Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week

Opine away.

Big Oil Still Sneaking Around the Tax Code

A cartoon image

By Chip Bok, the Cartoonist Group

For more on how Big Oil enriches shareholders at the expense of consumers by protecting unneeded tax breaks, see “Big 5 Oil Companies Going For The Gold.”

27 Responses to Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week

  1. Will Fox says:

    Sea levels could rise nearly 7 metres by 3000 AD

    On a business-as-usual, high emissions path for CO2, global sea levels will rise 6.8m (22 ft) by 3000 AD. Irreversible warming will cause this trend to continue for thousands more years to come, ultimately reaching 65m (213 ft).

    That’s the conclusion of a new study published this week in IOP Publishing’s journal Environmental Research Letters, which sought to model sea-level changes on very long timescales of millenia, taking into account all of Earth’s ice and the warming of the oceans – something which has not been done before.

    In all of the scenarios that the researchers analysed, the Greenland ice sheet was responsible for more than half of the rises; thermal expansion of the oceans was the second highest contributor, and the contribution of glaciers and ice was only small.

    The researchers believe this is the first study to incorporate glaciers, ice caps, both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and the thermal expansion of the oceans into a comprehensive projection of sea-level rises.

    Read more:

  2. Spike says:

    There is a chilling look at the permafrost carbon feedback at Climate Sight. I was struck by this section:

    “The ocean kept absorbing carbon, but in some scenarios the carbon source of the land outweighed the carbon sink of the ocean. That is, even without human emissions, the land was emitting more CO2 than the ocean could soak up. Concentrations kept climbing indefinitely, even if human emissions suddenly dropped to zero. This is the part of the paper that made me want to hide under my desk.”

  3. Spike says:

    Great link thanks. It fits well with the paleoclimate evidence of very much higher sea levels in warmer climates.

  4. The sea level 1,000 years from now is kind of interesting to contemplate.

    But it seems a bit like someone in the Dark Ages speculating about what would happen in our century. The parallel has an obvious weakness: we have real data and scientific modeling to formulate our visions, things that the small educated class of 1000 AD didn’t have.

    Still, our tonsured forebears didn’t expend a lot of effort worrying about we of the far future. Bravo to us for taking more accountability, but it seems rather beside the point, if the point is to spur the necessary action to prevent such an outcome.

    Long before the sea level rises–in fact, in the next ten to thirty years–the atmosphere is likely to experience total systemic failure from the point of view of agriculture.

    It’s all about the disintegrating Arctic ice cap. Once the ice cap goes, the jet stream will flop around untethered to its historic track. That track is defined by the temperature gradient between the pole and the lower latitudes. As the Arctic warms, that gradient is literally degrading and the track is widening.

    As a result, seasonal rains and temperatures are getting more volatile. The strangely warm weather of March 2012 is a mild foretaste, as were the storms that brought snow to Rome during that time. Both were the result of big, slow meanders in the jet stream.

    If the ice cap disappears, and it seems well on its way, and the Arctic inverts (not changes, but inverts) from heat reflector to heat absorber, then an escalating feedback loop of tundra melt, methane and carbon release, and further warming may have been initiated. Once that happens, if it does, agriculture is doomed. And so are we. I don’t mean the human race. I mean myself, the people reading these comments, and everyone we love.

    I’m not saying it’s unfounded to worry about sea level rise a millennium hence. I’m saying that we’re going to have very large problems in our own lifetime, unless we make some immediate and radical changes.

  5. Paul Klinkman says:

    I wouldn’t expect that we, as a species, would wait until 3000 A.D. for the ocean to rise a mere 22 feet. The geologic record shows that the ocean rose 30 feet in a 50 year period in Mexico. We see plenty of historical evidence and immediate evidence that temperature rises tend to build exponentially upon themselves.

  6. fj says:

    The large scale ban of cars in New York City will rid us of the structural violence of our streets by eliminating the devastating monopoly of cars leading the charge to immediate and dramatic reductions in emissions, the most crucial and inevitable adaptation to rapidly accelerating climate change.

  7. fj says:

    And, compared to the large build-out emissions of other strategies for dealing with climate change, net zero mobility solutions will have minimal build-out emissions since current transportation methods are extremely inefficient and include huge wastes of materials.

  8. Chris Winter says:

    Totally OT but I couldn’t pass it up.
    Canadian Hemp-based Cereal called “Holy Crap” Headed for ISS

    OK — almost totally OT. If the U.S. government accepts hemp-based products even to this extent, it bodes well for a saner environmental policy.
    Environmental and Economic Benefits of Hemp

  9. Will Fox says:


    Do you have a link(s) to support that?


  10. Chris Winter says:
    Can hemp clothing save the planet?
    By Brian Palmer|Posted Tuesday, 12 April 2011

    This article points to a useful study, and seems to report it fairly.

  11. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    Well, staying OT, Here’s a short film made by the US Dept of Ag. in 1942 instructing farmers on how to raise “mairhuana” and reefer “For Victory”.

  12. Mike 22 says:

    Will, if you take another look at the paper, you will see that their estimate of 7 meters is for the case where GHGs stabilize at 2100 and then remain level .

    A BAU high emissions scenario, without stabilization, is going to produce 7 meters much sooner, and what the year 3000 would like under those circumstances…Venus.


  13. Peter Mizla says:

    James Hansen predicts 5 meter sea rise

    In a paper published by Columbia University, celebrity climate change activist and academic James Hansen has revealed predictions of a 5 meter sea level rise by 2100.

    The prediction is based on a situation where greenhouse emissions continue to grow at current rates. This will result in average global temperatures rising by 3-6 ° Celsius, which will melt both the Arctic and the Antarctic ice sheets. As these areas melt, the enormous quantities of water currently locked away in the ice will be released into the oceans, triggering a global sea level rise.

    The report is highly technical, but extremely well written. Hansen and co-author Makiko Sato also discuss the impact of glacier melts and the positive feedback mechanisms involved in ice melts and global warming.

  14. Mond from Oz says:

    I so agree with the last paragraph. Nobody
    ‘out there’ is going to be greatly worried by the 3000 yr prospect. Related to that is the use of temperature at equilibrium in general discussion of AGW. Transient Climate Response would be better, I think, although the calculation looks a bit hard. Hansen’s “40% in 5 years” looks like a good basis for approximation. Comment, anybody?

  15. Jack Burton says:

    Yes indeed. We are in for big problems in the short term. I am wondering what will happen when the arctic is open for many months and just sits there absorbing solar radiation instead of reflecting it. Has anyone run the numbers on how much extra heat the earth’s energy balance will receive under a minimal ice cover in summer up there.
    Let’s remember, we hear people talk about the arctic like it won’t be a REAL problem until we have ice free summers. Like, who cares! Once we have lost most of the summer ice, we will have so much more heat in the atmosphere up there that we could easily see the end of stable climate like mankind has grown used to. The ice is only partially gone in summer now and the weather is absolutely WILD! Just give it a couple more years of new minimums and all bets are off!
    I know it is interesting to contemplate sea level rise in a thousand years, but right now the global house is burning and nobody is doing anything. No, I correct myself, we are doing something. We are exploiting Tar Sands in Canada, we are doing new deep water drilling, we are fracking gas and oil and we are now headed into the open arctic sea to drill more oil. We are doubling down on the disaster. Future historians will wonder at this suicidal course of action.

  16. David B. Benson says:

    Thank you for the link. The Hansen & Sato paper is quite decent and useful.

  17. ColoradoBob says:

    With climate change statement, NU scientists chose proactive course

    A group of climate scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have drawn criticism for their joint statement urging action on global warming. Above, the shoreline of Lincoln’s Oak Lake bakes in the mid-August sun as drought continued to plague Nebraska and the region at large

  18. ColoradoBob says:

    By the end of July, the Large Lakes Observatory at the University of Minnesota Duluth reported that Lake Superior’s average surface temperature was 8-10°F above average and expected to stay above normal through the remainder of summer…………….

    Global assessment shows 95% of lakes are warming

    In 2010, National Geographic News reported on the results of the first comprehensive global study of lake temperature trends. The study — conducted by researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California using satellite data — found that in the last 25 years, the world’s largest lakes have been steadily warming, some by as much as 4°F (2.2°C). In some cases, the trend is twice as fast as the air temperature trend over the same period.

  19. Will Fox says:

    The Most Important Issue – US Election 2012

  20. catman306 says:

    As harvest season gets underway, farmers find drought-stressed crops are susceptible to toxins and contaminants, further reducing yields

    The drought that has kept much of the nation in its grip this summer brings a host of additional downstream worries for growers already struggling with reduced yields.

    Cattle are being poisoned by cyanide-laced weeds in Arkansas. Across the Midwest water-soluble fertilizers are concentrating in soils and plants, making them harmful rather than productive. And in Missouri, samples suggest that more than half the corn crop isn’t fit for human consumption, thanks to unusually high levels of a carcinogenic toxin. (aflatoxin)

  21. Joe Romm says:

    Great piece. I’ll do a post on it.

  22. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I really do find guesstimates of circumstances in 3000 quite befuddling. At the rate at which negative changes are cascading down upon our heads, we’ll do well to reach 2100, let alone 3000. Moreover, for reasons that I cannot begin to understand, all the predictions of the ‘alarmist’ climate scientists so far have proved quite consistently to be under-estimates. The Arctic summer sea ice loss is a prime example, and the resultant increase in heat absorbed due to the albedo flip (being replicated by the loss of Northern Hemisphere snow and ice cover)seems to me to be such a strong positive feedback that we can expect really rapid changes, on decadal time frames, rather than those of millennia.

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    With the current state of acute danger that we face, in decades, I actually find airy phantasies about what may or may not happen by 3000 to be quite irresponsible. It seems to infer that we have centuries further to get our act together, and that we will actually still be extant then, as civilization and species.

  24. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    ‘ Excellent piece by Chomsky’- a tautology, surely.

  25. ColoradoBob says:

    Triple-digit temperatures from this week’s heatwave raised the water temperature of Lake Michigan up to 80 degrees.
    The National Weather Service says that’s “unprecedented” for this early in the summer season.
    Meteorologists say monthly air temperatures have been above normal for nine consecutive months in Chicago. That translates to warm water temperatures across the lake. The heat wave drove up the lake temperature. The water temperature rose 10 degrees between Sunday and Friday.
    The 80-degree water was recorded Friday by buoy on Lake Michigan, which is 43 nautical miles east-southeast of Milwaukee. The water depth of the buoy is 528 feet, and the temperature is measured about two feet below the water surface.


  26. ColoradoBob says:

    Sea surface temperatures along the Northeast Shelf Large Marine Ecosystem — the waters off the New England and Mid-Atlantic coasts — were the highest ever recorded during the first half of 2012, the government reports.

    “A profound warming event occurred on the Northeast Shelf this spring, and this will have a profound impact throughout the ecosystem,” said Kevin Friedland, a scientist at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center in Woods Hole.