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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

Global warming – further evidence

A new study provides a solid evidence for global warming https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2017-03/ioap-ans031317.php INSTITUTE OF ATMOSPHERIC PHYSICS, CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES Global warming is driven by the Earth’s energy imbalance (EEI): our planet traps more and more heat due to continuous increasing greenhouse gases. From the energy perspective, the global warming is actually ocean warming, since ocean stores more than 90% of the trapped heat. Therefore, ocean heat content (OHC) change is a fundamental indicator of global warming, thus direct measurement of OHC will provide a direct evidence for climate change.

Reliable assessment of historical OHC change is a key task in climate studies. OHC time series provided by independent international groups show large discrepancies for long-term trend, intra-seasonal, inter-annual and decadal variability, because there are many challenges in estimating historical OHC change.

“Firstly, one of the major ocean subsurface observations (i.e. XBT) contains systematic bias.” Said Dr. Lijing Cheng from the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Science(IAP,CAS), also a lead author of a new study (Cheng et al. 2017) published in Science Advances, “Secondly, temperature observations at ocean subsurface are extremely sparse, especially before 2005, since they were mainly distributed along the major shipping routes in the Northern Hemisphere.”

During the recent decade, a new type of sensing device has been deployed (the Argo float system), which significantly increases the coverage of ocean data. However, there are still more than 60% of the ocean grids without any observations (if the global ocean is divided into 1 degree and 1 month grids). So a gap-filling method is required to make a “guess” for the temperature change in the ocean grids without observations. This “guess” is based on the spatial and temporal covariance of ocean temperature changes. In another word, the ocean changes at two locations are not completely independent; instead, they are correlated under physical rules. The gap-filling method works to utilize the correlation to reconstruction the missed information. The choice of different gap-filling methods is the major error source in global OHC calculation.

The study led by IAP, CAS, collaborated with NCAR, NOAA, and University of St. Thomas, made a major step to estimate historical OHC change. The new study applied an advanced XBT bias correction method, which is recommended according to an XBT community paper published in 2016 in Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. This ensures that the observation bias is minimized. The key step made by the new study is the application of an advanced gap-filling method and a careful evaluation on the results. It is highlighted that this study uses the knowledge of recent well-observed ocean states, but subsample it using the sparse distribution of observations in the more distant past to show that the method produces startling good results since late 1950s.

This new work allows a more accurate assessment of how much heat has accumulated in the ocean (and Earth) system. The inferred ocean energy accumulation is larger than previous estimates, such as from the last Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fifth Report (IPCC-AR5) in 2013. But it is consistent with the direct observations of Earth’s energy imbalance at top of atmospheresince late 1980s. This new look at OHC and EEI changes over time provides greater confidence than previously possible, and the data sets produced are a valuable resource for further climate change study.

Prof. Fan Wang, deputy director of Institute of Oceanography, Chinese Academy of Science, commented on the paper, “This study provided a new reconstruction on ocean subsurface temperature change since 1960 for 0-2000m depths, and assessed historical ocean energy budget more accurately. So it will be a valuable resource for future studies of oceanic variability and its climatic impacts on both regional and global scales”.

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Established in February of 1928 (then called Institute of Meteorology of Academia Sinica), the Institute of Atmospheric Physics (IAP) was the very first and foremost research center carrying meteorological research in modern China. Today IAP has become a comprehensive atmospheric research institution, covering all aspects of atmospheric sciences.

The orientation and mission of IAP includes to study and explore the new laws of physical, chemical, biological and human processes happening in the Earth’s atmosphere and in the interactions between atmosphere and surrounding environment; provide advanced theories, methods and technologies regarding monitoring, forecast and control of weather, climate and environment; cultivate top talented persons in this discipline; and serve the sustainable economic and social development and national security.

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

CARBON DIOXIDE LEVELS RISING AT RECORD PACE.

CARBON DIOXIDE LEVELS RISING AT RECORD PACE. #AUSPOL #SCIENCE, JPratt 27 , 12 Mar 17 

Carbon dioxide levels rose at record pace for 2nd straight year | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Carbon dioxide levels measured at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Baseline Atmospheric Observatory rose by 3 parts per million to 405.1 parts per million (ppm) in 2016, an increase that matched the record jump observed in 2015.
The two-year, 6-ppm surge in the greenhouse gas between 2015 and 2017 is unprecedented in the observatory’s 59-year record. And, it was a record fifth consecutive year that carbon dioxide (CO2) rose by 2 ppm or greater, said Pieter Tans, lead scientist of NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.
“The rate of CO2 growth over the last decade is 100 to 200 times faster than what the Earth experienced during the transition from the last Ice Age,” Tans said. “This is a real shock to the atmosphere.”
Globally averaged CO2 levels passed 400 ppm in 2015 — a 43-percent increase over pre-industrial levels. In February 2017, CO2 levels at Mauna Loa had already climbed to 406.42 ppm…..

NOAA has measured CO2 on site at the Mauna Loa observatory since 1974. To ensure accuracy, air samples from the mountaintop research site in Hawaii are shipped to NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado, for verification. The Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which first began sampling CO2 at Mauna Loa in 1956, also takes independent measurements onsite.
Emissions from fossil-fuel consumption have remained at historically high levels since 2011 and are the primary reason atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing at a dramatic rate, Tans said. This high growth rate of CO2 is also being observed at some 40 other sites in NOAA’s Global Greenhouse Gas Reference Network.
The greenhouse effect, explained
Carbon dioxide is one of several gases that are primarily responsible for trapping heat in the atmosphere. This “greenhouse effect” maintains temperatures suitable for life on Earth. Increasing CO2 levels trap additional heat in the atmosphere and the oceans, contributing to rising global average temperatures.
Atmospheric CO2 averaged about 280 ppm between about 10,000 years ago and the start of the Industrial Revolution around 1760.

Press link for more: NOAA     https://jpratt27.wordpress.com/2017/03/12/carbon-dioxide-levels-rising-at-record-pace-auspol-science/

March 13, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

USA’s Environment Punishing Agency Now – as Scott Pruitt promotes climate change denialism

NEW EPA boss says carbon dioxide not primary cause of climate change By New Scientist staff and Press Association, SHORT SHARP SCIENCE, 9 March 2017 The new chief of the US Environmental Protection Agency has said he does not believe that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming……..

Pruitt’s view is at odds with mainstream climate science, including NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The two agencies reported in January that Earth’s 2016 temperatures were the warmest ever.

The planet’s average surface temperature has risen by about 2 degrees F since the late 19th century, “a change driven largely by increased carbon dioxide and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere”, the agencies said in a joint statement.

Environmental groups seized on Pruitt’s comments as evidence he is unfit for the office he holds.

“The arsonist is now in charge of the fire department, and he seems happy to let the climate crisis burn out of control,” said Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune.

Pruitt “is spewing corporate polluter talking points rather than fulfilling the EPA’s mission of protecting our air, our water, and our communities,” Brune said, noting that the EPA has a legal responsibility to address carbon pollution.

Senator Brian Schatz (Democrat, Hawaii) said the comments underscore that Pruitt is a “climate denier” and insisted politicians will stand up to him. “Anyone who denies over a century’s worth of established science and basic facts is unqualified to be the administrator of the EPA,” Schatz said in a statement.

Pruitt previously served as Oklahoma attorney general, where he rose to prominence as a leader in co-ordinated efforts by Republican attorneys general to challenge former president Barack Obama’s regulatory agenda.

He sued or took part in legal actions against the EPA 14 times……The Republican has previously cast doubt on the extensive body of scientific evidence showing that the planet is warming and man-made carbon emissions are to blame. https://www.newscientist.com/article/2124098-epa-boss-says-carbon-dioxide-not-primary-cause-of-climate-change/

March 11, 2017 Posted by | climate change, politics, USA | Leave a comment

A landmark climate lawsuit – Trump government trying to stop it

This climate lawsuit could change everything. No wonder the Trump administration doesn’t want it going to trial, WP,  March 9 A groundbreaking climate lawsuit, brought against the federal government by 21 children, has been hailed by environmentalists as a bold new strategy to press for climate action in the United States. But the Trump administration, which has pledged to undo Barack Obama’s climate regulations, is doing its best to make sure the case doesn’t get far.

The Trump administration this week filed a motion to overturn a ruling by a federal judge back in November that cleared the lawsuit for trial — and filed a separate motion to delay trial preparation until that appeal is considered.

The lawsuit — the first of its kind — argues the federal government has violated the constitutional right of the 21 plaintiffs to a healthy climate system.

Environmental groups say the case — if it’s successful — could force even a reluctant government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and take other measures to counter warming.

“It would be huge,” said Pat Gallagher, legal director at the Sierra Club, who is not involved in the case. “It would upend climate litigation, climate law, as we know it.”

The landmark lawsuit was originally filed during the Obama administration. The 21 plaintiffs,  now between the ages of 9 and 20, claim the federal government has consistently engaged in activity that promotes fossil fuel production and greenhouse gas emissions, thereby worsening climate change. They argue this violates their constitutional right to life, liberty and property, as well the public trust doctrine, while holds that the government is responsible for the preservation of certain vital resources — in this case, a healthy climate system — for public use.

While legal experts are uncertain as to the lawsuit’s likelihood of success, few have disputed its pioneering nature. Similar cases have been brought on the state level, but this is the first against the federal government in the United States. And in November, the case cleared a major early hurdle when U.S. District Judge Ann Aiken denied motions filed by the Obama administration, as well as the fossil fuel industry, to have the lawsuit dismissed, ordering that it should proceed to trial.

The move allowed the case to join the ranks of climate lawsuits filed in other nations, which could upend the way environmental advocacy is conducted around the world. Just last year, a court in the Netherlands ordered the Dutch government to cut carbon emissions by a quarter within five years. Similar climate-related suits have been brought and won in Austria, Pakistan and South Africa.

Shortly after President Trump’s inauguration, the plaintiffs submitted a request that the Department of Justice preserve all documents that could be relevant to the lawsuit, including information on climate change, energy and emissions, and cease any destruction of such documents that may otherwise occur during the presidential transition. The request came just days after reports began to surface of climate information disappearing from White House and certain federal agency websites.

“We are concerned with the new administration’s immediate maneuver to remove important climate change information from the public domain and, based on recent media reports, we are concerned about how deep the scrubbing effort will go,”Julia Olson, chief legal counsel for the plaintiffs and executive director of the advocacy group Our Children’s Trust, said in a statement at the time. “Destroying evidence is illegal and we just put these new U.S. Defendants and the Industry Defendants on notice that they are barred from doing so.”…….https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2017/03/09/this-climate-lawsuit-could-change-everything-no-wonder-the-trump-administration-doesnt-want-it-going-to-trial/?tid=ss_tw&utm_term=.14eb9ea766c0

March 11, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Legal, politics, USA | Leave a comment

The Trump and Congressional Republican Assault on Our Environment

The Real Lowdown: The Trump and Congressional Republican Assault on Our Environment, Vol. 3 https://www.nrdc.org/experts/nrdc/real-lowdown-trump-and-congressional-republican-assault-our-environment-vol-3 March 03, 2017 NRDC Nearly halfway through his first 100 days, President Donald Trump is on track to set a record for putting Americans’ health and our environment at risk.

In recent days, we’ve seen Trump issue an order to keep streams and rivers flowing with toxic chemicals, add a trio of polluters’ allies to his cabinet, hint of eviscerating the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and telegraph he’ll soon start to try to unravel our country’s best chance to curb dangerous climate change: the popular Clean Power Plan.

Cabinet nominees

The GOP-led Senate staffed up Trump’s cabinet of polluters by confirming Ryan Zinke at the U.S. Department of the Interior, threatening public lands; Rick Perry at Energy, jeopardizing clean energy; and Scott Pruitt, the polluters’ lawyer, at the EPA.

After Pruitt was sworn in, his old office in Oklahoma released—on court orders—thousands of e-mails confirming his critics’ worst fears. They showed he worked hand in glove as attorney general with fossil fuel lobbyists and dirty energy companies to try to block the EPA’s clean air and clean water rules as well as other health protections. Pruitt also used private e-mail to communicate with his AG staff, even though he told the Senate he did not.

The newly minted administrator, speaking before the Conservative Political Action Committee on February 25, promised to roll back environmental protections in an “aggressive way” and told his appreciative audience that calls to completely eliminate the EPA are “justified.

NRDC is fighting back

A few days before, NRDC filed a Freedom of Information Act request for materials and communications related to a press release the EPA issued announcing Pruitt as the new agency administrator. In the press release, the EPA endorsed statements calling itself “tone deaf,” “rogue,” and “one of the most vilified agencies in the ‘swamp’ of overreaching government.” Such statements are “unheard of and extremely alarming,” says Aaron Colangelo, codirector of litigation at NRDC. “We want to know who and what is motivating the agency’s new leader to undermine the EPA’s mission before he even gets started.”

On February 28, Trump addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time as president, where he outline an agenda that purportedly would create jobs and lift the economy. In response, NRDC President Rhea Suh penned a blog on the website The Hill, noting that the speech left unsaid “his unmitigated assault on the nation’s environment and public health.”

Slashing the EPA budget

Words and deeds don’t always match up. In his address to Congress, Trump promised to “promote clean air and clean water.” But he declined to mention this: Behind the scenes, he’s cooking up a budget plan that, according to news reports, includes a 24 percent cut to the EPA, the guardian of our air and water and environment. If approved, his plan would cripple the agency founded by Richard Nixon in 1970. NRDC President Rhea Suh warned: “Slashing the EPA’s budget will be dangerous to our health and the well-being of our children.”

Love that dirty water

Trump loves that dirty water. He has signed away safeguards that protected streams and downstream communities from coal-mining pollution. And he recently signed an executive order dubbed the “Dirty Water Rule” because it begins the rollback of the Obama-approved Clean Water Rule to protect wetlands and drinking water sources for more than 117 million Americans. Suh declared: “We will stand up to this reckless assault. We’ll stand up for clean water and a healthy future for all Americans.”

Moving ahead with pipelines

In that same address to Congress, Trump boasted about clearing the way for construction of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which would threaten drinking water and our climate, and the Dakota Access Pipeline, disregarding concerns from indigenous people about its impact on their communities. Trump also touted a directive he issued that new American pipelines be made with American steel—except a few days later he exempted KXL from his “buy American” requirements.

Pruitt steps away from limiting methane emissions

Just days into his job, Pruitt yanked an Obama administration directive from last November requiring thousands of oil and gas companies to report a broad range of information about their operations’ emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Pruitt acted just one day after 11 state attorneys general asked the EPA to suspend the requirement, which had been part of a long-term plan to limit wasteful and climate-harming methane emissions.

Drilling on public lands

Even before Zinke took office, the Department of the Interior abruptly stopped enforcing a rule that closed a loophole the fossil fuel industry has used to lower the royalties for extracting oil on public lands (by artificially depressing the market value of that oil). Taxpayers, according to estimates, have lost as much as $30 billion with this scheme.

Orders coming to derail climate action

Trump could, as early as next week, issue an executive order undermining or eliminating the Clean Power Plan, the centerpiece of President Obama’s climate action agenda. The plan sets the first national emissions limits on the nation’s power plants, the largest source of the dangerous carbon pollution that is driving climate change.

Reopening public lands to coal mining

Trump also is expected to sign an order lifting an Obama administration moratorium on new coal leasing on public lands. This ignores poll findings of strong support for conservation rather than development among residents of the Rocky Mountain states, home to large tracts of public lands.

NRDC has prepared a list of other far-ranging threats posed by the new administration. And we will be vigilantly monitoring and reporting on its assault on the environment through Trump Watch.

March 8, 2017 Posted by | climate change, environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Americans are confused on climate, but support cutting carbon pollution

 Skeptical Science 6 March 2017 by dana1981 The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication published the findings of its 2016 survey on American public opinion about climate change. The results are interesting – in some ways confusing – and yet they reveal surprisingly broad support for action to address climate change. The Yale team created a tool with which the results can be broken down by state, congressional district, or county to drill down into the geographic differences in Americans’ climate beliefs.

Acceptance of science despite confusion about expert consensus

The first survey questions asked about participants’ beliefs about whether climate changeis happening, what’s causing it, what scientists think, and whether they trust climatescientists. Overall, 70% of Americans realize that global warming is happening, while just 12% said it’s not. A majority of Americans in every state answered the question correctly, ranging from 60% in West Virginia to 77% in New York and 84% in Washington DC. Drilling down to a more local level, majorities in every congressional district and nearly every county in America were aware of the reality of global warming.

But when asked whether most scientists think global warming is happening, Americans got a failing grade. Just 49% correctly answered ‘yes,’ while 28% believed there’s a lot of disagreement among scientists. In reality, even 95% of weathercasters – who are among the most doubtful groups of scientists about human-caused global warming – realize that climate change is happening. This shows that the campaign to cast doubt on the expert consensus on global warming has been remarkably successful in the US.

However, Americans trust climate scientists on the subject of global warming. Overall, 71% trust the scientific experts, while 26% distrust them. Majorities of Americans in every state, county, and congressional district trust climate scientists.

Regarding the cause of that global warming, only 53% of Americans correctly answered that it’s caused mostly by human activities, while 32% incorrectly said it’s mostly natural. By state, correct responses varied from 42% in Wyoming to 59% in California and 67% in Washington DC……..https://www.skepticalscience.com/americans-confused-support-cutting-carbon-pollution.html

March 8, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Paul Ehrlich impressed by the Vatican’s commitment to saving the global environment

Vatican Visit, MAHB, Ehrlich, Paul R. | March 7, 2017 I was somewhat apprehensive about taking my invited place at the workshop on biological extinction of the Pontifical Academies of Science and Social Sciences at the end of February.  Right wing Catholic websites were loaded with outrage and lies about my invitation, and that of John Bongaarts from the Population Council, and more than 10,000 people had signed petitions to get me (or us) excluded.

My apprehension was unnecessary.  The view of the Academies, backed by the Vatican, was that “all voices should be heard.”  The workshop, arranged by my old friends and colleagues Peter Raven and Partha Dasgupta, was one of the most productive and informative I have ever attended.  It was an assembly of stars, and everyone was treated with dignity, respect, and fine hospitality.  The presidents of the two Academies, Werner Arber and Margaret Archer, and their Chancellor Msgr. Marcelo Sánchez Sarondo were open and friendly.  The papers (which will be published commercially), were (with a single exception) excellent, as was most of the discussion.  Everyone emphasized the grave danger extinctions pose both to human life-support systems and the ethical duties of humanity to preserve “the creation” –the only life-forms we know of in the universe.  There was essentially complete agreement that the drivers of the now-underway sixth mass extinction were human overpopulation, overconsumption by the rich, and inequity (poverty)…….

The Catholic Church is the only one with scholarly academies charged with providing unbiased information.  As a result, for example, it has led the way in the battle against climate denial and long ago accepted the overwhelming evidence for evolution.  In a civilization facing existential risks, it should be praised and supported for this attitude toward science.http://mahb.stanford.edu/blog/vatican-visit/

March 8, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change, environment, Religion and ethics | Leave a comment

Indonesia’s battle against climate change

INDONESIA ACTS TO FIGHT #CLIMATECHANGE #AUSPOL, J Pratt     7 Mar  17 

United States President-elect Donald Trump may have labelled climate change a hoax, but that has not stalled the momentum behind last month’s United Nations’ Climate Change Conference in Marrakech, Morocco.

Less than one year after its adoption, the Paris climate agreement has entered into force, with some 175 countries already on board.

The next step will be to begin implementing the commitments each country has made.

In South-east Asia in particular, regional cooperation will be critical to address certain issues that transcend national boundaries.
One of the largest obstacles to climate change efforts in South-east Asia remains Indonesia’s forest and peatland fires. Though these fires are perhaps most notorious as the source of the annual haze that blankets our region, they should rightly be framed as a global concern about carbon emissions.
To put things into perspective, Indonesia’s 2015 fires produced the equivalent of 1,750 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MtCO2e), which is almost the same amount emitted by Indonesia’s entire economy in an average year (1,800 MtCO2e).
Hence, it is heartening that Indonesia has shown resolve in addressing the issue.

The reduction in fires this year must be credited to not only wetter weather, but also the political will and concerted efforts of the government of President Joko Widodo.
At the peak of the haze crisis last year, Mr Widodo visited South Sumatra to understand the fires first-hand and subsequently established the Peatland Restoration Agency (BRG) in January 2016.

The BRG has been charged with coordinating the restoration of 2.1 million hectares of degraded peatland across Indonesia by 2020.
Following orders by Mr Widodo to “get very tough” on errant companies, Indonesian police have arrested more than double the number of individuals in forest fire cases this year compared with last year.
The Indonesian government is also responding faster to fires, enabled by the early declaration of a state of emergency in six provinces. These efforts have been commended by regional leaders, including Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Mr Masagos Zulkifli.
Such measures were crucial in the immediate aftermath of the fires. But the true challenge comes in figuring out how to tackle this complex problem in the long term.
One pressing issue is the ongoing debate over the most appropriate way to restore degraded peatland. Comprised of partially decayed organic matter, peatland is often drained to grow oil palm, acacia trees for pulp and paper, and other agricultural crops. But drained peat is highly flammable during the dry season, resulting in fires that can take months to extinguish.
Some parties contend that the only sustainable way to restore degraded peatland is to rewet, reforest and protect the entire landscape. Otherwise, fires that start on agricultural lands may easily spread into protected areas, destroying intact forests…….https://jpratt27.wordpress.com/2017/03/06/indonesia-acts-to-fight-climatechange-auspol/

March 8, 2017 Posted by | climate change, Indonesia | Leave a comment

Trump administration attacks climate and lead cleanup programmes

logo-Republican-USATrump’s EPA budget proposal targets climate, lead cleanup programs Reuters, By Timothy Gardner and Valerie Volcovici | WASHINGTON, 5 Mar 17

The White House is proposing to slash a quarter of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s budget, targeting climate-change programs and those designed to prevent air and water pollution like lead contamination, a source with direct knowledge of the proposal said on Thursday.

President Donald Trump has long signaled his intention to reverse former Democratic President Barack Obama’s climate-change initiatives. But the Republican president has vowed his planned overhaul of green regulation would not jeopardize America’s water and air quality.

The 23-page 2018 budget proposal, which aims to slice the environmental regulator’s overall budget by 25 percent to $6.1 billion and staffing by 20 percent to 12,400 as part of a broader effort to fund increased military spending, would cut deeply into programs like climate protection, environmental justice and enforcement.

Politico and other news outlets reported the staff and overall budget cuts earlier, but the source disclosed new details on the impact the cuts would have on programs and grants to states.

Environmentalists slammed the proposed cuts, which must be approved by the Republican-led Congress.

The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the budget proposal or its counter proposal. The White House said it had no comment.

Under the proposal, which was sent to the EPA this week, grants to states for lead cleanup would be cut 30 percent to $9.8 million, according to the source, who read the document to Reuters.

Grants to help Native American tribes combat pollution would be cut 30 percent to $45.8 million. An EPA climate protection program on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases like methane that contribute to global warming would be cut 70 percent to $29 million.

The proposal would cut funding for the brownfields industrial site cleanup program by 42 percent to $14.7 million. It would also reduce funding for enforcing pollution laws by 11 percent to $153 million………http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-epa-budget-idUSKBN1692XA?feedType=RSS&feedName=topNews

March 6, 2017 Posted by | climate change, environment, politics, USA | Leave a comment

Scientists lead Boston rally, urging others to fight against anti-science and climate change denialism

SCIENTISTS CAN WIN THE WAR ON #SCIENCE #CLIMATECHANGE #AUSPOL, J Pratt. 5 Mar 17  By Jeremy Deaton   Scientists have historically stayed above the political fray, but now that researchers face regular attacks under the Trump administration, many are planning to fight back.

And it’s creating a rift within the scientific community. Some scientists believe their work should speak for itself. Others say academics need to stand up for evidence-based inquiry — particularly where the fate of the planet is concerned. The March for Science, planned for April 22 on the National Mall, has drawn both sharp criticism and enthusiastic praise from scientists.
In the midst of this debate, newly published research has come down on the side of the outspoken. Not only do climate scientists have the public’s trust, they also have considerable latitude to advocate for climate action, a new study finds………

Last week, scientists in Boston led a rally during the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Harvard science historian Naomi Oreskes addressed those assembled, urging researchers to stand up to Trump.   “There have been many conversations in the scientific community about whether a rally is the right response,” said Oreskes.  “We did not politicize our science.   We did not start this fight.

Our science has been politicized by people who are motivated to reject facts because those facts conflict with their worldview, their political beliefs or their economic self-interest.”

The assembled scientists and their supporters, armed with signs that read “stand up for science” and “bring back facts,” greeted her words with cheers and applause. Oreskes concluded with a forceful plea for scientists to advocate for their work — an act that cannot be discredited by those in power……https://jpratt27.wordpress.com/2017/03/03/scientists-can-win-the-war-on-science-climatechange-auspol/

March 6, 2017 Posted by | climate change, USA | Leave a comment

Electric cars can bring a Zero Carbon Energy Grid

Nissan electric test car. Photo by JM Rosenfeld (flickr). CC BY-SA 2.0. Wikimedia Commons. Electric Cars are the Missing Link to a Zero Carbon Energy Grid, Skeptical Science  2 March 2017 by Ryan Logtenberg, (good graphs) Since the start of the industrial revolution, humans have released hundreds of billions of tons of greenhouse gases into our atmosphere, acidifying oceans, increasing the frequency of extreme weather events, raising sea levels with the worst effects yet to come.  The general consensus gleaned from the Paris Climate Summit in 2015 is that in order to halt the relentless march of climate change and its forecasted catastrophic consequences, one step we need to take is to transform our fossil fuel based economy to one powered by zero-emission renewable energy.

The good news is that investments in solar and wind generation have become competitive and in many cases cheaper and more profitable than similar investments in fossil fuels. The graphs below shows how solar and wind installations in the US have beaten fossil fuel installations for the past 3 years.

Globally, the conversation has shifted from “can renewables compete with fossil fuels?” to “how much intermittent renewable energy can our power grid handle?”  Currently power grids rely on a steady and predictable stream of power generation. They can handle only so much of the fluctuation that comes from solar (surges during the day) and wind (surges when it’s windy).

The investment required in energy storage facilities to fulfill the needs of a 100% renewable energy grid is typically believed to be very high. Essentially millions of large industrial-scale batteries or creative energy storage solutions are needed to smooth out the surges. But what is often forgotten is that a creative solution is currently being built at an accelerating rate, in the form of vehicle batteries from the budding electric transportation system. Electric vehicles will herald in a new age of clean air on busy city streets, but they can also serve a secondary purpose of solving the energy storage issue of renewables.

Mass adoption of electric vehicles is coming.  Many of the drawbacks of electric vehicles are quickly being addressed: From inexpensive vehicles with  200-335 miles of range, to the rapid expansion of ultra fast charging stations that can charge vehicles to 80% in 15 minutes or less.  Several countries in Europe now see zero emission vehicles as the logical solution to addressing air pollution and are looking to implement bans on new fossil-fuel powered vehicles as early as 2025.  Some major cities are even going a step further and will be banning all diesel powered vehicles from their cities.  Clearly,  the age of the fossil fuelled powered vehicle is quickly coming to an end.   But, how big of an impact can an electrified transportation sector have in creating a green energy grid?  Well let’s look at the numbers:……….

An Intensive peer reviewed study titled “Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time” evaluated billions of 100% renewable energy grid scenarios using 4 years of real weather and grid load data.  They concluded that with 15kWh set aside from each electric car for grid energy storage a 100% renewable energy grid could power 90%-99.9% of hours entirely on renewable electricity, at costs comparable to today’s prices.  Something to note is that the study was done in 2013 before the second generation of electric vehicles like the Chevy Bolt, Tesla 3 and other large battery, mass market vehicles were introduced to the public.  Using 45 kWh for battery storage from a Chevy Bolt instead of 15kWh that was used in the study would increase total storage capacity by 300% making it a whole lot easier and cheaper to run America’s grid on renewables.

V2G integration into our zero carbon energy grid makes sense because it eliminates the needs for investing in expensive energy storage since the vehicles we will be driving could already provide that service.  It also allows a vehicle owner that participates in V2G services to generate revenue from their vehicle while they sleep…….

As the same factors hold true for electric vehicles, don’t be surprised when you see a substantial reduction in total US greenhouse gas emissions from a zero carbon energy and transportation sector occurring sooner than you think.   You can help accelerate this transition by making a pledge that your next vehicle will be electric.  https://www.skepticalscience.com/Electric_Cars_are_the_Missing_Link_to_a_Zero_Carbon_Energy_Grid.html

 

March 4, 2017 Posted by | climate change, ENERGY, USA | Leave a comment

Problems of geoengineering as a fix for climate change

geoengineeringThe Crazy Climate Technofix #auspol John Pratt, 4 Mar 17     by Mark White, Illustrations by Bren Luke 
“………….Earth’s climate has been edging towards a scene usually reserved for a post-apocalyptic movie.

Some posit geoengineering as a radical fix to climate change.

Others say the risks are too high and its proponents mad.

Welcome to the debate where science fiction meets climate science.

If you visit a block of land near the West Australian dairy town of Harvey in a few years’ time, you will see a few pipes sticking out of the ground, a solar panel and an aerial for communications devices.

There may be a hut and some room for parking.
These will be the only visible signs of the South West Hub project, designed to test the feasibility of pumping megatonnes of carbon dioxide into the vast Wonnerup sandstone layer, a kilometre-and-a-half deep beneath the Jarrah-Marri trees on the surface.
The gas will be liquefied in a nearby compressor building – an anonymous farm shed – and transported to the injection site via underground pipes.
Wonnerup is an example of carbon capture and storage, one of a suite of technologies known as geoengineering, or climate engineering.

Geoengineering is a mixed bag, but the idea involves large-scale interventions at the level of the whole planet, with the goal of fixing the climate.

It’s tricky, dangerous, and largely considered “fringe science”.
The proposals come in two main flavours.

One is carbon dioxide removal, which strips the gas from the atmosphere and slowly restores atmospheric balance.

A mix of techniques would be needed: hundreds of factories like Wonnerup, billions of new trees and plants, plus contentious technologies such as artificially encouraging the growth of plankton.
The second is solar radiation management, intended to cool the Earth by stopping the sun’s heat from reaching the planet’s surface.

That can be achieved by pumping minute particles into the atmosphere, but carries the risk of killing billions of people.
Right now, we don’t have the tools or the knowledge to deploy these fixes.

But some prominent climate scientists argue that as carbon emissions continue to rise, geoengineering will have to be employed to avoid catastrophic climate change………….

As we’re failing to keep the planet pleasant and habitable for future generations, could we instead fix the climate with technology?
With geoengineering?
Debate about geoengineering in Australia is “almost being avoided”, according to Professor David Karoly, a noted atmospheric scientist at the University of Melbourne.

He is a member of the Climate Change Authority, which advises the federal government, and was involved in preparing the 2007 IPCC report on global warming.
“There’s very little discussion on it in terms of government circles, there’s very little research on it, there’s very little discussion of it in what might be called mainstream science,” Professor Karoly says.

Policymakers are including geoengineering in their plans, but many technologies are still unproven and potentially dangerous.
“You’ll generally find among climate scientists that almost all are opposed to geoengineering,” says Professor Jim Falk, of the University of Melbourne’s Sustainable Society Institute.

“They’re already pretty concerned about what we’ve done to the climate and don’t want to start stuffing around doing other things we only half-understand on a grand scale.”
When the US National Academy of Science launched a report last year analysing geoengineering options, committee head Marcia McNutt, a geophysicist, was asked if any should be deployed.

She replied “Gosh, I hope not”.
The report considered carbon dioxide removal and solar radiation management so risky it used the term “climate intervention” instead of geoengineering, arguing the term “engineering” implied a level of control that doesn’t exist.
But the IPCC has considered scenarios where such engineering would be necessary: its 2014 assessment report mentions bio-energy carbon capture and storage (known as BECCS), where plant fuel is burned and the resulting carbon dioxide buried.
And the Paris Agreement noted there would be need for a “balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases” in 2050-2100.

“A few years ago, these exotic Dr Strangelove options were discussed only as last-ditch contingencies,” wrote Kevin Anderson, deputy director of the UK’s Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, of the Paris talks in Nature magazine.
“Now they are Plan A.”……….https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/17124327/posts/1361359357

March 4, 2017 Posted by | 2 WORLD, climate change | Leave a comment

Calculating the cost of climate change

CALCULATING CLIMATE CHANGE LOSSES. #AUSPOL  https://jpratt27.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/calculating-climate-change-losses-auspol/, Johhn Pratt, 

Risky business — calculating climate change losses in major European coastal cities
A new study that assesses potential future climate damage to major European coastal cities if, as currently, global carbon emissions continue to track the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s worst emission scenario

A new study that assesses potential future climate damage to major European coastal cities has found that, if, as currently, global carbon emissions continue to track the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s worst emission scenario (RCP8.5), overall annual economic losses may range from 1.2 billion USD in 2030 to more than 40 billion by 2100.
The paper, ‘Climate Risk Assessment under Uncertainty: An Application to Main European Coastal Cities’ published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, focused on 19 major European coastal cities including Istanbul, Rotterdam, Barcelona, Hamburg, London, Dublin, Marseille, St Petersburg and Copenhagen.
For the first time, the report’s authors adapted into their modelling methods for dealing with uncertainty well known in other fields of economics, such as financial economics.

They successfully applied them to so called ‘tail events’ and their possible impacts in the chosen cities.

The study’s results show that despite their low probability of occurrence the huge scale of damage that tail events may cause means that they should be carefully considered in coastal vulnerability analysis.

In 2030, just 13 years away, under a worst case emission scenario, Rotterdam tops the economic impact table with expected annual losses of almost 240-million USD, closely followed by Istanbul, St Petersburg and Lisbon.

By 2100 the expected annual losses in Istanbul could reach almost 10-billion USD, Odessa in the Ukraine could lose 6.5-billion USD annually and Rotterdam 5.5-billion. Glasgow and Dublin could both suffer economic losses of around 1.5-billion USD in annual economic losses by 2100.
About two thirds of our planet’s mega-cities–cities with populations of more than 5 million people–are located in low-lying coastal areas so protecting these areas from rising sea levels is critical to saving lives and property.

Being so vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, coastal cities also have a major role in adapting to them.
The report urges local, regional, and national policy-makers not to settle for traditional approaches to calculating climate impacts but instead seek to introduce risk assessments under uncertainty into their decision-making processes.

The author’s say that in line with the level of risk in each coastal city and the risk aversion of decision-makers, adaptation measures will need to be implemented in the near future in order to avoid critical damage and major losses.

Press link for more: Eureka Alert

March 4, 2017 Posted by | climate change, EUROPE | Leave a comment

Huge slabs of permafrost disintegrating in Northwest Canada

flag-canadaMassive Permafrost thaw in Northwest Canada. #ClimateChange #auspol, John Pratt 2 Mar 17  Huge slabs of Arctic permafrost in northwest Canada are slumping and disintegrating, sending large amounts of carbon-rich mud and silt into streams and rivers.

A new study that analyzed nearly a half-million square miles in northwest Canada found that this permafrost decay is affecting 52,000 square miles of that vast stretch of earth—an expanse the size of Alabama.

According to researchers with the Northwest Territories Geological Survey, the permafrost collapse is intensifying and causing landslides into rivers and lakes that can choke off life downstream, all the way to where the rivers discharge into the Pacific Ocean.
Similar large-scale landscape changes are evident across the Arctic including in Alaska, Siberia and Scandinavia, the researchers wrote in a paper published in the journal Geology in early February. The study didn’t address the issue of greenhouse gas releases from thawing permafrost.

But its findings will help quantify the immense global scale of the thawing, which will contribute to more accurate estimates of carbon emissions.

Permafrost is land that has been frozen stretching back to the last ice age, 10,000 years ago.

As the Arctic warms at twice the global rate, the long-frozen soils thaw and decompose, releasing the trapped greenhouse gases into the air.

Scientists estimate that the world’s permafrost holds twice as much carbon as the atmosphere. The new study was aimed at measuring the geographical scope of thawing permafrost in northwest Canada.

Using satellite images and other data, the team studied the edge of the former Laurentide Ice Sheet, a vast expanse of ice that covered two-thirds of North America during the last ice age.

The disintegration of the permafrost was visible in 40- to 60-mile wide swaths of terrain, showing that, “extensive landscapes remain poised for major climate-driven change.”
“Things have really taken off.

Climate warming is now making that happen. ……https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/17124327/posts/1358475019

March 3, 2017 Posted by | Canada, climate change | Leave a comment