2015 SkS Weekly News Roundup #31B

2015 Arctic melting season won't break records, but could wipe the 'recovery'

Following the post of my colleague, Dana Nuccitelli on misreporting of ice trends, this article is a timely guest post by Neven Acropolis who runs the Arctic Sea Ice blog. - John Abraham

After the record smashing 2012 melting season had ended, Arctic sea ice watchers awaited the following melting season with a mix of anticipation and apprehension. Anticipation, because the annual ebb and flow of Arctic sea ice is one of the most spectacular natural events on the planet, accentuated by the dramatic loss of the past 30 years. Apprehension, because further losses would bring the Arctic yet one step closer to virtually ice-free conditions, an iconic image entailing many unpredictable consequences.

But just as the previous record low reached in 2007 was followed by a short-lived rebound, the 2013 melting season proved to be sufficiently cold and cloudy to make up for the large amount of thin first year ice in the Arctic. When the following 2014 melting season was relatively cold again, with little wind to compact the ice and transport it to lower latitudes, extent and area numbers yet again ended up well above 2012 levels. Consequently, this year’s melting seasonstarted out with more volume and more multi-year ice.

2015 Arctic melting season won't break records, but could wipe the 'recovery' by Neven Acropolis, Climate Consensus-the 97%, The Guardian, July 29, 2015

Explainer: New negotiating text provides clarity on UN climate deal

The United Nations has released a new document outlining what the Paris climate deal could look like, which countries hope to sign in December this year.

The two diplomats responsible for steering the challenging negotiations towards a successful outcome in December, Dan Reifsnyder from the US and Ahmed Djoghlaf from Algeria, released a new text - or a "tool", as they are calling it - last Friday.

It is the product of a six weeks of work, following the latest round of talks in June. It attempts to summarise the latest positions and thinking from the 196 parties involved in crafting the new deal, which will guide international efforts to tackle climate change beyond 2020.

Explainer: New negotiating text provides clarity on UN climate deal by Sophie Yeo, The Carbon Brief, July 28, 2015

Florida leads nation in property at risk from climate change

Florida has more private property at risk from flooding linked to climate change than any other state, an amount that could double in the next four decades, according to a new report by the Risky Business Project.

By 2030, $69 billion in coastal property in Florida could flood at high tide that is not at risk today, the report found. That amount is projected to climb to $152 billion by 2050.

While projections for rising seas are not new, for the first time researchers tried to quantify the economic damage wrought by climate change by better understanding the risks to business and a rebounding economy. Growth in manufacturing and energy production have created a mini boom in the Southeast and Texas, the report said. But climate change threatens to undo that progress and cause widespread damage to the region’s economic pillars: manufacturing, agriculture and energy.

Florida leads nation in property at risk from climate change by Jenny Staletovich, Miami Herald, July 27, 2015

Hillary Clinton's climate change plan 'just plain silly', says leading expert

Hillary Clinton’s pledge on Sunday to support renewable energy and boost subsidies for solar panels was set up as a great unveiling – the Democratic frontrunner’s first public remarks on how her presidency would tackle climate change.

“I personally believe climate change is a challenge of such magnitude and urgency that we need a president who will set ambitious goals,” she said in a video posted to her campaign website.

It wasn’t difficult to draw a sigh of relief from the progressive electorate that has heard only climate change denial – loud and triumphal – from Republican frontrunners. (Ted Cruz proudly announced in May that he had just come from New Hampshire, where there was “ice and snow everywhere”. Trump took up the issue with typical savoir faire on Monday, declining to call climate change by name: “I call it weather.”)

But for many who study climate change, Clinton’s proposal lacked the ambition and sense of urgency appropriate to the scale of the problem. 

Hillary Clinton's climate change plan 'just plain silly', says leading expert by Caty Enders, The Guardian, July 29, 2015

Hillary Clinton is calling for a 700% increase in solar power. Is that realistic?

In the coming months, Hillary Clinton's campaign is planning to release a series of proposals for dealing with global warming. Her first installment came out Sunday and sets goals for major increases in US renewable power.

Specifically, she's vowing to boost the amount of wind, solar, and other renewables so that they provide 33 percent of America's electricity by 2027 — enough to power every home in the country:

Hillary Clinton is calling for a 700% increase in solar power. Is that realistic? by Brad Plumer. Vox, July 26, 2015

Leaked details of Obama power plant plan include later deadlines for states

Leaked details of the Obama administration's forthcoming final rule for power plant emissions indicate that the deadline for states to begin cutting planet-warming emissions will be pushed back. 

The New York Times and the Washington Post both reported Wednesday that the final rule limiting the emission of greenhouse gases from power plants, which are expected to be released in August, will give states two more years to get started on cutting emissions. The Environmental Protection Agency's draft rule, released in June 2014, called for a 30 percent overall cut in power plant emissions by 2030, while designating individual goals for each state.

A source familiar with the rule-making confirmed to The Huffington Post that the final rule will give states until 2022 to begin making emission cuts. States would have to submit their compliance plans by 2018, a year later than previously expected, and would have two additional years to come into compliance with those plans. 

Leaked Details Of Obama Power Plant Plan Include Later Deadlines For States by Kate Shepard, TheHuffington Post, July 29, 2015

Pope 1, Lomborg 0

Those who associate the Vatican with the trial of Galileo may baulk at the thought of the Catholic Church as a scientific authority. But the Pope’s decision to confront the issue of climate change raised a pressing question: how much credibility does his latest encyclical have? Climate scientists are in the best position to answer this question, but until now they have had few ways of making their voices heard.

The Climate Feedback project opens a new channel of communication. The project uses the Hypothesis online annotation platform to allow scientists to subject media reports about climate change to a process akin to peer review. Scientists can trawl through online documents sentence by sentence, chart by chart, highlighting inaccuracies and misrepresentations or adding context. Hypothesis places these annotations in the public domain, allowing readers to see exactly how the article aligns with the latest science. The scientists also provide a score for scientific credibility; the average of these scores, converted into a simple scale, is presented along with a pithy summary of the credibility of article.

Pope 1, Lomborg 0 by Daniel Nethery, Inside Story, July 23, 2015

Rooftop solar is booming. But it may be more vulnerable than you think.

Rooftop solar is booming in the US. It grew 76 percent last year, and many expect that growth to accelerate. But a new bit of analysis from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggests that the growth trajectory of residential solar is more precarious than that, highly dependent upon current policies.

Rooftop solar is booming. But it may be more vulnerable than you think. by David Roberts, Vox, July 27, 2015

U.S. Private Sector Vows To Ante Up On Climate Finance

Some of the biggest U.S. corporate names have offered their support - and billions of dollars in green financing pledges - to buttress the Obama administration's quest for a global agreement on combating climate change.

Google, Apple, Goldman Sachs and 10 other well-known companies joined the White House on Monday in launching the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, a campaign that the White House said would inject $140 billion in low-carbon investments into the global economy.

Massive private sector commitments are seen by participants as essential to getting a global agreement on climate change in Paris in December. Emerging nations have demanded that any agreement include tens of billions of dollars in financing from developed nations to help their economies adapt to a low-carbon future. 

U.S. Private Sector Vows To Ante Up On Climate Finance by Valerie Volcovici, Reuters/Climate Central, July 28, 2015

Worldwide strengthening El Nino giveth and taketh away

In California, they're counting on it to end an historic drought; in Peru, they've already declared a pre-emptive emergency to prepare for devastating flooding. It's both an economic stimulus and a recession-maker. And it's likely to increase the price of coffee, chocolate and sugar.

It's El Nino — most likely, the largest in well over a decade, forecasters say. A lot more than mere weather, it affects lives and pocketbooks in different ways in different places.

Worldwide Strengthening El Nino Giveth and Taketh Away, AP/New York Times, July 27, 2015

Posted by John Hartz on Wednesday, 29 July, 2015

Creative Commons License The Skeptical Science website by Skeptical Science is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.