Sunday, August 05, 2018

Interesting Times in the Arctic

Well, after what has been a boring melt season, maybe even Neven thinks so, the Northern Hemisphere heat wave appears to have created some interesting times (in the sense of the Chinese curse, may you live in interesting times) at the end. 

It may in the long run be nothing, but the ice pack appears to have separated from Greenland and the passage between Ellesmere Island and Greenland, or at least some impressive melt pools have formed and the ice to the west of the separation is not healthy

EH2R has a nasty gif  showing this from NASA Worldview, again, interesting in the catastrophic sense with a comparison from 2012 where it was smooth enough to skate on (well not really but not nearly so broken up)

Zack Labe has a really good tweet about this

And last, but not least, there are, again, interesting things happening on the Pacific side.  Neven has that story.  Basically WTF?

Could be interesting.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

The blind orange squirrel on Trump's scalp finds a nut

I share the same appalled reaction as the rest of the planet to Trump's dimunitive behavior when standing next to Putin. That isn't really what this post is about, but I can't entirely ignore it. I disagree with the claim that he made a Kinsley Gaffe when he said:

...they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin; he just said it’s not Russia. I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be

A Kinsley Gaffe is when someone publicly says something they privately believe to be true and gets in trouble for it. That didn't happen here - Trump knew he was lying the first time around about there being no reason for Russian interference. He then lied again a few days later by claiming he meant to say he didn't see any reason why it "wouldn't" be Russia - he didn't mean to say that, he's just layering on another lie because he was in trouble from his previous lie. Saying there was literally no valid reason arguing against Russian involvement would be completely inconsistent with virtually everything that comes out of his mouth on the subject, constantly casting doubt on Russian involvement.

And none of that is what I want to talk about - which is the new gas pipeline, and Trump's Blind Squirrel is right to criticize it. However bad and dangerous Russian interference is in American elections, it's even worse in Europe. Why is Germany rewarding Russia when Germany and the rest of the democratic world is under attack?

I get the interdependence idea that Germany has advanced even during the Cold War, but this pipeline has the opposite effect - it reduces interdependence with Eastern European countries that are otherwise under the Russian thumb. Right now, if Russia cuts off supplies to Ukraine or other East European countries it's mad at, then it also loses sales to Western Europe. This new pipeline decreases integration and interdependence.

Trump's goal is for Europe to buy more American natural gas instead. A better goal and an achievable one is to further ramp up European renewables generation and storage capacity. It's not just an environmental issue, it's a national security one. Germany is missing the boat.