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Climate Hustle

Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation

Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to improve their understanding. Yet this isn't what happens with climate change denial. Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet embrace any argument, op-ed, blog or study that purports to refute global warming. This website gets skeptical about global warming skepticism. Do their arguments have any scientific basis? What does the peer reviewed scientific literature say?

 


Like health care, climate policy could tip elections

Posted on 11 December 2018 by dana1981

In the November 2018 midterm elections, Democrats won the U.S. House of Representatives popular vote by a margin of about 8.6 percent and gained 40 seats in that chamber. For perspective, President Obama won his convincing 2008 and 2012 elections by 7.2 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively. While Republicans increased their Senate hold in 2018 by two seats and strengthened their majority control, they won races only in states that had voted for Donald Trump for President in 2016, and Republican Senate candidates lost races in eight states that Trump had won.

It was a decisive “Blue Wave” election, and when asked what they considered the most important issue in exit polls, 41 percent of voters listed health care, and three-quarters of those voted for Democrats. That was the issue Democrats campaigned most heavily on in 2018, and it helped sweep them back into power in the House. And some eerie similarities are emerging between health care and climate change in the American political landscape.

Republicans have rejected compromise

When the Obama administration took office in 2009, its three highest priorities were passing a stimulus package to pull America out of the Great Recession, implementing health care reform, and tackling climate change. President Obama set out to negotiate with congressional Republicans on all three.

For example, Obama agreed to a much smaller stimulus than he earlier had wanted, and one that was significantly cheaper than the tax cut Republicans passed in 2017 during strong economic conditions.

On health care, Democrats – albeit often with reluctance and only in the face of insurmountable opposition – cast aside their preference for universal health care or even a public option. They lent support instead to a more conservative policy based on “Romneycare,” named after 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s approach in Massachusetts. (Romney in November was elected to the U.S. Senate from Utah.) Despite Democrats’ efforts to seek a health care compromise, no Senate Republicans voted for the legislation, and congressional Republicans subsequently tried 70 times to repeal, modify or otherwise curb the Affordable Care Act.

With that history, many Democrats appear to have grown tired of trying to protect Obamacare as it now stands, and party leaders are lending support to some version of Medicare-for-all.

In short, Republican lawmakers rejected a conservative health care policy solution, and they have been unable to come up with and pass a preferred alternative. Their constituents’ concerns over health care cost many congressional Republicans in the 2018 elections. And now they see an incoming Democratic majority in the House, come January 3, embracing a more liberal government-based policy approach over the more market-based compromise solution.

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Australia - Moving to Renewable Energy

Posted on 10 December 2018 by Riduna

Solar and Wind­

Australia’s six States and two Territories have always had primary responsibility for implementing policies on the transition away from fossil fuels to renewables as an energy source.  As a result, there has been a significant increase in the number of solar and wind farm applications which have been approved.  Indeed, it is predicted that if the rate of those approvals were sustained, it could see Australia generate over 50% of its national electricity needs from renewables sources by 2025, making it a world leader in this field.  

Meanwhile, the Federal Government – a coalition of the National Party (mostly climate change deniers), and Liberal Party, (with a deeply conservative right wing) are torn between a fervent desire to see domestic use of coal fired generation expanded, meeting their commitments under the Paris Accord to reduce emissions and maintaining electricity delivery to consumers at reduced cost.  How they expect to achieve reduced cost when new coal-fired electricity is far more expensive than renewable energy is not explained.  Nor is the fact that Australia’s emissions are expected to rise despite Federal payments to emitters costing taxpayers $2.3 billion aimed at reducing them.

For their part, State Governments have been approving proposals of investors in solar and wind power so as to ensure a smooth transition from aging coal fired power generators to new, clean, solar and wind farm generators.  The level of investment in grid-scale renewable generators in 2017 reached $1.385 billion spent on completion and commissioning 20 projects comprising 6 wind and 7 solar farms, 1 hybrid, 1 hydro and 4 bioenergy schemes - and the world's largest grid scale battery.  Combined, these projects have capacity to generate 1,013 MW and created an estimated 1,500 jobs during construction.

State Governments have approved 36 additional renewable energy projects on which construction is scheduled to complete in 2018.  These projects, involving investment of $5.664 billion are expected to have created an estimated 4,900 jobs during construction, mostly in rural areas where employment opportunities are often low. When commissioned, these projects will have capacity to generate about 2,742 MW and providing increased competition among renewable energy generators.

Fig. 1 Distribution of projects completed and commissioned in 2017 and 2018.  Note the surge of activity in 2018 completions in New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria.  Source: Data published by the Clean Energy Council and other sources.

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7 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #49

Posted on 9 December 2018 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Video of the Week... Reports of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

French senate ‘failed to heed’ UN science warning before protests

Yellow Vest Protests Paris Dec 2018 

Demonstrators stand next to metal barriers around the tomb of The Unknown Soldier at The Arc of Triomphe during a protest of yellow vests (Photo: Lucas BARIOULET/AFP) 

Just a few months before protests exploded across France, the country’s senate was warned the shift to a clean economy risked social disruption, according the scientist who presented the evidence.

Valérie Masson-Delmotte, a French climate scientist and co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told Climate Home News’ podcast CopCast that members of the senate committee of sustainable development had been “surprised” by findings in a major report in October, which said green policies must be coupled with public consultation or face social resistance.

“They expressed how difficult it is for them as members of the senate to think on how to implement transitions. They also said they were powerless. They didn’t know how to change things, basically,” said Masson-Delmotte. 

French senate ‘failed to heed’ UN science warning before protests by Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home, Dec 8, 2018

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1 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

Posted on 8 December 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sunday, Dec 2 through Saturday, Dec. 8

Editor's Pick

Can 2018’s extreme weather persuade skeptics that the climate is changing? 

Woolsey Fire Malibu CA Nov 9 2018 

A firefighter is silhouetted by a burning home along Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) during the Woolsey Fire in Malibu, Calif., on Nov. 9. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Monstrous weather events have crowded 2018. While many coastal residents in the East were still recovering from Hurricanes Florence and Michael raging fires in California killed a record number of people and destroyed thousands of structures.Climate change has worsened the dry and hot climate in the West, directly contributing to more frequent and severe wildfires. The Fourth National Climate Assessment, which the U.S. government recently released, ;states that extreme weather events will intensify and become more frequent.

How do these disasters affect people’s perceptions of climate change?

To those already convinced by climate change science, extreme weather events are evidence that it’s already changing our world. Climate skeptics, however, do not always see the link, as when President Trump insisted that the California wildfires resulted from poor forest management, not climate change.

Can 2018’s extreme weather persuade skeptics that the climate is changing?, Analysis by Wanyun Shao, Monkey Cage, Washington Post, Dec 7, 2018

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11 comments


New research, November 26 - December 2, 2018

Posted on 7 December 2018 by Ari Jokimäki

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

Climate change mitigation

Emission scenario analysis for China under the global 1.5 °C target

Climate change communication

Attribution matters: Revisiting the link between extreme weather experience and climate change mitigation responses

Characterising climate change discourse on social media during extreme weather events

Public acceptance of renewable energies and energy autonomy: A comparative study in the French, German and Swiss Upper Rhine region

Climate Policy

Petroleum industry tax incentives and energy policy implications: A comparison between Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea

Making incentive policies more effective: An agent-based model for energy-efficiency retrofit in China

The significance of political culture, economic context and instrument type for climate policy support: a cross-national study (open access)

Are the G20 economies making enough progress to meet their NDC targets?

Urbanization in the time of climate change: Examining the response of Indian cities

Carbon neutral policy in action: the case of Bhutan

Multi-level governance and power in climate change policy networks (open access)

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0 comments


Trump's disbelief won't stop dangerous climate change

Posted on 5 December 2018 by dana1981

“I don’t believe it,” said Donald Trump when asked about the fourth national climate assessment, authored by 13 government agencies and hundreds of the US’s top climate scientists. His administration had tried to hide the report, publishing it on Black Friday when many Americans were either recovering from a Thanksgiving food coma or stampeding department store sales.

The administration’s plan backfired badly – the latest alarming climate science report became front-page news. Numerous Republican politicians were asked about it on TV news and politics shows, and their answers demonstrated that Trump’s climate science denial continues to pervade the GOP.

Republican party leaders’ answers ranged from platitudes – such as “our climate always changes” and “innovation” is all that is needed to solve the problem – to accusations that “a lot of these scientists are driven by the money”.

Addressing the latter point, one of the report’s lead authors, Prof Katharine Hayhoe, noted that many of its contributors were “paid zero dollars” and estimated that in the time she devoted to the assessment, she could have written eight of her own papers. Conversely, GOP politicians and operatives are paid millions of dollars annually by the fossil fuel industry. Some people are clearly driven by the money, and it’s not climate scientists.

Trump’s comments did not stop at disbelief – he also appeared to shift blame to other countries and tout the US’s clean air and water.

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24 comments


Is Methane Worse than CO2?? | Climate Chemistry

Posted on 4 December 2018 by Guest Author

This is ClimateAdam's latest video

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13 comments


SkS Analogy 16 - Arctic ice, sailboat keels, and wild weather

Posted on 3 December 2018 by Evan, jg

Tag Line

Slowly pull up the keel of a sailboat as it’s racing straight across a large lake, and soon it will begin to wallow around at the mercy of the wind.

Elevator Statement

In the physical world large differences cause the motion of things:

  • Heat flows from hot to cold (like from inside your warm house to the cold outside)
  • Water flows from high to low places (think waterfall)
  • Air flows from high to low pressure (like from inside an air compressor through the nozzle and out)

The temperature difference between the warm Equator and the cold Arctic causes large-scale air motion to the Arctic. Like a river raging straight down a steep mountain, a large temperature difference causes air to move northward from the Equator fast and straight, bending with the rotation of the Earth to create a well-behaved jet stream that moves from West to East.  The motion is reminiscent of a well-trimmed sailboat challenging the wind as it races straight and true across a large body of water.

It is well documented that the Arctic is warming at 2 to 4 times the global average rate (read here and here). This decreases the temperature difference between the Equator and the Arctic, which decreases the driving force for the Jet Stream winds. The weakened driving force allows the jet stream to wallow around, just like a river that slowly meanders back and forth when it hits an area with only a slight elevation change (think flat). The image is similar to how a sailboat flounders about when the keel is pulled up: moving at the mercy of the wind instead of challenging it. In the same way that healthy arctic ice is linked with a strong, healthy jet stream that tracks relatively straight and true around the earth, so too a strong, deep keel is linked to a sailboat that tracks straight and true.

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8 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #48

Posted on 2 December 2018 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...  

Story of the Week...

G20 told crucial COP24 climate change conference 'must succeed': Guterres

G20 Summit Buenos Aires Argentina Nov 2018.jpg 

UN News/Natalia Montagna: Delegates to the G20 summit have gathered in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (30 November 2018)

During press briefings at the beginning of the G20 meeting of industrialized nations in Buenos Aires, UN Secretary António Guterres described the event as an essential forum, citing a lack of confidence and high level of confrontation within the international community.

As well as mistrust between nations, and the risk of confrontation and escalation, Mr, Guterres said that there was a lack of trust between peoples in general and institutions everywhere, both at a national level – in the form of governments and parliaments – and internationally; because globalization has divided the world into winners and losers.

Those left out, he said, “feel angry, that feel frustrated, that many times…there was not enough effort from their government, or from international organizations like the UN, in order to attend their problems, to attend their difficulties in the rustbelts of this world. I think it is very important to come together, the different countries around the world, and to have a common strategy for a fair globalization, which means a globalization that leaves no one behind.”

For this reason, the world’s largest economies, such as the G20 group, must support the UN’s 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, said the UN chief, which was developed precisely to ensure a fair globalization and aims to eradicate poverty and address a wide range of governance problems worldwide.

Mr. Guterres also pointed out that this year’s G20 meeting is important because it precedes the COP24 climate change conference taking place in Katowice, Poland from 3 December, at which the “Work Programme” or rule book of the 2015 Paris Agreement – when practically all countries signed up to a pledge to ensure global temperatures do not rise by more than 2 degrees before the end of this century– is expected to be agreed.

Addressing the media on Friday, the Secretary-General said that “Katowice must succeed. We need to build in Katowice the momentum that is necessary for an increased ambition to be shown by the international community…when in 2020 the commitments made in Paris will be renewed in order to make sure that we are able to bring the increase of temperature in the world until the end of the century to clearly below 2 degrees and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees.”

“Political will is lacking,” said the UN chief. “That is why it’s so important to come here and to express to political leaders how important it is for everybody to understand that this is a make it or break it moment in relation to guaranteeing that the Paris Agreement is implemented."

G20 told crucial COP24 climate change conference 'must succeed': Guterres, UN News, Nov 30, 2018

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COP24: UN climate change conference, what’s at stake and what you need to know

Posted on 2 December 2018 by John Hartz

Reprint of article originally posted on UN NEWS on Nov 29, 2018. Click here to access the original.

As global temperatures continue to rise, climate action is lagging and the window of opportunity is closing. On Sunday, the United Nations will kick off critical negotiations on how to address the problem collectively and urgently, during a two-week climate change conference in Katowice, Poland, known as “COP24”. 

Sirajganj Bangladesh Oct 2016 

IOM/Amanda Nero A boy watches the shore from a boat near Sirajganj, a community affected by severe erosion that has left many displaced. Sirajganj, Bangladesh. October 2016

Thousands of world leaders, experts, activists, creative thinkers, and private sector and local community representatives will gather to work on a collective action plan to realize critical commitments made by all the countries of the world in Paris, three years ago.

UN News put together this guide to COP 24 to answer some of the biggest questions you may have and make sure you’re all caught up, with a ringside seat on the action.

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6 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #48

Posted on 1 December 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sunday, Nov 25 through Saturday, Dec. 1

Editor's Pick

Climate change signals and impacts continue in 2018

Global Surface Temperature Anomalies Jan-Oct 2018 WMO 

 

The long-term warming trend has continued in 2018, with the average global temperature set to be the fourth highest on record. The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, with the top four in the past four years, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Other tell-tale signs of climate change, including sea level rise, ocean heat and acidification and sea-ice and glacier melt continue, whilst extreme weather left a trail of devastation on all continents, according to the WMO provisional Statement on the State of the Climate in 2018. It includes details of impacts of climate change based on contributions from a wide range of United Nations partners.

The report shows that the global average temperature for the first ten months of the year was nearly 1°C above the pre-industrial baseline (1850-1900). This is based on five independently maintained global temperature data sets.

“We are not on track to meet climate change targets and rein in temperature increases,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “Greenhouse gas concentrations are once again at record levels and if the current trend continues we may see temperature increases 3-5°C by the end of the century. If we exploit all known fossil fuel resources, the temperature rise will be considerably higher,” he said.

“It is worth repeating once again that we are the first generation to fully understand climate change and the last generation to be able to do something about it,” said Mr Taalas.

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But their Emails!

Posted on 30 November 2018 by David Kirtley

But their Emails

Here we go again. It's always emails with these people.

First there was "Climategate!" — the misquoting, selective quoting, and uninformed quoting of stolen emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) in Great Britain. Emails between CRU scientists and other climate scientists around the world promised to peel back the curtain and reveal the global warming scam. Alarmist scientists had used "tricks" to "hide the decline"! They "can't account for the lack of warming" so they have to fake the temperature data! The whole thing is a hoax!

Not so much.

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24 comments


New research, November 19-25, 2018

Posted on 29 November 2018 by Ari Jokimäki

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

Climate change impacts 

Mankind

Decreased takeoff performance of aircraft due to climate change

Failure to protect beaches under slowly rising sea level (open access)

Heading for the hills: climate-driven community relocations in the Solomon Islands and Alaska provide insight for a 1.5 °C future

Quantification and evaluation of intra-urban heat-stress variability in Seoul, Korea

Characterizing heat stress on livestock using the temperature humidity index (THI)—prospects for a warmer Caribbean (open access)

Adaptation action and research in glaciated mountain systems: Are they enough to meet the challenge of climate change?

Assessing the alignment of national-level adaptation plans to the Paris Agreement

A framework for assessing community adaptation to climate change in a fisheries context

Beyond 1.5 °C: vulnerabilities and adaptation strategies for Caribbean Small Island Developing States

Constraints on farmer adaptability in the Iowa-Cedar River Basin

Climate change impact and adaptation for wheat protein (open access)

Livestock productivity as indicator of vulnerability to climate hazards: a Mongolian case study

Simple scaling of climate inputs allows robust extrapolation of modelled wheat yield risk at a continental scale (open access)

Characterizing climate change risks by linking robust decision frameworks and uncertain probabilistic projections

Future climatic suitability of the Emilia-Romagna (Italy) region for grape production

Yield potential definition of the chilling requirement reveals likely underestimation of the risk of climate change on winter chill accumulation

Climate change impacts on critical international transportation assets of Caribbean Small Island Developing States (SIDS): the case of Jamaica and Saint Lucia

Comparative analyses of flood damage models in three Asian countries: towards a regional flood risk modelling

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Why does CO2 cause the Greenhouse Effect?! | Climate Chemistry

Posted on 27 November 2018 by Guest Author

This is one of ClimateAdam's latest videos

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24 comments


Discussing climate change on the net

Posted on 26 November 2018 by BaerbelW

Today, many discussions about climate change happen on the internet. People interested in the topic share information and have lively discussions about the latest studies and findings. But, you'll also find many contributors voicing not just minor doubts about human-caused climate change but also those who outright deny it. In this blog post, I suggest some options which exist to deal with these dissenting voices. The suggestions are based on a presentation I prepared for the K3-conference in Salzburg in September 2017 and which I was invited to write about for the Promet journal published by the German Weatherservice (DWD).

Consensus among scientists - lack of consensus on the internet

At a guess, you'll have noticed the following more than just once: As soon as an article about climate change gets published on the internet, it usually doesn't take long for comments voicing doubt or outright denying that it's human-caused to appear. Even though there's an overwhelming consensus of well over 90 percent in scientific publications and among climate scientists that the current climate change is human-caused, you can easily get quite a different impression from what gets posted on the net.

CoC

Obvously - and as we keep pointing out - the consensus isn't proof of human-caused climate change. Instead, the consensus has emerged from the evidence collected and analysed for over 150 years by thousands of climate scientists around the globe. The evidence and results fit together like many pieces of a large puzzle coming together and falling in place to create a coherent picture. You'll however often be hard pressed to find this conensus on the internet. This is when knowing the five characteristics of science denial comes in handy to better understand and evaluate comments posted with an obvious dismissive slant. They can be summarised by the acronym FLICC:

  • Fake experts
  • Logical Fallacies
  • Impossible expectations
  • Cherry Picking
  • Conspiracy theories

How best to react to dismissive comments?

One option is to respond directly and to debunk misleading statements with links to relevant and reliabe sources. This, however, can become very time consuming and leaves readers with the feeling that there are still more questions than answers.

RespondDismissiveCartoon: John Cook

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22 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #47

Posted on 25 November 2018 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Insights... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Climate-heating greenhouse gases at record levels, says UN

Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are far above pre-industrial levels

Coal-fired Power Plant in Poland 

A power station in Poland close to the borders with Germany and the Czech Republic. Photograph: Florian Gaertner/Photothek/Getty Images 

The main greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change have all reached record levels, the UN’s meteorology experts have reported.

Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are now far above pre-industrial levels, with no sign of a reversal of the upward trend, a World Meteorological Organization report says.

“The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5m years ago, when the temperature was 2-3C warmer and sea level was 10-20 metres higher than now,” said the WMO secretary general, Petteri Taalas.

“The science is clear. Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth. The window of opportunity for action is almost closed.”

Levels of CO2 rose to a global average of 405.5 parts per million in the atmosphere in 2017 – almost 50% higher than before the industrial revolution.

Levels of methane, a potent greenhouse gas responsible for about 17% of global warming are now 2.5 times higher than pre-industrial times owing to emissions from cattle, rice paddies and leaks from oil and gas wells.

Nitrous oxide, which also warms the planet and destroys the Earth’s protective ozone layer, is now over 20% higher than pre-industrial levels. About 40% of N2O comes from human activities including soil degradation, fertiliser use and industry.

Climate-heating greenhouse gases at record levels, says UN by Damian Carrington, Environment, Guardian, Nov 22, 2018 

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3 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #47

Posted on 24 November 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sunday, Nov 18 through Saturday, Nov 24.

Editor's Pick

Climate Change Puts U.S. Economy and Lives at Risk, and Costs Are Rising, Federal Agencies Warn

The National Climate Assessment describes increasing heat, fire and flood damage. It's a stark contrast to Trump's energy policies and climate claims.

Louisiana Flooding 2015 

The National Climate Assessment warns of increasing extreme rainfall events, like the storm that flooded communities across a large swath of Louisiana in 2016. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images  

The U.S. government's climate scientists issued a blunt warning on Friday, writing that global warming is a growing threat to human life, property and ecosystems across the country, and that the economic damage—from worsening heat waves, extreme weather, sea level rise, droughts and wildfires—will spiral in the coming decades.

The country can reduce those costs if the U.S. and the rest of the world cut their greenhouse gas emissions, particularly the burning of fossil fuels. Capping global greenhouse gas emissions to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6°F) or less would avoid hundreds of billions of dollars of future damages, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, written by a science panel representing 13 federal agencies.

The report, like a recent comprehensive assessment issued by the United Nations, signaled the mounting urgency for governments to act quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions before locking in high risks. And it underscored, without saying so directly, how the Trump administration is moving in the opposite direction.

Climate Change Puts U.S. Economy and Lives at Risk, and Costs Are Rising, Federal Agencies Warn by Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News, Nov 23, 2018

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2 comments


New research, November 12-18, 2018

Posted on 23 November 2018 by Ari Jokimäki

A selection of new climate related research articles is shown below.

Climate change

Seasonal climatic effects and feedbacks of anthropogenic heat release due to global energy consumption with CAM5

A method for investigating the relative importance of three components in overall uncertainty of climate projections

Temperature, precipitation, wind

A Recent Shift Toward an El Niño‐Like Ocean State in the Tropical Pacific and the Resumption of Ocean Warming

Precipitation Characteristic Changes due to Global Warming in a High‐Resolution (16‐km) ECMWF Simulation

Investigating the causes of increased 20th-century fall precipitation over the southeastern United States

Global observational evidence of strong linkage between dew point temperature and precipitation extremes

Wind over the Adriatic Region in CORDEX Climate Change Scenarios

Simulating Arctic 2-m air temperature and its linear trends using the HIRHAM5 regional climate model

Regional trend changes in recent surface warming

Comparison of land–ocean warming ratios in updated observed records and CMIP5 climate models (open access)

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1 comments


Did bombing during second world war cool global temperatures?

Posted on 21 November 2018 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief

Prof Alan Robock is a distinguished professor of climate science in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University in New Jersey, US.

Between 3 February and 9 August 1945 during the second world war, an area of 461 square kilometres in 69 Japanese cities was burned by US bombing raids. This included the nuclear bombs dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The resulting fires saw plumes of thick, dark smoke rise high into the atmosphere. Much like the cloud and ash thrown into the air by volcanic eruptions, this soot had the potential to block out incoming sunlight, cooling the Earth’s surface.

In a recent paper, published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, we investigate whether the smoke from these fires was enough to change global temperatures.

Nuclear winter

I’ve been working on the threat of nuclear winter for 35 years now. In the 1980s, using simple climate models, we discovered that global nuclear arsenals, if used on cities and industrial areas, could produce a nuclear winter and lead to global famine.

Smoke from the fires would last for years in the upper atmosphere, blocking sunlight, and making it cold, dark and dry at the Earth’s surface. It would also destroy ozone, enhancing ultraviolet radiation reaching the surface.

While the immediate effects of nuclear strikes might kill hundreds of thousands, the numbers that would die from starvation in the years that followed could run into billions.

Normally scientists test their theories in a laboratory or with real world observations.  Fortunately, we do not have a global nuclear war to examine. So how can we test nuclear winter theory?

One option is to look at the impact of forest fires. Large wildfires have been observed to pump smoke into the upper atmosphere – the stratosphere – above where rain can wash it out, and then be further lofted by solar heating. Such was the case with a massive fire in British Columbia in August 2017.

We also have many examples of cities that have burned in the past. Accidental fires burned numerous cities, such as London in 1666Chicago in 1871 and San Francisco in 1906.

But while we don’t have a global nuclear war to study, we do have two cases where nuclear weapons were deployed – Hiroshima and Nagasaki during the second world war.

Archive photo of flattened Main Street, Hiroshima. Taken on 13 July 1946 in Hiroshima.

Photo of Main Street, Hiroshima. Taken on 13 July 1946 in Hiroshima. Credit: National Archives, RG-342-FH-60579AC, from www.japanairaids.org

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3 comments


The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

Posted on 19 November 2018 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from the Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy by Sarah Finnie Robinson

When do 97% of people agree on anything, even ice cream? In scientific circles, consensus is a rare trophy, held to famously exacting standards. When a scientific consensus is finally reached — e.g., the Earth orbits the sun; water freezes at 32°F, 0°C; blood is red — a new fact joins the foundations of human discovery.

Under normal circumstances, a 97% consensus of the world’s leading scientists on anything would establish it as fact and compel action if needed. But our circumstances are not normal. Only 12% of Americans realize that that the scientific consensus on climate change is greater than 90%. Even among people who are Alarmed or Concerned about climate change, the consensus is somewhat unknown. Of the Alarmed, 84% understand the scientific consensus on climate change (16% do not); and 73% of the Concerned (27%).

This is a great opportunity for climate communicators.

Background:

In 2004, Naomi Oreskes published The Scientific Consensus on Climate Changein which she established the substantive “scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change.” The paper was widely cited, including in the Academy-award winning movie An Inconvenient Truth.

Several years went by. CO2 emissions continued their upward trend.

A team of scientists led by John Cook decided to revisit Oreskes’s findings and provide an update. After examining 21 years of published papers and over 12,000 abstracts, in 2013 Cook et al. published Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature. The conclusion: 97% of scientists agree.

Cook’s paper went viral, in the manner of an academic paper with nine authors and twenty-three references; as I write, it has been downloaded 862,789 times.

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