These posts include a brief mention of a number of news items relating to climate change. They don’t preclude treating any of these topics at more length in a separate post.
They can also serve as an open thread so that we can keep each other informed on important climate news.
California approves first broad US climate plan
California has approved “the most sweeping US plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.
It includes a cap-and-trade plan:
Initially, California will technically not restrict emissions but instead freely allocate “allowances” to businesses covering their carbon output. The state will gradually reduce allowances, forcing firms to go green.
Companies can also earn credit by supporting environmental projects in forests or farms, including through preservation of woods in Mexico’s Chiapas state and Brazil’s Acre state.
Not everyone is happy, as the scheme could involve clear-felling to plant trees.
There’s more at Climate Progress.
Meanwhile over in Washington
…the GOP have set up a new sandpit for John Shimkus to play in. Shimkus has been appointed head of the new Environment and Economy Subcommittee.
Shimkus believes that carbon dioxide is not harmful to the environment and that man-made climate change isn’t real because “the earth will end only when God declares it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this earth.”
And a quote from Genesis says that God would never do it.
By the way, we breathe out CO2 so it’s got to be good. OK?
The GOP plans to kill clean air regulations
They’d do it in a heart beat.
Fox News policy to favour climate change scepticism
As a matter of editorial policy Fox News journalists were instructed to favour climate change scepticism, a leaked email shows.
Journalists at Fox News were under orders to cast doubt on any on-air mention of climate change, a leaked email obtained by a media monitoring group revealed today.
The email, sent out during the Copenhagen conference reads:
“We should refrain from asserting that the planet has warmed (or cooled) in any given period without IMMEDIATELY pointing out that such theories are based upon data that critics have called into question.”
It’s not their job as journalists, they say, to sort out the science, but it is their job to ensure that confusion reigns supreme.
Climate scientists have had enough and are speaking out.
Climatologists, like other scientists, tend to be a stolid group. We are not given to theatrical rantings about falling skies. Most of us are far more comfortable in our laboratories or gathering data in the field than we are giving interviews to journalists or speaking before Congressional committees. Why then are climatologists speaking out about the dangers of global warming? The answer is that virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization. (Emphasis added)
That’s according to famous glaciologist Lonnie Thompson.
There are three options, “mitigation, adaptation, and suffering.” We are getting to the stage where no matter what we do on the first two there will be a measure of the third.
Climate Progress recommends Thompson’s Climate Change: The Evidence and Our Options as a must-read paper.
Australia’s renewable roadblocks
Giles Parkinson at Climate Spectator has a look at where we are at with renewable energy.
Private investment in renewable projects (not including small-scale) nearly tripled in the 2009/10 fiscal year, to just short of $1.8 billion. But the news is not all good. While solar PV and wind boomed, the latter five-fold, other forms where we have a natural advantage have languished:
According to the CEC report, only $38 million in new investment was put into the geothermal, wave and large scale solar industries in fiscal 2009/10. These are not the sort of sums that will drive investment in technologies crucial for a low emissions future. Geothermal spending slumped by 75 per cent, large-scale solar fell by more than 50 per cent, and wave was down by 40 per cent.
Seems we are hanging about waiting for a price on carbon and the market to fix it, against the advice of Ross Garnaut.
Thanks to John D for the heads-up.
New Zealand discover the moving image (not quite yet)
Via Skeptical Science we have The Climate Show #4 featuring Peter Glieck on the American Geophysical Union conference and John Cook on climate sensitivity.
For production values this show would struggle to score one out of 10. In over 86 minutes there is about 2 minutes that makes any use of the video format. As audio it is particularly unscripted and loose, with less than half an hours worth of content. For much of the time they don’t make it to the talking head stage. The first 25 minutes is almost a complete waste of time. At least the dog didn’t bark during filming this time.
On climate sensitivity (temperature rise from a doubling of CO2) we were told that the temperature rose 5C from the last glacial maximum to the present interglacial while CO2 rose from 180 to 280. Hence climate sensitivity was demonstrated to be 3C.
That’s what we were told.
Like the radio, you can have it on in the background without missing anything of importance visually.
The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism
One of the really useful segments on the above-mentioned Climate Show was their promotion of Skeptical Science’s attractive, well-organised and well-illustrated pamphlet The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism. It addresses in admirably clear terms the main chestnuts thrown up by the usual suspects.
A (half) cure for burping cows and sheep
They tried garlic, which was a disaster. Now they’ve found that nitrate and sulphate additives reduce methane production in cows and sheep by up to half.
Experimentally, that is. Right now there is no economic incentive for farmers to do anything about it. That will have to change.