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Some AGU highlights

Here a few of the videos of the named lectures from last week that are worth watching. There are loads more videos from selected sessions on the AGU Virtual Meeting site (the AGU YouTube channel has quite a lot more from past meetings too).

All well worth the time.

Charney Lecture: Drew Shindell “Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change While Advancing Human Development”

Nye Lecture: Elizabeth Morris: “Hot Ice and Wondrous Strange Snow: Three-Phase Mixtures or Something More?”

Sagan Lecture: Piers Sellers “The Race to Understand a Changing Planet”

Schneider Lecture: Warren Washington: “The Transformation of Climate Models to Earth System Models and their Role in Policy Development and Decision Support”

Tyndall Lecture: (Our very own) Ray Pierrehumbert: “Successful Predictions”

If there are any other standouts in the rest of the videos, please bring them up in the comments.

62 Responses to “Some AGU highlights”

  1. 1
    dennis baker says:

    You’ve talked me into it lets get started :

    In my opinion

    We need to replace the fossil fuel power plants, the primary source of GHG. Now!

    At a scale required to accomplish this task :

    Ethanol starves people : not a viable option.

    Fracking releases methane : not a viable option.

    Cellulose Bio Fuel Uses Food Land : not a viable option

    Solar uses food land : Not a viable option

    Wind is Intermittent : Not a viable option

    All Human and Agricultural Organic Waste can be converted to hydrogen, through exposure intense radiation!

    The Radioactive Materials exist now, and the Organic waste is renewable daily.

    Ending the practice of dumping sewage into our water sources.

    Air, Water, Food and Energy issues, receive significant positive impacts .

    Reducing illness / health care costs as well !

    Dennis Baker
    * Creston Avenue
    Penticton BC V2A1P9

  2. 2
    Chris Colose says:

    Richard Zeebe’s talk was very well done as well (on isotopes and the PETM event) if it’s online.

    For people interested more in tropical meteorology at the intraseasonal type of time scale, Robert Houze’s talk was good too.

  3. 3
    Peter Adamski says:

    Thanks for doing this.

  4. 4
    Luke Dones says:

    Do you know if Brad Werner’s talk is online?

  5. 5
    sailrick says:

    The first video, “Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change While Advancing Human Development”, should be shown to every member of Congress, all Governors, Mayors, and the White House(and of course, policy makers around the world.) Even for a layman like myself, who has spent untold hours at blogs like Real Climate and others learning about the science, it was very enlightening and really puts things in perspective, concerning the costs and benefits of mitigation efforts.

    [Response: I actually disagree with Drew’s viewpoint, and that of UNEP, regarding the climate benefits of a near-term emphasis on short-lived climate forcing agents. There are plenty of compelling reasons to control soot and other particulate pollutants for human health and agricultural reasons (very little health co-benefit for methane though). But so far as climate goes, any near-term emphasis on the short-lived forcers buys a very modest reduction of short term warming at the expense of incurring greater warming within a few decades after the 2070 date where the UNEP studies cut off their graphs. Drew is quite upfront about the need to keep the short-lived climate agent mitigation from detracting from CO2 mitigation, but I think that realistically in a world of finite resources any incentives given to controlling e.g. methane will drain resources that would be better used for CO2 mitigation. An analysis of the long-term implications of incentives for methane control can be found in my WCRP paper with Susan Solomon, available in the publication section of my web site, . The right thing to do, for methane at least, is to forget about it for about a century, while concentrating on CO2 mitigation. Black carbon particulate mitigation can probably be justified on the basis of human health, without complicating the issue with its potential (and highly uncertain) climate co-benefits. I am currently working on a review of these issues for Annual Reviews of Earth and Planetary Sciences. –raypierre]

  6. 6
    Jonathan Gilligan says:

    Susanne Moser’s talk “Restoring Land, Restoring People” from OS24C. Living on the Edge: Societies on the Front Line of Coastal Change was excellent.

    She talks about the ethics of adaptation when it means telling people that they’re going to have to abandon the land and community their family has lived on for generations and move somewhere else.

  7. 7
    Leonard Evens says:

    As always, Ray presents a clear, well argued view of the science.

  8. 8
    Richard D says:

    treasure trove, thanks

  9. 9
    Hank Roberts says:

    > telling people that they’re going to have to
    > abandon the land and community their family
    > has lived on for generations and move somewhere else.

    First they came to take the land:
    ….. “You’d better move on”;
    then they came taking the water and coal:
    ….. “Move on, move on”;
    now they come warning they’ve taken the air:
    ….. Again they’re saying “You’d better move on.”

  10. 10
    Tokodave says:

    Nice presentation Ray! Thanks, I’ll be using similar parts of it in my own presentations.

  11. 11
    Dave McRae says:

    Luke Does @4

    Brad Werner’s talk here

    He comes on at minute 25ish – but the preceding speaker is well worth it, possibly even better than Brad’s

  12. 12

    Re the pros and cons of mitigating short term climate forcings (as was discussed by Drew Shindell in an excellent talk) , see also

    It comes down to how one values the short term vs the long term; whether doing something about short term climate forcings would go at the cost of doing something about CO2 (Shindell says no; Raypierre says yes); whether not doing something about those short term compounds would increase the odds of doing something about CO2 (I’m very skeptical about that, see e.g. the lack of tangible results in Doha).

    The third point is more relevant and easier to answer than the second point.

  13. 13
    Salamano says:

    The AGU talk on “Is Earth F**ked?” I found a little alarming (but not in a Global Warming kind of way).

    Clearly would-be eco-sabateurs (or worse, eco-terrorists) will find themselves emboldened by Werner’s modeling as perhaps the last great hope for the climate amongst tamer avenues blocked by interests beholden to the other form of ‘green’ (money).

    Is this the sort of thing that should hang out there and be left to waft through the thoughts of the advocacy underbelly (particularly when presented at AGU)? It might end up being the most publicized paper of the whole event.

    And no, we’re not just talking about peaceful protests mandated to be a set distance away from operations like other scenarios. This study looked at straight-up disruption.

  14. 14

    #13–Werner’s paper isn’t what will “embolden”–I would use the word ‘goad’–activists to take more extreme measures than have so far been common. Can you seriously imagine someone deciding whether or not to undertake, say, criminal trespass for protest purposes, saying “Well, according to Dr. Werner’s model this is just the ticket?”

    Much more pertinent will be a sense that their survival, their future prospects, really are at stake–and that “peaceful protests mandated to be a set distance away from operations” aren’t getting the job done. COP(xx) isn’t getting the job done. Voluntary agreements to inadequate targets, abrogated at will, aren’t getting the job done.

    In short, it’s the perception of looming disaster, coupled with the fact that “official” action so far is so obviously and transparently inadequate. When survival is at stake, politesse is apt to go by the board. Arguably, it should.

    Werner’s paper may be a straw in the wind, in this regard.

    But it isn’t the wind.

  15. 15
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Salamano, So you expect people to queue up and use soft voices and sweet phrases to voice their opposition to the trashing of the planet for generations to come?

    And if you are worried about ecoterrorism, then contemplate the consequences when the average parent finds they’ve been lied to for so long that there is now no way to avert catastrophe during the lifetimes of their children.

    Revolution is a messy and ugly phenomenon. Mass despair even moreso.

  16. 16
    Hank Roberts says:

    “Resistance is basically when people, groups of people, step outside the culture,” Werner said. “They adopt a certain set of dynamics that does not fit within the capitalist culture.”

    Don’t cast the choice as limited to capitalism or terrorism.

    I recall long ago someone quoting an Amish farmer as saying he wasn’t smart enough to try to farm more than 40 acres, and thinking, nor less than 40 acres either. Managing more than 40 acres would have required adding machinery and employees. But managing a farm of less than 40 acres — happening, as land was divided between heirs — was leading to taking down the fences that kept the cows out of the streams, and large increases in downstream pollution of Chesapeake Bay.

    I don’t know how they worked that out.

    But there has to be a way — consume less, leave more undamaged, restore more that’s been damaged, pass it on as productive carbon-cycling living landscape instead of as money and stripmined earth.

    You got to watch the capitalists and terrorists, though, they’ll tear shit up if you don’t keep them under control.

  17. 17
    Salamano says:

    #14 / #15.

    I guess I’m alone in seeing the danger of such thinking. Perhaps when it comes to advocacy and advocates, it is only their cause that is righteous enough, grounded enough, to merit violent and injurious behavior.

    Must I point out any of the many other causes in which there are citizens of this planet that consider “sabotage” and other avenues of disruption their only hopes left of affecting ‘positive change’ in favor of their viewpoints?

    Yes, such a study is not the wind itself, but certainly a published indicator verifying the benefits of sailing in that direction to a community perhaps looking for justification. It does so without thought to any of the larger ramifications of the behavior itself, presumably because the cause is just so worth-it.

    In another time and place (and cause), many here would dismiss anyone else’s similar ideas as ‘extremist’ or ‘whacko’.

  18. 18
    harvey says:

    I have an interesting scenario:

    1. Immediate full research on making Thorium reactors workable ASAP.
    2. Use wind and solar where applicable to augment the reactors
    3. Any excess electricity is converted by specialized Thorium reactors to
    create fresh water from salt water.
    4. any excess water is used by specialized Thorium reactors to create Methane from the water and atmospheric CO2.

    1. desert areas will have fresh water available.
    2. the methane can be used in the vast natural gas distribution and storage (LNG) that we have in place now for heating, vehicles
    3. atmospheric CO2 reduced to a steady state.

  19. 19
    Luke Dones says:

    @DaveMcRae: Thanks!

  20. 20
    John Atkeison says:

    RE: #5 >>The right thing to do, for methane at least,
    >> is to forget about it for about a century,
    >> while concentrating on CO2 mitigation.
    In your opinion, how concerned should we be about the methane factor that I’m told makes natural gas and coal as fuels for utilities look almost the same from a climate point of view?
    I’m guessing that we care which side of which tipping points we find ourselves…
    Looking forward to the new article!

    [Response: You are probably thinking of the Howarth study, which purported to show that total climate impacts make natural gas usage as bad as coal. That study was seriously flawed, on multiple grounds. Larry Cathles article in G-cubed is much closer to the mark, and shows substantial climate benefits from the coal to methane fuel switch. My own broader take on the issue is that Global Warming Potentials are a hopelessly broken way of comparing short-lived greenhouse gases like methane with CO2, and ought to be totally abandoned as a tool for analysis of policy consequences. That’s in the WCRP article on my web site, but it needs more extensive discussion, hence the upcoming review in progress. –raypierre]

  21. 21
    Hank Roberts says:

    > violent and injurious

    Rachel Carson, Sigurd Olsen, Aldo Leopold, Jeremy Jackson

    Capitalists shiver in their shoes, terrified.

  22. 22
    Ray Ladbury says:

    You misread what I was saying. I most certainly do see the potential dangers. That is why I have been pressing for climate change to be addressed in an orderly and sensible manner for nearly 2 decades! Revolution is almost always a last resort, availed to when all other avenues of redress have been blocked. My answer to that is to avoid blocking those avenues. Unfortunately, Fossil fool interests and glibertarian political hacks have precluded progress to the point where it may be too late to avoid catastrophic effects. And when the public find out not only that the futures of their children have not only been sold down the river, but just how cheap the price was…I suspect the anger will be powerful.

    So we’d better anticipat it, and we’d better understand it, because it could be a force as destructive as the storms we have condemned ourselves to.

  23. 23
    Irwin M. Fletcher says:

    I was wondering if Dr. Mann could comment on how his talk went? Were the new results accepted well etc? Thank you!

    [Response: Thanks Irwin. Yes, got a lot of great feedback. Gave 4 talks in fact–and 2 panel discussions. Two of the talks were on outreach & communication, while two were on my own science. That includes my “New Fellows” session talk which is available on demand here. I do comment toward the end of that talk on some recent results related to the volcanic/tree-ring work, but embargo policies etc. restrict me from saying more on that than what was already presented in the talk itself. –mike]

  24. 24

    “It does so without thought to any of the larger ramifications of the behavior itself, presumably because the cause is just so worth-it.”

    And you know this how, exactly? It seems a leap to conclude what was, or was not, in the author’s mind, unless you have more information than has been presented here or in the paper itself.

    In any case, I agree with Ray in recognizing dangers down this ‘road.’ But while the paper may run the risk of encouraging crazies, what is the author to do about his results? Distort them, massage them, suppress them? Those alternatives don’t seem good, either, particularly if it turns out that ‘resistance’ to the established paradigm is the only hope for creating sufficient momentum for real change, soon enough to matter.

    And I reiterate my point: this paper does not create the risk. The gravity of the threat facing us, and the inadequacy of response so far, do that.

  25. 25
    David B. Benson says:

    harvey @18 — That was seriously off topic for this thread and in general off topic for Real Climate. Take that sort of discussion elsewhere, for example
    where, for example, informed commenters can replay to thorium.

  26. 26

    Here is a two minute video of Schlenker and Roberts, 2009

    This was part of my presentation to demonstrate how scientists can make a video directly from their abstracts.

  27. 27
    Phil Scadden says:

    ” That’s in the WCRP article on my web site,”

    Can you supply a link to this please? Google is not help me today.

    [Response: Just go to , follow the Publications link. You’ll find almost all of my papers there, including the Solomon, Pierrehumbert etc. WCRP paper. –raypierre]

  28. 28
    Jim Larsen says:

    5 response by raypierre, “I think that realistically in a world of finite resources any incentives given to controlling e.g. methane will drain resources that would be better used for CO2 mitigation.”

    If only we had a benevolent dictator. But we don’t, so telling a person that their child will be far better off if only for a simple action can bring results where calls for planetary improvement in the distant future will be tuned out.

    Immediate benefits for the action-taker’s loved ones changes the equations. Seriously, I can only provide perhaps one one-billionth of the harm to those I love through my CO2 actions – meaning I can spew carbon willy-nilly with no effect to anything I care about in any sense but the abstract- but the byproduct goop from my personal burning goes to a significant degree into my family’s lungs.

    Setting the stage is key in interpersonal relations. Tackling black lung and firewood-driven deforestation and other serious human issues which kill people today both helps the problem – seriously Raypierre, you think 30 years of technology would give us no better chance of dealing with the problem? Those 30 years are what they’re trying to buy us. Seriously, if we can keep temps stable for 30 years via using direct immediate human welfare arguments, what do you think the chances are we’ll solve this bugger?

    Dunno? Me either, but I’d rather have the 30 years to give it a go.

    This presentation was a textbook example of what I adore in a scientific policy presentation. All the facts. All the uncertainties. Very open. Very even keel. It laid all the facts on the line, allowed for and encouraged improvements on the currently known facts. When something was poorly known, it was graphed along with its huge error bars. None of that “setting to zero and asterisking anything we don’t know well” stuff.

    But, that’s just my opinion…

    o man, captcha had to go political: Socia-lists ghirvi

  29. 29

    Thanks Guys! From a chap not being able to attend is good to be there through RC.
    I liked all the lectures especially raypierre, (pas une goutte d’accent francais, extraordinaire!)

    But being terribly biased by the Arctic, I liked Warren Washington ,which was nice to know about him,
    who presented CO2 concentration graph overlayed by a globe map. I saw the Arctic extra CO2 lag even in spring which gives an idea or two about the importance of CO2 in the Arctic practically dry , in particular like the stratosphere where as Raypierre said makes CO2 important.

    Elizabeth Morris deals with a very important subject as well which is sublimation. I didn’t see enough of the microscopic level mechanics, but the Arctic has big time sublimation affecting snow surface characteristics.
    It goes like this; snow surface can become like concrete or soft like sand depending on many weather variables
    at play, this certainly adds to remote sensing problems, therefore there is a lot of work to be done about this
    But of late what we see is less snow despite warmer weather and likely more precipitation. Snow cover is a t the cutting edge of where the action is along with sea ice.

  30. 30
    prokaryotes says:

    Re Drew Shindell “Mitigating Near-Term Climate Change While Advancing Human Development” and the point on biomass stoves

    This needs consideration too, because helps with biomass management and could be coupled with Biochar projects

    Biochar stoves

  31. 31
  32. 32
    Salamano says:

    24.“It does so without thought to any of the larger ramifications of the behavior itself, presumably because the cause is just so worth-it.”

    And you know this how, exactly? It seems a leap to conclude what was, or was not, in the author’s mind, unless you have more information than has been presented here or in the paper itself.

    It’s precisely because there’s “more information than has been presented in the paper” that makes this not a leap.

    Think about it. You should already have in your mind half-a-dozen papers where you “know” author ‘X’ failed to include all the variables (perhaps even claiming they’ve done so intentionally)…

    – The “true” cost of coal per kilowatt
    – The non-use of permafrost melting or methane feedbacks in climate studies

    …stuff like that.

    This study does not factor in negative side-effects (civil/political) of various manner of studied ‘direct action’. You could not understand from the study any net-negative effect of, for example, sabotaging key energy infrastructure by blowing up a coal-fired power plant. There are many examples in other avenues, like anti-civil-rights direct action that have resulted in negative feedbacks that far outweighed the perceived short-term benefit.

    …if it turns out that ‘resistance’ to the established paradigm is the only hope for creating sufficient momentum for real change, soon enough to matter.

    And I reiterate my point: this paper does not create the risk. The gravity of the threat facing us, and the inadequacy of response so far, do that.

    I believe this paper validates the already existing thoughts of many who already agree that direct, injurious resistance is the last hope with the posited short time-frame, particularly with the ignorance of negative feedbacks from various avenues of ‘direct resistance’.

    I can think of other papers where critics claimed ‘did not include all the information’ that have been panned as reprehensibly motivating toward an undesired end. Consider the recent war over subsidy definition and application going on in Britain when it comes to renewables and fossil fuels. Each paper that says “it’s obvious we can do it” and ones that say “it’s impossible” both do this sort of thing.

    …And I disagree that those who will be motivated toward the injurious “direct action” choices to bring about positive results on climate change will be ordinary citizens newly acquainted with the wholesale fraud perpetrated by Big ______ (oil, coal, government, etc.) … Rather, it will be those who are already well-acquainted with the issues, and who primarily restrict their ingestation of information to activism sources. Moreover, it will also be those who are in leadership positions in the activism arena who may (unwittingly or not) give these same people the wherewithall or the resources to carry out their direct actions– or to convince truly malleable individuals incapable of weighing the consequences of their actions appropriately, of the same.

    So, in my opinion, it is the highly educated, passionate, and inertial activists, and/or any uneducated and brash activists they might motivate that will be more responsible for these first future acts of injurious “direct action”, regardless of their pleas of ‘the climate made me do it’.

    And I think most engaged in climate causes are in the middle, where they are informed by the activists up top, and agree things should be done, will do what they can, but also agree there is a line on a personal level.

  33. 33
    JCH says:

    I wish Ray Pierrehumbert could expand on his comments about the emergence of ocean variability (joining aerosols) as a partial cause of the pause in GMT in the middle of the 20th Century.

    Finally, a fraction of the post-1970s warming also appears to be attributable to natural variability. The monotonic increase of the cleaned global temperature throughout the 20th century suggests increasing greenhouse gas forcing more-or-less consistently dominating sulfate aerosol forcing, although our technique cannot exclude other mechanisms not contained in the current generation of model forcing (22) – Swanson and Tsonis.

    I remember when Kyle Swanson wrote his RC article that Ray told a frequent commenter, who wasn’t buying the possibility of an interruption of warming, that an interruption of the type Swanson was proposing could result in people claiming lower climate sensitivity, which has come true.

  34. 34
    Hank Roberts says:

    Salmano, using your logic, you are responsible for the damage fossil fuel use is doing to the world. What would it take to make you stop?

  35. 35
    Chris Colose says:


    There is compelling evidence for a strong role of internal variability in the spatial pattern and evolution of 20th century climate, though attribution gets a bit dicey as you move from mid-century to the early 1900s. Isaac Held has some good blog posts on these issues. The problem here is that tropospheric aerosols can explain a lot of the decadal variability in e.g., Atlantic SST or the Atlantic interhemispheric temperature gradient (see John Chiang’s recent paper in Journal of Climate) which can be a source of “contamination” when attributing influences to the the major source of natural variation on these decadal timescales (the AMO), though both of these influences have a distinct space-time pattern from well mixed GHGs.

  36. 36
    Salamano says:


    Using that line of thinking… it’s a valid question.

    But that’s where the science is leading to the existential. Validating injurious behavior toward the target of the harm-doer that has incorrectly ignorable repercussions well abstract from the original context (in the present case, reducing CO2 concentration).

    We all (on average) are contributing on the order of 50-times more CO2 through energy-use and consumption compared to the large share of the population that has scant access to any energy of any kind.

    What would it take to get me (us) to stop? You could kill me. I’ve got some robust modeling that indicates this would be successful… Perhaps I should have presented it at AGU.

  37. 37
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Salamano: “What would it take to get me (us) to stop? You could kill me. I’ve got some robust modeling that indicates this would be successful… Perhaps I should have presented it at AGU.”

    I believe your modeling must be flawed. The methane, etc. released by decaying corpses is a strong greenhouse gas. And don’t even get me started on cremation!

    Histrionics aside, I believe Hank’s question is deserving of more careful consideration.

  38. 38
    Hank Roberts says:

    Salamano, your model sounds like the computer climate model that recommended removing the most wasteful ten percent of humanity to stabilize the climate.

    But that’s from John Brunner’s The Sheep Look Up (1972): “a scarifying polemic against pollution which ends with the stench of all America burning.”

    Modeling — and science generally, and even business as usually done — have learned a lot since then.

    Don’t give up on education yet.

    Do give up on casting wild rhetoric that can only delay and befuddle serious work on serious issues.

    Both consumption and suffering are options — we can choose them for ourselves, or leave them for the kids coming after us.

  39. 39
    Hank Roberts says:

    Oh, never mind; I’ve found Salamano’s comments elsewhere now.

  40. 40
    Salamano says:

    That’s the thing Ray (tongue-in-cheek notwithstanding)… It’s all about what the model doesn’t take into account…

    …Or what it incorrectly ignores due to its pre-defined boundaries.

    In Hank’s example, the “goal” is to devise ways for me to “Stop” my fossil fuel use. Killing me would be extraordinarily successful, but the side-effects of my personal emissions or what others might do beyond my death are by definition not factorable as they are an abstraction from the first-order goal.

    Similarly, a model that demonstrates the increased effectiveness of direct action over more democratic channels suffers the same fate methodologically while also elevating the justification of dangerous behavior, coming closer to a sort of intifada issued from the scientific community (when presumably such things should instead come only from the activist community– though those lines get continually blurred on the subject of climate change).

    When someone like Joe Romm declares that “resistance is NOT futile” thanks to a scientific paper that models the merits of “sabotage” it’s not enough to say when someone actually destroys some ‘anti-climate infrastructure’, “well, you should have seen this coming” or “we should work to understand why such things happen”. Or maybe that’s just too much rote activism for me alone.

    I see that there’s a bunch in here on which we agree, and some that we don’t…Either way, I think the points have been made.

  41. 41
    Salamano says:

    I think I meant “Fatwa” rather than “intifada” … my bad. edit at will.

  42. 42
    Radge Havers says:

    So what’s the idea here? Green-baiting? Personally, to second sentiments already expressed, I’m more concerned about the real, long term harm being done to the planet and life on it than I am about some hypothetical ecoterrorists hiding under my bed. 

    I mean, heaven  forbid if a bunch of non-conformists should hop around using salty language, upsetting status quo apple carts, irritating oligarchs and their dim bulb toadies. Why it would be like mockery of sacred institutions and conventional wisdom… Tsk, I say! Tsk!

    reCAPTCHA: ersadC anthracite

  43. 43
    Tom Adams says:

    Is “F**ked?” is f**ked? Seems a large proportion of the human race does not have civil rights. “F**ked?” seems a failed model for preventing dangerous climate change because the results are not sufficiently pervasive on a global basis.

    If we find a solution, I bet it will be new technology with relatively weak push from politics/activism. For instance, the tech that supports the stricter CAFE standards in the US.

  44. 44
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Tom Adams — 11 Dec 2012 @ 6:36 PM

    I am having a problem understanding your statement. It sounds like you are saying that stricter CAFE standards in the US are the solution to the global problem. This couldn’t be so, so please advise. Steve

  45. 45
    Jack Roesler says:

    Solar uses up farmland? I’ll tell you what uses up farmland. Using over a hundred million acres to grow food to feed to farm animals, so Americans can in turn eat the animals, drink their milk, and eat their eggs. A healthy alternative is a mainly vegan diet, which cuts CO2 emissions by about 1.5 tons/person. And that’s not to mention the water used in growing and processing all that animal matter.

  46. 46

    #32–Salamano, what you are essentially saying is that the way you imagine it to be is the way it is–your interpretation of “resistance” is definitive, your inference what was in the author’s mind entirely reliable, and your fears the most important fears of all.

    Sorry. Don’t agree.

    If you are worried about ‘injurious action,’ I suggest you (re)-consider what is most injurious, and what is marginally so at most.

  47. 47
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Jack Roesler — 11 Dec 2012 @ 9:32 PM

    Not to worry. Solar works best when it doesn’t shade agricultural land. Steve

  48. 48
    Tom Adams says:

    44 I probably did not word it right. I meant that the increase in CAFE standards are an small example of the kind of process that would lead to a solution, assuming we find a solution.

    First, assume the CO2 build up problem is solved and your kids or grandkids are setting around discussing how it was done. What’s the best bet for the most important aspects of the solution? I say advances in technology is the best bet. My bet is that activism would play a role, but a relatively minor one, but it might be viewed as a essential part of the process, but maybe even that will be ambiguous. Technology plus the political will to push it’s introduction at an advanced pace.

    The CAFE thing is just a concrete example of what I am talking about. Hybrid and battery technology is essential to making the new CAFE standards feasible without excessive cost and life-style changes. And, it takes some political will/leadership to get the new standards in place.

  49. 49
    David B. Benson says:

    Recent comments appear to be way off-topic.

    [Response: Yes. I have moved much of this to the open thread for Dec. Please post non-AGU related comments there. Thanks. – gavin]

  50. 50
    Hank Roberts says:

    > First, assume the CO2 build up problem is solved

    There’s your problem — assuming “CO2 build up” is the problem.
    Fossil fuel burning is the problem.

    There’s no news from AGU about the carbon sink processes that continue to handle “CO2 build up”, near as I can tell from outside.

    Were there _any_ presentations on biogeochemical cycling — rate of change, mechanisms, chemistry and biology of carbon sinks?

    Last I recall reading years ago, about half the _excess_ CO2 from fossil fuel burned has been naturally removed. It’s the excess being produced that’s the problem. We, not nature, cause this.

    The “assume the … problem is solved” is science fiction. Interesting, if anyone were writing it. I don’t know of any such.

    If we had been burning _half_ as much fossil fuel all along — would there be a problem now?

    I’d love to read a ‘Harry Turtledove’ alternate history starting a few centuries ago, suggesting what path we missed taking. If any.

    But — from the AGU news — we haven’t broken the processes that take care of “CO2 build up” — yet. We’ve overwhelmed the rate of change handled, but not — yet– broken the biology that works.

    Or have we?

    Is there any news on the carbon sink rate not yet mentioned?