18 January 2017   Leave a comment

Climate change will have highly variable effects across the planet, but researchers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst believe that the Northeast US will experience a higher rate of temperature increase than in many other parts of the US.  Moreover, the researchers suggests that sea levels could rise by as much as 10 feet near Boston by the end of the century, putting about 30% of the city underwater.  Globally, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) have declared 2016 to be the hottest year on record, making it the third year in a row to set a new record.   According to the Washington Post, “NASA actually found a bigger leap upward of temperatures in 2016, measuring the year as .22 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the prior record year of 2015. The agency also noted that just since the year 2001, the planet has seen ’16 of the 17 warmest years on record.’”

(AVERAGE OF 32 CLIMATE MODEL SIMULATIONS)
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80 percent of all models indicate reaching 2˚C in these years.

                

SOURCE: Northeast Climate Science Center, UMass Amherst

On Friday, President-elect Trump will become the 45th President of the US.  There is perhaps no greater responsibility on the leaders of nuclear-armed countries (the US, Britain, France, China, Russia, India, Pakistan, North Korea, and Israel) than to have very clear thoughts about the potential use of those weapons.  It is too soon for the Trump Administration to have a well-formulated nuclear policy, but the statements made by Mr. Trump during the campaign suggest that he needs to pay a great deal of attention to the matter.  Zack Beauchamp has written an essay for Vox outlining the many contradictions and inconsistencies in Mr. Trump’s statements about nuclear weapons. 

Representative democracy and market capitalism are both institutions that operate within the ideology of liberalism.  But in many respects these institutions operate in conflict with each other: democracy emphasizes the fundamental political equality of each person; market capitalism operates by emphasizing the essential differences we all have with respect to innovation, efficiency, and privilege of access to capital.  The conflicts between the two institutions are usually obscured when economies are growing.  But when economic growth slows down, as it has in the US and Europe since the Great Recession of 2008-09, the conflicts become more obvious.  Unfortunately, democracy is the more fragile of the the two and is often the victim of slow economic growth.

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Posted January 18, 2017 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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