In 2017 I had the privilege of camping and working on the Greenland Ice Sheet with a majority female science team.  It’s something that I hope we see more of, but there is a long way to go, culturally before women are welcomed and accepted in the science world.

There is a lot of anger and frustration among female scientists in all fields, who have all the same complaints that are high on the public discussion agenda this week – harassment, being ignored, and flat out being attacked.
Below, Dr. Kate Marvel, climate scientist at Columbia University and NASA, weighs in.

Kate Marvel PhD in Scientific American:

The person who could have solved the problem stopped taking math in the sixth grade. She was good at it, but it was hard, and she didn’t want to seem too aggressive. It hurt the boys’ feelings when she was better than they were, and no sixth grader wants to upset the boys.

The person who could have designed the experiments dropped out of physics in college. It was uncomfortable being the only girl there. She had many talents; why be stared at, sneered at, and belittled when she could do so many other things just as well?

The person who could have developed the theory never finished graduate school. It takes a certain amount of confidence to turn six years of work into several hundred pages and call it a new contribution to knowledge. She’s spent those six years turning down dates and having the dearth of women in her program explained to her. There are, she heard, few women at the low end of the IQ spectrum, but none at the high end. It’s just science, she was told (with no citations or data). No one has ever told her she’s a genius. She didn’t seem like one.

The person who could have led the team isn’t senior enough to do it. She was prepared for a brilliant career in leadership, but it just didn’t pan out that way. Her intelligence and hard work meant she never lacked for male mentors, whom she reminded of their daughters. But as she aged, they avoided her. They realized she never wanted to be their daughter, she wanted to be their boss. And now, she was no fun: strident, bossy, and most of all, ungrateful.

The person who might have presented the results turns down the opportunity. She’s insecure about her appearance because she’s too young to be taken seriously and too old to be anything but invisible. She struggles to find time to cut, dye, and style her hair, book appointments for brows, nails, and waxes, and to buy and apply skincare, foundation, powder, eye shadow, liner, mascara, blush, bronzer, lipstick, lip liner, and highlighter to achieve the “no-makeup” look. She loves makeup, but not when it’s mandatory. She loves clothes, but she doesn’t know how to choose something demure but attractive, professional but unintimidating. She hasn’t been to the gym often enough to have no body fat, but she’s been too often to have no muscles. No one wants to look at her, and she knows that means no one will ever listen to her.

The person who could have explained it to the public isn’t going to write anything. She’s funny and smart, but it never occurred to her before she tried posting on the internet that jokes could have explanations. Better explanations, though, than the death and rape threats she’s seen others get.She tells herself that it isn’t her,personallyIf George Orwell himself had been a twenty-first century woman, she, too, would have gotten messages and emails and tweets telling her pigs can’t talk, you stupid bitch.

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Not so.

For one thing, Katherine Hayhoe lives there, along with Andrew Dessler, who stars in my upcoming video – stay tuned.

Meanwhile, more on Texas and renewables.

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My super talented musical nephew climbing the charts in LA.

Below, recent collaboration with Macklemore. Read the rest of this entry »

Nice explainer on current battery tech above.

Meanwhile, Tesla’s giant battery in Australia is proving to be a super profitable game changer.

WHEN a pair of tech billionaires starting going back and forth on social media, it ended up putting South Australia at the centre of an unprecedented renewable energy project.

We now know the true cost of that project and just how much of a financial success it has proven to be in its first 10 months of operation.

The huge lithium-ion battery in South Australia built by tech giant Tesla is on track to make back a third of its construction costs in its first year of operation, according to financial documents.

It started with a $50 million bet over whether Tesla boss Elon Musk could build the battery facility within 100 days. He came good on the bet — and in terms of performance, so too has the giant battery.

The huge 100-megawatt lithium ion battery near Jamestown in the state’s mid-north was switched on at the end of last year but the full cost of the battery (some of which was funded by South Australian taxpayers) was not made public because it was “commercial in confidence”.

However Neoen, the French renewable energy company that owns and maintains the battery, applied to become a publicly traded company this month and as part of the process filed a supporting document which reveals financial details about its assets.

It shows that at today’s conversion rate, the construction price of the South Australian battery was about $90 million, roughly around the expected cost with estimates ranging from $50 million to just over $100 million.

The financial documents also revealed that the facility generated $13 million in revenue from network services in the six months to June 30, 2018. Almost $2 million of that was from its 10-year contract with the SA government to provide reserve capacity for the state’s electricity network, which is worth $4 million a year.

The filing also purported a total revenue of $A14 million in the first six months of 2018 — a number advocates said was higher than many expected.

“It may turn out to be the best value investment that the South Australia Labor government ever made, although their political opponents may be reluctant to admit it,” industry analyst and renewables advocate Giles Parkinson wrote in Renew Economy, where he works as an editor.

“The Tesla big battery is making money that promises a quick return on investment, something not thought possible when the battery was built.”

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Future Farmers may Have Vertical Mobility.

Below, slightly different take on same idea in California: Read the rest of this entry »


Arctic sea ice, the cap of frozen seawater blanketing most of the Arctic Ocean and neighboring seas in wintertime, follows seasonal patterns of growth and decay. It thickens and spreads during the fall and winter and thins and shrinks during the spring and summer. But in the past decades, increasing temperatures have led to prominent decreases in the Arctic sea ice extents, with particularly rapid decreases in the minimum summertime extent. The shrinking of the Arctic sea ice cover can ultimately affect the planet’s weather patterns and the circulation of the oceans.

“This year’s minimum is relatively high compared to the record low extent we saw in 2012, but it is still low compared to what it used to be in the 1970s, 1980s and even the 1990s,” said Claire Parkinson, a climate change senior scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Parkinson and her colleague Nick DiGirolamo calculated that, since the late 1970s, the Arctic sea ice extent has shrunk on average about 21,000 square miles (54,000 square kilometers) with each passing year. That is equivalent to losing a chunk of sea ice the size of Maryland and New Jersey combined every year for the past four decades.

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Above – Jim Hansen famously excoriated and shamed BBC for flawed climate coverage in 2013. At that time, the network parroted the denialist talking point “Warming has slowed down” – awkwardly just before 2014’s new heat record, and the historical acceleration in warming of the last 4 years.

Editor of NewsHour and The World Tonight has an announcement. US Networks, heads up.

Jo Floto – BBC:

From 3 October The World Tonight on BBC Radio 4 and Newshour on BBC World Service will be covering climate change every week.

The BBC’s been reporting for a long time that climate change is not some distant issue whose effects that will only be felt by our grandchildren.

Temperature rises are affecting crops, changing the rainforests, and putting massive amounts of extra energy into the world’s weather systems. Rising temperatures are pushing malaria into parts of Africa that have never had the disease.

The increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has made the oceans more acidic, so much so that we can actually observe the shells of tiny snails being dissolved by the water, threatening the entire marine food chain.

While the BBC has been consistently covering all of this, and investing heavily in specialist correspondents, climate change doesn’t always get the attention it deserves.

One reason for this is the way daily news programmes tend to work. We’re very good at covering the events of the day. The problem, which all editors and news organisations face, is that some of the most important things happening in the world aren’t always events.

They’re often a process, a trend, a gradual change. They don’t always compete well against daily news events that feel more urgent – explosions, elections, Presidential tweets.

So to make sure climate change doesn’t get crowded out, we’re committing ourselves and our programmes to covering it at least once week.

However, we’re not intending to give you a weekly update on Doomsday.

Mitigating climate change, and adapting to the consequences of what we’ve already done to the atmosphere, is driving huge changes in technology, business, and increasingly, politics.

Our first edition will come from Norway, a country that’s grown rich on fossil fuels, but now hoping to become Europe’s renewable energy “battery.”

We’ve also signed up some climate change diarists from around the world: people on the front line of a changing planet who will keep us posted on what they see around them, from the polar ice caps, to the Amazon, to the Pacific islands, via the Scottish Highlands.

Rest assured – we’ll still cover the daily news. It’s just that if climate change leaves Europe’s ports underwater, Brexit may seem a bit less important.


I’ll have the hemp and seaweed salad.

“Climate change? That’s a “you” problem – I’ll be dead soon.”

UPDATE: Newer cut focused on climate.