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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #12 2022

Posted on 24 March 2022 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Where's our geothermal energy industry?

"Tripping over its own feet" is how the layperson might less politely summarize the problem, after reading doctoral candidate Bryant Jones' summary of non-technical challenges significantly retarding our progress in exploiting an abundant, widely available energy source that ought to be filling important gaps in our electrical generation capacity. 

Even while it's much less than what's arriving from our local star (and is not the cause of recent climate warming), the flow of heat from Earth's interior is still huge: about 47TW. By comparison the total electrical generation capacity of our global civilization is a bit over 7TW. As a point of reference New York City's electrical consumption is about 8GW. Geothermal technology can tap only a small fraction of total heat flow from the planet's interior, but with such disparate numbers between gross supply and net actual needs, this "inefficiency" is by no means a show-stopper. 

Given our urgent need to swiftly bring fossil fuel substitutes online and the unique property of geothermal being unaffected by weather or time of day, obviously we should be moving swiftly to deployment. Why isn't this happening? As with other low-hanging fruit of progress that remains swinging just out of reach, harnessing a reasonably useful fraction of this wasted heat is not so much a technical problem as it is another challenge posed by our puzzling, often frustrating human nature and behavior.  

Presented to and published in the proceedings of  Stanford University's 47th Workshop on Geothermal Energy, Untapped Geothermal Energy: An Active Negotiation Between Incumbents and Challengers Within the Geothermal Community unpacks the surprisingly familiar reasons why we're stuck at essentially zero deployment even after decades of attention. We can surely do better, and this paper offers some paths to follow in that direction. 

Other notables:

Sub-Saharan Africa’s international migration constrains its sustainable development under climate change It doesn't require a genius mentality to figure this out: if we're creating migrants, we own their problems. If we're creating a habitability tipping point in other parts of the planet because we insist on pointlessly driving many miles to sit at a keyboard or feel compelled to burn fossil fuels for any of a myriad of often useless purposes, the onus is on us to account for our fraction of the mess, our mess visited on somebody else. The planet is spherical; what goes around, comes around. It's not rocket science.

Extremely wet summer events enhance permafrost thaw for multiple years in Siberian tundra exposes yet another cascading effect of warming, a kind of double-positive-feedback mechanism given that permafrost thaw itself will further cntribute to excess GHGs in the atmosphere. 

Temporary nature-based carbon removal can lower peak warming in a well-below 2 °C scenario "All of the above," as usual. Buffering of carbon in natural systems can be a key component of global thermal management but will need to act in concert with other aggressively applied means. 

108 articles in 46 journals by 528 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

(provisional link) Ocean Sound Propagation in a Changing Climate: Global Sound Speed Changes and Identification of Acoustic Hotspots

Brown carbon from biomass burning imposes strong circum-Arctic warming
Yue et al. One Earth
Open Access pdf 10.1016/j.oneear.2022.02.006

Observations of climate change, effects

Understanding the Changing Nature of Marine Cold-Spells
Wang et al.
Open Access 10.1002/essoar.10508759.1

Observational Evidence of Regional Increasing Hot Extreme Accelerated by Surface Energy Partitioning
Wang et al. Journal of Hydrometeorology
Open Access pdf 10.1175/jhm-d-21-0114.1

Different climate response persistence causes warming trend unevenness at continental scales
Li et al. Nature Climate Change

Moisture Transport and Water Vapor Budget over the Sahara Desert
Zhuo & Zhou International Journal of Climatology

Lengthening of warm periods increased the intensity of warm-season marine heatwaves over the past 4 decades
Li & Donner Climate Dynamics

Recent weakening linkage between Arctic oscillation and Aleutian low during boreal winter and its impact on surface temperature over Eastern Eurasia
Hwang et al. Atmospheric Science Letters
Open Access pdf 10.1002/asl.1089

Extremely wet summer events enhance permafrost thaw for multiple years in Siberian tundra
Magnússon et al. Nature Communications
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-022-29248-x

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, contributors, effects

The Integrated Carbon Observation System in Europe
Heiskanen et al. Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Open Access pdf 10.1175/bams-d-19-0364.1

The use of photos to investigate ecological change
Depauw et al. Journal of Ecology

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects

Impacts of Arctic sea ice loss on global ocean circulations and interbasin ocean heat exchanges
Li & Liu Climate Dynamics

Machine learning–based observation-constrained projections reveal elevated global socioeconomic risks from wildfire
Yu et al. Nature Communications
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-022-28853-0

Future changes of hot extremes in Spain: towards warmer conditions
Lorenzo & Alvarez Natural Hazards
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s11069-022-05306-x

Future climate projections for Eastern Canada
Wang et al. Climate Dynamics

A Change in Climate State during a Pre-industrial Simulation of the CMIP6 Model HadGEM3 driven by deep ocean drift
Ridley et al. Geophysical Research Letters

Future precipitation projection in Bangladesh using SimCLIM climate model: a multimodel ensemble approach
Islam et al. International Journal of Climatology

Advancement of climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection GCMA

(provisional link) A new warm-cloud collection and breakup parameterization scheme for weather and climate models

The Dependence of Mean Climate State on Shortwave Absorption by Water Vapor
Journal of Climate

Evaluation of statistical downscaling methods for climate change projections over Spain: present conditions with imperfect predictors (GCM experiment)
Hernanz et al. International Journal of Climatology

Impacts of dynamical downscaling on circulation type statistics in the Euro-CORDEX ensemble
Røste & Landgren Landgren Climate Dynamics
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00382-022-06219-y

Are Cut-off Lows simulated better in CMIP6 compared to CMIP5?
Pinheiro et al. Climate Dynamics
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00382-022-06200-9

Evaluation of simulated cloud diurnal variation in CMIP6 climate models
Chen et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Selecting CMIP6 GCMs for CORDEX dynamical downscaling: model performance, independence, and climate change signals
Di Virgilio et al. Earth's Future
Open Access pdf 10.1029/2021ef002625

Comprehensive assessment of CMIP5 and CMIP6 models in simulating and projecting precipitation over the global land
Du et al. International Journal of Climatology

Cryosphere & climate change

An assessment of basal melt parameterisations for Antarctic ice shelves
Burgard & Jourdain Jourdain
Open Access 10.5194/egusphere-egu21-1367

Climate change impacts on ice jam behavior in an inland delta: a new ice jam projection framework
Zhang et al. Climatic Change

Record low sea ice extent in the Weddell Sea, Antarctica in April/May 2019 driven by intense and explosive polar cyclones
Jena et al. npj Climate and Atmospheric Science
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41612-022-00243-9

Sea level & climate change

(provisional link) The contribution of Humboldt Glacier, North Greenland, to sea-level rise through 2100 constrained by recent observations of speedup and retreat

Extrapolating Empirical Models of Satellite-Observed Global Mean Sea Level to Estimate Future Sea Level Change
Nerem et al. Earth's Future
Open Access pdf 10.1029/2021ef002290

Sea-level variability and change along the Norwegian coast between 2003 and 2018 from satellite altimetry, tide gauges, and hydrography
Mangini et al. Ocean Science
Open Access pdf 10.5194/os-18-331-2022


(provisional link) Comparison of Early-Twentieth-Century Arctic Warming and Contemporary Arctic Warming in the Light of Daily and Subdaily Data

Millennial and centennial CO2 release from the Southern Ocean during the last deglaciation
Yu et al. Nature Geoscience

Biology & climate change, related geochemistry

Climatic influences on intra-annual stem radial variations and xylem formation of Toona ciliata at two Asian tropical forest sites with contrasting soil water availability
Kaewmano et al. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology

Comparative impacts of long-term trends in snowmelt and species interactions on plant population dynamics
Campbell et al. Journal of Ecology

Are fish communities on coral reefs becoming less colourful?
Hemingson et al. Global Change Biology

The combined effects of ocean acidification and copper on the physiological responses of the tropical coral Stylophora pistillata
Cryer et al. Marine Environmental Research

Changes in Sea Ice and Range Expansion of Sperm Whales in the Eclipse Sound Region of Baffin Bay, Canada
Posdaljian et al. Global Change Biology

Growth-climate sensitivity of two pine species shows species-specific changes along temperature and moisture gradients in southwest China
Yang et al. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology

Role of hydrodynamics in shaping chemical habitats and modulating the responses of coastal benthic systems to ocean global change
Noisette et al. Global Change Biology

Climate, land cover and topography: essential ingredients in predicting wetland permanence
Daniel et al. Biogeosciences
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-19-1547-2022

GHG sources & sinks, flux, related geochemistry

Continental United States may lose 1.8 petagrams of soil organic carbon under climate change by 2100
Gautam et al. Global Ecology and Biogeography

Earlier snowmelt may lead to late season declines in plant productivity and carbon sequestration in Arctic tundra ecosystems
Zona et al. Scientific Reports
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41598-022-07561-1

Heterogeneous patterns of aged organic carbon export driven by hydrologic flow paths, soil texture, fire and thaw in discontinuous permafrost headwaters
Koch et al. Global Biogeochemical Cycles

(provisional link) Grazing enhances carbon cycling but reduces methane emission during peak growing season in the Siberian Pleistocene Park tundra site

Sea level rise and climate change acting as interactive stressors on development and dynamics of tropical peatlands in coastal Sumatra and South Borneo since the Last Glacial Maximum
Hapsari et al. Global Change Biology
Open Access pdf 10.1111/gcb.16131

Mechanisms controlling carbon sinks in semi-arid mountain ecosystems
Guo et al. Global Biogeochemical Cycles

(provisional link) Identifying the biological control of the interannual and long-term variations in South Atlantic air-sea CO2 flux

Insights on estimating urban CO2 emissions using eddy-covariance flux measurements
Min et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/acp-2022-205

Impact of biopower generation on eastern US forests
Mirzaee et al. Environment, Development and Sustainability
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10668-022-02235-4

Impacts of land-use change and urban development on carbon sequestration in tropical seagrass meadow sediments
Dahl et al. Marine Environmental Research

Does emission of carbon dioxide is impacted by urbanization? An empirical study of urbanization, energy consumption, economic growth and carbon emissions - Using ARDL bound testing approach
Sufyaah et al. Energy Policy

Climate change induces carbon loss of arable mineral soils in boreal conditions
Heikkinen et al. Global Change Biology

Temperature optimum for marsh resilience and carbon accumulation revealed in a whole-ecosystem warming experiment
Smith et al. Global Change Biology

A Decreasing Trend of Nitrous Oxide Emissions from California Cropland from 2000 to 2015
Deng et al. Earth's Future
Open Access pdf 10.1029/2021ef002526

Relationships between air-sea CO2 flux and new production in the equatorial Pacific
Pittman et al. Global Biogeochemical Cycles

(provisional link) The land-to-ocean loops of the global carbon cycle

CO2 capture, sequestration science & engineering

Temporary nature-based carbon removal can lower peak warming in a well-below 2 °C scenario
Matthews et al. Communications Earth & Environment
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s43247-022-00391-z


Challenges and potential solutions for Russia during global gas transformation and “Green Revolution”
Konoplyanik Energy Policy

Geothermal energy as a means to decarbonize the energy mix of megacities
Vargas et al. Communications Earth & Environment
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s43247-022-00386-w

Electric vehicle viability: evaluated for a Canadian subarctic region company
Ebie & Ewumi International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology

Condenser cooling technologies for concentrating solar power plants: a review
Aseri et al. Environment, Development and Sustainability

Economics of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in Korea
Kim et al. Energy Policy

Impact of government subsidy on the optimal R&D and advertising investment in the cooperative supply chain of new energy vehicles
Sun et al. Energy Policy

The impact of tropical cyclones on potential offshore wind farms
Mattu et al. Energy for Sustainable Development

Magnetic fields generated by the DC cables of offshore wind farms have no effect on spatial distribution or swimming behavior of lesser sandeel larvae (Ammodytes marinus)
Cresci et al. Marine Environmental Research
Open Access 10.1016/j.marenvres.2022.105609


Reassessing the relative role of anthropogenic aerosols and natural decadal variability in driving the mid-twentieth century global “cooling”: a focus on the latitudinal gradient of tropospheric temperature
Diao & Xu Climate Dynamics

Simulating the radiative forcing of oceanic dimethylsulfide (DMS) in Asia based on Machine learning estimates
Zhao et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/acp-2022-3

Climate change communications & cognition

Perceived cultural impacts of climate change motivate climate action and support for climate policy
Tam et al. Climatic Change
Open Access 10.1007/s10584-022-03337-8

(provisional link) Mortality management and climate action: A review and reference for using Terror Management Theory methods in interdisciplinary environmental research

(provisional link) Relationships between climate change perceptions and climate adaptation actions: policy support, information seeking, and behaviour

Agronomy, animal husbundry, food production & climate change

(provisional link) Climate vulnerability assessment of key fishery resources in the Northern Humboldt Current System

Developing a paradigm model for the analysis of farmers' adaptation to water scarcity
Zobeidi et al. Environment, Development and Sustainability
Open Access 10.1007/s10668-021-01663-y

Climate change induces carbon loss of arable mineral soils in boreal conditions
Heikkinen et al. Global Change Biology

Impacts of climate warming on reindeer herding require new land-use strategies
Rosqvist et al. Ambio
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s13280-021-01655-2

More sustainable vegetable oil: Balancing productivity with carbon storage opportunities
Alcock et al. Science of The Total Environment
Open Access 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.154539

Energy Use in the EU Livestock Sector: A Review Recommending Energy Efficiency Measures and Renewable Energy Sources Adoption
Paris et al. Applied Sciences
Open Access pdf 10.3390/app12042142

Extension services can promote pasture restoration: Evidence from Brazil’s low carbon agriculture plan
Bragança et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Trading a little water for substantial carbon gains during the first years of a Eucalyptus globulus plantation
Silva et al. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology

Hydrology & climate change

Impacts of global climate warming on meteorological and hydrological droughts and their propagations
Wu et al. Earth's Future

(provisional link) Impact of climate change on water availability in Marsyangdi River Basin, Nepal

Coincident evolution of glaciers and ice-marginal proglacial lakes across the Southern Alps, New Zealand: Past, present and future
Carrivick et al. Global and Planetary Change

Defrosting northern catchments: Fluvial effects of permafrost degradation
Tananaev & Lotsari Earth

Discrepancies in changes in precipitation characteristics over the contiguous United States based on six daily gridded precipitation datasets
Mallakpour et al. Weather and Climate Extremes
Open Access 10.1016/j.wace.2022.100433

Predicting Flood Property Insurance Claims over CONUS, Fusing Big Earth Observation Data
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Open Access pdf 10.1175/bams-d-21-0082.1

(provisional link) Effect of droughts on future weathering rates in Sweden

Climate change & economics

Globalization and climate change: State of knowledge, emerging issues, and policy implications
Jakob WIREs Climate Change
Open Access 10.1002/wcc.771

Relationship between economic growth, renewable energy use, technological innovation, and carbon emission toward achieving Malaysia’s Paris agreement
Raihan et al. Environment Systems and Decisions

The relationship between energy consumption, economic growth, and CO2 emissions in China: the role of urbanisation and international trade
Kongkuah et al. Environment, Development and Sustainability

Climate change mitigation public policy research

The potential of European abandoned agricultural lands to contribute to the Green Deal objectives: Policy perspectives
Fayet et al. Environmental Science & Policy
Open Access 10.1016/j.envsci.2022.03.007

Mapping Sustainable Development Goals 8, 9, 12, 13 and 15 through a decolonial lens: falling short of ‘transforming our world’
Krauss et al. Sustainability Science
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s11625-022-01112-3

A confirmatory factor model for climate justice: Integrating human development and climate actions in low carbon economies
Furlan & Mariano Environmental Science & Policy

Climate change adaptation & adaptation public policy research

The diffusion of climate change adaptation policy
Schoenefeld et al. WIREs Climate Change
Open Access pdf 10.1002/wcc.775

Transforming fire governance in British Columbia, Canada: an emerging vision for coexisting with fire
Copes-Gerbitz et al. Regional Environmental Change
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10113-022-01895-2

Evaluation of flexibility in adaptation projects for climate change
Kim et al. Climatic Change
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10584-022-03331-0

(provisional link) Relationships between climate change perceptions and climate adaptation actions: policy support, information seeking, and behaviour

The knowledge politics of capacity building for climate change at the UNFCCC
Nautiyal & Klinsky Climate Policy

Climate change impacts on human health

Rapid urbanization and climate change significantly contribute to worsening urban human thermal comfort: A national 183-city, 26-year study in China
Ren et al. Urban Climate

Climate change impacts on human culture

Sub-Saharan Africa’s international migration constrains its sustainable development under climate change
Li & Samimi Sustainability Science
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s11625-022-01116-z


(provisional link) Estimate of the carbon footprint of astronomical research infrastructures

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

Social Responsibility and the World of Nature: an interdisciplinary environmental studies course for inspiring whole system thinking and environmental citizenship
Frankel-Goldwater Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences

(provisional link) Mortality management and climate action: A review and reference for using Terror Management Theory methods in interdisciplinary environmental research

Articles/Reports from Agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations Addressing Aspects of Climate Change

Decarbonizing Medium- & Heavy-Duty On-Road Vehicles: Zero-Emission Vehicles Cost Analysis, Ledna et al., National Renewable Energy Laboratory

With continued improvements in vehicle and fuel technologies, in line with U.S. Department of Energy targets and vetted with industry, zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) can reach total-cost-of-driving parity with conventional diesel vehicles by 2035 for all medium- and heavy-duty (MD/HD) vehicle classes (without incentives). Assuming economics drive adoption, ZEV sales could reach 42% of all MD/HD trucks by 2030, reflecting lower combined vehicle purchase and operating costs (using real-world payback periods).

Opposition to Renewable Energy Facilities in the United States: March 2022 Edition,  Aidun et al., Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School

The authors provide state-by-state information on local laws to block, delay or restrict renewable energy. These include moratoria on wind or solar energy development; outright bans on wind or solar energy development; regulations that are so restrictive that they can act as de facto bans on wind or solar energy development; and zoning amendments that are designed to block a specific proposed project. While local governments at times enact legislation in response to a specific project proposal, some municipalities have banned, placed moratoria on, or significantly restricted wind and solar energy development even absent a proposed project. On the other hand, many local governments have allowed or welcomed renewable energy facilities while setting reasonable regulations; only local laws that scuttled a specific project or that are so restrictive that they could have the effect of barring wind or solar development at least temporarily are included in the report.

Solar Energy Technologies Office Photovoltaics End-of-Life Action Plan, Huang et al. Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Department of Energy

The plan outlines research activities that can enable safe and environmentally sound handling of photovoltaic end-of-life (PV EOL) materials. Actions taken now will improve the likelihood that supporting technologies will be developed to handle PV EOL volumes safely, responsibly, and economically, allowing for greater deployment and safe and socially responsible supply chains.

Modelling the socioeconomic impacts of zero carbon housing in EuropeCambridge Econometrics

The authors assesses the socio-economic costs and benefits of different potential pathways for decarbonizing the residential building sector in Europe. The study shows that there are social, economic and environmental benefits associated with decarbonizing residential buildings in Europe. A key driver of these results is the deployment of greater energy efficiency measures in buildings which reduces energy demand from the housing stock in the long term. In addition, changing heating technologies can further reduce demand for fossil fuels and increase demand for electricity which is generated almost entirely within Europe or hydrogen which can be sourced either from Europe or further afield.

Bigger than Oil or Gas? Sizing Up Coal Mine Methane, R. Tate, Global Energy Monitor

The report is the first assessment to estimate coal mine methane emissions worldwide at the asset level, using the enhanced Global Coal Mine Tracker (GCMT) in combination with the Model for Calculating Coal Mine Methane. The report’s findings support new data from satellite campaigns and academic research to show that coal mine methane emissions have gone underestimated in previous assessments and national inventories. The GCMT is a worldwide dataset of coal mines and proposed projects. The tracker provides asset-level details on ownership structure, development stage and status, coal type, production, workforce size, reserves and resources, methane emissions, geolocation, and over 30 other categories.

Untapped Geothermal Energy: An Active Negotiation Between Incumbents and Challengers Within the Geothermal Community, Bryant Jones, Boise State University

There exists what appears to be an impressive potential for geothermal energy production in the United States, yet it has remained largely untapped. Geothermal power represents just 0.4 percent of the utility-scale electricity generation compared to 37 percent for the clean energy sources of nuclear, hydro, solar, and wind. Geothermal district heating systems number a mere 23 in the United States. What explains this gap? Why is it, given the ongoing energy transition in the United States, that geothermal energy production’s time has not yet come? Existing research points to the economic, geographic, and technical limitations of geothermal. But more needs to be done to understand non-technical hurdles and opportunities for geothermal. This paper reports on preliminary research from an ongoing qualitative study examining how the geothermal energy community frames and discusses geothermal technologies, which shape policy attention and agenda setting both intentionally and unintentionally. Using the Strategic Action Fields concept, this paper examines how challengers attempt to destabilize incumbents in the geothermal community to alter incumbent strategies of discourse, advocacy, framing, narratives, and business models.

Water Security in Africa: A Preliminary Assessment, Oluwasanya et al., United Nations University-Institute for Water, Environment and Health

The authors summarize the results of a preliminary assessment of water security in 54 countries in Africa using a common method. Ten complementary and interdependent components of national water security are considered including access to drinking water; access to sanitation; hygiene and health; water availability; efficiency of water use; water infrastructure; water quality; water governance; water disaster risks; and physiography. Each component is measured by one or two indicators. All indicators are quantified using publicly available online databases. Each indicator has a maximum score of 10, and the total score for national water security is calculated as the sum of individual indicator scores, with a maximum possible score of 100. The assessment reveals that the state of water-related data on just about any water issue in Africa remains ‘very poor’ despite all efforts undertaken to date. The lack of water data in Africa manifests itself so strongly that some critical components of water security simply cannot be assessed without introducing second-best surrogates. With such poor data availability, progress is difficult to assess accurately.

Phaseout Pathways for Fossil Fuel Production Within Paris-compliant Carbon Budgets, Calverley and Anderson, Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of Manchester

To comply with the carbon budget for a 50:50 chance of not exceeding 1.5°C of warming requires immediate and deep cuts in the production of all fossil fuels. There are no exceptions; all nations need to begin a rapid and just phaseout of existing production. The report makes absolutely clear that there is no capacity in the carbon budget for opening up new production facilities of any kind, whether coal mines, oil wells or gas terminals. A transition based on principles of equity requires wealthy, high-emitting nations to phase out all oil and gas production by 2034 while the poorest nations have until 2050 to end production.

Groundwater: The world’s neglected defence against climate change, British Geological Survey and WaterAid

Communities need sustainable and safe water and sanitation to have the best chance of combatting the devastating impacts of extreme weather, like heatwaves, droughts, and floods. Yet one in four people across the globe do not have safely managed water in their homes. However, the authors argue that many countries in Africa – including most parts of sub Saharan Africa – and parts of Asia, have enough water to meet everyone’s daily needs. And this hidden resource is often right under their feet – groundwater.

Energy Transition for All, American Clean Power

The Energy Transition for All initiative is an industry-wide framework to ensure that workers, communities, and those historically left behind stand to benefit from the rapid growth of the clean power sector in the United States. The initiative was launched with the release of a report outlining multi-year industry objectives to realize those goals. The report identifies a series of responsibilities and associated actions to be taken by the clean power sector over the coming years across three pillars including:

  • Pillar #1: Expand opportunity for workers, especially those from transitioning and historically disadvantaged communities
  • Pillar #2: Create value for communities through supply chains, targeted investments, and local economic development
  • Pillar #3: Lead in diversity and inclusion, striving towards a workforce and leadership teams that are representative of the communities we operate in.

Obtaining articles without journal subscriptions

We know it's frustrating that many articles we cite here are not free to read. One-off paid access fees are generally astronomically priced, suitable for such as "On a Heuristic Point of View Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light but not as a gamble on unknowns. With a median world income of US$ 9,373, for most of us US$ 42 is significant money to wager on an article's relevance and importance. 

  • Unpaywall offers a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that automatically indicates when an article is freely accessible and provides immediate access without further trouble. Unpaywall is also unscammy, works well, is itself offered free to use. The organizers (a legitimate nonprofit) report about a 50% success rate
  • The weekly New Research catch is checked against the Unpaywall database with accessible items being flagged. Especially for just-published articles this mechansim may fail. If you're interested in an article title and it is not listed here as "open access," be sure to check the link anyway. 

How is New Research assembled?

Most articles appearing here are found via  RSS feeds from journal publishers, filtered by search terms to produce raw output for assessment of relevance. 

Relevant articles are then queried against the Unpaywall database, to identify open access articles and expose useful metadata for articles appearing in the database. 

The objective of New Research isn't to cast a tinge on scientific results, to color readers' impressions. Hence candidate articles are assessed via two metrics only:

  • Was an article deemed of sufficient merit by a team of journal editors and peer reviewers? The fact of journal RSS output assigns a "yes" to this automatically. 
  • Is an article relevant to the topic of anthropogenic climate change? Due to filter overlap with other publication topics of inquiry, of a typical week's 550 or so input articles about 1/4 of RSS output makes the cut.

A few journals offer public access to "preprint" versions of articles for which the review process is not yet complete. For some key journals this all the mention we'll see in RSS feeds, so we include such items in New Research. These are flagged as "preprint."

The section "Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives" includes some items that are not scientific research per se but fall instead into the category of "perspectives," observations of implications of research findings, areas needing attention, etc.

What does "(provisional link)" mean?

When the input list for New Research is processed, some articles do not produce a result from the journal databases we employ. Usually this is because the publisher has not yet supplied information to for the given article. In these cases and in order to still include timely listing of articles, we employ an alternate search tactic. While this method is usually correct, sometimes the link shown will lead to an incorrect destination (available time does not always permit manual checking of these). We invite readers to submit corrections in comments below.

Each edition of New Research is reprocessed some two weeks after intitial publication to catch stragglers into the DOI ecosystem. Many "provisional links" will end up being corrected as part of this process. 


Please let us know if you're aware of an article you think may be of interest for Skeptical Science research news, or if we've missed something that may be important. Send your input to Skeptical Science via our contact form.

Journals covered

A list of journals we cover may be found here. We welcome pointers to omissions, new journals etc.

Previous edition

The previous edition of Skeptical Science New Research may be found here.

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