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Unforced Variations: Jan 2013

Filed under: — group @ 1 January 2013

A new year… so comments reflecting the past year in climate science, or looking forward to the next are particularly apropos.


301 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Jan 2013”

  1. 201
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Jim Larsen — 21 Jan 2013 @ 3:56 PM

    So, all the old denialist politicians and fossil fuel leaders are eventually going to die and then everything will be fine. You know that there is always a new crop coming up don’t you? What you say here sounds like denial by delay.

    Steve

  2. 202
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by T Marvell — 22 Jan 2013 @ 2:28 AM

    You say- “Conservation efforts have not slowed energy use, and it’s silly to think it will.”

    Conservation is essential for sustainability and it is silly to think otherwise.

    You say- “Sun, wind, tidal, atomic, etc., are hardly making a dent.”

    Alternative energies hardly make a dent because there is not enough will to do so. Do you think that there will be a will to blow big bucks on geo-engineering projects that have so many negative effects? Realistically, the worst effect of geo-engineering is that it gives fossil fuel interests an excuse to continue polluting and this will insure that ocean pH will continue to decline.

    If you wish to be taken seriously you will have to provide credible scientific evidence that cloud seeding would actually increase clouds, and if any clouds produced would have a cooling effect. Also, do you know of any substance that would make the ocean more reflective without damaging marine ecology like oil or soap would. There is a reason that environmentalists are opposed to such silliness, they actually know something about the environment.

    Steve

  3. 203

    191 T Marvell says: “Basically, the environmentalists and almost all others who oppose AGW have put their eggs in one basket – reducing ff use.

    Thanks for lumping everyone concerned about climate into one, homogenized group with one label and way oversimplifying the situation. I don’t consider myself an environmentalist, for example, but a designer and pragmatist. For me, the motivation is simple: we don’t change, my son has little chance at a quality future, and perhaps none at all. A surprising number of environmentalists (anecdotal) ironically often see the environment as something “other” or to some degree separate. To my mind, a systems thinker will reject this way of thinking, speaking and acting and realize a washing machine is as much the “environment” as a pine tree. Some environmentalists also tend to think of the “environment” as this untouched, unspoiled place when in reality we have been terraforming the planet from the very beginning. The Amazon with all its hidden earthworks and villages that got swallowed by the jungle after most of the population (est. at up to 5.5 million pre-contact) died off after first contact with Europeans is an excellent example.

    We have always and will always affect the environment, but how we do so is important.

    It’s time to face the obvious: they have failed to make progress, and the evidence is that they will continue to fail.

    I think you’ve got this wrong: they have made progress and made some difference. It seems you and others may not have, however. I reject the idea that because it wasn’t said how people want to hear it, it’s the speaker’s fault. The listener has a mind and a brain and should be held accountable for not using them. The facts are plainly before you and them. The question is, how did the rest of you *not* see the need for change?

    Their fall-back position seems to be that, when we go over the cliff, they can say “see, we told you so” and be smug about their wisdom.

    Oh, yes, extinction is something to be smug about.

    That geo-engineering without any techno wizardry is simple, effective and cheap should not be lost on you. Blaming the “enviros” for you sitting on your rear is hardly fair.

    To be a bit more technical, the common failure to integrate the whole system into solutioneering is a big problem. Failing to factor in unintended consequences is a big problem. Failing to account for economics is a big problem. Etc. And this is why your call for techno-based geo-engineering is a big problem.

    I find myself thinking, what happens to life cycles, bio-rhythms, reproduction, etc., when you start cutting off access to light across large swaths of the planet to fix a problem with resource use and depletion? The more we learn about how connected the ecology is, the more we realize how little we know. Why play with that when you do not have to?

    Is it not better to stop insulting the “enviros” for taking action, and blaming them for others’ inaction, and get moving yourself planting a garden and some trees? You know what a food forest is? A more complex orchard with guilded trees. But just a bunch of guilded trees will do. Anybody can do that, pretty much anywhere. Maybe $200, $500 if you go all out, or larger, for a 20-tree food forest and a fifty year food supply.

    Or you can put a bunch of mirrors in space.

    Up to you.

    As for one basket, I think you are pulling that out of your rear. However, really, what other basket is there? At the end of the day, it does come down to that. It doesn’t matter what else you do, ultimately, if on-going exponential rises in consumption is the end goal. Ask Albert Bartlett.

    But it’s not only FFs. And, the current systems in place are not designed to work with low energy intensity, so changes will have to come. Choosing to not collapse will involve whole-system change, like it or not. This should be self-evident. No?

  4. 204

    194 Hank Roberts says: So let’s talk about the science.

    I think the science was successfully covered with Limits to Growth. The update demonstrated clearly among their various scenarios, they’ve hit the nail fairly well on the head because they looked at the whole system. And that accuracy was without any global warming component. The update done back in ’04 or so is worth a read.

    The problems with relying on the “science” is that the science is always behind the curve and doesn’t include various elements that are not considered to be scientifically rigorous, yet have been shown to be effective problem-solving. This is why, in fact, discussions of solutions have to be based in science, risk analysis, and areas of knowledge not yet given the resources to be studied to a degree that will make them scientifically robust. That is, we have to shift to policy-making. Personally, I think it is well past time for the scientific community to be fully engaged in this, and it is great to see many more scientists doing so.

    It was interesting for me to read a recent story on how scientists are just now figuring out just how connected and integrated an environment the soil is because Bill Mollison wrote a book thirty years ago that talks about the soil exactly as this great new research does. You just have to shake your head…

    Re the paper you linked to, what is interesting is what is *not* in it: permafrost, clathrates, reforestation, localization…

    Such studies are not of much use in discussions of solutions.

  5. 205
    Superman1 says:

    Ray Ladbury #196,

    ” Both of you seem to favor geoengineering……All of these suffer from the same shortcoming–there is no viable plan translating the idea into effective remediation/solution…..In contrast, reducing CO2 emissions has an effect we can calculate with fairly high confidence.”

    How you can construe my statement as ‘favoring’ geoengineering is beyond me. To me, geoengineering is a last resort. First on the priority list is severe fossil fuel reduction, second is severe carbon recovery, and third, if we are sufficiently far into the danger zone, some mild geoengineering may be required for the interim, to help tailor the temperature profile.

    Then, you state there is no viable plan for translating the idea into effective remediation, and in the next breath talk about reducing CO2. Where is your plan for that? Any credible plan requires three legs: technical/scientific, economic, sociopolitical. No one questions the technical/scientific component. What is the plan for handling the economics? Kevin Anderson states the required CO2 reductions will require ‘planned austerity’; the numbers he gives for the more advanced nations, who for purposes of equity will have to do more than the global average in CO2 reduction, will result in ‘planned Depression’. Tim Garrett states ‘ climate catastrophe is unstoppable unless the economy collapses.’ How will your credible plan for reducing CO2 sell that outlook to the American public? If we have to go into recession or depression or economic collapse, many people will be thrown out of work. How will your credible plan sell that?

    Again, the only approach that seems salable to the American public is an Apollo-type geoengineering project, for more or less the same reasons the original Apollo was salable. But, when I compare geoengineering to chemotherapy, don’t interpret that as my favoring it. And, I certainly agree with all the reasons you put forth in what’s wrong with geoengineering.

  6. 206

    #200. Another fractured fairy tale from the regular perpetrator.

  7. 207
    Joseph O'Sullivan says:

    191 T Marvell

    Progress is indeed being made in the US in reducing fosssil fuel use. Granted that no new legislation has been passed reducing greenhouse gases, but the EPA has the authority to reduce them. The EPA is currently setting up regulations to do so.

    Judith Curry over at Climate Etc. has made the same mistake thinking no new laws = no climate change action.
    http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/24/u-s-climate-change-policy-news/

    John Nielson-Gammon recognizes the Clean Air Act gives the EPA the authority to regulate greenhouse gases.
    http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/2012/06/why-epa-regulating-greenhouse-gases-is-absurd-and-why-it-doesnt-matter/

  8. 208
  9. 209
    David B. Benson says:

    From the FCNL Washington Newsletter, November/December 2012:
    Legislation to Watch
    Here are some of the bills we supported in the 112th Congress that provide models for what we are looking for in the 113th Congress.

    Save Our Climate Act. Introduced by Rep. Pete Stark (CA) as H.R. 3242 in the 112th Congress, this bill would impose a tax on primary fossil fuels based on their carbon content in an effort to reduce domestic carbon dioxide emissions.
    End Polluter Welfare Act. Under current budgets, oil, coal and gas industries will receive more than $113 billion in federal subsidies — a rate nearly six time greater than renewable energy sources. This legislation, introduced by Rep. Keith Ellison (MN) as H.R. 5745 and Sen. Bernie Sanders (VT) as S. 3080 in the 112th Congress, would end many loopholes and specific financing mechanisms that give fossil fuels and economic advantage over renewables.

  10. 210
  11. 211

    205 Superman1 says, “Then, you state there is no viable plan for translating the idea into effective remediation…”

    Yeah, I meant to comment on that. Transitions Towns (TT) is an international effort at localization. They are doing pretty much exactly what every community needs to do. So, yeah, there is a plan. The problem is Ray isn’t involved in it. And likely very few others who post here.
    My PermOccupy suggestion is based on the fact TT has no political or governance aspect. This limits its ability to spread and it’s impact outside of the direct work groups do in their specific towns. If you couple TT with a mass movement like Occupy…. Done. Completely freaks me out I have not had success getting this into the heads of either TT or Occupy.

    But then, I thought my World Simulation idea pert near perfect, too, and that’s not gone anywhere, either.

    Ah, well.

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1YicmOh9NKXs73jE3hqWYJISNXXDOYQe1p8KPYpBzDZM/edit?pli=1

  12. 212
    flxible says:

    Hank@210 – Nice to see that Dr Weaver is involved in outreach action.

    CAPTCHA thinks: improbably houtique

  13. 213
    David B. Benson says:

    Hank Roberts @210 — They state some extreme events indices are needed. I agree.

  14. 214
    Dave123 says:

    Do any of the climate scientist here who can see easily behind this paywall have any comments about this paper:

    Variability of the surface radiation budget over the United States from 1996 through 2011 from high-quality measurements

    John A. Augustine*,
    Ellsworth G. Dutton†

    Article first published online: 16 JAN 2013

    DOI: 10.1029/2012JD018551

    Abstract

    [1] Sixteen years of high-quality surface radiation budget (SRB) measurements over seven U.S. stations are summarized. The network average total surface net radiation increases by +8.2 Wm−2 per decade from 1996 to 2011. A significant upward trend in downwelling shortwave (SW-down) of +6.6 Wm−2 per decade dominates the total surface net radiation signal. This SW brightening is attributed to a decrease in cloud coverage, and aerosols have only a minor effect. Increasing downwelling longwave (LW-down) of +1.5 Wm−2 per decade and decreasing upwelling LW (LW-up) of −0.9 Wm−2 per decade produce a +2.3 Wm−2 per decade increase in surface net-LW, which dwarfs the expected contribution to LW-down from the 30 ppm increase of CO2 during the analysis period. The dramatic surface net radiation excess should have stimulated surface energy fluxes, but, oddly, the temperature trend is flat, and specific humidity decreases. The enigmatic nature of LW-down, temperature, and moisture may be a chaotic result of their large interannual variations. Interannual variation of the El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) ONI index is shown to be moderately correlated with temperature, moisture, and LW-down. Thus, circulations associated with ENSO events may be responsible for manipulating (e.g., by advection or convection) the excess surface energy available from the SRB increase. It is clear that continued monitoring is necessary to separate the SRB’s response to long-term climate processes from natural variability and that collocated surface energy flux measurements at the SRB stations would be beneficial.

    captcha= cntsys correction

    hmmm… does that mean something in this case?

  15. 215
    john byatt says:

    #201

    Idiotic, denier Australian politicians, the series
    first one in great style

    http://uknowispeaksense.wordpress.com/

  16. 216

    #214–”hmmm… does that mean something in this case?”

    Well, I dunno. But it’s been stated clearly and repeatedly in this forum that global temperature evolution isn’t driven by the surface budget. Think maybe those statements were correct?

  17. 217
    Jim Larsen says:

    155 S1 said, “Somehow, you’re not getting the message.”

    Amazingly egotistical statement. Dude, we all get your message. You should be made world dictator. In that capacity you will decide which 20% of the population will survive and how much gruel they get to eat.

    171 Killian O’B quoted and said, “In #139, I stated: ” Most of the proposals I’ve seen offered here for transitioning to a renewables-based economy don’t contain even one of these characteristics, much less all three.” Perhaps you have not read mine, or been exposed to permaculture design principles?”

    Or mine. Or Secular’s. Or any of the many others, all of which are far more likely to succeed than S1′s. S1′s would result in worldwide famine. In a human famine, everything we care about loses first.

    Killian: “Given renewables aren’t renewable,”

    Eh, they depend on raw materials, of which there are finite amounts, but there’s no reason that I see that renewables can’t do whatever their raw materials allow for as long as the sun doesn’t eat us.

    “The only good geo-engineering is natural geo-engineering and the only good carbon capture is natural carbon capture.”

    Or, as Marie said, “Let them eat cake.”

    ” Because we don’t know where the tipping point is, the only sane response is to pull back ASAP”

    Pure-T-crap. Because we don’t know where the tipping point is, the only sane response is to NOT kill off 1/4 (or 1/100000) of humanity by slamming on the brakes, but to brake as prudently as possible while clarifying the issue.

    173 S1 said, “Right. Forget about climate science. Just keep adding and removing substances to the atmosphere and ocean without understanding the downstream consequences. That has certainly served us well.”

    Actually, yes. Very little harm has resulted from our willy-nilly use of the atmosphere as a garbage dump. That we’ve probably reached our limit, well, you can’t say diddly about past results, eh?

    “looking at the record of the past thirty years, we see people going 0.0% of where they need to be. What do you think the odds are of their doing a 180 degree turn-about,”

    Pretty good bet. People are basically good, basically love their children, and basically want life to continue after they’re gone. The debate is winding down even as we lament. Just as in WW2, the Sleeping Giant is about to awake.

    180 wili said, “Long-term, though, I still think economic growth will not be possible over decades with a rapid draw-down and eventual elimination of fossil fuel use ”

    Robotics will change that. When 90% of everything everybody can do can be done cheaply by a self-replicating piece of machinery, economic growth becomes limited solely by raw material. And the Earth is big. When “labor” and energy are nearly free, digging deep for low grade ore is very profitable. But then, there’s only so many joules that can be spent on a human. We’re getting more about data and processing rates than energy.

    191 T Marvel said, ” Given the long lag between CO2 increases and temperature increases,”

    No, that’s much too tame. The problem is that CO2 emissions come with aerosols that mask temperature increases. Thus, by definition you’ve got a grand chunk of instant warming in store once you quit.

    198 S1 said, ” I’m surprised this five year old paper even got five cittions.”

    When making disparaging remarks, it is wise to not make spelling errors.

    200 Dan H said, ” if climate skepticism is a conservative political trait, then I do not see the numbers shifting much over time.”

    Good point. I think the answer is that climate beliefs are more fixed than political persuasion. A young liberal who believes in mainstream climate science may just age into a conservative who believes in mainstream climate science.

    “Massive changes will only come from scientific research and observations.”

    Yep. That’s why I put a 10 year limit on this debate. The question is whether we get way serious this year or in five years or in ten. Lamenting about anything beyond that is silly. Do the math. Ten years is 20 PPM, but no year is totally wasted – R&D always happens.

  18. 218
    Jim Larsen says:

    201 Steve Fish said, ” What you say here sounds like denial by delay.”

    I disagree (I would, eh?). It is wise to plan with reality in mind. Wind is still a bit expensive and solar way too much so, but falling rapidly. Public opinion in the US is split and wishy-washy. The arctic ice is on a trajectory to zeroish in a few years. The economy is depressed and improving. In a few years folks should be feeling a bit flush. Temperatures are depressed. In a few years we should crank out a serious new record. Everything points to a new awakening.

    All in all, I see 5-10 years being the end of this whole sorry chapter in Cigarette Climate Diplomacy. I also see it as fortuitously being the time when renewables actually make economic sense even when ignoring all environmental issues. It’s ever so much easier to convince a man when it’s beyond blatant that he’ll save money by being convinced.

  19. 219
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Killian O’Brien@211,
    You’re kidding, right? Do you really think the Transition Towns scheme as it is currently constituted is a viable plan? Jebus! We have Superman1 who thinks the whole thing can be solved by fiat and you who think a decentralized, obscure plan on a drawing board is the solution. No wonder we’re f***ed!

  20. 220
    Hank Roberts says:

    http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/abs/10.1162/DAED_a_00184
    Winter 2013, Vol. 142, No. 1, Pages 40-58
    Posted Online January 2, 2013.
    (doi:10.1162/DAED_a_00184)
    © 2013 by Naomi Oreskes & Erik M. Conway
    The Collapse of Western Civilization: A View from the Future

  21. 221
    Superman1 says:

    Jim Larsen #217,

    “155 S1 said, “Somehow, you’re not getting the message.”

    Amazingly egotistical statement. Dude, we all get your message. You should be made world dictator. In that capacity you will decide which 20% of the population will survive and how much gruel they get to eat.”

    If you’re going to quote my statements, at least do it responsibly. Here is the context:
    “Somehow, you’re not getting the message. The first step in generating a proposal to solve a problem is to define the Requirements for solving the problem. I have no problems with the technologies being offered to transition to a renewables-based economy. I believe you when you state the possibilities of solar replacing fossil fuel, as you have done many times. But, one of the Requirements is that the critical constraint on temperature during the transition process not be exceeded, lest we enter the regime of ‘runaway’ temperature to a much hotter equilibrium. Until you can show that any of the proposed scenarios satisfy this constraint, how can any serious analysis be performed on the proposal? In a sense, I’m posing an unfair question. Until we have credible and validated climate prediction models that incorporate feedback mechanisms, positive and negative, you or any other proposer can’t say whether your proposal will violate or satisfy the critical temperature constraint. Climate science is central here, not just a peripheral item.”

    What, pray tell, do you see in that statement that can in any way be construed as egotistical?

  22. 222
    Superman1 says:

    Ray Ladbury #219,

    ” We have Superman1 who thinks the whole thing can be solved by fiat”

    Well, I’m open to alternatives. All you need to do is provide a Roadmap and a Strategic Plan with your specific proposal that conforms with the requirements of a three-legged stool: technical/scientific feasibility; economic viability; sociopolitical viability. And, in your demonstration of projected scientific feasibility, show (using a credible climate model including feedback mechanisms) how the temperature increase does not violate any ceilings that would lead to unwanted upward excursions. If all the above can be done democratically and voluntarily, I’m all for it.

  23. 223
    Hank Roberts says:

    > … the critical constraint on temperature …
    > the regime of ‘runaway’ temperature
    > to a much hotter equilibrium.

    Are you talking about the Kombayashi-Ingersoll limit?
    If not, what are you talking about?

    Some specific reference to some other known limit that you can cite?
    Or logic concluding there has to be some such limit somewhere?

  24. 224
    SecularAnimist says:

    Superman1 wrote: “What, pray tell, do you see in that statement that can in any way be construed as egotistical?”

    The assertion that others must not be “getting the message” because they reject your “message” may be construed as “egotistical”. It says, in effect, “the only reason you could possibly disagree with me is because you are too stupid to understand me”.

    I “get your message”, Superman1. I totally do.

    I just think your “message” is based on unfounded assumptions and opinions rather than facts, that it makes no sense, that it offers nothing of value, and that it seems to arise from a grim determination to insist on the hopelessness and futility of any and all approaches to solving the problem, which leads to rejecting contrary facts out of hand, and to embracing whatever baseless assumptions or sophistry support your a priori gloom-and-doomism.

  25. 225
    Superman1 says:

    Secular Animist #224,

    ” I “get your message”, Superman1. I totally do.

    I just think your “message” is based on unfounded assumptions and opinions rather than facts, that it makes no sense, that it offers nothing of value, and that it seems to arise from a grim determination to insist on the hopelessness and futility of any and all approaches to solving the problem, which leads to rejecting contrary facts out of hand, and to embracing whatever baseless assumptions or sophistry support your a priori gloom-and-doomism.”

    Your response convinces me that, in fact, you’re not getting the message. You have proposed numerous times that we can implement solar and other renewables rather inexpensively, in a moderate time period, and that will allow us to avoid the climate cliff. All I have asked is that you demonstrate that claim, which proposers for any project are required to do. Show me that the total scenario in which your proposal is imbedded will not lead us over the climate cliff. In your world, is asking for facts gloom-and-doom? I would think if your approach could truly be implemented without driving us over the climate cliff, you would be highly motivated to demonstrate that. The fact that you have repeatedly refused to show the scenario in which your approach is imbedded will not lead us over the climate cliff does make me very suspicious of your claims. But, prove me wrong; in this case, given what is at stake, I would be glad if you did.

  26. 226
    T Marvell says:

    About going over the cliff – I see a lot of squack here, but not a whole lot of disagreement.

    Past trends are obvious. For a long time FF use has been increasing at the expodential rate, as evidence by the increase in CO2. It’s going down in the US, but that is counterbalanced by big increases in developing countries.

    It would be nice to reduce FF, but given past trends, it seems like wishful thinking. Obama can make no appeciable difference because he lacks influence over Congress and other countries on the issue.

    Geoengeering is iffy and risky. Its a bad option, but it might be the least-bad option.

    New power sources need more attention. Historically, there have been radical changes in power sources – e.g., from animals/wind to combustion. They can be sudden, like from charcoal to coal when wood gave out.

    I don’t know where a new energy source would come from, but the search should be ecletic. My own crazy idea is that we look into areas where nobody has looked because the math breaks down – e.g., singularities and simultaneity. There has been a lot of work trying to develop known ideas and technology, and it hasn’t produced much. Going outside the envelope probably won’t get us anywhere either, but it should be tried.

  27. 227
    Chris Colose says:

    Dave123

    That paper is interesting but probably not very important. It’s spatially constricted to a small region (and not many stations) and a short time period with lots of variability. Also, the physical interpretation of the changed surface fluxes likely doesn’t have much to do with the enhanced greenhouse effect.

  28. 228
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Superman1 — 23 Jan 2013 @ 3:05 PM

    You say- “Show me that the total scenario in which your proposal is imbedded will not lead us over the climate cliff.”

    This, along with many repetitions of unaccounted for positive feedbacks, is a repeated message of yours. Show the scientific evidence (peer reviewed and replicated) that supports a plausible cliff that is threatening by 2050 or 2100. You can’t claim there is no definitive evidence because something isn’t included in models. Most forcings are well known even if their exact physical interactions can’t yet be modeled. Clouds are an example of this.

    Steve

  29. 229
    SecularAnimist says:

    Superman1 wrote: “You have proposed numerous times that we can implement solar and other renewables rather inexpensively, in a moderate time period, and that will allow us to avoid the climate cliff.”

    We may have already gone over a “climate cliff” for all I know, and I’ve never said otherwise.

    However, at least some mainstream climate scientists believe that it is still possible to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of global warming if we rapidly phase out greenhouse gas emissions.

    For example, a recent study published in Nature Climate Change found that “the most stringent emissions policy considered here—which gives a 50% chance of remaining below a 2 °C temperature rise target—reduces impacts by 20–65% by 2100 relative to a ‘business-as-usual’ pathway which reaches 4 °C, and can delay impacts by several decades”.

    That “stringent emissions policy” is one in which global GHG emissions peak in 2016 and then reduce at 5 percent per year through 2050.

    What I have indeed argued is that such a “stringent” path can, in fact, be attained far faster and at much lower cost than most people imagine — and certainly with none of the “painful sacrifices” that you keep talking about — by rapid deployment, at all scales, of today’s powerful and mature solar and wind energy and efficiency technologies. We should, for example, be able to eliminate nearly all fossil fuel use for the generation of electricity MUCH sooner than 2050 — we could easily do it by 2025 if we choose to do so.

  30. 230
    Dave123 says:

    Thanks Chris @ 227. That was my guess…but not 1) seeing the original paper and 2) not being able to trace the background of prior studies and arguments, I was at a loss. As you’re probably aware, there’s a school of skeptics (and here I mean people who are arguing about ECS and not the basic notion of AGW) who still fall into the “anything new or unexplained at the moment” is proof that contention X of standard climate science is wrong. There doesn’t have to even be a direct connection…just more uncertainty monster drivel.

    Kevin my hmmm was about the Captcha (cntsys correction) not the abstract.

  31. 231
    David B. Benson says:

    Storm Clouds Crawling With Bacteria
    http://www.livescience.com/26533-loads-of-bacteria-hiding-out-in-storm-clouds.html
    and form CCNs.

  32. 232
  33. 233
    Jim Larsen says:

    221 S1 asked, “What, pray tell, do you see in that statement that can in any way be construed as egotistical?”

    The correct question is to ask yourself why several strangers felt the word was appropriate.

    225 S1 said about SecularA, “You have proposed numerous times that we can implement solar and other renewables rather inexpensively, in a moderate time period, and that will allow us to avoid the climate cliff.”

    Are you nuts? SecularA is famous for his One-Decade-To-Zero plan. The only faster way is to enact, well, I guess your Master Plan.

    226 T Marvel said, “Geoengeering is iffy and risky. Its a bad option, but it might be the least-bad option”

    Yeah, but it’s ever so enabling.

  34. 234
    Hank Roberts says:

    > least bad option

    Least bad except for those ruled out as unmarketable, I think.
    Nobody can make a financial killing by doing public health.
    You know the cartoon:
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4036/4254681996_27b1ed7ff0.jpg

  35. 235
    Killian says:

    Killian: “Given renewables aren’t renewable,”

    Eh, they depend on raw materials, of which there are finite amounts, but there’s no reason that I see that renewables can’t do whatever their raw materials allow for as long as the sun doesn’t eat us.”

    How do you resolve non-renewable with use them forever? Makes no sense. 1. Scale. Not enough of… pretty much anything.. to make energy for 9 billion people, all of them wanting to exist at US consumption levels, which would require 4 or 5 planets.

    “Because we don’t know where the tipping point is, the only sane response is to pull back ASAP”

    Pure-T-crap. Because we don’t know where the tipping point is, the only sane response is to NOT kill off 1/4 (or 1/100000) of humanity by slamming on the brakes, but to brake as prudently as possible while clarifying the issue.

    First, you are either ignoring what else I’ve said on these topics or not noted it. Nowhere did I say do anything in such a way that millions or billions would die. You obviously did not read PermOccupy. I.e., your point is way off-base, thus moot.

    Second, the general logic of your comment is backwards. If you pull back too slowly, everyone dies. Pull back too quickly, perhaps many die. The latter is preferable to the former, obviously. However, see #1.

    Yep. That’s why I put a 10 year limit on this debate. The question is whether we get way serious this year or in five years or in ten. Lamenting about anything beyond that is silly. Do the math. Ten years is 20 PPM,

    We agree on the gist of this statement, but I think your math is off. Current emissions are averaging more than 2ppm, and adding increasing emissions from fracking, Arctic degradation, and rising population makes it fairly certain it will be significantly above 2ppm/yr.

    More importantly, if this debate is still going on in ten years, I see zero hope of any victory that would not be defined as Pyrrhic. Most people don’t seem to have noticed the Arctic Sea Ice extent started falling in @ 1953. CO2 was @ 310 – 315. Ocean lag means warming would mean CO2 would need to be even lower than that, likely 300 or less – the level above which the planet did not go till we overloaded the atmosphere. We are sixty years past the tipping point that set ASI melt in motion. How many bifurcations can we pass before we have passed too many?

    The clathrate and permafrost melt is accelerating. Much of it is experiencing temperatures at or above freezing either directly or in the vicinity. Bottom waters in the Arctic Ocean have been measured at above freezing and permafrost in Siberia measured at or above freezing in places.

    Also, this is a point I have made before, one of the reasons we so such rapid change is the interaction of already-degraded systems. We don’t just have warming and higher CO2, we have dead zones due to runoff, which make oceans more vulnerable to rapid changes. We have deforestation so less CO2 is sequestered, and more runoff, etc. We have urban heat islands, and FF-based farming that has, and continues to, move carbon from the soil to the air, waterways and oceans. Every ecosystem on the planet is being changed and generally made less functional. Bark beetles destroying forests, and all the attended feedbacks.

    I fully expect the next ten years to see a large, measurable spike in methane emissions, the end of the ASI in August/Sept. Did a recent estimate not find that the extra energy into the Arctic Ocean over the last 20 years might equal the effect of FF emissions over the same time period? If accurate, we are grossly underestimating the Earth System Sensitivity, aren’t we?

    Besides, it’s the food supply, Stupid. I realized 1.5 to 2 years ago that the weather extremes made food production the primary first major disruption from climate change. I think it will outstrip the direct effects of extreme weather in very short order.

    Last Spring we saw a very warm May followed by a normal April. The warming followed by cold killed of large percentages of various flowering/fruit crops in the Midwest and Northeast. In areas of Michigan, 95% of the grape crop was lost, e.g. I know I lost most of the fruits on my own trees in Detroit.

    http://sustainablog.org/2013/01/global-grain-stocks-drop-dangerously-low-as-2012-consumption-exceeded-production/2/

    If we are still having this debate vs. measurable change in ten years, I see zero hope of it happening in a time frame that can leave us with meaningful control over our fate.

  36. 236
    Killian says:

    Killian O’Brien@211,
    You’re kidding, right? Do you really think the Transition Towns scheme as it is currently constituted is a viable plan? Jebus! We have Superman1 who thinks the whole thing can be solved by fiat and you who think a decentralized, obscure plan on a drawing board is the solution. No wonder we’re f***ed!

    Comment by Ray Ladbury — 23 Jan 2013 @ 9:13 AM

    First, TT is not “on a drawing board.” Second, don’t recall saying, “as constituted,” and actually very clearly stated it could be coupled with something like Occupy. Does that not inherently require changes to TT?

    And, yes, sustainability is mostly local, pretty much by definition. Given how argumentative you are being, and your obvious lack of interest in reading what ideas I have offered, it isn’t worth going into this with you. Let me point out simply: massively reduced carbon consumption is non-negotiable. Ergo, localization is non-negotiable. Ergo, sustainability is mostly local.

    And, I agree with Einstein’s observation you cannot solve a problem with the same thinking that created it. Ergo, the current socio-economic-political structures cannot create a sustainable society.

    Further, I also agree with Buckminster Fuller’s observation that you do not defeat an old paradigm by fighting it head on, you build a better one and watch the old one wither away. It seems you are trusting of the current paradigm being capable of fixing things; I am certain it cannot.

    Also, regarding “renwables” as currently designed, no, the resources for them to be used for 2 – 3 billion years do not exist. A society existing almost exclusively on truly renewable resources (which wind generators can be made out of) and very, very carefully using non-renewable resources can do quite well and for quite a long time. I could even see getting to the point we can mine the moon or asteroids for non-renewables and extend things pretty indefinitely, but it is poor planning to rely on, “What if.”

    What we can do is live in a sort of Hobbiton-with-a-Hi-Tech-Backbone motif where very little is used for daily life and non-renewables are husbanded for things such as communication, transportation, medical care and R&D.

  37. 237
    Killian says:

    My own crazy idea is that we look into areas where nobody has looked because the math breaks down – e.g., singularities and simultaneity.

    Or…. we can plant trees (45% of dry weight of an average tree is carbon), grow forests, re-grow forests, and engage in regenerative gardening and farming (Rodale comaprative study of farming methods.)

    Nah… far too wacky.

  38. 238
    Killian says:

    sidd Comment by sidd — 21 Jan 2013 @ 10:10 PM

    1)CH4 destabilization > clathrate gun didnt go off in the Eemian so why now?

    1. Measurements from various scientific papers indicate an age for the CH4 at @ the 30 – 40k ya range. Do the math: it wasn’t there in the Eemian, but was laid down after during the intervening cooling.

    2. Do we know that ocean temps and geography were similar enough to today to have encouraged such degradation? Didn’t the paper just out say the Eemian peak melting on Greenland’s ice cap span only about 2k years? Were there deposits in the Arctic to go “clathrate boom?”

    3. Have emissions during the Eemian been quantified?

    4. Eemian warming occurred over much longer times frames, thousasnds vs. 100′s of years. If I’m not mistaken, clathrate sensitivity is partially down to speed of change.

    5. Mostly #1.

    2)ice sheet disintegration in 100 yr

    I’ve never been able to find it again, but I read an article/paper on a European ice sheet, perhaps from British isles up into Scandinavia?, that showed evidence of significant (not complete as you implied) destabilization in the 100-200 yr time frame. Other analyses since that time have also found sub-millennial time scales very possible for significant degradation.

    And do note I did say not say full disintegration – that was your take, not mine – but significant disintegration. A meter is significant. Two is extremely significant.

    Interestingly, It’s hard to find an estimate for SLR by 2100 that is under 1M now. I said in 2007 it would be *at least* one meter, and most likely over 1.5 and likely as much as 3M.

    Things that make you go, “Hmmmm…” Just a good guess? Enquiring minds want to know!

    At this point, yes, I expect more like at least 2M as Greenland and West Antarctica both start to tumble/melt into the sea. Rapid decarbonization might reduce those numbers, but the literature would seem to suggest 1M is a done deal.

  39. 239
    Superman1 says:

    Killian #235,

    “More importantly, if this debate is still going on in ten years, I see zero hope of any victory that would not be defined as Pyrrhic. Most people don’t seem to have noticed the Arctic Sea Ice extent started falling in @ 1953. CO2 was @ 310 – 315. Ocean lag means warming would mean CO2 would need to be even lower than that, likely 300 or less – the level above which the planet did not go till we overloaded the atmosphere. We are sixty years past the tipping point that set ASI melt in motion. How many bifurcations can we pass before we have passed too many?…..I fully expect the next ten years to see a large, measurable spike in methane emissions, the end of the ASI in August/Sept. Did a recent estimate not find that the extra energy into the Arctic Ocean over the last 20 years might equal the effect of FF emissions over the same time period? If accurate, we are grossly underestimating the Earth System Sensitivity, aren’t we?…..If we are still having this debate vs. measurable change in ten years, I see zero hope of it happening in a time frame that can leave us with meaningful control over our fate.”

    You make some excellent points. Unfortunately, I see no reason why we will not be having this debate in ten years or twenty years. For serious change to happen in this politically sensitive area, there needs to be a large, highly motivated, and well-organized constituency willing to do whatever is necessary to insure we have a chance for civilization to survive. I do not see any constituency with those characteristics on the horizon today. Even on RC, there’s little agreement on end point or approach or level of sacrifice required; in the general population, forget it! The only projection that I suspect will come true is BP’s Energy Outlook 2030, published a year ago (http://www.bp.com/liveassets/bp_internet/globalbp/STAGING/global_assets/downloads/O/2012_2030_energy_outlook_booklet.pdf). On p.10, they lay it all out: in 2010, the combined oil/gas/coal consumption is about ten billion toe; in 2030, the projected combined oil/gas/coal consumption is about thirteen billion toe, an increase of about thirty percent. If we have not gone over the cliff yet, and the points you raise above show we are treading on extremely dangerous ground now, in twenty years of increasing CO2 emissions we will be spending our time as a civilization fighting one ‘extreme’ event after another.

  40. 240
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Killian,
    First, you are not going to be able to support a global population of 10 billion people with purely “local” solutions–particularly in a world with climate rendered unpredictable by anthropogenic warming. Yes, local solutions are essential–in fact the only path forward in the absence of a natinal and international will to face reality. They are not, however, in themselves a solution. The problems are global warming, global overpopulation, global environmental degradation and global resource depletion. Methinks global coordination will be required.

  41. 241

    A few years ago , a chap commenting here at RC did not believe in Full moon Arctic sea ice tidal events, Alistair thought it was right and observed it on local UK rivers by another means of confirming its existence. There was more than one chap who couldn’t not fathom such an event, so I am quite fortunate to show the latest full moon lead formations a few hours fresh, especially to all who don’t believe in a true physics folklore about the full moon not quite fiction like werewolves or other superstitions. http://eh2r.blogspot.ca/

  42. 242
    S. Molnar says:

    From the BBC:

    ‘Prof Davies said: “It is clear that we might not ever see global warming, the apocalyptic scenario is that when I need a new hip in 20 years I’ll die from a routine infection because we’ve run out of antibiotics.”‘

    Is Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, a political hack or just grossly ignorant? Or, possibly misquoted? Anyone?

  43. 243
    Dan H. says:

    S. Molnar,
    Sally Davies is one of the most respected medical professionals in the U.K. and around the world. She is neither a political hack nor grossly ignorant. The quote is accurate. She is trying to highlight a potential serious condition (drug-resistant bacteria), that could have world-wide ramifications. The development of anti-biotics tranformed medicine in the 20th century. Without them, the world would face a much more serious threat than could ever be imagine from global warming. She is just putting this in perspective.

  44. 244

    #242–I’m guessing a misquote, since her purpose in invoking global warming at all is apparently to emphasize the serious nature of the problem of anitbiotic resistance, and it doesn’t make good rhetorical sense to do so and then minimize the comparator. But people do misspeak sometimes (as I can testify from the first person perspective.)

  45. 245
    Hank Roberts says:

    > S. Molnar

    The BBC report begins “The rise in drug resistant infections is comparable to the threat of global warming, according to the chief medical officer for England.” One sentence is quoted from the interview.

    I read it as
    “we [alive today] might not ever see global warming”
    and
    “the apocalyptic scenario [for us now living] … in 20 years I’ll die from a routine infection because we’ve run out of antibiotics.”

    That’s realistic. The rate of change is far higher for microbes.

    “We” won’t see much climate change — everyone now alive will have died a century from now. When it’s starting to get serious, others will blame us.

    We are seeing serious, rapidly increasing antibiotic resistance in our time. We can blame our parents’ and grandparents’ generation — the warnings were even then as clear and the evidence as apparent.

    “”There is a broken market model ….”
    There’s no way yet found to make a financial killing in the public health marketplace — all that investors can accomplish is making _everyone_ healthier, as a population. And where’s the profit in that?

  46. 246
    SecularAnimist says:

    Hank Roberts wrote: “… ‘We’ won’t see much climate change …”

    Um, “we” are seeing plenty of climate change already.

    I certainly expect that food shortages caused by global warming will be every bit as much a “serious, rapidly increasing” problem as antibiotic resistance in my lifetime (which is to say, another decade or two if I live the current average lifespan of an American male).

  47. 247

    #246–What Secular said! Though the perspective Hank puts forward may well be where Dr. Davies is ‘coming from.’

  48. 248
    sidd says:

    “Measurements from various scientific papers indicate an age for the CH4 at @ the 30 – 40k ya range. ”

    Cite ?

    sidd

  49. 249
    Hank Roberts says:

    Yup. I don’t expect to see the warming signal emerge from the weather _in_my_personal_experience_ — I know it’s happening because I read, not because I’ve had first hand experience attributable solely to climate change. That will emerge — and I only know even about natural variability of the weather by reading, after all. One life’s too short to experience a climate trend and know for sure. It’s coming hereabouts for the grandchildren. It’s already happening for those living near the Arctic, so I read.

    Anyone who cares to read about this stuff knows about it — long before it’s going to be apparent to the average reader — but we see far more by reading and watching video than by looking in our own back yard over the years.

    We’re several generations into overusing antibiotics (mostly on agriculture). That problem’s emerged from the range of natural variability — and it’s going to be part of most people’s individual experience if it hasn’t already cropped up for someone they know.

  50. 250
    Killian says:

    Re: 240 Ray Ladbury said, you are not going to be able to support a global population of 10 billion people with purely “local” solutions

    Good thing I have never ever said solutions are only/solely/can only be local with no global coordination.

    Whew!

    And, yes, local solutions are the ONLY solutions, but, of course, the design principles must be applied globally. Think in terms of nested systems.

    242 S. Molnar says: From the BBC:

    ‘Prof Davies said: “It is clear that we might not ever see global warming, the apocalyptic scenario is that when I need a new hip in 20 years I’ll die from a routine infection because we’ve run out of antibiotics.”‘

    Is Sally Davies, chief medical officer for England, a political hack or just grossly ignorant? Or, possibly misquoted? Anyone?

    Sounds to me like she is saying destabilization may well lead to other things knocking us off before climate does, per se. Plausible.

    246 SecularAnimist says: I certainly expect that food shortages caused by global warming will be every bit as much a “serious, rapidly increasing” problem as antibiotic resistance in my lifetime (which is to say, another decade or two if I live the current average lifespan of an American male)

    Already happening. The food price spikes of the last 10 years have been as serious as the oil price hikes, and caused by them, largely. But we also have had consumption exceed production this past year per this recent article: http://sustainablog.org/2013/01/global-grain-stocks-drop-dangerously-low-as-2012-consumption-exceeded-production/2/

    Very Bad Signs.

    248 sidd

    Don’t recall seeing any other number, actually. Will poke around.


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