Some people thought Juliana Dockery and her husband Sean were being impractical when they bought an electric vehicle in 2022. Why? Like one in five Americans, they live in a rural area — Grass Valley, California — where charging stations are few and far between. And with a bustling household including three kids, it would be their family’s only car.

Just 17% of rural Americans live less than a mile from a public EV charger, while 60% of urbanites do. So it was understandable to wonder: Could they keep their car charged without drama? Would they still be able to manage longer-distance drives, like chaperoning out-of-town school field trips for their kids?

Two years later, Juliana Dockery answers with confidence: yes and yes. Like most EV drivers, Dockery charges her car mostly at home and uses apps to plan her longer trips around charging station availability. So even though she’s excited that more charging infrastructure is on the way, she says the family has already been able to get everywhere they need to go.

In addition to reducing their carbon footprint, she said the family has benefited financially by ditching their old gas-powered Honda Fit and transitioning to the Volkswagen ID4.

The Dockerys are not alone in recognizing the advantages of moving to an EV. A new report by Coltura, a nonprofit working to speed up the shift from gasoline and diesel to cleaner alternatives, sheds light on how EV adoption can benefit rural communities in particular.



What’s next after Supreme Court curbs regulatory power: More focus on laws’ wording, less on their goals

Posted on 8 July 2024 by Guest Author

This article by Robin Kundis Craig, Professor of Law, University of Kansas is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Federal Chevron deference is dead. On June 28, 2024, in a 6-3 vote, the Supreme Court overturned the 40-year-old legal tenet that when a federal statute is silent or ambiguous about a particular regulatory issue, courts should defer to the implementing agency’s reasonable interpretation of the law.

The reversal came in a ruling on two fishery regulation cases, Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless, Inc. v. Department of Commerce.

This decision means that federal courts will have the final say on what an ambiguous federal statute means. What’s not clear is whether most courts will still listen to expert federal agencies in determining which interpretations make the most sense.

While courts and judges will vary, as a scholar in environmental law, I expect that the demise of Chevron deference will make it easier for federal judges to focus on the exact meaning of Congress’ individual words, rather than on Congress’ goals or the real-life workability of federal laws.



2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #27

Posted on 7 July 2024 by BaerbelW, Doug Bostrom, John Hartz

A listing of 31 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 30, 2024 thru Sat, July 6, 2024.

Story of the week

Our Story of the Week is brought to us by Dr. Ella Gilbert, a researcher with the British Antarctic Survey. As Gilbert mentions in her bio, she's passionate about "making climate science accessible to non-scientists." Dr. Gilbert backs that ambition with action, presenting as "Dr. Gilbz" on YouTube. In her newest production, Gilbert walks us through three very recent scientific publications that amplify worry over the fate of Antarctic ice sheets and hence the fate of coastal cities all over the globe:

As Dr. Gilbert explains, these papers suggest a high degree of risk unaccounted for in models of future behavior of ice in West Antarctica. These findings join other recent work raising biq questions about what our climate accident is unleashing from Earth's most southerly continent. It's fair to say that these investigations collectively trend toward grim possibilities.

What happens in Antarctica doesn't stay in Antarctica. Leaving aside fear of the unknown, the practical implications of underestimated Antarctic ice loss are unanticipated sea level rise, and hence suboptimal planning for adaptation of coastal cities to challenges presented by the rising sea. We may fail to see cases for complete retreat in time for some degree of planned exit as opposed to a panicked rout. Failng to take into account what Antactica is going to deliver to our shorelines  will be very costly.

Dr. Gilbert points out that even while we don't have complete information on the magnitude of Antarctic upheaval we're created, we do still know perfeclty well how to reduce whatever mayhem is in store: as quickly as possible we need to modernize our energy systems and dump the outmoded fossil fuels creating problems in the Antarctice and everwhere else on the planet. The biggest answer remains the same and plainly visible, leaving an even larger question hanging in the air: will we listen to and act on the best advice we have?

Stories we promoted this week, by publication date:

Before June 30



Skeptical Science New Research for Week #27 2024

Posted on 4 July 2024 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

Climate-driven deoxygenation of northern lakes, Jansen et al., Nature Climate Change:

Oxygen depletion constitutes a major threat to lake ecosystems and the services they provide. Most of the world’s lakes are located >45° N, where accelerated climate warming and elevated carbon loads might severely increase the risk of hypoxia, but this has not been systematically examined. Here analysis of 2.6 million water quality observations from 8,288 lakes shows that between 1960 and 2022, most northern lakes experienced rapid deoxygenation strongly linked to climate-driven prolongation of summer stratification. Oxygen levels deteriorated most in small lakes (<10 ha) owing to their greater volumetric oxygen demand and surface warming rates, while the largest lakes gained oxygen under minimal stratification changes and improved aeration at spring overturns.

The Southern Ocean as the climate's freight train – driving ongoing global warming under zero-emission scenarios with ACCESS-ESM1.5, Chamberlain et al., Biogeosciences 

New experiments presented here each simulated 300 years and included intermediate branch points. In each experiment that branched after emitting more than 1000 PgC, the global climate continues to warm. For the experiment that branched after 2000 PgC, or after 3.5 °C of warming from a preindustrial climate, there is 0.37 ± 0.08 °C of extra warming after 50 years of zero emissions, which increases to 0.83 ± 0.08 °C after 200 years. All branches show ongoing Southern Ocean warming. The circulation of the Southern Ocean is modified early in the warming climate, which contributes to changes in the distribution of both physical and biogeochemical subsurface ocean tracers, such as ongoing warming at intermediate depths and a reduction in deep oxygen south of 60° S.

Inoculation hesitancy: an exploration of challenges in scaling inoculation theory, Johnson & Madsen Jens Koed Madsen Jens Koed Madsen, Royal Society Open Science:

Inoculation theory research offers a promising psychological ‘vaccination’ against misinformation. But are people willing to take it? Expanding on the inoculation metaphor, we introduce the concept of ‘inoculation hesitancy’ as a framework for exploring reluctance to engage with misinformation interventions. Study 1 investigated whether individuals feel a need for misinformation inoculations. In a comparative self-evaluation, participants assessed their own experiences with misinformation and expectations of inoculation and compared them to those of the average person. Results exposed a better-than-average effect. While participants were concerned over the problem of misinformation, they estimated that they were less likely to be exposed to it and more skilful at detecting it than the average person. Their self-described likelihood of engaging with inoculation was moderate, and they believed other people would benefit more from being inoculated. In Study 2, participants evaluated their inclination to watch inoculation videos from sources varying in trustworthiness and political affiliation. Results suggest that participants are significantly less willing to accept inoculations from low-trust sources and less likely to accept inoculations from partisan sources that are antithetical to their own political beliefs. Overall, this research identifies motivational obstacles in reaching herd immunity with inoculation theory, guiding future development of inoculation interventions.

Preventing heat-related deaths: The urgent need for a global early warning system for heat, Brimicombe et al., PLOS Climate:

Heatwaves are the deadliest weather hazard and people and societies across the world continue to suffer from heat-related impacts. Future climate projections show a troubling increase in cross-sectoral impacts including health and economic risk presented by heatwaves. Many weather hazards such as floods and droughts already have a type of Early Warning System (EWS) or Global Alert System, but a global heat early warning system currently does not exist. An accurate heat EWS can save lives and can promote heat adaptation across society. Here, we (1) explore the history of Early Warning Systems as framed using the Disaster Risk Reduction paradigms and (2) identify potential barriers to an integrated Global Heat Early Warning system. Finally, we discuss what we have learned from history and the identified current barriers and outline a vision of a Global Heat Early Warning system around four key themes, incorporating systems for low-, middle-, and high-income countries and requiring cross-sectoral, cross-government, and interdisciplinary collaboration.

Temperature-related neonatal deaths attributable to climate change in 29 low- and middle-income countries, Dimitrova et al., Nature Communications:

Exposure to high and low ambient temperatures increases the risk of neonatal mortality, but the contribution of climate change to temperature-related neonatal deaths is unknown. We use Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data (n = 40,073) from 29 low- and middle-income countries to estimate the temperature-related burden of neonatal deaths between 2001 and 2019 that is attributable to climate change. We find that across all countries, 4.3% of neonatal deaths were associated with non-optimal temperatures. Climate change was responsible for 32% (range: 19-79%) of heat-related neonatal deaths, while reducing the respective cold-related burden by 30% (range: 10-63%). Climate change has impacted temperature-related neonatal deaths in all study countries, with most pronounced climate-induced losses from increased heat and gains from decreased cold observed in countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Future increases in global mean temperatures are expected to exacerbate the heat-related burden, which calls for ambitious mitigation and adaptation measures to safeguard the health of newborns. 

Applied climatology for heritage, Brimblecombe & Richards, Theoretical and Applied Climatology:

The protection of heritage from a changing climate has been of increasing interest over the last few decades, which creates a need for a systematic approach to the impacts of climate on tangible and intangible heritage. We present heritage climatology as an applied, interdisciplinary field of science that examines aspects of climate that affect heritage and provides data, statistics, well-tuned climate parameters and projections that can aid interpreting past changes and future management of heritage. It must consider the impact of extreme events, cyclic processes and the gradual accumulation of damage. Climate threats to heritage need to be represented at the appropriate temporal and spatial scales, and transferred using dose–response functions such that they can be interpreted in terms of management decisions yet be resistant to errors from both the representation of the climate threat and its translation into policy.

From this week's government and NGO section:

How Americans View National, Local and Personal Energy ChoicesAlec Tyson and Brian Kennedy, Pew Research Center:

The planet’s continued streak of record heat has spurred calls for action by scientists and global leaders. Meanwhile, in the United States, energy development policy is being hotly debated on the national and local levels this election year. How do Americans feel about U.S. energy policy options, and what steps are they willing to take in their own lives to reduce carbon emissions? A new Pew Research Center survey takes a look. There’s been a decline in the breadth of support for wind and solar power. The shares who favor expanding solar and wind power farms are down 12 percentage points and 11 points, respectively, since 2020, driven by sharp drops in support among Republicans. Interest in buying an electric vehicle (EV) is lower than a year ago. Today, 29% of Americans say they would consider an EV for their next purchase, down from 38% in 2023. Still, a majority of Americans (63%) support the goal of the U.S. taking steps to become carbon neutral by 2050. When asked which is the greater priority, far more Americans continue to say the country should focus on developing renewable energy rather than fossil fuel sources (65% vs. 34%).

Understanding pro-climate voters in the United StatesCarman et al., Yale University and George Mason University:

The authors analyzed data from pro-climate voters, or registered voters in the U.S. who say both that global warming is a “very important” issue to their vote for president and that they prefer to vote for candidates who support action on global warming. In the survey, respondents first rated the importance of global warming and 27 other issues in terms of influencing their 2024 presidential vote. Later in the survey, they answered a different question about whether they preferred a candidate who supports or opposes action on global warming. Just over one-third (37%) of registered voters in the U.S. are pro-climate voters. Notably, an additional 25% of registered voters also prefer a candidate who supports climate action even though they do not say that global warming is a very important voting issue to them. Most other respondents indicated that climate change will not factor into their voting choices, but importantly, virtually no registered voters said that global warming was a very important issue and that they prefer a candidate who opposes action.

164 articles in 67 journals by 1014 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Characterisation of low-base and mid-base clouds and their thermodynamic phase over the Southern Ocean and Arctic marine regions, Dietel et al., Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Open Access 10.5194/acp-24-7359-2024

Temporal Variability of Ventilation in the Eurasian Arctic Ocean, Gerke et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans Open Access 10.1029/2023jc020608

Observations of climate change, effects

Attribution of the Extreme 2022 Summer Drought along the Yangtze River Valley in China Based on Detection and Attribution System of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Zhang et al., Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 10.1175/bams-d-23-0258.1



How much will climate change drag down the economy?

Posted on 3 July 2024 by dana1981

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections

Cartoon of people looking at a chart on a projection screen. The caption reads, "We ran the numbers on how climate change will affect economic growth, but the numbers got so spooked they just kept running."

When Category 5 Hurricane Otis roared through Acapulco, Mexico, in October 2023, the city was left in ruins. Winds stripped facades from beachfront buildings and storm surge flooded lobbies. The storm killed at least 50 people and damaged 80% of hotels in the once-glittering resort town. Six months later, a Bloomberg reporter described “a grim scene,” with many buildings left abandoned and “swimming pools full of muck.”

And residents were still working to bring tourists back.

“If there’s no tourism, nothing happens,” Juan Carlos Díaz, a 59-year-old laborer, told an AP reporter. “It’s like a little chain, it generates (money) for everyone.”

As the climate warms and the weather grows more extreme, similar events could unfold in places worldwide, with the potential to devastate — or at least drag — the economy. Economists agree that climate change will cause severe damages and costs, but teasing out exactly how and how much it’s likely to affect the world’s economic engines is a matter of fierce debate in the academic literature. For example, will an extreme weather event impose one-time costs from which governments can quickly rebound, or will it create a persistent drag on the economy? About three-quarters of climate economists think the latter scenario is likely.

The debate is crucial because the costs of slowed economic growth compound over time. For a large economy like that of the United States or the world, just slightly stunting economic growth can add up to tens or even hundreds of trillions of dollars in lost wealth by the end of the century — making climate solutions look like an absolute bargain.

An April 2024 study in the journal Nature led by Potsdam Institute climate economist Maximilian Kotz estimated that climate damage costs by 2050 will be six times larger than the cost of reducing carbon pollution consistent with world’s targets under the Paris climate agreement over the same time frame.

And climate economists risk underestimating the potential price of inaction because they can only account for the costs of extreme weather events and impacts for which data are available.

“Climate damages are always going to be underestimated,” said Columbia climate economist Gernot Wagner in a phone interview. “Some things we just can’t quantify. For most of those uncertain climate damages, we have precisely and incorrectly estimated their cost at zero.”

It’s also critical to remember that economic metrics like gross domestic product, or GDP, don’t account for important factors like the stress, trauma, and lost cultural and natural resources that climate change also costs us. The true costs of climate damages go well beyond simply estimating how much GDP will be lost.



Rebuttal Update Project - Summer break and relaxed publication schedule

Posted on 2 July 2024 by John Mason, BaerbelW, Ken Rice

Regular readers might be surprised to not see another "At a glance" highlight for an updated rebuttal given that it's Tuesday when this blog post gets published and that we've done just that "regularly as clockwork" since February 2023. Please read on to find out why we are going on a little summer break now and how we plan to switch to a more relaxed publication routine for updated rebuttals following that.

Summer break

November 2022 saw us set off on a bit of a journey. It wasn't just that there was a mountain of rebuttals debunking well-known denier talking-points, waiting to be updated. More ambitiously, we had also decided after some debate to restructure them, for the purpose of improved public accessibility. You will therefore immediately know that you landed upon an updated rebuttal if it begins with "At a glance".

Since late 2022 it's been pretty much flat out, with John Mason drafting one or two updated rebuttals a week and Bärbel Winkler, Ken Rice and others reviewing their content. We started our weekly highlighting of updated rebuttals on February 14th 2023 and up until now have continued that procedure without fail, passing 50 updated rebuttals at the end of January 2024. All told, almost 100 updated rebuttals have been drafted with 71 published and highlighted as of this post. It's been a lot of hard work, in other words. But it's the summer holidays soon and we think we deserve a break!



Climate Adam: How deadly heatwaves are blown up by climate change

Posted on 1 July 2024 by Guest Author

This video includes conclusions of the creator climate scientist Dr. Adam Levy. It is presented to our readers as an informed perspective. Please see video description for references (if any).

Across the world people are sweltering under the extreme heat of heat waves - whether under the heat dome in North America or the deadly heat that threatened Hajj pilgrims in Mecca. These weather disasters may not look as scary as devastating floods, wildfires and droughts, but they are silent killers - threatening the most vulnerable in our societies. And now research is shedding light on just how deadly heat waves can be, and how climate change is pouring fuel on the fire. So how does global warming have such a huge effect on heatwaves, and what climate action can we take to protect ourselves - now and in the future?

Thanks to scientist Dr Fredi Otto for her input on the script. Follow here here: X /frediotto

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2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

Posted on 30 June 2024 by BaerbelW, Doug Bostrom, John Hartz

A listing of 35 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, June 23, 2024 thru Sat, June 29, 2024.

Story of the week

Our Story of the Week is extreme weather juiced by our climate fumble creating an extreme start to summer across the Northern Hemisphere:

As University of Massachusetts professors Mathew Barlow and and Jeffrey Basara explain in another article in this week's listing, we know this isn't normal summer weather. This won't come as a shock to most of us. "Plain as the nose on your face" is hard to avoid— or deny. Perhaps this is why we're seeing our own explainer against "it's not happening" fading into its sunset years (if our access statistics are any guide). 

Now that we're properly roasting, are we done with denial of human-caused climate change? Not exactly, because of some basic facts:

  • The fundamental fix for our climate mess is energy modernization, shrugging off our old habit of burning hydrocarbons.
  • The faster we step into this future, the less that outmoded energy firms reliant on fossil fuels will be able to monetize the resources they control.

Hence it doesn't need a rocket scientist to see an obvious way for any energy firm stuck in the past to optimize its stale resources: delay energy progress by all means possible. If all once has to sell is inconvenient and awkward melting ice, modern refrigeration is very bad news and must be discouraged at all costs. It's no different with fossil fuels. 

Previously (and still to some extent) encouragement to procrastinate was accomplished by fairly crude denial of fairly basic physics we've had in our grasp for a span including three centuries. Now— with the evidence of our changing of our climate being increasingly plain to see— we're seeing a novel and malign form of "energy transition" wherein the focus of effort by the fossil fuel industry on delaying the invitable march of technological progress shifts. No longer are we not changing the planet but rather the wretched mess we're making with our energy anachronism is a necessary and even hopeful feature of human progress, as detailed in yet another article from this week's collection. The gist of "innovation" by parties interested in freezing our energy clock is nicely covered in The New Climate Denial Is Based on These Six Termsvia Genevieve Guenther writing for The New Republic. 

Stories we promoted this week, by publication date:

Before June 23