Climate & Energy

The Hansen (et al.) ultimatum

Get back to 350 ppm or risk an ice-free planet

Here is the draft [PDF] of the long-awaited defense of why we need an ultimate target of 350 ppm for atmospheric carbon dioxide, by NASA's James Hansen et al., titled "Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?" (Yes, they know we're already at 385 ppm and rising 2 ppm a year.) The paper does suffer from one analytical weakness that makes it a tad less dire than it appears -- and some people believe the core element of this analysis is wrong (see very end of post), although I don't. This paper is really just a continuation of Hansen's earlier analysis arguing that the real-world or long-term climate sensitivity of the planet to doubled CO2 [550 ppm] is 6 degrees C -- twice the short-term or fast-feedback-only climate sensitivity used by the IPCC. (You might want to read this post first, as it is a bit clearer on the difference between the two sensitivities.) The key paleoclimate finding of the article: We infer from the Cenozoic data that CO2 was the dominant Cenozoic forcing, that CO2 was only ~450 ppm when Antarctica glaciated, and that glaciation is reversible. That is, if we stabilize at 450 ppm or higher, we risk returning the planet to conditions when it was largely ice-free, when sea levels were higher by more than 200 feet!

Army Corps climate efforts in New Orleans may not be enough

No one wants to see this again — but can post-Katrina protection efforts keep the Big Easy safe? Photo: NOAA Here’s the good news: The …

Trading off jobs and lives for the 'economic necessity' of coal

Hillary Clinton gives tepid response on question about mountaintop-removal mining

Hillary Clinton was asked about mountaintop-removal mining in an interview on West Virginia public radio (mp3 link) this morning. Her answer was, in my eyes, …

The blind <del>leading</del> quoting the blind

Roger Pielke Jr. defends his absurd delayer post … by quoting a global warming denier

Seriously! In a post ironically titled "You can't make this stuff up" (actually, you can -- that's what most deniers do), Roger Pielke, Jr. responds to my last post (which challenged his absurd defense of the "Earth is cooling" nonsense) as follows: And people wonder why some people see the more enthusiastic climate advocates akin to religious zealots. Who are these "some people" Pielke cites? Go to his link -- it's none other than NASA Administrator Michael Griffin, who became famous in the climate arena for saying:

Dealing with gas prices involves healing the economy

On oil and the dollar, Bush and McCain acknowledge their own cluelessness

This post was originally published at the just-launched Think Progress Wonk Room, the new public policy rapid-response blog of the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Brad Johnson, the climate specialist for the Wonk Room, was a writer for Hill Heat. Skyrocketing gas prices are crippling the budgets of Americans, as Bush has newly discovered. But he doesn't have a solution. Nor does Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Bush's every response to energy problems is to drill for more oil and blame China. McCain has a more evolved position: his solution is to drill for more oil and build nuclear power plants, and blame China and terrorists. But neither will address a major culprit in the recent shocking spike in oil futures and gas prices -- the collapse of the American dollar due to a vicious circle of shortsighted right-wing economic policies.

All the colors of the wind

Wind farms get sponsored

It seems that if you have enough money, you can slap your name on any ol’ thing: stadiums, theaters, sporting events, and now wind farms. …

Energy could be harvested from mixing of fresh and salt water

Through an osmotic process we don’t pretend to understand, the mixing of fresh and salt water at the world’s river mouths produces enough energy to …

Take that, delayers (this means you, Pielke)!

Hadley Center says we’re warming, not cooling

The deniers/delayer-1000s cite recent U.K. Hadley Center data to promote their "climate is cooling" disinformation. Even Roger Pielke, Jr. is peddling this nonsense with his recent inanely titled post, "Update on Falsification of Climate Predictions." Falsification? Give me a break! According to the Hadley Center, the eight warmest years in the global temperature record of 150 are, in order, 1998, 2005, 2003, 2002, 2004, 2006, and 2007. Those are also the eight warmest years in the NASA record in a different order, starting with 2005, then 2007 tied with 1998. Where the heck is the cooling trend? Shame on you, Pielke, for lending your name and website to this delayer-1000 nonsense. It is only fair to ask what the Hadley Center thinks its data shows (much as we've heard NASA explain that its data shows unequivocal warming). Answer: they believe it shows unequivocally that we are in a warming trend, including this decade. They make one of the best analytical points I have seen in the whole discussion of this cooling nonsense:

Rise in U.S. power plant emissions outpaced electricity demand in 2007

Carbon dioxide emissions from U.S. power plants rose 2.9 percent from 2006 to 2007, according to data analysis by the Environmental Integrity Project. That’s the …