrete adhesive stickers
Long rectangular lights mounted horizontally front and rear ratio ge5:1
I wouldn’t be surprised that I’ve started a meme now with everyone greeting each other “Slinky” on my local cycle track ;) I hope someone calls me Slinky.
Anyway, best wishes and I hope that I have taxed some of my readers for you.
Coming soon, hopefully in the next few days a state of the nation sort of post.
Confessions of drug-taking from Conservative and prime ministerial candidates seems to have stopped. No “I have to take a small mountain of coke before I can clean my teeth” or “I’ve not slept since 1997” confessions. The trouble is – of course – is that they could all be off their tits on coke.