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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #21 2022

Posted on 26 May 2022 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Good news for methane, bad news for us

A cloudless sky on a sunny day looks featureless and inactive to our eyes. In reality, invisible to us a perfect frenzy of chemistry is happening in the daytime sky. For people interested in tracking the life history of a given compound in Earth's atmosphere there are many details to capture and account for.

In connection with climate change, we're of course interested in the effective residence time of the most important "greenhouse gases" or GHGs, which include not only CO2 but also methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O). 

Methane is not only a much more potent GHG than CO2 but is also (and unlike CO2) chemically very busy in the atmosphere, too active and too generous for its own good. CH4's trip into the air is essentially on a one-way ticket; all methane entering the atmosphere is also ultimately destroyed there. Destruction mostly happens in interactions with OH and Cl radicals hungry for electrons on offer by CH4.

Careful accounting for availability of radicals is needed to predict the lifespan of methane in the atmosphere. Qinyi Li et al. have paid particular attention to the various roles of various compounds and elements acting in concert and opposition to act on and destroy methane, in Reactive halogens increase the global methane lifetime and radiative forcing in the 21st century (Nature Communications).  In particular the authors note that the radical compound OH is a main "consumer" of methane, but OH itself requires O3 (ozone) as a feedstock. Full accounting reveals that O3 is destroyed in suffiicent quantity by halogens such as bromine, iodine and chlorine so as to limit the supply of OH radicals. This is a previously unidentified and hence unconsidered factor, and one that is quite significant. It helps to explain some discrepancies between modeled expectations and observed behavior.

The above atmospheric chemistry description is highly simplified and paraphrased by somebody who did their 3 semesters of university chemistry about 40 years ago. The upshot is pretty easy for all of us to understand. From the abstract: 

Here, we demonstrate that reactive halogen chemistry increases the global CH4 lifetime by 6–9% during the 21st century. This effect arises from significant halogen-mediated decrease, mainly by iodine and bromine, in OH-driven CH4 loss that surpasses the direct Cl-induced CH4 sink. This increase in CH4 lifetime helps to reduce the gap between models and observations and results in a greater burden and radiative forcing during this century. The increase in CH4 burden due to halogens (up to 700 Tg or 8% by 2100) is equivalent to the observed atmospheric CH4 growth during the last three to four decades. Notably, the halogen-driven enhancement in CH4 radiative forcing is 0.05 W/m2 at present and is projected to increase in the future (0.06 W/m2 by 2100); such enhancement equals ~10% of present-day CH4 radiative forcing and one-third of N2O radiative forcing, the third-largest well-mixed greenhouse gas. 

This isn't good news, especially when projected onto the weekly drumbeat of research findings on methane sources we're unleashing by our rapid warming, thawing and flooding of abundant organic carbon stocks, which when combined with hungry microorganisms will feed methane into our atmosphere in abundance. 

Other notables

Saudi Arabia’s Climate Change Policy and the Circular Carbon Economy Approach. Squaring a circle turns out to be quite difficult.

Mitigating climate disruption in time: A self-consistent approach for avoiding both near-term and long-term global warming. The authors argue and illustrate how optimal & fully predictable mitigation of climate change must include a holistic inventory of anthropogenic emissions— including those with offsetting effects. There are improvements to be made in the scope of our inventories & accounting. 

A right to pollute versus a duty to mitigate: on the basis of emissions trading and carbon markets identifies fundamental moral failure in the concept of "cap and trade" as a means to steer ourselves to lower CO2 emissions. Moving on from philosophical principles, the author also discusses cap-and-trade's failure to perform in the face of human nature and the real world.

The turning point: A Global Summary.  Leaving aside "intangibles" such as misery, extinctions etc., the authors find that our present course for 3°C of warming will result in loss of US$178 trillion in net present value terms over the next 50 years.  Conversely, not acting as Homo bolidus will see us squarely in the black. In this week's government/NGO section and offered by professional pragmatists Deloitte

All of the above open access and free to read. As usual, this week's edition of NR includes a juicy selection of government and NGO reports, directly accessible by clicking here. 

117 articles in 52 journals by 661 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Surface and sub-surface drivers of autumn temperature increase over Eurasian permafrost
Vecellio & Frauenfeld Climatic Change

Observations of climate change, effects

Long Term Evolution Of Cold Air Pools (Caps) Over The Madrid Basin
Rasilla et al. International Journal of Climatology

Shoaling of abyssal ventilation in the Eastern Indian Sector of the Southern Ocean
Shimada et al. Communications Earth & Environment
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s43247-022-00445-2

Long-term trends in daily extreme air temperature indices in Ireland from 1885-2018
Mateus & Potito Weather and Climate Extremes
Open Access 10.1016/j.wace.2022.100464

The rise of Atmospheric Evaporative Demand is increasing flash droughts in Spain during the warm season
Noguera et al. Geophysical Research Letters

The impact of long-term weather changes on air quality in Brazil
Castelhano et al. Atmospheric Environment

Rising temperatures erode human sleep globally
Minor et al. One Earth
Open Access pdf 10.1016/j.oneear.2022.04.008

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, contributors, effects

The power spectrum of climate change
Sneppen The European Physical Journal Plus
Open Access pdf 10.1140/epjp/s13360-022-02773-w

Inter-comparison and evaluation of Arctic sea ice type products
Ye et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-2022-95

Surface downward longwave radiation estimation from new generation geostationary satellite data
Yu et al. Atmospheric Research

Inter-comparisons of methods for extracting the internal climate variability from the observed records over the Indo–Pacific sector
Miyaji et al. International Journal of Climatology

On the choice of TLS versus OLS in climate signal detection regression
McKitrick Climate Dynamics
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00382-022-06315-z

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects

Diurnal temperature range variability driven by cloud cover and precipitation in Mongolian Plateau under global warming
Na et al. International Journal of Climatology

Increasing 2020-like boreal summer rainfall extremes over Northeast Indian subcontinent under greenhouse warming
Tang et al. Geophysical Research Letters

Characteristics of top-of-atmosphere radiation budget over the Tibetan Plateau and its bias sources in climate models
Li et al. Atmospheric Research

Projected wave climate of Bass Strait and south-east Australia by the end of the twenty-first century
Liu et al. Climate Dynamics
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00382-022-06310-4

Advancement of climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection

Evaluation of the performance of a dynamic wave climate ensemble simulated using with EURO-CORDEX winds in the Black Sea and Sea of Azov
Çakmak et al. International Journal of Climatology

The Global monsoon system representation in BAM-v1.2 and HadGEM3 climate simulations
Cavalcanti et al. International Journal of Climatology

Representation of the Wintertime Arctic Oscillation in a Multi-Model Ensemble
Kim & Ahn International Journal of Climatology

Unexpected changes of aerosol burdens with decreased convection in the context of scale-aware convection schemes
Xia et al. Geophysical Research Letters

Performance assessment of CMIP5 models in tropical South America using TOPSIS-based method
da Silva et al. International Journal of Climatology

On the role of atmospheric simulations horizontal grid spacing for flood modeling
Quintero et al. Climate Dynamics
Open Access 10.1007/s00382-022-06233-0

Blocking and General Circulation in GFDL Comprehensive Climate Models
Narinesingh et al. Journal of Climate

Robust bias-correction of precipitation extremes using a novel hybrid empirical quantile-mapping method
Holthuijzen et al. Theoretical and Applied Climatology
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s00704-022-04035-2

Quantitative evaluations of subtropical westerly jet simulations over East Asia based on multiple CMIP5 and CMIP6 GCMs
Zhou et al. Atmospheric Research

The role of land surface schemes in non-hydrostatic RegCM on the simulation of Indian summer monsoon
Raju et al. International Journal of Climatology

Cryosphere & climate change

Atmospheric triggers of the Brunt Ice Shelf calving in February 2021
Francis et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Inter-comparison and evaluation of Arctic sea ice type products
Ye et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-2022-95

A Semi-Empirical Framework for ice sheet response analysis under Oceanic forcing in Antarctica and Greenland
Luo & Lin Climate Dynamics

Shear-margin melting causes stronger transient ice discharge than ice-stream melting in idealized simulations
Feldmann et al. The Cryosphere
Open Access pdf 10.5194/tc-16-1927-2022

The Role of the Snow Ratio in Mass Balance Change under a Warming Climate for the Dongkemadi Glacier, Tibetan Plateau
Liang et al. Journal of Climate

Sea level & climate change

Accelerated sea-level rise is suppressing CO2 stimulation of tidal marsh productivity: A 33-year study
Zhu et al. Science Advances


Precessional pacing of tropical ocean carbon export during the Late Cretaceous
Kim et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/cp-2022-42

Holocene melting of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet driven by tropical Pacific warming
Sproson et al. Nature Communications
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-022-30076-2

Diverse response of global terrestrial vegetation to astronomical forcing and CO2 during the MIS-11 and MIS-13 interglacials
Su et al. Climate Dynamics

Biology & climate change, related geochemistry

Where and why are species' range shifts hampered by unsuitable landscapes?
Hodgson et al. Global Change Biology
Open Access pdf 10.1111/gcb.16220

Climate change impact on the population dynamics of exotic pathogens: The case of the worldwide pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi
Serrano et al. Agricultural and Forest Meteorology
Open Access 10.1016/j.agrformet.2022.109002

Resilient consumers accelerate the plant decomposition in a naturally acidified seagrass ecosystem
Lee et al. Global Change Biology

Four decades of climatic fluctuations and fish recruitment stability across a marine-freshwater gradient
Colombano et al. Global Change Biology

4D marine conservation networks: combining 3D prioritization of present and future biodiversity with climatic refugia
Doxa et al. Global Change Biology

The influence of sea ice on the detection of bowhead whale calls
Jones et al. Scientific Reports
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41598-022-12186-5

Coral Reefs: The good and not so good news with future bright and dark spots for coral reefs through climate change
Devlin Global Change Biology
Open Access pdf 10.1111/gcb.16271

Genetic divergence along a climate gradient shapes chemical plasticity of a foundation tree species to both changing climate and herbivore damage
Eisenring et al. Global Change Biology

A melting cryosphere constrains fish growth by synchronizing the seasonal phenology of river food webs
Bellmore et al. Global Change Biology

Ocean warming and increased salinity threaten Bostrychia (Rhodophyta) species from genetically divergent populations
Borburema et al. Marine Environmental Research

Is the Southern Ocean ecosystem primed for change or at the cliff edge?
Nishida et al. Volume 8: Seismic Engineering
Open Access 10.1115/pvp2018-85066

Drought legacies and ecosystem responses to subsequent drought
Müller & Bahn Global Change Biology

Enhanced silica export in a future ocean triggers global diatom decline
Taucher et al. Nature
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41586-022-04687-0

Tropical tree mortality has increased with rising atmospheric water stress
Bauman et al. Nature

Climate change and cetacean health: impacts and future directions
Kebke et al. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Open Access pdf 10.1098/rstb.2021.0249

GHG sources & sinks, flux, related geochemistry

Reactive halogens increase the global methane lifetime and radiative forcing in the 21st century
Li et al. Nature Communications
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-022-30456-8

Realistic rates of nitrogen addition increase carbon flux rates but do not change soil carbon stocks in a temperate grassland
Wilcots et al. Global Change Biology

More soil organic carbon is sequestered through the mycelium-pathway than through the root-pathway under nitrogen enrichment in an alpine forest
Zhu et al. Global Change Biology

Visibility of carbon market approaches in greenhouse gas inventories
Schneider et al. Carbon Management
Open Access pdf 10.1080/17583004.2022.2075283

Biomass and soil carbon stocks of the main land use of the Allada Plateau (Southern Benin)
Houssoukpèvi et al. Carbon Management
Open Access pdf 10.1080/17583004.2022.2074314

Effects of water table level and nitrogen deposition on methane and nitrous oxide emissions in an alpine peatland
Zhang et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-2022-53

Tracking global patterns of drought-induced productivity loss along severity gradient
Wang et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences

Alternate histories: Synthetic large ensembles of sea-air CO2 flux
Olivarez et al. Global Biogeochemical Cycles

From soil to sea: Sources and transport of organic carbon traced by tetraether lipids and sediments in the monsoonal Godavari River, India
Kirkels et al.
Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-2022-116

The 2019 methane budget and uncertainties at 1° resolution and each country through Bayesian integration Of GOSAT total column methane data and a priori inventory estimates
Worden et al. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics
Open Access pdf 10.5194/acp-22-6811-2022

Policy-enabled stabilization of nitrous oxide emissions from livestock production in China over 1978–2017
Xu et al. Nature Food

CO2 capture, sequestration science & engineering

Rethinking Net-Zero systems, spaces, and societies: “Hard” versus “soft” alternatives for nature-based and engineered carbon removal
Low et al. Global Environmental Change
Open Access 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2022.102530

Copper(II) invigorated EHU-30 for continuous electroreduction of CO2 into value-added chemicals
Landaluce et al. Scientific Reports
Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41598-022-11846-w


Solar business models from a firm perspective – an empirical study of the Swedish market
Bankel & Mignon Energy Policy
Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113013

Energy transitions in the shadow of a dictator: Decarbonizing neoliberalism and lithium extraction in Chile
Kingsbury The Anthropocene Review
Open Access pdf 10.1177/20530196221087790

The Effect of Rebate and Loan Incentives on Residential Heat Pump Adoption: Evidence from North Carolina
Shen et al. Environmental and Resource Economics

Understanding barriers to electric vehicle adoption for personal mobility: A case study of middle income in-service residents in Hyderabad city, India
Munshi et al. Energy Policy

A climate club to decarbonize the global steel industry
Hermwille et al. Nature Climate Change

Global biomass supply modeling for long-run management of the climate system
Rose et al. Climatic Change
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10584-022-03336-9

Centralized and decentral approaches to succeed the 100% energiewende in Germany in the European context – A model-based analysis of generation, network, and storage investments
Kendziorski et al. Energy Policy
Open Access pdf 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113039

Policy choices and outcomes for offshore wind auctions globally
Jansen et al. Energy Policy
Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113000

Expert Perspectives on the Wind Plant of the Future
Beiter et al. Wind Energy
Open Access 10.1002/we.2735

Geoengineering climate

Communication of solar geoengineering science: Forms, examples, and explanation of skewing
Reynolds The Anthropocene Review

Black carbon

Snow albedo feedbacks enhance snow impurity-induced radiative forcing in the Sierra Nevada
Huang et al. Geophysical Research Letters


New estimates of aerosol radiative effects over India from surface and satellite observations
Subba et al. Atmospheric Research

Climate change communications & cognition

Social Engagement with climate change: principles for effective visual representation on social media
Journal of Development and Social Sciences
Open Access pdf 10.47205/jdss.2021(2-iv)74

Don’t gloss over social science! a response to: Glavovic et al. (2021) ‘the tragedy of climate change science’
Cologna & Oreskes Climate and Development

Political leaders with professional background in business and climate outcomes
Diaz-Serrano & Kallis Climatic Change
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10584-022-03363-6

Mind the gaps! Climate scientists should heed lessons in collaborative storytelling from William Shakespeare
Shenk & Gutowski WIREs Climate Change

Political ideology and psychological reactance: how serious should climate change be?
Chan & Lin Climatic Change

Agronomy, animal husbundry, food production & climate change

Mapping agricultural vulnerability to impacts of climate events of Punjab, Pakistan
Nadeem et al. Regional Environmental Change
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10113-022-01918-y

Global Agricultural Water Scarcity Assessment Incorporating Blue and Green Water Availability Under Future Climate Chang
Liu et al. Earth's Future
Open Access pdf 10.1029/2021ef002567

Rural land abandonment is too ephemeral to provide major benefits for biodiversity and climate
Crawford et al. Science Advances

Assessment and adaptation strategies of climate change through the prism of farmers' perception: A case study
Kamruzzaman et al. International Journal of Environmental Science and Technology

Climate change scenarios and the dragon fruit climatic zoning in Brazil
de Oliveira Aparecido et al. Theoretical and Applied Climatology
Open Access 10.1007/s00704-022-04090-9

Evaluating the regional risks to food availability and access from land-based climate policies in an integrated assessment model
Cui et al. Environment Systems and Decisions
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10669-022-09860-4

Decoupling of impact factors reveals the response of cash crops phenology to climate change and adaptive management practice
Zhang & Liu Agricultural and Forest Meteorology

California shellfish farmers: Perceptions of changing ocean conditions and strategies for adaptive capacity
Ward et al. Ocean & Coastal Management
Open Access 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2022.106155

Hydrology, hydrometeorology & climate change

Observed trends and variability of seasonal and annual precipitation in Pakistan during 1960–2016
Hussain et al. International Journal of Climatology

Projecting changes in the water sources used for irrigation in South Asia
Nature Climate Change

South Asian agriculture increasingly dependent on meltwater and groundwater
Lutz et al. Nature Climate Change

Forecasting riverine erosion hazards to electricity transmission towers under increasing flow magnitudes
Feeney et al. Climate Risk Management
Open Access 10.1016/j.crm.2022.100439

The rise of Atmospheric Evaporative Demand is increasing flash droughts in Spain during the warm season
Noguera et al. Geophysical Research Letters

Increasing 2020-like boreal summer rainfall extremes over Northeast Indian subcontinent under greenhouse warming
Tang et al. Geophysical Research Letters

Modeling of hydrological and environmental flow dynamics over a central Himalayan River basin through satellite altimetry and recent climate projections
Kumar et al. International Journal of Climatology

Projection of droughts in Amu river basin for shared socioeconomic pathways CMIP6
Salehie et al. Theoretical and Applied Climatology

Characterizing Drought Behavior in the Colorado River Basin Using Unsupervised Machine Learning
Talsma et al. Earth and Space Science
Open Access pdf 10.1029/2021ea002086

Climate change economics

Financing the transformation: a proposal for a credit scheme to finance the Paris Agreement
Edenhofer et al. Climate Policy

Effectiveness of emerging mechanisms for financing national climate actions; example of the Indonesia Climate Change Trust Fund
Sheriffdeen et al. Climate and Development

Climate change and the circular economy

Saudi Arabia’s Climate Change Policy and the Circular Carbon Economy Approach
Shehri et al. Climate Policy
Open Access pdf 10.1080/14693062.2022.2070118

Climate change mitigation public policy research

A right to pollute versus a duty to mitigate: on the basis of emissions trading and carbon markets
Espinosa-Flor Climate Policy
Open Access pdf 10.1080/14693062.2022.2078769

The role of culture in advancing sustainable energy policy and practice
Goggins et al. Energy Policy
Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113055

Evaluating the regional risks to food availability and access from land-based climate policies in an integrated assessment model
Cui et al. Environment Systems and Decisions
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10669-022-09860-4

Paris Agreement requires substantial, broad, and sustained policy efforts beyond COVID-19 public stimulus packages
Tanaka et al. Climatic Change
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10584-022-03355-6

Is the Paris rulebook sufficient for effective implementation of Paris Agreement?
Ruo-Shui et al. Advances in Climate Change Research
Open Access 10.1016/j.accre.2022.05.003

100% renewable electricity policies in U.S. cities: A mixed methods analysis of adoption and implementation
Kunkel et al. Energy Policy

Climate change adaptation & adaptation public policy research

Wealth and Vulnerability to Climate Change: An Experimental Study on Burden Sharing among Heterogeneous Agents
Reindl Environmental and Resource Economics

Influence of climate change, overfishing and COVID19 on irregular migration in West Africa
Enríquez-de-Salamanca Climate and Development

Integrating attribution with adaptation for unprecedented future heatwaves
Harrington et al. Climatic Change
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10584-022-03357-4

Climate change impacts on human health

Predicting climate change impact on hospitalizations of cardiovascular patients in Tabriz
Roshan et al. Urban Climate

Individually experienced heat stress among elderly residents of an urban slum and rural village in India
Weitz et al. International Journal of Biometeorology

Rising temperatures erode human sleep globally
Minor et al. One Earth
Open Access pdf 10.1016/j.oneear.2022.04.008

Association of Extreme Heat With All-Cause Mortality in the Contiguous US, 2008-2017
Khatana et al. JAMA Network Open
Open Access pdf 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2022.12957

Climate change impacts on human culture

Influence of climate change, overfishing and COVID19 on irregular migration in West Africa
Enríquez-de-Salamanca Climate and Development

Climate change, labour availability and the future of gender inequality in South Africa
Shayegh & Dasgupta Climate and Development
Open Access pdf 10.1080/17565529.2022.2074349


Whether China's overseas energy infrastructure projects dirtier or cleaner after the belt and road initiative?
Wang & Lin Energy Policy

Drivers of coral reconstructed salinity in the South China Sea and Maritime Continent: The influence of the 1976 Indo-Pacific climate shift
Kannad et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans

Revealing bias of cloud radiative effect in WRF simulation: Bias Quantification And Source Attribution
Shan et al. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres

Climate impacts and potential drivers of the unprecedented Antarctic ozone holes of 2020 and 2021
Yook et al. Geophysical Research Letters

Turbulent Heat Flux, Downward Longwave Radiation, and Large-Scale Atmospheric Circulation Associated with Wintertime Barents–Kara Sea Extreme Sea Ice Loss Events
Zheng et al. Journal of Climate

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

Capacity building as the cornerstone of the climate change regime: evolution of the agenda through a policy-practitioner view from Brazil
Ferraz da Silva Climate Policy

A right to pollute versus a duty to mitigate: on the basis of emissions trading and carbon markets
Espinosa-Flor Climate Policy
Open Access pdf 10.1080/14693062.2022.2078769

Communication of solar geoengineering science: Forms, examples, and explanation of skewing
Reynolds The Anthropocene Review

Coral Reefs: The good and not so good news with future bright and dark spots for coral reefs through climate change
Devlin Global Change Biology
Open Access pdf 10.1111/gcb.16271

A climate club to decarbonize the global steel industry
Hermwille et al. Nature Climate Change

Introduction: Critical and historical perspectives on usable climate science
Coen & Sobel Climatic Change
Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10584-022-03369-0

Mitigating climate disruption in time: A self-consistent approach for avoiding both near-term and long-term global warming
Dreyfus et al. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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

2022 Summer Reliability Assessment, North American Reliability Corporation

The assessment identifies, assesses, and reports on areas of concern regarding the reliability of the North American BPS (bulk power system) for the 2022 summer season. In addition, the assessment presents peak electricity demand and supply changes as well as highlights any unique regional challenges or expected conditions that might impact the BPS.

Summer Energy Market and Reliability Assessment, 2022, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The assessment provides the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s outlook for energy markets and electric reliability, focusing on June, July, August, and September 2022. The report contains four main sections. The first section discusses the findings of the Summer Assessment. The second section details the weather outlook for Summer 2022. The third section discusses energy market fundamentals, including natural gas and electric market supply and demand expectations, including expected North American Electric Reliability Corporation regional resource adequacy details. The fourth section describes notable issues and addresses potential implications of pipeline outages, drought, hydro-generation, and wildfires on western U.S. energy markets.

Energy Transition in PJM: Emerging Characteristics of a Decarbonizing Grid, PJM

Driven by PJM’s strategic pillars – facilitating decarbonization reliably and cost-effectively, planning/operating the grid of the future, and fostering innovation – PJM has embarked on a multiphase, multiyear effort to study the potential impacts associated with the evolving resource mix. The diverse set of PJM state policies were synthesized into three scenarios in which an increasing amount of the annual energy is served by carbon-free generation (40%, 50% and 70%). The assumptions embedded in the three scenarios – Base, Policy and Accelerated – were refined and extended in order to analyze the impact of four major sensitivities: electrification (electric vehicles and heating), energy storage, interregional interchange and the inclusion of a downward-sloping Operating Reserve Demand Curve into the energy and ancillary services markets. An entire year of the energy market was simulated with an hourly resolution, and the capacity contributions of renewable resources were evaluated using the Effective Load Carrying Capability method. The results suggest five key focus areas for the PJM stakeholder community and delineate the subsequent phases of the study: (1) electrification shifts the seasonal resource adequacy risk to winter; (2) retail rate design and energy storage become increasingly important with electrification; (3) market reforms are needed to incentivize flexibility and mitigate uncertainty; (4) the integration of renewable resources increases the need for balancing resources to meet forecasted ramping requirements; and (5) energy storage (four hours) enhances operational flexibility, but seasonal capacity and energy constraints require transmission expansion, long-term storage and other emerging technology.

Alaska Native Issues. Federal Agencies Could Enhance Support for Native Village Efforts to Address Environmental Threats, US Government Accountability Office

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) was asked to review federal efforts to help Alaska Native villages address environmental threats. The report examines (1) information about environmental threats to Native villages; (2) federal funding provided to address such threats, and actions supported by that funding; and (3) opportunities to better support efforts to build resilience to such threats. More than 70 out of over 200 Alaska Native villages face significant environmental threats from erosion, flooding, or thawing permafrost, according to a 2019 statewide assessment. Consequences from even a moderate flood or increasing erosion could be significant and over one-third of these communities face the compounding effects of more than one threat. According to several federal officials, short-term actions are needed to address the most urgent threats without waiting for additional studies. At the same time, many Native villages also need more information to support longer-term planning. Congress should consider establishing a coordinating entity to assist Native villages facing environmental threats.

Morocco, Algeria, Egypt: Assessing EU plans to import hydrogen from North Africa, Michael Barnard,
Corporate Europe Observatory and Transnational Institute

The European Commission’s 2020 hydrogen strategy has a big focus on importing ‘green’ renewables-based hydrogen from its neighborhood (North Africa and Ukraine). Since the recent invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent need to reduce dependency on Russian gas, the Europena Union (EU) has doubled its import targets to 10 million tonnes per year by 2030, as per the RePowerEU communiqué. The author examines three North African countries that in recent years are increasingly focused on hydrogen, based in significant part on the interest of the EU and its corporations. Morocco, Algeria and Egypt are all planning to manufacture green hydrogen and hydrogen-based products and ship them to the EU via boats and pipelines, to help meet this projected demand. The author examines how feasible is such a plan, how much would it cost, and would they be the best use of renewables in those countries? There are big question marks over whether green hydrogen can ever be exported at sufficiently attractive prices, given the high production and transportation costs.

The Carbon Bankroll. The Climate Impact and Untapped Power of Corporate Cash, Climate Safe Lending Network, The Outdoor Policy Outfit, and BankFWD

The research presented in the report makes it possible to calculate the emissions generated by a company’s cash and investments (cash, cash equivalents, and marketable securities). This research shows that this previously hidden emissions source is substantial. For some of the world’s largest companies, including Alphabet, Meta, Microsoft, and Salesforce, their cash and investments are their largest source of emissions. In fact, for Alphabet, Meta, and PayPal, the emissions generated by their cash and investments (financed emissions) exceed all their other emissions combined. The authors selected the companies featured in the report to show the magnitude of corporate cash and investment emissions and to highlight how companies’ climate accomplishments are being undermined by a misaligned financial system that is channeling hundreds of billions of corporate U.S. dollars into the carbon-intensive sectors driving the climate crisis.

Environment of Peace. Security in a new era of risk, Dabelko et al., Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

Two cataclysmic events have shaken our world in the space of just three years. The most serious pandemic in living memory has claimed millions of lives, sickened countless more people and caused economic damage measured in trillions of dollars. Now, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has killed many thousands and created millions of refugees; it threatens to wreak havoc in the world’s food supply, raises the specter of nuclear conflict to a level not seen since the end of the cold war, and has raised questions anew over institutions designed to secure peace in Europe and globally. What does environmental degradation have to do with peace and security? The evidence assembled for this report shows that the answer is: everything. The twin security and environmental crises are linked in ways that we are only beginning to understand, with impacts we are only beginning to feel. Climate change is a risk multiplier for both new and pre-existing sources of tension. The impacts fall hardest in places already marked by poverty, dysfunctional governance and conflict history. But given the extent of interconnections in the 21st century, they have consequences right across the world—connecting people and populations in an environment of insecurity. There are three principal conclusions from the report. First, there is a profound need to begin anticipating and managing the increasing risks to peace stemming from the interlinked security and environmental crises. Second, that without a step change in action on all aspects of environmental degradation—cutting greenhouse gas emissions, reducing pollution, arresting the decline in species and ecosystems, and more—the security challenge will inevitably get worse. The third conclusion is that there is hope. Humanity has the knowledge and skills to escape from the trouble in which we find ourselves.

Russia Sanctions and Gas Price Crisis Reveal Danger of Investing in “Blue” Hydrogen, Jaller-Makarewicz et al., Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis

Elevated gas prices and a future tight market means blue hydrogen, e.g., hydrogen derived from methane with carbon capture and storage, is no longer a low-cost solution. The authors estimate that blue hydrogen costs published by the UK government last year are now 36% higher, calling into question continued policy support for development of the technology. Blue hydrogen is an extension of the gas value chain and does not make sense as an investment during a gas price crisis.

The turning point. A Global Summary, Philip, Ibrahim & Hodges, Deloitte Economics Institute

The authors modeled region-level data from 15 geographies5 across Asia Pacific, Europe, and the Americas to estimate how much it could cost the global economy if we are not able to prevent global average temperatures from rising 3°C by the end of the century. Using scenario analysis which demonstrates how climate impacts could affect economic output (GDP), employment, and industry, the researchers established a new economic baseline, one that incorporates the climate impacts from a recent IPCC report. The authors then compared this three-degrees-hotter world to a more hopeful scenario: a future in which the world makes a different choice—and changes. The status quo is the costlier choice. According to the modeling, unchecked climate change could cost the global economy US$178 trillion in net present value terms from 2021–2070. The human costs would be far greater: a lack of food and water, a loss of jobs, worsening health and well-being, and reduced standard of living. If, on the other hand, the world acts now to rapidly achieve net-zero emissions by midcentury, the transformation of the economy could set the world up for stronger economic growth by 2070, according to the analysis. Such a transformation could increase the size of the world economy by US$43 trillion in net present value terms from 2021–2070.

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.


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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Comments 1 to 7:

  1. Thanks, Doug, for resurrecting the Homo bolidus designation for our species. I'd forgotten about that, but given the many recent demonstrations of our (in)ability to use our intelligence to change the trajectory of our collective activities, I'd say that we're definitely destined to be a brief but impactful flash in the evolutionary pan of our planet.

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  2. I found this to be confusing: " Conversely, not acting as Homo bolidus will see us squarely in the black," when the Deloitte report actually says that acting boldly to mitigate global warming will bring us prosperity.

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  3. Sorry Joel, that was a bit of an accounting joke. Given that Deloitte grew its first roots in financial accountancy, "in the red" is bad, and "in the black" is good. 


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  4. Doug,

    Unlike wilddouglascounty I was not familiar with the origin or meaning of the term 'homo bolidus'. My internet searches came up empty. But I found it by searching within SkS (back to 2012). It is indeed an appropriate term for the majority of the portion of humanity that wins competitons for superiority.

    Coincidentally, I have recently read "Under the Sky We Make" by Kimberly Nicholas PhD. The book promotes the need for a systemic change to a Regenerative Mindset, displacing and correcting the harmful developed influence of the Exploitation Mindset. The author says that without that systemic correction "We are the asteroid".

    Though the book is not "research" it is based extensively on published research (and refers to SkS and John Cook). But I may be biased because I found the content to be consistent with my developing understanding of the issue.

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  5. One Planet, that may have been me writing that here in 2012. The first time I used it the term was original within the confines of my mind and experience— but with 7.753 billion people on the planet I seriously doubt I was the first to think of it. :-) 

    "Under the Sky We Make" hopefully is a leading indicator. Not caring about what happens after we're personally dead is maximal nihilism. 

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  6. "Homo bolidus" was indeed presented by you in your comment on the 2012 SkS post by dana1981 "Lindzen, Happer and Cohen Wall Street Journal Rerun".

    Revisiting that item highlights how difficult it is for public opinion to be 'improved to reduce harm done' by attempts to get people to have increased awareness and improved understanding the evidence based fuller story related to harm done on any issue. So much of the harmful misunderstanding in 2012 is alive and kicking harder today.

    The legacy dominance of utilitarian beliefs that 'harm done can be dismissed or justified by claims that some people benefit from the harmful unsustainable activity and associated developed harmful misunderstandings' is hard to correct. People motivated by competitive pursuit of higher status can be very reluctant to learn that their current status or desired ways of obtaining more benefit are harmful obtained and unsustainable. Giving up potential for more benefit and making amends for harm done can be contrary to their liking. And they will readily believe and support purveyors of harmful misleading messages. They can even be seen to become more irrationally determined to believe that 'increased awareness and improved understanding of what is harmful and the required corrections' is a political ideology that is harmfully trying to 'cancel their type of people'.

    It is tragic that a harmfully misled minority can have so much influence due to 'Defending and demanding Freedom to believe what they want and do as they please'.

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  7. "So much of the harmful misunderstanding in 2012 is alive and kicking harder today."

    An observation supported by hard data.

    We log accesses to our rebuttals coming in via Facebook. We can't tell who is referring to our stuff but we see the usage. It is truly amazing to see what's in play in the public mind; the oldest and most shopworn rubbish is still "debated," judging from resources people on FB are drawing upon.

    For the "lifer" doing this crazy work it's all too easy to think of an issue as done-and-dusted, if only from sheer boredom over "rinse, repeat" ad nauseam. 

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