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Climate Hustle

John Hartz

I’ve been toiling in the vineyards of Skeptical Science for about six years. I am currently responsible for populating the SkS Facebook page with links to current news articles about climate science, mitigation and adaption polices, and energy. I maintain a rolling inventory of the articles and post a Roundup of them on the SkS website each Saturday (US). I also continue to generate the SkS Weekly Digest and post it each Sunday.  I also perform moderation duties on the comment threads on both the SkS Facebook page and the SkS website. I have the time to engage in these tasks because I am retired and my wife shares my passion about the need to address manmade climate change.

My environmental philosophy is articulated in the following ancient Native American proverb:

Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children. We do not inherit the Earth from our Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children.

The work I do for Skeptical Science is part of my legacy to my children and grandchildren.

My wife and I currently reside in Columbia, South Carolina.

 

Recent blog posts


2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #12

Posted on 23 March 2019 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 17 through Sat, Mar 23, 2019

Editor's Pick

Tim Flannery: people are shocked about climate change but they should be angry

The author and scientist, who has returned to his roots at the Australian Museum, says the world is about to see a major shift towards climate action

Tim Flannery

Tim Flannery: ‘We’re in a different world now, a world where people are living with climate change consequences’ Photograph: Carly Earl/The Guardian

Tim Flannery laments that young Australians today will never be able to experience in the same way the natural wonders he enjoyed in his youth.

He grew up in Melbourne on remnants of the sandplain flora, “one of the great floristic gems of Australia,” he says. Once smothered in flowers in springtime, it has now largely been lost through development and altered burning regimes. Flannery, 63, spent his youth swimming and scuba diving in northern Port Phillip bay, which he says is now also gravely deteriorated.

He further points to the Great Barrier Reef, which suffered unprecedented mass bleaching in 2016 and 2017 and the “serious questions” about whether it can now be saved. “Something like 70% of the reef that was there a century ago is now dead,” he says.

But without detailed records on species distributions, it’s impossible to map the losses due to climate change, explains Flannery, who recently returned to the 192-year-old Australian Museum in Sydney, where he was principal mammalogist from 1984–1999.

Rather than being “a fusty old relic” the museum is playing a vital role in this, he says. “The collections that say where things were, and when, are here – and that’s the most important asset we’ve got to understand the response of biodiversity to climate change … The people of New South Wales need to understand what a valuable asset they have.”

Tim Flannery: People are shocked about climate change but they should be angry, Interview by John Pickrell, Environment, Guardian, Mar 20, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #11

Posted on 17 March 2019 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Reports of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

Here's a running list of all the ways climate change has altered Earth in 2019

Temperature Differences Fahrenheit NASA 

Earth is now the warmest it's been in some 120,000 years. Eighteen of the last 19 years have been the warmest on record. And concentrations of carbon dioxide — a potent greenhouse gas — are likely the highest they've been in 15 million years.

The consequences of such a globally-disrupted climate are many, and it's understandably difficult to keep track. To help, here's a list of climate-relevant news that has transpired in 2019, from historically unprecedented disappearances of ice, to flood-ravaged cities. As more news comes out, the list will be updated.

Here's a running list of all the ways climate change has altered Earth in 2019 by Mark Kaufman, Science, Mashable, Mar 16, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #11

Posted on 16 March 2019 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 10 through Sat, Mar 16, 2019

Editor's Pick

Students globally protest warming, pleading for their future

  'Friday For Future Movement' in Berlin, Germany, Friday, March 15, 2019

Students attend a protest rally of the 'Friday For Future Movement' in Berlin, Germany, Friday, March 15, 2019. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) 

Thousands of New York City students protested at locations including Columbus Circle, City Hall, the American Museum of Natural History and a football field at the Bronx High School of Science. Police said 16 protesters were arrested on disorderly conduct charges for blocking traffic at the museum.

The coordinated “school strikes” were inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who began holding solitary demonstrations outside the Swedish parliament last year. 

Thousands of New York City students protested at locations including Columbus Circle, City Hall, the American Museum of Natural History and a football field at the Bronx High School of Science. Police said 16 protesters were arrested on disorderly conduct charges for blocking traffic at the museum.

The coordinated “school strikes” were inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who began holding solitary demonstrations outside the Swedish parliament last year. 

Students globally protest warming, pleading for their future by Frank Jordans & Seth Borenstein, AP News, Mar 15, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #10

Posted on 10 March 2019 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... John Cook in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Claim Review... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Rain Is Triggering More Melting on the Greenland Ice Sheet — in Winter, Too

Pulses of melting linked to rainfall doubled in summer and tripled in winter, a new climate change study found. That's a problem for sea level rise.

Scientists on Greenland ice sheet

The total precipitation over the Greenland Ice Sheet didn’t change over the study period, but more of it fell as rain. The scientists estimated that almost a third of the total runoff they observed was triggered by rainfall. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

When a frozen snowflake falls on the Greenland Ice Sheet, it lands with a whisper and stays frozen, sometimes for months.

But raindrops splat down, making little craters and melting some of the adjacent snow crystals. Multiplied across thousands of square miles, they can trigger widespread melting and runoff, which can lead to more sea level rise.

A new analysis of satellite and weather data shows that melting associated with rain in Greenland doubled in the summers and tripled in the winters from 1988 to 2012 as temperatures rose , scientists write in a studypublished Thursday in The Cryosphere, a journal of the European Geosciences Union.

The total precipitation over the ice sheet didn't change over the study period, but more of it fell as rain, the study found. The scientists estimated that almost a third of the total runoff measured was triggered by rainfall.

They also found that melting events triggered by rain lasted longer, lengthening from an average of two days to three in the summer, and from two days to five in the winter. 

Rain Is Triggering More Melting on the Greenland Ice Sheet, Including in Winter by Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News, Mar 8, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #10

Posted on 9 March 2019 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Mar 3 through Sat, Mar 9, 2019

Editor's Pick

Adults won’t take climate change seriously. So we, the youth, are forced to strike.

Global Climate Strike 03-15-19 

Editor’s note: The authors are the lead organizers of US Youth Climate Strike, part of a global student movement inspired by 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg’s weekly school strikes in Sweden and other European countries.

Adults won’t take climate change seriously. So we, the youth, are forced to strike. by Maddy Fernands, Isra Hirsi, Haven Coleman & Alexandria Villaseñor, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Mar 7, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #9

Posted on 3 March 2019 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

How the Weather Gets Weaponized in Climate Change Messaging

Snow in Buffalo NY

Clearing snow in Buffalo, N.Y., in January. Credit:Lindsay Dedario/Reuters<

In the summer, when heat waves scorch cities or heavy rains flood the coasts, some climate scientists and environmentalists will point out any plausible connections to global warming, hoping today’s weather will help people understand tomorrow’s danger from climate change.

Then winter comes. And, like clockwork, those who want to deny the established science that humans are warming the planet will try to flip the script. In January, when large swaths of the country were gripped by bitter cold, President Trump took to Twitter to mock climate fears: “Wouldn’t be bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now!”

Welcome to the weather wars. As battle lines harden between climate advocates and deniers, both are increasingly using bouts of extreme weather as a weapon to try to win people to their side. Weather, after all, is one of the easiest things for people to bond over or gripe about, a staple of small talk and shared experience that can make it a simple but powerful opportunity to discuss global warming.

But, as Mr. Trump’s words show, it’s also a framing device that can be easily abused. That raises the stakes for how scientists, who have long tried to distinguish between short-term weather fluctuations and long-term climate shifts, draw out and discuss the links between the two.

How the Weather Gets Weaponized in Climate Change Messaging by Brad Plumer, Climate, New York Times, Mar 1, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #9

Posted on 2 March 2019 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Feb 24 through Sat, Mar 2, 2019

Editor's Pick

Youth climate strikers: 'We are going to change the fate of humanity'

Exclusive: Students issue an open letter ahead of global day of action on 15 March, when young people are expected to strike across 50 nations

Read the climate strikers’ letter 

Greta Thunberg in Hamburg

Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg speaking at a protest in front of the city hall in Hambourg, Germany. Photograph: Axel Heimken/Getty

The students striking from schools around the world to demand action on climate change have issued an uncompromising open letter stating: “We are going to change the fate of humanity, whether you like it or not.”

The letter, published by the Guardian, says: “United we will rise on 15 March and many times after until we see climate justice. We demand the world’s decision makers take responsibility and solve this crisis. You have failed us in the past. [But] the youth of this world has started to move and we will not rest again.”

The Youth Strikes for Climate movement is not centrally organised, so keeping track of the fast growing number of strikes is difficult, but many are registering on FridaysForFuture.org. So far, there are almost 500 events listed to take place on 15 March across 51 countries, making it the biggest strike day so far. Students plan to skip school across Western Europe, from the US to Brazil and Chile, and from Australia to Iran, India and Japan. 

Youth climate strikers: 'We are going to change the fate of humanity' by Damian Carrington, Environment, Guardian, Mar 1, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #8

Posted on 24 February 2019 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

World's food supply under 'severe threat' from loss of biodiversity

Plants, insects and organisms crucial to food production in steep decline, says UN

Organic carrot harvest in Germany

Organic carrot harvest in Germany. Organic agriculture makes up just 1% of global farmland. Photograph: Julian Stratenschulte/EPA

The world’s capacity to produce food is being undermined by humanity’s failure to protect biodiversity, according to the first UN study of the plants, animals and micro-organisms that help to put meals on our plates.

The stark warning was issued by the Food and Agriculture Organisation after scientists found evidence the natural support systems that underpin the human diet are deteriorating around the world as farms, cities and factories gobble up land and pump out chemicals.Over the last two decades, approximately 20% of the earth’s vegetated surface has become less productive, said the report, launched on Friday.

It noted a “debilitating” loss of soil biodiversity, forests, grasslands, coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass beds and genetic diversity in crop and livestock species. In the oceans, a third of fishing areas are being overharvested.

Many species that are indirectly involved in food production, such as birds that eat crop pests and mangrove trees that help to purify water, are less abundant than in the past, noted the study, which collated global data, academic papers and reports by the governments of 91 countries.

It found 63% of plants, 11% of birds, and 5% of fish and fungi were in decline. Pollinators, which provide essential services to three-quarters of the world’s crops, are under threat. As well as the well-documented decline of bees and other insects, the report noted that 17% of vertebrate pollinators, such as bats and birds, were threatened with extinction.

Once lost, the species that are critical to our food systems cannot be recovered, it said. “This places the future of our food and the environment under severe threat.”

World's food supply under 'severe threat' from loss of biodiversity by Jonathan Watts, Guardian, Feb 21, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #8

Posted on 23 February 2019 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Feb 17 through Sat, Feb 23, 2019

Editor's Pick

The 3 Big Things That People Misunderstand About Climate Change

David Wallace-Wells, author of the new book The Uninhabitable Earth,describes why climate change might alter our sense of time.

Flooding Congqing China 07-20-2010

A child sleeps on a couch in a flooded street in Chongqing, China, on July 20, 2010. REUTERS

The year is 2100. The United States has been devastated by climate change. Super-powerful hurricanes regularly ravage coastal cities. Wildfires have overrun Los Angeles several times over. And it is dangerous to go outside on some summer days—children and the elderly risk being broiled alive.

In such a world as that one, will we give up on the idea of historical progress? Should we even believe in it now? In his new book, The Uninhabitable Earth, the writer David Wallace-Wells considers how global warming will change not only the experience of human life but also our ideas and philosophies about it. It’s possible, he told me recently, that climate change will make us believe that history is “something that takes us backward rather than forward.”

“The 21st century will be dominated by climate change in the same way that … the 19th century in the West was dominated by modernity or industry,” he said. “There won’t be an area of human life that is untouched by it.”

I recently talked to Wallace-Wells about his new book, the difficulty of writing stories about climate change, and which science-fiction prophecy he believes came true. Our conversation has been edited for clarity and brevity.

The 3 Big Things That People Misunderstand About Climate Change by Robinson Meyer, Science, The Atlantic, Feb 22, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #7

Posted on 17 February 2019 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS...  Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

16-Year-Old Greta Thunberg Cheers 'Beginning of Great Changes' as Climate Strike Goes Global

Because "present and future on this planet are at stake," say teen climate activists, "we won't be silent any longer"

School strike for climate Melbourne 11-30-19 

Students in Melbourne take part in a school strike for climate on November 30, 2018. (Photo: julian meehan/flickr/cc)

The world may be edging toward "environmental breakdown"—but 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg sees signs for hope.

Pointing to global walkouts planned for March 15, Thunberg—whose "school strikes for climate" helped galvanized similar actions worldwide—said, "I think what we are seeing is the beginning of great changes and that is very hopeful."

"I think enough people have realized just how absurd the situation is," she told the Guardian. "We are in the middle of the biggest crisis in human history and basically nothing is being done to prevent it."

In a sign of that realization, thousands of students from dozens of communities across the United Kingdom skipped class on Friday to join the ranks taking part in the weekly climate actions.

In fact, it's "incredible" that the movement "has spread so far, so fast," she told "Good Morning Britain." 

16-Year-Old Greta Thunberg Cheers 'Beginning of Great Changes' as Climate Strike Goes Global by Andrea Germanos, Common Dreams, Feb 15, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #7

Posted on 16 February 2019 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Feb 10 through Sat, Feb 16, 2019

Editor's Pick

What we can learn about climate change from the Titanic

Titanic

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio starred in the 1997 film Titanic. Credit: Paramount Pictures

I recently shared the latest news about climate change with my Facebook friends, writing this: “The five warmest years in recorded history have been the last five, and 18 of the 19 warmest years have occurred since 2001.” One of my friends commented that it reminded him of those people who were rearranging the deck chairs as the Titanicsank. Are climate deniers their modern equivalent?

The climate ship has definitely sailed: Even if we could eliminate all carbon emissions overnight, the planet’s average temperature and sea level would not decrease in the coming decades, because of the inertia built into the climate system. As with a massive ship, you can’t wait until the last minute to start steering away from disaster. But even on the doomed Titanic, there would have been many more survivors if the right actions had been promptly taken, and the same is true today for global warming.

As a matter of historical fact, the Titanic’s 614 wood-and-wicker chairs were probably tied up for the night when the ship began sinking. The first reference to “rearranging the deck chairs” did not appear in print until the late 1960s. Nevertheless, the expression has since come to describe futile actions taken in the face of impending catastrophe. Like, say, President Trump calling for “forest clearing” to address wildfire risks in California—where the deadliest recent fires, made worse by climate change, did not happen in forests. The phrase remains an all-too-accurate description of the little that is being done to stabilize our planet’s climate. 

What we can learn about climate change from the Titanic by Dawn Stover, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Feb 15, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #6

Posted on 10 February 2019 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... Toon of the Week... Warming Signs... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

Assessing the Global Climate in 2018

For the globe, 2018 becomes fourth warmest year on record

Iceland

Courtesy of Pixabay.com

December’s combined global land and ocean average surface temperature departure from average was the second warmest December in the 139-year record. With 11 of 12 monthly global land and ocean temperature departures from average ranking among the five warmest for their respective months, 2018 became the fourth warmest year in NOAA's 139-year record.

This summary from NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia and the public to support informed decision-making.

In a separate analysis of global temperature data, released today, NASA scientists also determined 2018 to be the fourth warmest year on record. Analyses from the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organization ranked 2018 among the top four warmest years on record.

Assessing the Global Climate in 2018, NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, Feb 6, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #6

Posted on 9 February 2019 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Feb 3 through Sat, Feb 10, 2019

Editor's Pick

Seven take-aways from the Green New Deal launch

Sweeping in scope, an agenda to transform the US into a green leader has been launched in Washington DC, here are the key points

 Cong Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen Ed Markey

Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and senator Ed Markey present their Green New Deal resolution to reporters on Thursday (Photo: 350.org) 

On Thursday, congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and senator Ed Markey presented an outline of a sweeping federal programme aiming at decarbonising the US economy.

The text makes for the most earnest attempt yet to define a concept that has been backed by many a Democratic presidential candidate, often with little detail.

The agenda would touch every aspect of the US economy and calls for carbon emissions and inequality to be tackled as one.

“Today is the day we truly embark on a comprehensive agenda of economic, social and racial justice in the United States of America,” Ocasio-Cortez said in a press conference launching the resolution.

There are many legislative hurdles for the deal to leap if it is ever to become US policy – not least the Republican-controlled senate and White House.

The plan was the beginning of a phase of “political education”, said Markey, that would eventually lead to the adoption of the package. The pair said the document had attracted 60 Democrats as cosponsors, from across the party.

Seven take-aways from the Green New Deal launch by Natalie Sauer, Climate Home News, July 2, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #5

Posted on 3 February 2019 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

The devastation of human life is in view’: what a burning world tells us about climate change

I was wilfully deluded until I began covering global warming, says David Wallace-Wells. But extreme heat could transform the planet by 2100

Wildfire Monchique Portugal Aug 2018

A forest fire burns on a hill in Monchique, Portugal, August 2018. Photograph: Filipe Farinha/EPA

I have never been an environmentalist. I don’t even think of myself as a nature person. I’ve lived my whole life in cities, enjoying gadgets built by industrial supply chains I hardly think twice about. I’ve never gone camping, not willingly anyway, and while I always thought it was basically a good idea to keep streams clean and air clear, I also accepted the proposition that there was a trade-off between economic growth and cost to nature – and figured, well, in most cases I’d go for growth. I’m not about to personally slaughter a cow to eat a hamburger, but I’m also not about to go vegan. In these ways – many of them, at least – I am like every other American who has spent their life fatally complacent, and wilfully deluded, about climate change, which is not just the biggest threat human life on the planet has ever faced, but a threat of an entirely different category and scale. That is, the scale of human life itself.

‘The devastation of human life is in view’: what a burning world tells us about climate change, Edited extract from "The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story Of The Future" by David Wallace-Wells, Environment, Guardian, Feb 2, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #5

Posted on 2 February 2019 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 27 through Sat, Feb 2, 2019

Editor's Pick

A surprising new picture of ocean circulation could have major consequences for climate science

Some experts say the Atlantic Ocean circulation is already slowing down — but we’re just beginning to learn how it really works.

Atlantic Ocean at Southern Tip of Greenland 

The ocean near the southern tip of Greenland during a cruise to deploy the initial OSNAP array. (Photo Credit: C. Nobre/Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.)

It may be the biggest wild card in the climate system. Scientists have long feared that the so-called “overturning” circulation in the Atlantic Ocean could slow down or even halt due to climate change — a change that would have enormous planetary consequences.

But at the same time, researchers have a limited understanding of how the circulation actually works, since taking measurements of its vast and remote currents is exceedingly difficult. And now, a major new research endeavor aimed at doing just that has suggested a dramatic revision of our understanding of the circulation itself.

A new 21-month series of observations in the frigid waters off Greenland has led to the discovery that most of the overturning — in which water not only sinks but returns southward again in the ocean depths — occurs to the east, rather than to the west, of the enormous ice island. If that’s correct, then climate models that suggest the circulation will slow as the climate warms may have to be revised to take this into account.

A surprising new picture of ocean circulation could have major consequences for climate science by Chris Mooney, Washington Post, Jan 31, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #4

Posted on 27 January 2019 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Teenage activist takes School Strikes 4 Climate Action to Davos

Protest by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg snowballs to last day of World Economic Forum

Greta Thurnberg 

Swedish youth climate activist Greta Thunberg at the World Economic Forum in Davos, eastern Switzerland. Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images 

The 16-year-old activist behind the fast-growing School Strikes 4 Climate Action has taken her campaign to the streets of Davos, to confront world leaders and business chiefs about the global emissions crisis.

Greta Thunberg, whose solo protest outside Sweden’s parliament has snowballed across the globe, will join a strike by Swiss schoolchildren in the ski resort on Friday – the final day of the World Economic Forum.

Thunberg travelled by train for 32 hours to reach Davos, and spent Wednesday night camped with climate scientists on the mountain slopes – where temperatures plunged to -18C.

Having already addressed the UN Climate Change COP 24 conference, Thunberg is rapidly becoming the voice for a generation who are demanding urgent action to slow the rise in global temperatures.

As she travelled down Davos’s funicular railway from the Arctic Base Camp – while more than 30,000 students were striking in Belgium - Thunberg said the rapid growth of her movement was “incredible”.

“There have been climate strikes, involving students and also adults, on every continent except Antarctica. It has involved tens of thousands of children.”

Teenage activist takes School Strikes 4 Climate Action to Davos by Graeme Wearden & Damian Carrington, Environment, Guardian, Jan 24, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #4

Posted on 26 January 2019 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 20 through Sat, Jan 26, 2019

Editor's Pick

The way we eat could doom us as a species. Here’s a new diet designed to save us.

The EAT-Lancet Commission’s “planetary health diet” is bold and controversial.

Veggie Burger

Eating more plant-based burgers could help us avoid environmental catastrophe, according to a new report. Shutterstock

The way we eat and produce food has become so destructive to the environment and our health that it now threatens the long-term survival of the human species, an international commission of 37 scientists write in a sprawling new Lancet report.

We now have so many interconnected food-related crises — climate change, pollution, and food waste, not to mention malnutrition and obesity — that it will be impossible to feed the 10 billion people expected by 2050 unless we make dramatic changes to our diets and farming practices, the researchers argue.

What’s needed, according to the peer-reviewed report, titled “Food in the Anthropocene: The EAT-Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems,” is a new philosophy for how to eat on planet Earth. Though there are huge variations around the world in what and how much we consume, we are all in this existential crisis together.

Which brings us to what seems to be the most controversial aspect of this report: its specific dietary advice for ensuring that everyone’s nutritional needs are met without exceeding “planetary boundaries.” To survive as a species, it says, everyone — including you! — is advised to eat mostly vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts, and limit red meat consumption to just one serving per week. 

The way we eat could doom us as a species. Here’s a new diet designed to save us. by Eliza Barclay, Vox, Jan 24, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #3

Posted on 20 January 2019 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Analysis of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Climate Forecast: World Is “Sleepwalking into Catastrophe”

In an annual World Economic Forum report, climate change, extreme weather and biodiversity loss were named among the highest global risks

Typhoon Mangkhut in Calumpit, Philippines on September 16, 2018

Children use basins to cross a flooded street in the aftermath of Typhoon Mangkhut in Calumpit, Philippines on September 16, 2018. Credit: Noel Celis Getty Images

Climate change is the biggest threat to the planet, the World Economic Forum said yesterday in a sweeping catalog of global risks.

The institution’s annual analysis of economic dangers worldwide named extreme weather, natural disasters, man-made environmental disasters, biodiversity loss and failure to adapt to climate change as the chief perils to society.

Of all the risks to the globe, “it is in relation to the environment that the world is most clearly sleepwalking into catastrophe,” the WEF said in its Global Risks Report. “The results of climate inaction are becoming increasingly clear.”

Climate Forecast: World Is “Sleepwalking into Catastrophe” by Anne C Mulkern, E&E News/Scientific American, Jan 17, 2019 

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #3

Posted on 19 January 2019 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 13 through Sat, Jan 19, 2019

Editor's Pick

‘It’s like hell here’: Australia bakes as record temperatures nudge 50C

Fears rise for homeless and vulnerable people as communities brace for another week of relentless hot weather

Bondi Beach Sydney, Australia 

A sign warns bathers of the extreme heat on Bondi Beach, in Sydney, Australia. Photograph: Torsten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images

It was 48.9C (120F) last Tuesday in Port Augusta, South Australia, an old harbour city that now harvests makes solar power. Michelle Coles, the owner of the local cinema, took off her shoes at night to test the concrete before letting the dogs out. “People tend to stay at home,” she said. “They don’t walk around when it’s like this.”

It’s easy to see why: in the middle of the day it takes seconds to blister a dog’s paw or child’s foot. In Mildura, in northern Victoria, last week gardeners burned their hands when they picked up their tools, which had been left in the sun at 46C. Fish were dying in the rivers.

Almost every day last week a new heat record was broken in Australia. They spread out, unrelenting, across the country, with records broken for all kinds of reasons – as if the statistics were finding an infinite series of ways to say that it was hot. 

‘It’s like hell here’: Australia bakes as record temperatures nudge 50C by Namaan Zhou, Observer/Guardian, Jan 19, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #2

Posted on 13 January 2019 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Analysis of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

Once derided, ways of adapting to climate change are gaining steam

Recognition is spreading that communities need to build resilience to climatic and coastal threats even as the world seeks ways to curb emissions driving global warming.

Hurricane Michael Impact on Mexico Beach Florida

Mexico Beach, Florida in aftermath of Hurricane Michael

From chronically flooded Midwestern towns to fire-charred California suburbs, from Bangladesh’s sodden delta to low island nations facing rising seas, a long-underplayed strategy for cutting risks related to human-driven climate change is coming to the fore—adaptation.

Through 30 years of efforts to limit global warming, the dominant goal was cutting emissions of heat-trapping gases, most importantly carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels. Efforts to adapt communities or agriculture to warming and the related rise in seas and other impacts were often seen as a copout.

The spotty nature of adaptation efforts so far can be seen in the aftermath of Hurricane Michael—where one reinforced, raised home famously survived, nearly alone, along Mexico Beach, Florida, after the strongest Panhandle hurricane in at least 155 years. In the Camp Fire that devastated Paradise, California, and killed 85 people, a sprinkling of houses built and maintained to withstand embers survived, but—again—were the rare exception.

But signs are emerging that a significant shift is under way, dividing the climate challenge into two related, but distinct, priorities: working to curb greenhouse gases to limit odds of worst-case outcomes later this century while boosting resilience to current and anticipated climatic and coastal hazards with just as much fervor. There’s action from the top down, and—perhaps more significant in the long run—from the bottom up.

Once derided, ways of adapting to climate change are gaining steam by Andrew Revkin, Environment, National Geographic, Jan 10, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #2

Posted on 12 January 2019 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Jan 6 through Sat, Jan 12, 2019

Editor's Pick

World's Oceans Are Warming Faster, Studies Show, Fueling Storms and Sea Rise

'Global warming is here, it has major consequences, and it's going to be very, very difficult to get this under control,' an author of a new report says.

Coral Bleaching Key Largo Florida

Ocean warming fuels hurricanes and sea level rise and also affects sea life, sending fish populations migrating to cooler water and causing coral bleaching. Credit: Kelsey Roberts/USGS

A new study published Thursday strengthens the consensus that the warming of the world's oceans is accelerating.

It's a trend that climate models have long predicted, but it had been difficult to confirm until recently.

The findings are vindication of the scientific community's work so far and lend greater weight to the projections for warming through the end of this century, said Gavin Schmidt, a leading climate scientist at Columbia University who was not involved in the study.

The new paper, published in the journal Science, reviews four studies conducted over the past decade and was partly a response to a controversy over one of them, an article published in the journal Nature on Nov. 1. The authors of the November article were forced to issue a correction after discovering they had made errors in their assumptions and that the uncertainty in their findings was much greater than they had thought.

World's Oceans Are Warming Faster, Studies Show, Fueling Storms and Sea Rise by Nicholas Kusnetz, InsideClimate News, Jan 10, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #1

Posted on 6 January 2019 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week...  Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

Katharine Hayhoe: 'A thermometer is not liberal or conservative'

Katharine Hayhoe 

Katharine Hayhoe: ‘Fear is a short-term spur to action, but to make changes over the long term, we must have hope.’ Photograph: Randal Ford

The award-winning atmospheric scientist on the urgency of the climate crisis and why people are her biggest hope.

Katharine Hayhoe is an atmospheric scientist and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. She has contributed to more than 125 scientific papers and won numerous prizes for her science communication work. In 2018 she was a contributor to the US National Climate Assessment and was awarded the Stephen H Schneider award for outstanding climate science communication.

In 2018, we have seen forest fires in the Arctic circle; record high temperatures in parts of Australia, Africa and the US; floods in India; and devastating droughts in South Africa and Argentina. Is this a turning point?

This year has hit home how climate change loads the dice against us by taking naturally occurring weather events and amplifying them. We now have attribution studies that show how much more likely or stronger extreme weather events have become as a result of human emissions. For example, wildfires in the western US now burn nearly twice the area they would without climate change, and almost 40% more rain fell during Hurricane Harvey than would have otherwise. So we are really feeling the impacts and know how much humanity is responsible.

Katharine Hayhoe: 'A thermometer is not liberal or conservative', Interview by Jonathan Watts, Science, The Observer/Guardian, Jan 6, 2019

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2019 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #1

Posted on 5 January 2019 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Dec 31, 2018 through Sat, Jan 5, 2019

Editor's Pick

A Terrifying Sea-Level Prediction Now Looks Far Less Likely

But experts warn that our overall picture of sea-level rise looks far scarier today than it did even five years ago.

Neko Harbour Antarctica Feb 2018 

A boat floats in Neko Harbour, Antarctica, in February 2018. (ALEXANDRE MENEGHINI / REUTERS)

One of the scariest scenarios for near-term, disastrous sea-level rise may be off the table for now, according to a new study previewed at a recent scientific conference.

Two years ago, the glaciologists Robert DeConto and David Pollard rocked their field with a paper arguing that several massive glaciers in Antarctica were much more unstable than previously thought. Those key glaciers—which include Thwaites Glacier and Pine Island Glacier, both in the frigid continent’s west—could increase global sea levels by more than three feet by 2100, the paper warned. Such a rise could destroy the homes of more than 150 million people worldwide.

They are now revisiting those results. In new work, conducted with three other prominent glaciologists, DeConto and Pollard have lowered some of their worst-case projections for the 21st century. Antarctica may only contribute about a foot of sea-level rise by 2100, they now say. This finding, reached after the team improved their own ice model, is much closer to projections made by other glaciologists.

A Terrifying Sea-Level Prediction Now Looks Far Less Likely by Robinson Meyer, Science, The Atlantic, Jan 4, 2019 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #52

Posted on 30 December 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

2018 Was A Milestone Year For Climate Science (If Not Politics) 

Hurricane Michael Impact on Mexico Beach Florida 

The devastation from Hurricane Michael over Mexico Beach, Fla. A massive federal report released in November warns that climate change is fueling extreme weather disasters like hurricanes and wildfires. Gerald Herbert/AP

2018 was a hot year — in fact, the fourth warmest on record. The only years that were, on average, warmer were the past three, according to the World Meteorological Organization.

It has been warming for decades now. But 2018 brought several major new and markedly more precise reports from scientists about what climate change is doing to the weather and how dire they expect the consequences to be.

That didn't stop President Trump and others from continuing to question the evidence.

"Is there climate change?" Trump said to reporters from Axios on HBO in November. "Yeah. Will it go back like this?" he added, motioning up and down with his hand. "I mean will it change back? Probably. That's what I think."

Another politician who weighed in on the clear evidence of a warmer planet was Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, when he was campaigning this past fall.

"Well, listen," he assured a moderator at a televised debate. "Of course the climate is changing. The climate has been changing from the dawn of time. The climate will change as long as we have a planet Earth."

Both statements are at odds with the consensus within the climate science community.

2018 Was A Milestone Year For Climate Science (If Not Politics) by Christopher Joyce NPR News, Dec 27, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #52

Posted on 29 December 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sun, Dec 23 through Sat, Dec 30

Editor's Pick

Green New Deal: what is the progressive plan, and is it technically possible?

The idea, central to Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign, aims to eliminate greenhouse gas pollution – but lacks key political support

Sunrise Movement Sit-In, Pelosi's Office, Dec 10 2018

Members of the Sunrise Movement advocate for the Green New Deal in Nancy Pelosi’s office on 10 December. Photograph: Michael Brochstein/Zuma Wire/Rex/Shutterstock

Most US voters would support a “Green New Deal”, for the country to transform its infrastructure with a rapid shift to clean energy. But while the idea is gaining attention on Capitol Hill, it lacks key political support.

According to a survey from the Yale Climate Change Communicationprogram, 81% of voters backed its description of a Green New Deal.

Similar plans vary in detail, but all are inspired by the New Deal that Franklin Delano Roosevelt launched to battle the effects of the Great Depression. The idea was central to the high-profile campaign of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young Democratic socialist from New York who won a US House seat in November. Ocasio-Cortez and the youth-led Sunrise Movement are encouraging Democrats, who will retake the House majority in January, to produce a blueprint.

Their Green New Deal would center around creating new jobs and lessening inequality. Aiming to virtually eliminate US greenhouse gas pollution in a decade, it would be radical compared with other climate proposals. It would require massive government spending.

Dozens of Democrats have signaled support, including potential 2020 presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker. This month, New York’s Governor Andrew Cuomo said his state would launch its own Green New Deal, seeking carbon-neutral electricity by 2040.

But Nancy Pelosi, Democrats’ nominee to run the House, has not agreed to direct a select committee on climate change to focus on the strategy. 

Green New Deal: what is the progressive plan, and is it technically possible? by Emily Holden, Environment, Guardian, Dec 29, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #51

Posted on 23 December 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Graphic of the Week... Video of the Week... Reports of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

The Green New Deal, explained

An insurgent movement is pushing Democrats to back an ambitious climate change solution.

Sunrise Movement Dec 10 2018 

 Photo Credit: Sunrise Movement Facebook Page

If the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is to be believed, humanity has just over a decade to get carbon emissions under control before catastrophic climate change impacts become unavoidable.

The Republican Party generally ignores or denies that problem. But the Democratic Party claims to accept and understand it.

It is odd, then, that Democrats do not have a plan to address climate change.

Their last big plan — the American Clean Energy and Security Act — passed the House in 2009 but went on to die an unceremonious death before reaching the Senate floor. Since then, there’s been nothing to replace it.

Plenty of Democratic politicians support policies that would reduce climate pollution — renewable energy tax credits, fuel economy standards, and the like — but those policies do not add up to a comprehensive solution, certainly nothing like what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggests is necessary.

Young activists, who will be forced to live with the ravages of climate change, find this upsetting. So they have proposed a plan of their own. It’s called the Green New Deal (GND) — a term purposefully reminiscent of Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s original New Deal in the 1930s — and it has become the talk of the town. Here are Google searches from the past few months:

The Green New Deal, explained by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, Dec 21, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #51

Posted on 22 December 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sunday, Dec 15 through Saturday, Dec. 22.

Editor's Pick

Risks of 'domino effect' of tipping points greater than thought, study says

Scientists warn policymakers not to ignore links, and stress that ‘every action counts’

Arctic Sea Ice

When arctic ice melts, less sunlight is reflected, which raises global temperatures and increases the risk of forest fires. Photograph: Mario Tama/Getty Images 

Policymakers have severely underestimated the risks of ecological tipping points, according to a study that shows 45% of all potential environmental collapses are interrelated and could amplify one another.

The authors said their paper, published in the journal Science, highlights how overstressed and overlapping natural systems are combining to throw up a growing number of unwelcome surprises.

“The risks are greater than assumed because the interactions are more dynamic,” said Juan Rocha of the Stockholm Resilience Centre. “The important message is to recognise the wickedness of the problem that humanity faces.”

The study collated existing research on ecosystem transitions that can irreversibly tip to another state, such as coral reefs bleaching and being overrun by algae, forests becoming savannahs and ice sheets melting into oceans. It then cross-referenced the 30 types of shift to examine the impacts they might have on one another and human society.

Risks of 'domino effect' of tipping points greater than thought, study says by Jonathan Watts, Environment, Guardian, Dec 20, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #50

Posted on 16 December 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS...  Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

UN climate accord 'inadequate' and lacks urgency, experts warn

Agreement will fail to halt devastating rise in global temperature, say scientists

Emissions

The two-week-long conference left questions about reducing greenhouse gas emissions unanswered. Photograph: Ryan Tong/EPA

The world has been put on notice that its best efforts so far will fail to halt the devastation of climate change, as countries came to a partial agreement at UN talks that failed to match up to the challenges faced.

Leading figures in climate science and economics said much more must be done, and quickly, to stave off the prospect of dangerous levels of global warming.

Nicholas Stern, the former World Bank chief economist and author of a seminal review of the economics of climate change, said: “It is clear that the progress we are making is inadequate, given the scale and urgency of the risks we face. The latest figures show carbon dioxide emissions are still rising. A much more attractive, clean and efficient path for economic development and poverty reduction is in our hands.”

Johan Rockstrom, director designate at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, said: “My biggest concern is that the UN talks failed to align ambitions with science. We continue to follow a path that will take us to a very dangerous 3-4C warmer world within this century. Extreme weather events hit people across the planet already, at only 1C of warming.”

UN climate accord 'inadequate' and lacks urgency, experts warn by Fiona Harvey, Environment, Guardian, Dec 16, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #50

Posted on 15 December 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sunday, Dec 9 through Saturday, Dec. 15

Editor's Pick

Climate change: COP24 deal to bring Paris pact to life

COP24 

 Reuters

Negotiators in Poland have finally secured agreement on a range of measures that will make the Paris climate pact operational in 2020.

Last-minute rows over carbon markets threatened to derail the meeting - and delayed it by a day.

Delegates believe the new rules will ensure that countries keep their promises to cut carbon.

The Katowice agreement aims to deliver the Paris goals of limiting global temperature rises to well below 2C.

"Putting together the Paris agreement work programme is a big responsibility," said the chairman of the talks, known as COP24, Michal Kurtyka.

"It has been a long road. We did our best to leave no-one behind."

Climate change: COP24 deal to bring Paris pact to life by Matt McGrath, Science & Environment, BBC News, Dec 15, 2918

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The Security & Sustainability Guide

Posted on 13 December 2018 by John Hartz &

A Guest Post by Michael Sales, Ed.D., Michael Marien, Ph.D. and David Harries, Ph.D.

The Security & Sustainability Guide

 

The Security & Sustainability Guide is an online resource that seeks to map out the rough contours of a vast system of more than 3,000 organizations attempting to bring rationality, valid data, and positive energy to climate change mitigation and adaptation, and broader issues related to security and/or sustainability.

It is constructed around a core hypothesis: security and sustainability are at risk and often difficult or impossible to achieve when either is vulnerable or missing.An additional core hypothesis is that there is little or no appreciation of the growing number of S&S organizations—mostly NGOs, but also academic institutes, government agencies, action groups, consultancies, etc. This includes:

  • more than 100 organizations focused on climate change,
  • more than 100 organizations concerned with the necessary energy transition away from fossil fuels, and
  • more than 120 associations, coalitions, consortia, and networks.

Very few of these organizations have the resources or political clout to influence planetary or national decision-making. Security and sustainability are profoundly affected by climate change, and, as urged by the October 2018 IPCC Special Report, Global Warming of 1.5 C, it is in everyone’s interests to reflect the near-term prospects of climate change in decision-making—a matter of national and global security. The S&S Guide is intended as a rough map for those within this emerging mega-system, so that they can be better informed about where their efforts exist within it, and for those outside of the system, so they can appreciate this growing force, roughly doubling in size over the past 15 years.

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #49

Posted on 9 December 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Video of the Week... Reports of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

French senate ‘failed to heed’ UN science warning before protests

Yellow Vest Protests Paris Dec 2018 

Demonstrators stand next to metal barriers around the tomb of The Unknown Soldier at The Arc of Triomphe during a protest of yellow vests (Photo: Lucas BARIOULET/AFP) 

Just a few months before protests exploded across France, the country’s senate was warned the shift to a clean economy risked social disruption, according the scientist who presented the evidence.

Valérie Masson-Delmotte, a French climate scientist and co-chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), told Climate Home News’ podcast CopCast that members of the senate committee of sustainable development had been “surprised” by findings in a major report in October, which said green policies must be coupled with public consultation or face social resistance.

“They expressed how difficult it is for them as members of the senate to think on how to implement transitions. They also said they were powerless. They didn’t know how to change things, basically,” said Masson-Delmotte. 

French senate ‘failed to heed’ UN science warning before protests by Karl Mathiesen, Climate Home, Dec 8, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #49

Posted on 8 December 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sunday, Dec 2 through Saturday, Dec. 8

Editor's Pick

Can 2018’s extreme weather persuade skeptics that the climate is changing? 

Woolsey Fire Malibu CA Nov 9 2018 

A firefighter is silhouetted by a burning home along Pacific Coast Highway (Highway 1) during the Woolsey Fire in Malibu, Calif., on Nov. 9. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Monstrous weather events have crowded 2018. While many coastal residents in the East were still recovering from Hurricanes Florence and Michael raging fires in California killed a record number of people and destroyed thousands of structures.Climate change has worsened the dry and hot climate in the West, directly contributing to more frequent and severe wildfires. The Fourth National Climate Assessment, which the U.S. government recently released, ;states that extreme weather events will intensify and become more frequent.

How do these disasters affect people’s perceptions of climate change?

To those already convinced by climate change science, extreme weather events are evidence that it’s already changing our world. Climate skeptics, however, do not always see the link, as when President Trump insisted that the California wildfires resulted from poor forest management, not climate change.

Can 2018’s extreme weather persuade skeptics that the climate is changing?, Analysis by Wanyun Shao, Monkey Cage, Washington Post, Dec 7, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #48

Posted on 2 December 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...  

Story of the Week...

G20 told crucial COP24 climate change conference 'must succeed': Guterres

G20 Summit Buenos Aires Argentina Nov 2018.jpg 

UN News/Natalia Montagna: Delegates to the G20 summit have gathered in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (30 November 2018)

During press briefings at the beginning of the G20 meeting of industrialized nations in Buenos Aires, UN Secretary António Guterres described the event as an essential forum, citing a lack of confidence and high level of confrontation within the international community.

As well as mistrust between nations, and the risk of confrontation and escalation, Mr, Guterres said that there was a lack of trust between peoples in general and institutions everywhere, both at a national level – in the form of governments and parliaments – and internationally; because globalization has divided the world into winners and losers.

Those left out, he said, “feel angry, that feel frustrated, that many times…there was not enough effort from their government, or from international organizations like the UN, in order to attend their problems, to attend their difficulties in the rustbelts of this world. I think it is very important to come together, the different countries around the world, and to have a common strategy for a fair globalization, which means a globalization that leaves no one behind.”

For this reason, the world’s largest economies, such as the G20 group, must support the UN’s 2030 Agenda for sustainable development, said the UN chief, which was developed precisely to ensure a fair globalization and aims to eradicate poverty and address a wide range of governance problems worldwide.

Mr. Guterres also pointed out that this year’s G20 meeting is important because it precedes the COP24 climate change conference taking place in Katowice, Poland from 3 December, at which the “Work Programme” or rule book of the 2015 Paris Agreement – when practically all countries signed up to a pledge to ensure global temperatures do not rise by more than 2 degrees before the end of this century– is expected to be agreed.

Addressing the media on Friday, the Secretary-General said that “Katowice must succeed. We need to build in Katowice the momentum that is necessary for an increased ambition to be shown by the international community…when in 2020 the commitments made in Paris will be renewed in order to make sure that we are able to bring the increase of temperature in the world until the end of the century to clearly below 2 degrees and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees.”

“Political will is lacking,” said the UN chief. “That is why it’s so important to come here and to express to political leaders how important it is for everybody to understand that this is a make it or break it moment in relation to guaranteeing that the Paris Agreement is implemented."

G20 told crucial COP24 climate change conference 'must succeed': Guterres, UN News, Nov 30, 2018

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COP24: UN climate change conference, what’s at stake and what you need to know

Posted on 2 December 2018 by John Hartz &

Reprint of article originally posted on UN NEWS on Nov 29, 2018. Click here to access the original.

As global temperatures continue to rise, climate action is lagging and the window of opportunity is closing. On Sunday, the United Nations will kick off critical negotiations on how to address the problem collectively and urgently, during a two-week climate change conference in Katowice, Poland, known as “COP24”. 

Sirajganj Bangladesh Oct 2016 

IOM/Amanda Nero A boy watches the shore from a boat near Sirajganj, a community affected by severe erosion that has left many displaced. Sirajganj, Bangladesh. October 2016

Thousands of world leaders, experts, activists, creative thinkers, and private sector and local community representatives will gather to work on a collective action plan to realize critical commitments made by all the countries of the world in Paris, three years ago.

UN News put together this guide to COP 24 to answer some of the biggest questions you may have and make sure you’re all caught up, with a ringside seat on the action.

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #48

Posted on 1 December 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sunday, Nov 25 through Saturday, Dec. 1

Editor's Pick

Climate change signals and impacts continue in 2018

Global Surface Temperature Anomalies Jan-Oct 2018 WMO 

 

The long-term warming trend has continued in 2018, with the average global temperature set to be the fourth highest on record. The 20 warmest years on record have been in the past 22 years, with the top four in the past four years, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO).

Other tell-tale signs of climate change, including sea level rise, ocean heat and acidification and sea-ice and glacier melt continue, whilst extreme weather left a trail of devastation on all continents, according to the WMO provisional Statement on the State of the Climate in 2018. It includes details of impacts of climate change based on contributions from a wide range of United Nations partners.

The report shows that the global average temperature for the first ten months of the year was nearly 1°C above the pre-industrial baseline (1850-1900). This is based on five independently maintained global temperature data sets.

“We are not on track to meet climate change targets and rein in temperature increases,” said WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas. “Greenhouse gas concentrations are once again at record levels and if the current trend continues we may see temperature increases 3-5°C by the end of the century. If we exploit all known fossil fuel resources, the temperature rise will be considerably higher,” he said.

“It is worth repeating once again that we are the first generation to fully understand climate change and the last generation to be able to do something about it,” said Mr Taalas.

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #47

Posted on 25 November 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Insights... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Climate-heating greenhouse gases at record levels, says UN

Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are far above pre-industrial levels

Coal-fired Power Plant in Poland 

A power station in Poland close to the borders with Germany and the Czech Republic. Photograph: Florian Gaertner/Photothek/Getty Images 

The main greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change have all reached record levels, the UN’s meteorology experts have reported.

Carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide are now far above pre-industrial levels, with no sign of a reversal of the upward trend, a World Meteorological Organization report says.

“The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5m years ago, when the temperature was 2-3C warmer and sea level was 10-20 metres higher than now,” said the WMO secretary general, Petteri Taalas.

“The science is clear. Without rapid cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gases, climate change will have increasingly destructive and irreversible impacts on life on Earth. The window of opportunity for action is almost closed.”

Levels of CO2 rose to a global average of 405.5 parts per million in the atmosphere in 2017 – almost 50% higher than before the industrial revolution.

Levels of methane, a potent greenhouse gas responsible for about 17% of global warming are now 2.5 times higher than pre-industrial times owing to emissions from cattle, rice paddies and leaks from oil and gas wells.

Nitrous oxide, which also warms the planet and destroys the Earth’s protective ozone layer, is now over 20% higher than pre-industrial levels. About 40% of N2O comes from human activities including soil degradation, fertiliser use and industry.

Climate-heating greenhouse gases at record levels, says UN by Damian Carrington, Environment, Guardian, Nov 22, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #47

Posted on 24 November 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sunday, Nov 18 through Saturday, Nov 24.

Editor's Pick

Climate Change Puts U.S. Economy and Lives at Risk, and Costs Are Rising, Federal Agencies Warn

The National Climate Assessment describes increasing heat, fire and flood damage. It's a stark contrast to Trump's energy policies and climate claims.

Louisiana Flooding 2015 

The National Climate Assessment warns of increasing extreme rainfall events, like the storm that flooded communities across a large swath of Louisiana in 2016. Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images  

The U.S. government's climate scientists issued a blunt warning on Friday, writing that global warming is a growing threat to human life, property and ecosystems across the country, and that the economic damage—from worsening heat waves, extreme weather, sea level rise, droughts and wildfires—will spiral in the coming decades.

The country can reduce those costs if the U.S. and the rest of the world cut their greenhouse gas emissions, particularly the burning of fossil fuels. Capping global greenhouse gas emissions to limit warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6°F) or less would avoid hundreds of billions of dollars of future damages, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment, written by a science panel representing 13 federal agencies.

The report, like a recent comprehensive assessment issued by the United Nations, signaled the mounting urgency for governments to act quickly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions before locking in high risks. And it underscored, without saying so directly, how the Trump administration is moving in the opposite direction.

Climate Change Puts U.S. Economy and Lives at Risk, and Costs Are Rising, Federal Agencies Warn by Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News, Nov 23, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #46

Posted on 18 November 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Photo of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

Scientists acknowledge key errors in study of how fast the oceans are warming

A major study claimed the oceans were warming much faster than previously thought. But researchers now say they can’t necessarily make that claim.

Arctic Sea Ice Victoria Strait Summer 2017

The sun sets over sea ice floating on the Victoria Strait along the Northwest Passage in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago during the summer of 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Scientists behind a major study that claimed the Earth’s oceans are warming faster than previously thought now say their work contained inadvertent errors that made their conclusions seem more certain than they actually are.

Two weeks after the high-profile study was published in the journal Nature, its authors have submitted corrections to the publication. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, home to several of the researchers involved, also noted the problems in the scientists' work and corrected a news release on its website, which previously had asserted that the study detailed how the Earth’s oceans “have absorbed 60 percent more heat than previously thought.”

“Unfortunately, we made mistakes here,” said Ralph Keeling, a climate scientist at Scripps, who was a co-author of the study. “I think the main lesson is that you work as fast as you can to fix mistakes when you find them.”

Scientists acknowledge key errors in study of how fast the oceans are warming by Chris Mooney & Brady Dennis, Energy & Environment, Washington Post, Nov 14, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #46

Posted on 17 November 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week, i.e., Sunday, Nov 11 through Saturday, Nov 17.

Editor's Pick

Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds

Ranking of countries’ goals shows even EU on course for more than double safe level of warming

Coal fired power plant in China

Vendors near a state-owned coal-fired power plant in China. Photograph: Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

China, Russia and Canada’s current climate policies would drive the world above a catastrophic 5C of warming by the end of the century, according to a study that ranks the climate goals of different countries.

The US and Australia are only slightly behind with both pushing the global temperature rise dangerously over 4C above pre-industrial levels says the paper, while even the EU, which is usually seen as a climate leader, is on course to more than double the 1.5C that scientists say is a moderately safe level of heating.

The study, published on Friday in the journal Nature Communications, assesses the relationship between each nation’s ambition to cut emissions and the temperature rise that would result if the world followed their example.

The aim of the paper is to inform climate negotiators as they begin a two-year process of ratcheting up climate commitments, which currently fall far short of the 1.5-to-2C goal set in France three years ago.

The related website also serves as a guide to how nations are sharing the burden of responding to the greatest environmental threat humankind has ever faced.

Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds by Jonathan Watts, Environment, Guardian, Nov 16, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #45

Posted on 11 November 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Video of the Week... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

Sighting of sperm whales in Arctic a sign of changing ecosystem, say scientists

Rare sighting in the Canadian Arctic as a growing number of species expand their range into warming waters

Sperm Whale

Sperm whales were spotted in the Canadian Arctic. Photograph: SeaTops/Getty Images

A rare sighting of sperm whales in the Canadian Arctic is the latest sign of a quickly changing ecosystem, say scientists, as a growing number of species expand their range into warming Arctic waters.

Brandon Laforest, a marine biologist with the World Wildlife Fund, and guide Titus Allooloo were working on a project monitoring the effect of marine traffic on the region’s narwhal population when they spotted the pair of large whales just outside Pond Inlet, a community at the northern tip of Baffin Island in September.

Video of the incident, released at the end of October, captures the second known sighting of sperm whales in the region. In 2014, hunters from Pond Inlet spotted them in the area.

At first, Allooloo and Laforest thought the dark shapes in the water were killer whales – another species that has become a frequent visitor to the waters as temperatures creep up. But the distinct shape of the dorsal fin surprised Allooloo – a veteran hunter.

“They’re not known by us, we don’t know too much about them,” Allooloo told the CBC.

Sighting of sperm whales in Arctic a sign of changing ecosystem, say scientists by Leyland Cecco, Environment, Guardian, Nov 5, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #44

Posted on 4 November 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... SkS in the News... SkS Spotlights... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Startling new research finds large buildup of heat in the oceans, suggesting a faster rate of global warming

Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, CA

A post-sunset swimmer at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, Calif., this month. (Mike Blake/Reuters) 

The world’s oceans have been soaking up far more excess heat in recent decades than scientists realized, suggesting that Earth could be set to warm even faster than predicted in the years ahead, according to new research published Wednesday.

Over the past quarter-century, Earth’s oceans have retained 60 percent more heat each year than scientists previously had thought, said Laure Resplandy, a geoscientist at Princeton University who led the startling study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The difference represents an enormous amount of additional energy, originating from the sun and trapped by Earth’s atmosphere — the yearly amount representing more than eight times the world’s annual energy consumption.

In the scientific realm, the new findings help resolve long-running doubts about the rate of the warming of the oceans before 2007, when reliable measurements from devices called “Argo floats” were put to use worldwide. Before that, differing types of temperature records — and an overall lack of them — contributed to murkiness about how quickly the oceans were heating up.

The higher-than-expected amount of heat in the oceans means more heat is being retained within Earth’s climate system each year, rather than escaping into space. In essence, more heat in the oceans signals that global warming is more advanced than scientists thought. 

Startling new research finds large buildup of heat in the oceans, suggesting a faster rate of global warming by Chris Moody & Brady Dennis, Energy & Environment, Washington Post, Oct 31, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #44

Posted on 3 November 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week from Sunday through noon on Friday.  

Editor's Pick

Earth’s carbon dioxide levels are likely the highest they've been in 15 million years

Earth’s average global temperature from 2013 to 2017, as compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1980.

We’ve entered some profoundly unfamiliar planetary territory.

Amid a backdrop of U.S. politicians still questioning whether the changing climate is attributable to humans (it is), it's quite likely that we’ve actually boosted Earth's carbon dioxide — a potent greenhouse gas — to the highest levels they’ve been in some 15 million years. 

The number 15 million is dramatically higher than a statistic frequently cited by geologists and climate scientists: That today's carbon levels are the highest they've been on Earth in at least 800,000 years — as there's irrefutable proof trapped in the planet's ancient ice.

Though scientists emphasize that air bubbles preserved in ice are the gold carbon standard, there are less direct, though still quite reliable means to gauge Earth's long-ago carbon dioxide levels. These measurements, broadly called proxies, include the chemical make-up of long-dead plankton and the evidence stored in the breathing cells, or stomata, of ancient plants.

Scientists have identified this 15 million number by measuring and re-measuring proxies all over the world. 

Earth’s carbon dioxide levels are likely the highest they've been in 15 million years by Mark Kaufman, Science, Mashable, Oct 29, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #43

Posted on 28 October 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

Coal-fired Power Plant Costrip MT

A coal plant in Colstrip, Mont. Scientists say countries have put off reducing carbon emissions for so long that even a breakneck shift toward clean energy would most likely not be enough. Credit: Janie Osborne for The New York Times

With time running out to avoid dangerous global warming, the nation’s leading scientific body on Wednesday urged the federal government to begin a research program focused on developing technologies that can remove vast quantities of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere in order to help slow climate change.

The 369-page report, written by a panel of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, underscores an important shift. For decades, experts said that nations could prevent large temperature increases mainly by reducing reliance on fossil fuels and moving to cleaner sources like solar, wind and nuclear power.

But at this point, nations have delayed so long in cutting their carbon dioxide emissions that even a breakneck shift toward clean energy would most likely not be enough. According to a landmark scientific report issued by the United Nations this month, taking out a big chunk of the carbon dioxide already loaded into the atmosphere may be necessary to avoid significant further warming, even though researchers haven’t yet figured out how to do so economically, or at sufficient scale.

And we’ll have to do it fast. To meet the climate goals laid out under the Paris Agreement, humanity may have to start removing around 10 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the air each year by midcentury, in addition to reducing industrial emissions, said Stephen W. Pacala, a Princeton climate scientist who led the panel. That’s nearly as much carbon as all the world’s forests and soils currently absorb each year.

Scientists Push for a Crash Program to Scrub Carbon From the Air by Brad Plumer, Climate, New York Times, Oct 24, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #43

Posted on 27 October 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week including,,, 

Editor's Pick

They Know Seas Are Rising, but They’re Not Abandoning Their Beloved Cape Cod

Lifelong residents are building higher with each flood. But while they deal with climate change, some say they aren’t sure what to believe about the cause.

 Cape Code

Sea level is rising at an accelerated pace along the Mid-Atlantic coast, from Cape Hatteras to north of Boston, while land in some of those areas is sinking. Residents can try to adapt or face more frequent flooding. Credit: Robert Scott Button 

"It flooded in early January, and then it happened again two or three months later," says Matt Teague of Barnstable, Mass., about the slew of storms that hit Cape Cod in the winter of 2017. "We're like, what are we doing here?" he says, opening his arms skyward.

It is now the peak of summer as I stand with Matt in the seaside community of Blish Point at the front door of the house he owns—a house that's about to be demolished. Matt, 43, with a trim graying beard and a belt buckle in the shape of a fishhook, is the owner of REEF Design & Build, which works all across Cape Cod. He bought the house with his brother and father more than 10 years ago as an investment. Blish Point, an area where native fishermen once laid out their nets to dry, today contains a couple hundred homes nestled between the mouth of Barnstable Harbor and the verdant marsh of Maraspin Creek. Some of the homes are upscale; others are simple cottages. The Teague house, one of the simple cottages, was ruined by flooding: five major storms in the past three years alone have struck this area, and two of the four nor'easters last winter inundated the ground-level home.

Matt pushes his sunglasses atop his head, revealing a pale strip of untanned skin along his temple, as he stretches out his hand 2 feet above the door's threshold to show me where the water rose to during the storms. Over his shoulder, a hungry excavator sits ready to begin its work as Matt's extended family arrives, setting up lawn chairs across the street from the doomed house, joking about who forgot the popcorn. They have come to watch the carnage.

In spite of his own rhetorical question, after the demolition, Matt is going to rebuild—not elsewhere, but right here, only higher. 

They Know Seas Are Rising, but They’re Not Abandoning Their Beloved Cape Cod by Meera Subramanian, InsideClimate News, Oct 26, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #42

Posted on 21 October 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Legal Matters... Explainer of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS in the News... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Man Whose Mexico Beach House Was One of Last Standing After Hurricane Michael Calls out Climate Denier Politicians

In Mexico Beach, Florida, Russell King’s house is the only beachfront property that survived Hurricane Michael with little damage. But the fact it survived the latest record-breaking hurricane doesn’t give King peace of mind. Can it withstand the next storm that comes its way?

Climate scientists predict that storms will continue to intensify, and King takes this to heart, worrying the next one could take down his house. I met King on October 14, four days after Hurricane Michael made landfall and wiped out a large portion of Mexico Beach, a small town on Florida’s panhandle. The storm swept into the area with winds of up to 155 miles per hour (mph), just two shy of reaching a Category 5 storm designation

King’s home, which he owns with his nephew, Dr. Lebron Lackey, was built to withstand 240 mph winds, well beyond the standards of the current building code. Nearby houses built to the latest code all sustained substantial damage. Most of those still standing will likely need to be torn down. About a mile east on Highway 98, the main road along the coast, the top two floors of a four-story house moved from the beach to the road. The bottom floors were obliterated. 

I was preparing to camp out in my car on the beach near King's home when he graciously invited me in. “We still have dry beds,” he said. That night we talked over candlelight about climate change and politics. 

King, a former Air Force Lt. Colonel and practicing lawyer, is a Republican, but voted for Hillary Clinton in the last presidential election because he sees Donald Trump’s stance on climate science as a threat to the country. “Let’s get to the facts and truth, and don't worry about if it comes from the right or the left,“ King said. 

It troubles him that people are confusing the message with the messenger when it comes to science. King pleads with his climate-denier friends to watch Al Gore’s latest film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, and form their own opinions, rather than going along with what politicians say. 

As the sun came up, we gazed out from the balcony over the destruction below. The few structures still standing appeared damaged beyond repair. Many others were completely gone. 

Man Whose Mexico Beach House Was One of Last Standing After Hurricane Michael Calls out Climate Denier Politicians by Julie Dermansky, DeSmog, Oct 21, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #42

Posted on 20 October 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week including,,, 

Editor's Pick

Assessing the Global Climate in September 2018

Globe had its fourth warmest September and year-to-date on record

Sunset-over-Mountains-in-Poland

Courtesy of Pixabay.com

The global land and ocean temperature departure from average for September 2018 tied with 2017 as the fourth highest for the month of September in the NOAA global temperature dataset record, which dates back to 1880. The year-to-date was also fourth warmest on record.

September-2018-Global-Significant-Events-Map_NOAAThis monthly summary, developed by scientists at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, is part of the suite of climate services NOAA provides to government, business, academia and the public to support informed decision-making.

Assessing the Global Climate in September 2018, National Centers for Environmental Information, NOAA, Oct 17, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #41

Posted on 14 October 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... Legal Matters... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Hurricanes like Michael show why we can’t ignore climate change

The deadly storm came just days after a report on global warming

Hurricane Michael aftermath: Mexico Beach, Fl 10-13-18

People walk through rubble after Hurricane Michael in Mexico Beach, Fla., on Saturday (Oct 13, 2018). (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

This past week was a grim one in climate history, by any measure.

First, an international group of scientists released a long-anticipated report (IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C) detailing in excruciating detail the extra damages we can expect unless we slam our foot on the fossil fuel brakes right now. Then, just a few days later, record-breaking Hurricane Michael came barreling out of the Gulf of Mexico with a late-breaking intensification that transformed the Florida Panhandle into a landscape straight out of a horror movie.

The fact that both events occurred within a few days of each other is pure coincidence, of course. But it does leave the feeling that Nature just put one or more planetary-scale exclamation marks on the main takeaway from the IPCC report: Act now to reduce emissions, or suffer the consequences!

Hurricanes like Michael show why we can’t ignore climate change, Perspective by Kim Cobb, Post Everything, Washington Post, Oct 14, 2018

____________________

Note: For more details about the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C see:

Links to additional article and opinion pieces about the IPCC's Special Report are included in the 2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #41 posted on this site yesterday.  

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #41

Posted on 13 October 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week including numerous articles about the IPCC’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC and the Hurricane Michael-climate change connection,

Editor's Pick

Mary Robinson on climate change: ‘Feeling “This is too big for me” is no use to anybody’

The former president of Ireland has a new raison d’être: saving the planet. Yet, despite the dire warnings of this week’s IPCC report, she is surprisingly upbeat 

Mary Robinson 

‘Human rights has always been a struggle’ ... Mary Robinson in her office in Dublin. Photograph: Johnny Savage/Guardian

On the morning that the world’s leading climate scientists warn that the planet has until 2030 to avert a global warming catastrophe, Mary Robinson appears suitably sombre. She wears black shoes, black trousers and a black sweater and perches at the end of a long table at her climate justice foundation, headquartered in an austere, imposing Georgian building opposite Trinity College Dublin. The only dash of brightness is a multicoloured brooch on her lapel. “It symbolises the sustainable development goals,” she says. “It’s the one good emblem that the United Nations has produced, so I like to wear it.”

There seems little reason for cheer on this Monday. The landmark report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just warned that urgent, unprecedented changes are needed to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C; even half a degree beyond this will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people. Donald Trump, rejecter of the Paris climate agreement, is riding high on the back of Brett Kavanaugh’s elevation to the US supreme court. Britain and the EU are consumed by Brexit Brazil is on course to elect a president who wants to open the Amazon to agribusiness. Closer to home, the Irish government is flunking its climate policy goals. Now, climate scientists warn that the clock ticks ever closer to midnight.

“Governments are not responding at all adequately to the stark reality that the IPCC is pointing to: that we have about 11 years to make really significant change,” says Robinson, sitting ramrod straight, all business. “This report is extraordinarily important, because it’s telling us that 2 degrees is not safe. It’s beyond safe. Therefore, we have to work much, much harder to stay at 1.5 degrees. I’ve seen what 1 degree is doing in more vulnerable countries ... villages are having to move, there’s slippage, there’s seawater incursion.”

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #40

Posted on 7 October 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... SkS Highlights... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS...  Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

A major climate report will slam the door on wishful thinking

The IPCC is likely to say that even the most optimistic scenario for climate change isn’t great at all.

Coal-fired Power Plant 

The leading international body of climate change researchers is preparing to release a major report Sunday night on the impacts of global warming and what it would take to cap warming at 1.5 degrees Celsiusor 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, above pre-industrial levels, a goal that looks increasingly unlikely.

The report is from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an international consortium of hundreds of climate researchers convened by the United Nations. Authors are meeting this week in Incheon, South Korea, to finalize their findings, but Climate Home News obtained an early leaked draft.

Why examine the prospects for limiting global warming to 1.5°C? Because under the Paris agreement, countries agreed that the goal should be to limit warming to below 2°C by 2100, with a nice-to-have target of capping warming at 1.5°C.

According to the drafts, the report finds that it would take a massive global effort, far more aggressive than any we’ve seen to date, to keep warming in line with 1.5°C — in part because we are already en route to 3°C of warming. And even if we hit the 1.5°C goal, the planet will still face massive, devastating changes. So it’s pretty grim.

But this is also a thunderous call to action, laying out what tools we have at our disposal (we have plenty) to mitigate global warming and to accelerate the turn toward cleaner energy. Let’s walk through the basics. 

A major report will slam the door on wishful thinking by Umair Irfan, Energy & Environment, Vox, Oct 5, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #40

Posted on 6 October 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

The Nihilism of Trump’s Climate Policy

The administration cites the likelihood of catastrophic global temperature rise to justify gutting fuel-efficiency standards. Yes, you read that correctly.

Wildfire Shasta Trinity National Forest CA Sep 2018

A firefighter works to control the Delta Fire in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest, California, in September 2018. Noah Berger/AP

The Washington Post dove deep into a draft statement issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last week and found buried within it a startling admission.

Planet Earth, the agency’s analysts observed, is currently on track to warm by approximately 4 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. But that’s not the startling thing I’m referring to. This is: The statement’s authors were passing along this bit of news in order to lend support to the administration’s decision to weaken fuel efficiency standards for cars and light trucks built after 2020.

That’s right: The United States government is basically making the argument that reducing carbon pollution from cars can’t save us—so why bother?

This is, to put it mildly, a twist on the usual rules of engagement between those who advocate for climate action and those who don’t. We’re used to fighting skepticism. But outright nihilism? That’s a new one. 

The Nihilism of Trump’s Climate Policy by Jeff Turrentine, On Earth, NRDC, Oct 5, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #39

Posted on 30 September 2018 by John Hartz &

Calls to Action... Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Report of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week...  SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

World 'nowhere near on track' to avoid warming beyond 1.5C target 

Exclusive: Author of key UN climate report says limiting temperature rise would require enormous, immediate transformation in human activity

Coal-fired power plant

Avoiding a temperature increase of more than 1.5C will be ‘extraordinarily challenging’, says the report’s author. Photograph: Matt Brown/AP

The world’s governments are “nowhere near on track” to meet their commitment to avoid global warming of more than 1.5C above the pre-industrial period, according to an author of a key UN report that will outline the dangers of breaching this limit.

A massive, immediate transformation in the way the world’s population generates energy, uses transportation and grows food will be required to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5C and the forthcoming analysis is set to lay bare how remote this possibility is.

“It’s extraordinarily challenging to get to the 1.5C target and we are nowhere near on track to doing that,” said Drew Shindell, a Duke University climate scientist and a co-author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, which will be unveiled in South Korea next month.

“While it’s technically possible, it’s extremely improbable, absent a real sea change in the way we evaluate risk. We are nowhere near that.” 

World 'nowhere near on track' to avoid warming beyond 1.5C target by Oliver Milman, Guardian, Sep 27, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #39

Posted on 29 September 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Trump administration sees a 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100

Ranch Fire Brea CA 08-01-18 

Firefighters from Brea, Calif., inspect and cut fireline on Aug. 1, 2018, as the Ranch Fire burns near Upper Lake, Calif. A day earlier, it and the River Fire totaled more than 74,000 acres. (Stuart W. Palley/For The Washington Post) 

Last month, deep in a 500-page environmental impact statement, the Trump administration made a startling assumption: On its current course, the planet will warm a disastrous 7 degrees by the end of this century.

A rise of 7 degrees Fahrenheit, or about 4 degrees Celsius, compared with preindustrial levels would be catastrophic, according to scientists. Many coral reefs would dissolve in increasingly acidic oceans. Parts of Manhattan and Miami would be underwater without costly coastal defenses. Extreme heat waves would routinely smother large parts of the globe.

But the administration did not offer this dire forecast as part of an argument to combat climate change. Just the opposite: The analysis assumes the planet’s fate is already sealed.

Trump administration sees a 7-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100 by Juliet Eilperin, Brady Dennis & Chri Mooney, Health & Science, Washington Post, Sep 28, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #38

Posted on 23 September 2018 by John Hartz &

Call to Acton... Storyline of the Week... Must-Read Analysis... Opinion of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Reports of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Call to Action...

As you may be aware, the US 2018 Mid-term election will be one of the most historically important elections in American history. Thus, we are embarking on an effort to update the SkS resource, Climate Myths from Politicians. If you are aware that a candidate for the US Congress or the US Senate has made a statement, or statements, about man-made climate change, please share those statements with us in the comment thread of this post. Be sure to properly document the source of each statement.


Storyline of the Week...

The Unequal Burden of Climate Change

Hurricane Florence and Super Typhoon Mangkhut laid bare the disproportionate consequences for poor communities.

A street flooded by Super Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines.

A street flooded by Super Typhoon Mangkhut in the Philippines. (NOEL CELIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Two massive tropical cyclones made landfall on separate ends of the globe on Friday. But they were, as the Associated Press put it, “as different as water and wind.”

The wind storm was Super Typhoon Mangkhut. Deemed the strongest cyclone of 2018, it brought 165 mile-per-hour gusts and 20-foot storm surges to the Philippines, and a bit less of both to Hong Kong. The water storm was Hurricane Florence. The slow-moving storm brought only 90 mile-per-hour winds to North and South Carolina, but also torrential rainfall that set a record for both states.

These differences illustrate what one disaster preparedness expert told me last week. “Every single storm has its own identity, its own footprint,” he said. “No two are ever alike.” But cyclones’ identities are not just shaped by wind speeds and rainfall totals. They’re defined by the communities they target.

The Unequal Burden of Climate Change by Emily Atkin, The New Republic, Sep 18, 2018 


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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #38

Posted on 22 September 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Solar Energy Largely Unscathed by Hurricane Florence’s Wind and Rain

Solar Panels

North Carolina gets nearly 5 percent of its electricity from solar panels. The state's solar farms survived Hurricane Florence with little damage. Credit: Duke Energy 

Faced with Hurricane Florence's powerful winds and record rainfall, North Carolina's solar farms held up with only minimal damage while other parts of the electricity system failed, an outcome that solar advocates hope will help to steer the broader energy debate.

North Carolina has more solar power than any state other than California, much of it built in the two years since Hurricane Matthew hit the region. Before last week, the state hadn't seen how its growing solar developments—providing about 4.6 percent of the state's electricity—would fare in the face of a hurricane.

Florence provided a test of how the systems stand up to severe weather as renewable energy use increases, particularly solar, which is growing faster in the Southeast than any other other region. 

Solar Energy Largely Unscathed by Hurricane Florence’s Wind and Rain by Dan Gearino, InsideClimate News, Sep 20, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #37

Posted on 16 September 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Photo of the Week... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

California Had Its Own Climate Summit. Now What?

Protestors at Global Climate Action Summit San Francisco Sep 2018 

Protesters at the Global Climate Action Summit this week in San Francisco. Credit Marian Carrasquero for The New York Times

For years, presidents and prime ministers have been the public face of the fight against climate change, gathering at United Nations summit meetings and pressuring each other to reduce emissions.

The results have often been lackluster.

climate conference in California this week tried something different. The meeting, organized by the state’s governor, Jerry Brown, had far fewer national leaders present. Instead, an array of governors, mayors and business executives from around the globe met to promote their successes in cutting greenhouse gas emissions locally and to encourage one another to do more.

A key premise of the conference was that if a handful of leading-edge states, cities and businesses can demonstrate that it’s feasible — and even lucrative — to go green in their own backyards, they might inspire others to follow suit. That, in turn, could make it easier for national leaders to act more forcefully.

“If a researcher does an experiment, and you find out they’ve got a medicine that works, it spreads,” Governor Brown said.

California Had Its Own Climate Summit. Now What? by Brad Plumer, Climate, New York Times, Sep 15, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #37

Posted on 15 September 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Paris Conundrum: How to Know How Much Carbon Is Being Emitted? 

Emissions-Industrial-Complex_Oberhausen-Germany-2017

An industrial complex in Oberhausen, Germany in January 2017. LUKAS SCHULZE/GETTY

As climate negotiators consider rules for verifying commitments under the Paris Agreement, they will have to confront a difficult truth: There currently is no reliably accurate way to measure total global emissions or how much CO2 is coming from individual nations.   

Will we be able to verify the Paris climate accord? Right now science is not up to the task, say the people in charge of assessing our annual emissions of CO2. There is, they say, no sure way of independently verifying whether national governments are telling the truth about their own emissions or of knowing by how much global anthropogenic emissions are actually increasing.

And that is distinctly alarming, given the contradiction between reports that anthropogenic emissions have stopped rising and atmospheric measurements showing that annual increases in CO2 levels have reached record levels.

Climate negotiators are committed to concluding a rule book for implementing the Paris Agreement at their next annual conference, in Katowice, Poland, in December. Central to that will be an agreed plan to monitor, report, and verify the pledges made by almost 200 countries.

Paris Conundrum: How to Know How Much Carbon Is Being Emitted? by Fred Pearce, Yale Environment 360, Sep 10, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #36

Posted on 9 September 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... John Cook Sighting... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Rise for Climate: thousands march across US to protest environment crisis

Protests spearheaded by march in San Francisco ahead of climate change summit in the city next week

Rise for Climate March New York 09-08-18.

Several thousand people took part in a climate march in New York City on Thursday. Ten activists were arrested after blocking the street in front of Andrew Cuomo’s Manhattan office. Photograph: Michael Brochstein/SOPA Images/REX/Shutterstock 

Tens of thousands of people took part in marches and other events across the US on Saturday, calling for a swift transition to renewable energy in order to stave off the various perils of climate change.

The Rise for Climate protests was spearheaded by what organizers called the largest ever climate march on the US west coast. The march, which snaked through the heart of San Francisco, came ahead of a climate change summit in the city next week that will gather mayors and business leaders from around the world.

The San Francisco march, which called for California governor Jerry Brown to end fossil fuel extraction in the state, attracted around 30,000 people, organizers said.

An array of activities, including rallies, voter registration drives and vigils, were scheduled to take place across the US, in cities such as Boston, Miami and Portland, Oregon. Events were also planned in Puerto Rico. In New Orleans, protesters planned to agitate for the halt of the Bayou Bridge pipeline, an extension of the controversial Dakota Access project that last year spurred a lengthy standoff at the Standing Rock reservation.

Rise for Climate: thousands march across US to protest environment crisis by Oliver Milman, Environment, Guardian, Sep 8, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #36

Posted on 8 September 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

A powerful current just miles from SC is changing. It could devastate the East Coast.

 Historical Map of Gulf Stream

Ben Franklin and Timothy Folger’s map of the Gulf Stream in 1768. Library of Congress

Off South Carolina, the ocean suddenly changes color, from green to deep blue. You’re in the Gulf Stream now, in warm and salty water from the tropics, with swordfish, tuna and squid, in a current so strong that it lowers our sea level.

Benjamin Franklin would learn about this current’s force. He was a Colonial postmaster before the American Revolution, and he’d noticed British mail ships were slow, much slower than other merchant ships. Why?

He mentioned this to his cousin, Timothy Folger, a ship captain who’d hunted whales off New England. Ah, yes, that current off the East Coast, Folger told Franklin. Any fishermen worth their nets cut in and out to make better time — the whalers had even warned the mail ships to steer clear. But the Brits “were too wise to be counseled by American fishermen.”

A map might help, and so they made a chart of this “Gulf Stream” from Florida toward Europe. It was one of the first maps to document its tremendous reach.

A powerful current just miles from SC is changing. It could devastate the East Coast. by Tony Bartelme, Special Reports, Charleston Post & Courier, Sep 5, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #35

Posted on 2 September 2018 by John Hartz &

Calls to Action... Story of the Week... Editorial of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Calls to Action*...

Looking ahead...

Rise for Climate Sep 8, 2018

Sat Sep 8 is an extremely important day for climate activists because they will be gathering in cities throughout the world to Rise Up for Climate. If you re not already plugged into an event in your area, you can easily do so by going to the official Rise Up for Climate website. From the global campaign's website:

On September 8, we’re planning thousands of rallies in cities and towns around the world to demand our local leaders commit to building a fossil free world that puts people and justice before profits.

No more stalling, no more delays: it’s time for a fast and fair transition to 100% renewable energy for all.

Real climate leadership rises from below. It means power in the hands of people not corporations. It means economic opportunity for workers and justice and dignity for frontline communities that are the hardest hit by the impacts of the fossil fuel industry and a warming world. 

Looking inside... 

Be sure to check out the next two sections of this digest — Story of the Week and Opinion of the Week. They address two inter-related issue re the human race's ability to come to grips with the reality of man-made climate change and the need to effectively mitigate it starting now.

Looking behind...

Something that flew under my radar screen when it was released earlier this year...

Narrated by Danny Glover, A documentary special reveals how climate change science has been under systematic attack; the multi-million dollar campaign allowed a climate change denier to be elected president (a new version with updated content and music)

TRNN Documentary: Trump, The Koch Brothers and Their War on Climate Science, May 23, 2018

TRNN = The Real News Network, Baltimore, MD


*The views expressed in this section are those of John Hartz and do not necessarily reflect  consensus views of the SkS author team — it's nearly impossible to achieve consensus within a herd of cats.  


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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #35

Posted on 1 September 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Most land-based ecosystems worldwide risk ‘major transformation’ due to climate change

most-land-based-ecosystems-worldwide-risk-major-transformation-due-to-climate-change-map-

Researchers compiled and evaluated pollen and plant-fossil records from nearly 600 sites worldwide for their study of vegetation change. Map reprinted with permission from Nolan et al., Science, 2018 (10.1126/science.aan5360).

Without dramatic reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, most of the planet’s land-based ecosystems—from its forests and grasslands to the deserts and tundra—are at high risk of “major transformation” due to climate change, according to a new study from an international research team.

The researchers used fossil records of global vegetation change that occurred during a period of post-glacial warming to project the magnitude of ecosystem transformations likely in the future under various greenhouse gas emissions scenarios.

They found that under a “business as usual” emissions scenario, in which little is done to rein in heat-trapping greenhouse-gas emissions, vegetation changes across the planet’s wild landscapes will likely be more far-reaching and disruptive than earlier studies suggested.

The changes would threaten global biodiversity and derail vital services that nature provides to humanity, such as water security, carbon storage and recreation, according to study co-author Jonathan Overpeck, dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan.

“If we allow climate change to go unchecked, the vegetation of this planet is going to look completely different than it does today, and that means a huge risk to the diversity of the planet,” said Overpeck, who conceived the idea for the study with corresponding author Stephen T. Jackson of the U.S. Geological Survey.

Most land-based ecosystems worldwide risk ‘major transformation’ due to climate change, Michigan News (University of Michigan), Aug 30, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #34

Posted on 25 August 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

A World On Fire 

Wildfires NAA 8-23-18 

To see the image on Worldview: https://go.nasa.gov/2BRck1Z

The world is on fire. Or so it appears in this image from NASA's Worldview. The red points overlaid on the image designate those areas that by using thermal bands detect actively burning fires. Africa seems to have the most concentrated fires. This could be due to the fact that these are most likely agricultural fires. The location, widespread nature, and number of fires suggest that these fires were deliberately set to manage land. Farmers often use fire to return nutrients to the soil and to clear the ground of unwanted plants. While fire helps enhance crops and grasses for pasture, the fires also produce smoke that degrades air quality.

Elsewhere the fires, such as in North America are wildfires for the most part.  In South America, specifically Chile has had horrendous numbers of wildfires this year.  A study conducted by Montana State University found that: "Besides low humidity, high winds and extreme temperatures—some of the same factors contributing to fires raging across the United States—central Chile is experiencing a mega drought and large portions of its diverse native forests have been converted to more flammable tree plantations, the researchers said."  More on this study can be found here: https://phys.org/news/2018-08-massive-south-central-chile.html#jCp

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #33

Posted on 18 August 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Research Highlight: Climate Model Predicts Faster Warming for the North Atlantic Ocean

As aerosol emissions decline, heat uptake in the North Atlantic could increase dramatically

Gulf Stream & AMOC 

The Gulf Stream, part of the larger Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation system. Photo: NASA

Researchers at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have predicted faster rates of warming than previously predicted for the North Atlantic Ocean in a recent paper published in the Journal of Climate. This warming could disrupt major oceanic cycles and have worldwide impacts on climate systems.

The researchers modeled scenarios based on possible future greenhouse gas and aerosol emission rates. One likely scenario focuses on future decline in aerosols and continued increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Aerosols are minute particles suspended in the atmosphere. Some scatter sunlight, thereby actually acting as cooling agents.

The aerosol cooling effect is about 50 percent of the warming effect of anthropogenic carbon dioxide at present. Aerosols released from human activities are pollutants, however, and their health concerns have triggered worldwide efforts to curb emissions. An aerosol decline could spark an interesting catch-22: Because of their cooling effect, this decline would accelerate ocean warming that is already being caused by increasing carbon dioxide emissions–most notably initiating major warming in the North Atlantic.

Historically, the Southern Ocean has been the predominant heat absorber, accounting for roughly 72 percent of uptake of anthropogenic greenhouse heat in the oceans, due in part to the area’s low levels of cooling aerosols. The opposite is true of the North Atlantic: under strong aerosol cooling, the North Atlantic has not taken up much heat, meaning that most of the warming in the Northern Hemisphere is happening in the atmosphere and not in the ocean.

“The ocean heat uptake moderates atmospheric warming by storing much of the greenhouse heat below the surface,” said Shang-Ping Xie, a climate researcher at Scripps and co-author of the study. “We now show that the ocean uptake is not only uneven, but its distribution also evolves with time."

Research Highlight: Climate Model Predicts Faster Warming for the North Atlantic Ocean by Chase Martin, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Aug 14, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #32

Posted on 12 August 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

On climate change, it’s time to start panicking 

The crisis over global warming warrants an unparalleled response 

US Capitol Montage

(Getty/Photo Montage by Salon)

It is time for us to panic about global warming. Indeed, a proper state of panic is long overdue.

Global warming has made the news for a number of reasons this week: The Supreme Court rejected a request by President Donald Trump to halt a lawsuit by children and teenagers to force the federal government to address man-made climate change; Trump's Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation took new steps to reverse President Barack Obama's rules requiring car manufacturers to steadily reduce greenhouse gas pollution from their vehicles; former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger denounced those same Trump policies as "stupid"; and The New York Times ran a brilliant piece documenting how, between 1979 and 1989, the world had the opportunity to effectively address man-made climate change... and squandered it.

Yet this is one of those issues in which — because there are so many twists and turns and overwhelming details — it is easy to lose sight of a crucial fact: If we do not resolve the problem of man-made climate change, it could quite literally spell the end of human civilization.

"There will be and already is major consequences and they grow over time. It does not look good," Kevin Trenberth, a a Distinguished Senior Scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research at the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, told Salon by email. "The effects are always local but there are more and more of them and the consequences are major. These includes floods and drought, heat waves and wild fires." He also pointed Salon in the direction of a paper he co-authored that elaborated on how Hurricane Harvey in particular could be linked to climate change.

On climate change, it’s time to start panicking by Matthew Rozsa, Salon, Aug 5, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #32

Posted on 11 August 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Scientists mock Trump’s tweet on wildfires as ‘comedically ill-informed’ and ‘unmitigated crap’ 

Trump's climate denial is "a crime against the planet" warns climatologist.

 

Embers Smolder from Wildfires Near Clearlake Oaks, California, On August 5, 2018. Credit: Noah Berger/AFP/Getty Images

Two years ago, an actual headline from CBS in Sacramento was, “Donald Trump Tells California ‘There Is No Drought’ As Drought Continues.

And now, on Sunday evening, Trump’s denial of reality in California continued, as he attempted to blame the ever-worsening wildfires in the state on everything but climate change.

“California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized,” the President tweeted. “It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!”

The tweet came just hours after the Trump administration declared the California wildfires a major disaster

Scientists mock Trump’s tweet on wildfires as ‘comedically ill-informed’ and ‘unmitigated crap’ by Joe Romm, Think Progress, Aug 6, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #31

Posted on 5 August 2018 by John Hartz &

Stories of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS in the News... Photo of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Stories of the Week...

Scorching Summer in Europe Signals Long-Term Climate Changes

Cooling Down in Paris 2018 

People trying to cool down in the Trocadero Fountain in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Credit: Ludovic Marin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In Northern Europe, this summer feels like a modern-day version of the biblical plagues. Cows are dying of thirst in Switzerland, fires are gobbling up timber in Sweden, the majestic Dachstein glacier is melting in Austria.

In London, stores are running out of fans and air-conditioners. In Greenland, an iceberg may break off a piece so large that it could trigger a tsunami that destroys settlements on shore. Last week, Sweden’s highest peak, Kebnekaise mountain, no longer was in first place after its glacier tip melted.

Southern Europe is even hotter. Temperatures in Spain and Portugal are expected to reach 105-110 degrees Fahrenheit this weekend. On Saturday, several places in Portugal experienced record highs, and over the past week, two people have died in Spain from the high temperatures, and a third in Portugal.

But in the northernmost latitudes, where the climate is warming faster than the global average, temperatures have been the most extreme, according to a study by researchers at Oxford University and the World Weather Attribution network. 

Scorching Summer in Europe Signals Long-Term Climate Changes by Alissa J. Rubin, World, New York Times, Aug 4. 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #31

Posted on 4 August 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

143-mph 'fire tornado' that cut a path of destruction is an ominous sign of the future

Wildfire Tornado Takes Down Transmission Tower 

A high-tension power transmission line tipped over from a tornado-like vortex that reached speeds of possibly more than 143 mph. (Cal Fire / National Weather Service)/h5>

Redding Fire Vortex

As authorities sifted the rubble from the fire that burned more than 1,000 residences in Shasta County, they were startled by what they encountered.

A soaring transmission tower was tipped over. Tiles were torn off the roofs of homes. Massive trees were uprooted. Vehicles were moved. In one spot, a fence post was bent around a tree, with the bark on one side sheared off.

This was not typical wildfire damage. Rather, it was strong evidence of a giant, powerful spinning vortex that accompanied the Carr fire on July 26. The tornado-like condition, lasting an hour and a half and fueled by extreme heat and intensely dry brush as California heats up to record levels, was captured in dramatic videos that have come to symbolize the destructive power of what is now California’s sixth-most destructive fire.

It may take years before scientists come to a consensus on what to exactly call this vortex — a fire whirl, as named by the National Weather Service, or a fire tornado. Whatever it’s called, it’s exceptionally rare to see a well-documented fire-fueled vortex leap out of a wildfire and enter a populated area with such size, power and duration. 

143-mph 'fire tornado' that cut a path of destruction is an ominous sign of the future by Rong-Gong Lin Ii , Joseph Serna & Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times, Aug 3, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #30

Posted on 29 July 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS in the News... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

Story of the Week...

Extreme global weather is 'the face of climate change' says leading scientist

Exclusive: Prof Michael Mann declares the impacts of global warming are now ‘playing out in real-time’

Flooding Athens Greece 2018

Emergency workers among damaged vehicles in a open parking area of northern Athens after a flash flood struck the Greek capital. Photograph: Angelos Tzortzinis/AFP/Getty Images 

The extreme heatwaves and wildfires wreaking havoc around the globe are “the face of climate change,” one of the world’s leading climate scientists has declared, with the impacts of global warming now “playing out in real time.”

Climate change has long been predicted to increase extreme weather incidents, and scientists are now confident these predictions are coming true. Scientists say the global warming has contributed to the scorching temperatures that have baked the UK and northern Europe for weeks.

The hot spell was made more than twice as likely by climate change, a new analysis found, demonstrating an “unambiguous” link.

Extreme weather has struck across Europe, from the Arctic Circle to Greece, and across the world, from North America to Japan. “This is the face of climate change,” said Prof Michael Mann, at Penn State University, and one the world’s most eminent climate scientists. “We literally would not have seen these extremes in the absence of climate change.”

“The impacts of climate change are no longer subtle,” he told the Guardian. “We are seeing them play out in real time and what is happening this summer is a perfect example of that.”

“We are seeing our predictions come true,” he said. “As a scientist that is reassuring, but as a citizen of planet Earth, it is very distressing to see that as it means we have not taken the necessary action.” 

Extreme global weather is 'the face of climate change' says leading scientist by Damian Carrington, Environment, Guardian, July 27, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #30

Posted on 28 July 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

How Did the End of the World Become Old News?

Wildfire Arctic Circle Sweden July 2018 

The fire this time (in Sweden). Photo: Mats Andersson/AFP/Getty Images

There has been a lot of burning lately. Last week, wildfires broke out in the Arctic Circle, where temperatures reached almost 90 degrees; they are still roiling northern Sweden, 21 of them. And this week, wildfires swept through the Greek seaside, outside Athens, killing at least 80 and hospitalizing almost 200. At one resort, dozens of guests tried to escape the flames by descending a narrow stone staircase into the Aegean, only to be engulfed along the way, dying literally in each other’s arms.

Last July, I wrote a much-talked-over magazine cover story considering the worst-case scenarios for climate change — much talked over, in part, because it was so terrifying, which made some of the scenarios a bit hard to believe. Those worst-case scenarios are still quite unlikely, since they require both that we do nothing to alter our emissions path, which is still arcing upward, and that those unabated emissions bring us to climate outcomes on the far end of what’s possible by 2100.

But, this July, we already seem much farther along on those paths than even the most alarmist climate observers — e.g., me — would have predicted a year ago. In a single week earlier this month, dozens of places around the world were hit with record temperatures in what was, effectively, an unprecedented, planet-encompassing heat wave: from Denver to Burlington to Ottawa; from Glasgow to Shannon to Belfast; from Tbilisi, in Georgia, and Yerevan, in Armenia, to whole swaths of southern Russia. The temperature of one city in Oman, where the daytime highs had reached 122 degrees Fahrenheit, did not drop below 108 all night; in Montreal, Canada, 50 died from the heat. That same week, 30 major wildfires burned in the American West, including one, in California, that grew at the rate of 10,000 football fields each hour, and another, in Colorado, that produced a volcano-like 300-foot eruption of flames, swallowing an entire subdivision and inventing a new term — “fire tsunami” — along the way. On the other side of the planet, biblical rains flooded Japan, where 1.2 million were evacuated from their homes. The following week, the heat struck there, killing dozens. The following week.

How Did the End of the World Become Old News? by David Wallace-Wells, The Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine. July 26, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #29

Posted on 22 July 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Analysis of the Week... SkS Highlights... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS in the News... Photo of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Reports of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review...

Story of the Week...

A Global Heat Wave Has Set the Arctic Circle on Fire

Arctic Circle Wildfires in Sweden 2018

Fire burns in Karbole, Sweden. Photo: Mats Andersson/AFP/Getty Images

From Japan to Sweden, and Oman to Texas, a global heat wave is setting records, igniting wildfires, and killing dozens all across the world this week.

The south-central region is home to the highest temperatures in the U.S. this week, with nearly 35 million people living under excessive heat warnings issued by the National Weather Service. Temperatures are expected to be in the triple digits across Texas this weekend, marking the most severe heat wave in the state since 2011.

The Texas heat has already led to record-breaking days for the Texas power grid twice this week. Things aren’t any better elsewhere in the region, with heat indexes in Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana reaching up to 110 degrees.

A Global Heat Wave Has Set the Arctic Circle on Fire by Adam K Raymond, Daily Intelligencer, New York Magazine, July 20, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #29

Posted on 21 July 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

There Is No Escape for Corals

Deep waters have long been seen as potential refuges for endangered corals, but a new study suggests that they offer no sanctuary.

Coral in Mesophotic Zone 

It’s faintly absurd to be in one of the most obscure parts of the planet—a creepy zone of perpetual gloom and imminent danger, where no other humans have ventured—and have a cartoonishly squeaky voice. That’s what Luiz Rocha and his team repeatedly experienced in their attempts to study the world’s deep coral reefs.

Picture a coral reef and you’ll likely imagine a sun-drenched world lying just below the ocean’s surface. But reefs also exist beyond these shallow waters, in the so-called mesophotic zone, from 100 to 500 feet down. To study the unfamiliar animals that live in this dim world, normal scuba skills won’t cut it. Divers need special training and equipment—including larger gas tanks, rebreathers that recycle the air that divers exhale, and special gas mixes that include helium. And the helium means that anyone who enters the mesophotic zone ends up with a high-pitched squeak when they try to communicate through their rebreathers.

There Is No Escape for Corals by Ed Young, Science, The Atlantic, July 19, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #28

Posted on 15 July 2018 by John Hartz &

SkS Highlights... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Reports of Note... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week...

SkS Highlights 

Vote For Earth - Jeff Berardelli

The successful #MetsUnite Climate Change initiative organised by Jeff Berardelli raised $1,000 for charity! The funds were raised through royalties from the items displayed on TV and on social media around June 21st.

Now it’s time to decide who gets the money and Skeptical Science is one of four not for profit climate change awareness and education entities in the running.

If you'd like to help us get $1,000, please visit http://metsunite.com/vote-here/ and vote for Skeptical Science before voting ends on July 20!

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #28

Posted on 14 July 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Heat Records Falling Around the World in 2018

World Temp Records 

Above:  A sampling of all-time high temperatures reported around the world in 2018 thus far, rounded to the nearest degree Fahrenheit. Most of these were set in late June and early July (see details below). The reading of 51.3°C (124.3°F) at Ouargla, Algeria, is the highest reliably measured temperature on record for Africa. Background image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

The first five months of 2018 were the fourth warmest in global records going back to 1880, according to NOAA. Along the way, a number of extreme heat events have occurred already this year. In recent weeks across the Northern Hemisphere, these records have included an impressive number of all-time highs (an all-time high is the warmest temperature reported on any date at a given location).

Setting an all-time high is no small accomplishment, especially for locations that have long periods of record (PORs). All-time highs are especially noteworthy when you consider that, on average, the planet is warming more during winter than during summer, and more at night than during the day. Urban heat islands are no doubt contributing somewhat to the heat records achieved in large urban areas, but the extreme heat of 2018 has also played out in remote rural areas without any urban heat islands.

As of July 13, the U.S. Records summary page maintained by NOAA showed that 18 U.S. locations had set or tied all-time highs so far this year, as opposed to 10 locations that set or tied all-time lows. There is an even sharper contrast between the number of all-time warm daily lows (40) and all-time cool daily highs (5), which has been a common pattern in recent years.

Here is a summary of some of the more significant heat-related events of the year-to-date around the world, in chronological order. Note that in some cases, extremely high temperatures recorded in the early 20th century are not considered reliable because of instrument placement and/or observing practices (as was the case with the infamous and ultimately disqualified El Azizi world heat record). All of the all-time highs shown below are valid for the climatological records that are considered reliable at a given location. All records are shown in the units used locally, followed by conversions to Celsius or Fahrenheit. (The United States is the only major country on Earth that does not primarly use the metric system.) 

Heat Records Falling Around the World in 2018 by Christopher C Burt, Category 6, Weather Underground, July 13, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #27

Posted on 8 July 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 

Story of the Week...

Global warming may be twice what climate models predict

Sunset

Sunset. Credit: Patrik Linderstam, Unsplash

Future global warming may eventually be twice as warm as projected by climate models and sea levels may rise six metres or more even if the world meets the 2°C target, according to an international team of researchers from 17 countries.

The findings published last week in Nature Geoscience are based on observational evidence from three warm periods over the past 3.5 million years when the world was 0.5°C-2°C warmer than the pre-industrial temperatures of the 19th Century.

The research also revealed how large areas of the polar ice caps could collapse and significant changes to ecosystems could see the Sahara Desert become green and the edges of tropical forests turn into fire dominated savanna.

“Observations of past warming periods suggest that a number of amplifying mechanisms, which are poorly represented in climate models, increase long-term warming beyond climate model projections,” said lead author, Prof Hubertus Fischer of the University of Bern.

“This suggests the carbon budget to avoid 2°C of global warming may be far smaller than estimated, leaving very little margin for error to meet the Paris targets.” 

Global warming may be twice what climate models predict, Newsroom, UNSW Sydney, July 5, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #27

Posted on 7 July 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Climate change will get a whole lot worse before it gets better, according to game theory

Wildfire San Andreas CA 

It’s going to get a lot worse before it gets any better. According to new research published in Nature, humanity will witness marked sea level rises and frequent killer heatwaves before governments take decisive action against climate change. And to predict the future, mathematicians have turned to game theory.

The paper, published by a team of mathematicians, uses game theory to explain why it is so hard to protect the environment, updating it so they could model the effects of climate change, overuse of precious resources and pollution of pristine environments.

The bad news is that the model suggests that, when it comes to climate change, things might have to get demonstrably worse before they can get better. The good news, on the other hand, is that game theory could help policymakers to craft new and better incentives to help nations cooperate in international agreements.

Climate change will get a whole lot worse before it gets better, according to game theory by Roger Highfield, Wired UK, July 6, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #26

Posted on 1 July 2018 by John Hartz &

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Warming of 2C ‘substantially’ more harmful than 1.5C – draft UN report

Latest version of major UN science report concludes the upper temperature goal of the Paris Agreement does not represent a climate safe zone 

Arctic sea ice and Walrus 

Walrus use sea ice to rest while hunting. But at 2C the Arctic is "very likely" to be ice-free one year in ten, scientists have found (Photo: Brad Benter/USFWS)

A leaked draft of a major UN climate change report shows growing certainty that 2C, once shorthand for a ‘safe’ amount of planetary warming, would be a dangerous step for humanity.

The authors make clear the difference between warming of 1.5C and 2C would be “substantial” and damaging to communities, economies and ecosystems across the world.

In 2015, the Paris Agreement established twin goals to hold temperature rise from pre-industrial times “well below 2C” and strive for 1.5C.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has since been working to assess the difference between those targets, with a view to publishing a sweeping analysis of all available research in October this year.

The report summary, which Climate Home News published on Wednesday, is a draft and subject to change. The IPCC said it would not comment on leaked reports. An earlier draft from January was also published by CHN

Warming of 2C ‘substantially’ more harmful than 1.5C – draft UN report by Karl Mathiesen, Megan Darby & Soila Apparicio, Climate Home News, June 27, 2018

 Also see:

Leaked final government draft of UN 1.5C climate report – annotated by Karl Mathiesen, Megan Darby & Soila Apparicio, Climate Home News, June 27, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #26

Posted on 30 June 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

A city in Oman just posted the world’s hottest low temperature ever recorded: 109 degrees 

Oman June 26, 2018 

Above: MODIS satellite image from June 26, 2018 shows clear weather over Oman on the day the 24-hour world high-minimum temperature record was set at Quriyat, Oman. Image credit: NASA.

Over a period of 24 hours, the temperature in the coastal city of Quriyat, Oman, never dropped below 108.7 degrees (42.6 Celsius) Tuesday, most likely the highest minimum temperature ever observed on Earth.

For a location to remain no lower than 109 degrees around the clock is mind-boggling. In many locations, a temperature of 109 degrees even during the heat of the afternoon would be unprecedented. For example, in nearly  150 years of weather records, Washington, D.C.’s high temperature has never exceeded 106 degrees.

Quriyat’s suffocating low temperature, first reported by Jeff Masters at Weather Underground, breaks the world’s previous hottest minimum temperature of 107.4 degrees (41.9 Celsius), also set in Oman, on June 27, 2011.

Masters received word of the exceptional temperature from weather records expert Maximiliano Herrera. Incredibly, the temperature in Quriyat, Masters said, remained above 107.4 degrees (41.9 Celsius) for 51 straight hours. Its blistering afternoon high temperature of 121.6 degrees (49.8 Celsius) Tuesday was just about two degrees shy of Oman’s all-time heat record and its highest June temperature, Masters reported.

A city in Oman just posted the world’s hottest low temperature ever recorded: 109 degrees by Jason Samenow, Capital Weather Gang, Washington Post, June 7, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #25

Posted on 24 June 2018 by John Hartz &

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A Prophet of Doom Was Right About the Climate

James Hansen  

Credit: Agata Nowicka

The night before the day that would make him famous, James E. Hansen listened to a baseball game on the radio. But his mind kept wandering: What would he say to Congress the next day to convey that humans were endangering the planet?

He had long been trying to raise the alarm without success, and so had other scientists. But then, on June 23, 1988 — 30 years ago Saturday — a Colorado senator named Tim Wirth convened yet another hearing on the topic. Dr. Hansen was one of several scientists on the witness list.

Few people had ever heard of him, nor of the obscure NASA unit that he headed. He and a small group of colleagues studied the Earth’s climate, working in a suite of offices above the Manhattan diner that “Seinfeld” would later make famous.

He had conducted rigorous studies of historical temperatures, concluding that the planet was warming sharply. He had helped to pioneer computer modeling of the climate, and the results predicted further warming if people kept pouring greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

A Prophet of Doom Was Right About the Climate, Opinion by Justin Gillis, Sunday Review, New York Times, June 23, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #25

Posted on 23 June 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

2018 Arctic sea ice melt season just got a big headstart

 Arctic sea ice in East Greenland

Pack ice after sunset in East Greenland near Kulusuk. Predicting the Arctic September minimum in advance remains beyond science’s predictive capabilities. However, signs so far this year indicate the possibility for a new record low ice extent, beating 2012. Image by Markus Trienke, Flickr. 

Close, but no cigar. That assessment, though unscientific, well describes May 2018 sea ice extent in the Arctic Ocean – a month some polar experts thought could be one for the record books.

At the month’s mid-point, freakishly warm weather brewed above the northern ocean. But in the end, May 2018 staggered over the finish line in second place, and far from a photo finish at 12.2 million square kilometers (4.7 million square miles). That’s 310,000 square kilometers (120,000 square miles) greater than the all time May record set in 2016.

Yet the fact that so much debate swirled around May this year is news enough, as it’s often a month overlooked by the sea ice community and by the media, with May falling between March’s winter maximum sea ice extent and September’s summer minimum. But attention is shifting as global warming escalates.

“Now, what’s happening in winter and spring is starting to become very, very interesting,” says Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center which tracks and analyzes sea ice. September, he says, is no longer the only hot topic: “We’re seeing these big heatwaves over the North Pole in the middle of winter. Wow. That’s not supposed to happen and yet [it has] the last four winters.” 

2018 Arctic sea ice melt season just got a big headstart by Gloria Dickey, Mongabay, June 19, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #24

Posted on 17 June 2018 by John Hartz &

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Story of the Week...

Uncovering the Mental Health Crisis of Climate Change

Depressioin 

Source: Pexels

The young man believed he only had five years to live. “Not because he was sick,” said Kate Schapira, “not because anything was wrong with him, but because he believed that life on Earth would be impossible for humans.”

The sign on Schapira’s booth read: CLIMATE ANXIETY COUNSELING 5¢ THE DOCTOR IS IN. Time to earn her pennies.

On that muggy June day, she had set up shop in Kennedy Plaza in downtown Providence, Rhode Island. Schapira is not a trained therapist — a fact she makes clear to visitors — but she is happy to chat with anyone suffering from anxiety about climate change. “A lot of what I do is listen and ask questions,” she said.

Over the coming decades, rising temperatures will fuel natural disasters that are more deadly than any seen in human history, destabilizing nations and sending millions to their death. Experts say that we need to prepare for a hotter, less hospitable world by building sea walls, erecting desalination plants and engineering crops that can withstand punishing heat and drought, but few have considered the defenses we need to erect in our minds. Some, like Shapira, have called for more talking, more counseling to process our grief. But will that be enough? Climate change will do untold violence to life on this planet, and we have remarkably few tools to deal with its emotional cost.

Uncovering the Mental Health Crisis of Climate Change by Jeremy Deaton, Nexus Media, June 12, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #24

Posted on 16 June 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

In a Warming World, Deadly Bacteria Are More Resistant to Antibiotics  

E.coli bacteria. Source NIAID 

E. coli bacteria. Source: NIAID

Tom Patterson became ill in 2015 while vacationing in Egypt. He was felled by Acinetobacter baumannii, an often deadly bacterium resistant to every antibiotic his doctors tried. Patterson, a University of California San Diego psychiatry professor, should have died, but didn’t. (Experimental infusions of bacteria-killing viruses known as bacteriophages ultimately saved his life.) But his near-death experience from a superbug he picked up in a warm country — an organism that also has afflicted many hospitalized wounded troops in Iraq and Kuwait — raises provocative questions about drug-resistant bacteria and their relationship to our increasingly hotter planet.

“Travelers returning from tropical and other warm areas where multi-drug resistant pathogens have become more widespread will increasingly challenge the antibiotics on our shelves,” said Robert T. Schooley, an infectious diseases specialist at UC San Diego, who treated Patterson. “Turning up the temperature of the incubator in which we live will clearly speed the evolutionary clock of bacterial and other pathogens with which we must co-exist.”

Experts already know that climate change has become a significant threat to global public health, particularly as rising temperatures have produced greater populations of disease-transmitting insects, such as mosquitoes. But warmth also encourages bacteria to grow, providing them a chance to mutate and elude drugs that once easily killed them. While antibiotic resistance is believed largely due to the indiscriminate prescribing of antibiotics, experts now think that other environmental stresses — climate change among them — also may be at work.

The world is confronting a growing and frightening danger from multi-drug-resistant infections, with many now difficult or impossible to treat. The World Health Organization has described this scenario as “one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.” There are more than 2 million cases and 23,000 deaths from antibiotic-resistant infections annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

In a Warming World, Deadly Bacteria Are More Resistant to Antibiotics by Marlene Cimons, Climate Nexus, June 14, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #23

Posted on 10 June 2018 by John Hartz &

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We are almost certainly underestimating the economic risks of climate change

The models that inform climate policymaking are fatally flawed.

Economics 

One of the more vexing aspects of climate change politics and policy is the longstanding gap between the models that project the physical effects of global warming and those that project the economic impacts. In a nutshell, even as the former deliver worse and worse news, especially about a temperature rise of 3 degrees Celsius or more, the latter remain placid.

The famous DICE model created by Yale’s William Nordhaus shows that a 6-degree rise in global average temperature — which the physical sciences characterize as an unlivable hellscape — would only dent global GDP by 10 percent.

Projections of modest economic impacts from even the most severe climate change affect climate politics in a number of ways. For one thing, they inform policy goals like those President Obama offered in Paris, restraining their ambition. For another, they fuel the arguments of “lukewarmers,” those who say that the climate is warming but it’s not that big a problem. (Lukewarmism is the public stance of most Trump Cabinet members.)

Climate hawks have long had the strong instinct that it’s the economic models, not the physical-science models, that are missing something — that the current expert consensus about climate economic damages is far too sanguine — but they often lack the vocabulary to do any more than insist.

As it happens, that vocabulary exists. At this point, there is a fairly rich literature on the shortcomings of the climate-economic models upon which so much political weight rests. (Here’s an old post of mine from 2015 bashing them.)

Two recent papers help simplify and summarize that literature. They are addressed to different audiences (one the US, one the international community), but both stress the importance of improving these lagging models before the next round of policymaking. I’ll touch on the US-focused one first, the international one second.  

We are almost certainly underestimating the economic risks of climate change by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, June 9, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #23

Posted on 9 June 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Artificial Intelligence—A Game Changer for Climate Change and the Environment

Climate Model Los Alamos National Laboratory  

AI is continually improving climate models. Photo: Los Alamos National Lab 

As the planet continues to warm, climate change impacts are worsening. In 2016, there were 772 weather and disaster events, triple the number that occurred in 1980. Twenty percent of species currently face extinction, and that number could rise to 50 percent by 2100. And even if all countries keep their Paris climate pledges, by 2100, it’s likely that average global temperatures will be 3˚C higher than in pre-industrial times.

But we have a new tool to help us better manage the impacts of climate change and protect the planet: artificial intelligence (AI). AI refers to computer systems that “can sense their environment, think, learn, and act in response to what they sense and their programmed objectives,” according to a World Economic Forum report, Harnessing Artificial Intelligence for the Earth.

In India, AI has helped farmers get 30 percent higher groundnut yields per hectare by providing information on preparing the land, applying fertilizer and choosing sowing dates. In Norway, AI helped create a flexible and autonomous electric grid, integrating more renewable energy.

And AI has helped researchers achieve 89 to 99 percent accuracy in identifying tropical cyclones, weather fronts and atmospheric rivers, the latter of which can cause heavy precipitation and are often hard for humans to identify on their own. By improving weather forecasts, these types of programs can help keep people safe.

Artificial Intelligence—A Game Changer for Climate Change and the Environment by Renee Choo, State of the Planet, Earth Institute, June 5, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #22

Posted on 3 June 2018 by John Hartz &

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Story of the Week...

Gov. Brown says fallout from Trump quitting Paris accord is 'far more serious than anyone is saying'

CA Gov Jerry Brown

California Gov. Jerry Brown addresses the University of California Carbon and Climate Neutrality Summit in San Diego. (Howard Lipin / San Diego Union-Tribune)

His promised coal renaissance sputtered. Rollbacks of environmental protections are tangled in court. Even automakers aren’t on board for his push toward heavier-polluting cars.

But even so, a year after President Trump pulled out of the landmark Paris accord on climate change, the struggle to contain global warming has grown considerably more complicated without the prodding and encouragement once provided by the U.S. government.

And though many in the climate movement hope progress toward cutting emissions can continue despite Trump’s retreat, there are growing doubts about reaching the Paris agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, if Washington does not re-engage soon.

In an interview, Gov. Jerry Brown acknowledged the hope felt by many climate activists because of efforts from states like his and by private companies. But he also said the world is only just beginning to feel the environmental harm inflicted by the Trump administration. 

Gov. Brown says fallout from Trump quitting Paris accord is 'far more serious than anyone is saying' by Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times, June 1, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #22

Posted on 2 June 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

It’s time to think seriously about cutting off the supply of fossil fuels

A new paper makes the case for supply-side climate policy.

Oil Platforms 

There is a bias in climate policy shared by analysts, politicians, and pundits across the political spectrum so common it is rarely remarked upon. To put it bluntly: Nobody, at least nobody in power, wants to restrict the supply of fossil fuels.

Policies that choke off fossil fuels at their origin — shutting down mines and wells; banning new ones; opting against new pipelines, refineries, and export terminals — have been embraced by climate activists, picking up steam with the Keystone pipeline protests and the recent direct action of the Valve Turners.

But they are looked upon with some disdain by the climate intelligentsia, who are united in their belief that such strategies are economically suboptimal and politically counterproductive.

Now a pair of economists has offered a cogent argument that the activists are onto something — that restrictive supply-side (RSS) climate policies have unique economic and political benefits and deserve a place alongside carbon prices and renewable energy supports in the climate policy toolkit.

“In our experience,” the authors write, “the climate policy community has for too long been excessively narrow in its preference for certain kinds of policy instruments (carbon taxes, cap-and trade), largely ignoring the characteristics of such instruments that affect their political feasibility and feedback effects.” I have written the same thing many times, so I think a climate policy argument that takes politics seriously deserves a close look.

To understand it, it helps to have a framework for classifying climate policies.

It’s time to think seriously about cutting off the supply of fossil fuels by David Roberts, Energy & Environment, Vox, May 31, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #21

Posted on 27 May 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Opinion of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... Poster of the Week... 

Story of the Week...

What Is Kilauea’s Impact on the Climate?

Scientists are tearing their hair out over baseless myths about the erupting volcano in Hawaii.

Kilauea Volcano Eruption Mario Tama/Getty

Maarten de Moor would like to clear up a few things about the dramatic, weeks-long eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano.

Kilauea’s spectacular explosions won’t set off earthquakes on America’s West Coast. They won’t cause a tsunami, either. They won’t trigger a bigger, more catastrophic eruption like the one of Mount Pinatubo, in the Philippines, in 1991. “Not gonna happen,” de Moor, a volcanologist, said. And even though Kilauea is emitting lots of carbon dioxide, it won’t worsen global warming to any meaningful degree. “That one,” he said, “is just not based on any facts at all.”

Each of these myths about Kilauea have spread on the internet in one form or another since the volcano began spewing lava on May 3. They’ve been largely debunked thanks to scientists like de Moor, who monitors volcanic emissions for the Deep Carbon Observatory and the Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Costa Rica. The Associated Press, for example, corrected its May 13 story that wrongly stated that Kilauea was part of the “Ring of Fire,” a belt of severe seismic activity that surrounds the Pacific Ocean. The popular-science publications Earther and National Geographic have also published extensive articles refuting most of these claims.

But one of these myths has been especially persistent. 

What Is Kilauea’s Impact on the Climate? by Emily Atkin, The New Republic, May 26, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #21

Posted on 26 May 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Climate change may lead to bigger atmospheric rivers

Atmospheric River 2017 NASA/JPL-Caltech

In early 2017, the Western United States experienced rain and flooding from a series of storms flowing to America on multiple streams of moist air, each individually known as an atmospheric river. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech 

A new NASA-led study shows that climate change is likely to intensify extreme weather events known as atmospheric rivers across most of the globe by the end of this century, while slightly reducing their number.

The new study projects atmospheric rivers will be significantly longer and wider than the ones we observe today, leading to more frequent atmospheric river conditions in affected areas.

"The results project that in a scenario where greenhouse gas emissions continue at the current rate, there will be about 10 percent fewer atmospheric rivers globally by the end of the 21st century," said the study's lead author, Duane Waliser, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "However, because the findings project that the atmospheric rivers will be, on average, about 25 percent wider and longer, the global frequency of atmospheric river conditions — like heavy rain and strong winds — will actually increase by about 50 percent."

The results also show that the frequency of the most intense atmospheric river storms is projected to nearly double.

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #20

Posted on 20 May 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus...

Story of the Week...

Water shortages to be key environmental challenge of the century, Nasa warns

Freshwater supplies have already seriously declined in 19 global hotspots – from China to the Caspian Sea – due to overuse, groundbreaking study shows

Threewaterskloff Dam Reservoir SA

The Theewaterskloof Dam, a key source of water supply to Cape Town, South Africa ahead of the current water crisis. Photograph: Halden Krog/AP

Water shortages are likely to be the key environmental challenge of this century, scientists from Nasa have warned, as new data has revealed a drying-out of swaths of the globe between the tropics and the high latitudes, with 19 hotspots where water depletion has been dramatic.

Areas in northern and eastern India, the Middle East, California and Australia are among the hotspots where overuse of water resources has caused a serious decline in the availability of freshwater that is already causing problems. Without strong action by governments to preserve water the situation in these areas is likely to worsen.

Some of these hotspots were previously undocumented or poorly understood: a region in north-western China, in Xinjiang province, has suffered dramatic declines despite receiving normal amounts of rainfall, owing to groundwater depletion from industry and irrigation.

Water shortages to be key environmental challenge of the century, Nasa warns by Fiona Harvey, Environment, Guardian, May 16, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #20

Posted on 19 May 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Urgent Climate Action Required to Protect Tens of Thousands of Species Worldwide, New Research Shows

Limiting global warming to 2 degrees and not the more ambitious 1.5 degrees would put far more species at risk of extinction. Insects are especially vulnerable.

Biodiversity

A mere half degree of extra global warming could mean profound risks for tens of thousands of the planet's species, scientists have found. Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Humanity can powerfully improve the survival odds of tens of thousands of species, but only if nations dramatically raise their ambitions in the fight against climate change, according to new research published on Thursday in the journal Science.

One key to salvaging plant and vertebrate habitat and protecting the world's biodiversity is to limit warming to the most challenging benchmark established under the 2015 Paris treaty—1.5 degrees Celsius of warming—not to the treaty's less stringent 2 degree guardrail, the study found.

The study assessed, in more detail than ever before, a key measure of extinction risk: the shrinking size of each species' current geographical range, or natural habitat. It projected that for an alarming number of species, their range size would shrink by at least half as temperatures rise past the Paris goals.

If nations do no more than they have pledged so far to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions—and warming consequently shoots past 3 degrees by the end of this century—6 percent of all vertebrates would be at risk. So would 44 percent of plants and a whopping 49 percent of insects.

But the dangers would be greatly reduced if warming can be limited to 1.5 degrees. That might protect the overwhelming majority of the 115,000 species assessed by the researchers. Just 4 percent of vertebrates would lose more than half of their current range. Only 8 percent of plants and 6 percent of insects would face that risk.

Keeping warming to 2 degrees is not nearly as effective, they found. The additional half degree of warming would double the impact on plants and vertebrate species, and triple the impact on insects.

Urgent Climate Action Required to Protect Tens of Thousands of Species Worldwide, New Research Shows by John H Cushman Jr & Neela Banerjee, InsideClimate News, May 17, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #19

Posted on 13 May 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS in the News... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week...  Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus...

Story of the Week...

2016 Arctic heat would have been virtually impossible without global warming

Arctic Extreme Heat 2016 

 

In the fall of 2016, the Arctic experienced heat that was so extreme that one expert called it a black swan event. That warmth helped set a new annual temperature record that was double the magnitude of the record set the year before. New NOAA-led research confirms that the event could not have happened without human-caused global warming and sea ice loss.

These maps compare the observed differences from average temperature in 2016 (left) to two computer simulations of 2016 (right). The top right map shows results from models that included only natural climate influences, using estimated conditions from the late nineteenth century. The bottom right map shows results from models in which things like  greenhouse gases, sea surface temperatures, and sea ice were allowed to change as they have in the real world due to human activities.

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #19

Posted on 12 May 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Methane, Climate Change, and Our Uncertain Future

Methane is generally considered secondary to carbon dioxide in its importance to climate change, but what role might methane play in the future if global temperatures continue to rise?

Flooded permafrost tundra in northeast Siberia 

Flooded permafrost tundra in northeast Siberia. Hydrology is a key control on methane emissions in wetland and permafrost ecosystems. Credit: Joshua Dean 

The greenhouse gas, methane, is produced by both natural processes and human activities. While there has been much attention paid to curbing anthropogenic emissions, a changing climate will likely increase the production of natural methane. In an open access article recently published in Reviews of GeophysicsDean et al. [2018] describe the ways in which biological, geochemical, and physical systems influence methane concentrations and explore how methane levels in natural systems may alter in a warming climate. Here the authors answer some questions about the sources and significance of methane, and indicate some future research directions. 

Methane, Climate Change, and Our Uncertain Future by Joshua Dean, Editors' Vox, Eos, May 11, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #18

Posted on 6 May 2018 by John Hartz &

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Story of the Week...

Pruitt's EPA Is on the Verge of 'Regulatory Capture', Study Says

EPA Headquarters

A new study based on EPA documents and interviews found industry influence over the EPA today is stronger than it was during the early Reagan years. Credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images 

Under the Trump administration, the Environmental Protection Agency has veered so far from its foundational mission of protecting human health and the environment that it faces the highest risk in its 47-year history of being reshaped to serve industry rather than the American public, according to a new study in the American Journal of Public Health.

The EPA routinely faces criticism from environmental and public health advocates for allegedly quashing science and softening rules to help industry. During the early years of the Reagan presidency in particular, EPA Administrator Anne Gorsuch worked to scale back the agency's activities.

But the new study, based on interviews with current and former EPA staff and reviews of White House and EPA initiatives, concluded that the agency is now on the edge of "regulatory capture," when industry priorities determine policy rather than the public interest and impartial research.

"New EPA leadership has thus far aimed at deconstructing, rather than reconstructing, the agency by comprehensively undermining many of the agency's rules, programs, and policies while also severely undercutting its budget, work capacity, internal operations and morale," concluded the study, titled "The Environmental Protection Agency in the Early Trump Administration: Prelude to Regulatory Capture."

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #18

Posted on 5 May 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Earth’s atmosphere just crossed another troubling climate change threshold 

CO2 Concentrations Mauna Loa 1958 - May3 2018 

Recent CO2 measurements at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. (Scripps Institution of Oceanography)

For the first time since humans have been monitoring, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have exceeded 410 parts per million averaged across an entire month, a threshold that pushes the planet ever closer to warming beyond levels that scientists and the international community have deemed “safe.”

The reading from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii finds that concentrations of the climate-warming gas averaged above 410 parts per million throughout April. The first time readings crossed 410 at all occurred on April 18, 2017, or just about a year ago.

Carbon dioxide concentrations — whose “greenhouse gas effect” traps heat and drives climate change — were around 280 parts per million circa 1880, at the dawn of the industrial revolution. They’re now 46 percent higher.

As you can see in the famed “saw-toothed curve” graph above, more formally known as the Keeling Curve, concentrations have ticked upward in an unbroken progression for many decades. But they also go up and down on an annual cycle that’s controlled by the patterns and seasonality of plant growth around the planet. 

Earth’s atmosphere just crossed another troubling climate change threshold by Chris Mooney, Energy & Environment, Washington Post, May 3, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #17

Posted on 29 April 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS in the News... Photo of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus...

Story of the Week...

Gulf Stream slowing down is bad news for Ireland

Map of Gulf Stream near Ireland

Ireland lies relatively far north in the Atlantic so the Gulf Stream’s gift of more temperate waters matters hugely to our climate.

All Ireland is washed by the Gulf Stream,” said Stephen Dedalus in the opening chapter of Ulysses. He might have added warmed to washed.

Ireland lies relatively far north in the Atlantic so the Gulf Stream’s gift of more temperate waters matters hugely to our climate, as does their interaction with the atmosphere to produce the sea surface temperature. This oceanic movement of waters is known scientifically as the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (Amoc). It brings warm and salty water from the Caribbean region in a northeasterly current towards the Nordic Seas.

As Summer K Praetorius goes on to explain in the April 11th issue of the scientific journal Nature: “In the chill of winter, these waters cool and descend with the heavy load of their salinity. This deep convection is a key part of the Amoc which can be thought of as an ocean conveyor belt that releases heat to the atmosphere above the North Atlantic Ocean before travelling through the abyssal ocean to resurface in other areas of the world.” The process is linked to and replicated throughout the world’s oceans by the deep colder waters that travel past North and South America.

Gulf Stream slowing down is bad news for Ireland by Paul Gillespie, Irish Times, Apr 28, 2018 

Note: Also see Graphic of the Week section of this Digest.

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #17

Posted on 28 April 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Global temperatures have dropped since 2016. Here’s why that’s normal. 

 Jan-Mar 2018 Global Temp Percentiles NOAA

It was only two years ago that a new record-warm global temperature was set, but things have already cooled off significantly. Temperature anomalies hit record peaks in 2016 but have been sliding since then. Global temperatures are still much warmer than normal, but according to NASA, the first quarter of 2018 (January-March) was the fourth warmest, behind 2015, 2016, 2017 and tied with 2010.

This is normal, of course. The world has not seen the last of global warming. The long-term upward trend in temperatures is the result of  man-made fossil fuel emissions, but natural processes that affect global temperature — like El Niño — still play a role. Sometimes they make things warmer and sometimes they make things cooler.

The current cooling episode is mostly the result of a reversal of waters in the Tropical Pacific, which can modulate global temperature. Since the Pacific Ocean is our largest global body of water, what it does makes a big difference on global climate. A similar reversal followed the super El Niño in the late ’90s — 1998 was the hottest year on record at the time in part because of the warm El Niño water pushing global temperatures over the brink. Earth went from having one of the strongest El Niño events on record (very warm waters in the central Tropical Pacific) to a few years of cooler waters, thanks to a La Niña period. 

Global temperatures have dropped since 2016. Here’s why that’s normal. by Matt Rogers, Capital Weather Gang, Washington Post, Apr 26, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #16

Posted on 22 April 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week...  Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... Graphic of the Week... SkS in the News... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus...

Story of the Week...

What Is Eating Away at the Greenland Ice Sheet?

A living carpet of microbes, dust and wind-blown soot is exacerbating ice melt as Arctic temperatures rise, and it's raising alarms about sea level rise.

Greenland Ice Sheet 

In the high-stakes race against sea level rise, understanding what's causing the Greenland Ice Sheet to melt is critical. The problem isn't just rising temperatures: soot from ships, wildfires and distant power plants, as well as dust and a living carpet of microbes on the surface of the ice, are all speeding up the melting.

Right now, predictions for sea level rise range from about 1 to 10 feet by 2100—a wide difference for coastal communities trying to plan seawalls and other protective measures.

The more we understand about how pollutants affect the ice, the more accurate those projections will be. So, let's take a look at what's happening on the ice sheet now—and the risks ahead. 

What Is Eating Away at the Greenland Ice Sheet? by Bob Berwyn, InsideClimate News, Apr 19, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #16

Posted on 21 April 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Earth Day and the Hockey Stick: A Singular Message 

Hockey Stick 

Credit: Freestylephoto Getty Images

When the hockey stick was first attacked in the late 1990s I was initially reluctant to speak out, but I realized I had to defend myself against a cynical assault on my science and on me. I have come to embrace that role. What more noble cause is there than to fight to preserve our planet for our children and grandchildren?

There is great urgency to act now if we are to avert a dangerous 2- degree Celsius (3.6-degree Fahrenheit) planetary warming. My own recent work suggests the challenge is greater than previously thought. Yet I remain cautiously optimistic we will act in time. Along with many other Americans, I have been inspired by the renewed enthusiasm of our youth, who are demanding action now when it comes to the societal and environmental threats they face. Indeed, I have committed myself to helping insure a future in which we avoid catastrophic climate change. So let me conclude with this exhortation from the epilogue of The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars:

“While slowly slipping away, that future is still within the realm of possibility. It is a matter of what path we choose to follow. I hope that my fellow scientists—and concerned individuals everywhere—will join me in the effort to make sure we follow the right one.” 

Earth Day and the Hockey Stick: A Singular Message, Opinion by Michael Mann, Observations, Scientific American, Apr 20, 2018

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #15

Posted on 15 April 2018 by John Hartz &

Story of the Week... Commentary of the Week... SkS Highlights... El Niño/La Niña Update... Toon of the Week... Quote of the Week... SkS in the News... SkS Spotlights... Video of the Week... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus...

Story of the Week...

Climate Change Or Global Warming? Three Reasons Not To Be Distracted By The Name Game

GISTEMP LOTI Anomaly Feb 2018 

 

Social media is an interesting landscape of opinions, confirmation bias (consuming information that supports your beliefs), and expressions of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, a psychological term published in the literature that argues that people think they know more about topics than they actually do. This week two very worrisome but important climate change (or global warming) related studies were highlighted in the media. One study suggested an eastward shift in the well-known climate boundary near the 100-degree longitude line in the United States. This could have major implications for U.S. agriculture; productivity. The other study, actually two of them, revealed a slow down in a major ocean circulation that affects weather-climate patterns. In discussing both on Twitter, a few inevitable "Didn't they change the name to climate change because global warming wasn't happening"  tweets appeared. While this is an oft-stated zombie theory, one that lives on though refuted by scientists, it is worth noting three reasons why you should not be distracted by this tactic.

Climate Change Or Global Warming? Three Reasons Not To Be Distracted By The Name Game by Marshall Sheperd, Science, Forbes, Apr 13, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #15

Posted on 14 April 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook Page during the past week.

Editor's Pick

Avoid Gulf stream disruption at all costs, scientists warn

How close the world is to a catastrophic collapse of giant ocean currents is unknown, making halting global warming more critical than ever, scientists say

Greenland Ice Sheet 
Other research this week showed that Greenland’s massive ice cap is melting at the fastest rate for at least 450 years. Photograph: Nick Cobbing/Greenpeace 

Serious disruption to the Gulf Stream ocean currents that are crucial in controlling global climate must be avoided “at all costs”, senior scientists have warned. The alert follows the revelation this week that the system is at its weakest ever recorded.

Past collapses of the giant network have seen some of the most extreme impacts in climate history, with western Europe particularly vulnerable to a descent into freezing winters. A significantly weakened system is also likely to cause more severe storms in Europe, faster sea level rise on the east coast of the US and increasing drought in the Sahel in Africa.

The new research worries scientists because of the huge impact global warming has already had on the currents and the unpredictability of a future “tipping point”. 

Avoid Gulf stream disruption at all costs, scientists warn by Damian Carrrington, Environment, Guardian, Apr 13, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming Digest #14

Posted on 8 April 2018 by John Hartz &

Opinion of the Week... Opinion of the Week... Toon of the Week... SkS Spotlights... Coming Soon on SkS... Poster of the Week... Climate Feedback Reviews... SkS Week in Review... 97 Hours of Consensus...

Story of the Week...

Solar geoengineering ‘too uncertain to go ahead yet’

The world must urgently agree controls on solar geoengineering to weigh up its possible risks and benefits before deciding to go ahead, one expert says.

Solar Geoengineering Brightening Marine Clouds

Brightening marine clouds is one suggested solar geoengineering approach. Image: By Ron Reeves, US Navy, via Wikimedia Commons

Progress to deploy solar engineering, experimental technology designed to protect the world against the impact of the changing climate, must pause, a former United Nations climate expert says, arguing that governments need to create “effective guardrails” against any unforeseen risks.

Janos Pasztor, who served as a UN assistant secretary-general on climate change, is using a speech to Arizona State University, broadast via Facebook Live by ASU LightWorks, 6:30-8pm Arizona time (9:30pm EDT – US Eastern Daylight Time) today, to warn the world that governments are largely ignoring the fundamental question of who should control geoengineering, and how.

There are widespread misgivings, both among scientists and more widely, about geoengineering, with many regarding it as at best a strategy of last resort to help to avoid calamitous climate change.

Mr Pasztor’s warning comes as researchers prepare for what is thought to be the world’s first outdoor experiment on stratospheric aerosol injection (SAI), one type of solar geoengineering. The test is due to take place later this year over Arizona.

Pasztor heads the Carnegie Climate Geoengineering Governance Initiative(C2G2),  an initiative of the New York-based Carnegie Council for Ethics in International Affairs. The Initiative wants solar geoengineering deployment to be delayed until the risks and potential benefits are better known and governance frameworks are agreed.

Solar geoengineering ‘too uncertain to go ahead yet’ by Alex Kirby, Climate News Network, Apr 6, 2018 

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2018 SkS Weekly Climate Change & Global Warming News Roundup #14

Posted on 7 April 2018 by John Hartz &

A chronological listing of news articles posted on the Skeptical Science Facebook page during the past week. 

Editor's Pick

March is 3rd warmest on record, many contrasts

Global Temp Anomaly March 2018 WMO 

March 2018 was the third warmest on record, according to the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting Copernicus Climate Change service.

Although not as exceptional as the values for March 2016 and March 2017, it was in line with the upward trend of 0.18°C per decade seen in global temperature data from 1979 onwards, according to the monthly report.

March 2018 was colder than the 1981-2010 average over almost all of Europe. Only in the far north and over the far southeast of the continent was it warmer than average. Below average temperatures occurred over almost all of northern Russia and over the northern USA and southern Canada.

Within Europe, Spain had 163 mm of rainfall – more than three times the long-term average of 47 mm (1981-2000), making it one of the wettest months of March on record, according to the national meteorological service AEMET.

In France, Mediterranean regions saw two to four times more rain than average. For instance Province-Alpes, the Cote d’Azure and Corsica had the second wettest March after 2013, according to Météo-France. 

March is 3rd warmest on record, many contrasts, Media Release, World Meterologial Association (WMO), Apr 6, 2018

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