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Comments 701 to 750:

  1. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    Hi guys.  Found this on the Guardian today.  By Grog, who has a good grasp of data and numbers.  Political, but worth a read in the context of where Australian emmisions policy is........or isn't.  :(

    https://www.theguardian.com/business/grogonomics/2018/oct/01/australias-emissions-data-would-shame-the-coalition-if-such-a-thing-were-possible

  2. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    John, I agree about different mission but if you have someone with a Republican identity coming here to look at the science and then discovers the masses of GOP bashing and demonizing of the Right, then that paper suggests they are unlikely to even read the articles in a way that might educate them. By contrast, visiting a denier site, that while full of garbage, reassures the reader by being full of liberal-bashing. When someone is evaluating conflicting statements without the means (say a college physics degree) to accurately analyze them, then it comes down to what sources do you trust. Sources friendly to your tribal identity win every time.

    What intrigued me, was that RepublicEn not only sort the same aim, but also promoted a solution (Fee and dividend) which I think is most popular in the science community. What is different is the way it is being sold. They appeal directly to right wing sensibilities.

  3. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    MAR @27, thanks for the research link.  The economist.com did quite a good overview of this methane issue as below. If you dont subscribe to this pay to read publication, you can get a few article for free each months like this one on methane if you register with the website.  

    https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2018/04/28/scientists-struggle-to-explain-a-worrying-rise-in-atmospheric-methane

  4. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #39

    Yes progress is agonizingly slow and its turning into an epic disaster. I wonder if part of the problem is people are just not scared enough yet. For example we mostly talk about warming of possibly 4 degrees by 2100 and I suggest its easy to be complacent about this, it doesn't sound so much. Of course it is huge in physical terms with dire consequences , but I'm talking about the general psychological perception the public might have.

    Now the other day I was looking at a chart of IPCC emissions scenarios that happened to have a worst case scenario of 12 degrees by year 2300 approx. if we continue to burn fossil fuels in a worst case business as usual scenario and burning fossil fuels is something various politicians are quite happy to see happen. I do wish to be accurate that this dire scenario is at the outer bounds of error bars etc, but even 9 degrees would be absolutely dire.

    These projections get a little buried in iPCC reports, and the media focus is on the year 2100, but the year 2300 is not that far into the future in terms of human history and our grandchildren or their children etcetera,  and obviously 12  degrees would be horrendous, an existential threat of collosal scale. These projections need more publicity in the general media so the public are firmly aware of them. Its not sensible to be only focussing on 2100. It is of course important as its in some of our lifetimes and certainly our childrens, but it can create a false sense of security to think only about this century.

    Now I know sacremongering can have the reverse effect that it intends, and care is needed in what the climate community says to the public. I don't think it helps when people like Guy McPherson proclaim that humanity could be extinct within decades (although he makes many good points) because its based on very thin evidence and insults peoples intelligence,  while the IPCC has excellent work buried in its reports that is based on pretty good evidence like its temperature projections.

  5. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    William @13, what you say is true and people need to be aware of this. It could wipe out your lifes savings. However I think by climate change falling disproportionately on the poor I think they meant that  poor people in asia will be hit very hard and it will be a question of survival in many cases, especially in low lying countries, while the home owner in florida who loses his house will never starve (strong economy, social security etc) 

  6. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    OPOF @11, I came across this article a few days ago about politicians trying to weaken statements in the summary for policy makers in the recent IPCC report. It gives some specifics on what they wanted changed and left out. Its of course extremely concerning that they would even attempt to do this. 

  7. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    An article this week describes how the effects of climate change will be felt disproportionately by the poor of the world.  There is some truth in this but if you are living in a tin shack or a bamboo, thatched hut, it is not all that hard to upstakes and move upslope or out of the flood plain.  Granted, there may already be someone there that is not too happy with you intruding on his space.  Look, however at a rich Florida retiree who, before he retired lived up north and contributed to climate change.  He has his life savings tied up in his very ellegant brick and mortar house right on the beach.  What does he do when the insurance companies, who know what is coming, refused to renew his flood insurance and he finds his lounge is more often than not a swimming pool.  Even if the insurance companies did renew his insurance, the cost of the completel flooding of coastal city after coastal city will simply be too much for them.  After all, the premiums people paid went to give obscene bonuses to their top brass, not to invest in stocks that would preserve and grow their reserves.  They will falter and default. The higher you are the harder you fall.

  8. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    nigelj @25,

    The Schurr et al link @24 works okay for me. However ResearchGate provide a PDF download and also ReadCube (which only provide full sight of the first page) provide a link to the Supplimentary Information.

    The NASA page you link to @26 presents well the findings of the likes of Schaefer et al (2016). This perhaps fits with the idea that the tropical wetlands will be more of a future problem regarding methane emissions than will the Arctic emissions, as found by Comyn-Platt et al (2018) who calculated the Arctic methane emissions would be 25% to 30% that of the wetlands emissions.

  9. One Planet Only Forever at 00:39 AM on 2 October 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #39

    Upon further consideration, I would change the last sentence in my comments opening para to be: "Trying to maintain or increase the already incorrectly over-developed perceptions of superiority relative to others just makes the future consequences worse."

  10. One Planet Only Forever at 00:36 AM on 2 October 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #39

    This is developing to become a man-made disaster of epic proportions.

    The economic over-development in the incorrect direction, economies substantially based on the benefits of the global burning of fossil fuels, is a bubble. It is undeniably unsustainable and undeniably more harmful the longer it is allowed to go uncorrected. Trying to increase the already incorrectly over-developed perceptions of superiority relative to others just makes the future consequences worse.

    The future consequences of the lack of correction of unsustainable and harmful economic development are two things: more significant and more rapid required corrections of the incorrectly developed economic activities, and more costs of 'trying to clean up' the harmful results that grew to a larger magnitude due to the lack of earlier correction. The lack of previous action to correct the incorrect direction of development has already created some harms that may be impossible to clean up (to fully undo).

    The current generation is facing a more significant economic bubble correction and more clean-up than it would have had to if previous generations of global leadership had more responsibly started correcting what had developed. And the situation is made worse by every year of continued successful resistance among the global 'undeserving winners of perceptions of wealth and superiority relative to others' to the undeniable required corrections of what has developed.

    Some richer people deserve to become poorer, particularly the ones who have pursued more personal wealth from fossil fuel burning through the past 30 years. It is as simple as that. That has happened to some of the coal barons. It needs to happen to oil barons and natural gas barons.

    The loss of undeserved perceptions of wealth happens all the time with economic corrections. But what can also be seen to happen is that many of the richer people do not become as poor as they deserve to be. Instead, already less fortunate people suffer more because the wealthier ones have power to protect their undeserved perceptions of superiority relative to others.

    Big changes are coming. Hopefully global leadership can get the correct changes to happen. The less successful they are at making correct change, the worse things will become. And things have already become very bad.

  11. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    @scaddenp #4: This website, SkepticalScience.com, has a completely different mission and audience than does the RepublicEn website. 

  12. One Planet Only Forever at 14:00 PM on 1 October 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    This recent BBC article, "IPCC: Climate scientists consider 'life changing' report", further exposes the unacceptability of the developments in nations like the USA, Australia and Saudi Arabia (and Canada is not mentioned, but its leadership efforts to expand the rate of export of oil sands bitumen mean it should have been named along with the others, along with Russia).

    The article also explains the process of writing the IPCC reports. That process includes government-minders pushing for the wording to be the least opposed to the their interests, with scientists trying to ensure that the weakened wording is still reasonably consistent with the science.

    That pressure by political self-interest to compromise the scientific understanding of the public interest is most powerful from many of the supposedly most advanced nations. And it is likely due to the reality of how undeserving the winners of the games played actually are, how many wealthier and more powerful people do not really deserve their developed perceptions of superiority relative to others.

  13. One Planet Only Forever at 13:35 PM on 1 October 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    nigelj,

    Getting a carbon tax implemented and reasonably rapidly increasing it will almost certainly require the type of correction I am taking about, the type of correction you indicate is unlikely to sustainably develop, but can and must sustainably be developed.

    The Social Dilemma claim may be an excuse for a 'lack of interest in interacting rationally based on the objective of developing a better collective result'.

    The Prisoner's Dilemma only exposes the way people can behave when there is no back-and-forth interaction based on reasoning to develop the best common action plan (and the reality is that both participants know that they deserve to be penalized - I get back to this point later regarding how some people are Uniting).

    The Social Dilemma discussion presents similar cases, where a person is able to avoid or evade others becoming aware of the reality of their behaviour (aspects of the behaviour of those Uniting greedier and less tolerant people).

    And the Tragedy of the Commons is the ability to do something that others should be concerned about stopping, but lack an awareness and lack the ability to identify and act against the appropriate sub-set of the population to stop the unacceptable actions.

    They all involve a lack of ability to be, or interest in being, helpful to developing a sustainable better future for humanity. They involve limited awareness or limited understanding of what is going on. And their prevalence in a population can be understood to be the result of the socioeconomic-political system (games and refereeing) that they develop in.

    The problem is the system. And a sustainable solution will not be developed without effectively addressing and correcting the error in the system.

    Carbon Taxes in Canada appear to be hit-and-miss. They depend on what political party wins power. And the evidence appears to be that leadership that implements them reduces their chances of staying in power (one possible exception is BC, but future incremental increases of carbon taxes in BC may lead to a loss of the leadership that does that).

    Those opposed to a carbon tax willingly join the United greedier and intolerant who collectively oppose climate action as well as opposing the other corrections that the understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals point out are required for humanity to have a future.

    The Uniting of the greedier and less tolerant is an interesting phenomenon. It is a common sense development, meaning that it is understandable how people with a diversity of selfish interests can be expected to realize the importance of Uniting to support each other's understandably unacceptable interests. It indicates that selfish people can act collectively, which would appear to be a contradiction of the claims made about human nature based on the Prisoner's Dilemma and the Social Dilemma. And the collective actions of those selfish people can powerfully limit efforts to correct cases of Tragedy of the Commons.

    What is tragic is the failure of those who have been tempted to join the United greedy and less tolerant to realize the unacceptability of what they support (which includes their personal motive for joining that group). And one of the potentially most tragic results is the devolution of a society past a tipping point, away from responsible governing of actions in the society as more people are tempted to join a United group of greedier and less tolerant people (money in politics is not a problem, money in the wrong hands is the problem, and the more invisible those wrong hands are the worse the result).

    The pursuers of smaller government can often be seen to join those types of groups, or believe they are staying in a responsible rational Conservative group. But they fail to realize that government actions can only be reduced when responsible self-governing has been effectively and sustainably increased in the society. They fail to realize that supporting the United collective of greedier and less tolerant people makes it harder to reduce the requirement for Responsible Government (government of the people by the people for the people encouraging better behaviour and refereeing and acting to effectively penalize less acceptable behaviour that is unjustifiably trying to win, or has actually gotten away with unjustified winning).

  14. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    Well I am absolutely no angel either here but my son did his masters on this sort of stuff and it was a bit of wake up call. Tamino, who is somewhat abrasive at best of times has also tried to tone it down. Locally in NZ, protesters screaming "dirty dairying" arent going to win over any farmers whereas people and groups etc willing to work beside farmers are being effective. Assuming people with different views are selfish morons is not a good way to make progress.

  15. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    Scaddenp says "Looks to me like a "Republicans for Climate Action" site could be a more effective communication tool in the US site than politically neutral sites like this where all too many commentators identify as liberals and demonize the right."

    Scaddenp gives some of us a bit of a telling off and fair enough it makes sense to avoid adding to the tribalism by discussing ones own politics and talking too much about left and right, although I think regular contributors here are pretty restrained compared to my experience of other websites.

    The article was actually political, so its very hard to not make a political response of some form, although clearly we should avoid demonising other tribes of people, or engage in extended cynical and mocking rants ( tempting though I find this ha ha).

    But I think Jacinda Adern handles Trump and related matters rather well by focussing on her beliefs and agenda, rather than personally attacking Trump or his agenda. Scaddenp would appreciate this. John Key did much the same to his credit.

  16. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    John Hartz  posts "Climate change is real and we believe it's our duty and our opportunity to reduce the risks. But to make a difference, we have to fight climate change with free enterprise instead of ineffective subsidies and regulations."

    The writer would need to elaborate, but one assumes he would be referring to the efforts of people like Elon Musk, and the general power of competition to drive innovation, all laudable things. But sadly not everyone acts in these ways.

    The "ineffective subsidies and regulation" can be fairly interpreteed to mean either no regulation, or no regulation that I dont like. But it would be good if people acted responsibly without the need for regulations imposed by governments as the writer, and OPOF alluded to,  but such a world may be implausible because of the  well known and fascinating social dilemmas discussed in this article.   At the very least we might need a carbon tax in some form.

    Moderator Response:

    [JH] Point of clarification: I did not write the quotes you have attributed to me. What you are quoting is from the About US statement posted on the RepublicEn website. I reposted that statement in my comment #5.

  17. Climate Bet for Charity, 2017 update

    You won the side bet in June last year, Rob, And you predicted it all the way back in 2013, when you first posted on this bet:

    I would also note that on his chart his Y-axis tops out at 0.25°C. He's probably going to have to shift that up to 0.3°C or higher before all is said and done.

    KT has added 0.1 to the top of his Y axis so far.

  18. GHG emission mitigation solutions - a challenge for the Right?

    I am heartened to find some rightwingers taking this challenge up in the US See www.republicEn.org.

  19. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    Excellent - I did look but didnt find anything. Depressingly small at moment, but I seriously hope they grow like hell. Their viewpoint is what I was trying to find when I wrote "GHG emission mitigation solutions - a challenge for the Right?"

  20. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    scaddenp: Your wish has already been filled. Check out http://www.republicen.org/

    The About Us page of its website states


    We are 5981 Americans educating the country about free-enterprise solutions to climate change.

    Members of republicEn are conservatives, libertarians, and pragmatists of diverse political opinion. We stand together because we believe in American free enterprise. We believe that with a true level playing field, free enterprise can deliver the innovation to solve climate change. But America's climate policy needs to change. Change requires that conservative leaders step-up and lead.

    Climate change is real and we believe it's our duty and our opportunity to reduce the risks. But to make a difference, we have to fight climate change with free enterprise instead of ineffective subsidies and regulations.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Fixed link

  21. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    A wholly expected scientific outcome http://www.pnas.org/content/115/39/9714. If a participant in a discussion identifies you as the opposite party, then they fail to learn anything from you. Looks to me like a "Republicans for Climate Action" site could be a more effective communication tool in the US site than politically neutral sites like this where all too many commentators identify as liberals and demonize the right.

  22. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    MAR @24, this review is interesting related to the recent increase in atmospheric methane levels. It is almost like a curved ball in that the permafrost is not turning out to be the problem at least in the short term, and instead the tropics are. Expect more curved balls from the climate.

  23. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    MA Rodger @22, the Schuur link didnt work, but I found a copy of the abstract. I think what we have going on is positive feedbacks with melting permafrost, counter balanced by negative feedbacks where carbon is captured by increased plant growth, but this in turn reaches limiting factors because warming can decrease photosynthesis like a cascade of feedbacks.  Its for these sorts of reasons why I intuitively feel that climate change will be bad, but not quite as off the scale as the usual suspects over at RC think, because basically they dont think. However I'm no biologist either, so this is speculation on my part.

    But people are growing vegetables in the tundra in this article  (as it thaws) which certainly reinforces your comments.

    Yet we are left with the methane problem, although currently the global increase in atmospheric methane appears related to the tropics, with no evident spike in the tundra regions.

    I think theres an emotive component to this, where theres clearly a problem with permafrost that I believe is hundreds of metres deep in places, and so theres huge potential for a powerful positive feedback that is truly scary, we should be scared,  but we have to also calmly ask how would this actually play out? What is the likely rate of release? The evidence appears to suggest its quite slow, but the periods of hothouse earth suggest an awful lot could melt eventually and become self reinforcing.

  24. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    It makes one sputter with frustration. Humanity has achieved so very much with our technology with a beginning understanding of the true deep roots of biology, our electronics, ability to talk with anyone anywhere in the world, our understanding of physics and on and on. And these venal, stupid, self serving politicians are going to wreck it all for a handful of silver and a feeling of power. Any reasonably bright year 12 student could tell them exactly what we have to be doing to avoid this catastrophe and they refuse to listen. The key to the whole sorry mess is the old adage WHO PAYS THE PIPER CALLS THE TUNE. As long as vested interests finance our politicians, the politicians will do their bidding and we will pay the price. We think we are getting some sort of a bargain by having someone else finance election campaigns instead of the money coming from our taxes but the cost to us is orders of magnitude larger than if we footed the bill. Only if we finance politicians will there be any chance of making headway on the many solutions we must put in place to survive as a society and perhaps as a species on into the future.

  25. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    nigelj @22,

    The particular point I was considering with my comment @21 "the spread of plant growth as high latitude lands warm"  was less about bigger forests and more about the convertion of the frozen permafrost land into biologically productive land.

    The permafrost is seen as being a serious problem under a warming climate because it contains large carbon stocks.  Hugelius et al (2014) put it as 300Gt(C) in shallow soils and 800Gt(C) in deep soils (and that a downward revision on previous estimates, athough you can then find Shelef et al (2017) who argue for a possible upward revision, up to 600Gt(C) on top again). By comparison, the Amazon carbon stocks (also at risk of being destabalised with AGW) are considered to be much smaller - 200Gt(C). While not all this permafrost carbon will be melted-out and then enter the atmosphere, the large numbers are a worry.

    Yet there is work that shows only a small percentage of the frozen carbon entering the atmosphere. Schuur et al (2009) shows much of the carbon released from frozen soils is matched by carbon captured by those same soils. Thus Schuur et al speculate that only 9% to 13% of the thawed soil's carbon will add to global CO2 emissions.

    Of course, the possibility that significant proportions of that carbon appears as CH4 would add to the warming potential of the released carbon.

  26. One Planet Only Forever at 03:46 AM on 1 October 2018
    2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    What is happening in the USA is one of the most powerful case-study examples of the downward spiral of unacceptable results that can develop when less deserving people Win competitions for popularity and profitability.

    Undeserved perceptions of prosperity and of superiority relative to others have developed because of the incorrect belief that competition for perceptions of superiority relative to others will naturally develop good results and deserving winners. The truth is that without all members of a society pursuing improved awareness and understanding with the objective of helping to sustainably improve the future for everyone, not harming any others (including and especially not harming future generations), the behaviour of the people who will not responsibly helpfully self-govern their development and behaviour need to be governed by responsible helpful collective government.

    Many Americans may indicate that they support action on climate change. But they have other 'more important to them' interests and desires that are understandably contrary to the achievement of one or more of Sustainable Development Goals which include the Paris Agreement (and those desires were also contrary to the achievement of one or more of the Millennium Development Goals which included the Kyoto Accord). They will support the Group that promises to deliver their most important personal desires, even if that group will oppose the Climate Action they indicate that they want (because that group is led by the collective of wealthy and powerful people who are opposed to one or more of the corrections required to achieve a sustainable better future for humanity).

    What has been happening around the world can be understood to be undeserved winning by harmful people in nations at all levels of development, including (and likely to a more damaging degree) in the supposedly most advanced nations.

    For many decades, Leaders (Business and Political) around the world have understood the future consequences of the lack of actions to rapidly correct unsustainable and harmful developments and directions of development based on the constantly improving awareness and understanding of what is really going on. They fight to maintain the status-quo, or get back to the good old days when they had more freedom to get away with personally benefiting from less acceptable behaviour.

    The problem that needs to be corrected is the ability of the understandably more harmful pursuers of Winning to be more profitable and more popular than their competition. Getting away with unsustainable or more harmful actions will make delivering what people desire cheaper, make it easier to 'give people what they want' (note that it costs wealthy people very little to support socially harmful actions in order to get less tolerant people to support their greedy desires, hence the Uniting of greedy people with less tolerant people on the Right of the political spectrum).

    People can easily be tempted to prefer and excuse cheaper quicker easier ways to get something they have been encouraged to develop a desire for. And people can be easily tempted to desire things that they would 'personally enjoy or be more comfortable with' but do not 'need'. And those people will seek ways to ignore and excuse any understanding of the unacceptability of what they desire.

    People can tragically be easily tempted to fight for harmful and unsustainable perceptions of personal benefit, perceptions of superiority relative to others. That includes fighting for beliefs about their superiority relative to other life rather than properly understanding that Darwin's observation of Survival of the Fittest means that humans only have a future by acting in ways that Fit sustainably into a robust diversity of other life on this or any other amazing planet.

    The behaviour of leaders and the examples they set needs to be understood to be very powerful. Any political or business leader who claims that leaders only 'do what the people want' and should be rewarded if they do that, is probably also actively participating in developing unacceptable desires and popular support for unsustainable and harmful actions. They understand that they can be bigger winners if they can get away with being secretive and misleading through deliberate appeals to the primal selfishness of people in the general population. They can get people to desire things by triggering attitudes like greed and intolerance. They can develop powerful desires for actions that impede efforts the development of a sustainable improving future for humanity.

    Those types of pursuers of winning are the real problem. Helping to improve the awareness and understanding of the general population and helping achieve the corrections of what has developed so that humanity will have an improving sustainable future is contrary to their short-term selfish interest.

    The UN has been working on improving awareness and understanding of the required corrections of development since its inception (created after the failure of the League of Nations to achieve that objective). And those unacceptable pursuers of personal benefit have been fighting against those United Global Efforts any way they can get away with (with less success than they had fighting against the League of Nations pursuit of the objective - but still massively harmfully successfully at fighting against being effectively corrected).

    The reality is that the supposedly more developed nations have developed many seriously incorrect perceptions of prosperity and opportunity, and have seriously incorrect and unsustainable perceptions of superiority relative to others (because they have developed the unsustainable and harmful desires to be perceived to be superior relative to others).

    Political leaders in the USA, and all other nations, need to tell their population that many among them have developed unsustainable and damaging delusions as a result of the tragically flawed results of competitions for popularity and profitability in socioeconomic-political systems that increase, rather than reduce, the development of unsustainable and harmful beliefs and desires (desires and beliefs that are contrary to the constantly improving awareness and understanding of what is really going on and the corrections required for humanity to have a sustainable and improving future).

    What politician or business leader is going to 'succeed more and be more rewarded' if they tell the general population that many of the wealthiest and most powerful among them do not deserve their developed perceptions of wealth and power? Those undeserving wealthy powerful people are United globally to collectively fight to defend their undeserved perceptions of superiority relative to others. And they are masters of tempting the general population to be greedier and less tolerant, tempting them to like the less deserving among the winners and dislike the more deserving among the winners.

    The world 'needs' smaller government everywhere, which can only happen by developing populations that 'need' smaller government to develop sustainable improvements of human activity. Smaller government does not develop the type of population that can sustainably develop with smaller government oversight of the development. Increasing the proportion of the population that self-governs responsibly is required before government oversight and correction of development can be reduced.

    The winners/leaders need to be the examples of the self-governing behaviour that the rest of the population should aspire to. Effective means of correcting the unsustainable and harmful behaviour of winners/leaders is what is required. The politics of popularity and profitability can develop damaging inertia in a population that makes it more difficult to correct understandably incorrect developments. It is highly unlikely that incorrectly developed activities will be corrected without first correcting the incorrect understandings of what is really going on and the unacceptability and unsustainability of developed perceptions of prosperity and superiority.

  27. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

    So Mr Trump, is climate change a hoax or is it leading to 7 degrees of warming? The mixed messages are astounding. It seems at best that one arm of America's government does not know what another arm is saying, or perhaps they do and its something similar to Orwells book 1984's and his ministry of double speak. Either way America is becoming a huge global pain in the neck.

    "The world would have to make deep cuts in carbon emissions to avoid this drastic warming, the analysis states. And that “would require substantial increases in technology innovation and adoption compared to today’s levels and would require the economy and the vehicle fleet to move away from the use of fossil fuels, which is not currently technologically feasible or economically feasible.”

    Have these people not observed electric cars, wind farms, studies showing negative emissions technology works etcetera ? What alternative universe do they live in?

    By not economically feasible they appear to mean it will "cost us more" but this ignores the costs of climate change on future generations, and studies show some extra money spent now will have substantial savings long term. Plenty of studies show that wind and solar power is alreadly cost competitive with traditional generation anyway ( refer to the  Lazard analysis) and the costs of electric cars are looking attractive, so the governments transport study looks like its "gone off the rails".

  28. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    MARodger @21, just a couple more comments on your comments.

    "The second issue is probably that "8 degrees" issue. If we do over-run the Paris limits, how bad can it get? The "3.4°C warming by 2100" mentioned in the OP, the level of AGW suggested by GCMs if the current commitments made by nations are fulfilled and no more. My own view is that we don't want to be going anywhere as awful as a +3.4°C world, but if we did provide that level of forcing to achieve it, how much extra could we expect? How strong do feedbacks become if we over-run Paris?"

    No I agree we dont want to get anywhere near 3.4 degrees. I don't know how strong feedbacks would become precisely, but I would think feedbacks are non linear in nature, but I havent seen a graph of how it would go. Melting permafrost reinforcing levels of atmospheric CO2 sounds rather like a run away effect like an oscillating electrical circuit, but I think it still takes time for soils (and ice) to melt even under heavy warming. Everything I have read suggests sea level rise 10 - 20 metres will take well over 2 centuries but other things may not - like abrupt shifts in global weather patterns for example and they look like they will be chnages for the worse.

    But reagrdless of all this, warming feedbacks levels could still destabilse eastern antarctica, and this could lead to sea level rise of about 2 metres per century even possibly this century, and to me this is the thing that is particularly worrying because of the rate of change. And such an elevation in temperatures could possibly cause a rapid and sudden change in atmposheric circulation on decadal to century length time frames, from what I have read.

    Even at our current 1 degree and 400 ppm of CO2 we appear commited to pliocene conditions of 3 degrees ultimately and about 10 metres of sea level rise (sort of a partial hothouse) but is something humanity coulod adapt to without massive pain. Imho anything more than 2 degrees is unthinkable in terms of scale and pain even if it takes many centuries to unfold. 

    I do see quite a lot of doomery coming, but I refuse to be a cynical pessimist, because that can be pointless. I think theres still much humanity could do to greatly reduce all these various dire possibilities. 

    Somebody said when in doubt or arguing about stuff, go back and look at the basic data. The stuff we are really sure about. The basic paleo climate data says that if we don't meet Paris goals, a serious hothouse earth is quite probable, and I think we can be reasonably sure at least some elements of it will be felt over the next couple of centuries, and  right now global temperatures in the GISS and Hadcrut datasets are tracking quite close to model estimates. These are huge flashing red lights, to my way of thinking.

  29. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    MA Rodger @21

    Thank's for the research links. I have read both and they are mighty interesting reading, although a lot to absorb, and I agree they leave some things unclear, and I think they leave questions unanswered as to how fast a hothouse earth might happen, other than a vague note about possibly a couple of centuries, but it's still a genuinely alarming statement. So is the 12 degrees in your IPCC emissions profiles table if we just go on burning fossil fuels.

    I do wish Americans would use celsius. Its very confusing using fahrenheit.

    "Firstly, how good is that 0.5°C estimate of additional warming at +2°C? "

    I assume you are suggesting forests spreading northwards would stabilise soils and absorb CO2. Interesting thought, and its not clear to me if they considered this. However the CO2 is plantfood effect is supposed to saturate fairly quickly or cancel out, because warming also affects photosynthesis and other soil processes and it intuitively seems to me that the march of forests northwards would tend to lag behind areas of thawing permafrost, but the question would be how much. They didn't really say. But it was apparently not enough to stop the earth entering past houshouse conditions assuming there were substantial areas of permafrost soils, so perhaps their 0.5 degree estimate is not far off the reality.

    The map in the research suggests total melt of permafrost is not locked in until about 5 degrees, which gives some hope because its this sort of CO2 feedback and consequent warming which really will spin us towards a hothouse earth in terms of temperature and thus horrendously extreme weather, although according to the study total ice melt will be locked in well before we hit 5 degrees. Hope in the sense that we could avoid the worst of the permafrost issue if we reduced emissions promtly to Paris time goals.

  30. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    nigelj @20,

    Chucking a few more words into that "gap", the "Study here" you link to (Note the "3.6 degrees" is Fahrenheit) is based on Steffen et al (2018) which I think is doing some good work but perhaps is not presenting a scientific message or presenitng it as clearly as it should. The actual paper itself spends too long in systems-analytical mode and so you have to delve into the Supporting Information to find quantifiable findings. If you add up the numbers in Table S2, it presents a potential additional 0.5°C of warming in a +2°C warmed world by 2100 resulting from all the extras not included in the GCMs. That 'additional' figure would presumably be bigger if it was assessed for 2200.

    I see two issues here. Firstly, how good is that 0.5°C estimate of additional warming at +2°C? Half of the 0.5°C is made up of melting permafrost emissions which helps simplify the analysis a bit. There has been over the last year a few papers suggesting that it is a +1.5°C that will trigger the bulk of the +2°C permafrost feedback. Mind, I do think these studies concentration on emissions which is just one side of the story. With all this thawing, there is also the spread of plant growth as high latitude lands warm. Steffen et al would do well if it prompted scientific discussion of the size of natural feedbacks under the sorts of warming humanity is hoping to keep to.

    The second issue is probably that "8 degrees" issue. If we do over-run the Paris limits, how bad can it get? The "3.4°C warming by 2100" mentioned in the OP, the level of AGW suggested by GCMs if the current commitments made by nations are fulfilled and no more. My own view is that we don't want to be going anywhere as awful as a +3.4°C world, but if we did provide that level of forcing to achieve it, how much extra could we expect? How strong do feedbacks become if we over-run Paris?

  31. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    MAR @18, just filling in a gap in my own comments: "(Indeed, so too does your "about 8 degrees before things stabilise.") Study here.

  32. It's methane

    mondosinistro - I have further responded on the topic indicated by the moderator.

  33. Toward Improved Discussions of Methane & Climate

    Responding to this comment. The article above contains a lot of very valuable information. However, you seem to have some misconceptions about clathrates. Firstly, these are not millions of years of accumulations like oil, but instead they can only form in a quite narrow temperature/pressure range mostly from biogenic methane. As temperature changes as it has done in past, then region of stability moves, and yes, if it warms you get melt on top, and the stability region moves deeper. The rate of methane release from clathrates is directly related to rate of temperature increase. Current warming rate is much faster than in past hence the concern. However, as the article above says, there is a lot of fear-mongering that is not substantiated by the science.

  34. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    MAR @18, I interpreted DougC's comments @ 1 and elsewehere a little differently to you in some regards. However having read his comments again, I can see how they could be interpreted in the way you say. Perhaps they lacked a little clarity, but it is probably time pressure and he makes some good points, and does better than some people I can think of over at RC with their confused pessimistic rants.

    He does indeed say a 3.4 degree warmer world is where we are going but I took this to mean if we are stupid enough to keep burning fossil fuels, surely a non controversial and self evident statement? But in hindsight, he could have helped his case if he had stated if we continue on business as usual scenario.

    Unfortunately one of the denialist tricks is to post comments that we are doomed because warming is locked in, so theres no point doing anything. Doug isn't in that category, but I guess some people could interpret his comments that way and I guess this is what bothers you? Its something we all need to be aware of anyway.

    I agree he was vague about how we get to a 12 degree world. But his sentiment was correct, and at least he wasn't claiming it could happen in our lifetimes as a couple of people have suggested.

    You say "The response also talks of "much of the research" being "conservative" which is the sort of non-specif comment I truly hate. It gives license to ignore research and is thus anti-scientific. More usually the "conservative" label is attached to the IPCC assessment reports which again as a generalisation is anti-scientific."

    Now I agree totally here, and feel the need to do a bit of a rant. Imho this all creates doubt and confusion about the research in the publics mind and undermines the credibility of the IPCC with the public. I wish people would word their criticisms a little more artfully and with some context or proviso's. In fact I dont see any evidence that the climate research is "conservative" in terms of specific papers, and at most one could argue that the conclusions the IPCC reach having reviewed all the papers are a little conservative, but this is not actually a bad thing, and I dont see it being "hugely" conservative.

    The problem is more in the summary for policy makers, where some things appear to be left out or language watered down and imho its a serious concern. The same applies to this new report on paris timeframe issues.  I hope you see this and enough links have been posted on the issues. It probably reflects trying to get agreement of multiple countries and their representatives, so its essentially political and is not an understatement of scientific knowledge, but that doesn't in any way justify it. The document ends up potentially creating a false impression and understating risks.

    It is however a tough problem to solve. Like herding cats. However it's certainly not a reason to rubbish the entire IPCC reports or climate research, because once we do this we play right into the deniliasts hands because its music to their ears.

    So on balance I do think there are some valid criticisms of the IPCC summary for policy makers, and things of a similar nature, but they need to be worded carefully, not in the brainless, emotive and naive way the usual suspects do. I think you yourself have bemoaned the lack of attention given to long term sea level rise.

    Regarding the killing of all complex life. He should probably have said something like "all or most complex life". However I think for the purposes of his comment the definition of complex life is self evident enough.

  35. There's no empirical evidence

    aleks @364,

    (1) There are quite a few considerations when calculating the temperature of a no-GHG Earth. In the simplest calculation, the big variable would be albedo which is 0.12 on the moon and 0.3 on the GHG Earth. Assuming albedo can vary from zero to 0.3 yileds a S-B result of 278k down to 255k. (A no-GHG Earth could have a significantly different albedo to today's GHG Earth.) These simplest of calculations would yield lower temperatures if S-B is used for local temperature rather than global as the variations mean the hotter bits radiate more extra radiation than the colder bit reduced radiation.

    The Moon temperature results from a body with wildly different rotation and lilely a greatly different non-GHG albedo. Strangely folk seem reluctant to provide an average lunar surface temperature. But if you use the numbers presented by Williams et al (2017) the average comes out as 253K.

    The effect of a non-GHG atmosphere would add a little to heat loss it would presumably be a larger flux than today's GHG Earth's 17Wm^-2 flux as there would be a big temperature difference between the surface under the mid-day tropical sun and a fridged atmosphere, further reducing the non-GHG temperature. I would imagine that a non-GHG atmosphere would do little to move heat from the mid-day tropics to colder parts of the Earth.

    The most involved approach to the calculation would be to turn a climate model onto the situation, something done by Lacis et al (2010). They find an average global temperature falling to 253K by 100 years after removing all GHGs (bar water vapour). The temperature is still falling even after 100 years. I would speculate that well beyond 100 years there will be a time when all the water in warmer latitudes which could be turned to water vapour would have fallen as snow over frozen latitudes, eventually emptying the tropical oceans and leaving a desert over the tropics (the only places warm enough for water) and thus water vapour would drop very greatly relative to the 100 year situation. Further, albedo would probably be higher due to the increased high latitude ice fields and oceanless tropics. All in all, I would suggest that the 100-year 253K temperature will reduce significantly more before equilibrium is reached.

    (2) The "without the atmosphere" wording perhaps would be better put as "without GHGs." For no other reason, the assertion that a cold world would be "uninhabitable for humans" and "agriculture ... more or  less impossible" would also apply to a "without the atmosphere" world how ever hot  or cold it was.

  36. There's no empirical evidence

    I would like to comment on the two statements in this article.
    1. « The laws of physics tell us that without the atmosphere, the Earth would be approximately 33oC cooler than it actually is”.
    Two ways to find this temperature difference are known. The first way is based on the consideration of the Earth as an perfect black body and the application of the Stefan-Boltzmann equation (radiant heat emitted from a unit of area is directly proportional to the temperature (in K) in the 4th power). Although the Earth radiates not quite an ideal black body (uneven surface structure and different chemical composition), with the use of certain averaging (values of emitted radiant heat and albedo) it is possible to obtain the "effective temperature of the Earth" 254-255 K. This value is compared with the average temperature of the Earth, which is very conditional (if we take into account the continuous temperature changes in time and in different places on the Earth's surface) is assumed equal to 287-288 K.
    The second way is to compare average temperatures on the Earth and on the Moon
    while the average temperature on the Moon is estimated as -18 ° C:
    LINK
    Obviously, to consider these semiempirical calculations based on the “laws of physics”, is at least a large exaggeration.
    2. “The reason that the Earth is warm enough to sustain life is because of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere”.
    And at this point, there is a substitution of concepts. In the previous statement we talked about the atmosphere in general, and here about "greenhouse gases." In the logical chain, the main link lacks - evidence that the capacity of the atmosphere to absorb heat is determined only by greenhouse gases.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] Shortened and hyperlinked URL breaking page formatting

  37. Retraction of Florides et al. (2013)

    Retraction Watch also has a post on this:

    http://retractionwatch.com/2018/09/19/four-years-after-readers-raise-concerns-journal-finally-retracts-controversial-climate-paper/

  38. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    nigelj @17,
    You are correct about the +12ºC world being possible. Indeed, the graphic @6 shows RCP8.5 could reach such a level of warming (showing global temperature relative to 1986–2005 so add another +0.6ºC to make it relative to the 1800s).
    But note this graph is not showing a follow-on from "a +3.4ºC warmer Earth" after 2100, and I say this not because RCP8.5 is a tad warmer in 2100. (The graphic is showing +3.7ºC or +4.3ºC above the 1800s.) The graphic shows +12ºC not because of follow-on but because RCP8.5 includes accelerating forcing through to 2100 when the forcing-deceleration begins. By 2150, the additional annual forcing is still up at the level we see today.
    Of course, there are feedbacks not modelled in these GCM-generated projections which was perhaps the thrust of the speculation @1. Yet the assessment leading to the +12ºC, any study of what these feedbacks will bring; that remains unmentioned. (Indeed, so too does your "about 8 degrees before things stabilise.")

    I'm always happy to re-appraise both my understanding of stuff and my writing in comment threads. I'm happy to amend that understanding and set out corrects to my comments, although I would not rate the humble pie of admiting-error as a happy thing.

    Doug_C @1 presents five paragraphs. I agree with the first and the last. Indeed I strongly advocate the message of the first but apparently for different reasons than those given by Doug_C, reasons he sets out in the middle three paragraphs.

    The second paragraph @1 is just a question but does imply "a +3.4ºC warmer Earth" is where we are going. My response @6 only points to the basis of "a +3.4ºC warmer Earth" and how humanity can (& will) do better. Perhaps I can add strength to that referencing of the basis of "a +3.4ºC warmer Earth" by quoting from that source. "While the challenges are significant, limiting warming to below 1.5°C by the end of the century is still feasible from current emissions levels. However, with every decade lost, these challenges and costs rise and will, at some point, become insurmountable with warming locked in to 1.5 or 2°C and above."
    My referencing @6 (I can but assume) led on to (1)@10 which is saying the issue is the present and that our future climate is being "locked in". Again the implication is that "a +3.4ºC warmer Earth" has been locked in. I rebut this idea forcefully @16. (There is also in (1)@10 an assessment of present AGW being "concerning" and "very disturbing" but, as I read (1)@10, this isn't the issue.)

    The third paragraph @1 says that "a +3.4ºC warmer Earth" will be bad (& I agree wholeheartedly) but that it could 'carry through' to a +12ºC world. So @6 I ask for the basis of this 'carry through' to a +12ºC world. Sadly, the response (2)@10 is vague, pointing just to "researchers like James Hansen" and "some of them." The response also talks of "much of the research" being "conservative" which is the sort of non-specif comment I truly hate. It gives license to ignore research and is thus anti-scientific. More usually the "conservative" label is attached to the IPCC assessment reports which again as a generalisation is anti-scientific.
    But in all this the +12ºC world is evidently speculation. There is some room for doubt with the meaning of the +3.4ºC world although the implication (apparently strong implication) is that @1 it is being predicted as our future.

    The fourth paragraph is surely flat wrong, even with the "complex life" being undefined. Is it actually saying that a +12ºC world would see the extinction of all eucaryotes, all mushrooms plants & animals? Or just all multi-cellular organisms? The palaeoclimate has certainly seen life survive across a +6ºC world. The speed of AGW will be devastating for natural ecosystems but to suggest a +12ºC world would kill off all complex life is surely wrong. No pockets of survivable climate, anywhere? (And that is ignoring human ingenuity finding a way to survive in such a world.)
    Saying that, there are analyses describing the danger of extinction, as seen in the five previous mass extinctions, comes not directly from a climate change caused by some catastrophy but from from the impacts of the resulting unleashed procaryotes, the bacteria.

    And so, have I earned a serving of humble pie? Even a small serving? I don't see it myself.

  39. It's methane

    Perhaps someone here can help me to clear up some confusion about methane and the Arctic. No one seems to be asking the question I have.

    OK, I got the memo: I'm supposed to be freaked out because arctic thawing is going to release methane from the clathrates on the continental shelf. A little red meat for you: Shahkova, Wadhams, Beckwith, others. They're the ones that seem to be screaming the loudest about this.

    Let's not get into the deep clathrates, or the land permafrost, as those releases are going to be pretty slow anyway. I'll stick to the clathrates on the Arctic Ocean continental shelf, which are shallow enough to be released quickly. Supposedly.

    The problem I have with all this talk is simple. The claim is that the global warming we're going to have (depending on whom you ask, either by 2100, or sooner, or even already) is going to cause a catastrophic release of methane from clathrates at shallow depths, where it can warm more quickly because it's really cold at those high latitudes. And we're told that this amounts to hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon.

    Well, it's also well known that the Earth's gas, oil, and coal was laid down over the last 500 million years or so; more at some intervals than others, but overall, over hundreds of millions of years. Now, during the last 400 to 500 million years, the Earth has often been warmer than now, by several degrees C. In fact, the Earth has been in this "hothouse" condition for most of that time.

    Then, if it's true that a warming of a couple of degrees C, or even say 6 degrees, is enough to release a big part of this stored gas catsatrophically, within a few decades (some, apparently, think within a matter of years), then how is it that there is even any methane left at all? It should have all been released long ago. In particular, that especially nasty time, about 250 million years ago, when all that H2S came out of the stinking ocean, should have eliminated all of the clathrates at that time.

    Sure, some clathrates could have formed later, but if so, how could those amount to more than all the coal and oil, as some are saying?

    For me, this doesn't add up at all.

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] You seem to be exposed to misinformation.  Please read this post on methane clathrates and put any relevant comments on the subject there, not here.

    "Shahkova, Wadhams, Beckwith, others"

    Claims made in the media are basically irrelevant.  Science is not an agenda to be prosecuted in the media.

    Lastly, this is an evidence- and science-based venue.  The burden is on the user (you) to support contentions and claims with citations to credible sources.  Preferably when you make them or, at the bare minimum, when asked.  Please read the Comments Policy and ensure that all comments comply with it.  Thanks!

  40. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    MAR @16, I wonder if you are misinterpreting some of the comments posted by DougC. While he suggested various possible extreme scenarios, I did not see him suggesting such things are locked in already, and that we shouldnt or can't do anything to stop global warming.

    And his suggestion that 12 degrees was possible may not be far from the truth. According to the research quoted in this article, burning all fossil fuels on the planet could cause warming approaching that level to quote "Global average temperatures would soar by 10C (50F), while the arctic, where temperatures in February year were already 16C above average, could see temperatures soar by 20C, researchers found." Of course this would require literally burning all the oil and coal on the planet, and would take several centuries and hopefully humanity isn't that stupid. 

    Even if we dont burn all fossil fuels on the planet,  feedbacks could push warming to about 8 degrees before things stabilise.

    Having said all that, your technical commentary on warming, Hansens views, etc looks entirely accurate and interesting to me, as are your comments on feedbacks, black carbon and sea level at RC. I certainly would agree we are still in a position to greatly improve outcomes, by appropriate emissions cuts and so on.

  41. 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38

    North Carolina gets nearly eight times as much power from nuclear as from solar, and that was completely undamaged by the hurricane. ( It was shut down ahead of time as a precaution, as is standard practice.)

  42. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    Doug_C @7,
    I have to contradict you and pretty-much refute everything you say.

    Homing in on two parts of your reply:-
    ♦ It is indeed a future you discuss, not the present. What did James Hansen say to the media just a few months ago? “It’s not too late,” Hansen stressed. “There is a rate of reduction that’s feasible to stay well below 2C. But you just need that price on carbon.”
    Sorry! Correction. Hansen didn't 'say' it, he 'stressed' it!
    ♦ Climate forcing is not "locked in" and as a result the global warming is also not "locked in."
    To be more precise, the majority of today's climate forcing is not locked.
    Consider this. If we stop emitting today, the oceans will continue to absorb our CO2 as there will be waters that have not seen the light of day for centuries continuing to return to the surface and absorb CO2. After 100 years of zero net emissions, today's 410ppm CO2 levels would be down to something like 370ppm and in 1,000 years would be down to something like 355ppm. (And there it would remain for many thousands of years as the oceans would have then come into CO2 equilibrium and we would be reliant on geological processes for any further natural reductions.) This is why RCP2.6 is projected to result in peak temperatures by mid-century which coincidental with the climate forcing peaking.IPCC AR% Fig 12.05

  43. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    Here's bit on the isotopic evidence of the role than methane clathrates can play in this kind of scenario, the risk is very real.

    Carbon isotopic evidence for terminal-Permian methane outbursts

  44. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    william @11

    There are many unknowns with the methane clathrate gun hypothesis, one thing we don't want to find out is we got it wrong in predicting when it goes off and how much methane is released.

    Billions of tons of methane being added in pulses to the atmosphere is a nightmare forcing we really don't want to see.

    And it's hard to see how some of these deposits are going to remain stable as the temperature continues to climb in critical locations like the Arctic. It has happened before.

    Ancient methane 'burp' points to climate change 110 million years ago

    "The thawing of the so-called methane hydrates coincides with a period of warming following a volcanic eruption, which released a cloud of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

    "That was when Earth transitioned from a cold climate to a warm climate," Grasby said.

    "So we see this sudden and short term release of methane is coincident with this period of global climate warming.""

    There's some question about how much of this methane would get into the atmosphere, but there is also isotopic evidence that methane pulses have played a significant role in previous rapid warming periods that have resulted in extinction level events like the End Permian.

  45. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    DougC @10

    "I'm going by what researchers like James Hansen have to say and acknowledging that much of research is conservative when compared to what we are actually seeing in a real world response."

    The following article called "what lies beneath, the understatement of existential climate risk" may be of interest. 

  46. Climate scientists are in it for the money

    Recommended supplemental reading:

    Climate change science comeback strategies: 'In it for the money' by Karin Kirk, Yale Climate Communications, Sep 5, 2018 

  47. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    MAR @7, thank's, but it wasn't that research. I remember now it was this article on page 22 as follows:

    Fasullo and Trenberth found that the climate models that
    most accurately capture observed relative humidity
    in the tropics and subtropics and associated clouds
    were among those with a higher sensitivity of
    around 4°C. 64 Sherwood et al. also found a
    sensitivity figure of greater than 3°C.65 Zhai et al.
    found that climate models that are consistent with
    the observed seasonal variation of low-altitude
    marine clouds have an average sensitivity of
    3.9°C. 66 Recently it has been demonstrated the
    models that best capture current conditions have
    a mean value of 3.7°C compared to 3.1°C by the
    raw model projections.67

  48. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    A most interesting analysis but possibly of acedemic interest.  If we trigger a tipping point, all bets are off.  The one we seem to be most worried about at present is starting to release the huge reserves of methane locked in clathrates.  Indeed, this seems to be under way in the Arctic both on land and sea bottom.  At some point this is likely to become self perpetuating and some research suggests that such an event in the past led to sudden and extreme changes in the climate.  It has now been 55m years since the PETM so lots of time for clathrates to have accumulated.  Since there seems no reasonable chance that we will significantly reduce our carbon output any time soon, we are pushing this experiment to the limit.

  49. New study reconciles a dispute about how fast global warming will happen

    MA Rodger @6

    1. I'm not looking at a bleak future, I'm looking at a very disturbing present, catastrophic climate change isn't soemthing that is going to hit at some undefined point in the distant future it is here now. What does an almost complete loss of coral reef systems alone mean to an overall ecological integrity, something that is almost inevitable now with the decades of warming already locked in with the CO2 we've already emitted. Every extra year of emissions is locking in futher warming years down the road. I'm very concerned about what is already happening with a full expectation it will get much worse even if we fundamentally changed course today which we have not.

    2. I'm going by what researchers like James Hansen have to say and acknowledging that much of research is conservative when compared to what we are actually seeing in a real world response. Whether it is ice loss, changing climate patterns and more. And some of them have made it clear they expect far more warming than the current predictions are estimating.

    3. As long as we are emitting billions of tons of CO2 a year the positive forcing will continue, some nations like the one I live in are still projecting decades of large scale fossil fuel use. The Canadian federal government just spent $4.5 billion dollars to buy a dilbit pipeline to enable a tripling of capacity of this one line of one of the most carbon intensive fossil fuels there is, oil sands bitumen. There is not going to be any leveling off of the radiative forcing of CO2 as long as we are rapidly increasing atmospheric levels of CO2 by burning fuels like oil sands bitumen. And the lag in ocean warming means that the CO2 we emit today is not going to be rebalanced for decades.

    4. It's not sea level rise that is going to set a long term limit on human forved climate change, it is going to be a thermal equilibrium in the oceans that will take centuries to establish based on the radiative forcing we have already created. The oceans are the main driver for climate and the main mechanism to move heat around the planet. This means there will be no such thing as stable weather and climatic conditions until this adjustment is completed. That alone is going to be a major stressor on people and entire biotas for those centuries.

    We are messing with one of the fundamental factors that makes life possible on Earth in a way that assumes we are in control of this incedibly powerful mechanism.

    I see no signs at all we are, the only choice we have now is how far we are willing to push it to cross tipping points some of which we almost certainly have not been able to define in any meaningful way yet.

    It's Russian Roulette on a planetary scale, so yes, I am very concerned.

     

  50. Volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans

    Umm, 18,000 tons * 365 days is 6.6 million tons, not billion. You're off by a factor of 1000. So Katla gives off ~0.02% of what humans do.

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