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2016 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #49

Posted on 4 December 2016 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... SkS Highlights... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS in the News... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus...

Story of the Week...

At a time when a huge pulse of uncertainty has been injected into the global project to stop the planet’s warming, scientists have just raised the stakes even further.

In a massive new study published Wednesday in the influential journal Nature, no less than 50 authors from around the world document a so-called climate system “feedback” that, they say, could make global warming considerably worse over the coming decades.

That feedback involves the planet’s soils, which are a massive repository of carbon due to the plants and roots that have grown and died in them, in many cases over vast time periods (plants pull in carbon from the air through photosynthesis and use it to fuel their growth). It has long been feared that as warming increases, the microorganisms living in these soils would respond by very naturally upping their rate of respiration, a process that in turn releases carbon dioxide or methane, leading greenhouse gases.

Scientists have long feared this ‘feedback’ to the climate system. Now they say it’s happening by Chris Mooney, Energy & Environment, Washington Post, Nov 30, 2016

SkS Highlights...

Using the metric of comments garnered, the three most popular articles of those posted on SkS during the past week were:

Toon of the Week...

 2016 Toon 49

Quote of the Week...

Climate change minister Shane Rattenbury said the "Davids" were showing the "Goliaths" how it was done.

"This report confirms what I saw at the United Nations conference on climate change in Marrakech, Morocco – it is cities who are taking on climate change and leading the renewable energy charge, even when their federal governments are dragging their heels," Mr Rattenbury said.

"We cannot, and will not, wait for the Prime Minister of Australia or the President of the United States to decide that the long term interests of our communities are more important that the interests of the coal lobby. Instead, cities like Canberra are taking action now."

ACT leaves most of Australia behind on climate change initiatives: report by Katie Burgess, Sydney Morning Herald, Dec 2, 2016

Graphic of the Week...

Global Avg Surface Temps 1979-2016 

Factcheck: Newspaper claim about global temperature is ‘deeply misleading’,Guest Post by Zeke Hausfather, Carbon Brief, Dec 3, 2016

SkS in the News...

The seventh action step in Joe Romm's Trhink Progress article, 9 things you can do right now to fight Trump’s war on climate and democracy is:

7. Don’t debunk Trump’s lies by repeating them and don’t read news outlets that do. Repeating lies and myths?—?even to debunk them?—?simply ends up reinforcing them, as countless studies have shown. If you want to debunk a lie, you should focus on stating the truth, not repeating the lie. For more tips, see Skeptical Science’s “Debunking Handbook.” As for the major media, they have no idea how to cover Trump. They blew the election and are now blowing the transition. Besides reading ThinkProgress, I recommend you follow James Fallows at The Atlantic, author of such recent must reads as “How to Deal With the Lies of Donald Trump: Guidelines for the Media” and “A More Detailed Guide to Dealing With Trump’s Lies.”

Phil Plait, author of the Bad Astronomy blog (published in the Slate e-magazine) wrote two blistering critiques of statements made by a Washington lobbysit about the future of climate research and analyses within the NASA under the prospective Trump Administration. Plait cited and linked to The Consensus Project (TCP) in both articles.

Plait's first article, Trump’s Plan to Eliminate NASA Climate Research Is Ill-Informed and Dangerous, also included this graphic: 


Plait's second article, Follow-Up: More on Trump’s Catastrophic Plan to Gut NASA’s Earth Science included the following:

In the interview I mention a few things I want to make sure everyone sees. One is that Walker tries to downplay the “climate consensus,” the fact that there is overwhelming agreement among climate scientists that global warming is real and caused by humans. The best overview of this is at Skeptical Science. John Cook—who writes for that site and is also the lead author on one of the many studies about the consensus—also wrote a great article about it for the Conversation.

Ninety-seven percent of climatologists agree on this. 97 percent. Don’t buy into Walker’s nonsensical claims about this; he’s using thin rhetoric to sow doubt where it doesn’t exist.

SkS Spotlights...

The Earth Innovation Institute advances climate-friendly rural development through innovative approaches to sustainable farming, forestry and fisheries in tropical regions around the world. 

Video of the Week...


Factcheck: Newspaper claim about global temperature is ‘deeply misleading’Guest Post by Zeke Hausfather, Carbon Brief, Dec 3, 2016

Coming Soon on SkS...

  • Fake news tries to blame human-caused global warming on El Nino (Dana)
  • From the eMail Bag: CO2 in the air and oceans (David Kirtley)
  • Guest Post (John Abraham)
  • Getting involved with Climate Science via crowdfunding or -sourcing (Baerbel)
  • Global weirding with Katharine Hayhoe, Episode 6
  • 2016 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50 (John Hartz)
  • 2016 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Waming Digest #50 (John Hartz)

Poster of the Week...

 2016 Poster 49

Climate Feedback Reviews...

Climate Feedback asked its network of scientists to review the newspaper article, “Stunning new data indicates El Nino drove record highs in global temperatures…” by David Rose (UK's Daily Mail, Nov 26, 2016). Seven scientists analyzed the article and estimated its overall scientific credibility to be ‘very low’.

Click here to access the detailed review.

SkS Week in Review...

97 Hours of Consensus...

97 Hours: Daniel Nepstad 


Daniel Nepstad's bio page

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