TBC: Morning Musing 3.3.15

I have 4 articles on a common theme for ya this morning!

First, TransCanada is using eminent domain to seize land, and all those property rights folks on teh right are strangely silent, go figure:

TransCanada Is Seizing People’s Land To Build Keystone, But Conservatives Have Been Dead Silent

Crawford, who lives in Direct, Texas, had been trying since 2011 to keep the pipeline company off her property. But she ultimately lost, the portion of her land needed for the pipeline condemned through eminent domain – a process by which government can force citizens to sell their property for “public use,” such as the building of roads, railroads, and power lines. Crawford can’t wrap her head around why TransCanada, a foreign company, was granted the right of eminent domain to build a pipeline that wouldn’t be carrying Texas oil through the state of Texas.

That question – how eminent domain can be used in a case like Keystone – has some anti-Keystone groups stumped too. But the groups that usually are vocal proponents of property rights, including the Institute for Justice, have been silent when it comes to the controversial pipeline.

“I have not seen a single group that would normally rail against eminent domain speak up on behalf of farmers or ranchers on the Keystone XL route,” said Jane Kleeb, founder of the anti-Keystone group Bold Nebraska.

That’s surprising to Kleeb, whose organization is supporting the efforts of a group of Nebraska landowners along the pipeline’s proposed route who have held out against giving TransCanada access to their land. She had thought that at least a few conservative or pro-lands rights groups would have voiced their general support for Keystone XL, but still denounced the use of eminent domain to get it built. That hasn’t happened, Kleeb said – not among property rights groups nor among most pro-Keystone lawmakers.

“If this were a wind mill project or a solar project, Republicans would have been hair-on-fire crazy supporting the property rights of farmers and ranchers,” she observed. “But because it’s an oil pipeline, it’s fine.”


Next, yes, climate has changed:

Let’s Call It: 30 Years Of Above Average Temperatures Means The Climate Has Changed

If you’re younger than 30, you’ve never experienced a month in which the average surface temperature of the Earth was below average.

Each month, the US National Climatic Data Center calculates Earth’s average surface temperature using temperature measurements that cover the Earth’s surface. Then, another average is calculated for each month of the year for the twentieth century, 1901-2000. For each month, this gives one number representative of the entire century. Subtract this overall 1900s monthly average – which for February is 53.9F (12.1C) – from each individual month’s temperature and you’ve got the anomaly: that is, the difference from the average.

The last month that was at or below that 1900s average was February 1985. Ronald Reagan had just started his second presidential term and Foreigner had the number one single with “I want to know what love is.”

Third, some of the possible ramifications:

Extreme weather events in our future climate

Wehner went through some historic events and examined how climate change shifted these probabilities. For example, events similar to Europe’s 2003 heat wave (which saw 70,000 deaths) are already twice as likely to occur given the amount we’ve warmed over pre-industrial conditions. If we allow the globe to warm by 2°C over preindustrial levels, that probability goes up to 154 times. “By the end of the century,” Wehner said, “when we’re likely to see 4°C warming, this event will likely seem cold.”

Similar things were possible to say about the 2010 Russian heatwave (2-3 times more likely now, 5-8 times more likely at 2°C of warming) and the 2011 Texas drought (slightly elevated probability now, but up to 10 times more likely at 2°C). None of this is to say that climate change has caused any of these events; they occasionally appear in climate model runs without any added greenhouse gasses. It simply tilts the odds in their favor.

Finally, there are mysterious holes appearing in Siberia:

Scientists Demand Investigation After More Mysterious Holes Appear In Siberia

One crater was thoroughly explored last November, and preliminary results seem to suggest that gas emissions were responsible for creating these holes. It is likely that pockets of natural gas that had been trapped in the soil due to permafrost began to increase in pressure as the ground thawed. At a certain point, there is an explosion of soil that releases that pressure. While this wouldn’t be much of a problem in a remote area, this could be extremely disastrous if one occurred under a school or other populated region.

So how you doin’?  😀