Katey Walter is not a household name for most people, but among climate wonks, she’s a rockstar.
You may have seen her in Earth: A Biography, introducing Iain Stewart to the lakes of northern siberia – she has become a minor youtube star for a clutch of videos showing wide eyed students lighting methane explosions on the frozen lakes of Alaska.
Methane levels in the atmosphere continued to increase in 2009, and probably in the current year as well.

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In an address to the National Press Club, Energy Secretary Steven Chu sounded an alarm about America’s slipping technological leadership in the critical strategic area of renewable energy.

China in particular has made a national commitment to leadership in renewable energy technologies. Unlike the US, China has a Renewable Energy Standard, a goal for a percentage of power to be produced by solar, wind, and other sustainable means.

They expect to exceed the 15 percent goal, and may be producing as much as 20 percent of their energy renewably by 2020, according to Chu.

Renewable energy is, of course, what climate deniers and their fossil fuel funders fear most. For example, Climate Denier Christopher Monckton’s website prominently features a plan to block “insidious” renewable energy standards that would jumpstart US competitiveness.

This kind of organized, paranoid ignorance is good news for China, but bad news for the US, and for the planet in the long run.

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A viewer writes:

After debating with a denier in youtube for a couple weeks, I showed him your videos and he’s done a complete 180. Now he believes global warming denial is quite absurd given the science/facts. I was kind of shocked and elated to witness this happen, though I’m sure you’re used to it, but go ahead and pat yourself on the back for it. :D”

This wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened. It’s exactly what’s intended for this series, and I hear accounts like this every week.

If you’ve just come away from holiday dinner frustrated at having to listen to Aunt Teabag and Uncle Dittohead’s anti-science rants, wishing you had just the right Climate Crock video to send them, your problem is now solved.

The In-laws

Now Climatecrocks.com has an “Overview” page, which you can access in the menu on the right. There are links to each video organized by topic, as well as additional resources. With luck, you’ll be able to find exactly the right video, if not to completely turn deniers around, at least get them to shut up.

Take a look at the list, and see if your favorite video is there, or if your topic of interest is addressed. Let me know in comments if there’s a way to make it more useful.

There’s a building storm of indignation out there among those literate in science – who have gone from depression and despair at the tsunami of fossil fueled ignorance that’s passed for reporting and discussion of climate issues, – to real resolve, and a willingness to fight back, not just for the planet, but for the very idea that objective truth exists, and that science is a tool to find it.

One of the opening salvos of that movement was probably fired by a quiet, unassuming professor at a Catholic University in St. Paul, who did not set out to place himself in the center of a storm.

John Abraham responded to some email queries over the weekend.

“I have long had an interest in climate change; my technical expertise has positioned me as a generalist in the area. I am not an expert in any single area or in climate science in particular, rather, my knowledge of radiative and convective heat transfer, thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, and numerical simulation has given me the background to interpret the present science.

I began giving public lectures on climate change in 2007 to local community organizations, churches, and schools.

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Having visited Growing Power in Milwaukee this past summer while my son interned there, I’ve been sensitized to the exploding number of experiments in food systems designed for a future that is energy efficient, climate constrained, yet healthier, happier, and more prosperous.
Watch for more experiments like this one – if you see something in your area, let me know.

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Admiral David Titley

If you’ve been watching the video series you’ve seen a number of clips of Admiral David Titley, the Navy’s Chief Oceanographer, who has made himself much more visible in recent months, speaking out about what he knows is happening to the oceans and the arctic.  This week, Old Dominion University hosted Admiral Titley in a forum on the topic.

Regardless of what’s being debated in Congress and state capitols across the nation, the U.S. Navy is readying for the effects of global climate change.

That means bracing for the likelihood that the Arctic Ocean may one day be free of ice and open to shipping. It means making sure low-lying infrastructure, such as Naval Base Norfolk, is protected from sea-level rise.”

“Whether you believe in the models or forecasts, there’s a good amount of data indicating that things are changing,” he said. “It’s an issue that’s real, and it’s an issue that affects our national security.”

This holiday season, if you’ve already had, or are anticipating encounters with Aunt Teabag or Uncle Dittohead, you might want to have handy the evidence of how the grown up realists in the US military are taking climate change seriously, even if Glenn Beck doesn’t.  Here are the videos, if you missed them.

From Abstruce Goose

From Abstruce Goose.

Reuters posted the first of what will probably be a spate of articles following the last month of the global temperature record, as 2010 is in a “dead heat” to become the hottest year ever.

Even with a possible cool end to the year, 2010 is expected to be no lower than third in a record where 1998 and 2005 are warmest. The U.N. panel of climate scientists says higher temperatures mean more floods, heatwaves and rising sea levels.

CRU’s Phil Jones says it’s currently in second place, NASA’s James Hansen says the temps through October put 2010 in the lead.
There are subtle differences between the measurements by CRU, NASA and the other global temperature datasets, which allow for CRU to name 1998 as the hottest year, with NASA claiming 2005 – by a few hundredths of a degree.

And for deniers out there, be advised that Dr Roy Spencer also has 2010 as one of the hottest years.

World Food Supply on the Edge

November 26, 2010

Pakistan, summer 2010

Every week I hear from deniers telling me how great it’s going to be when Co2 rise causes agricultural and forest production to skyrocket.  The idea is that increased Co2 will be taken up by plants, and the earth will become an edenic paradise.  If plants are going to start soaking up the extra Co2, now would be a good time. Instead we see the ‘biggest control knob” rising faster than any time over the last 50 million years.

Here’s the opening pararaph from a New York Times piece about global food supplies:

Global grain production will tumble by 63 million metric tons this year, or 2 percent over all, mainly because of weather-related calamities like the Russian heat wave and the floods in Pakistan, the United Nations estimates in its most recent report on the world food supply. The United Nations had previously projected that grain yields would grow 1.2 percent this year.

Empty silo in Russia's grain belt

The article notes that low supplies are taking food prices to levels that sparked violence around the world in 2007 and 08. Now with reserves lower, and demand increased, production must be even higher in the immediate future just to keep up.
As I pointed out in the recent video, “The Co2 is Plant Food Crock”, adding carbon to an environment that is too dry, or too wet, makes absolutely no difference. Blow all the co2 you wish into the Sahara, it will not bloom.

Ask the farmers of Pakistan how Co2 helped their crops this summer.

And this, from an older video..

Late update: A friend writes: “I wonder how much CO2 plants can benefit from as they whither away in the heat and drought? This argument is like trying to tell a person on fire that taking extra vitamins is good for him.”

Arctic Report Card

November 25, 2010

Just a quick follow up on arctic ice.
Prevailing science opinion among informed observers is best represented by the recently released Arctic Report Card, an annual update from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The report is based on scientific reports from 69 scientists in eight countries.

Key Points: Region Continues to Warm at Unprecedented Rate
• Greenland is experiencing record-setting high temperatures, ice melt and glacier area loss;
• Summer sea ice continues to decline — the 2009-2010 summer sea ice cover extent was the third lowest since satellite monitoring began in 1979, and sea ice thickness continues to thin. The 2010 minimum is the third lowest recorded since 1979, surpassed only by 2008 and the record low of 2007; and
• Arctic snow cover duration was at a record minimum since record-keeping began in 1966.
• The Arctic is unlikely to return to its former state

According to a McClatchey report, “Jackie Richter-Menge, the chief editor of the report and a research civil engineer at the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory in Hanover, N.H., said the warming trend made any return to previous Arctic conditions increasingly unlikely, at least in the foreseeable future.”

“It’s very likely Arctic climate warming will continue and that we’ll continue to set records in the years to come,” she said.

Arctic ice continues to lose mass - click to see larger image