“A Harbinger of the End of the Fossil Fuel Era” — Coal Production, Exports Plummet as Peabody Energy Declares Bankruptcy

“Peabody Energy’s steep decline toward bankruptcy is a harbinger of the end of the fossil fuel era … Peabody is crashing because the company was unwilling to change with the times, — they doubled down on the dirtiest of all fossil fuels, and investors backed their bet, as the world shifted toward renewable energy. They have consistently put profit over people, and now their profits have plummeted. Our world has no place for companies like Peabody.” — Jenny Marienau, U.S. Divestment Campaign Manager of the environmental group 350.org, in a recent statement.

****

Jenny Marienau of the climate disaster prevention group 350.org is certainly right about one thing. A healthy world. A world full of life and of prospects for all people, all living things. A world that avoids the worst impacts of a terrible climate disruption on the road to a hothouse mass extinction. In this, far more hopeful, world there is no place for companies like Peabody Energy. Companies whose profit-making and related accumulation of a corrupting political power and influence is entirely dependent on locking in an ever-worsening global crisis.

STRIP_MINING_ON_INDIAN_BURIAL_GROUNDS_BY_PEABODY_COAL_CO_-_NARA_-_544109

(Peabody became infamous for its destructive strip mining efforts that transformed beautiful and treasured lands into toxic, lifeless moonscapes. Here, a Peabody crane scoops coal out of the Nara strip mine which was also the location of a sacred Native American burial ground. Continued fossil fuel burning will ultimately have a similar beauty and life-denuding effect on the whole of the global environment. Image source: Commons.)

Coal’s Moral and Economic Bankruptcy

Today that company, representing the largest coal interest in the Western World, declared bankruptcy. An optimistic announcement that comes amidst a swift sea change and a precipitous contraction in the global coal industry. One that, if world-wide public, private, protest action, and individual efforts to reduce carbon emissions on the back of 200 nations reaching a landmark global climate agreement in Paris continue in force, may well be a beginning of an end to the fossil fuel energy era.

With each passing day, that start of an end becomes more and more visible in what appears to be an ongoing global coal industry collapse and retrenchment. In three of the world’s largest coal producing and consuming regions — India, China, and the US — production, imports and exports are down. In the US, coal production has fallen by more than 50 percent since 2008. Meanwhile US coal exports plummeted by 23 percent in 2015 alone. In China, coal consumption is reported to have dropped during both 2014 and 2015. This drop comes as this world’s largest current greenhouse gas emitter has announced an expanding array of bans on coal burning for its highest polluting power plants and a cessation of coal plant construction in 15 of its provinces. In India, one region that coal backers had looked to for expanding consumption, coal imports are also down.

The broadening contraction in coal has forced bankruptcies not just for Peabody, but for other major American coal players like Arch Coal and Alpha Natural Resources. A devastating wave for a climatologically destructive industry that appears less and less likely to survive in any form resembling its former might.

The Supertrend That’s Driving Coal’s Downfall — Mass Protest, Divestment, The Rise of Renewables, Policy Push to Prevent Climate Change, and The Switch To Gas

It’s all a part of an emerging supertrend that is being reinforced along many fronts. The first of which involves a broad global protest action against new coal plant construction and wider fossil fuel based energy itself. Led by key groups like 350.org, Greenpeace, and the Sierra Club, these critical actions have targeted construction sites, pipelines, railways and mines. In addition, a comprehensive divestment campaign spear-headed by 350.org has targeted capital flows to the fossil fuel special interests. In this campaign, investing firms and institutions are faced with a call to moral action. A call to shift resources away from the fossil fuel-based companies that profit by locking in the ever-worsening impacts of climate change. In most cases, coal divestment is seen as the low-hanging fruit in these efforts. The coal companies produce the highest level of fossil fuel based carbon pollution per ton of fuel burned, are among the biggest threats to clean air and clean water, and are the most financially at risk entities among the fossil fuel based polluters.

Such campaigns against coal would be toothless without readily available alternative energy sources. And during recent years, clean substitutes for coal like solar and wind energy have become more and more accessible. Market prices for both resources have plummeted to the point where either can now compete directly with coal in most major markets. A fact that was brought into stark contrast this year when the cost of a newly constructed Indian solar power station fell below the cost of a newly constructed Indian coal plant fueled by imports. Solar energy in particular has been surging by leaps and bounds with India alone planning 100 gigawatts of new solar powered generation in just six years — a level of construction that will inevitably take a big bite out of what appears to be the last remaining major energy market where coal could potentially expand. In effect, what we are seeing is coal being crowded out by far more benevolent and increasingly competitive wind and solar based energy systems.

US Coal Production Eports Down

(US coal production has plummeted since 2008 in the face of rising renewables, increased use of gas, and falling overseas demand. Global trends seem to indicate that the US coal market is a microcosm of the larger shift in the international energy trade — one that has been driven by a broad-based effort to reduce carbon emissions and impacts related to a human-forced warming of the world. Image source: Clean Technica. Data source: US EIA.)

In many nations, drives to increase the rate of renewable energy adoption have been put at logger-heads with the special-interest funded bodies supporting polluting legacy fossil fuel generation. In the US, republicans have become infamous for their pro-coal, drill-baby, drill, anti-renewables, climate change denial political stance. But despite a well-funded effort by fossil fuel industry to lock in carbon pollution and climate disruption by stacking the political deck, policies aimed at confronting climate change have continued to advance. The Paris Climate Summit, though the object of much criticism, produced the strongest global climate treaty yet. And the broader effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions has now been reinforced by a growing number of cities, states, and nations who now realize that continuing the current massive carbon emission is a hazard to their ongoing existence. Coastal cities and nations facing worsening sea level rise, states in expanding drought zones, regions stricken by water insecurity and increased crop damage, cities, states and nations dependent on healthy oceans for tourism and seafood, regions confronting waves of persons displaced from drought-stricken nations, and cities, states, and nations in the path of increasingly severe weather have all both quietly and loudly fought back — pushing the necessary cuts in hothouse gas emissions forward. These key stakeholders — who basically represent all of the rest of the non-fossil fuel interest world — are starting to realize that the carbon industry, though excessively influential, is not all-powerful. And they are starting to more effectively wield their own, far more just, influence in an attempt to reduce the climate harm that is now setting in.

Within the fossil fuel ranks there is also division. Even among the fossil fuel players there appears to be an acceptance that coal is on its way out. Messaging coming from the fossil fuel industry appears to have shifted to support of the still very harmful natural gas and for a new global fracking campaign. In essence, what we observe is that the oil and gas interests, including the new fracking interests, have basically maneuvered in a way that effectively throws coal under the climate change response bus. Coal is tougher to greenwash than natural gas and the spearhead campaign against coal as the worst of the worst among carbon polluters has proven undeflectable. This has been especially true in the UK where even conservatives are aiming to shut down coal plants (while continuing their harmful efforts in support of fracking and aimed at suppressing rates of renewable energy adoption).

Preventing Ever-Worsening Harm — Why The Fossil Fuel Era Must End as Soon as Possible

With today’s Peabody bankruptcy declaration, and in light of these observed trends, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the global energy game has changed and that the political and economic power of coal is fading. A positive shift to be certain. One that will help to reduce global carbon emissions. But we should remember that the current human greenhouse gas emission is now ten times faster than during the last hothouse mass extinction event 55 million years ago. And the only way to greatly reduce that terrible spewing of heat trapping gasses is to not only completely cut out the coal emission, but to also remove the major atmospheric carbon contributions coming from a massive burning of both oil and gas. To this point, we should work as hard as we can to help make Jenny’s prediction above a reality. For we desperately need the end of the fossil fuel era to happen soon.

Links:

A Harbinger of the End of the Fossil Fuel Era (Please Support 350.org)

The Western World’s Largest Coal Company Declares Bankruptcy

US Coal Production Continues Plunge

China Expands Coal Ban

Sans a Swift Switch to Renewables, Dangerous Climate Change May Be Imminent

COP 21

Greenpeace

The Sierra Club — Beyond Coal

350.org — Divestment

US Energy Information Administration

Peabody Strip Mining on Indian Burial Grounds

Hat Tip to Colorado Bob

 

 

Leave a comment

129 Comments

  1. wili

     /  April 13, 2016

    We have to get off all fossil fuels, of course. But coal is the first and most important priority. So this is good news. If we keep burning coal, there really is enough of that stuff, all by itself, to thoroughly cook the planet.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  April 13, 2016

      The context–down playing the threat of Arctic carbon–here is kinda weird, but the last of the pie charts here does bring out how big of a potential threat coal is for GW: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2014/09/the-story-of-methane-in-our-climate-in-five-pie-charts/

      Reply
      • Hi wili-

        I agree, the context of these charts is kind of weird.

        It’s easy to misread or misunderstand these pie charts, on your link, I think. The top set of charts suggests visually that methane’s contribution to global warming will decline in the future – but it won’t, almost certainly.

        Yes, methane emitted now will oxidize into CO2, with only a small fraction of it still being around 30 years from now. But methane’s total contribution to global warming in the future will not decline, because of new methane emitted between now and 30 years from now.

        The bottom set of pie charts is also kind of misleading or at least incomplete, for at least three reasons.

        The first reason is that global warming potential is counted as equal to carbon content for all of the various fuels even though the methane hydrates are far less stable than the coal reserves. So, while plausible scenarios exist for positive feedback driven methane hydrate dissociation driven by global heating, no similar scenarios exist for coal.

        The second reason the bottom set of charts is misleading or incomplete is that Archer neglects the radiative forcing of the methane itself. Methane is a sort of combination punch, with short term forcing of the methane followed by long term forcing from the subsequent carbon dioxide. Archer here takes the very long view, so long that he neglects the short term forcing from the methane altogether.

        A third reason that the bottom set of charts is misleading is that the rate of release of methane could affect its greenhouse forcing. A sufficiently rapid release of methane could overwhelm the oxidation capacity of both the atmosphere and the oceans. In the atmosphere, overwhelming of the hydroxyl radical oxidation capacity of the atmosphere could lead to much longer methane lifetimes, increasing the greenhouse potency of the methane itself. There are also strange atmospheric chemistry effects like an increase in stratospheric water vapor and tropospheric ozone that would further multiply the effect of massive and sudden methane release.

        http://www.atmos.washington.edu/academics/classes/2011Q2/558/IsaksenGB2011.pdf

        Isaksen – Strong atmospheric chemistry feedback to climate warming from Arctic methane emissions

        “It is shown that if global methane emissions were to increase by factors of 2.5 and 5.2 above current emissions, the indirect contributions to RF [Radiative Forcing – LP] would be about 250% and 400%, respectively, of the RF that can be attributed to directly emitted methane alone.”

        In the oceans, according to modeling done by the IMPACTS group of national labs and universities, 30 years of methane hydrate releases could so acidify and make anoxic whole ocean basins that a 60% direct transfer of methane into the atmosphere from the methane hydrates could ensue.

        I’m glad that coal is on it’s way out, apparently. Now we need to focus on doing the same thing to natural gas.

        By the way, the middle set of charts is misleading, too. The middle set of charts shows us where methane is coming from today. It does not mention that because of the positive feedback driven possibilities of methane those numbers could change drastically. We have about .005 trillion tons of carbon as methane in the atmosphere, but probably about 5 to 20 trillion tons of carbon as methane in the hydrates – 1000 to 4000 times more.

        Reply
    • It’s a good start. Not over yet. But coal appears to be in an unstoppable decline.

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  April 13, 2016

      Unfortunately that lethal drought and heatwave in India gas had one positive, the temporary closure of the Coal Fired generator due to lack of water, demonstrating how unsuitable thermal based power generation is in times of water stress and areas with water supply issues and that includ4es nuclear. Europe too had to shut plants for the same reason during their last heatwave and falling rivers and catchments.
      I have been plugging that in different comments sections, and the pro FF sector has no real come back

      Reply
      • wili

         /  April 13, 2016

        That also shows that ALL energy sources are ‘intermittent,’ not just renewables, as is sometimes implied.

        Reply
        • Good point.

          Fossil fuel generation of all kinds is very vulnerable to climate change due to impacts to water supply. Most stations are, by necessity located on rivers, lakes, or estuaries. Flood, drought, storm surge, and sea level rise all make them vulnerable.

          We should shut them down now. But if they do keep running, it’s questionable how long operation will be possible as climate destabilization increases. In other words, climate disruption means that fossil fuel generation intermittency would inevitably increase.

      • Abel Adamski

         /  April 14, 2016

        The other factor is that as in India it was during a heatwave . Lethal wetbulb no relief as no cooling as no èlectricity. Compounding disasters

        Reply
  2. Dokkodo

     /  April 13, 2016

    nice to see some positive news on the blog!

    Reply
  3. climatehawk1

     /  April 13, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  4. Colorado Bob

     /  April 13, 2016

    One of the great foreshadowing metaphors in world history:

    The Ensham coal mine flooded in Australia in 2008 –

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 13, 2016
      Reply
    • It’s always a nice mental relief to get some good news, so thanks Robert. And thanks Bob for the beauty image.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  April 13, 2016

        Marcel Guldemond –
        Where are you ?

        Given that the mining companies have captured the Government of Australian . That picture should be posted everyday there.

        Reply
      • So true Bob, it really should! I’m in Ottawa, which I feel really lucky about right now because it seems like one of the best places to be for the future, esp for my kids. I say this not just because it’s a great city to live in, but mainly because we probably won’t be get the worst of the coming droughts, heatwaves, and extreme weather events.

        I just wish, like other commentators here have noticed, I get absolutely zero response when posting anything climate related to facebook. I guess FB’s algorithm filters out my posts because it figures none of my friends want to see it. sigh.

        Reply
  5. Robert, I think you got your links mixed up when I click on the text copied below, it takes me to NG Peabody bankrupt story, I could not find mention of the cost of the Indian Solar plant with respect to a newly built coal plant in that link.

    “A fact that was brought into stark contrast this year when the cost of a newly constructed Indian solar power station fell below the cost of a newly constructed Indian coal plant fueled by imports. ”

    I would like to follow up on the details of this… generating capacity, tech used etc etc….

    If you can give me the names of the two generating facilities in India that are compared, I can take it from there.

    Thanks L

    Reply
    • From paragraph 9 in the NatGeo article linked above:

      “Indeed, Buckley says India has invested so massively in solar that it’s now cheaper there compared to power from a new plant running on imported coal: “No one in the coal industry, no one in the [International Energy Agency], no one at Peabody saw that coming.””

      Reply
      • OK, I think this is the quote that generated this …

        “The latest auction of solar energy capacity in India has achieved a new record low price of 4.34 rupees/kWh, prompting the country’s energy minister Piyush Goyal to say that solar tariffs are now cheaper than coal-fired generation.”

        4.34 rupees/kwh is about 6 cents/kwh, this is in essence a Power Purchase Contract with the Indian Utility for 25 years, where the Utility agrees to purchase the power, from, in essence, an Independent Power Producer for 6 cents/kwh for the term of 25 years. The owner/operator that put this bid in for this contract is the Finnish group Fortum Energy, it is for a 75 MW generating facility. There have been other similar bids put in by other established companies in this price range, so it appears to be a “real/defensible” number.

        Now that doesn’t mean that it is cheaper to “construct” (aka “Turn Key” build cost) a solar generating plant verses a coal or other FF plant… because that is NOT the case…

        It means that when you add in the construction cost, the interest for the construction loan, the operation and maintenance, the P & I payments for the term loan and the fact that you have FREE FUEL. over the course of 25 years (the term of the bid) the project “appears” to makes financial sense…. (I would love to see their proforma assumptions… particularly their O & M costs assumptions… lol) Seriously, this is good news.

        However, these facilitates (that are coming in with a cheaper bid rate than coal) have NOT been built yet… THEY ARE STILL ON PAPER…. and of course have to get all the approvals, get funded and built,,, and they will be working in India… so a lot of things can go wrong…

        I had friends that built and did start ups of peaker plants in India and the stories told over beers left me shaking my head… lots and lots of “palms having to be grease”, it is very easy for things not to go as planed… etc etc…

        It is very promising but it is by no means a “fait accomplie”….

        “The proof of the pudding is in the eating!”

        And this “pudding” is not yet even in the oven …

        Reply
  6. Colorado Bob

     /  April 13, 2016

    RS –
    Every time you go dark, after the first 2 weeks I fear you’ve jumped of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge,or had a stroke, but then you return with hammer and tongs.

    One would think I should know better.

    Cracker jack work, absolutely cracker jack.

    Reply
    • My dear friend. I probably would have a stroke if I didn’t step back and rally my internal forces from time to time. This has been one hell of a battle — doing this thing that we do. I will carry the mental and spiritual scars for the rest of my days — however short or long. I’m absolutely certain you know exactly where I’m coming from.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  April 13, 2016

      In my opinion, this subject has to be the scariest and most depressing that I know of. The enormity of our destruction, and the finality of it all is too much to handle at times. When you finally get a grasp on how drastically we are changing the world, destoying the biosphere and changing the course of evolution for the rest of Earth’s history. Our actions over the course of a few generations will determine the course of Earth’s history for millions of years. In the billions of years that our universe has left there will never be another Polar Bear, or a Japanese River Otter, or a Golden Toad, and countless other beautiful creatures large and small. And it is all because of humans.

      If that can’t get to you and tear at your very soul, then I question your capacity for empathy and understanding.

      Reply
      • Steven Blaisdell

         /  April 14, 2016

        The only way to avoid the numbing, overwhelming sadness is to dissociate. Unfortunately, because of evolution humans are very good at this, especially when structurally dissociated from the natural world by the gluttonous consumption seemingly endless rivers of Earth’s resources. Oh, the irony….

        Reply
      • Mark from OZ

         /  April 14, 2016

        Hey Ryan
        Well phrased and your words are many of ‘ours’ and it’s perfectly normal to feel ‘down’ about what’s happening. The ‘sting’ is the awareness that we individually contribute to the problem but that doesn’t mean we can’t simultaneously explore ways to mitigate and create pathways to amelioration. That process is the heart and soul of this site and its generous and learned contributors; much of which is tendered (thankfully) by you!

        Steven ( above) is spot on about our dissociation and the alienation it inevitably brings. As there are no easy or simple solutions, it will take effort and experimentation and the chasing of ideas that may fail. Setbacks aren’t all bad as they propel creativity which is possibly ‘our’ finest attribute.

        Next time you have a spare few hours, build a kite and launch it on your nearest beach / river, but fly it while standing in the water-note most water works well but the ones that feature a current are the best. Haven’t found a better ‘place’ for brainstorming than here; fully connected to the wind, the water, the attendant sounds and keeping the kite in the air obliges a concentration on the kite itself, the sky, which is the biggest thing most of us will ever see, and ‘beyond’ which is still brimming with yet undiscovered secrets.

        Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  April 14, 2016

        Mark that is a wonderful idea! Thank you, I will definitely be trying that very soon🙂

        Reply
  7. Tsar Nicholas

     /  April 13, 2016

    I am rather less sanguine than Robert. I think coal production/consumption decline is related to the fact that – despite the political rhetoric – we are in a global deflationary depression.

    If you think I’m wrong I suggest looking at the price/production of other commodities such as iron ore and copper.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 13, 2016

      Tsar Nicholas –
      One problem with your thinking :
      Coal is the fuel of the 19th century, the Sun is the fuel of the 21st century.

      Reply
    • That’s an odd assertion considering the fact that global energy use is still increasing. Deflation in the commodities markets is related to lower fossil fuel demand (renewable energy adoption, increased efficiency, and plummeting coal consumption) affecting the broader sector and a structural shift away from industrialization and growing materials consumption in China. From my point of view negative materials consumption growth is both positive and a part of the larger trend above. It will probably hit some of the monied interests. But again, I think that’s positive. I know this flies in the face of smokestack, wealth concentration based, economic theories. But we’ll be needing new economic theories anyways.

      Reply
      • dnem

         /  April 13, 2016

        I’m not convinced these ideas are mutually exclusive. Yes, fossil fuels are a relic of previous centuries, and part of the decline in prices is related to the switch to renewables, and the inevitability that coal will need to be phased out basically yesterday for climate reasons.

        But, I agree that there are many factors afoot in the global economy that make a deflationary spiral a real risk. So much of the global economy – the “system” if you will – is utterly dependent on ever increasing growth and material consumption. As we wake up and realize that this is a path to disaster, and we start reducing consumption of many material goods, this will cause falling incomes in many, many parts of the economy, leading to reduced demand, falling consumption, reduced demand, and so on. Yes, Robert, we sure do need new economic theories, but I fear the old ones are going to see some very tough times before they get replaced.

        Reply
        • You have an abundance of machine labor and an over concentration of wealth at the top of the economic spectrum. If you want to reduce deflation in this environment, you need some mechanism to increase wages/income for pretty much everyone else. Increasing taxes and using government spending to generate useful work in education, science, innovation, and the arts among others would be a very helpful approach in the current situation. Of course, the same bad thinking that leads to economic dependence upon fossil fuels would also attempt to block that rational course.

  8. Jenny Marienau’s (mentioned in this piece) colleague at 350.org, Bill McKibben had this to say earlier today:

    “Bernie Sanders’ climate consistency: Why he, not Hillary Clinton, should be the choice of people who care about global warming”

    http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/bill-mckibben-bernie-sanders-climate-consistency-article-1.2598313

    Reply
    • McKibben’s spot on here. And I wholeheartedly agree with your earlier appeal to Hillary to foresake fossil fuel campaign donations.

      Reply
    • Ryan in New England

       /  April 14, 2016

      Hello Caroline. This is a response to your question on the last comments thread, about your daughter heading to college and future weather challenges. I’ve lived in Connecticut my entire life, and have witnessed changes to our weather patterns. New England, and the East Coast used to be areas that were relatively safe from extreme weather. An occasional hurricane would wander up the coast from time to time, but waters used to not be warm enough to maintain their strength into the higher latitudes. The other big event was snowstorms, but those were not really too big a deal.

      Since roughly 2007 our weather has grown markedly more extreme. Hurricane Irene (2011) and Hurricane Sandy (2012) were very destructive and had a major impact on our area. But hurricanes are still rare and shouldn’t scare your daughter away.

      The snowstorms have grown much more intense. We had a 30-40 inch storm in 2013 that was devastating. We’ve also experienced a couple winters with so much snow that rooftops were having to be shoveled because many were collapsing. This is due to the greater moisture now available for storms, along with warmer ocean waters,which can super charge the storms. But this is something that shouldn’t scare your daughter, either.

      So basically, everything has grown more extreme, more powerful, and more variable. The rains and snows are heavier, with larger amounts of precipitation. The hottest days are hotter, and the wavy jet stream can deliver extreme cold ore often than you would think. Like other commenters pointed out, a battery powered radio is essential, and an awareness of the weather would go a long way. Unless you’re a homeowner, much of the extreme weather is an inconvenience, and not dangerous if you remain in a safe place. Lots of infrastructure and property damage, but rarely do we see serious injuries or fatalities, Be sure to pack clothes for every conceivable weather scenario, because your daughter will likely experience all types of conditions. Last week we had two snowstorms, and this weekend is going to be in the mid 70s. That is what you can now expect in New England! LOL

      Wherever she ends up going, I wish you and her nothing but good luck! Stay aware and informed and everything will be ok🙂

      Reply
  9. Ryan in New England

     /  April 13, 2016

    This was the last comment on Robert’s last post, and I found it to be important and worth a read, so I’ve copied it and am reposting it on this thread just to make sure everyone sees it. Sometimes the last comment added can get overlooked. This is courtesy of our friend, dt lange

    It comes as no surprise to me. These fellow beings have been at this a long, long, time. They have lied the whole time too — just as they have taught many others to lie. We didn’t get into this fossil fuel mess by accident, you know. We had a lot of help…

    – Union of Concerned Scientists

    New Evidence Reveals Fossil Fuel Industry Funded Cutting-Edge Climate Science Research Dating Back to 1950s

    WASHINGTON (April 13, 2016)—A trove of documents released today by the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) reveals that the oil industry was well aware of the potential climate risks of fossil fuels decades earlier than was widely believed. The uncovered industry communications, scientific papers, and oral histories demonstrate that the petroleum industry was conducting climate research as early as 1957 and knew about the potential for catastrophic climate risks by 1968 at the latest.
    http://www.ucsusa.org/press/2016/new-evidence-reveals-fossil-fuel-industry-funded-cutting-edge-climate-science-research#.Vw6RinpWiSp

    dtlange / April 13, 2016

    – Inside Climate News

    CO2’s Role in Global Warming Has Been on the Oil Industry’s Radar Since the 1960s

    Historical records reveal early industry concern with air pollutants, including smog and CO2, and unwanted regulation

    …based on hundreds of public documents assembled by CIEL, along with others gathered by ICN.

    The documents trace early academic research into rising carbon dioxide levels. They show how the oil industry monitored that published work, and help explain the beginnings of its own research. They also show how industry’s reaction to mid-century regulation to curtail other forms of air pollution, such as smog, helped shape its approach toward the risks of carbon dioxide.

    Reply
    • Spot on here, Ryan. Thanks for bringing this post forward.

      It’s amazing to me how hard the oil and related fossil fuel industry worked to keep eroding our response to climate change, to effectively make the problem the terrible thing it is today. Money, or lust for it at least, indeed, appears to be the root of all our climate evils.

      Reply
      • Ryan in New England

         /  April 13, 2016

        Very true, Robert! Due to the lust for money and power, a few individuals have ended up altering the course of history and have changed the future for the entire Earth.

        Reply
  10. wili

     /  April 13, 2016

    Something screwy is going on with Cryosphere Today’s are graph. http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/arctic.sea.ice.interactive.html

    Surely those sharp up and down jags don’t reflect anything real going on at surface level, right?

    Reply
  11. – Mr. Peabody’s coal train made a few stops in Wyoming.

    Reply
  12. Colorado Bob

     /  April 13, 2016

    Some days, ………
    It feels like being on the top of Masada , watching the Romans build the ramp.
    Today is not one of them.

    A couple of weeks ago I saw an article about the last coal mine at Hotchkiss, Colorado. I have very fond memories of my youth in this valley. Among all orchards there.
    400 jobs gone. They’ve been there since the Denver and Rio Grande . These small towns that always cashed the miners checks need help. A Carbon Tax would help them if we designed it right. All these small towns in West Virginia , Wyoming, Ohio, and Hotchkiss.

    But sadly they are like the coral reefs bleached , and unnoticed.

    Reply
    • The same political interests — meaning republicans — who would block action on climate change would also block action to help workers transition to new jobs as part of an energy switch.

      Reply
  13. Colorado Bob

     /  April 13, 2016

    With all due respect to Wharf Rat, let’s play John Prine –

    Paradise by John Prine

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  April 13, 2016

      God bless, John Prine. You too Colorado.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  April 13, 2016

        God bless us all, and I’ve been an atheist since I was baptized.

        Reply
      • Kevin Jones

         /  April 13, 2016

        My mother, daughter of Baptist Medical Missionaries, nearly died from her ‘water boarding’ in Ningo Po, China in 1920’s. God bless the atheists. To Hell with the rest.

        Reply
    • Wharf Rat

       /  April 13, 2016

      How did you know Rat liked John Denver?

      Reply
  14. Ryan in New England

     /  April 13, 2016

    When I read that Peabody has declared bankruptcy I am nothing but happy. This is great news, Robert, thank you for this. The drop in coal production is a great sing, too. We still have a lot to do, and a hell of a fight, but there are signs of hope.

    Reply
  15. Colorado Bob

     /  April 13, 2016

    Scientists Find Trigger That Cracks Lakes
    Fast-draining lakes atop Greenland ice sheet could accelerate sea level rise
    https://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/feature/scientists-find-trigger-that-cracks-lakes

    Reply
  16. Colorado Bob

     /  April 13, 2016

    When I moved to Slaughter House Creek , Al Jensen gave me 2 plastic 5 gallon jerry cans ,

    At that point he said, ” Water weights 8.6 pounds per gallon.”

    It was the best physics of my life.

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  April 13, 2016

      I was returning after Christmas to an isolated cabin 2 miles from the nearest phone. Snowbound trail. 1 mile farther from my solitary wood chopping job. 1979. Long after sundown, a 5 gal. can in each hand full of chain saw mix. A back pack full of meat & oats and natural philosophy….

      literature… .22 carbine on a sling. Bottle of Jack in my parka. Snowshoes. So dark I could not see my hand as it waved in front of my eyes. Heard there was a bull moose in the area. That thought…. of walking straight in to it half way home scared me so much I haven’t known fear since. Just love and tragedy. And good friends as you all are.

      Reply
      • Colorado Bob

         /  April 14, 2016

        It was 8 miles to the cabin I nearly froze my pecker off because I under dressed.
        The grade was over 2,000 feet

        It Was in The Fucking Rocky Mountains, and was a young moron from Texas.

        Some how that counts for something, I still have my pecker.

        Reply
  17. – Peabody Energy Should Be in Criminal Court, Not Bankruptcy

    http://ecowatch.com/2016/03/22/coal-mining-outlaws/

    Reply
  18. dnem

     /  April 13, 2016

    Wili – I think Cryosphere Today must use the same satellite as NSIDC, which is no longer providing usable data.

    Does anyone have a good, daily updated site to track the melt season?

    https://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/
    Sensor on F-17 experiencing difficulties, sea ice time series temporarily suspended
    April 12, 2016
    NSIDC has suspended daily sea ice extent updates until further notice, due to issues with the satellite data used to produce these images. The vertically polarized 37 GHz channel (37V) of the Special Sensor Microwave Imager and Sounder (SSMIS) on the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) F-17 satellite that provides passive microwave brightness temperatures is providing spurious data. The 37V channel is one of the inputs to the sea ice retrieval algorithms, so this is resulting in erroneous estimates of sea ice concentration and extent. The problem was initially seen in data for April 5 and all data since then are unreliable, so we have chosen to remove all of April from NSIDC’s archive.

    It is unknown at this time if or when the problem with F-17 can be fixed. In the event that the sensor has permanently failed, NSIDC is working to transition to either the DMSP F-18 or possibly the JAXA Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer 2 (AMSR2) on the Global Change Observation Mission – Water (GCOM-W) satellite. Transitioning to a different satellite will require a careful calibration against the F-17 data to ensure consistency over the long-term time series. While this transition is of high priority, NSIDC has no firm timeline on when it will be able to resume providing the sea ice time series.

    Reply
  19. Colorado Bob

     /  April 14, 2016

    Why I Love rats,

    They used keep us in check. They lose, we won .

    Rats never sleep.

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  April 14, 2016

      I’m outta ‘reach’ for a week. GISTEMP should be reporting March NASA global surface temps within hours. Since they are my standard I eagerly anticipate. Anybody want an ‘attaboy’ from Robert, take my place!🙂 in the vigilance dept., I mean….

      Reply
  20. Morbeau

     /  April 14, 2016

    Sort of for dt lange…

    I wonder how much of the timing of the stock slide etc was to allow Peabody to hide its assets from US regulators and eventual claimants for not only their pollution/climate crimes, but also their terrible health and safety record.

    Reply
    • – Oh, anything is possible — anything.
      Mitch ‘Coal’ McConnell, for example, is the U.S. Senate Majority Leader.
      One doesn’t get to that position in a time of climate crisis without back and forth support from many other powerful forces — political and financial. Be sure they are not interested in our well being, either.

      Thx, Mobeau.

      Reply
    • rustj2015

       /  April 14, 2016

      Morbeau, this seems appropriate to your wonder:

      Last year, Alpha Natural Resources (don’t let the name fool you – it’s a coal company) filed for bankruptcy, laid off 4,000 of their workers, and is now working to cut the insurance benefits of nearly 5,000 retired workers and their families. Meanwhile, they are guaranteeing bonuses of a whopping $11.9 million for a handful of top executives. In July of 2015, a bankruptcy court approved a similar request from Patriot Coal “protecting” $6 million in bonuses for executives and middle managers as they worked through their own Chapter 11.

      We can assume that Peabody, without grassroots and federal intervention, will follow suit.

      http://www.commondreams.org/views/2016/04/14/why-peabodys-bankruptcy-requires-just-transition

      This article also has a request to sign a petition.

      Yes, dt, the powers that be are only concerned with their good fortune, so, this:

      You don’t have to teach people how to be human. You have to teach them how to stop being inhuman. ~Eldridge Cleaver

      Reply
      • Jared Diamond’s “Collapse” chronicles similar behavior by other mining companies in the past, so apparently it’s a pretty well-known technique (some reincorporate after making off with the bonuses, very classy). As for Cleaver, Eckhart Tolle (a spiritual teacher I’ve learned a lot from) would fully agree. Most folks are unconscious most of the time (in the sense that Tolle uses the word), and that leads to a world of mischief and, regrettably, evil. Tolle has many free videos online.

        Reply
  21. Colorado Bob

     /  April 14, 2016

    What we all need –

    Orinoco Flow (Sail Away) – Enya (with lyrics)

    Reply
  22. Colorado Bob

     /  April 14, 2016

    Take a breath, I did. I’m as crazy octopus climbing out of a
    tank.

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 14, 2016

      Smart Octopus Breaks Out Of His Tank And Goes Back Home

      https://www.thedodo.com/inky-the-octopus-escapes-tank-1726700096.html

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  April 14, 2016

        CB
        Fascinating critturs
        Cool article on them
        http://www.inquisitr.com/2331741/you-might-not-believe-it-but-octopuses-are-aliens-reveals-new-dna-study/

        A new DNA study has revealed that octopuses are so weird that they may be categorized as ‘aliens’.

        Researchers from the University of California conducted their study on a two-spot California octopus, discovering the probable reasons behind octopuses’ evolved central nervous systems and their fantastic ability to deceptively camouflage.

        The late British zoologist Martin Wells was the first to describe the sea-inhabiting creatures as “aliens,” primarily because octopuses’ protein-coding structures are much more evolved than even humans.

        But now the first full cephalopod genome sequence shows that octopuses (not to be confused with octopi) are extremely different from any other animal – with their genome showing a staggering level of complexity. The new DNA study, published in the scientific journal Nature, has identified the presence of more than 33,000 protein-coding genes in octopuses, significantly more than humans.

        And that is not all. According to Irish Examiner, scientists also confirmed that the DNA of an octopus is highly rearranged– like cards shuffled and reshuffled in a pack – containing several “jumping genes” that can leap around the genome.

        Humans have often found themselves astounded by octopuses’ abilities to carry out functions which would be deemed impossible for most animals – now we know why it is so easy for an octopus to open a jar of jam!

        Those B grade Sci Fi matinee movies may be close to the mark.
        The most likely successor to Homo sapiens

        Reply
  23. Colorado Bob

     /  April 14, 2016

    Smart Octopus Breaks Out Of His Tank And Goes Back Home

    What a great line. What a reason . An Octopus jail break.

    Reply
  24. Colorado Bob

     /  April 14, 2016

    What a great world.

    Reply
  25. Some rather cheery news…..

    An electric car for the working class:

    $11,899
    250 miles per charge

    https://www.arcimoto.com/

    Reply
    • Colorado Bob

       /  April 14, 2016

      A pick-up today is over $ 60,000 . My house cost $ 24,000.

      Reply
    • Griffin

       /  April 14, 2016

      Oh the hours that I have spent on the Internet looking for something like this!
      Thanks for the link John. I hope they take off and have success!

      Reply
  26. Colorado Bob

     /  April 14, 2016

    Perfect America –

    I posted on people dying in Asia. From heat records that are coming. To the the southern US.

    Buckle your chin strap. And the virus it’s coming too.
    Climate Change is about to hit the South. They will Howl like babies.

    Reply
  27. Colorado Bob

     /  April 14, 2016

    I hope Trump wins he’s a simple idiot.
    Cruz is the Nazi bastard we all fear,

    Reply
  28. Andy in SD

     /  April 14, 2016

    Climate Change Hits Hard in Zambia, an African Success Story

    LAKE KARIBA, Zambia — Even as drought and the effects of climate change grew visible across this land, the Kariba Dam was always a steady, and seemingly limitless, source of something rare in Africa: electricity so cheap and plentiful that Zambia could export some to its neighbors.

    The power generated from the Kariba — one of the world’s largest hydroelectric dams, in one of the world’s largest artificial lakes — contributed to Zambia’s political stability and helped turn its economy into one of the fastest growing on the continent.

    But today, as a severe drought magnified by climate change has cut water levels to record lows, the Kariba is generating so little juice that blackouts have crippled the nation’s already hurting businesses. After a decade of being heralded as a vanguard of African growth, Zambia, in a quick, mortifying letdown, is now struggling to pay its own civil servants and has reached out to the International Monetary Fund for help.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/13/world/africa/zambia-drought-climate-change-economy.html?_r=0

    Reply
  29. Andy in SD

     /  April 14, 2016

    Drought has turned parts of the area behind Venezuela’s Guri dam, one of the world’s biggest, into a desert, but the government is optimistic of rain within weeks to drive the vast installation that provides the bulk of the OPEC nation’s power.

    https://widerimage.reuters.com/story/drought-hit-venezuela-waits-for-rain

    Reply
  30. Andy in SD

     /  April 14, 2016

    A woman takes a break as she harvests cotton near to the Shiyang river, which dried up in recent decades.

    Hundreds of rivers have vanished in northwestern Gansu, one of the country’s driest regions. Beijing blames climate change for wreaking havoc on scarce water resources, but critics say the country’s headlong drive to build its industrial prowess and huge hydro projects are just as responsible.

    https://widerimage.reuters.com/story/chinas-parched-earth

    Reply
  31. Bill H

     /  April 14, 2016

    Re Renewables: Encouraging development in Energy Storage technology

    Robert’s been posting from time to time on this subject, notably on Tesla’s battery development, and their recent domestic battery unit to help people store energy produced from their domestic generators is certainly grounds for hope. Battery storage looks as if it will continue to fall in price, but there are also developments in other storage technologies, which I think will ultimately work out cheaper.

    One to watch is Liquid Air Energy Storage (LAES), which takes the better known Compressed Air Energy Storage to its limiting case. Electricity from the grid is used to liquefy air, which then powers Rankine (piston) engines as it re-vaporises, thus generating electricity. The idea was patented way back in the late 19th century, but has been dogged by very low efficiencies, due to the rapid cooling that accompanies the expansion. About ten years ago an Englishman called Peter Dearman, while tinkering in his garage (a bit like Colorado Bob??), came up with the solution of adding antifreeze to the vaporising air, ensuring something close to constant temperature (isothermal) expansion, and greatly improved the efficiency. The idea was taken up by a number of UK universities, and a company called High View has been running a pilot 250 kW power station using the technology, with efficiencies of greater than 50%. Now a 5 MW station is being commissioned, and, any day now, will start providing significant grid balancing.
    Battery storage does give higher efficiency, but batteries degrade. By contrast LAES plant lifetime is expected to be far longer – of the order of several decades, so potentially considerably cheaper.

    More info: http://www.highview-power.com

    Reply
  32. Chuck Hughes

     /  April 14, 2016

    “Mr. Peabody’s coal train just called it a day…”

    Reply
  33. – Water and Power (Energy):

    Fits Robert’s: “Good point. Fossil fuel generation of all kinds is very vulnerable to climate change due to impacts to water supply.
    And Bob’s: ” Water weights 8.6 pounds per gallon.”

    – climaterealityproject.org

    A Thirst for Power: The Water-Energy Nexus

    …Simply put, we need water for our energy systems and we need energy systems for our water.

    Ninety percent of global electricity is generated by boiling water to create steam that spins turbines. It’s water-intense!

    In the United States, more freshwater (41 percent) is used to cool power plants than for any other use.

    About 8 percent of global energy generation is used for pumping, treating, and transporting water.

    By 2035, global energy consumption is expected to increase by 50 percent, increasing water consumption by 85 percent.

    https://www.climaterealityproject.org/blog/thirst-power-water-energy-nexus?utm_source=Twitter&utm_medium=Social&utm_campaign=General

    Reply
    • Reply
    • – Union of Concerned Scientists

      Impacts of coal power: water use

      …A typical coal plant with a once-through cooling system withdraws between 70 and 180 billion gallons of water per year and consumes 0.36 to 1.1 billion gallons of that water.

      When water is drawn into a coal power plant, millions of fish eggs, fish larvae, and juvenile fish may also come along with it. In addition, millions of adult fish may become trapped against the intake structures. Many of these fish are injured or die in the process.
      http://www.ucsusa.org/clean_energy/coalvswind/c02b.html#.Vw8uZXpWiSp

      Reply
    • ‘In fact, according to River Network, the carbon emissions generated from the energy needed to move, treat, and heat water in the US is about 290 million metric tons a year…’

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  April 14, 2016

        Nuclear has the same issue, it too is steam powered, but with more serious consequences re cooling failure

        The Fukishima cover up continues as they desperately try to “fix” the disaster.

        http://www.gizmag.com/fukushima-ice-wall/42583/

        Japan activates underground ice wall to seal away Fukushima’s nuclear waste
        An ice wall might sound like something out of science fiction, but is actually an engineering technique that has been used for tunnel boring and mining, albeit on a smaller scale. Refrigerated brine cooled to -30 degrees Celsius (-22 ° F) will be pumped through pipes plunging 30 m (98.5 ft) into the ground, freezing the soil and eventually sealing the four reactors damaged in the 2011 earthquake and tsunami inside a 1,500 m (5,000 ft) barrier.

        Scientists have recently detected elevated levels of radiation in seawater samples collected near the reactors, and even as far away as the US west coast, confirming that there is an ongoing release of toxic materials from the plant. Workers at Fukushima have already filled purpose-built steel tanks with tons of toxic water from the reactors, but there are some areas that they simply can’t access as radiation levels remain dangerously high, so high in fact that even robots sent in to investigate are having their wiring fried.

        So, with 400 tons of groundwater flowing downhill into the reactor basements each day and some of that then spilling into the sea, there is a need for alternative solutions.

        Reply
        • Any traditional thermal plant has this issue. With rapid SLR, we’ll be looking at governments scrambling to break down nuclear plant cores and transport them … somewhere. Talk about a political mess — more nuclear waste to dispose of, more people arguing about where to put it. Of course, failure to plan does raise the prospect of more Fukushima type incidents …

  34. – Marine life in a time of oil spills.

    Reply
  35. Reply
  36. – It’s so nice to be portrayed as a ‘Radical Agitator’ Like, is there another kind of ‘complacent’ agitator?

    – The almost comical heartless Heartland Inst:

    ‘Radical Green and Government Agitators Slam Methane in Latest Bid to Terminate Fossil Fuel Use’

    http://blog.heartland.org/2016/04/radical-green-and-government-agitators-slam-methane-in-latest-bid-to-terminate-fossil-fuel-use/

    Reply
    • Spike

       /  April 14, 2016

      The BBC has also started using the term agitator in regard to protests against the offshore money stashes. A label I’d be proud to have, because some situations demand a lot of agitation.

      Reply
      • redskylite

         /  April 14, 2016

        I’m losing hope with Auntie B.B.C, no mention of record temps and Arctic anomalies, and they still perpetuate unbalanced climate debates, only thing they are good for now is Leicester City match reports and David Attenborough documentaries. Let’s hope their new “Top Gear” is watchable and even features a few E.V’s.

        Reply
      • Phil

         /  April 14, 2016

        We are having the same problem with the ABC in Australia. They are really dumbing down on reporting climate change news.

        When the Queensland State Government recently granted the three approvals for the large Carmichael coal mine, there was little if any reporting on the climate change impacts of those decisions in the State based ABC reports – just about economic and state development advantages. This was at a time when the reports were coming in thick and fast about the serious bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef.

        They did not even link in issues about the coal mines feasibility given current coal prices and falling demand for coal from both China and India – just need to look at Peabody and other coal miners that have gone bankrupt or are approaching that state. Instead, they just continued reporting the phony job figures that were released by Adani and subsequently proven to be false in a court case.

        Really depressing the state of the main stream median in Australia at the moment.

        Reply
        • The fossil fuel cheerleading is still pretty much a media-wide phenomena. Even if, from time to time, there’s a report here or there on climate change, there’s basically zero coverage on the fossil fuel industry’s complicity in the growing crisis. Industry vulnerabilities, as you note above, are not covered. But it appears that ABC, given your description has gone a step further. It appears to be actively parroting the coal industry perspective — which means its integrity as a news agency has been wholly compromised.

          As an aside, the numbers from the Japan meteorological agency have just come in and, according to that source, March was about as warm as February (if not a hair hotter in that measure) when compared to 1890 baseline values. So it appears we’ve now had two months in the range of 1.5 C above 1880-1890 averages.

          With El Nino fading, global average temperatures should cool. But the lingering at this peak becomes more and more a concern the longer it happens. It’s worth noting that PDO hit near record positive values in the Pacific last month and the Arctic warming we still see is just unprecedented. A positive PDO maintaining, despite what appears to be a decent move toward La Nina would tend to keep global temperatures elevated. The Arctic, as usual, is a wild card and one that is certainly not playing in our favor at this time.

  37. Vietnam’s lowlands to go under with climate change, bank report says

    “The coast is also seriously eroding, the Mekong Delta had steadily gained land from the sea over the past 6,000 years.

    “But over the past 20 [years], this balance shifted, and now more than 50 per cent of the Delta’s 600-kilometre coastline is eroding, losing an average of between four and 12 metres of land to the sea every year.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-04-13/vietnam's-low-lands-to-go-under-with-climate-change,-report-says/7321970

    Reply
  38. redskylite

     /  April 14, 2016

    Japan’s Meteorological Agency have posted the March 2016 temperature anomaly and it will be of no surprise that it is the warmest March since records began. Get a pen and take note all crackpot deniers who say NASA massage their GISS figures, or walk off mumbling under your breath faintly about newly found old browning parchments and the MWP something becoming more and more incredible.

    Japan Meteorological Agency – 気象庁

    Monthly Anomalies of Global Average Surface Temperature in March (1891 – 2016, preliminary value)

    The monthly anomaly of the global average surface temperature in March 2016 (i.e. the average of the near-surface air temperature over land and the SST) was +0.62°C above the 1981-2010 average (+1.07°C above the 20th century average), and was the warmest since 1891. On a longer time scale, global average surface temperatures have risen at a rate of about 0.85°C per century.

    Five Warmest Years (Anomalies)

    1st. 2016 (+0.62°C), 2nd. 2015 (+0.31°C), 3rd. 2010 (+0.28°C), 4th. 2002 (+0.26°C), 5th. 1990 (+0.25°C)

    http://ds.data.jma.go.jp/tcc/tcc/products/gwp/temp/mar_wld.html

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  April 14, 2016

      GISS had March 2015 at .9C. If comparable with JMA this March would come in around 1.3C. Somehow this would be higher than I thought. Overwhelmed with too much information on too many fronts, I guess. GISS should report March any day now.

      Reply
  39. Kathy C

     /  April 14, 2016

    As we stop burning coal the aerosols produced (especially in China where they don’t do much to prevent them) will quickly drop out of the air and stop the dimming that is holding back global warming. Dr. James Hansen spoke of this in his article “Doubling Down on our Faustian Bargain”
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-james-hansen/doubling-down-on-our-faustian-bargain_b_2989535.html
    He writes “Independent of a possible aerosol effect on the carbon cycle, it is known that aerosols are an important climate forcing. IPCC17 concludes that aerosols are a negative (cooling) forcing, probably between -0.5 and -2.5 W/m2. Hansen et al., based mainly on analysis of Earth’s energy imbalance, derive an aerosol forcing -1.6 ± 0.3 W/m2, consistent with an analysis of Murphy et al. that suggests an aerosol forcing about -1.5 W/m2. This large negative aerosol forcing reduces the net climate forcing of the past century by about half.”
    AEROSOL FORCING REDUCES THE NET CLIMATE FORCING BY ABOUT 1/2. Think about that.
    Aerosol dimming is known and is why putting aerosols into the atmosphere is one of the ways suggested to slow warming. Aerosols drop out of the atmosphere quickly (5 days) while CO2 is with us for 100 years. When the dirty coal burners stop their dirty business and the folks in China can breathe again, we burn.

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  April 14, 2016

      Robert Charlson of University of Washington was featured in a Discover article decades ago. He studies (studied?) aerosols. Said “Anyone born east of the Mississippi after 1950 doesn’t know what a blue sky looks like.” You can actually see them. A whitish horizon on a high pressure day. Look carefully towards the Sun with your hand or hat brim shielding your eyes and the closer you can see, the whiter the sky appears. This negative forcing has to be considerable. Hansen in his book mentions a couple of satellites sent to quantify this forcing failed on launch.

      Reply
      • Kathy C

         /  April 14, 2016

        I didn’t know that about the satellites. There is this too from the BBC program on global dimming. Dr. Travis noticed how blue the skies were after 911 when all planes were grounded.
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/tvradio/programmes/horizon/dimming_trans.shtml
        “NARRATOR: For 15 years Travis had been researching an apparently obscure topic, whether the vapour trails left by aircraft were having a significant effect on the climate. In the aftermath of 9/11 the entire US fleet was grounded, and Travis finally had a chance to find out.

        DR DAVID TRAVIS: It was certainly, you know, one of the tiny positives that may have come out of this, an opportunity to do research that hopefully will never happen again.

        NARRATOR: Travis suspected the grounding might make a small but detectable change to the climate. But what he observed was both immediate and dramatic.

        DR DAVID TRAVIS: We found that the change in temperature range during those three days was just over one degrees C. And you have to realise that from a layman’s perspective that doesn’t sound like much, but from a climate perspective that is huge.

        NARRATOR: One degree in just three days no one had ever seen such a big climatic change happen so fast.”

        Reply
  40. Kevin Jones

     /  April 14, 2016

    Scripps has Mauna Loa past week average at just about 408.5 ppm CO2. A solid 2 ppm above ‘expected’ value. Gives new meaning to ‘Leap Year’.

    Reply
    • Japan MET Agency temp data just came in and, according to them, March was as warm as, if not a hair warmer than, February when compared to the 1890 baseline.

      Worth noting that the top value remained the same. However, the 1890 baseline in March is slightly lower than in February. So the anomaly value for the month from the 1890 line increased over February even though the global temperature remained at basically the same level.

      That’s not good news. Given the GFS figures, I expected at least a little downward movement. What we see in the Japan figures is a longer lingering near the El Nino related peak.

      As I mentioned to Phil, it appears that the strong PDO (at near record values) may have helped keep temps in the record high range. However, I think that the Arctic is also generating a bit of a lag in the swing to cooler temperatures as there are a lot of amplifying feedbacks at play there.

      If the Japan Met figures bear out in the other measures, we’ve just experienced another month at about 1.5 C above 1880-1890 values.

      In the Japan measure, the first three months of 2016 have so far averaged about 1.45 C above 1890 levels.

      Reply
  41. Jean

     /  April 14, 2016

    I wish everyone would write in the comment section of the Tulsa World re this article by my Dear Senator Snowball ..these people make me feel so helpless( ok I let myself feel so helpless) http://www.tulsaworld.com/opinion/readersforum/u-s-sen-jim-inhofe-obama-environmental-policies-far-more/article_aaba9b29-d5a3-54dc-8f42-599ef6751297.html

    Reply
    • Jean

       /  April 14, 2016

      Thu Apr 14, 2016.

      By U.S. SEN. JIM INHOFE | 5 comments

      These are the prepared remarks of U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe at the opening of a Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing on “Examining the Role of Environmental Policies on Access to Energy and Economic Opportunity.” Inhofe is the chairman of the committee:

      “Today we have a very distinguished panel to discuss the real impacts of the President’s climate policies are already having on the American people. In particular, I’d like to welcome Father Sirico, General Scales, and Alex Epstein for joining us.

      “During the State of the Union, the President said, ‘No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.’ He’s wrong. The far greater threat is what the Obama administration is implementing in the name of climate change. This administration has spent significant time and taxpayer dollars promoting a sense of fear and urgency around climate change,

      Reply
  42. Nobody commented on yesterdays post by Abel Adamski – which I think means nobody read it, because it sure seems momentous to me:

    http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/national/2016/04/12/405089.htm

    Top NOAA officials predict 3 meters of SLR by 2050-2060.

    And speak of ten year gap between SLR data collection and publication which led to large underestimation of SLR.

    Thank you, Abel

    Reply
    • Phil

       /  April 14, 2016

      Would certainly focus minds if it were to occur.

      A meter the next two decades would be fast enough to be able to charge all the politicians, bureaucrats, captains of industry and there lobbyists, fossil fuel lobby, main stream media chiefs and right wing radio shock jocks with crimes against humanity and genocide. Might even get to see some of those jailed..

      Reply
    • I agree. I read it, but had to rush on to write the next piece. There’s a lot going on in West Antarctica right now that is very concerning.

      If this study is correct, 10 feet by 2050-2060 implies as much as 3 feet by 2035. And this due to concern, primarily, from West Antarctica. For the US East Coast, a large Greenland involvement would back up the Gulf Stream and add up to 3 feet on top of global SLR measures due to current change.

      What this implies is a risk, perhaps still an outside risk, that within a little more than two decades the US East Coast could be looking at an effective 6 foot increase in the ocean surface there.

      Reply
      • kevin jones

         /  April 14, 2016

        Perhaps I should spend my remaining days taking real time in situ sea level rise measurements in
        casco
        bay Maine.

        Reply
    • Cate

       /  April 14, 2016

      I copied this link about SLR, as I do many I find here (with thanks to all you folks for posting such great info), to my FB page.

      One comment made to me was that people in this part of the world (Newfoundland) are not worried about climate change because they are looking forward to warmer winters, earlier springs, and near-tropical conditions in summer, so we can “enjoy our beautiful beaches.”

      I pointed out that once it gets that warm here, all our beautiful beaches will be either underwater or have been destroyed by super-storms. They had no idea.

      Many people really do not understand what is coming at us, and how fast.

      Reply
      • Mblanc

         /  April 15, 2016

        Great find, but that is a bit of a shocking change of tune.

        I guess it was always going to happen, this bonfire of the predictions on SLR, but it is still stunning to read.

        Reply
  43. wili

     /  April 14, 2016

    “…climate warming may have a significant negative effect on production of these omega-3 fatty acids in algae, which may lead to cascading effects throughout the world’s ecosystems, culminating in an overall decline in the global availability of these nutrients for human well being.

    This is a serious problem, as the current supply of these nutrients has been shown by other researchers to be barely sufficient to meet the nutritional demand of the human population.”

    http://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-04-climate-threatens-nutrients-essential-human.html

    Reply
  44. wili

     /  April 14, 2016

    This could be a problem, too.

    Carbon feedback from melting permafrost could amount to over HALF of all anthropological emissions:

    MacDougall, A. H. and Knutti, R.: Projecting the release of carbon from permafrost soils using a perturbed parameter ensemble modelling approach, Biogeosciences, 13, 2123-2136, doi:10.5194/bg-13-2123-2016, 2016

    http://www.biogeosciences.net/13/2123/2016/

    Abstract. The soils of the northern hemispheric permafrost region are estimated to contain 1100 to 1500 Pg of carbon. A substantial fraction of this carbon has been frozen and therefore protected from microbial decay for millennia. As anthropogenic climate warming progresses much of this permafrost is expected to thaw.

    Here we conduct perturbed model experiments on a climate model of intermediate complexity, with an improved permafrost carbon module, to estimate with formal uncertainty bounds the release of carbon from permafrost soils by the year 2100 and 2300 CE. We estimate that by year 2100 the permafrost region may release between 56 (13 to 118) Pg C under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 2.6 and 102 (27 to 199) Pg C under RCP 8.5, with substantially more to be released under each scenario by the year 2300.

    Our analysis suggests that the two parameters that contribute most to the uncertainty in the release of carbon from permafrost soils are the size of the non-passive fraction of the permafrost carbon pool and the equilibrium climate sensitivity. A subset of 25 model variants are integrated 8000 years into the future under continued RCP forcing. Under the moderate RCP 4.5 forcing a remnant near-surface permafrost region persists in the high Arctic, eventually developing a new permafrost carbon pool.

    Overall our simulations suggest that the permafrost carbon cycle feedback to climate change will make a significant contribution to climate change over the next centuries and millennia, releasing a quantity of carbon 3 to 54 % of the cumulative anthropogenic total.

    (Thanks to ASLR at nevens forum for this.)

    Reply
  45. NASA Just Completely Shut Down Climate Change Deniers On Facebook

    Comment sections are always fun places, especially when impassioned issues are involved. But usually, the back and forths of keyboard bashing quickly fade into the white noise of the Internet. So you know when NASA shows up in the comment section of a post about climate change to tell you you’re wrong, it’s probably time to call it a day.

    NASA’s comments came after Bill Nye posted a story about himself asking a prominent climate change denier to put his money where his mouth is.

    http://www.iflscience.com/environment/nasa-have-been-shutting-down-climate-change-deniers-bill-nyes-facebook

    Reply
  46. – Antimicrobial resistance a ‘greater threat than cancer by 2050’

    UK chancellor George Osborne to tell IMF that 10m people a year could die without radical action

    Antimicrobial resistance to antibiotics will present a greater danger to humankind than cancer by the middle of the century unless world leaders agree international action to tackle the threat, according to George Osborne.

    The British chancellor will tell a panel of experts at an IMF meeting in Washington that 10 million people a year could die across the world by 2050 – more than the number of people lost to cancer every year – without radical action.

    Dame Sally Davies, the chief medical officer for England, has warned of an “apocalyptic scenario” in the next two decades in which people die of routine infections during simple operations “because we have run out of antibiotics”

    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/apr/14/antimicrobial-resistance-greater-threat-cancer-2050-george-osborne?utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GU+Today+USA+-+Version+CB+header&utm_term=167124&subid=8553955&CMP=ema_565

    Reply
    • – Meanwhile, as we know, ancient 60,000 year old microbes thaw in the permsfrost and could possibly migrate to many of us.

      Reply
  47. June

     /  April 15, 2016

    An article on a conference organized by the Divest Invest movement. It points out that investments in renewables are getting better returns than if they were left in fossil fuels.

    Investors Warned: Forget Fossil Fuels

    “Ellen Dorsey, executive director of the US-based Wallace Global Fund, told a packed conference in Oxford, UK, this week: “We are right in the middle of a transition − not to try to curb the burning of the fuels, but to end the fossil fuel industry altogether. The industry will be one for the history books, much like slavery.”

    “The conference was told that charities, trusts and banks that invested in renewables were getting a much higher return on their money than if they kept it in fossil fuels companies, so removing it was not an act of altruism but a sound business decision.”

    http://climatenewsnetwork.net/investors-warned-forget-fossil-fuels/

    Reply
  48. Reblogged this along with a small blurb from The Automatic Earth on the same subject at Fin des Voies Rapides.

    Reply

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