James Wright at Skeptical Science has constructed a summary of some recent work done by James Hansen and colleagues. Climate sensitivity is the temperature change caused by a doubling of CO2. In this post I referred to a paper by Hansen et al, Earth’s energy imbalance and implications. Wright is working from a paper by Hansen and Sato entitled Paleoclimate implications for human-made climate change which contains much of the same material, including Table 1 on p16.
The bottom line goes like this:
The exact value of climate sensitivity depends on which feedbacks you include, the climate state you start with, and what timescale you’re interested in. While the Earth has ice sheets the total climate sensitivity to CO2 is up to 8°C: 1.2°C direct warming, 1.8°C from fast feedbacks, 1°C from greenhouse gas feedbacks, and nearly 4°C from ice albedo feedbacks. The slow feedbacks have historically occurred over centuries to millennia, but could become significant this century. Including CO2 itself as a feedback would make climate sensitivity even higher, except for the weathering feedback which operates on a geologic timescale. (Emphasis mine)
CO2 alone, not CO2e, of 450ppm is likely to give us an ice-free planet – eventually.
I take it that the stability we’ve had during the Holocene is unusual. Upset the balance with a bit of the trace gas CO2 and the system can go wild.
How little is little?
Sarah at Skeptical Science tackles the old chestnut CO2 is just a trace gas. 390ppm is just a trace, right? Well so is 0.01ppm of arsenic in water (the WHO safe standard). Double it and it’s still a trace, but the consequences can be drastic.
A 200mg ibuprofen pill in a 60kg person is only 3ppm. I sometimes take a prescribed 1mg pill and I’m 74kg right now. I think that’s 0.0135ppm. It works!
Russia and America join to drill the Arctic
US oil major Exxon Mobil has clinched an Arctic oil exploration deal with Russian state-owned oil firm Rosneft. Exxon Mobil has cashed in where the initial deal with BP fell apart.
Under the agreement, the two firms will spend $3.2bn on deep-sea exploration in the East Prinovozemelsky region of the Kara Sea, as well as in the Russian Black Sea.
Exxon described these areas as “among the most promising and least explored offshore areas globally, with high potential for liquids and gas”.
New York dodges a bullet
Quite a few words have been wasted on whether Huricane Irene was due to climate change. Bill Nye, the “science guy”, went on Fox TV to argue the point. In the first link what interested me was the statement that sea levels in New York had risen 13 inches in the last century. I think the global average was about 7 inches.
Turns out (a) that New York is sinking by a few inches per century and (b) that this time it dodged a bullet. One inch higher and the subway system, FDR Drive, PATH, and the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel would have been flooded.
The article goes on to explain that if you add a couple of feet and rerun the 20th century you can expect about 30 critical events in the next 100 years.
Oh, and if you want to know about extreme weather and climate change, President Obama will explain. Or you could scroll down and see what Kevin Trenberth says. See also Joe Romm for the specific contribution of global warming to hurricanes like Irene.
Here is a report on a Gallop poll on attitudes to climate change.
In 2010 only 55% of Americans believed climate change was a threat to them and their families, down from 64% in 2007-8. The percentage of people who believe climate change results all or in part from human causes is down a full 11 percentage points from 61% to just half.
In Japan both belief and threat perception also went down. In Russia threat perception went up with no change in belief. The results were more encouraging in India and China.
1. As linked by BilB on another thread, solar generators may produce the majority of the world’s power within 50 years, slashing the emissions of greenhouse gases that harm the environment, according to a projection by the International Energy Agency.
2. Climate Spectator talks about this too as well as about breaking ground on Australia’s first utility-scale solar project at Geraldton WA, due to be finished by the middle of next year.
3. At the National Clean Energy Summit 4.0 US Vice-President Joe Biden says:
“If we don’t develop renewable energy, we will make the biggest mistake in this nation’s history.”
At least he gets the rhetoric right.
4. New Scientist has an intriguing article about a new generation of multitalented materials which could herald the end of the battery as we know it, or at least act as a supplement. It seems you can store electricity in lots of materials, so you might have the body of your car as storage, or the case of your laptop.
5. OK, it’s years away from commercialisation, but ‘they’ are looking at bacteria in waste water and salt water to generate electricity.
6. German renewables hit a record of 20.8% in 2010, on track for 35% by 2020. So far the big ones have been wind and biomass, but recently the emphasis has been on solar PV.
This space is meant to also serve as an open thread on climate change.
61 thoughts on “Climate clippings 42”
I was looking forward to seeing your take on the CLOUD experiment. Whether you agree with the presentations, whether it is vitally important or just hyperbole.
I am simultaneously surprised and unsurprised that you fail to mention it in climate clippings…….
CountingCats, I tried to put it in, but couldn’t sensibly reduce what needed to be said to 100 words. So I’ve done a separate post.
Brian: 40 years ago was 1972 – the year Whitlam got into power. So it is anyone’s guess what will be happening in 2050. It is worth looking at the barriers various forms of power will face if they are to become major contributors:
Solar PV – power storage and/or ability to live with supply variation.
Solar thermal – costs of generation/storage
Nuclear – safety and waste utilization/disposal
Hot rocks – costs and reliability
Tidal – suitable sites?
Ocean currents – suitable sites?
Wind – costs and power storage
Biomass – costs and suitable species
Re trace amounts, try telling the officer who pulls you up that’ve only got nought point o five per cent alcohol in your blood. 1/20 00th! or about what we’re talking about for CO2.
I am simultaneously surprised and unsurprised that you fail to mention it in climate clippings…….
CountingCats, I tried to put it in, but couldn’t sensibly reduce what needed to be said to 100 words. So I’ve done a separate post.
please describe your emotional state now…
climate spectator had this fascinating article on why Australian power consumption is dropping. It lists a whole range of reasons including more efficient buildings, online shopping (retail consumes 40% of commercial electricity.) Efficeint shower heads. improvements in TV efficiency and more. Worth some discussion
No doubt better roofing insulation makes a significant contribution.
It seems OUR commitment to the environment may not LEAD the US and other high emitters as hoped.
And I was looking at getting some of these.
Solyndra belly up.
I found this rather succinct comment at The Oil Drum ANZ
“Event horizon: the black hole in The Australian’s climate change coverage
The problem is that on one side of the debate you have 97% of the world’s published climate scientists and the world’s major scientific organisations, and on the other side you have fools.
Excuse my bluntness, but it is past time to acknowledge that the science underpinning anthropogenic climate change is rock solid. The sceptics have had the time and opportunity to come with up a convincing case, but their best efforts read like arguments that NASA faked the moon landing.
The Australian’s anti-science campaign takes many forms. One is the inflation of the credentials of their fake experts. For example, OpEd writer and member of the Outdoor Recreation Party Jon Jenkins was referred to as an “Adjunct Professor”. Bond University wrote to The Australian informing them that this was not true.
Howard Brady was called a “climate change researcher from Macquarie University”; in fact, Brady is a 70 year-old retiree who has published just seven scientific papers (on Antarctic sediments, not climate), the most recent one in 1983, following which he worked for 17 years in the oil industry. Macquarie University contacted The Australian to set the record straight.
In neither of these cases did The Australian publish a retraction or clarification.”
Oh, and The Oil Drum ANZ also introduced this new forum
A fun feature of the forum, the referee, points out is the ability to vote down unhelpful comments.
“””Excuse my bluntness, but it is past time to acknowledge that the science underpinning anthropogenic climate change is rock solid. The sceptics have had the time and opportunity to come with up a convincing case”””
Even mad Monkton believes the science of CO2 causing warming.
It’s the “catastrophic severity ” that is deputed.
And the severity is not settled yet, some overestimate, some underestimate.
I think it is unhelpful to call folk who believe in AWG, but not the severity, fools, sceptics, deniers and ( insert this weeks insulting name)
In fact it’s almost certainly counterproductive.
“””” Brady is a 70 year-old retiree who has published just seven scientific papers (on Antarctic sediments, not climate), the most recent one in 1983, following which he worked for 17 years in the oil industry.”””
Please, Flannery is a mammalogist that just purchased a riverside Mcmansion.
With “the science underpinning anthropogenic climate change is rock solid”
What reduction in world temperature do you expect based on the rock solid science that man can control the worlds climate?
and just for some extra confusion: do you expect other soveriegn countries to play by the global carbon rules if we ever agree to any?
“Italy alone was found to be emitting 10-20 times more HFC-23s than it officially reports. The greenhouse gas has a global warming potential which is 14,800 times higher than CO2.”
Please, stop embarrassing yourself parroting culture warrior soundbites. The house sits on a bit of riverside with very steep banks, where it will be safe from several metres more sea-level rise than is predicted within our lifetimes. Metres matter.
As to its Mcmansion status: evidence? Or are you just calling any house that sits on an expensive plot of ground a Mcmansion now? Because that’s not what the word means.
Todays quiz question, who said;-“Picture an eight-storey building by a beach, then imagine waves lapping its roof.”
“”””The house sits on a bit of riverside with very steep banks, where it will be safe from several metres more sea-level rise than is predicted within our lifetimes. Metres matter.”””
Are you prepared to defend Howard Brady (scientist, retired, no financial conflict of interests) with such vigour ?
I’ll take it you agree on my point of counterproductive name calling in rational exchange.?
@jumpy, who is Howard Brady, and from what does he need defending?
I admit, I’m going on reports rather than evidence. So let’s rephrase my statement to a question: how high above the river is Flannery’s house situated? Metres matter when we’re talking about possible effects from sea level rise. Also, how high above sea level is the elevation of the riverbed itself at that part of the Hawkesbury? Again, metres above sea level matter.
There you go again, Jumpy, Cherry picking your information.
“Professor Tim Flannery is an Australian mammalogist, palaeontologist, environmentalist and global warming activist. Flannery was named Australian of the Year in 2007 (Howard government) and is presently a professor at Macquarie University. He is also the chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council, an international climate change awareness group.”
Can you see him and raise him one, Jumpy?
Try as i did, i couldn’t find a picture of Tim Flannerys house/unit/shed/cabin/hovel/shack.
So i withdraw Mcmansion.
If you have one, could you link to it please.
anyway, back on topic.
“Technology Cost Review: Grid Parity for Renewables?”
I have sailed the Hawkesbury River
Using info from la bolta!
A house on the Hawkesbury River that was bought for $274,000 sounds more like a fishing shack than a mansion. The house purchased for $505,000 in 2002 sounds better
tigtog@18 refer to BilB@10.
Just googled “la bolta”and got this.
Get down!!! 🙂
Flannery has owned property on the Berowra Creek foreshores since 1997,no matter what the tabloids are telling you. I know this because I was working in the horticulture industry at the time,and helped him with some suitable native plant choices. This was around the time he was appointed PRS at the Australian Museum,and well before he took on the unofficial,then official, tasks of public climate mouthpiece.
Coba Point is in the Berowra Creek arm of the drowned valley of the Hawkesbury River. The steep hillsides drop straight into the water with few properties having much level ground fringing the water.Most of the houses are built into the hillside,and are well above projected sea-level rises for the coming decades. Most places I’ve seen there are two to four metres vertically above sea level.
opps, to clarify me@21
“””””Try as i did, i couldn’t find a picture of Tim Flannerys house/unit/shed/cabin/hovel/shack.
So i withdraw Mcmansion.
If you have one, could you link to it please.””””
A picture of Flannerys, not yours. ta
Jumpy, I think that you should read this
before you head further down that trashy path you are heading.
I think I followed your ” trashy path” @10.
Silly me. I’ll get off it now.
Join me if you like.
oh, was it you or Wilful that recomended “The Great Disruption”.
I’m half way through.
Very well written.
look over there at tim flannery’s house! on the hawesbury! look! david susuki lives out of the crush, too & has a nice view in vancouver! look! something shiny!
meanwhile, more celebs get themselves arrested, on the white house lawn, joining hundreds of less well-known activists, in a two week campaign of civil disobedience, protesting the keystone bitumen-sands oil-pipeline second weekend in a row – heard anything locally?
this weekend, its the turn of naomi klein, and several canadian & usa indigenous leaders, to join james hanson, daryl hannah & margot kidder in a dc slammer. this weekend’s story from cbc here:-
heads-up culture warriors! al gore’s reported as throwing in his two-bits worth in favor of the civilly disobedients & their cause, too.
if anyone likes, you can watch darryl hannah debate this pipeline, its merits or otherwise, with alykhan velshi, founder of ethicaloil.org, on the cbc tv program “Power & Politics”, here:-
just watch out, there’s an interview with the harper (hack, spit) gov’t resources minister, too.
the centre for policy integrity (usa) has another report on the two week white house civil disobedience demonstration here:-
looks like a lot of people with nice homes are pro-the climate.
p.s. – like theconversation.edu.au, cbc.ca let’s you score comments without registering. -a.v.
Thank-you alfred venison.
It’s pretty simple to find Flannery’s house once you know he lives in Coba Point.
Any psychotic Norwegian with an assault rifle could do it.
Found this little snippet interesting.
Some body has actually done the decent thing for ones in this dreadful saga. The seriousness of the subject demands that we start to act mature, like sticking to facts, bear consequences and learn from mistakes.
Thank you Dr Wagner.
I deleted a couple of excessively personal comments. Can’t say I was thrilled with the discussion of Flannery’s house.
James Hansen was also arrested protesting the tar sands pipeline.
Thanks Ootz for the link.
Here’s one on ‘balance’ in media coverage.
you’re welcome. and a democrat us senator from maryland has also been arrested, as the washington post reports here:-
from the article: “opponents say the extraction of ‘tar sands’ oil uses more resources than regular oil drilling, as well as being destructive to forests and bodies of water near the sites where the oil is harvested”.
indeed they should! it costs more energy, mainly natural gas, to extract 1 barrel of oil from bitumen-sands than is contained in the barrel of oil produced. for perspective, there are 3.7 million people in alberta & since i was a boy they have used natural gas for home heating. fair enough, too, in the circumstances: 30 to 20 celsius degrees below zero in winter. and cleaner than coal. but currently, one half of the total natural gas consumption in the province is used by the mega-project at fort mcmurray/athabasca to extract oil from bitumen-sands.
not to mention the environment. and they want to ramp this project up & lock it into the continental energy grid, via a pipeline to texas through the prime usa agricultural country/breadbasket. they’re ropeable about this in the midwest states affected – nebraska, for one, is seething. we haven’t heard the end of this yet.
jumpy @ 12:
Call them what you like, but they are seriously misled. If you give a low value to the effect of CO2, as per Lindzen and Choi, you come up with graphs like this that make the whole AGW problem just go away. The trouble is that their paper just doesn’t stand up to scrutiny and has been debunked multiple times.
Playing the victim is SOP for those opposing mitigation. This is not about the language we use to characterise those who reject well atttested science on climate change. The science is either good enough to found policy or it is not. I accept that it is and so do almost all those who are in a position to make policy. If people are unhappy being described as deniers, that’s beside the point. They should make a case that isn’t rubbish. Simple enough.
On a separate note:
Interesting proposition, and in principle, very supportable IMO:
It sounds a lot like “Direct Action” but of course, the benefits would be going at least in part to foreigners, and so one suspects the Abbottistas won’t like that.
thanks for that link, with the photo credited to “tar sands action”:- http://www.tarsandsaction.org/ – i didn’t know of them before & now i do. there is an arrests tally-board at their site, currently at 1,009.
Fran, as pointed out in the article, Ecuador is basically trying to blackmail the international (read ‘rich west’) community.
Ecuador is quite welcome to sit and leave the oil reserves undeveloped. That is its sovereign right. What it is not welcome to do, is demand money for that decision.
I disagree with your characterisation of this as “blackmail”. The world community would prefer
a) protection of the integrity of rainforests and biodiversity
b) abatement of GHG emissions
Ecuador would like sustainable development. Ecuador, a poor country, ought not to be forced to choose between protecting the interests of the planet and its own micro environments on the one hand and a measure of development on the other. That’s unreasonable, and exactly the sort of charge that climate deniers hurl at western environmentalists — that we wish to have them remain poor so that our environmental preferences can be satisfied.
As it goes, Ecuador has offered to bear half the cost of waiving the right to exploit these resources –$3.6 bn and has given undertakings on how this will be spent and has asked the rest of the world to match it. This seems perfectly reasonable to me. Providing there is transparency, and proper hypothecation in practice, I can see no good reason why we ought not be able to fit what Ecuador proposes within MDG or CDM or some other environmental credit regime. A suitable trust structure could be devised to ensure ongoing accountability for pledged funds. Divided purely amongst the G20 — $3.6bn is not a grand sum to donate to a developing country, even if we weren’t help;ing them to protect their environment. Much larger sums than that have been pledged to bail out the banks during the GFC and this could be done over perhaps 15 or 20 years — the possible life of the resource.
“””Ecuador, a poor country,”””
FWIW Ecuadors GDP/cap is better than China.
Not according to this:
I was looking here.
But as it states,””
“”””Comparisons of national wealth are also frequently made on the basis of nominal GDP, which does not reflect differences in the cost of living in different countries (See List of countries by GDP (nominal) per capita). Using a PPP basis is arguably more useful when comparing generalized differences in living standards on the whole between nations because PPP takes into account the relative cost of living and the inflation rates of the countries, rather than using just exchange rates which may distort the real differences in income. Other figures include savings (not just income), such as national wealth.”””
I would hope Ecuadors wealth is measured in non-economic terms.
A rich country in many ways.
Fran is now the appointed spokesperson not only for all Australians’ desires, but for the entire world community? My, she has done well for herself.
Sweeping generalisations about what other people allegedly think do not very often form the basis for a rational argument.
In Climate Spectator see http://www.climatespectator.com.au/commentary/why-wind-cutting-energy-costs
It’s a lovely thought, but as it goes, the United Nations, as represented by its committees, treaties and resolutions on matters of biodiversity, sustainable development, equity etc bear sufficient witness to my claims about what the world community ostensibly wants.
“blackmail”, my royal canadian arse! equador’s just driving a hard bargain – oil corporations do it all the time.
equador’s got two things outsiders express interest in: oil & forests as they are. and they’re checking-up with the outsiders on those earlier expressions of interest.
california is the biggest destination market for equador’s current oil output. if california wants more of equador’s oil badly, then they’ll have to offer equador a better deal for it, than, say, the wilderness society might offer ’em for the forests.
simple, straight-up globalism/market economics – now introducing a new improved product line: forests as they are.
no blackmail in sight & go equador!
p.s. – and equador is indeed a poor country – playing around with stats to imply it isn’t reflects poorly on people who try it. -a.v.
According to Wikipedia, Ecuador is one of the 17 mega-diverse nations and the most diverse per sq km. Compare it’s estimated 16,000 plant species in 272,046 sq km to Australia (another of the mega-diverse nations) with about 20,000 plant species in 7,617,930 sq km.
The importance of conservation should be self evident.
Since you have now inserted the the rather important “ostensibly” qualification Fran, I won’t argue further. If you hurry, while he who the ABC continues to insist, against the general view of the world community, is named Bunky Moon, is still in the country, you might even be able to get that spokesperson status officially signed off.
Actually I will go further: I was feeling tetchy and I apologise for singling you out to jump on. Occasionally the cumulative effect of all the commenters who claim the consensus, or the world community, or whatever other grand generalisation is available. is proof that their own views are correct, while at the same timing seeing no inconsistency in deriding majority or consensus views when these don’t suit their argument, gets to me. I don’t see much evidence on another current thread for example that majority community views on asylum seeker policy are regarded as all that important round here.
I can begin to grasp your frustration Wozza. The above would seem, at first blush, to be somewhat inconsistent. Let’s look a little closer and see if clarity and consistency is possible.
What most people want (assuming one can be reasonably certain about it) is a starting point for discussion. It’s not a sufficient reason for trying to grant it however. What most people want may be utterly impracticable to deliver. Sometimes people want things that are utterly contradictory in practice, and/or radically unethical. Protecting the compelling rights of minorities (including minorities of one) against putatively abusive majorities is one important measure of whether a state can fairly be described as upholding human rights.
Sometimes of course, what majorities want is entirely feasible and coherent and capable of being reconciled with notions of human rights and equity, and in that case we ought to strive to grant these wishes, so far as it is within our power to deliver it. The desire of most people to see a more equitable world based on sustainable human usages fits this description very well. But to return to the point above — determining whether “what most want” does fit this description is ultimately a matter of careful analysis and to some extent also, political contest. If everyone simply fell about helpless every time it appeared that there was a consensus for one policy or another, then public policy would be even more firmly in the hands of elites than it is now, for they would surely strive to make their interests seem indistinguishable from the consensus, notwithstanding that most of those on behalf of whom they would speak would be in no position at all to give informed consent. Accordingly, there’s no contradiction in challenging the idea that what majorities seem to want ought to be granted.
The point to which I responded above was rather simpler than all that. It was asserted that Ecuador’s proposal amounted to “blackmail”. Yet if one could argue that Ecuador voluntarily acting as they proposed entailed doing “what most people want” then clearly, the term “blackmail” could not be sustained, regardless of what we make of the feasibility of the world’s ostensible wants or Ecuador’s proposal. Ecuador was merely seeking the assistance of the world in realising the world’s wishes, which seems unobjectionable.
You draw a contrast between this and arguments over policy towards asylum seekers. Yet even here, your ground is doubtful. Most people in Australia say they mean the asylum seekers no ill. Most people say they want a just solution. Here the argument is over what would be just, and on that there is little consensus and what consensus there is, rests on rather doubtful assumptions. Certainly, the world (if we are to rely for inferences on the provisions of the Refugee Convention, to which Australia is a party) does not want us to send asylum seekers into harms’ way because many of our number bear them existential animus. Even here in Australia, it seems that about 2/3 don’t like either offshore processing or else mandatory detention.
Yet even if the world as a whole and Australia in particular did countenance such conduct, it seems very clear that it would be at best grossly unethical and something that the world is not entitled, at least in the views of those who think human rights are deserving of protection, to want and that we should strive to make that point, even if we are politically defeated. It’s also unlikely that, this side of acts that would be seen nearly universally as barbaric, that we can “stop the boats” and so it’s almost certainly not something that most people can in practice want.
I hope that clarifies matters for you Wozza.
oops Mods: Close ital after “want” in first line of para 2.
Fran, you have sweet talked me into furious agreement that your position is based on pure reason and nothing but pure reason.
Or possibly I have just been stunned into temporary quiescence by sheer volume. I’ll see how I feel tomorrow
Either way, that you would take so much time in even attempting to educate an unreconstructed and, I would like to think, unreconstructable, RWDB, is admirable. It does seem to be a slow night on most blogs though doesn’t it?
see what happens when “ostensibles” are omitted & “blackmails” are overstated?
A small win for nature.
New York’s High Line Park
Brian – not sure if I’ve made this comment before, but kudos to you for the climate clippings series. A worthy nominee for troppo’s best blog posts of the year, if I remember to nominate it.
haiku, thanks for that. I’m not concerned about awards, just on getting something up starting with a clean sheet every week. Sometimes it is easier than others. This one cost me a fair bit of time and trouble.
John D helps a lot by sending me links he sees as important, and usually I agree with him.
Fran @49: An elegant argument, well said.
An interesting post from John Baez on the costs to FEMA generated by the extreme weather in the US recently.
Sorry forgot to attach the really interesting quote in that link from Munich Re:
Will this sort of thing have a positive or adverse effect on the progress of solar ( or other renewable ) technologies ? I hope not.
“””””DuPont has filed a lawsuit against Heraeus Holding GmbH and Heraeus Materials Technology, LLC for allegedly infringing a DuPont patent related to its front-side metallization paste materials used in solar cell technology.””””
jumpy: Depends on what game DuPont is playing. In theory, patents encourage research by stopping others taking advantage of DuPont’s research (Stealing intellectual property.) In practice patents provide opportunities for legal bullies to use the threat of court action to discourage others spending money on particular fields of research and/or use generalized patents to claim benefits when someone else does the detailed research required to make a generalized idea work.
Big news: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2011-09-07/solar-industry-celebrates-grid-parity/2875592
“The Photovoltaic Association says the drop in cost of producing power from solar panels has made solar power competitive with coal-generated grid power.”
One era is ending – another is beginning.
Get with the program.
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