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Climate change? No worries! We’ll escape deadly heat by becoming mole people like these Australians!

The town of Coober Pedy, Australia has been the opal capital of the world since 1915—that’s 100 years of one little town producing most of the gem-quality opals for the entire planet. You’d think by now they’d have turned the place into some kind of reasonably bustling little hamlet—maybe with a Starbucks franchise and a strip club at least? But Coober Pedy is unbearably hot and dry, with dust storms and 110 degree temperatures on the regular. So what’s a poor opal-miner to do? Go underground, of course!

Yes, the roughly 1,700 inhabitants of Coober Pedy live in the beautiful caverns left over from opal mining—there are nearly 1,500 houses connected by tunnels, with all the modern amenities and a glossy coating sealing the exposed rock walls to prevent constant dust accumulation. Not only that, the town has stores, a bar, a church, a museum, an art gallery and a hotel—it’s a legitimate town, not just a tourist attraction. The Coober Pedy name comes from a less-than-flattering aboriginal word meaning “white man’s hole,” but not only do the caverns provide safe, clean shelter and keep a comfortable temperature in blistering heat, there are actual bits of opal in the wall. It’s really quite a striking interior.

So when climate change bakes the surface of the earth, we’re all down to become modern mole-people, right?

In Coober Pedy, the dead are closer to the surface than the living.

Entryway to tunnels.

Coober Pedy home.

The town has an underground museum and art gallery.

Serbian Orthodox Church entrance and arch.
More Coober Pedy after the jump…

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Hilarious: Sign petition to name hurricanes after global warming deniers!

Every time I check to see how many YouTube views this clever video has gotten, it goes up by tens of thousands of views. The first time I looked, it had 150,000 views, the next day it was double that and just now, it’s at an impressive 876,672.

It’s only been up for two days. Must’ve touched a nerve!

Via AlterNet:

The environmental group petition 350 Action is urging the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to name hurricanes after policy makers who deny climate change.

The campaign entitled, “Climate Name Change”, released an accompanying video, which features prominent politicians who are skeptical of climate change such as Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Washington Post reported.

The video includes satirical news bulletins that could result from the proposed naming system, such as:  “If you value your life, please seek shelter from Michelle Bachmann” or “thousands of animals have been displaced or killed by Governor Rick Perry.”

Wunderbar! You can sign the petition here. The video is a must-see piece of well-made political messaging. Whoever came up with this concept, bravo!


Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Visceral visualization of 131 years of global warming in 26 seconds
11:54 am


global warming

Nine of the 10 hottest years since they’ve been keeping records have occurred after the turn of this millennium.

Via Climate Central:

While temperatures soared for many this summer, this video takes the longer historical view. It comes to us from our friends at NASA and is an amazing 26-second animation depicting how temperatures around the globe have warmed since 1880. That year is what scientists call the beginning of the “modern record.”

You’ll note an acceleration of those temperatures in the late 1970s as greenhouse gas emissions from energy production increased worldwide and clean air laws reduced emissions of pollutants that had a cooling effect on the climate, and thus were masking some of the global warming signal.

The data come from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, which monitors global surface temperatures. As NASA notes, “in this animation, reds indicate temperatures higher than the average during a baseline period of 1951-1980, while blues indicate lower temperatures than the baseline average.”

Watch it, this will make you feel vertigo. Not for the squeamish, I suppose.

We’re doomed!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Reality is what you make of it: North Carolina outlaws sea level rise

Is the Tar Heel State getting jealous of Arizona’s reputation for bad craziness and low IQ buffoonery? WTF, North Carolina?

Scott Huler writes at Scientific American:

In a story first discussed by the NC Coastal Federation and given more play May 29 by the News & Observer of Raleigh and its sister paper the Charlotte Observer, a group of legislators from 20 coastal NC counties whose economies will be most affected by rising seas have legislated the words “Nuh-unh!” into the NC Constitution.

Okay, cheap shot alert. Actually all they did was say science is crazy. There is virtually universal agreement among scientists that the sea will probably rise a good meter or more before the end of the century, wreaking havoc in low-lying coastal counties. So the members of the developers’ lobbying group NC-20 say the sea will rise only 8 inches, because … because … well, SHUT UP, that’s because why.

That is, the meter or so of sea level rise predicted for the NC Coastal Resources Commission by a state-appointed board of scientists is extremely inconvenient for counties along the coast. So the NC-20 types have decided that we can escape sea level rise – in North Carolina, anyhow – by making it against the law. Or making MEASURING it against the law, anyhow.

Here’s a link to the circulated Replacement House Bill 819. The key language is in section 2, paragraph e, talking about rates of sea level rise: “These rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of seas-level rise may be extrapolated linearly. …” It goes on, but there’s the core: North Carolina legislators have decided that the way to make exponential increases in sea level rise – caused by those inconvenient feedback loops we keep hearing about from scientists – go away is to make it against the law to extrapolate exponential; we can only extrapolate along a line predicted by previous sea level rises.

Which, yes, is exactly like saying, do not predict tomorrow’s weather based on radar images of a hurricane swirling offshore, moving west towards us with 60-mph winds and ten inches of rain. Predict the weather based on the last two weeks of fair weather with gentle breezes towards the east. Don’t use radar and barometers; use the Farmer’s Almanac and what grandpa remembers.

Willful ignorance will not be a valued survival skill for the species as time goes on…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Alarming time-lapse video: Alaskan coastline erodes at the rate of 45 feet a year
06:17 pm


global warming

If a picture paints a thousand words, then this time-lapse video can represent an entire book’s worth ... a book by Al Gore, that is. A new multiyear study from the University of Colorado illustrates how a large swath of the Alaskan coast is eroding at the alarming rate of 45 feet per year. Three factors contribute to the loss: warmer water, melting permafrost and lashing waves. The coastline generally consists of frozen silt, which once it starts going, really doesn’t stop.

Jaymi Heimbuch writes on Treehugger:

With less ice cover during the summers to protect the shore from the ocean, and warmer ocean waters almost guaranteed, the erosion seems unstoppable. In fact, the scientists working on the study say as much. There is little evidence that this erosion has an end point. As the shoreline is made up of blocks of permafrost, the conditions basically ensure that large chunks are taken off at a time during stormy weather.

“Once one of these blocks topples, the process continues on to the next block,” Anderson said.

Deny this, climate change skeptics!

Cross posting this from Brand X

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment