Open Thread Plus Cartoon of the Week

Opine away or pine away or ….

42 Responses to Open Thread Plus Cartoon of the Week

  1. Kim Viner says:

    Unless I have missed them, I would like to see your comments on the Andreas Schmittner paper stating warming will not be as dramatic as formerly forecast. I have read that there seem to be some problems with the data and its analysis. Also some point out that even the lower range Schmittner concludes is likely would be, shall we say, problematic for all of us. What say you?

  2. climatehawk1 says:

    And while we are on the topic, some credit where credit is due, to NYT (gasp!) blogger Rachel Nuwer for what I think is a really excellent story on the Schmittner et al paper: . For those interested, there is also an extended interview with one of the paper’s authors here: .

  3. Wes Rolley says:

    The media is now obsessed over the manner in which we indulge our selves in the pursuit of “things” that we are conditioned to need, the newest, the latest, the biggest, the cheapest.

    With that mindset, leading to the use of pepper spray in a Walmart, fights at a Target, etc., do we really think that the same people really want to save energy or save the world I guess they might if they can buy a super-hero costume.

  4. Kim Viner says:

    Thanks for the second link. I think you are correct in stating NYT did a fair job on reporting. The interview with Urban was also informative, especially his discussion of the caveats involved in the conclusions; his statement that responses from the community will prove very important to the acceptance or revision of their thesis and his disappointment over how some of the information has been misrepresented on the denial blogs.

  5. Chris Lock says:

    Last Saturday, a week ago today, voters here in British Columbia voted province wide in our local elections, for mayor, counselor, school trustees, parks board etc. In Vancouver, the mayor was re-elected, and he has promised to make Vancouver the greenest city in North America.

    Across the north of British Columbia, there was a very interesting result. Candidates in towns who didn’t express their opposition faced the wrath of the electorate. Now while Enbridge’s proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline falls outside the jurisdiction of local governments, the candidates views played a role in who won the election. Consistently, voters elected candidates who openly opposed the pipeline. This happened in communities and towns all across the northern portion of the province. This will be an indicator of the mood against the proposed pipeline across Northern BC.

    Enbridge wants to build a pipeline from the tar sands in Alberta to the coast of British Columbia, and then ship the oil in super tankers to refineries.

  6. prokaryotes says:

    Can someone explain to me why Enbridge, Chevron etc etc do not invest their money into renewable generation? This is a much better investment. No spills, no explosions, no hazzle with demonstrations, no bad image…etc etc


  7. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    Does Grover Nordquist own the Republican Party?

  8. Jan says:

    I recently remembered a “personal” episode as a denier/conspiracy theorist.

    A long time ago I read “On the trail of the assassins” by former New Orleans DA Jim Garrison, in which he argues that JFK was killed by a vast conspiracy, and of course saw the movie JFK, which is to a large part based on the book. I became a firm believer.

    I started doubting the conspiracy theory through a combination of
    – a debunking website,
    – checking parts of the actual Warren Report (which I found to be grossly misrepresented),
    – and getting the feeling that Garrison did at least some serious cherry-picking with the facts he presented or emphasized, while the movie made some stuff just up (maybe for dramatic purposes).

    I would like to know if this particular conspiracy theory (which I now believe it is) is still as “hot” in the US as it seems to have been.

    I also recommend the book and movie as an instructional example in how to create or reenforce a popular conspiracy myth.

  9. Colorado Bob says:

    ” And the costs are high. Drought-related losses to property, farmland and livestock in Texas have topped $9 billion. ”

    Read more:

    “There’s hundreds of thousands of trees dying,” said Travis Miller, a drought expert at Texas A&M University.

    “We’re looking at a … one-in-a-500-year kind of drought, and so it’s weeding out the ones that can’t survive this kind of extreme conditions,” he added.

  10. Colorado Bob says:

    Forget lawn watering or car washing: A drought has dried up even drinking water supplies for an estimated 2.5 million people in more than 1,500 small communities in northern Mexico.

  11. Colorado Bob says:

    The lack of rainfall has affected almost 70 percent of the country and northern states like Coahuila, San Luis Potosi, Sonora, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas have suffered the most acute water shortage.

    Due to the drought and a cold snap at the start of the year, the government has cut its forecast for corn production two times in 2011. It now expects a harvest of 20 million tonnes compared to a previous estimate of 23 million.

  12. Colorado Bob says:

    ” “It’s a tragedy because there is virtually no harvest. It’s a critical situation that we don’t even have beans for home consumption,” the state governor Jorge Herrera told Reuters.

    Official figures show an expected 28 percent loss in production of beans this year, while the recovery to historical levels of 1.2 million tonnes will depend on the weather. “

  13. Will Fox says:

    Although I support the consensus on climate change, and agree wholeheartedly with investment in renewables, this article has got me thinking…

    Maybe the worst-case scenarios won’t happen after all. Does anyone have any comments on this?? Thanks.

  14. Will Fox says:

    oops, I’ve just seen the comments posted earlier!

  15. prokaryotes says:

    This article is lame, the study seems very weak and is already criticized for flawed conclusion.

  16. Colorado Bob says:

    The rain is back in Australia –
    “Up to 300 millimetres of rain has fallen since Wednesday morning in the lower Gwydir Valley.

    Rain has eased since 9am this morning but the Bureau of Meteorology reported thas rain of 50 to 60 millimetres fell in less than seven hours earlier today. ”

  17. prokaryotes says:

    In fact if the media would give balance on the science of cliamte sensitivity, they ought to publish news about “alarming assessments” too! Though to be clear, i brought this up at the time, over at Real Climate and Gavin Schmidt pointed out that his science is flawed.

    Climate Shift impact Risk Assessment revisited

    David Wasdell, which concludes that climate sensitivity “Charney Sensitivity”, is to low, by the factor of 2.5.

  18. Colorado Bob says:

    N.J. nears all-time annual rainfall record with two storms on the horizon

    At the start of the month, New Jersey needed just over 3 inches of rain before January to eclipse its record for yearly rainfall, 59.98 inches, set back in 1996. ……. David Robinson, the state climatologist at Rutgers University, wrote in his monthly climate narrative. “A record still within the realm of possibility is the wettest of any consecutive twelve-month period. Currently that record is the 66.60 (inches) falling between April 2009 and March 2010.”

  19. prokaryotes says:

    Will it be like it has been around 12 month ago. When Queensland got literally submerged and the area around Brisbane potentially saw the heaviest floods, only because they had installed a sophisticated system of dams, it wasn’t worse then the worst floods on record. Nevertheless high impact.

  20. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    Lock, stock, and a 40-gallon barrel. Oh how I’d love to see a return of Ike’s GOP – a party that, for the most part, kept it’s loons and it’s authoritarians well away from the mainstream. Exception: McCarthy.

  21. David Sheridan says:

    Profit margins are much better on oil which they get practically free from their flunkies in the us gov’t. Why do you think none of the us companies even bothered to bid on Iraqi oil leases?

  22. catman306 says:

    Maybe somebody owns Grover Nordquist? Wouldn’t that be a steal?

  23. EDpeak says:

    Permian mega extinction redux:
    Great Dying happened in hell of a short time
    (which says “200,000 years” while the abstract and MIT release say “20,000” but otherwise an interesting read)
    and unlike many of us have the subscription to see more than the abstract ( ) of this interesting paper.

    while having a nice quote (“David Bottjer, professor of earth sciences and biological sciences at the University of Southern California, views the group’s results as strong evidence for one of the extinction’s most likely causes…’they provide unique evidence … that this mass extinction was probably caused by an enormous input of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and oceans’..”) and is thus more direct than some reports, it contains also this:

    “Rothman says the total amount of CO2 pumped into Earth over this time period was so immense that it’s not immediately clear where it all came from.”

    so apparently some aspects that are pretty crucial and central (where you can get such a huge amount of carbon) are not clear to scientists? And does “carbon” mean just co2 or could it be from “methane burps”, the C in methane (or even microbes ‘eating’ the methane and leaving co2 as waste product, back then too, as we’re worried about happening today in the northern latitudes)? If the answer to these questions is “no” then is there a better answer? or do the best scientists and best science we have today really have no idea where so much carbon came from?

    Would appreciate clarification on that

    Additionally post on CP would be great if it also sun up in which ways we can say thigns are even worse, today, than at Permian extinction..for one thing, back then you didn’t have massive over-fishing on top of it, plus modern toxic chemicals etc..and the total damage (whether to the health of a patient or to Earth) tends to be more than the sum of the parts…but compiling a list for a CP post of reasons not to be complacent and list of ways in which today’s is, or reasonable evidence today’s at least might be, worse, would be great to see too.

  24. scas says:

    I’m planning to home-print some climate activism t-shirts. One stating the amount of money funneled to climate denial, another with a picture of earth on fire, with Alberta tarsands written underneath. Perhaps thinkprogress could design some to support the website.

  25. Merrelyn Emery says:

    The forecast for the top end this summer is bad but the conditions should not be as extreme as for the last one. Make no doubt about it, the sum of the floods, the devastating horror of Grantham and Cyclone Yasi was definitely our worse disaster ever.

    The final report of the investigation is due on 24 February and until then, all bets are off on the role of the dams, ME

  26. adelady says:

    Didn’t I see that Wivenhoe Dam is to be reduced to 75% capacity before summer. Well before the worst of any rains hit.

    The BOM is predicting that this year’s La Nina will not have the same impact as last year’s. But better safe than sorry – at least for Brisbane.

  27. David B. Benson says:

    By a measure of g/kWh, France beats Denmark by about 84 to 207. Think about it.

  28. BA says:

    I’m no scientist but I found this in a Nov. 18 article in the Vancouver Sun, “Runaway greenhouse event led to worlds largest mass extinction.”

    It quotes Charles Henderson, of the University of Calgary who is the co-author of a study…in the journal Science on the Permian mass extinction. I think the “volcanoes” referred to are the Siberian Traps but I am not sure.

    The article says:

    Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is the big concern today. In the Permian, the scientists say volcanoes appear to have been the culprit, releasing “massive” amounts of CO2 and methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

    Henderson says red-hot lava spewed across a region the size of Western Europe at the end of the Permian, when there was just one land mass called Pangea and the continents had not yet formed.

    He says the enormous lava flows would have ignited coal and other combustibles, sending carbon dioxide wafting into the atmosphere and also may have melted frozen gas hydrates and released huge stores of methane.

  29. prokaryotes says:

    There are several TShirt companies which offer shipment, production, billing etc. Spreadshirt offers a Tshirt designer app to create customized shirts… you can check it out here

    There are several climate themes and 1 biochar style… You really need some decent designs or good slogan, logo, brand etc.

    My guess is, that if you start advertising on small-medium traffic sites you possibly can sell some quantities.

  30. David B. Benson says:

    There is a recent Der Spiegel Online article about IPCC’s SREX-SPM (extreme weather summary). Some interesting observations therein.

  31. About the Schmittner study and in particular the Nathan Urban interview (links in #1 above): They got a lower result for climate sensitivity because they are using a lower temperature difference between the ice age maximum and now. If the temperature didn’t increase as much as we thought from the deep ice age to the present with the same CO2 increase, then the sensitivity to CO2 doubling wouldn’t be as great. However, that also means that it doesn’t take as much temperature change to make or recover from a glacial maximum. One reason that this global warming problem has worried me is that typical predictions for temperature increase by 2100 are around one “reverse ice age”, that is a temperature change similar to what would make a glacial maximum, if in the other direction. Within the framework of this study, that would still be true. It is just that the forecast increase and the temperature decrease to make an ice age would both be smaller. Urban was pretty clear about that, and some of the comments there spelled it out.

  32. Kim Viner says:

    Thanks for that link too. Very informative.

  33. Spike says:

    Interesting article on peatland feedback, very relevant to UK with its big peatlands and current drought conditions. seems CO2 and methane release continues for years after drought, even with reflooding.

  34. Colorado Bob says:

    HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — As she surveys her small, bare plot in Zimbabwe’s capital, farmer Janet Vambe knows something serious is happening, even if she has never heard of climate change.

    “Long ago, I could set my calendar with the date the rains started,” the 72-year-old said. Nowadays, “we have to gamble with the rains. If you plant early you might lose and if you plant late you might win. We are at a loss of what to do.”

    Paramu Mafongoya, a University of Zimbabwe agronomist, says Vambe’s worries and those of millions of other poor farmers — most of them women — across Africa are a clear sign of the impact of climate change on a continent already struggling to feed itself. Changes have been noted in the timing and the distribution of rainfall on the continent. Zimbabweans say the rainy season has become shorter and more unpredictable, Mafongoya said.

  35. Organelle says:

    The many graphs that have been developed on climate change data are profound statements. Many are stunning and easily printable with a simple statement that highlights the graph in context. something like “Thanks Big Oil”, or “You Are Here” or “The Real Budget Crisis”, or “Now That’s Hot”, etc.

  36. prokaryotes says:

    Climate summit in Durban
    Röttgen calls CO2 limit for each person

    Notice Röttgen is part of the conservative party CDU in germany and minister for environment.

  37. Colorado Bob says:

    Kenneth, now a Category 1 hurricane with 90 mph winds, was a powerful Category 4 storm with 145 mph winds yesterday, and was by far the strongest hurricane to appear so late in the year in either the Eastern Pacific or Atlantic Oceans.

  38. Jeff Huggins says:

    Re: Keystone XL and Next Steps (to Joe and Bill and etc.)

    Here is an excellent short article to read:

    ‘Now Is the Time to Fight the Keystone Pipeline’, by Tom Weis

    (republished on CommonDreams at this link: )

    The article indicates, and explains, that we should demand an answer from President Obama regarding the Keystone XL pipeline BEFORE the election — a ‘NO’ decision, of course. I’m not sure how realistic that might or might not be, but we should try. Yet in any case, we should demand an answer to this question, as I’ve written before:

    “President Obama, will you approve Keystone XL, or not approve it, if re-elected? Please be clear and concrete.”

    As I’ve written before, that is a question that should be asked, ASAP. The reasons should be clear by now. And, we should demand an answer — and keep posing the question until we get one.

    (I came back from exile in order to point out the particular article, mentioned above, in order to raise this issue again. I’ve raised it plenty of times at this point, so I’ll be off again — and wait to see whether CP and/or see fit to raise this issue and pose this question to the Obama folks.)

    Please check the article out.

    Be Well,


  39. Brian R Smith says:

    “Planned Phase-Out of Fossil Fuels: An Alternative to Carbon Markets and Taxes”

    is the title of a concept paper by Jerome Whitington & colleagues at the Climate Justice Research Project, Dartmouth College.

    The paper,

    lays out the argument for directly capping the total volume of fossil fuel extraction, as opposed to creating carbon markets.

    “A global volume cap on fossil energy extraction will give a clear price signal to the market, without any need to commodify emissions. A cap on fossil energy extraction will efficiently distribute costs between fossil energy producers, distributors and end-users, all of whom benefit from cheap, dirty fuels. A volume cap on extraction will allow for a planned phase out of fossil fuels by providing a clear signal about available reserves and their value.

    By correctly aligning the expected harm caused with the volume of supply, the price of fossil fuels at market should correctly reflect their danger to human lives and to the planet. A volume cap on extraction attaches the value of CO2 emissions directly to the price of energy by making fossil fuel energy sources artificially scarce, without a separate emissions-based mechanism.

    In contrast, carbon markets and clean energy subsidies risk lowering demand for fossil fuels, paradoxically making them cheaper and weakening the effect of a carbon price, because they place the whole burden on energy consumers without decommissioning fossil energy assets. Carbon markets trust that competition will drive reductions in fossil fuel use, but they fail to recognize that fossil fuel producers are political actors.”

    The quote is from Whitington’s blog:

    The paper itself looks at some policy mechanisms for implementing extraction cap strategy and ends with climate justice perspective:

    “The proposal allows climate advocates to say, quite clearly, no more fossil fuels. Give us a date, give us a definite volume that will be extracted, because otherwise polluters are saying that they do not value the lives of some people as much as their own wasteful activities. You don’t have the right to bring that out of the ground. It has an incredibly powerful ring to it. It is simple, and it is the truth. It has moral traction, and we think it will have technical traction.”

    This looks like a framework idea worth analysis in this space. Nothing in the long-term international policy arena is a substitute for the need for immediate renewable tech deployment, investment, efficiency, etc. But I like this a lot. Limit extraction!!!