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2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #44

Posted on 5 November 2017 by John Hartz

Story of the Week... Toon 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...

U.S. Report Says Humans Cause Climate Change, Contradicting Top Trump Officials

Record Temps in Phoenix AZ June 2017 

Phoenix experienced record highs in June. The report says there are “no convincing alternative explanations” other than human activity to account for rising global temperatures. Credit Ralph Freso/Getty Images

Directly contradicting much of the Trump administration’s position on climate change, 13 federal agencies unveiled an exhaustive scientific report on Friday that says humans are the dominant cause of the global temperature rise that has created the warmest period in the history of civilization.

Over the past 115 years global average temperatures have increased 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, leading to record-breaking weather events and temperature extremes, the report says. The global, long-term warming trend is “unambiguous,” it says, and there is “no convincing alternative explanation” that anything other than humans — the cars we drive, the power plants we operate, the forests we destroy — are to blame.

The report was approved for release by the White House, but the findings come as the Trump administration is defending its climate change policies. The United Nations convenes its annual climate change conference next week in Bonn, Germany, and the American delegation is expected to face harsh criticism over President Trump’s decision to walk away from the 195-nation Paris climate accord and top administration officials’ stated doubts about the causes and impacts of a warming planet.  

U.S. Report Says Humans Cause Climate Change, Contradicting Top Trump Officials by Lisa Friedman & Glenn Trush, Climate, New York Times, Nov 3, 2017 

Toon of the Week...

2017 Toon 44 

SkS in the News...

In his blog post article, Two Encouraging Developments About Fake News, Noel Turnbull wrote:

Incidentally two of the authors have written a handy little Debunking Handbook which is available as a free download in 10 languages as well as in a PowerPoint presentation format. It is a useful guide to dealing with misinformation. The blog feels a bit reluctant to be seen recommending a PowerPoint version given its attitude to the distortions they can create (see frequent blog mentions to Edward R. Tufte) but this one is different. 

SkS Spotlights...

The Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S) is still in the development phase and will combine observations of the climate system with the latest science to develop authoritative, quality-assured information about the past, current and future states of the climate in Europe and worldwide.

ECMWF operates the Copernicus Climate Change Service on behalf of the European Union and will bring together expertise from across Europe to deliver the service.

C3S will provide key indicators on climate change drivers such as carbon dioxide and impacts, for example, reducing glaciers. The aim of these indicators will be to support European adaptation and mitigation policies in a number of sectors. 

Video of the Week...

The Greenland ice sheet is massive, mysterious — and melting. Using advanced technology, scientists are revealing its secrets for the first time, and what they've found is amazing: hidden under the ice sheet is a vast aquifer that holds a Lake Tahoe-sized volume of water from the summer melt. Does this water stay there, or does it find its way out to the ocean and contribute to global sea level rise? Join glaciologist Kristin Poinar for a trip to this frozen, forgotten land to find out.

What's hidden under the Greenland ice sheet? Filmed April 2017 at TED2017

Coming Soon on SkS...

  • We have every reason to fear Trump’s pick to head Nasa (Dana)
  • What do Jellyfish teach us about climate change? (John Abraham)
  • Rapid CO2 cuts could allow some cool-water corals to adapt to global warming (Daisy Dunne)
  • California’s new law aims to tackle imported emissions (Zeke Hausfather)
  • New research this week (Ari)
  • 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #45 (John Hartz)
  • 2017 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Waming Digest #45 (John Hartz) 

Poster of the Week...

2017 Poster 44 

Climate Feedback Reviews...

Climate Feedback Graphic

Climate Feedback asked its network of scientists to review the article, Misguided renewable energy policies will ruin nation, Op-ed by Ian Pilmer, The Australia, Oct 23, 2017.

Nine scientists analyzed the op-ed and estimate its overall scientific credibility to be 'very low'.

A majority of reviewers tagged the article as: Biased, Flawed reasoning, Inaccurate, Misleading

Review Summary

This opinion in The Australian by Ian Plimer repeats a number of false but common claims to support an argument that human activities are not responsible for climate change, and that renewables like wind and solar cannot effectively replace fossil-fuel-burning power plants.

The scientists who reviewed this article found that it lacks scientific credibility. They explain that the author either ignores or is unaware of the abundance of scientific research that directly contradicts his claims about the cause of global warming.

Commentary in The Australian ignores evidence and misrepresents research while falsely claiming humans are not responsible for climate change, Climate Feedback, Oct 25, 2017 

SkS Week in Review... 

97 Hours of Consensus...

97 Hours: Malte Meinshausen 


Malte Meinshausen's bio page

Quote derived with author's permission from:

"Our habit to produce energy by burning fossil fuels causes global warming. Civil societies and policy makers will have to make a choice about how much climate change will be too much. Currently, the international community regards 2C as such a level, which is not safe, but which might prevent many of the more dramatic impacts." 

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Comments 1 to 2:

  1. Recommended supplemental reading:

    How the Trump White House Wound Up Releasing Dire Climate Report by Eric Roston & Christopher Flavelle, Bloomberg News, Nov 6, 2017

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  2. From SKS spotlights

    "C3S will provide key indicators on climate change drivers such as carbon dioxide and impacts, for example, reducing glaciers. The aim of these indicators will be to support European adaptation and mitigation policies in a number of sectors." 

    From a science perspective, shouldn't an assessment of key indicators be used to develop, amend or confirm policy; rather than be directed at supporting past conclusions.

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