RealClimate logo


Unforced Variations: Feb 2015

Filed under: — group @ 7 February 2015

This month’s open thread.

534 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Feb 2015”

  1. 51
    Killian says:

    Geo-engineering = mitigation = OT.

    Are we seeing a bias, RC? Either we can discuss it, or we can’t would seem the fair stance.

    Clarification?

  2. 52
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Jasper,
    Your “desperate ideologue” schtick got old after the first use. Do you have any positive suggestions or actual insights or are you just trolling?

  3. 53
    Killian says:

    #41 Kevin McKinney said, “(Sure, but I’m a bit skeptical of the magnitude of this effect; I haven’t heard *anyone* talk about this who expects prices to stay low for any period remotely approaching the lifetime of a vehicle. Yeah, I know there’s supposedly an uptick in sales of such vehicles…”

    Who said vehicles? I said stuff. I think that word suggests a much broader range of consumption than “vehicles.”

    “So, did their models show the ‘extension’ of oil, as Killian suggested? Or are they just grabbing as much upfront share of a devaluing resource, as the author thinks?”

    I don’t understand the mutually exclusive use of “or” here. I said “an” aspect, not “the” aspect.

    #48 Chris Dudley said, “Jasper (#32), SUVs are no longer a loop hole, replacing old ones with new ones cuts emissions.”

    Incorrect. To argue by analogy, this is like saying eating 2800 calories a day instead of 3200, you will soon be skinny. To argue from a more First Principles perspective, the limits on resources makes any car, of any kind, unsustainable. The implications of this should be clear.

    #49 Kevin McKinney said, “#46–DNFTT, I tell myself, no matter how fact-free and sweeping the assertion.”

    The assertion at 46 is not fact free, it is factual. Every single tech response to climate and resource issues involves the continued use of FFs. Absolute fact. Why would *you* make such a lopsided assertion?

    I don’t want to get too far afield here given we aren’t supposed to talk about fixing things here, but I think so long as we label things that are not sustainable as being sustainable, people will continue to make the error you have just made. Remember: Neither wind nor solar are presently sustainable. It’s a false claim, whether made in ignorance or intentionally. Show me, if you wish to continue making the assertion, the list of every part of any solar or wind system, or any of these schemes, how it was manufactured with only sustainable materials and practices, and where the resources for it were dug up and can be dug up for as long as humans exist.

    If you can’t do that, you can’t claim it is sustainable.

    People need to get the difference between sustainable and efficient or CO2-neutral. These three things are not the same things at all.

  4. 54
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#53),

    Improved CAFE standards reduce emissions. The SUV loophole has been closed. So, the whole thing works together. Just because you don’t understand the effects of the Clean Air Act does not mean they don’t occur.

  5. 55
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Killian,
    Geoengineering actually has a lot of interesting science associated with it–I think as long as the emphasis is science rather than pounding one’s favorite hobby horse, it shouldn’t derail discussion.

  6. 56
    SecularAnimist says:

    Ray Ladbury wrote: “Jasper, Your ‘desperate ideologue’ schtick got old after the first use.”

    It got old a year ago, when he was running the same exact schtick here using the handle “DIOGENES”.

  7. 57
    Thomas says:

    Jasper @46. You have to actually do the math (maybe only at the back of the envelope issue). Stuff like wind and solar have energy payback periods of a year or two, and these are declining as the technology improves. So at least regarding alt energy tech, they definitely help to reduce emissions.

  8. 58
    David B. Benson says:

    Would commenters please refrain from mentioning mitigation matters on this site? This is simply the wrong forum. Kindly take it elsewhere.

  9. 59
    Salamano says:

    @47, Re: #42…

    The issue as I understand it is that many of these sites that experienced record to-this-day extreme weather in the 1930s have had their climate-related numbers adjusted critically and necessarily for things like time-of-day and site-change. However, their extreme maximums have been retained as earned, setting up in my opinion results that don’t make sense when taken together.

    Since climate-change impacts are in the ‘extreme weather’ business, I would think it’s only natural to evaluate past records in light of these critical adjustments.

    So then, there is a problem, or at least a conundrum, no? Options: (1) Asterisks for all extreme weather sites that have been climate-adjusted; (2) An explanation that though the ‘average temperature’ for the site has been adjusted cooler, it is still reasonable to expect no impact on a max temperature; (3) An explanation that, given the critical and necessary adjustments, it is reasonable to theorize that if we had the same equipment in the same locations in modern times, we would likely have broken those older raw records; (4) Something else?

    Now that there’s a new post up at RC, and involving temperature adjustments, it might be more relevant to repost there, but I’ll leave it here for now.

  10. 60
    Jasper Jaynes says:

    Ray#52,

    “Do you have any positive suggestions or actual insights or are you just trolling?”

    Your and Kevin’s use of ‘trolling’ is getting old and repetitive. My reading of the climate science is that we are on a ‘fast track’ to extinction. I am trying to ascertain whether there is anything I have overlooked that will lead me to believe otherwise.

    I have boiled down my perspective to two questions. Are there any metrics that show even a glimmer of progress on what we have already done towards getting us off the fast track, and are there any metrics to show we have at least established an infrastructure that offers hope of getting us off the fast track?

    It’s hard to argue that the answer to the first question is a resounding NO! Carbon emissions, fossil fuel use, and carbon atmosphere concentrations continue their strong rise year after year. So, what about the infrastructure for future progress. Have we voted into office politicians who have run on climate-friendly platforms? Abbott, Harper, Putin, Obama, et al should put that question to rest. We have, in fact, gone in the opposite direction. Do we have any long-range projections that offer the hope of vastly reduced carbon emissions? To the contrary. Every credible projection I have seen goes in the other direction. I can continue down the list, but I see no infrastructure of any type that has been established offering any hope of taking us off the fast track to extinction.

    And, look at RC. Chris Dudley has been trying to convince us over the past few days that a strong uptick in SUV sales due to cheap fuel prices is a good sign of reduced emissions. The commenters here are probably in the three-sigma band of the public, and the more fervent are closer to the six-sigma band. If the views expressed on RC don’t reflect a commitment to hard carbon emissions reduction, where will they be expressed?

    So no, Ray, I am far from trolling. I am looking for some positive signs and not finding any.

  11. 61
    Jasper Jaynes says:

    Killian#53,

    ” #49 Kevin McKinney said, “#46–DNFTT, I tell myself, no matter how fact-free and sweeping the assertion.”
    The assertion at 46 is not fact free, it is factual. Every single tech response to climate and resource issues involves the continued use of FFs. Absolute fact. Why would *you* make such a lopsided assertion?”

    The situation is little different from the CDC example I provided in last month’s Unforced Variations. In that case, the CDC appears to have taken overt action to cover-up an unwanted result by omitting critical data from a published study. In Kevin’s case, the method used to eliminate unwanted data is a combination of spin and name-calling. One can easily show that all the techniques I mentioned require the use of fossil fuels to different degrees. To deny that fact only hurts the credibility of the deniers, and impacts our cause negatively in the long-term.

  12. 62

    Killian, nobody used the word “sustainable” until you brought it in. (#56.) Complying with your demand would take us very far into the mitigation weeds, and I’m not going to ‘go there.’

    But let me point out a logical problem with your idea.

    Asking that each and every process in Category X be simon-pure of fossil fuels right now for that category to be considered ‘sustainable’ is just silly.

    Let’s take an example well away from any of the stuff known to cause contention here and consider hunting. Clearly that’s ‘sustainable’ in principle, as it was a mainstay of human provisioning for many, many millennia before agriculture was developed. Yet could its modern iteration pass your sustainability test? Clearly not–barring a tiny, tiny number of enthusiasts of ‘primitive’ hunting, who use essentially stone-age gear they themselves fabricate, FF are deeply intertwined with every step of a hunt, from gunsmithing to travel to processing the meat. (Heck, even those ‘primitive’ hunters probably travel using FF almost all the time.)

    The reason that this is true is that our society is structured around fossil fuel use–FF is everywhere. Thus, by your criterion, if we want to be sustainable, we essentially need to stop all economic activity.

    The problem with that, of course, is that if (in E.M. Forster’s phrase) ‘the machine stops’, then enormous numbers of people just die. As they say, “not on!”

    It is, on the other hand, possible to bootstrap one’s way out of this situation, and there is, to use Jasper’s phrase, “growing evidence” that this is going on in significant ways, as Thomas alludes to in #56. (I leave it as an exercise to find some of the real-world exemplars.)

    So, in sum: yes, any of the mitigation strategies mentioned in #46 will presently involve some FF use, in accordance with present techno-social conditions. But for at least some of those strategies, this is not inherent, but contingent: those strategies can be executed entirely without FF. Moreover, inasmuch as they replace activities which use more FF, they cut emissions–and as the proportion of FF in the energy mix drops, a ‘virtuous circle’ is intitiated: each additional gigawatt of non-FF capacity is cleaner than the previous.

  13. 63

    #57–Well, I’m sympathetic, even though I keep getting dragged into these discussions myself. They are repetitious and resolve nothing.

    On the other hand, there seems to be some ‘demand’ for mitigation discussion, which also makes sense since most here view the climate problem as a serious policy issue, demanding immediate response. It’s natural enough to want to talk about that.

    So, what about a second ‘ring-fenced’ area, analogous to the Borehole? Let those who wish to, engage, away from the main threads. Shouldn’t add much if anything to moderator’s trouble to sort into two ‘boxes’ instead of one, and might even save trouble in that it could ease the effort of judgment calls.

  14. 64
    wili says:

    I like Ray’s point at #55. Not only is there lots of science involved in evaluating ‘geo-engineering’ schemes, it is often essentially the same science as is used in climate science itself.

    The main proposal of the recent study seems to be to spray aerosols into the atmosphere. But aren’t the precise measurement of aerosol effects one of the biggest unknowns in climate modeling? How would we know how much aerosol to spray, and at what level of the atmosphere?

    If you haven’t yet, please do read raypierre’s excellent article on the subject in Slate: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2015/02/nrc_geoengineering_report_climate_hacking_is_dangerous_and_barking_mad.html

  15. 65
    wili says:

    David B. Benson (@#57), I’m not sure who your plea is directed toward. If you are counting geoengineering or climate intervention as ‘mitigation matters’ that should not be mentioned on this site, please note that Raymond T. Pierrehumbert chimed in on the subject @#44. He is a current permanent contributor to the site. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?cat=10 So I would imagine that his judgment about what is appropriate to discuss on this site would kinda trump yours. But again, it’s not clear which discussion you were seeking to proscribe.

  16. 66
    Chris Dudley says:

    raypierre (#44),

    I liked the article. It is strongly worded and shows strong commitment. I hope you can get in touch with these students http://chicagomaroon.com/2014/12/02/letter-divestment-from-fossil-fuels-a-unique-campaign/ and advise them on how University of Chicago faculty can help them with their effort to lay the ground work for not needing so much Climate Intervention.

  17. 67
    SecularAnimist says:

    Killian wrote: “Geo-engineering = mitigation = OT”

    Ray Ladbury replied: “Geoengineering actually has a lot of interesting science associated with it …”

    I think the distinction is that geoengineering has a lot of interesting climate science associated with it.

    The “mitigation” discussions that have been declared off-topic are all about ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and have tended to focus on non-fossil-fueled electricity generation. That’s a reasonable focus for such discussions since electricity generation accounts for some 40 percent of US emissions, per the EPA. However, the maintainers and moderators of this site have no particular expertise in the technology and economics of “decarbonizing” the electricity supply, and that is not what this site is about.

    On the other hand, “geoengineering” as that term is commonly used refers to ways of deliberately manipulating the Earth’s climate system, for example by deliberately altering the content of the Earth’s atmosphere, the Earth’s albedo, etc. in order to offset anthropogenic warming. So climate science is very relevant to that sort of geoengineering, and geoengineering seems an appropriate topic for this site.

    Having said that, I would hope that people would waste as little time as possible discussing such geoengineering schemes. They are just a distraction from what we really need to be doing — which is off-topic.

  18. 68
    Jasper Jaynes says:

    There have been many posts, pro and con, about the value of addressing mitigation on a climate science blog. This is an artificial dichotomy. Climate science and mitigation are inextricably inter-twined. Inclusion of proposed mitigation into the climate science models provides a sense of realism to the proposals. The problems we have seen on this blog result precisely because the two have been artificially separated. Typically, mitigation proposers don’t link to the climate science-based implications of their proposals, and the proposal degenerates to arm-waving. Additionally, climate models without boundary conditions linked to credible mitigation become model exercises unlinked to any reality. We need to focus on problem-solving, and address mitigation in the larger context of climate science.

  19. 69
    Chris Dudley says:

    Bill McKibben, who comments here occasionally, has an article about why you should join global divestment activities this weekend. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-mckibben/why-you-should-join-globa_b_6670628.html

    There is also a divestment sit-in going on at Harvard right now. http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2015/2/12/mass-hall-divest-harvard-occupy/

  20. 70
    Killian says:

    #54 Chris Dudley says: “I’m an arrogant something-or-other.”

    CD,

    I am way past your CAFE standards, and that is why you fail to understand what is stated. I figured out we cannot negotiate with natural systems a long time ago. I suggest you accept this ASAP. NO SUV/CAR is sustainable, period, thus any improvements in mileage are a Red Herring. Every one sold = a step closer to a potential ELE, even if they get 300 mpg.

    Cheers

    #55 Ray Ladbury says, “Geoengineering actually has a lot of interesting science associated with it”

    So does the use of poop in agriculture, but we don’t discuss that here.

    “I think as long as the emphasis is science rather than pounding one’s favorite hobby horse, it shouldn’t derail discussion.”

    But, Ray, you have no idea what is appropriate to discuss in these regards. Since 2007, you have shown this consistently. One man’s hobby horse is another man’s depth and breadth of knowledge making your point utterly and completely moot.

    There is science backing all sorts of responses, not just geoengineering. The UN, for instance, has stated unequivocally that one of the “hobby horses” I have tried to drive home to people like you here on RC since 2007, local, regenerative ag, is the future of ag for the planet.

    Once again, I predict accurately the future while you sit around whining about hobby horses you don’t even understand.

    How in the world do I keep doing that?! Hmmm…

    Another recent paper said the secret to drawing down CO2 is…. TREES! Yet another thing I’ve been trying to pound into the consciousness here for years.

    Yet another thing I was ahead of the curve on, all the while being dismissed by people like you who have exactly zero clear sense of what is wrong and what to do about it.

    So go take a ride on your hobby horses and ignore the impulse to respond to anything I post: Your responses are never useful.

    Geoengineering is mitigation, period. Either we can discuss it or we can’t, would seem to be the only way to do this. Anything in between leaves a gray area where the threads will be allowed to run, then shut down, then run, then shut down… as it has been for years here.

    So, some clarity would be welcomed.

  21. 71
    David B. Benson says:

    Worst Megadroughts in 1,000 Years Threaten US

    http://www.livescience.com/49794-megadrought-prediction-southwest-plains.html
    Mostly the southwest.

  22. 72

    K: NO SUV/CAR is sustainable, period, thus any improvements in mileage are a Red Herring. Every one sold = a step closer to a potential ELE, even if they get 300 mpg.

    BPL: No. The slower we emit, the more time we have to stop emitting altogether. Better mileage matters. We can’t achieve 100% purity overnight, and it’s silly to say we shouldn’t try.

  23. 73
    Jasper Jaynes says:

    Kevin#62,

    ” Moreover, inasmuch as they replace activities which use more FF, they cut emissions–and as the proportion of FF in the energy mix drops, a ‘virtuous circle’ is intitiated: each additional gigawatt of non-FF capacity is cleaner than the previous.”

    This proves to me, once again, that you have little understanding of what is required to avoid extinction. The key metric is the total carbon emissions/usage, irrespective of its fraction in the mix. If the FF fraction drops, but the total remains the same or increases (as I suspect will be the case with the huge global projected increase in energy demand and all-of-the-above being produced), then it’s Sayonara! So, while it looks good on paper to show that adding some low carbon technology (not zero carbon for the ‘clean’ technologies, by the way) instead of FF technology improves the mix fraction, it does nothing for rescuing the biosphere.

  24. 74
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#70),

    You claimed CAFE standards don’t cut emissions. However, they do. Please don’t quote me when you are just making stuff up.

    I’ve told you before that your idea of what is sustainable does not bear scrutiny. You need to read William McDonough. Otherwise, the only way you’ve left others behind is by falling down a rabbit hole.

  25. 75
    Chris Dudley says:

    Kevin (#63),

    Mitigation is not off topic. We took a break for a month. David is making this claim because he is upset that nuclear fantasy technology is still off topic. Real world mitigation discussion related to climate science is very much worth the effort here.

    For example, we’ve discussed before how keeping Canada out of helping China with CCS tech might be a fitting sanction for Canada going rogue on Kyoto. However, FutureGen, the US largest domestic effort, is going down despite the US commitment to assist China in this area. http://www.desmogblog.com/2015/02/06/clean-coal-losing-federal-support

    Given raypierre’s recent post suggesting Climate Intervention may have to rely on technology of this type because a quick fix approach is crazy, taking a closer look at options for China, the largest emitter and thus the largest technological proving ground, is worth discussion.

  26. 76
    Jasper Jaynes says:

    BPL#72,

    “Better mileage matters. We can’t achieve 100% purity overnight, and it’s silly to say we shouldn’t try.”

    The initiating post had the specific quote “January delivered a strong start to 2015 as demand for pickups and small SUVs benefited from cheap fuel prices.” I interpreted that partly as e.g. someone traded their Corolla for a Highlander because present total fuel costs would be little different between a Highlander now and a Corolla a few years ago, given the low present fuel prices. Obviously, those who are also trading old Highlanders for present Highlanders would experience some minor increase in gas mileage, but overall the trend is in the wrong direction.

    Killian’s general thesis is correct, and I find much of the flak he is receiving focused on winning debating points rather than helping to solve this overwhelming problem we face.

  27. 77

    Jaynes-san, you are correct that total emissions matter as well as the fraction. Quite true. But the way to get total emissions down surely involves lowering the fraction as part of the solution. We don’t want the fraction to go up, or even stay the same. I agree that endless energy production growth is neither achievable nor desirable, but cutting the total is only part of the solution, just as cutting the FF fraction is.

    Equation: C = f Σ

    where C is emissions level, f the fossil-fuels fraction, and Σ is total energy production.

  28. 78

    My last ms, attempting to write an equation of potential interest, got flagged as spam. Can this be fixed?

  29. 79

    #73–Back atcha, pal.

    What I said was that as FF fraction in the mix decreases, *additional* clean energy added is ever closer to net zero. And that’s true.

    As a concrete example of the process in action, according to Wikipedia, Denmark’s generation mix has moved from 29% renewable in 2005, to 44% renewable in 2012. So Danish production of Vestas wind power gear has become that much ‘cleaner’, and, of course, is contributing clean power to transform grids in any of the 70 countries where their gear is installed. And:

    “Denmark’s observed carbon emissions from energy consumption have dropped by 11.7 million tonnes since 1990, corresponding to 22%. After eliminating the effects of electricity trade and fluctuations in climate, carbon emissions have been reduced by 31% since 1990.”

    http://www.ens.dk/en/info/news-danish-energy-agency/danish-carbon-emissions-continue-drop

    (Their current policy goal is a 40% reduction by 2020–they are almost on track to make it–with a longer-term goal of being entirely fossil free by 2050.)

    What happens with the size of of the overall ‘pie’ is quite another question. And yes, it’s a vital one. Clearly, total emissions primarily depend the absolute size of the FF faction–not its proportion. So if one builds twice as much clean energy (of whatever stripe) as FF, one is still going in the wrong direction, since FF capacity is still increasing (neglecting retirements, of course, for the sake of simplicity.)

    In the Danish example, that is not happening: the move to renewable energy is displacing fossil generation. The Chinese example to date shows the opposite, as despite their dramatic increase in renewables and their (largely projected) increase in nuclear generation, their fossil capacity has not yet started to decline. Indeed, the EIA doesn’t project that it will do so before 2040–though the EIA doesn’t have a great track record in this regard, and of course the US-China bilateral deal calls for peak Chinese emissions no later than 2030.

    All of which would naturally be rather more comforting if Denmark accounted for ~25% of global emissions and China for ~0.14%, rather than the other way around. Still, there are some pretty good reasons to think China is serious about backing away from coal–even if consideration of them doesn’t make for good ‘doom p*rn.’ The latter, after all, doesn’t thrive on nuance.

  30. 80
    Hank Roberts says:

    As Sou points out,

    “fraud” “scam” “it’s all a hoax”….
    This sort of thing happens from time to time, often when the UN is meeting to discuss action on global warming. The timing of the denier attacks in this case coincide with the UN meeting in Geneva.

    Getting suckered into discussion of political and PR tactics, fine.
    That stuff is done by the rodeo cowboys to distract attention.

    Recreational typing is quite popular.

    But — do it somewhere else?

    This is a classroom, dammit.
    Let those trying to learn have one quiet place for the science?

  31. 81

    To raise another unforced variation, I was looking back at recent work on hurricanes, and found this paper from Climate Dynamics:

    http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/S00382-013-1713-0#page-1

    From the abstract:

    We find no anthropogenic signal in annual global tropical cyclone or hurricane frequencies. But a strong signal is found in proportions of both weaker and stronger hurricanes: the proportion of Category 4 and 5 hurricanes has increased at a rate of ~25–30 % per °C of global warming after accounting for analysis and observing system changes. This has been balanced by a similar decrease in Category 1 and 2 hurricane proportions, leading to development of a distinctly bimodal intensity distribution, with the secondary maximum at Category 4 hurricanes. This global signal is reproduced in all ocean basins.

    That seems very much in line with what people have been expecting for a few years now, at least as I understand it.

    But what’s the ‘state of play’ more generally in such studies? (The paper cites Grinslak, I think from ’12; there’s clearly a whole strand of work going on.) Any comments or thoughts?

  32. 82
    Warren Hoskins says:

    #41 Kevin McKinney – in addition to Russia and Iran, and perhaps with ISIS as an unacknowledged target, consider Venezuela and Mexico as oil suppliers to other nations being hammered by the fall in prices. If the US is calling the shots for Saudi Arabia, the US is certainly not neutral about Venezuela.

  33. 83
    Meow says:

    I have some questions for raypierre, following on his Slate article.

    Let’s say that we’re barking mad enough to continue BAU and suppress the resulting warming by stratospheric sulfate injection, then say we suddenly stop injection.

    1. How long would it take to realize essentially the full amount of the suppressed TOA forcing? It seems that it should be basically the amount of time it takes for most of the sulfates to exit the stratosphere — i.e., a few weeks to months. Am I missing something important?

    2. How long would it take for the new TOA forcing to become a lower tropospheric/surface forcing?

    3. How rapidly would lower tropospheric/surface temperatures change once (2) occurs?

    4. Is there any evidence in paleoclimatic records for that rate of change? If so, when?
    .

  34. 84
    Hank Roberts says:

    Would our hosts encourage James Annan to come back, or otherwise spend a bit more time on the science as he’s doing? I realize it’s hard to focus on science when you’re afflicted by, well, the afflicted. Ignore’em, borehole’em.

    Show us more like this:
    http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2015/02/that-marotzkeforster-vs-lewis-thing.html

    (Note that on the question of tuning, this is not even something that all modellers would have to be aware of, so honestly saying “we didn’t do that” does not answer the question. But I digress.)

    One limitation of the MF study was that they do not know the forcing for each model, or the α and κ parameters, so had to estimate them by linear regression based on (among other things) their temperature time series. Along comes Nic Lewis, and says “aha – this is circular”. Now I haven’t had time to look into it in detail, but this argument clearly has some validity in principle….

  35. 85

    Hey, here’s another approach to attribution of damage.

    1) Map Sandy’s flooding (OBS.)

    2) Calculate flooding which would have occurred minus the eustatic component of SLR for the area.

    3) Calculate residuals from cases 1) to 2).

    4) Estimate resultant differences in damages (might be a bit of a challenge, I think.)

    But I think NYC has good modeling of flood potentials, and I imagine they could run them for *lower* sea levels, too, as you would need to do for step 2. And there are probably good ‘loss maps,’ as well–maybe insurers, maybe city, maybe FEMA?

    You’d end up with an estimate of SLR costs in a real, familiar and significant case. I’d think that would be of interest.

    Or has somebody already tried something like this, for Sandy, or for some other inundation disaster?

  36. 86
    Lamont Granquist says:

    Cliff Mass is getting increasingly shrill about anthropogenic climate change and the jet stream / rossby waves / atmospheric blocking

    He’s throwing around words like “discredited” and “fatal flaw”

    http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2015/02/revenge-of-ridges.html

    It would be real useful to have a review article on the state of those theories published here. What current articles I can find are all behind paywalls, but the abstracts suggest that far form being discredited that they’re still plausible but the jury is out.

  37. 87
    SecularAnimist says:

    Here is some climate science that I’d love to have the site maintainers’ thoughts about:

    Unprecedented 21st century drought risk in the American Southwest and Central Plains
    Benjamin I. Cook, Toby R. Ault, Jason E. Smerdon
    Science Advances 01 Feb 2015:
    Vol. 1 no. 1 e1400082
    DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1400082

    Abstract:

    In the Southwest and Central Plains of Western North America, climate change is expected to increase drought severity in the coming decades. These regions nevertheless experienced extended Medieval-era droughts that were more persistent than any historical event, providing crucial targets in the paleoclimate record for benchmarking the severity of future drought risks. We use an empirical drought reconstruction and three soil moisture metrics from 17 state-of-the-art general circulation models to show that these models project significantly drier conditions in the later half of the 21st century compared to the 20th century and earlier paleoclimatic intervals. This desiccation is consistent across most of the models and moisture balance variables, indicating a coherent and robust drying response to warming despite the diversity of models and metrics analyzed. Notably, future drought risk will likely exceed even the driest centuries of the Medieval Climate Anomaly (1100–1300 CE) in both moderate (RCP 4.5) and high (RCP 8.5) future emissions scenarios, leading to unprecedented drought conditions during the last millennium.

  38. 88
    Ray Ladbury says:

    OK, Killian, let me draw you a map. There happens to be a lot of CLIMATE science associated with geoengineering (as SA pointed out). What is more, the science This is a climate science blog–or had you notices. There is zero interesting CLIMATE science associated with nukes or with renewables or most of the other hobby horses some here straddle.

    Geoengineering, however has to do with things like the behavior of aerosols or the feedback associated with the biosphere and/or the oceans. What we want to avoid is derailing of the discussion by those with entrenched position on which mitigation scheme “is the only one that can possibly work.”

  39. 89
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Jasper Jaynes: “I have boiled down my perspective to two questions. Are there any metrics that show even a glimmer of progress on what we have already done towards getting us off the fast track, and are there any metrics to show we have at least established an infrastructure that offers hope of getting us off the fast track?” – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2015/02/unforced-variations-feb-2015/comment-page-2/#comment-625296

    No. And no. Now have a nice life.

  40. 90
    Killian says:

    #62 Kevin McKinney, “Killian, nobody used the word “sustainable” until you brought it in.”

    Can’t talk about any degree of mitigation or response without the assumption of sustainability, which you know, thus we both know that is always the context. Argumentative is not helpful.

    “(#56.) Complying with your demand would take us very far into the mitigation weeds, and I’m not going to ‘go there.’”

    You are already in the mitigation weeds. Any response to slow or stop or reverse GHG in hte atmosphere is mitigation. Word games are not helpful.

    “But let me point out a logical problem with your idea. Asking that each and every process in Category X be simon-pure of fossil fuels right now for that category to be considered ‘sustainable’ is just silly.”

    Right now? What the heck are you talking about? I have never said that, today or any day. What is wrong with your head, making stuff up? I merely said call a thing what it is.

    No, using a word correctly is not silly, lying to the general public about the state, condition or nature of a thing is silly, or worse. Good planning requires accurate information. People need to know the differences between sustainable, efficient, GHG-neutral/-negative. You cannot plan effectively without knowing these things, so not using these terms correctly is beyond silly, it is absurd, even suicidal.

    “The reason that this is true is that our society is structured around fossil fuel use–FF is everywhere. Thus, by your criterion, if we want to be sustainable, we essentially need to stop all economic activity.”

    In the sense you mean it, yes. But that is a false assertion in actuality. When you say economic activity you mean profit-based, financed, usury-inclusive exchange. When I say economy I mean exchange, period. So, yes, the “economy” will change. Must change.

    “The problem with that, of course, is that if (in E.M. Forster’s phrase) ‘the machine stops’, then enormous numbers of people just die. As they say, “not on!””

    That’s ridiculous. You pulled that out of your butt. Nobody is talking about the sort of cliff-like end to any processes you imply. Ridiculous. <– Yes, worth saying twice.

    "It is, on the other hand, possible to bootstrap one’s way out of this situation"

    And…. you've never seen any of my comments before? I have said, what, exactly, to cause you to make up these weird assertions?

    Bottom up. That is how this happens. Simplicity. Sustainability. REAL sustainability, not lies to make greenwashing feel OK.

    "So, in sum: yes, any of the mitigation strategies mentioned in #46 will presently involve some FF use, in accordance with present techno-social conditions."

    Yes, we know, so stop pretending saying so is somehow bad.

    "But for at least some of those strategies, this is not inherent, but contingent: those strategies can be executed entirely without FF."

    Name one. And don't forget embedded energy.

    "Moreover, inasmuch as they replace activities which use more FF, they cut emissions"

    And? Who said they didn't? I merely corrected a false assertion they are sustainable. They are not. And, if that's all they do, the content in the atmosphere still grows, just less slowly, accomplishing nothing given CO2 is already high enough to melt the caps according to multiple studies, e.g.

    "–and as the proportion of FF in the energy mix drops, a ‘virtuous circle’ is intitiated: each additional gigawatt of non-FF capacity is cleaner than the previous."

    Virtuous scircle. LOL!!! Dude, you have a time issue, a choatic systems issue, a bifurcations issue… and others. Playing at timing the market doesn't work out for most. Playing at timing nature is not likely to, either.

    This sanguine approach to climate and resources is a very dangerous game to play. Mann, et al., just published likely 2C by 2036, e.g. So, yeah, accurate use of "sustainable" is not only not foolish, it is vital.

    People thinking they are doing sustainability rather than less-bad has the very real psychological effect of removing urgency and allowing an unrealistic view of what is actually happening.

    Time is not just short, time is up. As I said it would be 7 or 8 years ago. Heck, I think I even stated 2015 specifically as a threshold year for serious change to begin.

  41. 91
    Killian says:

    #75 Chris Dudley says, “Mitigation is not off topic. We took a break for a month.”

    1. It was more than a month and 2. good to know. Missed the announcement.

    Now we gotta get you narrow-minded ones to understand the sorts of things I have talked about for years, that you consider unscientific, are not only scientific, but your only hope of safe mitigation.

    The U.N. has begun mimicking pretty much all my key assertions. Top two from them? Regenerative small holdings are the future of ag and trees are our saviors.

    Yay, team!

  42. 92
    Killian says:

    #74 Chris Dudley says, “Killian (#70),

    You claimed CAFE standards don’t cut emissions.”

    Aw, now why lie? I said no loophole had been closed. There is no loophole. Cars are unsustainable, periood. Done. If you don’t understand what you read, best not to respond.

    “I’ve told you before that your idea of what is sustainable does not bear scrutiny.”

    LOL!!! MY idea? Dude, something can be done endlessly or it can’t. No two ways about it, so get over yourself. I don’t care what some stuffed shirt said about it, the term defines itself: Can be done ad infinitum or can’t. There is no other *useful* definition. The “Triple Bottom Line?” A sick joke.

    The “without damaging future generations ability to…?” Joke. We have no way of knowing what they will need. The only sane response is to leave them as much as we can. The best way to do that is to stop using unsustainable materials as quickly as possible. Successfully doing so leaves the wiggle room the future generations might need to solve currently unknown problems with unsustainable materials if need be.

    So “my” definition is the only one anyone should be discussing. But it’s not mine, it’s the only definition that actually means sustainable.

    I’ve left you behind by not being restricted by groupthink, wildly inaccurate constructs, ideology, beliefs or human-derived conceptual frameworkds not grounded in natural systems.

    I start, as I was taught to do, with what the planet can provide in and of itself. Only after that is determined does it make any sense to ask what we can do, using Nature’s systems, principles, processes, to speed up processes and create abundance.

    It’s more complex than that, but that suffices for a nutshell.

    You? You never even ask the question. That is why your analysis is faulty from the first step. Arrogance is putting esoteric, abstract human constructs before natural limits, functions, processes, principles.

  43. 93
    Killian says:

    72 Barton Paul Levenson says, “BPL: No. The slower we emit, the more time we have to stop emitting altogether.”

    Says who? That’s some poor risk assessment, right there. Every sign says we are potentially passing, if not have passed, important tipping points. I offer WAIS as an obvious example. I offer further that just a few years ago Antarctica wasn’t supposed to be melting at all for another fifty to a hundred years. Yet, we now know it’s *been melting* for decades.

    Ya might not recall I said back in ’07/’08 it made no sense the Arctic would be melting down but not the Antarctic, and that at the very least it would definitely start before 2100.

    Well… I can keep being correct and y’all can keep telling me I don’t have a clue, but at some point yer gonna start looking a little batty.

    “Better mileage matters. We can’t achieve 100% purity overnight, and it’s silly to say we shouldn’t try.”

    No, it’s silly to not be building out mass transit faster than a demon steed. So, no, mileage doesn’t matter. It makes no significant impact long-term, yet allows the transition off of cars to go on and on and on…. heck, who is talking about no cars at all? Almost nobody.

    People in stasis, systems in stasis, tend to stay in stasis. Stasis is maladaptive at this time.

    Now, if you want to add to the CAFE laws that every vehicle come with a warning label, fine. How about,

    “You are still killing your children and all future generations! These improved standards do virtually nothing to stop the relentless drive to 450ppm and 6C or more! Don’t buy this car, you’re killing yourself!

    Go lobby your congresscritters for massive, rapid build-out of mass transit!”

    ;-)

  44. 94
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#92),

    You are very much out of the loop if you don’t know about the closing of the SUV loophole.

  45. 95
    SecularAnimist says:

    This is a web admin question.

    Often when I get to the RealClimate home page, there are new “Recent Comments” listed on the right, but when I click one of those link and go to the article where the comment is listed, the newer comments are not there, and are not listed in the “Recent Comments” box on the article page. Eventually — sometimes the next day — those comments will show up on the article page.

    In other words, it looks like comments get listed on the home page’s “Recent Comments” box before they are actually published on the article page. It doesn’t seem to be a browser cache issue, I have tried that.

    It’s not a big deal. Just curious about why that is happening.

  46. 96

    BPL: No. The slower we emit, the more time we have to stop emitting altogether.

    K: Says who? That’s some poor risk assessment, right there.

    BPL: Says me, pal. I’m the most alarmist of the alarmist, and my own research tells me that the time of social collapse depends critically on the rate at which emissions grow. The slower they grow, the more time we have. If you dispute that, then show your work.

  47. 97

    Killian said:

    “The problem with that, of course, is that if (in E.M. Forster’s phrase) ‘the machine stops’, then enormous numbers of people just die. As they say, “not on!””

    That’s ridiculous. You pulled that out of your butt. Nobody is talking about the sort of cliff-like end to any processes you imply. Ridiculous. – Yes, worth saying twice.

    Well, it truly seems to me that that ‘cliff-like end’ is just what *you* are demanding. So perhaps you may wish to reconsider your ‘messaging,’ as apparently I’m not ‘getting’ you. Maybe you should spend less time misinterpreting me, and more time trying to say clearly just what it is that you think.

    I’ve read, with interest and admiration, many of your past points about trees and sustainable ag and all that. I’m all for that. But I don’t recall seeing anything that let me know with any clarity, just how those things would stop fossil fuel emissions in the near term, nor just how well they might lead to, be part of, or contribute to, the eventual sustainable economy that we presumably all desire–nor just how much carrying capacity that economy might have and when.

    In the meantime, as you say, time is short if not ‘out.’ And what I see decreasing FF emissions now is renewables. The arguments I’ve seen from you or Jasper or whatever his real name is have not, IMO, been at all convincing. I’ve tried to articulate just why that is, only to be, er, poorly received–with accusations from Jasper, and with logical circles from you.

    Don’t believe that last? Well, as one example, I pointed out that I wasn’t talking about ‘sustainability’ per se. You said, essentially, I should have been, then went on at length about the virtues of same–provided, of course, that it’s ‘real’–thus leading us right back where we were. And without you ever engaging in the narrower question that I was addressing, which was the IMO erroneous assertion that ‘clean energy’ somehow requires the ‘continued use’ of FF. Trivially true, if by that you mean in the short term, but ultimately false.

    And utterly misleading as policy recommendation.

  48. 98
    Jon Keller says:

    #95 SecularAnimist,

    I am not a web admin of this site, however I’ve had the same issue and I’ve found that if you just click the “Comments (Pop-Up)” instead of going to the article it will always show the latest comments. As to why it is happening, it could be a server-side cache issue (as opposed to client-side, since your browser cache is not the problem).

  49. 99
    Hank Roberts says:

    > web admin question
    Yep, noticed the same thing; copying the URL from the right sidebar sometimes gets to the recent comment even when it won’t appear in the main window yet.

    > sustainability
    Use the indexes, folks.

    Sustainability: A Nobel Cause
    Filed under: Climate Science
    — stefan @ 9 October 2007
    I would like to share with you some impressions from a remarkable event taking place today and tomorrow in Potsdam: 15 Nobel laureates are meeting with top climate and energy experts and politicians to discuss global sustainability. You can follow the event with its presentations here, with a couple of hours of delay….

    – See more at: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/10/sustainability-a-nobel-cause/#sthash.HQvtU21Z.dpuf

  50. 100
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#93),

    Again, you seem very out of touch with what is going on. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High-speed_rail_in_the_United_States