March 14, 2016
The Guardian: "February smashed a century of global temperature records by 'stunning' margin, according to data released by Nasa."
"The unprecedented leap led scientists, usually wary of highlighting a single month’s temperature, to label the new record a 'shocker' and warn of a 'climate emergency.'"
"The Nasa data shows the average global surface temperature in February was 1.35C warmer than the average temperature for the month between 1951-1980, a far bigger margin than ever seen before. The previous record, set just one month earlier in January, was 1.15C above the long-term average for that month."
“'Nasa dropped a bombshell of a climate report,' said Jeff Masters and Bob Henson, who analysed the data on the Weather Underground website. 'February dispensed with the one-month-old record by a full 0.21C – an extraordinary margin to beat a monthly world temperature record by.'”
February 22, 2016
New York Times: "The scientists confirmed previous estimates, but with a larger data set, that if global emissions continue at a high rate over the next few decades, the ocean could rise as much as three or four feet by 2100, as ocean water expands and the great ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica begin to collapse."
"Experts say the situation will grow far worse in the 22nd century and beyond, likely requiring the abandonment of many of the world’s coastal cities."
"In a report issued at the same time as the scientific paper, a climate research and communications organization in Princeton, N.J., Climate Central, used the new findings to calculate that roughly three-quarters of the tidal floods now occurring in towns along the American East Coast would not be happening in the absence of sea-level rise caused by human emissions."
"The recent climate agreement negotiated in Paris, if acted upon, will bring emissions down enough to slow the rate of sea-level rise in coming centuries, but scientists say the deal was not remotely ambitious enough to forestall a significant melting of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets."
February 19, 2016
Lawrence J. Gross: "While trying to forecast coal loadings has been as difficult as trying to catch a falling knife, the magnitude of the problem can be seen from the simple arithmetic calculation that if North American coal loadings finally end the current plunge and stabilize at the levels experienced during the first three weeks of 2016, the deficit vs. 2015 will be 23% or 1.3 million carloads."
"There are fundamental forces currently under way in the North American economy that are going to dramatically remake the freight transport landscape. Macro forces are moving the economy in a direction where transport providers will be asked to provide more reliable, consistent and faster service for generally smaller shipments moving shorter lengths of haul. Meanwhile, the rail industry has been moving in exactly the opposite direction, with larger, less frequent trains composed of larger, higher-capacity cars. . . . So as an industry, we are heading one way and our customers are heading in another."
"Today, the single-carload system delivers inconsistent service and inadequate asset turns while demanding ever increasing pricing, prompting shippers with modal choices to avoid rail, and leaving shippers without modal choices in a distinctly uncompetitive position. The railroads need to turn the carload system into a precision network that delivers reliable service and better utilization of expensive railcar assets."
January 20, 2016
New York Times: "Scientists reported Wednesday that 2015 was the hottest year in recorded history by far, breaking a record set only the year before — a burst of heat that has continued into the new year and is roiling weather patterns all over the world."
November 12, 2015
Reuters: "G20 members are spending $452 billion a year subsidising fossil fuel production - nearly four times global spending on renewable energy subsidies - despite pledging to phase out fossil fuel support to tackle climate change, a new report said on Thursday."
"'G20 governments are paying fossil fuel producers to undermine their own policies on climate change,' the ODI's Shelagh Whitley said in a statement."
"Despite calls by U.S. President Barack Obama to scrap fossil fuel subsidies, the world's largest economy spent more than $20 billion in national subsidies, the report said."
November 10, 2015
New York Times: International Energy Agency reports--"Even as the world shifts toward lower-carbon forms of energy, the changes are happening too slowly to keep global temperatures from rising to dangerous levels in the coming decades, an international research group warns in a report released on Tuesday."
October 01, 2015
New York Times: "The pledges that countries are making to battle climate change would still allow the world to heat up by more than 6 degrees Fahrenheit, a new analysis shows, a level that scientists say is likely to produce catastrophes ranging from food shortages to widespread extinctions of plant and animal life."
"The pledges countries have made 'are a big step forward, but not sufficient — not even close,' said John D. Sterman, a professor of management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology."
"The planet has already warmed by about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit above the temperature that prevailed before the Industrial Revolution, representing an enormous addition of heat. Virtually every piece of land ice on Earth is melting, the sea ice in the Arctic is collapsing, droughts and other weather extremes are intensifying, and the global food system has shown signs of instability."
September 10, 2015
In unmistakable show of strength in the battle for a 50% reduction in oil consumption, Governor Brown held a news conference with Senate President pro Tem De León and Assembly Speaker Toni G. Atkins. See video here which demonstrates the commitment by California's leadership on this issue.
August 01, 2015
"The Earth experienced its hottest June and the hottest first half of the year since records began, according to scientists."
"Off-the-charts heat is 'getting to be a monthly thing', said Jessica Blunden, a climate scientist for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. June was the fourth month of 2015 to break a record, she said."
“'There is almost no way that 2015 isn’t going to be the warmest on record.'”
"NOAA calculated that the world’s average temperature in June hit 61.48F (16.33C), breaking the old record set last year by 0.22F (0.12C). Usually temperature records are broken by one or two hundredths of a degree, not nearly a quarter of a degree, Blunden said."
June 26, 2015
Falling coal shipments are a significant economic issue for the freight railroads. What's interesting is that at the same time, the freight rail industry cannot seem to see the opportunity that comes from being a considerably more efficient mode for freight shipment.
There are many people even in the freight rail industry who would like to build on the fundamental efficiency of freight rail, but there's a profound lack of management attention to this.
If the industry wants to expand its mode share in a world of ever increasing environmental concern, it needs a game plan other than than shipping more fossil fuels.
Those options are out there but the industry needs to engage outside of traditional avenues and develop a greater role in a world where sustainable solutions are at a premium.