Showing posts from 2018

Hothouse Earth

I've posted before about feedback, global warming causing feedbacks that make it worse.  Also if the feedback causes global temperatures to exceed 2 degrees Celsius, that it would be catastrophic.  Some researchers now have research to support that.

Researchers believe we could soon cross a threshold leading to boiling hot temperatures and towering seas in the centuries to come.  Even if countries succeed in meeting their CO2 targets, we could still lurch on to this "irreversible pathway".

Their study shows it could happen if global temperatures rise by 2C.
"We are the ones in control right now, but once we go past 2 degrees, we see that the Earth system tips over from being a friend to a foe. We totally hand over our fate to an Earth system that starts rolling out of equilibrium."
Each year the Earth's forests, oceans and land soak up about 4.5 billion tonnes of carbon that would otherwise end up in our atmosphere adding to temperatures.   But as the world…

More on Sea Levels

I've postedmany times aboutsea levels.  Extreme weather is happening now but it will be sea levels rising that will convince people, and it right now, some serious problems are going to happen now even if we start now to do something about it.  Michael Segal interviewed climate scientist Ben Strauss: It is that power of the local that Ben Strauss wants to capture. He is CEO of the non-profit organization Climate Central, which has produced a remarkable collection of flood maps that have captivated me ever since I came across them shortly after Sandy. They let you dial in some amount of sea level or global temperature rise, and then view the effect on most any city in the world.
We are unavoidably headed for a 1.5C temperature and Ben Strauss describes what will be happening:
At 1.5 degrees of global temperature rise, which Strauss figures is all but inevitable, downtown Jersey City is a five-block-square island in the middle of a sea. New York City is mostly OK, but Boston and Ca…

Climate Change is Not a Cliff, It's a Minefield

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.

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.”  [....]
The current heatwave has been caused by an extraordinary stalling of the jet stream wind, which usually funnels cool Atlantic weather over the continent. This has left hot, dry air in place for two months – far longer than usual. …

Oil Companies: let's have a carbon tax

I've written extensively about the carbon tax (or "fee", or "dividend") as the necessary solution to global warming.  There is support among Republicans, conservatives, Young Republicans, the IMF and the World Bank, even oil companies.   And, of course, Democrats, and everyone concerned about global warming.

A carbon tax is an economic method to constrain the effects of carbon dioxide.  It is simply not going to be possible to achieve what is needed by just talking to people. 

As reported in the New York Times, the oil companies have just now come out with a proposal,
Recently, the lobbyists and former Senators Trent Lott and John Breaux, backed by companies like Exxon Mobil and Shell, have been campaigning for a federal tax on carbon dioxide emissions. This would increase energy costs, but all revenue from the tax would be returned to the public. A family of four might receive a $2,000 check from the government every year. And we would all have an incentive t…

ocean acidification highest in last 14 million years

Ocean acidification to hit levels not seen in 14 million years

I've posted about ocean acidification a number of times.  Now there is new research showing that the current situation is very serious.  This is catastrophic for all sea life with carbonate shells, oysters, clams, shrimp, as well as the major source of food for much of sea life, krill.  At the Paleo-Eocene Thermal Maximum, oceans acidified because of green-house gases pouring into the biosphere, and which resulted in the largest loss of sea life in the history of the planet.  We are pouring carbon dioxide into the biosphere a ten times that rate as at that time. 

New research led by Cardiff University has shown that under a 'business-as-usual' scenario of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, ocean acidification is likely to hit unprecedented levels.

The rapid influx of CO2 in to the oceans is severely threatening marine life, with the shells of some animals already dissolving in the more acidic seawater.  In their new…

Global Heat Wave - climate change?

The global heat wave is due to a climate process, a weakened jet stream and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.

It is important to distinguish a climate process from climate change which is a change in a climate process.  There was a previous experience with what is happening now in 1976.  It's occurrence is a climate process.  The current heat wave is greater than the one that occurred in 1976.  That's climate change.  Climate change is a climate process becoming more extreme.

For example, El Nino is a climate process.  The planet warms during an El Nino.  However, El Ninos are getting hotter,

El Ninos are getting hotter.  That's climate change.

Heat Records Beaten World Wide

Heat Records Falling Around the World in 2018

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. I wish some climate change denier would tell me at wha…

Why We Got It So Wrong On GMO's

That's the subtitle of a new book, Seeds of Science, by Mark Lynas, a former anti-GMO activist for Greenpeace, who is now an advocate for the safe use of GM technology.  This is a point I've been making for some time.  I am of course a strong environmentalist but I've long believed that we need GM methods in order to have any hope of feeding the 8 billion people that will be on this planet by 2050.

Lynas' book has just been reviewed in the latest issue of Science (behind paywall).  The review explains how his views have completely turned around about GMO's.
Most major global scientific organizations have firmly stated that science backs the efficacy and safety of genetic engineering.  Yet in the minds of many, consuming food with a GM organism (GMO) - free label is a must. So what went wrong?  Lynas argues that applying GM technology first to herbicide-resistant crops was a mistake that aligned the chemical manufacturing industry--which was already regarded with sk…

Hansen's 1988 Predictions For Temperatures Is Accurate

It is common for those denying global warming to cite the failure of forecasting.  Well, such a declaration was premature.  In 2013 it looked like the temperatures were leveling off.  However, that didn't happen.  The deniers were wrong.  We have here the forecasts made by Dr. James E. Hansen in 1988, 30 years ago, and the observed temperatures up to 2018.

Hansen was invited to testify before the United States Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources on June 23, 1988.[75] Hansen testified that "Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause and effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming...It is already happening now"[52] and "The greenhouse effect has been detected and it is changing our climate now...We already reached the point where the greenhouse effect is important."[76] Hansen said that NASA was 99% confident that the warming was caused by the accumulation of greenhou…

The Carbon Dividend

I've postedextensively about the carbon tax, or fee, and now dividend.  As I've tried to emphasize, this is the best, and possibly only way for our planet to survive.  It is an economic solution.  You can tell people not to use gasoline in their cars, or not to eat beef, but no one is going to pay attention until the true value of using gasoline or eating beef is imposed on them.  
As I've posted, conservative groups like the Cato Institute, and bipartisan groups like the World Bank, partisan groups like the Young Republicans, and even oil companies, have come out for a carbon tax.

Now a new group that includes conservatives is coming out for a "carbon dividend"

Proponents of a market-oriented plan to fight climate change by taxing greenhouse gas emissions and giving the revenue to American taxpayers are starting a campaign to run advertisements as early as this fall and introduce legislation in Congress as early as next year.  The plan’s supporters have formed …

People Denying Global Warming Will In Time Be Held Accountable

Climate Change Denial Should Be A Crime

In the wake of Harvey, it's time to treat science denial as gross negligence--and hold those who do the denying accountable. In August 2016, months after Houston had been hit by the second of two back-to-back “hundred year floods,” Mike Talbott, then the head of Houston’s flood control district, told The Texas Tribune and ProPublica that he still had no plans to study climate change or its potential impacts on the county — Harris, the third-largest in the nation — that he was charged with protecting. Talbott criticized scientists for being “anti-development,” and not only ignored but denigrated studies — even those conducted by his own department, one of which he called “absurd” — that suggested development was worsening flooding, or that urged him to leave prairies intact to absorb floodwaters. When the Tribune told Talbott that a host of scientific experts had said the contrary, his reply was blunt.  “You need to find some better experts,”…


I've been posting for four years about global warming, about the risks, the consequences, about what we should expect to happen.  But there is one thing, in my opinion, more important than all other issues, refugees. 

People fleeing droughts, famine, social disorder is only going to get worse as global warming advances.  I urge everyone to support UNHCR.  In my opinion there is no more important issue.  I urge everyone to look more closely into this.  Imagine your having to flee from very difficult circumstances into countries that are resisting your migration.  There are millions of families in very desperate situations and UNHCR is in many cases the only help they have.

People Skeptical Of Global Warming Please Read This

What I learned, and why you should drop your objections about global warming

Since we are not climate scientists, I argued, we don’t have the expert knowledge necessary to evaluate which side of the debate is right. Therefore, we should defer to the majority for the purpose of choosing public policy.  This argument didn’t seem to change any minds. One man even argued it was completely irrelevant. “Science isn’t a democracy!” he said. Well, he’s right! It’s not a democracy at all! That’s why your opinion on the cause of global warming doesn’t matter. I’m not saying that contrarian climatologists are wrong because they are in the minority — I’m saying you need staggering arrogance to insist that over 90% of climatologists are wrong when you aren’t even a scientist, let alone a climatologist.
As I read more on the topic, I learned that the vast majority of climatologists agree: greenhouse gases are the main cause of global warming, not changes in the sun. It’s scary that I could be misled…

Carbon Dioxide Not So Good For Agriculture

Plants consume carbon dioxide and intuitively we feel that it's concentration in the atmosphere should have a positive effect on them.  However, research now shows that rice grown in higher levels of carbon dioxide has lower amounts of several important nutrients.

When scientists want to figure out how climate change might disrupt the world’s food supplies, they often explore how rising temperatures could shift growing seasons or how more frequent droughts could damage harvests. In recent years, though, researchers have begun to realize that the extra carbon dioxide that humanity is pumping into the atmosphere isn’t just warming the planet, it’s also making some of our most important crops less nritious by changing their chemical makeup and diluting vitamins and minerals.  Now, a new study has found that rice exposed to elevated levels of carbon dioxide contains lower amounts of several important nutrients.

The potential health consequences are large, given that there are already b…

Global Warming Descends On Alaska

I've posted many times about the dangers Florida, New Orleans, and Houston have to look forward to because of climate change.  Despite being in conservative states they have been forced to confront the issue, Floridaespecially as I'veposted.  Another Republican State is being forced to confront climate change, Alaska.  They are between a rock and a hard place.  While the impact of climate change in Alaska is making itself felt,

Alaska is already seeing the dramatic effects of global warming firsthand, making the issue difficult for local politicians to avoid. The solid permafrost that sits beneath many roads, buildings and pipelines is starting to thaw, destabilizing the infrastructure above. At least 31 coastal towns and cities may need to relocate, at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, as protective sea ice vanishes and fierce waves erode Alaska’s shores. “The change has been so real and so widespread that it’s become impossible to ignore,” Byron Mallott, the state’s…

Things We Don't Understand About Climate Change

Three Things We Don’t Understand About Climate Change

by Aarne Granlund
I argue that most of us do not grasp how immediate this situation has become, how fast it is progressing and what the scale of change needed is to reach the stabilisation targets of the Paris Agreement. I also argue that after individuals, nations and corporations understand the urgency and the rate, they should be honest about the scale of action needed in order to avoid collapse of the biosphere and thus civilisation.

1. Urgency  The first misunderstanding about climate change is related to how we perceive its impacts in time. It is not (only) a future issue, not a polar bear issue and certainly not an issue which only affects a few remote parts of the world. [....]

2. Rate and Scale of Change  The Arctic, area located on the top of the planet from 66°N north, is a prime example of systematic exponential change. It is warming at least twice as fast as the rest of the planet. There is less inertia in the Arctic tha…

Smart Money in Real Estate

I've postedbefore about sealevelrise.  Here there is more evidence about the melting of Greenland's glaciers.  Real Estate prices in Florida are already showing the reaction to sea levels.
Scientists are exploring changes underway in the Greenland Ice Sheet as a result of global warming. Algae, dust and soot, a short-lived climate pollutant also known as black carbon, are exacerbating melting.Satellite imageshave confirmed that the Greenland ice sheet ... holds 23 feet of sea level rise.

From Climate Central:
Global average sea level is expected to rise by one foot between 2000 and 2050 and by several more feet by the end of the century under a high-pollution scenario because of the effects of climate change, according to the projections in the new peer-reviewed study. It shows 21st century sea-level rise could be kept to less than two feet if greenhouse gas emissions are aggressively and immediately reduced, reflecting a larger gap in sea-level consequences between high and low…

Oil Companies Are Truly Evil

The cigarette companies are proven evil.  It was demonstrated that cigarette smoking causes lung cancer, and they continue to sell cigarettes and thus were responsible for millions of early deaths.  They knew there was a problem but they worked very hard to dispute the evidence and produce doubt.

It is now known that oil companies have done the same.  There is solid evidence that ExxonMobil and Shellknew how their product was going to bring about global warming in the 1980's and chose to do the same as the cigarette companies, deny and create doubt even though they knew what would might happen.

They show that as the company pondered its responsibility to act, Shell's scientists urged it to heed the early warnings, even if, as they said, it might take until the 2000s for the mounting evidence to prove greenhouse gases in the atmosphere were causing unnatural climate change.  "With the very long time scales involved, it would be tempting for society to wait until then …

The New Danger of Significant Sea Rise

Erosion by warming waters has caused the submarine ice around Antarctica to shrink by 1,463 sq km in six years
Section though ice sheet in 2010 Section though ice sheet in 2016 Ocean Ice shelf Hidden erosion by warming waters has caused the base of the ice sheet to shrink Previous extent of ice sheet Ice flow Increased ice flow Ice sheet Ocean floor Grounding line Grounding line
Guardian graphic. Source: Nature
Underwater melting of Antarctic ice far greater than thought, study finds

Hidden underwater melt-off in the Antarctic is doubling every 20 years and could soon overtake Greenland to become the biggest source of sea-level rise, according to the first complete underwater map of the world’s largest body of ice. Warming waters have caused the base of ice near the ocean floor around the south pole to shrink by 1,463 square kilometres – an area the size of Greater London – between 2010 and 2016, according to the new study published in Nature Geoscience. The research by the UK Centre …