Richard Alley has updated his paleo-climate presentation with new graphics and some new points.

Padlock the door and board the windows
Put the people in the street
“It’s just my job,” he says “I’m sorry.”
And draws a check, goes home to eat
But at night he tells his woman
“I know I hide behind the laws.”
She says, “You’re only taking orders.”
That’s how every empire falls.

A bitter wind blows through the country
A hard rain falls on the sea
If terror comes without a warning
There must be something we don’t see
What fire begets this fire? Like torches thrown into the straw
If no one asks, then no one answers
That’s how every empire falls.


Not a Prine original. Here’s the songwriter R. B. Morris playing the same piece. Read the rest of this entry »


Clip above from a set of astonishing interviews I did at a recent energy conference in Traverse City, MI.

Consumers Energy is the largest provider in Michigan, and has been overwhelmingly coal dependent for a century.  Even just a few years ago their transition to the renewable revolution was lagging even in the conservative utility industry.

Now the company says it will build no more fossil units, not even gas – as renewables are coming in so economical that, such a project would most likely be stranded in the near future.


Midwest Energy News:

The CEO of one of Michigan’s largest utilities says solar is a better long-term investment than new natural gas plants.

Consumers Energy, which previously announced plans to close its coal-fired power plants by 2040, said Wednesday that — unlike other Michigan utilities — it won’t seek to replace coal with new natural gas capacity.

Building a natural gas plant would risk stranding the company’s capital in a single asset, after which there would be “no turning back,” said Consumers President and CEO Patti Poppe. Instead, the company plans to bet on solar, which can be built incrementally as needed.

“We think we have the opportunity of a generation with this clean energy plan to reshape how energy is delivered to the state of Michigan,” Poppe said, noting an emphasis on smaller, more distributed generation. “This avoids big bets on large, new fossil fuel generation plants.”

Read the rest of this entry »

PBS Nova series will air a program tonight, June 27, on the increasing intensity of hurricanes.

Featured in the trailer, friend of this blog Dr. Jeff Masters, who was interviewed extensively for the piece.

In just one devastating month, Houston, Florida, and the Caribbean were changed forever. In summer 2017, three monster hurricanes swept in from the Atlantic one after another, shattering storm records and killing hundreds of people. First, Harvey brought catastrophic rain and flooding to Houston, causing $125 billion in damage. Less than two weeks later, Irma lashed the Caribbean with 185 mile per hour winds—and left the island of Barbuda uninhabitable. Hot on Irma’s heels, Maria intensified from a Category 1 to a Category 5 hurricane in just 15 hours, then ravaged Puerto Rico and left millions of people without power. As the planet warms, are these superstorms the new normal? How well can we predict them? And as the U.S. faces the next hurricane season, does it need to prepare for the reality of climate refugees? NOVA takes you inside the 2017 superstorms and the cutting-edge research that will determine how well equipped we are to deal with hurricanes in the future.

The reason this is concerning:

“’s the high end events that are most destructive, historically, more than half the damage that’s been done in the United States,  dating back to the middle of the 19th century, has been done essentially by just 8 events.” – Kerry Emanuel PhD, MIT

My 2016 piece on hurricanes, which features experts Kerry Emanuel of MIT and others,  touches on the intensification of storms in a warming world. Worth a review.

Below, an all star science team looked at the destructive flooding from Hurricane Harvey last summer, and tracked moisture from record warm ocean waters to the atmosphere over Houston.

Read the rest of this entry »

There’s been a flurry of climate denial activity coinciding with the 30 anniversary of James Hansen’s uncannily accurate testimony to congress on climate change, June 23, 1988.  If you have not seen my vid on this, it’s at the bottom of the post.

Prominently, the Rupert (Fox News) Murdoch owned Wall Street Journal published a piece by serial climate denier and right wing think tank shill Pat Michaels, and a lesser known flack.

The piece is full of holes. Basically, “there’s been no warming since 1998 if you ignore all that warming.”

Dana Nuccitelli shines a light in the Guardian.  Zeke Hausfather, above, has some supporting information.


The incredible accuracy of Hansen’s climate model predictions debunks a number of climate denier myths. It shows that climate models are accurate and reliable, that global warming is proceeding as climate scientists predicted, and thus that we should probably start listening to them and take action to address the existential threat it poses.

Hansen’s predictions have thus become a target of climate denier misinformation. It began way back in 1998, when the Cato Institute’s Patrick Michaels – who has admitted that something like 40% of his salary comes from the fossil fuel industry – arguably committed perjury in testimony to Congress. Invited by Republicans to testify as the Kyoto Protocol climate agreement was in the works, Michaels was asked to evaluate how Hansen’s predictions were faring 10 years later.

In his presentation, Michaels deleted Hansen’s Scenarios B and C – the ones closest to reality – and only showed Scenario A to make it seem as though Hansen had drastically over-predicted global warming. Deleting inconvenient data in order to fool his audience became a habit for Patrick Michaels, who quickly earned a reputation of dishonesty in the climate science world, but has nevertheless remained a favorite of oil industry and conservative media.

Last week in the Wall Street Journal, Michaels was joined by Ryan Maue in an op-ed that again grossly distorted Hansen’s 1988 paper. Maue is a young scientist with a contrarian streak who’s published some serious research on hurricanes, but since joining the Cato Institute last year, seems to have sold off his remaining credibility to the fossil fuel industry.

In their WSJ opinion piece, Michaels and Maue claimed (emphasis mine-Peter):

Global surface temperature has not increased significantly since 2000, discounting the larger-than-usual El Niño of 2015-16. Assessed by Mr. Hansen’s model, surface temperatures are behaving as if we had capped 18 years ago the carbon-dioxide emissions responsible for the enhanced greenhouse effect.

They provided no evidence to support this claim (evidence and facts seem not to be allowed on the WSJ Opinion page), and it takes just 30 seconds to fact check. In reality, global surface temperatures have increased by about 0.35°C since 2000 – precisely in line with Hansen’s 1988 model projections, as shown above. And it’s unscientific to simply “discount” the El Niño of 2015-16, because between the years 1999 and 2014, seven were cooled by La Niña events while just four experienced an El Niño warming. Yet despite the preponderance of La Niña events, global surface temperatures still warmed 0.15°C during that time. There’s simply not an ounce of truth to Michaels’ and Maue’s central WSJ claim.

Read the rest of this entry »

My first real-live teacher on climate science was long time planetary researcher, Physicist Mike MacCracken, then of Livermore Lab.

His ’82 lecture on Climate at Sandia Labs could, in large part, have been delivered last week.

James Hansen’s colleague in 1988 was Syukuro Manabe – legendary early climate modeler.

Here he explains now well-observed arctic warming due to “polar amplification” – understood from basic physics, and now very well observed.

See below, NASA’s animation of global temperature changes makes arctic warming clear from 1881 to 2016.

Archival footage from early 80s shows how much climate scientists understood and predicted the changes we are seeing now.

Compare predictions from 83 with current observations.

Below, John Holdren, science advisor to Barack Obama,  walks thru the history of late 70s, early 80s climate science. Read the rest of this entry »