Climate News Roundup 4/10/2015

  • Doug Hendren has a new song entitled “Fracking’s Just a Bad Dream.”
  • Here is a brief, hopeful essay about why the “Merchants of Doubt” will lose in the end.
  • In a Guardian column, economics editor Larry Elliott asks “Can we imagine a future that is cleaner, greener and sustainable – one that avoids climate Armageddon – without abandoning the idea of growth and, thus, forcing living standards into decline?” To see what he concludes, go here. It is a very thought-provoking essay.
  • Libertarian science writer and author Ronald Bailey asks what evidence would it take to persuade you that man-made climate change is real. His essay is one you might want to share with your conservative and/or libertarian friends and relatives.
  • The Post Carbon Institute is releasing a series of four videos by Richard Heinberg in conjunction with the release of his new book, Afterburn: Society beyond Fossil Fuels. The first is here.
  • The Yale Project on Climate Change has released an interactive map that shows public opinion on a variety of climate change issues down to the county level. It is interesting to note that Rockingham County is more accepting of man-made climate change than surrounding counties.
  • The Risky Business Project issued its third report, this one on the economic impacts of climate change. This report focuses on California, particularly the impacts on agriculture.
  • The National Environmental Education Foundation is offering a free course entitled “Extreme Weather 101” through UDEMY.
  • Two members of the Natural Resource’s Defense Council staff have published a paper outlining how the federal flood insurance program can be used to encourage people to retreat from shore lines and move away from flood prone areas.
  • A new study shows that cities with extensive urban sprawl will have a difficult time decreasing their CO2 emissions from transportation, even if they increase housing in the city center.
  • The Rocky Mountain Institute, an energy policy think tank, has issued a new report on how we will get our electricity in the future. Chris Mooney has a description of the major findings from the report.
  • As Shell moves drilling equipment near Alaska, environmental groups maintain that drilling for oil in the Arctic is just not compatible with President Obama’s pledge to lead on climate change.
  • A new study confirms that significant amounts of organic carbon are stored in permafrost. While it is unlikely that they will be abruptly emitted as CO2 or methane, they are expected to serve as a continuous carbon source over long time periods.
  • One impact of increasing the CO2 content of the atmosphere is to make the oceans more acidic. BBC News summarized a recently published study that provided evidence that the Permian-Triassic mass extinction (252 million years ago), in which over 90% of marine species went extinct, was likely caused by increased ocean acidity caused by CO2 released by volcanic activity.
  • A recent study demonstrated that marine ecosystems can be disrupted by climate events on timescales of multiple decades, but recovery can require a thousand years.

These news items have been compiled by Les Grady, member and former chair of the CAAV steering committee. He is a licensed professional engineer (retired) who taught environmental engineering at Purdue and Clemson Universities and engaged in private practice with CH2M Hill, the world’s largest environmental engineering consulting firm. Since his retirement in 2003 he has devoted much of his time to the study of climate science and the question of global warming and makes himself available to speak to groups about this subject. More here.

Climate News Roundup 4/3/2015

  • Let’s start with some good news.
    • Robert Shiller, a professor of economics at Yale, argues that individual actions can have a beneficial effect fighting climate change.
    • Utilities are making progress in reducing leaks from their natural gas distribution systems.
    • There was an unprecedented boom in renewables across the globe in 2014, but it still isn’t fast enough.
  • There were several interesting article in The Guardian this week.
    • A new study has shown that limiting climate change could have huge economic benefits.
    • The U.S. Episcopal Bishop said that climate change denial is immoral.
    • The drought in California is having a major impact on the state and global warming is thought to be influencing it. (The second article is from The Washington Post).
    • So far, corporate America is reluctant to sign on to EPA’s Clean Power Plan.
  • Other items of interest:
    • There is a new book examining the economic consequences of a hotter planet.
    • Two stations in Antarctica have reported what may well be record high temperatures.
    • The amount of water used for fracking gas wells is twice that used for oil wells.
    • The Washington Post has an interesting graphic showing where the world’s CO2 is coming from.
    • Polar bears were back in the news with articles discussing the impacts of a need for a change in their diet as a result of sea ice loss.
    • Blue crabs have been found further north than they typically live.
    • Ivy Main has a new post, this one about sea level rise and coastal property.

These news items have been compiled by Les Grady, member and former chair of the CAAV steering committee. He is a licensed professional engineer (retired) who taught environmental engineering at Purdue and Clemson Universities and engaged in private practice with CH2M Hill, the world’s largest environmental engineering consulting firm. Since his retirement in 2003 he has devoted much of his time to the study of climate science and the question of global warming and makes himself available to speak to groups about this subject. More here.

Climate News Roundup 3/27/2015

This week has been a very busy one in terms of the number of articles about climate change in the news. Before getting into them I want to start with a few links to bolster our spirits and give us hope.
  • Sierra Club has a really nice service you can sign up for. Called the Daily Ray of Hope it sends a picture and a thought-provoking quote to your inbox each weekday.
  • Audubon provides advice from seven environmentalists about how to stay positive in the face of perpetual bad news.
  • A new group called More than Scientists provides short videos by climate scientists explaining why they do what they do.
  • Peter Dykstra at Environmental Health News offered seven reasons to be hopeful.
  • David Roberts at Grist had a good post about a way to get power to the world’s poor without making climate change worse.
  • Cara Pike, also at Grist, had advice about how to talk with almost anyone about climate change.

On the local scene, Saturday night will mark the wrap-up of Starry Nights for 2015 with a program at Edith J. Carrier Arboretum beginning at 7:30.

Ivy Main had a new blog post about the recent General Assembly session and its impact on solar energy.

Several scientific papers were published during the past week about ice conditions in both the Arctic and the Antarctic, as well as changes in the speed of the Gulf Stream. Consequently, there were several posts regarding those papers.

  • The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that the maximum ice extent in the Arctic was the smallest ever reported. The implications of this were discussed Derek Watkins in the New York Times.
  • University of Washington researchers have compiled data over several decades to show the progression of Arctic sea ice thinning.
  • An article in the March 27 issue of Science reported that the floating ice shelves that circle Antarctica are deteriorating. They act like doorstops holding back the flow of the land-based glaciers. While it will take quite a long time for them to lose that function, there is still concern for the long-term impacts. Articles in both the Washington Post and Scientific American discuss this.
  • A new scientific paper about a slowdown in the Gulf Stream was published on-line this week in the journal Nature Climate Change. The article is pay-walled but since I subscribe to the journal I will share the article with anyone wanting to read it. You can learn more about it at several sources, including these. Chris Mooney at The Washington Post has an article about it as does the blogger Robert Scribbler. A new video by Peter Sinclair, “A Nasty Surprise in the Greenhouse” addresses the new paper on the Gulf Stream. Finally, a video on “Forecasting Sea Level Rise in Maryland” is equally applicable to Virginia and explains how the Gulf Stream influences sea level rise.
  • While the following didn’t come out this week, I thought I should call it to your attention. People who don’t think that increases in CO2 levels in the atmosphere are causing global warming often say that there is no proof that it does. While there have been many lines of evidence to link global warming with increased CO2 levels, now there is direct proof. Scientists measured incoming radiation from the greenhouse over an 11 year period in two locations (Oklahoma and Alaska) and showed that its increase was due to increases in the CO2 level over the same period. The study was published on-line in the journal Nature on Feb 25, 2015. You can read a short summary of the research at LiveScience or read the full press release from Berkeley Labs.

These news items have been compiled by Les Grady, member and former chair of the CAAV steering committee. He is a licensed professional engineer (retired) who taught environmental engineering at Purdue and Clemson Universities and engaged in private practice with CH2M Hill, the world’s largest environmental engineering consulting firm. Since his retirement in 2003 he has devoted much of his time to the study of climate science and the question of global warming and makes himself available to speak to groups about this subject. More here.

Climate News Roundup 3/20/2015

Below is a roundup of things I’ve seen this week that I thought you would find of interest.
  • Northeast Neighborhood Association Public Meeting on Home Weatherizing with Community Housing Partners
    Thursday, March 26, 7:00PM, Lucy F. Simms Center, 620 Simms Ave., Harrisonburg

    If you qualify as a low-to-moderate income household, Community Housing Partners can help reduce your energy bills, make your home more comfortable, energy efficient and affordable year round. Clients approved for the Weatherization Assistance Program will receive a free energy audit which will determine the work that can be done in their home.

    Learn more and obtain an application. Join this Northeast Neighborhood Association meeting with representatives of Community Housing Partners and Weatherize Harrisonburg/Rockingham. This effort is being organized by CAAV, with Joni Grady chairing the committee. Please pass the word on to anyone you think might be interested.

  • If you would like to know more about the human face of climate scientists, there is a neat new website you can go to.
  • As part of the Reel Change Film Festival, the movie Cowspiracy will be playing free-of-charge at Court Square Theater on Wednesday, March 25 at 7:00 pm.
  • Dave Pruett has a new post on Huffington Post about Solarize Harrisonburg.
  • Doug Hendren has a new song about divestment.
  • The Wild and Scenic Film Festival will be April 18 at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers cave.
  • The Guardian has a petition urging the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Wellcome Trust to divest from fossil fuels.
  • The Guardian also had an Article about the true costs of fossil fuels that is based on a research paper in Climatic Change.
  • Not all oil is alike, so where oil comes from has a big impact on the emissions from its use.
  • The Union of Concerned Scientists has an infographic on climate science vs. fossil fuel fiction.
  • In 2014, for the first time in 40 years, the global CO2 emission rate did not increase.
  • Changes in refrigerants to reduce their potency as greenhouse gasses shows that nothing is simple.
  • Scientists have found evidence for possible warm water channels under East Antarctic glacier.
  • At the same time, sea ice in the Antarctic has been growing.
  • The maximum Arctic sea ice extent this winter is the smallest ever measured.

These news items have been compiled by Les Grady, member and former chair of the CAAV steering committee. He is a licensed professional engineer (retired) who taught environmental engineering at Purdue and Clemson Universities and engaged in private practice with CH2M Hill, the world’s largest environmental engineering consulting firm. Since his retirement in 2003 he has devoted much of his time to the study of climate science and the question of global warming and makes himself available to speak to groups about this subject. More here.

Doug McNeall’s Blogroll

dougmcneallIn an article in the March 2014 issue of Nature Climate Change, climate scientist and statistician Doug McNeall of Hadley Centre in the UK mentioned a list of blogs on climate science written by climate scientists. It can be found at http://dougmcneall.wordpress.com/links/.

The only two with which I am familiar are RealClimate by Gavin Schmidt and others (listed under “climate blogs from groups or institutions”), which I read regularly, and Climate Etc. by Judith Curry, which I read for a while, but gave up on because I found it to be light on climate science and high on opinion and politics.

A brief description of each blog is given in the list. I was surprised at how extensive the list is. Perhaps you will find one there that captures your fancy. If you do and would like to alert others on our email list about your experience with it, just send an email to contactcaav[at]gmail.com and I’ll pass it on (perhaps after consolidation with others).

Les Grady
Chair, CAAV Steering Committee
3/23/2014