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Explaining climate change science & rebutting global warming misinformation

Global warming is real and human-caused. It is leading to large-scale climate change. Under the guise of climate "skepticism", the public is bombarded with misinformation that casts doubt on the reality of human-caused global warming. This website gets skeptical about global warming "skepticism".

Our mission is simple: debunk climate misinformation by presenting peer-reviewed science and explaining the techniques of science denial, discourses of climate delay, and climate solutions denial.

 


What is Mexico doing about climate change?

Posted on 15 April 2024 by dana1981

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections

The June general election in Mexico could mark a turning point in ensuring that the country’s climate policies better reflect the desire of its citizens to address the climate crisis, with both leading presidential candidates expressing support for renewable energy.

Mexico is the 10th-most populated country with the 15th-largest economy and is also the 11th-most climate-polluting country in the world.

In international surveys conducted in 2022 and 2023, Mexico had one of the highest percentages of citizens worried about human-caused climate change at 92%, compared to just 63% of Americans.* And 88% of Mexican respondents reported that they consider climate change an important issue that their country should address as a priority, compared to just 58% of Americans. This concern may reflect that Mexico is highly vulnerable to droughts, heat waves, hurricanes, flooding, and food and water insecurity worsened by climate change.

But the Mexican government’s climate policy record has been inconsistent. At times, the country’s leaders have taken steps toward reducing its share of climate pollution, but its current and outgoing president Andrés Manuel López Obrador, commonly known by his initials AMLO, has tended to prioritize domestic fossil fuel resources over low-carbon alternatives.

Mexico will hold its next general election on June 2, 2024. Voters will select the next president, who will succeed AMLO in October of this year.

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2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #15

Posted on 14 April 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, April 7, 2024 thru Sat, April 13, 2024.

Story of the week

Our story of the week is about adults in the room setting terms and conditions of good behavior. Here it's not parents telling children what to do but instead the widely adopted, mutually agreed system of coercive behavior modification we call "rule of law." Legislators providing courts of justice with laws to apply are how we formalize overcoming widely harmful selfish actions— or negligent inactions. These are our proxy adults telling us what we can't do or must do— our aspirations for better nature given teeth. We could wish that we were all so perfect as to never need grownup guidance of a kind leading to fines or imprisonment, but if anything can serve to illustrate how this isn't realistic it's our failure to confront accountability for fossil fuels and what happens when nobody is willing to say "no."

Belatedly, in step our appointed adults— in this case the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR). Three articles we shared this week covered an important decision handed down by this court with respect to Verein KlimaSeniorinnen Schweiz and Others v. Switzerland. The court finds that Switzerland is negligent in pursuing climate mitigation plans and hence is harming human rights protected by Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. This is an extremely important precedent, an overdue acknowledgement of human rights being climate-connected. But the outcome is all the more remarkable given the ECtHR's previous agility in reasoning its way to tossing applicants' cases centered on human rights as they pertain to climate matters. Notably, the court has also just rendered unfavorable judgments  on two other climate-connected cases, in ways that sometimes seemed to defy common sense. The Sabin Center for Climate Change Law provides a short article providing context helping us to understand this single verdict as a sea change, in its introduction to a symposium on the topic.

Stories we promoted this week, by publication date:

Before April 7

April 7

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Fact Brief - Did global warming stop in 1998?

Posted on 13 April 2024 by SkS-Team

FactBriefSkeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from our Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline.

Did global warming stop in 1998?

noWhile 1998 was an abnormally warm year, annual average temperatures have trended steadily upward in the decades since.

As a strong El Nino year, 1998 featured a significant spike in global temperatures. El Nino is the warm phase of a cyclic climatic pattern where sea temperatures in parts of the Pacific swing higher or lower than average. The 1998 El Nino stood out above the rising temperature trendline that is due to manmade global warming.

However, the long-term upward trend in globally-averaged temperatures has continued. In the past quarter century, the top ten hottest years on record have all occurred since 2010.

Go to full rebuttal on Skeptical Science or to the fact brief on Gigafact


This fact brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


Sources

ReliefWeb El Niño - 1998 Global Surface Temperature: Highest by a Wide Margin

Royal Meterological Society Coverage bias in the HadCRUT4 temperature series and its impact on recent temperature trends

NASA Global Temperature

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #15 2024

Posted on 11 April 2024 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

Global carbon emissions in 2023, Liu et al., Nature Reviews Earth & Environment

Annual global CO2 emissions dropped markedly in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, decreasing by 5.8% relative to 2019 (ref. 1). There were hopes that green economic stimulus packages during the COVD crisis might mark the beginning of a longer-term decrease in global emissions toward net-zero emissions, but instead emissions rebounded and quickly exceeded pre-pandemic levels by 2021. However, year-on-year growth has slowed, with 5.4% increases in 2021 (ref. 2) (reaching 35.1 Gt CO2) and 1.9% increases in 2022 (ref. 3) (reaching 35.7 Gt CO2), rapidly using up the remaining carbon budget. Here, we outline global CO2 emissions (encompassing fossil fuel combustion and cement production) from the Carbon Monitor project (https://carbonmonitor.org) for the year 2023.

Moral hazards and solar radiation management: Evidence from a large-scale online experiment, Schoenegger & Mintz-Woo, Journal of Environmental Psychology

Solar radiation management (SRM) may help to reduce the negative outcomes of climate change by minimising or reversing global warming. However, many express the worry that SRM may pose a moral hazard, i.e., that information about SRM may lead to a reduction in climate change mitigation efforts. In this paper, we report a large-scale preregistered, money-incentivised, online experiment with a representative US sample (N = 2284). We compare actual behaviour (donations to climate change charities and clicks on climate change petition links) as well as stated preferences (support for a carbon tax and self-reported intentions to reduce emissions) between participants who receive information about SRM with two control groups (a salience control that includes information about climate change generally and a content control that includes information about a different topic). Behavioural choices are made with an earned real-money endowment, and stated preference responses are incentivised via the Bayesian Truth Serum. We fail to find a significant impact of receiving information about SRM and, based on equivalence tests, we provide evidence in favour of the absence of a meaningfully large effect.

Greenwashing, net-zero, and the oil sands in Canada: The case of Pathways Alliance, Aronczyk et al., Energy Research & Social Science

This article examines net zero greenwashing using the case of Pathways Alliance, a coalition of six companies representing 95% of oil sands production in Canada, one of the world's largest oil reserves. Drawing on a corpus of documents (n = 183) spanning a two-year period, including materials from the coalition's advertising and public relations campaign, we evaluate Pathways Alliance's public communication for indicators of net-zero greenwashing. We identify instances of selective disclosure and omission, misalignment of claim and action, displacement of responsibility, non-credible claims, specious comparisons, nonstandard accounting, and inadequate reporting. There is also evidence that their publicity campaign extends beyond the materials usually collected and assessed for greenwashing by researchers. The article calls for further research into net zero communication and an expanded conception of greenwashing able to account for the role of digital platforms, public relations, and sector-wide alliances in strategically coordinated climate communication.

Increase in concerns about climate change following climate strikes and civil disobedience in Germany, Brehm & Gruhl, Nature Communications

Climate movements have gained momentum in recent years, aiming to create public awareness of the consequences of climate change through salient climate protests. This paper investigates whether concerns about climate change increase following demonstrative protests and confrontational acts of civil disobedience. Leveraging individual-level survey panel data from Germany, we exploit exogenous variations in the timing of climate protests relative to survey interview dates to compare climate change concerns in the days before and after a protest (N = 24,535). Following climate protests, we find increases in concerns about climate change by, on average, 1.2 percentage points. Further, we find no statistically significant evidence that concerns of any subpopulation decreased after climate protests. Lastly, the increase in concerns following protests is highest when concern levels before the protests are low.

Cyclone Jasper’s rains in the context of climate change, Emanuel, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Cyclone Jasper struck northern Queensland in mid-December, 2023, causing extensive flooding stemming from torrential rain. Many stations reported rainfall totals exceeding 1 m, and a few surpassed 2 m, possibly making Jasper the wettest tropical cyclone in Australian history. To be better prepared for events like Jasper, it is useful to estimate the probability of rainfall events of Jasper’s magnitude and how that probability is likely to evolve as climate warms. To make such estimates, we apply an advanced tropical cyclone downscaling technique to nine global climate models, generating a total of 27,000 synthetic tropical cyclones each for the climate of the recent past and that of the end of this century. We estimate that the annual probability of 1 m of rain from tropical cyclones at Cairns increases from about 0.8% at the end of the 20th century to about 2.3% at the end of the 21st, a factor of almost three. Interpolating frequency to the year 2023 suggests that the current annual probability of Jasper’s rainfall is about 1.2%, about a 50% increase over that of the year 2000. Further analysis suggests that the primary causes of increasing rainfall are stronger cyclones and a moister atmosphere.

Integrating science and the arts to deglobalise climate change adaptation, Olazabal et al., Nature Communications

Language has so far been the key resource for awareness-raising, communication, planning, negotiation, and decision-making in the socio-political arenas of adaptation. In theory, language should not be limited to describing the present but also to imagining adaptation realities and challenging them to create disruptive pathways for action. At a time when adaptation had a limited role in policy discourses, language has been very useful in creating symbolism13 through universal abstractions regarding what adaptation involves (resilience, transformation, justice) or what it is not meant to involve (risk, maladaptation or vulnerability). However, it has not been successful in shaping imaginaries of what adaptation might look like on the ground. Two significant challenges hinder the use of language as an entry point for context-specific adaptation management: (1) its abstraction and technocratisation, and (2) its lack of local meaning. We here argue that, while the current language used in adaptation is a critical resource across stages of policy, planning, awareness and education, it alone cannot generate ownership and produce relevant action at the local level. Visuals are also necessary tools.

From this week's government/NGO section:  

Rebutting 33 False Claims About Solar, Wind and Electric VehiclesEisenson et. al., Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia University

Getting the U.S. energy system onto an environmentally sustainable track will require rapid and widespread development of wind, solar, and other renewable energy facilities; corresponding storage, transmission, and distribution infrastructure; and timely industry-specific transitions, such as battery electric vehicles replacing their combustion-engine counterparts. Broad public support exists for transformative climate policies, with a June 2023 Pew Research Center survey finding that 67% of U.S. adults prioritize developing renewable energy sources over increased fossil fuel production. However, “misinformation” and coordinated “disinformation” have at times undermined support for renewable energy projects and electric vehicles. The authors address some of the more prevalent and persistent distortions about solar energy, wind energy, and electric vehicles, with the aim of promoting a more informed discussion. 

2035 and Beyond. Reconductoring With Advanced Conductors Can Accelerate the Rapid Transmission Expansion Required for a Clean GridChojkiewicz et al., Goldman School of Public Policy, University of California, Berkeley and GridLab

The authors combines the latest energy cost data with state-of-the-art grid modeling to quantify three key elements: the cost of reconductoring with advanced conductors; the associated gains in transmission capacity; and the associated contribution to meeting transmission needs by 2035.

153 articles in 55 journals by 838 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Antarctic meteorites threatened by climate warming, Tollenaar et al., Nature Climate Change Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41558-024-01954-y

Dynamics of an extreme low temperature event over South Africa amid a warming climate, Chikoore et al., Weather and Climate Extremes Open Access 10.1016/j.wace.2024.100668

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EGU2024 - Picking and chosing sessions to attend virtually

Posted on 10 April 2024 by BaerbelW

This year's General Assembly of the European Geosciences Union (EGU) will take place as a fully hybrid conference in both Vienna and online from April 15 to 19. I decided to join the event virtually this year for the full week and I've already picked several sessions I plan to attend. Among them are two sessions, I'll be presenting in. This blog post provides an overview of my itinerary.

EGU24 Banner

Monday

The week kicks off right away at 8:30 in the morning with a Union Symposia (US2) about the Climate emergency, human agency: making sense of the current state of scientific knowledge on climate change to strengthen climate literacy.

This Union Symposium will build on key findings from the Sixth Assessment Cycle of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It will place the current scientific understanding in this context of climate science history and lay out what is the current state of climate, with the observed intensification of global and regional changes, and what are physically plausible futures, unpacking how science underpins the understanding of the climate emergency. The presentations will be given by Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l'Environnement, IPSL, France and Joeri Rogelj, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College, London, Great Britain.

Then it's time for a short course (SC2.2) starting at 10:45 providing an introduction to science for policy. This will be a repeat for me, but I found this session - convended by Chloe Hill - interesting when I attended it in previous years.

This session will provide an introduction into some key ‘science for policy’ themes and provide specific details about when and how scientists can engage with policy to increase the impact of their efforts. It will also provide resources and tips for scientists so that they can start their science for policy journeys. The last part of the Short Course will include a Q&A with those working on the science-policy interface. This session will be relevant to all career levels and scientific disciplines.

In the afternoon, I plan to join short course (SC3.3) Scared of giving presentations to a (geo-)scientific audiences? as this cannot hurt in the run-up to my own presentations on Tuesday and Wednesday.

This short course deals with the various reasons and symptoms of stage fright and how they can be overcome. Scientists will share their experiences and what has helped them to deal with their fear of presenting. There will be practical tips and room for questions as well as exchange of experiences. This year, we're exploring a fresh angle: science communication. While the stage is set for scientific discourse, effective communication is key. Meet our speakers, Dr. Simon Clark and Dr. Heather Handley, seasoned communicators, sharing insights!

To finish day 1 of EGU24, I picked yet another short course (SC2.6) Climate change, morals and how people understand the politics of climate change

Update April 11: Unfortunately, session SC2.6 was withdrawn, but there is an interesting alternative, I plan to join instead and it's also a short course: SC2.5 Ethics for geoscientists in a time of crisis:

What does 'ethics' mean and what is the role of ethics in your daily practices as a scientist? Where and how do ethics enter into your geoscientific research and teaching? Although ethics as a subject of study is traditionally the domain of social sciences and humanities, as scientists we are confronted with ethical questions and decisions every day. In the context of climate emergency, mass extinction and global social injustices, it is increasingly important to understand the role played by our research and the systems and structures within which our work is embedded. Ultimately, we could ask ourselves a question: does our research contribute to building a world that corresponds to our values?

In between these sessions - or if I find out that one I planned to attend isn't quite a good fit for my interests - I may pay a virtual visit to Gather.town to check out some virtual posters or find some people to chat with.

EGU24 Gather Town

Tuesday

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At a glance - The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is not causing global warming

Posted on 9 April 2024 by John Mason, BaerbelW

On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a "bump" for our ask. This week features "The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is not causing global warming". More will follow in the upcoming weeks. Please follow the Further Reading link at the bottom to read the full rebuttal and to join the discussion in the comment thread there.

Fact-Myth-Box

At a glance

Oscillate. To move repeatedly from side to side or up and down between two points, or to vary between two states or amounts. To vary above and below a mean value. To move or travel back and forth between two points. To swing backward and forward like a pendulum.

These and similar definitions are to be found if you look up the meaning of 'oscillate' online. Yet global warming is wobbling its way up a one-way course. We've just witnessed the hottest year since temperature records began (2023). Every few years that record goes again. Conclusion: global warming is not an oscillation.

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation or PDO is one of a number of phenomena that affect the world's major oceanic basins. It is a good example of heat being moved around within the ocean and atmosphere. Like all climatic oscillations it has warm, neutral and cool modes and these may endure for years or decades. Oscillations like this do not correspond to a timetable, but are irregular in nature.

The PDO is directly driven by conditions in the northern Pacific but has considerable reach in its effects. Prevailing winds and atmospheric pressure-patterns over that ocean dictate the mode. When winds are predominantly from the southwest, warmer conditions occur along the western USA seaboard. That is due to the onshore transport of warm, subtropical waters. Conversely, when winds are mainly from the north, upwelling of cool and nutrient-rich waters occurs in the open ocean, with cooler conditions prevailing.

Notable long, warm modes of the PDO include 1925-1946 and 1977-1998. 1947-1976 was a lengthy cool phase. More recently, the flip-flopping has been of a much shorter duration with cold and warm phases lasting just a few years. The reason for this switch is incompletely understood.

Like the El Nino Southern Oscillation or ENSO, which flips around over annual timescales, the PDO affects weather patterns, particularly in Asia and North America. It also has considerable impacts on fisheries and if there was one good reason to understand the PDO, it's right there. However, despite the loose coincidence with global temperatures in the early and mid-20th Century, that apparent relationship is no more. For example, a negative PDO mode commenced at the end of 2019 and was still ongoing in mid-2023, the latter having been the warmest year globally since records began.

Like all oscillations, there is no net gain or loss of heat involved in the PDO. It is merely a pattern involving how the heat in the system is being moved around within it. Global warming is different because it involves impeding the loss of heat, originally reaching the planet as sunshine, back out to space. That makes it a climate forcing agent. Big difference.

Oscillate. It's all in the name.

Please use this form to provide feedback about this new "At a glance" section. Read a more technical version below or dig deeper via the tabs above!


Click for Further details

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Climate Adam: Is Global Warming Speeding Up?

Posted on 8 April 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).

Thanks to climate change, 2023 has shattered heat records, and 2024 is continuing where last year left off. With this devastating heat driving extreme weather - from heatwaves to downpours to wildfires - across the globe, scientists are increasingly asking if global warming could be accelerating. So what does the evidence show? Is the heating up of our planet speeding up? If so, what does this climate change mean for our future? And can we still hit the brakes and halt global warming?

Support ClimateAdam on patreon: https://patreon.com/climateadam

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2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #14

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

A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, March 31, 2024 thru Sat, April 6, 2024.

Story of the week

Proxy measurement via Facebook "engagement" suggests a widely welcoming audience for Prof. Andrew Dessler's The Climate Brink article How extreme was the Earth's temperature in 2023. With our recent Earth surface temperature record gaining prominent media coverage— including many direct remarks by scientists employing adjectives not normally found in scientific parlance— it's not surprising that readers may appreciate an oasis of context and perspective of the kind Dessler provides. A couple of well supported key points come through in this treatment. Only a few years ago we saw a surface temperature graph remarkably similar to what's unrolling right now. Meanwhile, our recent experience remains within projections of climate models and can't truly be seen as an unanticipated outcome (do let's note: as usual we're seeing how climate models are fit for purpose and yield useful climate prognosis). Untreated in popularized analysis is the recent behavior of the world ocean's temperature. Given the much larger amount of energy involved and our general discomfort with hugely consequential mysteries of this kind, it would be helpful to have this gap plugged— but that is a more fundamentally difficult scientific problem. 

Before March 31

March 31

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Gigafact and Skeptical Science collaborate to create fact briefs

Posted on 6 April 2024 by BaerbelW, John Mason

If "Fact Briefs" ring a bell you are correct; we published 16 fact briefs a few years ago in collaboration with Repustar. We're happy to announce our restarting the creation of fact briefs together with Gigafact, a nonprofit equipping newsrooms to counter misinformation and protect the democratic process. The technology solution and concepts for Gigafact were actually incubated and tested within Repustar before becoming its own entity.

Gigafact logo

Our plan is to leverage the work we've been doing in the course of the ongoing rebuttal update project by creating fact briefs for already updated rebuttals, which now feature new at-a-glance sections. We'll also check if any of the already available fact briefs need updates, and include them in the weekly fact brief publications. One challenge will be to reword our myth titles to a question which can be answered with either "Yes" or "No". But even more daunting is the restriction that a fact brief can only have 150 words! It'll be interesting to see how that will work out— especially for some of the quite involved rebuttals we have out there!

Gigafact also offers two neat functionalities we plan to explore: a Tipline where items in need of some debunking can be suggested, and a Quiz where fact briefs and their answers are utilized in short quizzes with a few questions each.

We will publish one fact brief per week - most likely on Saturdays - and will also share them on our various social media channels. So, please keep an eye out and feel free to like and share them as you come across any of our fact briefs!

First new fact brief created as part of this re-newed collaboration

FactBriefSkeptical Science is partnering with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. This fact brief was written by Sue Bin Park in collaboration with members from our Skeptical Science team. You can submit claims you think need checking via the tipline.

Was an Ice Age predicted in the 1970s?

no Most peer-reviewed climate science papers published from 1965-1979 predicted global warming, not cooling.

While many popular media outlets claimed the approach of an ice age, a 2008 review of 1960s-70s climate science papers found that research stated otherwise. 62% predicted warming, 10% predicted cooling, and 28% did not take a stance.

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #14 2024

Posted on 4 April 2024 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

We need a solid scientific basis for nature-based climate solutions in the United States, Novick et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (perspective):

Ambitious NbCS [nature-based climate solutions] programs could deliver benefits for biodiversity, communities, and the climate. Unfortunately, a lack of evidence about specific benefits from specific strategies prevents researchers and policymakers from confidently prescribing when and where they should be used. Certainly, many NbCS are known to boost biodiversity, soil health, and air and water quality. But for these strategies to meaningfully support climate mitigation at a scale that justifies the private and public investments, they must lead to significant, durable, and measurable net climate cooling that’s in addition to what would have occurred anyway. They must also do so without simply displacing emissions to other locations. Right now, we simply do not know when and where most NbCS meet these criteria.

Public opinion about solar radiation management: A cross-cultural study in 20 countries around the world, Contzen et al., Climatic Change:

Some argue that complementing climate change mitigation measures with solar radiation management (SRM) might prove a last resort to limit global warming to 1.5 °C. To make a socially responsible decision on whether to use SRM, it is important to consider also public opinion, across the globe and particularly in the Global South, which would face the greatest risks from both global warming and SRM. However, most research on public opinion about SRM stems from the Global North. We report findings from the first large-scale, cross-cultural study on the public opinion about SRM among the general public (N = 2,248) and students (N = 4,583) in 20 countries covering all inhabited continents, including five countries from the Global South and five ‘non-WEIRD’ (i.e. not Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, and Democratic) countries from the Global North. As public awareness of SRM is usually low, we provided participants with information on SRM, including key arguments in favour of and against SRM that appear in the scientific debate. On average, acceptability of SRM was significantly higher in the Global South than in the ‘non-WEIRD’ Global North, while acceptability in the ‘WEIRD’ Global North was in between.

Climate change-associated declines in water clarity impair feeding by common loons, Piper et al., Ecology:

Here we used Landsat imagery to calculate water clarity for 127 lakes in northern Wisconsin from 1995 to 2021 and thus investigate the effect of clarity on the body condition of an aquatic visual predator, the common loon (Gavia immer). In addition, we examined rainfall and temperature as potential predictors of water clarity. Body mass tracked July water clarity strongly in loon chicks, which grow chiefly in that month, but weakly in adult males and females. Long-term mean water clarity was negatively related to chick mass but positively related to adult male mass, suggesting that loons foraging in generally clear lakes enjoy good foraging conditions in the long run but might be sensitive to perturbations in clarity during chick-rearing. Finally, chick mass was positively related to the density of docks, perhaps because angling removes large fishes and thus boosts the abundance of the small fishes on which chicks depend. Water clarity itself declined strongly from 1995 to 2021, was negatively related to July rainfall, and was positively related to July air temperature. Our findings identified both long-term and short-term water clarity as strong predictors of loon foraging efficiency, and suggest that climate change, through water clarity, impacts freshwater ecosystems profoundly. Moreover, our results identified the recent decrease in water clarity as a likely cause of population decline in common loons.

Observational Quantification of Tropical High Cloud Changes and Feedbacks, Raghuraman et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres:

Tropical high clouds can have both cooling and heating effects: by reflecting sunlight, they cool the planet and by preventing terrestrial radiation from escaping to space, they also heat the planet. Despite their influence on how much heat gets stored in the Earth system, there is a surprisingly poor understanding of how these clouds will respond to global warming. This uncertainty is largely due to the paucity of observational data. Now, however, instruments aboard satellites orbiting Earth have provided unprecedented data on the changes in the vertical structure of clouds as well as their heat impacts. Our work shows that the dominant signal in the satellite cloud record is the rise of high clouds in response to warming, not any net contraction of coverage. The high clouds are also found to be warming and thinning. Overall, these high cloud changes induce less reflection of sunlight and allow more terrestrial radiation to escape to space. However, these radiative effects cancel and altogether cause no significant heating impact in the tropics.

From this week's government/NGO section:  

Rebutting 33 False Claims About Solar, Wind, and Electric VehiclesJacob Elkin et al., Sabin Center for Climate Change Law:

Achieving the United States’ ambitious emissions reduction goals depends in large part on the rapid adoption of wind and solar energy and the electrification of consumer vehicles. However, misinformation and coordinated disinformation about renewable energy is widespread and threatens to undermine public support for the transition. In a new report, the Sabin Center identifies and examines 33 of the most pervasive false claims about solar energy, wind energy, and electric vehicles, with the aim of promoting a more informed discussion.

Drilling DeeperScott Zimmerman, Global Energy Monitor:

The oil and gas industry remains steadfast in its plans to continue developing new fields, even though the consensus is still affirmed that no new oil and gas projects are compatible with limiting warming to 1.5°C. At least 20.3 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) of new oil and gas discoveries have been announced since the 2021 publication of the International Energy Agency (IEA) Net Zero roadmap said no new developments were needed in its 1.5-degree scenario. At least 20 fields reached a final investment decision (FID) in 2023, sanctioning the extraction of 8 billion boe. By the end of the decade, companies are aiming to sanction nearly four times that amount (31.2 billion boe) across 64 additional fields.

143 articles in 69 journals by 882 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Atmospheric dryness removes barriers to the development of large forest fires, Cawson et al., Agricultural and Forest Meteorology Open Access 10.1016/j.agrformet.2024.109990

Dimensionality reduction of chaos by feedbacks and periodic forcing is a source of natural climate change, Salmon, Climate Dynamics 10.1007/s00382-024-07191-5

Nonequilibrium Fluctuations of Global Warming, Yin et al., Journal of Climate Open Access pdf 10.1175/jcli-d-23-0273.1

Weak anvil cloud area feedback suggested by physical and observational constraints, McKim et al., Nature Geoscience Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41561-024-01414-4

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How can I make my retirement plan climate-friendly?

Posted on 3 April 2024 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Barbara Grady

A cartoon shows two people meeting with an adviser sitting behind a desk. The adviser says, "Your 401(k) is a low-risk investment, other than a few stocks that happen to finance the end of human civilization as we know it."

If you’re worried that your retirement plan might include investments in fossil fuels, here’s what you can do.

The first thing you’ll want to do is research what’s in your 401(k). Which stocks and bonds are in the mutual funds in your plan now, and which other funds are available through your employer’s plan?

Try FossilFreeFunds.org’s tool called Invest Your Values, which allows you to plug in the name of a fund and see what percentage of its investments are in fossil fuels, deforestation contributors, gun manufacturers, and the like. If you click on the grade the tool generates, say the “D” for fossil fuels, you get the details of both the percentage invested in fossil fuels and which specific companies are invested in by that fund.

The Invest Your Values tool also lets you look up how much the average employee at any given company is invested in fossil fuels. Sphere offers a tool, Atmosphere, that lets you look up more than 100 companies and see what the average 401(k) participant at that company is investing in fossil fuels.

You can share your findings with like-minded co-workers who are also worried about the climate crisis. Perhaps you can get together to jointly ask your employer to add sustainable or climate-friendly funds to their 401(k) offering or even change the offerings altogether.

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At a glance - Global warming and the El Niño Southern Oscillation

Posted on 2 April 2024 by John Mason, BaerbelW

On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a "bump" for our ask. This week features "Global warming and the El Niño Southern Oscillation". More will follow in the upcoming weeks. Please follow the Further Reading link at the bottom to read the full rebuttal and to join the discussion in the comment thread there.

Fact-Myth-Box

At a glance

This particular myth is distinguished by the online storm that it stirred up back in 2009. So what happened?

Three people got a paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research. It was all about ENSO - the El Nino Southern Oscillation in the Pacific Ocean. ENSO has three modes, El Nino, neutral and La Nina. In El Nino, heat is transferred from the ocean to the atmosphere. In La Nina, the opposite happens. So within ENSO's different modes, energy is variously moved around through the planet's climate system, but heat is neither added nor subtracted from the whole. As such, in the long term, ENSO is climate-neutral but in the short term it makes a lot of noise.

The paper (link in further details) looked at aspects of ENSO and concluded that the oscillation is a "major contributor to variability and perhaps recent trends in global temperature". First point, sure. Second point, nope, if you accept climate trends are multidecadal things, which they are.

That might have been the end of it had the authors not gone full-megaphone on the media circuit, promoting the paper widely in a certain way. "No scientific justification exists for emissions regulation", they loudly crowed. "No global warming", the denizens of the echo-chamber automatically responded, all around the internet. This is how climate science denial works.

Conversely, the way that science itself works is that studies are submitted to journals, peer-reviewed, then some of them get published. Peer review is not infallible - some poor material can get through on occasion - but science is self-correcting. So other scientists active in that field will read the paper. They may either agree with its methods, data presentation and conclusions or they may disagree. If they disagree enough - such as finding a major error, they respond. That response goes to peer-review too and in this case that's exactly what happened. An error so fundamental was found that the response was published by the same journal. The error concerned one of the statistical methods that had been used, called linear detrending. If you apply this method to temperature data for six months of the Austral year from winter to summer (July-December), it cannot tell you that during that period there has been a seasonal warming trend. So what happens if you apply it to any other dataset? No warming! Bingo!

A response to the response, from the original authors, followed but was not accepted for publication, having failed peer-review. At this point, the authors of the rejected response-to-the-response started to screech, "CENSORSHIP" - and the usual blogosphere battles duly erupted.

It was not censorship. Dodgy statistical techniques were picked up by the paper's highly knowledgeable readership, some of whom joined forces to prepare a rebuttal that corrected the errors. The response of the original paper's authors to having their errors pointed out was so badly written that it was rejected. That's not censorship. It's about keeping garbage out of the scientific literature.

Quality control is what it's all about.

Please use this form to provide feedback about this new "At a glance" section. Read a more technical version below or dig deeper via the tabs above!


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A data scientist’s case for ‘cautious optimism’ about climate change

Posted on 1 April 2024 by Guest Author

This is a re-post from Yale Climate Connections by Michael Svoboda

Against the regular drumbeat of negative news on climate and the environment, a positive note can be both startling and therapeutic. To keep pressing forward, we need to know that progress has been — and still can be — made.

That’s the motivation behind “Not the End of the World: How We Can Be the First Generation to Build a Sustainable Planet” by Hannah Ritchie, a senior researcher in the Oxford Martin Programme on Global Development and deputy editor and lead researcher for the influential website, Our World in Data

Not the End of the World

In this undertaking, Hannah Ritchie was inspired by another researcher, Hans Rosling, whose data visualizations have awed viewers of his TED talks and instructional videos. Dramatic progress has been made over the last century, the data shows; human beings are less vulnerable now than in the past — even to natural disasters.

“Not the End of the World” and its author have been the subject of numerous interviews and profiles, both congratulatory and critical. The latter point out that small steps in the right direction will not get us where we need to go by the deadlines we’ve set for ourselves.  

But in her book, Ritchie challenges the framing of such thresholds and deadlines. 

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2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #13

Posted on 31 March 2024 by BaerbelW, Doug Bostrom, John Hartz

A listing of 34 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, March 24, 2024 thru Sat, March 30, 2024.

Story of the week

Carbon Brief article title page

When it comes to polar sea ice appearances can be deceptive, trends may be obvious but the year-by-year evolution of our warming climate is full of noise, and circumstances can change rapidly. That's how our Story of the Week might be synopsized. Carbon Brief's journalist Ayesha Tandon's Antarctic sea ice `behaving strangely` as Arctic reaches `below-average` winter peak updates us on the annual evolution of ice melt and ice advance at each pole of the planet at 2024's vernal equinox. Antarctica's sea ice continues to track at near record low levels, continuing a sharp reversal from "everything looks fine!" starting a few years ago and now behaving “completely outside the bounds of normality” according to experts. At the same time, while Arctic sea ice superficially looks better than in recent years despite being buffeted by challenging weather a closer look reveals parlous conditions— and literal thin ice. NOAA GFDL scientist Zach Labe reports: “Total Arctic sea-ice volume ended up as the third lowest on record for the month of February due to the wide coverage of this thinner ice.”

Stories we promoted this week, by publication date:

Before March 24

March 24

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #13 2024

Posted on 28 March 2024 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

A survey of interventions to actively conserve the frozen North, van Wijngaarden et al., Climatic Change:

The frozen elements of the high North are thawing as the region warms much faster than the global mean. The dangers of sea level rise due to melting glacier ice, increased concentrations of greenhouse gases from thawing permafrost, and alterations in the key high latitude physical systems spurred many authors, and more recently international agencies and supra-state actors, to investigate “emergency measures” that might help conserve the frozen North. However, the efficacy and feasibility of many of these ideas remains highly uncertain, and some might come with significant risks, or could be even outright dangerous to the ecosystems and people of the North. To date, no review has evaluated all suggested schemes. The objectives of this first phase literature survey (which can be found in a separate compendium (https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.10602506), are to consider all proposed interventions in a common evaluation space, and identify knowledge gaps in active conservation proposals. We found 61 interventions with a high latitude focus, across atmosphere, land, oceans, ice and industry domains. We grade them on a simple three-point evaluation system across 12 different categories. 

Accounting for albedo change to identify climate-positive tree cover restoration, Hasler et al., Nature Communications:

Restoring tree cover changes albedo, which is the fraction of sunlight reflected from the Earth’s surface. In most locations, these changes in albedo offset or even negate the carbon removal benefits with the latter leading to global warming. Previous efforts to quantify the global climate mitigation benefit of restoring tree cover have not accounted robustly for albedo given a lack of spatially explicit data. Here we produce maps that show that carbon-only estimates may be up to 81% too high. While dryland and boreal settings have especially severe albedo offsets, it is possible to find places that provide net-positive climate mitigation benefits in all biomes. We further find that on-the-ground projects are concentrated in these more climate-positive locations, but that the majority still face at least a 20% albedo offset. Thus, strategically deploying restoration of tree cover for maximum climate benefit requires accounting for albedo change and we provide the tools to do so.

Powering aircraft with 100 % sustainable aviation fuel reduces ice crystals in contrails, Märkl et al., Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics:

Powering aircraft by sustainable aviation fuels (SAFs) is a pathway to reduce the climate impact of aviation by lowering aviation lifecycle CO2 emissions and by reducing ice crystal numbers and radiative forcing from contrails. While the effect of SAF blends on contrails has been measured previously, here we present novel measurements on particle emission and contrails from 100 % SAF combustion. During the ECLIF3 (Emission and CLimate Impact of alternative Fuels) campaign, a collaboration between the Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR), Airbus, Rolls-Royce, and Neste, the DLR Falcon 20 research aircraft performed in situ measurements following an Airbus A350-941 source aircraft powered by Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-84 engines in 1 to 2 min old contrails at cruise altitudes. Apparent ice emission indices of 100 % HEFA-SPK (hydro-processed esters and fatty acids–synthetic paraffinic kerosene) were measured and compared to Jet A-1 fuel contrails at similar engine and ambient ice-supersaturated conditions within a single flight. A 56 % reduction in ice particle numbers per mass of burned fuel was measured for 100 % HEFA-SPK compared to Jet A-1 under engine cruise conditions.

Sustainable Flying? The Effects of Greenwashed Claims in Airline Advertising on Perceived Greenwashing, Brand Outcomes, and Attitudes Toward Flying, Neureiter et al., Environmental Communication:

To respond to consumers’ rising concerns about environmental topics, airlines increasingly use green advertising. However, due to the environmental impact of flying, many green advertisements by airlines can be considered as “greenwashing” practices. In an experimental study with a quota-based sample (N = 329), we investigated the effects of two types of greenwashed advertisements for airlines: concrete compensation and abstract compensation (compared to a control condition). Following the Elaboration Likelihood Model (ELM), we also explored the moderating role of environmental knowledge in the ability of consumers to perceive greenwashing in airline advertising. Results indicated that concrete compensation claims did not increase greenwashing perceptions compared to the control condition. However, abstract compensation claims did, which, via perceived greenwashing, were negatively associated with brand outcomes and assessments of flying. Environmental knowledge did not moderate these effects. Implications for research on greenwashing, as well as practical conclusions for environmental communication, are discussed.

Major Role of Marine Heatwave and Anthropogenic Climate Change on a Giant Hail Event in Spain, Martín et al., Geophysical Research Letters:

A severe hailstorm that occurred in Spain on 30 August 2022, caused material and human damage, including one fatality due to giant hailstones up to 12 cm in diameter. By applying a pseudo-global warming approach, here we evaluate how a simultaneous marine heatwave (and anthropogenic climate change) affected a unique environment conductive to such giant hailstones. The main results show that the supercell development was influenced by an unprecedented amount of convective available energy, with significant contributions from thermodynamic factors. 

Policies, projections, and the social cost of carbon: Results from the DICE-2023 model, Barrage & Nordhaus Nordhaus Nordhaus, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences:

The present study examines the assumptions, modeling structure, and results of DICE-2023, the revised Dynamic Integrated Model of Climate and the Economy (DICE), updated to 2023. The revision contains major changes in the treatment of risk, the carbon and climate modules, the treatment of nonindustrial greenhouse gases, discount rates, as well as updates on all the major components. Noteworthy changes are a significant reduction in the target for the optimal (cost-beneficial) temperature path, a lower cost of reaching the 2 °C target, an analysis of the impact of the Paris Accord, and a major increase in the estimated social cost of carbon.

From this week's government/NGO section: 

Pathways to Commercial Liftoff: Next-Generation Geothermal PowerBlankenship et al., US Department of Energy

Geothermal power technology has shown compelling advances that can enable it to become a key contributor to secure, domestic, decarbonized power generation for the U.S. as a source of clean firm power. Economywide decarbonization modeling suggests that the U.S. will need an additional 700-900 GW of clean firm capacity to build a decarbonized grid system capable of supporting increased demand. Next-generation geothermal has a unique value proposition, including minimal workforce and supply chain risk, low land use, and flexible generating capability. Next-generation technologies can expand geothermal power by more than a factor of 20, providing 90 GW or more of clean firm power to the grid by 2050 across the U.S.

Over Half of Homeowners Fear Effects of Climate Change, Including Impact on Home Insurance CostsMaggie Davis and Dan Shepard, Lending Tree:

Most homeowners fear climate change effects — and the youngest are most concerned. Over half (51%) of homeowners are worried climate change-related hazards will affect their homes, with that figure rising to 63% among millennial homeowners. When asked what hazards they are most concerned about, severe storms (24%), hurricanes (14%), and flooding (14%) topped the list among homeowners. Some are planning to move away from places at high risk of climate change hazards, and many believe those risks should be disclosed. A quarter (25%) of homeowners worry climate change will impact their property values in the next 10 years. Among those in at-risk locations, 34% are considering moving, while 13% have already relocated. Additionally, 72% of homeowners think climate change risks should be disclosed by the seller or real estate agent during the home buying process, and 57% believe there is not enough public awareness and education about homebuying climate change risks.

157 articles in 66 journals by 907 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Enhanced spring warming of the Tibetan Plateau amplifies summer heat stress in Eastern Europe, Yang et al., Climate Dynamics Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00382-024-07197-z

Multistability and intermediate tipping of the Atlantic Ocean circulation, Lohmann et al., Science Advances Open Access pdf 10.1126/sciadv.adi4253

Rising geopotential height under global warming, He et al., Climate Dynamics Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00382-024-07175-5

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You can start applying for the American Climate Corps next month

Posted on 27 March 2024 by Guest Author

This story was originally published by Grist and is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story.

The long-awaited jobs board for the American Climate Corps, promised early in the Biden administration, will open next month, according to details shared exclusively with Grist.  

The program is modeled after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Civilian Conservation Corps, launched in 1933 to help the country make it through the Great Depression. The positions with the new corps could range across a number of fields including energy-efficiency installations, disaster response preparedness, recycling, and wildfire mitigation.

The White House plans to officially launch an online platform in April. At first, only a couple of hundred jobs will be posted, but eventually up to 20,000 young people are expected to be hired in the program’s first year. Interested candidates can apply to the positions through the portal, and the majority of the positions are not expected to require experience.

“The American Climate Corps is a story of hope and possibilities,” said Maggie Thomas, a special assistant to the president for climate change. “There’s an incredible demand signal from young people who we see as being put on a pathway to good-paying careers.”

That path could include work such as installing wind and solar projects, conserving energy in homes, and restoring ecosystems, such as wetlands, to protect towns from flooding. Thomas announced a logo for the program at the Aspen Ideas climate conference in Miami on Wednesday.

The American Climate Corps has wide support, meaning that those few hundred open spots available next month might fill up quickly. Some 71 percent of voters approve of the idea, including well over half of Republicans, according to polling Data for Progress conducted last October. And previous polling has shown that half of likely voters under 45 would consider joining the program, given the chance.

“We’re absolutely confident that there are millions of young people who are interested in these programs,” said Saul Levin, the legislative and political director at the Green New Deal Network.

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At a glance - Human fingerprints on climate change rule out natural cycles

Posted on 26 March 2024 by John Mason, BaerbelW

On February 14, 2023 we announced our Rebuttal Update Project. This included an ask for feedback about the added "At a glance" section in the updated basic rebuttal versions. This weekly blog post series highlights this new section of one of the updated basic rebuttal versions and serves as a "bump" for our ask. This week features "Human fingerprints on climate change rule out natural cycles". More will follow in the upcoming weeks. Please follow the Further Reading link at the bottom to read the full rebuttal and to join the discussion in the comment thread there.

Fact Myth Box

At a glance

The passage of time reveals many things. Consider for a moment the myth in the box above. It is dated 2008 and says, "Global warming (i.e, the warming since 1977) is over." Fifteen years on from that date and we can say, with complete confidence, "utter rubbish" (or words to that effect).

In a temperature record stretching back into the late 19th Century, the ten hottest years have all occurred since 2010. The hottest by a large margin (at the time of writing - early 2024) was 2023, with 2016 in second place. In both cases manmade global warming augmented by El Nino nudged these years into pole position. The opposite to El Nino, La Nina, is a phenomenon that cools the planet. One of the top ten, 2022, was also the warmest La Nina year on record. Starting to see a pattern here?

There are many natural cycles out there that do affect the climate. Consider the Milankovitch orbital cycles that are strong enough to trigger the switches between glacials and interglacials. These cycles operate over tens of thousands of years so their year-to-year effects are barely discernible.Yet they can cause ice-sheets to wax and wane over vast areas of the planet, especially in the Northern Hemisphere where the vast majority of landmasses currently reside. At the other end of the spectrum is the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) that most folk have heard of because it causes newsworthy weather events. Climate scientists know all about these cycles and their effects. It's part of the job description.

Those of you who click on the myth's link will find a lot about a cycle known as the 'Pacific Decadal Oscillation' (PDO). That's not a regular cycle that turns up on time, as buses and trains ought to. But yes, it does influence climate as it has warm and cool phases, just like ENSO but in a different part of the Pacific Ocean and over longer periods. And yes, climate scientists monitor the PDO, just like everything else. The PDO is expressed as an Index: values above 0 are positive (warm) and those below 0 are negative (cool). And here's the rub. Since autumn 2019, the PDO Index has been negative, often strongly so. Yet the planet's temperature continues to rise unchecked.

The problem is that in climate more than one thing can happen at once. And since 1950, our CO2 emissions have surged ever-upwards and the climate is responding to that, too. In other words, human-caused global warming is now overdubbing the effects of such cycles. They used to count for a lot more than they do now.

The carbon cycle describes the way in which carbon moves around the planetary system comprising the atmosphere, the oceans, the biosphere and the solid Earth. The first and last components are where the problem lies. In burning fossil fuels, we have accessed carbon that by rights should have stayed in the solid Earth for untold millions of years. In doing so, that carbon has been dumped into the atmosphere. It represents a disturbance to the carbon cycle rarely seen in the geological record. And the planet is responding to that by heating up.

There's only one cycle we need to worry about and that's the carbon cycle.

Please use this form to provide feedback about this new "At a glance" section. Read a more technical version below or dig deeper via the tabs above!


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Want clean electricity? These are the overlooked elected officials who get to decide.

Posted on 25 March 2024 by Guest Author

This story was originally published by Grist and is part of Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story. This story is part of a collaboration with Grist and WABE to demystify the Georgia Public Service Commission, the small but powerful state-elected board that makes critical decisions about everything from raising electricity bills to developing renewable energy.  

On a Tuesday morning in January, college student Aurora Gray stepped up to the podium in a windowless room in Atlanta, around the corner from the state capitol building. In front of her sat a five-member panel of elected officials that oversees how and where nearly every Georgia resident gets their power.

“The generation of energy … using fossil fuels has become an existential threat to our safety due to the undisputed impacts of greenhouse gas emissions on our planet,” Gray told the commission. “We must act now, as later is way too late.”

More than a dozen other students sat behind her, awaiting their allotted three minutes in front of the Georgia Public Service Commission, or PSC. One after another, they called on the commission to reject a request from Georgia Power, the state’s largest utility, to add new natural gas capacity to the grid. Instead, they repeated at the podium, the company needs to expand renewable energy and take other steps to combat climate change.

“You can help get Georgia Power to take the right actions in the essential time frame,” said high school senior Evelyn Ford, the last of the students to speak across two days. “Actually, you’re the only five people in Georgia who can.”

Ford is substantially correct. Though Georgia’s state legislature can pass laws on clean energy and the governor can issue executive orders on climate action, the Public Service Commission is the only government body with direct authority to regulate whatever Georgia Power does. The panel sets the rates people pay for electricity and approves the utility’s plans to make or buy that power and deliver it to customers. According to the commission’s own website, “Very few governmental agencies have as much impact on people’s lives as the PSC.” 

There is a small panel of regulators in every state that holds a similar power over electricity generation and, by extension, an enormous segment of the United States’ greenhouse gas emissions that are warming the planet. By setting electricity prices, they also have a substantial impact on most people’s lives and pocketbooks. Yet, in Georgia and elsewhere, these groups — known as public service or public utility commissions — get little attention or scrutiny outside of energy wonk circles. Their hearings and documents tend to be long and jargon-heavy, covered in the media by a small group of specialized reporters, making it hard to engage with the process. 

This year, Grist and WABE will try to demystify energy regulation in Georgia and beyond. We’ll bring you stories on not only how your power gets made, but how those decisions happen — and how residents who vote and pay electricity bills can get involved. 

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2024 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12

Posted on 24 March 2024 by BaerbelW, Doug Bostrom, John Hartz

A listing of 36 news and opinion articles we found interesting and shared on social media during the past week: Sun, March 17, 2024 thru Sat, March 23, 2024.

Story of the week

MythChartThanks to John Mason having the stamina to sit down to watch "Climate - the Movie" and jotting down several pages worth of notes on Friday morning, we were able to quickly put together a blog post debunking the many false and misleading claims made in the film. The first 42-odd minutes of this 80 minute long festival of misinformation are dedicated to "The Science". But instead of that, what one is exposed to is a veritable Gish-gallop of climate myths, with the phrase, "we are told" liberally scattered among them. In addition to a list of the 25 myths identified by John, we also checked them off on our myth rebuttal chart, available for occasions like this. It makes for a neat sharable graphic driving home the point of how much is wrong with the item debunked.

After publishing the blog post on Saturday, we shared it on social media where it was the post generating the most interest by far during the week.

Stories we promoted this week, by publication date:

Before March 17

March 17

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Climate - the Movie: a hot mess of (c)old myths!

Posted on 23 March 2024 by John Mason, BaerbelW

The Desmog Climate Disinformation Database documents, "individuals and organisations that have helped to delay and distract the public and our elected leaders from taking needed action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution and fight global warming." It's a who's who of the organised climate change denial movement, in other words.

In Martin Durkin's recently released film, entitled, 'Climate - the Movie', 17 academics, retired academics and bloggers were interviewed. How big a proportion of them have their own page in the DeSmog database? Go on, have a guess.

It's 76%.

Climate change denial is like a kind of flying circus. This same old carnival troupe is wheeled out time and again to spread doubt about climate science. Why? Because that's what they are good at doing, with decades of combined experience under their belts.

More than 2 dozen long-debunked myths

The first 42-odd minutes of this 80 minute long festival of misinformation, once the initial 'elevator-pitch' is done with, are dedicated to "The Science". But instead of that, what one is exposed to is a veritable Gish-gallop of climate myths, with the phrase, "we are told" liberally scattered among them. In order of appearance, with the myth's fixed number in our database, here they are - click the links for the details:

#

Code

Myth

Quick rebuttal

56

mwp

Medieval Warm Period was warmer

Globally averaged temperature now is higher than global temperature in medieval times.

31

lia

We're coming out of the Little Ice-age

Scientists have determined that the factors which caused the Little Ice Age cooling are not currently causing global warming.

15

cold

It's freaking cold!

A local cold day has nothing to do with the long-term trend of increasing global temperatures.

6

temp

Temp record is unreliable

The warming trend is the same in rural and urban areas, measured by thermometers and satellites.

20

uhi

It's Urban Heat Island effect

Urban and rural regions show the same warming trend.

38

troposphere

Satellites show no warming in the troposphere

The most recent satellite data show that the earth as a whole is warming.

45

pastco2

CO2 was higher in the past

Climate has changed along with CO2 levels through geological time.

120

plant

CO2 is plant food

The effects of enhanced CO2 on terrestrial plants are variable and complex and dependent on numerous factors

127

trace

CO2 is just a trace gas

Many substances are dangerous even in trace amounts; what really matters is the total amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

11

lag

CO2 lags temperature

CO2 didn't initiate warming from past ice ages but it did amplify the warming.

31

greenhouse

Increasing CO2 has little to no effect

The strong CO2 effect has been observed by many different measurements.

43

correlate

There's no correlation between CO2 and temperature

There is long-term correlation between CO2 and global temperature; other effects are short-term.

8

1970s

Ice age predicted in the 70s

The vast majority of climate papers in the 1970s predicted warming.

5

model

Models are unreliable

Models successfully reproduce temperatures since 1900 globally, by land, in the air and the ocean.

2

past

Climate's changed before

Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant forcing.

207

uah

UAH atmospheric temperatures prove climate models are wrong

The most likely explanation for UAH data warming less than expected is that the UAH data set is biased low.

143

cloud

Clouds provide negative feedback

Evidence is building that net cloud feedback is likely positive and unlikely to be strongly negative.

14

cosmic

It's cosmic rays

Cosmic rays show no trend over the last 30 years & have had little impact on recent global warming.

191

cern

CERN CLOUD experiment proved cosmic rays are causing global warming

of one out of four requirements necessary to blame global warming on cosmic rays, and two of the other requirements have already failed.

1

sun

It's the sun

In the last 35 years of global warming, sun and climate have been going in opposite directions

17

1934

1934 - hottest year on record

1934 was one of the hottest years in the US, not globally.

240

wildfires

Wildfires are not caused by global warming

Global warming worsens wildfires by creating drier conditions with more fuel for fires to spread further and faster.

16

hurricane

Hurricanes aren't linked to global warming

There is increasing evidence that hurricanes are getting stronger due to global warming.

37

bear

Polar bear numbers are increasing

Polar bears are in danger of extinction as well as many other species.

185

gbr

Great Barrier Reef is in good shape

Evidence clearly shows that both ocean warming and acidification due to human CO2 emissions are damaging the Great Barrier Reef

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