Climate Science Glossary

Term Lookup

Enter a term in the search box to find its definition.

Settings

Use the controls in the far right panel to increase or decrease the number of terms automatically displayed (or to completely turn that feature off).

Term Lookup

Settings


All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

Home Arguments Software Resources Comments The Consensus Project Translations About Donate

Twitter Facebook YouTube Pinterest

RSS Posts RSS Comments Email Subscribe


Climate's changed before
It's the sun
It's not bad
There is no consensus
It's cooling
Models are unreliable
Temp record is unreliable
Animals and plants can adapt
It hasn't warmed since 1998
Antarctica is gaining ice
View All Arguments...



Username
Password
Keep me logged in
New? Register here
Forgot your password?

Latest Posts

Archives

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?

 


Should we be worried about surging Antarctic ice melt and sea level rise?

Posted on 18 June 2018 by dana1981

There’s recently been a spate of sea level rise denial in the conservative media, but in reality, sea level rise is accelerating and melting ice is playing an increasingly large role. In the first half of the 20th Century, average global sea level rose by about 1.4 millimeters per year (mm/yr). Since 1993, that rate has more than doubled to 3.2 mm/yr. And since 2012, it’s jumped to 4.5 mm/yr.

GMSLR

Global mean sea level data from the Colorado University Sea Level Research Group, with 4-to-5-year linear trends shown in black and red. Illustration: Dana Nuccitelli

Thermal expansion (ocean water expanding as it warms) continues to play the biggest role in sea level rise, but its contribution of about 1.3 mm/yr is now responsible for a smaller proportion of total sea level rise (30% in recent years) than its contribution since the 1990s (40% of the total). That’s because of the acceleration in melting ice.

Glacier melt is accelerating, recently contributing about 0.75 mm/yr to sea level rise, up from 0.65 mm/yr since the 1990s. But the biggest jumps have come from ice in Greenland and Antarctica. Greenland had been responsible for about 0.48 mm/yr sea level rise since 1990, but in recent years is up to 0.78 mm/yr. A recent study in Nature Climate Change found that Greenland contributed about 5% to sea level rise in 1993 and 25% in 2014.

Read more...

5 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #24

Posted on 17 June 2018 by John Hartz

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

Story of the Week...

Uncovering the Mental Health Crisis of Climate Change

Depressioin 

Source: Pexels

The young man believed he only had five years to live. “Not because he was sick,” said Kate Schapira, “not because anything was wrong with him, but because he believed that life on Earth would be impossible for humans.”

The sign on Schapira’s booth read: CLIMATE ANXIETY COUNSELING 5¢ THE DOCTOR IS IN. Time to earn her pennies.

On that muggy June day, she had set up shop in Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. Schapira is not a trained therapist — a fact she makes clear to visitors — but she is happy to chat with anyone suffering from anxiety about climate change. “A lot of what I do is listen and ask questions,” she said.

Over the coming decades, rising temperatures will fuel natural disasters that are more deadly than any seen in human history, destabilizing nations and sending millions to their death. Experts say that we need to prepare for a hotter, less hospitable world by building sea walls, erecting desalination plants and engineering crops that can withstand punishing heat and drought, but few have considered the defenses we need to erect in our minds. Some, like Shapira, have called for more talking, more counseling to process our grief. But will that be enough? Climate change will do untold violence to life on this planet, and we have remarkably few tools to deal with its emotional cost.

Uncovering the Mental Health Crisis of Climate Change by Jeremy Deaton, Nexus Media, June 12, 2018

Read more...

3 comments


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

Posted on 16 June 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

In a Warming World, Deadly Bacteria Are More Resistant to Antibiotics  

E.coli bacteria. Source NIAID 

E. coli bacteria. Source: NIAID

Tom Patterson became ill in 2015 while vacationing in Egypt. He was felled by Acinetobacter baumannii, an often deadly bacterium resistant to every antibiotic his doctors tried. Patterson, a University of California San Diego psychiatry professor, should have died, but didn’t. (Experimental infusions of bacteria-killing viruses known as bacteriophages ultimately saved his life.) But his near-death experience from a superbug he picked up in a warm country — an organism that also has afflicted many hospitalized wounded troops in Iraq and Kuwait — raises provocative questions about drug-resistant bacteria and their relationship to our increasingly hotter planet.

“Travelers returning from tropical and other warm areas where multi-drug resistant pathogens have become more widespread will increasingly challenge the antibiotics on our shelves,” said Robert T. Schooley, an infectious diseases specialist at UC San Diego, who treated Patterson. “Turning up the temperature of the incubator in which we live will clearly speed the evolutionary clock of bacterial and other pathogens with which we must co-exist.”

Experts already know that climate change has become a significant threat to global public health, particularly as rising temperatures have produced greater populations of disease-transmitting insects, such as mosquitoes. But warmth also encourages bacteria to grow, providing them a chance to mutate and elude drugs that once easily killed them. While antibiotic resistance is believed largely due to the indiscriminate prescribing of antibiotics, experts now think that other environmental stresses — climate change among them — also may be at work.

The world is confronting a growing and frightening danger from multi-drug-resistant infections, with many now difficult or impossible to treat. The World Health Organization has described this scenario as “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.” There are more than 2 million cases and 23,000 deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

In a Warming World, Deadly Bacteria Are More Resistant to Antibiotics by Marlene Cimons, Climate Nexus, June 14, 2018

Read more...

1 comments


New research, June 4-10, 2018

Posted on 15 June 2018 by Ari Jokimäki

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

Climate change impacts

Mankind

The Inequality of Climate Change From 1.5 to 2°C of Global Warming (open access)

"The Paris Agreement aims to keep global warming well below 2°C above preindustrial levels with a preferred ambitious 1.5°C target. Developing countries, especially small island nations, pressed for the 1.5°C target to be adopted, but who will suffer the largest changes in climate if we miss this target? Here we show that exceeding the 1.5°C global warming target would lead to the poorest experiencing the greatest local climate changes. Under these circumstances greater support for climate adaptation to prevent poverty growth would be required."

Short-term effect of tropospheric ozone on daily mortality in Spain

Prediction of mortality resulted from NO2 concentration in Tehran by Air Q+ software and artificial neural network

Indicators of climate change in agricultural systems (open access)

Evaluating the effects of climate change on US agricultural systems: sensitivity to regional impact and trade expansion scenarios (open access)

The role of scientific expertise in local adaptation to projected sea level rise (open access)

Managing the risk of extreme climate events in Australian major wheat production systems

Comparing impacts of climate change and mitigation on global agriculture by 2050 (open access)

Understanding the divergences between farmer’s perception and meteorological records regarding climate change: a review

Influence of season and climatic variables on testicular cytology, semen quality and melatonin concentrations in crossbred bucks reared under subtropical climate

Strategic adaptation pathway planning to manage sea-level rise and changing coastal flood risk

Predicting shifting sustainability trade‐offs in marine finfish aquaculture under climate change

Read more...

8 comments


The legal fight to leave the dirtiest fossil fuels in the ground

Posted on 14 June 2018 by John Abraham

Tar sands are the dirtiest fossil fuels. These are low-quality heavy tar-like oils that are mined from sand or rock. Much of the mining occurs in Alberta Canada, but it is also mined elsewhere, in lesser quantities.

Tar sands are the worst. Not only are they really hard to get out of the ground, requiring enormous amounts of energy; not only are they difficult to transport and to refine; not only are they more polluting than regular oils; they even have a by-product called ”petcoke” that’s used in power plants, but is dirtier than regular coal.

This stuff is worse than regular oil, worse than coal, worse than anything. Anyone who is serious about climate change cannot agree to mine and burn tar sands. To maintain climate change below critical thresholds, tar sands need to be left in the ground.

This fact is what motivated me to testify to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission last November, to inform my state’s ruling commission about the impact of tar sands on the climate. Canadian energy company Enbridge has petitioned to put a pipeline through my state to carry this dirty tar to refining sites on the coast. 

The proposed pipeline is called “Line 3.” The pipeline would carry approximately 760,000 barrels per day – the new pipeline would make it easier and cheaper for the oil companies to transport tar sands and consequently, would boost their bottom line. We already move over two million barrels per day through Minnesota in Enbridge pipelines. This new pipeline would encourage them to extract and sell more tar sands.

Read more...

9 comments


97% of Climate Scientists Really Do Agree

Posted on 13 June 2018 by Guest Author

Do 97% of climate scientists really agree that humans are the main cause of climate change? Yep! Here’s what the 97 percent statistic *really* means. Don’t miss our next video!

SUBSCRIBE! ►► http://bit.ly/iotbs_sub 

REFERENCES: http://bit.ly/2HJHMOK

Read more...

1 comments


Benefits of curbing climate change far outweigh costs

Posted on 12 June 2018 by dana1981

Those who oppose policies to cut carbon pollution and slow climate change always claim that doing so will be too expensive and cripple the economy. They argue that instead we should maximize economic growth so that we can pay for climate damages and adaptation in the future. It’s an argument helped by the fact that models have essentially treated economic growth as an external factor that won’t be significantly impacted by climate change.

That assumption has been challenged in recent years, starting with a 2012 paper in theAmerican Economic Journal finding that higher temperatures reduce economic growth rates, particularly in poorer countries. A 2015 paper by Stanford scientists published inNature Climate Change built on this work, similarly finding that global warming will particularly hurt economic growth in poorer countries, and that “Optimal climate policy in this model stabilizes global temperature change below 2 degrees C.” This finding is consistent with the target set by the Paris climate accords. 

Later in 2015, a team of scientists led by Marshall Burke published a paper inNature finding a relationship between temperature and Gross Domestic Product, or GDP. There’s a sweet spot where regions with an average temperature around 13 degrees Celsius (55 degrees Fahrenheit) have the highest economic productivity. When temperatures are much hotter or colder, GDP falls. Countries like the United States, Japan, China, and many European countries happen to have temperatures right near that sweet spot, while many developing countries closer to the equator—in regions like Africa and southeast Asia—are already hotter than optimal. Consistent with the findings of the aforementioned studies, the economies of these poorer tropical countries will be particularly hard hit by global warming, because their climates are already sub-optimally hot.

Just recently, Burke led another team of scientists in research quantifying these economic costs of higher temperatures. Their latest paper, also published in Nature, found that limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius would likely save the global economy more than $20 trillion by the year 2100 as compared to 2 degrees Celsius warming—at a cost of about $300 billion. That means the benefits of curbing climate change would exceed the costs by about 70-to-1. The study also only accounts for temperature effects on GDP and not other damaging factors like sea level rise, and is thus likely a conservative estimate.

Read more...

4 comments


The Wall Street Journal keeps peddling Big Oil propaganda

Posted on 11 June 2018 by dana1981

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) Opinion page has long had a conservative skew, and unfortunately that has extended to politicizing climate change with biased and factually inaccurate editorials.

Over the past several weeks, the WSJ’s attacks on climate science have gone into overdrive. On May 15th, the Opinion page published a self-contradictory editorial from the lifelong contrarian and fossil fuel-funded Fred Singer that so badly rejected basic physics, it prompted one researcher to remark, “If this were an essay in one of my undergraduate classes, he would fail.”

The WSJ did publish a letter to the editor (LTE) from real climate scientistsAndrea Dutton and Michael Mann rebutting Singer’s editorial. However, it gave the last word to science deniers in an LTE response rejecting the well-established facts that sea level rise is accelerating and Antarctic is loss is contributing to it.

A few days later, the WSJ opinion page was at it again, publishing an editorialby Stephen F. Hayward, who describes himself as having “spent most of my adult life in conservative think tanks in Washington, D.C.,” and it shows. Hayward has a long history as a climate naysayer, spanning over a decadeback to his days with the fossil fuel-funded American Enterprise Institute.

Playing Whack-a-Mole with Hayward’s Gish Gallop

Hayward’s arguments of course deserve to be judged on their own merits. I devoted my first-ever Tweetstorm to doing just that:

Dana Nuccitelli@dana1981

Ok, let's do a Whack-a-Mole Twitter thread debunking all the nonsense in @stevenfhayward's @WSJ editorial (1/n)

Read more...

2 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #23

Posted on 10 June 2018 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

We are almost certainly underestimating the economic risks of climate change

The models that inform climate policymaking are fatally flawed.

Economics 

One of the more vexing aspects of climate change politics and policy is the longstanding gap between the models that project the physical effects of global warming and those that project the economic impacts. In a nutshell, even as the former deliver worse and worse news, especially about a temperature rise of 3 degrees Celsius or more, the latter remain placid.

The famous DICE model created by Yale’s William Nordhaus shows that a 6-degree rise in global average temperature — which the physical sciences characterize as an unlivable hellscape — would only dent global GDP by 10 percent.

Projections of modest economic impacts from even the most severe climate change affect climate politics in a number of ways. For one thing, they inform policy goals like those President Obama offered in Paris, restraining their ambition. For another, they fuel the arguments of “lukewarmers,” those who say that the climate is warming but it’s not that big a problem. (Lukewarmism is the public stance of most Trump Cabinet members.)

Climate hawks have long had the strong instinct that it’s the economic models, not the physical-science models, that are missing something — that the current expert consensus about climate economic damages is far too sanguine — but they often lack the vocabulary to do any more than insist.

As it happens, that vocabulary exists. At this point, there is a fairly rich literature on the shortcomings of the climate-economic models upon which so much political weight rests. (Here’s an old post of mine from 2015 bashing them.)

Two recent papers help simplify and summarize that literature. They are addressed to different audiences (one the US, one the international community), but both stress the importance of improving these lagging models before the next round of policymaking. I’ll touch on the US-focused one first, the international one second.  

We are almost certainly underestimating the economic risks of climate change by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, June 9, 2018

Read more...

6 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23

Posted on 9 June 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Artificial Intelligence—A Game Changer for Climate Change and the Environment

Climate Model Los Alamos National Laboratory  

AI is continually improving climate models. Photo: Los Alamos National Lab 

As the planet continues to warm, climate change impacts are worsening. In 2016, there were 772 weather and disaster events, triple the number that occurred in 1980. Twenty percent of species currently face extinction, and that number could rise to 50 percent by 2100. And even if all countries keep their Paris climate pledges, by 2100, it’s likely that average global temperatures will be 3˚C higher than in pre-industrial times.

But we have a new tool to help us better manage the impacts of climate change and protect the planet: artificial intelligence (AI). AI refers to computer systems that “can sense their environment, think, learn, and act in response to what they sense and their programmed objectives,” according to a World Economic Forum report, Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for the Earth.

In India, AI has helped farmers get 30 percent higher groundnut yields per hectare by providing information on preparing the land, applying fertilizer and choosing sowing dates. In Norway, AI helped create a flexible and autonomous electric grid, integrating more renewable energy.

And AI has helped researchers achieve 89 to 99 percent accuracy in identifying tropical cyclones, weather fronts and atmospheric rivers, the latter of which can cause heavy precipitation and are often hard for humans to identify on their own. By improving weather forecasts, these types of programs can help keep people safe.

Artificial Intelligence—A Game Changer for Climate Change and the Environment by Renee Choo, State of the Planet, Earth Institute, June 5, 2018

Read more...

2 comments


New research, May 28 - June 3, 2018

Posted on 8 June 2018 by Ari Jokimäki

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

Climate change

Overcoming early career barriers to interdisciplinary climate change research

Projected climate over the Greater Horn of Africa under 1.5 °C and 2 °C global warming (open access)

Temperature, precipitation, wind

Analysis of past changes in wet bulb temperature in relation to snow making conditions based on long term observations Austria and Germany

"The number of snow making days changes least in October and most in December when averaged over all stations. Very high stations show more change in October and less change in December than the lower stations. Several stations show a significant decrease of snow making days per month, particularly in more recent sub-periods, but trends vary strongly between stations and for different sub-periods. Sub-periods with positive trends are present in earlier phases of the time series at some stations and inter-annual variability is generally 1–2 orders of magnitude greater than detected trends."

On the concordance of 21st century wind-wave climate projections

Spatiotemporal extremes of temperature and precipitation during 1960–2015 in the Yangtze River Basin (China) and impacts on vegetation dynamics

Comparison of two long-term and high-resolution satellite precipitation datasets in Xinjiang, China

The effects of 1.5 and 2 degrees of global warming on Africa in the CORDEX ensemble (open access)

Spatial distribution of unidirectional trends in temperature and temperature extremes in Pakistan

Spatial and temporal stability of temperature in the first-level basins of China during 1951–2013

Quantification of the changes in intensity and frequency of hourly extreme rainfall attributed climate change in Oman

Read more...

0 comments


Tiny shrimp could influence global climate changes

Posted on 7 June 2018 by John Abraham

When we think of global warming and climate change, most of us ignore the impacts that animals have on the environment. Climate affects animals, but is the reverse true? Can animals affect the climate?

I don’t know how to answer that question definitively, but I was fortunate enough to read a very recent paper from a top fluid dynamics research team from Stanford. The team, led by Dr. John Dabiri, is well known for their work on bio-inspired flow. Part of what they study is the influence of living organisms on fluid flow, especially flow of water in the oceans.

This team’s recent work deals with something called aggregate motion of swimmers and it was published in Nature this year. The researchers wanted to know what happens when thousands (or millions) of small creatures swim in a single direction. Can the wakes they create add up to a larger scale motion and can these motions affect the ocean waters that they swim through?

Flow pattern caused by krill motion.

Flow pattern caused by krill motion. Illustration: Houghton et al. (2018); Nature

Read more...

2 comments


Climate Science blogs around the world

Posted on 6 June 2018 by BaerbelW

After recently publishing an article about Climate Science websites around the world, some suggestions came in via comments or emails to add more sites to the post. But, these were mostly for blogs instead of full-fledged websites so they didn't quite fit the focus of that earlier post. So, here is the companion article introducing non-English blogs focused on climate science around the world.

Dutch - The Netherlands

Klimaatverandering

KlimaatveranderingThe Dutch blog "Klimaatverandering" (climate change) was started in 2008 by Bart Verheggen as the Dutch counterpart to his English blog “Our Changing Climate”. When confronted with certain myths he started to search the web for information, only to find that misinformation was often crowding out scientifically credible voices. This, combined with the large gap between public and scientific understanding of the issue, led him to start his own blog. His aim is to inject a scientifically grounded voice to the public debate about climate change.

Since 2012 Jos Hagelaars, Hans Custers en Bob Brand have joined his Dutch blog. Together they try to maintain a high quality blog by critiquing each other’s writings before publication, as an internal review procedure as it were (similar to what’s done at SkS). Some of their pieces have been featured at SkS as well, including e.g. the graph that Jos Hagelaars made about global average temperatures from the Last Glacial Maximum all the way to the projections for 2100. This figure has made its way to many different publications, sometimes in a slightly adapted form.

Bart Verheggen's student Max von Geuns recently published the aptly named article "Blogging as an Allergic Reaction to Climate Bullshit" in which Bart's motivation to blog gets explained in more detail.

Read more...

5 comments


New Video: Hot Ocean, Hurricanes, Houston, and Harvey

Posted on 5 June 2018 by greenman3610

This is a re-post from Climate Denial Crock of the Week

Kevin  Trenberth has a new paper, measuring the change in ocean heat content in the Gulf of Mexico as Hurricane Harvey passed over.  Turns out the heat-loss just matches the energy of precipitation that made Harvey an unprecedented catastrophe.

Dr. Trenberth’s co-authors Lijing Cheng of China’s Institute of Atmospheric Physics, and Peter Jacobs of George Mason University round out this explainer. Short and powerful demonstration of how scientists more and more understand the link between a warming planet and specific extreme events.

I hope to post more soon from the brilliant interviews I captured for this piece – Lijing Cheng and Peter Jacobs are climate comms stars.

Read more...

3 comments


The latest weak attacks on EVs and solar panels

Posted on 4 June 2018 by dana1981

Over the past two weeks, media attacks on solar panels and electric vehicles have been followed by Trump administration policies aimed at boosting their fossil fueled rivals.

Efforts to undermine solar power

The first salvo came via a Forbes article written by Michael Shellenberger, who’s running a doomed campaign for California governor and really loves nuclear power. Shellenberger’s critique focused on the problem of potential waste at the end of a solar panel lifespan when the modules must be disposed or recycled. It’s a somewhat ironic concern from a proponent of nuclear power, which has a rather bigger toxic waste problem.

About 80% of a solar panel module can be recycled, but some portions cannot, and create potentially hazardous waste due to the presence of metals like cadmium and lead. The Electric Power Research Institute notes that long-term storage of used panels until recycling technologies become available may be the best option for dealing with this waste stream. Ultimately, it’s an issue that will need to be addressed as solar panels become more widespread and reach the end of their 25-plus year lifespan, much like the issue of nuclear waste. But it’s an issue that we should be able to resolve with smart policies and technologies.

It’s also not a big near-term concern, unlike the urgent need to deploy low-carbon energy, or an immediate pollution problem like for example the environmental crises that result when oil rigs fail or coal barges sink into rivers.

Shellenberger also raised concerns about the possibility “that cadmium can be washed out of solar modules by rainwater.” But that’s only a problem for broken panels, which are relatively rare except perhaps in the wake a natural disaster like a hurricane or earthquake. In a disaster area, leaching of metals from some broken solar panels is the least of a city’s problems.

Read more...

37 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #22

Posted on 3 June 2018 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... SkS in the News... Scholarly Paper of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Gov. Brown says fallout from Trump quitting Paris accord is 'far more serious than anyone is saying'

CA Gov Jerry Brown

California Gov. Jerry Brown addresses the University of California Carbon and Climate Neutrality Summit in San Diego. (Howard Lipin / San Diego Union-Tribune)

His promised coal renaissance sputtered. Rollbacks of environmental protections are tangled in court. Even automakers aren’t on board for his push toward heavier-polluting cars.

But even so, a year after President Trump pulled out of the landmark Paris accord on climate change, the struggle to contain global warming has grown considerably more complicated without the prodding and encouragement once provided by the U.S. government.

And though many in the climate movement hope progress toward cutting emissions can continue despite Trump’s retreat, there are growing doubts about reaching the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, if Washington does not re-engage soon.

In an interview, Gov. Jerry Brown acknowledged the hope felt by many climate activists because of efforts from states like his and by private companies. But he also said the world is only just beginning to feel the environmental harm inflicted by the Trump administration. 

Gov. Brown says fallout from Trump quitting Paris accord is 'far more serious than anyone is saying' by Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times, June 1, 2018 

Read more...

5 comments


2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22

Posted on 2 June 2018 by John Hartz

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

It’s time to think seriously about cutting off the supply of fossil fuels

A new paper makes the case for supply-side climate policy.

Oil Platforms 

There is a bias in climate policy shared by analysts, politicians, and pundits across the political spectrum so common it is rarely remarked upon. To put it bluntly: Nobody, at least nobody in power, wants to restrict the supply of fossil fuels.

Policies that choke off fossil fuels at their origin — shutting down mines and wells; banning new ones; opting against new pipelines, refineries, and export terminals — have been embraced by climate activists, picking up steam with the Keystone pipeline protests and the recent direct action of the Valve Turners.

But they are looked upon with some disdain by the climate intelligentsia, who are united in their belief that such strategies are economically suboptimal and politically counterproductive.

Now a pair of economists has offered a cogent argument that the activists are onto something — that restrictive supply-side (RSS) climate policies have unique economic and political benefits and deserve a place alongside carbon prices and renewable energy supports in the climate policy toolkit.

“In our experience,” the authors write, “the climate policy community has for too long been excessively narrow in its preference for certain kinds of policy instruments (carbon taxes, cap-and trade), largely ignoring the characteristics of such instruments that affect their political feasibility and feedback effects.” I have written the same thing many times, so I think a climate policy argument that takes politics seriously deserves a close look.

To understand it, it helps to have a framework for classifying climate policies.

It’s time to think seriously about cutting off the supply of fossil fuels by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, May 31, 2018

Read more...

7 comments


New research, May 21-27, 2018

Posted on 1 June 2018 by Ari Jokimäki

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

Climate change mitigation

Climate change communication

Climate change as a polarizing cue: Framing effects on public support for low-carbon energy policies

"• We evaluate how framing affects support for four low-carbon energy policies among U.S. partisans.

• For Republicans, a climate change frame lowers support relative to pollution or security frames.

• We find framing effects for renewable energy, carbon tax, and fuel efficiency policies, but not nuclear power.

• No framing effects are observed among Democrats or Independents.

• Results support a motivated reasoning rather than heuristic processing mechanism."

Emission savings

Impact of cutting meat intake on hidden greenhouse gas emissions in an import-reliant city (open access)

Domestic energy consumption and climate change mitigation

Carbon footprints of grain-, forage-, and energy-based cropping systems in the North China plain

Exploring the development of electric vehicles under policy incentives: A scenario-based system dynamics model

Profiling energy efficiency tendency: A case for Turkish households

Rising wages and energy consumption transition in rural China

Framing policy on low emissions vehicles in terms of economic gains: Might the most straightforward gain be delivered by supply chain activity to support refuelling? (open access)

Climate change and the building sector: Modelling and energy implications to an office building in southern Europe

Energy production

Promises and limitations of nuclear fission energy in combating climate change

Read more...

3 comments


Restricting global warming to 1.5C could ‘halve’ risk of biodiversity loss

Posted on 31 May 2018 by Guest Author

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

Limiting global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels rather than 2C could halve the number of vertebrate and plant species facing severe range loss by the end of the century, a study finds.

The analysis of more than 115,000 species finds that keeping warming at 1.5C – which is the aspirational target of the Paris Agreement – instead of 2C could also cut the number of insects facing severe range loss by two-thirds.

However, if countries fail to ramp up their efforts to address climate change, around a quarter of all vertebrates (animals with a spine), half of insects and 44% of plants could face severe range loss, the lead author tells Carbon Brief.

The greatest range losses are expected to occur in some of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, the author adds, including in the Amazon and southern Africa.

Although the findings are significant, the research does not explore all the factors relevant to species survival, including the impact of evolution, another scientist tells Carbon Brief.

Hostile planet

Climate change threatens wildlife in a host of ways. One way is by reducing a species’ geographical range – the extent of the area where it is able to survive.

This can occur when local temperatures become too hot for species to tolerate or when changing rainfall patterns affect the types of food available, for example. As a species’ range contracts, its risk of extinction can increase.

Read more...

1 comments


Melting Arctic sends a message: Climate change is here in a big way

Posted on 30 May 2018 by Guest Author

Mark Serreze, Research Professor of Geography and director, National Snow and Ice Data Center, University of Colorado

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Scientists have known for a long time that as climate change started to heat up the Earth, its effects would be most pronounced in the Arctic. This has many reasons, but climate feedbacks are key. As the Arctic warms, snow and ice melt, and the surface absorbs more of the sun’s energy instead of reflecting it back into space. This makes it even warmer, which causes more melting, and so on.

This expectation has become a reality that I describe in my new book “Brave New Arctic.” It’s a visually compelling story: The effects of warming are evident in shrinking ice caps and glaciers and in Alaskan roads buckling as permafrost beneath them thaws.

But for many people the Arctic seems like a faraway place, and stories of what is happening there seem irrelevant to their lives. It can also be hard to accept that the globe is warming up while you are shoveling out from the latest snowstorm.

Since I have spent more than 35 years studying snow, ice and cold places, people often are surprised when I tell them I once was skeptical that human activities were playing a role in climate change. My book traces my own career as a climate scientist and the evolving views of many scientists I have worked with. When I first started working in the Arctic, scientists understood it as a region defined by its snow and ice, with a varying but generally constant climate. In the 1990s, we realized that it was changing, but it took us years to figure out why. Now scientists are trying to understand what the Arctic’s ongoing transformation means for the rest of the planet, and whether the Arctic of old will ever be seen again.

Arctic sea ice has not only been shrinking in surface area in recent years – it’s becoming younger and thinner as well.

Read more...

8 comments



The Consensus Project Website

THE ESCALATOR

(free to republish)

Smartphone Apps

iPhone
Android
Nokia

© Copyright 2018 John Cook
Home | Links | Translations | About Us | Contact Us