Al Franken and David Letterman: droll discussion of climate change and democracy.

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midaslarsenc

Click above for larger.

Project Midas:

On July 12 2017, data from the Sentinel-1 satellite confirmed the calving from the Larsen C Ice Shelf of Iceberg A68, a slab of ice 5,800 km in area and weighing more than 1 trillion tonnes. New Sentinel-1 interferometry data from July 18 now shows how the remaining ice shelf is responding to the calving event.

Rifts (dark curving lines in the image), already present before A68 detached, are still in evidence and show where further small icebergs will probably be created. In a further development, a new rift appears to be extending northwards (towards the top left) and may result in further ice shelf area loss. Although this new rift will probably soon turn towards the shelf edge, there may be a risk that it will continue on to Bawden Ice Rise, a crucial point of stabilisation for Larsen C Ice Shelf.

The MIDAS Project will continue to monitor the ongoing impact of these events on the Larsen C ice shelf. Further updates will be available on this blog, and on our Twitter feed.

Below, my recent interviews with Antarctic experts on this process.

Favorite hobby horse of deniers. Evil scientists adjust temperature measurements to suit their one-world-government agenda.
Reality more boring.

Fortunately, Berkeley Earth Alumnus Zeke Hausfather is one of our most lucid explainers.

Zeke Hausfather in Carbon Brief:

These adjustments have long been a heated point of debate. Many climate sceptics like to argue that scientists “exaggerate” warming by lowering past temperatures and raising present ones.

Christopher Booker, a climate sceptic writing in the Sunday Telegraph in 2015, called them “the greatest scientific scandal in history”. A new report from the rightwing US thinktank, the Cato Institute, even claims that adjustments account for “nearly all the warming” in the historical record.

But analysis by Carbon Brief comparing raw global temperature records to the adjusted data finds that the truth is much more mundane: adjustments have relatively little impact on global temperatures, particularly over the past 50 years.

In fact, over the full period when measurements are available, adjustments actually have the net effect of reducing the amount of long-term warming that the world has experienced.

Raw data shows more global warming

Land and ocean temperatures are adjusted separately to correct for changes to measurement methods over time. All the original temperature readings from both land-based weather stations and ocean-going ships and buoys are publically available and can be used to create a “raw” global temperature record.

The figure below shows the global surface temperature record created from only raw temperature readings with no adjustments applied (blue line). The red line is the adjusted land and ocean temperature record produced using adjusted data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), with the difference between the two in grey.

adjustments

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scientistwhistle

Mr. Putin, we do not have Gulags here.

Stand by. A wave is coming that will be larger than you can understand.

Video at link.

Washington Post:

Joel Clement was director of the Office of Policy Analysis at the U.S. Interior Department until last week. He is now a senior adviser at the department’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue.

I am not a member of the deep state. I am not big government.

I am a scientist, a policy expert, a civil servant and a worried citizen. Reluctantly, as of today, I am also a whistleblower on an administration that chooses silence over science.

Nearly seven years ago, I came to work for the Interior Department, where, among other things, I’ve helped endangered communities in Alaska prepare for and adapt to a changing climate. But on June 15, I was one of about 50 senior department employees who received letters informing us of involuntary reassignments. Citing a need to “improve talent development, mission delivery and collaboration,” the letter informed me that I was reassigned to an unrelated job in the accounting office that collects royalty checks from fossil fuel companies.

I am not an accountant — but you don’t have to be one to see that the administration’s excuse for a reassignment such as mine doesn’t add up. A few days after my reassignment, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke testifiedbefore Congress that the department would use reassignments as part of its effort to eliminate employees; the only reasonable inference from that testimony is that he expects people to quit in response to undesirable transfers. Some of my colleagues are being relocated across the country, at taxpayer expense, to serve in equally ill-fitting jobs.

I believe I was retaliated against for speaking out publicly about the dangers that climate change poses to Alaska Native communities. During the months preceding my reassignment, I raised the issue with White House officials, senior Interior officials and the international community, most recently at a U.N. conference in June. It is clear to me that the administration was so uncomfortable with this work, and my disclosures, that I was reassigned with the intent to coerce me into leaving the federal government.

On Wednesday, I filed two forms — a complaint and a disclosure of information — with the U.S. Office of Special Counsel. I filed the disclosure because eliminating my role coordinating federal engagement and leaving my former position empty exacerbate the already significant threat to the health and the safety of certain Alaska Native communities. I filed the complaint because the Trump administration clearly retaliated against me for raising awareness of this danger. Our country values the safety of our citizens, and federal employees who disclose threats to health and safety are protected from reprisal by the Whistleblower Protection Act and Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act.

Removing a civil servant from his area of expertise and putting him in a job where he’s not needed and his experience is not relevant is a colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. Much more distressing, though, is what this charade means for American livelihoods. The Alaska Native villages of Kivalina, Shishmaref and Shaktoolik are perilously close to melting into the Arctic Ocean. In a region that is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet, the land upon which citizens’ homes and schools stand is newly vulnerable to storms, floods and waves. As permafrost melts and protective sea ice recedes, these Alaska Native villages are one superstorm from being washed away, displacing hundreds of Americans and potentially costing lives. The members of these communities could soon become refugees in their own country.

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Climate denial is a prison for your mind.

More on signs of reluctant awakening to climate threat and renewable solutions among Republicans. Are we seeing something analogous to the national turning on marriage equality of a few years back? or perhaps like what is happening in the Health care debate, where the once-deemed-radical idea of single payer seems to be emerging from the the smoking crater of Republican’s repeal-and-replace plans?

The ongoing crisis in American democracy could, if properly managed, become a clarifying moment, if we survive it.

Dana Nucitelli compares current GOP process to Neo’s choice in “The Matrix” – take the blue pill and remain asleep, or the red pill and wake up.

Dana Nucitelli in the Guardian:

In April, Trump’s energy secretary Rick Perry ordered a 60-day study of the nation’s electric gridto determine whether policies promoting renewable energy growth are undermining its stability by crowding out “baseload” power from sources that are always readily available (ie don’t rely on intermittent wind or sunlight). Perry’s memo specifically called out “regulatory burdens introduced by previous administrations that were designed to decrease coal-fired power generation.” He put Travis Fisher in charge of the study, who previously worked for the fossil fuel-fundedInstitute for Energy Research, where he published a report calling renewable energy policies “the single greatest emerging threat” to the US power grid.

In short, it appeared as though the Trump administration was putting together a biased report to support its pro-coal agenda. But a draft of the report was leaked to Bloomberg, and it didn’t follow the administration playbook. The report was drafted by career staffers at the Department of Energy, who are experts in the field and apparently didn’t bow to any potential administration pressure for pro-fossil fuel conclusions. The draft is now under review by administration officials and may change as a result, but the leaked draft ensures that the public sees the experts’ conclusions.

The report concluded that many recent baseload plant retirements “are consistent with observed market forces,” often being taken out of commission due to “low natural gas price-based electricity prices, low electric demand, environmental regulations, state policies, and competition from renewables”. Most of the coal and natural gas baseload plants that have retired are old, inefficient units that were no longer cost-effective. Increased energy efficiency has also curbed American electricity demand. The report concluded that environmental regulations and renewable energy subsidies “played minor roles” in accelerating baseload plant retirements compared to those other factors.

Most importantly, the draft report concluded that the electric grid remains reliable:

Most of the common metrics for grid reliability suggest that the grid is in good shape despite the retirement of many baseload power plants … The power system is more reliable today due to better planning, market discipline, and better operating rules and standards

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racers

New York Times:

There is simply no credible way to address climate change without changing the way we get from here to there, meaning cars, trucks, planes and any other gas-guzzling forms of transportation. That is why it is so heartening to see electric cars, considered curios for the rich or eccentric or both not that long ago, now entering the mainstream.

A slew of recent announcements by researchers, auto companies and world leaders offer real promise. First up, a forecast by Bloomberg New Energy Finance said that electric cars would become cheaper than conventional cars without government subsidies between 2025 and 2030. At the same time, auto companies like Tesla, General Motors and Volvo are planning a slate of new models that they say will be not only more affordable but also more practical than earlier versions. And officials in such countries as France, India and Norway have set aggressive targets for putting these vehicles to use and phasing out emission-spewing gasoline and diesel cars.

The technology is catching on faster than predicted, which is good news for the planet, and consumers.
AP:

The roar of the engine was replaced by a furious whirring as the future of motorsports came to Brooklyn.

Formula E took over part of the waterfront neighborhood of Red Hook on Sunday, the second of two race days for the Qualcomm New York City ePrix.

The Formula One-style, open-wheel cars reach speeds of 140 mph but only about 80 decibels, compared with 130 decibels for the cars with combustion engines. Instead of screaming down the straightaways the way F1 cars do, FE cars buzz like giant, steal hummingbirds. And they run clean and green.

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