Steven Chu’s Sobering Climate Math

February 17, 2017

Nobel Prize winner Steven Chu shows what an actual Secretary of Energy is supposed to look and sound like.


20 Responses to “Steven Chu’s Sobering Climate Math”

  1. Kevin Warren Says:


    I wonder if you might post a short follow up to just flesh out the numbers he refers to? I think that might be useful. Just a thought. He throws out a lot pretty quickly, so just a sentence on each figure he gives.


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    • dumboldguy Says:

      Do some googling—there’s a lot out there, and Chu’s numbers are good, especially the 500+ ppm for equivalents.

    • ubrew12 Says:

      However, assuming we ‘clean up our act’, its the LONG-LIVED GHG (i.e. CO2) that really matters in the long-term, where the full damage comes home to roost. So, yes, we could hit 560ppm equivalent in a decade, but won’t hit the expected 3 C by 2100 if we clean up our act. If we hit 560ppm of CO2, say by 2060, then no matter if we do clean up our act, we’ll hit 3 C about 50 years later.

      • indy222 Says:

        It may be worse: in a paper out just a few months ago, Friedrich et al. 2016 show that when you take paleo data and sort ECS by climate state and temp, that there is strong nonlinearity, and while agreeing with PALEOSENS and Hansen and IPCC that 3.2C is a good value for the overall average of paleo data, that during the warm interglacials ECS is +4.9C, much stronger. Then add in Vaks et al showing that by +1.5C we’ve triggered the melt of all permafrost, and add in the new work on the permafrost carbon feedback from MacDougall et al 2012 and 2014 update, there is no way that temperatures can do anything but continue up, along with CO2, even if all human GHG emissions cease. There is PLENTY of grim science that’s come out since the IPCC AR5, to go along with the apocalyptic political descent. A few heroes in labs are trying to find ways to lower energy carbonization, but it’s too little and too late, and only encourages more economic growth while we can (before “s” hits the fan, as Chu might say).

        • ubrew12 Says:

          Yes, I was just talking about the traditional forcers and feedbacks. It’s bad news if Friedrich is right and the sensitivity itself is larger than expected, and I do expect unincorporated feedbacks like permafrost to be in full swing by the time we get anywhere near 3 C.

  2. dumboldguy Says:

    Sang—three links and it’s “moderated”—thank you WordPress.

    Try again with two:

    Do some googling—there’s a lot out there, and Chu’s numbers are good, especially the 500+ ppm for equivalents.

  3. Tom Bates Says:

    all you show is a typical graft of CO2 rise. That graft is compressed to make it look much steeper than it actually is. That is typical of the fake news by the believers. A study of the CO2 rise from 2000-2009 showed an increase of 0.034F expressed as 2/10ths of a watt per square meter which turns out to be 4150 times less that average solar gain. Since CO2 heating is not linear the increase is not actually warning the world very much while the increased CO2 makes food plants grow better, about 8 percent better so 415 million people are alive who would otherwise be dead from starvation.

    • ubrew12 Says:

      “That graft is compressed to make it look much steeper than it actually is.” That is not possible for a graph, though perhaps it is for a graft. For a graph, its steepness is what it is, neither more nor less.

    • Lionel Smith Says:

      …all you show is a typical graft of CO2 rise…

      ‘Graft’ of CO2 rise, ‘graft’ is compressed. Were you home-schooled perchance? If not you missed the ‘use the correct word’ lesson. Little wonder you show an below first grade appreciation of a complex issue.

  4. Tom Bates Says:

    I would ask the commenters to look at the medieval warm period and the little ice age. You cannot say that did not effect the northern hemisphere at the least. How did those happen if CO2 were the major component of warming and cooling as CO2 did not change much during several thousand years. Your graft claim we came out of the little ice age at essentially the same CO2 ppm. if you can explain that with evidence than explain the melting off of the last ice age ice in a few hundred years per a recent NASA study or the ice free arctic in 8500-6500 BP. the world did not end during any of those events, why should it end today?

  5. grindupbaker Says:

    What’s missing for CH4 in a definition such as “for a given mixture and amount of greenhouse gas, the amount of CO2 that would have the same global warming potential (GWP)” is that “and amount” doesn’t state whether that’s amount that’s released into the atmosphere or amount of increase in the atmosphere. Example: if CH4 in the atmosphere were to increase from some long-established (centuries) quantity such as 0.7 ppmv to, say, 1.9 ppmv and then be held at 1.9 ppmv for a century or longer then the instantaneous rate should be applied to the +1.2 ppmv, not the 25x rate. The 25x rate should be for a CH4 pulse (a couple of decades or some such) that then degrades (reduces). Since CH4 degrades rapidly then it being held at the example 1.9 ppmv for numerous decades would mean that considerably more than the +1.2 ppmv was being added to the atmosphere over that time.

    25x = 100x (or 150x or whatever it is) in the example.

    • grindupbaker Says:

      The last line of what I typed went funny (well, maybe it’s all funny) because I used special brackets. It was:
      25x total injected quantity = 100x (or 150x or whatever it is) the sustained anomaly (+1.2 ppmv in example)

    • I agree, what I have constantly argued, when CH4 is remaining constant or rising , the instantaneous value is the one that must be used

    • Gingerbaker Says:

      As I understand it, every molecule of CH4 degrades to a molecule of CO2.

      • grindupbaker Says:

        Yes but that doesn’t relate to the point I was attempting to make. Bottom line: I’m positing that if CH4 was ~0.7 ppmv for a few centuries (a couple at least) then pushed up to ~1.85 ppmv and held there for at least ~100 years, then the instantaneous warming rate S.B. applied to +1.15 ppmv, not a 25x 100-year GWP factor. Of course, it cannot actually be applied at present because ~100 years has not passed.

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