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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?

 


CCC: UK has just 18 months to avoid ’embarrassment’ over climate inaction

Posted on 22 July 2019 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Simon Evans

The UK government only has 12-18 months left to raise its game on climate policy, or risk “embarrassment” as the likely host of the COP26 UN summit late next year.

That’s the message from the latest annual Committee on Climate Change (CCC) progress report, submitted to parliament and government, which says the time to strengthen policy is “now”.

The UK remains off track against its legally binding carbon budgets and gets failing report cards on a series of indicators developed by the CCC. These cover government policy and progress on the ground in cutting emissions, as well as plans to protect the country from growing climate risks.

The report follows CCC advice published in May recommending that the UK adopt a target of reaching net-zero emissions by 2050. This was recently accepted by government and became law in June.

But CCC chief executive Chris Stark told a press briefing launching today’s report: “We are not on track…having a net-zero target will not magically fix this problem.” He added:

“The government must show it is serious about its legal obligations…[its] credibility really is at stake here…There is a window over the next 12-18 months to do something about this. If we don’t see that, I fear the government will be embarrassed at COP26.”

In a leaked letter sent ahead of the net-zero goal’s adoption, chancellor Philip Hammond also said the target alone would lack credibility without “an ambitious policy response in this parliament”.

Today’s CCC report reviews progress to date and suggests what that ambitious response should look like. It also includes a biannual review of adaptation plans for England.

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29

Posted on 21 July 2019 by John Hartz

Article of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review...Poster of the Week...

Article of the Week...

June 2019: Earth's Hottest June on Record

Hindu priests in tubs 

In this picture taken on June 6, 2019, Hindu priests sit inside large vessels filled with water as they perform the 'Parjanya Japa' and offer prayers to appease the rain god for timely monsoons at the Huligamma Devi Temple in Koppal District, some 300 km from Bangalore, India. A 33-year-old man died after a fight over water in southern India, police said on June 7, as huge parts of the country gasped from drought and a brutal summer heatwave. The heat wave was blamed for 210 deaths in June, making it Earth’s deadliest weather-related disaster of the month. Image credit: STR/AFP/Getty Images.

June 2019 was the planet's warmest June since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Tuesday. NASA also rated June 2019 as the warmest June on record, well of ahead of the previous record set in 2015.

The global heat in June is especially impressive and significant given that only a weak (and weakening) El Niño event was in place. As human-produced greenhouse gases continue to heat up our planet, most global heat records are set during El Niño periods, because the warm waters that spread upward and eastward across the surface of the tropical Pacific during El Niño transfer heat from the ocean to the atmosphere.

Global ocean temperatures during June 2019 were tied with 2016 for warmest on record, according to NOAA, and global land temperatures were the warmest on record. Global satellite-measured temperatures in June 2019 for the lowest 8 km of the atmosphere were the warmest or second warmest in the 41-year record, according to RSS and the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), respectively.

As of July 15, July 2019 was on track to be the warmest month in Earth’s history (in absolute terms, not in terms of temperature departure from average)--just ahead of the record set in July 2017. 

June 2019: Earth's Hottest June on Record by Jeff Masters, Category 6, Weather Underground, June 18, 2019 

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

Posted on 20 July 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, July 14 through Sat, July 20, 2019

Editor's Pick

A Climate Action for Every Type of Activist

No matter your age, gender, race, or political ideology, there are ways to fight climate change that fit your life and values.

It's a Match! 

YES! Illustrations by Delphine Lee 

Most of us have heard about U.N. researchers warning that we need to make dramatic changes in the next 12 years to limit our risk of extreme heat, drought, floods, and poverty caused by climate change. Report after report about a bleak climate future can leave people in despair.

But another option is good for you and the planet.

Susan Clayton, a professor of psychology and environmental studies at the College of Wooster, says getting involved with a group can help lift your climate-related anxiety and depression in three ways. Working with like-minded folks can validate your concerns, give you needed social support, and help you move from feeling helpless to empowered.

And it can make a difference. “Groups are more effective than individuals,” Clayton says. “You can see real impact.”

So join forces with like-minded citizens and push for change.

The U.S. Climate Action Network lists more than 175 member organizations, which are activist groups working through energy policy to fight climate change. And that doesn’t include all of the environmental groups out there. So you have lots of options for getting involved.

Full disclosure: I found my activism comfort zone with Citizens’ Climate Lobby. I love its bipartisan, non-confrontational style, and it suits me. What’s your climate action style?

I’ve done some matchmaking for you. Here are nine activism styles that might fit, along with some groups that align with them. Pick one, and you can start making change. 

A Climate Action for Every Type of Activist by Emily Brown, YES! Magazine, July 16, 2019 

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97% consensus study hits one million downloads!

Posted on 17 July 2019 by John Cook

Our 2013 study Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature just hit one million downloads! This makes it the #1 most downloaded paper at the journal Environmental Research Letters. In fact, it's the most downloaded paper in the 80+ journals published by the Institute of Physics. One million+ downloads are usually reserved for viral videos involving piano-playing cats. Not a bad effort for a peer-reviewed scientific paper!

Million

In just six years, our paper has seen a lot of action. The study began as a citizen-science effort, following up on Naomi Oreskes' 2004 consensus study (which coincidentally is on the cusp of one million downloads). We ambitiously decided to replicate her content analysis but with 12,000+ studies. The effort took over a year, categorizing every abstract at least twice. Once we finished our own categorization, we then invited the authors of the studies to categorize their own research. Both methods obtained the same result: 97% agreement that humans were causing global warming among papers stating a position on the topic.

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #28, 2019

Posted on 16 July 2019 by SkS-Team

This week's research roundup includes 54 articles.

The most viscerally fascinating article in the present collection is undoubtedly Polag & Keppler's Global methane emissions from the human body: past, present and future.  Here we learn some unsettling facts: 

  • Prediction of global CH4 emission for the year 2100 is 1221 ± 672 Gg.
  • Future CH4 emission by humans might be in the range of present permafrost soils.

  • Future factor-weighted estimation of human CH4 emission exceeds unweighted estimation.

Combine the above quantification with what we know should be our diet leaning more toward such sustenance as cabbage and beans and we could be looking at an emergent positive feedback, an unexpected outcome of climate change mitigation.

Per popular demand we're attempting to categorize research according to broad classifications; to the extent possible research articles appear in sections having principally to do with the physical science of anthropogenic climate change, relationships between biological systems and climate change, and the  back and forth of human drivers and responses with respect to climate change. Some articles don't neatly classify— in this collection is an article linking algal growth with Greenland ice albedo, and another constraining coal-fired generation plant contributions to global carbon load but as an objective in improving climate model performance. Each was classified as a physical sciences item. 

Extraneous matter:

In the course of compiling this list we encounter the same effect as when searching pages of an encyclopedia or using Wikipedia: some diversions are just too good to ignore. The RSS feed principally supplying raw material for these posts is of course not perfect and so this week's trawl netted us an irresistible wrong species: The five deeps: The location and depth of the deepest place in each of the world's oceans. Answering the promise of the title turns out to be surprisingly complicated. 

Articles for week #28, 2019:

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10 things a committed U.S. President and Congress could do about climate change

Posted on 15 July 2019 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Craig K. Chandler

The federal government has available to it, should it choose to use them, a wide range of potential climate change management tools, going well beyond the traditional pollution control regulatory options. And, in some cases (not all), without new legislative authorization.

There’s a big “if” behind that remark: It will take an exceptionally climate-savvy and climate-concerned Executive Branch to have the political will to initiate some of these steps. And there’s more: It likely will take supportive bipartisan majorities in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives. More still: It will also take widespread and strong public support and citizen engagement, and, even then, strong leadership skills on the part of federal leaders.

It’s not clear when or if that time will come, nor what kind of climate catastrophe could precipitate such a coming-together. It brings to mind a phrase often attributed, but with some uncertainty, to Winston Churchill: “You can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they have exhausted all the other possibilities.”

Commentary

Among its options should some future Executive Branch want to consider them, or perhaps, worse yet, be forced to do so by deepening climate concerns:

Enact campaign-finance reforms that equitably share responsibilities and influence among individual citizens and “special interests.”

Many powerful “special interest” groups are happy with the status quo. The current rules and regulations (or lack thereof) work well for them. But too many Americans fear the rules are stacked against them, including on issues such as having their voices heard on climate change.

Enact a revenue-neutral carbon tax, with dividends paid back to taxpayers.

Many economists argue that unregulated markets underprice fossil fuels because they do not reflect “externalized” costs of environmental damages brought about as a result of buyer-seller transactions. All of us, when we drive our cars, heat our homes, or use fossil fuels in other ways, create these costs without having to pay for them.

A carbon fee system could provide an economic incentive to use low-emission fuels instead of high-emission fuels.

Oh, the things a committed and emboldened Executive Branch could do to help stem damages from climate change.

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4 comments


2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #28

Posted on 14 July 2019 by John Hartz

Debunk of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Debunk of the Week...

Non-peer-reviewed manuscript falsely claims natural cloud changes can explain global warming

CLAIM: "Man-made Climate Change Doesn't Exist In Practice... During the last hundred years the temperature is increased [sic] about 0.1°C because of carbon dioxide. The human contribution was about 0.01°C."

Some news outlets are publishing articles stating that this claim is based on a new study. In reality, there is no new published study. The claim comes from a six-page document uploaded to arXiv, a website traditionally used by scientists to make manuscripts available before publication. This means that this article has not been peer-reviewed, so there is no guarantee to its credibility.

If the blogs that covered this as a new study had contacted independent scientists for insight, instead of accepting this short document as revolutionary science, they would have found that it does not have any scientific credibility.

As the scientists who examined this claim explained, the document relies on circular reasoning to claim that cloud cover and relative humidity have caused the change in global temperature, and ignores many additional factors affecting global temperature—including aerosol pollution, volcanic eruptions, and natural ocean oscillations. The published, peer-reviewed scientific research on this topic clearly shows that human activities are responsible for climate change.

Non-peer-reviewed manuscript falsely claims natural cloud changes can explain global warming, Claims Review Edited by Scott Johnson, Climate Feedback, July 12, 2019

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3 comments


2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

Posted on 13 July 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, July 7 through Sat, July 13, 2019

Editor's Pick

Climate Change Fills Storms With More Rain, Analysis Shows

New Orleans Flooding 

A flooded street in New Orleans on Wednesday. Credit Ryan Pasternak

When a tropical storm is approaching, its intensity or wind speed often gets the bulk of the attention. But as Tropical Storm Barry bears down on the Gulf Coast in the coming days, it’s the water that the storm will bring with it that has weather watchers worried.

The National Weather Service is calling for roughly 10 to 20 inches of rain to fall from late Thursday night through Saturday. The average rainfall for July in New Orleans, which is in the path of the storm, is just under six inches.

And Tropical Storm Barry, which may become a Category 1 hurricane before making landfall, will drop rain on already saturated land. On Wednesday, the region was hit by severe thunderstorms, which dropped as much as seven inches of rain according to preliminary National Weather Service data.

“Climate change is in general increasing the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall storms,” said Andreas Prein, a project scientist with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. 

Climate Change Fills Storms With More Rain, Analysis Shows by Kendra Pierre-Louis, Climate, New York Times, July 11, 2019

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Disappearing sea ice is changing the whole ecosystem of the Arctic Ocean

Posted on 12 July 2019 by Guest Author

Graham J. C. Underwood, Professor of Marine and Freshwater Biology, University of Essex

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

I drafted this while looking north over the frozen Lincoln Sea, at the northernmost tip of Ellesmere Island in Canada. I was at Alert, a Canadian Forces Station which, at 82°N, is the most northerly permanently inhabited place on Earth. Just 815km away, across the Arctic Ocean, lay the North Pole.

It was May, and the sea should have still been frozen, but this year the bridge of sea ice between Ellesmere and Greenland broke up early, and Arctic ice began flowing down the narrow Nares Channel and south into Baffin Bay. All across the Arctic Ocean, the amount and persistence of sea ice is declining – September ice cover has fallen around 30% since 1980.

Alert (red dot) is at the northern end of Canada’s most northerly island. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

The Arctic is warming at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, and images of polar bears on small ice floes capture the imagination. But those images represent (excusing the pun) only the tip of the iceberg – the consequences of ice loss are profound and start from the very bottom of the food chain, in the microbial processes that drive the biology of the ocean.

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #27, 2019

Posted on 9 July 2019 by SkS-Team

43 articles this week. Summer slowdown?

The top pick for "extended implications" seems to be The Role of the Tropically Excited Arctic Warming Mechanism on the Warm Arctic Cold Continent Surface Air Temperature Trend Pattern.

Another humdinger: The polycentricity of climate policy blockage

Other articles:

Policy and human cognition meet climate change:

Shift in seasonal climate patterns likely to impact residential energy consumption in the United States

Beyond Technical Fixes: climate solutions and the great derangement

Seasonal injection strategies for stratospheric aerosol geoengineering

Polycentric governance compensates for incoherence of resource regimes: The case of water uses under climate change in Oberhasli, Switzerland

Social representations of climate change and climate adaptation plans in southern Brazil: Challenges of genuine participation

Potential energy and climate benefits of super-cool materials as a rooftop strategy

The polycentricity of climate policy blockage

The provision and utility of earth science to decision-makers: synthesis and key findings

Optimizing dynamics of integrated food–energy–water systems under the risk of climate change

Planning for the past: Local temporality and the construction of denial in climate change adaptation

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7 comments


France’s record-breaking heatwave made ‘at least five times’ more likely by climate change

Posted on 8 July 2019 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Carbon Brief by Daisy Dunne

The record-breaking heatwave that struck France last week was made at “least five times more likely” by climate change, according to a new quick-fire assessment.

preliminary analysis by scientists at the World Weather Attribution network finds that the average temperature of such a heatwave in France is now “4C higher” than it would have been a century ago, the authors say.

Using climate models, the authors conclude that such an increase in heatwave intensity was made at least five times more likely by human-caused climate change.

However, they note that there are “large uncertainties” in their analysis and the true influence of climate change could be higher.

The research is the latest in “attribution science”, a field that aims to quantify the “fingerprint” of climate change on extreme-weather events, such as heatwaves, floods and droughts.

Record heat

Europe has been struck by another extreme heatwave. Hot weather being drawn up from the Sahara – in combination with clear skies – has seen temperatures soar in France, Germany and Spain over recent days.

Last Friday, France saw its highest temperature since records began when Gallargues-le-Montueux, a small town situated between Montpellier and Avignon in southern France, reached 45.9C – more than 1.5C above the previous record set in 2003.

Temperature, 2m above ground, in France on 28 June 2019.

Data visualisation of air temperatures over France on Friday 28 June at 16:00 BST. Created with Ventusky.

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

Posted on 6 July 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jun 30 through Sat, July 6, 2019

Editor's Pick

German environment minister proposes carbon tax

Svenja Schulze has said such a plan is important for sinking carbon emissions, yet other measures are needed. She claims the plan would not unduly burden the poor, but reward those who use less fuel.

 Germany's Social Democrat (SPD) Environment Minister Svenja Schulze  

Germany's Social Democrat (SPD) Environment Minister Svenja Schulze presented three independent studies on possible carbon tax schemes in Berlin on Friday. Insisting such a tax would not unduly burden the poor, she said, "those who decide to live a more climate-friendly life could actually get money back."

The plans Schulze presented suggested an initial €35 ($39.50) tax on each metric ton of CO2, to be increased to €180 by 2030. The idea being that the more expensive petrol, natural gas, and heating oil become, the less people will use.

Schulze told reporters that those who consume less, including children, will be given a so-called climate bonus of up to €100 per person, per year, which she claims would offset a person's outlay for the tax, "The less you drive, the less oil you burn, the more you will get back."

The minister underscored the importance of not burdening low and middle-class families: "It's really important to me to avoid unfairly burdening those with low and medium incomes, and especially affected groups like commuters and tenants." 

German environment minister proposes carbon tax, Deutsche Welle (DW), July 5, 2019 

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The HadSST4 Sea Surface Temperature dataset

Posted on 5 July 2019 by Kevin C

The oceans cover two thirds of the surface of the earth, and so sea surface temperatures form a vital part of our understanding of the impact of human activity on the temperature of the planet. Sea surface temperatures contribute to estimates of global surface temperature change which are widely used in the evaluation of climate models, the estimation of internal modes of climate variability, and the setting of political targets. The ways in which sea surface temperatures have been measured by ships, buoys and satellites have varied much more significantly over time than equipment at weather stations; these changes have to be corrected when evaluating historical temperature change. Differences between different sea surface temperature datasets highlight where some of these corrections are uncertain, however users of temperature data frequently ignore these uncertainties and the effect they may have on their conclusions.

This issue was highlighted in a paper by Kent and colleagues in 2017, which made a call for action both for temperature record providers to make more progress on these issues, and for users to be aware of what the data can and cannot tell us. A number of authors have responded by investigating aspects of the sea surface temperature record (e.g. Hausfather et al 2017, Cowtan et al, 2017, Carella et al 2018, Davis et al 2018). Last week the latest version of the UK Hadley centre sea surface temperature dataset, HadSST4, was released.

The Hadley centre have been at the forefront of the development of sea surface temperature data for many years, providing the only sea record which attempts to reconcile the measurement types of individual observations. A Japanese dataset, COBE-SST2, also uses the Hadley analysis of data corrections in combination with an alternative post-processing algorithm to produce an infilled sea surface temperature reconstruction.

Other datasets apply more coarse grained corrections: NOAA's ERSST (Huang et al, 2017) corrects the gridded ship temperature field on the basis of smoothed differences between water and air temperature measurements, while my own coastal hybrid reconstruction (Cowtan et al, 2017) uses coastal weather stations to estimate a global correction for the combined impact of different types of sea surface temperature observations.

The problem is that these methods lead to different answers (Figure 1), suggesting that the required corrections for the different observations are not yet well understood. More seriously, these differences are often comparable to the size of the sources of internal variability which some authors infer from these data! Agreement between the datasets is good between 1980 and 2005, however in the 1950s and 1960s ERSST5 is cooler than HadSST3, and the coastal hybrid record is cooler still. There are large differences during World War 2. In the early 20th century the coastal hybrid record is warmer than the others. In the 19th century ERSST5 is the warm outlier. HadSST3 also shows a lower trend than the other datasets of the supposed "hiatus" period (Hausfather et al, 2017).

Comparison of different SST datasetsComparison of HadSST3 (the current version of the UK Met Office dataset), ERSST5 (the current NOAA sea surface temperature dataset), and the coastal hybrid sea surface temperature dataset (from Cowtan et al, 2017). Temperature averages are calculated using common coverage.

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Where to find big ideas for addressing climate change

Posted on 4 July 2019 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by SueEllen Campbell

Sometimes we all need a boost of optimism about our prospects of staving off the worst kinds of climate disruption. We also need to see big thinking and big ambition in practice – or, we might say, to see how ideas can be scaled up, even way up.

Here are some excellent places to look for this kind of inspiration.

  • Project Drawdown. As the project guru Paul Hawken says in a NYT interview, “a primary goal” of this research, book, and website “is to help people who feel overwhelmed by gloom-and-doom messages see that reversing global warming is bursting with possibility.” What are the 100 most effective ways to bring down atmospheric carbon dioxide? The surprising data-driven answers here can help us direct our collective energies where they will count most.
  • Rocky Mountain Institute. With its mission to transform “global energy use,” the Rocky Mountain Institute deploys all kind of smart ideas about new technologies and radical efficiency. Watch the TED Talk by director Amory Lovins, and then look at the website page about the book behind that talk, Reinventing Fire. This is a kind of futuristic optimism even a cynic may find encouraging.
  • This short piece by Ben Brown (communication specialist for PlaceMakers, an urban planning firm) offers an overview of some places where climate action is happening now, especially in towns, cities, and regions. Drawing on the work of Jim Fox, director of the National Environmental Modeling and Analysis Center, and on Brown’s idea of “Leveraging ‘The Biggest Little Things,'” this blog entry reminds us that “The best strategies are the ones that can be implemented.”
  • Finally, if your bent is less technological than personal and humanistic, take a look at a pre-Drawdown essay by Paul Hawken in Orion Magazine, “To Remake the World.” This heartening piece is also about scaling up – but on a quite different front, that of the astonishing number of small grassroots organizations around the globe.

This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. To flag works you think warrant attention, send an e-mail to her any time. Let us hear from you.

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Skeptical Science New Climate Research for Week #26, 2019

Posted on 2 July 2019 by SkS-Team

Welcome to another heaping helping of research publications related to climate change drivers and mechanisms, the effects of climate change and how we might yet grope our way into systems approaches to dealing with the mess we're making, despite ourselves.

52 items this week, derived from some 277 abstracts/articles emerging from our raw feed filter and evaluated for salience and impact.

Skeptical Science was founded to help people wade out of the swamp of misinformation found in public discussions of climate change. A perennial feature and expedient go-to of science denier arguments has been the seemingly paradoxical behavior of sea ice around Antarctica, with ice coverage stubbornly holding  and even increasing slightly for the past few decades even as the rest of the ocean/atmosphere system and dependencies showed obvious, growing signs of stress. There are good reasons for this seeming conundrum, but perhaps we're encountering limits to those controls. NASA GSFC researcher Claire Parkinson sums up recent details in the PNAS article A 40-y record reveals gradual Antarctic sea ice increases followed by decreases at rates far exceeding the rates in the Arctic.  For another twist on blasts from the past, see A Positive Iris Feedback: Insights from Climate Simulations with Temperature Sensitive Cloud-Rain Conversion

Other papers of interest:

Public policy and human cognition encounter climate change

Communicating Climate Change: Probabilistic Expressions and Concrete Events

The urban governance of climate change adaptation in least-developed African countries and in small cities: the engagement of local decision-makers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Karonga, Malawi

Technology transfer and adoption for smallholder climate change adaptation: opportunities and challenges

Climate information services for adaptation: what does it mean to know the context?

Increasing Local Salience of Climate Change: The Un-tapped Impact of the Media-science Interface

Going Global: Climate Change Discourse in Presidential Communications

Climate risk assessments and management options for redevelopment of the Parliamentary Complex in Samoa, South Pacific (OA)

Health consequences of climate change in Bangladesh: An overview of the evidence, knowledge gaps and challenges

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9 comments


Europe's record breaking heatwave & Climate Change

Posted on 1 July 2019 by Guest Author

With so much record breaking heat, how do we talk about climate change without sounding like a broken record?! And how do we avoid starting to think that breaking these records is somehow normal, rather than a part of global warming?

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1 comments


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

Posted on 29 June 2019 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jun 23 through Sat, June 29, 2019

Editor's Pick

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met Greta Thunberg: 'Hope is contagious'

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg 

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Greta Thunberg. Photograph: Stephen Voss, Anna Schori/The Guardian

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez enters a boardroom at her constituency office in Queens, New York, after a short delay which, a political aide hopes, hasn’t been caused by a constituent waylaying her in the corridor. (“They can get really excited to meet her.”) Greta Thunberg is in her home in Sweden, her father testing the technology for the video link while the teenager waits in the background. The activists have never met nor spoken but, as two of the most visible climate campaigners in the world, they are keenly aware of each other.

Thunberg, now 16, catapulted to fame last year for skipping school every Friday to stand outside the Swedish parliament, protesting against political inaction over the climate crisis and sparking an international movement, the school strike for climate, in which millions of other children followed suit. Ocasio-Cortez, the Democratic Representative for New York’s 14th congressional district is, at 29, the youngest woman ever to serve in Congress, whose election over a well-funded incumbent in 2018 was a huge upset to politics-as-usual. She has been in office for less than a year, which seems extraordinary given the amount of coverage she has generated. In February, Ocasio-Cortez submitted the Green New Deal to the US House of Representatives, calling for, among other things, the achievement of “net-zero” greenhouse gases within a decade and “a full transition off fossil fuels”, as well as retrofitting all buildings in the US to meet new energy efficient standards.

The Green New Deal, while garnering support from Democratic presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar, was mocked by speaker Nancy Pelosi (“the green dream or whatever they call it”), and defeated in the Senate by Republicans. Like Thunberg, however, Ocasio-Cortez gives every appearance of being galvanised by opposition, and has the kind of energy that has won her 4.41 million Twitter followers and makes establishment politicians in her path very nervous.

In the course of their conversation, Ocasio-Cortez and Thunberg discuss what it is like to be dismissed for their age, how depressed we should be about the future, and what tactics, as an activist, really work. Ocasio-Cortez speaks with her customary snap and brilliance that, held up against the general waffle of political discourse, seems startlingly direct. Thunberg, meanwhile, is phenomenally articulate, well-informed and self-assured, holding her own in conversation with an elected official nearly twice her age and speaking in deliberate, thoughtful English. They are, in some ways, as different as two campaigners can get – the politician working the system with Washington polish, and the teenager in her socks and leggings, working from her bedroom to reach the rest of the world. There is something very moving about the conversation between these young women, a sense of generational rise that, as we know from every precedent from the Renaissance onwards, has the power to ignite movements and change history. 

When Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez met Greta Thunberg: 'Hope is contagious' by Emma Brockes, Environment, Guardian, June 29, 2019 

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Why my fears about climate change made me cross the line that separates academia from activism

Posted on 27 June 2019 by Guest Author

James Dyke, Senior Lecturer in Global Systems, University of Exeter

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Everybody seems to be talking about climate change again. This time, a great deal of the coverage has been sympathetic to the idea that we are facing an emergency that demands drastic action.

Extinction Rebellion’s protests caused some outrage, but also some surprising support. Swedish campaigner Greta Thunburg has been widely admired, David Attenborough has been spreading the word with urgency, and primetime programming has led to serious discussions about climate change across living rooms, offices and social media.

So is this the fabled tipping point in public opinion which will see widespread support for radical changes? That is a question that can only be answered in hindsight.

Yet despite the significant surge in interest and concern, most people are probably unaware of what climate change really means: that it’s not just about nudging our emissions a bit lower or taking incremental action generally. This is a challenge that is perhaps unprecedented in all of human history.

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New Research for week #25, 2019

Posted on 25 June 2019 by SkS-Team

49 publications for this week. 

The last paper in this week's list features Skeptical Science volunteer and highly cited researcher Stephan Lewandowsky along with Skeptical Science founder John Cook as first and second authors respectively, working with regular collaborator Gilles Gignac. Their paper identifies, confirms and examines what layperson intuition may see as peer pressure to conform to perceived dominant opinions in discussions of climate change at online venues. The paper helps to  illustrate and exemplify how human psychology with its inherent flaws and virtues may be our most significant hurdle in dealing with the climate change we're causing. The problem might be said to lie between our ears, not up in the air. See also the aptly named I’ll See It When I Believe It: Motivated Numeracy in Perceptions of Climate Change Risk for more treatment of our dubious reasoning capability when we're confused by extraneous factors, the publication itself also being a nice example of extending and solidifying previous research.

Method for composition of Research News: This synopsis is principally composed via RSS feeds from a variety of academic publishers, employing fairly broad filters. The filter sieves 200-300 publications per week for further inspection. The resulting raw list  includes interesting but off-topic papers; human inspection winnows output to perhaps 100-150 works involving global atmospheric climate to a greater or lesser extent. Due to the volume of publications and limited time scrutiny is chiefly via reading abstracts unless compelling curiosity or reason for concern about the claims of a paper leads further. Some results are "down in the weeds," being narrow discussions of arcane climate model behaviors, or highly regional studies with little "big picture" impact, or tenuous results that will  likely benefit from more research; these are discarded. The final result is the few dozen publications per week cited here, involving extraordinary breadth and depth. Global anthropogenic climate change instigates and nourishes an astounding, grand collision of a multitude of scientific disciplines.

We'll perennially note: dry titles can't convey the content of an abstract let alone the full potential implications of a given paper. The publications cited in this list all fit the specification of plausibly being important components of a puzzle we're solving. We're working on providing easy access to abstracts but in the meantime we feel the articles we choose to highlight are worth a click to reach and read.

To the matter of clicking for abstracts, a question for readers: should clicking a paper title open a new window, or is it better to go "forth and back" from SkS to a given paper and vice versa? Please let us know preferences down below in comments— perhaps a consensus will emerge. Thanks!  

Global Health Implications of Nutrient Changes in Rice under High Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide (OA)

Increasing organic carbon biolability with depth in yedoma permafrost: ramifications for future climate change

Climate sensitivity from both physical and carbon cycle feedbacks

 Deepening of the winter mixed layer in the Canada Basin, Arctic Ocean over 2006‐2017

Arctic Ocean freshwater dynamics: transient response to increasing river runoff and precipitation

ENSO regime changes responsible for decadal phase relationship variations between ENSO sea surface temperature and warm water volume

Radiative Heating of an Ice‐free Arctic Ocean

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The Trump EPA strategy to undo Clean Power Plan

Posted on 24 June 2019 by dana1981

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections

The Trump administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on June 19 published its “Affordable Clean Energy” (ACE) rule to replace the Obama EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP).

The replacement plan is essentially the Trump administration’s attempt to adhere to the letter of the law mandating that carbon pollution be regulated, while requiring the smallest possible changes from the power utility industry. Preliminary research suggests that the ACE rule will barely reduce carbon emissions more than a scenario with no EPA policy whatsoever.

Current law says EPA must regulate carbon pollution

This story begins in 2003, when in response to a petition that the federal government regulate greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles, the George W. Bush EPA concluded that it did not have authority to do so under the Clean Air Act. Disagreeing with that determination, Democratic attorneys general of 12 states teamed up with several cities and environmental organizations to challenge that EPA action in court. The resulting litigation made it to the Supreme Court in 2007, and in the landmark Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency ruling, the justices ruled 5-4 against the Bush administration and its EPA.

As a result, the agency was required to determine whether carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are air pollutants under the Clean Air Act, meaning that they “cause or contribute to air pollution which may reasonably be anticipated to endanger public health or welfare.”

In December 2009, EPA under President Obama completed its Endangerment Finding review of the scientific evidence and concluded that carbon pollution and other greenhouse gas emissions responsible for human-caused climate change clearly endanger public health and welfare. That determination led directly to the conclusion that the Clean Air Act requires that EPA regulate those pollutants, leading in turn to the Obama EPA’s CPP to strictly regulate utilities’ greenhouse gas emissions.

Emissions from motor vehicle tailpipes are addressed through corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards, which the Trump administration is also proposing to dramatically weaken in a battle with California and several other states, again all Democratically-controlled. To address pollution from power plants, the Obama EPA developed the CPP, which, if implemented, would have established national carbon emissions performance rates for coal and natural gas power plants while giving individual states some flexibility in finding ways to meet those standards.

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