Climate – Jan 23

January 23, 2013

Click on the headline (link) for the full text.

Can anyone defuse the ‘Carbon Bomb’?

James Murray, Business Green
Earlier this afternoon, I tweeted that I was "trying not to think about this new Greenpeace report too hard, because the implications are absolutely terrifying".

The report in question is the Point of No Return study from Greenpeace and Ecofys, which argues that 14 giant "carbon bomb" fossil fuel projects that are currently in planning have the potential to drive up global emissions 20 per cent by 2020 on their own, making it almost impossible to avoid global temperature rises of five to six degrees Centigrade. I failed in trying not to think about, mainly because it is so horribly thought-provoking…

Here are five quick points that the report immediately raises for me; unfortunately most of them do not make for pretty reading…
(22 January 2013)

Point of No Return: The massive climate threats we must avoid

Ria Voorhar & Lauri Myllyvirta, Greenpeace
The world is quickly reaching a Point of No Return for preventing the worst impacts of climate change. With total disregard for this unfolding global disaster, the fossil fuel industry is planning 14 massive coal, oil and gas projects that would produce as much new carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in 2020 as the entire US, and delay action on climate change for more than a decade.


(22 January 2013)

Climate change set to make America hotter, drier and more disaster-prone

Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian
Future generations of Americans can expect to spend 25 days a year sweltering in temperatures above 100F (38C), with climate change on course to turn the country into a hotter, drier, and more disaster-prone place. The National Climate Assessment, released in draft form on Friday, provided the fullest picture to date of the real-time effects of climate change on US life, and the most likely consequences for the future. The 1,000-page report, the work of the more than 300 government scientists and outside experts, was unequivocal on the human causes of climate change, and on the links between climate change and extreme weather…
(11 January 2013)

Koch-Funded Study Finds 2.5°F Warming Of Land Since 1750 Is Manmade, ‘Solar Forcing Does Not Appear To Contribute’

Joe Romm, Think Progress
The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Study (BEST) has finally published its findings on the cause of recent global warming. This Koch-funded reanalysis of millions of temperature observations from around the world, “A New Estimate of the Average Earth Surface Land Temperature Spanning 1753 to 2011,” concludes:

… solar forcing does not appear to contribute to the observed global warming of the past 250 years; the entire change can be modeled by a sum of volcanism and a single anthropogenic [human-made] proxy.

In short, a Koch-funded study has found that the IPCC “consensus” underestimated both the rate of surface warming and how much could be attributed to human emissions!…
(20 January 2013)

Climate Change Reaching Human and Geophysical Tipping Points

RP Siegel, Triple Pundit
There seems to be some evidence to suggest that as the storm tide swept over the East Coast last fall, it lifted the tide of public opinion in its wake. Scientists warn of a global warming tipping point driven by positive feedback loops such as the declining albedo effect of ice turning to water or the liberation of methane gas from thawing permafrost. Are we finally reaching, in the aftermath of yet another temperature record-breaking year, featuring another deadly American storm, a tipping point on public opinion on the urgency of global warming?

One thing that is apparently beginning to thaw, besides the polar ice caps, is the stance of a number of traditional media outlets that had heretofore been considered solidly conservative. Take, for example, the Financial Times which recently featured a column that said, “Another year has passed where the physical signs of climate change came fast and furious, while the political process for dealing with it remained glacial.” That was perhaps a surprisingly strong statement. “Doubts,” the author went on to say, “that weather changes are a serious risk to lives and livelihoods – thus a matter for public policy – are by now theoretical or delusional.”

Financial mainstay, Forbes, also came out against-the-grain in a piece in suggesting that Shell should reconsider its Arctic drilling plans…
(21 January 2013)

Has global warming ground to a halt?

Fred Pearce, New Scientist
The UK’s Met Office has downgraded its forecast for warming at the Earth’s surface over the next five years. Headlines this week announced that global warming is "at a standstill". Climate sceptics crowed. But the Met Office said the outlook for later in the century remains unchanged. New Scientist looks at the facts.

Has global warming stopped, or hasn’t it? Atmospheric warming has certainly slowed greatly in the past decade. The Met Office says this appears to be due to natural cycles that are counteracting the warming effect of greenhouse gases. After incorporating new analysis of natural cycles into its latest model of atmospheric and ocean circulation, it has concluded that we are in for a few more years of little change…

What’s the outlook? Scary. If oceanic cycles do what the Met Office and others expect, then global average air temperatures will stay fairly stable – though still hotter than they have been in the past – until later this decade. The cycles will then flip into a new phase and the oceans will probably start releasing heat instead of soaking it up. Combined with continued accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, that could mean that sometime round 2020, warming will start to race away again as the atmosphere makes up for lost time.
(9 January 2012)

Tags: climate change, ecology