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2015 SkS Weekly Digest #43

Posted on 25 October 2015 by John Hartz

SkS Highlights... El Niño Watch... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... He Said What?... SkS in the News... SkS Spotlights... Poster of the Week... Rebuttal Article Update... Coming Soon on SkS... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus

SkS Highlights

The Brave New World of Ecomodernism by Josh Halpern (who blogs and tweets as Eli Rabett) garnered the most comments of the articles posted on SkS during the past week. Tracking the 2C Limit - September 2015 by Rob Honeycutt drew the scond highest number of comments. 

El Niño Watch

It has choked Singapore with smoke, triggered Pacific typhoons and left Vietnamese coffee growers staring nervously at dwindling reservoirs. In Africa, cocoa farmers are blaming it for bad harvests, and in the Americas, it has Argentines bracing for lower milk production and Californians believing that rain is finally, mercifully on the way.

El Nino is back and in a big way.

A huge El Nino spreads wide range of mayhem around the world, Bloomberg/The Japan Times, Oct 23, 2015 

Toon of the Week

2015 Toon 43 

Quote of the Week

"Climate change negotiations cannot only focus on targets, on billions. They must focus on people and entitle people to have their voices heard and taken into account," said Marine Franck, a climate change officer with the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR). 

Migration needs a home in global climate deal - UN experts by Megan Rowling, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Oct 23, 2015

He Said What?

4. Rubio* does not show a very clear understanding of how renewable energy works. He praises fossil fuels on the grounds that we’re sitting on all this energy, so we might as well use it. In the very next sentence, he dismisses solar and wind energy:

The $100 billion dollars of natural gas and $550 billion of oil beneath our feet are doing the people of Ohio no good pent up in shale rock. Yet Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton continue to argue it’s more important for us to subsidize wind turbines and solar panels than to expand access to our extraordinary reserves. In June, he committed America to generating 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030, which would triple our wind- and solar-generated power.

It’s true that America has a lot of fossil fuels. It also has a lot of wind and sun. You could turn Rubio’s logic completely around: All that solar and wind energy does the people no good if we don’t harness it. The disconnect between these thoughts does not seem to occur to him.

*Sen Mark Rubio (R-FL) and candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. President.

Marco Rubio’s Ideas About Climate and Energy Are Terrifyingly Stupid by Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine, Oct 19, 2015 

SkS in the News

Rebecca Leber begins her New Republic article, Meet the 97 Percent Climate Truthers with:

Two years ago, a group of international researchers led by University of Queensland's John Cook surveyed 12,000 abstracts of peer-reviewed papers on climate change since the 1990s. Out of the 4,000 papers that took a position one way or another on the causes of global warming, 97 percent of them were in agreement: Humans are the primary cause. By putting a number on the scientific consensus, the study provided everyone from President Barack Obama to comedian John Oliver with a tidy talking point.

She goes on to critique the unfounded attacks on the TCP made by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. President.

SkS Spotlights

The Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) and CARE International have launched a new online campaign #1o5C to gather more support to the global call to keep warming below 1.5°C. The campaign kick off took place at the sidelines of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations in Bonn, the last preparatory meeting before the COP21 UN climate change conference in Paris this December.

“We need to limit warming to a strict minimum to safeguard communities and the world. Less than 1°C of warming has already triggered scores of dangerous and unmanageable impacts. Raising ambition is a question of survival. It’s also feasible and an opportunity for communities to thrive. We hope this campaign will help to convince other countries to call for a sensible decision on the temperature goal at the Paris climate change conference.” – Emmanuel de Guzman, Climate Change Commissioner of the Philippines

“Countries are supporting the 1.5°C goal because climate change has already proved dangerous and in some cases unmanageable. Costa Rica has also committed to truly ambitious climate action, including a rapid transition to carbon neutrality because we believe in the benefits this will bring for people, the environment and the economy. We see 1.5°C as an opportunity to work together towards enhanced global prosperity and we’re encouraging others to join us.” – Pascal Girot, Ministry of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica

“It is crucial that the 1.5°C goal, and the means to make it happen, are part of the new UN climate agreement due to be signed in Paris. We must come together to rally all countries to support this goal. CARE International is already seeing how the poorest and most vulnerable communities are being hit the hardest by increasingly severe climate change impacts.” – Sven Harmeling, CARE International’s Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator

“It’s significant that 103 nations and hundreds of civil society groups already support the ambitious 1.5°C temperature goal, because numbers do matter in the UN climate talks. Paris provides a rare opportunity to increase our collective ambition to combat climate change including by strengthening the 2°C goal that the vulnerable countries rightly view as totally inadequate. And support for 1.5°C is steadily growing – this campaign will only add to that momentum.” – Saleemul Huq, Director of the International Centre for Climate Change and Development and Chair, Advisory Group of the Climate Vulnerable Forum

Rebuttal Article Update

The Intermediate-level rebuttal article, CO2 was higher in the late Ordovician was updated by Howard Lee, a member of the all-volunteer SkS author team. 

Coming Soon on SkS

  • The Carbon Brief Interview: Dr Gavin Schmidt (Roz Pidcock)
  • Global warming could be more devastating for the economy than thought (Dana)
  • Leveraging the Skeptical Science Glossary for references (Baerbel)
  • Newest Entry in Inside Climate News’ #ExxonKnew Story is a Doozy (greenman)
  • 2015: A Very Bad Year for the Global Warming Policy Foundation (Tamino)
  • 2015 SkS Weekly News Roundup (John Hartz)
  • 2015 SkS Weekly Digest (John Hartz)

Poster of the Week

2015 Poster 43 

SkS Week in Review

97 Hours of Consensus: Andy Pitman

97 Hours: Andy Pitman 

Quote suppleid by email 

Andy Pitman's bio page

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Comments 1 to 3:

  1. I teach High School in Tampa, Florida.  Every year at this time I assign a writing assignment where students read the NSIDC summary of the Arctic Sea Ice melt season (located here, scroll past the Antarctic summary).  I just finished reading the reports.

    I received about 53 reports from my AP Chemistry students.  They are 11th and 12th graders.  They are the best students in the school.  This year 2 students said that they were aware of the melting sea ice situation before they wrote their report, one of those students had written the same report for me two years ago.  One student who had written the report two years ago said they had never heard of the sea ice melting. (about 5 students had me two years ago).

    This year only one student suggested that the melting ice is not a problem.  Students may slant their reports since they know I feel strongly about the subject.  6 or 7 years ago it was much more common for students to say AGW was no problem or a hoax, at least 10% of students (unfortunately never counted).  For the past three years few students say AGW is a hoax and only one or two per class strongly question AGW.

    Selected comments (they are required to say something they learned):

    "I learned that Global Warming is, in fact, not a myth, and that there is numerical data to support that." 

    "Before this I didn't really think Global Warmiing existed but now, from the data, I can see that it really does exist".


    "I had no idea of the problem"

    "I was very shocked to find out just how much [sea ice] had been lost over the years".

    "I knew [Global Warming] was a problem, but I was unaware that it was that big of a problem ...I learned that Global Warming is not a myth, but that it is a reality affecting us now, and will continue to be a problem in the future".

    "I had no prior knowledge regarding Arctic Sea Ice ... this is the first evidence of [global warmng] that I have ever really seen, and it is quite shocking".

    [From this report] "I learned that decreasing ice levels can have bad effects on the Earth's environment"

    "Is this normal, I am a vegan and I did not know this."

    [The decrease] "suprised me, I did not think it was so drastic."

    "I learned the Arctic Sea ice was melting more than most people, including me, were aware of."

    Students frequently call for more research to determine if this is normal and what is the cause.  They say we should do something if it turns out to be caused by humans.  They are concerned this might be a problem for future generations and worry about their grandchildren.  Many students this year acknowledged AGW and suggested action should be taken immediately.

    I have my students do another report in January about the NOAA temperature data.  That should be interesting this year.  Sorry for the long post.

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  2. I have similar admittedly anecdotal, information about my students and what they understand.  Nice to see some numbers and quotes from your students.   I have to say I found this quote  "Is this normal, I am a vegan and I did not know this."  to be somewhat amusing but in the context of a person thinking about how they are living, quite interesting.

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  3. I am intrigued at this discussion of limiting global warming as it is contrary to the understanding of this physical scientist of what has happened and what will happen in the future. Fossil fuel emissions have been the major contribution to the carbon dioxide level in the atmosphere rising to 400 mpm with an associated absorption in the oceans. This has created, in Hansen's terms, a blanket around the Earth which has caused the atmospheric warming by reducing the radiation out into space. This warming process will continue even if the rate of emissions is greatly reduced. Absorption of carbon dioxide will also tend to reduce the blanket effect, so the rate of increase in atmospheric warming but it will still increase. It is an irreversible process in a time scale relevant to industrial civilization. in addition, while it is not receiving the attention that is warranted, ocean acidification and warming is also an irreversible process that is under way. 

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