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2013 SkS Weekly News Roundup #46B

Posted on 16 November 2013 by John Hartz

  • 2013 likely to be one of the hottest years ever
  • Abbott's response to the climate challenge
  • Australia's politics of global warming
  • Canada reveals climate stance
  • Climate change is altering rainfall patterns worldwide
  • Emissions of CO2 driving rapid oceans 'acid trip'
  • Haiti, Philippines suffered most from climate related disasters
  • Majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real
  • Ocean drones plumb new depths
  • Shale's effect on U.S. oil supply is forecast to be brief
  • Warsaw climate talks: nearly 3 in 10 countries not sending ministers
  • Warsaw talks to thrash out UN climate roadmap

2013 Likely To Be One Of The Hottest Years Ever

This year is the seventh warmest since records began in 1850 with a trend to weather extremes and the impact of storms such as Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines aggravated by rising sea levels, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said on Wednesday.

A build-up of manmade greenhouse gases in the atmosphere meant a warmer future was now inevitable, WMO Secretary-General Michel Jarraud said in a statement on the sidelines of U.N. climate talks among almost 200 nations in Warsaw.

The WMO, giving a provisional overview, said the first nine months of the year tied with the same period of 2003 as seventh warmest, with average global land and ocean surface temperatures 0.48°C (0.86°F) above the 1961-1990 average.

2013 Likely To Be One Of The Hottest Years Ever As Warming Trend Continues, WMO Says by Alister Doyle & Michael Szabo, The Huffington Post, Nov 13, 2013

Abbott's response to the climate challenge

Science denial costs lives. A stark example is South African President Mbeki, who dismissed the scientific consensus on AIDS, leading to an estimated 300,000 deaths. 

Abbott's response to the climate challenge by John Cook, WME Magazine, Nov 9, 2013

Australia's politics of global warming

Australians have long associated summer with the acrid smell of smoke and images of singed koalas. As Prime Minister Tony Abbott said defensively, bush fires are “just a function of life in Australia.” But we have just had the hottest year on record. The real question is: How does global warming affect the probability and severity of fires?

Australia's Politics of Global Warming, Op-ed by Julia Baird, New York Times, Nov 14, 2013

Canada reveals climate stance

Canada has dropped any remaining pretences of supporting global action on climate change by urging other countries to follow Australia's example in gutting its climate plan.

In a formal statement, the Canadian government said it "applauds" the move by Australia this week to repeal a carbon tax on the country's 300 biggest polluters.

"Canada applauds the decision by prime minister Abbott to introduce legislation to repeal Australia's carbon tax. The Australian prime minister's decision will be noticed around the world and sends an important message," the formal statement from Paul Calandra, parliamentary secretary to Canada's prime minister, Stephen Harper, said.

Canada reveals climate stance with praise for Australian carbon tax repeal by Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, Nov 13, 2013

Climate change is altering rainfall patterns worldwide

Global precipitation patterns are being moved in new directions by climate change, a new study has found.

The research, published yesterday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the first study to find the signal of climate change in global precipitation shifts across land and ocean.

"It's worth saying that this is another grain of sand on that vast pile of evidence that climate change is real and is occurring," said study co-author Kate Marvel, a climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Climate Change Is Altering Rainfall Patterns Worldwide bStephanie Paige Ogburn and ClimateWire, Scientific American, Nov 12, 2013

Emissions of CO2 driving rapid oceans 'acid trip'

The world's oceans are becoming acidic at an "unprecedented rate" and may be souring more rapidly than at any time in the past 300 million years.

Emissions of CO2 driving rapid oceans 'acid trip' by Matt McGrath, BBC News, Nov 11, 2013

Haiti, Philippines suffered most from climate related disasters

Haiti and the Philippines suffered the biggest climate-related disasters last year, a study showed as United Nations envoys from 195 nations discussed ways to assist countries coping with the impacts of global warming.

Pakistan ranked third in the analysis by Germanwatch, a Berlin-based research group. It gave added weight to the death toll and value of damage compared with the size of the economy and population of a country. It didn’t include damage from this year, including Typhoon Haiyan, which may have killed 10,000 in the last week in the Philippines.

The study, which doesn’t attribute specific weather events to climate change, highlights the risk that developing nations are facing more violent storms and more frequent floods that scientists say are occurring with higher global temperatures. Delegates at the United Nations climate talks this week are discussing a “loss and damage” mechanism to help developing nations cope with the effects of global warming.

Haiti, Philippines Suffered Most From Climate Related Disasters by Alex Morales, Bloomberg News, Nov 12, 2013

Majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real

A vast majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real and at least two-thirds of those want the government to cut greenhouse gas emissions, new research revealed on Wednesday.

The research, by Stanford University social psychologist Jon Krosnick, confounds the conventional wisdom of climate denial as a central pillar of Republican politics, and practically an article of faith for Tea Party conservatives.

Instead, the findings suggest far-reaching acceptance that climate change is indeed occurring and is caused by human activities, even in such reliably red states as Texas and Oklahoma.

“To me, the most striking finding that is new today was that we could not find a single state in the country where climate scepticism was in the majority,” Krosnick said in an interview. 

Majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real, study shows by Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian, Nov 13, 2013

Ocean drones plumb new depths

Five miles offshore from the Golden Nugget casino, Michael F. Crowley, a marine scientist at Rutgers University, heaves three lifeboat-yellow drones off the back of his research vessel.

The gliders, as he calls them, are winged and propellerless, like miniature Tomahawk missiles. Two are on loan from the Navy, and one, Rutgers’s own, is pockmarked from a past shark attack. As they slink into the Atlantic to begin a monthlong mission, they join a fleet of 12 others across the Eastern Seaboard, from Nova Scotia to Georgia.

These drones are the centerpiece of “Gliderpalooza,” a collaborative ocean-survey experiment coordinated by 16 American and Canadian government agencies and research teams. By pooling their resources, including satellites, radar stations, research buoys and the gliders, the teams hope to capture the most complete picture yet of the Atlantic’s many mysterious underwater movements — from deepwater currents to migrating fish.

Ocean Drones Plumb New Depths by William Herkewitz, New York Times, Nov 11, 2013

Shale's effect on U.S. oil supply is forecast to be brief

The boom in oil from shale formations in recent years has generated a lot of discussion that the United States could eventually return to energy self-sufficiency, but according to a report released Tuesday by the International Energy Agency, production of such oil in the United States and worldwide will provide only a temporary respite from reliance on the Middle East. 

The agency’s annual World Energy Outlook, released in London, said the world oil picture was being remade by oil from shale, known as light tight oil, along with new sources like Canadian oil sands, deepwater production off Brazil and the liquids that are produced with new supplies of natural gas.

“But, by the mid-2020s, non-OPEC production starts to fall back and countries from the Middle East provide most of the increase in global supply,” the report said. A high market price for oil will help stimulate drilling for light tight oil, the report said, but the resource is finite, and the low-cost suppliers are in the Middle East.

Shale’s Effect on Oil Supply Is Forecast to Be Brief by Matthew L. Wald, New York Times, Nov 

Warsaw climate talks: nearly 3 in 10 countries not sending ministers

According to statistics released by the UN, over 10,000 people will spend the next two weeks swarming through its corridors, busily going about their business of trying to find a solution to climate change.

But only 134 of these will be ministers, in spite of the fact that there will be 189 countries attending the conference.

The representative sent by each country indicates the level of importance it places on the negotiations.

Warsaw climate talks: nearly 3 in 10 countries not sending ministers by Sophie Yeo, The Guardian, Nov 13, 2013

Warsaw talks to thrash out UN climate roadmap

The costs of reducing emissions may be flash points along the path toward a 2015 Paris treaty.

Warsaw Talks to Thrash Out UN Climate Roadmap by Jeff Tollefson, Nature/Scientific American, Nov 13, 2013

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Comments 1 to 5:

  1. No mention of the major 'about face' by the Japansese in regards to their CO2 reduction commitments? That was more of a shock than either the Canadien or Aussi stories.

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    Moderator Response:

    [JH] The news about the Japanese decision will appear in the next issue of the Roundup. 

  2. hank_@1,

    It'd be far more beneficial if you, instead of comlaining that "something obvious" was not mentioned, you'd actually explained what it was exactly, and even better provided the link, yourself.
    I, for example, don't know what you talk about from your description, but I'd like to know that news.

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  3. "Majority of red-state Americans believe climate change is real", even in "red" states like TX & OK.

    That's very interesting news. Apart from being an indicator of a success in climate science communication (of which we at SkS play proud role), it may herald the change of mind in some politicians there. I predict that many hardcore flat-earth denialists will start to convert to at least "lukewarmemrs", as their political expedience dictates. Just like Tony Abbott in Australia converted recently, as described in "Abbott's response to the climate challenge". And, like Tony's predecessor John Howard has been converting, according to his own admission recently, that only his "gut feeling" and "political climate" drive his knowledge about the world.

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  4. Nothing short of a tsunami washing over our political institutions is going to change our business as usual approach.


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  5. CCE, actually I expect that global warming denial will evaporate quickly after the fossil fuel industry loses its political clout. Solar power is starting to catch on in the US and direct exposure to the reality of solar power is starting to change 'conservative' viewpoints away from their propaganda driven opposition. More and more Republicans are coming out 'pro solar' in a party that reviled solar power just a decade ago. People can see for themselves that solar works, and as that knowledge spreads the days of fossil fuel political domninance are numbered.

    So, I'd say there is a tsunami of change already wiping out 'business as usual' power generation, and our political institutions are starting to shift in response.

    BTW: Next news report should include the interesting study by Halfar et al in PNAS extending Arctic sea ice records back ~650 years based on coral proxies. This finally provides decadal resolution data on how sea ice has responded to previous climate shifts. Should help pin down whether we are looking at a mostly ice free Arctic ocean by 2040, 2030, or 2020.

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