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Comments 201 to 250:

  1. KateAllatRaIPM at 15:56 PM on 6 February 2019
    Earth’s oceans are routinely breaking heat records

    Experts have calculated that if the entire ice cover melts, the sea level will rise by at least 60-70 meters, which will be equal to a global disaster. Melting glaciers also stimulate volcanic activity. Is it really something we are going to face any time soon? What is heats the Earth and Oceans so quickly?

    Moderator Response:

    [DB] "What is heats the Earth and Oceans so quickly?"

    In a nutshell:  human activities.  A good summary post is here.

  2. KateAllatRaIPM at 15:41 PM on 6 February 2019
    Earth’s oceans are routinely breaking heat records

    The question is, why is all of this happening? What causes it? 

  3. The Methane 'Time Bomb': How big a concern?

    I lose a bit of sleep over it. The melting has already started... Even if all emissions stopped now; I fear it may melt anyways. We have already lost about a third of Arctic Ice by surface area in the past 3 decades.

    We have to stop emissions, but even when and if so, the Greenhouse Gas ppm is still increasing as this ice and permafrost melts. And we lose the albeido effect with every sq inch of ice gone.

    Sleep is a pretty finicky thing anyways.

  4. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    To michael sweet (#33) or admin person: Please add Mr. Sweet's 2nd link (missing from his last sentence), and then delete my comment here. Thanks!

  5. Earth’s oceans are routinely breaking heat records

    Anybody who isn't worrying by now needs a medical checkup. Inability to face reality is a symptom of severe psychological impairment and may require medical assistance.

  6. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #5

    I suppose this rates as news. John Christy, well known climate denier, has apparently been appointed to the US Environmental Protection (EPA) Agency Advisory Board.


  7. Earth’s oceans are routinely breaking heat records

    Ocean anoxia is becoming a problem:

    If quantity of heat is increasing per unit volume, would that  lead to more intense el ninos?

  8. Earth’s oceans are routinely breaking heat records

    Well I'm sure that warming oceans won't effect the methane clathrates as they are frozen so we don't have to worry.

  9. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    This post by Ecoquant at Tamino's gives a well informed discussion of Climate Smart Agriculture with several peer reviewed references from major journals.

    He says "The scientific consensus is pretty consistent. Improved practices can help, but this far from the kind of “magic bullet” stuff you hear some proponents espouse."

    A different point of view from that discussed here.

  10. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Re the ski resorts, etc: To cool a city or ski resort and so on one could use wind power to run a heat pump. You can let the cool air out over the ski resort or city and the warm air around the condensation site of the heat pump will rise, taking the heat away from the lower levels. Likewise air conditioners in cities cool the buildings inside and the warm air around the fins rises by convection.

  11. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Red Baron @27: Thanks. I read the linked Quora article. I don't have a Quora account; and, for some reason, my computer was blocking me from signing up (probably my ad-blocker stuff). I appreciate your points as sustainable farming is extremely important. I will keep all of that in mind. Thank you!

  12. There is no consensus

    Both sides of this argument seem to be exagerating their own subjective evidence and the weight of support for their views. This indicates a lack of real certainty. It seems also that many on both sides have a vested interest. In the majority of scientific experiments, before a conclusion can be drawn there needs to be a control. There is no 2nd planet Earth without man made co2 to make an accurate comparison of climate change. Therefore, even if the 97% consensus claim is true, it can hardly be considered credible.

    Moderator Response:

    [PS] Sloganeering. please provide evidence to support your assertion that science is exagerating subjective evidence. Your claim that science has some kind of vested interest is verging on a conspiracy theory. Vast areas of science do not work the way you suppose (eg geology) so it would be better to learn how the scientific method actually works. In essence, you predict the outcome of an observation from known physics, make the observation and compare to prediction. This is been done in countless ways to build modern climate theory.

    Nothing is certain in science - but a scientific consensus, particularly when strong is the only rational basis for policy.

  13. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Re, "Why Cant' rich people save winter".

    Actually, in Australia they have been doing just that for many years now. The largest ski resorts are all very reliant on snow making facilities, which makes the sport significantly more expensive than it was to begin with. Some people claim that it's actually a poor man's sport now, because that's how avid ski buffs end up after a 2 week holiday. Back in the 90's our CSIRO predicted that the resorts would be unviable for skiing by now, but with snow-making facilities the season length has only shrunk by about 10%, and peak season reliability has actually increased a bit.   

  14. New research, January 21-27, 2019

    nigelj@5, a bit OT, but just coming out of another record breaking January here in eastern Australia, it seems to be largely driven by a lack of cloud cover over the tropical north of the continent. Clouds are obviously a component of global albedo, but regardless of whether global albedo is increasing or decreasing it's possble that there are long term trends with regional specificity.      

  15. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    Source of copy and paste quote: The Uninhabitable Earth
    Famine, economic collapse, a sun that cooks us: What climate change could wreak — sooner than you think. By David Wallace-Wells

  16. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    RB - I would say that list of goals was proof that left-wing pollies are as stupid as the right. How to guarantee no bipartisan support. Emigrate.

  17. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

    The article paints a grim picture of the future if we do nothing, and I find it compelling and reasonably stated. Others have suggested Wells is scaremongering too much, and this could cause people to be overwhelmed and mentally switch off. I did a google search on the effectiveness of using fear to motivate people to change behaviour.

    This meta study looked at impacts of using fear based health campaigns  and found they do have some modest effect on changing behaviour, provided the fear component is balanced with good efficacy. In other words it has to be based on good evidence, so perhaps articles like Wells are valuable provided the science is right, and not exaggerated, and probabilities are discussed openly. A  couple of his claims have been criticised by no less than M Mann. Other scientists have supported Wells and stated the criticisms are quibbles. 

    This is another interesting excerpt from Wells article:

    "But no matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough. Over the past decades, our culture has gone apocalyptic with zombie movies and Mad Max dystopias, perhaps the collective result of displaced climate anxiety, and yet when it comes to contemplating real-world warming dangers, we suffer from an incredible failure of imagination. The reasons for that are many: the timid language of scientific probabilities, which the climatologist James Hansen once called “scientific reticence” in a paper chastising scientists for editing their own observations so conscientiously that they failed to communicate how dire the threat really was; the fact that the country is dominated by a group of technocrats who believe any problem can be solved and an opposing culture that doesn’t even see warming as a problem worth addressing; the way that climate denialism has made scientists even more cautious in offering speculative warnings; the simple speed of change and, also, its slowness, such that we are only seeing effects now of warming from decades past; our uncertainty about uncertainty, which the climate writer Naomi Oreskes in particular has suggested stops us from preparing as though anything worse than a median outcome were even possible; the way we assume climate change will hit hardest elsewhere, not everywhere;..."

  18. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    @28 Sauerj,

    I wrote up a formal reply on Quora and as was once asked of me before, rather than bog down this website with repeating the same things, I will instead direct the conversation there where we can debate it and drum up support. I tried to provide better citations there too.

    But first seriously consider that the change between our positions should not be a deal breaker. I am only suggesting a relatively minor change that doubles the efficacy at 1/2 the cost and also saves billions off the farm bill too! Not to mention a dozen other benefits, including but not limited to, helping us out of the trade war without damaging our economy. All without loosing the durability  and fairness you spoke about. Everyone must eat. So be sure lower food costs and food security helps everyone just exactly the same as a dividend share.

    Is there a technically viable and economically advantageous solution to Climate Change and what is preventing its implementation?

  19. New research, January 21-27, 2019

    blaisct @4,
    You present a strange argument.
    I think your molecular cross-section of CO2 is far too low for 15 microns, your photon path-length too long, and it is not so simple as this because of line boradening at higher pressures.
    That aside, the photon path length will indeed halve with a doubling of CO2 concentration (and ignoring that temperature is not fully defined by radiative effects), there will be a temperature gradient mechanism (warming the upper atmosphere) due to CO2 at the lower warmer atmosphere being able to shoot more photons (transmit more energy) up than the cooler higher atmospher cane shoot back down. But thus mechanism will be balanced by convection to maintain the lapse rate. Mixing is very minor (as is convection) in the atmosphere outside major storms.
    The energy absorbed will rise with a doubling of CO2 as will the ability to shoot away photons. The temperature will rise as the population of photon-not-shot-away will be higher, adding energy to the air about and this balanced by increasing photon shooting in all directions - the extra absorption of photons under double CO2 has then to be balanced by increased temperature to allow these extra photons to be shot away.
    The "other 2 wavelengths of CO2" (presumably wave-bands) are not major IR absorbers within today's atmosphere.
    The ability to shoot photons into space is dependent on the concentration in the atmosphere-above allowing gaps to exist. Any increase in CO2 concentrations will close these gaps so increase absorption, increasing the height at which photons can escape. This height-rise means lower temperatures at which photons are shot into space (this while the point of escape is still within the troposphere) and so being cooler, less photons will be shot into space at that wavelength, reducing this global energy flux. This is the major mechanism of CO2 warming across the 15 micron waveband. The higher the concentrations of CO2, the shorter the photon path length and the denser the absorbing events and the higher the escape altitude.
    Given you seem to them proceed assuming "CO2 and water cannot be any part of the observed gw" which is simply wrong, I don't think it woud be helpful to point out any further mistaken logic.

  20. New research, January 21-27, 2019

    blaisct @4

    With respect your understanding of the principles isn't correct. Therefore whether the logic is right or wrong is irrelevant.

    The Beer Lambert Law is the linear relationship between absorbance and concentration of an "absorbing species". Not all gases absorb equally. Gases like oxygen molecule only absorb UV and break down in the very upper atmosphere above 80kms, and lower down its CO2 which absorbs long wave  energy, and this is causing global warming near the surface which is what is relevant to us.

    Shortwave radiation from the sun heats surface features. It explains some warming over the early part of last century, but not enough to set in motion some feedback effect causing hugely reduced albedo.

    Regarding human caused changes in albedo since 1900. This doesn't explain global warming either. Urbanisation reduces albedo, but less than 1% of the world is urbanised. Deforestation increases albedo! So things essentially cancel out. Refer article below for a fuller review of the albedo issues:

    Therefore greenhouse warming is the prime cause of global warming since the 1980's, and this in turn leads to reduced albedo in terms of reduced ice cover, and so some warming from SWR.

    You say: "Albedo is a powerful variable in climate change. It is what causes all our weather, evaporates water and moves almost all weather systems for west to east."

    I don't think so. I have only done some university geography, so not a climate scientist, but I was taught weather was caused by redistribution of heat from equator to poles etcetera, water evaporated if it was above zero degrees so is just basically due to the sun or greenhouse changes, and the flow of weather systems west to east was the coriolis effect and pressue differences. I guess the textbooks are all wrong and you are right (sarc). Or was your comment deliberate satire?

  21. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Red Baron @27, a carbon tax with all the money distributed as subsidies has some technical merit, but just isn't politically viable. The concept has to work in the real world. The GOP have indicated they want a scheme that is revenue neutral, and so where money doesn't accumulate in governments hands to be spent on whatever schemes, and commonsense would suggest the general public will not be amenable to a tax with no dividend because it would be very harsh. 

    It is also not necessary to subsidise renewable energy any more because it is already becoming cost competitive, and a carbon tax will promote further development obviously which is the whole idea. Nuclear power should stand on its own merits in the market place and should not be given special treatment by governments above what other zero carbon energy strategies receive.

    The dividend is likely to be spent on a range of things including electric cars etc,  and will not produce a fixed spending pattern over time. As renewable energy becomes more cost effective it will become more attractive.

    The one area that does need a subsidy is negative emissions strategies, which suits your perspective. Companies have no strong reason to build such technology unless they get assistance. I think one possible version of a  carbon tax would give about half back as a dividend and subsidise negative emissions technologies, soil sequestration etc. This limits subsidies to a narrow essential band. This might be politically feasible.

  22. New research, January 21-27, 2019

    I may be off base on my logic – please respond. Let me throw another law in to the works: Beer- Lambert (Absorption of light in a substance is a product of the distance, concentration, and absorption coefficient). Using published CO2 absorption coefficient of 20.2 m^2/mole (at 15um) the distance at which 99%+ of this wave length is absorbed at 400ppm CO2 is 16m. If the concentration is doubled (800ppm) the 99% distance lessens to about 8m. Since the energy (temperature in a fixed volume) is proportional to the light absorbed the air below 8m would be hotter in the 800ppm air. But this effect would only last as long as the air did not mix. But it is a gas and it will mix. Since the energy absorbed is the same at 400ppm or 800ppm the temperature of the mixed gas will be the same. The temperature (energy) comes from the radiation not the gas. The other 2 wave lengths of CO2 have slightly different coefficients but will result in the same mixed effect.
    For any gas in the atmosphere there is a concentration at a specific wave length where all the light is absorbed before it escapes from the atmosphere. Gases with concentration above this escape concentration will not absorb more light (energy) if their concentration is increased (saturated gas). Gases with concentration below this escape concentration will absorb more light (up to the saturated concentration). CO2 and water are examples of saturated gases. Methane and SO2 most likely are unsaturated. Therefore CO2 and water cannot be any part of the observed gw. They are just good greenhouse gases that absorb all their wave length of light in the lower atmosphere. Only a change in the light they can absorb will cause a temperature change. Albedo can make the light they can absorb change.
    A simple look at albedo’s contribution to gw: Using IPCC’s correlation of global temperature rise of 0.5’C/watt/m^2. The entire temperature rise from 1870 to present is 0.8’C, the IPCC says this is equivalent to 1.6 watt/m^2. Using solar radiation reaching the earth of 960 watt/m^2. Doing a simple proportion shows that only a 0.17% change in total earths albedo since 1870 would be needed to account for all the temperature change (about 0.7% if just land mass albedo). On an annual bases we would need a detection method that could see 0.005%/year change in albedo. What’s the possibility that man has added enough roads, roof tops, parking lots, and burned enough rain forests to account for a 0.7% change since 1870? Statistical correlation show about a 2’C higher temperature in urban measurements since 1900. Albedo is a powerful variable in climate change. It is what causes all our weather, evaporates water and moves almost all weather systems for west to east.

  23. New research, January 21-27, 2019

    As this is your first post, Skeptical Science respectfully reminds you to please follow our comments policy. Thank You!

  24. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Red Baron @27: Good points. I understand your "efficacy " concern w/ CFD. Will the 40% reductions by 2030 & 90% reduction by 2050 (as CCL studies project) really happen with its uniform distribution of the fees? Will CFD really cause individuals to reduce carbon consumption. Many AGW hawks, versed on the array of policy choices, argue that a massive subsidy program for nuclear energy would be a far better way to get emissions down ASAP. All of these are good points deserving of attention. ... I just want to raise two additional points that often get overlooked:

    Point #1) Often people question the efficacy of CFD b/c they have a certain upper "tax rate" in mind. If that is the stumbling block, then the discussion for impact should really be about "how high of a tax rate" is really necessary to achieve the necessary and politically obtainable rates of emission reductions. In other words, if $100/mt CO2-e is thought to be too wimpy, then instead of throwing out CFD, consider its efficacy at $200/mt. … And, on that point, this is yet another 'good' feature of this EICDA bill. It is my understanding (disclaimer noted, needs to be verified) that this EICDA bill doesn't just ramp-up and stop at $100/mt CO2-e tax rate. If the reductions in GHG emissions (CO2 GW equivalent) are not dropping fast enough (> the targeted downward rate), then the tax rate keeps going up beyond $100/mt. As you know, the impact to motivate the economy to de-carbonize (using CFD) would be directly proportional to how much higher the tax rate increases the price of carbon-energy above the break-even " Levelized Cost of Energy" price of non-carbon energy. If the break-even price is $50/mt, then a tax rate of $150/mt would be 2x more effective than $100/mt. So, the tax rate HAS to be above some minimum, and then, above that, the impact increases proportionally. CFD would have little-to-no impact if the tax rate is only marginally above this break-even point. So, I am qualifying my efficacy claim of CFD & this EICDA bill on condition that the ramped-up tax rate is well above this break-even point, and that the final bill is, in fact, designed to continue to climb (as necessary) up to whatever rates are necessary in order to achieve the targeted downward impact rate.

    Two further side-notes on the bill:  a) By being uniformly revenue-neutral, this helps it be the most "progressively & uniformly just" and therefore, the least regressive to all the sectors of the economy, across the board. This allows the tax rate to be as high as possible and still be politically durable. In other words, if impact is proportional to tax rate (above a minimum threshold), then we want the tax rate to be as high as possible. But, a high tax rate, if not designed right, could cause too much regression and then would not be politically durable, and would get repealed. Therefore 100% equal distribution is not seen as a cop-out, but instead as a crafty way to achieve as high a tax rate as possible and still maintain political durability. b) The EICDA tax rate is based on CO2 equivalency; the fees are applied to all the major anthro-GHG's based on their GW intensity equivalent to CO2. As a side-note on this point, the alternate CFD policy that is proposed by the separate group Climate Leadership Council is ONLY on CO2. Natural gas companies (with their CH4 leakage emissions) prefer that approach; but, it doesn't take much CH4 leakage (~3% of usage) to offset the advantage gas has over coal for power generation. So, the EICDA (with its fee on CO2-e) covers that point too.

    Point #2) You may still be thinking: even at a very high $225/mt tax rate, what difference does it make to the individual who has the average footprint and therefore their costs are 100% reimbursed in dividends. And, you do have a point. But, keep in mind that this only considers the economic impact to individuals. The other impact, to business, is a whole different story. Here a high carbon tax would aggressively "stratify" the viability of businesses apart from each other based on their carbon footprint, having a big impact for businesses all fighting for the same competitive market share. For example, power companies that have a high-carbon generation portfolio would lose market share (on the open grid) due to their higher prices compared to other power companies that have a low-carbon portfolio. This would cause investors to flock to the latter and away from the former. The former would have to change to low-carbon generation or else die. The latter would use its incoming investment to further its low-carbon generation. This "stratification" of viability, directly proportional to carbon footprint, will therefore have a much greater impact to change business & commercial strategies on this non-individual level. This is the kind of "infrastructural & business impact" that often gets overlooked when people think about the efficacy of CFD but only on an individual level.

    If you consider the above two additional points: ever increasing tax rate, to achieve targeted reductions, and non-reimbursed and intense impact to aggressively stratify businesses competing for a common market, I think this gives even more praise to the efficacy of this EICDA bill. If all of this helps EICDA sound better to you, then please consider supporting CCL and its sponsored EICDA bill. Goodness knows, we need all hands on deck to build the necessary political-will to pass a bill like this (and as soon as possible). ... Have a good day!

  25. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    @sauerj 24,

    I get it. And yes it is much better with bipartisan support. And the flaw I see in the EICDA bill is not a deal breaker for me. But I still strongly believe its biggest flaw is in who gets paid the dividend. Since the dividend gets paid to everyone, rather than focused on those things directly restoring the carbon cycle balance, it significantly dillutes it's effectiveness.

    One could, and surely many will, take their dividend moneys and spend them on increasing their carbon footprint anyway. It's not verifiable. This is too important to leave to the hope that suddenly we have the capability to herd cats with indirect government distribution of wealth schemes.

    Use the dividends to build solar panels? Or insulate homes? Or build giant wind farms? Or sequester carbon in the soil?  These direct uses of the dividends are verifiable. In my honest opinion this is a far better and far more efficient and far less disruptuption and cost to the economy too!

  26. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Red Baron @25, I suppose you are right that the Green New Deal is better without the two socioeconomic provisions. I  dont like to be stubborn for sake of it, and you make some good points on this.

    In reality it probably won't matter too much either way because politicians will be voting on environmental specifics, and will have forgotten the social provisions. The public know what the Democrats stand for overall and its going to include universal healthcare.

    But  this might surprise you: "Even conservative Republicans like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal, poll says"

  27. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals


    That is not really point is it? It could be exactly the opposite and be just as bad. Those other economic issues are unrelated to AGW mitigation strategy one way or another. It matters little is every other country has them or or not. The US doesn't and they need debated on the own merits and not tied to AGW.

    As soon as the two are connected on the same list, you just proved every denialist's worst fears and made it all the harder to ever convince any other them that AGW is anything more than a socialist plot to tax away their freedoms.

    Look at the list again, the full one this time:

    • 100% of national power generation from renewable sources.
    • Building a national energy-efficient “smart” grid.
    • Upgrading every residential and industrial building for state-of-the-art energy efficiency, comfort and safety.
    • Decarbonising manufacturing, agricultural and other industries.
    • Decarbonising, repairing and improving transportation and other infrastructure.
    • Funding massive investment in the drawdown and capture of greenhouse gases.
    • Making “green” technology, industry, expertise, products and services a major export of the US, helping other countries transition to carbon-neutral economies.
    • Provide all members of society a job guarantee programme to assure a living wage job.
    • Basic income programmes and universal health care.

    You can go right down the list and it sounds like project drawdown and I am giving a resounding yes Yes YES! at each one, Then get to the last two OH NO! I see that they just shot themselves in the foot and took the debate back 10 years yet again making the exact same mistakes Al Gore made!

    You can't be involved in the debate and not know this is the single biggest objection presented against AGW. It is here too!

    17 "Climategate CRU emails suggest conspiracy"


    19 "Al Gore got it wrong"

    Both of those directly caused by massive funding of the Merchants of doubt. We have discussed this on other climate related websites as well. It's the main objection there as well and I know you have seen it.

    You really so naive to think the US citizens would vote for a guy like Trump who calls AGW a chinese hoax if they did not understand this attempt to link socialists policies with AGW mitigation?

    Hypothetically change the last two to:

    • Eliminate all Unemployment benefits
    • Eliminate all medicade and medicare

    and see how many Democrats would vote for AGW mitigation? I suspect damn few. It's the same here. Damn few conservatives will vote for it and they will fight against it tooth and nail!

    In the US we have had socialist policies to some degree since the first New Deal in the 1930s. So clearly any platform debating this could potentially get support on it's own merits. But as part of AGW mitigation is is off topic and fueling the opposition with billions of dollars and massive pushback. Even to the point of helping Trump get elected when the polls showed he should have lost.

    Think of all the work Katharine Hayhoe has done to show that it is an issue for everyone! 

    How do we know this climate change thing is even real?

    Watch that carefully and understand the reality she is discussing.

    This "New Deal" undermines all the gains we made by the silly inclusions of the last two and making mitigation in the US even harder than before! And it is a great pity because the actual parts of the New Deal that actually address AGW are the best I have ever seen from any politician ever! Why ruin such a brilliant plan by adding unrelated socialist policy unless AGW really is a commie conspiracy? Get it? See how easy the opposition can obfuscate?

    Luckily most conservatives haven't even seen it yet. So I would suggest a quick revamp and simply separating the two things and arguing them each on their own merits. Because the more this gets out the less support and the less chances of getting anything done.

  28. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Red Baron @22: I 100% agree w/ you that these sorts of points (that you mentioned) in the GND distract from where it should be focusing: CC mitigation policy. The EICDA (that I linked above) is completely different from the GND; it is 100% focused on CC mitigation policy. The GND, with its mis-focused points, will go nowhere b/c of its partisanship and end up only squandering precious Dem house majority time. Too bad the Dems don't realize that the ideal CC mitigation policy is already sitting right in from of them (that being the EICDA bill); there is no need to get distracted & lose time on the GND.

  29. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #5

    Read the following article by Mark Lynas, listed in this group of links. Mark is the author of the book "Six Degrees: Our future on a hotter planet".

    Climate change: The more we know, the worse it seems

  30. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #3

    Australia just recorded the warmest January ever, and where I live in NSW it was really really hot with max and min anomalies in the order of 4-8 degees Celcius above long term averages.  Another less mentioned signature of the weather has been that dew points have likewise been way above average, and in western Sydney we've had daily temperatures exceeding 40 degrees combined with web bulb readings in the mid 20's. Typically, such high temperatures would be offset by a wet bulb reading in single figures. 

    The combination of high temperature and high humidity put huge strain on power infrastructure, as everyone was compelled to use air  conditioners as a means of survival.  Australia actually has one of the highest uptakes of PV rooftop solar, which helped enormously, but with high temperatures after sundown it's also created a huge demand spike on the grids after 5pm. As a result there have been rolling power outages in Melbourne and Adelaide. If this summer is any guide to future climate norms then large pumped hydro and other storage solutions will need to be implemented asap if dependence on coal and gas fired power is to be reduced.   

  31. 2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #4

    Before I could get behind any global transition to a vegan diet I would need to see the results of a real scientific / engineering study. The thing is this, it's predoinantly western countries that eat meat, not the most populated developing world, so I'm not convinced that a global transition would have much of an effect on global CO2 / CH4 emissions. Noting too that humans will actually emit more CH4 if we embrace a vegan diet, and the emissions of 8-14 billion humans is not exactly insubstantial.

  32. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Red Baron @22

    I respect your economic view point and environmental commitment, but maybe consider a few things. Firstly you clearly associate universal healthcare and a universal basic income with a socialist or communist state. Yet every single developed country apart form America has a form of universal healthcare, and so do many developing countries. Do you really think that makes them "socialist or communist states? Imho it's stretching credibility to think so.

    Polls also find the vast majority of Americans want universal healthcare, so its hard to see how The Democrats are shooting themselves in the foot! The evidence suggests universal healthcare has numerous benefits for society and economies. Even The Economist ( a huge international leaning and respected economics journal)  who lean towards small government advocate universal healthcare! 

    I agree a universal basic income is arguably more obviously socialist leaning, and I'm not sure the time is right yet. However circumstances may ultimately make it the only practical way of avoiding dire socio economic problems! Anyway it seems odd to reject an entire plan over one issue.

    Maybe it's personal perspective. I see some aspects of the Green New Deal as bad socialism for example worries about people making a profit from direct air capture, but most aspects of the plan  look pretty sensible environmentalism and socio economic ideas. I think it would be wrong to rubbish the plan as a whole over details. It will probbaly be modified anyway.

    And remember congress wont be voting on some single piece of legislation called "The Green New Deal" it will be on various components which will stand on their merits.

  33. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    @20 Sauerj,

    Look at the last two pointers on the Green New Deal.

    I would support that even as a conservative republican except for one very major problem. [1]

    • "Provide all members of society a job guarantee programme to assure a living wage job.
    • Basic income programmes and universal health care."

    This is where Democrats shoot themselves in the foot every time, and why US has such pushback. They have never put forth a workable plan and even this one can't work, because they insist on using AGW as a tool to make completely unrelated major socialist changes to the US economy.

    In many of my conversations with denialists, it always comes up ultimately. First they try to deny AGW. But at some point it becomes a socialist plot, or a communist plot, or a Chinese plot, or a Russian plot, or Al Gore's destroy the US form of capitalism and substitute socialism.

    And there it is yet again...... universal health care and various socialist welfare programs attached directly to AGW mitigation strategy. Yet again we see the Democrats selling out and not really giving a damn about really solving AGW but rather simply using the issue to scare people into accepting a socialist or communist state.

    It's not going to happen. All it can possibly do is fuel the fires of the opposition even further. 

    I have spent YEARS campaigning hard to show that AGW mitigation strategy is possible within a conservative framework and isn't just some commie tree huggers plot to make America a socialist state.

    Then along comes this green new deal, and what? In one fail swoop it undermines not only mine, but every attempt in the US to actually get a deal done. And why? Because the proposal is so myopic as to not even come close to understanding what causes such hard pushback in the first place. 

    Put up a mitigation strategy that is AGW mitigation. And it will certainly pass. But put that strategy up and any gains you made will be lost 5 fold, and have nothing to do with AGW.

  34. New research, January 21-27, 2019

    "At 0 deg C we are losing the battle when it comes to overall radiation heat transfer (huge overall gain)."

    I don't see this. Only a few places are experiencing unusually cold temperatures right now. On the whole the earth is warming and winters are becoming milder so there would be no enhanced global level heat gain from solar energy. Or maybe I have missinterpreted the comment. Don't claim any expertise in it.

    I think you get enhanced solar heat gain more from decreased albedo as the arctic melts, glaciers retreat, more water vapour absorbing solar energy directly, etc and this is a big part of the projected warming.

  35. The Methane 'Time Bomb': How big a concern?

    Some additional tidbits:

    • Methane saturation of seawater. If methane were well mixed, it may well be that it would disperse.  However, off the north Russia coast I've seen reports of chunks of clathrate ice rising to the surface, and not mixing in. (Sorry, can't find citation.)  Methane release also tend to 'pipe' creating a narrow column with lots of bubbles, rather than widely dispersed ones.  This may locally saturate the column, allowing more gas to reach the surface.
    • Permafrost botany.  There is a wide band north of nominal treeline in the arctic that has very small spruce trees — just a few inches high — hiding amoung the scrub willow and birch.  Treeline is a fairly sharp line with something like 60 days of +10C highs per year. (Probably misremembering from my general ecology course 45 years ago)   The existence of these tiny trees growing in the surface microclimate means that only a small polar warming could release their growth.  A spruce forest is much darker (lower albedo) that tundra.  What would the effect be of a one or two hundred kilometer wide circumpolar band going from an average albedo of .7 to .8 (tundra snowcovered a good chunk of the year) to an albedo of .2 to .3 (Spruce is very dark even in winter, esp, with low angle light.)  Google 'snow albedo effect' for more info.  
  36. New research, January 21-27, 2019

    Regarding your "forcings and feedaback" section, with polar air cooling down large areas of the USA there is a huge net gain in radiation heat transfer to cold surfaces. The cold surfaces are radiating far less and, if the strength of solar energy is the same, then the overall radiation gain by these cold surfaces can be 50% higher (say they gain 200 W/m^2 at 20 deg C, then they could be gaining 300W/m^2 at 0 deg C). Earth would lose its highest percentage of heat via the 8 to 14 micron atmospheric window with surface temperatures of 79 deg C. At 0 deg C we are losing the battle when it comes to overall radiation heat transfer (huge overall gain).

  37. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Without population reduction and the complete overhaul of our economic system to eliminate the need for growth, every suggestion here is useless. We can, and will, outgrow the benefits of them all.

  38. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Everyone, The recently re-introduced bi-partisan Carbon Fee & Dividend bill: "Energy Innovation and Carbon Dividend Act" (house bill #763) fits what many above are advocating. This is the culmination of 10 years of bi-partisan relationship building by Citizens' Climate Lobby. See link HERE for details on this bill; see HERE for actual text of this bill. Call your congress person today to support this bill (see the helpful congress call-in tool provided by CCL HERE); and consider joining citizens' Climate Lobby to lend more support (see HERE).

    RedBaron #17: This bill includes payments from the fees for certified carbon capture and sequestration (such as to "farmers and land managers"). So, it funds & stimulates exactly what you are advocating to concentrate on, as well as all the benefits listed by william (#15) (win-win). ... This policy (CFD) is the least costly way to correct the market failure caused by not including the external cost of carbon in the price of FF's. Thereby it drives economic forces so to accentuate everything that we should be doing, and de-accentuate everything that we shouldn't. And, it will do this without increasing the size of goverment (think: low cost; think: not economically regressive; think: politically durable). Plus, it will do this in a way that is very just & progressive to the poor (see Household Access study HERE). ... It will reduce GHG emissions 40% by 2030 and 90% by 2050. Nothing else, on the books, comes close to those kind of stats. ... Carbon tax policy, like this bill, has been endorsed by dozens of noted economists and nobel laureates (HERE); Dana Nuccitelli cited the same economist endorsement of CFD in his article above.

  39. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Getting back to the main subject. I have to admire the Democrats for at least having a plan. It's hard to win elections just with negative attack campaigns, and generally you also need a positive plan with points of difference from the other parties, and this is politics 101 really.

    Imho The Green New Deal does beyond climate change and is almost a political manifesto combining environmental goals with socio economic ideals. Nothing wrong with that, but if it comes across as too left wing it will alienate people. It's no use if it doesn't get votes. So I think the plan needs to emphasise there is a place for both markets and government, its not either / or. I would make this a central tenet of the plan, not something added on in the fine print to placate conservatives, and it is the most viable approach to the real world anyway.

    Don't ban nuclear power and carbon capture and storage schemes. It doesn't make sense to suggest profits are bad in this sector given the companies that manufacture electric cars also make a profit. Instead ensure there is no profiteering (excessive profits) and crony capitalism. The EPA or some other independent body could do that. There are numerous possibilities.

    The IPCC says we need to reduce emissions and also sequester carbon. A carbon tax acts as an incentive for renewable energy and can be used to fund  / subsidise carbon sequestration schemes, and part of the tax returned as a dividend to the public. Maybe there are other ways of meeting the IPCC goals, but a carbon tax and dividend covers a lot of bases.

  40. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    doug sweet @4:

    Let's put it on the record that page 1of Abbott starts with the premise that nuclear needs to be able to scale up to "total global power consumption of mankind" of 15 TW "for millennia to come", otherwise "investment must be redirected to a different solution".   It goes on to identify some very real problems with such a scale up, and nuclear in general.

    I'm not keen on nuclear, but Abbott didn't really help convince me that the NGD needs a blanket no-nuclear stance.

  41. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    @15 William,

    With all due respect both your options listed are analogous to little more than rearranging the deck chairs on a sinking Titanic. This problem is not only about emissions. This is a carbon cycle. Trying to fix this by eliminating carbon emissions is tackling the problem with one hand tied behind our backs. It won't work, and several researchers have made the claim we already passed the point where that alone cant work. There are two sides to this and BOTH must be improved, less emissions and more sequestration.

    You need to go back to basics and rethink what causes AGW to begin with.

    1. We are burning fossil fuels and emitting massive amounts of carbon in the atmosphere as CO2 mostly but also some CH4 and a few other greenhouse gasses.
    2. We have degraded the environmental systems that would normally pull excess CO2 out of the atmosphere. (mostly grasslands)
    3. By putting more in the atmosphere and removing less, there is no other place for the excess to go but the oceans. They are acidifying due to absorbing just part of the excess. (roughly 1/2)
    4. That still leaves roughly 1/2 of emissions that are building up in the atmosphere and creating an increased greenhouse effect. (from ~280 ppm to 412+ppm CO2)

    So this leads directly to the way we must reverse AGW:

    1. Reduce fossil fuel use by replacing energy needs with as many feasible renewables as current technology allows.
    2. Change Agricultural methods to high yielding regenerative models of production made possible by recent biological & agricultural science advancements.
    3. Large scale ecosystem recovery projects similar to the Loess Plateau project, National Parks like Yellowstone etc. where appropriate and applicable.

    TL;DR We need to reduce carbon in and increase carbon out of the atmosphere to restore balance to the carbon cycle.
    Consider a third option,

    verified carbon offsets

    1. Money into the hands of farmers and land managers sequestering carbon in the soil
    2. Stimulates the economy
    3. Reduces food costs
    4. Improves food security for both rich and poor alike
    5. Simultaneously AGW adaptive and mitigation strategy
    6. Must be done anyway, so this is a simply way to fund it. 2 birds 1 stone
    7. Far more effective than either of the two you listed.
    8. Far less cost than either of the two you listed.
    9. Obtainable right now without the need for new unknown technologies.
    10. Not a redistribution of wealth scheme, but rather a public works project capable of gathering conservative political support as well as liberal political support.

    In short, the carbon emissions sources will be paying for land managers to sequester their carbon footprint back into the earth where it belongs. This is a paid service, not a tax and liberal spend scheme with an ulterior social agenda.

    And best of all? It's already set up and ready to go at the local government level. Just awaits funding. Pass the legislation and even in the most conservative of states it goes off and running immediately.

    Carbon Sequestration Certification Program

  42. SkS Analogy 18 - Cliff jumping and temperature changes

    Here's another analogy, regarding climate action:

    Suppose the map says you are driving toward a cliff, but Big Fossils in the back seat says the map was drawn by communists.  You've been driving in the Southwest for hours and its been flat as a pancake, doesn't a canyon seem rather farfetched (even in a place called 'Canyonlands')?  Anyways, at some point you see that there is a cliff up ahead so you jam on the brakes.  So, here's the problem: you're driving an 18-wheeler loaded top to bottom with bricks.  By the time you see the cliff, its too late.  That loaded truck is the ocean.  The step between 'global heating' (due to top-of-atmosphere radiative imbalance) and 'climate change' is 'ocean warming'.  And by the time you feel the climate changing, the sheer thermal mass of the warmed ocean makes it almost impossible for any braking action to keep you from harm.  You should have trusted the mapmakers.  But as 'everyone knows' they are scientific hoaxters bent on global wealth redistribution, or something like that.  So, off the cliff you go...

  43. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Wasn't going to say anything about nuclear power, but since everyone else is....I feel nuclear power still has great potential, but comes up against real world obstacles,and we obviously have to live in the real world.

    Firstly I accept there is good evidence that nuclear power causes fewer deaths per mwatt than other power sources, and very low doses of radiation are likely harmless, but the public just dont "feel safe" and they are the people one has to convince, especially in a democracy. The only thing that might change this is a new type of reactor like a molten salt reactor, but these are decades away. According to wikipedia Japan is building one and its not due for completion for at least 20 years.

    Given the molten salt reactors are decades away, this is not much use in meeting Paris Accord time frames. Conventional water cooled reactors also have relatively poor economics and are slow to build.

    Nuclear advocates are very fixated on what seems like an almost magical source of power, ( so was I as a kid) but we have to live in the real world with its messy politics, economics and human psychology, and this doesnt favour nuclear power in its present form. Thats the harsh reality.

    But I'm personally 100% behind developing new nuclear technology, and keeping all energy options open. The molten salt technology obviously has merit, and looks like it might make efficient use of scarce resources. I feel governments should turbocharge development - but not at the expense of wind and solar power. These are viable and economic and makes sense right now!

    One of the big issues is battery storage, which is needed to make wide adoption of wind and solar power viable. Its hard to know if the planet even has enough resources for vast battery farms. It might, because there is lithium dissolved in sea water, and other battery options that use other materials, but its clear nobody really knows with certainty. Molten salt reactors might prove valuable if there are limits to battery storage. Keep all options open.



  44. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Cap and trade                                       Hansen's Tax and Dividend

    Money into the hands of the rich     Money into the hands of the poor

    Depresses the economy                   Stimulates the economy

    Government the vilain                       Government the Hero

    Ineffective                                            Effective

  45. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    No green deal, old or new, will have any effect on climate change as long as governments are activly dragging their feet and working against it.  And they will continue to drag their feet as long as they are financed by vested interests.  Who Pays the Piper Calls the Tune.  It is as simple as that.

  46. wilddouglascounty at 03:25 AM on 2 February 2019
    A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    At the risk of responding in a political fashion to an article which is at its core political, I am glad to observe that the topic at hand seems to be about the means to an agreed upon end (decaarbonization), and not the tired old arguments about whether to decarbonize and the veracity of projections that cry out for decarbonization. This is progress.

    The activist community is on full display with this letter in its purest form, which I believe is the starting point of what I hope will be a public discussion, followed by bunches of measures which will push our societies in the right direction bit by bit. If some look at this as a dig-in-and-hold-no-hostages stance, I would counter that this is more like the first offer in a real estate negotiation, which is low to see how negotiable the listed price is, partly based on how long it has been on the market. I suspect that even the legislator community is more keen to what's possible and activists know this. For years they have heard from politicians that the activist community needs to create the political pressure if they want movement, something that they've had trouble assembling in the past, so opening bids typically have pieces that will likely disappear as negotiations get serious.

    The Atomic Scientist article talks about how Germany can be a cautionary tale for some because as a nation they cut back on nuclear power production before they took on coal in their energy mix, resulting in a lower rate of decarbonization. Once again, politicians in Germany are like everywhere, and the anti-nuclear movement in Germany was more organized than the anti-coal folks, who had to contend with a centuries old coal producing community including unions of those workers opposing coal shutdowns. To say that focusing on nuclear instead of coal is putting the cart before the horse: both were lobbied against and the anti-nuke crowd just had less resistance.

    In the US, there is still a strong if latent anti-nuclear movement, and when combined with anti-big government and anti-subsidies groups, could be quite formidable. Conventional nuclear has tried to start up again and predictably ended up with egg on their face. If I had advice to the nuclear proponents, it would be to disavow the huge centralized conventional nuclear approach in favor of a path of alternative approaches that would be done in a way that would not hog so much resources that it would threaten the rapid deployment of a smart grid and decentralized wind and solar, combined with energy efficiency investments.

    This is the stuff of collaboration and incremental but RAPID progress that we must stay focused on. We must not allow our political industrial complex to polarize this topic and must emphasize that this is a process, not a all-or-nothing endeavor, winner take all. So I'm glad for the letter and I'm glad for the critique. Trust the process!


  47. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Conservation of energy uses must be given the highest priority.  Clean renewable energy simultanious to that.  However, the plan to use the same amount of energy, but renewable will likely fall short.  Nuclear power is a high risk technology.  Perhaps some high capital technical breakthrough can address these threats.  However, renewable wind and solar already is cost affective.  I am quite disturbed by the trend of our time of imposing long term liabilities on the future such as nuclear waste for a temporary short term benefit.  This is an emergency.  I still witness whole sale waste of energy for recreational uses.  We collectively have not yet recognized the demand by nature to limit emissions to less than what can be sequestered.  When that recognition comes we will  have a chance to make the combination of conservation and renewable energy that may allow us to stop the increase CO2 in the atmosphere and begin the long slow process of emitting less than can be sequestered to lower the concentration to a point where amplifying affects do not occur.  

  48. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Doug C appears to make a convincing case but, as anyone who listens to a 'salesman' should know, the art of cherry picking facts and turning a blind eye to inconvenient truths is rather common today. We need to see any of the inconvenient truths that Doug may have left out highlighted, and an OP with full links to peer reviewed research that we can follow up would be a good start

  49. A Green New Deal must not sabotage climate goals

    Doug C.,

    So I take it that your answer to my request that you write an OP supporting nuclear with peer reviewed data is that it is not worth your time.

    I worked full time with radiation for 3 years— I have held 1 curie of unshielded high energy beta radiation in my hand— and I have extensive training about radiation health effects.

    You link your hopes on a reactor design that has not yet been built and proponents suggest 2050 as when a pilot plant might be built.  It is imposible for your reactors to assist in achieving 2050 goals, they can only be used to supplement a renewable system after that system was already built.

    You did not respond to the 13 different reasons nuclear cannot provide a significant amount of energy listed in Abbott 2011.

    You ignore the enormous CO2 emissions caused by delay of other low emitting sources documented in Jacobson 2009.

    DIscussing nuclear is always a waste of time because nuclear supporters cannot be bothered with the facts.

    My final comment: nulcear is uneconomic.

  50. New research, January 14-20, 2019

    PDO should be there right after ocean component is added to the climate models (the result is so-called coupled atmosphere-ocean general circulation model, AOGCM). First of these were probably done some time in 1960s-1970s. I think that there's no need to incorporate the PDO separately but it arises naturally from the model simulations.

    Here is a paper from 1968 by Bryan & Cox discussing an ocean model:

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