Dark Snow Project on CBC

September 25, 2014

Posted today.

CBC interviewed Dr. Jason Box at a climate conclave in Bristol, UK, earlier this week. Guess a lot of heavyweights were there.

Look fast and you’ll see time lapse footage I shot on the Greenland Saddle in 2013. ( see post below)

A Look Back: Dark Snow 2013

September 25, 2014

Last year after returning from the first Dark Snow mission,  I put together 2 “Dark Snow Log” videos.

I wanted to review them in light of what’s happened in the last year. Occurred to me that somebody else might, as well.
I think they’re kinda good, in a low key way.
I got so caught up in  other paying projects that I did not complete anymore, but they make an interesting prelude to recent events.

The videos outline our last dash up the coast of Greenland in the hope of retrieving the samples we wanted. After being frustrated with our flight provider for a week, we finally elected to go with an Air Greenland Chopper. After an initial miscalculation that took us to Nuuk, the capital – Jason Box orchestrated a pirouette – we jumped into a small cab bulging with drills and cameras and met a chopper at the overcast airport.
What followed was about the God damnedest Helo ride imaginable, through utterly bleak and beautiful coastal mountains.
We stopped to refuel in Kangerlussuaq, and ponder the next steps.

I met filmmaker Robby Kenner at the American Geophysical Union conference a few years ago. He was already at work on a climate themed film, and zeroed in on “Merchants of Doubt”, Naomi Oreske’s definitive dissection of the climate denial<->tobacco denial cabal.  Her lecture, the American Denial of Global Warming, summarizes the shameful history, above, and my own riff on this, “32,000 Scientists”, has been one of my most popular uploads.

A friend tipped me off that Kenner’s film is making its way thru the festival circuit, and added: Read the rest of this entry »

If you have not yet seen this, drop everything now and make time.

Comedy Central seems to have learned from  John Oliver and HBO that posting bits to YouTube, instead of keeping them bottled up on their hard-to-embed-proprietery viewer, makes sense.

Oliver was hugely successful with his Bill Nye the Science Guy Climate Denier clip a few months ago. This piece by Stewart went up this morning and has 150k + views. already.

Below, see Oliver’s piece, which has over 4 million views.

Read the rest of this entry »

Google pulled the plug on it’s support for the American Legislative Exchange Council,(ALEC) a Science denying, far right wing lobbying group, funded by the Koch Brothers. Google chairman Eric Schmidt said that Google had originally formed an alliance with ALEC “..as part of a lobbying campaign on an unrelated issue.” (presumably an ill-considered kitten-drowning initiative..)

Google followed Microsoft in cutting the tie, and now the dikes seem to have burst, as a stampede of tech firms trample each other to  flee association with ALEC, and climate denial – in the wake of this week’s game changing Climate March in New York.

Watch for more aftershocks to come.

National Journal:

A powerful cohort of Silicon Valley firms are publicly bolting from the American Legislative Exchange Council following a renewed spurt of public outrage over the conservative group’s views on climate change.

Facebook announced late Tuesday that it would likely end its affiliation with ALEC next year, joining a recent wave of tech companies seeking divorce from the controversial organization, which has drawn heated ire from left-leaning public-interest groups for years. Just a day earlier, Google Chairman Eric Schmidt announced plans to cut ties with ALEC, accusing them of “just literally lying” about climate change.

“We reevaluate our memberships on an annual basis, and are in that process now,” a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. “While we have tried to work within ALEC to bring that organization closer to our view on some key issues, it seems unlikely that we will make sufficient progress, so we are not likely to renew our membership in 2015.”

Also on Wednesday, Yelp’s director of public policy, Luther Lowe, confirmed the company had ended its ALEC membership, but noted the separation had occurred months ago and before Google or Facebook’s announcement.

In a statement, Lowe said Yelp allowed its membership with ALEC to expire after achieving its explicit goal of promoting legislation protecting free speech on the Internet. Lowe also acknowledged the public criticism Yelp faced as a member.

A number of influential tech companies maintain a relationship with ALEC, including Yahoo, AOL, and eBay. Amazon, eBay’s rival, ended its relationship with ALEC in 2012.


Silicon Valley firms, which are relatively new to politics, have supported both liberal and conservative candidates and groups. But public pressure on such issues as global warming is forcing tech companies to rethink their strategies.

On Tuesday, national and world leaders including President Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown gathered in New York for a United Nations summit on reducing carbon emissions. The summit follows massive protest in New York that drew more than 300,000 people.

Read the rest of this entry »

Statement by Ms. Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Civil Society Representative from the Marshall Islands at the opening of the United Nations Climate Summit 2014.

How stale is this sounding – even to the Fox faithful?

Why Not Now?

September 23, 2014

Young people’s question to the UN. Why not now?

From Climate Reality.

Dark Snow: A Meme Going Viral

September 22, 2014

The recent widely reposted Slate piece on Dark Snow Project, reported with some context here, was just a drop in a tidal wave of media coverage that’s been breaking since midsummer, and especially, since The Dark Snow project wrapped our 2014 Greenland camp.

President Obama tweeted Skeptical Science’s cartoon image of Dr. Box to 46 million followers.

The progressive web site Avaaz has a petition drive based on Dr. Box recent viral tweet, which has 2 plus million signatures and rapidly climbing.


Surprisingly, the usually reliably-in-climate-denial Daily Mail now has a prominent piece on Greenland’s Dark Snow.


Our twin goals of science+communication are playing out. The communication side is popping, and with the data gathered this past summer, I expect that I’ll be reporting on some significant science results in coming months.

Dr. Box concocted “Dark Snow” as a meme that encodes the emerging science of increasing ice melt in a vivid, contradictory image that is proving to be very “sticky”, and encodes in a simple phrase the science behind one of the arctic’s key positive feedbacks.

Read the rest of this entry »

Renewables International:

The US added 2,478 MW of solar power capacity January-June 2014 according to a SEIA report. That’s a 47% increase over the same period in 2013. Cumulative PV capacity has now passed the 15,000 MW mark in the US. While the installation of residential and commercial systems is up, utility scale solar remains the backbone of solar growth in the US.

After a very painful year, wind power recovered a bit during 1H 2014 with capacity additions of 835 MW (1H 2013: only 2 MW). This growth rate is however still well below the average of past years. Cumulative wind power capacity stood at 61,946 MW.

According to EIA data (which only looks at “utility scale” capacities), the US added 2,319 MW of natural gas power during the first half of the year. This came almost exclusively in the form of more efficient combined cycle gas turbines CCGT.  By the end of June, the US had a natural gas powered generating capacity of429,083 MW (of which CCGT: 226,696 MW).

Coal power saw no capacity addition. On the contrary, coal capacity was actually reduced by 2,015 MW.  Summer generating capacity of coal power declined to 303,988 MW by the end of June 2014.