India’s monsoon rains below average in past week, raising crop worries
By Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj• India’s monsoon rains below average in past week, raising crop worries A man and his daughter wade through a waterlogged street during heavy rains in Mumbai By Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj MUMBAI/NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s monsoon rains were 20% below average in the week ending on Wednesday, the weather office said, as summer showers turned patchy over the central, western and southern parts of the country, raising concerns over the progress of crop plantings.Overall, India has received 16% below average rain since the monsoon season began on June 1.Monsoon rains are crucial for farm output and economic growth in India, where about 55% of all arable land is reliant on rainfall and the farm sector employs nearly half of the country’s 1.3 billion people.India typically receives 75 percent of its annual rain from the June-September monsoon as moisture-laden winds sweep in from the southwest of the peninsula.In the week to July 17, soybean and cotton areas in the central parts of the country received 68% less than average rainfall, while rubber and tea areas in southern India got 71% lower rains, data from the India Meteorological Department (IMD) showed.Key sugarcane and groundnut producing areas in western India also received below average rains, the IMD data showed.The IMD defines average, or normal, rainfall as between 96 percent and 104 percent of a 50-year average of 89 centimetres for the entire four-month season beginning June.Indian farmers plant rice, cane, corn, cotton, soybean and groundnut — the main winter oilseeds — in the rainy months of June and July, with harvests from October.Patchy rains have led to some anxious sky-watching, even as floods in eastern and northeastern India have displaced and killed people.At least 5.8 million people have been displaced and some 30 have died in the past two weeks in the tea-growing state of Assam due to the monsoon rains.Assam and Bihar states have been the worst-affected parts of India, and floods have also hit neighbouring Nepal and Bangladesh.At least 153 people have been killed in India, Nepal and Bangladesh. Parts of Pakistan have also seen flooding.Although India is sitting on massive mounds of staples such as rice, wheat and sugar, any drop in oilseed production will push up imports of expensive vegetable oils.India imports about 60% of its vegetable oil needs at an annual cost of up to $10 billion – its third-biggest import item after crude oil and gold.
(Reporting by Rajendra Jadhav and Mayank Bhardwaj; editing by Richard Pullin)
Though prime Atlantic hurricane season is August, September and October, July storms aren’t unheard of — just look at a storm threatening to form along the Gulf Coast this week.
July hurricanes „do happen,” Phil Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University, told USA TODAY. „Typically they’re not major hurricanes.”
About 8% of the Atlantic hurricane season’s named storms from 1851 have occurred in July, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Hurricane Research Division. Of the 125 July tropical storms, 58 have been hurricanes and 26 have hit the United States.
The formation of storms in June and July doesn’t indicate how active a hurricane season will be later in the summer, Klotzbach said. What’s important is whether storms form in places such as the coast of Africa, he said.
„Storm activity in June and July has little correlation with what happens the rest of the way,” Klotzbach said. „The only thing that will give you a bit of a tip-off is if you have storms forming in the deeper tropics.”
There have been a few notable July storms in recent years:
Hurricane Dennis, July 10, 2005: The Category 3 storm hit the western Florida panhandle. It was the strongest hurricane to have made landfall in the U.S. in July.
Hurricane Arthur, July 3, 2014: The Category 2 hurricane hit North Carolina and was the most recent storm to reach the U.S. in July.
Hurricane Dolly, July 23, 2008: Dolly was a Category 1 and was the most recent to reach land along the Gulf Coast, in South Padre Island, Texas.
Tropical Storm Emily, July 30, 2017: Emily, which hit Florida, was the most recent tropical storm to make landfall in July.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Hurricanes in July happen: A look at past July storms
By Valerie Volcovici
July 18 (Reuters) – June 2019 was the hottest in 140 years, setting a global record, according to the latest monthly global climate report released on Thursday by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The report said that the average global temperature in June was 1.71 degrees Fahrenheit above the 20th-century average of 59.9 degrees F (15.5 degrees Celsius) and marks the 414th consecutive month in which temperatures were above the 20th-century average. Nine of the 10 hottest Junes over the last 140 years have occurred since 2010, NOAA said.
Europe, Asia and Africa, as well as the Hawaii and U.S. Gulf of Mexico regions experienced their hottest Junes on record.
Average temperatures in France, Germany, and northern Spain, which have experienced a heat wave, hit as high as 18 degrees F above the normal range, with temperatures in France hitting as high as 114 degrees F (46 degrees C).
Meanwhile, the global average sea surface temperature was 1.46 degrees F above the 20th-century monthly average of 61.5 degrees F (16 degrees C), tying with 2016 as the highest global ocean temperature for the month on record while Antarctic sea ice fell to its smallest level on record, 8.5 percent below the 1981 to 2010 average, NOAA data showed.
With year-to-date global temperatures setting records, NOAA said there is a 100% chance that 2019 will end among the five warmest years on record, underscoring the need for governments to take collective action to stem a further intensification of climate change impacts.
„Action is urgently needed at the world, federal, state and local levels to rapidly cut fossil fuel pollution and to protect and rebuild naturally stored carbon,” said Dr. Phil Duffy, climate scientist and president and executive director of Woods Hole Research Center.
Heat waves currently gripping the United States, Europe and elsewhere are likely to get worse, according to a report released this week by the Union of Concerned Scientists.
The report found that in the United States, the average number of days per year with a heat index above 105 degrees F (41 degrees C) would more than quadruple to 24 by midcentury and increase eightfold to 40 by late century.
„By the end of the century, with no action to reduce global emissions, parts of Florida and Texas would experience the equivalent of at least five months per year on average when the ‘feels like’ temperature exceeds 100 degrees F (38 degrees C), with most of these days even surpassing 105 degrees,” said UCS senior climate scientists Kristina Dahl. (Reporting by Valerie Volcovici in Washington; additional reporting by Matthew Green in London)
Shares of Kinder Morgan Inc. dropped Thursday in active trading, dragged down by a disappointing earnings report and a selloff in crude oil and natural gas prices. The weakness in oil and gas prices also helped fuel a selloff in the energy sector, highlighted by a tumble on heavy volume in Chesapeake Energy Corp. shares (CHK) which were in danger of the lowest close in 20 years. The SPDR Energy Select Sector exchange-traded fund (XLE) slipped 0.1% in afternoon trading, to buck the rally in the broader market.
The opening of the Oscar-winning film The Big Short, a comedy-drama on the global financial crisis of 2007-2008, begins with a famous quote: “It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.”
This phrase captures one of the main reasons why the US housing bubble popped in 2008, triggering the worst economic recession since the 1930s. The movie portrays an eccentric hedge fund manager discussing the idea of betting againstsubprime mortgage bonds. The investment bankers, at first, reply politely: “Those bonds only fail if millions of Americans don’t pay mortgages. That’s never happened in history.”
But it happened. And as a consequence, many people worldwide have suffered severely, and the enduring effects still haunt us, politically and economically, even a decade later.
In a new paper published in Climate Policy, we argue that a similar tragic “debt crisis” could unfold for climate change. The “debt” would be measured in excess carbon emissions, which will keep accumulating until we reach net-zero. In this scenario, the bankers are those who assume that the debt will be paid back by removing carbon from the atmosphere.
But such a bet will be necessary if we recklessly embark on the strategy of reducing emissions slowly and removing carbon later, while in the meantime using speculative technology to block out heat from the sun. Among climate scientists and policy analysts, this is the so-called temperature “overshoot and peak-shaving” scenario.
‘Overshoot and peak-shaving’
In December 2015, the world adopted the Paris Agreement and pledged to limit global temperature rise well below 2℃ – if not 1.5℃ – above pre-industrial levels. Despite that, global CO₂ emissions continue to rise.
The slow and uneven pace of global emissions reductions is increasing the likelihood of “overshoot” scenarios, in which warming will temporarily exceed 1.5 or 2°C, but will later fall to the target temperature through the large-scale deployment of negative emissions technologies. These remove CO₂ from the atmosphere by, for example, planting trees or scrubbing it through chemical filters and burying it deep underground.
But the world would still need to adapt to the impacts of increased warmingduring the overshooting period. Because of this concern, the idea of so-called “peak-shaving” has also emerged among some scientists who want to avoid such an overshoot by temporarily using solar geoengineering.
Solar geoengineering means dimming sunlight itself. In theory, the Earth could be cooled very quickly by, for example, spraying sulphate aerosols in the upper atmosphere.
The concept of an “overshoot and peak-shaving” scenario is therefore based on the temporary use of solar geoengineering, combined with large-scale deployment of negative emissions technologies.
In this scenario, the two technologies are in a mutually dependent relationship – solar geoengineering is used to keep the temperature down for the time being, while negative emissions technologies are used to reduce atmospheric CO₂ to the point where solar geoengineering is no longer needed.
Emissions debt and temperature debt
But this assumed reciprocity may not work as intended. Here, the notion of debt is useful. As the sociologist Lisa Adkins suggests, the logic of debt rests on a promise to pay (back) in the future. In this sense, both overshooting and peak-shaving can be seen as acts of “borrowing” or “creating debt”.
Overshooting avoids reducing carbon emissions today by effectively borrowing emissions from the future (creating “emissions debt”), with a promise to pay back that debt later through negative emissions technologies.
Peak-shaving is borrowing global temperature (creating “temperature debt”) through the temporary use of solar geoengineering to cancel excess warming until the point when no further borrowing, of either sort, is needed.
In such an outcome the world will take on a double debt: “emissions debt” and “temperature debt”.
The analogy with housing loans
The fact of being indebted may not sound so bad. (Almost everyone has a debt of some kind in their everyday life, right?) But the key question is: can we duly pay off this “climate debt”? How credible is the promise?
Here, the analogy with housing loans is most useful for properly rating the riskiness of such debt repayment.
Given that overshoot allows slow rates of emissions reductions by “promising” that delays can be compensated later through carbon removal, this looks a bit like borrowing an adjustable-rate subprime mortgage loan. Peak-shaving, on the other hand, is more like borrowing additional loans for “home improvement”, which maintains house values – (keeps global temperature constant during the overshooting period).
Since most negative emissions technologies are still speculative or under development, overshoot should be rated like a subprime loan with a high risk of default. Just as American homeowners weren’t able to keep paying their mortgages after all, so negative emissions technologies may never be an effective enough way to take carbon out of the atmosphere.
This doesn’t sound like a secure, feasible investment. The failure to keep the overshoot promise of later repayment would lead to endless peak-shaving. Solar geoengineering would become an ongoing necessity – an unpayable massive “climate debt” accumulating year-by-year.
Framing matters — let’s not blind ourselves
Concerns over crossing so-called “tipping points” – paving the way toward a “hothouse Earth” – may push some people towards accepting overshooting and peak-shaving. But because this is a speculative scenario, it matters how we frameit.
Some scientists say that solar geoengineering is like a drug to lower high-blood pressure – an overdose is harmful, but a “well-chosen” and limited dose can lower your risks, helping you have a healthier life.
They suggest that solar geoengineering is not a substitute for cutting emissions but a supplement for containing global temperature increases. But this works only if negative emissions technologies are rolled out very swiftly on a massive scale.
The housing loans analogy sheds light on an important assumption that is implicitly built into such a scenario, namely that overshooting is simply like borrowing money (for example, a mortgage) and that people pay back mortgages. This was also the unquestioned assumption in the run up to the US housing market crisis and it created the systemic failure to notice the growing risk of the bubble bursting.
We shouldn’t fool ourselves into believing that a similar “debt crisis” will not happen for managing the risk of climate change. Beware the dubious promises of “overshoot and peak-shaving” technologies – they may well turn out to be risky subprime loans.
Shinichiro Asayama receives funding from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, Grants-in-Aid for JSPS Research Fellow (17J02207).
Mike Hulme does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
HONOLULU (AP) — Protesters didn’t back down from their long-running effort to stop construction of a $1.4 billion telescope, blocking a road Thursday to the top of a mountain sacred to some Native Hawaiians a day after authorities arrested nearly three dozen people.
Activists have fought the Thirty Meter Telescope in the courts and on the streets for years, but the latest protest could be their final stand as they run out of legal options. The state Supreme Court has given the green light to the project that would put one of the world’s most powerful telescopes atop Mauna Kea on the Big Island.
Gov. David Ige has signed an emergency proclamation to broaden the state’s power to keep activists off Hawaii’s tallest peak. It came after police negotiated with protesters for days before arresting a small group of 34 activists who refused to move from the road Wednesday.
„The number of protesters have swelled and their blockage of roads and highways creates a dangerous situation,” Ige said. „This affects the ability of first responders to address emergencies.”
Ige also said the protest is affecting the public’s ability to move „freely and safely” across the Big Island. A critical highway that cuts across the center of the island and leads to the road up Mauna Kea was closed for several hours Wednesday because of the protests.
Officials haven’t yet decided whether to oust the protesters entirely, but the proclamation makes that possible, Ige said.
„We are certainly committed to ensuring the project has access to the construction site,” Ige said. „We’ve been patient in trying to allow the protesters to express their feelings about the project.”
The state said construction equipment planned to go up the mountain starting Monday, but the protests have delayed it. It’s unclear when the work would begin.
After the arrests, most of the protesters have been allowed to stay, and many were camping out at night on public land.
A group of existing telescopes sit atop Mauna Kea and have been used by NASA and other scientists to make discoveries about space for decades. The mountain has consistently clear weather and very little light pollution.
Plans to build the new telescope began in 2009, but Native Hawaiian opponents who say the mountain is sacred have slowed construction with drawn-out legal battles and by physically blocking crews from starting work.
They have sued again to argue that the project must post a security bond equivalent to the construction contract cost before starting to build.
Telescope officials said the challenge lacks merit and is another delay tactic.
Associated Press journalists Jennifer Sinco Kelleher and Audrey McAvoy in Honolulu contributed.