Weekend Open Thread

I’m starting this early so Prokaryotes and others can post links to interesting 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!

91 Responses to Weekend Open Thread

  1. pete best says:

    Growth – log2=70 divided by any growth number to get the doubling time. So as oil usage for the past 27 years has been 2% its 35 more years to double our usage from 30 to 60 billion barrels which in that time. Personally I know that ACC is important but the long retreat is coming sooner in terms of it all being an issue of economic and population. OK so we can perhaps offset it all from tar and shale sands, GTL, CTL (nasty this one) and biofuels (1st/2nd gen) etc and it sill will not work due to growth. Its ironic that the IEA etc are postulating digging up additional fuels ever faster to meet growth demands when its going to be exhausted all the sooner and contribute to more GHG emissions in the process.

    Efficiency cannot save us either and renewables cant replace fossil fuels in time to avoid either peak energy or severe ACC unless the peak decimates us due to war etc.

  2. Esop says:

    Negative NAO has hit Europe in a major way, with snow in England and lots of cold records broken. The result is a denier frenzy as expected, with the press lapping it up, demanding answers from the climate scientists who predicted a mild winter.
    I predicted this type of weather a good while back (not exactly rocket science), but I think the cold front hit too early, meaning that the rest of the winter might be rather mild, but who knows, since the skyrocketing Arctic temps have disturbed the wind patterns. One thing is for sure, though: the deniers are getting a lot of new followers these days. The cold temps make front page news every single day. I have lost count over the number of final nails in the AGW coffin…

  3. Chris Winter says:

    Two New Global Warming Studies Spell Trouble for Lake Tahoe

    The first report predicts that average snowpack in the northern Sierra Nevada mountains ringing the lake on the California-Nevada border will decline by 2100, perhaps by 40 to 60 percent.

    The second, published in GRL, uses infrared measurements from satellites to examine changes in the area’s lakes.

  4. Daniel says:

    This is just the best climate blog around. It’s so fucking good I lack words. And I read them ALL.

  5. Pete Dunkelberg says:

    What I would like to see is a grand unified source of all (OK you can’t get 100%) extreme weather events of 2010. If it’s not drought it’s flood, for example Benin under water.

    Joe and commenters here can get a good starting list together. Capital Climate has lots from the USA. Jeff Masters is needed on the project. There must be someone at the UN who knows of events that get little publicity in the US. A long list of records and near records, along with the previous record & year, would be very helpful.

  6. Joe, what was the outcome of the strategic planning meeting with the CAP higher-ups?

  7. Susan Anderson says:

    Ditto for world source of extreme weather. I saw something recently but lost the link.

    The problem with Arctic cold impinging in waves as the ice disappears is fascinating, but unfortunately the busy exploiters will make hay with it. One needs to remember that the inner circle of fake skeptic propagandists are recidivists – they are not interested in facts or logic, only in tools to use to discredit same. Their lords and masters are afraid their ability to increase their hoards at the expense of the rest of us might be abbreviated and are giving no quarter. And consumers are not happy unless mo’ betta’ is available on an ever faster time scale.

  8. Prokaryotes says:

    Accord in danger of disintegration

    The Copenhagen Accord, reached amid scenes of chaos as the UN process was hijacked by a handful of small countries, was derided by many non-governmental organisations as a failure, and recent research from the UN Environment Programme has established that the commitments on greenhouse gas emissions made in the Danish capital will be insufficient.

    Nevertheless, the accord marked the first time that developed countries and important developing ones signed up to curbs on their greenhouse gas emissions. The US, which never ratified the 1997 Kyoto protocol, agreed to cut its emissions by 17 per cent by 2020, and China, India and Brazil, as well as other emerging economies, agreed for the first time in an international forum to reduce the rate of growth of their emissions.

  9. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate change all gas and not much action

    Julia Gillard reckons that by this time next year she will have an agreement with the Greens and the independents on how to put a price on carbon. If she does, she will have succeeded in doing the sensible thing on climate policy when, for more than a decade, governments of both persuasions have done nothing or, more often, done things that are both expensive and stupid.

    If she actually manages to sell the idea to the public she will have achieved another Australian first for a policy that has proved as popular as Enron shares, costing Malcolm Turnbull and, arguably, also Kevin Rudd their jobs.

  10. Prokaryotes says:

    Fishing nets used to ‘anchor’ sand dunes on South Uist

    Islanders have been using fishing nets to try to stop wind erosion to sand dunes on South Uist in a project backed by Oxfam Scotland.

  11. Prokaryotes says:

    Fresh approaches: People power employed to detect patterns
    Do you want to be a climate change researcher? All you need to do is turn on your computer.

    A group of academics is hoping to enrol millions of computer users in the fight against global warming, by using the power of their PCs to perform complex calculations on climate data.

  12. Prokaryotes says:

    Tiny islands face change that is hard to believe in

    Tuvalu is the world’s second-least populous nation, after Vatican City. Its 12,000 residents live on several reefs and atolls halfway between Australia and Hawaii. Nearly all the land is less than three metres above the sea.

    The director of the tiny nation’s Environment Department, Matio Tekinene, says his people are already suffering the ill effects of climate change.

    Rising sea levels and more frequent king tides are causing coastal erosion and salinating the groundwater, making it hard to grow the traditional subsistence root crop, pulaka. The freshwater supply is now restricted to rainfall, which arrives in unfamiliar patterns at unfamiliar times. Coral bleaching is reducing fish stocks close to shore.

  13. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate activists form image of giant scarab in Egyptian desert to raise awareness,0,3836078.story

  14. Prokaryotes says:

    Addressing potential impacts of climate change on fisheries trade

    Projected changes in fish populations and ecosystems due to climate change may be significant, and will lead to impacts within the fisheries sector and on national economies.

    Impacts can occur at two main levels, which correspond approximately to the domains of micro- and macro-economic analysis:

    * within the sector – impacts on the incomes, assets, and livelihoods of individual fishers, fish farmers, processors, and those engaged in marketing and the provision of inputs to the sector; and
    * at the national level – impacts on revenues, exports, per capita fish supply, and contributions to employment and GDP.

  15. Susan Anderson says:

    earth observatory and eosnap do some good stuff. Looks like there might be something like a summary somewhere in there:

  16. Prokaryotes says:

    Stone Age Mythology: the Republican War Against Stem Cells and Climate Change

    There is a sickening trend in this country of conservative Christians decrying science as fraudulent, and it affects everything from addressing global climate change to stem cell research. It will have long-term effects on America, its standing in the world, and the health of millions of Americans. Whether or not it is because conservatives are too stupid to understand science, or too steeped in ancient Jewish mythology, it is harmful to every person in America.

  17. Gord says:

    Yes, I agree.

    A go-to site that documents the World Wide Weird Weather events … hehe say that after a couple martinis.

    It’s needed right now. It would be a huge resource for journalists so they can reflect ‘balance’ in their stories. I’d look in every day just to see what’s going on and tweet topics as well.

  18. Christopher Yaun says:


    The Republicans have a gameplan, strategies, spokesmen and power. We failed to act while the Democrats held power. What options do we have to legislate in this climate?


  19. Bob Wallace says:

    “Missouri University of Science and Technology has planned to develop a geothermal energy project in replacement of an old power plant at the campus. The geothermal plant is expected to cut down 25 thousand tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year for the university.”

    Is any site tracking the growth of geothermal heating/cooling and the effect on energy use and CO2 production? Are we making headway on the fossil-fuel front that is going unnoticed?

  20. Post Alarmist article worth reading “JOHANN HARI: The Next Crash Will Be Ecological — and Nature Doesn’t Do Bailouts”

  21. Jon says:

    I can see people appreciating the tone of this attempt at humour or not, nevertheless…

  22. Michael T. says:

    It looks like November Arctic Sea Ice extent is going to tie or be lower than November 2007:

    Arctic Sea Ice FAQ:

  23. Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Christoper # 8, Congress is in session. The time to contact your senators and representatives is exactly now.

  24. Sailesh Rao says:

    Let the world changing games begin:

    As you know, the ice-free land area of the planet is currently divided into 3 roughly equal areas of 12 billion acres each:
    1) built-up, agricultural land and desert area,
    2) land used primarily for livestock production, and
    3) forest land, though the native vegetation, flora and fauna in these forests have been substantially altered in most forests through human intervention.
    And, ocean life has also been substantially decimated and altered through overfishing, invasive species introduction and pollution. Please see, e.g.,

    If we could magically restore the native ecosystems in most areas of the planet, how much of the excess carbon in the atmosphere can be re-sequestered through Life alone? And, how long would that take?

    Next, assume that we take the results of the above calculations and incorporate it in a multi-player internet game where users should have lifestyle options that enhance the productivity of nature rather than diminish it (e.g., organic, vegan diets, etc.). If this game uses realistic models, and is constantly updated on the state of the world’s actions and users (primarily, young adults) themselves stumble upon the right lifestyle choices that mitigate disaster, I don’t see why they won’t make the necessary changes. In any case, it is worth a shot.

    What do you think?

  25. Heraclitus says:

    The Guardian is setting out to create world’s best layman-friendly guide to all aspects of climate change – and they need our help

    Just one more guide to climate change or will they manage to produce something new? Either way it’s better than doing nothing. Drop in and help them ask the right questions.

  26. Prokaryotes says:

    Global Leaders Want Action During World Climate Summit

    Cancún climate summit: Rich accused of ‘holding humanity hostage’

    Latin American leaders claim poorest nations imperilled by lack of action on global warming

    This man’s car is electrifying
    Shai Agassi is almost certainly doing more to avert disastrous climate change, Geoffrey Lean.

  27. Greg says:


    Stu Ostro, at the Weather channel, has been compiling an excellent record of extreme weather events for several years now and has a very long slide show with analyis that he updates on at least a yearly basis that focuses on how the increase in temperatures is affecting the atmospheric pressures and weather patterns.The most recent update I have (50 MB+) is found at:


  28. Deborah Stark says:

    This excellent venue, up and running since 1988, has an Archives going back to February 2002. Each week’s Earth Diary summary can be downloaded in .pdf format and printed. The cataloging of regional anomalous weather events is pretty comprehensive. Click on the -Print Archives- button at the top right-hand side of the Home Page:

    Earthweek: A Diary of the Planet

  29. Edward says:

    Humans continue to believe wrong theories despite not only contradictory evidence but also severe punishment.
    Reference: “Merchants of Doubt” by Oreskes and Conway pages 237 and 238: “This is the common thread that ties these diverse issues together: they were all market failures. They are instances where serious damage was done and the free market seemed unable to account for it, much less prevent it. Government intervention was required. This is why free market ideologues and Cold Warriors joined together to fight them. Accepting that by-products of industrial civilization were irreparably damaging the global environment was to accept the reality of market failure. It was to acknowledge the limits of free market capitalism.

    Orwell understood that those in power will always seek to control history, because whoever controls the past controls the present. So our Cold Warriors—Fred Seitz and Fred Singer, Robert Jastrow and Bill Nierenberg, and later Dixy Lee Ray, too, who had dedicated their lives to fighting Soviet Communism, joined forces with the self-appointed defenders of the free market to blame the messenger, to undermine science, to deny the truth, and to market doubt. People who began their careers as fact finders ended them as fact fighters. Evidently accepting that their ends justified their means , they embraced the tactics of their enemy, the very things they had hated Soviet Communism for: its lies, its deceits, its denial of the very realities it had created.”

    Formerly great scientists had apparently taken economic theory as a religion rather than as a theory with limits of applicability like any other theory. Somehow economics became more important or more of a religion than science. Adam Smith was born in 1723 and died in 1790. His theories worked well in the 18th Century. The problems appeared in the 20th Century.

    Humans can falter by believing other ideas ahead of science as well. Those other ideas do not get tested and so may be called religions. Those ideas that are fenced off from testing are our problem. Suggestions are welcome on how to unlock those minds so that the fenced-off ideas may be tested by them. Both free marketers and communists made a religion out of economic theories. Both “religions” have the same limits of applicability because they are both economics. Economics can only exist in a human society that is organized and that has invented money. Money was a relatively recent invention. When agriculture collapses, money is de-invented. If there is a handle by which we can de-religionize economics, it is by talking about its limits of applicability.

  30. Edward says:

    Clarification of my comment: The point is that what we are fighting are deeply held beliefs such as economic theories that people learned before they learned science. Where do denialist papers come from? They come from an inability to question some deeply held belief, such as a religious belief in free markets.

    MY comment is about human psychology, not about economics. It is human psychology that things like denialist papers come from. Of course denialist papers also come from money paid by rich people who want to stay rich without innovating. I thought that the quote from “Merchants of Doubt” expressed the problem rather well, but it seems that I was wrong about that.

    When I was an undergraduate student, I did a great deal of “philosophical work” along with my homework. I discarded and replaced nonsensical beliefs and “common sense” that my parents gave me. It seems that there are other beliefs in other people that can escape scrutiny during the undergraduate years.

    In order to prevent future denialist papers, we need to attack the source of the denialist papers. Attacking the denialist papers themselves does not prevent more denialist papers from being generated.

  31. Michael T. says:

    Arctic Oscillation (AO) Index:

    AO model forecasts:

    To my understanding, it’s unlikely that the AO index will be as negative as last winter. Last winter (Dec ’09-Feb ’10 period), the AO index was the most negative for any Dec-Feb period since records began. So we shouldn’t expect an exact repeat.

  32. MarkF says:

    A multi-year project by the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Global Programs Division developed regional, state, and county-scale elevation maps to illustrate vulnerability to sea level rise, using existing data. EPA published the peer-reviewed technical documentation, but not the maps themselves. But you can get them here.

  33. Chris Winter says:

    This site headlines a number of articles, including “Sea Water Rising at Norfolk, VA” and “Black Eye for ‘Clean’ Coal.”

  34. fj3 says:

    ClimateProgress is long overdue for increased resources for expanded coverage.

  35. Chris Winter says:

    Over at The Nation, Greg Mitchell is collecting nominations for a list of the 30 biggest media heroes.

    Let’s see if we can get Joe Romm on that list. He already has one vote.
    ‘Salon’ Picks Media’s ’30 Biggest Hacks’—But Now YOU Can Choose ’30 Biggest Heroes’
    Greg Mitchell, 24 Nov 2010

  36. Mike de Martino says:

    I believe that Job Sharing can reduce unemployment and greenhouse gasses by reducing the number of jobs that need to be created to economically sustain us. Billions of cubic feet of co2 could be avoided by reducing the number of people commuting. There could be private and public scenarios for implementing this strategy. I see it as a way to prevent the usual path our human nature would take IE: Social Darwinism, Genocide, War.

  37. Michael T. says:

    Federal Interagency Group Issues Peer-Reviewed ‘Oil Budget’ Technical Documentation

    Oil Spill Calculations Released in August Undergo Further Review

    November 23, 2010

    “The Federal Interagency Solutions Group, established at the request of the U.S. Coast Guard and authorized under a directive from the National Incident Commander (NIC), is releasing today a peer-reviewed report that details the scientific calculations of the Deepwater Horizon BP Oil Spill “Oil Budget Calculator” response tool announced last August. The report, developed in collaboration with federal and independent scientists and following an extensive review of the initial findings, revises as necessary the estimated short-term fate of the oil discharged from the wellhead through mid-July when the well was capped.”

  38. Roger says:

    Two horses and a polar bear walk into a bar.

    “Why the long faces?” asked the bartender?

    “Ha, ha; very funny!” reply the horses.

  39. Roger says:

    All joking aside, climate change progress is so rapid, and our response to it so slow, it’s beyond time for climate hawks to change what seems to be a losing game. It’s late, but perhaps not too late for us to pull this off. More on a possible, hopeful “Plan C” later on this weekend…

  40. Roger says:

    One key to faster climate progress would be for President Obama to take an additional hour out of his busy schedule and devote it to averting the worst, hell and high water type, climate change impacts.

    He did say, in an hour-long, Black Friday interview with Barbara Walters, that he could work on more than one thing at a time, after all. And, he did say that he was going to watch all of the upcoming games on TV. So we know he’s got some time available to preserve a livable climate for the kids. (Think of it as an early Christmas present to the planet!)

    Here’s how I’d suggest he spend an additional hour: 1) Ask staff to book some TV time for an Oval Office speech, and to have our best climate scientists collaborate with our best speech writers to come up with something that would inform and inspire the many Americans who are misinformed about climate change (5 minutes); 2) Review and polish the speech (25 minutes); Present the speech (29 minutes); 4) Feel the glow of being Eaarth’s greatest hero to fellow humans, plus our favorite animals and plants (1 minute).

  41. Roger says:

    Please sign a petition asking Obama to make more climate progress in 2011 here: Many thanks.

  42. Tom Mazanec says:

    I suspect that anthropic CO2 will follow a bell shaped curve with peak carbon in the near future…not because of attempts to limit GHGs but through depletion and exhaustion of fossil fuel resources.

  43. Joan Savage says:

    For Pete Dunkelberg #5 and anyone else:

    The International Disaster Data Base seems to do a good job of keeping the records as they come in.
    I tested a search sequence that included choices: Central Africa, 2010, Benin, Natural Disasters, and it came up with a flood along with some other disasters. See what you think.
    The CRED people have also worked up some graphs.
    The graphs indicate, at least to me, that in the 20th century, humans got better at saving lives, yet the amount of economic loss from disasters has skyrocketed in recent decades.

  44. Joan Savage says:

    I hasten to add, the human population growth alone means that there are usually more farms, businesses, etc. in the path of a natural disaster, tsunami, hurricane, flood, than in previous centuries. The growth of economic losses is not proof of climate change.

  45. John Mason says:

    It would certainly be useful to have a one stop shop for all extreme weather events, broken rainfall and temperature records etc etc, updated on an ongoing basis. Think of it as an ammunition-box at hand to load the artillery targeted at the opposition camp!

    As Esop #2 pointed out, winter has arrived rather suddenly this year. Some snowy photos from a walk I had yesterday:

    -10C at a nearby weather station last night and yes, there are the usual suspects banging on about final nails etc – we get them on the above forum at times – all I can say is that if there IS an AGW coffin it must consist almost entirely of final nails LOL!

    Cheers – John

  46. Anne says:

    I’d like to use this space to call attention to my good friend and Earth warrior, Bill Talen, otherwise known as the Reverend Billy. The Reverend and his fabulous entourage, a choir of singing angels, spent the day on “Black Friday” singing and preaching against Mountain Top Removal – a hideous practice for “mining” coal – at the NYC offices of UBS, one of the last remaining financiers of MTR. For singing in public, Bill Talen was arrested (again — his NVCD actions over the years often lead him to the slammer… for a few hours or a night….) here his lovely wife Savitri enters a Facebook diary last night:


    Reverend Billy Talen
    I’m arrested! (Savitri is writing this) Me and the swarm of angels went
    into the UBS and sang and preached up a storm and after getting pushed
    out, locked in, and thrown around, I ended up down in the Tombs for at
    least the night. Who knew the very presence of singing angels could be
    so disturbing. Stop Mountain Top Removal. Earth-a-lujah!

    Reverend Billy is a character that challenges the mainstreamers to THINK about the effects of their actions — to consider what buying into corporate America really means for the quality of our lives. We often wonder what we can DO to help solve the climate change problem? Stop buying shit that contributes to it! Slow down, take more time to simply be, to hang with friends in our communities, don’t run to the mall to satisfy some little craving. It’s a message that is powerful and real, and his effectiveness, playing the part of preacher and holy roller for Mother Earth, never ceases to amaze me. This man is a personal hero of mine, and I’d like to share with you a bit more about him and his crusade from the website:


    The Church of Life After Shopping is: Reverend Billy, Savitri D, the Life After Shopping Shopping Gospel Choir, the Not Buying It Band, and the Stop Shopping Order Of Digital Mysteries. Full bios at
    Statement of Belief

    Reverend Billy and the Life After Shopping Gospel Choir believe that Consumerism is overwhelming our lives. The corporations want us to have experiences only through their products.

    Our neighborhoods, “commons” places like stoops and parks and streets and libraries, are disappearing into the corporatized world of big boxes and chain stores. But if we “back away from the product” – even a little bit, well then we Put The Odd Back In God!

    The supermodels fly away and we’re left with our original sensuality. So we are singing and preaching for local economies and real – not mediated through products – experience.

    We like independent shops where you know the person behind the counter or at least –you like them enough to share a story.We ask that local activists who are defending themselves against supermalls, nuke plants, gentrification – call us and we’ll come and put on our “Fabulous Worship!”

    Remember children… Love is a Gift Economy! — The Rev
    The Church of Life After Shopping is project of The Immediate Life, a New York based arts organization using theater, humor, and grassroots organizing to advance individuals and communities towards a more equitable future – starting today. We partner with citizens, grassroots organizations and progressive visionaries to produce dynamic, informed public campaigns that enact our core values – participatory democracy, ecological sustainability, and the preservation of vibrant communities and local economies.


    Since 1996 our project has expanded from a one-man performance artist preaching against consumerism on the sidewalks of Times Square to a 35-person choir and 7-person band with dozens of original songs, a critically acclaimed stage show, a major motion picture and multiple media platforms. We have demonstrated commitment to educating the public about the consequences of unsustainable consumption. Our message–consuming less–is the single most effective and immediate response an individual can take to immediately halting the climate crisis. This same message has reached millions of people and has contributed to the public’s increasing awareness of the relationship between shopping and climate change. Besides our long-term commitment to promoting sustainable consumption, our organization’s efforts to revitalize public space and defend the first amendment have been documented all over the world.

    Our ability to generate popular support and attract media attention has resulted in resounding successes in several collaborative campaigns, among them the cessation of Boreal clear cutting by The Limited Brands, the recognition of Ethiopian coffee trademarks by Starbucks Inc, the abandonment of restrictive film permitting by the city of New York, the designation of PS 64 (New York Public School) as a historical landmark, the preservation of the Poe House, and successful campaigns by many grassroots groups, including the Retail Action Project, The Restaurant Opportunity Center and The Street Vendors Project.

    Thank you for this opportunity to share on this wonderful Open Thread diary!

    (p.s. On “Black Friday” I followed the Rev’s advice and didn’t buy a thing. Gonna continue that today and tomorrow, and think twice and three times before each and every purchase I make: is this really necessary, and if so, is this the most Earth-friendly purchase I can make? If we all did this, day after day, how much would things change for the better??)

  47. FedUpWithDenial says:

    The world is nowhere close to peak fossil fuels!

    And yet, Tom Mazanec (comment #43) says:

    “I suspect that anthropic CO2 will follow a bell shaped curve with peak carbon in the near future…not because of attempts to limit GHGs but through depletion and exhaustion of fossil fuel resources.”

    PLEASE…. “The depletion and exhaustion of fossil-fuel resources” is not only NOT on the horizon, but if humans were actually either crazy and/or stupid enough to “deplete and exhaust all fossil-fuel resources” by burning them for energy, the resultant climate change would be so severe that the species H. sapiens (and probably all higher forms of life on the planet) would be extinguished—assuming the terrestrial greenhouse effect didn’t run away completely and boil the oceans, forever killing Earth as a life-bearing planet.

    There are 1.7 trillion barrels of unconventional oil in Canada’s Athabasca Oil Sands alone, in addition to vast remaining reserves of coal and natural gas worldwide. The only hope for human survival is to switch to a world economy powered 100% by clean, renewable sources of energy while phasing out all existing fossil-fuel infrastructure. In other words, leave remaining fossil fuels in the ground!!! For perpetuity.

    If it were actually true that (as Tom Mazanec says) “anthropic CO2 will follow a bell shaped curve with peak carbon in the near future,” then there’d be absolutely no need to restrain CO2 emissions, would there? Do we hear echoes here of Bjørn Lomborg, and of the miraculously self-regulating power of free markets?

    Miraculously self-regulating markets? Naturally bell-shaped curve? BjørnLomborgianism vindicated? No way, as they say. Either human beings are going to have to get uncharacteristically smart and do some self-regulating, or smart government is going to have to take over and do the regulating, or dumb humans are going to go extinct. It’s as simple as that.

  48. FedUpWithDenial says:

    No one is saying/ has said/ is planning to say that the growth of economic losses is proof of climate change! Climate change is proved (if “proof” is what you require) by means entirely independent of economic losses.

    And yet, Joan Savage (comment #45) says:

    “I hasten to add, the human population growth alone means that there are usually more farms, businesses, etc. in the path of a natural disaster, tsunami, hurricane, flood, than in previous centuries. The growth of economic losses is not proof of climate change.” [Emphasis mine]

    Notice, however, that economic losses can be expected to grow as the climate changes. The more climate change, the more losses. (If that weren’t the case, then the absence of growth in economic losses could—and inevitably would—be cited as “evidence” against the existence of climate change, wouldn’t it? Of course it would.) In particular, accelerating climate change implies accelerating economic losses. We say that the rising rate of economic losses, as well as the spatio-temporal distribution of these losses, is consistent with the overall upward trends in temperature and the intensity of drought and flood phenomena. Rising intensities of drought and flood correlate with a higher frequency of what we call severe or extreme weather. Tellingly, the changes in climate and in the pattern of economic losses are happening much faster than any changes in human population size or in the number of farms, businesses, etc. which are exposed or in the way. Years with higher temperature and worse weather extremes are associated with higher numbers of loss claims. Overall, each decade is worse than the last. The number of claims related to severe or damaging weather is skyrocketing everywhere, forcing insurers to (i) raise insurance rates, (ii) refuse to issue policies to new customers, (iii) cancel existing policies, or (iv) go out of business.

    Doesn’t that tell the story? The extinction of the species H. sapiens may well follow a similar pattern. First, things get difficult. Then they become impossible. Finally, the species goes extinct. It’s time to get smart and see what’s happening before the “happening” gets us.

  49. Michael says:

    While it is currently cold in parts of Europe and the U.S., in Greenland it has been exceptionally warm; for example, the low so far today at Narsarsuaq is 53°F, 38°F (20°C) above the average low for the date, the next few days are forecast to have highs in the 50s also (the high today also set a record – and for the past 9 days):
    (forecast page; past history is below the current conditions)

    That is directly related to the extreme -NAO/AO, which features a giant ridge over Greenland and corresponding troughs over the U.S., Europe and Asia:

    Also of note (and perhaps related) is that ice area anomaly has increased sharply over the past few days, going from about -800,000 km^2 to -1.3 million km^2, a more than 50% increase:

  50. Pbo says:

    Paamiut in Greenland hit 16.3°C (61°F) according to DMI

    Summertime in Greenland it seems.

  51. Esop says:

    #51 (Pbo): That is the NAO right there. Extremely warm in Greenland and freezing cold in Europe. European deniers are now using this for all that it is worth.
    Too bad deniers, media and lawmakers live in areas that are now much below the average temperature. The extremely low ice extent in the Arctic seem to affect the NAO.

  52. Esop says:

    With the Arctic rapidly warming up and dumping its contents over the continents, breaking many all time low records in the process, this is going to introduce a cold bias in the global average temperature measurements. The reason is that the temperatures in large regions of the Arctic are not being measured, the only dataset that attempts to do it is the GISS dataset, but even that seems to underestimate the Arctic warming.
    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to predict how the anti science crowd will take advantage of a situation with plenty of autumn/winter cold records and a weakening and perhaps (for a while) flattening global temp. If the trend with extremely negative NAO/AO continues (and it seems that it does), this will become a major issue.

  53. Barry says:

    It has been unseasonably cold here in Casacadia coast recently too, dipping below 0C for days.

    The most effective line I’ve found to counter the “so much for global warming meme” is:

    “Yeah is it freezing here. We got stuck with the Arctic’s weather and it got ours. It is 10C and raining in Greenland.”

    I just try to keep an eye on where the anomalous warmth is on that day in the Arctic and use that temp/location.

    It really changes people’s attitude to realize that the expected warmth didn’t disappear, it just got shifted elsewhere and all they got in return was Arctic misery.

  54. Michael T. says:

    NASA Study Finds Earth’s Lakes Are Warming

    WASHINGTON — In the first comprehensive global survey of temperature trends in major lakes, NASA researchers determined Earth’s largest lakes have warmed during the past 25 years in response to climate change.

  55. David B. Benson says:

    Atmospheric CO2 concentratons will follow an S-shaped curve to a maximum followed by a quite slow decline; see David Archer’s The Long Thaw.

    Nothing bell-shaped about it.

  56. Michael T. says:

    Where’s the missing heat? Kevin Trenberth (NCAR) on solar energy & climate change

    “Current observational tools cannot account for roughly half of the heat that is believed to have built up on Earth in recent years, according to NCAR scientists (see… ). The researchers warn that satellite sensors, ocean floats, and other instruments are inadequate to track this missing heat, which may be building up in the deep oceans or elsewhere in the climate system.”

  57. Michael T. says:

    “Missing” heat may affect future climate change

    April 15, 2010

    BOULDER—Current observational tools cannot account for roughly half of the heat that is believed to have built up on Earth in recent years, according to a “Perspectives” article in this week’s issue of Science. Scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) warn in the new study that satellite sensors, ocean floats, and other instruments are inadequate to track this “missing” heat, which may be building up in the deep oceans or elsewhere in the climate system.

    “The heat will come back to haunt us sooner or later,” says NCAR scientist Kevin Trenberth, the lead author. “The reprieve we’ve had from warming temperatures in the last few years will not continue. It is critical to track the build-up of energy in our climate system so we can understand what is happening and predict our future climate.”

  58. Michael T. says:

    New computer model advances climate change research

    August 18, 2010

    BOULDER—Scientists can now study climate change in far more detail with powerful new computer software released by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

  59. Michael says:

    Michael T. (58),

    I wonder if the recent study that showed significant deep ocean warming resolves the missing heat problem; certainly, it suggests that huge amounts of energy are being absorbed in to the deep ocean, enough to warm the surface by 3 degrees C per decade (15 times the actual rate of surface warming).

  60. Sailesh Rao says:

    #47 (Anne): Thanks for bringing Rev. Billy’s work to our attention. This is precisely what the US needs in the aftermath of the Black Friday stampedes.

    I use a “Buy Everything Day,” one day a year in which I buy essential durable goods for the whole year from local retailers. Then, I only buy organic produce, gas, books and car service and maintenance for the remainder of the year.

  61. Michael T. says:

    SUNY-ESF / Climate Change Science and Sustainability course

    “Climate Change Science and Sustainability is an introduction to climate science, the evidence of modern climate change, and an evaluation of some of the proposed solutions. The course integrates NASA and other web-based climate change media and products with outside readings.NASA’s spatial and temporal climate change resources are the basis for most learning activities, which will enable students to continue their exploration of personal and societal climate change solutions after completion of the course.”

  62. Michael T. says:

    WLTX of Columbia SC, is the only news station that I know of that takes climate change seriously and communicates it well to it’s viewers. They even have two sections devoted to the science called “climate change” and “climate matters”. Jim Gandy is one of the meteorologists who accept human caused climate change.

  63. John Mason says:

    Amazing – just checked the temps up at Narsarsuaq in Greenland – thanks for the link BTW Michael – it is currently 27-29C warmer (at 12C) than mid-Wales where -15 to -17 has been reported in the past two hours. What a contrast! I can see a blog-post coming on…..

    Cheers – John

  64. Richard Brenne says:

    FedUpWithDenial (#48 and #49) – Excellent comments, Bravo!

  65. pete best says:

    Cancum or denmark; there is a political system is place that makes dealing with ACC very difficult considering the following:

    GROWTH: The worlds politicians have been sold on this idea since the end of WWII and that growth requires vast amounts of energy in order to continue to work. This energy is presently provided by (FF) fossil fuels (80-90%). This FF industry has power and influence and a lot of experience in dealing with the system and it knows how to play.

    CULTURE: The culture of growth that breeds prosperity is also now deeply entrenched in the worlds psyche. Parents want for their children what they never had (although their lives were very good) and hence the system needs the perpetuation of this in order to continue to be able to thrive. The culture of spending is now even more deeply entrenched due to the nature of debt in order to buy things and continue growth.

    SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE: Unfortunately although more people go to University than ever it is not science that benefits but other subjects that have no scientific slant in the slightest. An awful lot of people with degrees are good orators but have little actual evidence just plenty of clever arguments that run good on words but have little substance.

    EVIDENCE: Climate science is a proxy one mainly and one of models and hence its open for manipulation in accordance with the first three points above. Until the political system realises that science has profound things to say about our world we will continue to be sold our current system which is compelling and in many regards addictive.

  66. Steve Metzler says:

    Here’s the first paragraph from the latest article on WUWT, the web’s top purveyor of climate conspiracy theories (‘Despite hellish summer, Russia says “nyet” to AGW’):

    MOSCOW (AFP) – Russia may have endured its hottest summer on record and battled deadly forest fires, but attitudes on climate change remain dominated by scepticism and even mired in conspiracy theories.

    ROTFLMAO! Not one of the incredibly astute WUWT readers seems to have picked up on the delicious irony at the end of that first paragraph. And these are the people that call Dr. Ray Bradley a *fraud* for standing in front of a slide that “grafts the modern CO2 level to the Vostok ice core level without changing the colour of the line”?! The mind boggles, and heading out right now to buy a dozen new irony meters for the run-up to the New Year…

  67. Steve Metzler says:

    One more little gem from the WUWT comments on the recent “Dr. Roy Spencer & Lord Christopher Monckton to Challenge Climate Orthodoxy at Cancun UN Conference” article:

    “Until a few months ago, nobody ever heard of John Abraham, an engineering professor at St. Thomas University in St. Paul. Maybe you’ve never heard of him. But he’s shaping up to be perhaps the biggest hero of the fight against global warming, evah.”

    To which a WUWT moderator (could have been Anthony himself) replies:

    [Note: Until Abraham comes down out of his Ivory Tower and debates Monckton, he forfeits any credibility.]

    Yes, because we all know that science is decided by academics publicly debating with ant-science wingnuts. Oh, and on-line polls too. They’re very good for deciding the science.

  68. Prokaryotes says:

    Ind. lags other states in renewable energy rules

    Indiana is trailing neighboring states in developing renewable energy standards, leaving the state at a disadvantage for new investment, environmental and business leaders say.

    The state is one of only 14 nationwide without a renewable energy standard, according to the Pew Center of Global Climate Change. The standards typically require electric utilities to generate a certain amount of electricity from renewable or alternative energy sources by a given date.,0,4249721.story

  69. Prokaryotes says:

    Global Warning
    Mohamed Nasheed, president of the climate-change-threatened Maldives, speaks via email with Foreign Policy’s Charles Homans about the difficulty of diplomacy, the promise of protest, and why moving his whole country might be more difficult than he once thought.

    Foreign Policy: You put in a great deal of effort trying to get the world to understand the importance of last year’s Copenhagen climate-change summit. A year later, the U.S. government has basically given up on climate legislation, and the U.N. process seems to actually be moving backward. What do we do now?

    Mohamed Nasheed: We need to talk a step forward at Cancún. We need to reach an agreement on a few key parts of the climate problem, for instance on protecting forests and ensuring finance is available for adaptation and green growth in the developing world. If we can demonstrate some success at Cancún, this will leave us in good stead to reach a comprehensive, legally binding agreement at COP 17 in South Africa in 2011.

    It is heartening to note that there is a growing group of developing countries that are moving away from dirty development. Ethiopia, Costa Rica, and Samoa, as well as the Maldives, have all declared carbon-neutral targets. These countries want their economic development to be powered by renewable energy, rather than fossil fuels, and I think these pioneering countries should be supported.

  70. Prokaryotes says:

    A Climate Whodunit
    Science nails the blame game.

    climate scientists see a way to stop being so wishy-washy and start assigning blame, through a technique called “fractional risk attribution.” This technique uses mathematical models of how the atmosphere would work if we had not goosed carbon dioxide to 389 ppm (from 278 before the Industrial Revolution), plus data about ancient (“paleo”) climates and historical (more recent) weather. The idea is to calculate how many times an extreme event should have occurred absent human interference, explains climate scientist Ben Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Lab, and the probability of the same extreme event in today’s greenhouse-forced atmosphere. Result: putting numbers on extreme weather.

    In their biggest success, climate scientists led by Peter Stott of the British Met Office analyzed the 2003 European heat wave, when the mercury rose higher than at any time since the introduction of weather instruments (1851), and probably since at least 1500. After plugging in historical and paleo data, and working out climate patterns in a hypothetical world without a human-caused greenhouse effect, they conclude that our meddling was 75 percent to blame for the heat wave. Put another way, we more than doubled the chance that it would happen, and it’s twice as likely to be human-caused than natural. That’s one beat shy of “Yes, we did it,” but better than “There’s no way to tell.”

    Scientists are now applying the technique to other extreme weather, especially deluges and droughts. They have reason to be optimistic. One of the signal successes of climate science has been identifying the “fingerprints” of the culprits behind rising temperatures, fierce storms, and other signs that a 10,000-year-old climate regime has been knocked for a loop. Fingerprinting has shown that the rise in global temps follows the pattern you’d expect from the greenhouse effect and not an increase in the sun’s output, for instance.

  71. Prokaryotes says:

    Antarctic ice reveals trapped secrets of climate change

    Cores drilled from the icecap are going on show at London’s Science Museum. The centuries-old information they contain could help scientists predict Earth’s future weather

  72. Prokaryotes says:

    We must take action to combat climate change

    If we could vote global warming away, our problems would be solved. Most of the newly elected legislators say it is not a problem or it is not caused by humans.

    However, nature does not work that way.

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration documents that each of the last three decades have been hotter than the previous one. Carbon dioxide, the most important primary greenhouse gas, continues to set a record each year and is rapidly rising. So, the Earth continues to get hotter despite other factors favoring cooling.

    Nature is crying out with the melting of Arctic ice, ice caps and glaciers and the flooding, droughts and heat waves. Ninety-eight percent of the world’s top scientists believe human activity is responsible for this dangerous experiment. As a society, America needs to take its head out of the sand, stop listening to those with profit motive of business as usual and take bold action. A tax on carbon with the money returned to the people would be a good place to start.

    Climate change is real, dangerous and mostly caused by humans. Therefore, only humans can wake up and take the needed action.

    Physicians for Social Responsibility
    New Cumberland

  73. Prokaryotes says:

    Climate change is a fact despite recent allegations

    The columnist Saleha Way (Many Britons off colour after catching solar fever, November 26) tells us that “the global warming scare is now perceived as weak after a series of scandals over data manipulation and errors”.

    This is an inaccurate and dangerous claim. It shows only how desperate some of us in the human race are to keep our heads in the sand and ignore the climate threat.

    Global warming is not a “scare”. It is a fact.

    Ms Way alludes to “scandals over data manipulation”. I assume that she is referring to the hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia in England (UEA), where I work. Presumably, Ms Way is unaware that there have been three inquiries into these e-mails, and that each inquiry has agreed that, though there were some improprieties in terms of how one of the UEA climate scientists was seeking to keep rival views out of print, there was absolutely zero evidence in the e-mails to support the outrageous claim that any climate data was being manipulated.

    The UEA climate scientists have in this regard been completely exonerated. It is shameful to see a supposedly respectable newspaper columnist ignorantly continuing to pretend otherwise.

    The real tragedy here is that, if we fail to rein in global over-heating, then a country like the UAE will be one of the first to die. A few degrees of global warming and a few metres of sea level rise, and the already very hot country will grind to a halt, through the combined effects of heat and flooding. It would be sensible for Ms Way to stop waffling about a global warming “scare”, and to start being scared.

    We must start taking appropriate avoidance actions such as drastically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, so that countries such as the Maldives and the UAE do not disappear.

    Dr Rupert Read, Norwich, UK

  74. Prokaryotes says:

    Cabinet approves greenhouse gas emission cut plan
    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: The threat of climate change is no less menacing than the security threats that we face.

    The Cabinet today approved a national plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as the outline of an action plan to implement it.

    Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that, “The recent dry months, including the driest November in the history of the state, are a warning light to us all that the threat of climate change is no less menacing than the security threats that we face. I intend to act determinedly in this field. In a country that suffers from a severe water shortage, this is an existential struggle.”

    NIS 2.2 billion will be invested between 2011-2020 to implement the plan. NIS 539 million of that sum will be invested over the next two years. The plan promotes switching to electricity-saving home appliances, improving and renovating buildings, supports educational efforts and information campaigns to increase awareness regarding the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and will promote new Israeli technologies and green construction.

    The government expects that the plan will reduce electricity demand, and as a result will cut greenhouse gas emissions. The plan is expected to lead to more efficient energy consumption, thus allowing greater resources to be invested in new economic activity. Thus, Israel will join the international community in the global effort to deal with climate change and meet the demands of the OECD.

  75. Prokaryotes says:

    A climate journey: From the peaks of the Andes to the Amazon’s oilfields

    As the world prepares for the Cancún summit, John Vidal visits people on the frontline of the battle against global warming

  76. Prokaryotes says:

    Introducing the Ultimate Climate Change FAQ

    The Guardian is setting out to create world’s best layman-friendly guide to all aspects of climate change – and we need your help

  77. Prokaryotes says:

    In the short run, one way out of our stalled position is to pursue related goals that most Americans can agree on. Here again, it turns out, the Defense Department is several steps ahead. Defense is responsible for nearly 80 percent of the federal government’s energy consumption and is working to change that. Military bases and vehicles are switching to alternative forms of power — not necessarily because of global warming, but to make us more energy-independent.

    Dependence on foreign oil has forced us into costly wars, reduced our diplomatic power and increased our vulnerability to terrorism. It is also a drag on economic growth.

    If we pursue policies that reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, we should be able to slow climate change in the process. (A similar case can be made for policies that sustain the environment.) Whether it will be enough is certainly a question. But it is a way of doing something rather than nothing, on grounds that do not require settling the scientific debate.

  78. Prokaryotes says:

    Navy discusses climate change Thursday

    NORFOLK — — Regardless of what’s being debated in Congress and state capitols across the nation, the U.S. Navy is readying for the effects of global climate change.

    That means bracing for the likelihood that the Arctic Ocean may one day be free of ice and open to shipping. It means making sure low-lying infrastructure, such as Naval Base Norfolk, is protected from sea-level rise.

    It also means monitoring the acidity of oceans to see what effect, if any, changes will have on the global seafood industry.

    Those topics and more will be discussed Thursday during “Blue Planet Forum,” an annual gathering organized by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and moderated by local public broadcasting personality Cathy Lewis.

    This year’s event features Rear Admiral David W. Titley, oceanographer and navigator of the Navy, who oversees the Navy’s response to climate change. The Daily Press spoke with Titley from his Washington, D.C., office.

    “Whether you believe in the models or forecasts, there’s a good amount of data indicating that things are changing,” he said. “It’s an issue that’s real, and it’s an issue that affects our national security.”

    In February, the Department of Defense released its 2010 Quadrennial Defense Review, a document that analyzes potential military threats to the United States. The review states that “although they produce distinct types of challenges, climate change, energy security, and economic stability are inextricably linked.”

    The document helps explain why the Defense Department has committed to getting 25 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2025.

    The Navy has taken a lead role, committing to a 50 percent renewable energy standard by 2020. Last month in Hampton Roads, it demonstrated a boat that operates on algae-based biodiesel.

  79. I have put a bit of work into creating a resource on the greenhouse effect here:

    … and I am kind of curious what people think.

  80. Frank Zaski says:

    To make more climate progress, we need to go international. One tool is to find a way to slow or stop exports of coal. Note, coal exports to Asia jumped 368%, India is buying PRB coal mines, a new West Coast terminal is expected.

    US coal exports to Asia jumped 378% so far in 2010.

    Coal India in talks to acquire (PRB) mines from two US companies, Peabody Energy and Massey Energy. Coal India… battles a widening gap between domestic coal supply and demand. Indian companies are increasingly turning to the US to secure vital commodities to fuel the nation’s breakneck growth.–mining/Coal-India-in-talks-to-buy-US-mines/articleshow/6916841.cms

    A new coal-export port facility on the US West Coast is “absolutely more than a pipedream”..Cloud Peak Energy said … Cloud Peak produces coal from three big surface coal mines in the Powder River Basin, and would benefit from increased export capacity as it could send more coal to energy-hungry customers in Asia.

  81. Joe,

    Consider reposting this – a great example of a local climate scientist getting involved in the *local* debate. This op-ed points out many of the flaws and outright lies in Sen. Orrin Hatch’s webpage on climate science, and was published in the Salt Lake Tribune.

    Here’s how it opens: “Lately, opposition to mainstream climate science has become something of a litmus test for Republican politicians. As a Utah Republican myself, and an Earth scientist, I have been disappointed with how many of our politicians have gone beyond the usual wishy-washy dodge of saying they support ‘developing all sources of energy’ to actively promoting anti-science.”

    I found it exceptionally encouraging to see this coming from a highly conservative institution, in a highly conservative state (this guy is a prof. at Brigham Young University – the flagship university of the Mormon church and exceptionally conservative. They had Dick Cheney as their graduation speaker in 2009!!). A great example. More articles like this from local academics in our local papers throughout the nation would be fantastic.

  82. Prokaryotes says:

    Cancun climate change summit: deaths from floods and drought double
    The number of people killed in floods and drought has doubled over the past year, according to aid agencies, that blame at least some of the extreme weather on global warming.

  83. Prokaryotes says:

    Cancún climate summit – opening day live coverage

    Follow live updates from the Cancún climate change conference as thousands of officials, campaigners and activists join world leaders for the start of two weeks of crucial talks

  84. American_Idle says:

    Andy Hultgren,

    Thanks for the link to Salt Lake Tribune essay. CP readers should pitch in to help Barry Bickmore, the author, fend off challenges to his character and science.

    Charles Zeller