Global Warming...New Report...and it ain't happy news

Walter Hinteler
Reply Thu 7 Apr, 2022 11:36 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Methane in Earth’s atmosphere rose by record amount last year, US government data shows

Climate scientists say plugging methane leaks and phasing out fossil fuels are necessary to avert catastrophic global heating
Reply Fri 8 Apr, 2022 01:07 pm
@Walter Hinteler,
Until the bulk of the world is prepared to knuckle down and get serious about this, there really isn't a lot of point for those of us with tiny populations to do much.

China, India, USA, and Indonesia have the largest populations on the planet - what do you see them doing to mitigate the damage they've caused? I'm actually not really sure what the US is doing, but pretty sure the others are doing blankety-blank all. They are the ones who need a bloody wake up call.

I'm sick of hearing about climate change and the atmosphere and pollution and littering when we have bins for every sort of product, recycle damn near everything, use multi-use bags, don't buy water in plastic, etc., etc., and these other countries are blithely throwing **** out the windows and blatantly disregard their nasty contributions. And to boot, Canada is paying huge carbon taxes to offset our emissions - we are paying more for everybloodything these days. We are a meagre 38M people and are the 39th largest population.

End of rant.

Walter Hinteler
Reply Sun 10 Apr, 2022 09:06 am
As climate crisis allows new maritime routes to be used, sooty shipping emissions accelerates ice melt and risk to ecosystems.

‘Black carbon’ threat to Arctic as sea routes open up with global heating
When black carbon, or soot, lands on snow and ice, it dramatically speeds up melting. Dark snow and ice, by absorbing more energy, melts far faster than heat-reflecting white snow, creating a vicious circle of faster warming.

Environmentalists warn that the Arctic, which is warming four times faster than the global average, has seen an 85% rise in black carbon from ships between 2015 and 2019, mainly because of the increase in oil tankers and bulk carriers.

The particles, which exacerbate respiratory and cardiovascular illness in towns, are short-term but potent climate agents: they represent more than 20% of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions from ships, according to one estimate.

Yet unlike other transport sectors, including road, rail and inland waterways, where air-quality standards curb emissions, no regulations exist for shipping. Last November, the International Maritime Organization (IMO) adopted a resolution on the use of cleaner fuels in the Arctic to reduce black carbon, but left it as a voluntary move.
If all shipping using heavy fuel oil in the Arctic switched to cleaner distillate fuel, it would cut their black carbon emissions by 44%, the Alliance said. Heavy fuel oil or bunker fuel is a viscous, low-grade, cheap oil contaminated with substances including nitrogen and sulphur, which make it more polluting than distillate.

If all ships also installed diesel particulate filters, which reduce emissions by capturing and storing soot, black carbon could be cut by a further 90%.

However, others argue that the IMO’s 2021 ban on heavy fuel oils in the Arctic – a move aimed at reducing the risk of spillage and expected to come into effect in 2029 – will see a reduction in black carbon.

“The tide is swimming in the same direction already,” said Paul Blomerus, director of Clear Seas: Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping, an independent research institute in Canada funded by industry and government. “Many Canadian-flagged ships are moving towards distillate fuels, ahead of the IMO ban, which will have the added effect of reducing black carbon emissions.

“You could argue that the IMO only has a certain amount of bandwidth and we should concentrate on decarbonisation and how to get to net zero by 2050.”

He also noted the major role that Russia played in Arctic shipping. “Whether they would abide by the IMO’s regulation is anyone’s guess in the current circumstances,” he said.
0 Replies
Reply Sun 10 Apr, 2022 09:42 am
Until the bulk of the world is prepared to knuckle down and get serious about this, there really isn't a lot of point for those of us with tiny populations to do much

It's troubling, yes, but I still think it's better for small countries to step up to their responsibility. It reminds me of the "Global Pothole Problem" – Hardin is writing about overpopulation but his point can be applied to climate issues as well:

Karen Shragg wrote:
Though overpopulation is a global problem, it is experienced locally. As American ecologist Garrett Hardin pointed out so many years ago, growth happens locally and must be addressed where each of us lives. In Hardin’s essay, “The Global Pothole Problem,” he told a story that used a metaphor of potholes. They happen globally, but we must address them in our own neighborhoods, because that is where the rules are made and enforced.

Reply Sun 10 Apr, 2022 10:18 am
Yes, well, it's been ingrained in me (and many others) to do out bit, so I'll continue to do so. But... it does feel futile.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2022 05:11 am
A project to restore a 1,000-year-old network of water channels is helping farmers in the Sierra Nevada adapt to the effects of the climate crisis.

Spring time: why an ancient water system is being brought back to life in Spain
High in la Alpujarra, on the slopes of the majestic Sierra Nevada in Andalucía, the silence is broken only by the sound of a stream trickling through the snow. Except it is not a stream but an acequia, part of a network of thousands of kilometres of irrigation channels created by Muslim peasant farmers more than a thousand years ago.

The channel begins at an altitude of 1,800 metres (5,900ft) and, fed by the melting snow, for centuries supplied water to the village of Cáñar and beyond until it fell into disuse in the 1980s through the gradual depopulation of the area.

Now, it is flowing again thanks to a project devised by the laboratory of biocultural archaeology at the University of Granada and backed by local and European funding. With the help of volunteers, the MemoLab project is restoring the region’s extraordinary hydrological network at a time when the climate crisis is exposing Spain to prolonged periods of drought and intensive farming is putting extreme pressure on water supplies.

When Arabs and Berbers colonised Spain early in the eighth century, they brought techniques in water conservation acquired over centuries in the Middle East. “The Islamic agricultural revolution was the first green revolution. They brought together techniques and knowledge about water, soil, plants and also how snow behaves,” says José María Martín Civantos, an archaeology professor at the university and the driving force behind the project. “They transformed the way water is used in the Mediterranean.”

The techniques introduced by the Muslims allowed for more agricultural diversity, with crops such as sugar cane and citrus fruits introduced.

“Involving people in the creation of these irrigation systems was a way of assimilating the existing population, who could see the advantages,” adds Civantos.

Rain comes to the Mediterranean in brief, torrential bursts, with the result that most of the water is lost as it runs off into rivers and the sea. The genius of the acequia system is that by controlling the flow of the water, whether from rain or snowmelt, it reduces runoff, while at the same time allowing water to be absorbed into the land to replenish the aquifers in what is literally a trickle-down effect.

Civantos describes this as “sowing water”. Rather than diverting water towards specific crops, the idea is to “soak the mountain” so that water can be stored in aquifers to be used in times of drought.

“The basic requirement for the system to work is that the channel isn’t too permeable and has a gradient that maintains the correct flow of water. Then you need a community of people to maintain it,” says Sergio Martos-Rosillo, a geologist involved in the project.

“The system is efficient, the aquifers get replenished and no technology is required,” he says, adding that the revival of similar techniques is being explored in several Latin American countries, including Peru, and there is also interest from California where modern irrigation techniques have become unsustainable.

The system in Spain “has been in use for over 1,000 years, proving its adaptability”, Martos-Rosillo says. “It’s much more manageable and adaptable than building a dam and much more resistant to climate change.”

Cayetano Álvarez, president of the community of irrigators in Cáñar, is in no doubt about the impact the project has had on the village. “Everyone is obliged to maintain the channels on their land,” he says. “This project has made a big difference, but there are abandoned acequias in many other villages nearby.”

The system is integrated and if land is abandoned and channels left to clog up, the water cannot flow past the blockage. So every spring, the university and villages organise groups of volunteers to clear obstructions from the acequias.

“It is not just a matter of clearing away leaves and mud. We also consult with local people about how to lay the pieces of slate that line the acequias,” says José Antonio Palma García, who has been volunteering for five years.

“I feel good doing this work. I feel like I am giving something back to the earth. I also meet people I’d never normally meet – we’re like a big family.”

On the other side of the sierra lies the village of Alfacar, high above Granada, close to where it is widely believed fascists murdered the poet Federico García Lorca at the start of the civil war in 1936. It is also the site of a brick-walled pool of clear mountain water known as the teardrop spring.

“It’s called that because of its shape,” says Elena Correa Jiménez, a researcher on the project. “The spring is supplied from an aquifer and the acequia was created 1,100 years ago to supply water to Albaicín, the medina of Granada, 8km [five miles] away.”

MemoLab has restored much of the acequia and, although it doesn’t reach Albaicín, it now irrigates the university’s gardens.

Civantos says one of the challenges of the project was trying to recover collective knowledge that was never written down. Due to the Catholic reconquest of Islamic Spain and the expulsion of the Muslim population early in the 17th century, much of this knowledge was lost.

“People don’t think peasant farmers could devise anything this complex,” Civantos says. “The Romans built aqueducts and other waterworks but it was always for the glory of the state. This work was done so ordinary people could survive.

“Recovering this system involves recognising an important part of our heritage. Muslim Spain was primarily an agrarian society.

“You can’t understand the glory of Córdoba or Granada without understanding that what lay behind it was the wealth created by a form of agriculture that was much more advanced and productive than elsewhere in Europe.”
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Mon 11 Apr, 2022 01:38 pm
Rivers that supply Santiago with water are running low, forcing rotating cuts to different parts of the city

Chile announces unprecedented plan to ration water as drought enters 13th year
As a punishing, record-breaking drought enters its 13th year, Chile has announced an unprecedented plan to ration water for the capital of Santiago, a city of nearly 6 million.

“A city can’t live without water,” Claudio Orrego, the governor of the Santiago metropolitan region, said in a press conference. “And we’re in an unprecedented situation in Santiago’s 491-year history where we have to prepare for there to not be enough water for everyone who lives here.“

The plan features a four-tier alert system that goes from green to red and starts with public service announcements, moves on to restricting water pressure and ends with rotating water cuts of up to 24 hours for about 1.7 million customers.

The alert system is based on the capacity of the Maipo and Mapocho rivers, which supply the capital with most of its water and have seen dwindling water levels as the drought drags on.

The government estimates that the country’s water availability has dropped 10% to 37% over the last 30 years and could drop another 50% in northern and central Chile by 2060.

The water deficit in the rivers, measured in liters per second, will determine if cuts will take place every 12, six or four days. In each case, a different area would face water cuts each day.

“This is the first time in history that Santiago has a water rationing plan due to the severity of climate change,” Orrego said. “It’s important for citizens to understand that climate change is here to stay. It’s not just global, it’s local.“
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 13 Apr, 2022 08:16 am
Climate Change: Fear of the "false spring
The beginning of spring often brings with it bone-chilling cold - when polar cold air flows in from the Arctic. Some climate researchers assume that climate change favours such cold extremes: Because the Arctic is warming faster than the tropics, the temperature gradient between the two regions is decreasing. This could influence the jet stream, an undulating band of air in the northern hemisphere. In its indentations to the south, it pushes low-pressure areas in front of it; in those to the north, it carries high-pressure areas.

When it loses strength, however, weather patterns can sometimes settle in for weeks - as was the case recently. The waveband then expands strongly upwards and downwards, sometimes bringing cold air from the Arctic to Germany and sometimes Mediterranean warm air from the south. Climate researchers disagree, however, on whether climate change is actually leading to more such weather blockades.

What is less controversial is that global warming is causing nature to awaken earlier and earlier in the year. Today, the growing season begins two weeks earlier on average than 30 years ago. The last frosts in spring, on the other hand, stick reasonably to the old calendar. "Today it is almost as likely that a frost will come in April or May," says agricultural meteorologist Mathias Herbst of the German Weather Service (DWD). The earlier plants unfold and flower, the more likely they are to be exposed to frost, not only in April, but already in March. "This increases the risk of late frost damage."

Last year already showed a similar constellation - with an unusually warm end to winter and a cold spell in April. This caused great damage in Germany and even more so in France: attracted by the warm March days, vines and fruit trees formed blossoms and leaves, which then froze at the beginning of April. In wine-growing regions such as Burgundy or the Jura, vintners lost around two-thirds of their annual production. In total, an economic loss of around two billion euros was incurred; French politicians spoke of "probably the greatest disaster for agriculture since the beginning of the 21st century".

European climate researchers have calculated that plants will be exposed to such cold spells more frequently in the future because the growing season is brought forward. "The decisive factor is the warmth before the last frost," says ecologist Constantin Zohner from ETH Zurich. "This determines how much a plant has already been able to develop and how susceptible it is.
From "Süddeutsche Zeitung" (original report, in German)
0 Replies
Reply Thu 14 Apr, 2022 04:19 am
The world’s most ambitious climate goal is essentially out of reach

Why won't anyone admit it?

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change — the consortium of scientists responsible for summarizing the world’s climate knowledge and releasing it in roughly decadal, 3,000-plus-page installments — published its latest report on Monday, the findings were just as grim as usual. The report warned that greenhouse gas emissions are now higher than at any point in human history and continue to grow, despite countries’ weak efforts at diplomacy. Every year, nations spew 59 gigatons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. For the world to have even a sliver of a chance to meet its goals under the Paris Agreement, the scientists warned, emissions must peak no later than 2025 and then enter a precipitously steep decline.

But hidden on page 25 of the “Summary for Policymakers” was an even grimmer note: That even in the IPCC’s most optimistic models, the chances of holding global warming to less than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) — compared to the pre-industrial average — is only around 38 percent. In short, even if countries were to defy their history of delay and act heroically quickly to boost clean energy, the odds are that it won’t be enough. For all intents and purposes, the 1.5-degree threshold has already passed. We just don’t know it yet.

“The real message of the IPCC report is that 1.5 is now essentially a meaningless goal,” said David Victor, a professor of public policy at the University of California, San Diego and a former lead author for the IPCC. “And I think that’s been true for a long time.”

So how did the world end up with a 1.5-degree target in the first place? And if it’s now meaningless — why is everyone still talking about it?

The 1.5 degree goal was added into the Paris Agreement as a kind of afterthought. When nations gathered in France in 2015, they initially were aiming to keep global temperatures “well below 2 degrees Celsius.” But a group of nations led by the Republic of the Marshall Islands — a low-lying island nation at risk of being swallowed up by sea-level rise if the world warms by 2 degrees — formed a “High Ambition Coalition” which sought to enshrine a lower, more ambitious temperature target. Eventually, all 196 nations agreed: They would hold temperatures well below 2 degrees and “pursue efforts” to hold them to below 1.5 degrees. Even then, it was an aspirational goal: One writer referred to it as both “necessary and inaccessible.”

But three years later, the IPCC released a special report on the new target. Contrary to popular belief, it didn’t identify 1.5 degrees C as a magical threshold of warming, beyond which climate impacts would get much worse; but it did demonstrate, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that a world with 2 degrees of warming would be hotter, drier, and deadlier than one with 1.5 degrees. That extra half-degree, the report said, would mean the demise of coral reefs around the world, the end of many small-island nations, and millions more people exposed to extreme heat.
woman wearing mask looking at camera holding up her hands to show an eye drawn on her left palm and 1.5 written on her right palm in black marker

The report galvanized the world. It sparked Greta Thunberg’s school strike and the Britain-based protest movement known as the Extinction Rebellion. “1.5 to stay alive” — a motto first adopted by the Marshall Islands — became a regular refrain at climate protests and international negotiations alike.

In 2018, when the special report was released, holding warming to 1.5 degrees C — without any of what scientists delicately call “overshoot” — was barely possible. Today, after four more years of essentially constant emissions, the chances are slim to none. (As of 2020, the planet had already warmed by 1.2 degrees.)

“It doesn’t contradict the laws of chemistry and physics to get to 1.5 degrees,” said Oliver Geden, a lead author for the IPCC and a senior fellow at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs. “It just contradicts everything we know about how the world works.”

But even as the target fades into impossibility, scientists, journalists, and policymakers continue to treat it as a real, albeit shrinking, prospect. “‘It’s now or never’: World’s top climate scientists issue ultimatum on critical temperature limit” read one CNBC headline shortly after the new IPCC report was released. As 1.5 degrees has gotten less plausible, scientists and modelers — at the request of policymakers — have found new ways to keep it alive: creating models that involve removing more and more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, or projecting “overshoot” scenarios in which the world reaches 1.6, 1.7, or even 1.8 degrees of warming only to dip back down later.

Why does 1.5 degrees continue to attract so much fervor? Diplomatically, Victor said, the goal still retains “massive support.” Policymakers don’t want to admit defeat — and because the goal is global, the responsibility for reaching it doesn’t fall on any one particular country. If John Kerry, Biden’s chief international climate negotiator, were to announce that the goal should be abandoned, he would be skewered by small-island nations and developed nations alike. “Nobody can blink first,” Victor added.

Zeke Hausfather, a senior fellow at the Oakland-based Breakthrough Institute and the climate research lead at the payments company Stripe, adds that “there’s a lot of inertia in the system” around 1.5. “People don’t want to rain on the parade of everyone by saying that we don’t have a chance to achieve these most ambitious goals,” he added.

All this doesn’t mean that the 1.5-degree goal has been — or will be — useless. Far from it. It has galvanized climate activism and pushed countries to ratchet up their still-feeble climate plans. The ambitiousness of the goal has likely moved the Overton window, or the metaphorical window of what policies are considered acceptable to support. Now, previously impossible policies — like phasing out the use of natural gas or halting the construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure — seem not only possible but necessary.

Luckily for humanity, 1.5 degrees was never the end-all be-all of climate policy. Every tenth of a degree matters; every hundredth of a degree matters. Limiting warming to 1.6 degrees will be better than 1.7, which will be better than 1.8, which will in turn be much better than 2 degrees. Temperature goals are always arbitrary constructions, designed to give urgency and structure to the messy, complex, and socially difficult work of decarbonizing.

The IPCC now predicts that the world will pass 1.5 degrees in the early 2030s (depending on our emissions and a few other climate factors, it could happen even earlier). When that happens, there may be confusion, frustration, and despair. Small-island states will be teetering on the brink of destruction; heat waves in the Middle East and Africa will be lasting and intense. But the definitive loss of this target won’t mean that all is lost: It will just mean that, then as now, we need to cut emissions as quickly as possible.

“Somebody asked me, ‘What does it mean it’s “now or never”?’” Geden said. He paused. “When is the ‘now’ over?”

0 Replies
Reply Thu 14 Apr, 2022 05:56 am
It appears we're just going to have to live with it, as we are with Covid.

Here's an article outlining the largest emitting countries. USA leads with 24.5%, China's next with 13.9%.

0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Thu 14 Apr, 2022 06:34 am
Rightwing populist parties blight climate policy, study finds
Rightwing populist parties have a detrimental impact on climate policy, researchers have found for the first time, amid growing fears of a similar movement in the UK.

The study, by the universities of Sussex and Warwick, looked at the policy of more than 25 countries over a period of more than a decade. Researchers created a climate policy index and compared it with a baseline of a centre-right government. They found the combined effect of the presence of a rightwing populist party in parliament and in government was associated with a reduction in the index of about 25% on average.

But while rightwing populist parties had a negative impact on climate policy across the board, EU membership and proportional representation voting systems lessened the effect.

The study’s authors, Dr Matthew Lockwood and Dr Ben Lockwood, wrote: “These findings are consistent with our hypothesis that in countries with proportional representation, where rightwing populist parties enter government they will do so as typically junior coalition partners with limited numbers of cabinet seats and a tendency not to prioritise portfolios relevant to climate policy.

“By contrast, in countries with majoritarian electoral systems, when rightwing populist parties get into government, our finding is that they have a much greater influence on climate policy.”

Examples of rightwing populists reversing climate policies include Donald Trump, who pulled the US out of the Paris agreement and gave support for coal. In Australia, Tony Abbott repealed that country’s carbon price.

Matthew Lockwood, from the University of Sussex, said populist parties were a growing concern, owing to the cost of living crisis and the Russia-Ukraine war.

“The thing about rightwing populist parties is they tend to be very reactive to crisis,” he said. “In Europe, a lot of that has been on immigration, and in the UK it has been Brexit. And these issues have gone off the boil a bit so the people who were pushing for Brexit are now in the net zero scrutiny group. It’s the same people reacting to a crisis but now pushing against climate action.”

There are fears that the risk is greater in post-Brexit Britain if those who wish to delay climate action become a louder voice in government. Lockwood said: “The risk is bigger – Britain is outside the EU, we have the same sort of electoral system as places like Canada, Australia, [the] US. If a more climate-sceptic or hostile faction takes hold in the Conservative party, then that’s going to be a lot more damaging than if it happened to countries in Europe with proportional representation.”

However, he believes that the UK will not necessarily end up in a similar position to other countries with right-wing populist governments.

“There’s something about the history of the Conservative party that has made it more resistant to these views than the populists in Australia and US,” he said. “Look how many MPs are in the Conservative Environment Network – so I’m not saying it’s bound to happen, but we are at risk.”

Slipping back on climate – countries that have scrapped policies
- The Netherlands 2010 – the populist and climate-sceptic PVV party got its best ever electoral result and came in as a junior coalition partner in a centre-right led government. The scale and ambition of greenhouse gas emissions reduction and renewable energy targets set by the previous government were reduced, and a coal phaseout remained off the agenda.
- Norway 2013 – the populist Progress party entered a minority government. Previous centre-left coalition governments had had ambitious climate policy, but again targets for emissions reduction and renewables were reduced. The Progress party took over the ministry of petroleum and energy and issued new drilling licences for oil, including in the Arctic for the first time.
- Denmark 2015 – the centre-right Venstre party formed a minority government that had informal support from the populist Danish Peoples’ party, which got 21% of the vote, its best ever share. There was backsliding on emissions reduction and renewables targets, and the goal of phasing out coal set by the previous government was dropped.
- Poland 2015 – the populist PiS took power as the largest party in a coalition government. In its first term it was hostile to renewables, blocking onshore wind and opposing expansion of renewable energy targets at the EU level. It also blocked the 2050 carbon neutrality goal in the European Council. However, from 2019 the party changed position on renewables.
- Austria 2017 – the populist FPÖ came in as a junior partner in a centre-right led government. The FPÖ had little impact in the end but voted against Austria joining the Paris Agreement and against parliament declaring a climate emergency in 2019.
Walter Hinteler
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2022 06:52 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Tory MP Steve Baker shares paper denying climate crisis
A Conservative MP has shared a scientific paper that says the climate emergency is not happening.

Steve Baker, the MP for Wycombe and a leading member of the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, shared the report, produced by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), on his Twitter feed.

He and the Net Zero Scrutiny Group, comprising about 20 Tory MPs, have previously said they do not deny the science around climate change but merely disagree with the costs involved in some of the methods proposed to reach net zero.

When asked if he agreed with the report, Baker said: “I am clear that questions of climate science should be handled scientifically. The last thing we need is politicians and activists twisting the science to their particular ends.” {...]

The non-peer-reviewed paper is authored by a retired scientist, Ole Humlum, a former professor at the University of Oslo.

He has repeatedly claimed that rather than human impact, it is the sun and moon’s influence on Earth that explains most of the historical and current climate change. In 2013 he predicted that the climate would most likely become colder in the next 10 to 15 years.

In the new report he claims that only “gentle warming” has happened and that there is not a climate crisis.

Humlum said: “A year ago, I warned that there was great risk in using computer modelling and immature science to make extraordinary claims. The empirical observations I have reviewed show very gentle warming and no evidence of a climate crisis.”

The GWPF director, Dr Benny Peiser, said: “It’s extraordinary that anyone should think there is a climate crisis. Year after year our annual assessment of climate trends document just how little has been changing in the last 30 years. The habitual climate alarmism is mainly driven by scientists’ computer modelling rather than observational evidence.”

Baker is a trustee of the GWPF, and the group of Tories have used its research to make their arguments previously.
Dr Ken Rice, an astrophysics professor at the University of Edinburgh, said of the GWPF report: “One of the most bizarre things about this is that they still can’t acknowledge that the rise in atmospheric CO2 is entirely anthropogenic. I had thought we’d moved beyond that. Clearly not.”
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2022 07:15 am
@Walter Hinteler,
Well, that's really encouraging! I guess we can put this thread to bed.
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Fri 15 Apr, 2022 10:31 pm
Key UN finding widely misinterpreted
A key finding in the latest IPCC climate report has been widely misinterpreted, according to scientists involved in the study.

In the document, researchers wrote that greenhouse gases are projected to peak "at the latest before 2025".

This implies that carbon could increase for another three years and the world could still avoid dangerous warming.

But scientists say that's incorrect and that emissions need to fall immediately.


"When you read the text as it's laid out, it does give the impression that you've got to 2025 which I think is a very unfortunate outcome," said Glen Peters, from the Centre for International Climate Research in Oslo, and an IPCC lead author.

"It's an unfortunate choice of wording. That is, unfortunately, going to potentially have some rather negative consequences."

So what went wrong?

It's partly because the climate models that scientists use to project temperatures work in five-year blocs, so 2025 follows 2020 for example, without reference to the years in between.

"Because models work on 5-year increments, we can't derive statements with higher precision," said Dr Joeri Rogelj, from Imperial College London, and an IPCC lead author.

"But when you look at the scientific data supporting this headline, it becomes immediately clear that any scenario in line with 1.5C drops emissions from 2020 to 2025. Even for scenarios that limit warming to 2C this is also the case."

Another issue was timing.

Covid delayed the mitigation report by about a year but the information used came from models that projected peaking, by and large, in 2020.

"The headline statement couldn't say emissions should have peaked already, and the governments wouldn't allow the report to say emissions should have peaked in 2020," said Dr Edward Byers, an IPCC contributing author from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis.

This led to a lengthy debate during the two-week long approval session between the scientists and government officials over the exact words to use.

"There were many discussions about whether words such as "now" or "immediately" can be used," said Dr Byers.

"Some parties or people had concerns that that this would soon be out of date. And if the report was read in the future then "immediately" doesn't mean anything."

"I don't personally agree with that so I think 'immediately' would have been the best word to use."

A major challenge in communicating complex messages about climate change is that the more simplified media reports of these events often have more influence than the science itself.

This worries observers who argue that giving countries the impression that emissions can continue to grow until 2025 would be a disaster for the world.

"We definitely don't have the luxury of letting emissions grow for yet another three years," said Kaisa Kosonen from Greenpeace.

"We have eight years to nearly halve global emissions. That's an enormous task, but still doable, as the IPCC has just reminded us - but if people now start chasing emissions peak by 2025 as some kind of benchmark, we don't have a chance."
0 Replies
Reply Sun 17 Apr, 2022 05:40 am
They derailed climate action for a decade. And bragged about it.

New research sheds light on the Global Climate Coalition’s efforts to block legislation.

In 1989, just as leaders around the world were starting to think seriously about tackling global warming, the National Association of Manufacturers assembled a group of corporations — utilities, oil companies, automakers, and more — united by one thing: They wanted to stop climate action. It was called, in Orwellian fashion, the Global Climate Coalition.

With 79 members at its height in 1991, the coalition helped lay the groundwork for efforts to delay action on climate change for decades to come. It would not just deny the science, but also argue that shifting away from fossil fuels would hurt the economy and the American way of life. The coalition lobbied key politicians, developed a robust public relations campaign, and gave industry a voice in international climate negotiations, all to derail efforts to limit carbon emissions. Its arguments were so successful that they’re still employed today, or, more perniciously, simply taken for granted.

“This was all developed in the 1990s, and we can prove it,” said Robert Brulle, a sociologist at Brown University. In a new paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Politics, Brulle details the untold history of corporate America’s earliest efforts to block climate legislation, supported by recently uncovered documents.

Based on conversations with lawyers, Brulle believes his report could be helpful in lawsuits to hold corporations responsible for heating up the planet. “It would be used to basically document that this has been a long-term, corporate objective and that they should be held liable for the damages — that their political actions resulted in the fact that we didn’t deal with climate change,” he said.

Before the Global Climate Coalition formed in 1989, chemical companies had been ordered to phase out substances that were damaging the ozone layer under the Montreal Protocol, signed by the United States in 1987. They hoped to avoid a repeat with carbon dioxide. In the summer of 1988, James Hansen, then the NASA Administrator, had testified before Congress, raising the alarm that the “greenhouse effect” was already having discernible effects, with much worse to come.

The Global Climate Coalition wasn’t the only organization trying to thwart climate action in the late 1980s. There was the similarly named Global Climate Council and the International Petroleum Industry Environmental Conservation Association led by Exxon — but it was the first and largest to do so. The coalition included oil giants like Shell and Chevron as well as other companies that had a stake in keeping fossil fuels alive, such as the railroads that transported coal and the steelmakers that used it in production. Utilities like Duke Power Company were heavily dependent on coal and made up the biggest share of members. General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler manufactured internal combustion engines that ran on petroleum, so they joined the coalition, too. The roster also included the National Mining Association, Dow Chemical Company, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

A newly unearthed, undated document from E. Bruce Harrison — a public relations expert who helped the coalition tailor its messages to avoid environmental regulations — describes how the Global Climate Coalition’s “aggressive campaign” influenced the debate and watered down policies. Brulle calls it a “brag sheet.”

“GCC has successfully turned the tide on press coverage of global climate change science, effectively countering the ecocatastrophe message and asserting the lack of scientific consensus on global warming,” Harrison wrote.

He claimed that the coalition had “actively influenced” congressional debates over carbon taxes to avoid “strict energy taxes,” and had affected the Clinton administration’s decision “to rely on voluntary (rather than mandatory) measures” to reduce emissions in its 1993 National Action Plan, required under an international climate treaty hashed out in Rio de Janeiro the year before. The Global Climate Coalition had influenced the Rio treaty, too — a National Association of Manufacturers business activity report in 1992 congratulated itself on a “strong and effective presence” during the Rio negotiations and celebrated that the final product did not include binding emissions reductions.

The new documents show how close the international community came to regulating carbon emissions. At the first Conference of Parties in Berlin in 1995, for instance, world leaders agreed to institute mandatory emissions requirements in two years. Corporations saw this as an impending disaster. “Dozens of UN agencies, international organizations and environmental special interest groups are driving events — regardless of economic costs and remaining scientific uncertainties — toward a conclusion that is inimical to the interests of the GCC and the U.S. economy,” read the coalition’s communications plan for 1994-1995.

In 1997, the coalition worked with Senators Robert Byrd, a Democrat from West Virginia, and Chuck Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska, to pass an amendment setting strict criteria for an international climate accord. The Senate unanimously supported the resolution, which stipulated that any agreement would need to include emissions reductions from developing countries (a nonstarter for international negotiations) and could not cause serious harm to the U.S. economy. It was essentially a rejection of the Kyoto Protocol, which would have required countries to cut carbon emissions to 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. The treaty was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1997, but the Senate refused to ratify it, and President George W. Bush withdrew from the accord after he took office in 2001.

A few months later, White House staff met with the Global Climate Coalition and congratulated the corporate group. “POTUS rejected Kyoto, in part, based on input from you,” said the talking points prepared for Paula Dobriansky, at the time the Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs and the lead negotiator on U.S. climate policy. Its mission accomplished, the Global Climate Coalition disbanded in 2002.

“This is a really skillfully executed public relations and influence campaign that ran a good 12 years, and it achieved enormous success,” Brulle said. “And it set a template for how to do this, and how to win, on climate change.” The coalition accomplished all this on a budget of between $500,000 and $2 million a year.

Part of the strategy was to emphasize the economic cost of acting on climate change without the broader context. In 1989, the first year of its existence, the Global Climate Coalition commissioned an economic analysis that calculated that cutting carbon emissions 20 percent within a decade would push up Americans’ power bills by 15 percent. It was the start of a tried-and-true approach to blocking restrictions on carbon emissions by exaggerating upfront costs: a calculus that ignores the health benefits, as well as the long-term savings of not turning the planet into an oven.

Similar arguments are still stalling climate legislation today. Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, a Democrat, has said he can’t support Build Back Better, President Joe Biden’s package of climate and social policy programs because of the trillion-dollar sticker price. This narrow kind of economic analysis of costs and benefits has become the dominant way politicians assess climate policy. “Only now are we starting to show its historical basis as a kind of a rhetoric to counter environmentalism,” Brulle said.

The Global Climate Coalition was also an early adopter of what has been called the “China excuse” — the idea that the United States, the world’s largest historic emitter of carbon dioxide, shouldn’t cut emissions unless developing countries like China and India did too. The coalition used this argument as far back as 1990, when it argued during a congressional testimony that any global agreement should require developing countries to reduce emissions.

Another element of the Global Climate Coalition’s messaging strategy was to paint fossil fuels as a symbol of abundance, integral to the American way of life. While the coalition was working to derail the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, it put out an advertisement with a large photo of smiling children alongside the line “Don’t risk our economic future.” It warned that signing the global agreement “would force American families to restrict our use of the oil, gasoline, and electricity — that heats and cools homes and schools, gets us to our jobs, and runs our factories and businesses.”

It’s similar to a recent ad from Energy Transfer Partners, the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline. The commercial follows two people getting ready for a date and meeting outside a bar — and then rewinds the whole thing, missing key elements. “That connection was brought to you by petroleum products,” a man says. “But what if we lived in a world without oil and natural gas?” With a poof, hair gel disappears, contacts fade away, and the frame of the car hits the cement without its tires. On the game playing on a screen behind the couple in the restaurant, the football vanishes a second before getting kicked.

Such advertisements could be considered the legacy of the Global Climate Coalition. “When you look at the propaganda and the amount of studies that they put in, yeah, they attack science,” Brulle said, “but I think they did a lot more talking about the economic impacts and the threats to the American way of life that all of this represented.”

0 Replies
Reply Wed 20 Apr, 2022 09:42 am
Methane Feedback Loop Beyond Humans' Ability to Control May Have Begun—NOAA

A methane feedback loop that is beyond humans' ability to control may have begun, scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have said.

Methane is a powerful greenhouse gas emitted into the atmosphere from both human activities and natural processes. It is the second biggest contributor to climate change after carbon dioxide.

According to the NOAA, methane is 25 times more powerful at trapping heat in the atmosphere compared to carbon dioxide. While it remains in the atmosphere for a much shorter time than carbon dioxide, it has a huge impact on the rate of climate change.

Research published by the NOAA now shows that 2021 saw the largest annual increase in atmospheric methane levels since measurements began in 1983.

Xin Lan, a research scientist at the NOAA, told Newsweek that after 2006, the majority of methane emissions produced were caused by natural wetlands and man-made emissions. Natural wetlands produce methane when organic matter decays , while and man-made emissions are caused by livestock, waste and landfills.

It is difficult for scientists to determine which emissions come from which source. However, natural methane production is accelerated by rain and varying temperatures, which climate change is already causing.

Lan said that because the Earth's climate is already warming the methane produced from natural wetlands is only set to increase. This signals the beginning of a feedback loop—an ongoing cycle that cannot be broken.

"From natural processes, we know that wetland methane emissions are sensitive to change in precipitation and temperature," she said. "Methane production from microbes increases with increases in global temperature which is driven by long-term greenhouse gas emissions. More atmospheric methane, in turn, can further warm up the earth. That's the feedback loop we are referring to."

In a statement, the NOAA said this loop could be beyond humans capabilities to control

Lan said that in 2020 and 2021 the Earth was in a 'La Nina' phase—a period when the ocean surface cools, subsequently causing lower temperatures: "We typically see more rainfall over terrestrial tropics i.e. larger wetland areas during La Nina year. We know that 2021 is the warmest La Nina year on record. That's why we are concerned about the possibility of climate feedback.

"Unfortunately, we may not be able to know for sure that it is climate feedback because of the limitations on current observational capability on wetland methane emissions."

However, Lan said that if there is climate feedback happening, it means the long-term warming in global temperatures has already contributed to more greenhouse gas emissions.

"That would be an extra challenge for us in combating the impact of climate change," Lan said. "Reducing fossil methane emission is a straightforward approach to slow-down to revert the growing trend in atmospheric methane. But given the longevity of CO2 in the atmosphere and the much larger fossil CO2 emissions, we should also take immediate actions to reduce fossil CO2 emissions. Unfortunately, it is difficult to understand and control natural methane emissions."

While it is hard for scientists to differentiate which emissions come naturally, they estimate that about 30 percent of methane emissions are caused by fossil fuel production. These emissions tend to be easier to control with technology, the NOAA said in a statement.

"It's going to take a lot of hard work to reverse these trends, and clearly that's not happening," Ariel Stein, director of the NOAA's Global Monitoring Laboratory, said in a statement. "So it is crucial that we continue to sustain integrated and robust monitoring and verification systems to help assess the current state of the atmospheric greenhouse gas burden, as well as determine the effectiveness of future greenhouse gas emission reduction measures."

0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2022 06:14 am
Crops are already seeing losses from heat and drought. Can genetic diversity – a return to foods’ origins – help combat the climate challenges ahead?

Five charts that show why our food is not ready for the climate crisis
The industrialization of agriculture in the last century boosted production around the world – but that success also made our food systems much more vulnerable to the growing climate crisis.

Modern agriculture depends on high-yield monocrops from a narrow genetic base that needs lots of fertilisers, chemicals and irrigation.

But why does this matter?

The industrialization of agriculture in the last century boosted production around the world – but that success also made our food systems much more vulnerable to the growing climate crisis.

Modern agriculture depends on high-yield monocrops from a narrow genetic base that needs lots of fertilisers, chemicals and irrigation.

But why does this matter?
... ... ... ... ... ...

Walter Hinteler
Reply Fri 22 Apr, 2022 11:09 am
@Walter Hinteler,
The European earth observation programme Copernicus has presented its climate status report for 2021. According to the report, the summer was hotter than ever and extreme weather conditions are on the rise.

The summer of 2021 was hotter in Europe than any summer since weather records began, namely one degree warmer than the average summer between 1990 and 2020. The Mediterranean region in particular suffered from extreme heat.

The seas in particular were unusually warm. The surface temperature of the Baltic Sea, for example, was 5 degrees above average in June and July. The eastern Mediterranean was also unusually warm.
The high sea temperatures caused large masses of water to rise into the atmosphere. They thus contributed to the record rainfall in western Germany, Belgium and eastern France and the flood disaster in July.

Europe experienced its warmest summer on record in 2021, accompanied by severe floods in western Europe and dry conditions in the Mediterranean
The last seven years were the warmest on record, with 2021 ranking between 5th and 7th warmest[1]
Greenhouse gas concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), and particularly methane (CH4), continued to rise during 2021, by around 2.3 ppm and 16.5 ppb, respectively

In Europe:
Europe experienced its warmest summer on record, at 1.0°C above the 1991-2020 average[2]
Record rainfall contributed to severe flooding in western Europe
Annual sea surface temperatures (SST) in large areas of the Baltic and eastern Mediterranean Seas were the highest since at least 1993. In June and July, SSTs in parts of the Baltic were more than 5°C above average.
0 Replies
Reply Sat 23 Apr, 2022 02:01 am
@Walter Hinteler,
0 Replies
Walter Hinteler
Reply Thu 28 Apr, 2022 12:48 am
Winters are long and cold, but summer temperatures in the high 20s [Celsius]are now being recorded.
How the climate crisis is changing Greenland’s weather
Despite its name, Greenland is mostly a land of snow and ice, with four-fifths of the country covered by an ice sheet. Yet its northernmost point, Peary Land (named after the explorer Robert Peary, widely credited as being the first person to reach the north pole), is actually ice free, because the air is so dry that snow does not fall there, making it a polar desert.

As the world’s largest island, with a land area of more than 2m sq km, Greenland stretches over 34 degrees of latitude, from 83 degrees north to 60 degrees north – roughly level with the Shetland Islands.

Three-quarters of Greenland lies within the Arctic Circle, so the summers are brief and cool, while the winters are long and very cold. The town of Qaanaaq (also known as Thule) is one of the most northerly in the world, with average temperatures of just 5Cin July, plummeting to -25Cin February. Farther south, in the capital, Nuuk, temperatures are a few degrees higher.

Greenland holds the unenviable record of the lowest temperature ever recorded in the northern hemisphere. In December 1991, near the summit of the Greenland ice sheet, it fell to -69.6C. But with the onset of the climate crisis, summer temperatures in the high 20s are now being recorded; an ominous sign for the future.
0 Replies

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