The Most Important Issue Facing this Generation is Climate Change. But Will it Come Up at Tonight’s Presidential Debate?

Climate change is threatening cities and island nations with sea-level rise, spurring mass die-offs of sea life, generating extreme weather events with amazing frequency, and posing a rising threat to global food and water supplies. It is no longer just an issue for future generations. It’s a global crisis now, and it’s getting worse. But will the 2016 presidential candidates, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, even be afforded the opportunity to mention it in tonight’s debate?

5-year-temperature-average-ipcc

(IPCC’s global warming index just recently hit 1 C above 1861-1880 temperatures in the five-year average. These temperatures are in the range of the Eemian interglacial period when global ocean levels were 15-25 feet higher than they are today. Furthermore, the current rate of warming at 0.18 C every ten years is about 30-40 times faster than at the end of the last ice age. We’re now in the process of unleashing geological forces capable of producing a mass extinction event on human timescales. Image source: Global Warming Index.)

*****

The 2016 presidential candidates’ stances on the most important issue facing this generation couldn’t be clearer.

Donald Trump believes climate change is a hoax, wants to increase fossil-fuel burning until the planet bakes and the oceans putrefy, plans to shut down the EPA, wants to back out of the Paris Climate Agreement, can’t wait to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan, and has a noted penchant for attacking climate change solutions like wind power. Trump’s stances on climate change are so appalling that 375 of the world’s top scientists, including Stephen Hawking and 30 Nobel Prize winners, issued an open letter to the U.S. electorate, essentially pleading that we not vote for Trump on the basis of climate change alone.

The letter notes:

The United States can and must be a major player in developing innovative solutions to the problem of reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Nations that find innovative ways of decarbonizing energy systems and sequestering CO2 will be the economic leaders of the 21st century. Walking away from Paris makes it less likely that the U.S. will have a global leadership role, politically, economically, or morally. We cannot afford to cross that tipping point.

Hillary Clinton, by comparison, wants to push a big solar energy build-out, support electric vehicles, cut carbon emissions, and ensure that policies like COP 21 and Obama’s Clean Power Plan are enacted and enhanced. Though some climate hawks might not be completely satisfied with Clinton’s record on climate change (we’re going to have to do quite a bit more than what Clinton is shooting for), the reality is that Clinton’s proposed climate policies are aimed at building on and improving Obama’s initial plans.

rapid-renewable-power-growth-under-clinton

(Clinton plans to push renewable energy growth even faster than rates that would be achieved under Obama’s Clean Power plan. By contrast, Trump’s policies would severely reduce current initiatives, likely resulting in less than 10 percent of energy generation from clean sources by 2030. Image source: Hillary for America.)

Clinton’s overall push is for U.S. renewable energy leadership and climate action:

I won’t let anyone take us backward, deny our economy the benefits of harnessing an clean energy future, or force our children to endure the catastrophe that would result from unchecked climate change.

Hermione versus Voldemort on a Tilted Stage

It’s pretty obvious that the difference between Trump and Clinton on an issue that involves the safety and wellbeing of pretty much everyone living on Earth is stark, so much so that Joe Romm at Climate Progress has aptly characterized the debate as a contest between Hermione Granger and Voldemort.

But will the 80 million viewers of tonight’s debate actually get a chance to listen to the candidates’ stances and views on an issue that will impact them from now until the end of their natural lives? Will the debate moderator Lester Holt, a registered Republican, field questions on climate change? Or will a deafening dome of silence fall over the issue, as ice caps melt, seas rise, droughts expand, extreme weather events worsen, ocean health declines, and global temperature records continue to be shattered?

(Republican downplaying of climate change exposed by Jason Box in this poignant video. It’s stark, really, what we’re dealing with.)

Moreover, will Holt act as a moderator, or will he check out as Matt Lauer did during the dual ‘interviews’ of Clinton and Trump last month, essentially abandoning the field to Trump who is well-known for spewing out a barrage of false statements in an attempt to score points? To this point, Joe Romm notes:

…persuasive liars have an inherent advantage in any debate that is effectively unmoderated and unrefereed. This is true not merely in political debates but also in most other kinds of public debates.

Unfortunately, on the issue of fair Presidential debate representation for climate change, the record isn’t too great in 2016 so far. According to Media Matters, only 22 out of nearly 1,500 debate questions have covered climate change. As a result, a critical issue of public safety, national security, and, ultimately, survival, is not being presented to the American people. It’s a failure that generates a false impression that climate change isn’t a real problem — a lack of representation that, in the end, is both irresponsible and dangerous.

Links:

Yes, Donald Trump Did Call Climate Change a Hoax

Trump’s Plan to Drill, Baby, Drill

How Donald Trump Lost his Fight to Kill Wind Farms in Scotland

Hillary’s Plan for Half a Billion Solar Panels

COP 21

Obama’s Clean Power Plan

Hillary for America

Hermione vs Voldemort

‘Climate People’ to Debate Moderators: Survival Matters

Hat tip to Ailsa

Hat tip to DT Lange

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140 Comments

  1. Nancy

     /  September 26, 2016

    Great video. Makes me want to slap every republican I meet. They are ignorant selfish fools. It’s painful to know they have so much power to destroy humanity. If only the rest of the population wasn’t too busy shopping and playing video games to pay attention to the facts. The reality is that Trump has an excellent chance of winning. Frightening! Maybe we should all move to Denmark with Jason Box.

    I can’t watch the debate tonight….my heart can’t take it. I will read about it in the morning.

    Reply
    • – I admire Jason Box’s personable way. It’s also a bit of ‘coolness under fire’.
      But he also once said: “We’re f***ed. I also admire him for that.

      – For the de-bates I would like to see a ‘good cop/bad cop’ moderator(s) approach.

      Reply
    • The new video by Box is spot-on — not just in its portrayal of risks coming from the natural world, but in its all-too-accurate portrayal of the trouble arising out of a certain mindset. In other words, we wouldn’t be in so much trouble if the views espoused by Romney and Trump were not so widespread among those with influence and power.

      As for the debate — it was tough to watch. Trump basically went on multiple mini tirades. These tended to be inaccurate barrages. The kind of rapid-fire mudslinging that we’ve come to expect from the guy. Clinton stood up to it pretty well, though and managed to bring light to a number of glaring character issues such as Trump’s birtherism, what appears to be a long history of racism starting in the 70s when the DOJ charged him with not allowing African-Americans to rent from a development he owned, and just generally holding him to account for inaccurate rhetoric.

      Trump dropped a few big whoppers — including his proposal that we should have just ‘taken the oil out of Iraq and kept it for ourselves.’ Kind of a jaw-dropping ‘loot and pillage’ foreign policy mindset combined with a good degree of technical ignorance (you’d have to occupy Iraq for years to decades to remove all its oil).

      Climate change, as feared, was not a topic covered at this debate. However, Clinton did manage to talk about both climate change and clean energy in her own statements. The clean energy topic, particularly, came up on multiple occasions. Clinton also brought up the fact that Trump had called climate change a ‘Chinese hoax.’ Despite the fact that Trump had made such a statement, he denied it (denying past statements being a big theme for Trump’s debate performance overall). Trump had one or two disparaging remarks about climate change — downplaying it in comparison to the threat of nuclear war, for example. Of course, Trump ignored the fact that a world destabilized by climate change and containing nuclear-armed powers is a world at higher risk of nuclear-armed conflict. That climate change is a threat multiplier because it generates waves of displaced persons and puts critical resources and infrastructure at risk or destroys it outright.

      Overall, I’d say the performance was better than expected. I do hope that climate change comes up as a main topic of discussion in future debates — not for the least due to the fact that Trump has been so ardent in his attacks on alternative energy (particularly wind), so supportive of policies that would result in a ramping level of fossil fuel burning, and so vocal in labeling climate change a ‘hoax.’

      Reply
      • It’s odd to me that the D and R political parties were not mentioned by name.
        Personal names Prez O, et al. in an emotional context were thrown about tho.

        Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  September 27, 2016

      Nancy, the Australian equivalent is the Liberal and National Parties, and half, at least, of the Labor Party. The Liberals have spent decades learning from the Republicans, so have relied for years on stirring race hatred and xenophobia, downward social envy and spite directed at the poor and weak and HATRED, raw and unrelenting, of environmentalists and environmentalism, to garner votes. On the Right, and in the Rightwing MSM, particularly the Murdoch apparatus, the words Green and Greens are spat out with venom as raw insults.
      Even now, after the three hottest years ever recorded coming in a row, and after all the great climate destabilisation and discontinuities we see reported here (but which our local MSM never mention)and after the Great Barrier Reef suffered the worst bleaching ever and the northern quarter died, not to ‘recover’, the various ‘Governments’ of the land are all fanatic fossil fuel miners. Coal is praised as a ‘boon to humanity’. The so-called ‘courts’ find in favour of mining, over and over again. Environmental groups are de-financed, to shut them up. Renewable energy is relentlessly attacked. Queensland has one of the worst records of land clearance in the world, in COMPLETE contradiction of ‘promises'(our late, unlamented, PM, Howard, invented the categories of ‘core’ and ‘non-core’ promises to exculpate his habitual lying)we made to the IPCC climate negotiations.
      I could go on, but it would be boring. The basic problem, in my opinion, is so-called ‘democracy’. A system where any moron, any ignoramus, any greedy, life-hating thug, has the same vote as their opposites, and where the weight of money from the capitalist owners of society, and the relentless brainwashing of their MSM apparatus, has manipulated the public for generations to put greed first, and contempt for others and the natural world as paramount impulses in everyday life, was always going to destroy itself. As others have noted here, if you visit Comments in the MSM, you will find that the most savagely moronic and pig ignorant denialism is, if anything, more virulent than ever, and increasingly leavened with barely disguised calls to exterminate the global poor, to resolve our problems, because it is over-population, NOT over-consumption that is allegedly at fault.
      It is interesting that the denialist psychosis is most toxic in the Anglosphere that likes to pose as the world’s paragon. A rich irony. You in the USA need to hold your noses and vote for Clinton, and pray that she keeps her words, re. climate destabilisation. And pray that she does not pick a fight with China, who is doing so much to resolve our problems-although even there, not yet enough. We MUST have complete global co-operation to survive, and no bulldust about ‘America must lead’.

      Reply
  2. Climate change should be the first item out of the bag. However, I understand there will be two (2) following debates. Trump, I hear, is a denier….something about a Chinese plot! What a goof ball!

    Reply
  3. – A gentle but forceful query to Trump might be in order.

    From The Guardian:
    06/06/2016

    -theguardian.com/us-news/2016/jul/06/donald-trump-climate-change-florida-resort

    Water world: rising tides close in on Trump, the climate change denier

    Climate change has barely registered as a 2016 campaign issue, but in Florida, the state which usually decides the presidential election, the waters are lapping at the doors of Donald Trump’s real estate empire


    In 30 years, the grounds of Mar-a-Lago could be under at least a foot of water for 210 days a year because of tidal flooding along the intracoastal water way, with the water rising past some of the cottages and bungalows, the analysis by Coastal Risk Consulting found.

    -GoogleMaps
    https://www.google.com/maps/place/Mar-a-Lago+Club/@26.677066,-80.0720007,6991m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m5!3m4!1s0x88d8d71e9a5c409d:0x71bb1222105e5650!8m2!3d26.6770665!4d-80.0369802

    Reply
  4. Keith Antonysen

     /  September 26, 2016

    Thank you Robert for the many fine, considered articles you provide.

    I’m an Australian, and like many other Australians fear the prospect of Trump being elected President. It is a pity that President Obama cannot be re-elected.

    Reply
    • “considered” and considerate — I add.

      Reply
    • Thanks so much for the kind words, Keith.

      A good number of people keep telling me not to write about politics. But if 375 scientists are stepping up to make a statement, I can’t in good conscience stay on the sidelines. There’s too much at stake here. And there’s an enormous difference between Clinton and Trump as President. The fact that Clinton is pushing for a rapid deployment of wind and solar as well as for enacting COP 21 and strengthening the Clean Power Plan makes her 1000 percent better than Trump (who’d drop us back to the 80s — whether it’s 1880s or 1980s is still up in the air). We all know now that it’s not enough, but it’s somewhere on the path toward enough and I think Clinton, like Obama, will be far more open to escalating climate action than anyone from the republican party, much less Trump.

      In any case, I can feel your unease. I don’t know what would be worse — living in America with Trump as President, or living in the rest of the world and wondering and fearing what Trump might do next. His current rhetoric alone is damaging and probably destabilizing. He’s already put a black mark on our country. But if actions, in any small way, come in line with the rhetoric, then I’m afraid the world might have to re-learn some of the darker lessons of history.

      Reply
      • Absolutely. Policy is critical to addressing climate change in a serious way. For example, with a few exceptions like Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, Republicans have managed to keep us 10-15 years behind where we should be with wind energy. We could be generating 15-20% of our electricity with it today instead of 5%. Big Oil has largely succeeded in limiting U.S. action generally on climate, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that action is urgently needed. That can (and will) only be fixed through the political system–the only question is how much pain we all have to endure before that happens.

        Reply
  5. OR

    The mind-boggling New Orleans heat record that no one is talking about

    During one of the country’s hottest summers, New Orleans quietly set a mind-boggling record. On 43 nights, the temperature did not drop below 80 degrees in New Orleans, according to the Louisiana state climatologist.

    It blows the previous record out of the water — 13 nights in 2010. It’s also incredible considering in an average summer, New Orleans has just 2.1 nights at or above 80 degrees.

    [A telling graphic inside.]
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/capital-weather-gang/wp/2016/09/26/the-mind-boggling-new-orleans-heat-record-that-no-one-is-talking-about/?asdfsadf

    Reply
  6. Mfranklin

     /  September 27, 2016

    NBC has turned out to be the Republicans’ best friend after Fox News. From giving Trump free exposure on SNL, to having Matt Lauer oafishly stand by while Trump delivered his false claim of having been in early opposition to the Iraq war, to having a freaking registered Republican act as tonight’s moderator, there can be little doubt as to NBC’s true intentions. Word has it that Trump is brushing up on his personal insult skills and has had a lot of help in creating “zingers” to deliver against Mrs. Clinton, President Obama and Democratic principles in the course of one of his fact-free tirades delivered for the benefit of his intellectual basket case followers.

    Reply
    • Overall, it didn’t turn out as badly as feared. Holt actually even held Trump to account on a few occasions and Hillary performed admirably under a barrage that might have addled someone less seasoned and less tested. This election is still pretty scary. But a few rays of light came punching down through the clouds last night.

      Reply
  7. wili

     /  September 27, 2016

    To her credit, Clinton did bring up CC and called Trump out for saying it is a hoax (which he denied…fact check, anyone??).

    Reply
    • wili

       /  September 27, 2016

      OK, someone already did, and of course he lied in his denial that he is a denialist: http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/news/a48945/trump-climate-change-china/

      Reply
      • Denying denial. That’s always the next step for denial.

        Reply
        • Mulga Mumblebrain

           /  September 27, 2016

          The Murdoch apparatus specialise in denying their denialism. It is quite bare-faced lying, and the other MSM, where the ‘word prostitutes’ might in future need employment in the dominating Murdoch machine, NEVER call them out on it. To hear the editor of Murdoch’s premier denialist rag, where denialist screeds have outnumbered the truth by orders of magnitude for decades, declare that it had ‘published more pro-climate change than anti stories’, to the total silence of the interviewer, is simply mind-blowing. And, almost, but not quite, unbelievably, the denialism seems to be getting worse.

      • Nice roundup of his dumbass tweets, thanks for the link.

        Reply
    • Does he not know what DOD stands for. And their great worry over climatechange? Or GOP’s denial of CC funds for DOD?

      Reply
      • I think Trump’s in a race with the fact checkers — the strategy seems to be to produce as many outrageous and untrue statements as possible in an attempt to bury them in BS. It may have worked in the primaries, but I don’t think it will have too much shine during the general.

        Reply
  8. coloradobob

     /  September 27, 2016

    New record extends global temperatures back two million years
    Sees major transition at 1.2 million years, questionably high climate sensitivity.

    http://arstechnica.com/science/2016/09/two-million-year-climate-record-sheds-light-on-change-in-ice-ages/

    Reply
    • 5 C is too strong a sensitivity at 1.2 million years ago by approx x2. This paper will probably result in some rather wild responses.

      Reply
      • wili

         /  September 27, 2016

        This article from National Geographic includes responses from Gavin Schmidt (“This is simply wrong”) and others. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/09/global-warming-study-13-degrees-is-wrong-climate-change/

        Reply
        • Some others have used inter-glacial to ice age (and vice versa) cycles to measure sensitivity. They get similarly high results. My view is that the long term sensitivity to a doubling of CO2 is in the range of 5-6 C (ESS). This ranges higher than many ECS model estimates (now seeming to lean to 3-4 C). But this particular study almost doubles that again.

          Apollo-Gaia gets a 7 C sensitivity from similar ice-age/inter-glacial extrapolations, which is also likely quite high.

        • wili

           /  September 27, 2016

          Yeah, as I recall, there was a fatal flaw in the logic that lead to that estimate on Apollo-Gaia.

          To me, even more important than getting a most likely sensitivity number is looking at the ‘fat tail’ of probability that it could be higher. No reputable analyses that I’ve seen show that its equally likely to be much much lower as much much higher–the higher end is always more likely than the lower end.

          That’s a ‘known unknown’ that we should all be very worried about. It’s basic risk assessment–if someone tells you that it’s most likely to be a very bumpy but survivable plane ride, but that it is much more likely that you will crash than that it will be a smooth flight…do you really want to get on that plane?

          It is also the case that the world now is not exactly like the world as it’s ever been before–even if there were no humans, this would be true; but it is even more true given the many major effects humans have had beyond GW on ecosystems and carbon sinks). so we can’t have certain knowledge how it will react to our very unusual level of forcing.

        • That’s a very accurate statement in the broader context, wili. Add in to that the fact that the models we currently run probably don’t have all the various physical processes nailed down, and you get a good idea what we’re dealing with.

          When it comes to risk/threat analysis, the big points to consider are:

          1. The most likely scenario.
          2. The most dangerous scenario.
          3. The least likely scenario.
          4. The least dangerous scenario.
          5. The comparative probability of the least and most dangerous scenarios.

          Based on current model understanding, the most likely scenario is a middle range sensitivity (3-4 C), based on paleoclimate observation, the most likely scenario appears to be a higher range (5-6 C which is closer to the most dangerous scenario). The estimates tend to bias high rather than low, so the most dangerous scenario is more likely than the least dangerous scenario. Which makes your plane analogy pretty apt.

      • But its faster to double from glacial 180 ppm CO2 than from interglacial 280 ppm. Also I would guess that a retreating large ice sheet exposes a lot of ground carbon as well as reduce albedo a lot on the planet. Compared to an ice age there is much less ice now, and hence less ground carbon to release quickly (although there is still a lot) as well as less reduction in the planets albedo.

        So personally I feel the 3-4C for a doubling at this point in the epoch sounds about correct. It all depends on how fast permafrost will release carbon as well. And I guess warmer oceans means less uptake in the oceans too so that might offset some of the lesser warming from the reduced albedo change. We are still in for a heck of a ride.

        Reply
        • Sensitivity tends to be higher in a more glaciated world due to various factors. Ironically, without glaciers, sensitivity also appears to ramp up somewhat. There’s a middle ground where a moderate amount of glaciation appears to be a moderating factor on climate — generating a bit of inertia. That said, if you get into a ghg range where there’s enough forcing to eventually take down all the major ice sheets, then watch out. That range appears to be around 500 to 600 ppm CO2 or CO2e (depending on how accurate a corollary current CO2e estimates are to past climate states). We’re at 490 ppm CO2e now and rising at 3 ppm CO2e per year or more. So another caution, really.

        • Mulga Mumblebrain

           /  September 27, 2016

          How do estimates of climate sensitivity vary depending on the rate of increase of greenhouse gases, not just the levels which they reach?Are positive feed-backs more likely to be set in motion when the levels rise as rapidly as today, or does it make no difference?

        • Good question. One the science hasn’t been able to answer very effectively at this point. There’s no ‘faster emission = more positive feedback’ physical assembly in the ECS models, to my knowledge. If someone does do it, it’s probably NCAR. They’re a bit ahead of the curve, in my opinion.

    • George W. Hayduke

       /  September 27, 2016

      This report is using same historic record and projecting 9°C rise over the next several thousand years.

      http://www.nature.com/news/longest-historic-temperature-record-stretches-back-2-million-years-1.20673

      Reply
  9. Meanwhile in California:

    Reply
  10. 04:44 UTC
    – Bloomberg

    Taiwan Shuts Markets as Typhoon Megi Strengthens, Cuts Power

    Airlines cancel flights, high speed rail suspends service
    Thousands evacuated as typhoon approaches east coast

    Markets and offices were closed in Taiwan on Tuesday as Typhoon Megi brought wind and rain to across the island.

    More than 2,000 households lost electricity and about 1,700 people were evacuated, according to the island’s National Fire Agency. The capital city of Taipei shut markets, schools and offices, along with municipalities across the island. ECB Television showed residents struggling with umbrellas blown inside out by strong wind.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-26/taiwan-to-close-markets-offices-in-taipei-as-typhoon-nears

    Reply
    • Jim Edds Verified account ‏@ExtremeStorms 53m53 minutes ago

      The onslaught has begun in Taiwan. Typhoon #Megi

      Reply
    • Reply
      • Anthony Sagliani ‏@anthonywx 2m2 minutes ago

        Irregular-shaped eyewall of massive Typhoon Megi coming onshore of eastern Taiwan.

        Reply
    • Huge system there. The eye is as large as a Taiwan province.

      Reply
      • So, what’s going on here, Robert?
        The third notable typhoon in just a few weeks. The atmosphere and the SST seem to be tuned for producing these storms. Unusual?
        A ‘typhoon alley’…?

        Reply
        • 18:35 UTC

        • Over the past couple of months there has been a heck of a lot of lift in the atmosphere in that region. Lots of lows forming at the surface. And a big pile of 1-2.5 C above average sea surface temperatures to fuel it all. First we had numerous storms running into and brushing by Japan. Now the development track has been firing off at Taiwan.

          Usually, multiple storms churning over the same path would generate a good deal of upwelling. And this would tend to cool the surface waters and suppress storm development. But it’s not just the surface waters that are abnormally warm. It’s waters at depth as well. So upwelling is not generating as much surface cooling as we’d typically see.

          So what we have is storm pattern that’s running somewhat outside of the usual constraints. One that’s capable of producing multiple strong storms in back to back fashion. It’s all due to the ocean atmosphere interaction. And a big part of the picture is the heat content of the ocean itself — which is very high in this region especially when you consider the amount of heat at depth.

          It’s a pattern related to climate change in that we’re seeing more heat and moisture energy available for storms generally over this region. It’s an upshot of a record hot world that you get these above average sea surface temperatures and hotter than normal waters at depth. That changes the ocean’s relationship with the atmosphere and generates the potential for more powerful storms at peak intensity and more storms that are capable of developing high potency while following similar ocean tracks to storms running through just a few days prior.

        • Thanks, Robert — ‘ little upwelling — heat at depth’.
          All should read it. A nice ‘mini’ post in itself — and pertinent.

        • Well, the upwelling is happening. It’s just that it pulls up more hot water. This is because the heat isn’t just at the surface anymore. It’s a thicker layer.

  11. Ailsa

     /  September 27, 2016

    Thank you for the hat tip Robert. The debate was on at the ungodly hour of 2am here in the UK, so I’ll be gritting my teeth and watching it on a youtube rerun later.

    I did watch some of the CNN live stream run-up on youtube. and was shocked in particular by the ads and the comments in the side bar. Now I see more clearly what you (and we) are up against.

    Reply
    • Cheers Ailsa. Thanks for the posts — which contributed to this blog. I think it worked out somewhat better than expected, given what we were up against.

      So I don’t know about others, but I have this internal ad filter. I basically just tune it all out. What really gets on my nerves is the stuff that gets embedded in the ads (odd bits of code that cause your browser to inevitably crash every 20 minutes or so).

      Reply
  12. Tom

     /  September 27, 2016

    Dutch Parliament Votes to Shut Down All Coal Plants
    http://www.ecowatch.com/shut-down-coal-plants-netherlands-2017447528.html

    As President Obama’s signature Clean Power Plan heads to court, the Dutch parliament voted Thursday to shut down its entire coal industry. The move is needed in order for the country to meet its 2030 goal to reduce carbon emissions by 55 percent. [more]

    Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  September 27, 2016

      In Australia, the Minister for the Environment and Energy (a little local joke of our hard Right regime)reacted, (on radio)just now to the suggestion of ceasing coal-mining to save the Great Barrier Reef (all other ecological catastrophes left unmentioned)with consternation, and furious rejection. Coal-mining meant ‘thousands of jobs’, and ‘billions in export earnings’, etc. Don’t look hereabouts for any sanity, any time soon. The Great Barrier Reef, he also asserted, was going to be just fine. The auto-hallucination goes on.

      Reply
      • So what happens if more than half the world shifts away from oil gas and coal while the other half keeps investing in it? What happens to the half still holding the coal sack? Looks like malinvestment any way you cut it, really. May as well move along with the times. At least that way you’re not left with a dwindling market for a product that no-one wants and only captive consumers will buy.

        Reply
        • Mulga Mumblebrain

           /  September 29, 2016

          In a bathetic encore, the Minister for Coal Mines and Wrecking the Environment has been at it again. We just got hit by an ‘unprecedented’ hurricane rushing up from the Antarctic. It spawned a super cell in the mid-north and a couple of tornadoes hit the high voltage transmission lines there, twisting the pylons like raffia, and the system tripped and shut down the entire state (South Australia) in a black-out.
          Instantly the Right lept up and started gibbering that it was all caused by their pet hate (one of many) -renewable energy. Despite repeated assurances that it was the storm damage what done it, every Rightwing loony kept insisting that ‘renewable energy’ caused the black-out. Once they have a favourite bone they just won’t let go.
          And today the pathetic puppet, our Prime Minister, joined in, attacking renewables as well. It was left to the Greens to speak sense, ie that the storm was caused by climate destabilisation, and a return to coal or gas for energy will only cause worse disasters in the future. Not what the MSM reptiles wanted to hear, so after two questions, with a non-working mike making them inaudible, they wandered off, to fawn over the red-neck Deputy PM demanding renewable energy be shut down, or the ‘One Nation’ loon who declared, so it is reported, that renewable energy actually caused the storm!! The Marx Brothers had nothing on this lot!

  13. Cate

     /  September 27, 2016

    Dr Hansen offers “a better graph” and mentions a new paper coming out soon….

    http://csas.ei.columbia.edu/2016/09/26/a-better-graph/

    “For decades we have reported/updated the global temperature record, showing the calendar-year annual-mean temperature, usually with the 5-year running-mean included. I submit that the graph below is not only more beautiful, but more informative and it can be usefully updated every month rather than once a year. The 12-month running-mean takes out the seasonal cycle just as well as the calendar-year mean and includes the calendar-year mean (black squares). The 11-year running mean does a pretty good job of taking out solar cycle variability and shorter-term variability such as the Southern Oscillation.”

    Note that this graph also switches the baseline to 1880-1920 because of the “widespread interest in the magnitude of warming relative to pre-industrial time.”

    Reply
    • Greg

       /  September 27, 2016

      Thank you Cate. Unsettling.

      Reply
      • Well done, Hansen! And, man, what a graph.

        11 year smoothing also appears to put us extraordinarily close to the 1 C mark (decadal!!). 1.3 C for the last 12 months is pretty horrifying.

        Reply
      • I’m pleased to see this as I have alluded to this time-frame scope before — it may or not be for the same reasons as JH but I’ll take it:

        ‘Note that this graph also switches the baseline to 1880-1920 because of the “widespread interest in the magnitude of warming relative to pre-industrial time.”

        Reply
  14. Cate

     /  September 27, 2016

    Another article from Dr Wadhams. To clarify, I don’t agree with everything I share here, but I do try to share stuff that I think we should be aware of. Wadhams, a sea-ice specialist, is a big advocate in good faith of carbon capture technology in order to bring down CO2 levels fast enough to prevent polar meltdowns. Not my opinion, his.

    http://e360.yale.edu/feature/as_arctic_ocean_ice_disappears_global_climate_impacts_intensify_wadhams/3037/

    Reply
    • Kevin Jones

       /  September 27, 2016

      Thanks for these two posts, Cate. I find it interesting that Wadhams estimates 50% sea ice loss being equal to 25% of GHG emissions to date. This is in line with Lovelock’s estimation of total Arctic Sea Ice loss (through albedo change etc) equaling an additional 100 ppm CO2.

      Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  September 27, 2016

      If at all possible, we will need carbon capture and sequestration. The levels of CO2 in the atmosphere are already too high for our survival. I favour restoring the planet’s biomass through massive forestation, grassland remediation, mangrove and sea-grass meadows restoration, and carbon storage in soils through processes like bio-char. Wildlife populations need restoration and protection, too. All can be done while a Manhattan Project type effort is put into technological means to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and store it, somewhere safe.

      Reply
  15. wharf rat

     /  September 27, 2016

    Because, why not? It’s a quiet news day.

    Mendocino County is developing a cannabis cultivation ordinance. In August 2016, the Board of Supervisors directed staff to move forward with an environmental review of the draft cultivation and zoning ordinance.
    https://www.co.mendocino.ca.us/bos/mendoreg.htm

    In the spirit of “corporations are people, my friends”, Rat wishes to announce Wharf Rat Ag Inc, a Cal. non-profit corporation.
    How can I put this delicately? I know a chardonnay grower who just picked 85 tons of grapes, $1200/ton, from 20 acres, I believe. I’m told that a year from now, there will 900 lbs of (organic) medical marijuana being harvested right over yonder, at roughly the same price per pound, from 1/4 acre. I have sharecroppers who will do all the work. All I get is all I want; enuf smoke to make it to the next harvest.
    Right now, only Med Mary is legal, but we vote on recreational use in Nov. Weed (Calif.’s largest cash crop, but not counted in statistics), cookies, candy, lotions, oil, ointments, and salve should move us up the list of world’s largest economies

    Reply
  16. Greg

     /  September 27, 2016

    The Bank of Canada analyzes the risk of Catastrophic Events leading to economic disaster focusing on re-insurers. It’s obvious what they are talking about but they never mention climate change or weather. Still follow the money:
    Are Counterparty Arrangements in Reinsurance a Threat to Financial Stability?
    http://www.bankofcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/swp2016-39.pdf

    Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  September 29, 2016

      Greg, the financial Ponzi scam is now so Brobdingnagian that it might topple over of its own accord. Re-insurance failure, Italian banks evaporating, property bubbles in Vancouver, London or Sydney popping, or the asset bubbles blown up by decades of free money from the ‘Greenspan put’, and all the Quantitative easings since, or the utterly profitless fracking industry version of sub-prime mortgages-that which cannot go on, will not go on forever. The system runs on inequality and debt, both of which end up poisoning the very apparatus that spawned them.

      Reply
  17. June

     /  September 27, 2016

    The races for Senate and House seats are important as well, and Republicans are going all out to win. Inside Climate News is doing ” a series of articles called Climate Battlegrounds examing Congressional and other races where issues of energy and climate change are playing a central role.”

    Big Spending by Fossil Fuel Supporters Swings Ohio Senate Race to GOP

    Republican incumbent Rob Portman built a big lead in the polls over former Gov. Ted Strickland after flurry of ads painting the Democrat as anti-coal.

    https://insideclimatenews.org/news/26092016/senator-rob-portman-ohio-ted-strickland-governor-senate-race-koch-brothers-climate-change-coal-donald-trump

    Reply
  18. Greg

     /  September 27, 2016

    Maryland is a target Robert for the next several days due to that cutoff low :
    http://www.bankofcanada.ca/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/swp2016-39.pdf

    Reply
  19. Greg

     /  September 27, 2016

    USA TODAY Weather ‏@usatodayweather
    Waiting game in Cedar Rapids: If flood walls hold, “we’ll save the city,” said the mayor. #CedarRapids #IowaFlood

    Reply
  20. Greg

     /  September 27, 2016

    Layton, Utah Straightline winds only. Not a tornado. Posted today:
    https://weather.com/storms/severe/video/see-winds-shred-utah-building-0

    Reply
  21. LAM78

     /  September 27, 2016

    Tropical storm Ulika might cross 140W twice as a tropical storm which is very rare. Last year, Olaf crossed 140W twice but from the opposite direction.

    Good article Mr Scribbler!

    Reply
    • – LookIntoHawaii.com ‏@LookIntoHawaii 2h2 hours ago
      Tropical Storm Ulika – One to watch:

      – Robert Ballard ‏@firebomb56 22m22 minutes ago
      Tropical Storm #Ulika started as ePac TD, got a name in cPac, now back in the ePac. I guess it didn’t want to be named

      – Star-Advertiser Verified account ‏@StarAdvertiser 19m19 minutes ago

      First named storm of the Central Pacific hurricane season forms #HIwx #Ulika

      Reply
  22. Greg

     /  September 27, 2016

    Still a few days left in the month, but preliminary global temperature anomalies show Sept at or higher than Aug

    Reply
  23. Greg

     /  September 27, 2016

    NOAA has an aerosol global view. I think this may be new DTL:
    http://www.nnvl.noaa.gov/view/globaldata.html#AERO

    Reply
  24. Greg

     /  September 27, 2016

    Trump, Clinton Argue over Climate Change
    It was only 12 minutes into the first presidential debate when the two candidates clashed over climate
    “I did not,” Trump said. “I do not say that. I do not say that.” (I do not like green eggs and ham)
    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/trump-clinton-argue-over-climate-change/

    Reply
    • Clinton brought this point forward. Nothing in the debate questions about it. In my view, she did the right thing here.

      Reply
      • Greg

         /  September 27, 2016

        Definitely, she’s hearing the Millenials. I googled her house and didn’t see any solar panels on it. She needs to fix that fast and take full flight as a hawk not a pigeon.

        Reply
  25. California — Down Andy’s way:
    BTW: Lindbergh Field is next to SD harbor — very close to water’s edge.

    Reply
    • NWS San Diego ‏@NWSSanDiego 6h6 hours ago

      The #temperature was as warm as 90 at #SanDiego between 11 PM and 5 AM, a level of warmth almost never experienced overnight since 1874.

      Reply
  26. Greg

     /  September 27, 2016

    Suggest adding this new book to your collection and share with friends who use their religion for denial:
    “Evangelicals defend our belief that God created the world, yet we sometimes fail to conserve it. Caring for Creation presents a compelling case for a clean energy revolution that will protect future generations from the ravages of climate change. A must-read for any Christian seeking to be consistently pro-life.” Galen Carey, vice president of government relations, National Association of Evangelicals

    Reply
    • wili

       /  September 27, 2016

      Thanks. I may take a look at it just for talking points when I (occasionally) interact with evangelicals (usually students) on the subject. Paul Douglas is certainly a treasure, and a good writer.

      Not too religious in that particular way myself, though.

      Reply
  27. – Indeed:

    Where Will Climate Change Create New Ecosystems?

    And yes—climate change is definitely going to re-shape the planet’s plant and animal communities.

    Climate change is likely to do a lot more than just increase our air conditioning bills and raise our sea levels. The re-shuffling of plant and animal communities ranks among the most widely accepted (though still little-understood) eventualities of a warming Earth. Now, researchers have mapped out where that re-shuffling is most likely—a necessary first step for anyone looking to preserve precious biodiversity.

    “[N]ovel species assemblages are likely to be forming in the North American Great Plains and temperate forests, Amazon, South American grasslands, Australia, boreal Asia and Africa,” climate scientists Alejandro Ordonez, John Williams, and Jens-Christian Svenning write in Nature Climate Change. In those regions (and others), new climates may emerge, and, in some cases, changing profiles of rain and temperature may pull different plants and animals in different directions, ultimately re-shaping how those species interact.

    The team focuses on three mechanisms most probable to affect plant and animal habitats. First, climate change is likely to open new habitats and close others—for example, some mammals have already begun moving to higher elevations, where possible, to adjust to warming environments. Second, plants and animals are likely to respond to climate change at different rates. Third, species vary to which climate variables they’re most sensitive. Put those ideas together and it’s a recipe for a jumbled, complicated mess.
    https://psmag.com/where-will-climate-change-create-new-ecosystems-727b7b1e915f#.xub673avv

    Reply
    • wili

       /  September 27, 2016

      “a necessary first step for anyone looking to preserve precious biodiversity”

      I’m all for attempting this, but really, the interactions in ecosystems are so complex, it is not likely that they will survive continual moves north and up mountainsides without often fatal disruptions, as some species crucial to the survival of others fail to adapt a the same rate. Already, flowers crucial to certain insects are blooming before insects that depend on them are ready to exploit them because their cycles don’t change with temperature because they’re based on changes of light (if I’m remembering correctly. )

      These kinds of inevitable mismatches are why we now have a Mass Extinction Event pretty well baked in, in fact a MEE on top of the one that was already going on from all the other harms we have inflicted on the living communities of the planet and the systems that support them.

      So its one ecological sh!tstorm on top of another.

      Reply
    • wili

       /  September 27, 2016

      Good article, tgi. The title lead me to expect more of the article would be about failing carbon sinks and awakening carbon feedbacks, but those only got one paragraph. Still, many good dots connected here that are often ignored in the msm.

      Reply
  28. coloradobob

     /  September 27, 2016

    Conway tries to put lipstick on her dumpster fire –

    Trump adviser denies climate change is manmade

    Donald Trump believes that “global warming is naturally occurring” and humans are not the cause, his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday morning on CNN — a stance that flies in the face of the vast majority of mainstream climate science.
    Conway was trying to walk back the Manhattan billionaire’s previous dismissals of climate change as a “hoax” driven by China. But while her remarks Tuesday might seem less extreme on the surface, they still did nothing to assuage climate activists’ fears that a President Trump would attempt to bring a wrecking ball to the Obama administration’s efforts to head off the most catastrophic effects of global warming.

    Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/09/trump-climate-change-stance-228771#ixzz4LTzghV9t

    Reply
    • Denying human fossil fuel emissions as the cause of global warming is at the very heart of climate change denial. It’s denial’s raison d’etre. The reason denial exists is to create cover for more fossil fuel burning by the fossil fuel industry. So this isn’t really a walk back. Just a reassertion.

      Worth noting that every major science organization in the world disagrees. They rightfully state that heat trapping gasses are the root cause of climate change. And human fossil fuel emissions generate more than 100 times the greenhouse gas emissions of volcanoes (he’ll probably produce that particular canard at one point or another). Human emissions of heat trapping gasses are, in fact, so intense that the current rate of emissions coming from humans is 10 times faster than during the last hothouse extinction event 55 million years ago (the PETM).

      But that’s all stuff that Trump really doesn’t want us talking about. It’s too uncomfortable for his particularly narrow mindset.

      Reply
  29. coloradobob

     /  September 27, 2016

    Meet the Guy Donald Trump Would Put in Charge of Protecting the Environment
    When the GOP nominee calls global warming “bullshit,” it looks like he means it.

    http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2016/09/donald-trump-picks-climate-change-denier-lead-his-epa-transition-team

    Reply
    • So it’s more witch hunting against scientists and those who work to protect the environment for Trump. Sad to say, but this is just an escalation of ongoing science-environment hostile policies by republicans. Shows he’s really serious about all the ‘shut down the EPA’ rhetoric. As a point of history — before the EPA, rivers used to burn in this country… Take it away again and we get that, plus a whole heck of a lot worse.

      Reply
  30. Reply
    • – Reuters India Verified account ‏@ReutersIndia 8m8 minutes ago
      Taiwan’s third typhoon of the month kills at least four, injures hundreds

      – Newshub ‏@NewshubNZ 16m16 minutes ago

      Taiwan typhoon turns deadly

      Reply
    • Greg

       /  September 28, 2016

      “Hey is your refrigerator running?”…..Better go catch it!

      Reply
  31. coloradobob

     /  September 27, 2016

    Greenland rising as ice melts

    The new research uses data from GPS stations fixed on bedrock to capture the uplift process in unprecedented detail, showing that earlier studies may have underestimated past and present-day mass loss, Csatho says.

    The paper also hints that the mantle beneath Greenland is not uniform: The ice sheet’s southeast region has experienced unexpectedly rapid uplift rates of about 12 millimeters per year, suggesting the mantle may be hotter and less viscous here, making it springier.
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/09/160923123732.htm

    Reply
  32. coloradobob

     /  September 27, 2016

    Planes, Trains, and Automobiles Have Become Top Carbon Polluters

    For the first time in decades, more carbon emissions will come from transportation than from coal- and gas-fired power plants.

    Transportation is likely to surpass the electricity sector in 2016 as the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions in the United States, according to a new analysis of government data.

    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/602458/planes-trains-and-automobiles-have-become-top-carbon-polluters/

    Reply
  33. coloradobob

     /  September 27, 2016

    Electric car tipping point may challenge pioneers

    Electric car prototypes and plans are set to dominate the Paris auto show as the Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) diesel scandal and falling battery costs persuade executives and investors that plug-in vehicles are ready to go mainstream.

    The expected flurry of announcements signals a threat to pioneers of the current generation of battery-powered cars, such as Tesla (TSLA.O) and Renault-Nissan (RENA.PA), who will now have to work harder to defend their lead.

    VW is leading the charge, keen to turn a page after its exposure last year as a U.S. emissions test cheat. The German carmaker will showcase new electric vehicle (EV) architecture underpinning a staggering June pledge to achieve annual sales of 2 million-3 million electric cars by 2025.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/us-autoshow-paris-electric-idUSKCN11X2D1?il=0

    Reply
  34. coloradobob

     /  September 27, 2016

    Here’s the Tweet Donald Trump Denied Saying at Tonight’s Debate

    This tweet is only one among many statements Trump has made denying the vast scientific evidence illustrating the impacts of climate change and our role contributing to it. Here are a few more.

    global warming hoax tweet
    TWITTER/REALDONALDTRUMP
    global warming

    http://www.attn.com/stories/11651/donald-trumps-tweet-denying-climate-change

    Reply
  35. coloradobob

     /  September 27, 2016

    Someone, (DTL?) put this up earlier, but it dovetails rather nicely with the “The flood with no name” , simply because warmer air holds more water –

    The mind-boggling New Orleans heat record that no one is talking about

    By Angela Fritz

    During one of the country’s hottest summers, New Orleans quietly set a mind-boggling record. On 43 nights, the temperature did not drop below 80 degrees in New Orleans, according to the Louisiana state climatologist.

    It blows the previous record out of the water — 13 nights in 2010. It’s also incredible considering in an average summer, New Orleans has just 2.1 nights at or above 80 degrees.

    This record should be getting much more attention than it has been.

    Link

    Reply
    • coloradobob

       /  September 27, 2016

      ” Very warm overnight temperatures are hard on your body, let alone your utility bills. The elderly are particularly at risk during these times, as is the entire homeless population and anyone with an illness. You might be inclined to raise a finger to mention that air conditioning negates these effects, but around 30 percent of New Orleans’s population lives in poverty. If a family is lucky enough to own an air conditioner, they probably cannot afford to use it.

      Why is this happening? In short, man-made climate change. “

      Reply
    • – Yeah, I put it up. climatehawk1 did too.
      Tis a big deal at that and nice bit for a real de-bate.
      Temps like that can jar natural cycles too.

      I had a quick one a few days ago here in PDX.
      Day 1 had a temp swing of over 30 F — topping out at about 85 F and dry.
      Day 2 was a 2 degree F swing — or a hi of 62 and a low of 60 F.
      My sinuses and other bodily rhythms totally confused.

      Reply
  36. coloradobob

     /  September 27, 2016

    NASA Is Sinking Into the Ocean
    Gizmodo, Maddie Stone, Today 9:00am
    In October 2012, just a few days before Hurricane Sandy slammed into New Jersey, it was churning north past the narrow strip of white sand beach separating NASA’s most celebrated spaceport from the sea.
    For several days and nights, heavy storm surge pounded the shoreline, flattening dunes and blowing sand right up to the launchpads. A stone’s throw away from the spot where a Saturn V rocket sent the first humans to the Moon, the ocean took a 100-foot bite out of the beach.
    “I think the telling story is that the storm was almost 230 miles offshore, and it still had an impact,” Don Dankert, an environmental scientist at NASA, tells me as we stand with ecologist Carlton Hall atop a rickety metal security tower overlooking Space Coast. It is a hot, breathless day, and the surf laps gently at the deserted shore.
    “It makes you wonder what would happen if a storm like that came in much closer, or collided with the coast,” Dankert adds. …

    Link

    Reply
  37. coloradobob

     /  September 27, 2016

    Another effect of climate change, repeated bows one after another. ……….

    According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Megi swept onto the southeast coast of China just north of Quanzhou around 18Z Tuesday (2:00 am Wednesday local time). This landfall is about 50 miles northeast of where devastating Typhoon Meranti slammed ashore only a few days ago. Torrential rains, flooding, and landslides are once again possible as a rapidly weakening Megi moves inland and pushes moisture against the area’s rugged terrain.

    Link

    Reply
  38. Reply
    • Mulga Mumblebrain

       /  September 29, 2016

      Just enjoying that ‘once in fifty year’ storm right now, dt. Tornadoes spawned by a super-cell destroyed a row of high-voltage pylons, and along with 80.000 lightning strikes, some on infrastructure, that caused the electrical system to trip, shutting down the entire State. The denialist Right went ape-shit, blaming it all on their pet hate, renewable energy, and they are gibbering and howling still.

      Reply
  39. Reply
    • Urban Heat Island reduction via trees is key to public health in the face of Climate Change – per LGC webinar today

      Reply
  40. Reply
  41. Reply
  42. Reply
  43. coloradobob

     /  September 27, 2016

    dtlange / September 27, 2016
    – Yeah, I put it up. climatehawk1 did too.
    Tis a big deal at that and nice bit for a real de-bate.

    Hell in a bucket.

    Reply

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