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2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #34B

Posted on 24 August 2013 by John Hartz

  • Are Americans ready to rebel over climate?
  • Are we cooling our way to a warmer planet?
  • Australia's flooding rains briefly slowed sea level rise
  • Climate change: speaking the unspeakable
  • Fears for seabirds as global warming affects coastline
  • Higher temperatures, more dengue
  • House GOP plans mega-hearing on climate change
  • Is climate change humanity's greatest-ever risk management failure?
  • July adds to globe's string of 341 warm months
  • Separating science from spin on the global-warming 'pause'
  • The inevitability of sea-level rise
  • Welcome to the Age of Denial
  • Wind farms take root out at sea

Are Americans ready to rebel over climate?

Henry David Thoreau would be so proud. It appears that one in four Americans would now support peaceful civil disobedience against organizations that are making global warming worse, according to the latest survey report by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.

Are Americans Ready to Rebel Over Climate? by Larry O'Hanlon, Discovery News, Aug 23, 2013

Are we cooling our way to a warmer planet?

"Should the world eventually adapt the US level of need for cooling, energy demand for air conditioning would be equal to about 50 times the current demand for cooling in the US," said Michael Sivak, a researcher at the University of Michigan and author of a study of global air conditioning use published in the September-October 2013 issue of American Scientist.  

Global air conditioning: Are we cooling our way to a warmer planet? by David Unger, The Chrisitian Science Monitor, Aug 22, 2013

Australia's flooding rains briefly slowed sea level rise

Scientists may have zeroed in on the cause of a mysterious 18-month drop in global average sea level that occurred between 2010 and 2011, pointing to events that occurred on the world’s smallest continent: Australia. New research shows that during those two years, flooding rains in Australia, which resulted from a rare combination of factors, took huge quantities of water out of the oceans without returning it, like a library user with mounting late fees. 

Australia’s Flooding Rains Briefly Slowed Sea Level Rise by Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, Aug 21, 2013

Climate change: speaking the unspeakable

So… what to do? How to find a way to metaphorically grab people by the shoulders, turn them, make them look at the horrid thing they and their kids and parents and grandparents helped create, tell them how bad it really is, and then convince them that there’s no such thing as it “being too late”, that the urgency they now see and feel is not an argument for disengagement, but an argument for taking action to stop it from getting far worse?

Climate Change: Speaking the Unspeakable by Lou Grinzo, The Energy Collective, Aug 21, 2013

Fears for seabirds as global warming affects coastline

Puffins, terns and butterflies are among the key species in the UK being put at risk from global warming, which is transforming the UK's coastal areas as sea levels rise and storms grow fiercer, a study by the National Trust has found.

Sea levels are predicted to rise by up to half a metre by the turn of the century, and coastal erosion is accelerating, with a fourfold increase in landslips reported.

Fears for seabirds as global warming affects coastline by Fiona Harvey, The Guardian, Aug 22, 2013

Higher temperatures, more dengue

The spread of the virus that causes dengue fever has created an emergency situation for institutions, governments and scientists in Latin America seeking sustainable solutions for a health problem that could worsen as a result of climate change.

Higher Temperatures, More Dengue by Patricia Grogg, Inter Press Service (IPS), Aug 22, 2013

House GOP plans mega-hearing on climate change

After virtually ignoring the nation's biggest environmental issue for years, Republican leaders of the House Energy and Commerce Committee are planning a major hearing on climate change on Sept. 18 and are inviting leaders of 13 federal agencies to testify. It will be the first time since President Obama unveiled his climate action plan in June that administration officials will testify on Capitol Hill about the agenda.

House GOP Plans Mega-Hearing on Climate Changeby Amy Harder, National Journal, Aug 21, 2013

Is climate change humanity's greatest-ever risk management failure?

Humans are generally very risk-averse. We buy insurance to protect our investments in homes and cars. For those of us who don't have universal health care, most purchase health insurance. We don't like taking the chance - however remote - that we could be left unprepared in the event that something bad happens to our homes, cars, or health.

Climate change seems to be a major exception to this rule. Managing the risks posed by climate change is not a high priority for the public as a whole, despite the fact that a climate catastrophe this century is a very real possibility, and that such an event would have adverse impacts on all of us.

Is climate change humanity's greatest-ever risk management failure? Dana Nuccitelli, Climate Consensus-the 97%, The Guardian, Aug 22, 2013

July adds to globe's string of 341 warm months

The year-to-date has been the sixth warmest on record globally, and July was also the sixth warmest such month since global surface temperature records first began in 1880, according to new data released on Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The figures show that July 2013 was the 37th straight July, and the 341st straight month, with warmer-than-average global temperatures — a more than 28-year timespan that reflects the significant warming observed worldwide since the 1970s.

July Adds To Globe’s String of 341 Warm Months by Andrew Freedman, Climate Central, Aug 20, 2013

Separating science from spin on the global-warming 'pause'

"If the planet is warming, why have temperatures been steady for a decade?"

That question is now the go-to counterpoint for global-warming skeptics, and it has long been a sticking point for scientists as they try to explain their climate conclusions to an increasingly polarized public.

The debate was reborn anew last week when a leaked draft of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change upcoming report conceded that warming has largely paused over the past decade, prompting outcry from skeptics and leading conservative news outlets (including Fox News) to play up the pause in their reporting.

Separating Science From Spin on the Global-Warming 'Pause' by Patrick Reis and Marina Koren, National Journal, Aug 21, 2013

The inevitability of sea-level rise

Small numbers can imply big things. Global sea level rose by a little less than 0.2 metres during the 20th century – mainly in response to the 0.8 °C of warming humans have caused through greenhouse gas emissions. That might not look like something to worry about. But there is no doubt that for the next century, sea level will continue to rise substantially. The multi-billion-dollar question is: by how much?

The Inevitability of Sea-Level Rise by Anders Levermann, The Yale Forum on Climate Change & the Media, Aug 22, 2013

Welcome to the Age of Denial

IN 1982, polls showed that 44 percent of Americans believed God had created human beings in their present form. Thirty years later, the fraction of the population who are creationists is 46 percent.

In 1989, when “climate change” had just entered the public lexicon, 63 percent of Americans understood it was a problem. Almost 25 years later, that proportion is actually a bit lower, at 58 percent.

Welcome to the Age of Denial, Op-ed by Adam Frank, New York Times, Aug 21, 2013

Wind farms take root out at sea

“If you want to do wind on a big scale with power plants based on wind, you need to go offshore,” said Michael Hannibal, chief of Siemens’s offshore wind business.

Wind Farms Take Root Out at Sea by Stanley Reed, New York Times, Aug 21, 2013

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Comments 1 to 7:

  1. We don't have time for civil disobedience. After 40 years of nuclear protest, all we have to show for our troubles is Fukushima and 60 brand new nuclear plants under various stages of completion world wide. I believe we should commit to Hansen's 100% private no-split carbon dividends using a new world e-currency. This will unite the people of the world and undermine the government-military-corporate hegemony. I also believe we should support Hansen's 4G nuclear research project. We cannot safely store nuclear waste 10,000 years when we can't even be sure of our own survival over the next 100 years. Nuclear denialists usually attack this idea with the same fevor and tactics Fox News uses against climate scientists. This schizm underlies the fultility of searching for the magic uprising narrative.


    The acidity of the oceans will more than double in the next 40 years. This rate is 10 times faster than 55 million years ago when when a mass extinction of marine life occurred. It is also faster than during 4 of earth's biggest mass extinction events during the last 300 hundred million years -- faster than even the great Permian mass extinction event where 95% of life on earth vanished 250 million years ago. The oceans are now 30% more acidic than in pre-industrial times. In less than 40 years they will be 60% more acidic than then.

    When ice ages come and go the planet can change temperature 5°C in as little as 5,000 years. 50 times slower than what we are doing to earth now. In the past, a 5°C change normally takes 20,000 years, we are going to do 5°C in 50-100 years, 200 times faster.

    Climate change is happening 100 times faster than in the past.

    By 2025, humans will impact 50% of earth's biosphere. This will cause a planetary ecological state shift leading to a mass extinction event that is unstoppable and irreversible once started.

    Why does nobody talk about the thousands of 1-kilometer wide bubbling methane seabeds recorded in 2011.

    Only 1% of methane needs to be released to cause total disaster.
    Peter Wadhams interview

    Natalia Shakhova interview:
    do you believe scientists
    who spent 30 years in the arctic
    or do you believe scientists
    who spent 30 years at their computer?

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  2. One notices that the "Mega Hearing" questions include not a single question relating to how bad climate change is actually likely to be for the USA over ANY span of time.   One has to wonder at their ability to ascertain that they already know all they need to know about this part of the issue. 

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  3. @bjchip#2: My take is that the "mega hearing" questions are designed to create a comprehensive inventory of exisiting federal government activities and budgets devoted to climate science and related research. Having assembled such an inentory, House Republicans can more easily target these activities for budget cuts in the future.   

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  4. Shize@1,You're incorrect: everybody is looking at and talking about the problems you describe. Did you ever look around before you started your rant?

    For example, look at "OA not OK" button on the left margin. Even among the latest articles, you find the studies about OA discussed, for example here.

    In general, for any of your issues, you can just use the search box on the top: you'll get plenty of hits throughout.

    This site is about explaining the climate science and our comment policy requires that your post makes a point, e.g. clarifies of asks the for the clarification, related to the science discussed. If the point you are making is only about the lack of topics in the articles cited (I'm trying to understand you), then if you want to be taken seriously here, you must spell it clearly, one problem at a time. The way you make it however, sounds like baseless, alarmist gish gallop. Like the science deniers, you will not be taken seriously with such style on this site even if people agree with your conclusions.

    If your goal is not to understand the details of climate science but the rather the activism about AGW, that's fine and understandable. However I think you've come to the wrong place necause this site is not about the promotion of activism.


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  5. @Shizel #1 There's a recent SKS post stating (or maybe quoting) that a 50 gigaton methane release would not be a disaster. Seem to recall it was basically due to methane's short life. I recall a commenter disagreed. I can't remember the post date, within the last 5 weeks anyway.If you have time and interest you might want to find it and study, see what you think.

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  6. grindupBaker@5,

    You're likely taking about this Nature article co-authored by Peter Wadhams and  based largely on Shakhova's research, looked by Chris Colose here with interesting comment thread. Intetresting it was, indeed.

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  7. @Shizel #1 chriskoz #6 My suggested recent opinion piece on the methane (above) was SkS Weekly News Roundup #32B 10 August 2013 by John Hartz "How Much Should You Worry About an Arctic Methane Bomb?" at "mother jones" site Thu Aug. 8, 2013.

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