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Comments 451 to 500:

  1. CO2 effect is saturated

    Erp . . . I have committed an unfortunate ambiguity, in the second post above this one.   "the temperature reduces with height" should read "the temperature reduces with increased height" ~ which is much clearer !   My apologies for that initial statement, which might well pass in colloquial conversation, but which was very open to misinterpretation (in written form).

  2. CO2 effect is saturated

    LTO , you have mentioned the "realclimatescience" website.

    Perhaps you are not yet aware ~ but that is not a science website, it is a propaganda website.   "Fake News".   As a pointer, one should always be on the alert for disinformation, on any site prominently quoting Feynman, Popper, or Galileo.   [ Feynman, Popper and Galileo are of course very worthy gentlemen in their own right ~ but their philosophies are seriously abused by propagandists hoping to drape themselves with reflected glory . . . propagandists hoping to mislead the uninformed/unthinking reader. ]

    As to your question on Hansen etcetera ~ the propagandists are diverting your attention onto some old predictions/projections of 30+ years ago, in the early days of such assessments.   Worse by far, they are deceiving you by comparing to more recent high-altitude data, not the planetary surface temperatures.   That is classic bait-and-switch deception.

    Also, note that site's reference to "the 52% consensus" ~ based on some very unrigorous survey of members of some meteorological society.  No detailed explanation.   Quite shameless propaganda.

    LTO , please get your information from an honest scientific website.   For instance : RealClimate.  (You can see how the anti-science propagandists are trying to piggy-back, by using a similar sounding name such as realclimatescience, to mislead the careless into their own site.)

  3. Climate negotiations made me terrified for our future

    I understand the speakers frustration at the preoccupation of COP24 attendees with discussion of minutiae while anthropogenic global warming propels the planet down catastrophe street at increasing speed.

    Nigelj – you write: ‘(CO2) emissions levelled off over approximately 2014-2017’

    Did they? This NOAA Graphic does not indicate any CO2 emissions levelling off during this period.

  4. CO2 effect is saturated

    LTO @501 ,

    A/  Please note that you have duplicated your post #501as #502 and #503. Do not be too embarrassed ~ a Moderator will correct that reduplication.   Likewise with your other duplication !

    B/  On #504 [soon to be #502, I expect] , you will need to explain what you mean by your first and second sentences.   What is the case?   What is the misunderstood point?   There seems to be considerable confusion of communication here.

    Take a look at the atmospheric temperature versus altitude graphs.   For most of the troposphere, the temperature reduces with height.   Above that, the temperature holds steady for a short distance ~ and above that, temperature increases with altitude through the stratosphere.   You need to integrate that information with the decreasing air density ~ because both factors are important in comprehending the (15um) radiative loss to space.   The low density in stratosphere is the reason the tropospheric (15um) loss is vastly more important (and why the weighted average "emission height" is generally in the troposphere, affected by the lapse rate there).

    Things get more complex, if we consider other radiative output from CO2 ~ and also other radiative properties of H2O and all molecules of 3 or more atoms.   But for our mutual purposes, it is enough to consider the 15um band, here in this thread.

  5. CO2 effect is saturated

    @eclectic: it appears that is the case. the point wasn't about a single altitide; rather it's about where the altitude of emission is in an area where increasing altitude no longer leads to decreasing temperatures

  6. CO2 effect is saturated

    Thanks all. Continues to be really informative, and I think I now have a good handle on the different possible ways in which increasing co2 could increase troposphere temperatures. What isn't so clear is how significant those effects are at marginal increases from 400 ppmv, but to br honest I could probsbly spend the next 6 months studying the topic in detail and not be that much more certain given the myriad complexities.

    MA: The Zhong and Haigh paper is really interesting, but I'm not quote following figures 5a and b, top row, which seem to show minimal change in radiative flux (when averaged across the spectrum) even up to 32x co2. I'm not convinced they have taken into account all those phenomena when working out thr logarithmic relationship - they say

    "our calculations assume no change in the surface or atmosphere, do not consider the climate response to the RF, or any issues related to climate sensitivity"

    But perhaps there's something intrinsic to the models that goes without saying. My point was more that it be *more* of a factor going forward, as the proportion of time when thr altitude of emission is in a scenario where increasing altitude does not mean decreasing temperatures is presumably increasing with increasing co2.

    Given the point has been made to me repeatedly that the science is apparently so settled no one's even really looking at it anymore, i thought it might be useful to go back and look at past predictions to see how they measure up against present day. This might not be the right page to discuss such matters, but I came across this analysis of a Hansen 1988 paper, in which apparently actual temperatures are matching up in line with his 'zero co2 increase after 2000' scenario Thoughts?

  7. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #1

    It is wishful thinking to assume that multi metre sea level rise will not occur this century and equally unrealistic to believe that if only 10% of a city is inundated by sea level rise (SLR), the rest of it will remain habitable. Further, the only thing which can be inferred from Pulse 1A is that SLR of ~5m/y can be sustained for centuries by rapid melting of an ice sheet.

    There is growing evidence that ocean surface (0 – 6,000m) heat absorption has been significantly underestimated. The most likely effects of ocean temperature rise are thermal expansion of seawater and more rapid degradation of Antarctic and Greenlandcvoastal ice reasting on the seabe. Both will result in more rapid SLR and increased instability of the ice sheets, potentially leading to further SLR acceleration.

    If the inundated 10% of a city (why only 10%?) contains major infrastructure (port facilities) and industrial facilities (factories) the other 90% may be habitable but offer little or no employment to the inhabitants. Moreover, adjacent coastal flooding may destroy transport infrastructure making it impossible to produce goods and services or support inhabitants with goods produced elsewhere.

    Even with SLR of only 2m., it should be expected that an effective SLR of >4m. could be created by storm surges – and it should be expected that with rising sea surface temperature and atmospheric moisture, the severity and incidence of storms will increase significantly, as will the destruction they cause. It is also likely that flooding of coastal lands this century is no longer avoidable.

    Retreat may be possible.  Clinging on is not.

  8. Climate negotiations made me terrified for our future

    Michael Sweet  @3, it was another article I read somewhere that stated that current projects under construction had been cancelled, however it is clear that article was wrong and you are right. Shows you can never rely on the mass media.

  9. Climate negotiations made me terrified for our future


    All the nuclear plants cancelled in the post you linked were for future construction, not currently started plants.  Siince it takes 10 years to build a nuclear plant, none of the increase in India's CO2 this year can possibly be due to these cancellations.  The effects on CO2 would not be evident for 10 years.

    According to this article, India is putting its money on renewable energy while cancelling nuclear plants originally considered 10 years ago.  Since renewable energy plants only take 2-5 years to build we can hope that in a few years India will start to reverse its CO2 trend.

  10. Richard Lawson at 08:14 AM on 11 January 2019
    Increasing CO2 has little to no effect

    The link to Puckrin 2004 is broken

  11. Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas

    Sounds like another "gone emeritus" conservative. His "it follows" is patently false - it treats CO2 and water vapour as independent variables.

  12. Climate negotiations made me terrified for our future

    Oops I meant to add that given the jump in emissions in 2018 largely reflects events in India and China, perhaps it is a one off, an anomoly, and coming years will see a better reduction in emissions globally.

  13. Climate negotiations made me terrified for our future

    One thing related to the increased C02 emissions for 2018. Firstly this was after a period where emissions levelled off over approximately 2014-2017. Anyway my understandting is one of the main reasons for a jump in global emissions in 2018 was the cancellation of nuclear projects in India, and the resumption of building coal fired power stations as below. However the resumption of building coal fired power stations does appear at limited scale.

    As to the climate conference. A typical 'talkfest' with much noise, plenty of cocktails, and pre prepared speeches. Maybe not much else. However getting 200 countries to agree on anything is near impossible.

    We are instead very reliant on leadership from the large emitters like America and China, as this will motivate other countries. But we all know politicians are all talk no action. The only way to change this is for us the ordinary citizenry to put pressure on them every way we know how.

  14. Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas

    indagar @331,

    Jehne's paper (your link to this paper has picked up an extra SkS URL) isn't at all clear what it means by "net heat balance" and that this is the same as "total heat balance" suggests a poor piece of writing. The references Jehne cites are rather long and old (10) = Budyco (1958) 'The Heat Balance of the Earth;s Surface'. (11) = Schneider (1989) 'Global Warming: Are We Entering the Greenhouse Century?'. Some concept "heat balance" that would have the 18% of it comprising the GH-effect doesn't leap out at me from either.

    The numbers for CO2's contribution to the GHG (and also the water vapour contribution) is roughly correct but in CO2 contributing some 20% to the ~33ºC GH-effect. By such a count, AGW from CO2 rising from 280ppm to 382ppm would provide 1.3% to the GH-effect through direct CO2 forcing and 4% with feedbacks. Jehne is back-of-fag-packet calculating the 280-382ppm rise as 35% of CO2's pre-industrial GHG contribution with 20% of all the pre-industrial GH-effect which would yield 7%, a value that is a ong way high.

    It would be a puzzle for somebody with some time to spare to sort what Jehne is actually on about.

  15. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #1

    Lachlan @16, you are possibly right about the title. But the first half of the article dealt with the findings that the terrifying prediction was unlikely this century,  and we only found out it was merely postponed half way down the article. Many people only read titles or the first couple of paragraphs of articles. A summary would have helped.

    Evan @17 

    I think there is something in your theory of a pulse and a long tail. It looks like it could happen. If we knew that the period of multi metre sea level rise was confined to for example 2200 - 2500 we could plan for this and build behind the danger zone. Then adapting to a long tail at perhaps 1 metre per century would be feasible, although ugly. The trouble is can we be sure rapid sea level rise would be confined to a specific time period? Im not sure enough is known about how ice sheets will respond. Nevertheless, if a pulse was to eventuate we would be very motivated to find out.

  16. Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    OPOF @16, true, however a carbon fee could in theory be set quite high, so targeting rich people, but with a higher rebate for poor people. Of course its political, the challenge of getting this sort of thing passed.

    I actually think there is much to be said for cap and trade if done correctly and strongly, but I believe the Democrats tried this and it was defeated.

    The net result of all this  is unfortunate compromises because of politics and we end up with something like a very simple version of carbon fee and dividend. But its not a bad scheme. I think its usually better to do something than nothing, and the carbon fee idea allows space for subsidies and other mechanisms to operate alongside.

  17. One Planet Only Forever at 04:24 AM on 11 January 2019
    Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    The Top-Line in my mind is the understanding that 'innovation' to 'correct' the incorrect things that have been developed has to include 'innovations correcting the developed socioeconomic-political systems so that future developed innovations are more helpful, not harmful, to the future of humanity'.

    In fact, the correction of the socioeconomic-political systems in ways like the Green New Deal may be required to achieve the economic corrections that climate science has identified (objective of 1.5 C total impact, with a hard upper limit of 2.0 C impact).

    Another way to say what is required, without detailed explanations, is:

    'Motivating innovation of sustainable improvements for humanity is best done by making it harder and more expensive for people to benefit from a harmful unsustainable activity.'

    Without making it harder and more expensive for unsustainable and harmful activity to be gotten away with, the system can be expected to 'innovate' new harmful and unsustainable activity.

  18. Discussing climate change on the net

    There is one way to talk to climate "sceptics" I find effective to silence them. It works particularly well, if it is possible to communicate about the deniers in a way that they perceive it but are not addressed directly, as is sometimes possible, e.g. in comments on Facebook.

    Often, when they flood social media content, it is nearly impossible to argue with the "sceptics" and be convincing. The deniers hardly ever give in. Consequently they end up having the last word, the last comment in any thread, which is not a desirable outcome for climate communicators.

    To try and prevent this outcome it may be explained that climate denial serves to avoid a feeling of guilt. But the results of this strategy are mixed at best —my experience. The deniers then may explain that they don't feel particularly guilty. (Of course you don't feel guilty. That is what your denial is meant to achieve! You should not feel guilty at all when you claim there is no problem at all. Or do you, nevertheless, acknowledge that there is a problem?) And there we go, the debate continues.

    However, I repeatedly made the experience that deniers almost always discontinue the debate if they are told that their ultimate reason to deny climate change is to be free riders, that they want to let others solve a problem and that their stance is an immoral one.

    For example, an article (in German) about the discovery of the atmospheric greenhouse effect triggered a debate on Facebook. Nearly half the comments (39 of 94) written over two days originated from 19 climate deniers. Some commentators patiently tried to counter the deniers by explaining the science of climate change, others tried with sarcasm —all in vain, as usual. There was the usual aggression and contempt on both sides. However, a series of three posts in the main thread (not as a reply to one specific denier's comment) pointed out that the ultimate goal of climate denial, including the psychology at work, was free riding and that deniers necessarily believe in a conspiracy but that they are mislead by the fossil fuel special interests, not the climate scientists. These simultaneous explanations stalled the debate effectively.

    The positive results I received in several experiments may be coincidental. I don't have any statistics. But I believe the outcome is not accidental.

    It may be explained: By denying the problem, the deniers seek excuse and psychological relief from acting immorally. By telling them that their position is nevertheless an immoral one, their stance becomes less tenable. The deniers also seek to avoid criticism or even retribution for their immoral stance, their denial and free riding. By talking not to them, but about them (if possible), they are signaled that their intention to prevent criticism should be exposed. Actually in any specific case, their intention is thwarted. In combination with the accusation to ultimately act immorally, their denial becomes unproductive and they tend to give up.

    This communications strategy —if it is a strategy at all— probably doesn't convince the deniers. It might even rather have the opposite effect. (If you want to be convincing, there is advice.) But experience shows that it quiets them. In light of the deniers' influence in the public sphere and ultimately politics, that may be more important than most people think.

    This comment is an adapted excerpt from the article: Learning from Ignaz Semmelweis for Climate Communication

  19. Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas

    I'm active in the regenerative agriculture community and keep coming across the following assertion: 

    "Do you know how much of the global heat dynamics on earth are regulated by carbon? You might be surprised to learn that it's just 4%. How much is regulated by water? 95%."

    As this tends to be an obfuscating claim put forward by cc deniers I was surprised to find that in this instance it comes not from a climate change denier but from a retired Australian CSIRO soil microbiologist called Walter Jehne who holds some interesting albeit controversial ideas about how to address climate change. This paper, for example, sets out his thinking and how he came up with those numbers. 

    "[water] and its unique capacity to absorb, retain, transfer
    and dissipate heat, via absorption, evaporation,
    clouds, condensation and precipitation, plus some
    60-80% of the natural greenhouse effect, that
    governs over 90% of the earth’s natural heat
    dynamics and heat balance (10). Can these water
    and heat processes help us in mitigating global

    By contrast CO2 influences less than 4% of the
    earth’s total heat balance as it provides some 20%
    of the natural greenhouse effect which contributes
    some 18% of the earth’s net heat balance (11). It
    follows that the 35% increase in CO2 levels from 280
    to 382 ppm over the past 250 years may have increased the
    global heat balance by perhaps 1%. This 1% change in the
    global heat balance has been assumed in conventional
    climate models to be the cause of global warming."

    Regardless of the merits of his proposals for mitigation, can such a percentage attribution even be made (95% / 4% of earth's heat dynamics governed by H20 and CO2 respectively)?  After doing a lot of reading here and going through the marvellous geophysics course on cc by Bob Trenwith (U of Chicago) <incorrectly attributed name removed> I'm having my doubts but it would be great if someone more 'steeped' in this subject matter could take a look. THX

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Fixed link

    [PS] Removed incorrect attribution as request by uploader.

  20. One Planet Only Forever at 03:17 AM on 11 January 2019
    Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic


    Wol's airline seat analogy is not far off.

    A Carbon Fee is helpful, but is inadequate because richer people should 'all' be notivated to lead the correction of the incorrect activities that have developed.

    A Carbon Fee does not really do that. Richer people can choose to pay it rather than be leaders in behaving better. And the investors in the industry still get to profit from creating more harm.

  21. Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    Wol, @14 yes true the cleanest solution would be government restrictions on carbon, but like you say it's politically untenable. This is why we resort to something like carbon tax and dividend.

    I don't think your seating analogy is great, because consumption taxes do reduce rates of use (eg tobacco taxes). A price on carbon can also be a constantly ramped up quantity. So carbon taxes are not so bad.

    Whatever we do has to be phased up. If the fossil fuel tap was turned off completely tomorrow you would have chaos. But because of all the denialist delay from certain political quarters, time is running out to phase things up gradually. 

    I think OPOF has an economically sound plan, but again farming lobbies are rather powerful in America and wont give up their subsidies without a fight. But if it could be switched from a monetary handout to just encourage regenerative types of farming there might be buy in.

  22. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #1

    Lachian@16 Yes, I agree with your analysis/comments and those of nigelj noting that the non-smoothness of the rise will also be a big problem. My point is to add perspective: slow does not mean "no problem". However slow sea-level rise will be long term, it will likely start with a big pulse and then slow down. Note that Meltwater Pulse 1A occurred rather early in the sea-level rise associated with the last deglaciation.

    I am sure that together with "orderly" rebuilding of the 10% to which you refer, there will be many genuine disasters and cities where people just leave after a major storm which, on top of sea level rise, becomes too much to cope with. There will no doubt be a smorgasbord of damage and adaptation scenarios. The main point is that it is already time to start an orderly retreat from areas already being impacted.

  23. Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    OPOF @7:>>And that understanding exposes that trying to calculate a 'cost for carbon' is incorrect.<<

    Correct. An analogy is the problem of the obese fellow passenger in economy (coach).

    You often hear that fatties should be charged more for their seats - but that does nothing for the person alongside them: it's exactly the same person taking up their space as before. All that's happened is that the airline takes in more revenue. In effect, it's an externality.

    The nub of the problem is that even millions of individuals making a small contribution will not have anything but a small effect: governments have to impose restrictions on carbon, and I don't see that happening in the US, where the constitutional rights to freedom are so rigidly entrenched that civil unrest would probably follow.

  24. Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    Innovation has been the obvious solution to the climate threat, since that threat was first identified 120 years ago.  This is simply because 'innovation' is the solution to any threat, climate or otherwise.  Ask yourself why Dr Porsche's second car he ever developed was a hybrid vehicle, with a battery capable of driving the car for 30 miles after the internal combustion engine had died (this is in 1898).  The answer has always been innovation... to any problem.

    The GOP crime has been, on behalf of Big Fossils, to deny there was a problem... for 120 years.

  25. One Planet Only Forever at 14:51 PM on 10 January 2019
    Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    There is a potential solution in the USA that addresses nigelj's@11 observation about their 'tax problem' while providing specific funding for climate action, especially the agriculture related actions mentioned by RedBaron@9.

    The USA tax problem is partly due to 'horse-trading to get votes for bills'. The horse-trading produces add-ons to a Bill that have nothing to do with the Bill, but get the extra votes needed to pass it. The add-ons are often subsidies on things. And those commitments may each be small, but they all add up.

    Many of the add-ons have been agriculture related subsidies, with some of them having been on the books for decades, well past their original time of need (needed to get a vote). And there have been other agriculture subsidy programs created that also remain on the books decades after they were created. An example is presented in this 2006 Washington Post article "Farm Program Pays $1.3 Billion to People Who Don't Farm". And another discussion of the problem is presented in the 2011 item "Ending Farm Welfare As We Know It".

    One way to get money for agriculture related climate action activities, like the ones RedBaron mentions, without increasing taxes would be to turn a portion of the existing farm subsidies into subsidies for farmers to do things that help address the climate change challenge. This would be in addition to shifting fossil fuel subsidies to renewable programs, as william @8 mentions.

    WIth the above actions, taxes do not increase and farm subsidies remain farm subsidies and energy subsidies remain energy subsidies. And those would be in addition to the correction of wealth distribution that a Carbon Fee and Rebate program would accomplish, without increasing taxes.

    However, this has probably already been investigated. The real problem is that Politics can get in the way of effective solutions to real problems, especially when benficiaries of incorrectly popular and profitable activities get to incorrectly influence political actions and voters - the need to get that type of money influence out of politics.

  26. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #1

    Evan @11,

    I agree that it would be nice to be able to "get it over with" and rebuild, but I think that having slow increase is far, far better.  If 90% of a city is intact, then it can relocate the other 10% to higher ground.  If 10% of a city is intact, it is really hard to rebuild the other 90%.

    If a change happens over a millenium, think how many cities have the same borders a they did 1000 years ago. 

    The only drawback I see in gradual seal level rise is the "boiling frog" problem, where people don't accept the rise and keep rebuilding on the same sites after damage.

    As nigelj says, the worst case is to have rapid bursts on a long-lived underlying trend, and that the greatest technical problem is unpredictability.  (The greatest actual problem is denialism.)

  27. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #1

    nigelj @1

    I liked the title.  When I read it, I thought "This is something to show to people who claim all realists are alarmists".  Your concerns about misreading it are valid, but must be weighed against the benefit.

  28. Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    Red Baron @9, I personally agree a carbon tax should 'ideally' fund various climate initiatives, but its just not politically saleable.This is why the proposals in America have been  for carbon  tax and 100% dividend.

    Personally I think carbon tax and dividend is quite good. Its not intended to be a socialist mechanism to redistrubte wealth, it was developed to keep the Republicans happy by not increasing government spending.

    I hasten to add I dont oppose wealth distrubution, within reason, and the carbon tax and dividend falls well within reason. 

    We could of course have a carbon tax and dividend that returns something to the public, and puts something into cimate change mitigation, and  development of soil sequestration of carbon. I have always actually favoured this approach, because it makes it attractive to the public and helps solve the issues you raise. But I dont know if it has any chance in America.

    Its important to understand carbon tax and 100% dividend cannot solve negative emissions technologies, soil carbon etc. Only government subsidies can do this, and they have to come from somewhere.

  29. One Planet Only Forever at 07:30 AM on 10 January 2019
    Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    RedBaron @9,

    I agree that measures other than a Carbon Fee and Rebate could help more rapidly develop the required corrections.

    And I would add that the amount of the carbon fee should not be calculated. Such 'Costs of Carbon' calculations are likely to be flawed (especially if future costs get discounted, because making problems others have to suffer from or try to solve is simply unacceptable).

    The Carbon Fee simply needs to be increased until the creation of new CO2 from fossil fuel burning is terminated.

    A Carbon Fee and Dividend system does indeed 'redistribute wealth':

    • from harmful unsustainable fossil fuel related activity to helpful development of renewable energy related activity.
    • from the larger than average producers of the problem to the lower than average contributors (a shift from the more harmful to the more helpful).

    Those are actually 'corrections' of wealth distribution, not 'unjust' redistribution.

    And the wealthiest should all be leading the correction (being helpful should not be 'an option for the wealthier').

    So those additional measures could be funded by taking the Carbon Fee Rebate that would have gone to wealthier people for those other actions. Alberta has done that with their Carbon Fee and Rebate program. The rebate is not given to the higher income portion of the population.

    In addition, there could be more money to fund special actions collected by a Carbon surtax on the wealthiest (with some ability for the wealthiest to claim tax credits if they did something substantially helpful - something along the lines of what the surtax money would be targeted to achieve).

  30. Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    @8 William,

    Hansen's tax and diviend has flaws. The dividend is used to redistribute wealth instead of financing AGW mitigation. 

    So while it has good intentions, it really is more like rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking titanic.

    If you want to do a carbon tax right, in my honest opinion, you must use those funds to finance alternate energy plants like those huge wind farms, and/or pay people for the carbon sequestered long term in the soil.

  31. Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    It is amazing, how much progress we have made in replacing fossil fuel from renewable sources despite the barriers put in our way.  Look at the rate of increase in the uptake of wind power, solar and electric vehicles, but it could be so much faster.  Two measures would facilitate all others.  One - get vested interest money out of politics and two, put in place Hansen's Tax and Dividend.  Work through the cause and effect of these two measures and you see it would activate the most powerful force in our socient.  Economics.  With the transfer of fossil fuel subsidies, dollar for dollar, from Fossil Fuels to renewables (possible when the politicians no longer kow tow to vested interests) it would not be worthwhile ever again to build a coal fired power station.  Look at the stumulus to the economy as the poor, receiving the dividend spend every cent to keep their heads above water.  Look at the effect on egalitarianism as the population benefits instead of the rich (as their cushy deals disappear under independent politicians). We really do need to all get behind these measures.

  32. One Planet Only Forever at 03:53 AM on 10 January 2019
    Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    The new claims by the correction resistant likes of the Republicans are no surprise.

    People who passionately believe the fairy tale that 'decent results will only develop if everyone is freer to believe what they wish and do as they please in competitions for popularity and profitability' can be expected to:

    • claim that 'innovation in an unrestricted and unregulated marketplace is the only solution to the climate change problem'.
    • fail to acknowledge that, in spite of restricted freedoms for people in their socioeconomic-political systems, people who chose to try to get away with unsustainable and undeniably harmful activities in pursuit of popularity and profit have been rewarded. And the unjust rewarding would have been even more severe with less regulation.
    • fail to see that the poorly governed socioeconomic political system that developed the problem also enables undeserving winners to very effectively resist being corrected and resist suffering penalties for understandably incorrect pursuits of popularity and profit.
    • resist understanding that the inability to get away with harmful unsustainable activity will be the most powerful way to motivate helpful sustainable innovative developments.

    The economic reality is that the currently incorrectly developed massive climate change problem will not be solved by figuring out what price to put on the externalities of fossil fuels. The incorrect development of burning of fossil fuels needs to corrected by ending the burning of fossil fuels.

    If a socioeconomic system was starting from scratch, it could develop helpful sustainable activity if:

    • there was rigorous monitoring of the potential for harm from any activity in the competitions for popularity and profit (competitions for perceptions of superiority relative to others).
    • and any activity discovered to be potential harmful was effectively limited until an investigation is completed to determine if there indeed is harm being done (the activity potentially fully shut down if the risk of harm was severe enough). And if the investigation concludes that no harm is done then the activity can be returned to a status of full freedom in the rigorously monitored competitions for popularity and profit.

    Harmful unsustainable externalities would not be allowed in the system. The impacts would need to be completely neutralized at the time of their production. They could be neutralized by the producer as part of their cost of production. Or they could be neutralized communally, with the required funding obtained through fees from all parties associated with the production of the harm. And the communal action would neutralize the impact as it was produced (no imposition of the problem on future generations, not even on next year's population).

    And that understanding exposes that trying to calculate a 'cost for carbon' is incorrect. Production of additional CO2 needs to be terminated, not just be reduced to the degree that a 'calculated price' would reduce it. And the recent impacts also need to be corrected for, meaning getting today's people to pay to remove some of the previously created CO2 (and pay to help the already negatively impacted people).
    The developed socioeconomic-political systems clearly developed significant incorrect activities because it was not correctly operating or governed. The needed 'cost on carbon' today would include the cost to effectively fully neutralize 'new production of CO2 today'. That means the cost of actually doing something today that really counter-acts a production of new CO2, like fully capturing the new CO2 as it is produced, or an equal amount, and processing it in a way that is harmless and sustainable.

    Even that corrective action misses a very important required corrective cost, the cost of removing the excess CO2 that people incorrectly profited from producing. It is arguable that all fossil fuel created CO2 since the mid 1800s would need to be paid to be removed by the descendants of those who benefited from that activity. However, I would accept that it is only practical to collect the costs of removing new CO2 that was created during a period like the past 30 years. Even that correction would require some complex forensic accounting to back-tax the undeserved wealth obtained through those 30 years. So that effort should be limited to the biggest recipients of undeserved wealth during that period (meaning accepting that some of the incorrect actions through the past 30 years will not be paid to be corrected by the ones who incorrectly benefited - the middle and lower income portions of the population would not be made to pay).

    That understanding of the required correction appears to be understood by the Republicans when they mention that going back into the past is not part of their 'desired solution'. They likely know they deliberately pushed to maximize their benefit from the burning of fossil fuels, including efforts to promote (propagandize) misunderstandings that were 'helpful to their harmful pursuits'.

    The likes of the Republicans appear to understand exactly what the problem is and its correct solution. They appear to really dislike the idea of being correctly corrected. And they are not interested in seeing the socioeconomic-political system corrected to end the potential development of other new 'innovative incorrect attempts to obtain popularity or personal benefit' they may come up with in their efforts to resist being effectively corrected.

  33. Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    2019 must be the year of attention. Name the crisis for what it is, a climate crisis. =>

    The oncoming decade is DECISIVE whether our planet will remain below 2°C warming or not.

    Safe Climate Zone

    => Global warming will happen faster than we think

    => That’s how fast the carbon clock is ticking

  34. CO2 effect is saturated

    Golly!! More complexity being considered.

    The tropopause is a temperature thing. The tropopause height drops at night, it drops through winter and it drops greatly with latitude towards the poles. The emissions height is a pressure thing (as well as a wavelength thing). Averaged across the globe, there are parts of the CO2 emissions band that have an emissions height up in the stratosphere, and an increase in CO2 concentrations (& thus the emissions height) will thus see wider wavelengths with emission heights up in the stratosphere. A rising stratosphere emissions height sees an increase in emissions temperature which would counteract part of the the otherwise full CO2 AGW effect. But with rising CO2, there will also be more wavelengths becoming significant to CO2 absorption, for instance the two compound bands at roughly 10 microns.

    As for the poles, these are small in area relative to the tropics and emit much less radiation from the surface (which can be absorbed by CO2) being colder. The tropopause at the poles drops to ~250mbar from ~100mbar in the tropics, so 2.5x the atmosphere above it with CO2 content. So at the poles the balance between above/below the tropopause emissions height will be greatly slanted towards stratosphere, at the poles relative to the tropics. But averaged over the globe, the poles are a small part of the equasion. It is all latitudes that are averaged out to give the logarithmic relationship between CO2 and CO2 forcing, a relationship which stands (from memory) up to 1,200ppm.

    Beyond that, the reference linked @489 is reporting that the CO2 forcing would be greater than logorithmic above 1,200ppm. Thus the rise of CO2 emissions heights for more wavelengths into the stratosphere would not see an end to CO2-powered AGW.

  35. CO2 effect is saturated

    LTO @496 ,

    I commented (@495) because I was surprised that you (@494) were giving the impression that you thought the escape/emission altitude (for 15um IR) was in the stratosphere at some latitudes.

    The tropopause is a temperature- & weather-related concept.   OTOH, the 15um photon "escape" (for CO2 emission) is dependent on absolute CO2 density ~ and of course also dependent on temperature of "local" air which energizes the CO2 molecules to emit a sufficient energy flux to achieve the appropriate contribution to cooling the planet.   (The "altitude" you are interested in is not an ultra-thin single altitude [for any particular latitude] but is a weighted average).   The emission is from a fuzzy band (of altitude), so we mustn't oversimplify too far.

  36. CO2 effect is saturated


    Thank you for the references.

    I have noticed that it is becoming harder to find direct answers to some basic questions because they were answered so long ago.

  37. CO2 effect is saturated


    I am not an expert on the tropopause but I doubt that the escape altitude will move into the stratosphere to a significant amount (I do not have a reference for that opinion).

    In the poles where the stratosphere is lowest the troposphere is very cold.  That lowers the escape altitude so that the escape altitude is still below the stratosphere (we discussed that the escape altitude varies across the planet from the tropics to the poles).  Perhaps Science of Doom can answer this question.

    These detailed questions are secondary to how the basic greenhouse effect works. 

     Keep in mind that the description of the greenhouse we have discussed is a description of some of the most important basic features of a very complex phenomenon. Many additional complications exist. If it were simple to evaluate the error bars on climate sensitivity would not be so large.

  38. CO2 effect is saturated

    Hi Eclectic, it doesn't seem to me like you've correctly understood the figures quoted earlier (or my post@494), but others may have a different view. Why do you think the altitude of emission must always remain in the troposphere?

  39. CO2 effect is saturated

    LTO @494 ,

    there are worrisome ambiguities in your comments.

    The "tropopause" is a very different concept from the "escape altitude i.e.  emission altitude".  For CO2 that altitude is dependent on the absolute density of CO2, while the tropopause is a temperature-related concept.  If I have correctly understood the figures quoted earlier, the [CO2] altitude you are interested in does always remain in the troposphere (not the stratosphere).

  40. CO2 effect is saturated

    Thanks all, very useful. MA: that sounds like it would be extremely helpful for me and others.

    The point on many contributing phenomena is the key one - not just the existence of the phenomena, but how quantitatively significant it is. This no doubt varies with co2 concentration, and easily leads to confusion. The current understanding I have is that the most significant co2-induced warming mechanism (which is the one most people know about - re-radiation of IR photons to the surface) is indeed saturated at much lower co2 concs, and it is other effects that are purported to combine to trap significant amounts of energy in the troposphere. Once comfortable on this point, the point on energy balance is a given.

    One really interesting point that has come up is what happens when the altitude of emission is in the stratosphere. I understand that the tropopause varies between about 9 and 17 km, while co2 concs are relatively homogeneous across the globe, therefore the altitude of emission at ~10 km is already in the stratosphere around thr poles. it would seem that increasing co2 concs will, by raising the altitude of emission, progressively increase the proportion of the atmosphere in which this is happening. Will this offset troposphere warming effects to some extent?

  41. Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    nigelj@4 I agree completely. Individuals must start to act now on their own. Personal action should incentivize action because politicians will, to some degree, follow the lead of their constituents. But even if they don't, we must act. To solve the problem requires all individuals, organizations, and governments pulling as hard as we all can. Anything less than an all-out effort by everyone will likely fall short. We know this from the science, but nobody says it because of how unlikely it is to happen.

    Keep pushing the button for personal action and keep talking to your friends, neighbors, and family.

  42. Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    Its also a false dichotomy to say its either government action, or individual action.

  43. Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    Suggesting its either innovation or regulation is an obvious false dichotomy. We not only need technically inventive solutions (and we already have some) we need some pressure from regulation, subsidies or carbon taxes to force the scaling up of the solutions.

    The tragedy of the commons is empirical and historical fact and means market forces alone wont fix the problem, or will be painfully slow.

    The Ozone hole problem wasn't fixed by market forces alone. It used a cap and trade scheme to force the phase down of the flourocarbons. Without this we would without doubt still have an ozone hole.

  44. Philippe Chantreau at 04:53 AM on 9 January 2019
    CO2 effect is saturated

    The links are in the notes below and take you to the RC threads, where Ray Pierrhumbert did most of the initial comments. In fact, I don't know that anything recently discussed above is not adequately addressed in the notes right here below the comments, where there are many good links.

    Part 2 is more interesting from the technical point of view, especially the extra absorbtion in the wings of the spectrum.

    This is old news. The RC posts are almost 12 years old. It has all been worked out with the highest level of precision in HITRAN. The appropriate physics are in the models. It is not an area of very active research or debate. HITRAN was pretty much as far it was worth going with it, from any practical point of view.

  45. Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    It is time that we all collectively, as individuals, start to ramp down our emissions.

    We cannot wait for governments to tell us what we already know we need to do.

    The time for individual as well as government action is here.

  46. Republicans call for 'innovation' to tackle climate change, but it's not magic

    Is it safe to say GW is not a Chinese conspiracy anymore?

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] It never was.

  47. CO2 effect is saturated

    michael sweet @391,

    I cannot fault what you say. Particularly, that "there are many phenomena that contribute to the greenhouse effect" is one of the difficulties in setting out a succinct statement of how it operates. Yet the simple energy balance is an overriding principle - if energy-out is different from energy-in, there has to be consequences, in the present case a period of global warming. The point with this aspect of AGW is that it is more than "settled", it is cast in concrete! All that people are lacking is an explanation appropriate for their needs.

    I have been putting a bit of thought on a journey to introduce these GHG mechanisms in a way I've not seen before. I'm hoping it may be useful to folk like LTO. I've not quite routed out that journey yet, but it is looking useful.

  48. CO2 effect is saturated

    Chris Colose is a scientist who studies Climate Change who used to write sometimes for SkS.  He wrote a description of the greenhouse effect here.  His sumary states:

    "So…review: Because of energy balance, the planet must get rid to space as much energy as it receives from the sun. Averaged over the Earth, taking into account the albedo and geometry, this is about 240 W m-2. In the absence of an atmosphere, this flux of radiation is lost by the surface by \sigma T^{4}_{s}. With an atmosphere, this flux of radiation is allowed to emanate from upper, colder layers of the atmosphere, say on average at some altitude H. Increasing greenhouse gases increases the altitude of H, a height in the atmosphere which depends on wavelength, and characterizes a level of mean emission to space. Because the atmosphere is now emitting from colder levels of the atmosphere, the OLR has decreased, and the result is that the planet must warm to re-establish radiative equilibrium."

    I think my description is similar to his.  His summary is more technical and those who want to increase their knowledge of the greenhouse might want to read it.

    Apparently I mistook line broadening and pressure broadening.  Line broadening is important for the greenhouse on Earth.  Both these effects, and many others, contribute to the magnitude of the greenhouse effect.  If we double the concentration of CO2, the CO2 will directly cause heating of about 1C.  Some of that will be due to line broadening.  Feedbacks from other causes like increased water vapor and changes in clouds will contribute additional heating.  The feedbacks are difficult to calculate exactly but if the climate sensitivity is 3.0C (about midrange in the estimates) they will contribute 2C.

    Philippe Chantreau: can you link Gavin Schmidt's comments, I could not find them at Realclimate.

    As I said above, there are many phenomena that contribute to the greenhouse effect.  Different scientists sometimes emphasize different phenomena as important.  All these effects together make the greenhouse effect.

  49. 2018 in Review: a recap of the Skeptical Science year

    PS: Thanks for the translation and sorry for the additional work, maybe I should have written in english, but beyond expression thanks, I wanted to hint to the international audience and the excellent translations that I also often link to (e.g. the guide to skepticism, debunking handbook, posts ..).

  50. Skeptical Science takes the Pro-Truth-Pledge

    I think this type of approach is the key to getting people to understand the importance of fact checking and actuatly doing it.  I would also suggest the importance of addressing the content of what people say, not the person saying it.  That is, criticize (in a friendly way) the comment, not the commenter.

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