Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week by Joe Romm Posted on January 5, 2013 at 8:03 am 76Share This 35Tweet This Share this: "Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week" Share: Opine away. Via Political Ironing Tags: humor « FDA Cracks Down On Deadly Outbreaks With Food Safety Proposals Republican Congressman Insults Nancy Pelosi’s Appearance: ‘There’s No Facelift With John Boehner’ » Close Like Climate Progress on Facebook Don't show this to me again 95 Responses to Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week prokaryotes says: January 5, 2013 at 8:09 am Wildfires on the Australian island of Tasmania have stranded thousands of people and destroyed at least 100 homes. Much of Australia is experiencing a heatwave, and temperatures in the Tasmanian state capital Hobart earlier reached a record high of 41C. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-20918692 Chris Winter says: January 5, 2013 at 6:18 pm FWIW, this webcam shows the area around the Tasman Bridge in Hobart. It’s hard to be certain, but now (around 3PM PST) that could be smoke on the left of the image. http://www.rosebay.tased.edu.au/camera.htm There’s a link to Tasmania weather information. Chris Winter says: January 7, 2013 at 8:52 pm Watching the Deniers in its recent posts has excellent coverage of the fires in Tasmania, as well as Australia’s heat wave. MarkfromLexington says: January 5, 2013 at 8:21 am I’d love to see a post listing the major 2012 climate change events by month. Is there a searchable database online where one could review that data? catman306 says: January 5, 2013 at 9:03 am Here’s a start, Mark. http://www.climatecentral.org/news/hurricane-sandy-tops-list-of-2012-extreme-weather-and-climate-events-15405 red admiral says: January 5, 2013 at 9:55 am another, love the pic of snow and palm trees: http://www.wunderground.com/blog/angelafritz/show.html?entrynum=37 MarkfromLexington says: January 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm Thank you for the excellent links! Will Fox says: January 5, 2013 at 8:33 am As climate warms, bark beetles march on high-elevation forests “Recent years have been characterised by unusually hot and dry summers and mild winters, which have allowed insect populations to boom. This has led to an infestation of mountain pine beetles at higher elevations, described as the most significant insect blight ever seen in North America.” Read more — http://www.futuretimeline.net/blog/2013/01/1.htm Jay Alt says: January 5, 2013 at 10:36 am Oh Pine. Away. Robert Callaghan says: January 5, 2013 at 3:18 pm What Is the spruce of that Are you trying to make a oak because you think it will make you poplar perhaps you just want to make an ash of yourself Mulga Mumblebrain says: January 5, 2013 at 9:31 pm Agh! The ‘unknown unknowns’. Where is von Rumsfeldt these days? Guest says: January 5, 2013 at 9:07 am Hi Mark, Here’s a timeline which goes from Jan to Oct 2012: http://www.tiki-toki.com/timeline/entry/55279/Extreme-Weather-Climate-Events-2012/#vars!date=2012-11-17_05:32:06! Tom King says: January 5, 2013 at 9:16 am My feelings about New York have changed from when I was a kid. 911 showed the vulnerability of the high places, and hurricane Sandy revealed the vulnerability of the low places. So my question is: What if another hurricane were to hit New York in the next ten years? At what point do people start relocating to new cities further inland? Superman1 says: January 5, 2013 at 3:40 pm Are you kidding? You need to understand New Yorkers. For them, a trip to New Jersey is equivalent to Columbus’ setting sail for America. Tom King says: January 5, 2013 at 5:12 pm Thanks Superman1 :) So lets say a second hurricane hit within 5 years and further home insurance became unavailable at any price. 1.) How many would rebuild? 2.) Wouldn’t the advantages of “setting sail” suddenly become obvious even to people who had survived unscathed? prokaryotes says: January 6, 2013 at 2:21 am Hurricane Irene was a large and very destructive tropical cyclone, which affected much of the Caribbean and East Coast of the United States during the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season. Irene is currently ranked as the sixth costliest hurricane in United States history. The ninth named storm, first hurricane, and first major hurricane of the 2011 hurricane season http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurricane_Irene Maybe we’ll see the third Hurricane in a row this year? What are the odd’s? wili says: January 5, 2013 at 4:13 pm Hansen, looking at recent acceleration of Greenland and West Antarctica ice sheet melt, pointed out that a five-year doubling rate fit the curve pretty well, exponential rates of increased melt could be supported physically and mathematically once you consider the number of feedbacks that are kicking in. We are now getting a bit over 1 mm of sea level rise a year from GIS and a bit less than 1mm from WAIS, so together about 2mm/year plus some more from other sources and form thermal expansion (the latter of which presumably would show a linear rather than exponential relation to temperature increase). So plug five year doubling into that and see what you get for when NYC is under water. http://geology.com/sea-level-rise/ (This is a rather rough approximation. Recent studies suggest that sea level rise will be faster along the east coast of the US because of likely behavior of ocean currents.) Tom King says: January 5, 2013 at 5:19 pm Thanks Wili :) Its funny how all these small changes add up. Oceans slightly higher, winds slightly faster, precipitation slightly heavier. Every part builds on every other. Merrelyn Emery says: January 5, 2013 at 7:53 pm The Earth is a system responding to a systemic change, ME Kim says: January 5, 2013 at 10:10 am Why don’t large environmental groups have a united front on climate change? I put up a comment last week on the story about the buy out of energy leases in the Upper Hoback in Wyoming. My basic point was this. Why spend millions of dollars preserving an ecosystem that may in 30, 20 or even 10 years bear little resemblance to its current composition? Why would this happen – Climate Change. In fact the Bridger-Teton National Forest is already heavily impacted by the climate change induced worst ever beetle kill event. What I don’t understand is why large conservation organizations have not banded together in an effort to raise awareness of climate change. Rather, nearly all of them are stuck in the rut of protecting this place or that animal. Noble causes to be sure, but likely doomed to long term failure due to climate change. This morning I went to the websites of the 20 largest (according to PBS) environmental organizations and only one, The Environmental Defense Fund, has anything about climate change on its landing page. We should find this rather shocking. If you belong to any environmental organization, you should ask them why climate change is not front and center in their efforts! Jay Alt says: January 5, 2013 at 10:39 am National conservation organizations hold an annual DC pow-wow and present wish lists to sympathetic congressmen. 4+ years ago they shocked the guests by all listing climate change as their #1 priority. I saw a similar pronouncement from a different set of groups this year. The message is there. The will to act on it has been lacking. Kim says: January 5, 2013 at 10:54 am That is good to hear. But, even though the message is out there, it seems to not have a prominent place in their day to day communications. Gail Zawacki says: January 5, 2013 at 12:46 pm There is a dreadful fragmentation and paralysis however, climate change is only one symptom of deeper problems. If you waved a magic wand and made climate change go away, the human race – or at least industrial civilization – would still be dooming itself by overpopulation, over-extraction of non-renewable resources (including fuels and fish), habitat destruction, and devastating pollution, which is fast poisoning the air, water and soil beyond reclamation. Not to mention no one has a plan to deal with all the nuclear waste we continue to create. Philip S. Wenz says: January 5, 2013 at 1:31 pm Yes, but climate change is the granddaddy of all environmental problems, and, unless addressed immediately and adequately, will soon make it impossible for us to deal with any of the others — with the exception of overpopulation, of course. Leif says: January 5, 2013 at 1:54 pm If climate change can be addressed in a meaningful manner all other problems get to be addressed as well. Stopping the ability of the chosen few to profit from the pollution of the commons can be a strong first step and well within the ability of ‘We the People” in a democratic society. Unfortunately “democracy” is hanging by a thread as well and NEEDS “We the People” more than ever. If you are one, march to your drum. Robert Callaghan says: January 5, 2013 at 3:23 pm It is because conservation groups get their money from corporations who exploit the resources that the conservation groups claim to protect. They rationalize this by claiming it is better to have a seat at the table than to be totally ignored. They do not band together because they are all really after the same thing — money. They earn their money by remaining silent about very specific projects their funders engage in. Joan Savage says: January 5, 2013 at 1:45 pm As long as the organizations have to compete with each other for funding, I doubt if we will see anything more than a policy convergence, and stopping short of a unified single statement. As it is, many of the enviro-solicitations I have been receiving are directed at climate change, or to the related hydro-fracking or coal use. It would be brilliant if some philanthropist could figure out how to do some cross-organizational funding to encourage better collaboration. Merrelyn Emery says: January 5, 2013 at 4:10 pm It will take more than cross organizational funding to promote collaboration. Each is organized as a bureaucratic structure with all the usual dynamics of competition and individual self interest. Until there is a broad appreciation of the fact that responsibility must be located with the people performing a task rather than with their supervizors or managers, it will take a miracle to achieve cooperation, ME David Goldstein says: January 5, 2013 at 6:45 pm Well- here is an anecdote: I was in communication with folks at 350.org about organizing the Feb 17th protest in DC. The FIRST thing that should happen, I explained, was to get ALL of the players in the climate movement in as -co-sponsors of the event and use that to develop a united coalition. They wrote back and said, essentially, we’re set on our planning and ‘after very careful’ discussions, we are co-sponsoring (only) with the Sierra Club. Well…..I simply do not understand why there is ANY resistance to bringing all players in from the get go. On top of that, Al Gore (I am a trained ‘climate leader’ by his organization) just sold current tv to Al Jazeera- that is funded by the Emir of Qatar for goodness sake. Pure oil money. Bill Mckibben, Al Gore, James Hansen, Kevin Trenberth, John Kerry…everybody who is a climate spokesperson needs to get on the same frickin page- but it is not happening so far. Oh well. Kim says: January 5, 2013 at 7:23 pm Some good comments here and I note that others see the same problem that I do. FWIW, I have written to the organizations I belong to and urged them to be more “cooperative” on this subject. I have received some actual feedback and some boiler plate. David @ 6:45 hit the mark with his comment. Like him I’m about to say, Oh well. Joan Savage says: January 5, 2013 at 10:16 am Given Joe’s efforts to make us better communicators, I had to smile at a headline at USA Today this morning, “Tsunami warning issued after Alaska quake canceled.” I’m guilty of separating subject from verb on occasion, but that headline takes the cake for confusion. “Tsunami warning cancelled” would have been enough, eh? Frank Zaski says: January 5, 2013 at 10:21 am Need a climate policy? Here is one from Germany: RENEWABLE ENERGY: By 2020 renewables are to have a share of at least 35% in gross electricity consumption, a 50% share by 2030, 65% by 2040 and 80% by 2050. A FIT is working well here. ENERGY EFFICIENCY: Electricity consumption is to fall by 10% by 2020 and by 25% by 2050, compared to 2008. Heat demand in buildings is to be reduced by 20% by 2020, while primary energy demand is to fall by 80% by 2050. http://www.germany.info/Vertretung/usa/en/06__Foreign__Policy__State/02__Foreign__Policy/05__KeyPoints/ClimateEnergy__Key.html BUT, IT WILL THIS HURT THE ECONOMY? Not at all. Germany’s massive RE and EE efforts have helped the economy. To quote: “Thanks to the strong economy; the number of employed persons in Germany reached a peak in 2012 for the sixth year in a row.” http://www.germany.info/Vertretung/usa/en/__pr/P__Wash/2013/01/02-Employment.html Bob Lang says: January 5, 2013 at 3:59 pm I’m not buying this greenwash for one minute. Germany exports a lot of its carbon footprint. When you include the carbon footprint of imported goods, emissions reductions in OECD countries get cancelled out many times over. To get a true picture, global carbon accounting has be based on consumption rather than production of goods and services. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/apr/25/carbon-cuts-developed-countries-cancelled Martin Gisser says: January 5, 2013 at 4:34 pm Haha! Instead Germany exports more energy than ever. The Netherlands are shutting down gas power station to buy cheap German energy. http://www.thelocal.de/society/20121109-46079.html#.UOiax6y141I Sometimes the export gets crazy: Surplus is essentially given away to Austria or Switzerland, who use it to fill up their pumped storage hydro and later sell back to Germany. Bob Lang says: January 5, 2013 at 5:25 pm The numbers are here: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v3/n1/fig_tab/nclimate1630_F2.html Quit wasting my time with your layman’s article from the tabloid press. Martin Gisser says: January 5, 2013 at 6:23 pm Yeah. Of course all the solar PV and windmills need to be produced somehow. They’re not yet self-replicating energetically. That will take a few years. (My guess: 10y. Any real numbers on the energy cannibalism problem?) Martin Gisser says: January 5, 2013 at 4:16 pm Yeah, looks like Germany is world leader once again. But there are some problems. German engineering isn’t perfect (e.g. 50.2Hz problem in solar PV). And management is often clueless (e.g. E.ON selling crown jewels. E.g. Siemens shrinking its energy sector, abandons Desertec). 2013 is going to be a very interesting year for German E-industry with some turmoils and chaos guaranteed. We might even get brownouts. * Grid construction is way behind. http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/germany-addresses-problems-with-renewable-energy-subsidy-system-a-852549.html * Grid stabilizing infrastructure (Natural gas back-up generation, pumped hydro) neglected/abandoned for not being “economic”. * Customers now pay a Renewable Energy Surcharge of 5.277 ct/kWh – while prices at the EEX energy exchange are lower than that! http://www.germanenergyblog.de/?p=10548 * 50.2Hz problem. http://www.germanenergyblog.de/?p=11786 Mulga Mumblebrain says: January 5, 2013 at 9:44 pm Quite Right! Let’s just give up and leave it all to the ‘Magic of the Market’ that is working do well in the USA, Canada and the UK. In the world of trying to ensure our grandchildrens’ survival, let us pray that Germany and China draw closer and lead an expanding block of decarbonisers. prokaryotes says: January 6, 2013 at 2:40 am btw Power companies are planning a comeback of night storage Once they were considered power hungry – now could night storage heaters are among the winners of the energy transition. Utilities like RWE want to upgrade the old pads with modern technology and thus solve the problem of fluctuating amounts of electricity. RWE wants to revive the electric heaters. They should be equipped with modern control technology and used as energy storage for fluctuating amounts of electricity from wind power plants. Even the utility EnBW games by such a model. http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiegel.de%2Fwirtschaft%2Fservice%2Fstromkonzerne-wollen-nachtspeicherheizung-wiederbeleben-a-870771.html&act=url Though it sounds interesting.. Will Fox says: January 5, 2013 at 10:21 am Britons should brace themselves for ‘massive’ food price hikes in 2013 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/retailandconsumer/9779693/Waitrose-boss-Britons-should-brace-themselves-for-massive-food-price-hikes.html Mulga Mumblebrain says: January 5, 2013 at 9:45 pm This will cause real hunger and suffering amongst the poor who have been so despicably targeted by the diabolical Tory kakistocracy. prokaryotes says: January 5, 2013 at 10:44 am China shivers in the coldest winter in decades China’s State Meteorological Organization announced for the cold wave partially polar cold fronts were responsible, which were triggered by the melting of the ice due to climate change. http://translate.google.de/translate?sl=de&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=de&ie=UTF-8&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.spiegel.de%2Fpanorama%2Fchina-kaeltester-winter-seit-jahrzehnten-a-875936.html&act=url prokaryotes says: January 5, 2013 at 11:30 am DESERTEC Foundation Begins Work on Asian Super Grid for Renewable Energy The Asian Super Grid initiative will facilitate an electricity system based fully on renewable energy in Asia. This initiative envisions the interconnection of the national grids of Japan, China, Korea, Mongolia, and Russia with low-loss High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) transmission lines. These transmission lines will enable the delivery of electricity from the region’s most abundant renewable energy sources to its centers of demand. It also simultaneously balances out the peaks and troughs of fluctuating renewable energy sources over a wider area. http://ecopreneurist.com/2013/01/02/desertec-foundation-begins-work-on-asian-super-grid-for-renewable-energy/ Funny that the lamestream media is still ignoring the industrial revolution 2.0 Dennis Tomlinson says: January 5, 2013 at 11:49 am “High-Voltage Direct Current (HVDC)…” May we not disturb the ghost of Charles Steinmetz. Philip S. Wenz says: January 5, 2013 at 1:40 pm Pro… The lamestream media seems to be more than ignoring Desertec. About once a week since last April I have posted a comment on the NY Times’s Dot Earth blog about Desertec and the feather in it’s energy cap, concentrated solar power. Andy Revkin, the blog’s author, has never once commented on the organization or the technology, even though other commentators have specifically asked him to do so. It seems that for the Times, at least, and most of the rest of the media, that the idea that viable renewable energy technologies and programs have arrived is anathema. One wonders why. Or, does one? Mulga Mumblebrain says: January 5, 2013 at 9:50 pm The Western ruling caste are petrified by the rise of the non-Western world and the increasing signs that, despite strenuous efforts to sow dissension amongst their ranks, that co-operation between the Eurasian players in particular is strengthening. In this case one can only expect the Western MSM propaganda system to do its duty. Hence the ignoring of this, and the hysterical blowing up of the ‘fracking’ bubble. David B. Benson says: January 5, 2013 at 9:20 pm Siemens and Bosch have pulled out of the Desertec Foundation. The Sahara project was killed by Spain’s pulling out. While the East Asian concept appears good so far it is only talk. prokaryotes says: January 5, 2013 at 11:35 am All Arctic storms, great and small If I had to name one website that does the best reporting on Arctic sea ice, its disappearance and the implications thereof, it would have to be Climate Central. Climate Progress is an excellent source as well, but Climate Central doesn’t let even the tiniest detail escape. http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/01/all-arctic-storms-great-and-small.html Imagine even more post :) (np with me!) prokaryotes says: January 5, 2013 at 12:06 pm Arctic Storms: A Climate Danger Nobody’s Talking About Summer and fall are hurricane season, but for the storms known as polar lows, prime time falls in the dead of winter, when frigid air blows off sea ice to collide with warmer, moister air in the North Atlantic. Polar lows are a lot smaller and weaker than hurricanes, they’re generally shorter-lived, and the only danger they generally pose is to shipping and oil rigs. http://www.climatecentral.org/news/arctic-storms-the-climate-danger-nobodys-talking-about-15363 Joan Savage says: January 5, 2013 at 12:01 pm Satellite monitoring of Hurricane Sandy revealed yet another reason to push Congress to pay it forward and replace weather satellites BEFORE they fall from the sky. Imagine the losses if we hadn’t had the correct landfall prediction for Sandy. “Study shows polar-orbiting satellite data was key to pinpointing Sandy’s track and time of landfall” http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2012/20121211_poesandsandy.html prokaryotes says: January 5, 2013 at 12:16 pm STORM – Development of a high resolution climate model Dr. Jin-Song von Storch, group leader in the department „The Ocean in the Earth System“ at Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-M), and her colleagues have accomplished for the first time an estimate of the Lorenz energy cycle for the world ocean with a one-tenth-degree ocean model developed within the STORM project. Such an estimate has not been possible with a state-of-the-art ocean model and enables more detailed studies on the sensitivity and stability of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation and more precise representations of climate and climate change. http://www.mpimet.mpg.de/en/communication/news/research-news-overview/storm-development-of-a-high-resolution-climate-model.html prokaryotes says: January 5, 2013 at 12:39 pm This is happening as we speak. The oil rig is grounded in “rocky” Ocean Bay, with 150,000 gallons of diesel, oil, and hydraulic fluid on board, with the following not-so-reassuring weather forecast: Seas are expected to be up to 33 feet by Tuesday, with the potential for 40-foot waves as a large storm system delivers moisture from as far south as California. Satellite imagery shows the bulk of the storm headed right for Kodiak. “They’re in the bulls-eye of the whole thing,” said National Weather Service Meteorologist Dan Peterson, who said the weather service is updating the unified command center hourly. Shell’s drilling fleet has been plagued with a string of delays and problems this summer, and the engine failures aboard the Aiviq came just one day after revelations that the company’s massive drillship, Noble Discoverer, was delayed for several weeks in Seward after being ordered to stay put for repairs to safety and pollution prevention systems. Here’s a video the Coast Guard made and put up on YouTube (the videos in the right hand bar that can be clicked and take you to footage of the Deepwater Horizon drill spill, are there by pure coincidence). It shows the oil rig, the two tugs, and the helicopter that evacuated the 18 crew members aboard the rig: http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/01/shell-drill-spill.html So i try to imagine the look on the face of the guy in charge here, when he got notice of the grounding :) Mulga Mumblebrain says: January 5, 2013 at 9:55 pm You can bet that Shell would scrimp on maintenance and safety, in order to find the funds to meet ‘market expectations’ and pay ever more larcenous ‘bonuses’ to the Big Bosses. Let’s face it-at an informed guess, I would posit that this hulk will be spilling its oily guts some time soon, like so many others before it. Gail Zawacki says: January 5, 2013 at 12:41 pm How can something so heartbreaking be hilarious? http://witsendnj.blogspot.com/2013/01/welcome.html Merrelyn Emery says: January 5, 2013 at 4:25 pm Why aliens? Couldn’t Old Ma Nature have done it herself? What a weird obsession. And while we are on the subject of attempted humour, here are some climate headlines: Heat beats Hurricanes; Thunder goes under to Scorchers – brought to you by the Aussie Big Bash League (they play cricket) ME Merrelyn Emery says: January 5, 2013 at 4:55 pm The implicit meanings of this cartoon are either that Earth and the laws of nature are alien or that our current destructive patterns are alien to us – contemplate and weep, ME Mulga Mumblebrain says: January 5, 2013 at 9:57 pm They ‘play’ a cretinous pseudo-baseball, designed to entertain the bogans with an attention span shorter than that of an intellectually challenged gnat, and to drape the incessant flow of advertising sullage upon. Cricket it is not. Merrelyn Emery says: January 5, 2013 at 10:19 pm I wouldn’t know Mulga, I’ve never watched it but just imagine if heat could beat hurricanes – that would be news! And what have gnats ever done to you? ME prokaryotes says: January 5, 2013 at 12:48 pm Built in 1983 by the Japanese Mitsui company, the Kulluk drilling platform is vintage, tried and tested technology that exemplifies the best of Shells’s Let’s Go! arsenal. Though the Kulluk is now almost 30 years old, she was inactive for fourteen of them, making her as reliable as a much younger craft. The Kulluk has recently been upgraded with new electronics. Her hull has been fully repaired, making her as Arctic ready as it’s possible for a rig to be! To celebrate the Kulluk’s revival, we’ve also significantly improved the look of the vessel, with a keel-to-topmast repainting job. And to make life more pleasant for Arctic-going workers, we’ve remodelled some interiors. No oil company has ever operated in an environment as extreme as the Arctic, let alone with heritage equipment—yet that’s exactly the sort of challenge that makes the Arctic so appealing to many of us at Shell. On the slight chance that something does go wrong, Shell’s spill cleanup plan is second to none. No one has yet fully determined how to clean up an oil spill in pack ice or broken ice—but that too is exactly the sort of challenge we love. http://neven1.typepad.com/blog/2013/01/shell-drill-spill.html OMFG! Philip S. Wenz says: January 5, 2013 at 1:47 pm OMFG! seconded. When does the reeducation program begin? prokaryotes says: January 5, 2013 at 2:43 pm That is up to the legislator at this point :) Merrelyn Emery says: January 5, 2013 at 5:01 pm Or the Arctic, ME Mulga Mumblebrain says: January 5, 2013 at 9:59 pm The PR cretinspeak is beyond parody. Does anyone actually write this claptrap, or have they perfected a computer program without any sense of shame? prokaryotes says: January 6, 2013 at 2:32 am Neven added, it might be from Yes man action group, but he is not sure… 13Emeth says: January 5, 2013 at 1:06 pm Right now the environmental movement relative to addressing global warming reminds me of the South Park Underpants Gnomes. But instead of the list being Phase 1: Collect Underpants; Phase 2: ?; Phase 3: Profit; the list is: Phase 1 – Convince people that the environment is important and taking action against global warming is the most important issue because it encapsulates all other issues. Phase 2 – ? Phase 3 – Prevent a vast majority of the detrimental consequences of global warming. While Steps 1 and 3 are appropriate, the environmental movement has no clear defined Step 2. Some may take offense to the question mark associated with Step 2 stating that the step is simply “deploy massive amounts of solar and wind power and stop coal immediately”. One problem (of many) with that step is that it is clearly not detailed enough, which demonstrates a complete lack of understanding when it comes to the scale of the problem (i.e. presuming that a nauseating level of details are not required; i.e. that developing a trace emission energy infrastructure is simple). Also another problem is that massive deployment may not actually result in Step 3. For example look at Germany, the poster country for solar proponents, instead of increasing its billions of dollars in subsidies for solar it is reducing subsidies (due to too much cost both to consumers and government) and is slated to build at least 8 GW of new coal plants with almost 3 GW of it already constructed and operational since 2011 (and an additional 5.5 GW pending approval and that will probably go up with EON shuttering unprofitable gas plants despite new emission rules in 2016). Note that the “increased efficiency” of these new coal plants does little to change their emission profiles. If solar was working, why build coal plants to offset their stupid decision to retire their nuclear plants (because tsunamis are so prevalent in Germany) over replacing those nuclear plants with solar power? Either German officials are incredibly stupid or they realize that loading up completely on solar/wind is not the appropriate strategy for their country. If the latter is the answer then what should Germany and other low capacity countries (< 11% solar capacity in the winter for Germany) do? In Germany the percentage of electricity derived from solar ranges daily from 0% – 20% with fossil fuel backup… what happens when that range expands to 0.5% (throwing Germany some storage) – 60% without fossil fuel backup? The grid in Germany has already demonstrated and is continuing to demonstrate significant increased complexity since the passage of their Renewable Energy Act so how will further complexity be managed? These are some of the many questions that need detailed and thorough answers by environmentalists (not simply stating “smart grid, next question”) who want to use solar/wind and yet do not have any. Another question is how will wind and solar solve their intermittency problems? Smart grids will have limited influence when wind is not blowing and/or the sun is not shining. Standard battery storage systems are not economical or even viable from a resource standpoint. Compressed air is not an economic solution and pumped hydro is only selectively available making its ability to scale highly limited. Before anyone yells out Gemasolar or Andasol think about molten salt scale-up. For example Gemasolar’s storage system only accounts for 15 hours of a 19.9 MW system, so how will that system scale up to at least 96 hours of a 1 TW solar/wind network, if not more? Remember when answering to use specific details and costs while making sure to appropriately calculate the global production rate of potassium and sodium nitrate. Spoiler… you will not like the answer you get. For those who dream of a magical electrical vehicle storage system consider this issue: no one has empirically demonstrated such an EV battery system for a city of 80,000 with 20,000 EVs, let alone a country of 310 million with 100 million EVs. One would think that such a modest experiment would be appropriate before proclaiming the viability of an EV battery system. Negawatts are a nice thought, but overemphasized in United States and non-existent globally due to energy poverty and a lack of specifics on where they come from limiting their value in future calculations at this point. Finally overbuild of capacity is not effective because there are not enough rare earth resources to keep such scale-up economical and overbuild still has the same problems with the general nature of intermittency; in such a system costs will explode to the point where the global community would be stupid not to build a new energy infrastructure using Generation III and/or IV nuclear reactors instead of solar and wind. While there are numerous other issues that could be addressed, the chief problem encompassing the overall issue is that there is no specific plan, just a lot of generalities thrown around. One of the keys to avoiding fatalistic depression about global warming is to present individuals with the realistic hope of solving the problem. Pointing to Pacala and Socolow and saying, “Look we just need to do x number of wedges and we’re golden.” does almost nothing. Such a statement is just a broad generalization of a solution that does not tell anyone what the plan actually is, just various options of what it could be with no probability measures that anything will actually happen or be successful. The environmental movement needs a defined plan in nauseating detail to present to the global public to tackle global warming; in the creation of this plan it is important that people do not submarine the debate out of fear that their pet solutions will not be accepted because of crippling flaws. Time to grow up and be adults about the situation for global warming demands people be adults; no crying about not getting your way and taking your ball and going home. Remember specifics solve problems generalities perpetuate them and right now there is a whole expletive load of generalities and blind hope in the public forum. In the end when that time comes how many of you are comfortable with telling your children/grandchildren in 2034 that your personal fight against global warming amounted to posting some general information and/or making snippy little comments about capitalism, the fossil fuel industry and/or their allies in an environmental online forum? Bob Lang says: January 5, 2013 at 8:48 pm With long-winded posts like yours, no wonder emissions are going through the roof. Actually, Germany will need not 8 but at least 49 GW of new secured (fossil-fuel) capacity by 2020, according to the German Energy Agency: http://www.dena.de/en/press-releases/pressemitteilungen/2050-stellen-fossile-kraftwerke-60-prozent-der-gesicherten-leistung.html re: Grid-Scale Storage Are you aware of http://www.ambri.com/ They were the no.1 ARPA-E awardee in 2009. Paul Klinkman says: January 5, 2013 at 8:54 pm I’m sitting on almost the whole of that step 2, doing what I can considering that we’re worried about rent money. If there’s a step 2 movement, I’m about it. My wife helps a bit because she understands, but she’s scared of the lack of money. The best way to generate solar electricity at night and on cloudy days is massive well-insulated heat pits. As the pits grow ever larger, the ratio of insulation to mass grows smaller. I find molten salt solar power towers to be somewhat inefficient, temperamental and risky, but they’re a good first try. Patent pending. Betterworld.com is deploying electric battery pack changing equipment. This gives individual electric vehicles a near-infinite mileage range. Of course, we need to go to a better transit system than cars if we really want to save energy. People on this site really want to save energy but I don’t see a lot of Republican support. You want to see a technological plan that can work? Do you volunteer to work full-time on the plan? No? Do you want me to work full-time on the plan, except I have trouble paying our rent? There’s the problem. Good intentions, yes. Funding, no, not for a long while? The seawater must be THIS HIGH (wooden clown on signboard holds his hand at about the 42 inch level) before something will actually be started. Mulga Mumblebrain says: January 5, 2013 at 10:06 pm The German retreat is precisely because neo-liberals have made a fightback there. The enemy is always capitalism, because it operates on the genocidal premises that profit maximisation is all, and inequality is a good. A sane, human, system would begin with the axiom that nothing is more valuable than the survival of our species on a liveable planet, and all policy, economic, social and political, would flow from that life-affirming principle. At every turn action to avert the ecological catastrophe is thwarted by Rightwing ideologues who know the price of everything but the value of nothing. Raul M. says: January 5, 2013 at 10:42 pm One way to releave the complexity of Step Two is to look at the carbon footprint.For example a 100 ton carbon footprint would mean that someone would need to return 100 tons of carbon to the Earth from the sky to have an energy balance plus untold tons to compensate for the carbon feedbacks curently in force. But 100 tons returned is better than nothing returned. But as with early childhood learning the child usually learns to walk the walk before talking the talk. But if your point is to show a correlation to the amount of true information one would have to come up with to compensate for the untold feedbacks to ones carbon footprint well then it should be noted. Some information on how to live a morally balanced life as regards ones energy balance is better than nothing. Thank You for considering returning some carbon to the ground. Nell says: January 5, 2013 at 1:57 pm Don’t you think when a scientist says “by 2100″ he’s another sort of climate change denier? I mean, civilization as we know it will be gone by then won’t it? Will Fox says: January 5, 2013 at 2:27 pm It will take a WW2-scale mobilisation and deployment of green tech – including CO2 capture and storage on a global scale – but I think humans will still be around. Capitalism will cease to exist in its current form, but we’ll have the knowledge and motivation to confront the problem when the time finally comes. We already have CO2-absorbing materials and nanotech. This will be scaled up by orders of magnitude. Scientific and technological progress is exponential. A lot of people will die, possibly a few billion, but humanity will survive. Nell says: January 5, 2013 at 2:56 pm Key phrase: “civilization as we know it” We are destroying our oceans and forests, which we can’t live without, faster than we can understand the effects man is having on them. These effects will carry on for decades… centuries… millenia after we stop polluting. To phrase warnings as if the effects will not be seen in decades and decades is disinformation IMHO. Martin Gisser says: January 5, 2013 at 4:46 pm We already have CO2-absorbing materials and nanotech. Yeah indeed: Trees. We need a massive WW2 scale deployment of 1) trees 2) WW2 woodgas technology producing charcoal 3) pre-WW2 CO2-negative farming to enhance (not deplete) soil by using char coal (cf. terra preta). I’m sure the techno fetishists are delighted. Will Fox says: January 5, 2013 at 4:52 pm How about artificial trees… thousands of times more efficient than the real thing: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8223528.stm Martin Gisser says: January 5, 2013 at 6:05 pm 1) The process needs energy. 2) they need material resources (e.g. fancy chemistry) and cost money 3) even 1000x better effectiveness (CO2 absorption per area) wouldn’t suffice. We need to get quite a few gigatons of carbon out of the air. (Something like the total global forestry output per year for 1 century.) I think thermodynamics makes them economically ridiculous. (No reference found, but I remember having seen one.) Anyhow, why not simply use trees (or other plants). Too simple? I guess there’s indeed a psychological problem. Another example are the ridiculous Freeman Dyson’s wet dreams of genetically modified trees bearing stable carbon (e.g. diamonds) as fruit. (No joking: http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2008/05/25/202666/freeman-dyson-and-his-amazing-incredible-genetically-engineered-carbon-eating-trees/ ) Gail Zawacki says: January 5, 2013 at 6:27 pm Yep, you better hope for fake trees because the real ones are dying off. Mulga Mumblebrain says: January 5, 2013 at 10:08 pm Absolutely, and I think it is a deliberate tactic. 2100 might as well be 3100, or 21000 as far as the average punter goes, and not speaking of 2050 or 2030 is, in my opinion, a type of soft denialism, consciously attempting to put the disaster out of mind in the far never-never of the future. Robert Callaghan says: January 5, 2013 at 3:26 pm does anybody know anything useful about this site http://arctic-news.blogspot.co.uk/p/global-extinction-within-one-human.html wili says: January 5, 2013 at 4:26 pm I think it’s connected with the AMEG group. They have a properly high level of panic, but they are sometimes sloppy with the science, and they mainly are promoting various geo-engineering schemes–something I think is best characterized by what someone here, I think called it: trying to solve the problems caused by enormous hubris with even more enormous hubris. Paul Klinkman says: January 5, 2013 at 8:59 pm I think they’re too much taken with their own geoengineering schemes and don’t listen to anyone else’s relatively ecologically benign designs. Mulga Mumblebrain says: January 5, 2013 at 10:10 pm We are already in the midst of the sixth great planetary extinction event. Paul Magnus says: January 5, 2013 at 8:47 pm Disaster ! http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/may/09/climate-change-wi-fi-connections Joan Savage says: January 5, 2013 at 9:19 pm I rather like those little tipping points that wake up folks. David B. Benson says: January 5, 2013 at 9:26 pm Somewhere on the web there are maps of Britain after 2, 5 and 10 meters of SLR. wili says: January 5, 2013 at 11:22 pm http://geology.com/sea-level-rise/ Not completely accurate, since some areas will flood much earlier and at much higher levels because of currents and other things, but a good first approximation. David B. Benson says: January 6, 2013 at 7:42 pm Thank you. prokaryotes says: January 6, 2013 at 2:45 am VIDEO NFO “I’m very disappointed [California] chose a half-baked system like cap-and-trade, with offsets,” said NASA climatologist James Hansen in a conversation with Climate One host Greg Dalton. He prefers a carbon fee and dividend and, in the absence of a strong carbon price, says the risks of reaching climatic tipping points that could bring catastrophic consequences rise. He also said people spreading disinformation about climate change “are smart enough to know what they are doing” and perhaps should be sued “for crimes against humanity.” Dr. Hansen is the recipient of the 2012 Stephen Schneider Award for Climate Science Communication, a $10,000 award in memory of the late great Stanford climate scientist and former member of the Climate One Advisory Council. James Hansen joins Climate One founder Greg Dalton to discuss recent wild weather, communicating climate change to the younger generation, climate change in politics, human fingerprints on Superstorm Sandy, and inspiring action. James Hansen, Head, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; Adjunct Professor, Columbia University’s Earth Institute; Author, Storms of My Grandchildren This program was recorded in front of a live audience at The Commonwealth Club in San Francisco on December 4, 2012 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YrlRk-bHxk jyyh says: January 6, 2013 at 6:23 am Didn’t see this annual report mentioned yet, don’t know whether to cry or laugh: http://jameswight.wordpress.com/2012/12/31/2012-in-review-year-the-world-snoozed/ Joe Romm says: January 6, 2013 at 10:14 am Great post! prokaryotes says: January 6, 2013 at 12:21 pm Radioactive waste dumped into rivers during decontamination work in Fukushima http://ajw.asahi.com/article/0311disaster/fukushima/AJ201301040058 prokaryotes says: January 6, 2013 at 12:22 pm GLOBAL WARMING NEWS JANUARY 2013 http://climatestate.com/item/global-warming-news-january-2013.html#comment-300 William P. Gloege says: January 7, 2013 at 3:56 am Looking at all the articles in CP and posts, we will certainly leave behind a careful record of how we watched and noted the decline of the planet. Doing anything about it? The record on that is empty. prokaryotes says: January 6, 2013 at 3:20 am This is a must watch guys! Watch it now! prokaryotes says: January 6, 2013 at 5:36 pm Slip Slidin’ Away – Ice sheets and sea level in a warming world http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=o4oMsfa_30Q#! Great speaker, Richard Alley at it! prokaryotes says: January 6, 2013 at 6:15 pm Basically grasp the idea of abrupt ice sheet disintegration, from ice shelfs in Antarctica which are 1 km high and fall into deep pockets of water and can raise SLR by 3 meters. Total destruction?