Showing posts from 2017

Coastal Property Values

Research shows that seacoast property is being devalued.  Our government may be denying global warming, but not people who have to put up real money.

Homes exposed to sea level rise (SLR) sell at a 7% discount relative to observably equivalent unexposed properties equidistant from the beach. This discount has grown over time and is driven by sophisticated buyers and communities worried about global warming. Consistent with causal identification of long horizon SLR costs, (1) we find no relation between SLR exposure and rental rates, (2) despite decreased remodeling among exposed homeowners, current SLR discounts are not caused by differential investment, (3) results hold controlling for flooded properties and views. Overall, we provide the first evidence on the price of SLR risk and its determinants. These findings contribute to the mixed literature on how investors price long-run risky cash flows and have implications for optimal climate change policy. 
This is happening in Florida as …

Central and Northeast U.S. Deep Freeze

Donald Trump is taking the opportunity of the extreme cold weather in the Northeast and Central U.S. to claim it is proof against global warming.  Such a claim is disingenuous.  Due to vagaries in the jet stream, the extreme Arctic weather has moved to Canada and the U.S.  The result is that the Arctic is far warmer than usual. 

WMAZ-Macon Meteorologist Matt Daniel summed it up this way,
The comment I dislike the most is when people talk about cold weather and people type "So much for global warming..." Not really a joke to me. Also, it proves someone doesn't have the understanding of the definition of weather vs climate. You'll see people type that a lot in the next week or two on professional meteorologists' social media pages.Now having said that, our weather is governed by a series of undulations or wave patterns. The "valleys" (troughs) in those waves allow cold, dense air to ooze into the U.S. The "hills" (ridges) in the waves are typicall…

My Grandchildren, Grandnephews and Grandnieces, The Millennials

I hope they realize that they have a far greater responsibility for their and our planet's future than I did when I was their age.  When I was their age we worried about the A-bomb and later the Population Bomb.  But neither of those bombs went off because my generation did something about it

 But they're confronted by things a lot more serious.  Thirty years from now there'll be 9.7 billion people on the planet, a much more serious problem than the population bomb that the green revolution prevented.  Do we know what is going to solve the problem of 9.7 billion people when my grandchildren are in their forties?  We don't. 

And what about global warming?  Rising sea levels inundating coastal cities.  Extreme weather battering Asia and Eastern U.S., droughts in the midwest and southwest. Millions of climate refugees migrating north.  There is no one dealing with these issues right now. 

I'll be gone soon (I'm 75), but they'll have to deal with problems far…

Climate Change Feedback

I've posted before about the dangers of melting permafrost.  As the Arctic climate warms, permafrost melts and releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere further warming the atmosphere.  It's called a negative feedback cycle.

There is now another feedback route adding to it accelerating the negative feedback even more.   
Even as climate change shrinks some populations of arctic animals like polar bears and caribou, beavers may be taking advantage of warming temperatures to expand their range. But as the beavers head north, their very presence may worsen the effects of climate change.Take the dams they build on rivers and streams to slow the flow of water and create the pools in which they construct their dens. In other habitats, where the dams help filter pollutants from water and mitigate the effects of droughts and floods, they are generally seen as a net benefit. But in the tundra, the vast treeless region in the Far North, beaver behavior creates new water channels that ca…

An Amazing Discovery

There's no question our climate change situation is becoming desperate.  The most accurate models predict 5 degrees Celsius at the end of this century if we do nothing.  That's end of civilization. 

But now we have something happening, just the kind of thing that we need to avert the worst.  It exactly the kind of thing we need to happen. 

The discovery means that nanoscale generators have the potential to harvest power for electrical devices based on nanoscale movement and vibration: an engine, traffic on a roadway—even a heartbeat. It could lead to technology with applications in everything from sensors used to monitor the physical strength of structures such as bridges or pipelines, the performance of engines or wearable electronic devices. Liu said the applications are limited only by imagination. We won't even need wind or solar power.  Electricity will be everywhere.  And everything will be running on electricity.  No fossil fuels. 

We need this as soon as possible.

Florida's Nightmare Scenario

Climate change poses ‘nightmare scenario’ for Florida coast, Bloomberg warns

American's trillion-dollar coastal property bubble could burst "before the sea consumes a single house".When Cason first started worrying about sea-level rise, he asked his staff to count not just how much coastline the city had (47 miles) or value of the property along that coast ($3.5 billion). He also told them to find out how many boats dock inland from the bridges that span the city’s canals (302). What matters, he guessed, will be the first time a mast fails to clear the bottom of one of those bridges because the water level had risen too far.
“These boats are going to be the canary in the mine,” said Cason, who became mayor in 2011 after retiring from the U.S. foreign service. “When the boats can’t go out, the property values go down.”If property values start to fall, Cason said, banks could stop writing 30-year mortgages for coastal homes, shrinking the pool of able buyers and sending pri…

Heat Wave Hits Greenland

Monster heat wave reaches Greenland, bringing rain and melting its ice sheet NASA's Oceans Melting Greenland mission warns the ice sheet is more at risk to global warming than we knew. 

It's been unusually warm in the United States in recent days, with records being set across the country.  But it's been scorching in Greenland, with temperatures as much as 54° above normal, which means above freezing in many places. And this comes on the heels of new research from NASA's Oceans Melting Greenland mission, which finds that the enormous ice sheet is far more unstable than we realized.  That's bad news because the Greenland ice sheet contains enough land-locked ice to raise sea levels by over 20 feet.
We've had warnings before that Greenland is past the tipping point.  And the news of a heat wave over Greenland this November is not good news. 

Sea Level: it's worse than you know

Rapid collapse of Antarctic glaciers could flood coastal cities by the end of this century. 

A wholesale collapse of Pine Island and Thwaites would set off a catastrophe. Giant icebergs would stream away from Antarctica like a parade of frozen soldiers. All over the world, high tides would creep higher, slowly burying every shoreline on the planet, flooding coastal cities and creating hundreds of millions of climate refugees.  All this could play out in a mere 20 to 50 years — much too quickly for humanity to adapt. “With marine ice cliff instability, sea-level rise for the next century is potentially much larger than we thought it might be five or 10 years ago,” Poinar says.
A lot of this newfound concern is driven by the research of two climatologists: Rob DeConto at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and David Pollard at Penn State University. A study they published last year was the first to incorporate the latest understanding of marine ice-cliff instability into a continent…

Rising Sea Levels Will Vary Across The Planet

The climate talks in Bonn aren't going that well.
After declaring that “climate change is an issue determining our destiny as mankind,” Ms. Merkel acknowledged that Germany was likely to miss the goals it had set itself for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 because of its continued reliance on coal power. While vowing to grapple with the issue, she said that phasing out coal use would require “tough discussions” with German policymakers in the weeks ahead.The goal has been no more than a two degrees Celsius increase in atmospheric temperature.  But that goal may be unattainable.
To stay below 2 degrees Celsius of warming, global emissions would likely have to peak in the next few years and then be cut by half every decade all the way down to zero by midcentury.But that's not likely to happen

The scale of that transition is staggering. Virtually every coal plant around the world would need to be phased out or outfitted with carbon capture technology within decades. Electri…

Get Used To It

Kiss The Good Times Goodbye.I
It saddens me to say it, but we are approaching the end of the automotive era. The auto industry is on an accelerating change curve. For hundreds of years, the horse was the prime mover of humans and for the past 120 years it has been the automobile.  At the end of of the last century, people were congregating in cities and they could not accommodate the piles of horse excrement in the streets.  And automobiles came into existence and rescued the cities from horses.  That was bad for stables and manufacturers of  horse carriages, but good for the next century.

Well we are at another critical juncture, the end of the gasoline powered automobiles.  Get used to it.

New Record CO2 Concentration in Atmosphere

Greenhouse gas concentrations surge to new record

Concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere surged at a record-breaking speed in 2016 to the highest level in 800 000 years, according to the World Meteorological Organization's Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. The abrupt changes in the atmosphere witnessed in the past 70 years are without precedent.  Globally averaged concentrations of CO2 reached 403.3 parts per million in 2016, up from 400.00 ppm in 2015 because of a combination of human activities and a strong El NiƱo event. Concentrations of CO2 are now 145% of pre-industrial (before 1750) levels, according to the Greenhouse Gas Bulletin. [....]
The last time the Earth experienced a comparable concentration of CO2 was 3-5 million years ago, the temperature was 2-3°C warmer and sea level was 10-20 meters higher than now. And we are nowhere near slowing it down.  So 2-3°C and 10-20 meters higher sea level is basically the minimum we can expect.

Insect Armageddon

Insect Armageddon There is alarming new evidence that insect populations worldwide are in rapid decline. As Prof. Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex, a co-author of a new insect study, put it, we are “on course for ecological Armageddon” because “if we lose the insects, then everything is going to collapse.” This "ecological Armageddon" is apparently not due to climate change, though still due to human actions.

The study, which tracked flying insects collected in nature preserves across Germany, found that in just 25 years, the total biomass of these insects declined by an astonishing 76 percent. The reasons for the decline are not entirely clear — and only flying insects were collected, so the fate of crawling insects, for example, is not known — but the scientists suspect two main culprits: the use of pesticides and a lack of habitat in surrounding farmland. While not more evidence for climate change, it nevertheless has important implications for what life will be l…

The Gulf of Los Angeles

I posted yesterday about a possible tipping point in melting ice on the Antarctic and Greenland, and the danger that the rise in the sea level may be abrupt.  Today we have some confirmation about the Antarctic ice:

Warm waters melting Antarctic ice shelves have appeared for the first time in over 7,000 years
The ocean surrounding Antarctica is extremely cold, but water over 300m deep, Circumpolar Deep Water (CDW), is about 3⁰C above the melting point of ice. Normally, the very cold water above keeps this away from ice shelves. But in some areas, CDW is spilling onto the shallow Antarctic continental shelf, causing the ice to thin. Ice shelf thinning has accelerated in recent decades, but the picture is not the same everywhere. While the east of the Antarctic has shown modest gains in ice thickness, the west has outstripped this with significant ice loss – up to 18% in vulnerable areas like the Amundsen and Bellingshausen Seas. The pattern of ice loss and other observations indicate th…

Sea Levels Have Risen Abruptly In The Past

I've said in the past that sea levels are likely to be the first real climate change event that gets everyone's attention. 

Old reefs hold the tale of past sea-level rise, and … it’s dramatic. Toward the end of the last ice age, about 19,000 years ago, the sea rose in several large spurts, according to a new study of coral reefs that grew during this period. This contradicts assumptions that sea level rises gradually. Instead, coral fossils show sudden inundations followed by quieter periods. This offers new information that supports the theory that glaciers and ice sheets have “tipping points” that cause their sudden collapse along with a sudden increase in sea level. I've talked about sea levels before.  But this new study revises the opinions of scientists that this increase will likely be gradual.  But the historical analysis of coral reefs suggests that the sea level may rise abruptly.  And there are scientists who believe that Greenland may be at or past its tipping p…

Climate Change Activists Being Let Off On Necessity Defense

This is basically Chapter Two in my novel, Diary of the Last Age, though the characters in my novel were doing something quite different, destroying oil fields by inoculating them with an oil-eating bacteria (which interestingly does exist but mainly to clean up oil spills).  What I describe in that novel about "alarmists" taking it to the oil companies is apparently happening, and their activities are being legally justified.

Judge Allows 'Necessity' Defense by Climate Activists in Oil Pipeline Protest

"What we are seeing in some courts is there is such frustration at the failure of the executive and legislative branches to act on climate change that some courts are becoming willing to step in,"A Minnesota judge ruled that three activists charged with felonies can argue they had no legal alternative to protect citizens from climate change impacts. 
A judge in Minnesota has cleared the way for an unusual and potentially groundbreaking defense, allowing climat…

Biggest hits

Four Degrees Celsius Would Be Catastrophic

Here's the basic picture,

•    350 ppm CO2 = 1°C warming (a warming we can live with, see
•    400 ppm CO2 = 1.5°C warming (things get worse for an increasing number of people)
•    445 ppm CO2 = 2°C warming (dangerous warming, but the best we can hope for)6

      2°C warming is a guardrail beyond which changes become catastrophic
•    560 ppm CO2 = 3°C warming (really bad: and positive feedbacks accelerate)
•    700 ppm CO2 = 4°C warming (To be avoided at all costs)7 6. (PDF download) Hansen et al. state that 2°C warming could be dangerous. 7. (PDF download) Turn Down The Heat: Why a 4°C Warmer World Must be Avoided.
We passed 400 ppm CO2 last year. 
At current emission rates that are increasing CO2 at a rate of 2 ppm/year, we will blow past the budget for staying below 2°C warming within 20 years.The only possibility for avoiding 2°C warming is for humans to alter their behavior and reduce energy use while we bring low-carbon energy sources online. The Paris Accord is one a…

Trump Is An Environmental Catastrophe

Trump’s plan to bail out failing fossil fuels with taxpayer subsidies is perverse Trump claims to be a conservative, but calling for a bailout of the coal companies violates everything conservatives believe in, free markets.
The conservative philosophy of allowing an unregulated free market to operate unfettered often seems to fall by the wayside when the Republican Party’s industry allies are failing to compete in the marketplace. Trump’s Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently provided a stark example of this philosophical flexibility when he proposed to effectively pull the failing coal industry out of the marketplace and instead prop it up with taxpayer-funded subsidies. However, Perry also made the mistake of referencing the 2014 Polar Vortex to try and support this argument. The cold temperatures associated with that weather pattern caused electricity demand to spike, but as experts have noted, while wind energy produced above expectations during the Polar Vortex, coal power failed…

We must not idly let climate change wreak its damage

Gardening for Climate ChangeAs more birds alter their ranges to cope with a warming climate, you can take steps in your yard to help the animals survive 

Changing climate already is affecting bird distribution in much of the country. The National Audubon Society’s 2009 Birds and Climate Change report found that, based on data from the yearly Christmas Bird Count, more than 70 percent of backyard bird species have shifted their ranges north during the past four decades. The average range shift is about 35 miles, but the change is not uniform. During cold months, some species are now observed more than 100 miles north of their former winter ranges, including backyard regulars such as the American goldfinch, pine siskin, boreal chickadee and pygmy nuthatch.Planting an "Ecological Insurance Policy" Experts can’t predict with certainty which plants will thrive in our yards in the future or which birds will be there to benefit from what we plant. But we can take steps to prepare ou…

California Cities Sue Oil Companies

I've posted before, a lothere and here, that a carbon tax must happen if we are to stop the flow of CO2 into the atmosphere and our oceans.  Now there's a new strategy that might be successful, suing the oil companies.  San Francisco has started it, and Oakland and other California cities are joining in.
The two Californian cities join the counties of Marin, San Mateo and San Diego and the city of Imperial Beach that have taken similar legal action in recent months, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. San Francisco city attorney Dennis Herrera and Oakland city attorney Barbara J. Parker filed separate lawsuits on Tuesday in the superior courts of San Francisco and Alameda County on behalf of their respective cities.  They seek to hold the companies responsible “for the costs of sea walls and other infrastructure necessary to protect San Francisco and Oakland from ongoing and future consequences of climate change and sea level rise caused by the companies' production of …

The Schoenberg Plot

Moved to here.

We Will Have To Learn To Love Jellyfish

Much of the CO2 we're pouring into the atmosphere ends up being absorbed in our ocean.  Actually most of it.  And this has terrible implications for sea life.  It has happened before.  At the Paleo-Eocene Thermal Maximum we had the greatest extinction of sea life in the history of the planet. And this was the result of CO2 and methane being pumped into the atmosphere and thus the oceans.  And what we're doing now is ten times what happened then.

What we can expect is the loss of much of our sea life.  Except for one, the jelly fish.  Jelly fish will thrive under these conditions.  Interestingly jellyfish will have no problem, and may even become a main food source.

And they're coming to terms with this in Italy.

While tourists throughout Europe seek out Apulia, in Italy’s southeast, for its Baroque whitewashed cities and crystalline seas, swarms of jellyfish are also thronging to its waters. And not just in Italy.
From Spain to New York, to Australia, Japan and Hawaii, jel…