Climate clippings 89

Climate clippings_175These posts are intended to share information and ideas about climate change and hence act as a roundtable for readers to contribute items of interest. Again, I do not want to spend time in comments rehashing whether human activity causes climate change.

This edition is a mixture of science and implementation issues that found me rather than I found them. A couple came from Mark’s Facebook. The last item was drawn to my attention by John D.

1. Electric tents

If you want a tent for the holiday period that stands out from the pack and generates enough electricity to power computers, phones, cameras and loud speakers then
Bang Bang Tents is for you.

Bang Bang tents_cropped_500

2. To frack or not to frack

Britain has announced plans to dramatically cut taxes on fracking profits, from 62 per cent to 30 per cent.

Friends of the Earth say the shale gas tax breaks

could potentially breach EU law because they may represent “unlawful state aid” – putting shale gas operators in a “more favourable tax position” than the traditional North Sea producers.

The Treasury thinks not as it is a new industry.

The cross-party Environmental Audit Committee thinks otherwise and points out that Britain has promised at the Rio+20 summit and the G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

3. Harvesting subway heat

London plans to warm homes by harvesting subway heat.

4. Global Warming Since 1997 Underestimated by Half

A new study by British and Canadian researchers shows that the global temperature rise of the past 15 years has been greatly underestimated. The reason is the data gaps in the weather station network, especially in the Arctic. If you fill these data gaps using satellite measurements, the warming trend is more than doubled in the widely used HadCRUT4 data, and the much-discussed “warming pause” has virtually disappeared.

The full story is at RealClimate.

NASA GISS fills the data gaps by interpolation from the edges of the “Arctic hole” where there are no weather stations whereas HadCRUT and NOAA leave the gap unfilled.

Now Kevin Cowtan (University of York) and Robert Way (University of Ottawa) have developed a new method to fill the data gaps using satellite data.

This is the result:


The heavier lines represent the corrected values.

5. Typhoon Haiyan

Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog takes a look at the conditions leading to the intensification of Typhoon Haiyan.

A remarkable warming of the sub-surface Pacific waters east of the Philippines in recent decades, due to a shift in atmospheric circulation patterns and ocean currents that began in the early 1990s, could be responsible for the rapid intensification of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

The ocean 100 meters below the surface under Haiyan was about 3°C above average.

Also the trade winds have strengthened and pushed a large amount of water up against the east coast of the Philippines in the past twenty years, resulting in a rate of sea level rise of 10 mm per year – more than triple the global average of 3.1 mm/yr. The sea there has risen about 305mm (one foot) since 1949.

6. Sea levels no longer included in State Government planning

The Qld State Government has removed sea level rises from planning policy “so as not to inhibit development and to allow councils greater independence in deciding development issues.”

According to a leaked Property and Infrastructure Cabinet Committee paper:

“Any local government that elects to include some allowance for sea level rise in their planning schemes will need to justify that the state interests relating to economic development are not materially affected by this.”

Mr Seeney said the SPP was landmark reform that would revolutionise the way councils, the development and construction industry and the State worked together.

The climate deniers in government seem very pleased with their handiwork and point out NSW went down this track a year ago.

Sic vivitur (such is life) in the sunshine state!

10 thoughts on “Climate clippings 89”

  1. Strangely enough, the WA Liberal Government, despite being as apparently ambivalent about the reality of climate change as its NSW and Queensland counterparts, actually agreed for the WA coastal setback policy to be updated in line with more recent IPCC assessments. But that’s WA for you.

  2. It a move that seems intended to prove that climate denialism and sheer Stupidity are contagious, the Queensland government removes sea level rise from the real world:

    in direct imitation of another anti-science state government, and in sympathy with the nutters in North Carolina.

    I commented at the time about one of the liability issues that might arise – and I wonder who will be carrying the can in the future for the inevitable extreme costs that Newman’s magical thinking will impose on Queenslanders?

  3. Thanks for the heads up John. There were some interesting ideas there for sure.

    One possibility you didn’t mention was the idea of using the process to “firm” intermittent sources of energy — such as wind or PV. Plainly, if you can ‘bottle’ electricity as fuel and you are “overbuilding” and reticulating wind/solar to ensure LOLP standards, then on those occasions when there is a surplus that cannot be sold commercially, one could use the surplus to create methanol to run generators to produce power outside of times when wind or insolation is available. If this turns out in lifecycle terms to be cost competitive with the other storage methods (and perhaps has a smaller footprint than new hydro/pumped storage, batteries etc) then we may be able to overbuild with a view to producing commercial quantities of methanol and get around the despatchability issues continually raised against renewables.

    I understand that in Iceland, they are taking their CO2 from industrial processes and also extracting substrates from the same place to produce commerical quantities of sulphuric acid that would otherwise be waste.

    I’ve also wondered whether, in producing H2, rather than cracking water, it might not be useful to crack urea, which has, after all, more ammonia in it and therefore an extra hydrogen atom. In places where animals are kept, or in sewage plants, there would surely be commercial quanttiies of the stuff. I’m not a chemist of course so perhaps I’m overlooking some technicality.

  4. Fran, it would be great if Japan could find a way to harness geothermal power (of which they have a lot) to do that carbon recycling thing with their industrial outputs (of which they also have a lot).

  5. Fran: My understanding is that they (Iceland) get the CO2 from the geothermal steam that is used to generate the cheap power used to make the hydrogen. At this stage of the clean-up process we could get CO2 from places like steelworks. (The big attraction of using liquid ammonia is that there is plenty of nitrogen – Extracting CO2 from air is a lot more difficult – The US navy was looking at extracting the CO2 required to make renewable jet fuel from sea water.
    I don’t know enough about the processes to comment on whether it is practical to use intermittent power.

  6. Jumpy: In terms of emissions coal may actually be better than using LNG. Something like 25% of the energy in gas is consumed in converting it to liquid. Then there is transport energy, regasifying energy and fugitive emissions. The last time I looked there was little emission difference between using Qld coal to run ultra-critical power stations vs using Qld LNG in combined cycle gas.
    It is also worth noting that Japan has reached 10 gW of installed solar PV and that solar PV is increasing rapidly.

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