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  1. Olaf Schuiling states his ex situ carbon dioxide removal by natural weathering ought to be around $15 per toone removed (tr). I’ve looked at a controlled reaction variant to obtain an estimate less than that by some.

    However, a samll variation on the in situ proposal (same proposal, different writeups) at these links

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/4292181.html
    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/21629/?a=f
    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/45/17295

    may well (iff it works at all) be quite a bit less expensive and possibly even show a profit! (I’ll be looking into this more, never fear.)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 22 Dec 2008 @ 8:17 PM

  2. Well, you may be too modest, but my suggested kit of 3 books for someone who wants to know where to start is now:

    Archer, The Long Thaw,
    I did a review at Amazon, but it’s only one so far, so more might be good.

    Ruddiman, Plows, Plagues & Petroleum

    Mann & Kump, Dire Predictions

    Comment by John Mashey — 22 Dec 2008 @ 8:23 PM

  3. The Forgiving Air is an excellent read for the non scientist layman–and perhaps one who wishes to consider climate change in a contemporary social historical context.

    I have read both the 1st and 2nd editions. Richard Somerville went to great lengths–almost painstaking care–in the first edition to state the uncertainties and ambiguities of the science. In the second updated edition, the increased certainty of the updated science is reflected in more forceful statements, and in some cases, more precise numbers. He reflects on the related issue of 3rd world development, and uses the body temperature fever analogy to try and get his point across.

    I had the pleasure to see Richard Somerville present in person once, and I seem to remember him relating the seriousness of anthropogenic climate change as follows: if you go to a doctor, and the doctor tells you are at risk for a heart attack, an advisable path to solution is not to keep seeing doctors until you find that one that tells you all is fine…

    Anyway, a worthy read not just for the climate but also for reinforcing the social and political context of this rather complicated and vexing issue.

    As an aside, for some reason, when I inquired on the phone, Barnes and Noble, was not able to put special order or stock copies on their shelf.

    [Response: From Richard:

    The RC viewer who sent in comment no. 3 and said he couldn't get his local Barnes and Noble to carry or order the book is correct, alas. Right now, the only ways to order the book are directly from the publisher (AMS) as mentioned on my site for the book to which you link and from Amazon.com.

    This is because AMS does not yet have a distribution contract in place and so bookstores cannot order The Forgiving Air via their usual wholesale channels. These stores, especially the big chains, want to deal with large distributors and not with thousands of tiny publishers like AMS.

    AMS knows this and has hopes of arranging a suitable contract to get selected AMS books into stores. But it's not in place yet. Thus, Amazon.com and AMS itself are the sole sources of The Forgiving Air for the present.

    ]

    Comment by Jim Redden — 22 Dec 2008 @ 10:39 PM

  4. I wrote a novel (No Tomorrow) a year or so back in which I tried to work in a good summary of the state of climate science, without making it a polemic. Happy to send out a few review copies (philip.machanick AT gmail.com) if anyone’s interested in reviewing it here or at Amazon.

    I’m due to do a few corrections for minor typos so let me know soon, because it goes “out of print” until CreateSpace (print on demand publisher) gets the new files.

    Use the look inside feature at http://www.amazon.com/No-Tomorrow-Philip-Machanick/dp/0980451019/ to see if it’s of interest. (For some reason the spam blocker wouldn’t allow me to post the google group for the book, which I would have preferred to Amazon: less like trying to get a free ad.)

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 22 Dec 2008 @ 11:43 PM

  5. I would also like to recommend \The Deniers\ by Lawrence solomon, and \Climate Confusion by Roy W. Spencer

    [Response: ... though only as examples of deliberate obfuscation. - gavin]

    Comment by Bill Davis — 23 Dec 2008 @ 1:01 AM

  6. Please forgive hijacking the comments; didn’t know where else to put it:

    Any chance to have your take on the news that a man named Ron Ace claims to have found a means against global warming – namely spraying huge amounts of water into the air?

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/226/story/58124.html

    Comment by Anonymus Coward — 23 Dec 2008 @ 1:40 AM

  7. I forwarded your email to some local librarians. I hope to read all of them soon, especially your own. The bad news is that all of the books you list may be deemed “too technical.”

    Comment by Edward Greisch — 23 Dec 2008 @ 1:40 AM

  8. Makten över klimatet by Christian Azar,

    http://www.maktenoverklimatet.se/

    only in Swedish :(

    Comment by Magnus Westerstrand — 23 Dec 2008 @ 1:44 AM

  9. A book which is freely downloadable on the internet has very recently been published by David Mackay, a Cambridge University Professor of Physics. It deals with the various major options (and costs) for sustainable energy deployment in a UK context. IMO it is an excellent and very useful document. In order to find it, google David Mackay and sustainable energy. Happy Christmas.

    Comment by Douglas Wise — 23 Dec 2008 @ 4:02 AM

  10. Anonymous writes:

    Any chance to have your take on the news that a man named Ron Ace claims to have found a means against global warming – namely spraying huge amounts of water into the air?

    Wouldn’t work. The average residence time of a molecule of water in the air is nine days.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 23 Dec 2008 @ 6:25 AM

  11. I would recommend a book that has now come out on occasion of the climate negotiations in Poznan. Written by Paul Baer and Tom Athanasiou from Ecoequity and Sivan Kartha from the Stockholm Environment Institute, “The Greenhouse Development Rights Framework” provides the most convincing proposal on how to share the effort to meet the climate crisis globally in an arguably fair way.
    It answers the question that bedevils many debates: What is the fair share of the US in solving the climate problem, what is the task of the EU, and how much should China or India contribute?
    This publication is garnering increasingly support among NGOs across the globe and merits a bigger readership in the US as well. You find the book plus summary available at http://www.ecoequity.org/GDRs/

    Comment by Jörg Haas — 23 Dec 2008 @ 6:37 AM

  12. Anonymus, The Ron Ace piece is not exactly what I’d call hard-hitting journalism. Basically, as I understand it, Ace’s idea is to transport heat high into the atmosphere with water vapor, where, supposedly, it can radiate away more efficiently. The issues with Ace’s “solution” are that:
    1)for the most part, water vapor content of the atmosphere is governed by the Claussius-Clapeyron equation. So the only way to get more water vapor into the atmosphere is to bring water where water is already scarce. If this were easy, the deserts would be green.
    2)CO2 is well mixed in the atmosphere even up into the lower stratosphere. So at most, even if this approach were practical, it would delay the problem until CO2 concentration at high altitude formed an effective barrier to radiation, and then warming would kick back in with a vengeance.

    Ideas like this are worth looking at, but, I wouldn’t expect a silver bullet. On the other hand, it would probably make for some very pretty fountains.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Dec 2008 @ 7:46 AM

  13. I would add Tyler Volk’s ‘CO2 Rising’ to this list. I particularly like Volk’s approach of using the lifecycle of a carbon atom – one called Dave in particular, and his relatives – to explore the various fates of fossil-fuel carbon. In doing so, Volk also explains the global carbon cycle. Euan Nisbet has a comprehensive review of the book here: http://www.nature.com/climate/2008/0812/full/climate.2008.123.html

    Similarly, I think that Eric Roston’s ‘The Carbon Age’ deserves a mention for a novel way into the issue of climate change. Roston documents the history of carbon back to the beginning of its existence right after the Big Bang, up to the post-industrial accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide.

    And though you’ve already pointed to it, I think that David Archer’s ‘The Long Thaw’ has done more than other piece of writing in highlighting just how long CO2 can stay in the atmosphere, a point that really has been overlooked by the media, and perhaps also at the policy level. Mason Inman wrote a news feature on it here, which I think does a really nice job of unpacking its importance: http://www.nature.com/climate/2008/0812/full/climate.2008.122.html

    Comment by Olive Heffernan — 23 Dec 2008 @ 8:44 AM

  14. Also of interest, late this year saw publication of a SECOND, REVISED AND UPDATED edition of The Discovery of Global Warming by Spencer Weart (me). This was first published in 2003, and I added a new chapter to cover the important scientific and public developments since then. Earlier parts were revised to accommodate new historical information and the findings of the IPCC’s 2008 assessment report. I made some abridgments to keep the overall length down so it remains a quick read. More info at http://www.aip.org/history/climate/reviews.html

    Comment by Spencer — 23 Dec 2008 @ 9:49 AM

  15. Spencer, Fair is fair. Shouldn’t Dave Benson get a commission for the number of times he has recommended “The Discovery of Global Warming” in the denialosphere? Then again, he probably hasn’t gotten many takers–not much demand for knowledge there.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Dec 2008 @ 11:14 AM

  16. Second recommendation, agreeing with
    # Jörg Haas (above) 23 December 2008 at 6:37 AM
    … “The Greenhouse Development Rights Framework” … book plus summary available at http://www.ecoequity.org/GDRs/
    and hoping to see discussion somewhere bringing the climate scientists in (likely not appropriate at RC, but not sure where else to look)

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Dec 2008 @ 11:37 AM

  17. Re #7 Edward

    When you say “too technical”, can you say more about the target audience?

    On my list, I have several year’s history giving away copies of Ruddiman, to non-technical adults and one (smart) high schooler, and I think the other books seem similarly suitable. I’ve recommended them but too recently to have gotten feedback. The latter have more explanation of the known science, Ruddiman’s covers basics and illutratrates the tug-and-from of hypotheses that might or might not get accepted, and his Chapter 18 is really useful (on the alternate universe in which most physics doesn’t work. The most striking comment came via a friend who’d read it, and then gave a copy to a lawyer friend, who said it was the first thing he could read about this. Hopefully I’ll get feedback on the others.

    However, it might be useful if there were a more coherent standard scheme for describing the levels of books, prerequisites, and plausible sequences for different needs. I took a cut at that over at Deltoid on “How to learn about science”, but it needs more work.

    Comment by John Mashey — 23 Dec 2008 @ 12:07 PM

  18. Ray Ladbury (15) — Thanks, but I don’t need a commission. I would appreciate some assistance with book recommendations, over and over and ovaer again, however.

    :-)

    Comment by David B. Benson — 23 Dec 2008 @ 2:40 PM

  19. For the record, Joe Romm’s book is titled, “Hell AND High Water,” a more apt title, I am sure you will agree.

    [Response: Oh yes. I'll fix it. - gavin]

    Comment by Larry Coleman — 23 Dec 2008 @ 3:09 PM

  20. Delighted to see Dr. Weart’s update — I’d missed it.

    Is there a ‘difference’ file somewhere in the website?

    An aside — it would be fascinating to take that book apart, each major post a main topic on a book-blog, and take questions. In public it’d need great patience and much filtering, like Robert Grumbine does (insisting on cites with questions, culling crap).

    As an outline of the major issues, it’s a great organizer for thought.

    Again thanks for mentioning the update.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 23 Dec 2008 @ 3:52 PM

  21. I recently bought and read Dire Predictions, and thought it very good – thorough (although I did notice some typos), and not “too technical” for a curious non-scientist to comprehend. I’ll be recommending it to anyone who wonders what that IPCC report actually means, or who is curious about climate change but doesn’t know a lot about it yet.

    Comment by Maya — 23 Dec 2008 @ 4:21 PM

  22. I’ve read “Apollo’s Fire”. In addition to policy solutions, the book has a fairly detailed discussion on energy technology (solar, wind, biofuels, CCS, nuclear, auto technology) with good references. Highly recommended.

    Comment by Mark — 23 Dec 2008 @ 6:35 PM

  23. Two Books:

    Keeping Our Cool: Canada in a Warming World, by Andrew Weaver (http://climate.uvic.ca/people/weaver/)

    Global Catastrophes and Trends: The Next Fifty Years, by Vaclav Smil
    (http://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~vsmil/)

    Comment by crf — 24 Dec 2008 @ 4:02 AM

  24. Tangentially related:
    Most Cited Authors on Climate Science:
    http://www.eecg.utoronto.ca/~prall/climate/index.html

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 24 Dec 2008 @ 8:41 PM

  25. Hank, That is excellent! What a thoughtful Christmas gift. It’s just what I wanted–and in my size, too. ;-) Thanks. Keep up the usual good work.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Dec 2008 @ 7:16 AM

  26. Re: #12 (Ray Ladbury’s 2nd point)

    I have never heard of Ron Ace’s idea but am just interested in the thought experiment your comment has provoked:

    Suppose you could create an artificial heater high in the sky by means of e.g. a vast heat pump; perhapse the lapse might be reversed in sign over a short range of height. Now add CO2 to this layer as suggested by Ray. Ray appears to have assumed that this would produce run of the mill global warming. Might not the sign of the additional greenhouse effect be reversed ? (as in the stratosphere?)

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 25 Dec 2008 @ 10:51 AM

  27. Geoff, I don’t think the situation you describe would be stable–a warm layer would have lower density and so would rise into the cooler layer above, cooling on the way. Moreover if there is CO2 above, it would capture the outgoing IR. The stratosphere has the profile that it does because of its low density and the fact that it is heated from above. It sounds like a recipe for some really bitchin’ thunderstorms, though.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 25 Dec 2008 @ 11:14 AM

  28. Try “Climate Wars” by Gwynne Dyer. He`s a prolific geopolitical analyst and I`m curious what you think of the book?

    Comment by Steve S Johnson — 25 Dec 2008 @ 12:26 PM

  29. Ray,

    I know this is off topic but now that we have started it I want to make sure. As you will see , I have nearly dropped the suggestion but not quite:

    My question was not about stability, but about radiation transfer and the sign of the additional greenhouse effect produced by adding CO2 to an artificially heated layer. The answer would appear to depend on whether the following argument could ever apply at equilibrium

    Artificial heating per unit volume + Greenhouse absorption = greenhouse emission (1)

    The effect of the heating is to raise the temperature thus raising the right hand side of (1) to get equality. It might well be the case that the second term on the left can then be neglected for the next bit of the argument.

    Now add some more greenhouse gas. Because the left hand side is approximately constant (because the 2nd term is small) the right hand side is also approx. const. For this to occur the temperature must fall.

    Now I admit that the problem with this argument is that it does not apply over much of the air. The layer of gas below the heat pumped layer will not receive much heat from it because of the lack of downward convection. The layer of gas above the heated layer will behave just as you wrote in your first comment.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 25 Dec 2008 @ 3:49 PM

  30. I got the book HELL & HIGH WATER, but no time to read.

    I got this idea for a novel (which I will never have time to write), COME HELL AND HIGH WATER. The society seems to be something out of the 18th C in some ways, and futuristic in other ways. And their sayings, like “come hell and high water,” are somewhat off. Like a distorted parallel world.

    There’s plenty of interpersonal drama and intrigue. The underlying conflict is whether or not to use fossil fuels for the growing civilization. Some are adamently opposed to it, say it’s immoral. But this is more than an environmental issue, tho it’s very much that, as well, and they are keenly aware of the dangers of climate change, and that seems at first to be the main issue in the conflict. But there’s something gut-taboo about it, like it would be a sacrilege. The countervailing forces are adamant in the need to use fossil fuels.

    In the end we find out the underlying issue. This is 50 million years in the future. The world went through horrible climate hysteresis for over 100,000 years (from about 2000 to 130,000 AD), with huge swaths of human populations killed off by climate change effects, mainly starvation — leaving only Lovelock’s few thousand breeding pairs. The world slowly recovered, and the human population eventually grew back again.

    The oil and coal are the fossil fuel remains of those climate hysteresis populations — the ancestors of the current people. And it would not only be foolish and dangerous to repeat the history of world destruction through climate hysteresis, but a sacrilege to exhume the ancestors.

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 25 Dec 2008 @ 4:30 PM

  31. #9 Douglas Wise, on David Mackay’s book: I downloaded it and it’s entertaining reading. You may disagree with some of his assumptions but since everything’s clearly quantified, it’s not too hard to rework the numbers. He’s taken the seldom-used approach of differentiating ethical (should we do X?) and scientific issues (can we do X?). This is useful because many people start from the ethics positions (“We mustn’t do nuclear because of the risks”; “I distrust environmentalists therefore I’ll make all their arguments seem silly”) and from there skew their analysis of the science. Take his science then add in your ethics, and you can clearly see the change your ethics causes to what is scientifically achievable. He does not cost anything so you need to add that but as with the ethics dimension, the economics arguments are all too often applied before the science is fully worked through, so I can see the point of his approach.

    Comment by Philip Machanick — 25 Dec 2008 @ 5:57 PM

  32. Lynne Cherry & Gary Braasch, How We Know What We Know About Our Changing Climate – Scientists and Kids Explore Global Warming, 2008.
    Website: http://www.howweknowclimatechange.com

    This is a 66-page book that (I think) is aimed for Grades 5-8. It is nicely illustrated, seems accurate at the level it’s written for, and the authors talked to a long list of scientists, including Prof. Mann.
    It has a reasonable set of pointers to additional resources.

    Not having kids or often talking to this age group, I have no idea whether this is good pedagogy or not, but it certainly seemed Ok, and they certainly talked to people.

    Anyway: different category: books for grade school and high school.

    Comment by John Mashey — 25 Dec 2008 @ 10:50 PM

  33. Ray Ladbury says

    So at most, even if this approach were practical, it would delay the problem

    The practicality may be a problem but don’t knock delay. I don’t approve of ad hominum argument but I have heard James Lovelock say the climate needs sticking plasters to delay global heating, while longer term solutions are engineered.

    I agree.

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 27 Dec 2008 @ 5:00 AM

  34. Many many people posting all over the place especially at newspaper sites seem not to understand the potential ramifications of AGW, the intensification of weather, whether flood or drought, sea level rise issues and crumbling of coast lines over time that cannot be defended and the rises in tides that submerge islands and ruin fresh water courses. The deglaciation of certain parts of the world where glaciers mean life for the rivers and hecne the people during summers and spring etc. The expansion of hadley cells and the spread of deserts, the acidification of the oceans and destruction of many natural and necesary habitats.

    which book tells the systemic nature of issues for humans as we get the ineviatable warming and the alarmingly reported 2C threshold other than Siz Degrees by Mark Lynas. Which scientific laymans book tells this story ?

    Comment by Alan Neale — 27 Dec 2008 @ 7:18 AM

  35. Geoff, I’ve also been a strong advocate of buying time (I’d rather call it that than delay, since that seems to be the goal of the denialosphere). I also think we won’t be able to pick and choose strategies. I just think Ace’s strategy tends to rely most on the portions of climate science (e.g. clouds, etc.) where uncertainties are largest. By all means, it’s worth looking into. Like I say, it could make for some bitchin’ fountains. Can you imagine how beautiful you could make this?
    Ever been to Iguacu falls in Brazil? It’s a huge waterfall on the Brazil-Argentine border. The spray from the falls is so significant, it creates a rain forest for about a mile around the falls and permanent rainbows whenever the sun is shining. It could be the most beautiful mitigation option.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 27 Dec 2008 @ 9:37 AM

  36. > water as mitigation

    And besides beautiful, fun — cooling towers for power plants could be modified to shoot huge “smoke rings” into the upper atmosphere.

    Add a big membrane and pile driver across the bottom and a narrow collar at the top, and Wham-O! Don’t miss the movie here:
    http://www.technovelgy.com/ct/Science-Fiction-News.asp?NewsNum=1334

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Dec 2008 @ 11:23 AM

  37. #9, #31

    Can I third that recommendation- David Mackay’s book “Sustainable energy without the hot air”, available as free download.

    It’s about sustainable energy rather than AGW specifically (though there is a decent section on the ‘climate change motivation’ at the beginning and a consideration of carbon capture at the end). But I’d urge anybody interested in the policy implications of climate change to read it (which should be everybody, of course!)

    Comment by Matt — 27 Dec 2008 @ 4:58 PM

  38. Climate Safety, PIRC – a summary of the latest climate science and its implications for policymaking, free pdf from climatesafety.org

    Kyoto2, Oliver Tickell – covers not only his proposed post-Kyoto framework, but the full range of necessary/cost-effective solutions.

    Transition Handbook, Rob Hopkins – because it’s not simply about big policy frameworks, it’s also about people getting off their arses and doing something!

    Comment by Richard Hawkins — 27 Dec 2008 @ 5:23 PM

  39. I’ve just been reading Ensuring the UK’s Food Security in a Changing World (http://www.defra.gov.uk/foodrin/policy/pdf/Ensuring-UK-Food-Security-in-a-changing-world-170708.pdf)
    where it says

    Even with decisive global action the world is already locked into unavoidable climate change – even if all greenhouse gas emissions stopped tomorrow, there would still be around 0.6°C further warming over the next few decades because of the inertia of the climate
    system

    Is this still true?

    The “even if they stopped tomorrow” argument suggests a get out for lazy policy analysts: They hint that a little more from their sector or country won’t make a bad scenario that much worse.

    But if mechanisms do exist for reversing climate change (e.g. extracting greenhouse gasses from the atmosphere exists or clever manipulation of water vapour), policy makers might then be asked: “How difficult or costly is it to reverse the effects of our emissions?”

    To challenge policy makers like this, it would be helpful to know the range of possible mechanisms for reversing climate change explained.

    Do any books do this? If not can we start a list?

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 27 Dec 2008 @ 8:00 PM

  40. Yes, that’s becoming more true every day — and it keeps going up over far more than the next few decades. This probably isn’t said enough; it’s the fact that’s deep in the bone for those of us concerned for the long term.

    As always, look up the main cite, read the citing and related articles, follow it through to the more recent work.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15774756?ordinalpos=12&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_DefaultReportPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

    : Science. 2005 Mar 18;307(5716):1766-9.
    The climate change commitment.
    Wigley TM.

    National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO 80307, USA. wigley@cgd.ucar.edu

    Even if atmospheric composition were fixed today, global-mean temperature and sea level rise would continue due to oceanic thermal inertia. These constant-composition (CC) commitments and their uncertainties are quantified. Constant-emissions (CE) commitments are also considered. The CC warming commitment could exceed 1 degrees C. The CE warming commitment is 2 degrees to 6 degrees C by the year 2400. For sea level rise, the CC commitment is 10 centimeters per century (extreme range approximately 1 to 30 centimeters per century) and the CE commitment is 25 centimeters per century (7 to 50 centimeters per century). Avoiding these changes requires, eventually, a reduction in emissions to substantially below present levels. For sea level rise, a substantial long-term commitment may be impossible to avoid.

    http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&lr=&cites=17818430783450352499&um=1&ie=UTF-8&sa=X&oi=science_links&resnum=1&ct=sl-citedby

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 27 Dec 2008 @ 9:24 PM

  41. Hank

    Thank you. That is very useful indeed. But you say

    Avoiding these changes requires, eventually, a reduction in emissions to substantially below present levels.

    Are you ignoring the possibility of “negative emissions” for good reason. Extracting CO2 from the air using biochar or biomass burning with carbon capture are surely possibilities. These are two of the theoretically possible ways of reversing global warming. It would be good to know what the others are.

    When policy makers are forced to take climate change more seriously, a good knowledge of the benefits and pitfalls of climate reversing mechanisms will be necessary to stop them … expletives deleted.

    So what other ones are there?

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 28 Dec 2008 @ 10:14 AM

  42. Maybe “climate hysteresis” on the order of the end-Permian warming (when 95% of life on earth died) is not the worst that we may be triggering.

    If we persist in burning ALL fossil fuels, including those in the tar sands and oil shale, we could be headed for a “venus syndrome.”

    See James Hansen’s recent AGU presentation: Powerpoint
    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/AGUBjerknes_20081217.ppt or PDF http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/AGUBjerknes_20081217.pdf

    Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 28 Dec 2008 @ 12:13 PM

  43. Geoff Beacon (41) — Another method is enhanced weathering of certain minerals.

    In situ peridotite weathering:

    http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/earth/4292181.html
    http://www.technologyreview.com/energy/21629/?a=f
    http://www.pnas.org/content/105/45/17295

    Ex situ olivine weathering:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/03/air-capture/#comment-87160
    ftp://ftp.geog.uu.nl/pub/posters/2008/Let_the_earth_help_us_to_save_the_earth-Schuiling_June2008.pdf
    http://www.ecn.nl/docs/library/report/2003/c03016.pdf

    Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Dec 2008 @ 2:47 PM

  44. Lynne

    Thanks for the frightening link. Definitely something to send to policy makers.

    David

    Thank you. I have now heard of several possible reversing mechanisms which reverse global warming by sequestering carbon dioxide:

    - seeding the ocean with iron-salts
    - biomass burning with carbon capture
    - biochar
    - dolorite
    - peroditite
    - olivine

    And some non-sequestration mechanisms:

    – large fountains spraying water into the atmosphere
    – injection of sulphur dioxide into the upper atmosphere

    Any others?

    Should orbiting space mirrors be on the list? The BBC have a piece about these on their website “Guns and sunshades to rescue climate”, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4762720.stm, (March 2006). In the same piece they report the views of Ken Caldeira from the Department of Global Ecology at Stanford:

    Ken Caldeira agrees that geoengineering is, for the moment, a tempting but illusory quick fix to an intricate system; a much less problematic solution, he says, would be to change our lifestyles by reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
    “I think the Earth’s system is so complicated that our interfering with it is very likely to screw things up and very unlikely to improve things,” he says. “And this is the only planet we have.”

    Are all mechanisms on the lists above “geoengineering”? Semantics apart, are any of them likely to “screw things up”?

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 28 Dec 2008 @ 9:16 PM

  45. When policy makers are forced to
    take climate change more seriously,
    a good knowledge of the benefits and pitfalls
    of climate reversing mechanisms will be necessary
    to stop them …

    So what other ones are there?

    Pulverization and dispersal of alkaline earth silicates
    from very abundant rocks such as peridotite or dunite.

    Another book: Prescription for the
    Planet
    .

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan — 28 Dec 2008 @ 11:15 PM

  46. As per #17, I’m trying to build a (mostly) general scale for science expertise, especially for climate, to have a framework to help explain to people where to start, how far they might want to look, what it will take, how to assess sources, etc. People are always asking what to read, and I always have to ask them what they know and how much they want to know.

    Here’s my best shot for now. Comments?

    SCALE
    0: no particular knowledge
    1: some science knowledge & skill in critical thinking
    2: “Public” or “Popular”, modest knowledge of climate science [H/S]
    3: Science-interested layperson
    4: Technical layperson [works in technical field]
    5: Scientist is related field or early climate scientist
    6: Beginning professional climate scientist
    7-10: Professional climate scientist, with increasing experience/impact

    Of course, “layperson” means in a specific field: a person may be a world-class expert in one field, and a layperson elsewhere.

    TYPICAL EDUCATIONAL LEVELS, VERY ROUGH
    High school or Undergraduate non-technical, or “rusty”: 2, maybe 3, math & statistics & physics may be the barrier.

    Technical UG: 4 (can handle more math+), can understand technical arguments
    Climate science student: 4-5 (more math, coherent knowledge base)
    Technical MS/PhD: 4-5 (more math & maybe science)
    Science MS/PhD in closely-related field: 5-6 (strong knowledge in some science)
    =====
    New PhD in climate science: 6
    Climate scientists: 7-10, in increasing order of experience, publication, impact, noting of course that doing useful research doesn’t require a PhD, that climate scientists, especially senior ones, have backgrounds in many different disciplines (just like no early computer scientists had PhDs in it :-)) Old peer-reviewed publications count less, and OpEds don’t count.

    ACTIONS
    6-10 actually do climate research and publish peer-reviewed work for other climate scientists, do peer review, write IPCC reports, etc, etc.
    =====
    5 may actually contribute to research as well, especially if on a team, but can at least read the speci*list literature in some areas, and maybe able to detect errors without looking them up.

    4 may be able to read some speci*list literature, but doesn’t know the field in depth, and may have to work harder to detect errors.

    3 has read half a dozen books, including some moderately more technical ones, maybe some good websites, maybe follows blogs like RC. Can recognize silly errors.

    2 Has read a few good books, without much math.

    1 Has read enough to understand how science works and think critically. Some here may actually be good nonsense-detectors.

    EXAMPLES
    For example: I’d put my kit of {Archer, Ruddiman, Mann&Kump} into 2, i.e., if you’d read those and understood them, you’d be at 2 or above.

    I think Archer’s “Global Warming – Understanding the Forecast” would be about 3 [and I would be interested to hear what the *typical* backgrounds/years are for the students who use it.]

    Scientific American would be centered around 3-4.
    Science would be split: the first half would be 4-5, the second half 6-10.
    AGU publications would be 7-10, i.e., written for researchers in the field.

    SUMMARY
    This is a very rough categorization, and not particularly linear, but more like a 2-based exponential from 1 up, recognizing that professionals have much higher expertise than amateurs, regardless of credentials, and the top people in any field are really, really good.

    There would be a corresponding negative scale for non-science (covering -1:1,or maybe -2:2), and anti-science (-10:-1).

    Comment by John Mashey — 29 Dec 2008 @ 1:19 AM

  47. Lynn writes:

    If we persist in burning ALL fossil fuels, including those in the tar sands and oil shale, we could be headed for a “venus syndrome.”

    See James Hansen’s recent AGU presentation

    If Hansen is saying we could go into a runaway greenhouse effect as on Venus, I think he’s dead wrong. I can’t think of any planetary astronomy or climatologist who would agree with him on that.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 29 Dec 2008 @ 4:29 AM

  48. RE# 45, the book where James Hansen backs the development of IFR nuclear that uses existing waste to power our electricity infrastructure and the heat can be used to make hydrogen maybe. He also calls for a new electricity grid to be developed and deployed. Great ideas and possible solutions to our fossil fuel addicition but (and there is always a but) where is the strategy for global programmes to resolve all of these issues.

    Reports, reports, reports have been produced with brilliant ideas of resolving our energy needs and climate problems but as yet only simply and nationalistic programmes have had any light of day with regard to this. It seems to be that legislation, politics and agendas will scupper anything but obvious ideas on energy generation.

    Comment by Alan Neale — 29 Dec 2008 @ 5:57 AM

  49. Geoff Beacon, One of the ironies in the whole climate debate in the blogosphere is that so-called skeptics seem eager to embrace mitigation technologies relying on the most uncertain aspects of understanding of climate (e.g. aerosols and clouds) while rejecting the portions of our understanding that are a lead-pipe cinch. Such credulity is one of the reasons I’m skeptical of their skepticism.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Dec 2008 @ 8:49 AM

  50. John Mashey, I can see some scope for extension of your scheme to the negative side of the axis to include folks who are actively opposed to science. We could also introduce an imaginary axis to account for some folks with scientific/engineering training who nonetheless persist in misconceptions about the science. ;-)
    Seriously, though, I think this is a good starting point, but I think it presumes openmindedness to the subject matter. The tougher nuts to crack are those who don’t believe in science to begin with or who (to paraphrase Twain) know things that just ain’t so.

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Dec 2008 @ 8:57 AM

  51. Geoff Beacon says in comment 41

    … David

    Thank you. I have now heard of several possible reversing mechanisms which reverse global warming by sequestering carbon dioxide:

    – seeding the ocean with iron-salts
    – biomass burning with carbon capture
    – biochar
    – dolorite
    – peroditite
    – olivine …

    Peridot is another name for olivine. Peridotite is an olivine-rich type of rock.

    …And some non-sequestration mechanisms:

    – large fountains spraying water into the atmosphere
    – injection of sulphur dioxide into the upper atmosphere

    Any others?

    Should orbiting space mirrors be on the list? The BBC have a piece about these on their website “Guns and sunshades to rescue climate”, http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/4762720.stm, (March 2006). In the same piece they report the views of Ken Caldeira from the Department of Global Ecology at Stanford:

    Ken Caldeira agrees that geoengineering is, for the moment, a tempting but illusory quick fix …

    Are all mechanisms on the lists above “geoengineering”? Semantics apart, are any of them likely to “screw things up”?

    Some of them are SACTCAR. Some are not. Caldeira and the BBC seem to be limiting their attention, and trying to limit yours, to the ones that are.

    Comment by G.R.L. Cowan, H2 energy fan 'til ~1996 — 29 Dec 2008 @ 10:25 AM

  52. I take it that the intent of this thread is to discuss credible climate change-related books and steer clear of wandering into the contrarian morass/apologetics/diatribes?

    Asking because I recently looked briefly at a new book by Roy somebody (Spence?) from Alabama Huntsville I think it was. It appeared to be a strange combination of contrarian “arguments” mixed with some reasonable stuff. But overall I was taken aback by some of the statements this guy made (and he is I think, a meteorologist) that indicated he didn’t understand basic ideas, like the reason why climate can be predictable over much larger time scales than weather. And some other strange statements, not even going into ideas about social considerations, economics etc that I think he wandered into. I’m not even a climatologist but it looked like he didn’t know what he was talking about. It was disheartening.

    Oops, I may have just violated the threads intent, sorry.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 29 Dec 2008 @ 10:40 AM

  53. > 40, 41
    Geoff, those words are part of the excerpt from Wigley 2005

    Personally, yes, I’m pretty much ignoring ‘negative emissions’ because I don’t see any sign anyone is interested in paying for it to be done, and because biogeochemical cycling works now, it’s currently handling maybe half the fossil carbon we’re putting into the air, but the ocean pH change is happening much faster than climate change. I see no way ocean pH change can be controlled by continuing to burn fossil fuel at even current rates, let alone faster, and then adding some hypothetical carbon capture.

    Visualize a steam locomotive. The boiler’s at its design limit, the metal’s as hot as it should ever be, the train’s moving as fast as the tracks are designed for, and we’ve just crested the mountain and are starting down a long grade into the fog. Should we

    – stop shoveling coal into the firebox?
    or
    – blow the whistle continuously to let off steam, and keep shoveling?

    Seriously, there is a huge natural world full of processes that handle CO2 from atmosphere and water. We’ve increased the CO2 in the atmosphere very fast; CO2 in the water is now increasing rapidly.

    All those natural biological cyclers are already dealing with the increase, or rather half the increase.

    Rate of change is the concern. We have no clue what it would take to change the kinds of primary producers in the ocean. We’re harvesting krill now, as well as forcing changes by varying CO2.

    Sometimes the right answer is to back slowly away from the problem rather than keep frantically twisting levers and pounding on switches hoping to somehow make things better.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Dec 2008 @ 10:47 AM

  54. Re: #14

    Spencer, I really enjoy reading your internet version of the discovery of GW. I have learned more from that work about the history of the science than from any other work. It is very well written and explained, at least for lame brains like me who formerly knew nothing about it. Do you continue to revise that version, and will it be published in toto in book form? Also, what journals are strongest in climate change science history type articles? Thanks again, terrific contribution.

    Comment by Jim Bouldin — 29 Dec 2008 @ 11:17 AM

  55. How’s the new edition of Ruddiman’s textbook (Earth’s Climate)?

    Comment by J — 29 Dec 2008 @ 12:33 PM

  56. Geoff Beacon (42) — Dolorite is a volcanic rock, so surely olivine rich. Do you have a link to weathering such rock?

    Comment by David B. Benson — 29 Dec 2008 @ 2:14 PM

  57. David, chemically, Dolerite is similar to Basalt, not as rich in olivine higher in pyroxenes. But:

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V5Y-49PGX92-1&_user=2429682&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort=d&view=c&_acct=C000057245&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=2429682&md5=5046c0f7445834dccf32e8f2d6e5387d

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 29 Dec 2008 @ 3:44 PM

  58. Ray Ladbury (54) — Thanks but your link won’t work for me. With just the authors and title I can find the paper.

    Comment by David B. Benson — 29 Dec 2008 @ 4:42 PM

  59. 52: Jim Bouldin
    That would be Roy Spencer.

    50: Ray
    Thanks. The negative scale was assumed to be the approximate inverse of the positive one, in terms of expertise needed to find errors. I.e., -5 probably has a lot of equations or statistics in it, -1 is detectable with minimal math, etc. That’s the complete Y scale, but the first cut was to try to get the positive scale right.

    One can put *avowed* beliefs on the X scale, i.e., from 0 to 1.0, giving a person’s avowed estimate of the probability that some idea is true. For some, the only possible values would be 0.0 or 1.0, [all-or-none from psychology]. For many people, there would be a distribution, which presumably would be ~normal [say mean=.5, std deviation=.2 for someone who really has no strong opinion], although more like lognormal near 0.0 and a reversed lognormal near 1.0. I wouldn’t get carried away with that,and for simplicity would just assume a normal and give “most likely” estimate. I’m not sure how many people routinely think about distributions – I know I’ve had to wage a long fight in computer performance measurement to get more people to think that way.

    An open-minded person with no particular knowledge might be at (.5,0), with an implicit large range.

    This gives something like political elections: there is relatively little chance of swaying people at (0, ?) or (1, ?), but one can perhaps help people at (.5,0) sort out the science from the non-science and anti-science. I.e., educate the independent/moderates.

    I’ve talked to people at (0, -2:0), and they are *sure*, and in some cases, won’t even read a single (good) book. While one cannot definitively determine the difference between real belief and avowed belief, one would expect that anyone at (0, 6) who writes (0, -3:0) material may well be doing so for reasons other than science. It is hard to tell sometimes.

    I’ve talked to people at (.3:.9, 1:2), who may get confused by material at (0, -3:-4), and they are the ones asking for good introductory texts and help in sorting things out. They certainly need the negative scale also, to give a complete landscape of the information floating around.

    Jim B: does any of that fit your question?

    Comment by John Mashey — 29 Dec 2008 @ 4:51 PM

  60. Re #47: That’s indeed what Hansen clearly says in his AGU-paper, with a lot of emphasis:

    “Now the danger that we face is the Venus syndrome. There is no escape from the Venus Syndrome. Venus will never have oceans again.
    Given the solar constant that we have today, how large a forcing must be maintained to cause runaway global warming? Our model blows up before the oceans boil, but it suggests that perhaps runaway conditions could occur with added forcing as small as 10-20 W/m2.
    There may have been times in the Earth’s history when CO2 was as high as 4000 ppm without causing a runaway greenhouse effect. But the solar irradiance was less at that time.
    What is different about the human-made forcing is the rapidity at which we are increasing it, on the time scale of a century or a few centuries. It does not provide enough time for negative feedbacks, such as changes in the weathering rate, to be a major factor.
    There is also a danger that humans could cause the release of methane hydrates, perhaps more rapidly than in some of the cases in the geologic record.
    In my opinion, if we burn all the coal, there is a good chance that we will initiate the runaway greenhouse effect. If we also burn the tar sands and tar shale (a.k.a. oil shale), I think it is a dead certainty.”

    Could one of the RC climatologists comment on his statements?

    Comment by Ark — 29 Dec 2008 @ 5:14 PM

  61. I’d like to see the model myself, but he does say that the model he was using broke down before reaching that point.

    I recall some years ago — before RC started up, I think — I came across a mention of one paper in some respectable refereed journal that also had calculated a slight possibility of a runaway to the point of boiling water off.

    I recall, I think, that part of the sequence was a lot of hydrogen lost from the top of the atmosphere, and the deficit would become a feedback (lose the hydrogen and you lose the option of recombining that to make H20.

    There was some mention of heating around the equator, I think, and lots of moisture being carried up to the stratosphere and disassociated as part of the hypothetical series of events considered. Or I may be misremembering it. Sorry to be so vague.

    This was a long time ago. I’ll poke around and see if I saved a reference somewhere.

    Since that time I’ve seen only papers saying it wasn’t in the range of possibilities — but it stuck in my mind because it was a sobersided mention in a paper, not the main focus, just a paragraph or two saying they had not been able to rule this scenario out completely.

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 29 Dec 2008 @ 6:28 PM

  62. Thank you all.

    #45 G.R.L. Cowan says

    Pulverization and dispersal of alkaline earth silicates
    from very abundant rocks such as peridotite or dunite.

    Any references? (I have ordered the book you suggest)

    #49 Ray Ladbury says

    Geoff Beacon, One of the ironies in the whole climate debate
    in the blogosphere is that so-called skeptics seem eager to
    embrace mitigation technologies

    I’m no skeptic, a founder member of the http://www.PollutionTaxAssociation.org.uk (1992)
    and the http://www.nomileshighclub.org.uk (2007). Although we have hardly any members, these demonstrate some non-skeptic commitment.

    #51 G.R.L. Cowan says

    Some of them are SACTCAR. Some are not. Caldeira and
    the BBC seem to be limiting their attention, and trying
    to limit yours, to the ones that are.

    What is SACTCAR. I find references to it but not much
    indication of its meaning. BUT ‘SACTCAR’ has Googled
    me to RealClimate’s “Climate change methadone?”, which
    has some relevant discussions, that I missed.

    The BBC need educating.

    #53 Hank Roberts says

    Should we
    – stop shoveling coal into the firebox?
    or
    – blow the whistle continuously to let off steam, and keep shoveling?

    Another possibility
    – stop shoveling coal into the firebox and blow the whistle continuously.
    We may be rolling downhill.

    #53&58 David B. Benson
    I heard about dolerite through the Institute for Research on
    Environment and Sustainability at Newcastle University.
    http://www.ceg.ncl.ac.uk/engscs/. You will find a link to “waste
    concrete could help to lock up carbon”, I asked them about other
    naturally occurring analogues and dolorite was one of the
    alternatives. The reaction rates suggested for dolorite did not
    seem spectacular. Perhaps the paper Ray Ladbury suggested is better.
    Can we have a working link?

    What’s this to do with “Books ’08″?

    Is “The Whole Earth Catalog of Geo-engineering”, the book that
    isn’t there?

    Books can be effective, especially for media attention,
    but they can be slow and too personal. What about a good Wiki
    too? I increasingly look to Wikipedia . Could RealClimate, with
    it’s community, make some more wikis on topics like geo-engineering?
    Or even put articles on Wikipedia.

    Comment by Geoff Beacon — 29 Dec 2008 @ 7:55 PM

  63. Re #60, on reading the article about 1 watt or 2 watt of global dimming as we shall call it then it it is 1 watt than that is good as climate sensitivity has not caused not much warming (the difference between GHG and dimming factors) but if it is 2w then climate sensitivity is more powerful as 3-2 is 1 and that has caused more warming really then.

    For some reason the dimming power of aerosoles is said in the presentation/paper to be around 1.3 W but if it was 1.7W then that would push up sensitivity as the aerosoles are reduced.

    The Venus Symdrome then should surely depend on finding out the nature of this aerosol cooling. The warming factors have been nailed (as James Hansen puts it) but not the cooling factors which have to be in order to measure humankinds response to warming.

    This sort of article would delight the environmentalists in many ways who enjoy the articles in the media that propose some kind of far away doom for your grandchildren. It probably will also annoy the skeptics or would find Venus Symdrome hard to swallow if the cooling repsonse has been closer to 2W than 1W.

    Comment by Alan Neale — 30 Dec 2008 @ 5:02 AM

  64. In addition to The Forgiving Air and The Discovery of Global Warming, Mark Maslin’s Global Warming — A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press) has also arrived in the second edition this year. In my opinion, the first edition (2004) was somewhat unfinished, but the second edition is much better completed.

    This book first discusses climate projections in the mainstream of IPCC AR4 and says that they are alarming enough, and then goes on to discussions of various “climate surprises” (fast breaking down of ice sheets; complete regime change of deep ocean circulation; huge loss of methane hydrates; die-back of tropical rainforests). I think that this formulation of points of discussions is very good.

    Comment by Kooiti Masuda — 30 Dec 2008 @ 9:37 AM

  65. Another book.

    The Rough Guide to Climate Change by Robert Hanson,2007. 11 UKP ,$17.

    As you can see the price is fairly low. I have not read it completely but every time I dip into it I get the impression that it is very well written and reliable. It has quite a wide coverage, is fairly (but not completely) non-technical and would be an excellent introduction. It is also almost up to date (post AR4).

    I have few criticisms so far. It is sometimes hard to find a topic. If you want to read about the cooling of the stratosphere you have to look up ozone in the index which will inform you about the cooling produced by its depletion and direct you to another part of the book where you can read about the second cooling mechanism (greenhouse cooling). Finding the section on climate sensitivity is even harder if you start from the entry in the index, but is quite good once you get there. Of course since the book appears to ban all maths, it can’t tell you about logarithmic relationships so it insists that the doubling of CO2 must start from its pre-industrial level.

    The contrarian campaign is covered but rather gently. I would not go here for an up to date discussion of biofuels especially as it has been put into a section called “Making Transport Greener”.

    Comment by Geoff Wexler — 30 Dec 2008 @ 10:36 AM

  66. Here’s a good one, written from the perspective of planetary science:

    Hot House: Global Climate Change and the Human Condition, 2007

    It emphasizes paleoclimatology, and has many nice colorful graphs, a big plus for any science book.

    Here is the most comprehensive textbook on renewable energy theory and engineering:

    “Renewable Energy”, Sorenson & Sorenson, 2004

    Comment by Ike Solem — 30 Dec 2008 @ 1:47 PM

  67. I will, for the sake of posterity and the paltry royalties, blow my own brass instrument: Hot Topic: Global Warming and the Future of New Zealand was published in 2007 and includes (so far as was possible) AR4 highlights. It’s very much a beginner’s guide to the issue, set firmly in the NZ political and economic context. The paper version is only available through NZ retailers (preceding link – or direct from me!), but a PDF version is available from the Hot Topic blog. Essential reading for expat NZrs wondering when to come home… ;-)

    Comment by Gareth — 31 Dec 2008 @ 1:00 AM

  68. “#14 Spencer Says:”

    Just wanted to say you are one of my heroes. I link to and quote from your site all the time. IMHO, you can’t ask for a better introduction to the issue.

    Have you updated the site as much as the book? (Economically stupid, but very kind and much appreciated, if so.)

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 31 Dec 2008 @ 9:01 AM

  69. # Alan Neale Says:
    27 December 2008 at 7:18 AM

    “which book tells the systemic nature of issues for humans as we get the ineviatable warming and the alarmingly reported 2C threshold other than Siz Degrees by Mark Lynas. Which scientific laymans book tells this story ?”

    I’ve not seen Climate Code Red mentioned here. Available via .pdf from the authors’ site:

    http://www.climatecodered.net/index.html

    Cheers

    Comment by ccpo — 31 Dec 2008 @ 10:39 AM

  70. Gwynne Dyer’s “Climate Wars” was my favorite CC book of the year.

    Comment by Michael Rayner — 2 Jan 2009 @ 1:50 AM

  71. I would like to construct a reasonable correct climate model in Excel. Does anybody know of a good book on the subject. That is a book that gets fairly deep into the technical/computational aspects of climate models.

    Alternatively, does anybody know of a good spreadsheet model that is already in existance?

    Comment by Andrew — 2 Jan 2009 @ 2:58 PM

  72. I think Climate Wars is a significant contibution as well.

    Gwynne Dyer is a military man, a former instructor at Sandhurst (a a British institution similar to West Point), who is interested in and usually writes about war, including what leads to it. He seems to have taken a year or so to get up to speed on climate, in part by meeting and interviewing some of the top flight scientists. He writes as if climate is changing, and discusses how the regional changes he believes are likely will change international relationships by increasing tension.

    Dyer is spelling out scenarios most people don’t want to think about. He says he contacted some in the Pentagon who are waking up to the issue.

    Re: Hansen’s Venus Syndrome. They said the Titanic could not sink as well. I never checked out his math, but Bill Rees at UBC, the first person to publish a discussion of the concept of an “ecological footprint”, used to claim that if all the carbon in the planetary system somehow ended up in the atmosphere the planetary temperature would be higher than the boiling point of water.

    Where do people get the idea that just because what they think they know today tends to make this idea sound incredible it is impossible?

    Comment by David Lewis — 4 Jan 2009 @ 4:52 PM

  73. David Lewis writes:

    Re: Hansen’s Venus Syndrome. They said the Titanic could not sink as well. I never checked out his math, but Bill Rees at UBC, the first person to publish a discussion of the concept of an “ecological footprint”, used to claim that if all the carbon in the planetary system somehow ended up in the atmosphere the planetary temperature would be higher than the boiling point of water.

    It would indeed. And how do you suggest that all the carbon in the planetary system will wind up in the atmosphere? Most of it is in the form of carbonate rocks on the sea bed.

    Comment by Barton Paul Levenson — 5 Jan 2009 @ 7:39 AM

  74. I write as the UK publisher of Fixing Climate (Profile Books). We hosted a number of events with Wally Broecker in the summer and the question of the economics of carbon scrubbing was high on the agenda. Wally, understandably, was reluctant to commit himself to a figure for a technology in pre-prototype stage, but he offered around $25-40 a ton as a best guess for actual CO2 removal.

    This is somewhat less gloomy than the review above suggests. Indeed, if a tax price is put on CO2, as it is in Norway’s oil industry, then the removal costs seem attractive. They certainly make sense in the context of a tax on CO2 generation in the aviation industry and would add relatively modest amounts to the cost of a flight – perhaps $40-60 on a return from London to New York.

    [Response: You need to be a little careful here. At $25-40 a ton, air capture would certainly be competitive with other proposals to reduce emissions - but this is a wish-list value, not what the actual prototypes cost. There is an assumption built in that the process can become 10 times cheaper than currently, which might happen, but I don't see that it is in any way guaranteed. And of course, that money still has to come from somewhere. (PS. Many years ago you sent me a free Rough Guide in return for comments on a previous version - many belated thanks! It was put to good use...). - gavin]

    Comment by Mark Ellingham — 5 Jan 2009 @ 10:02 AM

  75. Andrew, I know of no book that would help you, but search, try here:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=Excel+“climate+model”

    Comment by Hank Roberts — 5 Jan 2009 @ 10:15 AM

  76. Hank;

    Thanks for the suggestion.
    Here is a direct link to a spreadsheet.

    http://icp.giss.nasa.gov/education/geebitt/geebitt19990209.xls

    Now I get to study it some.

    Comment by Andrew — 5 Jan 2009 @ 12:14 PM

  77. How about Physics for Future Presidents by Berkeley’s Richard A Muller? (Norton press)

    He also discusses some of the alternative technologies widely bantered about.

    [Response: His discussion of climate science is rather poor (to say the least). - gavin]

    [Response: Joe Romm of Climate Progress has reviewed the book (see here and here). Suffice it to say that Joe was not very impressed with Muller's understanding of or treatment of issues within the climate change and energy policy spheres. - mike]

    Comment by Kevin Leahy — 6 Jan 2009 @ 10:18 AM

  78. Just a reminder that James Hansen is quite knowledgeable on the Venus atmosphere: “For his dissertation, Hansen investigated the effect of atmospheric dust on the temperature of Venus”.
    Which of course doesn’t tell us whether he’s right in saying that burning all available fossil fuels would lead to a “Venus syndrome” on earth, to be sure.

    [Response: The actual story is quite good. Hansen was trying at the time to explain why Venus was so warm, but Carl Sagan had already come up with CO2, so Jim had to explore something else - he chose aerosols, and developed some of the pioneering techniques to calculate their effects - ones which are still at play in today's Earth Climate models. Unfortunately for Hansen at the time, Sagan was right. - gavin]

    Comment by Ark — 6 Jan 2009 @ 2:22 PM

  79. In Japanese, Seita Emori’s book
    Chikyu ondanka no yosoku wa ‘tadashii’ ka? (Kyoto: Kagaku Dojin, 238 pp.) whose title can be translated as “Is the prediction of global warming ‘correct’?” was published in November 2008. This is an introduction to climate change projection written by one of its active key persons (with the MIROC model). It explains the particular issue, rather than the whole issue of climate change, to a lay person. It starts with the remark that things are not always black or white, right or wrong. It tells how a climate model is constructed, what kind of assumptions are used in the climate projections discussed in IPCC AR4, and what kind of uncertainties remain despite of the modellers’ efforts to reduce them. Are there a similar book in English?

    Comment by Kooiti Masuda — 7 Jan 2009 @ 9:27 AM

  80. Re responses to my post in 77 … I’m a bit surprised. I didn’t think he was all THAT bad. He says the risk is real and the underlying physics support it and it is to be dealt with aggressively. Critiquing the movie is hardly a cause for wholesale dismissal as per Mr. Romm. I note that of the three opinions presented, the non-scientists provided the harshest criticism, especially upset about the film critique and the fact that impacts were given less serious consideration — however, from conversations I’ve had with scientists involved in the IPCC process, the level of real understanding of impacts is much less solid than that behind the science of GHG impact on temperatures. The further out in time you get and the smaller the geographic scale, the less solid/more speculative impact claims, no? Again, this isn’t to say that urgent action isn’t needed, it is. However, the book hardly puts the man in the same camp as Fred Singer.

    Comment by Kevin Leahy — 7 Jan 2009 @ 4:32 PM

  81. I just wanted to mention a book i have written on Global Warming, titled The A-Z of Global Warming. The book provides a guide set out in unique A-Z format of all issues relating to global warming and climate change with all material sourced from the latest scientific materials. Ideal for anyone wanting to know more and get to the bottom of the facts on global warming. Published by Schmall World Publishing in Sept 2008.Please visit my website or Amazon for more information. S.Rosser.

    Comment by Simon Rosser — 13 Jan 2009 @ 8:01 PM

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