High quality video above conveys daunting new observations of southern ocean dynamics that could affect critical global circulation.

We’ve talked a lot, and I’ve produced several videos, documenting slowdown in the Atlantic Meriodonal Overturning Current (AMOC), due to processes in Greenland and the Arctic. Here is perhaps even more concerning evidence of related processes occurring in the Antarctic.

Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC):

A “dramatic” change to ocean circulation could unfold in the Southern Ocean over the next three decades with wide-reaching effects on weather and fisheries, according to researchers.

The landmark study, published in Nature on Thursday, examined waters at the deepest layers of the ocean that play a crucial role in circulating heat and nutrients around the globe.

Deputy director of the Australian Research Council’s Centre for Excellence in Antarctic Science, Matthew England, who coordinated the study, said the results were both significant and “concerning”, likening their projecting to the premise of The Day After Tomorrow.

The fictional film, which was based on the real-life slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation current, saw polar melting disrupt the North Atlantic current, setting off a chain of events that influenced weather around the globe.

“In our simulation, [the slowing circulation] in the Antarctic outpaces the North Atlantic by two to one,” Dr England said.

“We know so much about the Atlantic overturning and it’s been such an established part of science, so much so that a film has been made about it.

“And here we have an overturning circulation that’s just as important to humanity, where we still don’t understand why things are changing, what the drivers are, and what the future is.”

The findings of the study all have to do with the production of incredibly dense water, formed around Antarctica, known as Antarctic Bottom Water.

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Ali Velshi reports on Vanuatu getting the United Nations to vote to agree to ask the International Court of Justice to assign responsibility for the destruction caused by climate change. 

Climate Wire:

Oil majors are facing civil lawsuits in courts from Hoboken to Honolulu that could cost the industry hundreds of billions of dollars for its role in producing planet-warming emissions.

But can petroleum producers be held criminally responsible for climate-related deaths that occurred after companies allegedly deceived the public about the dangers of burning fossil fuels? A new academic paper says they can, and authors of the research say the novel legal theory — known as “climate homicide” — is already stirring interest from prosecutors.

“We have some indication they’re at least listening and curious,” said David Arkush, director of Public Citizen’s climate program and a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. “To someone who knows the criminal law, there’s a moment of ‘What!?’ and then, ‘It’s OK. It’s not crazy.’“

Harvard Environmental Law Review:

Prosecutors regularly bring homicide charges against individuals and corporations whose reckless or negligent acts or omissions cause unintentional deaths, as well as those whose misdemeanors or felonies cause unintentional deaths. Fossil fuel companies learned decades ago that what they produced, marketed, and sold would generate “globally catastrophic” climate change. Rather than alert the public and curtail their operations, they worked to deceive the public about these harms and to prevent regulation of their lethal conduct. They funded efforts to call sound science into doubt and to confuse their shareholders, consumers, and regulators. And they poured money into political campaigns to elect or install judges, legislators, and executive officials hostile to any litigation, regulation, or competition that might limit their profits. Today, the climate change that they forecast has already killed thousands of people in the United States, and it is expected to become increasingly lethal for the foreseeable future. Given the extreme lethality of the conduct and the awareness of the catastrophic risk on the part of fossil fuel companies, should they be charged with homicide? Could they be convicted? In answering these questions, this Article makes several contributions to our understanding of criminal law and the role it could play in combating crimes committed at a massive scale. It describes the doctrinal and social predicates of homicide prosecutions where corporate conduct endangers much or all of the public. It also identifies important advantages of homicide prosecutions relative to civil and regulatory remedies, and it details how and why prosecution for homicide may be the most effective legal remedy available in cases like this. Finally, it argues that, if our criminal legal system cannot focus more intently on climate crimes—and soon—we may leave future generations with significantly less for the law to protect.

Below, Josh Pearce PhD discusses the prospects for civil, not criminal, cases.


South Delta Animal Rescue was among the buildings wiped out by the deadly storms in the Mississippi Delta over the weekend. All of the animals at the animal shelter in Rolling Fork have been accounted for; however, board member Alex Frisbee said some were found “under treetops,” and they aren’t sure how they survived. He also said he’s received several inquiries from people wanting to adopt.


When Billy Woodford and his friends set out to build a new kind of battery that could replace a coal plant, their breakthrough technology took inspiration from the disposable hand-warming sacks that spectators use at football stadiums. The battery’s key ingredient: rust.

Woodford’s startup, Form Energy Inc., went into business in 2017 with a clear and ambitious goal. The battery needed to soak up renewable energy during the day and release it at night, and to keep running after sunset and on windless days. A lithium-ion battery, like those in EVs and smartphones, would work, but no utility can afford to run that type of battery on the grid for more than a few hours. Utilities need one that will also be cheap enough to deploy for 100 hours or more. “You can have pretty much any battery do any duration on the grid,” says Mateo Jaramillo, who worked at Tesla Inc. before co-founding Form and is today its chief executive officer. (Woodford is chief technology officer.) “It always comes down to cost.”

Form’s five co-founders, who also include Yet-Ming Chiang, Ted Wiley and Marco Ferrara, started by spitballing ideas for materials, discarding most as soon as they came up. Some suggestions had already been commercialized, like flow batteries using materials such as vanadium and big vats of liquid. But a 100-hour battery could rely only on dirt-cheap, abundant elements, and the short list eventually came down to iron and sulfur. Because it’s the easier material to handle, iron won.

Woodford then turned to an unlikely source for inspiration: the disposable hand warmers he used on cold days growing up in Pennsylvania. Crushing these little sacks filled with crystals begins a process of rusting iron—it essentially reacts with oxygen to form iron oxide—that’s sped up with chemicals. The reaction releases energy in the form of heat. Woodford and Chiang, Form’s science brains, thought that with the right setup they could use the same reaction to release energy as electrons instead.

Jaramillo wasn’t convinced. “I thought I was going to disprove the idea,” he says. “You might as well prove it’s a terrible idea first, rather than finding out later.”

Except the idea wasn’t terrible. After thousands of experiments, Woodford’s bet on hand warmers is at the heart of Form’s battery. The company, based in Somerville, Massachusetts, has raised almost $900 million from the likes of the Bill Gates-led Breakthrough Energy Ventures and inked partnerships with Georgia Power, Great River Energy and Xcel Energy. Next comes construction of a $760 million battery-manufacturing facility in West Virginia, which the company says it wants to have up and running by the end of 2024.

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Balduin Hesse, CEO and chairman of Frontier Renewables, discusses the challenges and opportunities for investing in renewable energy, as Europe and other parts of the world continue to shift away from fossil fuels

It’s a bit of a joke – “2010 called and they want their climate denial talking point back”.

But why? Does it just seem that way, or is it real, that just as climate change has been emerging in all the more horrifying clarity, climate denial is on a whole new roll, especially on Elon Musk’s twitter. And yes, as I’ve pointed out for more than a decade, somehow that seems to go together with racism, misogyny, and anti-semitism.

I don’t get it. Ketan Joshi has more.

Ketan Joshi:

As I wrote recently here on my site, Elon Musk’s reputation as a ‘climate hero’ has been badly exaggerated. Every good thing he’s contributed to sits alongside a collection of actively counter-productive things. One of those things is killing a space that climate activists, communicators and experts used regularly – that is, Twitter. Still my core social media space, but a broken, burning one. 

Musk has been more and more open about his right-wing tendencies, particularly his own transphobia and support for white supremacists, white nationalists and racists. Musk flew on a private jet to the World Cup, and sat next to right-wing media mogul Rupert Murdoch (who later praised Musk’s progress with Twitter – it’s all a bit amusing given the preponderance of the feeling among Tesla stans that the media is out to get them). 

Since the takeover at the end of October last year, it’s been tough not to feel this ideology directly, particularly as someone who’s sunk plenty of time and effort into Twitter as a main platform for climate and energy communication. 

Apart from the very obvious bad vibes, shitty replies and short tempers, there is real data to support a rise in right-wing content. Antisemitism, for instance, has flared up.

Hate speech has gotten worse because Musk’s understanding of free, healthy speech is at the level of a 12 year old in the year 2013. Content moderation has rolled back, and a whole swathe of previously-banned accounts have been unsuspended, including a bunch of really, really bad racists and white supremacists.

It feels like something more fundamental in site dynamic has changed – particularly around which accounts and tweets get boosted and promoted. 

I recently noticed that climate deniers, or climate delayers (who argue for no or slow climate action) have had massive increases in their followings, whereas pro-climate accounts have either lost followers, or gained very few of them. Musk has himself been cosying up with climate deniers, boosting, for instance, a conspiracy theory video from Australian climate denier and member of far-right xenophobic party One Nation, Senator Malcolm Roberts. “[Musk is] doing a marvellous job of rekindling freedom of speech,” Roberts told the SMH. “That alone is worthy of high praise.”

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Two collaborative videos by @ClimateAdam and @AnkurShah on the relationship of Artificial Intelligence and Climate education, adaptation, and action.


Over the last ten years, AI, specifically deep learning, has yielded remarkable results. When Siri understands what you say, when Facebook identifies your cousin, when Google Maps reroutes you, chances are that a deep learning system is involved.

What is less noticed is that these models are churning away at a staggering cost, not just in terms of dollars and cents, but also in terms of energy consumed. On its current trajectory, AI will only accelerate the climate crisis. In contrast, our brains are incredibly efficient, consuming less than 40 watts of power. If we can apply neuroscience-based techniques to AI, there is enormous potential to dramatically decrease the amount of energy used for computation and thus cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. This blog post aims to explain what causes this outsized energy consumption, and how brain-based techniques can address AI’s incredibly high energy cost.

Why does AI consume so much energy?

First, it is worth understanding how a deep learning model works in simple terms. Deep learning models are not intelligent the way your brain is intelligent. They don’t learn information in a structured way. Unlike you, they don’t understand cause-and-effect, context, or analogies. Deep learning models are “brute force” statistical techniques. For example, if you want to train a deep learning model to identify a photo of a cat, you show it thousands of images of cats that have been labeled by humans. The model does not understand that a cat is more likely than a dog to climb up a tree or play with a feather, so unless it is trained with images of cats that include trees and feathers, it is unaware that the presence of these objects would aid in identifying a cat. To make these inferences, it needs to be trained in a brute force way with all possible combinations.

The enormous energy requirement of these brute force statistical models is due to the following attributes:

  1. Requires millions or billions of training examples. In the cat example, pictures are needed from the front, back, and side. Pictures are needed of different breeds. Pictures are needed with different colors and shadings, and in different poses. There are an infinite number of possible cats. To succeed at identifying a novel cat, the model must be trained on many versions of cats.
  2. Requires many training cycles. The process of training the model involves learning from errors. If the model has incorrectly labeled a cat as a raccoon, the model readjusts its parameters and classifies the image as a raccoon, then retrains. It learns slowly from its mistakes, which requires more and more training passes.
  3. Requires retraining when presented with new information. If the model is now required to identify cartoon cats, which it has never seen before, it will need to be retrained from the start. It will need to have blue cartoon cats and red cartoon cats added to the training set and be retrained from scratch. The model cannot learn incrementally.
  4. Requires many weights and lots of multiplication. A typical neural network has many connections, or weights, that are represented by matrices.  For the network to compute an output, it needs to perform numerous matrix multiplications through subsequent layers until a pattern emerges on top.  In fact, it often takes millions of steps to compute the output of a single layer! A typical network might contain dozens to hundreds of layers, making the computations incredibly energy intensive.

I had not seen this clip before, but very much worth a look.
The video description says August 26, 2008 – but the discussion refers to Hurricane Katrina, and the movie “The Day After Tomorrow” as if they were recent events, so possibly sometime later in 2005 or 2006?
Climate archivists or Bill Maher fans, let me know.

Big Brouhaha over “ESG” policies at various companies and investment firms.
No doubt that by far the driver of this is fossil fuel interests concerned about future oriented investors pricing in impacts of climate change – and seeking to wedge so called “woke” issues into the conversation to stoke tribalism.
Nevertheless, smart investors are waking up to climate impacts, and risk exposure – and even if those plans are temporarily held up in the US, European countries are making it mandatory, so anyone that hopes to operate internationally is going to have to do what capitalists have always done, gauge risk and reward and proceed accordingly.


Ignoring climate change’s risk to business is like pretending you can’t catch fire when strolling through a burning building. One of America’s two major political parties wants us to ignore it anyway. But corporate America and its investors know they don’t have that luxury.

Fitch Ratings this week said it would review the impact of climate change on the creditworthiness of more than 1,600 companies. Nearly 20% of those companies could have their credit ratings cut as a result, according to an initial Fitch estimate. These companies will have to change the way they do business or potentially face higher borrowing costs. 

This follows BlackRock Inc., the world’s biggest asset manager, vowing last week that it would keep pressing corporate boards for plans on handling climate risks, despite months of attacks from Republican politicians over such concerns.

GOP governors and lawmakers around the country have been trying to discourage companies and money managers from considering environmental, social and governance issues when making business and investment decisions. They have had some success in places like Florida and Texas, though their power to influence corporate policy may be limited to jawboning and depriving financiers of government dollars.

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Bill McKibben will be speaking nearby at Saginaw Valley State University in April.

I was asked to come up with some video for the event, and started poking thru my interview with Bill in Greenland in 2018.
This popped right out.