The Polar Science Center at the University of Washington has updated its calculations of Arctic sea ice volume. As usual, Neven has the best graphs of the PSC’s data at his Arctic Sea Ice Blog, a must-read for cryosphere-junkies.
The PSC recently improved their PIOMAS model, which combines the best observational data with their own analysis. They are publishing their findings in the Journal of Geophysical Research, “Uncertainty in Modeled Arctic Sea Ice Volume”:
… the 2010 September ice volume anomaly did in fact exceed the previous 2007 minimum by a large enough margin to establish a statistically significant new record.
And now that 2010 record is broken — and the melt season isn’t over yet.
Indeed, it is going to be a close race to see if we break the record for sea-ice extent, a two-dimensional metric that the media and others focus on because that data is reported every day by many different sources. If you’re interested in that trend, the National Snow and Ice Data Center released its latest analysis yesterday, “Arctic sea ice near record lows” [see figure below].
Those who know polar ice the best know the “death spiral” continues. Far from seeing the Arctic recovering since 2007, as some claimed, the volume of sea ice dropped by another one third in 3 years, according to the PSC!
10:20: Get the federal government out of health care. End the minimum wage. Social Security is a Ponzi scheme. Obama is a liar. Watch a ThinkProgress video compilation of the craziest moments from tonight’s debate:
Today we reaffirm Franklin Roosevelt’s commitment that social security must always provide a secure and stable base so that older Americans may live in dignity.
9:56: No questions tonight about gay rights, abortion, or influence of money in elections.
9:52: Iraq was mentioned once during tonight’s debate. “We’re spending, believe it or not, this blew my mind when I read it,” Ron Paul said, “$20 billion a year for air conditioning in Afghanistan and Iraq in the tents over there.”
9:50: Brian Williams announces that the debate has gone over its allotted time, and he abruptly ends the questioning.
9:44: Audience beaks out in applause after host Brian Williams notes that Perry has executed more than 234 people on death row. Apparently he’s “never struggled at all” at night worrying that he’s executed an innocent man. That’s reassuring.
9:40: Gingrich says he will fire the Fed chairman “tomorrow.” Which the President can’t do.
9:38: Perry says the “science isn’t settled” on global warming. Scientists disagree.
9:38: Perry compares belief in global warming to the naysayers who persecuted Galileo for saying the Earth revolved around the sun.
9:37: Great question from John Harris to Rick Perry — which scientists do you find credible on climate change? Perry whiffs.
9:37: Huntsman: In order for us to win, we can’t run from science. The rest of his party is sprinting as fast as humanly possible. Perry insists, “science is not settled” on climate change.
9:36: Meanwhile, pseudo-GOP presidential candidate Rep. Thad McCotter (MI) weighs in on the important issues facing America, tweets “Mickey Gilley’s “legendary Honky Tonk piano” appraised for $8-10,000 – great pick! #AmericanPickers”
9:32: Perry again claims that “government spending won’t create one job,” never mind the 50,000 jobs it created in Texas. As Jared Bernstein has noted, Texas under Perry has followed a “traditional Keynesian game plan” of job creation during the recession.
9:31: Perry gives his “propes” (props) to Obama for capturing bin Laden. But he dodges the question about his foreign policy disagreements with Bush.
9:30: Bachmann said Israel’s 1967 borders are “indefensible.” However, “in the 1967 war, those borders were defended by Israel.”
9:29: Huntsman: “We need to bring those troops home” from Afghanistan.
9:27: All GOP candidates have signed anti-tax pledge save Huntsman. Huntsman responds: I would like to see everyone pledge to make no pledges.
9:23: Mitt Romney won’t say if he’s a member of the Tea Party. But the Tea Party crowd hasn’t been too sure of him either.
9:21: Gingrich says English should be the official language of the U.S. government. It is doubtful he said that when he apologized for demonizing Latinos in Spanish in 2007 and implored Republicans to speak more Spanish in 2010. Watch it:
9:20: Via Ben Smith — Romney adviser Stuart Stevens emails: “[Rick Perry] has lost. No federal candidate has ever won on the Perry program to kill Social Security. Never has. never will.”
9:17: Bachmann complains that immigrants don’t know American history, despite her own frequent flubs of the subject.
9:15: Bachmann says that American immigration law worked well in the 1950s. It’s little known that until the Hart-Cellar Act of 1965 there was no restriction whatsoever on immigration from Latin America.
9:15: Gingrich says “we should insist that first generation immigrants who come here learn American history to become citizens.” Gingrich himself might not pass that test.
9:13: ThinkProgress’ coverage of the debate is interrupted by an emergency flash flood warning by the National Weather Service. Ron Paul thinks the National Weather Service is unconstitutional.
9:11: Via Politico’s Jonathan Martin — Rick Perry is wearing a boy scout lapel pin. Scouts honor.
9:09: Rick Perry calls President Obama an “abject liar” for saying the U.S. border is secure. But Perry is the liar this time.
Rick Perry just bought the farm on climate change. He came off as dangerously in over his head. He said that despite the fact that most credible scientists think that human activity has something to do with climate change, he was not convinced.
“Galileo was outnumbered for a spell!” he declared. He got the analogy exactly wrong. Galileo was the scientist; the church and its allies, who knew nothing about the scientific method, were lined up against him. He never answered the question about which scientists he had consulted. He suddenly looked like the guy Karl Rove says he is, “a guy who only cares about soundbites.”
The League of Conservation Voters just sent out this fact sheet about Perry’s statement on climate science at the debate:
Oil production has soared under Obama. But Big Oil and its allies in Congress say Obama “has hardly missed any opportunity to block, impede, delay, hinder or obstruct American energy production.” What must he do to win their love, since that seems to be his goal?
The American Petroleum Institute released a report this morning outlining how the U.S. could create over one million jobs in the next decade through increased domestic drilling and use of tar sands. The solution? Open up every possible pocket of American soil and waters to drilling rigs — turning “drill, baby drill” into “drill, baby, drill, ’till there’s nothin’ left to drill.”
The report outlines aggressive oil and gas drilling scenarios for the Outer Continental Shelf, the Gulf of Mexico, onshore and offshore in the Arctic, and on various other public lands around the U.S., as well as development of the Keystone XL pipeline — all measures that would supposedly increase oil and production by nearly 50% compared with our current path (which is already set to raise production substantially) and increase tar sands production by 280%.
In other words, jobs creation through more climate destruction. And they are all temporary jobs, since they aren’t sustainable. We will be getting off of oil in the coming decades if we’re going to avoid catastrophic climate change.
“All [Obama] has to do is say the word,” said API President Jack Girard, in a challenge to the president at an event to promote the report. The study comes out a day before Obama is set to give a speech about job creation to Congress.
Doc Hastings, a Republican from Washington State who serves as Chair of the House Natural Resources Committee — one of the oil industry’s most stalwart advocates — used the release of this morning’s report to spread the myth that Obama is anti-drilling in order to make the case for the industry to drill anywhere it can fit a rig:
Yesterday, Missouri lawmakers began a special session during which Republicans will try to pay for a business tax cut by eliminating a tax credit that benefits more than 100,000 senior citizens and disabled people.
Missouri Republicans are just the latest in a long list of state legislatures that are funding more corporate tax breaks on the backs of low- and middle-income residents. In this case, Republicans are targeting a property tax credit that helps offset higher rent for some of the state’s most vulnerable citizens:
At stake is a tax credit that provides up to $750 for lower-income elderly and disabled people. Called the “Circuit Breaker,” it is designed to be an offset for the property taxes included in the rent paid by people with incomes of $27,500 or less. The tax credit costs $53 million annually. Repeal is part of a package that also would impose limits and sunset dates on credits targeted to developers. The Circuit Breaker tax credit is the only credit slated for repeal.
“The real issue is that many people with disabilities simply can’t own their own homes because they live on a subsistence income,” said Edward Duff of Joplin, a member of the Governor’s Council on Disability. “It really is a sort of parity to offer these renters this shelter.”
Once again, Republicans have shown they are not averse to raising taxes, as long as they are on the poor. The “circuit-breaker” tax credit is such an important aid for low-income residents that 29 other states offer property tax circuit-breakers or similar programs, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Killing the credit would raise taxes on groups including disabed vets and senior citizens by up to $750 a year.
The proposal has drawn criticism from a diverse range of groups, from conservative anti-tax crusaders to liberal groups. Opponents include the AARP, the Association of Retired Missouri State Employees, the liberal-leaning Missouri Budget Project and the conservative United for Missouri, as well as agencies that work with the disabled on the local level.
The Post-Dispatch reports that Republicans have faced such a backlash for trying to repeal the tax credit that the tax-credit package they crafted may be unraveling. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Chuck Purgason (R), has prepared an alternative plan aimed at spreading tax credit cutbacks more equally among low-income residents and developers.
“Republicans are always portrayed as taking from the poor and giving to the rich, and we didn’t want to do that,” Purgason said. However, it’s unclear if there’s enough of a consensus to pass the alternative bill.
One of the main reasons that the labor market recession has lasted so long is that relatively few people in office genuinely seem to want to end it. An important exception to that is Chicago Federal Reserve President Charles Evans who’s becoming increasingly vocal about the need for additional monetary stimulus and delivered an excellent speech on this subject earlier today. His bottom line that “if 5% inflation would have our hair on fire, so should 9% unemployment” is a straightforward reading of the Fed’s statutory mandate but seems all too rare.
He also does an excellent job of tackling the weird Reinhardt/Rogoff-induced sense of malaise that sometimes seems to me to be paralyzing the savvier sections of the capital. Basically, Carmen Reinhardt and Ken Rogoff did an empirical study of past financial crises and found that governments normally do a bad job of responding to them, leading to prolonged recessions. Tons of people seem to have turned that analysis around to reach the conclusion that it’s OK for American policymakers to do a bad job of responding to the financial crisis. Let me quote Evans:
It bears keeping in mind that the Reinhart-Rogoff predictions of a slow recovery are based on historical averages of macroeconomic performances across many different countries at many different times. They highlight a challenge we face today, but from the standpoint of the underlying economic analysis, there is nothing pre-ordained about these outcomes. They are not theoretical predictions—rather, they are reduced form correlations. The economy can perform better than it did in these past episodes if policy responds better than it did in those situations. In my opinion, maintaining the Fed’s focus on both of our dual-mandate responsibilities is a necessary and critical element of an appropriate response to the financial crisis that can produce better economic outcomes.
Imagine a section of highway that’s poorly constructed and where drivers often crash their cars in the fog. Next thing you know, you’re driving on the section of highway in question and a fog hits. You don’t just crash the car and say “well, Reinhardt and Rogoff have shown that fog typically results from car wrecks.” You’re supposed to use your foresight to help you avoid the problems that have been typical in the past. Watch the central banks that are succeeding.