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Even in USA, carbon emissions ceasing to rise, as coal industry fades

World reaching turning point on carbon emissions as coal fades, Nikkei Asian Review  Even US is heading in greener direction despite Trump policies YASUO TAKEUCHI, Nikkei staff writer March 26, 2017 PARIS –– Humanity seems to be reaching a turning point in its emissions of greenhouse gases. Last year marked the third in a row that global emissions of carbon dioxide trended sideways, ending what had been a long, unbroken climb interrupted only by the 2008 financial crisis.

The change is thanks in large part to a shift from coal to natural gas and renewable energy resources. Even the United States, led by a new administration whose leaders are skeptical at best about climate change, is not expected to significantly increase its carbon emissions. And policies put in place by emerging economies are beginning to take effect.

 The International Energy Agency reported that CO2 emissions resulting from fuel combustion totaled 32.1 billion tons in 2016. That was in year when the global economy grew by 3.1%, belying the adage that emissions rise in lockstep with economic growth. The global increase in the use of lower- and no-carbon energy resources and the spread of cars with better fuel performance are clearly part of the reason.

IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol cautions that it is too soon to say that the volume of global carbon emissions has peaked, but he will offer that the trend has changed: Even if emissions rise, it will be at a slower pace.

The two largest emitters are the U.S. and China, and both released less carbon in 2016, the U.S. in particular.

By introducing shale gas and renewables and cutting down on coal, the U.S. reduced its CO2 emissions by 3% over 2015 to a level not seen since 1992. During those same 24 years, the U.S. economy grew by 80%.

The Trump administration is skeptical about global warming and plans to rescind the restrictions on coal-burning power plants enacted by the Obama administration. But U.S. coal production is still declining, mainly because of the increasing output of inexpensive shale gas…..http://asia.nikkei.com/Tech-Science/Science/World-reaching-turning-point-on-carbon-emissions-as-coal-fades

March 27, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate change forcing indigenous peoples from their homelands

“You’re talking about communities that have been in place for generations, and live off the land and the waters, and they are seeing and experiencing the changes first and foremost,”

Climate Change Forces Northwest Natives From Their Ancestral Homes,Truth Out  March 24, 2017By Zoe Loftus-FarrenEarth Island Journal Fawn Sharp grew up in Taholah village, a small community on the Quinault Reservation nestled between the mouth of the Quinault River and the Pacific Ocean. She spent her childhood summers surrounded by water, splashing in Lake Quinault on the eastern edge of the reservation, and hiking along the local beaches near the village, scouring the rocks for starfish and other treasures. In the mornings, she was often up before the sun, out fishing with her grandparents on the river.

Decades after she left home for college, Sharp is back on the reservation, this time living near the lake, some 35 miles from her childhood home in Taholah. Now she goes by President Sharp, and leads both the Quinault Indian Nation and the Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians.

Since returning, Sharp has faced the kinds of tough issues that might have seemed outlandish, or even inconceivable, during her childhood. She’s seen the tribe’s salmon runs in sharp decline. She’s observed the rapid retreat of nearby glaciers. And she’s watched her childhood home, Taholah, endure dangerous flooding during increasingly harsh storm surges. Continue reading

March 27, 2017 Posted by | climate change, indigenous issues | Leave a comment

The physics of climate change

Elevator Pitches – Chapter 02 – Radiative Gases Radiative Gases

A Musical Basis for Scattering Heat https://www.skepticalscience.com/ccep02.html24 March 2017 by Rob Honeycutt – This is another excerpt from my book 28 Climate Change Elevator Pitches. I’ll be publishing one chapter here on SkS each month.The scientific basis for understanding climate goes back to the 1820’s when brilliant French mathematician Joseph Fourier first proposed the idea that our planet’s atmosphere had heat-trapping properties. Fourier was trying to calculate what should be the temperature of a planet at our distance from the sun. He derived a figure about 33°C (59°F) colder than the actual average temperature of the Earth. For his figures to be correct, he thought gases in our atmosphere must have “radiative properties” with the capacity to absorb and re-emit heat energy. When visible sunlight passes through our atmosphere it warms the surface of the Earth. The heat that is emitted upward we refer to as infrared radiation, or IR. Infrared radiation is just another wavelength of energy which is invisible to the human eye, but we can feel that energy as heat. It’s this heat energy that is scattered by radiative gases in the atmosphere.

In the 1850’s a British scientist, John Tyndall, devised an apparatus enabling him to measure the heat absorbing properties of various gases. Earth’s atmosphere is composed primarily of nitrogen (78%) and oxygen (21%). The remaining 1 percent of gases are known as “trace gases.” Tyndall discovered that the radiative properties of nitrogen and oxygen are insignificant and transparent to infrared radiation (heat). But, he further discovered that some trace gases do efficiently block heat.

But, how does this work? Why would one gas be transparent to heat and another gas block it?

The most common radiative gases in our atmosphere are water (H2O), carbon dioxide(CO2), and to a lesser extent, methane (CH4), so let’s look at how these molecules are constructed. The first two have a single core atom with two other atoms attached to it. With H2O, there is a central oxygen atom with two hydrogen atoms attached. With CO2, there is a central carbon atom and two oxygen atoms attached. You can picture these being something like soap bubbles joined together, but imagine if you can, that these soap bubbles have an electromagnetic field incorporated into them. This electromagnetic field gently locks the molecule into a specific configuration. That magnetic field also allows the atoms to wobble around a bit as the molecule is floating about in the atmosphere. Methane is somewhat similarly constructed as CO2, but with a central carbon atom surrounded on four sides by hydrogen atoms making it a far more potent radiative gas than the others.

Infrared radiation is a wavelength of light. In a way, it’s analogous to sound waves traveling through the air. If you tap an A note tuning fork on your knee and then hold it against the soundboard of a guitar the A-string of the guitar will vibrate sympathetically. Infrared radiation also has a frequency range, so when visible sunlight (higher frequency energy) comes in and hits the surface of the planet, that energy warms the surface. The surface then emits lower frequency energy as heat (IR) back up through the atmosphere.

The capacity of these molecules to vibrate (the “wobbling”) is “tuned” like the guitar string and when infrared radiation in the right frequency interacts with these gases, the molecule vibrates sympathetically. What they’re doing is absorbing and re-emitting that IR heatenergy. The difference with the dominant molecules, like oxygen (O2) and nitrogen (N2), is they can’t vibrate in this same manner nor at the same frequency ranges, thus they are invisible to IR.

That is the fundamental physics of climate change: the vibrational modes of greenhouse gases acting to absorb and scatter heat energy in the atmosphere. This was a cutting-edge discovery of the mid-19th century but now an indisputable fact of science. Scientists have empirically measured, modeled, and applied these facts in numerous ways for well over a century.

March 27, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, Reference | Leave a comment

Some hope for mainstream media: New York Times and Washington Post now to cover climate change news

In response to the Trump administration’s intense politicization of the issue, The Washington Post now dedicates more resources to covering climate policy

“there are really big stories about climate refugees and cities that are threatened and desperately trying to adapt to climate change,

Climate Journalism: The Coverage Heats Up InsideClimate News and Climate Central have dominated U.S. climate journalism, but The New York Times and Washington Post now are trying to catch up. UnDark, 03.23.2017    For about a decade, niche websites have dominated U.S. journalism coverage of climate change and policy responses to it. General news publications and broadcasters, as well as media outlets dedicated to science, have failed to consistently match the volume, quality, and depth of coverage published by outlets such as Climate Central and InsideClimate News, both of which are nonprofit, non-partisan organizations. InsideClimate reporters David Hasemyer, Elizabeth McGowan, and Lisa Song even won a Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for their coverage of a Michigan oil spill.

But after some shifting commitments on climate change and environmental coverage, The New York Times has devoted significant resources to this beat in the past few months. And The Washington Post is moving in a similar direction.

The Times’ approach involves a team of journalists dedicated to the climate and environment beat. Hannah Fairfield, who began her career as a graphics editor at the newspaper in 2000, started in February as the Times’ climate editor, a newly created position. Her experience also includes a two-year stint as graphics director at The Washington Post.

Fairfield’s team of reporters and editors includes John M. Broder, Coral Davenport, Henry Fountain, Justin Gillis, Nadja Popovich, John Schwartz, and Tatiana Schlossberg. Fairfield’s mission, she says, includes developing explanatory stories as well as stories with a visual component, such as video, photography and graphics.

At The Washington Post, a major Times competitor, climate change coverage is distributed across several desks and journalists, says Laura Helmuth, editor of the paper’s health, science, and environment team. Her writers include Darryl Fears and Brady Dennis, who cover climate change as part of their beat. Meteorologists Jason Samenow and Angela Fritz, along with financial reporters Chris Mooney and Steven Mufson also contribute. Suzanne Goldenberg, recently hired as an editor on the financial team, will work with Mooney and Mufson on an energy and environment blog. Rounding out the effort are several other political reporters who frequently cover climate policy and politics, including Juliet Eilperin, who focuses on the White House, and Lisa Rein, who deals with Congress.

In response to the Trump administration’s intense politicization of the issue, The Post now dedicates more resources to covering climate policy, says Helmuth. “We’re still greatly outnumbered by The New York Times’ dedicated climate staff,” she notes, “but that is the case for most departments.”

The Times’ Fairfield also notes a Trump factor, but in her case it involves the challenge of finding the right coverage balance between breaking climate policy news out of Washington, D.C., and stories about the global effects of climate change. “We have so much to cover in Washington right now, but there are really big stories about climate refugees and cities that are threatened and desperately trying to adapt to climate change,” she says.

The Times plans to make additional hires to its climate team. …..https://undark.org/2017/03/23/climate-coverage-journalism-competition/

March 25, 2017 Posted by | climate change, media, USA | Leave a comment

Planet is now in “unchartered territory” with record-breaking climate change

Record-breaking climate change pushes world into ‘uncharted territory’ https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/21/record-breaking-climate-change-world-uncharted-territory

Earth is a planet in upheaval, say scientists, as the World Meteorological Organisation publishes analysis of recent heat highs and ice lows, Guardian, , 20 Mar 17,  The record-breaking heat that made 2016 the hottest year ever recorded has continued into 2017, pushing the world into “truly uncharted territory”, according to the World Meteorological Organisation.

The WMO’s assessment of the climate in 2016, published on Tuesday, reports unprecedented heat across the globe, exceptionally low ice at both poles and surging sea-level rise.

Global warming is largely being driven by emissions from human activities, but a strong El Niño – a natural climate cycle – added to the heat in 2016. The El Niño is now waning, but the extremes continue to be seen, with temperature records tumbling in the US in February and polar heatwaves pushing ice cover to new lows.

“Even without a strong El Niño in 2017, we are seeing other remarkable changes across the planet that are challenging the limits of our understanding of the climate system. We are now in truly uncharted territory,” said David Carlson, director of the WMO’s world climate research programme.

“Earth is a planet in upheaval due to human-caused changes in the atmosphere,” said Jeffrey Kargel, a glaciologist at the University of Arizona in the US. “In general, drastically changing conditions do not help civilisation, which thrives on stability.”

 The WMO report was “startling”, said Prof David Reay, an emissions expert at the University of Edinburgh: “The need for concerted action on climate change has never been so stark nor the stakes so high.”

The new WMO assessment also prompted some scientists to criticise Donald Trump. “While the data show an ever increasing impact of human activities on the climate system, the Trump administration and senior Republicans in Congress continue to bury their heads in the sand,” said Prof Sir Robert Watson, a distinguished climate scientist at the UK’s University of East Anglia and a former head of the UN’s climate science panel.

“Our children and grandchildren will look back on the climate deniers and ask how they could have sacrificed the planet for the sake of cheap fossil fuel energy, when the cost of inaction exceeds the cost of a transition to a low-carbon economy,” Watson said.

Trump is aiming to cut climate change research. But the WMO’s secretary-general Petteri Taalas said: “Continued investment in climate research and observations is vital if our scientific knowledge is to keep pace with the rapid rate of climate change.”

2016 saw the hottest global average among thermometer measurements stretching back to 1880. But scientific research indicates the world was last this warm about 115,000 years ago and that the planet has not experienced such high levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere for 4m years.

2017 has seen temperature records continue to tumble, in the US where February was exceptionally warm, and in Australia, where prolonged and extreme heat struck many states. The consequences have been particularly stark at the poles.

“Arctic ice conditions have been tracking at record low conditions since October, persisting for six consecutive months, something not seen before in the [four-decade] satellite data record,” said Prof Julienne Stroeve, at University College London in the UK. “Over in the southern hemisphere, the sea ice also broke new record lows in the seasonal maximum and minimum extents, leading to the least amount of global sea ice ever recorded.”

Emily Shuckburgh, at the British Antarctic Survey, said: “The Arctic may be remote, but changes that occur there directly affect us. The melting of the Greenland ice sheet is already contributing significantly to sea level rise, and new research is highlighting that the melting of Arctic sea ice can alter weather conditions across Europe, Asia and North America.”

Global sea level rise surged between November 2014 and February 2016, with the El Niño event helping the oceans rise by 15mm. That jump would have take five years under the steady rise seen in recent decades, as ice caps melt and oceans get warmer and expand in volume. Final data for 2016 sea level rise have yet to be published.

Climate change harms people most directly by increasing the risk of extreme weather events and the WMO report states that these raised risks can increasingly be calculated. For example, the Arctic heatwaves are made tens of times more likely and the soaring temperatures seen in Australia in February were made twice as likely.

“With levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere consistently breaking new records, the influence of human activities on the climate system has become more and more evident,” said Taalas.

March 25, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate change fuelled by corruption

How Corruption Fuels Climate Change, https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/extractive-industry-disclosure-rules-by-lili-fuhr-and-simon-taylor-1-2017-03, Lili Fuhr heads the Ecology and Sustainable Development Department at the Heinrich Böll Foundation. SIMON TAYLOR Simon Taylor is Co-Founder and Director of Global Witness and Co-Founder of the 2002 “Publish What You Pay” campaign for mandatory disclosure mechanisms in extractive industries.

March 25, 2017 Posted by | climate change, secrets,lies and civil liberties | Leave a comment

The new normal is now weather extremes

Climate change makes weather extremes the new normal http://www.dw.com/en/climate-change-makes-weather-extremes-the-new-normal/a-38085847   On World Meteorological Day, DW provides an overview of how global warming is changing our lived experience of the climate. News of the hottest year, the wettest winter and suffocating summers are no longer a surprise. We’re getting used to extreme weather – and that’s worrying.

In 2016, Earth’s surface reached its warmest temperatures since 1880. It was the third year in a row to set a global record, as confirmed in the recently published World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Statement on the State of the Global Climate in 2016.

Not surprisingly, 2017 is also expected to follow the trend, even though February 2017 was slightly cooler than the same month last year.

During the 20th century, the average temperature on Earth increased by around 1.8 degree Fahrenheit (1 Celsius). That may not seem much. But for comparison, temperatures during the last ice age were only 5 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than today, according to NASA.

Small changes in temperature mean huge changes for the environment, and the Earth’s climate record shows such fluctuations have been extremely rare historically. Violent weather

Extreme weather events used to occur on average only once in 100 years, but climate change is increasing their frequency, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns. And people and ecosystems around the world are feeling the impact.

Hurricane Matthew  had devastating consequences in Haiti and part of the United States. Severe droughts and floods in 2016 have affected millions of people around the world.

Australia recently saw a severe heat wave and after years of severe drought, California is now dealing with extreme floods.

In May, Canada suffered its most damaging wildfire – and most costly natural disaster – ever. Some months later, the United States also experienced its most destructive wildfire in modern history.

Europe hasn’t escaped either. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland had their wettest winter on record. Intense flooding hit France and Germany during May and June 2016, while France had its driest July and August on record.

European natural wonders such as the Alps are also at risk. The mountainous area is heating up twice as fast as the global average, which could lead to fire seasons lasting 30 to 50 days longer by 2050.

In March 2017, much of Peru is under a state of emergency due to devastating floods.

While some of these events are directly related to human activity and climate change, some remain under question. Climate change to blame

The 2016 European Environmental Agency report on climate change impacts, stated that global climate change had significantly increased the probability of extreme climate events in Europe.

Despite a range of factors leading to extreme weather, the vast majority of scientists have no doubt that extreme weather is connected to climate change.

While climate change may not be directly be causing, such events it is to blame for the increasing frequency and strength with which they hit.

Referring to Peru’s recent floods, Mojib Latif, a professor of oceanology and climate dynamics at GEOMA (the Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany), said El Nino events have indeed become more frequent and stronger in recent decades.

The extreme El Nino climate pattern corresponds to climate change models, he said. However, he emphasized, it is still unclear whether this will become a trend.

While causes of recent natural disasters are still questioned, a recent study published in Nature Climate Change exposes a close relationship between global warming and concrete climate events.

Peak temperatures influence precipitation rates: For every additional degree Celsius, precipitation rates can increase from 5 to 10 percent.

For scientists, the link between fossil fuel emissions and global warming that is contributing to extreme weather is also beyond question.

“With carbon dioxide reaching a record annual average concentration of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere, the influence of human activities on the climate system has become more and more evident,” Petteri Taalas, WMO secretary general, said in the report.

Disastrous consequences   Drought has left millions of people – mainly in Africa – starving because crops have failed, while flooding has displaced thousands of communities in Southeast Asia, the WMO reports.

Agricultural production is at risk in countries affected by flooding – not to mention those hit by natural disasters such as hurricanes. That not only puts food security at risk, but has broader economic impacts.

For example, in Australia a threat to agricultural production could have major consequences, as it represents one of the main pillars of the country’s economy, the Australian Climate Council reported. Extreme weather events linked to global warming have reprecussions throughout society.

The Union of Concerned Scientists mentions, among others: public health impacts, infrastructural and economic costs, and the destruction of biodiversity.

In cooler climes such as Germany, an early spring might put a smile on many people’s faces. But its global consequences threaten to create a very bleak future.

March 25, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Climate change: historic drought led to civil war in Syria, and later to UK’s Brexit – Al Gore

Climate change played key role in Syrian civil war and helped Brexit, Al Gore says, http://www.sanluisobispo.com/news/nation-world/national/article140523093.htmlAn 24 Mar 17, historic drought in Syria led to that nation’s civil war, which, in turn, helped Brexit pass in England, according to former United States Vice President Al Gore who explained his theory at a conference in London this week.

Gore, who has long argued that humans are causing climate change, won an Oscar for his climate-change documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.”

“From 2006 to 2010, 60 percent of the farms in Syria were destroyed and had to be abandoned. Eighty percent of the livestock were killed. The drought in the eastern Mediterranean is the worst ever recorded,” Gore said according to several press reports.

The drought, Gore says, forced more than a million Syrians into cities where they “collided” with refugees from the Iraq War, setting the stage for the Syrian Civil War. Gore said that WikiLeaks documents revealed internal conversations among the Syrian government.

Gore is not the first to tie the severe drought to climate change or the civil war that followed.

“They were saying to one another, ‘We can’t handle this. There’s going to be a social explosion.’ There are other causes of the Syrian civil war,” Gore said, “but this was the principle one.”

That conflict, which began in July 2011, has killed more than 450,000 Syrians and displaced more than 12 million Syrians, according to Al-Jazeera. CNN reports more than 4.8 million Syrians have left the country due to the conflict, which started as a government crackdown in response to protests.

Many of those fleeing the country have migrated to Europe, creating crises in several European nations. That, Gore says, helped lead to Brexit. In June of 2016, citizens of the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. Many linked the ongoing refugee crisis to the vote to leave.

“It has unleashed with other factors this incredible flow of refugees into Europe, which is creating political instability in Europe,” Gore said, “and which contributed in some ways to the desire of some in the U.K., to say, ‘Wow, we’re not sure we want to be a part of that anymore.’ ”

The Trump administration does not share Gore’s views on human-caused climate change and has already rolled back numerous Obama-era environmental protections.

Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt told CNBC that carbon dioxide is not a primary contributor to global warming. Mick Mulvaney, Trump’s budget director, said climate change research programs are “a waste of your money” while unveiling Trump’s first budget proposal.

“Regarding the questions as to climate change, I think the President was fairly straightforward. We’re not spending money on that anymore. We consider that to be a waste of your money to go out and do that,” Mulvaney said.

March 25, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Syria | Leave a comment

Research programme launched on controversial solar geoengineering

US scientists launch world’s biggest solar geoengineering study Research programme will send aerosol injections into the earth’s upper atmosphere to study the risks and benefits of a future solar tech-fix for climate change, Guardian, , 24 Mar 17, US scientists are set to send aerosol injections 20km up into the earth’s stratosphere in the world’s biggest solar geoengineering programme to date, to study the potential of a future tech-fix for global warming.

The $20m (£16m) Harvard University project will launch within weeks and aims to establish whether the technology can safely simulate the atmospheric cooling effects of a volcanic eruption, if a last ditch bid to halt climate change is one day needed.

Scientists hope to complete two small-scale dispersals of first water and then calcium carbonate particles by 2022. Future tests could involve seeding the sky with aluminium oxide – or even diamonds.

“This is not the first or the only university study,” said Gernot Wagner, the project’s co-founder, “but it is most certainly the largest, and the most comprehensive.”

 Janos Pasztor, Ban Ki-moon’s assistant climate chief at the UN who now leads geoengineering governance initiative, said that the Harvard scientists would only disperse minimal amounts of compounds in their tests, under strict university controls.

“The real issue here is something much more challenging,” he said “What does moving experimentation from the lab into the atmosphere mean for the overall path towards eventual deployment?”

Geoengineering advocates stress that any attempt at a solar tech fix is years away and should be viewed as a compliment to – not a substitute for – aggressive emissions reductions action.

But the Harvard team, in a promotional video for the project, suggest a redirection of one percent of current climate mitigation funds to geoengineering research, and argue that the planet could be covered with a solar shield for as little as $10bn a year.

Some senior UN climate scientists view such developments with alarm, fearing a cash drain from proven mitigation technologies such as wind and solar energy, to ones carrying the potential for unintended disasters.

Kevin Trenberth, a lead author for the UN’s intergovernmental panel on climate change, said that despair at sluggish climate action, and the rise of Donald Trump were feeding the current tech trend.

“But solar geoengineering is not the answer,” he said. “Cutting incoming solar radiation affects the weather and hydrological cycle. It promotes drought. It destabilizes things and could cause wars. The side effects are many and our models are just not good enough to predict the outcomes”…….

critics of solar radiation management approach this as a call to redouble mitigation efforts and guard against the elevation of a questionable Plan B.

“It is appropriate that we spend money on solar geoengineering research,” said Kevin Anderson, the deputy director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. “But we also have to aim for 2C with climate mitigation and act as though geoengineering doesn’t work, because it probably won’t.”https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/mar/24/us-scientists-launch-worlds-biggest-solar-geoengineering-study

March 25, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

The very serious threat of sea level rise

SEA-LEVEL RISE IS A ‘SERIOUS THREAT’ #CLIMATECHANGE #AUSPOL https://jpratt27.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/sea-level-rise-is-a-serious-threat-climatechange-auspol/

Sea-level rise poses ‘a serious threat’ to millions of Europeans, scientists warn. A new study spells out the threat of sea-level rise in coastal communities.The kind of devastating flooding that occurs once every century along Europe’s northern coastline could become an annual event if greenhouse gas emissions continue to climb, according to a recent study published in the journal Earth’s Future.

New analysis takes into account changes in sea-level rise, tides, waves, and storm surge over the 21st century and found that climate change could prompt extreme sea levels — the maximum levels seen during major storms, which produce massive flooding — to increase significantly along the European coastline by 2100.

This scenario will likely stress coastal protection structures beyond their capacity, leaving much of the European coastline vulnerable to dangerous flooding, according to study authors.

“Unless we take different protection measures, five million people will be exposed to coastal flooding on an annual basis,” said Michalis Vousdoukas, a coastal oceanographer at the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and lead author of the study.

The study described the projected rise in extreme sea levels as “a serious threat” to coastal communities, noting, “their safety and resilience depends on the effectiveness of natural and man-made coastal flood protection.”

Kevin Trenberth, a scientist with the climate analysis section of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who was not involved in this research, said the signs of extreme sea levels are already worrisome, not just in Europe, but in the United States as well. “Witness the sunshine flooding in Florida already, the flooding that shows up even with no storm on many streets any time there is a slightly high tide,” he said.

Sea level is going up because the ocean is warming and hence expanding, and because land ice — glaciers, etc. — are melting and putting more water into the ocean. But it is not the gradual rise that matters,” Trenberth said. “Rather, it is the storm surge on top of a high tide riding on top of the increase in sea level that crosses thresholds and causes things to break.”

Richard Alley, professor of geosciences at Pennsylvania State University, who also did not take part in this study, noted that the study didn’t consider the possible collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet. “If that happens, then sea-level rise and impacts to coasts could be much higher than in this paper,” Alley said. “Rapid West Antarctic collapse could cause enough rise to make many of these other factors of secondary importance. So, the ‘worst case’ in this paper isn’t really the worst case.”

The new paper predicted that some regions could experience an even higher increase in the frequency of these extreme flooding events, specifically along the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, where the present day 100-year extreme sea level could occur as often as several times a year.

“The ‘worst case’ in this paper isn’t really the worst case.”

Information about the number of people at risk from flooding can be used to determine how large the social and economic impact of these events will be, said Marta Marcos, a researcher at the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies in Spain, who was not involved in the new study. “In terms of adaptation strategies and policy-making, it is very relevant,” she said.

The researchers studied changes in extreme sea levels by 2100 under different greenhouse gas scenarios and considered how all these components — mean sea level, tides, waves, and storm surge — will be affected by climate change.

f emissions continue to rise unabated throughout this century, extreme sea levels along Europe’s coastlines could increase by more than 2.5 feet, on average, by 2100. Under a more moderate situation, where greenhouse gas emissions peak in 2040, 100-year extreme sea levels still could jump by nearly 2 feet, on average, by the end of the century — with flooding events occurring every few years — according to study’s authors.

In a related study appearing in Geophysical Research Letters, scientists found that if greenhouse gases continue to rise, there could be disturbing changes by the end of the century in the energy that waves carry to the coast.

In the southern hemisphere, extreme waves could carry up to 30 percent more energy by 2100, according to the study, meaning that stronger waves will become more frequent, and have a greater impact on the coast, said Lorenzo Mentaschi, a researcher at the Joint Research Centre and lead author of the study.

The new study attributed the changes in wave energy to the intensification of weather patterns, like El Niño. The new research will be provided to European Union policymakers. The data will also be made public so it can be used by scientists, engineers, and coastal managers.

Michael Mann, professor of atmospheric science at Pennsylvania State University, said the research once again underscored how climate change, “which has already increased the threat to our coastlines through a combination of sea-level rise and intensified coastal storms, will be catastrophic for coastal communities if we don’t reduce global carbon emissions.”

Marlene Cimons writes for Nexus Media, a syndicated newswire covering climate, energy, policy, art & culture.

Press link for more: Think Progress

March 17, 2017 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE, oceans | Leave a comment

Massive economic costs of climate change

ECONOMIC COST OF #CLIMATECHANGE ARE ‘MASSIVE’, JPratt27, 17 Mar 17 Funding efforts to fight climate change is “a waste of your money,” the director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney said in a press conference today.

But Mulvaney is dangerously wrong: in fact, experts say that that the economic costs of climate change are so massive that delayed action, or inaction, is the most expensive policy option out there.
Mulvaney was defending President Trump’s proposed 2018 budget, which cuts funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by 31 percent — making good on Trump’s threat to dismantle the agency.

“Regarding the question as to climate change, the president was fairly straightforward,” Mulvaney said.

“‘We’re not spending money on that anymore.’”
That’s a really bad idea, for a couple of reasons.

But first, let’s get this out of the way: there is overwhelming evidence that climate change is real, and caused by carbon emissions.

Scientifically, the debate’s over and this is our fault — no matter how much Scott Pruitt or Ryan Zinke try to duck responsibility on behalf of humankind.
Sitting out on global warming is a bad deal for America

Second, there are big chunks of the US economy that depend on the global temperature staying put — like the agriculture and fish industries, for example. …….as global temperatures climb, severe droughts, extreme rain and snowfall, flooding, and heatwaves have already started to increase — making it a lot harder to grow crops no matter how much they love guzzling down that CO2.

Unchecked climate change will hit farmers where it hurts
We’ve started seeing some of the consequences of climate change on agriculture already, according to a government report: high temperatures in 2011 cost meat producers more than $1 billion dollars in what the EPA called “heat-related losses.” …..

Nationwide, The Risky Business Project estimates that anywhere from $66 billion to $106 billion of coastal real estate is probably going to hard to enjoy without a snorkel by the year 2100.
This is bad for more than just Mar-a-Lago: massive coastal flooding could also have major ripple effects on the economy, according to a report by government-sponsored mortgage company Freddie Mac.

Coastal businesses could relocate or simply go under, taking jobs with them.

Lenders and mortgage insurers could also suffer huge losses because, the report says, “It is less likely that borrowers will continue to make mortgage payments if their homes are literally underwater.”

It gets worse: “Non-economic losses may be substantial as some communities disappear or unravel. Social unrest may increase in the affected areas.”
“It is less likely that borrowers will continue to make mortgage payments if their homes are literally underwater.”
Big picture, global warming could cause the global economy to plummet — leading to a 23 percent drop in gross domestic product per person by the year 2100, according to a 2015 study published in Nature.

“We’re basically throwing away money by not addressing the issue,” Marshall Burke, an assistant professor at Stanford University, told TIME.
Even bankers agree — and they’re not known for being tree-huggers……….

waiting to start fighting global warming — or sitting out the fight altogether — is a bad deal for America’s future. Given President Trump’s claims about his business acumen, he, of all people, should see that.

Press link for more: The Vergehttps://jpratt27.wordpress.com/2017/03/17/economic-cost-of-climatechange-are-massive-auspol-science/

March 17, 2017 Posted by | business and costs, climate change, USA | Leave a comment

G20 will not be mentioning that nasty left-wing phrase “climate change”

G20 drop reference to climate change http://www.heraldsun.com.au/news/breaking-news/g20-drop-reference-to-climate-change/news-story/a5325d34d272030935c7b31033588f5d Reuters March 18, 2017

World financial leaders have dropped a reference to financing climate change from their draft communique, says an official taking part in a meeting of finance ministers and central bankers of the Group of 20 leading economies.

At their last meeting in July 2016 in the Chinese city of Chengdu, the G20 financial leaders said they encouraged all signatories of the Paris Agreement on climate change to bring the deal into force as soon as possible.

“Climate change is out for the time being,” said the official, who asked not to be named.

US President Donald Trump has called global warming a “hoax” concocted by China to hurt US industry and vowed to unpick the Paris climate accord that is supposed to curb rising temperatures.

March 17, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, politics international | Leave a comment

A bit of good news: carbon emissions from energy – flat for past 3 years

 

CO2 emissions from energy remain flat for third year running By New Scientist staff and Press Association, 17 March 2017

Carbon dioxide emissions from energy have not increased for three years in a row even as the global economy grew, says the International Energy Agency (IEA).

Global emissions from the energy sector were 32.1 billion tonnes in 2016, the same as the previous two years, while the economy grew 3.1 per cent, the agency says.

The IEA put the halt in growth down to growing renewable power generation, switches from coal to natural gas and improvements in energy efficiency.

The biggest drop was seen in the US, where carbon dioxide emissions fell 3 per cent, while the economy grew 1.6 per cent, following a surge in shale gas supplies and more renewable power that displaced coal.

US emissions are at their lowest level since 1992, while the economy has grown 80 per cent since that time.

Carbon dioxide output also declined in China, by 1 per cent, and were stable in Europe, offsetting increases in most of the rest of the world, the IEA says.

Emerging trend

“These three years of flat emissions in a growing global economy signal an emerging trend and that is certainly a cause for optimism, even if it is too soon to say that global emissions have definitely peaked,” says Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director…….

But the IEA also warns that the welcome pause in emissions growth is not enough to meet globally-agreed targets to limit temperature rises to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels — considered to be the threshold for dangerous climate change. Overall, the levels of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere are still rising to record new levels. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2124975-co2-emissions-from-energy-remain-flat-for-third-year-running/

March 17, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Trump’s budget attack on science

Trump’s budget is everything scientists have been fearing

The outline cuts at least $7 billion for research on climate change, diseases, and energy, VOX  by  Mar 16, 2017, The top-line numbers of President Donald Trump’s budget proposal should give the nation’s scientists shivers. The administration doesn’t seem to think science should be a priority at all.

The blueprint released today is preliminary. The administration still needs to draft a full budget, which we won’t see until May. And ultimately, it’s up to Congress to decide who gets what.

But what’s important about this budget proposal is that it tells the public and Congress where the president’s concerns lie. And they don’t appear to be issues like climate change, disease treatment and prevention, or basic research funding for universities.

In all, we count up least $7 billion in reductions to science programs, including:

  •  A $5.8 billion reduction in funding to the National Institutes of Health (18 percent of its total budget.) Most of the NIH’s budget goes to funding research in health care in universities across the country.
  • A $102 million cut to NASA’s Earth science programs, eliminating four NASA Earth science missions completely:
  1. PACE — a program for measuring changes to ocean ecosystems by tracking concentrations of chlorophyll (what makes algae green) from space.
  2. OCO-3 — a yet-to-be-launched space station module to track atmospheric carbon dioxide.
  3. DSCOVR — the “deep space climate observatory,” which is partially run by NOAA. (The budget doesn’t mention if NOAA will retain this program.) DSCOVR is an early warning system for solar storms, and has capabilities to detect changes in levels of ozone and other pollutants in the atmosphere.
  4. CLARREO Pathfinder — the “Climate Absolute Radiance and Refractivity Observatory.” It’s set to be launched in 2020 to amass highly accurate records of climate change on Earth so scientists can make more precise predictions about the future.
  • A $900 million reduction in the Energy Department’s basic science research. The Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy — a $300 million program that provides grants for energy research — is wholly eliminated because “the private sector is better positioned to finance disruptive energy research.”
  • A $250 million cut in NOAA grants “and programs supporting coastal and marine management, research, and education including Sea Grant.”
  • And not to mention the many changes coming for the EPA and how the country combats climate change. Vox’s Brad Plumer has more on that here.……….http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/16/14940444/2018-budget-trump-science-nih

March 17, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Massive amountsof heat being stored in the oceans

The world’s oceans are storing up staggering amounts of heat — and it’s even more than we thought, by Chelsea Harvey, Energy & Enviornment, Washington Post, Mar 10, 2017 The world is getting warmer every year, thanks to climate change — but where exactly most of that heat is going may be a surprise.

As a stunning early spring blooms across the United States, just weeks after scientists declared 2016 the hottest year on record , it’s easy to forget that all the extra warmth in the air accounts for only a fraction of the heat produced by greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, more than 90 percent of it gets stored in the ocean. And now, scientists think they’ve calculated just how much the ocean has warmed in the past few decades.

new study, out Friday in the journal Science Advances, suggests that since 1960, a staggering 337 zetajoules of energy — that’s 337 followed by 21 zeros  — has been added to the ocean in the form of heat. And most of it has occurred since 1980.

“The ocean is the memory of all of the past climate change,” said study co-author Kevin Trenberth , a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

The world’s oceans are storing up staggering amounts of heat — and it’s even more than we thought   https://www.skepticalscience.com/2017-SkS-Weekly-Digest_10.html

March 15, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, oceans | Leave a comment