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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #22 2023

Posted on 1 June 2023 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Open access notables

Multiple studies indicate changes in the properties of Antarctic bottom water (AABW) over the past half century. These changes involve density and hence will affect both local and distant circulation of the oceans, not least overturning effects that are vital for marine biology but also climate and weather far distant from Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. While we can see what's happening, our understanding of what's driving change is incomplete. By synthesizing multiple observational channels in a uniquely suitable region, Kathryn Gunn et al. produce an important increment in our understanding of what's perturbing this system in Recent reduced abyssal overturning and ventilation in the Australian Antarctic Basin, just published in Nature Climate Change. It looks as though glacial meltwater is an growingly important factor. The paper confirms and extends prior indication that substantial change is occurring in  Antarctic bottom waters. This article is also rewarding for a general readership thanks to its excellent introduction and synopsis of the problems the authors attack. 

"Talk is cheap," quantified: Destruction (energy) is at the heart of everything we do: Chevron’s junk climate action agenda and how it intensifies global harm. From our gov./NGO section, a report by Corporate Accountabilty details how an exemplar oil major is failing to deliver on promises to deliver "net zero" fossil fuels. The authors report that Chevron ends up with a cosmetically impoved by still expanding emissions footprint— while also promoting blundering and harmful offset schemes.

Book review: Climate obstruction: how Denial, delay and inaction are heating the planet. In this book the authors draw on previous work in assembling a taxonomy of individual actions and failings leading to climate failure, relating the whole to identify a new formality they call "climate obstructionism." Reviewer Hauke Dannemann praises the book's novel contribtuions while also setting the stage for further synthesis. Dannemann concludes: "Climate Obstruction is an eye-opening, thought-provoking contribution and a must-read for everybody who despairs of understanding why late modern societies are sliding into climate catastrophe with their eyes wide open, or – to be precise – are already in the midst of it."

Most of us are happy and intrigued to try new foods.  But when it's hinted we may have to change our diets due to circumstances beyond our control, our mood changes— or so it would seem from heated discussions on the topic  Emotional attachments aside, a plethora of research suggests that coming decades will include multiple stressors on natural and artificial systems connected with our obtaining food, and that our agriculture itself is increasingly a stress point on climate. Something may have to give, whatever our personal preferences. But what, and how?  Authors Sonali Shukla McDermid and coauthors persuasively describe major gaps in our understanding of important details of how we can alter our food supply to the extent it turns out we must, in Research needs for a food system transition. McDermid et al. conclude that major interdisciplinary cooperation is needed in order to have sufficient information to cope with mandatory changes we're likely to encounter. 

Superficially it may sound like "discourses of delay" and/or "solutions denial," but it's not. In their perspective piece in Conservation Letters C. Javier Durá-Alemañ et al make a sincere plea against accidental harm committed while addressing universally agreed urgencies. Climate change and energy crisis drive an unprecedented EU environmental law regression. Pointing out that various efforts to reduce friction in buliding out renewable energy supplies entail their own forms of risk, the authors have a reasonable ask: accelerations of renewable energy deployments should remain anchored in evidence allowing us to have a full, clear understanding of  biodiversity trade-offs and opportunity costs attached to our energy modernization. 

116 articles in 58 journals by 765 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Recent Deoxygenation of Patagonian Fjord Subsurface Waters Connected to the Peru–Chile Undercurrent and Equatorial Subsurface Water Variability, Linford et al., Global Biogeochemical Cycles 10.1029/2022gb007688

Sea surface warming patterns drive hydrological sensitivity uncertainties, Zhang et al., Nature Climate Change Open Access 10.1038/s41558-023-01678-5

The circulation and rainfall response in the southern hemisphere extra-tropics to climate stabilisation, Grose & King, Weather and Climate Extremes Open Access 10.1016/j.wace.2023.100577

Observations of climate change, effects

Influence of Indian Ocean warming on rainfall of Sri Lanka, Kajakokulan et al., International Journal of Climatology 10.1002/joc.8124

Observed and projected changes in snow accumulation and snowline in California’s snowy mountains, Shulgina et al., Climate Dynamics Open Access 10.1007/s00382-023-06776-w

Recent reduced abyssal overturning and ventilation in the Australian Antarctic Basin, Gunn et al., Nature Climate Change Open Access 10.1038/s41558-023-01667-8

Satellite-observed strong subtropical ocean warming as an early signature of global warming, Yang et al., Communications Earth & Environment Open Access 10.1038/s43247-023-00839-w

The unprecedented spatial extent and intensity of the 2021 summer extreme heatwave event over the Western North American regions, Lo et al., Weather and Climate Extremes Open Access 10.1016/j.wace.2023.100576

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, effects

CADTEP: A new daily quality-controlled and homogenized climate database for Catalonia (1950–2021), Prohom et al., International Journal of Climatology Open Access 10.1002/joc.8116

Heat stored in the Earth system 1960–2020: where does the energy go?, von Schuckmann et al., Earth System Science Data Open Access 10.5194/essd-15-1675-2023

Progress in investigating long-term trends in the mesosphere, thermosphere, and ionosphere, Laštovi?ka, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Open Access 10.5194/acp-23-5783-2023

Uncovering the hydro-meteorological drivers responsible for forest fires utilizing geospatial techniques, Gupta et al., Theoretical and Applied Climatology 10.1007/s00704-023-04497-y

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects

Future extreme high-temperature risk in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei urban agglomeration of China based on a regional climate model coupled with urban parameterization scheme, Wang et al., Theoretical and Applied Climatology 10.1007/s00704-023-04481-6

Historical global ocean wave data simulated with CMIP6 anthropogenic and natural forcings, Patra et al., Scientific Data Open Access 10.1038/s41597-023-02228-6

Increased wintertime European atmospheric blocking frequencies in General Circulation Models with an eddy-permitting ocean, Michel et al., npj Climate and Atmospheric Science Open Access 10.1038/s41612-023-00372-9

Potential Impact of the Pan-African Great Green Wall on Sahelian Summer Precipitation: A Global Modeling Approach with MPAS, Smiatek & Kunstmann, Earth Interactions Open Access 10.1175/ei-d-22-0013.1

Pre-Industrial, Present and Future Atmospheric Soluble Iron Deposition and the Role of Aerosol Acidity and Oxalate Under CMIP6 Emissions, Bergas?Massó et al., Earth's Future Open Access 10.1029/2022ef003353

Relative contributions of local heat storage and ocean heat transport to cold season Arctic Ocean surface energy fluxes in CMIP6 models, al Hajjar & Salzmann, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 10.1002/qj.4496

Advancement of climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection

Model-data comparison of Antarctic winter sea-ice extent and Southern Ocean sea-surface temperatures during Marine Isotope Stage 5e, Chadwick et al., Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology Open Access 10.1029/2022pa004600

Overestimated nitrogen loss from denitrification for natural terrestrial ecosystems in CMIP6 Earth System Models, Feng et al., Nature Communications Open Access 10.1038/s41467-023-38803-z

Tropical Indian Ocean Mixed Layer Bias in CMIP6 CGCMs Primarily Attributed to the AGCM Surface Wind Bias, Feng et al., Journal of Climate 10.1175/jcli-d-22-0546.1

Whether the updates of dynamical processes can improve the performance of BCC-CSM model to reproduce the long-range correlation of the daily temperature?, He et al., International Journal of Climatology 10.1002/joc.8092

Cryosphere & climate change

Climate change impacts on snow cover area and snowmelt runoff in the Ajichai Basin-Iran, Goodarzi et al., International Journal of Climatology 10.1002/joc.8130

High potential for pile-bearing capacity loss and ground subsidence over permafrost regions across the Northern Hemisphere, Yin et al., Global and Planetary Change 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2023.104156

Sea level & climate change

Driving processes of relative sea-level change in the Adriatic during the past two millennia: From local tectonic movements in the Dubrovnik archipelago (Jakljan and Šipan islands) to global mean sea level contributions (Central Mediterranean), Faivre et al., Global and Planetary Change 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2023.104158

Biology & climate change, related geochemistry

Climate suitability modeling for Anastrepha suspensa (Diptera: Tephritidae): current and future invasion risk analysis, da Silva Santana et al., International Journal of Biometeorology 10.1007/s00484-023-02487-3

Demography–environment relationships improve mechanistic understanding of range dynamics under climate change, Malchow et al., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Open Access 10.1098/rstb.2022.0194

Drought is threatening plant growth and soil nutrients of grassland ecosystems: A meta-analysis, Liu et al., Ecology and Evolution Open Access 10.1002/ece3.10092

Expanding range and role change, Armarego-Marriott, Nature Climate Change Open Access 10.1038/s41558-023-01675-8

Groundfish biodiversity change in northeastern Pacific waters under projected warming and deoxygenation, Thompson et al., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Open Access 10.1098/rstb.2022.0191

Large diurnal compensatory effects mitigate the response of Amazonian forests to atmospheric warming and drying, Zhang et al., Science Advances Open Access 10.1126/sciadv.abq4974

Microbe, climate change and marine environment: Linking trends and research hotspots, Segaran et al., Marine Environmental Research 10.1016/j.marenvres.2023.106015

Physiologically vulnerable or resilient? Tropical birds, global warming, and redistributions, Monge et al., Ecology and Evolution Open Access pdf 10.1002/ece3.9985

Using high frequency digital repeat photography to quantify the sensitivity of a semi-arid grassland ecosystem to the temporal repackaging of precipitation, Zhang et al., Agricultural and Forest Meteorology 10.1016/j.agrformet.2023.109539

Where can managers effectively resist climate-driven ecological transformation in pinyon–juniper woodlands of the US Southwest?, Noel et al., Global Change Biology Open Access 10.1111/gcb.16756

GHG sources & sinks, flux, related geochemistry

Can we detect urban-scale CO2 emission changes within medium-sized cities?, Mallia et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 10.1029/2023jd038686

Coupled anaerobic methane oxidation and metal reduction in soil under elevated CO2, Xu et al., Global Change Biology Open Access 10.1111/gcb.16763

Deepened snow cover increases grassland soil carbon stocks by incorporating carbon inputs into deep soil layers, Deng et al., Global Change Biology 10.1111/gcb.16798

Evaluation of interpolation methods for the prediction of urban methane concentrations, Stadler et al., Urban Climate 10.1016/j.uclim.2023.101556

High-Resolution Bayesian Inversion of Carbon Dioxide Flux Over Peninsular India, Sijikumar et al., Atmospheric Environment 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2023.119868

On physical mechanisms enhancing air–sea CO2 exchange, Gutiérrez-Loza et al., Biogeosciences Open Access pdf 10.5194/bg-19-5645-2022

Spatial and temporal variations of gross primary production simulated by land surface model BCC&AVIM2.0, Li et al., Advances in Climate Change Research Open Access 10.1016/j.accre.2023.02.001

Wood-Based Carbon Storage in the Mackenzie River Delta: The World's Largest Mapped Riverine Wood Deposit, Sendrowski et al., Geophysical Research Letters Open Access pdf 10.1029/2022gl100913

CO2 capture, sequestration science & engineering

Inorganic blue carbon sequestration, Sulpis & Middelburg, Nature Sustainability 10.1038/s41893-023-01143-3


Phase evolution under pressure, Javanbakht, Materialia Open Access 10.1016/j.mtla.2021.101199

Retarding solid-state reactions enable efficient and stable all-inorganic perovskite solar cells and modules, Liu et al., Science Advances Open Access 10.1126/sciadv.adg0087

Climate change communications & cognition

An Experimental Study of the Impact of Greenwashing on Attitudes toward Fossil Fuel Corporations’ Sustainability Initiatives, Friedman & Campbell, Environmental Communication 10.1080/17524032.2023.2215959

Animals and climate change: A visual and discourse network analysis of Instagram posts, Koop-Monteiro et al., Environmental Sociology 10.1080/23251042.2023.2216371

Drought Exposure and Accuracy: Motivated Reasoning in Climate Change Beliefs, Zappalà, Environmental and Resource Economics 10.1007/s10640-023-00779-1

Ignoring environmental change? On fishing quotas and collapsing coastlines in Bykovskiy, Northern Sakha (Yakutiya), Povoroznyuk & Schweitzer, Ambio Open Access 10.1007/s13280-023-01874-9

Searching the flames: Trends in global and regional public interest in wildfires, Santín et al., Environmental Science & Policy 10.1016/j.envsci.2023.05.008

The ivory tower of academia in the era of climate change: European scientists’ engagement in science popularization related to single-use plastics, Krawczyk et al., Environmental Science & Policy 10.1016/j.envsci.2023.05.016

Using Protection Motivation Theory to examine information-seeking behaviors on climate change, Li et al., Global Environmental Change Open Access 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2023.102698

Agronomy, animal husbundry, food production & climate change

A machine learning approach to assess implications of Climate Risk Factors on Agriculture: The Indian case, Jha et al., Climate Risk Management Open Access 10.1016/j.crm.2023.100523

A scalable framework for quantifying field-level agricultural carbon outcomes, Guan et al., Earth Open Access 10.1016/j.earscirev.2023.104462

Coupling habitat-specific temperature scenarios with tolerance landscape to predict the impacts of climate change on farmed bivalves, Bertolini et al., Marine Environmental Research 10.1016/j.marenvres.2023.106038

Future Climate Change Impacts on U.S. Agricultural Yields, Production, and Market, Fei et al., Anthropocene 10.1016/j.ancene.2023.100386

Hierarchy of value orientation and beliefs in climate change influencing the farmers’ extractive or non-extractive behavior on the farm, Karami, Environment, Development and Sustainability Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10668-023-03215-y

Quantifying direct yield benefits of soil carbon increases from cover cropping, Vendig et al., Nature Sustainability 10.1038/s41893-023-01131-7

Rainfall changes perceived by farmers and captured by meteorological data: two sides to every story, Hubertus et al., Regional Environmental Change Open Access 10.1007/s10113-023-02064-9

Soil extracellular enzymes for climate-smart and resource-efficient agroecosystems: Research priorities, Chen et al., PLOS Climate Open Access 10.1371/journal.pclm.0000210

The effects of climate change on food production in India: evidence from the ARDL model, Ahmed et al., Environment, Development and Sustainability Open Access 10.1007/s10668-023-03209-w

Weather insurance in European crop and horticulture production, Bucheli et al., Climate Risk Management Open Access 10.1016/j.crm.2023.100525

Why “formal” climate adaptation strategies fail in sub-Saharan Africa: Ignoring adapters’ agency in the case of smallholding agriculture farming practices in Bono East Region of Ghana, Quarshie et al., Climate Resilience and Sustainability Open Access 10.1002/cli2.53

“Climate-smart agriculture and food security: Cross-country evidence from West Africa”, Tabe-Ojong et al., Global Environmental Change Open Access 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2023.102697

Hydrology, hydrometeorology & climate change

Geomorphic response of low-gradient, meandering and braided alluvial river channels to increased sediment supply, Kemper et al., Earth 10.1016/j.earscirev.2023.104429

Global projections of flash drought show increased risk in a warming climate, Christian et al., Communications Earth & Environment Open Access 10.1038/s43247-023-00826-1

Groundwater depletion rate over China during 1965-2016: The long-term trend and inter-annual variation, Huang et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 10.1029/2022jd038109

Identical hierarchy of physical drought types for climate change signals and uncertainty, Hosseinzadehtalaei et al., Weather and Climate Extremes Open Access 10.1016/j.wace.2023.100573

MOPREDAS&century database and precipitation trends in mainland Spain, 1916–2020, Gonzalez?Hidalgo et al., International Journal of Climatology Open Access pdf 10.1002/joc.8060

Twenty-first century increases in total and extreme precipitation across the Northeastern USA, Picard et al., Climatic Change 10.1007/s10584-023-03545-w

Climate change economics

Assessing different European Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism implementations and their impact on trade partners, Beaufils et al., Communications Earth & Environment Open Access 10.1038/s43247-023-00788-4

Conflict sensitive climate finance: lessons from the green climate fund, Scartozzi, Climate Policy Open Access 10.1080/14693062.2023.2212640

Philosophers and economists agree on climate policy paths but for different reasons, Nesje et al., Nature Climate Change 10.1038/s41558-023-01681-w

The drivers and barriers of energy efficiency, Su, Energy Policy Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113598

The social cost of methane, Azar et al., Climatic Change Open Access 10.1007/s10584-023-03540-1

Climate change mitigation public policy research

Calm before the storm: Market prices in a power market with an increasing share of wind power, Grohnheit & Sneum, Energy Policy Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113631

Dealing with deep uncertainty in the energy transition: What we can learn from the electricity and transportation sectors, Haas et al., Energy Policy 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113632

Diffusion of global climate policy: National depoliticization, local repoliticization in Turkey, Yazar et al., Global Environmental Change Open Access 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2023.102699

Distributive justice and the global emissions budget, Schulan et al., WIREs Climate Change Open Access 10.1002/wcc.847

Energy, power, and greenhouse gas emissions for future transition scenarios, Battisti, Energy Policy 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113626

Identifying policy areas for the transition of the transportation sector, Hainsch, Energy Policy Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2023.113591

National climate change acts: the emergence, form and nature of national framework climate legislation, Li & Zhu , Environmental Politics Open Access 10.1080/09644016.2023.2213136

Sharing the decarbonisation effort: getting Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East countries on the road to global carbon neutrality, Yiakoumi et al., Climate Policy 10.1080/14693062.2023.2216178

Climate change adaptation & adaptation public policy research

A framework to assess multi-hazard physical climate risk for power generation projects from publicly-accessible sources, Luo et al., Communications Earth & Environment Open Access pdf 10.1038/s43247-023-00782-w

A review of climatic impacts on water main deterioration, Ahmad et al., Urban Climate Open Access 10.1016/j.uclim.2023.101552

Centering equity in the development of a community resilience planning resource, Fry et al., Climate Risk Management Open Access 10.1016/j.crm.2023.100520

Estimating coastal flood damage costs to transit infrastructure under future sea level rise, Martello & Whittle, Communications Earth & Environment Open Access 10.1038/s43247-023-00804-7

Frozen infrastructures in a changing climate: Transforming human–environment-technology relations in the Anthropocene, Kuklina et al., Ambio Open Access pdf 10.1007/s13280-023-01878-5

Human migration on a heating planet: A scoping review, Issa et al., PLOS Climate Open Access 10.1371/journal.pclm.0000214

Incremental adaptation when transformation fails: The importance of place-based values and trust in governance in avoiding maladaptation, Clarke & Murphy, Journal of Environmental Psychology 10.1016/j.jenvp.2023.102037

Oil tanker under ice loadings, Gaidai et al., Scientific Reports Open Access 10.1038/s41598-023-34606-w

Opportunities for nature-based solutions to contribute to climate-resilient development pathways, Kinol et al., Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 10.1016/j.cosust.2023.101297

Progress in local climate change adaptation against sea level rise: A comparison of management planning between 2013 and 2022 of Swedish municipalities, Segge & Mauerhofer, Urban Climate Open Access 10.1016/j.uclim.2023.101555

Territorial inertia versus adaptation to climate change. When local authorities discuss coastal management in a French Mediterranean region, Robert et al., Global Environmental Change Open Access 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2023.102702

Testing the reliability of adaptive capacity as a proxy for adaptive and transformative responses to climate change, Bartelet et al., Global Environmental Change Open Access 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2023.102700

The hazard components of representative key risks The physical climate perspective, Tebaldi et al., Climate Risk Management Open Access 10.1016/j.crm.2023.100516

The multiplicity of impact: how social marginalization compounds climate disasters, Priest & Elliott, Environmental Sociology 10.1080/23251042.2023.2215592

What drives local climate change adaptation? A qualitative comparative analysis, Braunschweiger & Ingold , Environmental Science & Policy Open Access 10.1016/j.envsci.2023.03.013

Climate change impacts on human health

Detection and quantification of seasonal human heat and cold stress frequencies in representative existing and future urban canyons: the case of Ankara, Santos Nouri et al., Theoretical and Applied Climatology 10.1007/s00704-023-04482-5

Climate change impacts on human culture

Temporal resolution of climate pressures on façades in Oxford 1815–2021, Brimblecombe & Richards, Theoretical and Applied Climatology Open Access 10.1007/s00704-023-04498-x


Challenging the values of the polluter elite: A global consequentialist response to Evensen and Graham's (2022) ‘The irreplaceable virtues of in-person conferences’, Whitmarsh & Kreil, Journal of Environmental Psychology 10.1016/j.jenvp.2022.101881

Coupled surface to deep Earth processes: Perspectives from TOPO-EUROPE with an emphasis on climate- and energy-related societal challenges, Cloetingh et al., Global and Planetary Change 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2023.104140

The inequitable distribution of power interruptions during the 2021 Texas winter storm Uri, Shah et al., Environmental Research: Infrastructure and Sustainability Open Access 10.1088/2634-4505/acd4e7

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

Climate change and energy crisis drive an unprecedented EU environmental law regression, Durá-Alemañ et al., Conservation Letters Open Access 10.1111/conl.12958

Eyes of the world on a warmer, less frozen, and greener Arctic, Frost et al., Global Change Biology 10.1111/gcb.16767

Going beyond market-based mechanisms to finance nature-based solutions and foster sustainable futures, Chausson et al., PLOS Climate Open Access pdf 10.1371/journal.pclm.0000169

Halting generative AI advancements may slow down progress in climate research, Larosa et al., Nature Climate Change 10.1038/s41558-023-01686-5

Heat stored in the Earth system 1960–2020: where does the energy go?, von Schuckmann et al., Earth System Science Data Open Access 10.5194/essd-15-1675-2023

Placing diverse knowledge systems at the core of transformative climate research, Orlove et al., Ambio Open Access 10.1007/s13280-023-01857-w

Representation of adaptation in quantitative climate assessments, van Maanen et al., Nature Climate Change Open Access 10.1038/s41558-023-01644-1

Research needs for a food system transition, McDermid et al., Climatic Change Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10584-023-03507-2

Wetscapes: Restoring and maintaining peatland landscapes for sustainable futures, Temmink et al., Ambio Open Access 10.1007/s13280-023-01875-8

Book reviews

Climate justice in India, Devarhubli, Current World Environment Open Access pdf 10.12944/cwe.17.3.25

Climate obstruction: how Denial, delay and inaction are heating the planet, Dannemann, Environmental Politics 10.1080/09644016.2023.2215659

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

High and dry: The global energy transition's looming impact on the LNG and oil shipbuilding industry, Victor Maxwell and Nandini Das, Climate Analytics

The Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting the average annual temperature increase above pre-industrial levels to 1.5 C demand that fossil fuel production and consumption declines rapidly and immediately. The authors analyze the outlook for liquefied natural gas (LNG) carrier and oil tanker shipbuilding under a suite of future energy consumption and production scenarios, covering a range of global emissions levels and associated long-term temperature rises. Given the expected future decline in fossil fuel use, as the world moves to limit warming to 1.5 ?C, it is inevitable that oil tanker and gas carrier shipbuilding will also experience a decline. Moreover, a decline in this shipbuilding sector would occur even under policies and actions that limit warming to 1.7 ?C or 2.5 ?C. These ship types accounted for 27% and 10% of new ship builds globally over the period 2016 to 2020. Any decline in the market for these ships will have a significant effect on the sector as a whole. The objective of this study is to examine the risks faced by the global, and particularly the Korean, shipbuilding industry, in the face of a decarbonizing world.

Destruction (energy) is at the heart of everything we do: Chevron’s junk climate action agenda and how it intensifies global harm, Rachel Rose Jackson and Adrien Tofighi-Niaki, Corporate Accountability

The authors question Chevron’s proclaimed climate action and ‘green’ image. Their analysis of the activities associated with Chevron’s ‘net zero’ climate action plan raises significant concerns about whether its ‘climate action’ is displacing the needed emissions reductions to avoid climate catastrophe, spurring harm to communities and ecosystems, and further hindering the likelihood of meaningful climate action globally. For example, more than 90% of the carbon offsets Chevron has retired through the voluntary carbon market to ‘cancel out’ its emissions seem to be worthless— presumed ‘junk’ until proven otherwise. The technological ‘low carbon’ schemes appear to be failing to capture the emissions promised, in some cases missing targets by as much as 50%. A major proportion of the schemes Chevron is investing in as part of its ‘net zero’ plan is linked to claims of local community abuse, environmental degradation, and/or may even be fueling further emissions. Almost all of the harm claimed to have been inflicted is on communities in the Global South. Chevron’s ‘net zero’ pledge—even if fully implemented to the greatest effect without causing harm—overlooks 90% of the total emissions associated with its business practices. Chevron is ignoring the scientifically founded need for a fossil fuel phase-out, projecting emissions for 2022-2025 equivalent to that of 10 European countries during a similar period. It invests millions annually to manipulate the political will for climate action, seeking to shape climate policy to its will.

The 50 States of Power Decarbonization: Q1 2023 Quarterly Report, Apadula et al., North Carolina Clean Energy Technology Center

The authors provide timely, accurate, and unbiased updates to a broad audience of state lawmakers and regulators, state agencies, utilities, the clean energy industry, and other energy stakeholders, about how states are choosing to study, adopt, implement, amend, or discontinue policies associated with power decarbonization and how utilities are planning for and implementing future generation resource additions and retirements. The report catalogs proposed and approved executive, legislative, and regulatory changes affecting electric power decarbonization during the most recent quarter, as well as actions related to investor-owned utility resource plans and generation capacity changes.

Sharing the Benefits: How the Economics of Carbon Capture and Storage Projects in California Can Serve Communities, the Economy, and the Climate, Benjamin Grove and George Peridas,, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and Clean Air Task Force

To reach its ambitious goal of economy-wide carbon neutrality no later than 2045, California will have to capture, transport, and geologically store tens of millions of tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year. This CO2 will come from the atmosphere and from large stationary sources that have no other options for eliminating emissions. The needed technologies are available today and have been successfully demonstrated at multiple U.S. and international sites; California will need to host several of these carbon capture and storage (CCS) and carbon dioxide removal (CDR) projects to achieve its climate goals. For CCS and CDR projects to succeed in California, they must concurrently serve three needs and interests: (1) the need to reduce emissions and atmospheric CO2, (2) the need for projects to make economic sense for developers, and (3) the economic, social and environmental needs of local landowners and host communities. Without serving all three, CCS and CDR projects face significant obstacles, jeopardizing the state’s ability to meet its climate goals. The authors study the economics of different classes of CCS projects in California to assess their broad economic viability, the potential need for additional policy support, and their potential for local landowner and community benefits.

Facilitating a Transition to Zero-emission Vehicles in the Global South, Pierpaolo Cazzola and Maria Santos Alfageme, (Institute of Transportation Studies, University of California, Davis

The authors review the status of energy and decarbonization policies for road transport, paying specific attention to measures related to zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs). ZEVs are vehicles capable of traveling without tailpipe emissions of local pollutants and greenhouse gases: mainly battery electric (BEV), plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs). It builds on reviews of ZEV policy frameworks, additional desk research, and inputs from a survey answered by over 100 policymakers and stakeholders working in transport, energy and environmental policies in the Global South.

Hunger Hotspots. FAO-WFP early warnings on acute food insecurity June to November 2023 outlook, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

The authors warn that acute food insecurity is likely to deteriorate further in 18 hunger hotspots – comprising a total of 22 countries – during the outlook period from June to November 2023. Afghanistan, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, and Yemen remain at the highest concern level. Haiti, the Sahel (Burkina Faso and Mali) and Sudan have been elevated to the highest concern levels; this is due to severe movement restrictions of people and goods in Haiti, as well as in Burkina Faso and Mali, and the recent eruption of conflict in Sudan. All the hotspots at the highest level have populations facing or projected to face starvation or are at risk of deterioration towards catastrophic conditions, given they have already critical food insecurity and are facing severe aggravating factors. These countries require the most urgent attention. The authors provide country?specific recommendations on priorities for emergency response, as well as anticipatory action to address existing humanitarian needs and ensure short?term protective interventions before new needs materialize.

The Interconnection Bottleneck Why Most Energy Storage Projects Never Get Built, Lala et al., Clean Energy Group

The authors analyze grid interconnection processes for energy storage and renewable energy projects and the barriers that create an interconnection bottleneck constraining the deployment of these clean energy resources. The authors use Massachusetts as a case study, but the findings are broadly applicable across the United States. The authors examine both transmission and distribution interconnection barriers and make recommendations that states should consider to reduce distribution level barriers that are within the states’ regulatory purview.

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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