Weekend Open Thread

I realize I need to separate the weekend open thread from posts asking readers for comments on a particular question or topic so that Prokaryotes and others can post links to interesting weekend news/links.

As always, you can opine on whatever’s on your mind.  Or suggest topical topics that CP should cover in the coming week.  Or link to some jokes and cartoons “” can’t get enough of those in these new Dark Ages!

82 Responses to Weekend Open Thread

  1. Jay Alt says:

    Some might want to go back and find something they recall in these threads. I’d suggest linking the weekend/suggestion threads together in a chain, as with other topics.

  2. Mike says:

    James Fallows article in the December “The Atlantic” makes for a controversial read.

    Dirty Coal, Clean Future

    To environmentalists, “clean coal” is an insulting oxymoron. But for now, the only way to meet the world’s energy needs, and to arrest climate change before it produces irreversible cataclysm, is to use coal—dirty, sooty, toxic coal—in more-sustainable ways. The good news is that new technologies are making this possible. China is now the leader in this area, the Google and Intel of the energy world. If we are serious about global warming, America needs to work with China to build a greener future on a foundation of coal. Otherwise, the clean-energy revolution will leave us behind, with grave costs for the world’s climate and our economy.
    By James Fallows

  3. Jeff Huggins says:

    Ten Thousand Feet are Better Than Two

    … not if you’re just going from the bedroom to the kitchen, of course, but if you are talking about changing the climate and energy situations, activism, spreading the message, and so forth.

    It seems to me that we’ll need much more cooperation and more cross-participation in some key events and initiatives. The various organizations involved in the movement each have their own different missions and styles, of course, but there’s a lot of common ground when it comes to aims and when it comes to some of the basic challenges we face. So, in some ways, and on some initiatives, we need (I would suggest) A LOT MORE COOPERATION, shared creativities, and combined enthusiastic feet on the streets.

    I’ve been doing a bit of research, just for fun, regarding California and the Bay Area. Do you know who’s here?

    * The Sierra Club is headquartered in San Francisco. They also have active “chapters” in regions around the Bay Area and California (and of course, more broadly around the U.S.).

    * The Environmental Defense Fund has a very substantial group of folks in San Francisco and also an office in Sacramento.

    * Greenpeace has a San Francisco office.

    * According to their website, has about six people out here, at least, in San Francisco and Alameda, including some of their top people.

    * The Energy Foundation is headquartered in San Francisco, with an excellent group of folks and another important ingredient: money (probably not enough for everyone, but at least some).

    * 1Sky has a regional coordinator and other active volunteers involved out here.

    * Although I can’t quite figure out where their office(s) are, I have the impression that The Alliance for Climate Protection and their group of initiatives have an office of some sort out here, or at least Gore has a part-time office out here, I think? Is that correct?

    * CAP has a California presence, now, in Southern California as I understand it. (Whenever the CAP folks come up here, I’d love to meet with them! Or I’ll drive down there if they like.)

    ALSO, Berkeley and Stanford and some other great universities and colleges are out here, with their concerned faculty members and (even much more importantly) student-bodies that should be getting increasingly active — because if they don’t, their own futures will be cooked, so to speak.

    ALSO, Google is here. They are presumably trying to do good, but we obviously need more good done these days.

    AND, folks like Neil Young and Joan Baez live here, indeed not very far away from the Stanford area.

    TOO, we will soon have a governor that wants to address the climate and energy problems, and we’ll soon have an ex-governor that also is a key and helpful climate champion.

    Even our main utility, PG&E, is among the most progressive.

    AND there are key people from other parts of the political spectrum that have been heroically involved, such as George Shultz. Thank you, George!

    So, both formally and informally, we should be sharing ideas, cooperating more (whenever it makes sense), and not thinking that the journey can be accomplished alone. With the list of organizations out here, and people out here, and with the confidence-building public sentiment that was expressed in the recent election, we ought to be able to make Very Big Things happen out here, which will be great for the overall movement and for the rest of the country — and will help set the stage for much better nation-wide results in the next election.

    But it won’t come automatically. We’ll have to “find” cooperation within ourselves — and develop and practice it as a skill and habit. We just need to DO IT.

    Anyhow, that’s my two cents worth for today. Please, if anyone knows of other relevant organizations out here, let me (and us) know who and where they are, so perhaps we can give each other an overall understanding of the “critical mass” that is nascent but potential out here in California.

    Be Well,

    (and today is the Big Game. Go Bears!!)


    Jeff Huggins
    Los Gatos, California

  4. BillD says:

    I read the Fellows article quickly. In my view, the approach that makes sense is some kind of cap and trade or cap and dividend. What we need is an economic mechanism to push energy toward more efficiency and lower CO2 emission. This was the approach that Reagan supported for Acid Rain. It’s the free market approach that should be supported by conservatives. I don’t favor legislation to outlaw coal. I favor legislation to make dirty and inefficient sources more expensive. Why are conservatives so strongly against letting markets decide?

  5. DavidCOG says:


    A few requests for the website:

    1. add a favicon so Climate Progress tabs can be quickly visually identified

    2. switch on threaded comments

    3. add comment reply notification

    4. add markdown for commenting – it makes formatting and URL linking much easier but still leaves the current the ability to use HTML

  6. Leif says:

    The Arctic ice recovery has entered a new low for this time of the year. Exceeding the record of 2007. Warmer seas have prevented the seas from freezing at the past normal rates. Perhaps this year we will see a new minimum “maximum” winter ice extent. (Hope that makes sense?) Thus giving next years thaws a head start. The thought occurred to me that the amount of maximum winter ice might need renewed attention. As the Arctic warms I predict that the continents will become the new depository for the needed balancing cold. Where as in the past the ice cover allowed the “cold” to pool above the poles increased open water will prevent such pooling. Land can cool much faster than water and thus by default will become the “new polar air pools”. (NPAPs?)

    That is my story and I am sticking to it!
    At least until new facts accumulate.

  7. David Lewis says:

    For those interested in ways to communicate the science on climate to the hard heads who seem bent on killing the planet:

    Take a look at the book “Challenged by Carbon”. (The gist of what the author is saying in his own words is available online, see the link at the end of this comment.)

    The book was written by one of the former top executives at BP. On the cover is a reviewer’s blurb written by the former CEO of Shell certifying that the author is giving his readers “an authoritative insider’s view”. These are two of the most senior people in the second and third largest non state sponsored oil companies in the world.

    Lovell says the top execs in the European oil industry are convinced that unless the composition of the Earth’s atmosphere is stabilized as quickly as possible we are headed to what they see is far worse than the scale of change involved in moving from an ice age to an interglacial. They are convinced by evidence that for oil men comes from a trusted source, i.e. geology as opposed to climatology, that something like the PETM of 55 million years ago, when a massive increase in CO2 caused Earth to quickly move to where tropical conditions prevailed in the Arctic, is what will happen now unless CO2 emissions are stopped.

    This is a stark, clear view of what “dangerous climate change” is, certified by the most senior of the people who have the most interest in denying that something like this is even remotely possible.

    This is a powerful debating point. The European oil executives lost their nerve about the denial campaign and even confronted Exxon-Mobil. We have, in this book, the climate equivalent of the top executives in the second and third biggest tobacco companies in the world openly discussing why all the senior people in their industry now know that the science is impossible to deny, as they call for elimination of cigarettes back when all companies had been telling everyone that their products could not cause cancer.

    I wrote up my thoughts in greater detail in a post

    At the bottom of that post are links to Lovell’s three articles in Geoscience which are free to view.

  8. Andy Hultgren says:

    Hi all,

    I have been a reader at CP for about a year now, and wanted to ask this group’s advice.

    Recognizing the need for good climate policy, both immediately and over the decade(s) to come, I have decided to pursue a graduate degree in Public Policy with the hope of getting into climate policy development upon graduation.

    My goal is to go to a leading US policy school and get the best education in policy I can get – in other words I think it would be better to attend a school with a strong core policy program, than to attend one that specializes in environmental policy in particular.

    My currently preferred school is Cal Berkeley, which I understand has both an excellent core policy program, as well as a strong focus in climate policy in particular, and has an interesting Policy/Law joint degree program to boot.

    I would be curious to get this group’s thoughts and feedback on which schools you would recommend looking into. I have my own list (Berkeley, Princeton, Harvard, Duke, Carnegie Mellon) but I am very open to other ideas.

    My background is Chemical Engineering, Princeton University 2002, and I have spent the past four years as a project engineer and project manager with a climate change consulting group.

    Thoughts very welcome on:
    – Schools to consider applying to?
    – The utility of a joint Public Policy and Law degree program?
    – Anything other thoughts and opinions!

    Thanks all.

  9. DreamQuestor says:

    You may have already heard about it, but the Heritage Foundation is making a new attack on CFL bulbs.

    One link:

    I was tempted to register just to point out that not only does Nicolas Loris work for the Heritage Foundation, but he has also worked for the Koch brothers.

    * barf *

  10. Esop says:

    Seems like the warm Arctic/ cold Continents phenomenon is back this winter. Large parts of Scandinavia are now way below average, and temperatures will in places drop to well below 0F next week. Front page news, with papers spending the entire front page on the cold temperaures. As far as I can read, the threat of AGW is now officially over, and the Met offices 3 month forecast of a warm winter is being mocked.
    Interestingly, November 09 was way warm, with temps dropping in mid-December. Quite possible that this cold front is coming in “too early” and we will see a flip to warmer temps in December. This has been the pattern pretty much from 1989 to 2008.

  11. Scrooge says:

    Leif, what you say does make sense for a few reasons. And if I’m not mistaken the last time Nebraska was a desert the winters were colder. Possibly for the reason you state. How I look at it though is with the Arctic warming faster the boundary is not as strong so the colder air moves south easier. Kinda like what happened last winter.

  12. Raul M. says:

    Sen. Bill Nelson said on Ytube that he (himself)
    wouldn’t let the climate destabalize by global
    warming. Maybe, he is talking about public
    opinion, that he wouldn’t let the public know
    his votes and actions.

  13. Theodore says:

    Does the term “Tea Party” derive from the Boston Tea Party or from Texas Tea?

  14. David Smith says:

    Andy @ #8 – Look at Georgetown in DC. I am not in the field. My son was intrerested in policy and researched it. It looked promising.

  15. David Smith says:

    Theodore @ 13 – In my opinion, for the powerful forces behind the movement it’s Texas Tea, but that is too self-serving for a national movement, so for the public they try to associate it with the Boston event.

  16. GermanGirl says:

    The link to some climate jokes as mentioned above:
    Click “Nächste” to see more.
    Greetings from Germany!

  17. dp says:

    a special weekend question might be a good ritual

  18. Jeff Huggins says:

    To David Lewis (Comment 7) and Andy Hultgren (Comment 8):

    David, thanks very much for mentioning that book. I’m going to have to get it. Super. Thanks very much!

    Andy, I’m in a rush now, but if you’d like a few thoughts/observations from me on the question you ask, send me an e-mail please. You can find my e-mail address at my website, which you can find by clicking on my name, I think.

    Cheers and Be Well,


  19. dp says:

    lately i’ve been upset at how much more power speculators have over public policy, due partly to an imbalance in the bailout efforts (put gently). speculators have a peculiar outlook: they ride upsides & downsides both. in other words they have motive to vote against fixing things when they see carrion-feeding opportunities in the wreckage.

    robert reich made a big stand on money-in-politics by chairing and that’s been one of three legs in my own platform (along w/ 350 & guaranteed affordable healthcare) but i think it’s time to focus on how corporate capitalism amorality competes w/ ordinary morality for social natural & financial capital.

  20. Leif says:

    Thanks as well David Lewis @7: Looks to be a winner and needs to be better known. I will do my part.

  21. RobM says:

    1) I’d like to see more analysis on the intersection of climate, energy, and economy. For example, it’s clear that peak debt will eventually crash the global economy and peak oil will prevent the economy from recovering. Will this improve or worsen climate change? One can make an intelligent argument in both directions. For example, a smaller economy means less energy consumed and therefore less CO2. On the other hand, an economic crash could mean a quick unmasking of the aerosol cooling effect and thus a rapid increase in warming. I exchanged emails with James Hansen on this topic and he does not know the answer nor does he know anyone working on it.

    2) I’d like to see more honest discussions on what it will really take to address climate change. As per Hansen, we must stop all use of coal, plus stop all use of non-conventional oil, plus stop deforestation. Given that coal delivers 60%+ of our electricity, and that unconventional oil may help slow the peak oil driven decline in our surplus wealth, and that deforestation helps poor people escape poverty, these remedies have significant implications. I suspect we might gain more credibility with deniers if we honestly addressed these implications rather than pretending that all it will take is some windmills and hybrid cars.

    If anyone is aware of existing good work on the above issues I would be grateful for links.

  22. Barry says:

    BillD (#4) asks: “Why are conservatives so strongly against letting markets decide?”

    I think most conservatives do want to let the “markets decide”. What they seem to definitely not want:

    — “big government deciding”
    — “big government creating more burdensome regulations”
    — “big government taking their money”
    — “complicated solutions they can’t ever understand (aka trust)”
    — “liberals in control of their lives”
    — “money drain from conservatives to liberals”

    Conservatives all over the world, and in USA, are taking action on climate change along the lines they trust. Like the carbon tax passed years ago in BC by a very conservative pro-corporatist Premier. (Side note: even though the left first proposed the carbon tax in BC, once the right put it into law the left fought it! For awhile anyway. Once it was clear that voters supported it, the left accepted it.)

    I personally think cap & trade was the best route to cutting carbon. Then again it fit my value system and trust in regulation and federal government for national solutions. It fit my value system of environmental concern and desire for a change in direction society is heading.

    Here is a thought challenge for everyone interested in finding common ground on carbon pricing with GOP voters: create a carbon pricing policy that you think conservatives would love. Use their wordings and value language and have it enhance their world view and values. I’ve found this very interesting to do. Put on the other shoes and see what solutions might be possible. Ideas?

  23. Chris Winter says:

    Andy Hultgren wrote (#8): “Thoughts very welcome on:
    – Schools to consider applying to?
    – The utility of a joint Public Policy and Law degree program?
    – Anything other thoughts and opinions!”

    I haven’t been following the reputations of colleges lately, but I expect UC Berkeley would be a good choice.

    I also suggest you take a look at Stanford, based only on the fact that the late Dr. Stephen Schneider spent so many years on the faculty there.

  24. Joan Savage says:

    Arnold Schwarzenegger and Prince Charles, both durable public figures, are good voices in the wind this weekend.

    R20 group with Arnold Schwarzenegger as spokesperson

    The movie “Harmony” from Prince Charles, shown on TV on Friday 11/19/2010, illustrated transitions to low fossil use agriculture and forest retention.

    Positive images of what we can accomplish are much more motivating, at least to me, than diffuse and confused fears.

    Charles bit into a fresh organic carrot. Are we also royally happy with organic food? Yes, of course!

    Arnold is irrepressible, as usual.


  25. Colorado Bob says:

    This bares reposting –

    As Arctic Temperatures Rise, Tundra Fires Increase

    This analysis uncovered a striking pattern, Hu said.

    “There is a dramatic, nonlinear relationship between climate conditions and tundra fires, and what one may call a tipping point,” he said. Once the temperature rises above a mean threshold of 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) in the June-through-September time period, he said, “the tundra is just going to burn more frequently.”

    For the past 60 years, annual mean temperatures during this warm season have fluctuated between about 6 and 9 degrees Celsius (42.8 to 48.2 degrees Fahrenheit), with temperatures trending upward since 1995. In 2007, the year of the historic fire, the mean temperature was a record 11.1 degrees Celsius, while precipitation and soil moisture dipped to an all-time low.

  26. catman306 says:

    Colorado Bob, Because the high latitudes experience greater temperature increases than the mid latitudes or tropical regions, they’ll be the early adopters showing us what’s coming to a place near home when our mean temperature increases a similar amount.

    Show them that the polar regions are disintegrating right now and tell them we’re in line for similar changes in a few years.

    By the way, I had trouble finding songs about the desert or ‘dustbowlification’ for the song list or songs about the melting arctic regions either. If anyone has suggestions, this is the place.
    Song writers take note. Everybody needs to do whatever they do to get the word out about climate change and if it’s writing a song, write a good one. No, write a great one!

    Some songs are listed for the video, and sometimes because they can be interpreted from a climate change perspective. Some will be deleted and replaced by better choices.

    Like the Animals doing a Dylan song

  27. David B. Benson says:

    Push harder on the fact than even a little global warming has already caused disruption to agriculture with prices of wheat and rice going up.

    More warming, more disruption, less food:

  28. Leif says:

    Here in the North West “Ocean Acidification” makes its way into the courts. Wild Oyster spawning has been adversely impacted for the last six years and acidification is the primary culprit.

  29. Tim says:

    @2 , James Fallows article

    I have great respect for James Fallows, since I believe him to be a real journalist and reporter – someone who actually goes out digs up information, i.e., he “investigates” in th true sense of the word. Unfortunately, he isn’t a scientist and I think he’s been sucked into buying the CO₂-sequestration line being fed to him by power company officials. I’d love to read more on whether CO₂-sequestration really has a snowball’s chance of making coal burning anywhere near “clean”, much less economical. I think Fallows needs to spend some more time with chemists and engineers who don’t work for power companies and get a lot more specific information of just how much CO₂ we can really capture and sequester. More comments by people here on this would be welcome.

  30. Clare says:

    Song for #30 Catman

    “Open Water” by Zoe Mulford uses the ghostly voice of one of Franklin’s lost crewmen to tell an updated story of the Northwest Passage.

  31. Clare says:

    “Open Water” uses the ghostly voice of one of Franklin’s lost crewmen to tell an updated story of the Northwest Passage.

  32. David B. Benson says:

    Tim — CCS is certainly feasible at some price. The hard part is to capture the CO2, that is, separate it from the rest of the flue gas or the rest of the atmosphere. The easier part is to permanently sequester the captured CO2. Experience in West Texas and the North Sea shows that CO2 remains in (formerly) petroleum and methane bearing formations; it is used to increase the fraction of product retrievable from the fields. Also certain, IMO, is sequestration via a chemical reaction with mafic, preferable ultramafic, rock. Less certain, simply because it has yet to be tried, is sequestration in deep saline formations without the overlying caprock of petroleum and methane formations. My understanding of the geochemistry is that as long as not too much CO2 is pumped into the deep saline formations the CO2 will remain indefinitely. The main problem is likely to be the land swelling up or else the disposal of pumped brine to avoid the swelling.

    I don’t know the cost of all this, but I’ll hazard the guess that nuclear power plants (with all that implies) is likely to prove quite a bit less expensive than burning coal with CCS.

  33. catman306 says:

    Clare, thanks, it’s been added and what a good song it is. There’s a 200 song limit to lists at YouTube so I’ll start another list soon and link them with a channel.

    Songs about ocean acidification?

    Songs about sea level rise?

    Songs about species extinction?

    I need more cowbell.

    Did you know there are more than 50 million amateur musicians in America alone?

  34. David B. Benson says:

    M. Brower & W. Leon
    The Consumer’s guide to Effective Environmental Choices
    Three Rivers Press, 1999.

  35. Gord says:

    How our brains operate may have much to do with who is a believer and who is not when we discuss the nasty future of Business as Usual.

    The human brain may, in the greater scheme of things, be our greatest impediment to winning the War on CO2.

  36. Prokaryotes says:

    “I realize I need to separate the weekend open thread from posts asking readers for comments on a particular question or topic so that Prokaryotes and others can post links to interesting weekend news/links.”


    And i second the suggestions from post #5 about the website. There are a few flaws with the alignment of text. Have a look what i mean and i added a design idea “patriotism” as well,

  37. Frank Zaski says:

    More discussion of international energy issues and solutions is needed. The EIA International Energy Outlook 2010 forecasts US coal consumption will rise from 23 Quadrillion Btu in 2007 to 25 in 2035, a .4% a year increase.

    However, total world coal consumption will rise from 132 to 206, a 1.6% a year increase.

    Note, according to this forecast, even if the US totally stops using coal in 2035, world-wide production of CO2 from coal would drop only 12%. We are truly toast without international success.

  38. hapa says:

    WORLD: thank you for having me to dinner!
    HUMANS: please, it’s our pleasure, you’ve been so good to us.
    WORLD: what smells so good?
    HUMANS: coal!
    WORLD: omigosh
    HUMANS: what’s wrong?
    WORLD: lately i am terrible allergic to coal!
    HUMANS: can you eat it anyway? it’s very cheap at the market.
    WORLD: um well not to be rude but I could die!
    HUMANS: oh wow don’t want that, let us think about it.
    WORLD: do you have any sunlight? i really love sunlight.
    HUMANS: sunlight heavens no! it makes our skin wrinkle! but we think we can work around this.
    WORLD: you were always my cleverest ones.
    HUMANS: if you eat the coal now, we will work on inventing a cure for your allergy, every other weekend we’re not golfing.
    WORLD: you know sometimes…
    HUMANS: sometimes…?
    WORLD: sometimes your youth really shows.

  39. Mark Bigland-Pritchard says:

    When I used to teach university students how to write logical and credible reports, I realised that there are several ways of failing to meet reasonable standards which don’t have names.

    And now we see various denialist/confusionist types using some of these very same departures from fair and rational discourse.

    So we should have a rich source of names to apply to different types of bad writing.

    For example, lomborg (v.t.): provide a long and impressive-looking list of references in the hope that nobody will actually check them and find out that some of them are irrelevant to the point being made in the text and others make the precise opposite point.

    More suggestions?

  40. Omega Centauri says:

    Leif@6 and others:
    I finally got an intuitive (to me at least) feel for the predictions that severe negative arctic oscillation events (like last winter) may become more common. Jeff Masters was the source. More ice melt, means that during fall pole/tropics temperature difference is lessoned, which means the circumpolar jet stream is weaker -and Jeff claims this can persist for up to six months. So the weaker jet stream means the cold normally bottled up in the winter arctic has a greater change of breaking out to the south. So severe events, like Northwestern Europe and the eastern US saw last winter may become much more common. I didn’t see anything about land versus ocean, only that lower temperature contrast (counterintuitively) leads to more heat transport between the winter polar regions and midlattitudes.

    This of course presents difficulties selling warming to people who feel under assault from cold weather.

  41. Alec Johnson says:

    Holy greenwashing, Batman! Exxon-Mobil has ads appearing on this website. Now I understand that these are ad feeds over which this website probably exerts no control, but if it can, I’m sure I don’t have to tell anyone here why Exxon-Mobil shouldn’t darken this website with their vile presence.

  42. Prokaryotes says:

    GOP win dims prospects for climate bill, but Obama eyes Plan B ahead of U.N. talks

    The Republican wins will finally bury the Obama administration’s Plan A, which included passing a landmark climate bill in Congress.

    But that plan was, in essence, already defunct. And the new GOP majority will have few easy options for undoing the White House’s Plan B, a set of new regulations that will cut emissions from power plants and factories.

    This Plan B is “not sufficient for the level of emissions reductions that the administration wanted to make,” said Robert Stavins, a professor at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

    At the Copenhagen climate talks, at the end of 2009, Obama said the United States would reduce its emissions “in the range of” 17 percent below 2005 levels. The administration says that Obama still stands by that goal.

    “We’re not going to get there,” Stavins said. “But we are going to get somewhere.”

  43. Prokaryotes says:

    “Fossil fuels and nuclear and clean coal have become to the right what wind and solar are to the left. And I think that’s where you could see some sort of agreement,” said Nick Loris of the Heritage Foundation.

    His group, which favors free markets and small government, would object to any such funding: “We don’t believe that the taxpayers should be subsidizing special interests.”
    312 billion subsidies for fossils is what?

  44. Prokaryotes says:

    28 workers trapped in China mine flood

    A flood at a coal mine in China’s Sichuan province trapped 28 workers Sunday, state media reported.

  45. BillD says:

    Andy above on graduate programs–Several or all of the schools that you mention could be excellent. I think that you are at the point where you should start contacting individual professors. Tell them about your plans, ask them whether their program is the best, ask them about being a mentor. This is clearly what you would need to do if you were applyig for a Ph.D. program. Don’t expect every professor to answer. They are more likely to answer if you can say that you read some of their research and are interested in their personal work. At some point, what you get out of your studies will depend in part, on your personal relationships with individual faculty.

  46. Leif says:

    The GOP have made no secrete about the fact that their agenda is to prevent President Obama from having any “success” real or imaginary. The Democrats need to throw that effort in their faces time and again. Preventing needed “government” is not only an affront to the President. It is an affront to the American People, and a duly elected President. It is as well an affront to the Constitution and “Democracy” itself.

  47. Michael says:

    Re: Arctic Oscillation (Omega Centauri @ 42, etc)

    Both the Arctic Oscillation and NAO are currently dropping sharply, and are forecast to reach quite extreme negative values, around -4 for the AO and -3 for the NAO, similar to levels reached last winter during the lowest peaks. Unsurprisingly, as has been mentioned, Arctic blasts are expected for most of the U.S. and Europe, this while sea ice extent is close to or at a record low (2006 was the lowest at this time of the year).
    (see ensemble mean outlooks for the forecast)

    On the other hand, the Antarctic Oscillation (or Southern Annular Mode) is continuing what appears to be the most extreme prolonged positive phase on record since 1979; this is coincident with the high Antarctic ice extent for much of the year (even the NSIDC has mentioned this in their Arctic ice news):

  48. Leif says:

    P.S. to the above statement. Sent to the White House “contact site.”

    If President Obama does not get in front of the “Tank Line” he will surely blow any opportunity for re-election but FAR worse. He will have ushered in the final fall of the Nation and quite likely, with the peril of climatic disruption on the horizon, the end of civilization itself!

    Mr President:

    Get some “stones” and just maybe our nation and your progeny and the Democratic party will have a future.

    Sir, you fought hard and valiantly for your victory and the American people responded. Black and white and every color between! You are up to the task, apparently you just do not know it yet.

    Your Black ancestors struggled valiantly for freedom and many perished. Your White ancestors as well. You owe supreme effort to all that remain and to all to come.

    You are the man…

    Or NOT!

    Two Palms Up,


  49. Colorado Bob says:

    Leaking Siberian ice raises a tricky climate issue
    — The Russian scientist shuffles across the frozen lake, scuffing aside ankle-deep snow until he finds a cluster of bubbles trapped under the ice. With a cigarette lighter in one hand and a knife in the other, he lances the ice like a blister. Methane whooshes out and bursts into a thin blue flame.

  50. Michael says:

    It appears that Spencer’s much-promised “plummeting temperatures” is coming to pass, based on recent AMSU temperature readings; all channels up to 8 are significantly below last year, especially 6 and 7 (5 is used for the official (lower troposphere) satellite data, although I would think that would be near the mid-troposphere); channel 6 shows an all-time record low since 1998 (the deniers will love that), although this isn’t as reliable:

    I’d expect November to still be warmer than 1998 however, but below last year’s record. Also, it appears that La Nina has already peaked, and actually did a month or so ago, a few months early, since most indicators have been rising; even the MEI now places it as “only” 2nd lowest for September-October, while the SOI has fallen by nearly half from its peak and Nino 3.4 has risen since the beginning of October (some models are already trending towards an El Nino next year).

  51. Andy says:

    David Smith #14 – I have not looked in detail at Georgetown’s program and I will give it a look. Thanks!

  52. Andy says:

    Jeff Huggins #18

    I’ll send you an email right now. Thanks for volunteering your thoughts!

  53. Andy says:

    Chris Winter #25,

    The public policy program at Standford seems to be a little “odd” – from what I understand, you have to apply to a seperate degree, then apply to the public policy school as well.

    If I have that wrong, please let me know. And thanks for your thoughts!

  54. Andy says:

    BillD #47

    Thanks for your excellent advice. My father-in-law is a law professor and gave me that exact same advice – which I am trying to follow as best I can. I will be flying out to Berkeley today to sit in on some classes and hopefully arrange some visits with a couple professors there I’d like to meet with.

    Oh, and To All: I just realized that since I am writing on a different computer, my name is coming up differently now. As you may have figured out by now, I am the “Andy Hultgren” who posted the original question at #8 above! Sorry about the confusion…

  55. Prokaryotes says:

    It was a community event only the City Different can hold: Musicians wove through a crowd of more than 1,000 people who gathered Saturday in the dry riverbed of the Santa Fe River to “turn it blue” as part of the public-art project Flash Flood for a Living River.

    People danced, laughed, sang and chanted, “It’s hot in here, there’s too much carbon in the atmosphere.”

  56. Chris Winter says:

    DreamQuestor wrote (#9): “You may have already heard about it, but the Heritage Foundation is making a new attack on CFL bulbs.”

    I hadn’t heard that, thanks for posting.

    I read the Loris article. (Opportunity to joke based on the genus Nycticebus resisted.) Then I did a little research, finding that the typical CFL contains 4 mg of mercury while the best ones are down to a range of 1.4 to 2.5mg. If broken, the CFL will release about 14 percent of its mercury content. Meanwhile, a 60W incandescent bulb is allocated 5.8 mg out of all the mercury released annually by burning coal.

    And of course the standard fluorescent tubes used in offices across the land contain more mercury than CFLs. (How much more, I was unable to discover.) Also, there is no ban on incandescent bulbs, in 2012 or 2014. Certain types are being phased out, but there are 22 exceptions.
    No ban on incandescent light bulbs
    Karen Youso, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, April 12, 2010

    I too thought about registering to post a comment, but decided the possibility of spam from Topix was too high.

  57. OregonStream says:

    Perhaps with the help of la nina, we’re supposed to have more Arctic air incursion over the next several days. Last time this happened here, it was anomalously warm up North.

    Reminded me of More cold air blasts head south:

  58. Esop says:

    Just wasted 10 minutes over at Roy Spencer’s blog. One brave poster compared climate denial to creationism, and was immediately attacked by a resident creationist. Just goes to illustrate the general level of enlightenment displayed by the readers. Not such as surprise, considering that Spencer is a creationist himself.
    Seems to be plenty of Scandinavian commenters at that site (as is the case on many other denier sites). No wonder, since this part of the world has, for some reason, become an absolute hotspot for AGW/science denial.

  59. Esop says:

    #54 Michael:
    Looks like the SSTs have picked up lately, so I would expect the troposphere temps to flatten out as a result. Will 2010 beat 1998? That remains to be seen, but I would not be surprised if the datasets are tweaked for a 3rd time this year, in order to keep the anomalies below the 1998 record. Surprisingly, the “skeptics” have no complaints when the UAH data are tweaked.

  60. Sailesh Rao says:

    “Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everyone gets busy on the proof.” – John Kenneth Galbraith. This explains why “sustainable steak” was on the dinner menu for “Global Cool,” the inaugural event for Bill Nye’s Climate Lab at the Chabot Space Center in Oakland, CA.

    Please check out the Common Cause report that details how our inability to confront ingrained behaviors is responsible for the predicament we are in: . And, how to overcome this seemingly insurmountable barrier.

  61. PurpleOzone says:

    “I don’t believe in global warming.”

    What do you say when somebody says this? It’s a conversation stopper. I’m frustrated with hearing this. HELP! some ideas please.

    (Wow, Joe, your idea to do this is very popular);

  62. Michael T. says:

    State of the Climate Global Analysis – October 2010

    October 2010 temperature anomalies compared to the 1971-2000 average:

  63. Michael says:

    Esop (66) I have downloaded and plotted the SST data myself (similar to the one Spencer posts), and it definitely shows an increase recently after reaching a minimum a few weeks ago, about the same time Nino 3.4 anomalies did:

    The lowest anomaly this year occurred on October 30, while it was November 30 in 2007 for the last La Nina, although unlike this year, anomalies didn’t start increasing for several more months. I’d also still expect a lag between global average temperatures and SST anomalies, but likely not of the magnitude in 2008 (I’m thinking that 2011 will be near 5th warmest overall, and warmer than I thought a month ago, and if an El Nino actually develops later in the year, then the 2012 prediction looks good).

    Also, I thought it was worth reposting that UAH has shown the most warming in the past decade, even more than GISS (I’m guessing that NOAA would be in between GISS and HADCRUT since they omit the polar regions, this is evident in the October anomalies):

    Ironic also that the dataset of the organization targeted by ClimateGate – CRU, shows the least warming.

  64. Sailesh Rao says:

    Re: #22 (RobM): Regarding your first question, please see the rudiments of a modeling effort in that direction, including human responses to increasing climate disruptions, in the presentation by Chris Field at . You can also view the webcast at
    Of course, such modeling would be rendered moot by unpredictable, runaway events such as Methane outgassing where human responses could be overwhelmed by natural forces.

    Charles Marshall has an interesting presentation on the Mass Extinction occurring right now on the same site. The magnitude of our Mass Extinction to date is still small, but the rate is faster than all but one of the mass extinctions in the fossil record. And, this agrees with what the BP exec writes about in “Challenged by Carbon” (see David Lewis, #7).

  65. Michael T. says:

    Peter Sinclair has another fantastic video out on Arctic/Antarctic sea ice. It features some of the testimony from last week’s climate science hearings.

    Climate Denial Crock of the Week:

    Watts Up with Sea Ice?

  66. Prokaryotes says:

    China feels heat of climate change rifts

    Coaxing China into a global grand bargain to fight climate change that also satisfies the United States and other rich nations threatens to be even more daunting and elusive than fixing the economic rifts dividing them.

    China is the world’s biggest emitter of the greenhouse gases from human activity stoking global warming, having outstripped the United States. Those two powers will play a big part in determining whether climate pact talks in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 can make progress towards a comprehensive deal.

  67. Roger says:

    Over the weekend there was a great “Pricing Carbon Conference” in CT.

    An attending contingent of Romm-N-Legions took this opportunity to get together to discuss what concerned climate hawks might do to put more TEETH in the movement, as a complement to augmenting it with 350 heART.

    Although far from perfect (people will be put out), a way was discussed for small numbers of cooperating climate action patriots (CAPs) to give noticeable support to President Obama’s 2011 energy and climate focus.

    We think President Obama knows that climate change is real, is serious, and that it demands his immediate attention, but that we in the climate movement have not yet pushed him to pay close enough attention to it.

    Starting in January, tentatively January 2nd, he may well get some help.

  68. Daniel Bengtsson says:

    Dear Climateprogress,

    I think you should write about the project that I link to in the end of this post! You probably have lots of readers that are not climate scientists, but still want to give those who are a helping hand.

    This is a fun and easy way to so!

  69. Raul M. says:

    Further science into minium temperatures would
    be the amount of time that a temperature is
    maintained at it’s minium. For example, do
    aerosals in the lower atmosphere allow warming
    of the atmosphere sooner in the early morning
    at sunrise and then other GHG’s contributions?

  70. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi David Lewis (post # 7)-

    I’ve wondered for a few years now, just how much ExxonMobil knew about what they are doing to the climate, and just how deliberate it all is.

    This book – Challenged by Carbon- appears to be a smoking gun, the inside story from a top geologist about how oil industry insiders view climate change.

    Thank you for the post.

    I’ve wondered for a few years now, how a corporation which hires the best geologists in the world, and which has access to probably the best array of geological information in the world, could possibly be mistaken about the huge danger of a methane catastrophe.

    The answer is: they’re not mistaken. ExxonMobil appears to know exactly what they are doing. They’re deliberately destabilizing the climate.

    The Paleocene- Eocene thermal maximum is not the only apparent methane catastrophe in the geological record. The signature of such events appears to be a huge spike in C12 enriched carbon, most likely from dissociation of several trillion tons of methane hydrate.

    There have been a series of such events, including the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum, a couple of oceanic anoxic events back in the Jurassic, at least one such event in the Precambrian, and the biggest one of all- the End Permian.

    The End Permain killed something like 95% of all species alive on the earth at that time. Some geologists call it “the great dying”, so I’ve read.

    But, the sun is hotter, now. Our biosphere/climate have been finding stability at lower and lower concentrations of CO2, probably because of that.

    If we get another event like the End Permian or the Paleocene Eocene Thermal Maximum, would the climate be able to regain stability? Or would the earth simply keep warming until we reach conditions similar to Venus?

    So, ExxonMobil knows what they are doing, apparently. And what they are doing is deliberately destabilizing the climate.

    Why they are doing it, other than pure profit, is a good question.

  71. Leif says:

    Living precursor to early life discovered. Algae with a billion year lineage discovered in deep ocean. Low light capabilities for photosynthesis has provided a stable environment from competition. Perhaps an interesting gene pool to enhance Bio-fuel production.

  72. peter whitehead says:


    You could try “Do you believe the Earth is round?” If they say Yes (which they might!), ask them why. This leads to a discussion about trusting scietists who discover things.

    Or you could agree – I don’t believe in warming, evolution, round earth because the word BELIEVE is not relevant in science. The phrase ‘I accept that evidence shows that’ should replace belief in these discussions.

    Or say ‘Do you have a car?’ If they do tell them that you don’t believe it should run on petrol/gas/desiel, you believe it should have water put in its tank. Who told them what to use? Why do they ‘believe’ them? Because they are experts.

    People who tell you not to ‘believe’ in warming are not experts, they are either confused due to a poor science education or part of a vested interest.

    These conversatuions are important, but can result in people refusing to having anything to do with you.

    Or buy them a good book. Joe’s would be a good start!

  73. Some European says:

    David Lewid @7 brings us some wonderful material. We need to get the meme out there.

    Something underemphasized in climate change communication: the religious aspect.
    The Bible offers some great quotes and stories to be used: we should be good gardeners of our earth, Sodom and Gomorra, 7 fat years, … and I’m sure other religious texts do as well.
    For strategic purposes, Christianism should be targeted because it’s the prevailing religion among the only few remaining people in the world that still need to be convinced of the urgency of the situation: American white religious fundamentalists.
    On the other hand, if we were to mobilize the islamic world, we might get good results. Imagine the omnipresent, unstoppable meme that climate change is caused by America/the western world/Christians and the impacts are mainly felt by muslims around the world and this was all part of Bush sr. and jr.’s secret plan to exterminate islam.
    We could make muslims in Europe to be the main actors of change.
    We really could.
    The thing is, I don’t speak Arabic… anyone??