Obama has rejected the proposal to build a pipeline to bring tar sands oil south from Canada to refineries in the Gulf Coast.
Obama said Friday that the State Department, in its final Environmental Impact Statement, found that the pipeline would not be in the country’s national interest. “I agree with that decision,” he said.
The Mail on Sunday recently declared the polar bear in good shape on the basis of the opinion of biologist Dr Susan Crockford, who says:
“On almost every measure, things are looking good for polar bears … It really is time for the doom and gloom about polar bears to stop.”
It turns out that Crockford’s expertise is the archaeology of dead dogs and the identification of animal remains, and receives funding from the Heartland Institute to spread disinformation about human agency in climate change.
Information, reliable or not, is difficult to come by. This is a snapshot of one estimate of how the polar bear is travelling:
In nine of the 19 populations of polar bears information is deficient.
On their future the best estimate is:
To keep polar numbers relatively healthy, though still lower than today, scientists suggest global temperatures should not exceed 1.25 degrees Celsius above the 1980-1999 average.
Contracts worth £315 million have been awarded to 27 renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of 2.1 gigawatts.
The majority of the 27 schemes are windfarms, including 15 onshore and two offshore schemes (the blue and green chunks below). The remaining contracts went to five solar farms (yellow) and five schemes that will burn or gasify waste to generate energy (black and grey).
By peak capacity the outcome looks rather different:
The auction was divided into two pots, with one pot reserved for “less established” technologies.
The big surprise was the prices, which were lower than expected.
Every seven years the IPCC publishes three whopping reports followed by a Synthesis Report. Working Group 1 looks at the physical basis of climate change. Working Group 2 looks at impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Working Group 3 looks at mitigation. Each of these whopping tomes has a Summary for Policy Makers of about 30 pages.
The main decision is that the program will continue with some minor modifications. They will try to link the second and third volumes more specifically to the first, while producing the whole series within about 18 months.
More special reports on specific issued will be produced during the interim years.
They will try to make the summaries for policy makers more readable.
6. NZ infestation of flat-earthers climate denialists
The Dominion Post is the newspaper of record for New Zealand’s capital city, Wellington. Last Friday it featured an opinion piece by high profile climate denialists Bob Carter and Bryan Leyland titled Hypothetical global warming: scepticism needed. Gareth Renownden at Hot topic calls it
a “Gish Gallop” of untruths, half-truths and misrepresentations — a piece so riddled with deliberate errors and gross misrepresentations that it beggars belief that any quality newspaper would give it space.
He then identifies 24 specific errors or misrepresentations.
El Niño has finally arrived at a time of the year when they usually decay. It’s weaker than usual and is unlikely to have much impact on world weather.
9. US weather conundrum
Last week I reported (Item 1) that the planet had just experienced the hottest 12 months, while it was freezing in eastern North America during January and February and into March.
Because winter includes December and December was mild, no state had a record low winter. In fact the East’s brutal cold was offset by record warmth in the West, which was caused by warmth in the Northern Pacific. The experts think this pushed the jet stream out of shape, bringing Arctic air further south in the east.
It seems the Northern Pacific warmth has now moved to the Central Pacific, causing the weak El Niño referred to above.
ReminderClimate clippings is an open thread and can be used for exchanging news and views on climate.
It’s important to note that the pipeline bill has been vetoed, not the pipeline.
For starters, pretty much everyone has noted that Keystone is not dead. All the veto means is that Congress isn’t able to force the pipeline’s construction through legislation — the process is just going back to being centered on the State Department’s administrative review procedure, as it largely has been for the last six years.
The State Department will consider the proposal and in their own good time make a recommendation to John Kerry as Secretary of State.
The bill was a political Tea party move to pre-empt State Department approval.
Meanwhile important court proceedings are taking place in Nebraska and South Dakota. The pipeline authority TransCanada is claiming ’eminent domain’ giving then the right to drive the pipeline through properties. About 90 Nebraska landowners claim that state law giving TransCanada the right to seize land under eminent domain is unconstitutional.
If the landowners succeed TransCanada does not have a route for the pipeline.
the energy required to process tar sands oil is so great that oil piped through the Keystone XL will emit 1.3 billion more tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the pipeline’s 50-year lifespan than if it were carrying conventional crude oil.
President Obama has said he would only approve Keystone XL if it didn’t significantly increase carbon emissions. To me that makes the decision quite straightforward, but the argument is being put that the tar sands will be developed anyway, so the pipeline makes no difference.
Obama has said also that there is no need for the US to use oil from tar sands. Apparently energy security is a factor in his thinking.
A new study suggests that the majority of the oil will be used in the US.
My guess is that Obama does not want a tar sands pipeline approval as part of his legacy.
It seems the trickiest bit of planning for sea level rise is dealing with the increased risk of storm surges. Scientists have been taking a look at New York City.
The biggest they know about was a 3.2 metre surge in 1821, a one in 500 year event. Most buildings have a 60 to 120-year usable lifespan. With a 3-foot rise a once a century surge of 5.7 feet above tide level could occur every three to 20 years. Continue reading Climate clippings 68→
Via Gizmodo researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and the University of California, Irvine have made a map of every glacier on the continent, down to its individual shape and flow velocity, illustrating how water melting in the interior of the continent makes its way out to the coasts. Lead author Eric Rignot calls it a “game changer for glaciology.”
I think the implication may be that we will lose more ice than previously thought from East Antarctica with a temperature rise of 1 or 2C.
Open Mind tells us that even earth scientists outside the field of volcanology don’t know how much CO2 volcanoes emit. Claims are made that it dwarfs human activity and that Mt Pinatubo emitted more than humans in the history of the world.
A rise of 1°C is unacceptable. For example, at that level the coral reefs of the world are under threat. At 4-5°C, which is where we’re heading if the do nothing brigade had their way, we have nightmare territory. Continue reading Climate clippings 29→
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. Continue reading Climate clippings 21→