Two Universes.
Two reasons not to worry about a thing.

Above, Bob Marley, below, Mose Allison.

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Guardian:

Tubs of Strawberry Breeze-cake, Cherry Gale-cia and other wind-themed ice-creams will feature in a campaign by Ben & Jerry’s to persuade the government to rethink its opposition to onshore windfarms.

The renamed flavours will be sold at half price on “windy Wednesdays” to support a pro-renewables push by the Unilever-owned firm, which has a history of campaigning on climate change and environmental issues.

The company’s intervention comes amid an industry lobbying effort to convince ministers to scrap obstacles for onshore windfarms.

They have largely stopped being built since the Conservatives ended subsidies and introduced planning reforms.

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Ben & Jerry’s drive will feature a tour of the UK, including London, Birmingham and Bristol, to encourage people to take action supporting the technology.

The firm is also backing a petition by the climate change charity 10:10, which calls on the government to “remove the additional planning requirements” for onshore windfarms. More than 25,000 people have already signed the petition.

Rebecca Baron, the company’s UK social mission manager, said: “If we want to move away from polluting fossil fuels and build a future based on clean energy, then wind power is a vital ingredient.”

The government’s own polling found public support for onshore windfarms at a record high of 76% in April, up from 74% last November.

There is now mounting pressure on ministers to make a U-turn on its policy, with big energy companies including ScottishPower, Vattenfall and Innogy urging the Department for Energy and Industrial Strategy to allow the windfarms to compete for subsidies.

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New research out of Antarctica shows the continent’s ice mass loss has tripled in the last 5 years or so.

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That’s not good, so might be time to review some of the key Antarctica videos from the last few years.

Key points:

Sea level markers from the past indicate that very large changes in Sea Level are possible with relatively small differences in global temperature.
Prediction of future sea level rise difficult, as human forcing is stronger than natural forcing – no natural analog to what we are doing currently.

Ice sheets can move very quickly when the physics lines up.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

A lot of news and talk about carbon capture and negative emissions this week.

James Hansen talks us down.

James Hansen’s Blog:

I am minimizing Communications, so that I can (really!) finish Sophie’s Planet, while also providing expert testimony for several lawsuits aimed at using the judicial branch of government to force the other branches of government to do their job. However, there is enough popular misinterpretation of recent news about the cost of carbon capture that I should comment on that.

David Keith has done some of the most credible work on direct air capture of CO2, so his recent paper1 in Joulereporting on the cost of carbon capture deserves attention. Media reports emphasized that these reported costs were lower than costs estimated in a report by the American Physical Society (APS) in 2011. This caused some people to believe that we may be on the way to a “get out of jail free” card, the hope of many that technology will come to the rescue, so we do not need to be so concerned about the mess we are leaving for young people.

Unfortunately, the new news on carbon capture costs provides no support for the notion that we can solve the climate problem without fossil fuel phase-out. On the contrary, the Keith et al. study reinforces our concerns.

Many people failed to notice the matter of units. Keith reports a cost of $113-232 per ton of CO2 for plant designs in which the resulting CO2 is ready for sequestration The cost per ton of carbon (tC) is higher by the factor 44/12. So the reported cost is $414-850/tC.

Furthermore, none of the four cases include the cost of carbon storage! According to the 2015 National Academy of Sciences report on CO2 removal2 the costs of geological sequestration are $37-73/tC. So the total costs for capture plus storage would be $451-923/tC. Read the rest of this entry »

Above, I interviewed Glaciologist Jonathan Bamber of the University of Bristol in December at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in New Orleans.

I wanted to ask him to comment on a point I had heard in regard to Antarctica, that, as the planet warmed, the atmospheric water vapor would increase ( warmer air holds more moisture), therefore, more snow could be expected on Antarctica, balancing out any possible increased losses around the edges.
One obvious question arises – how then to account for very high known sea level in past epochs?  There are some other flies in the icecap as well.

Below – today’s big news is pretty grim insofar as huge jump in Antarctic melt has been pretty reliably recorded by an international team.

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Carbon Brief:

The rate of sea level rise resulting from the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet has tripled over the past five years, according to new research from a global team of scientists.

The study, published in Nature, finds that ice loss from Antarctica has caused sea levels to rise by 7.6mm from 1992-2017, with two fifths of this increase occurring since 2012.

At a press conference held in London, scientists said the results suggest that Antarctica has become “one of the largest contributors to sea level rise”.

A glaciologist not involved in the paper tells Carbon Brief that the findings show “there now should be no doubt that Antarctica is losing ice due to regional climate change, likely linked to global warming”.

sealevelCO0618

Melting continent

The new research was carried out by a team of scientists from the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE). The international group was established in 2011 with the aim of creating a comprehensive view of how melting in world’s polar regions could be contributing to sea level rise.

In its last assessment report, released in 2012, it found that ice melt in Antarctica was causing global sea levels to rise by 0.2mm a year. (Over the past two decades, global sea levels have risen around 3.2mm a year in total.)

However, the new analysis finds that Antarctic ice melt is now driving sea level rise of 0.6mm a year – suggesting that the rate of melting has increased three-fold in just five years.

The results show that Antarctic ice melt has become “one of the largest contributors to sea level rise”, says Prof Andrew Shepherd, co-leader of IMBIE and director of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Centre for Polar Observation based at the University of Leeds.

Speaking on the sidelines of a press conference held in London, he explains the significance of the new findings to Carbon Brief. Read the rest of this entry »

Above, Science all-star team breaks down Hurricane Harvey’s relationship to a record-warm ocean.

Below, Houston Chronicle editors break down Commander in Chief’s ignorance and arrogance in the face of natural disaster.

Vocab advisory:
I had to look up exegete.  — one who can explain an obscure text, like a religious tract.

Houston Chronicle:

So now we know: Thousands of heedless Houstonians were out pleasure-boating during that fateful Hurricane Harvey weekend and had to be rescued by U.S. Coast Guard sailors.

How do we know?

President Donald J. Trump said so last week. During a conference call with state and federal leaders preparing for another hurricane season, he thanked the Coast Guard for helping save 16,000 people after hurricanes Harvey and Maria and other storms. The Coast Guard doesn’t “get enough credit,” he said.

Then he said this: “Sixteen thousand people, many of them in Texas, for whatever reason that is. People went out in their boats to watch the hurricane. That didn’t work out too well.”

Anyone who can make sense of such absurdity is a better Trump exegete than we.

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Venturing a guess, the president seems to believe that the Coast Guard only rescues people at sea and that those bobbing boats he might have seen on cable news last August were foolish Houstonians seeking a little late-summer recreation in the face of impending mortal danger. Like Civil War-era Washingtonians picnicking near the First Battle of Bull Run, we were irresponsible gawkers, perhaps even deserving of the consequences of our own making.

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Texas House Speaker Joe Straus was quick to respond. “The people who took their boats into the water during Harvey were not storm-watchers,” the San Antonio Republican said. “They were heroes who went toward danger to rescue friends, neighbors, strangers. Texans helping Texans in a time of desperate need.”

A sarcastic Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez also responded: “I’ll be sure to invite the president to ride out the next hurricane in a jon boat in Galveston Bay the next time one approaches.” Read the rest of this entry »

Description:

Sonam Wangchuk is an engineer who has come up with an innovative way to provide fresh water to villages in Ladakh, one of the high-altitude deserts in the world located in the Himalayas. Wangchuk sources water from streams and uses it to create artificial glaciers, which store fresh water until it’s needed in springtime.

A certain amount of global warming is baked unavoidably into the climate cake. It is coming. We will need to adapt.
One of the most critical needs will be for communities that depend on mountain glaciers as a year round water supply – who will be in deep trouble as glaciers melt and disappear.
This might be a small scale solution. Not sure how it works at macro-scale.

Description:

This is an updated version of the short film ‘The Monk, The Engineer and The Artificial Glacier’. It has upadates about the work on the pilot project carried out in Jan- Feb 2015, appended to the original film. Through the Ice Stupa Artificial Glacier Project, Ladakh attempts to solve its water crisis caused by melting glaciers/climate change. To support this project go to http://www.icestupa.org

Below, Glacier experts describe the possible impacts of disappearing glaciers. Read the rest of this entry »