Climate & Energy

<em>Nature</em> article on 'cooling' confuses media, deniers

Next decade may see rapid warming, not cooling

The Nature article ($ub. req'd) that has caused so much angst about the possibility that we are entering a decade of cooling -- "Advancing decadal-scale climate prediction in the North Atlantic sector" -- has been widely misreported. I base this in part on direct communication with the lead author. In fact, with the caveat from the authors that the study should be viewed as preliminary, and should not be used for year-by-year predictions, it is more accurate to say the Nature study is consistent with the following statements: The "coming decade" (2010 to 2020) is poised to be the warmest on record, globally. The coming decade is poised to see faster temperature rise than any decade since the authors' calculations began in 1960. The fast warming would likely begin early in the next decade -- similar to the 2007 prediction by the Hadley Center in Science (see "Climate forecast: hot -- and then very hot"). The mean North American temperature for the decade from 2005 to 2015 is projected to be slightly warmer than the actual average temperature of the decade from 1993 to 2003. Before explaining where the confusion came from -- mostly a misunderstanding of how the Nature authors use the phrase "next decade" -- let's see how the media covered it:

The ghost of link dumps past

So I was thinking to myself, self, you should do a link dump post so you can close out some of this cluttery crap in …

Kunstler meets Colbert


Dems poised to unveil their gas plan

Proposal to curb prices not likely to include ‘gas tax holiday’

Congressional Democrats are expected to announce their plan to counter the rising cost of gasoline as early as next Wednesday, and despite the pressure Sen. …

Has global warming stopped?

Climate change must be examined over decades, not years

There has been a lot of nonsense written about the lack of much if any warming over the last few years. It's not a new argument -- in fact, I blogged about it here -- but like an axe-wielding psycho from a cheap horror flick, it just keeps coming back. At times like this, it is always useful to look at the data. The figure below shows the temperature anomalies (relative to the 1961-1991 average) from 1850 to 2007. The data are the Hadley HadCRUT3v analysis.

Oil hysteria, part 2

Are low gas prices an inalienable right?

I'm listening to Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) talk to Thom Hartmann on Air America. Sanders is arguably the best senator in decades, and understands, as he just explained, that we need to transform our energy system toward renewables. But he also said something to the effect that "we have to get gas prices back down." I can't blame him -- particularly in his state of Vermont, rural people are getting slammed by high gas prices, because they have to drive long distances. His main explanation of high prices (with which Thom Hartmann, an important progressive radio talk show host, seems to agree) is based on 1) oil companies ripping us off, 2) speculators pushing up the price of oil, and 3) OPEC keeping a lid on production. While all of those are certainly a problem, and a windfall profits tax that Sanders advocates is certainly in order, if the Senate's most progressive voice is not discussing the problem that the supply of oil is beginning to decline, then I don't see how carbon pricing is going to fare well. In the long run, people will get hysterical as their oil expenditures increase, as I argued in what I will now call Part 1 of what may become a series on oil hysteria. We need to push a mandate on turning the American car fleet into an all-electric fleet, and we need to construct a national high-speed rail and light rail network.

Fox Nukes

McCain touts gas-tax holiday as well as ‘long-term solutions’

McCain on the long-term solution to dependence on foreign oil: Nuclear! Despite what those “extremist environmental organizations” tell you. And despite the fact that only …

Right to bare legs

Today, No Pants Day will undoubtedly spark dialogue about climate change

Arguably, a far superior cousin to Earth Day: No Pants Day. It may seem to be an innocuous, juvenile ritual devoid of underlying political intentions, …

Ducks per gallon

Tar sands are hardly ‘environmentally responsible’

Alberta's tar sands got yet another huge black eye this week when as many as 500 ducks died after simply landing on a giant pond full of highly toxic oil sands tailings. Only five were said to have survived their toxic plunge. A member of a Canadian environmental watchdog group described the water found in the ponds as follows: Drinking a glass of water from a tailings pond would be like drinking a diluted glass of oil or gasoline. Whether the bitumen is cooked in situ while still underground or scraped off, carted away, and processed elsewhere -- either process requiring both huge amounts of energy and water -- millions of tons of global warming pollution are produced and nearly unfathomable amounts of toxic wastewater and tailings are left behind. Indeed, it is estimated that producing one barrel of oil from tar sands requires between 2 and 4.5 barrels of water. Last year alone, the Alberta tar sands industry was permitted water withdrawals totaling a staggering 119.5 billion gallons.

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