Climate & Energy

The permafrost won't be perma for long

More carbon in the Arctic than previously thought

The tundra is probably the single most important amplifying carbon-cycle feedback. None of the IPCC's climate models, however, include carbon emissions from a defrosting tundra as a feedback. Yet, as NOAA reported last month, levels of methane (a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2) rose last year for the first time since 1998, which may be an early indication of thawing permafrost. So it seems like a good a time for a review and update of what we know. The tundra or permafrost is soil that stays below freezing (32 degrees F) for at least two years. Normally, plants capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during photosynthesis and slowly release that carbon back into the atmosphere after they die. But the Arctic acts like a freezer, and the decomposition rate is very low. The tundra is a carbon locker. We open it at our own risk.

Ignoring climate change will cost U.S. big bucks, says group

Doing nothing in the face of climate change would cost the U.S. $1.9 trillion a year (in today’s dollars) by the turn of the next …

The Will to disbelieve

Conservative pundit correctly recognizes the radical implications of the polar bear decision

This ran on earlier today. George Will is far from the only middle-aged Boomer pundit who spends his time shadowboxing Dirty Hippies on the …

Notable quotable

Earth screwed, but small Japanese towns happy

“We are seeing a flicker of light after long darkness. We never imagined coal would actually make a comeback.” — Michio Sakurai, mayor of Bibai, …

Looks like …

… the coal battle in Kansas is over for the time being. Score: Coal-0; earth/Sebelius/Kansas ratepayers-1

Italy wants to reverse ban, move forward with nuclear power

After banning nuclear power for two decades, Italy has announced plans to build a new wave of nuclear plants. Concerns about oil prices, energy security, …

Gas at $12-15? Not so fast

But soon we will be mad for $6-7 gas

Normally, I would listen to Robert Hirsch and the legendary Charlie Maxwell, over CNBC's "Mad" Jim Cramer. But Hirsch and Maxwell are making headlines for saying $12-15 gasoline is around the corner, based on Maxwell's projection of oil "reaching $180 a barrel in 2015 and $300 a barrel in 2020." Sorry, guys -- every extra $40 barrel is another dollar a gallon or so at the pump. Don't quite know how they did the math, but they did it wrong.

New pro-LW ad from EDF

EDF has a new ad out supporting the Climate Security Act: The Act does indeed tell polluters they can’t pollute for free — in fact, …

They blinded me with bad science

Should you believe anything John Christy and Roy Spencer say?

I don't believe 'em. But should you? You can't read everything or listen to everybody. Life is just too short. I debated Christy years ago, so I know he tries to peddle unscientific nonsense when he thinks he can get away with it. But some of the comments in my recent post "The deniers are winning, especially with the GOP" can't seem to get enough of the analyses by these two scientists from the University of Alabama in Huntsville who famously screwed up the satellite temperature measurements of the troposphere. In the interest of saving you some time, which is a major goal of my posts, let's see why these are two people you can program your mental DVR to fast forward through. First off, they were wrong -- dead wrong -- for a very long time, which created one of the most enduring denier myths: that the satellite data didn't show the global warming that the surface temperature data did. As RealClimate wrote yesterday: