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  1. I was thrilled to see the successful launch of the OCO-2.

    This is the mission that the Bush administration put on hold, right? So the satellite went into storage until the Obama administration gave the go-ahead. And the original satellite launch failed?

    [Response: No. You are confusing it with the DSCOVR mission. The original OCO did fail on launch though (we wrote about it here). - gavin]

    One point that confuses me. I thought the mission was to track aerosols as well so that we’d get a much clearer picture of the actual radiation budget. The linked article says nothing about aerosols. Did I confuse that with another mission?

    [Response: Yes. You are thinking about the Glory satellite - which also failed on launch. - gavin]

    Perhaps the OCO-2 mission is worth a post on its own merits from someone familiar with it?

    Comment by David Miller — 2 Jul 2014 @ 9:50 AM

  2. Re- Comment by Chris Dudley — 1 Jul 2014 @ 6:27 AM, ~#477, and 1 Jul 2014 @ 6:40 AM, ~# 478 in the just closed June Unforced Variation topic.

    Ha, you really don’t understand! You said that- “If 2015 emissions were half of 2014 emissions, all of the 2015 emissions would be removed from the atmosphere. They would not linger and the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would not increase,” but in fact, half of the reduced 2015 emissions would remain in the atmosphere and this is way too much.

    There has to be a 70% cut in emissions just to keep temperature from increasing indefinitely. You and Diogenes disagree? As I suggested to you previously, take it up with Gavin and the published research that informs him – http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/06/climate-change-commitment-ii/ .

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 2 Jul 2014 @ 10:09 AM

  3. #1, Steve: The language that most people use to describe the average annual increase in atmospheric carbon is confusing. It juxtaposes two unrelated numbers — annual anthropogenic emissions, and annual sequestration. The right way to say it is something like this: At present, the atmosphere holds about 240 gigatons of carbon in excess of the level that existed prior to the start of the industrial revolution. Of that 240 gigaton excess, about 5 gigatons per year is removed by natural processes. Each year, humans add about 10 gigatons. So, just by chance, the average annual sequestration works out to be about half of human emissions. To be clear, if we emitted nothing, or if we emitted 20 gigatons, an average of 5 gigatons would still be removed.

    Comment by Christopher Hogan — 2 Jul 2014 @ 11:15 AM

  4. Please add a separate thread for mitigation discussions.

    Comment by Meow — 2 Jul 2014 @ 11:49 AM

  5. As the intellectual barometer plunges, we again face the weirdest weather of the year– the Heartland Climate Conference season

    Comment by Russell — 2 Jul 2014 @ 11:53 AM

  6. The Arctic sea-ice estimates for September are here: http://www.arcus.org/sipn/sea-ice-outlook/2014/june.

    I plan to submit an estimate based on “The Black Swan” method. It worked for me in 2012, see here , and could have worked in 2013 had I tried it then.

    Cheers, Alastair.

    Comment by Alastair McDonald — 2 Jul 2014 @ 12:15 PM

  7. http://bskiesresearch.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/can-we-trust-climate-models/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Jul 2014 @ 1:10 PM

  8. Cited properly:

    Can we trust climate models?

    J. C. Hargreaves* and J. D. Annan

    28 MAY 2014
    DOI: 10.1002/wcc.288
    © 2014 The Authors. WIREs Climate Change published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

    This is an open access article ….
    Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
    Volume 5, Issue 4, pages 435–440, July/August 2014

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 2 Jul 2014 @ 1:12 PM

  9. How can it possibly happen that NOAA change earlier reported temperatures for the United States?
    Even though I do not enjoy referring to the source here at this site, It does not look good!

    In July 2012 a temperature of 77.4°F was provided for July 1936.
    In June 2014 a temperature of 76.8°F was provided for July 1936.

    [edit]

    [Response: While the raw data at any one station at any one time obviously doesn't change, the value for any regional or global average in the past is always an estimate since there isn't a perfect network of measurements across the whole area. The estimate will depend on how you do the integration, how you adjust for urban effects, how you deal with different measurement systems. These methods change, and sometimes you can have corrections or additions to the raw data itself. In this case, it is mostly about improvements in the methodology. The uncertainty in the estimate of the absolute temperature will be larger going back in time (though estimates of the anomalies will be smaller). What matters is that if you are going to compare different times, the calculation method is the same. - gavin]

    Comment by DF — 2 Jul 2014 @ 1:28 PM

  10. dear founder of RC please don’t let Real Climate turn into a long string of open threads like deltoid has. thanks jacob l
    ps it’s ok to write about your papers and work, it’s interesting honest

    Comment by jacob l — 2 Jul 2014 @ 3:08 PM

  11. About emissions remaining in the atmosphere is it true that the Atmosphere has a natural level of co2 concentration that it tries to return too? Is the absorption of 50% perhaps a function of the forcing rather than the concentration? Perhaps if emissions stopped the concentration would stay the same.

    Comment by DP — 2 Jul 2014 @ 3:37 PM

  12. Steve (#1),

    Alright, split the difference and call it 60%.


    a=findgen(1000) ;year since 1850

    b=fltarr(1000) ;BAU concentration profile
    b(0)=1
    for i=1,999 do b(i)=b(i-1)*1.02 ;2 percent growth
    ;plot,b(0:150)*4.36+285.,/ynoz ; 370 ppm year 2000
    c=(18.+14.*exp(-a/420.)+18.*exp(-a/70.)+24.*exp(-a/21.)+26.*exp(-a/3.4))/100. ;Kharecha and Hansen eqn 1
    e=fltarr(1000) ;annual emissions
    for i=1,999 do e(i)=b(i)-b(i-1)
    d=fltarr(1000) ; calculated concentration
    t=400.-285. ;target concentration
    f=0 ;flag to end BAU growth

    for i=1,499 do begin & d(i:999)=d(i:999)+e(i)*c(0:999-i)*4.36*2. & if d(i) gt t then begin & e(i+1:999)=e(i)/1.5 & f=1 & endif else if f eq 1 then e(i+1:999)=(t-d(i+1))/4.36/2. & endfor ;factor of two reproduces BAU growth

    !p.multi=[0,2,2]
    plot,a(0:499)+1850.,d(0:499)+285.,/ynoz,xtit='Year',ytit='carbon dioxide concentration (ppm)',charsize=1.5 ; atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration in ppm showing target achieved
    plot,a(0:499)+1850,e(0:499)/max(e(0:499))*100,xtit='year',ytit='carbon dioxide emissions (AU)',charsize=1.5 ;emission profile to reach target in percent of max

    This stabilizes concentration at 400 ppm. The Fawlty language will run it. I notice we actually have about 180 years to do the next 30%

    Reference: Kharecha, P.A., and J.E. Hansen, 2008 Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 22, GB3012

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 2 Jul 2014 @ 3:41 PM

  13. Forgot to post this last time around. The McCarthyism in Bengtssons imagination and what happend before. http://uppsalainitiativet.blogspot.se/2014/05/lennart-bengtsson-and-his-media-gambit.html by me.

    Comment by Magnus W — 2 Jul 2014 @ 3:48 PM

  14. ClimateState has a new slick design, check it out. RC commenters are invited to submit climate relevant content in English or German (see page footer link) or contact me.

    Comment by prokaryotes — 2 Jul 2014 @ 8:26 PM

  15. What charities do people recommend as effective in the global warming / climate change space? What seem like some of the most efficient ways to use donor dollars?

    Giving What We Can recommends Cool Earth which essentially buys at-risk tropical rainforest as an efficient way to prevent carbon being released, along with other obvious benefits (protecting the ecosystem and indigenous people).

    Intuitively, I would think capping oil wells that are sources of methane might make sense, although I don’t know of a charity for this. On the advocacy or public policy front are there points of particular leverage?

    Comment by Colin Rust — 3 Jul 2014 @ 7:57 AM

  16. Have the climate modelers here seen a recent paper: (2013) Xiang Yang and Rajat Mittal, Acceleration of the Jacobi iterative method by factors exceeding 100 using scheduled relaxation, in Journal of Computational Physics, doi: 10.1016/j.jcp.2014.06.010.

    An online prepring is available here; and there is a comment on the work at science20.com.

    This describes an improvement on an old method for solving systems of equations which may be useful in computation fluid mechanics, and climate models, according to the paper. Is this likely to have an application in your work?

    Comment by Chris Ho-Stuart — 3 Jul 2014 @ 8:24 AM

  17. Whales as ecosystem engineers:

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2014-07/uov-wae070314.php

    “The decline in great whale numbers, estimated to be at least 66% and perhaps as high as 90%, has likely altered the structure and function of the oceans,” Roman and his colleagues write in the July 3, 2014, online edition of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, ” but recovery is possible and in many cases is already underway.”

    “The continued recovery of great whales may help to buffer marine ecosystems from destabilizing stresses,” the team of scientists writes. This recovered role may be especially important as climate change threatens ocean ecosystems with rising temperatures and acidification. “As long-lived species, they enhance the predictability and stability of marine ecosystems,” Roman said.

    Baleen and sperm whales, known collectively as the “great whales,” include the largest animals to have ever lived on Earth. With huge metabolic demands—and large populations before humans started hunting them—great whales are the ocean’s ecosystem engineers: they eat many fish and invertebrates, are themselves prey to other predators like killer whales, and distribute nutrients through the water. Even their carcasses, dropping to the seafloor, provide habitat for many species that only exist on these “whale falls.” Commercial whaling dramatically reduced the biomass and abundance of great whales.

    “As humpbacks, gray whales, sperm whales and other cetaceans recover from centuries of overhunting, we are beginning to see that they also play an important role in the ocean,” Roman said. “Among their many ecological roles, whales recycle nutrients and enhance primary productivity in areas where they feed.” They do this by feeding at depth and releasing fecal plumes near the surface—which supports plankton growth—a remarkable process described as a “whale pump.” Whales also move nutrients thousands of miles from productive feeding areas at high latitudes to calving areas at lower latitudes.

    Sometimes, commercial fishermen have seen whales as competition. But this new paper summarizes a strong body of evidence that indicates the opposite can be true: whale recovery “could lead to higher rates of productivity in locations where whales aggregate to feed and give birth,” supporting more robust fisheries.

    The new study was written by Joe Roman, University of Vermont; James A Estes and Daniel Costa, University of California, Santa Cruz; Lyne Morissette, M Expertise Marine, Sainte-Luce, Canada; Craig Smith, University of Hawaii, Manoa; James McCarthy, Harvard University; JB Nation, University of Hawaii, Honolulu; Stephen Nicol, University of Tasmania, Tasmania, Australia; Andrew Pershing, University of Maine, Orono, and Gulf of Maine Institute; and Victor Smetacek, Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research, Bremerhaven, Germany.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jul 2014 @ 11:28 AM

  18. This one is paywalled — but might be worth an invited topic:

    Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, June, Vol. 12, No. 5 : 280-287

    An interdisciplinary assessment of climate engineering strategies
    Daniela F Cusack, Jonn Axsen, Rachael Shwom, Lauren Hartzell-Nichols, Sam White, and Katherine RM Mackey
    (doi: 10.1890/130030)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 3 Jul 2014 @ 11:33 AM

  19. 1 Steve Fish said, “half of the reduced 2015 emissions would remain in the atmosphere”

    I’m with Chris D on this one. Sequestration in the ocean is not based on emissions, but concentration. If 2015 has the same concentration as 2014, then equal amounts would be sequestered, regardless of emissions. Since that’s currently 50%, if we reduced emissions 50%, ocean acidification would continue to get worse, temperatures would not rise, and we’d have to cut a bit more each year as the oceans catch up with the atmosphere.

    Comment by jim Larsen — 3 Jul 2014 @ 7:19 PM

  20. Interesting study out on the outgassing of CO2 from the northern Pacific to end the last glacial period:

    http://phys.org/news/2014-07-ice-age.html

    Seems a little astronomical forcing (Milankovitch) led to changes in the ocean and ocean-atmosphere interactions which gave a positive feedback kick to CO2 release which caused a big warm up and rapid glacial melt.

    Comment by R. Gates — 3 Jul 2014 @ 11:21 PM

  21. I don’t want to get into the debate about climate change, but I will simply point out that I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that. Yet there are no coal mines on Mars. There are no factories on Mars that I’m aware of.
    —-Kentucky State Senator Brandon Smith, Rep. Hazard

    No coal mines or factories on mars – he has a point. How could we have missed that? Now don’t we all feel stupid.

    Comment by Kevin O'Neill — 4 Jul 2014 @ 12:53 AM

  22. I read an article somewhere about the MOC and that it’s predicted slowdown seems to be happening but also that as there is no sudden inrush of freshwater from lakes etc. as happened last time Europe had a deep freeze, the gradual cooling of mid lat Europe will be more than offset by steady global temp increase. Is that still the general consensus amongst the climate science community? Thanks.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 4 Jul 2014 @ 1:07 AM

  23. Hurricane Arthur seems to be the earliest North Carolina landfalling hurricane on record. Perhaps we are seeing a warming induced broadening of the hurricane season for more northern parts of the country. Sandy was very late for a Mid-Atlantic hurricane which has been attributed to the effects of warming. Perhaps the early part of the season could change as well. North Carolina makes a nice quick check because it intercepts so many storms but a look at the whole coast would be best to check trends.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 4 Jul 2014 @ 8:27 AM

  24. AGU:
    New constraints on atmospheric CO2 concentration for the Phanerozoic
    DOI: 10.1002/2014GL060457
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL060457/abstract

    These results provide critical new empirical support for the emerging view that large (~2000 − 3000 ppm), long-term swings in ca do not characterize the post-Devonian and that Earth’s long-term climate sensitivity to ca is greater than originally thought.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 4 Jul 2014 @ 11:51 AM

  25. Kevin O’Neill:

    I think in academia we all agree that the temperature on Mars is exactly as it is here. Nobody will dispute that.

    Sounds like Mars needs some freedom!

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 4 Jul 2014 @ 1:44 PM

  26. Chris Dudley (Arthur and other weather delivered 4 inches of rain in 3 hours in New Bedford just now), it’s worth looking at ocean temperatures. There’s a hot little tongue in Arthur’s path.
    http://www.wunderground.com/hurricane/

    (I’m sure there are better sources, but I find Masters’ blog comments to be a detailed and up to the minute resources and this world map is very informative for those who like to look outside their narrow geography.)

    Meanwhile, what’s sad is that weather forecasters are not mentioning how weird this is in the context of climate change.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 4 Jul 2014 @ 4:10 PM

  27. Oh dear, should have mentioned that experts are saying this is *not* a harbinger of a busy hurricane season. I find it useful to remember that weather events characteristic of the overall trend are blocked patterns, out of season events, and hybrids.

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 4 Jul 2014 @ 4:12 PM

  28. Colin (#15)

    “What charities do people recommend as effective in the global warming / climate change space? What seem like some of the most efficient ways to use donor dollars?”

    Because this is an emerging problem, groups that have been at it the longest have had the most leverage and have gained in effectiveness owing to that. Groups engaged in preserving wilderness, for example, have done a great deal without even thinking much about warming. Nature Conservancy and the Sierra Club are examples. Greenpeace, by sponsoring research on solutions, has been very effective as well.

    But, getting an early start does not mean effectiveness will continue. The Sierra Club, by sponsoring litigation and working locally has pretty much brought an end to new coal plants. So, it is interesting that they are now starting on a Beyond Natural Gas campaign. This may well lead to faster emissions cuts in the US than currently planned. As the world’s second largest emitter, that is a good leverage point. Rain Forrest Action Network may have the most leverage now in the wilderness preservation space.

    On the other hand, these organizations probably don’t have that much reach into the world’s largest emitter where action is most needed. Al Gore’s organization has been active there as have 350.org and the Rocky Mountain Institute. Because native activists for just about any cause face jail, massacres and retaliation against family members there, these outside efforts may be the best approach though more likely it will take the mechanisms of international law to bring change swiftly enough.

    Locally, I notice that Chesapeake Climate Action Network gets a lot done and leverages donations with grants.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 4 Jul 2014 @ 5:26 PM

  29. It takes two to tango-where wouls combustion be without oxygen ?

    Absent the biological generation of the reactive gas , fossil fuel burning could contribute but little to the environmental evolution of the Anthropocene.

    So instead of debating whether the Antropocene is good, bad or ugly, let us give due credit to the species whose newfangled powers of photosynthesis have made the atmospheric oxidation of carbon possible :

    Welcome to the Aerobocene Eon!

    Comment by Russell — 4 Jul 2014 @ 6:14 PM

  30. Re- Comment by Christopher Hogan — 2 Jul 2014 @ 11:15 AM, ~#3 and others

    OK, Christopher and others commenting on my post, here is my big picture understanding of the ocean absorption of CO2 issue. I welcome you or anyone else to correct my errors.

    The short term natural CO2 cycle is not relevant. Whatever CO2 released by decomposing and animal waste from plants was absorbed from the atmosphere by plants for their growth in the recent past. Current release balances with ongoing absorption. This can be biased a little by how much of this carbon is stored permanently, such as in soil or permanent forests.

    The long term cycle of CO2 is very slow and this is why there is so much concern about excess CO2 lingering in the atmosphere for many hundreds of years.

    On the human time scale, release of fossil CO2 is absorbed and stored in the ocean based on the partial pressure across the air water interface. Any suggestion that the amount of CO2 taken up by the ocean is some fixed amount is wrong. When fossil CO2 increases atmospheric concentrations it comes into equilibrium with that in the oceans mostly over about a year, but continues slowly over around 10 years. At equilibrium, about half of the added atmospheric CO2 balances with the increased concentration with the other half in the ocean. Because the CO2 is “seeking” equilibrium, half is left in the atmosphere whether the amount added to the atmosphere is a large or small amount.

    One other important factor is ocean mixing. When atmospheric CO2 equilibrates with the ocean it is only entering surface water. Because mixing is relatively slow, although important in the human time scale, when deeper waters mix with the surface it can now absorb more CO2. All of this helps understand the Meinshausen (2006) graph used by Gavin in Real Climate essay linked above (currently # 2).

    In the graph the zero emission temperature plot, after an overshoot, declines much faster than might be expected by the long term carbon cycle but still pretty slow. It can (mostly?) be explained by ocean mixing. Similarly, the feasible 70% emissions reduction plot for temperature levels out at just below 2 deg. C even though there is still around 30% entering, and 15% remaining, in the atmosphere. If one accepts the feasible scenario, we, the developed world, would have to make up almost all of this 70% and we are definitely not currently at a safe level as suggested by Chris Dudley.

    Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 4 Jul 2014 @ 7:03 PM

  31. Christopher (#3),

    It is not by chance. It is our large emissions which bring about the large sequestration. If we had not put it so out of equilibrium, there would not be such a contrast in partial pressure.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 4 Jul 2014 @ 10:11 PM

  32. Susan (#26),

    Masters did mention the Gulf Stream is warmer than usual. It is speculation on my part that there could be a discernible signal of a broader hurricane season. North Carolina is a nice place to sample because it is such a target but there is more coastline than that.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 4 Jul 2014 @ 10:38 PM

  33. 26 Susan Anderson. I’ll fill you in as to what our weather systems are doing..or rather ‘not’ doing in SE Queensland Australia. For well over the past 5-6 months our weather patterns seem to be dropping into narcoleptic states dominated by blocking highs in the pacific causing stagnant highs to remain over us for weeks at a time. The pattern every day from feb to mid june had been ‘possibility of a couple showers’. 9/10 those showers never eventuated. Now it’s finally in a boring winter pattern again dominated by very slow moving W-E highs. You might be aware of the myriad weather records that were smashed in queensland last year, again due to blocking highs causing record long periods of extreme temps to hover over us for weeks. Most of queensland is still undergoing record drought conditions as I type.
    To me it seems very much like Rossby patterns are behind this utter weirdness. It’s begun to change noticeably during at least the past 15 years. I hope my observations are supportive of your findings. Cheers!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 4 Jul 2014 @ 11:44 PM

  34. Chris @23 Careful! Hurricane Arthur is only the the earliest landfalling hurricane on record in NC if your records don’t go back very far. It is not a poster child for climate change. From David Ludlum’s Early American Hurricanes p. 118 about the hurricane on June 3, 1825:
    “Along the Outer Banks of North Carolina the hurricane lashed at shipping and settlements. The post surgeon at Fort Johnston at Cape Fear reported ‘a very high wind & storm which lasted 30 hours. Wind south.’ A press dispatch from Adams Creek told of very heavy losses with crops destroyed and cattle drowned as the storm tide rose 14 feet above low water to engulf fields and barns.” No anemometers back then, but it sounds worse than what Arthur just did.

    Comment by John Pollack — 4 Jul 2014 @ 11:55 PM

  35. DP @11.
    You ask “is it true that the Atmosphere has a natural level of co2 concentration that it tries to return too?”
    “Natural level” is probably not the best way to describe it. Perhaps this is better:- The carbon on this planet will always be seeking a happy home but when things get busy (like you transport 550GtC out from geology and dump it into the atmosphere) there will be a long waiting list. Also, some of those ‘happy homes’ are leasehold of varying lease periods so carbon dissolved into the deep ocean is committed there (however overcrowded the accommodation) for a millenium.

    You are correct with your second question (although is ‘forcing’ the correct word to use?) As Christopher Hogan @3 states, the ~5GtC lost from the atmosphere into the biosphere & oceans is not the simple result of the previous year’s carbon emissions but a result of the accumulated emissions over many years. So if we did stop emitting carbon tomorrow, there would be still a ~5 GtC annual lost from the atmosphere but that loss would decrease year-on-year until a ‘steady state’ is reached. At that point, in about 1,000 years, ~20% of our total emissions would remain in the atmosphere, although that ~20% figure for the remnant does creep up as the quantity of CO2 we release gets bigger. After the ~1,000 years, the processes slow down and the queue for a ‘happy home’ becomes tens of thousands of years long.
    The usual reference on this is to some David Archer paper, eg eg. Archer et al (2009)

    jim Larsen @19.
    To be clear, if CO2 levels were maintained by balancing emissions with the sequestration from the atmosphere, the planet’s ‘equilibrium temperature’ would not rise but current temperatures would have to rise to reach that equilibrium level.

    Comment by MARodger — 5 Jul 2014 @ 2:53 AM

  36. http://www.climatecodered.org/

    The video above is the most important one on climate change that I have seen.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 5 Jul 2014 @ 6:06 AM

  37. Jim Larsen,

    It’s my understanding that the earth is not in thermal equilibrium, right now, so that a 50% reduction in CO2 would not stop temperatures rising for a while. Aside from CO2, of course, humans are putting other powerful GHGs into the atmosphere and there are positive feedbacks which will continue to warm the planet further.

    It’s an academic notion, anyway, since it isn’t going to happen any time soon (at least not voluntarily).

    Comment by Tony Weddle — 5 Jul 2014 @ 6:56 AM

  38. Gavin, welcome back! And let me add a late congratulations on your promotion.

    In #1 I was confusing all three missions – Glory is to give much more detailed data on aerosols, while DSCOVR gives a summary. I’m thrilled to see that DSCOVR is to be launched in January.

    My impression is that by tracking overall albedo, DSCOVR is key to determining the transient climate sensitivity. We know how much radiation comes from the sun, and we know the effects of CO2, but there are pretty large error bars on aerosols that this mission could help with. Is that even close to the truth?

    Comment by David Miller — 5 Jul 2014 @ 10:03 AM

  39. 15 Colin Rust: Don’t believe anything said by Chris Dudley. Search “Legal Defense” on this web site to find the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.
 Their snail mail address is:
    Climate Science Legal Defense Fund
    c/o PEER
    2000 P Street, NW #240

    Washington, D.C. 20036

    lawyer@climatesciencedefensefund.org
    http://climatesciencedefensefund.org

    28 Chris Dudley: GW is not an emerging problem. GW has emerged. GW was emerging in the 19th century.
    Greenpeace is a group to stay away from. The Sierra Club is marginal. The Rocky Mountain Institute is an advertising agency; for who is debatable. Etcetera.
    Stick with defending the real scientists at RealClimate by contributing only to the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 5 Jul 2014 @ 10:59 AM

  40. Another Coral Davenport piece (with Micheal Barbaro) seems to indicate some hostility toward the climate cause. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/05/us/politics/prominent-environmentalist-helped-fund-coal-projects.html It seems like a way to channel fossil fuel operatives’ ad hominum attacks without even interviewing their target.

    It is worth remembering how Bucky Fuller viewed this sort of thing: the wealth from fossil fuels will build our independence from them.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 5 Jul 2014 @ 12:34 PM

  41. I noticed this article from Reuters today – http://news.yahoo.com/peru-says-el-nino-threat-over-waters-cooling-232314417.html

    Any commnets?

    Comment by Eliot Axelrod — 5 Jul 2014 @ 5:24 PM

  42. I noticed the following article on Reuters today about El Nino – http://news.yahoo.com/peru-says-el-nino-threat-over-waters-cooling-232314417.html

    Any comments?

    Comment by Eliot Axelrod — 5 Jul 2014 @ 5:26 PM

  43. DF @9

    this comes up perenially. I wrote something on this the last time it came up. Its available at http://surfacetemperatures.blogspot.no/2013/01/how-should-one-update-global-and.html. It explains why NCDC (and by extension GISS) do what they do.

    Peter

    Comment by Peter Thorne — 6 Jul 2014 @ 1:24 AM

  44. #26 Susan Anderson “what’s sad is that weather forecasters are not mentioning how weird this is in the context of climate change”

    It isn’t.

    Comment by simon abingdon — 6 Jul 2014 @ 1:47 AM

  45. @Susan Anderson – It’s actually better not to yell “Climate Change” in the crowded theater at every event. An “early landfalling hurricane in North Carolina” seems a bit too specific to attribute to climate change. More likely, normal steering high and low pressure systems, which continue in any climate scenario. Just like last years hurricane season was below average despite favorable Gulf of Mexico SSTs and no El Nino. This year is expecting an El Nino to develop which may make tropical storm development more difficult. We lack the tools/ability to even forecast these storms in the near term and trends that are outside the margin of error have not developed. Setting expectations of specific weather events (or clusters of related events) by tying them to climate change tends to discredit climate change science in the mind of the public. Hurricane season outlooks, yearly sea ice predictions, tornado counts, ENSO watches, etc, etc are interesting sidelights but high variability makes them unsuitable for CC attribution. It’s not that CC won’t affect these things in the long term, rather when Climate Scientists make bold predictions on 50/50 propositions (or less) and are wrong, the public doesn’t distinguish “wrong this year” from “wrong this century.” It’s a slippery slope to attribute weather phenomena and forecasts to Climate Change and Murphy is Mother Nature’s son.

    Comment by Tim Beatty — 6 Jul 2014 @ 6:03 AM

  46. Chris Dudley (#26), thanks for the reply.

    The Rainforest Action Network seems quite similar to Cool Earth. At least on a quick google, I don’t see any estimates of their cost per acre or cost per tonne of CO2 equivalent averted (leaving aside the other benefits). Any sense of what those are? FWIW, Giving What You Can estimates that it costs $1.34/tonne of C02 averted with Cool Earth (see p.4 of their report on Cool Earth; per acre it’s $109 to $126). They found that to be the most efficient of the three charities they analyzed, after an initial scan of promising charities. The other two were Sandbag, which buys credits in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme and Solar Aid which sells solar lights in rural Africa, seeking to replace kerosene lamps.

    Has anyone else done analysis similar to Giving What You Can where they try to estimate the benefit say in price per tonne of CO2 equivalent from various global warming charities? (In all honesty, I had only vaguely heard of Giving What You Can before I googled this. My impression is they seem pretty credible.)

    Comment by Colin Rust — 6 Jul 2014 @ 6:47 AM

  47. #15 Colin Rust

    You can do some web research and find out what the environmental groups are doing. The big green groups are up front about their global warming campaigns and have pages about them. For example Audubon:
    http://policy.audubon.org/climate-change-campaign

    What is best is something of an personal choice. I am partial to using lawsuits to get the US to take action, so I like groups that do a lot to try to leverage change in the courts, such as Earthjustice. Other groups tend to take different strategies, like protests, like 350.org. The Nature Conservancy also uses more market type solutions, such as buying land and keeping it preserved. Some, like the Environmental Defense Fund, are more cooperative with the political right to try and bridge their differences. That being said, the large groups again generally tend to practice an all-of-the-above approach and cooperate with each other.

    #28 Chris Dudley

    Another one of the big groups that is trying to work in China is the NRDC.

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 6 Jul 2014 @ 1:08 PM

  48. Colin (#43),

    I think those are some useful metrics. I don’t think they work for the groups I mention because 1) some of them do more than just climate, and 2) their leverage often comes from activism. A campaign to keep coal plants from being built is only a step on the way to making national policy such that coal plants won’t be built, for example. Time and treasure devoted to that is probably the most effective thing to do, but the avoided emissions per dollar may not be easy to calculate.

    That said, helping out with clean development does more than just avoid emissions, it also helps with development and alleviates poverty. So, the dollar per avoided emissions metric doesn’t give a complete picture there either.

    Just at the moment, divestment is a nice way to shun fossil fuel companies and some funds are working out how to make money without holding fossil fuel interests. If you can’t decide on a charity, invest in a couple of those to give them some encouragement until you can decide. You should have more to give after that, though as I said, early effort has more leverage than later effort.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 6 Jul 2014 @ 3:35 PM

  49. Hmmm, A hurricane that makes landfall as a hurricane in Newfoundland prior to August…yeah, that’s something different.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 6 Jul 2014 @ 3:48 PM

  50. So, Greenpeace working on climate issues in 1997. Ho hum….

    http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1038/39716

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 6 Jul 2014 @ 4:18 PM

  51. John (#34),

    That is an interesting description. Sounds like it may have stayed off the coast. My thinking is that Sandy plus Arthur might make 1.8 sigma or so on a changed season, but it would need a quantified study.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 6 Jul 2014 @ 4:24 PM

  52. Steve (#30),

    “If one accepts the feasible scenario, we, the developed world, would have to make up almost all of this 70% and we are definitely not currently at a safe level as suggested by Chris Dudley.”

    Actually, you’ve got this backwards. Since the non-Annex I countries are taking over in cumulative emissions, they are also out doing us on current emissions. The Annex I countries could not produce a 70% cut, it would have to be the non-Annex I countries. However, though we are not supposed to discuss it this month, the Annex I countries could force a cut in non-Annex I counties’ emissions approaching that level using trade tariffs. The path described by the code I posted for you is indeed feasible under current trade law. And, China, at least, probably has the foreign currency reserves to weather the economic effects without starvation similar to the Great Leap Forward disaster.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 6 Jul 2014 @ 4:42 PM

  53. Steve (#30),

    “If one accepts the feasible scenario, we, the developed world, would have to make up almost all of this 70% and we are definitely not currently at a safe level as suggested by Chris Dudley.”

    Actually, you’ve got this backwards. Since the non-Annex I countries are taking over in cumulative emissions, they are also out doing us on current emissions. The Annex I countries could not produce a 70% cut, it would have to be the non-Annex I countries. However, though we are not supposed to discuss it this month, the Annex I countries could force a cut in non-Annex I counties’ emissions approaching that level using trade tariffs. The path described by the code I posted for you is indeed feasible under current trade law. And, China, at least, probably has the foreign currency reserves to weather the economic effects without starvation similar to the Great Leap Forward disaster (40 million killed).

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 6 Jul 2014 @ 4:48 PM

  54. Study: 2°C target at risk, without moving subsidies

    Comment by prokaryotes — 6 Jul 2014 @ 5:10 PM

  55. A new denialist “factoid”:

    “Global warming computer models confounded as Antarctic sea ice hits new record high with 2.1 million square miles more than is usual for time of year: UN computer models say Antarctic ice should be in decline, not increasing”

    See: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2681829/Global-warming-latest-Amount-Antarctic-sea-ice-hits-new-record-high.html

    Can anyone here explain this as not being proof against global warming?

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 6 Jul 2014 @ 8:35 PM

  56. Chris #53.
    ‘..40 million killed…’

    A 70% reduction in available energy on a planet where commercial food production is supported by the cheap energy of a bygone era would suggest a reduction in available food calories sufficient to see off somewhat more than a mere 40 million souls, methinks.

    Since every scheme I have seen for producing more food from less energy is vapourware at best and criminally energy negative at worst, protecting humanity from the risk of an unlivable climate necessarily entails ‘protecting’ the climate from a goodly percentage of humanity.

    As Suzan Krumdiek says:
    “Demand Must Decline”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZ5Lb_ySIEg

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 6 Jul 2014 @ 11:58 PM

  57. 50 Chris Dudley: Greenpeace getting its members into jail in Russia and other countries by trespassing, vandalism, telling people how to run their lives, etcetera: Not clever. Gives everybody good reason to be against “environmentalists” and to not hear the science of Global Warming. Greenpeace may as well be a denialist organization. Greenpeace makes enemies everywhere it goes. The problem is that Greenpeace makes enemies for us, too.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 6 Jul 2014 @ 11:59 PM

  58. The President points out the stupidity of not trusting science.

    http://climatestate.com/2014/07/03/obamas-response-to-climate-change-is-a-hoax/

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 7 Jul 2014 @ 2:18 AM

  59. 36: DIOGENES. Saw the video..Yikes! “t is no use saying: We are doing our best’. You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” Winston Churchill.
    We are yet so very very far from saying ‘we are doing our best, let alone doing what is necessary.
    0.8C is now regarded as the tipping point for the arctic. The arctic runaway will cause all other tipping points to cascade in sequence…or in geological time..simultaneously. We have got to advertise to all and sundry that the 2.0C was a lie and that we have indeed busted our budget already. Very sobering video DIOGENES.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 7 Jul 2014 @ 6:39 AM

  60. New mechanism uncovered, causing rapid West Antarctic Glacier melting

    Comment by prokaryotes — 7 Jul 2014 @ 10:04 AM

  61. Nigel (#56),

    Read that again. Steep tariffs would sharply curtail offshore manufacturing. The point is that China could weather that using its foreign currency reserves without the level of self-inflicted damage done in a similarly large transformation there.

    To get large cuts we must cut where the emissions are largest. Our leverage with the largest emitter is through trade and tariffs on that trade.

    Also, you are making a fundamental error. You are assuming all energy use produces emissions, but that is very much not the case.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 7 Jul 2014 @ 11:14 AM

  62. Edward (#57),

    I understand why you feel yourself to be an enemy of Greenpeace. But they do accomplish quite a lot in a number of areas. Keep attacking them if you like. They’ve already suffered murder at the hands of your allies and survived as a force acting in the public interest.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 7 Jul 2014 @ 11:20 AM

  63. 55 Lynn Vincentnathan:
    1. Don’t read the DailyMail.
    2. More ice is sliding off the continent and into the ocean.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 7 Jul 2014 @ 11:59 AM

  64. Lynn, guessing — the increase in fresh meltwater from under the icecap is new since the most recent IPCC report. Fresh water floats on salt water and freezes at zero rather than at minus something temperatures Celsius. Cause of more floating ice? Just guessing. Someone looking at the ice will be able to tell if it’s produced by more snow falling or by more freezing from below.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jul 2014 @ 12:15 PM

  65. Meltwater intensive glacial retreat in polar environments and investigation of associated sediments: example from Pine Island Bay, West Antarctica
    Quaternary Science Reviews
    Volume 85, 1 February 2014, Pages 99–118

    “… episodes of meltwater-intensive sedimentation in Pine Island Bay occurred at least three times in the Holocene. The most recent episode coincides with rapid retreat of the grounding line in historical time and has an order of magnitude greater flux relative to the entire unit. We note that the final phase of ice stream retreat in Marguerite Bay was marked by a similar sedimentary event and suggest that the modern Thwaites Glacier is poised for an analogous meltwater-intensive phase of retreat.”

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277379113004642
    DOI: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2013.11.021

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jul 2014 @ 12:20 PM

  66. Can anyone here explain this as not being proof against global warming?

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 6 Jul 2014 @ 8:35 PM

    For starters, it’s The Daily Mail reporting it. Find a credible news source.

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 7 Jul 2014 @ 12:58 PM

  67. http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2014/07/about-increasing-winter-antarctic-sea.html

    Here’s one explanation of what’s happening.

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 7 Jul 2014 @ 1:20 PM

  68. http://www.vims.edu/newsandevents/topstories/saba_wap.php

    Press release with links.

    A long-term study of the links between climate and marine life along the rapidly warming West Antarctic Peninsula reveals how changes in physical factors such as wind speed and sea-ice cover send ripples up the food chain, with impacts on everything from single-celled algae to penguins.

    The study, published in today’s issue of Nature Communications

    … the current study provides one of the few instances where marine researchers have a dataset of sufficient length and detail to reveal how climate signals can reverberate through a polar food web.

    “That’s the importance of long-term ecosystem monitoring,” says Steinberg. “It provides the data needed to separate a signal from the noise, and to determine how plants and animals interact with both their physical environment and each other. That knowledge is critical as climate warming continues to impact this polar ocean ecosystem.” The West Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming regions on Earth, with annual winter temperatures increasing by 11°F during the last 50 years.

    “Projections from global climate models under ‘business-as-usual’ emission scenarios up to the year 2100 suggest a further increase in temperature and in the occurrence of positive-SAM conditions,” says Saba. “If even one positive SAM episode lasted longer than the krill lifespan—4 or 6 years with decreased phytoplankton abundance and krill recruitment—it could be catastrophic to the krill population.”

    In addition to Adélie penguins, krill are the main food source for Antarctic fur seals, macaroni and gentoo penguins, and albatross. They also feed baleen whales such as humpbacks.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 7 Jul 2014 @ 2:26 PM

  69. Lynn Vincentnathan @55.

    The simple answer is that the Daily Rail report you link to is written by David Rose who, as a journalist who writes analyses of AGW, is about as untrustworthy as they get get. Ditto, his pet climatologist, Judy Curry who decides that all other scientists (who identify the causes of the increase in Antarctic Sea Ice Area within a warming climate) are all wrong while she is correct.

    More seriously, it is known that the Antarctic Sea Ice has been increasing in area since 1979 when continuous satellite records begin. Yet earlier satellite imagery shows Antarctic Sea Ice probably had been in decline through the 1970s and possibly before. Zwally et at (1983), for instance, examines satellite images 1973-1976 from Nimbus 5 which suggests a marked Antarctic SIA decline. And if you look at the data plotted in Fig 5-13, for this time of year, it is easily a match for the highest values recorded since 1979, including the value from this year that the denialists consider so important.

    This whopping increase in Antarctic Sea Ice Area since 1979 has only been about a third the size of the Arctic decline, although with greater interannual variation.
    For the record, for the week in question here, centred on July 1, although the analysis is pretty silly given the difference in geography between North & South poles, for the week in question the ratio between Antarctic and Arctic is a little closer. Regressions yield the following linear trends from the data 1979-2014. Antarctic +0.28M sq km (+/-0.17) per decade, Arctic -0.69M sq km (+/-0.13) per decade, or two-fifths the trend rather than a third.

    The full data also shows an increase in both trends from 2007 as well as increases in interannual variability. The post-2007 annual ratio remains about three-to-one. Another measure worthy of mention is the Sea Ice Volumes. The Arctic volume decline is scary, the Antarctic increase which is less well measured appears pretty trivial.

    David Rose is simply making fools of his paper’s readership by spinning the silly myths of climate denial.

    Comment by MARodger — 7 Jul 2014 @ 3:09 PM

  70. #55 Lynn Vincentnathan
    The Daily Mail is a tabloid and things they publish should be taken with a very large grain of salt. The Guardian put up a reply to the Daily Mail here:
    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2014/jul/07/antarctic-sea-ice-latest-global-warming-distraction

    From the Guardian article:
    “The bottom line is that while the reason behind the increase in Antarctic sea ice extent is an open and interesting scientific question, it doesn’t detract from our understanding of the climate as a whole. The planet is still warming rapidly, including the Antarctic, and Antarctica is also losing immense amounts of land-based ice that are contributing to global sea level rise.”

    #57 Edward Greisch
    Greenpeace does have a confrontational style, which I am not opposed to, but at least one incident they broke into a GMO research facility in Australia and vandalized it. That was incredibly stupid, and I personally don’t support Greenpeace any more.

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 7 Jul 2014 @ 3:59 PM

  71. Joseph Sullivan:

    “Greenpeace does have a confrontational style, which I am not opposed to, but at least one incident they broke into a GMO research facility in Australia and vandalized it. That was incredibly stupid, and I personally don’t support Greenpeace any more. – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/07/unforced-variations-july-2014/comment-page-2/#comment-570523

    Greenpeace is not a monolith, so was the incident you’re speaking of done by Greenpeace Australia, or Greenpeace International? The national organizations are to some degree autonomous.

    Comment by dhogaza — 7 Jul 2014 @ 6:53 PM

  72. Like Greenpeace or hate Greenpeace, my point that they were active on the climate issue early remains. That gives them a leverage that later entrants can’t have. Like Al Gore or hate Al Gore, he has left his mark on the issue as well.

    Deciding how to conduct one’s philanthropy is a personal matter. But Colin has asked an interesting question that can’t really be answered without consideration of these, or, as Joseph points out, NRDC.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 7 Jul 2014 @ 8:01 PM

  73. Ed Greisch, just for you, a tidbit on one makes change happen. Hint: Not your way.

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ubeLAJjZ4wQ

    Whether or not you like their work, and one can quibble with anything destructive (have they atually done anything destructive?), they do some things right.

    1. Must last as long as it takes.
    2. Must be disruptive.
    3. Must be non-violent.
    4. Must be massive.

    The only one they miss on is #4.

    If you think change of the magnitude of change needed has ever or will ever bed done via participating politically, you are very, very badly mistaken.

    Scold all you want, but Greenpeace has created change.

    For the record, while I agree with Naomi, I think this time in history is unique and requires a unique response. Protest will have only limited usefulness. In earlier times I’d uave been all-in with Parks, Naomi, Ghandi, et al.

    Here are more important things to be doing his time around.

    Comment by Killian — 7 Jul 2014 @ 10:29 PM

  74. 36 Diogenes said what an important video!

    Agreed! Back in 2007, maybe 8, I think, this scientist/geologist or somethig, Rutledge, maybe Jeff?, had a string of posts at The Oil Drum saying there was not nearly enough coal in the ground to worry about climate change. Energy was the problem, forget climate!

    You can probably predict my response. In fact, I’m sure I brought it up here as “ccpo.” I pointed out, correctly, obviously, there was already to much carbon in the atmosphere as evidenced by changes already occurring with no obvious hysteresis to stop them except the level of climate sensitivity, both the baseline and Earth System.

    I further argued his model runs (with World 3, maybe?) used too low a climate sensitivity, again based on changes already being seen at a supposedly low threshold. He used 3C. I argued it was much more likely to be at or above 4.5C and he should run multiple scenarios using 3, 4.5 and 6.

    He refused. The battle was furious. I was regarded as off in the weeds and ranting wildly.

    Oops.

    So, yeah, we have no carbon budget, ipso facto. We’ve known this quite a while.

    Seems Hansen keeps gettig it right: Recall their analysis about ice sheets melting as low as 400 ppm? And melt rates doubling every 10, or even 5, years? Check this, added to the recent Antarctic melt studies:

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2014GL060613/suppinfo

    Systems, risk analysis. This stuff is easy if you just let the info speak. No need to try to interpret, just be a pattern recognizer.

    Cheers, all.

    Comment by Killian — 7 Jul 2014 @ 10:55 PM

  75. (Admin – if this is duplicate or irrelevant please ignore it)

    Chris (#61)

    This is kinda important isn’t it, because the link between emissions and production (and hence viable economies and sustenance of human life) is a key determinant of how effective avoidance of worse-than-needed climate effects will be achieved.

    Steep tariffs will bring the manufacture of the same rubbish home to the tariffer. It won’t cut emissions on the build of said rubbish, because the demand for said rubbish is still there and it will thus be satisfied by local manufacture rather than overseas ones. All tariffs do, then, is bring the jobs and accompanying climate-trashing emissions home.

    At that point:- Same volume of product; same emissions; no net change. What’s the point?

    The tariffs then create unemployment in China (in your example), the effect of which, you suggest, can be temporarily alleviated by China using its currency reserves. China won’t do that, of course – it will have surplus production capacity – the price of their manufactured product will fall, demand from somewhere else will take that product and emissions will thus increase because your country is producing its own junk, and China has found another market for the stuff you have put the tariffs on. Duh.

    To get the large climate-saving cuts we do indeed have to ‘cut where emissions are highest’. But that means Cease and Desist the PRODUCTION and the CONSUMPTION of the products. In other words you have to REDUCE THE DEMAND. Is your good President going on TV to tell y’all that there are to be no widgetts under the Christmas Tree this year?

    and

    ‘You are assuming all energy use produces emissions, but that is very much not the case.’. Very true. Oxen and humans are carbon neutral farm machinery. But western-style commercial agriculture requires tractors and trucks and infrastructure that does require and use fossil fuels (our dairy factories like locating close to coal mines – I wonder why?), and thus it is inextricably intertwined with any effort to reduce emissions.

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 7 Jul 2014 @ 11:54 PM

  76. Russell: Your #5 is an exact repeat of your #483, Unforced variations: June 2014.

    Stuttering?

    Comment by patrick — 8 Jul 2014 @ 1:22 AM

  77. Lawrence Coleman #59,

    “We have got to advertise to all and sundry that the 2.0C was a lie and that we have indeed busted our budget already.”

    I suspect that, among the movers and shakers, it is well known. Here’s my unvarnished ‘take’ on the situation.

    As Spratt and others have pointed out, ‘we’ have known that 1 C was the appropriate temperature ceiling target for decades, and ‘we’ have known that the 2 C target was contrived for political purposes. Certainly, the leading climate scientists knew this, and I suspect most climate scientists today know this. The politicians, certainly at the Federal level, communicate with the leading climate scientists, and I have no doubt they know what is going on. What they say in their public pronouncements is another story. Finally, the defense and intelligence analysts who advise the politicians of all stripes know what is going on.

    Now, here’s where the situation gets sticky. Suppose you’re the President of the USA, and you realize that going much above 1 C could possibly result in the end of our civilization, and possibly our species. You also realize there is no way the electorate will take the severe actions required to achieve temperature ceilings anywhere near 1 C. What do you do?

    One option is to go on national TV, and lay out the details as Spratt does. That would be political suicide, especially in light of the recent Gallup Poll that said about half the electorate has little/no concern about climate change. The other option is to go about ‘business as usual’, and make believe the problem can be addressed by modest actions: some cuts in power plant emissions, modest improvements in gas mileage, modest conversion to low carbon technologies. Support ‘all of the above’ so that some final Windfalls are possible before the curtain comes crashing down. I believe the latter is where we’re at, and the politicians, scientists, and others I have mentioned above are playing along. In fact, the debate has been framed such that any deviations from the above modest improvement scenario is viewed as radical. There is a ripple-down effect from above such that this scenario is even played out on the climate blogs, as we see by the comments.

    Spratt is delivering a message that no one wants to hear!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 8 Jul 2014 @ 4:34 AM

  78. “…we find that species are going extinct a thousand times faster than they should be.” –Stuart Pimm.

    In full: “And when we make those two comparisons [today's rates of extinction compared to the fossil record and what we know from DNA] we find that species are going extinct a thousand times faster than they should be.” (Reuters 18 June 2014):

    http://www.reuters.com/video/2014/06/18/reuters-tv-study-says-earth-on-brink-of-mass-extinc?videoId=316465389

    It’s refreshing to find that when one really knows what one is talking about, plain words are no bother–even words associated with normative speech.
    Yes of course the study says, “about 1000 times the likely background rate of extinction.”

    Abstract:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/344/6187/1246752.abstract

    Visualizations:

    http://www.biodiversitymapping.org/visualizations.htm

    Press:

    http://www.haaretz.com/life/nature-environment/1.599802

    Comment by patrick — 8 Jul 2014 @ 4:43 AM

  79. Ray (#49),

    I think there are some complexities there. Is it a hurricane if it has become extratropical? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extratropical_cyclone#Extratropical_transition

    On the other hand, Sandy got lifted to the North at strength by late season warm water and a subsequent transition is not all that important in identifying warming’s role in the disaster.

    Maybe another climate signal would be a northern shift in the tropical/extratropical transition latitude?

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 8 Jul 2014 @ 4:56 AM

  80. NW: Since every scheme I have seen for producing more food from less energy is vapourware at best and criminally energy negative at worst, protecting humanity from the risk of an unlivable climate necessarily entails ‘protecting’ the climate from a goodly percentage of humanity… As Suzan Krumdiek says:
    “Demand Must Decline”

    BPL: This is the old “stop nuclear and we freeze in the dark jobless” argument, except now it’s “stop fossil fuels and we all starve?”

    It’s letting global warming go on that will starve people, Nigel. Global warming moves the rain. Continental interiors dry out, coastlines get soaked. Neither condition is good for crops. My own research indicates that unchecked global warming will eventually cause human agriculture to collapse altogether.

    Notice I didn’t give a date. [edit]

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 8 Jul 2014 @ 5:41 AM

  81. From prok’s must-read link at #60: “dramatic acceleration in winds has invigorated the circulation of the Pacific Ocean, causing more heat to be taken out of the atmosphere and transferred into the subsurface ocean, while bringing cooler waters to the surface.”

    So how much is this likely to accelerate the already accelerated sea-level-rise projections?

    In general, given the large number of important studies on ice sheet behavior over the last few months, it would be nice to have a main post summarizing and evaluating their findings, and discussing consequences of what they mean for the range of possible slr figures for the coming decades and beyond.

    These are obviously the types of scientific issues that have a huge potential impact on cities, countries, infrastructure, planning, etc, and decision makers need help interpreting the latest science accurately, something this site excels in, at its best.

    Comment by wili — 8 Jul 2014 @ 7:30 AM

  82. @55 Lynn Vincentnathan

    NSIDC says — “Climate model projections of Antarctic sea ice extent are in reasonable agreement with the observations to date. The dominant change in the climate pattern of Antarctica has been a gradual increase in the westerly circumpolar winds. Models suggest that both the loss of ozone (the ozone hole that occurs in September/October every year) and increases in greenhouse gases lead to an increase in this climate pattern.”

    David Rose is not well known for his “accurate” reporting, be it about climate science, or WMDs in Iraq.

    Comment by J Bowers — 8 Jul 2014 @ 7:31 AM

  83. Why is Antarctic sea ice expanding?

    Comment by prokaryotes — 8 Jul 2014 @ 11:54 AM

  84. Something to come back to when we can again discuss solutions? http://www.climatecentral.org/news/co2-emissions-2-degrees-target-17744

    Comment by wili — 8 Jul 2014 @ 12:25 PM

  85. #69 MARodger: How does your comment square with the 1979-2014 aggregate sea ice extent?

    Comment by bernie1815 — 8 Jul 2014 @ 12:27 PM

  86. I am very glad to see that OCO2 is up, will presumably be producing interesting data soon.

    How about Glory? Any thoughts about prioritizing a replacement?
    Glory was supposed to answer questions about aerosols.
    http://glory.giss.nasa.gov/APS-2_Report.pdf

    [Response: We are working on it. But it is slow going. - gavin]

    Comment by AIC — 8 Jul 2014 @ 1:30 PM

  87. Why is there so much Antarctic sea ice? (the original, in context, from NSIDC)

    how does warmer air and water create more sea ice? Overall warming alters the ocean heat flux, or the heat exchange between ocean, sea ice, and atmosphere, which typically regulates sea ice production.
    As deep ocean temperatures around Antarctic rise, they increase ice shelf melt, according to a study led by Richard Bintanja. This meltwater is creating a cool layer near the surface of the ocean that promotes sea ice production. In addition, the meltwater is fresh, or much less salty and dense than surrounding saline ocean layers. So fresher meltwater floats upward, mixing with the cold surface layer, lowering its density. As this fresh layer expands, it forms a stable puddle on top of the ocean that makes it easier to produce and retain sea ice.

    This growing fresh puddle changes the ocean heat flux. Zhang also studied this change, and his models showed that warming would increase sea ice, up to a point.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Jul 2014 @ 2:01 PM

  88. I was just wondering, in a worst case McPherson kind of scenario: would the massive and sudden die off of billions of humans and a multitude of that of land- and sea dwelling animals in itself result in a positive feedback?

    Comment by Gorgon Zola — 8 Jul 2014 @ 2:20 PM

  89. The early-month succession of “CO2 lifetime” comments (#’s 1, 2, 3, 11, 12, 19, 30 & 35) meander between two contrasting vantages, each stated with apparent heft, but leaving the matter unsettled. On the one hand, we have both Christopher Hogan’s assertion (@ # 3) that “if we omitted nothing . . . an average of 5 gigatons would still be sequestered;” as seconded by MARoger (@ # 35) who posits that this “5 GtC annual lost from the atmosphere . . . would decrease year-on-year … for a thousand years.” Steve Fish on the other (@ # 30), is emphatic that “any suggestion that the amount of CO2 taken up by the ocean is some fixed amount is wrong”, because “when fossil CO2 increases atmospheric concentrations it comes into equilibrium with that in the oceans mostly over about a year.” Although MARoger mentioned Dr. Archer as a standard reference, there is a conceptualization element offered by Dr Archer that I find most illuminating regarding this important dissonance: that of compression.

    If one were to view the topic through a metaphorical three-lens high school microscope, with the first one looking at rates in a monthly frame, the second looking at decadal rates and the final looking at geologic time, Steve’s guiding comment that, the “short term is not relevant” can let us dismiss the first lens. Similarly, Christopher Hogan’s comment, while perhaps valid within the third len’s frame, leads to the inference that flows from the atmosphere to the ocean surface are steady, or those with which we are familiar. More dangerously, it leads to the notion that such familiar flows would be unaffected by radical reduction in human combustion.

    Dr. Archer has suggested that we look upon the ocean as a spring under compression. When we combust, we push against the spring, as we have done for centuries. This aspect of the atmospheric lifetime can be highlighted by considering, not only an instantaneous cessation of combustion, but also a small anthro-sequestration program. Here the sign of our contribution to carbon flows reverses, and within a couple of years (i.e., viewed through lens two), it is my understanding, this sign of the flow from the Earth’s atmosphere follows, by reversing. That is, the ocean begins out-gassing, and opens to our awareness, that combustion exhaust from prior centuries, which heretofore seemed to have been “sequestered,” is in fact still a meaningful component of the problem, now merely lurking within the ocean surface waters. Or, when viewed perhaps from some future decade, should all out war be waged against carbon, this vantage roughly doubles the strength of the foe.

    To resolve the issue, I would invite respondents to consider an abrupt cessation of emission + an instantaneous 1% anthro-sequestration. Thus posed, does Mona Loa retrace its past half century history, only now in decline? Or, after a couple-three years, does it flat-line -— as I interpret Dr. Archer to instruct, and as I read Steve Fish to also claim?

    Comment by Dave Peters — 8 Jul 2014 @ 2:42 PM

  90. Wili #84,

    Articles like your reference (http://www.climatecentral.org/news/co2-emissions-2-degrees-target-17744) infuriate me because of their intrinsic hypocrisy. The article’s author focuses on the statements of “Jeff Sachs, director of Columbia University’s Earth Institute and one of the leaders of the new report.” Sachs makes numerous statements of the form “The basic conclusion of this report is the 2°C limit is achievable, but just barely. We’ve gone on so far with rising CO2 emissions, and greenhouse gas emissions more generally, that we’re just about out of time to meet this crucial limit,”. His main point is that it is possible to stay within 2 C.

    Here’s my problem. In December 2013, Hansen and more than a dozen co-authors published an article in Plos One that concluded the 2 C target was dangerous, and that a target of ~1 C was required. One of the co-authors of that article was none other than: Jeffrey Sachs! Since he did not offer a minority dissent in the Plos One paper, and since he was willing to sign his name to the paper, one would assume he agreed with the main conclusion of the paper. That’s what co-authors usually do. Yet, here he is, half a year later, signing on to another report that emphasizes we can achieve the 2 C target.

    Will the real Jeffrey Sachs please stand up? If you believed in a 1 C target in December, and believed, as the article concluded, that 2 C was DANGEROUS, why do you now sign on to a report that focuses solely on achieving 2 C? And, you are not alone. Where’s the consistency among the spokesmen for climate advocacy? Anderson and McKibben both state that 2 C is DANGEROUS/EXTREMELY DANGEROUS, yet, in the next breath, outline strategies that, at best, will take us to 2 C. Is it a wonder that the public at large has serious questions about the climate advocates? And, Sachs, Anderson, McKibben promulgate the myth that finite carbon budgets are consistent even with the achievement of 2 C. As Raupach has shown, for 90% chance of staying within 2 C, there is NO CARBON BUDGET REMAINING! In other words, the climate ‘advocates’ above could just as easily have stated their approaches as achieving targets of 2.5 C with small chance, or even 3 C with very small chance.

    Sachs’ participation in the recent report is a disgrace, and does not help ‘our’ cause one whit. I need a stiff drink!!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 8 Jul 2014 @ 3:04 PM

  91. For Dave Peters:

    You asked what would happen — have you read this paper?
    http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v4/n1/full/nclimate2060.html

    Continued global warming after CO2 emissions stoppage

    Nature Climate Change 4, 40–44 (2014)
    doi:10.1038/nclimate2060

    This will find prior discussion
    https://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Arealclimate.org+“Continued+global+warming+after”
    – or search “climate change commitment”
    Short answer: no, until the radiative imbalance works out, warming continues.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 8 Jul 2014 @ 4:16 PM

  92. Dave Peters @88 — Still declines but very slowly.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 8 Jul 2014 @ 4:46 PM

  93. Nigel (#75),

    There are some important consideration here that detract from your argument. First, the proposal is for Annex I countries to impose tariffs on non-Annex I countries. You suggest that that just leads to on-shoring of manufacturing and increased emissions in the new local. But, you forget that the Annex I countries are pledged to cutting emissions. So, the on-shoring my well happen, but it will occur in the Pacific Northwest or upstate NY where hydropower can handle the power consumption. Emissions go down not up in that transaction.

    You urge that China will find other markets. Possibly. But China won’t find large markets because those will be defended by tariffs. So, emissions stay down.

    Finally, you’ve made a typical TOD error. You think that a lot of fossil fuel is consumed in agriculture. But, it is not that large of a sector. No, when energy is not coming from fossil fuels, in is not oxen we are talking about, it is high tech sources, the hydropower which could handle on-shored manufacturing, for example.

    An immediate cut sufficient to stabilize the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at 400 ppm is feasible if the cut is taken from the non-Annex I country emissions in this manner. The existence of large currency reserves means that it might be done without causing starvation, though clean development would have to accelerate rapidly to get income back to the non-Annex I countries before the money ran out. China’s solar manufacturing capacity in 2012 was 50 GW/year, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/05/business/global/glut-of-solar-panels-is-a-new-test-for-china.html and wind is about 38 GW/year, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-17/china-s-wind-turbine-makers-face-consolidation-as-glut-lingers.html so transition might be rapid.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 8 Jul 2014 @ 5:47 PM

  94. Dave (#89),

    It depends on what you want to do. If you want a safe climate, then a carbon dioxide concentration of 350 ppm may do the job and there is no need for “negative” emissions if cuts are made sharply enough starting now. The oceans will equilibrate about there and hold the burden you are concerned about. If, like me, you consider “pack out your trash” to be the way to go, then yes, we have to clean up that burden to get to 280 ppm, though some of it is now deep owing to circulation and we get a very very long time to clean up that stuff.

    I think it is worth saying the Equation 1 of Kharecha, P.A., and Hansen, J.E. 2008 Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 22, GB3012 is not a bad way to characterize uptake of carbon dioxide. That is what is used in the code I posted. If I recall, some use was made of the way carbon-14 from nuclear tests was observed to be taken up which is a clever way to learn about the process.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:08 PM

  95. raypierre is interviewed on methane in this article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/08/science/climate-methane-global-warming.html

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:15 PM

  96. Heartland’s Las Vegas extravaganza has to be seen to be disbelieved

    Comment by Russell — 8 Jul 2014 @ 6:53 PM

  97. Re- Comment by Dave Peters — 8 Jul 2014 @ 2:42 PM, ~# 89

    Dave, for understanding how CO2 dissolves in water, check out Henry’s law. From Wikipedia- “At a constant temperature, the amount of a given gas that dissolves in a given type and volume of liquid is directly proportional to the partial pressure of that gas in equilibrium with that liquid.” There is a Henry’s law constant for solubility of CO2 in water. When CO2 is added to the atmosphere its partial pressure increases and the CO2 dissolves into the ocean toward a new equilibrium in which the excess is divided between the atmosphere and the ocean. If CO2 is removed from the atmosphere, equilibrium is achieved by outgassing from the ocean.

    In reality this situation is more complicated. I mentioned the fact that the amount of water available for dissolving CO2 is restricted because the ocean mixes slowly. Another big factor is water temperature. Cold water accepts more CO2 than warm water and this changes the equation as the ocean warms up. An example- You probably have heard of the denialist claim that CO2 can’t be the cause of warming because at the end of an ice age the temperature rises in advance of CO2 concentration increase in the atmosphere. This lagged increase is due to outgassing of CO2 from the warming ocean and the warming is due to the Milankovitch cycle, and positive feedbacks, of which CO2 is one.

    In a lot of ways fossil CO2 pollution is the unwanted gift that keeps giving. Steve

    Comment by Steve Fish — 8 Jul 2014 @ 7:02 PM

  98. 80. Barton Paul Levenson: Notice taken seriously. Deleting dates.

    86. Gavin: Would help on Glory satellite. Keep working.

    87. Hank Roberts: I think you are right.

    89. Dave Peters: That is a very complicated mathematics problem. There are lots of equations to solve. David Archer could give a course on it that few people could pass. Nothing good ever happens quickly. Only bad things happen quickly. Plan on one hundred thousand to a million years for Earth to put the climate back where it was. If we stop making CO2 and other greenhouse gasses, things will stop getting worse sometime in the future, if we haven’t tripped too many tipping points. If we don’t stop making greenhouse gasses, we will surely go extinct.

    73 Killian: I have read at least one book by Naomi Wolf. Greenpeace is on the wrong side. In effect, Greenpeace is working for the fossil fuel industry. Greenpeace is in fantasyland. If we did it Greenpeace’s way, we would freeze in the dark. To be taken seriously, an organization has to be able to prove mathematically that their plan will work. The electric company, and therefore the politicians, know that Greenpeace’s energy plan is nonsense.
    73 Killian: Do the math. That’s all.
    Yes, Greenpeace has actually done something destructive. More than once and in more than one place. If you do the math correctly, it will dawn on you.

    73 Killian: In order for “ecology clubs” to be effective, they must all get in touch with reality. That means that non-scientists must not outvote the scientists. Some are changing. Too many are still giving us scientists a bad name by living in fantasyland. No amount of mass protest can change Nature. Nature is the ruler, not us. We are powerful, but not omnipotent. Scientists translate Nature’s laws. Scientists do not make stuff up.

    “Nature isn’t just the final authority on truth, Nature is the Only authority. There are zero human authorities. Scientists do not vote on what is the truth. There is only one vote and Nature owns it. We find out what Nature’s vote is by doing Scientific [public and replicable] experiments. Scientific [public and replicable] experiments are the only source of truth. [To be public, it has to be visible to other people in the room. What goes on inside one person's head isn't public unless it can be seen on an X-ray or with another instrument.]”
    Greenpeace and many other “ecology clubs” are doing wrong.

    I am on page 170 of “Overshoot” by William Catton, but I have already looked at the graphs in the back of the book. We are in deep trouble. BPL is right. There is hell to pay already, meaning that the death toll will be in the billions merely from aquifers running dry, not counting GW. Population cycles look a lot like sine squared curves, hopefully not getting all the way to zero. The “Age of Exuberance” is over. We have doubled our population 4 times since we invented the steam engine. 4 squared is 16. Divide our present population by 16: 7 billion/16= .4375 billion = 437.5 million. I don’t believe that many will survive. My best guess is seventy thousand or less.
    “Overshoot” continued: We are living on “imaginary acreage.” We are living as if we had several Earths. We can do that temporarily. Then the flood; of death. I recommend this book to everybody.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 8 Jul 2014 @ 10:52 PM

  99. # 88 “I was just wondering, in a worst case McPherson kind of scenario: would the massive and sudden die off of billions of humans and a multitude of that of land- and sea dwelling animals in itself result in a positive feedback”?

    Silly question. If the species who brought this calamity about were to lose billions, that would be a very very positive feedback. Very positive indeed.

    Comment by doug — 8 Jul 2014 @ 11:25 PM

  100. #84 Wili “Something to come back to when we can again discuss solutions? http://www.climatecentral.org/news/co2-emissions-2-degrees-target-17744

    Comment by wili — 8 Jul 2014 @ 12:25 PM

    I see what you did there Wili. Wink Wink.

    Comment by doug — 8 Jul 2014 @ 11:29 PM

  101. What really annoys scientists about the state of the climate change debate? (3 July at SkS)

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/what-annoys-climate-scientists.html

    Includes Michael Mann and Stefan Rahmstorf.

    Comment by patrick — 9 Jul 2014 @ 2:50 AM

  102. bernie1815 @85.

    A point of detail.
    You ask how my comment @69 “squares with the 1979-2014 aggregate sea ice extent” but then link to graph at Cryosphere Today of Global Sea Ice Area. Please note that Sea Ice Extent and Sea Ice Area describe significantly different things

    I assume you are asking why the Global SIA anomaly can be so high (recently +1 million sq km) if the Arctic is in such a big decline relative to an alleged modest Antarctic SIA rise. Do bear in mind what you are pointing at with this Global Anomaly graph. It is the product of two sets of data, one with a downward trend, one with an upward trend, and both very waggly. So don’t expect to gain much learning by minutely analysing the global data. And this is why I am not at all clear what direction your question is coming from.

    Perhaps it would be useful is to point you at the two sets of data Arctic & Antractic. Do you have any reason to see more than wobbles on trends in one or both of theser graphs?

    Or perhaps here is a thought or two.
    Given the Antarctic is so incredibly cold, why is there so little sea ice down there? Salty sea water freezes at -2ºC yet the air temperature around Antarctica is well below that level, even in the southern summer. (For instance, see this Wikipedia graphic.) It is the warm seas that have kept the amounts of Antarctic sea ice low in the past. Now, with more cold fresh melt waters from the melting glaciers & stronger (cold) winds, the cooling factors have become a bigger influence in recent decades, bigger than the recent warming of the sea waters around Antarctica.
    And if the available data prior to 1979 is used to reconstruct Sea Ice levels, data from ship’s logs, from earlier satellites, you get HADISST which plotted out is graphed here. In that context, it is difficult to see that the recent increase in Antarctic Sea Ice has much significance at all.
    So the large excusion of Antarctic Sea Ice Area anomaly since 2011 is not entirely a surprise given the delecate balance between freeze and melt. Then add in a less melty period in the Arcitc and, viola, the global +1 million sq km anomaly becomes perfectly understandable.
    Interestingly, this year the measure of Sea Ice Area in the Arctic in 2014 is unusually close to the measure of Sea Ice Extent (thus Arctic SIA is unusually high). The reason for this closeness likely will be due to less melt ponds but why this is so is not yet resolved. A more smashed-up Arctic ice pack allowing melt waters to dran away? Lower temperatures in the high Arctic depressing the melt?

    Comment by MARodger — 9 Jul 2014 @ 5:39 AM

  103. Dave Peters @89.
    I’m not clear with your “…+ an instantaneous 1% anthro-sequestration.” Your reference to Mauna Loa and “retracing its past half century history” appear to suggest a scenario where future emissions are replaced by sequestartion from the atmosphere equal to past year’s emissions. Thus S2015=E2014, S2016=E2013 etc.
    In such a scenario, in 50 years time we would have sequestered something like 370GtC of our 550GtC total emissions. Only 250GtC of our emissions are presently in the atmosphere. So the question is – How much carbon will return to the atmosphere from the oceans & biosphere when we start reducing the atmospheric levels? The Biosphere will likely be quite cooperative but possibly half(?) the 170GtC in the oceans are now locked into the depths for 1,000 years or so. Thus with short-term delays in ocean & biosphere response and the locked-in deep ocean carbon, the CO2 measurements from Mauna Loa will drop quicker than they rose. And if we kept on beyond the 50 years we’d certainly be dropping significantly below pre-industrial levels.

    Comment by MARodger — 9 Jul 2014 @ 5:58 AM

  104. 77: DIOGENES. That is exactly the point I keep putting out there- to invariably hostile reaction from many at RC. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented action!. When Hitler invaded Poland, did Churchill call for a referendum or committee to discuss whether we should or should not do something about the Nazis. Of course not! he enacted wartime priministerial power to act decisively and immediately. Democracy is fine and overall a pretty harmless political ideology for the status quo, but when drastic situations arise that need immediate and urgent action is has virtually no mechanisms to achieve that required degree of immediacy. Don’t get me wrong I would normally favour democracy as the umbrella for my son to grow and flourish under but unfortunately he also has a blackening ominous sky hovering over his head which might kill him or more likely his progeny if we don’t act immediately. Sounds dramatic..nope! my sister was almost killed in the UK when her car washed off a bridge under a swollen creek during the great flooding event that the south of England experienced not that long ago which the experts are now linking to CC.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 9 Jul 2014 @ 6:28 AM

  105. 88: Gorgon Zola. The time frame would probably be too long. The extinction of the dinosaurs did not cause CO2 to suddenly go off the roof, in-fact at the end of the cretatious period it was actually falling. The reason for that is that the great extinction took several 10s of thousands of years.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 9 Jul 2014 @ 6:33 AM

  106. wili (#84),

    I’d guess that since this is a UN report, it would be on topic and might be worth its own Realclimate guest post. Asking Laurence Tubiana who will be a special representative for France at COP-21 might be a good choice.

    The report: “Pathways to Deep Decarbonization,” is headed up by Jeffrey Sachs aims for 1.6 tonne per capita emissions by 2050 http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/09/business/blueprints-for-taming-the-climate-crisis.html

    It looks in detail at 15 countries: Australia, Canada, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, United Kingdom and the US in the current report http://unsdsn.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/DDPP_interim_2014_report.pdf with plans for details for Brazil, Germany, and India coming on line in the next few weeks.

    In the case of the US, it appears to be reinventing the wheel and perhaps forgetting to inflate it since the ground has already been covered by Amory Lovins in his book “Reinventing Fire” which finds a path with greater prosperity. But the list including Australia, Canada, China, Indonesia, Mexico, South Africa and India adds some important heft to this effort.

    This is a 2 C limit effort. Since that turns out to be completely feasible, it is time to adopt a more compelling target for international diplomacy: deep decarbonization by 2040 with negative emissions by 2060.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 9 Jul 2014 @ 7:07 AM

  107. Aside for those operating sites that collect copies of posts from other sites, and then go and post links to their copies instead of to the originals:

    The message: Google will target and punish sites that produce dozens, hundreds, even thousands of articles to generate backlinks to their page. Google intends to obliterate insubstantial guest posts published purely to benefit SEO — and also penalize sites that accept such guest posting content.

    It may not pay off for you to keep copying other sites’ articles, then coming to RealClimate posting links to your copies of others’ work. They’re on to you. You know who you are. So do they.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Jul 2014 @ 10:50 AM

  108. The comment section on the El Nino thread seems to be closed, so I’ll just point this out here, for people interested in recent analysis of the situation: https://www.skepticalscience.com/El-Nino-in-2014-Still-on-the-way.html

    Comment by wili — 9 Jul 2014 @ 3:06 PM

  109. Most people probably know Easter Island and the theory by Jared Diamond about the environmental destruction there, however the opposite example is called Anuta… and shows that a sustainable live with nature is possible – not just an utopian dream.

    Environment and Civilisation, Anuta vs Easter Island

    Comment by prokaryotes — 9 Jul 2014 @ 4:18 PM

  110. Viscount Monckton’s Heartland Conference closing speech raises an interesting question.

    Comment by Russell — 9 Jul 2014 @ 5:26 PM

  111. 250 congratulations.

    May there be many hundreds of thousands more.

    Comment by Vendicar Decarian — 9 Jul 2014 @ 6:22 PM

  112. Cite is now available for this paper, which I mentioned and quoted from above on 3 Jul 2014

    Joe Roman, James A Estes, Lyne Morissette, Craig Smith, Daniel Costa, James McCarthy, JB Nation, Stephen Nicol, Andrew Pershing, and Victor Smetacek
    2014
    Whales as marine ecosystem engineers.
    Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment (e-View)
    http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/130220
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/130220

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 9 Jul 2014 @ 7:17 PM

  113. PBL #80
    “stop fossil fuels and we all starve?”
    and
    It’s letting global warming go on that will starve people

    Yikes Paul! I’m not suggesting we don’t cut emissions from fossil fuels and agriculture. The requirement to reduce emissions from all sources by 70% to give the climate some ability to balance out at a survivable temperature is our most critical mission.

    I was merely pointing out that a 70% reduction in fossil fuel use is not likely to be sustained with eight billion hungry mouths to be fed. That is an unwelcome but inevitable appreciation of the facts.

    We have, after all, contrived a most perfect storm: Discover and utilise a resource which leads to enormous growth in agricultural production of essential nutrients which results (unsurprisingly) in an explosion of the number of bugs in the jar. Utilisation of said resource causes the climate in the jar to warm (which is bad for the bugs) and thus/also the water level to rise (which destroys habitat for many of the bugs).

    Then affordable energy resource availability gets worse as the resource runs out, while at the same time more energy is needed by the bugs to cope with continued growth of bug population and with the changing climate in the jar (air con, increased demand on decreasing usable water etc) and to build ‘protection’ against rising sea levels (refer King Canute) or to rebuild essential habitat on higher ground while trying to sustain ‘Business as Usual’. All efforts to mitigate or avoid these adverse effects require more of the reducing energy supply (which is already under stress sustaining BaU), which increasingly diverts energy from nutrient production, which…

    The Death Spiral steepens. The jar is going to get very smelly indeed.

    Comment by Nigel Williams — 9 Jul 2014 @ 7:58 PM

  114. 73 Killian: “Overshoot” by William Catton continued: The Age of Exuberance was an age when democracy was possible.

    Read “The End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot” by Naomi Wolf:
    “If you look at history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective. It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy, but history shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to take the 10 steps.”

    Since “The Age of Exuberance” is over, democracy is over.

    “The Age of Exuberance” is a time when there is so much empty free land that anyone who is oppressed can simply walk away. It is no use trying to be a dictator when the West is wide open. The West is closed. The Bright Sky Country no longer exists, and hasn’t since 1880.

    What does this mean for RC? Our uphill battle is on a steep hill. The population biologist, Catton, I think says that we are due for a population crash without GW and without aquifers running dry. So we have 3 reasons for having a population crash. Add some more reasons, like everybody is mad at everybody because there is no open frontier. Wars are breaking out all over. They over there, or we, “must have stolen wealth.” Politicians don’t understand ecology. The 1% are the dictators and they are consolidating their power.

    Cargo Cults: Catton identifies a lot of hopeful ideas as cargo cults. Catton is wrong on one, because it is commercially available and small. Catton is correct on several. Many of what are put forward as mitigation are cargo cults because of the environmental impact of the ones that require large land areas.

    We can hope that RC will have better luck after the population crash and subsequent evolutionary pressure has created a truly sapient creature, a few million years in the future.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 9 Jul 2014 @ 11:18 PM

  115. Woops: The reason Catton calls things “Cargo cults” is because like the Melanesians, the people who advocate them do not understand them. The south sea islanders thought that cargo was created by magic or by the labor of the dead ancestors of Melanesians. That happens a lot in the US. Americans do a lot of magical thinking. You don’t have to understand a thing or where it came from to make money selling it. So the people who sell the stuff get rich and powerful. Then nobody listens to the scientists, who are not rich.

    Sound familiar?

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 10 Jul 2014 @ 1:33 AM

  116. Hank (#91),

    Dave was asking about concentration, not temperature, and his scenario was dissimilar to the one described in the paper you linked. Most likely the temperature would decline from the present if we returned to a concentration of 280 ppm.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 10 Jul 2014 @ 10:58 AM

  117. Lawrence Coleman @104.
    What is it Thucydides famously ‘the father of scientific history’ wrote? “My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the needs of an immediate public, but was done to last for ever. (In the past) the greatest conflict is with ignorant barbarians.” (HotPW-I:22-23)
    If you wish to use history to support your argument, do not mash the accepted historical facts with your ‘ignorant barbarism.’ (For my part, I will brush up on my Greek translation.)
    When Hitler invaded Poland, all Churchill did “decisively and immediately” was to suggest that a few younger faces were appointed to the war cabinet. He did this because he was not prime minister and so did not himself appoint cabinet members. He had no “priministerial power.”
    As for action, that consisted of bombing the begeezers out of Nazi Germany with hard-hitting leaflets and scowling at the Wehrmacht from the Maginot Line. It was only ‘Ruling the Waves’ which was put on a conventional shooting-war footing. Today, with the hindsight of history, this declaring a partial non-war may seems rather odd but the British Empire had to work with its allies who were reluctant war-mongers.
    One could say the situation is similar today with some countries very reluctant to act to cut carbon emissions. Yet unlike today, in 1939 the states of Europe had a good excuse to be reluctant – the painful experiences of the 1914-18 war.

    Comment by MARodger — 10 Jul 2014 @ 12:04 PM

  118. Hank in #91 points to a paper that finds ending emissions results in rising temperatures. http://www.princeton.edu/aos/news_and_events/froelicher_ncc13-1.pdf This was observed also by Matthews and Caldeira (2008) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GL032388/pdf However, it was seen in only one case in the latter paper, a case corresponding to achieving about 1000 ppm carbon dioxide. At lower concentration, the temperature fell or help steady rather than rising for a couple centuries.

    As it turns out, in Hank’s link, the test case was also a quadrupling of concentration. It may well be that ceasing emissions now would lead to cooling with their approach just as it appears to do in Matthews and Caldeira.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 10 Jul 2014 @ 12:24 PM

  119. Edward Greisch: Glad to hear you’re reading the classics. “Overshoot” is brilliant work and more relevant than ever. Catton is still around and has a newer (2009) book, “Bottleneck: Humanity’s Impending Impasse” which I intend to read after I get done with Thomas Piketty. Your comment about the 1% is heartening. My view is that the role of avarice in the climate change crisis is often overlooked. My favorite quote from Piketty so far: “The advantage of owning things is that one can continue to consume and accumulate without having to work, or at any rate continue to consume and accumulate more than one could produce on one’s own.” Sometimes it’s useful to state the obvious! In case you have any doubt about what that actually looks like, see here.

    Comment by chris korda — 10 Jul 2014 @ 12:29 PM

  120. #105 Lawrence Coleman

    But the premise is one of a sudden die off, hence my McPherson reference. I guess the question is: if we were all to spontaneously combust, if you will, along with most land- and sea dwelling animals, would our carbon be (eventually) released to the atmosphere and if it did, would that amount in any way be significant concerning the overall picture.

    I’m just curious about the figures and and the potential irony it carries, if any. How much carbon is ‘stored’ in animals and humans that are likely to die off were the Mcpherson proposition* to come true.

    *A rapid 10 to 20 year major extinction event.

    #99 Doug

    If the question is silly, surely you have the non-silly answer?

    Comment by Gorgon Zola — 10 Jul 2014 @ 12:33 PM

  121. More over the past few decades on whales and large fish as top predators, and their removal from the ocean, and how this may have reduced primary productivity (photosynthesis, by which CO2 is removed from the surface waters). I’m still looking for older mention of this idea in the science journals — it was certainly unknown when I was last in college decades ago.

    Heck, when I was last in school, they thought the deep ocean was all just dead sediment.

    Biological cycling is one of those ideas that makes more sense, the more we learn more about ecology.


    Fishery Crisis
    :

    Growth of sea creatures and algae has slowed, which implies declining ocean carbon uptake. This seems to be an unanticipated, indirect impact of fishing, which is an important new insight.

    Short videos are linked at the website:
    Where have the fish gone? Observations and theory overview, 2003 Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada
    Starving Ocean – CBC show with Debbie MacKenzie and Farley Mowat. 2004
    Farley Mowat’s 1984 work, Sea of Slaughter, shows the immense strength of the fish-powered carbon sink, before it was damaged by fishing and whaling.

    Fish lift nutrients to the surface water, fertilizing algae and powering a natural carbon sink. But our massive removal of fish, sea birds and marine mammals over centuries has sabotaged this carbon sink, like deforesting the land. If sea animals made a comeback, the fish-powered carbon sink would mitigate atmospheric carbon dioxide. But this idea – that fish boost ocean carbon uptake, and that science has overlooked it – challenges accepted ideas and threatens the fishing industry.
    Zooplankton were unexpectedly and inexplicably lost along with Canadian fish stocks. If, as seems likely, this is part of the ecosystem impact of fishing, then this finding has global significance.

    Begun in 1999, this website chronicles my observations, the evolution of my ideas about what is happening to ocean life, and my attempts to draw attention to politically undesirable information about changes in the natural world.”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 10 Jul 2014 @ 3:22 PM

  122. Nigel Williams wrote: “I was merely pointing out that a 70% reduction in fossil fuel use is not likely to be sustained with eight billion hungry mouths to be fed”

    That’s a non sequitur.

    Less than 30 percent of global GHG emissions are attributable to “feeding hungry mouths” and it is certainly possible to drastically reduce agricultural emissions while providing plenty of food for everyone, with sustainable, localized organic agriculture and a shift away from meat consumption to vegan diets.

    Reducing fossil fuel use is not the threat to agriculture — FAILING to reduce fossil fuel use is the threat to agriculture.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 10 Jul 2014 @ 5:47 PM

  123. 117: MA Roger. Did you after all that waffle get the gist of my message or not..?. Treat it as a colourful and maybe not 100% politically correct message if you like..but for Christ’s sake..get the message!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 10 Jul 2014 @ 7:25 PM

  124. 120 Gorgon Zola. Ok..I’ll entertain your hypothetical. 7 billion people, mean mass/person say 45kgs incl. infants and the elderly = 315bil kgs. Now got to work out the percentage of carbon compounds in each human. Bones 14% of tot weight- 6.3kgs. Bones calcium carbonate..say 1/2 is carbon. 3.15kgs. The rest is mainly hydrogen compounds. which is h20..no much carbon there. Say 10% of remaining tissue has carbon – 4.2kgs. Tot/human is 7.5kgs of Carbon. 7.5kgs x 7000000000 = 52.5Million tonnes of carbon. Now you work out the molecular weight of C and CO2 and you got it. Roughly of course but you have a sort of ball park figure to work with. Now..time to work out the rate of complete human decomposition to occur taking into account global temp variations and any other factor you can think of. Have fun!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 10 Jul 2014 @ 8:06 PM

  125. 120 Gorgon Zola. One little omission I made is that the skeletal system takes an exceedingly long time to decompose. So just work on the % of carbon in soft tissue, hair and blood alone. You probably will find it won’t make a jot of difference to either atmospheric Co2 or CH4. Btw. sure your nom de plume is cheesy enough..haha!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 10 Jul 2014 @ 9:15 PM

  126. 124 Lawrence Coleman says: “Bones calcium carbonate..say 1/2 is carbon”.
    Hmm, Molec. mass of CaCO3=40+12+3*16=100, only 12 of which from C. So it is <1/8 instead of 1/2…

    More importantly if the extinction should be off "along with most land- and sea dwelling animals" – the human biomass contribution might not be that important – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biomass_%28ecology%29
    Not mentioning that carbon in the form of CaCO3 has different decomposition vulnerability and different impact on the CO2 fluxes than
    organic Carbon.

    And all these changes in animal carbon biomass would likely be dwarfed by changes in plant biomass and in bacteria biomass – a decomposition of just 1% of bacteria biomass would release DOZENS times more CO2 than spontaneous combustion of 7 billion people.

    Comment by Piotr — 10 Jul 2014 @ 10:19 PM

  127. SkS is now covering the Deep Decarbonization Pathways study: https://www.skepticalscience.com/DDPP-Interim-Report.html
    Climate Central already had a post on it.
    Could we get some clarification from the mods whether this is an ok topic for discussion here, or if they are planning a main post on it?

    Comment by wili — 11 Jul 2014 @ 11:44 AM

  128. AN INTERVIEW WITH OZZIE ZEHNER, AUTHOR OF “GREEN ILLUSIONS”

    http://truth-out.org/news/item/15588-power-shift-away-from-green-illusions

    “I would say that the environmental movement has relegated itself to cheerleading and mindless chants and that it’s time for us to step away from the pom-poms. I encounter a boundless enthusiasm for creating positive change when holding dialogues with environmental groups. Unfortunately, the mainstream environmental movement is channeling that energy into an increasingly corporatist, and what I call a “productivist,” set of priorities…..

    The modern environmental movement has rolled over to become an outlet for loggers, energy firms and car companies to plug into. It is now primarily a social media platform for consumerism, growth and energy production – an institutionalized philanderer of green illusions. If you need evidence, just go to any climate rally and you’ll see a strip mall of stands for green products, green jobs and green energy. THESE WILL DO NOTHING TO SOLVE THE CRISIS WE FACE, WHICH IS NOT AN ENERGY CRISIS BUT RATHER A CRISIS OF CONSUMPTION.”

    Also see: http://e360.yale.edu/content/feature.msp?id=2085

    And this: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-zeller-jr/ozzie-zehner-green-illusions_b_1710382.html

    “Indeed, his core objection appears to be with technology fixes in general, or the conviction that any bit of technological derring-do — be it a high-efficiency photovoltaic cell or a low-emissions vehicle — will be sufficient to nudge the planet from unpleasant trajectories like global warming.”

    Comment by DIOGENES — 11 Jul 2014 @ 12:41 PM

  129. FYI:

    Livestock digestion released more methane than oil and gas industry in 2004
    By Alexandra Branscombe
    AGU GeoSpace Blog
    July 8 2014

    Livestock were the single largest source of methane gas emissions in the United States in 2004, releasing 70 percent more of the powerful greenhouse gas into the atmosphere than the oil and gas industry, according to a new study.

    The new findings based on satellite data from 2004 provide the clearest picture yet of methane emissions over the entire U.S. They show human activities released more of the gas into the atmosphere than previously thought and the sources of these emissions could be much different than government estimates.

    The contribution of livestock to methane emissions was 40 percent higher in 2004 than what the federal government had previously estimated for that year based on industry reports, while emissions from the oil and gas industry were lower than these government estimates, according to the new study published last month in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, a publication of the American Geophysical Union.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 11 Jul 2014 @ 3:03 PM

  130. RECENT INTERVIEW WITH NATALIA SHAKOVA ON ARCTIC METHANE, JUNE 2014

    Among other critical comments, dismisses geo-engineering.

    Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQDVr1eMLK8

    Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6BVsS6vo60Y

    Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=80ooWqpCdZE

    PETER WADHAMS DISCUSSES ARCTIC METHANE IN SHORT INTERVIEW

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iRqv_RhLno4

    Wadhams and Shakova, and their research groups, are the real hands-on experts on Arctic methane. Weight their comments accordingly. Additionally, the discussions under the Shakova video are well worth reading.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 11 Jul 2014 @ 3:15 PM

  131. #124 Lawrence Coleman

    Though I already smell where this is going, I’m going to work out the math with a little help from our friend xkcd..

    http://xkcd.com/1338/

    Comment by Gorgon Zola — 11 Jul 2014 @ 3:42 PM

  132. Small aside
    Cudos to Michael Mann on his $125 settlement from the nuisance suit.
    Sir, if you see this…
    What will you do with it?
    If they bother to pay, that is.
    :)

    Comment by Michael Schnieders — 11 Jul 2014 @ 10:19 PM

  133. OK, here’s a possible feedback in the climate system that I don’t know about:

    —-
    “… deposition of soluble iron from combustion contributes 20–100% of the soluble iron deposition over many ocean regions. This implies that more work should be done refining the emissions and deposition of combustion sources of soluble iron globally.”
    Citation:
    Luo, C., N. Mahowald, T. Bond, P. Y. Chuang, P. Artaxo, R. Siefert, Y. Chen, and J. Schauer (2008), Combustion iron
    distribution and deposition,
    Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 22, GB1012, doi:10.1029/2007GB002964.
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007GB002964/pdf
    —-

    I was looking at the little kink in the Law Dome CO2 record around World War II, thinking about the halt in fishing and whaling and the notion that a rebound in fish produces a rebound in plankton (trophic cascade, ecosystem maintained by top predators). At the same time we have the boom in combustion (sulfates).

    But from that paper, looks to me like coal smoke was also fertilizing the ocean with iron — and still is — so are the post-1970 numbers reflecting partially removing iron as well as sulfate from the smokestack emissions in the USA/Europe, then an increase again as dirty coal booms in Asia?

    handwaving here, I know (cough)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Jul 2014 @ 10:35 AM

  134. Can anyone tell me the most reliable source for finding out the current health of the GIS? I’m wondering how close it may be to irreversible decline.

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 12 Jul 2014 @ 4:50 PM

  135. 126 Piotr. Thanks for that. It’s just that Gorgon Zola wanted the carbon from humans alone. Agreed bacteria and plant matter is by far the macro source of any carbon. If humans only would produce 1/8 C then there would certainly be no atmospheric effects. Cheers!

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 12 Jul 2014 @ 7:30 PM

  136. http://www.zeeburgnieuws.nl/nieuws/mb_greenland_melt.html
    http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2014/jun/study-links-greenland-ice-sheet-collapse-sea-level-rise-400000-years-ago

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 12 Jul 2014 @ 8:40 PM

  137. Mr. Chuck Hughes writes om the 12th of July, 2014 at 4:50 PM

    ” … most reliable source for finding out the current health of the GIS?”

    darksnow project by Prof. Box
    dmi
    https://forum.arctic-sea-ice.net/

    accept the self signed certificate on that last link, this amounts to trusting neven. they watch it every day there.

    my opinion: South dome on GIS will be gone. WAIS will be gone. Now we just argue about timescale.

    my opinon on timescale: 200 yr is upper limit

    good news: most of us wont see the 1m per 2 decade rise rates, we will be dead.

    but please warn the children. and plant trees.

    sidd

    Comment by sidd — 12 Jul 2014 @ 10:59 PM

  138. Wili #127,

    I have critiqued the Deep Decarbonization study in #90. If their starting point is a flawed scientific target, how can their conclusions be anything but flawed? Even the Bible states that one can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 13 Jul 2014 @ 4:17 AM

  139. I believe people are being deluded by the reporting that the earth’s mean temp increase is just 0.8C from pre-industrial levels.
    The prime movers in the earth’s climatic regulatory system are the polar ice caps. The arctic mechanism revolves around a very narrow temp gap each side of 0.0C. However it is here that we are seeing by far the greatest temp increase and the fastest acceleration of temperature anywhere on the planet. The methane clathrates in the permafrost and under the artic coastal ocean and the massive deposits of potential CO2 and methane locked into the tundra regions is liberated at temps just above freezing. Again it is these very regions that are experiencing by far the greatest temp increase anywhere. Do politicians and world leaders understand this concept and actually know what is going on right now in the artic?. Or are they still fixed upon 0.8C..’Oh! that nothing, we’ll fix that in a jiffy’ mentality. I am quite certain that all tipping points will begin to cascade rapidly and unstoppably once the arctic begins to release enough of it’s deadly cargo. The rate of temp increase for the arctic and Antarctic as far as I can make out are clearly exponential. I am also quite sure that the rate of methane and CO2 release will likewise clearly be exponential within a few years. At this point humans have no hope and remaining chance to enact remedies. It’s the beginning of the anthrocene.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 13 Jul 2014 @ 7:47 AM

  140. The World Council of Churches will divest from fossil fuels.

    “An umbrella group of churches, which represents over half a billion Christians worldwide, has decided to pull its investments out of fossil fuel companies.

    The move by the World Council of Churches, which has 345 member churches including the Church of England but not the Catholic church, was welcomed as a “major victory” by climate campaigners who have been calling on companies and institutions such as pension funds, universities and local governments to divest from coal, oil and gas.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/jul/11/world-council-of-churches-pulls-fossil-fuel-investments

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 13 Jul 2014 @ 8:55 AM

  141. To: Hank Roberts (133): whether reducing whaling and fishing during WWII increased plankton uptake of CO2 is far from straightforward – first, because letting the top predators live may increase or _decrease_ phytoplankton biomass, depending on which trophic level they are located; second, because the effect on CO2 flux depends not of plankton production per se, but on the export of the biomass out of the surface layer in the contact with the atmosphere, and finally, as it has been pointed out a few years ago – fish may be precipitating large amount of CaCO3 as a part of their osmotic balance which could also affect the ability of surface waters to absorb atm.CO2.

    Comment by Piotr — 13 Jul 2014 @ 9:04 AM

  142. Lawrence Coleman #139,

    “Do politicians and world leaders understand this concept and actually know what is going on right now in the artic?”

    Of course they know. They are in contact with their leading scientists, and they understand what’s going on. They could care less because their constituents could care less. What they say in their public pronouncements is another story. If any politician would describe the direness of the situation, and what the constituents would have to do to avoid disaster, he/she would be voted out of office in a flash, and replaced by a Tony Abbott. Look around you; do you see politicians taking an aggressive leadership stance on this issue, or do you see the Abbots, Harpers, Putins, and, yes, ‘all-of-the-above’ Obamas with their non-leadership on the most important issue facing our civilization? Lack of knowledge has nothing to do with their performance.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 13 Jul 2014 @ 10:28 AM

  143. 132 Michael Schnieders
: Michael Mann won a law suit? RC please tell us more of the story. I need to hear a longer version. Congratulations Michael Mann.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 13 Jul 2014 @ 3:16 PM

  144. From Ars technica by John Timmer

    “Climate scientist targeted by lawsuit gets $250 for the hassle
    Original suit officially declared a nuisance.

    Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State University, is famous for publishing the “hockey stick” graph, which shows that current temperatures rise well above any natural variability we’ve experienced during the last 1,500 years. He also achieved a bit of inadvertent fame when some of the e-mails he’d exchanged with other climate researchers were included in a cache of documents stolen from the University of East Anglia. Since then, various groups have been attempting to get at the full record of Mann’s e-mailing.

    Most of the action focused on Mann’s former employer, the University of Virginia. The former state attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, decided that Mann must be guilty of some form of research fraud, and he sued to get Mann’s records. That case was thrown out because there were no actual allegations of fraud. Separately, a private think tank called the American Tradition Institute (ATI) attempted to obtain the e-mails using a state Freedom of Information Act request, arguing that the University of Virginia is a state school. That attempt was also denied.

    Now Mann has achieved a small bit of satisfaction, as a ruling has declared the suit from the ATI a nuisance. The nuisance ruling had made its way to the Virginia Supreme Court, but the court declared that there were no legal errors that gave ATI grounds for an appeal. For their troubles, the University and Mann will get to split a fine of $250. Mann told Ars, “It is a small amount of money, but a clear statement—and slap in ATI’s face—by the judge.”

    Comment by Michael Schnieders — 13 Jul 2014 @ 11:39 PM

  145. Yes! Accolades for the World council of churches for it’s stance on fossil fuel investments..long overdue. Typical that the Catholic church is dragging their heels again. Anyway there is now enough decisive groundswell against fossil fuels from the majority of the Christian churches to force the Catholic church to join the party. I have waited years for this to happen..such a pity it took them so long.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 14 Jul 2014 @ 6:26 AM

  146. 140: Chris Dudley. Yes! Accolades for the World council of churches for it’s stance on fossil fuel investments..long overdue. Typical that the Catholic church is dragging their heels again. Anyway there is now enough decisive groundswell against fossil fuels from the majority of the Christian churches to force the Catholics to join the party. I have waited years for this to happen..such a pity it took them so long.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 14 Jul 2014 @ 6:31 AM

  147. I should point out that a US Catholic University, University of Dayton, has begun divesting from fossil fuels. http://www.ecumenicalnews.com/article/university-of-dayton-in-us-divesting-from-coal-fossil-fuel-investments-25361 The article in the Guardian singles out the Catholic Church for specifically English reasons, I think.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 14 Jul 2014 @ 6:46 AM

  148. Further on my comment at 139. Has anyone seen NOAA’s latest ocean temp anomaly map especially between the band of 40-80N. It’s averaging 2.0C hotter than the norm. In fact the entire planet looks decidedly sun-burnt.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 14 Jul 2014 @ 6:50 AM

  149. Bill McKibben has drawn a few threads together here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-mckibben/we-want-people-to-change_b_5574066.html

    It is interesting to me that the subject of Coral Davenport’s poor journalistic practices seems to be a subject the NYT Public Editor won’t entertain, even in comments on a post discussing the changes in the NYT coverage of the environment. Both these contributions appear to have been censored.

    “”“Our environmental coverage is very good,” says Mr. Fisher, but evidence does not support that. A recent piece was a series of ad hominem attacks that did not even offer the target a chance to refute: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/05/us/politics/prominent-environmentalist-helped-fund-coal-projects.html

    For climate change to be addressed, we will need people who once were involved in fossil fuels to get involved in ending their use. That is not an occasion of hypocrisy as nearly every quote in that article urged. St. Paul did a 180 and it would be very foolish to call him a hypocrite.

    It was a mistake to decimate the NYT environmental coverage and it shows in the extremely low quality of journalism we see now.”

    and

    “The NYT environmental reporting is not just decimated, it is off the rails. Now, an open process of the sort the editorial board should commend is being slimed as the same as the secret meetings of Dick Cheney. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/07/us/how-environmentalists-drew-blueprint-for-obama-emissions-rule.html

    How shameful.”

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 14 Jul 2014 @ 7:18 AM

  150. > Piotr says: 13 Jul 2014 at 9:04 AM
    > To: Hank Roberts (133): whether reducing whaling and fishing during WWII
    > increased plankton uptake of CO2 is far from straightforward …

    Understood. I’m hoping for cites to papers on the subject, particularly curious whether anyone is incorporating this in climate models given the recent study on the whale pump and iron fertilization. Can you point to any or suggest names to search?

    Also

    > as it has been pointed out a few years ago –
    > fish may be precipitating large amount of CaCO3

    I haven’t found that, can you point to the research?
    Much appreciated (DOI if possible as those are guaranteed to be findable, while links go dead fairly fast)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Jul 2014 @ 11:01 AM

  151. also for Piotr: I did find The production and preservation of fish-derived carbonates in shallow sub-tropical marine carbonate provinces, which seems to say the calcium carbonate produced by fish isn’t being found in sediments so they’re looking at whether it redissolves. But since “90 percent of the big fish are gone” that could explain why it’s not found in recent sediments. There again, if this is modeled by climate scientists I’d like to know more.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 14 Jul 2014 @ 11:09 AM

  152. Gail Zawacki has posted an extraordinary essay called A Fine Frenzy on her blog, “Wit’s End.” It begins with loss of forest due to ozone and other pollutants, and rapidly segues to climate change, overshoot, and ecosystem collapse. I’m particularly struck by the fact that she situates climate change within the larger context of overshoot. I’ll leave it to others to parse her scientific content, but certainly her essay is powerfully written and heartfelt.

    “…humans are a plague species… We have radically transformed the earth, rendering it depauperate … The emphasis on climate change … enables the illusory fiction that so-called “clean, green, renewable,” energy will spare us from the consequences of our excesses, foster endless growth, and allow this fabulous energy-stoked party to continue unabated … It appears that evolutionary selection has favored the ability to function despite cognitive dissonance. …we could … give the forests a chance to recover. To do that, we would have to first see that they are dying; next, understand why; and then, be willing to give up nearly every luxury we are infatuated with. We would have to accept – actually, demand – draconian government intervention in individual freedom, including the rationing of fuel, food, water, and children. … As this scenario unfolds, each of us will have to reconcile our dreams and expectations with the ugly and inescapable reality of collapse.”

    [Response: ...and people wonder why it's so easy to paint environmentalists as extreme. Powerfully written and heartfelt doesn't matter if everyone stopped listening at the first sentence. - gavin]

    Comment by chris korda — 14 Jul 2014 @ 12:38 PM

  153. Gavin #151,

    “and people wonder why it’s so easy to paint environmentalists as extreme.”

    ‘Extreme’ problems require ‘extreme’ solutions. As we see from the RC posts, those who propose the non-extreme solutions are not addressing what the problem requires. It is a Badge of Honor to be the right type of climate change extremist!

    Comment by DIOGENES — 15 Jul 2014 @ 8:28 AM

  154. “…Who’s behind the ‘information attacks’ on climate scientists?” 10/31/2011 FACINGSOUTH:

    http://www.southernstudies.org/2011/10/special-investigation-whos-behind-the-information-attacks-on-climate-scientists.html

    “Climate science denier group must pay damages for frivolous lawsuit against UVA, scientist” 07/08/2014 FACINGSOUTH:

    http://www.southernstudies.org/2014/07/climate-science-denier-group-must-pay-damages-for-.html

    I hazard a slight optimism that more substantial opinions yet will draw on common sense judgement about the responsibility that attends on all rights (e.g., free speech) without selection or prejudice. In any case, I am grateful to Michael E. Mann and those who have represented him and worked in his behalf, to light a candle rather than curse the darkness, at a very dim moment indeed.

    Comment by patrick — 15 Jul 2014 @ 8:56 AM

  155. Gail Zawacki’s rant is at heart indistinguishable from the fossil fuel industry’s propaganda, which asserts that ending greenhouse gas emissions will necessarily destroy the world’s economy and wreck human civilization and reduce us all to starving and shivering in caves.

    Indeed, if Ms. Zawacki didn’t exist, the Heartland Institute would have to invent her.

    It’s bunk, whether it comes from a misanthropic nihilist or Bjorn Lomborg or an oil company CEO.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 15 Jul 2014 @ 10:21 AM

  156. Chris Korda #151,

    An excellent reference! I would also emphasize the following main points:

    “Almost no one, including professional climate activists and scientists who best know the risks, is willing to make the DRASTIC SACRIFICES REQUIRED to even slow the velocity of our hurtling towards disaster.”

    “None of the alternatives can conceivably deliver the concentrated power of fossil fuels, which are irreplaceably dense, to a world of seven billion most of whom crave more, not less, energy. Furthermore, any solution that provides additional energy WILL AUGMENT, NOT SUPPLANT, THE EXISTING USE OF DIRTY FUELS”

    Comment by DIOGENES — 15 Jul 2014 @ 11:54 AM

  157. Gavin #151,

    Or, in the spirit of Barry Goldwater:

    ‘Extremism in the defense of climate is no vice. And moderation in the pursuit of climate change amelioration is no virtue.’

    Comment by DIOGENES — 15 Jul 2014 @ 12:22 PM

  158. #151, Chris Korda,

    I call ‘Poe’s Law’ on that.

    Comment by Chris Reynolds — 15 Jul 2014 @ 2:13 PM

  159. Mass waste in Greenland from GPS: Hasholt et al. at the cryosphere discuss site.

    http://www.the-cryosphere-discuss.net/8/3829/2014/tcd-8-3829-2014.pdf

    Fig 5 is quite revealing, a hockey stick curving up since 2006.

    Very nice. This reminds me of another paper, which is, no doubt, in the reference list, where annual imbalances were deduced from GPS uplift. The impending demise of GRACE will require refinement of these techniques and observation nets.

    sidd

    Comment by sidd — 15 Jul 2014 @ 2:28 PM

  160. “Accolades for the World council of churches for it’s stance on fossil fuel investments..long overdue.”

    Actually, I think this just about on time. It takes a while for what is essentially statistical knowledge to become a matter of conscience. It has been about two years since we could say that climate change is presently deadly without a lot of caveats. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/07/30/1205276109.abstract

    As a benchmark, when the churches start to take a stand, things change pretty quickly. Nuclear Freeze produced arms reduction negotiations pretty much right after the churches got involved. The Montreal Protocol probably did not require a change of heart while the nuclear arms race did. Warming, while similar to the Montreal Protocol in scientific process, probably is more like the arms race in terms of how it gets turned around so church involvement is needed whereas the Montreal Protocol mainly needed just scientists.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 15 Jul 2014 @ 3:34 PM

  161. Gavin, it pains me to write this comment, but I fear you and so many academics in these related fields carry an optimism bias – something expected in studies that are depressive. Normally, I would want that trait from anyone charged with educating my children, but sometimes it taints a clear overview of the system that is important to more distant planning.

    Gail Zawacki is not a scientist, she is more of a science journalist – a passionate amateur – and she presents some very tough questions. From the data she links to, combined with discussions of what I see here on RC – it’s easy to conclude that many have underestimated the seriousness of our situation. Alarmism should not be mislabeled hysteria just to avoid the message.

    I have long found it frustrating that climate scientists are so eager to present data and studies, but abjure from drawing conclusions that may be upsetting. While IPCC is valid, it’s goal seems to be the disconnection of one conclusion from another. i.e. how will sea level rise, heating, acidification, bological and cryogenic changes all interact? Gail is just assembling studies – does she carry a negative bias? Maybe. All the studies about ozone are there, we adroitly avoid them. You might take care not to be so quick to pile on with a back-handed dismissal.

    All this discussion suggests that a serious overview is warranted.

    Comment by richard pauli — 15 Jul 2014 @ 5:16 PM

  162. I can appreciate why those who have tried before me have given up trying to educate the public, or garner any support from established entities. Even armed with a tremendous archive of peer reviewed literature, the disinterest, ridicule and often outright hostility I have encountered has been astonishing. The futility of trying to bring this issue to the attention of the very people who should be most engaged – conservationists, foresters, and climate modelers – has stimulated some far-reaching, and decidedly unpleasant, lessons about the obtusity of human nature.

    Comment by Gail — 15 Jul 2014 @ 6:31 PM

  163. Hank, the paper on the CaCO3 production by fish was: “Contribution of Fish to the Marine Inorganic Carbon Cycle”, Science 16 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5912, pp. 359 – 362 m by R. W. Wilson, F. J. Millero, J. R. Taylor, P. J. Walsh, V. Christensen, S. Jennings, M. Grosell

    For me the most interesting in the paper was exploring the idea that the fish can affect the carbonate chemistry of the ocean – up to this point we had typically dismissed the direct impact of higher trophic levels (like fish) – because their biomass/production is so much lower than those of the producers trophic level (in ocean – mainly algae). However, fish COULD affect chemistry because they precipitate CaCO3 NOT as function of the amount of food eaten, but as a part of their everyday metabolism, namely the body osmotic control in saline environment.

    However, be CAREFUL when using this paper to look for impact in CO2 uptake by the ocean – although the paper was (deliberately?) vague about in WHICH direction this impact could be (increasing ocean capacity to take up atm. CO2 or decreasing) – the interviews of some authors in the popular press left no doubt – they implied that fish CaCo3 increases the UPTAKE of atm. CO2 by the ocean – Christiansen by calling fish:”unrecognized allies against climate change.” and Wilson by saying: “Given that fish are probably involved in replenishing that alkalinity in the surface layers of the ocean, then fish carbonate might help the oceans absorb more CO2″. No wonder that the press went with that (see below). The problem is that I think the likely net result is the REVERSE than hinted by some the paper’s authors. Here is my letter to the editor. The editors of Science were not interested, but I still stand behind it:

    === Yin and Yang, Acid and Base ===
    A recent Science article by Wilson et al. (16 Jan) has garnered considerable media attention: “Fish digestions help keep the oceans healthy1,” “Fish ‘an ally’ against climate change2,” and best of all, “Fish poop helps balance ocean’s acid levels3.” A major issue, a new development, and a chance for toilet humor. Who could resist? The only problem is that the media have got the science wrong.

    Wilson et al. argue that the calcium carbonate (CaCO3) crystals in fish excretions, when dissolved in seawater, increase its alkalinity and thus reduce its acidity, so as to increase the ocean’s capacity to absorb atmospheric CO2. So far, so good.

    But you cannot have yin without yang, and acid must balance base. Sequestration of alkalinity in fish carbonate necessarily increases the acidity of the remaining seawater: the net effect is exactly zero. But, whereas acidification of the local environment occurs immediately as fish release H+ ions through their gills, alkalinity is released only after some delay. Carbonate crystals released on the continental shelves, where fish are most abundant and the water is already saturated with CaCO3, will be buried in sediment, long before they dissolve. Fish feces released in mid-ocean take carbonate by “express mail” directly to the bottom. Because CaCO3 solubility increases with depth, dissolution of these fish-made crystals will occur at depths of hundreds or thousands of meters. Acidification now, alkalinity later, and away from the surface.

    Thus, fish excretion may be expected to remove alkalinity to continental sediments and abyssal depths, while acidifying the surface ocean. And it is this top layer we care about most: it is the gateway for the uptake of atmospheric CO2, and it contains the coral reefs and other ecosystems of greatest concern. Unfortunately, we cannot count on fish to protect these environments for us.

    1 Reuters 15 Jan. 2009
    2 New Scientist 16 Jan. 2009
    3 Associated Press, Fox News 15 Jan. 2009

    Comment by Piotr — 15 Jul 2014 @ 6:34 PM

  164. Hank, 150: ” the calcium carbonate produced by fish isn’t being found in sediments so they’re looking at whether it redissolves”

    I am not too surprised – given that it is high-Mg from of CaCO3 – when the Mg substitutes for Ca it messes with the crystalline structure, so the whole thing becomes less stable and therefore more vulnerable to dissolution. Therefore, high-Mg CaCO3 is more soluble than regular aragonite or calcite. In fact the Science paper of Wilson et al.2009 I have mentioned before already flagged this higher solubility as a possible explanation to an old oceanographic paradox that alkalinity increases with depth WELL BEFORE one reaches the depths at which one would expect the increase based on the solubility of “normal” forms of CaCO3 (aragonite and calcite) to dissolve (and by doing so increase alkalinity). So if fish high-Mg CaCO3 began to dissolve much earlier, that would explain this “premature” increase in alkalinity …

    So at least some of the fish CaCO3 may either dissolve on the way to the bottom, particularly given the increased acidity of the surface waters due to uptake of anthropogenic CO2, or be redissolved before it is permanently buried in sediments (if there is a lot of organic matter falling to the bottom its decomposition would release CO2 to pore water, which in turn would speed up the already vulnerable to dissolution of the just deposited high-Mg CaCO3.

    Comment by Piotr — 15 Jul 2014 @ 7:07 PM

  165. Gavin@151,

    You might consider this one then http://op-talk.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/07/15/when-climate-change-floods-your-heart/

    It quotes Zadie Smith

    “…we always knew we could do a great deal of damage to this planet, but even the most hubristic among us had not imagined we would ever be able to fundamentally change its rhythms and character, just as a child who has screamed all day at her father still does not expect to see him lie down on the kitchen floor and weep.”

    which is evocative.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 15 Jul 2014 @ 7:47 PM

  166. There is a rather horrifying NYTimes article about John Christy who feels persecuted by the mainstream. I’m hoping some real scientists will write a letter to the editor explaining why it is pernicious nonsense to give his point of view such a legitimate platform. Michael Wines, the reporter, is the former China Bureau Chief and hardly qualified to identify the bits of varnish and papier mache that hold the whole false structure together, or understand what harm he does legitimizing this whine.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/16/us/skeptic-of-climate-change-john-christy-finds-himself-a-target-of-suspicion.html
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Wines

    Comment by Susan Anderson — 15 Jul 2014 @ 11:46 PM

  167. Re: Diogenes #153, richard pauli #161 and Gail #162- I don’t want to speak for gavin, but I don’t think he dismissed most of Gail Zawatsky’s text (“powerfully written and heartfelt”) – he just merely indicated that her FIRST SENTENCE (“…humans are a plague species…”) was counterproductive – instead of a strong opening drawing attention to the rest of argument it became the stone around its neck – as its extremism/emotionalism made so much easier to dismiss the following arguments and paint the author, and by extension anyone sharing the views on the severity of the situation, as “extremists” – hence gavins: “Powerfully written and heartfelt doesn’t matter if everyone stopped listening at the first sentence (sic!)”
    If I read that line right (as applying ONLY to the first sentence “…humans are a plague species…”), then I agree with such position, and won’t throw out the baby with bathwater the way Secular Animist #155 seemed to have done by describing the _entire text_ as ” Gail Zawacki’s rant”, “it’s bunk” and “if Ms. Zawacki didn’t exist, the Heartland Institute would have to invent her.”

    Comment by Piotr — 16 Jul 2014 @ 7:57 AM

  168. The thing about nitrogen dioxide and ozone pollution is that they are being controlled under the Clean Air Act. So the stress on forests is coming down. http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/ozone.html http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/nitrogen.html Sulfur dioxide, which is better known for its effects is also controlled. http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/sulfur.html New mercury regulations should be helpful as well.

    Climate change is having an effect on forest health through changes in parasite life cycles particularity with milder winters and through warming enhanced droughts which is also increasing the rate of fire damage.

    The battle is won on ozone and sulfur. Controls are getting stronger. On climate change there is an opportunity now to push for stronger reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by commenting by October 16 on the proposed clean power plan http://www2.epa.gov/carbon-pollution-standards/how-comment-clean-power-plan-proposed-rule

    My comment so far, in response to the recent Supreme Court decision against tailoring is this:

    “While it is understandable that keeping regulations to entities that are already reporting to the EPA can reduce the burden in reporting compliance, this approach leaves a number of existing stationary sources unregulated. On the other hand, gasoline is regulated to contain ethanol which then has an effect on fossil carbon emissions. The EPA might eliminate reporting burdens for smaller emitters simply by regulating their fuel supply. Requiring a rising renewably sourced fractional fuel content for natural gas, oil and coal not sold to the larger Electric Utility Generating Units, could cut emissions without the need for individual reporting. Methane synthesis is easily accomplished using stranded wind power and agricultural residue. Jet fuel and other fuel grades can be synthesized from sea water in a new process developed by the Navy. Charcoal can be mixed with coal for small burners. Particularly for oil, the substitution may be directly profitable if very high quality remote offshore wind power resources are used. The Clean Air Act indicates that even small stationary emitters should be regulated if the pollution is dangerous. The manner of regulation need not be the same for all sizes of emitters. Regulating fuel sources may be the best approach for smaller emitters.”

    I would urge those concerned about air pollution’s effects on forest health to look over the proposed regulations and find ways to strengthen them and share those discoveries with the EPA. There will be a lot of effort by the fossil fuel industries to try to weaken them. But, legal or science based comments should capture the EPA’s attention. Thus far, these regulations are based on danger to human health and welfare. The Endangered Species Act has not been invoked at all. Those concerned about forest habitat preservation may find some matters of concern in that area to raise with the EPA.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 16 Jul 2014 @ 8:07 AM

  169. “… if everyone stopped listening at the first sentence. – gavin]”

    I admit I balked at the first sentence. It’s almost up there with “It was a dark and stormy night, and there was blood everywhere.” However she appears to be just one voice among many of all kinds trying to sort themselves out. So personally, I’m not inclined to make too much of it.

    @ 157 Really? Barry Goldwater?
    (And please, whatever you do, don’t bother responding to this comment.)

    Comment by Radge Havers — 16 Jul 2014 @ 9:40 AM

  170. Don’t know if Gail has already cited this paper in her sources:

    http://www.life.illinois.edu/dietze/manuscripts/DietzeGCB2011.pdf

    It’s a statistical study of different drivers of tree mortality in the Eastern US. It certainly confirms that climate change and air pollutants are increasing tree mortality over the study area, and may confidently be expected to do so increasingly in the future.

    On the other hand, the data comes from the US Forest Service, here:

    http://www.fia.fs.fed.us

    The tables in the spreadsheet you can download are pretty voluminous, but the gross trend in the US as a whole (and especially the East; the West has suffered greatly as a result of the bark beetle plague, of course) is one of net afforestation, not deforestation. That’s not to say that there’s no reason for concern, of course. But (just maybe) despair is a tad premature. The Dietze paper notes that we don’t have a comprehensive model of tree mortality, so we don’t actually know what to expect.

    Again, not a reason not to be concerned! But also not a reason to conclude that we are irrevocably doomed (or damned.)

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 16 Jul 2014 @ 10:47 AM

  171. Let me jump the bandwagon and state that I too was dismayed to read the logical fallacy made by Gavin in post #152. The use of the label ‘extreme’ in this context has got nothing to do with posts like the one on offer.

    What people experience as extreme are often already the most minute changes to their lifestyles like not being able to finger an Iphone 24/7. That the implications of our current predicament dwarf these sorts of consequences thousandfold with people not being able to grasp or oversee these and cry extremist, should obviously not be on the people who try to communicate these ramifications.

    We are a species without a natural enemy such that would offset exponential population growth. Metaphors like the one in post #152 or the one made by Agent Smith are at worst mostly harmless.

    Comment by Gorgon Zola — 16 Jul 2014 @ 12:49 PM

  172. It looks like investment in renewables is pointless:
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/08/michael-klare-the-third-carbon-age-drop-the-fantasy-of-a-coming-era-of-renewable-energy.html

    Comment by Barbara — 16 Jul 2014 @ 1:46 PM

  173. Chris Dudley quoted Zadie Smith: “…we always knew we could do a great deal of damage to this planet, but even the most hubristic among us had not imagined we would ever be able to fundamentally change its rhythms and character”

    I’m not sure who Zadie Smith means by “we”, but Bill McKibben imagined just that when he wrote The End Of Nature 25 years ago:

    If the waves crash up against the beach, eroding dunes and destroying homes, it is not the awesome power of Mother Nature. It is the awesome power of Mother Nature as altered by the awesome power of man, who has overpowered in a century the processes that have been slowly evolving and changing of their own accord since the earth was born.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 16 Jul 2014 @ 3:24 PM

  174. Gail #162,

    I’m assuming you are Gail Zawicki, author of that outstanding essay on where we are headed. I believe you have made, and are still making, the same mistake I made when I started posting on RC. I assumed that there were stakeholders willing to place survival of the biosphere above personal interests. I believed that if I identified a plan that could help us avoid catastrophe, the response would be immediate and positive. I was wrong. I have yet to identify any significant stakeholder group with such goals, and the plan that I generated was greeted with hostility because of the sacrifices it required..

    The biosphere is lost; it has been lost for years. While there may be some debate of whether it is salvageable in theory, there is no debate that it is salvageable in practice. The numbers tell the whole story; there is no way in practice that we can reach the targets necessary to insure our survival. Reading between the lines, this is what Hansen, Anderson, Zehner, et al are telling us. It is one consistent story.

    We are now witnessing the final battle of the major energy supply stakeholders. The fossil fuel suppliers are fighting with the low carbon suppliers for maximum share of the energy supply market before the curtain comes crashing down on our civilization. We see the battle being fought on the climate blogs, in the Halls of Congress and in all branches of local and national government, and in the broader media. We see contrived targets being generated by the ‘official’ sources, and, in most blog postings, we see no targets being proposed at all. What we see most of all is that high carbon and low carbon sources are increasing: ‘all-of-the-above’, in the words of President Obama.

    I applaud your honesty and your energy and motivation for posting. Please continue to do it because it’s the right thing to do. Don’t expect any measurable impact or gratitude from the broad readership; they are interested in Windfall, prosperity, and lucrative employment, not in the sacrifices and goals your essays entail. That’s the only reason I continue to post; because it’s right. I expect no more than the hostility and vitriol I have received in the past, because I, like you, promise none of the above fantasies as a way out of our global predicament.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 16 Jul 2014 @ 4:42 PM

  175. Methane explosion investigated as cause for mysterious Siberia sink hole

    Comment by prokaryotes — 16 Jul 2014 @ 5:04 PM

  176. #152 @ Gavin. That’s the real problem for everyone who is not a well informed, first rate Climate Scientist. How extreme is too extreme when trying to articulate the situation to your average Joe? Nobody wants to sound panicked or overstate the situation but what’s the correct and measured approach? What’s absurd and what is acceptable? I’m having plenty of trouble separating the noise from the signal. There are too many so called, “experts” out there. Are we to take Rupert Murdoch’s advice and just move a little inland? I don’t think so, but that’s what he’s saying.

    I think most folks are cloudy when it comes to time tables vs. catastrophic events. Just a thought.

    [Response: The issue is not just one of 'facts'. We might all see and agree on the same set of observations and interpretations of what is going on (some people don't, but let's put that aside for a second). But when it comes to the future and what we value and we 'should' do, these vary enormously. When someone speaks of humans as 'plague' that is descriptive of their values (presumably the natural world, biodiversity), not the current observations. For me, the problem is not a conflict between humans and the pristine natural world, but the struggle for humans to create a civilization that minimises unsustainable demands. These have very different end-points. The problem with Gail's view is that it by conflating a real problem (climate change etc.) with a very specific (and frankly not widely shared) set of values, is that it is then almost impossible to get people with other values/goals to see that the real problem will impact the things they value too. If the goal is just to say whatever is on your mind, fine. But if the goal is get people/society moving in a better direction, it's flawed. - gavin]

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 16 Jul 2014 @ 8:08 PM

  177. Some weeks/months back, Gavin ask for readers assistance with suggestions for new and better means of graphically depicting global temperatures across time. Others with superior computer skills quickly surpassed my capacity to contribute, but the following new NOAA sea energy page contributes the new to me advancement of a “self-stepping” feature, which might compliment the suggestions offered on that now-stale thread.

    http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

    Comment by Dave Peters — 16 Jul 2014 @ 10:13 PM

  178. Just read Gail Zawacki’s excellent article. I gather that now everyone can clearly see the pink elephant in the closet..hmmm??? If you can, her article and vision has been a success, if not…you will!
    What does Gail and Al Gore try desperately to highlight?…an inconvenient truth!
    Yes of course 7 billion large mammals on this smallish planet is stratospherically too much for Gai’s resources to supply. That as Gail rightly says is purely intuitive. Btw- Humans have evolved intuition so they wouldn’t make idiotic mistakes and kill themselves and other bystanders. Or so you would assume?.
    Climate change is one of a plethora of symptoms of dramatic population overload (your head might for now say otherwise..but you can’t fool your heart!)
    Gavin is partly correct at telling everyone to approach this with a calm level head on one’s shoulder’s, but that is no excuse to procrastinate, or to see what your neighbour is doing first before you reluctantly commit to some token gesture to help- more to pacify your guilty psyche than actual meaningful action. Keep a level head but move like the proverbial clappers to research, to educate to convince, coerce, inspire and empower people not just to help themselves but for the survival of the entire web of life on this ailing planet as well.
    However I cannot bring myself to be nihilistic even though that where my head says we must be going mainly because of my 8 y/0 son. He as well as every Californian redwood tree and Galapagos tortoise etc deserves to die with the knowledge that their offspring will have just as many hopes and dreams and promises as they have had.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 17 Jul 2014 @ 2:47 AM

  179. Yes thank you Kevin, I have recently read that paper. I wrote to the Drs. Dietze & Moorcraft to ask if they are following up, since the last year of data they included in their study was 2005. They have not replied so it is still waiting in the queue of blog posts at Wit’s End.

    Since I didn’t even notice that trees are in general decline until 2008, and the trend has accelerated dramatically since that time, I do not find much in their study that is reassuring, particularly because in the past few years, very young trees are dying off as well. I urge anyone who doesn’t see this to go examine some recently planted trees in a development or parking lot, or even some in a nursery where they are being watered, where you will find cracking, corroded bark and thin crowns and, as the season progresses, damaged foliage.

    Notice the authors say: “Our estimates of ozone impacts are likely underestimated…we used the peak 8-hr ozone concentrations as our ozone estimate as this is the basis of current health standards and regulation. This is potentially problematic because plants, unlike animals, are more sensitive to cumulative exposure rather than peak exposure.”

    I recently bought “Global Alert” by Jack Fishman, published in 1990. Here is an excerpt I transcribed (and keep in mind that the background level of ozone is inexorably increasing):

    “Not just smoke [referring to annual crop burning] but many other gases are being released into the atmosphere at an alarming rate. The earth is an enclosed system, with a wonderful proclivity to cleanse itself, but it is being taxed to the limit by the sheer number of humans and their waste products in the form of gases and manufactured chemicals. This is not speculation; it is already happening. These are the signs: In the autumn of 1988 the NYTimes published a story about the Jamaican palm trees in the southeastern United States being decimated by a disease known as yellowleaf fungus. The species may disappear from America by the turn of the century. Although the cause of the disease is a known fungus, the underlying cause is the increased ozone levels in the air, which, by placing the trees under stress, pave the way for the attacking fungus…Forest in parts of Germany are suffering from “early autumn” syndrome: they lose their leaves by late August and early September. The cause? Increased ozone levels in the air…During the sumer of 1988 American farmers lost between $1 billion and $2 billion in crops. The drought was a factor, but a sizable fraction of the losses from lower crop yields can be attributed to increased ozone in the atmosphere.”

    Dr. Fishman is not jumping up and down with his hair on fire. He can’t do that, because he is a scientist. But I think reasonable thinking people can take what he wrote almost 25 years ago, put it together with what he says in a talk he presented at Max Planck last December where he discusses his work in atmospheric chemistry with Susan Solomon and Paul Crutzen, on the occasion of Dr. Crutzen’s 80th birthday, and get that unmistakably acrid whiff of singed hair: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_gw5gKJtGM

    I do not think he chooses titles with terms like: “Global Alert” and “Toxic Atmosphere” lightly.

    Lastly, as far as the beetles go, keep in mind that it is abundantly documented that the most pernicious effect of ozone is the opportunistic attacks from insects, disease and fungus, which are now epidemics on every species of tree and agricultural crop around the world. People are more comfortable blaming a changing climate or invasive species, even though neither of those fully explain the onslaught of biotic pathogens, even in areas like the southeast US that has become cooler over time, where various beetles are running amuck just like in the west. There has been tremendous global trade in lumber and live nursery stock for centuries, not to mention a vast array of other goods packed in wooden crates and sawdust. If invasive species were capable of multiplying and decimating entire continents in a matter of a few years, why did they wait until the persistent background level of air pollution reached the critical threshold of 40 ppb to do so?

    I highly recommend Dr. Fishman’s talk, because he traces ozone plumes back to widespread biomass burning as well as fossil fuels. And as for alarm, scientists should more than anyone be aware that it is the trend that matters, and the trend is ominous. Ominous for fruit, for nuts, for lumber, for shade, for rain, for all the animals that depend on the terrestrial biosphere. All of them, in other words, including us.

    Comment by Gail Zawacki — 17 Jul 2014 @ 7:40 AM

  180. Gavin #175,

    “If the goal is just to say whatever is on your mind, fine. BUT IF THE GOAL IS GET PEOPLE/SOCIETY MOVING IN A BETTER DIRECTION, IT’S FLAWED. – gavin”

    Therein lies the problem I perceive in the climate change advocacy movement, across the board. It holds true for Anderson, McKibben, and many other well-meaning luminaries. The exposition of the science is being compromised in order to sell the concept. Anderson will not base his computations on a 1 C target because the horrific results will turn his audience elsewhere (or so he believes). McKibben will not base his allowable carbon budgets on a 1 C target for the same reason.

    There is an old adage that states if you mix science and politics, you get neither good science nor good politics. That’s what I see happening in the climate advocacy movement, and that’s what your statement implies. And, how has that approach been working? Complete failure after two decades!

    I believe there is no compromise with the hard truth; while there may be short-term bumps in the road, in the long-term, truth will out! If the patient’s only hope for survival is painful high-intensity Keemo, then tell him that. Don’t tell him that there is an easy road to survival, as we see posted on these blogs all the time. Once the audience gets some understanding of how dire the situation really is, you might be surprised at their response. Stay focused on the hard science, and present the hard conclusions, no matter how uncomfortable they appear!

    [Response: As long as you keep thinking the goal of communicating is not in fact to communicate anything, you are going to end up just mumbling to yourself. You would do much better to think about what you are valuing above everything, and then listening to other people to understand why their priorities are different. Or not. - gavin]

    Comment by DIOGENES — 17 Jul 2014 @ 7:48 AM

  181. Gavin, could you please confirm or deny that this is actually a quote from you, and ideally locate the text, speech or interview where it was made so I can properly reference it? Short of that, could you confirm or deny that it is the kind of thing you might say?
    “If you ask a scientist how much more CO2 do you think we should add to the atmosphere, the answer is going to be none. All the rest is economics.”

    I have only found it at only one site on line, and they give no further source, so I don’t want to misquote you by using it elsewhere if this is a misattribution: http://burycoal.com/blog/why-bury-coal/
    Thanks.

    On the Gail thing, while I am sympathetic with much of what she says, the fact is that many human cultures have had little to no negative impact on the environments in which they have traditionally lived. It is really only modern industrial society that has had a globally negative impact on the environment.

    It may seem now that humans are a plague species, but recognizing that humans have the capacity to live within a radically wide variety of cultures helps show that, while we may be specially adapted to be _able_ to exploit various living communities and resources beyond sustainable limits, not all cultures have done so, and arguably only one has done so on such a massive scale as to threaten planetary stability.

    We have to change the stories that give our lives meaning, we have to change the cultural assumptions that tell us what is and isn’t appropriate behaviors…all of these can in theory be changed rather quickly, and have been so in the past. I’m not sure we have to change our genes. I do think we have to see ourselves as a species that needs to always look to ways to _limit_ rather than expand our power, given what we see now that we are capable of. Most traditional societies recognized this and had a variety of types of restrictions or taboos on behavior, with strong cultural sanctions on violating them. You could say that our culture simply failed to put an appropriate taboo on the burning of fossil fuels, and it needs desperately to get one in place now (though in modern culture this would take the form presumably of international agreements, and agreed upon sanctions against those who violate them).

    As to motivation, what motivates and doesn’t motivate people can be rather counter-intuitive. A standard strategy for coaches at half time to motivate a loosing team, for example, is to proclaim the game lost and to tell the players that there is no way to win anymore. One might think that this would be the worst way to motivate anyone. But in fact it leaves it to the players to take on the role of encouraging the coach, and in so doing they often encourage themselves more effectively than the coach ever could directly.
    I’m just saying that, much as I admire Gavin, being an expert in climate science doesn’t automatically make one an expert in rhetorical strategies, and these can be as surprising and counter-intuitive as the interactions of atmospheric gasses.

    Comment by wili — 17 Jul 2014 @ 8:34 AM

  182. # 152 (Chris Korda)

    Re Gail’s essay and Gavin’s responses

    Gail’s essay is extreme, and will not likely persuade anyone. It is just one essay from an individual though. The big green groups are usually more careful when they write messages. I know people who work for some of the major environmental groups, and these groups are more careful when they put out communications for the public. They do tend to favor the worst case scenarios, but they don’t go overboard, particularly when they are dealing with values.

    Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 17 Jul 2014 @ 8:35 AM

  183. #171–No, it doesn’t. The essay fails to point out that those “heavy, complex, carbon laden… locked up deep in the earth, tightly trapped between or bound to sand, tar, and rock” fuels are going to be increasingly expensive, while renewables are going to be increasingly cheaper. (On the long-term trend for solar PV, for example, every doubling of installed capacity has translated to a 22% reduction in cost.) Water doesn’t flow uphill for very long–and neither does money.

    The IEA, cited in the 2013 piece at issue, now also says that “On a percentage basis, renewables continue to be the fastest-growing power source. As global renewable electricity generation expands in absolute terms, it is expected to surpass that from natural gas and double that from nuclear power by 2016, becoming the second most important global electricity source, after coal. Globally, renewable generation is estimated to rise to 25% of gross power generation in 2018, up from 20% in 2011 as deployment spreads out globally.”

    And the IEA has a history of conservatism on renewables.

    But weren’t we supposed to be avoiding mitigation topics this month?

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 17 Jul 2014 @ 8:45 AM

  184. Barbara #171,

    “It looks like investment in renewables is pointless:
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2013/08/michael-klare-the-third-carbon-age-drop-the-fantasy-of-a-coming-era-of-renewable-energy.html

    Klare comes to a rather obvious conclusion in his article: we are entering the Age of Unconventional Oil and Gas, rather than the Age of Renewables. One only has to observe investments, construction, and plans/projections from myriad energy-related organizations to validate his conclusion. And, yes, that investment will be recouped many times over. There is no lack of demand for the product, from both the developed and developing worlds.

    Klare’s other point, however, is the Achilles Heel of his argument. He decries the relative lack of renewables investment compared to unconventional fossil investment, implying that somehow greater renewables investment will be a panacea and rescue us from the impending climate disaster. The argument is weak. Yes, a dollar invested in renewables is better for the biosphere than a dollar invested in any type of fossil source. That’s setting the bar quite low! But, as many of us have shown in our postings of the past month, renewables will produce a number of adverse effects, will not free us from dependence on fossil fuels, and some have abysmally low ERoEI. The only realistic solution is to minimize use of either fossil or low-carbon sources to the maximum extent possible by DRASTICALLY CUTTING DEMAND. Klare needs to firm up his argument; he has addressed only half the problem in his otherwise interesting essay.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 17 Jul 2014 @ 8:59 AM

  185. Chuck (#170),

    Things can go the other way too where scientific reticence impedes communication: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/2/2/024002/fulltext/

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 17 Jul 2014 @ 9:01 AM

  186. Wili @ 181 regarding Gavin’s quote:

    Try http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/350/

    Which links to the original source – http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/science/earth/25threefifty.html?_r=0

    Comment by Rick Brown — 17 Jul 2014 @ 11:52 AM

  187. Re citations (including Barbara, currently #172) of the “naked capitalism” blog on Michael Klare and the response by Kevin McKinney, who cites the well-known drop in solar PV costs:

    To say that investment in renewables seems pointless is obviously off the mark, since renewables by definition are what remain as the other stuff gets harder to come by.

    But the PV cost drop, while welcome, is a smallish part of the overall story. The ratio of bloggy references to PV cost drop to bloggy references to the real problems is waaaay too high.

    Rather than adding to that bad ratio, make the PV cost drop a brief aside at most, and talk about the hard parts, which have to do with head-spinningly complex feedbacks in natural and human systems. In particular, the cost of PV embedded as a bit player in energy systems dependent mostly on FF is of doubtful relevance. If costs of storage, conversion, and transmission, to get the energy where and when we would like it, in a directly useful form, were also dropping that fast, industrial civilization as we have come to enjoy it would be looking pretty good. Sadly, they aren’t.

    A naive reading of Kevin’s comment assumes that we have a constant supply of chips (call them dollars), which we collect for passing GO, and we get to spend them on the stuff we need. As long as the pile of chips covers the needs, we’re good.

    I know that sounds childish, but this reading is assumed all over, and seems to be the basis of most promotion of renewables investment.

    A little thought reveals that the chips themselves are meaningless, and the capacity to get around to GO once more depends on, well, a head-spinningly complex pile of feedbacks that bottoms out on use of natural resources.

    Progress in PV is great. Progress in taking the PV output, plus other true renewables, and turning it back into roads, mines, heavy equipment, factories, ocean transport, and on and on, all of which is needed to produce and maintain the PV infrastructure, would be even greater. Keep your eye on the ball.

    (PS Nice to have the preview of this comment to look at, but why is it timestamped on Apr 28 2014?)

    Comment by Ric Merritt — 17 Jul 2014 @ 12:27 PM

  188. For Wili — you found only one source for that quote?
    Google finds seven; one attributes it to the New York Times
    Checking that leads you back here, to
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/10/350/

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 17 Jul 2014 @ 1:17 PM

  189. Gavin #180,

    “As long as you keep thinking the goal of communicating is not in fact to communicate anything, you are going to end up just mumbling to yourself.”

    Well, you’re ignoring the fundamental data problem. What are the metrics of effective communication on this blog, and how are they quantified? The fundamental data elements are the numbers of readers, and their starting perceptions/agendas. One would have to poll the total readership, and correct for those with pre-determined agendas, to get a valid gauge of communication effectiveness.

    I have no idea how many readers RC has, but I would guess that the numbers of posters are a small minority. What are the characteristics of these posters? Are they honest independent people searching for the truth, or are they ‘hired guns’ by specific technology investors? Are they a representative sample of the total readership, or are they mouthing the talking points of a few sponsors? Without this information, we will never fully know whether DIOGENES is communicating effectively, or whether Gavin Schmid is communicating effectively.

    Because I don’t know where the other posters are coming from, I consider each post solely on its technical merits. If a post contains good logic and/or a few reproducible computations and/or some good references, I weight it highly. On the other hand, if a post contains vitriol and invective, poor logic, no numbers and no references (which typifies the majority of posts criticizing mine), I also weight it accordingly.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 17 Jul 2014 @ 3:04 PM

  190. wili:

    the fact is that many human cultures have had little to no negative impact on the environments in which they have traditionally lived. It is really only modern industrial society that has had a globally negative impact on the environment.

    I’m sorry, but there’s plenty of evidence that humans have been impacting their environments at least since we left Africa. The advent of humans, although probably not the sole cause, is strongly implicated in the extinction of dozens of species in Eurasia, Australia and the Americas within a few centuries after arrival. Even if they didn’t directly kill all those animals, the early immigrants drastically altered landscapes on continental scales, chiefly by using fire for vegetation management.

    The alteration of ecosystems and the pace of human-caused extinction accelerated when agriculture was invented. Agriculture simplifies complex ecosystems in order to maximize the proportion of total energy flux that passes through a few edible species and into human biomass — otherwise why bother? And by allowing human populations to grow beyond the natural capacity of their local habitats, agriculture spread inexorably over the planet, leaving extinctions in its wake, and releasing greenhouse gases that began to affect the global temperature curve as early as 8000 ya. Jared Diamond has gone so far as to say that agriculture is the worst mistake in the history of the human race.

    The benefits of modern industrial society are surely enjoyed unequally, and the full costs will mostly be paid by those who have benefited the least. Please, though, let’s not kid ourselves about the ecological blamelessness of “traditional” societies.

    Of course, we shouldn’t kid ourselves that this kind of argument is going to help win public support for an effective climate policy either.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 17 Jul 2014 @ 3:25 PM

  191. My personal feeling is that calling human beings “a plague species” in this context is a net positive. It forces one to think about who we are in a different light. Instead of approaching life with blind optimism, it has the effect of making us take our blinders off. That’s a good thing, and hopefully helps us move in the direction of reducing greenhouse gas use.

    Comment by Doug — 17 Jul 2014 @ 3:46 PM

  192. Question, perhaps someone can answer: I’ve seen an argument where critics assert that *upper* tropospheric water vapor has not been increasing as expected, only some increases in lower, and that this means climate sensitivity is lower. I don’t think they have good sources on this, but hunting around I wasn’t able to find any data on upper troposphere specifically, just humidity generally (per NOAA site). Anybody know about or have any data sources on this particular question? thanks

    [Response: The 'NOAA' water vapor that gets frequently pointed to is from a re-analysis that had a flawed procedure for inputting radiosonde humidity data that didn't take into account improvements in technology over time - the subsequent 'trends' are not climate-related. There has been work on satellite retrievals of upper-troposphere RH some of which is discussed in the latest IPCC report - section 2.5.5 is where you should start. - gavin]

    Comment by waxliberty — 17 Jul 2014 @ 6:42 PM

  193. 176 Gavin: In order to change anything, you have to advertise. But you must talk about something of immediate concern, such as food and the price of food. So research rain. Get GCMs to tell you that farming won’t work and Americans will go hungry. That works because it bypasses the mind and hits a more primitive spot in the brain. Everybody gets hungry.

    Most people value the lives of their grandchildren, but psychopaths and some cultists do not.
    Try again: Talk about the price of food going up. But you don’t because General Circulation Models [GCMs] don’t tell you whether or not the rain will be suitable for agriculture.

    It is amazing to me that you have not repeated Barton Paul Levenson’s work. Studying desertification has a big payoff. You can immediately say something that will get everybody’s attention: “No more food.”

    The word “flawed” is a bad word. Advertising is always a lie, but it works. Telling perfect truth doesn’t work. The average person is too stupid to get it.

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 17 Jul 2014 @ 10:58 PM

  194. 176 Gavin: While I agree with Gavin’s comment 90% I still have to wonder if the whole climate issue wouldn’t be an issue with only say 2-3Billion people on this planet. Not only that but 7 billion people being fed a media controlled and contrived propaganda that more is better and that affluence is the way to go just for the economic benefit/greed of the manufacturing nations. It’s going to take a biblical miracle for 7 bil people to live in balance with the natural world.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 18 Jul 2014 @ 1:30 AM

  195. 181 Wili: I think it’s also because various religious affiliations have over the centuries regarded the earth as a free infinate commodity to exploit however we wished with no future thought to possible ramifications. Humans were placed on this ego contrived pedestal as being the guardians of everything. Man has dominion over the beasts etc. When people an-masse start to question this crock of s**t and realise that we all breath the same air and essentially need the same things, and when people begin to regard humans as just another life-form on planet earth then we have a future. Without a diverse, healthy and balanced ecosystem to support us we might as well never have evolved in the first place.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 18 Jul 2014 @ 1:48 AM

  196. Given the way anthropogenic ground level ozone is formed, the EPA measure “Annual fourth daily maximum eight hour average” http://www.epa.gov/airtrends/ozone.html may track the situation pretty well. Drive that one down and likely the average level is going down too. But, could forests be experiencing a different situation?

    Here is something to wonder about: Conifers produce volatile organic carbon and this can produce ground level ozone. Could warming be increasing the rate of release of these volatiles? Is warming inducing a sort of auto-immune response in forests?

    This might go unnoticed in EPA measures because they might not sample deep in forests….

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Jul 2014 @ 7:30 AM

  197. SA (#173),

    I think the “we” she means are the “cultural we” who expect the framework of our lives to be constant. It is the same we who are surprised by an East Coast earthquake, in another context. I lived in Taiwan for about four years and so have experienced quite a few earthquakes. Sitting out on Assateague Island on the day of the Mineral, VA quake, I was one of the few people there who knew immediately what was happening. Several people mentioned that they had never known what that would feel like.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Jul 2014 @ 9:50 AM

  198. Looks like the State of Oregon may be on the way to divesting from fossil fuels. http://registerguard.com/rg/news/local/31878098-75/state-council-eugene-fossil-fuel.html.csp

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Jul 2014 @ 10:21 AM

  199. Lawrence Coleman wrote: ” I still have to wonder if the whole climate issue wouldn’t be an issue with only say 2-3 Billion people on this planet.”

    That depends.

    If those people burned as little fossil fuels, and emitted as little greenhouse gases, as do the poorest 2-3 billion people in the world today, then GHG-driven warming would be much less of an urgent issue.

    If they burned as much fossil fuels and emitted as much GHGs per capita as Americans, then the problem would be much worse than it is.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 18 Jul 2014 @ 10:26 AM

  200. Kevin McKinney wrote: “But weren’t we supposed to be avoiding mitigation topics this month?”

    The people who comment here for the primary purpose of attacking, disparaging and denigrating renewable energy are going to do that no matter what the moderators say.

    Comment by SecularAnimist — 18 Jul 2014 @ 10:29 AM

  201. Doug (#191),

    Humans are much more like beavers, an ecosystem creating species. Just as beavers provide a situation for ducks to fear snapping turtles, humans favor certain grass and animal species leading to broad dominance of wheat, maize and rice along with hooved species and chickens. Like beavers, there is much more biomass in what we foster than in our own bodies.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Jul 2014 @ 11:07 AM

  202. Rick (#187),

    “Progress in taking the PV output, plus other true renewables, and turning it back into roads, mines, heavy equipment, factories, ocean transport, and on and on, all of which is needed to produce and maintain the PV infrastructure, would be even greater.”

    You have badly misunderstood the situation. A train load of solar panels carries more energy that 200 train loads of coal. Use of PV shrivels all those things you are assuming are needed.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Jul 2014 @ 11:23 AM

  203. Thanks, hank and rick. I guess I need a new browser, or a better brain.

    Mal Adapted: I very carefully chose the word ‘many’ to mean ‘considerably more than one’ and not ‘nearly all.’ You mention ‘since we left Africa’ but not all of humanity left Africa. As far as I can tell, while they may have altered their environment in various ways over the millennia, traditional peoples such as those speaking the Khoisan group of languages, and many of the peoples, such as the Aka, Mbuti and others traditionally grouped under the term “Pygmy,” have not been responsible for mass extinctions in their areas.

    Certainly most others, as they spread out from Africa probably did help bring about the extinction of many species. But even there, once established, many of the small scale communities found a way to live more or less in balance with their local environments–I’m thinking here especially of the indigenous peoples of Australia.

    The point is that many human cultures have found ways to limit their negative effects on their environment. We don’t have to posit perfect ‘savage’ to take some solace and instruction from those examples, and to use it as a counter balance that humans are, have always been, and must always be a ‘plague species’ on the earth, as strong as the evidence for that hypothesis looks at this point.

    But yes, agriculture and fire certainly wreaked a lot of ecological damage. (IIRC, though, the claim that ag has had a warming effect on the climate for thousands of years is still controversial; the globe, after all, had been cooling by about .1 degrees C per millennium since about the start of the agricultural revolution.)

    And again, I never said all traditional societies were ‘blameless,’ but the relative degree of blame and consequence are certainly outsized, as you suggest.

    Yet again, the main point, somehow lost in all of this, is that many human societies DO have strong cultural traditions of limiting their own behavior, specifically wrt overusing resources. That is hopeful because it suggests that culture (including, for modern culture, laws, policies..) CAN be part of the solution, or at least be part of what could lessen the extent of the damage.

    I hope we can agree, at least that none of these groups had the globally negative effects on world life support systems and species that modern industrial culture has had.

    Doug and Lawrence: Well put. Though I would say that the ‘religion’ of limitlessness that created the greatest damage was that of the industrialists, capitalist and otherwise, and especially the ‘religion’ of neo-classical economics, wedded as it is to the insane, geo-cidal notion of limitless growth. (Sorry for the long post. I’ll try to be more parsimonious with my words next time.)

    Comment by wili — 18 Jul 2014 @ 11:33 AM

  204. Lawrence Coleman:

    181 Wili: I think it’s also because various religious affiliations have over the centuries regarded the earth as a free infinate commodity to exploit however we wished with no future thought to possible ramifications. Humans were placed on this ego contrived pedestal as being the guardians of everything. Man has dominion over the beasts etc.

    There’s prior work on this 8^): The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis. It made quite a splash at the time, and is still being cited.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 18 Jul 2014 @ 11:36 AM

  205. #190–”I’m sorry, but there’s plenty of evidence that humans have been impacting their environments at least since we left Africa.”

    (See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/07/unforced-variations-july-2014/comment-page-4/#comment-573106)

    Mal, I had the same immediate reaction. But on re-reading, will specified “global” as the spatial frame, so I’d say his statement was probably true, despite the correctness of the points you raise.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 18 Jul 2014 @ 11:40 AM

  206. #200, SA–Oh, I don’t know that it’s quite that bad; we got through the first half of July before this one came up, and it wasn’t one of the ‘regulars.’

    Ric (#187), I’m biting my tongue a bit in light of the OTness of mitigation. But perhaps you might like to expand your thoughts a bit at this current conversation:

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2014/07/05/7245/

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 18 Jul 2014 @ 11:45 AM

  207. Chris Dudley:

    Conifers produce volatile organic carbon and this can produce ground level ozone.

    Heh. Even Ronald Reagan knew that 8^D!

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 18 Jul 2014 @ 11:47 AM

  208. My comment did not go through yesterday (Captcha :-/) so here goes again.
    Comments are closed for ‘Unforced variations June 2014′ so I am responding here. Sorry for my long delay. Re: my post in June (#189, firstly thank you to Lawrence Coleman for your interesting reply (#222). I believe I have found more or less what I have been looking for ( a global picture of the various warming forces at play and how they connect to each other). Here is the link to the British Met Office site: http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate-guide/climate-change/impacts/human-dynamics
    My hope is that this type of global gauge of the various forces at play becomes more interactive, live and self-updating so that we all can observe the changes and perhaps notice patterns that we might not have otherwise. It really helps to get the big picture in this case. Our planet is one giant ecosystem and everything is connected in one way or another.
    Thanks to all for your hard work. To those who are being bullied or worse please share you experiences with all of us so that we may know and support you better. Your work is much appreciated.
    Thanks. James in Canada.

    Comment by James@CAN — 18 Jul 2014 @ 12:08 PM

  209. #189 DIOGENES

    I’m pretty sure sites like these are not going to attract that part of the populace that is potentially going to make a difference. Besides, as I’m sure you will agree, historically these groups have only ever achieved evolutionary changes in comparatively small aspects of the human circumstance like women’s rights or (more) equal civil liberties. Nothing like what we are up against here.

    Where in tribes ordinary folk were listening to whoever they felt had the most power (chiefs, medicine men, priests) today it’s the ones who buy their authority though a mixture of implemented ignorance and multi-level marketing schemes.

    The metrics of the effectiveness of this blog in that regard, are meaningless. As you so aptly pointed out, writing here and elsewhere is simply the right thing to do. But that’s where the story ends.

    If polls show that GW isn’t even on the radar screen of most Americans (not sure if that is a accurate reflection of global figures, though I’m quite sure it is) when asked about the current dangers to their way of life, I’d say this is race lost before it even began.

    It’s relativism, thoroughly embedded in our thinking, that got us here. Now it’s going to be our demise. Yesterday, close to 200 of my countrymen were killed because some moron mistook a civilian plane for a military one. I’d say that’s perfectly in line with the response the Global Warning is getting concerning Global Warming.

    Comment by Gogon Zola — 18 Jul 2014 @ 1:07 PM

  210. #200 SecularAnimist

    Perhaps they are just genuinely concerned and/or disheartened by the response of those we call our leaders and our fellow humans..

    Curious, what on Earth gives you any hope these various forms of RE are in any way shape or form going to make a difference when they are 1. So hugely depended on fossil fuels and 2. The very fact that we got ourselves into this ridiculous, avoidable, suicidal mess in the first place?

    Comment by Gorgon Zola — 18 Jul 2014 @ 2:55 PM

  211. Probably should mention that April-May-June 2014 were the warmest on record. http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2014/07/15/april_may_and_june_2014_is_the_warmest_three_month_period_ever.html

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 18 Jul 2014 @ 4:05 PM

  212. 200: I for one am trying to avoid mitigation topics. Besides I believe we are beyond the effective use for mitigation. Invest instead in adaptation for as long as we’ve got.

    Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 19 Jul 2014 @ 12:48 AM

  213. Re #193

    The average person is too stupid to get it.

    Turned me off so Gavin has it right as far as I see it. The IPCC casts its language in a politically and scientifically neutral tone. Whilst the world wakes up to the possibility of a warmer world with its associated new mean of weather we need to make sure that everyone will be affected (not saying equally mind) and that everyone might have a part to play but the west and China more so for current and historical reasons. Politically lots of people are rejecting the science and progress is slow but that’s the way it is. Keep on speaking the message of mitigation, new tech and energy improvement but don’t mention life style changes yet – lets see if the former can work however unlikely it is.

    On other subjects related to climate emissions lots of things said here are very good and have merit but its a massive tanker and turning it away from a system so ingrained that all other systems are reliant on it is a daunting task and presently emissions are growing albeit more slowly presently. So lets redefine the argument here: 2C is becoming less and less likely to the point that its very doubtful to be achieved but 3-4C are still a target worth aiming for.

    Comment by Pete Best — 19 Jul 2014 @ 4:47 AM

  214. How do you counter this sort of propaganda when people don’t have a fundamental understanding of the science?

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/07/13/3459584/rupert-murdoch-climate-change-rubbish/

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 20 Jul 2014 @ 3:45 AM

  215. THE ARCTIC METHANE MONSTER

    RobertScribbler has an interesting column on Arctic Methane (http://robertscribbler.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/tracking-the-footprints-of-the-arctic-methane-monster-black-craters-in-the-siberian-tundra-methane-lacing-2500-mile-wide-smoke-plumes-over-gigantic-arctic-wildfires/#comments). In his comments, and those of his posters, there are a number of references to RC. Some of the more interesting include:

    “Real climate covered methane in a 2012 entitled “much ado about methane”. I think it’s worth reading that post, as well as all the comments from the scientists in the comment’s thread.”

    “You have one group that argues there will be no response to a powerful Arctic warming from methane sources for thousands of years. You have another group that argues that instant catastrophe is nigh. There appears to be no middle ground and neither group is really talking to the other. Each has retreated into their respective corners.”

    “The position Archer takes on Methane is similar to the position some scientists took some decades back regarding ice sheet response — that it would take many centuries for even a moderate sea level rise due to ice sheet melt despite the evidence plainly available in the immediate paleoclimate science at the end of the last ice age showing periods that, even under the moderate pace of warming seen then, where sea level rise hit ten feet per century. Nor did it take into account the fact that even under the ‘slow’ pace of current warming we will see temperature increases in the range of what was seen during the end of the last ice age in less than two centuries (not 10,000 years).”

    “The notion that there would not even be a moderate methane feedback this century under a regime of warming in the range of 2-7 C and 5-15 C in the Arctic is quite outlandish once you consider the actual physical processes involved and the fact that heat transfer finds a way to take place in nature even if it doesn’t in simulation.”

    “Schmidt was one of the scientists that together with Archer have consistently said that large methane releases are not a problem at least in the near term (geologically) and has been at odds with S&S and other scientists who have said it is a potential problem…..So the issue of methane has been quitely pushed into the background, nothwithstanding earlier observations and science indicating methane releases well above what IPCC indicated should be happening and that there was serious under-reporting in USA.”

    “Not a good state for the science to be in. There’s a kind of trench warfare going on over methane. I honestly don’t understand the Schmidt/Archer stance and hope it hasn’t colored the NASA focus.”

    I have pointed out these inconsistencies between major science groups in a number of posts. Why don’t we get a multi-perspective article posted on Arctic methane, with contributions from Archer, Schmidt, Wadhams, Semiletov, and Shakova? Let’s get a fuller picture.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 20 Jul 2014 @ 8:13 AM

  216. @215 – The problem I have with Mr. Scribbler and the subject of methane, is his tendency to invoke some sort of conspiracy to cover up evidence and halt the research on the subject without having any direct proof that such a thing is really taking place. If I remember correctly, either in the article itself or in follow up comments, he attempts to implicate RC, insofar as implying that Gavin Schmidt/NASA et al, are ignoring evidence and are relying solely on climate models. What he seems to have not considered is that people may have left the topic because of the relatively short shelf life of methane. As I understand it, we have a CO2 problem no matter how you slice it. Even Dr. Peter Ward has said as much.

    If I remember correctly, the Methane, or “Clathrate Gun hypothesis” was dealt with directly here by Dr. David Archer himself and at least for now, put aside after a pretty thorough examination.

    Mr. Scribbler is entertaining reading and can be very informative but I think he and his readers would be better served if they avoided the conspiracy talk…. unless there is direct evidence. As I recall, he hasn’t been able to produce any, or at least anything convincing. And dramatizing the situation probably isn’t a wise thing to do, as per Gavin’s advice.

    Also Dr. Schmidt… thank you for your response to me earlier post.

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 20 Jul 2014 @ 1:47 PM

  217. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025322714001480
    DOI: 10.1016/j.margeo.2014.05.014

    Multiple failure styles related to shallow gas and fluid venting, upper slope Canadian Beaufort Sea, northern Canada
    Marine Geology, Volume 355, 1 September 2014, Pages 136–149

    • Water column backscatter shows active gas vents near the subsea permafrost limit.
    • Creep with growth faults occurs over a gas-charged decollement zone.
    • Creep evolves to translational slides where thick, debris flows were thin.
    • A major [greater than] 1 ka retrogressive slump is the largest failure in the area.

    The continental slope of the Canadian Beaufort Sea presents an exceptional opportunity to study the relationship between the fluid venting and the formation of mass-transport deposits. The continental shelf was emergent and partially ice-free during the last glaciation and is underlain by widespread permafrost.

    Water-column backscatter has shown the locations of more than 40 active gas vents along seaward margin of the subsea permafrost at the shelf break and upper slope. New multibeam bathymetry and subbottom profiler data show shallow potentially late Holocene failures and mass-transport deposits on the upper slope. Upslope from a prominent headscarp, undulating seabed with apparent growth faults overlies an acoustically incoherent to stratified horizon at 50 m sub-bottom interpreted as a decollement surface over which progressive creep has occurred.

    Similar creep is present in places on the upper slope and in places seems to have evolved into small translational slides, involving more compacted sediment buried > 25 m, or into muddy debris flows where sediments buried < 25 m have failed. Much of the slope failed during a regional retrogressive event, the Ikit slump, likely initiated on steep channel walls on the lower slope. Characteristic ridge and trough morphology resulting from retrogressive spreading or rotational slumping are preserved on gradients < 2° on the upper slope, but appear to have been completely evacuated on gradients of 3° on the mid slope, where muddy debris-flow deposits are found.

    Correlations between radiocarbon dated cores and sub-bottom profiles show that the retrogressive failure occurred in the last 1000 years. This study implies that Holocene shelf break and upper slope stability in the Beaufort Sea are strongly linked to the dynamics of the permafrost and the presence of weak, gas-rich sediments. It demonstrates that creep deformation evolves into either muddy debris flows or translational slides, dependent on sediment strength.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jul 2014 @ 1:54 PM

  218. #215 DIOGENES says “You have one group that argues there will be no response to a powerful Arctic warming from methane sources for thousands of years. You have another group that argues that instant catastrophe is nigh. There appears to be no middle ground and neither group is really talking to the other. Each has retreated into their respective corners.” AND “I have pointed out these inconsistencies between major science groups in a number of posts. Why don’t we get a multi-perspective article posted on Arctic methane, with contributions from Archer, Schmidt, Wadhams, Semiletov, and Shakova? Let’s get a fuller picture.”
    This is precisely what I am observing as well DIOGENES in a broader sense not related only to CH4 but to the entire science of AGW.
    If we have somewhere one interactive, self-updating (fairly peer reviewed) global model of all the data, we can allow the full spectrum of ideas (from fairly peer reviewed deniers to fairly peer reviewed alarmists) to chart and gauge the health of our planet. The data will speak for itself and smooth out the natural differences of data and opinion over time.
    Scientists are naturally focused on their own work, as they must be. It is painstaking work. Other people are focused on solely on their own “idea”.
    I have been studying AGW for almost 10 years now from home by personal research.
    I really like EHN http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/archives.jsp?sm=fr13%3Bcurrentissues15%3B5Climate_change14%3BClimate+change because this site is a “publishers clearing house” for all things related to AGW. By studying everything from “climate science from climate scientists” to local anecdotal reports in the local paper in some small town one gets over time a good perspective on trends. By not focusing my brain energy too much on any one item or perspective, my brain can smooth out the divergences and over time give me a greater perspective of all the forces at work. A computer could do this much more effectively with greater accuracy and reliability. A global computer model of all climate data, scientific and anecdotal.
    For example, I live on the Pacific Coast of Canada. I read a few years ago in a scientific report that a possible outcome of AGW might be an increase in cloud cover here in the Pacific Northwest at certain times of the year. Noted. Sometime later I read very locally that greenhouse growers are reporting an approximate 10% increase in energy use which they attribute to increased cloud cover. These examples go on and on. One of the most successful real estate moguls in all of Canada has mentioned that his wealthy clients from the all over the world are perhaps buying property here to hedge against climate change in their own homelands.
    My point is that the very precise focused work of all the worlds climate scientist of all stripes is vitally important. Anecdotal evidence which can corroborate the science is also important.
    We should allow all opinions and data (fairly peer reviewed for relevance)to populate this global model. Over time the true picture of the health of our planet will filter through.

    Comment by James@CAN — 20 Jul 2014 @ 2:06 PM

  219. MA,

    I’m obviously pretty dismissive of Gail’s claims but since we are controlling VOC and NOX perhaps there has been a shift which allows forests to get more ozone while everyone else is getting less. Another thing that has changed is that forests are warmer than they were. So, I speculate.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 20 Jul 2014 @ 2:17 PM

  220. I see the “… no middle ground” notion as as an exaggeration by the methane monster theorists.

    They pretend not to hear the the simple advice by the climate scientists, which comes down to: whatever the details, stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere and ocean, and turn the process around.

    Or, they push the drill-it-and-burn-it “depressurize” claim as an excuse for the drilling and burning in the Arctic that’s already underway. Duh.

    The exact details — how this excursion will thrash out, which particular horn or claw or tooth of the awakened angry climate beast will gore which particular favorite — won’t matter much after the fact.

    Methane oxidizes to CO2 fast; CO2 persists for centuries in the air and water; committed warming will happen, somewhat faster or slower, regardless.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 20 Jul 2014 @ 2:40 PM

  221. wili:

    Yet again, the main point, somehow lost in all of this, is that many human societies DO have strong cultural traditions of limiting their own behavior, specifically wrt overusing resources. That is hopeful because it suggests that culture (including, for modern culture, laws, policies..) CAN be part of the solution, or at least be part of what could lessen the extent of the damage.

    Well said, and it’s what I pin my faint remaining hope on. But what voluntarily-sustainable societies haven’t been swept away by the tide of modernity, retreated to habitats no one else wants, or been arbitrarily conserved by their conquerors in de facto dioramas? To a neo-darwinian like myself, sustainability looks like an evolutionarily unstable strategy. I’m sufficiently pessimistic that I’ve declined to leave descendants (hence my ‘nym). Ironically, that leaves me less motivated to work toward a solution. Sigh. Perhaps the long view is most salutary: in the eons after our own extinction, “endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful” will evolve by the adaptive radiation of whatever species we leave extant.

    Comment by Mal Adapted — 20 Jul 2014 @ 4:03 PM

  222. About the whole plague species thing. Anyone willing to put on an ecologist’s whole-system thinking cap will understand and agree with it. Anyone who strongly thinks humans are special creations unlike animals/plants etc. will be turned off by it, and reject dismiss the rest of the argument. The first group almost certainly consists (if I may use a religious term) of the already converted. It is the later group that needs to hear the message, and thats just the group that will turn away from it. How to make the message ego-friendly enough that some progress can be made converting the difficult cases is the real issue.

    Comment by Thomas — 20 Jul 2014 @ 5:12 PM

  223. Chuck Hughes #216,

    “The problem I have with Mr. Scribbler and the subject of methane, is his tendency to invoke some sort of conspiracy to cover up evidence and halt the research on the subject without having any direct proof that such a thing is really taking place.”

    There are myriad ways to suppress evidence. There is the overt/explicit approach of Watergate, which comes closer to the textbook definition of conspiracy. But, there is a more subtle and insidious form, sans conspiracy, where many different groups don’t present necessary evidence, or the full context. I believe this is happening throughout the climate change community. Here are three simple examples.

    1. Positive Feedback Potential

    The major feedback mechanisms are consistently underemphasized, including the serious potential of the methane large release problem. What do we get from RC: Archer’s soothing words! Where’s the balanced view from those who are less sanguine?

    The only blog that really treats the positive feedback mechanisms seriously and comprehensively is McPherson’s. Given his overzealousness, he can be easily discounted by those who benefit from discounting him. In his case, the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater!

    One serious consequence of underemphasizing/suppressing the seriousness of the potential of positive feedback mechanisms is that adaptation to higher temperatures can be treated as realistic. We see many articles in the peer-reviewed literature and the serious press about resigning ourselves to a 3 C or 4 C world. Does anyone seriously believe that when temperature increases to those levels occur, or maybe even to 2 C (what Hansen/Anderson call Dangerous/Extremely Dangerous), they would stabilize? With the types of positive feedback mechanisms we are seeing today at 0.8 C, as documented extensively by McPherson, I don’t see how such temperatures can be stabilized. The importance of this feedback under-emphasis is reflected in potential mitigation. Any scheme that proposes to keep us under 2 C may, for all practical purposes, lead to uninhabitable temperatures before too long, and an uninhabitable planet.

    2. Required Temperature Ceiling

    All the major reports and studies focus on the, in their words, internationally agreed-upon temperature ceiling target of 2 C. Notice these reports rarely, if ever, discuss any scientific rationale for this target. But, as I have pointed out repeatedly, the leading climate scientists believe the real target should be 1 C or less. This has been known for at least two decades, but effectively suppressed by all the literatures in favor of 2 C. Emphasizing the necessity of the 1 C target would eliminate many of the popular mitigation options being proposed presently, and would present the global populace with the really harsh choices necessary to insure our survival.

    3. Fallacy of Low Carbon Mitigation

    Tied in with the above is the fiction being promulgated by all forms of the media that low carbon technologies will make a significant contribution toward climate change amelioration. What has been suppressed by the media, including the major climate blogs, is that not only will switch to low carbon technologies have insignificant impact on achieving the required temperature ceiling targets, but these technologies have myriad adverse effects in addition. To RC’s credit, in the past couple of months, it has allowed articles by myself, Greisch, Barcus, and others showing the tip of the iceberg of the adverse effects from renewables to be posted. Other leading blogs have yet to take this step of presenting the full truth about renewables.

    In summary, the extreme direness of our climate change situation has been radically downplayed by the full spectrum of media, and the extreme harshness of measures required to extricate ourselves from this situation (if still possible) has been radically downplayed as well. We need to turn this situation around, and fast! A journey of 2000 miles begins with one small step. This step could be the proposal I made in #215 to have RC post a seminar-type article on methane including Schmidt, Archer, Wadhams, Semiletov, and Shakova.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 21 Jul 2014 @ 4:40 AM

  224. http://www.climatecentral.org/news/arctic-methane-emissions-certain-to-trigger-warming-17374

    Gavin is very sensible on methane and has a far greater scientific input on the subject so what he says contains gravitas

    Comment by pete best — 21 Jul 2014 @ 5:42 AM

  225. “What has been suppressed by the media, including the major climate blogs, is that not only will switch to low carbon technologies have insignificant impact on achieving the required temperature ceiling targets, but these technologies have myriad adverse effects in addition.”

    [See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/07/unforced-variations-july-2014/comment-page-5/#comment-573873

    More off-topic baloney, validating SA’s prediction at #200.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Jul 2014 @ 7:08 AM

  226. Hank, when you say of ‘methane monster theorists’ (and I note that you, eternal foe of all things rhetorical, are using subtle word choice to dismiss and denigrate those you disagree with–only naive children believe in monsters, after all):

    “They pretend not to hear the the simple advice by the climate scientists, which comes down to: whatever the details, stop adding CO2 to the atmosphere and ocean, and turn the process around.”

    Do you have any evidence that any of them actually hold such a view? Particularly do you see anywhere that RobertScribbler (or myself, for that matter) holds such a view? If not…well, I would expect better from someone who is always (rightly) chiding the rest of us for not tracking down evidence on line when it is so easily and readily available.

    I would ask the same of Chuck when he claims of RS that he has a “tendency to invoke some sort of conspiracy to cover up evidence.” Quote where you have seen what you take to be such a tendency so we can all judge for ourselves whether you are being accurate in your assessment. Otherwise, while it might not rise to the level of slander or libel, it is certainly just baseless accusation.

    MD: Well put.

    Comment by wili — 21 Jul 2014 @ 8:02 AM

  227. Thomas (#222),

    It is very hard to find support for your claim. Humans have been pretty hard on megafauna and species adapted to predator free regions like island ecosystems, but we have also greatly expanded the range of horses, cattle, pigs, chickens, wheat, maize, rice and rats, which, on continents, probably increased bio-diversity. We are certainly increasing biological productivity with our manipulation of the nitrogen cycle though with over activity in estuaries. We don’t occupy a parasitic niche as plague does but rather construct our own niche the way beavers and ants do. It seems to me that the “plague species” meme can only lead to misconceptions and hinder finding effective ways to avoid ecological damage. At this point we cause vast damage out of clumsiness. The solution is not an inoculation but rather more adroit niche building with greater awareness of how our actions may impact biodiversity. You can find many many examples of habitat preservation and restoration which indicate that we are capable of being adroit.

    Comment by Chris Dudley — 21 Jul 2014 @ 8:51 AM

  228. Kevin McKinney #225,

    “What has been suppressed by the media, including the major climate blogs, is that not only will switch to low carbon technologies have insignificant impact on achieving the required temperature ceiling targets, but these technologies have myriad adverse effects in addition.”

    “More off-topic baloney,”

    As usual, your meaningless comments have missed the main point of #223. And, as usual, I will spell it out for you.

    Climate change science and mitigation are inextricably bound together; they cannot be separated! The media presentation of climate change, and especially the component that is suppressed by non-reporting or skewed reporting, is driven by mitigation. In other words, the desired mitigation is driving the science presented, not the converse!

    In the right-wing media, the desired mitigation is none at all: business as usual is the goal. Therefore, there is a combination on non-reporting of what’s happening in climate change, selective reporting, or skewed reporting where deniers are given equal weight with experts. The resulting science is that there is either no climate change, or any climate change that appears to be happening is from natural variability.

    In the progressive media, the desired mitigation is low carbon and energy efficient technologies that will allow life and commerce to proceed as usual. No sacrifices required, and unlimited prosperity for all! In order for this technology-based approach to be effective, there is a floor on the science targets (temperature, GHG concentration, etc) that can be achieved. So, this media emphasizes contrived targets like staying under 2 C with 1/2 or even 4/5 chance, emphasizes that e.g. massive methane releases in the Arctic are extremely unlikely, and presents the pure fiction that renewables are harmless and can contribute substantially to climate change amelioration.

    Both of these media presentations of climate change are perversions of the science to make it subservient to mitigation desired, and, while seemingly very different, will result in modestly differing effects on the final biosphere survival outcome.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 21 Jul 2014 @ 9:38 AM

  229. Wili #226,

    “I would ask the same of Chuck when he claims of RS that he has a “tendency to invoke some sort of conspiracy to cover up evidence.” Quote where you have seen what you take to be such a tendency so we can all judge for ourselves whether you are being accurate in your assessment. Otherwise, while it might not rise to the level of slander or libel, it is certainly just baseless accusation.”

    On the specific methane discussion, one could draw the implication from all the comments on the RS blog that various people believed not all the methane data was being presented publically. Is that so difficult to accept? There have been countless underwater vehicles, manned and unmanned, exploring the Seven Seas for decades. They have gathered massive amounts of data, among which I assume would be extensive methane data. How much of this data do you believe has been presented publically? 1%? Maybe.

    We will never really know what data have been gathered, and what are its implications, until a Snowden of Methane comes along and reveals the findings. But, in the absence of such a person(s), I would place heavy weighting on the comments of those who actually were involved with this massive data gathering. That’s why Wadhams’ comments rank high on my list. He has been going to the Arctic on these subs for decades, and I suspect he understands quite well the implications of the data reported in the literature and that not reported. Same for Semiletov. In Nick Breeze’s interview of Shakova, when asked when a significant methane eruption could occur, Shakova hemmed and hawed, while Semiletov could be clearly heard in the background saying ‘it could happen anytime’. At that point, Shakova frowned strongly.

    Finally, one needs to reason backwards on this issue; who benefits from suppression of the real potential impacts of strong methane release? It is the same groups that benefit from under-reporting of the direness of our situation, and I have addressed these in #223 and elsewhere. We know very little about the climate tinderbox on which we are sitting; I suspect the real situation is far far worse than reported.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 21 Jul 2014 @ 10:50 AM

  230. NCDC has finally weighed in on the June anomaly: it was the warmest June ever, WRT combined land and sea anomalies. Warm ocean surface waters were the main driver: “…the June global sea surface temperature was 0.64°C (1.15°F) above the 20th century average of 16.4°C (61.5°F), the highest for June on record and the highest departure from average for any month. (Emphasis mine.)

    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/sotc/global/2014/6

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 21 Jul 2014 @ 11:32 AM

  231. Wili: How Guy McPherson gets it wrong.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 21 Jul 2014 @ 11:41 AM

  232. Billions of tons of methane are frozen into methane hydrates and permafrost in the Arctic. When methane decomposes in the atmosphere it forms carbon dioxide and water vapor. Has that water modeled into projected sea level rise?

    [Response: It is tiny. The impact of even 4000 ppb CH4 (more than twice present) would add 16 ppm of water vapour over a decade, which would be ~0.02 mm of ocean SLR. - gavin]

    Comment by catman306 — 21 Jul 2014 @ 1:39 PM

  233. This is my THIRD try to get these three sentences posted. Why?

    Billions of tons of methane are frozen into methane hydrates and permafrost in the Arctic. When methane decomposes in the atmosphere it forms carbon dioxide and water vapor. Has that water modeled into projected sea level rise?

    Comment by catman306 — 21 Jul 2014 @ 1:42 PM

  234. @waxliberty #192

    I’ve seen similar claims on climate4you and traced it down to ISSCP. IPCC report is a good way to start, but this blog entry (check the second part, too) gives you more context.

    Comment by BojanD — 21 Jul 2014 @ 2:02 PM

  235. First of all, I read Robert Scribblers piece and commented based on what I’d read. I LIKE Robert Scribbler very much and am a fan of his blog. What I said was strictly MY opinion. (I assume that’s legal). Mr. Scribbler is a great writer and communicator and very informative. Like most open blogs I see though, the subject at had can veer off into the realm of speculation and fascinating possibilities. It’s human nature to do that. Not being a scientist myself I don’t have the background or authority to determine whether or not someone is correct. I was voicing an “opinion”. Like most folks I have to continue to look and read. My apologies to Mr.Scribbler or any of his readers who may have been offended by what I said.

    We certainly don’t need the Indians fighting the Indians. We’re all on the same side trying to do good things and make a difference. Mr. Scribbler is doing excellent work in my OPINION and I will continue to read his blog with an open mind and a civil tongue.

    Sorry for the interruption.

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 21 Jul 2014 @ 2:40 PM

  236. Howarth, in light of studies published since his 2011 work, concludes that methane leakage makes natural gas worse than coal for GHG emissions.

    http://www.eeb.cornell.edu/howarth/publications/Howarth_2014_ESE_methane_emissions.pdf

    Comment by Meow — 21 Jul 2014 @ 4:04 PM

  237. Kevin McKinney #225,

    “What has been suppressed by the media, including the major climate blogs, is that not only will switch to low carbon technologies have insignificant impact on achieving the required temperature ceiling targets, but these technologies have myriad adverse effects in addition.”

    “More off-topic baloney,”

    As usual, your meaningless comments have missed the main point of #223. And, as usual, I will spell it out for you.

    Climate change science and mitigation are inextricably bound together in what the media presents; they cannot be separated! The media presentation of climate change, and especially the component that is suppressed by non-reporting or skewed reporting, is driven by mitigation. In other words, the desired mitigation is driving the science presented, not the converse!

    In the right-wing media, the desired mitigation is none at all: business as usual is the goal. Therefore, there is a combination on non-reporting of what’s happening in climate change, selective reporting, or skewed reporting where deniers are given equal weight with experts. The resulting science is that there is either no climate change, or any climate change that appears to be happening is from natural variability.

    In the progressive media, the desired mitigation is low carbon and energy efficient technologies that will allow life and commerce to proceed as usual. No sacrifices required, and unlimited prosperity for all! In order for this technology-based approach to be effective, there is a floor on the science targets (temperature, GHG concentration, etc) that can be achieved. So, this media emphasizes contrived targets like staying under 2 C with 1/2 or even 4/5 chance, emphasizes that e.g. massive methane releases in the Arctic are extremely unlikely, and presents the pure fiction that renewables are harmless and can contribute substantially to climate change amelioration.

    Both of these media presentations of climate change are perversions of the science to make it subservient to mitigation desired, and, while seemingly very different, will result in modestly differing effects on the final biosphere survival outcome.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 21 Jul 2014 @ 4:47 PM

  238. Wili #226,

    “I would ask the same of Chuck when he claims of RS that he has a “tendency to invoke some sort of conspiracy to cover up evidence.” Quote where you have seen what you take to be such a tendency so we can all judge for ourselves whether you are being accurate in your assessment. Otherwise, while it might not rise to the level of slander or libel, it is certainly just baseless accusation.”

    On the specific methane discussion, one could draw the implication from all the comments on the RS blog that various people believed not all the methane data was being presented publically. Is that so difficult for you to accept? There have been countless underwater vehicles, manned and unmanned, exploring the Seven Seas for decades, along with surface vehicles. They have gathered massive amounts of data, among which I assume would be extensive methane data. How much of this data do you believe has been presented publically? 1%? Maybe.

    We will never really know what data have been gathered, and what are its implications, until a Snowden of Methane comes along and reveals the findings. But, in the absence of such a person(s), I would place heavy weighting on the comments of those who actually were involved with this massive data gathering. That’s why Wadhams’ comments rank high on my list. He has been going to the Arctic on these subs for decades, and I suspect he understands quite well the implications of the data reported in the literature and that not reported. Same for Semiletov. In Nick Breeze’s interview of Shakova, when asked when a significant methane eruption could occur, Shakova hemmed and hawed, while Semiletov could be clearly heard in the background saying ‘it could happen anytime’. At that point, Shakova frowned strongly.

    Finally, one needs to reason backwards on this issue; who benefits from suppression of the real potential impacts of strong methane release? It is the same groups that benefit from under-reporting of the direness of our situation, and I have addressed these in #223 and elsewhere. We know very little about the climate tinderbox on which we are sitting; I suspect the real situation is substantially worse than reported.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 21 Jul 2014 @ 4:50 PM

  239. #215

    Doom is Nigh, or so says Bill. Tundra’s armed, set to kill. No more research, keeping score, slay us quickly, CH4..

    Comment by Gorgon Zola — 21 Jul 2014 @ 5:56 PM

  240. Dr. Peter Ward:

    “Methane is four times more effective as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. The good news is that, once released, it only lasts about 15 years. The bad news is that it breaks down into CO2! Great. A very lethal poison that turns into a less lethal poison. The thing is that it’s a slow, creeping death, and that is what is so horrible about the situation. Talking about methane is boring, so some have been thinking, “Well, maybe we’d have a big methane catastrophe. That’s a good hook!” You know, maybe all the methane locked down at the bottom of the Baltic Sea — and there’s a lot — comes up in a massive bubble, is struck by lightning and burns away all of China. That’s a cool story, and vaguely scientifically plausible, but the much more important story is that the methane is just popping out and isn’t burning like that.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-thill/weve-entered-the-age-of-m_b_924940.html

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 22 Jul 2014 @ 12:13 AM

  241. #237–Of course mitigation and climate change are ‘bound up’. And of course they can be separated for purposes of discussion. We have been asked to avoid mitigation topics again, in large part because of your repetitious and often erroneous screeds.

    And you can’t even comply with the moderators’ stated request, but continue to post unsupported and deeply illogical hooha. It’s as deeply disrespectful to them as your tone frequently is to other posters.

    Thanks for nothing.

    Comment by Kevin McKinney — 22 Jul 2014 @ 6:17 AM

  242. d @ ~ 237

    Policy and science are different by definition and function. They do go hand-in-hand, but that doesn’t mean (if I guess where you’re going with this) that the science is well served by unmodulated public speech from scientists. There are good reasons, which any thoughtful person should be able to identify, for firewalling science from policy. The point that target goals are scientifically soft is trivial. Policy negotiations necessarily involve terms of art.

    As to the motivations of the media, they are myriad and indeed are so very worthy of criticism that there’s no need to warp them into a narrative of a renewables conspiracy. The simpler explanation is that the benefits of renewables have been boiled down to a talking point (albeit a thought stopping one). This is also a term of political art which can be fairly criticized without recourse to histrionic and grandiose conspiracy theories and accusations that only serve to muck up the discourse.

    Comment by Radge Havers — 22 Jul 2014 @ 9:17 AM

  243. Everything you need to know about Mass Extinction, Sea Level Rise and Amplification

    Professor Peter Ward (University of Washington) explains the interconnections of rising carbon dioxide levels and flood basalt, and how it leads to anoxic oceans

    Comment by prokaryotes — 22 Jul 2014 @ 10:01 AM

  244. The Golden Horseshoe – Climate BS of the Year award goes into extra innings.
    A reminder worth considering, a list of candidates, not yet exhaustive.

    “… a masterpiece of self-parody, so self-righteous and florid and over the top, that I found myself enjoying it. Whether was despite its frank lunacy or in part because of it, is hard to say.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 22 Jul 2014 @ 10:43 AM

  245. Chuck Hughes # 235,

    “We’re all on the same side trying to do good things and make a difference.”

    No need to apologize for your RS comments. As I pointed out in #238, your interpretation of all the comments in the RS blog on methane was reasonable. Where I do take issue with you is in your statement quoted above. If you mean by ‘we’ the posters on the RC blog, I am not convinced ‘we’ are on the same side, and I am not convinced ‘we’ are trying to do good things. I am convinced that some of ‘us’ are trying to make every buck out of this climate crisis that ‘we’ can, while others of ‘us’ are trying ‘our’ best to come up with real solutions to the crisis. Until ‘we’ all get on the same side, and start reading from the same sheet of music, ‘we’ will remain in the present stasis that has characterized climate ‘advocacy’ for the past decade.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 22 Jul 2014 @ 10:49 AM

  246. Finally, one needs to reason backwards on this issue; who benefits from suppression of the real potential impacts of strong methane release? It is the same groups that benefit from under-reporting of the direness of our situation, and I have addressed these in #223 and elsewhere. We know very little about the climate tinderbox on which we are sitting; I suspect the real situation is far far worse than reported.

    Comment by DIOGENES — 21 Jul 2014

    Reasoning Backwards???? Okay…

    I believe this is exactly what I was referring to when I mentioned “Conspiracy Theories”. As much as I hate to use that term, I think it applies. It’s hearsay evidence.

    People attempted to suppress Dr. Hansen and he wouldn’t tolerate it. Neither did Michael Mann. I think that when scientists KNOW something that’s potentially dangerous most will speak out regardless of the consequences. You have to put some faith somewhere or all is lost. Peer Review occurred when other scientists here and elsewhere weighed in on the information Professor Wadhams and others presented. ALL of these people have spoken to each other, either directly or indirectly and each side has examined the other. Where’s the suppression? I read about it in the media and even saw a show about it on The Weather Channel. Not to mention others like Dr. Tyson on “Cosmos” has devoted and entire episode to Climate Change…. On the FOX channel. I think he mentioned methane. Maybe he didn’t. I’ll have to go back and look. I know for a fact that President Obama is in on the information because I watched the news conference where he pointed to his scientific advisers on camera and said that’s who he trusts and listens to.

    Somebody correct me if I’m wrong about this. Please.

    Comment by Chuck Hughes — 22 Jul 2014 @ 1:33 PM

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