change you can believe in!

Siestas will become an increasingly common part of British life as summers get hotter and drier due to climate change, a leading authority on the health hazards of heat has predicted.

Prof Bill Keatinge, from University College London, yesterday predicted that Continental-style after-lunch naps would become increasingly common in Britain. “An increase of only 8C in body temperature will kill,” he said. “One simple countermeasure is to avoid exertion. You see this in southern Europe where people take siestas.”
The Telegraph (UK), 13 Aug 2005

But I thought the heat went…

“The apparent paradox relationship between rising temperatures in the atmosphere and declining sea surface temperatures can be explained easily,”said Dr Helen McGregor of the MARUM Research Centre Ocean Margins at the University of Bremen in Germany.

“Both the increasing wind and rotation of the Earth cause coastal surface waters to be transported to the open ocean. These water masses are then replaced by considerably cooler water being upwelled from deeper oceanic levels.The stronger the greenhouse effect the stronger the cold water pump works – and the cooler the coastal waters off Morocco.”
The Telegraph (UK), 5 Feb 2007

it’s all in the timing

U.N. Panel Issues Its Starkest Warning Yet on Global Warming.

Failure to reduce emissions, the group of scientists and other experts found, could threaten society with food shortages, refugee crises, the flooding of major cities and entire island nations, mass extinction of plants and animals, and a climate so drastically altered it might become dangerous for people to work or play outside during the hottest times of the year.

The new report comes just a month before international delegates convene in Lima, Peru, to devise a new global agreement to limit emissions, and it makes clear the urgency of their task.
New York Times, 2 Nov 2014

crocodiles more choosy than previously thought!

Australia’s saltwater crocodiles appear to be in hot water, with a University of Queensland study linking climate warming to shorter dives, putting the crocs’ survival at risk.

Professor Craig Franklin of the UQ School of Biological Sciences said saltwater crocodiles exposed to long-term elevated water temperature spent less time submerged once water temperature exceeded 31.5 degrees Celsius.

Professor Franklin said further research on other crocodile performance traits that could influence the ability to survive future climate change was needed before scientists could fully understand the effects of elevated water temperatures.University of Queensland News, 16 Dec 2015

thanks to ddh

new planet!

new_planetOur children and grandchildren will live on a “fundamentally different planet” by the end of this century unless people all over the world convince their governments and industries to stop global warming, warned Dr Michael Mann, one of the nation’s leading experts on climate change.

How will the Earth be different in just 87 years? Mann predicted record heat waves, record crop destroying droughts, recrd wildfires – and not just in the West. Expanding deserts, storms producing more floodng, rising ocean levels, And more diseases because fewer frosts will kill disease carrying mosquitoes and ticks.
WFMZ-TV News, 1 May 2013. “Dr Mann warns global warming will create a fundamentally different planet”

Arctic sea ice – 2013

north_pole_groupWalt Meier, research scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Centre at the University of Colorado where the research was carried out, said global warming had caused the ice to retreat dramatically in the last two decades.

The six lowest recordings of sea ice cover were all recorded in the last six years. He said thinner sea ice is less likely to survive the summer and predicted the Arctic Ocean will be effectively ice free sometime between 2020 and 2040, although it is possible it could happen as early as 2013.
The Telegraph (UK), 7 Apr 2009

sea planes needed!

seaplaneCalifornia will face billions of dollars in spending to cope with the consequences of rising sea levels if low-lying communities along the coast are ultimately submerged, as scientists predict, Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday..

“If that happens, the Los Angeles airport’s going to be underwater,” Brown told reporters at a presentation of his revised state budget proposal in Los Angeles. “So is the San Francisco airport.” LA Times, 13 May 2014

pollutants

Melting glaciers and ice sheets are releasing cancer-causing pollutants into the air and oceans, scientists say. The long-lasting chemicals get into the food chain and build up in people’s bodies – triggering tumours, heart disease and infertility. The warning comes in new international study into the links between climate change and a class of man-made toxins called persistent organic pollutants.
Daily Mail (UK), 9 Dec 2010

Comment – The Paris agreement

This is primarily a humorous site however from time to time we include an editorial comment.

As we read it, the Paris agreement acknowledges that even if all countries meet their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) greenhouse emissions will continue to rise, not fall. (paragraph 17)

At the start of the current climate change alarm we were told that manmade carbon dioxide directly causes dangerous global warming.

But while CO2 emissions have increased for past 60 or so years global temperatures have not followed the predictions. They have in fact flatlined for about 18 years. Other predictions have similarly not occurred, such as an increase in the frequency and seriousness of extreme weather events.

So it would seem obvious there is something seriously wrong with the theory.

In our view the position is the same as before the Paris agreement, namely the evidence doesn’t stack up.
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Arctic sea ice – 2000

Arctic specialist Bernt Balchen says a general warming trend over the North Pole is melting the polar ice cap and may produce an ice-free Arctic Ocean by the year 2000. Balchen, 72, is recognized as a leading specialist on the Arctic. “Weather across the northern half of the United States would be 20 to 25 degrees warmer than it is now,” Balchen said.
Tuscaloosa News, 18 May 1972

thanks to cory

a continuing role for a former IPCC official?

A collection of Australia’s best known faces from stage, screen and stadium have joined together to save some of the country’s greatest natural landmarks.

TV character Kim Craig, one half of television duo Kath & Kim, is championing the cause of the local backyard – at risk from rising temperatures, reduced rainfall and increased water restrictions.

“It makes me gropable to think that because of global warming, this back garden could soon be a dust bowl!” she said.
The Age, 2 Nov 2008

Doomsday – 2000

A senior environmental official at the United Nations, Noel Brown, says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000.

Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of “eco-refugees,” threatening political chaos, said Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program.

He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human ability.
San Jose Mercury News (CA) – June 30, 1989

butterflies down for the count!

butterflyMore than three-quarters of Britain’s 59 butterfly species have declined over the last 40 years, with particularly dramatic declines for once common farmland species such as the Essex Skipper and small heath, according to the most authoritative annual survey of population trends.

“This is the final warning bell,” said Chris Packham, Butterfly Conservation vice-president, calling for urgent research to identify the causes for the disappearance of butterflies from ordinary farmland. “If butterflies are going down like this, what’s happening to our grasshoppers, our beetles, our solitary bees? If butterflies are in trouble, rest assured everything else is.”

Climate change and pesticides may be playing a more damaging role in their declines than previously thought.
The Guardian, 15 Dec 2015

thanks to John Blethen

Doomsday – 2100

A top New Zealand researcher is using a prestigious award ceremony in Christchurch to warn that humans face extinction by the end of the century. Professor Peter Barrett will be presented with the Marsden Medal tonight for his 40-year contribution to Antarctic research, latterly focusing on climate change.

“After 40 years, I’m part of a huge community of scientists who have become alarmed with our discovery, that we know from our knowledge of the ancient past, that if we continue our present growth path, we are facing extinction,” Barrett said. “Not in millions of years, or even millennia, but by the end of this century.”
Politics Forum, 17 Nov 2004

apocalypse soon! … unless we stop sending Xmas cards

Xmas_cardsIn his most apocalyptic predictions in recent years, Dr Rowan Williams claimed that the Earth is now facing a “whole range of ‘doomsday’ prospects” from climate change to the destruction of delicate ecosystems and even attack from “bio-terror” weapons.

The Church of England has been at the forefront of efforts to encourage “green” behaviour in recent years, even suggesting recently that people should post fewer Christmas cards.

The archbishop went on: “In the doomsday scenarios we are so often invited to contemplate, the ultimate tragedy is that a material world capable of being a manifestation in human hands of divine love is left to itself, as humanity is gradually choked, drowned or starved by its own stupidity.”
The Telegraph, 16 Mar 2009

all bases covered!

The UK’s weather will become both too wet and too dry – and also too cold and too hot – as climate change increases the frequency of extreme events, the Met Office has warned in a new report.

Its scientists concluded that on average the UK will see wetter, milder winters and hotter, drier summers in the long term due to global warming.

But the natural year-to-year variability of weather will also mean occasional very cold winters, like that of 2010-11, and very wet summers, like that of 2012.
The Guardian, 26 Mar 2014

Doomsday – 2050

fake_treeThe world has only ten years to control global warming, warns Met Office. Pollution needs to be brought under control within ten years to stop runaway climate change, according to the latest Met Office predictions.

In the worse-case scenario, modelled by the Met Office Hadley Centre, emissions had to turn negative by 2050 to stand any chance of keeping the temperature rise below 2C (3.6F).

This would mean using “geo-engineering” such as artificial trees that are designed to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere.
The Telegraph, 15 Nov 2009

certain … not so certain

question_marksBecause in just 100 months’ time, if we are lucky, and based on a quite conservative estimate, we could reach a tipping point for the beginnings of runaway climate change.

That said, among people working on global warming, there are countless models, scenarios, and different iterations of all those models and scenarios, said Andrew Simms, policy director and head of the climate change programme at the New Economics Foundation.
The Guardian, 1 Aug 2008

nail everything down!

floatingThe news: If you’re still having trouble believing climate change is a real thing, here is another item on the list of things affected by global warming: gravity.

According to the latest report by the European Space Agency, detailed satellite imaging has shown that “the loss of ice from West Antarctica between 2009 and 2012 caused a dip in the gravity field over the region.”
World.Mic, 30 Sep 2014

our only hope – give them more money!

Climate change could cause global conflicts as large as the two world wars but lasting for centuries unless the problem is controlled, a leading defence think tank has warned.

The Royal United Services Institute said a tenfold increase in research spending, comparable to the amount spent on the Apollo space programme, will be needed if the world is to avoid the worst effects of changing temperatures.
The Telegraph (UK) 23 Apr 2008

Doomsday – 2100

The plea came as Lord Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank whose report two years ago drew attention to the possible results of global warming, told the conference that unless politicians grasped the gravity of the situation it would be “devastating”.

“Increases in average temperatures of six degrees by the end of the century were an increasing possibility and would produce conditions not seen on earth for more than 30 million years,” he said.

“What would be the implication? Hundreds of millions of people, probably billions. What wold be the implication of that? Extended conflict, social disruption, war essentially, over much of the world for many decades.”
The Telegraph (UK), 13 Mar 2009

the evils of concrete!

re_cementConcreting over front gardens boosts crime, fills up A&E and adds to global warming.

Sealing up the earth, they say, makes more rain water run off into the gutters, bringing an increased risk of flooding. That’s just for a start. Less rainwater percolating through the soil prevents the washing away of pollutants. The soil dries out and causes subsidence.

(note: A&E = Accident and Emergency area of a local hospital)

Telegraph, 24 Jul 2004

Great flying boulders!

flying_boulderAnother danger of climate change: Giant flying boulders?

The idea is that Earth’s climate went through a warming period just over 100,000 years ago that was similar in many ways to the warming now attributed to the actions of man.

And the changes during that period were so catastrophic, they spawned massively powerful superstorms, causing violent ocean waves that simply lifted the boulders from below and deposited them atop this cliff.

If this is true, the effort kicking off in Paris this week to hold the world’s nations to strict climate targets may be even more urgent than most people realize.
Washington Post, 28 Nov 2015, article on James Hansen’s theory about giant flying boulders

thanks to ddh

In their own words

or – “I thought this was all about science.”

………………………………….

“It is no secret that a lot of climate-change research is subject to opinion, that climate models sometimes disagree even on the signs of the future changes (e.g. drier vs. wetter future climate). The problem is, only sensational exaggeration makes the kind of story that will get politicians’ — and readers’ — attention.”

“So, yes, climate scientists might exaggerate, but in today’s world, this is the only way to assure any political action and thus more federal financing to reduce the scientific uncertainty.”
Monika Kopacz, NOAA Program Manager 2009 – letter to The New York Times, Apr. 12 2009

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“No matter if the science of global warming is all phony, there are still collateral environmental benefits to global warming policies… climate change provides the greatest opportunity to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
Christine Stewart, then Canadian Minister of the Environment, speaking before editors and reporters of the Calgary Herald, 1998

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“He [Al Gore] impressed us all at Deutsche Bank Asset Management. We invited him to an internal meeting in April 2007 during which we discussed the issue of climate change extensively.”
dollar_bills

“A few months later, he received the Nobel Peace Prize for his commitment. We then created a fund that invests in companies that position themselves as climate-neutral.”

“Within two months almost 10 billion dollars flowed into this fund. Can you imagine? 10 billion! There has never been such an overwhelming success.”
Kevin Parker, Director of Global Asset Management, Deutsche Bank, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Nov 15 2010

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“Say that 30 years from now, science came back and said, ‘wow, we were mistaken then now we have some new information so we think it is something else’.”

In a world with nine billion people, even 10 billion at the middle of this century, where literally billions of global citizens will still have to get out of poverty and enter the consuming middle classes, don’t you think that anyway it makes a lot of sense to get more energy and resource efficient.”

“Let’s say that science, some decades from now, said ‘we were wrong, it was not about climate’, would it not in any case have been good to do many of things you have to do in order to combat climate change?.”
Europe’s climate action commissioner, Connie Hedegaard, Daily Telegraph 16/9/13

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“In searching for a common enemy against whom we can unite, we came up with the idea that pollution, the threat of global warming, water shortages, famine and the like would fit the bill. In their totality and their interactions these phenomena do constitute a common threat which must be confronted by everyone together.”

“But in designating these dangers as the enemy we fall into the trap which we have already warned readers about, namely mistaking symptoms for causes. All these dangers are caused by human intervention, and it is only through changed attitudes and behavior that they can be overcome. The real enemy then, is humanity itself.”
Alexander King, founder of the Club of Rome environmental think-tank, advisor to the United Nations (1991), The First Global Revolution: A Report by the Council of The Club of Rome by Alexander King and Bertrand Schneider (Pantheon, 1991), p. 115

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“On one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but—which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts.”

“On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination.”
fright1
“That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula.”

“Each of us has to decide what is the right balance between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” Dr. Stephen Schneider, former IPCC Coordinating Lead Author, APS Online, Aug./Sep. 1996

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“Some colleagues who share some of my doubts argue that the only way to get our society to change is to frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe, and that therefore it is all right and even necessary for scientists to exaggerate. They tell me that my belief in open and honest assessment is naïve.”
wolf

” ‘Wolves deceive their prey, don’t they?’ one said to me recently. Therefore, biologically, he said, we are justified in exaggerating to get society to change.”
emeritus professor Daniel Botkin, president of the Center for the Study of the Environment and professor emeritus in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at the University of California, Wall St Journal 17 Oct 2007

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“Government in the future will be based upon (or incorporate, depending on the level of breakdown of civilisation) a supreme office of the biosphere. The office will comprise specially trained philosopher/ecologists.”

“These guardians will either rule themselves or advise an authoritarian government of policies based on their ecological training and philosophical sensitivities. These guardians will be specially trained for the task.”
Professor David Shearman, an Assessor for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 3rd and 4th Assessment Reports -The Climate change Challenge and the Failure of Democracy. David Shearman & Joseph Wayne Smith (Praeger Publishing: Wesport, 2007). p134

“In short, Shearman and Smith argue that liberal democracy – considered sacrosanct in modern societies – is an impediment to finding ecologically sustainable solutions for the planet.”
[intro. p.xi]

“In chapters 8 and 9 we argue that authoritarianism is the natural state of humanity, and it may be better to choose our elites rather than have them imposed.”

“We analyze authoritarian structures and their operation ranging from the medical intensive care unit and the Roman Catholic Church to corporatism with the conclusion that the crisis is best countered by developing authoritarian government using some of the fabric of these existing structures.”

“The education and values of the new “elite warrior leadership” who will battle for the future of the earth is described.”
Intro p xvi

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predictions

Following this example, a number of climate advocates have begun considering the benefits of greater centralisation in decision-making to mitigate the devastating scenarios offered by climate scientists.

For example, in an interview about her new book The Collapse of Western Civilization, Naomi Oreskes argued: “If anyone will weather this storm it seems likely that it will be the Chinese.”

In the book, Oreskes and co-author Erik Conway imagine a future world in which the predictions of the International Panel on Climate Change have come to pass.

With respect to China, the authors predict: China’s ability to weather disastrous climate change vindicated the necessity of centralised government … inspiring similar structures in other, reformulated nations.

ABC (Australia) The Drum, 5 Sep 2015, opinion by Peter Burdon

Doomsday – 2035

Former president Mary Robinson said this morning global leaders have “at most two decades to save the world”.

In a response to the latest report from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Ms Robinson argued for a robust climate agreement by 2015 and agreement by the world to think again about renewables and for a reduction in global economic growth.
Irish Times, 14 Apr 2014

models as fictions

In spite of its attractions for other sorts of physicists, realism seems to be an inappropriate way to conceive of climate physics: arguments regarding the truth content of our best models seem beside the point when one considers that the horizontal extent of every cloud in HadCM3 is some integer multiplied by its grid resolution 2.5×3.75°.

Rather than seeing models as describing literal truth, we ought to see them as convenient fictions which try to provide something useful. – Dr David Frame, climate modeler, Oxford University.

The Royal Society, Philosophical Transaction. August 2007 Volume: 365 Issue: 1857

delete winter!

Winter has gone for ever and we should officially bring spring forward instead, one of the country’s most respected gardeners said yesterday. “Over the last 12 months there has been no winter,” said Dr Nigel Taylor, curator of Kew Gardens. “Last year was extraordinary. Spring was in January, April was summer, the summer was cool, then it was warmer and sunny in autumn.”

“There is no winter any more despite a cold snap before Christmas. It is nothing like years ago when I was younger. There is a real problem with spring because so much is flowering so early year to year.” Express, 8 Feb 2008

policy windows

The onset of more severe climate impacts overseas may also open up temporary opportunities, or “policy windows .” These would allow legislators the licence to take specific bold actions which they ordinarily believe would not otherwise be possible or politically acceptable… In effect, envisaged solutions can become rapidly translated into practical options for action following a major disaster or near-miss.
Foresight, International Dimensions of Climate Change, 2011, Final Project Report The Government Office for Science, London, p113. Foreword by Sir John Beddington, Head of the UK Government Office of Science.

Arctic sea ice – 2012

goalposts

The vast Arctic sea ice that spreads across the North Pole could disappear during the summer within five years, leading ice and snow scientists are warning. Only a few years ago, climate modellers predicted the Arctic sea ice would not melt out in summer until at least the end of the century.

“Then they said 2070, and then they said 2050 and then they said 2030,” said Robie Macdonald, a leading Canadian Arctic scientist. “Not only do I see the change but it’s like they’re moving the goal posts toward me and it’s an amazing thing.”
The Age (Australia) 4 Aug 2008