Category: Climate

Tony Abbott dares us to reject evidence on climate, but reveals a coward | Graham Readfearn | Environment | The Guardian

The former Australian prime minister’s misleading speech to a London thinktank was full of climate denial mythology

Source: Tony Abbott dares us to reject evidence on climate, but reveals a coward | Graham Readfearn | Environment | The Guardian

BOM: Australia’s hottest winter on record, maximum temperatures up nearly 2C on the long-term average – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Australia hits a record winter average maximum daily temperature.

Source: BOM: Australia’s hottest winter on record, maximum temperatures up nearly 2C on the long-term average – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

California Defies Trump, Announces Pact With Germany To Uphold Paris Agreement | IFLScience

The fact that California is signing climate agreements with other nations while simultaneously doubling down on its efforts to perfect its already booming clean energy industries is nothing less than enormously significant. It sets a shining example for the rest of the country, especially the fledgling Climate Alliance – a coalition of states keeping to the Paris agreement – that it co-founded.Secondly, Germany is proving time and time again that it is determined to be an internationalist nation that pushes back against dangerous populism and navel-gazing. It wants to play its part in the Paris agreement – and most importantly, it wants to ensure the rest of the EU fulfills their commitments too.

Source: California Defies Trump, Announces Pact With Germany To Uphold Paris Agreement | IFLScience

Solar hits big, brief milestone in California – SFGate

The administration used data from the California Independent System Operator, which manages the electricity grid across 80 percent of the state and part of Nevada. Between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on March 11, almost 40 percent of the electricity flowing across the ISO grid came from large-scale solar power plants, a record. […] homes and businesses in the area served by the ISO grid now have enough rooftop solar panels of their own to generate up to 5.4 gigawatts of electricity. Factor in the electricity they produced for their owners on March 11, and solar met half of the overall electricity demand in the middle of the day, the administration estimates. Add in electricity generated by wind farms, geothermal plants, biomass plants and small hydroelectric dams, and together, renewable sources briefly accounted for 56.7 percent of all power on the grid on March 23, said ISO spokesman Steven Greenlee. The surge in renewable power, while a key part of California’s fight against climate change, does create its own set of problems. Plants burning fossil fuels use that heat to generate steam, which then runs through a turbine to produce electricity. The flood of midday solar power has even caused wholesale electricity prices in California to periodically drop below $0 per megawatt-hour. In the long term, many analysts say California will need affordable large-scale energy storage technologies to meet its 50 percent renewable energy target.

Source: Solar hits big, brief milestone in California – SFGate

Earth’s oceans are warming 13% faster than thought, and accelerating | John Abraham | Environment | The Guardian

John Abraham: Our new study improves estimates of the rate of ocean warming – a critical component of climate change

Source: Earth’s oceans are warming 13% faster than thought, and accelerating | John Abraham | Environment | The Guardian

Climate Institute to shut down, citing lack of funds for independent research | Environment | The Guardian

Chairman says cost of inaction on climate change is clear and issue shouldn’t be used to fight ‘political and ideological battles’

Source: Climate Institute to shut down, citing lack of funds for independent research | Environment | The Guardian

United states of denial: forces behind Trump have run Australia’s climate policy for years | Graham Readfearn | Environment | The Guardian

For more than a decade, Australia has been held back by climate science denial and an antipathy towards environmentalism

Source: United states of denial: forces behind Trump have run Australia’s climate policy for years | Graham Readfearn | Environment | The Guardian

Northern Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching damage worse, surveys suggest

Fresh surveys of the Great Barrier Reef six months on from a mass coral bleaching have found large-scale damage north of Cairns, where a growing coral death rate due to heat stress is being exacerbated by disease and predators, scientists say.

Source: Northern Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching damage worse, surveys suggest

‘Disaster capitalism’: Why Haitians prefer local NGOs over American Red Cross — RT News

Hurricane Matthew has left hundreds dead in Haiti and thousands in need of immediate relief. However, Haitians have not been making calls for American Red Cross donations. Former Haiti development worker France Francois explained why to RT.

Source: ‘Disaster capitalism’: Why Haitians prefer local NGOs over American Red Cross — RT News

Endless Summer: First Half Of 2016 Hottest On Record – New Matilda

There has never been a hotter time to be alive than today. Carbon dioxide levels have crossed the threshold of 400 parts per million. They’re the highest they’ve been in over 650,000 years and as a result, 15 of the 16 hottest years on NASA’s 136 year record have occurred in the 21st century. As theMore

Source: Endless Summer: First Half Of 2016 Hottest On Record – New Matilda

March temperatures sets record as hottest ever, Bureau of Meteorology says – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

The hot start to 2016 continued into March with statistics released by the BoM showing the warm weather set new records.

Source: March temperatures sets record as hottest ever, Bureau of Meteorology says – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

There’s a Heat Wave Going on in the North Pole — And That’s Not Good News | VICE News

A storm system is sweeping through the Arctic, bringing spring-like warmth to the pole and strong storms to the United Kingdom, which is causing heavy flooding.

Source: There’s a Heat Wave Going on in the North Pole — And That’s Not Good News | VICE News

Climate summit held by business and green groups to end six-year policy war | Environment | The Guardian

Exclusive: mirroring the Turnbull government’s tax debate with all options ‘on the table’, six different climate policies are canvassed at closed-door summit

Source: Climate summit held by business and green groups to end six-year policy war | Environment | The Guardian

India Tipped To Exceed Paris Climate Targets | newmatilda.com

New analysis from the Climate Action Tracker group has found that India, now the world’s third largest emitter of carbon, is likely to easily outstrip the pledge it made ahead of a key United Nations summit in December this year.As a fast-growing source of emissions, India’s progress on cutting carbon will be increasingly vital in coming decades if the world is to achieve its aim of limiting the rise in average global temperatures to two degrees or less.

Source: India Tipped To Exceed Paris Climate Targets | newmatilda.com

Records broken as temperatures soar up to 38 degrees across Australia | Australia news | The Guardian

Victoria and South Australia both had records for the hottest ever starts to October while in Sydney the temperature reached 37 degrees

Source: Records broken as temperatures soar up to 38 degrees across Australia | Australia news | The Guardian

Dire Climate Warning Raises Questions, Not Answers

NASA’s former climate chief has issued a stark new study that finds that the world’s current climate goal could be inadequate and may not prevent catastrophic losses from rising seas, ocean temperatures and changes in global weather. But the extreme nature of his projections has some scientists questioning the methods he used and the results he reached.

Global leaders and scientists have agreed that keeping global warming to within 2°C of pre-industrial temperatures represents a safe level of climate change. The new findings, published as a paper in the discussion forum of the European Geoscience Union’s Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics journal, indicate something else. They show that 2°C of warming could lead to runaway ice melt at the poles, causing sea level rise and ocean circulation changes by 2100 that are much more extreme than most current projections.

A glacier in southern Greenland. Ice melt there and in the Antarctic is a prime sea level rise concern, though the rate of melt and corresponding sea level rise are still being researched.
Credit: NASA Earth Observatory

The new study says that limiting warming to 2°C “does not provide safety, as such warming would likely yield sea level rise of several meters along with numerous other severely disruptive consequences for human society and ecosystems.”

The research was lead by James Hansen, the former head of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and current Columbia University faculty. Hansen rose to prominence for his research and Congressional testimony in 1988 about the role of carbon dioxide and other human greenhouse gas emissions in causing the global temperature to rise. He has advocated for keeping atmospheric carbon dioxide around 350 parts per million (ppm) to avoid dangerous climate change. They recently passed the 400 ppm milestone globally.

The paper uses paleoclimate data and modeling to show that if ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica continue to double their melt rates every 10 years as they currently are, sea levels could rise up to 16 feet as soon as 2100.

A sudden influx of fresh, cold water to oceans around Antarctica and Greenland could have other notable impacts. The study argues that it could slow down ocean conveyor belts that shuttle water around the world’s oceans and alter air temperatures and storm tracks. Most provocatively, the study indicates it could cause cooling over the southern third of the globe as well as parts of the northern Atlantic and Europe and slow warming in other parts of the globe.

The changes the study outlines are dramatic and much more alarming than the upper limits most scientists have outlined as possible if human greenhouse gas emissions continue on their current trends. The upper level of sea level rise projections from the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report indicates a rise of 4 feet by 2100 is possible. There is some evidence the West Antarctic Ice Sheet — which contains enough ice to raise seas by 13 feet — has entered collapse, but it’s unlikely to completely melt away by century’s end.

“I agree with the overall magnitude of sea level rise that they are interpreting for the last interglacial,” Andrea Dutton, a geochemist at the University of Florida, said. “What does not come across in this paper is that there is still debate regarding the timing of ice-sheet collapse during this warm period.”

Dutton led research published last week in Science showing that sea levels rose by 20-30 feet about 125,000 years ago, the same period analyzed in the new Hansen study. She is working with a group of scientists to get a better handle on how fast ice melted then as well as during other periods of rapid sea level rise in the past 3 million years.

“Setting the rates can be a challenge, but we’re starting to develop tools and techniques to understand them,” she said.

Sea level rise threatens large coastal cities like Shanghai.
Credit: Mike Behnken/Flickr

Likewise, there is some indication that ocean circulation is already slowing in the North Atlantic due to Greenland’s current melt. But the new findings might overstate its impact on air temperatures and the chances of ever-increasing melt rates in Greenland, according to Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Penn State who authored a paper on the topic early this year.

“Their scenario assumes exponentially increasing meltwater over time, which may not be realistic,” he said. “Moreover, it is based on the use of a low-resolution ocean model which does not resolve key real-world ocean currents like the Gulf Stream. In the real world, such current systems play a key role in transporting heat to higher latitudes, and make it much more difficult to cool off the extratropics simply by a slowdown/collapse of the ‘conveyor belt.’ ”

The journal the findings are published in is an “interactive journal,” meaning that an editor has approved the paper for discussion, but it will go through peer review in the public eye. Hansen said the reason for publishing this way rather than wending through the peer review process was to make the findings available to the public and policymakers ahead of the Paris climate talks this December.

“The situation is more urgent than many politicians seem to realize and we’ve made the scientific story clearer,” Hansen said.

What may end up becoming clearer is the peer review process, however. The discussion of the paper will unfold in front of the public and could result in major revisions to the paper before it is officially accepted for publication. This could well be a standard for the future of science publishing, though Mann questioned the idea of shining such a bright light on the results before they have been through the peer review process.

In its current form, the paper stands as an outlier for the scope and severity of the changes global warming could bring, making it an unlikely candidate to influence policy discussions. Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said the paper is ill-suited for that kind of use, anyway.

“The new Hansen et al. study is provocative and intriguing but rife with speculation and ‘what if’ scenarios,” he said. “It has many conjectures and huge extrapolations based on quite flimsy evidence but evidence nonetheless. In that regard it raises good questions and topics worthy of further exploration, but it is not a document that can be used for setting policy for anthropogenic climate change, although it pretends to be so.”

The search for the clean coal holy grail – Background Briefing – Abbott presumes he has time to be Finance Director of CEFC and Program Director at the ABC he has time on his hands.

The Hazelwood power station in Victoria

The search for the clean coal holy grail – Background Briefing – ABC Radio National (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).