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.
Mega-heatwaves in Europe
Mega-heatwaves like the one in 2003 will become five to 10 times more likely by 2050 according to a recent study, occurring at least once a decade. The 2010 heatwave was something else again.
But the 2010 heatwave was so extreme – 10C above the average for the first week of August between 1970 and 2000 – that similar events are only expected to occur once every 30 years or so.
The 2010 event caused some 50,000 deaths, reduced the Russian grain crop by 25% and cost the nation $15 billion. It should be noted that the link between that event and climate change as such has not yet been established, but the incidence of mega-droughts is expected to increase nevertheless.
Your burning questions about ice and climate answered
The National Snow and Ice Data Centre has a page Icelights to answer some of your burning questions. Of particular interest is a study by the Max Planck Institute. The article is behind the paywall, but I think they are saying that if we have atmospheric cooling then the ice cover will recover relatively quickly.
BTW, Arctic ice cover is tracking thereabouts in relation to 2006-7:
Climate Progress says it has “tied for the lowest in the satellite record.”
The decline in ice volume continues apace.
New process cleanly extracts oil from tar sands and fouled beaches
Tar sands represent approximately two-thirds of the world’s estimated oil reserves.
An environmentally friendlier method of separating oil from tar sands has been developed by a team of researchers at Penn State. This method, which utilizes ionic liquids to separate the heavy viscous oil from sand, is also capable of cleaning oil spills from beaches and separating oil from drill cuttings, the solid particles that must be removed from drilling fluids in oil and gas wells.
The Penn State separation method uses very little energy and water, and all solvents are recycled and reused.
Flood victims are more likely to be concerned about climate change
A recent study explicitly linked rising greenhouse gases to an increase in flood risk in England and Wales.
Most people believe that areas that are vulnerable to climate change are far away…
But the latest research from Nottingham and Cardiff universities suggests direct experience of flooding can influence people’s thoughts and behaviour in relation to climate change.
Psychologist Dr Alexa Spence, at the University of Nottingham, said: “We know that many people tend to see climate change as distant, affecting other people and places.
“However, experience of extreme weather events like flooding have the potential to change the way people view climate change, by making it more real and tangible and ultimately resulting in greater intentions to act in sustainable ways.
The desert grows in central Texas
Large areas of Texas are depopulating.
One of the major reasons that there’s such a radical population shift is that central Texas is changing from arid grassland to uninhabitable desert, in part due to greenhouse pollution…
According to a 2100 study, vast areas of the US will face increased risk of climate-induced water shortage and drought by 2050.
How to change a climate sceptic’s mind
Don’t get an expert to explain, it will only make things worse.
Stands to reason that if sceptics already distrust climate scientists, getting a climate scientist to bang on won’t help. Specialists from the insurance industry, the military, or religious environmentalists are suggested.
Of interest is the contention by Dan Kahan of the Cultural Cognition Project at Yale University that you can split the population into hierarchical-individualists or egalitarian-communitarians.
Religious blame climate change not sin for natural disasters
That’s according to a new study. The subgroup of white evangelical Protestants are a bit of a worry, however.
Almost six in 10 white evangelical Protestants believe God is sending a sign with natural disasters. And 53 percent believe God is judging and punishing nations.
How the world is reducing carbon emissions
Adam Morton in The Age looks at how other countries are tackling climate change. Morton outlines developments in Britain, Europe, the United States, China, India and elsewhere.
In some places the motivation is overtly economic. William Hague, the British Conservative Foreign Secretary argued in a speech in January:
that the most successful economies in the future would be built on low-carbon growth, and that Britain was showing it was possible. Between 1990 and 2005 it cut emissions by 12 per cent while expanding its economy by nearly a third.
John Gummer (Baron Deben), a socially conservative Catholic with a huge admiration for former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher, “has been struck by what he sees as Australians’ poor understanding of what is being done elsewhere.” He’s here to stir parliamentarians from around the world to campaign on green issues and spoke in Melbourne last night. Perhaps he could have a word with Tones and Barnaby.
Bernard Keane does a job on Graham Kreahe of Bluescope
Bernard Keane of Crikey in the Climate Spectator finds that:
the six biggest emissions-intensive trade-exposed industries between them employ just under 60,000 workers, based on the most generous assumptions.
That’s not a lot out of 11.3 million workers. If all of the predictions of the EITE industries came true, and every job, every single one, vanished as a result of a carbon price, it would amount to just half of one per cent of the current workforce.
Keane also suggests Kraehe’s claims about a lack of consultation are bunkum as there is adequate opportunity to put their case via the government’s Climate Change Committee round tables. In Kraehe’s dictionary “consultation” means getting exactly what you want.
New Treasury boss on climate change
Martin Parkinson, the new treasury secretary, seems to have a clear idea on where we are going in relation to climate change.
Under the CPRS prices outside electricity and gas would have risen less than one per cent.
Over the long term, Dr Parkinson said that Australia’s gross national product would benefit from the introduction of a carbon price.
On positioning Australia:
He said it was important for Australia to be a “relatively fast follower” behind countries leading the charge on combating climate change.
All very careful and conservative. Very far from a reckless wrecking of the economy. The reverse, actually. Tuning it up for an appropriate and competitive future.