For 2016, Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations are Rising at the Fastest Rate Ever Seen

“The MMCO [Middle Miocene Climate Optimum] was ushered in by CO2 levels jumping abruptly from around 400ppm to 500 ppm, with global temperatures warming by about 4°C  and sea levels rising about 40m (130 feet) as the Antarctic ice sheet declined substantially and suddenly. ” — Skeptical Science

fossil-fuel-emissions

(Fossil fuel carbon emissions are about 100 times that of volcanoes during any given year. And so much heat trapping carbon dumped into the atmosphere is forcing the world’s climate to rapidly change. Image source: The Union of Concerned Scientists.)

Human beings have never seen atmospheric CO2 values that are so high as they are today. They significantly predate our species — even preceding our distant relative Australopithecus by about 7 million years. And weather and climate conditions to which we are not adapted — either as individuals or as a civilizations — are well on the way as atmospheric CO2 levels are ramping up into the lower range of those last seen during the Middle Miocene of 14-16 million years ago at 404 parts per million during 2016.

Record Rate of CO2 Increase for 2016

As we reported in November, 2016 is on track to see a record rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) increase. A key heat-trapping gas, CO2 is the primary driver of the big temperature increases seen around the world recently. And with new figures out from NOAA for the month of November, we have a clearer picture than ever of just how unprecedented the jump will be.

For the first 11 months of the year, 2016 atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations exceeded those of 2015 by an average of 3.45 parts per million. With no sign evident that the pace of increase has slackened — despite a transition to La Nina during the fall — it now appears that the world is set to experience a 3.3 to 3.5 part per million jump in the atmospheric CO2 measure for this year.

Carbon Dioxide Trend Mauna Loa

(Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations will rise by a record rate during 2016 to an annual average of around 404 parts per million. Levels during 2017 could peak at around 410 to 411 parts per million in April and May before averaging between 406 and 407 parts per million. Image source: NOAA.)

The past two record jumps were 2015 — with a 3.05 ppm annual increase and 1998 with a 2.93 ppm annual increase. But 2016 now appears set to exceed these two values by a pretty hefty margin.

More and More Toward the Middle Miocene Range of 400 to 500 Parts Per Million CO2

Such rapid rates of atmospheric carbon dioxide increase are primarily caused by global fossil fuel burning — which now produces an emission that is more than 100 times greater than all the volcanoes that erupt across the Earth during any given year. And recent reports have found that US automobile emissions alone equal the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the Mount St. Helens eruption every three days. This is a heavy insult to the Earth’s climate system. One that is unprecedented for millions of years.

All this fossil fuel burning has largely helped to push atmospheric CO2 values for 2016 into an average range of 404 parts per million. This is 124 parts per million higher than the pre-industrial value of 280 parts per million. Meanwhile, peak monthly values during April-May of 2017 could strike as high as 410 to 411 parts per million.

calvert-middle-miocene-15-ma-embayment

(15 million years ago, atmospheric CO2 levels in the range of 400-500 parts per million produced Antarctic melt resulting in substantial sea level rise. The above image shows the estimated location of the U.S. eastern coastline at the time. Image source: Colorado Geosystems.)

These atmospheric concentrations are now roughly equivalent to the lower range CO2 levels of the Middle Miocene climate epoch of 14-16 million years ago. Meanwhile, atmospheric CO2 equivalent concentrations, which include other greenhouse gasses like methane, averaged 485 parts per million in 2015 and likely were around 490 parts per million during 2016. These CO2e values approach the upper Middle Miocene range.

During the Miocene of 14-16 million years ago, atmospheric CO2 levels, which had hovered around 400 parts per million for about 10 million years jumped higher due to volcanic activity. Global temperatures rose from about 2-3 C hotter than Holocene values to around 4 C hotter. Antarctic ice melted and seas which were around 60 feet higher than today lifted to around 130 feet above present day levels.

By continuing to burn fossil fuels, this is the climate context we enter more and more. It is why, for example, we are seeing so many impacts from expanding droughts, to declining ocean health, to more extreme weather, to rapidly destabilizing glaciers in Antarctica. And it is this burning along with a related warming of the Earth System that is causing atmospheric carbon values to jump so rapidly into ranges to which we are unaccustomed.

Links:

NOAA Earth Systems Research Laboratory

Skeptical Science

2016 to See Record Rate of Atmospheric CO2 Increase

The Union of Concerned Scientists

US Auto Emissions Comparable to Mt. St. Helens Eruption Every Three Days

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122 Comments

  1. climatehawk1

     /  December 9, 2016

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  2. And it is important to remember that CO2 is not like other types of pollutants. If you enjoy swimming and fishing in a river that then gets polluted by a factory upstream, you can work to shut down or clean up the factory and, a year or two later, you can go swimming and fishing again. CO2 is not like that. It lasts in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years. It doesn’t go away when you stop emitting it. Whatever temperature we hit when we finally stop emitting CO2 will be the temperature we are stuck with for the next 1000+ years[1].

    [1] Source: National Research Council. Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2011. http://dels.nas.edu/materials/booklets/warming-world

    Reply
    • In the geological past, the impacts of carbon spikes have lasted 10s of thousands to hundreds of thousands of years. The temporal geological footprint of a hothouse event makes asteroid strike events look minor by comparison.

      Reply
    • I know they’ve moved the goal posts recently on this but isn’t there still a 15-20 year lag time between the time the CO2 enters the atmosphere and the resultant increase in average temperature?

      Reply
      • entropicman

         /  December 9, 2016

        Extra CO2 reduces heat loss to space immediately.

        Most of the extra retained heat goes straight into the oceans. Since 1.3billoin cubic kilometres of seawater is a massive heat sink, it takes a couple of decades for the increase to appear in the surface temperature record.

        This is why there are so many gloomy faces among students of climate change, amateur or professional. Most of the effects we are seeing now are due to 1990s CO2 emissions. The effects of the 21st century emissions are barely starting.

        Reply
      • In addition, once the heat builds through the atmosphere as the oceans respond, you add a number of albedo, water vapor, and natural feedbacks that produce longer-term warming. The full lag period is probably around 500 years.

        Reply
        • humanistruth

           /  December 9, 2016

          Speaking of atmosphere ocean feedbacks, I’ve been watching that jet stream wave from the Pacific cross the Arctic Ocean. Would this kind of departure count as a tipping point? Would we have to wait until it becomes a frequent occurrence to make that call?

  3. marcel_g

     /  December 9, 2016

    It’s hard not to be fatalistic about this, but I’m always grateful for everyone who’s still pushing to fight it. I especially worry about how my kids are going to cope, and I often think about some form of survivalism. But I think you’re right about that too RS, that we need to fight to keep as much of civilization as we can for our best chance.

    I also wonder about some kind of super flexible agriculture that can deal with droughts and floods – greenhouses at northern latitudes with some form of water storage in order to make small scale self sufficient farms.

    Reply
    • So the best survival strategy now is to transition away from fossil fuels. I just recently read that renewables not only systemically reduce emissions, they also incentivize increases in efficiency. In other words, it’s intrinsic to renewables that efficiency is increased as adoption takes place.

      Reply
      • OK, now I’m curious. Why would that be?

        Reply
        • http://www.nature.com/articles/ncomms13728

          So this study finds that with each doubling of photovoltaic capacity, net energy use falls by 12-13 percent.

          Add in the fact that batteries coupled with electric motors are far more efficient than ICEs and it’s not hard to see why. Haven’t seen related figures for wind yet. But working on this research area as a matter of interest.

        • Thanks, yes, I can see the connection with electric motors now that you mention it. To expand a bit, the first piece of advice people have traditionally gotten from energy experts is, if you’re thinking about solar, the first thing you should do is make sure your appliances, lights, etc., are as efficient as possible, to lower your payback time and because solar is so expensive. Now that it is less and less expensive, i’d expect that part of the benefit to diminish, and it’s not the greatest talking point in any event.

          Thanks for the link, will check it out.

        • Matt

           /  December 9, 2016

          CH1
          I am no expert on this, and cannot find the article I read unfortunately, but apparently it is as simple as people who own their own electricity producing assets, take a far greater interest in ensuring they use that energy in the most efficient way. I think it also has a lot to do with state / federal Governments trying to recover lost revenue from these self sufficient (although still on the grid) customers by charging more for the power they take from the grid and giving less for the power a home generates and send back to the grid.
          Another factor was that when people switch to PV units they generally also make may other energy efficient decisions when making the outlay such as installing reverse cycle hot water systems, LED lighting, higher energy star appliances and smart technology controlled battery storage devices.
          In short people get excited about their energy production and do as much as possible to become energy neutral.

        • Thanks, my speculation runs along the same lines, as you’ll see. Sorry, I’m behind in reading the comment thread. 🙂

        • Spike

           /  December 9, 2016

          I’m sure that having panels makes you more aware – I got mine 9 months ago. I now have a lower wattage kettle that can therefore run on the juice they provide only, a low wattage electric heater for sunny days in winter, portable gadget chargers to fill up in daylight hours, and I turn my fridge and freezer on to max during daylight so they hardly run at all in darkness. Washing machine and dishwasher run only when sunny.

          The whole system of payment in the UK means it pays to use as much of your own PV as you can, as you get a trivial payment only for grid exports. I don’t have a battery yet but when the costs come down that will be the next step.

        • Worth also noting RE the previous post that some monitors are now showing sea ice losses in the Nov 7-8 timeframe. Others are showing gains, so the signal is more conflicted that during November — which is more expected given that the current warming is in the range of +4.5 C for the entire Arctic not +7.1 C. That said, we get a big warm up in seven days in GFS with +5.2 C predicted. Above Freezing temps are coming for the Coastal Beaufort and Alaska/Canada.

      • Independent of GHG emission reduction, I love wind and PV solar generation for their water-independence. They don’t require stable water supplies and therefore can be more productive and cost-effective in poor water areas.

        Reply
        • It’s a big help with resiliency efforts. Especially in places like the SW where water is becoming more and more of an issue.

  4. Well written, sent here from electrek.

    Reply
  5. Dear Robert, thank you for your ongoing effort to educate us about the disaster we are in. The IEA says that yearly human emissions are no longer rising since 2014, yet the yearly increase in atmospheric CO2 seems to break records. Could this point to the fact that the natural part of the carbon cycle is slowly getting positive through permafrost decay, weathering of increasing methane levels, droughts in places like the Amazon and the Indonesian peat swamps giving off CO2?

    Reply
    • You tend to get a boost from the Earth System due to drought and wildfires as well as ocean surface warming during El Nino periods. However, that influence would have faded somewhat by this time and should be completely gone by late winter/early spring 2017 due to the current La Nina influence. We probably have some added carbon feedback from wildfires in the Amazon to contend with. Africa as well. I don’t think we can entirely pin that on El Nino at this point either. I’m looking at the surface carbon maps and the Amazon is a pretty strong source at the moment. If that doesn’t flip back soon then it spells trouble. As for northern soils/permafrost related issues. I think that’s a bit nascient. But it seems to be popping up in some indicators — if not appearing the wag the overall trend as yet. Looking for more consensus based studies on that issue. Related methane (industry + ag + Earth System) appears to be on the upswing as well. Some of this is probably due to fracking. There hasn’t been too much consensus work on Earth System methane at the moment, so the picture there remains cloudy.

      But we should also be clear that, even though human emissions have plateaued during recent years, they are still at record high levels. Also, with regimes around the world attempting to protect fossil fuel burning from expanding renewables (Australia, Trump in the US, and even to a certain degree in Europe), it appears that global emissions may again start to rise soon. This is a sad result of a general erosion of renewable energy policy support that could have resulted in peaking carbon emissions in the near term. Now that potential positive pathway is less certain. And we are at a higher risk of seeing very harmful BAU emissions pathways start to re-emerge. We have a fight ahead of us now. And what will happen in the future RE energy markets is increasingly unclear.

      Reply
      • Thank you for your very precise answer and also defining the holes in existing knowledge.

        Reply
      • Regarding CO2 emissions from the Amazon, deforestation rose again this year, as expected (http://www.voanews.com/a/deforestation-rising-amazon-lack-funds-hampers-guardians/3616534.html – this one is in English, and surprisingly good, actually, with a detailled and accurated resume of the situation and why the rise was expected for those fighting deforestation here). Some of the Amazon´s CO2 output is feedback, trees dying because of the drought, but a lot of that CO2, awfully, is antropogenic, the sort of thing that should be avoided at all costs, but…

        One new tool recently (yesterday) launched for trying to fight this is a new site made conjuntly by the governments of Colombia, Peru and Brasil, and a few NGOs and research institutes, for allowing more transparency and data about Amazon´s protected areas: http://amazonprotectedareas.org/

        Reply
  6. Raul M

     /  December 9, 2016

    Anyway, now that CO2 is up in the air there is that something that catches the suns warming rays right up there in the air. It has effects on the world too. Now is the time to be amazed about the material mankind has released into the air. See, over time it will give a way for the shape of America to change rapidly and other changes will happen too. Yep, natural laws of physics are still going stronger as ever. Glad some have learned how to describe the how and why of those. Thanks y’all.

    Reply
  7. Matt

     /  December 9, 2016

    Excellent article as always Robert!

    Here is an article that will not come as a surprise to anyone here, least of all those of us from Australia:
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-12-09/australias-energy-policy-cant-meet-current-targets/8105386
    In short, Turnbull’s own appointed Chief Scientist (Alan Finkel) say Australia has absolutely F**k all chance of meeting its Paris targets (as pathetic as they were anyway) with the current policy settings in place. It also clearly labels the “Direct Action Policy” for what its worth… a complete waste of space.

    Not good news for the continual rise in CO2 concentrations… you can lie to the public, but not to the atmosphere.

    Reply
    • The strategy appears to be — lie to the public, attack the science, cover up what’s happening in the atmosphere, and keep burning like there’s no tomorrow. In any case, if we keep burning like this, there won’t be a tomorrow. So self-fulfilling prophecy.

      Reply
      • Matt

         /  December 9, 2016

        Unfortunately our National broadcaster has already demoted this story off the front of their webpage so if you didn’t catch it in the early hours this morning you would have had to specifically look for it!
        Of course there would not have been any undue influence by our Govt on ensuring this happened.

        Reply
        • Abel Adamski

           /  December 9, 2016

          Now being run by Ruperts News Ltd and IPA (Rabid ultra right wing thinktank that even has members and ex officers as elected parliamentary representatives)

          No longer product managers (News, etc etc) – they have been demoted and now are under control of a new overall product manager, you guessed it a News Ltd Man.

      • Keith Antonysen

         /  December 9, 2016

        Another report apart from the one the Chief Scientist provided also indicates how wayward the government is:

        “https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/dec/09/on-climate-policy-and-power-prices-turnbull-is-talking-rubbish-here-are-some-facts#comment-89115701

        Quote:

        “Let me share with you the findings of a report that lobbed into the public domain at the start of the week, sandwiched between the government opening what could have been a rational and productive conversation about climate change and energy policy, and the government melting in a small puddle of panic.”

        A hyperlink leads to:

        “Australia’s electricity and gas transmission industry is calling on the Turnbull government to implement a form of carbon trading in the national electricity market by 2022 and review the scope for economy-wide carbon pricing by 2027.

        Energy Networks Australia warns in a new report examining how to achieve zero net carbon emissions by 2050 that policy stability and regulatory certainty are the key to delivering lower power prices and reliable electricity supply.”

        https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/06/australias-energy-transmission-industry-calls-for-carbon-trading

        Reply
      • mulga mumblebrain

         /  December 10, 2016

        Ah, yes, Robert-the lying. When I first took an interest in politics, many moons ago, lying was verboten. To be caught deliberately lying was enough to be cast from public life. Today they all lie, often to themselves, but the current Abbott regime is prodigious in the effort. And they can say virtually ANYTHING, because the MSM will not call them out. The poison spread slowly, but quickening over the years, from the Murdoch cancer, which still practises the dark art with enthusiasm and expertise. What Rupert says, goes. Even the laws of physics must bow down before him.

        Reply
    • Spike

       /  December 9, 2016

      For years I have purposely boycotted Australian goods and services for this very reason. Deliberate sabotage of Earth’s life support systems must not go without consequences.

      Reply
    • mulga mumblebrain

       /  December 10, 2016

      Matt, I was surprised that an apparatchik appointed by the ultra-odious Abbott regime (currently fronted by the ludicrous opportunist puppet Turnbull) produced an honest report. I apologise to Finkel for doubting his integrity. No doubt he’ll be sacked and Andrew Bolt (Australian, unfunny, in-joke) appointed in his stead. Of course he’s stating the bleeding obvious, that the regime’s policies GUARANTEE we will far over-shoot our risible pledges. Good God, we even have one of the least efficient vehicle fleets, for Heaven’s sake. Congrats to Spike, too, for boycotting us-we deserve it and I hope it catches on. To live in a brain-dead, pariah, state, ruled by Evil imbeciles-what a fate!

      Reply
      • Matt

         /  December 12, 2016

        MM +1
        Did surprise me also, however I think Finkel got in before the hard right screws were turned!

        Reply
      • mulga mumblebrain

         /  December 13, 2016

        Matt, Finkel could be in the doo-doo. Frydenberg, the Minister Against the Environment, and for Coal Energy, has refused to state his support for him or his findings. You know how much this regime HATES anyone who dares give honest, independent advice, that does not concur with Rupert Murdoch’s world-view.

        Reply
  8. Gordon

     /  December 9, 2016

    Thank you Robert for your devotion
    to seeking truth in our age of
    deception

    Freedom is the right to tell people
    what they do not want to hear.
    Orwell

    Reply
  9. Andy_in_SD

     /  December 9, 2016

    Google reveals 90,000 square kilometres of water has VANISHED from Earth’s surface in 30 years

    Ninety thousand square kilometres of water – the equivalent of half of the lakes in Europe – has vanished from the surface of the Earth since 1984, according to new research.

    Google has teamed up with the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre to analyse 3 million satellite images, going all the way back to 1984.

    Eventually, Google was able to map changes in the water surface over time with a 30-metre accuracy, month-by-month, over 32 years – and the findings are very alarming.

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/tech/google-reveals-90000-square-kilometers-9418548

    Reply
    • Alarming. Makes you wonder if we’re already on the same path Venus took (runaway CO2, water sources disappearing etc). I’m not a pessimist but it’s increasingly hard to see how the trend can be stopped or reversed, especially once feedback loops such as permafrost melt fully kick in. The more the reason to help raise awareness in every way we can.

      Reply
      • Abel Adamski

         /  December 9, 2016

        My reading of the article is that it relates to Land water and reserves which as Robert has highlighted are suffering with Global warming, that water is ending up in floods and the oceans and the atmosphere

        Reply
        • Sorry, misleading, I’d actually meant to post the comment in reply to RS’s article but somehow entered it in the wrong box.

    • One more confirmation RE the global drought situation. And this one’s a real doozy. We knew that large lakes were in trouble because they’re the easiest to monitor. But this gives us a picture on net of what’s going on and we’re losing our lakes just like we’re losing our glaciers.

      Reply
    • So what’s happening is that some lakes have been lost. And that’s probably due to drought and climate change in many cases. Other lakes have been gained and that’s probably due to reservoir construction and glacial melt. The paper does find a number of instances where climate has had an impact and it looks like this will be an excellent tool moving forward.

      Reply
  10. Abel Adamski

     /  December 9, 2016

    Another blast from the past.
    Nothing has changed, just updated technology

    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2012/09/24/the-lie-factory

    In 1934, Sinclair explained what did happen that election year, in a nonfiction sequel called “I, Candidate for Governor, and How I Got Licked.”
    Sinclair got licked, he said, because the opposition ran what he called a Lie Factory. “I was told they had a dozen men searching the libraries and reading every word I had ever published.” They’d find lines he’d written, speeches of fictional characters in novels, and stick them in the paper, as if Sinclair had said them. “They had a staff of political chemists at work, preparing poisons to be let loose in the California atmosphere on every one of a hundred mornings.” Actually, they had, at the time, a staff of only two, and the company wasn’t called the Lie Factory. It was called Campaigns, Inc.

    Campaigns, Inc., the first political-consulting firm in the history of the world, was founded, in 1933, by Clem Whitaker and Leone Baxter.

    Campaigns, Inc., specialized in running political campaigns for businesses, especially monopolies like Standard Oil and Pacific Telephone and Telegraph. Pacific Gas and Electric was so impressed that it put Campaigns, Inc., on retainer.

    Political consulting is often thought of as an offshoot of the advertising industry, but closer to the truth is that the advertising industry began as a form of political consulting. As the political scientist Stanley Kelley once explained, when modern advertising began, the big clients were just as interested in advancing a political agenda as a commercial one. Monopolies like Standard Oil and DuPont looked bad: they looked greedy and ruthless and, in the case of DuPont, which made munitions, sinister. They therefore hired advertising firms to sell the public on the idea of the large corporation, and, not incidentally, to advance pro-business legislation. It’s this kind of thing that Sinclair was talking about when he said that American history was a battle between business and democracy, and, “So far,” he wrote, “Big Business has won every skirmish.”

    They ran a newspaper wire service, the California Feature Service, which sent a political clipsheet every week, to fifteen hundred “thought leaders,” and cartoons, editorials, and articles to three hundred newspapers. Rural newspapers were so desperate for copy that many printed whatever the California Feature Service sent them, including documents that were basically press releases disguised as editorials endorsing whatever political position Campaigns, Inc., was being paid to advocate.

    Whitaker and Baxter weren’t just inventing new techniques; they were writing a rule book. Never lobby; woo voters instead. “Our conception of practical politics is that if you have a sound enough case to convince the folks back home, you don’t have to buttonhole the Senator,” Baxter explained. Make it personal: candidates are easier to sell than issues. If your position doesn’t have an opposition, or if your candidate doesn’t have an opponent, invent one.

    Whitaker and Baxter weren’t just inventing new techniques; they were writing a rule book. Never lobby; woo voters instead. “Our conception of practical politics is that if you have a sound enough case to convince the folks back home, you don’t have to buttonhole the Senator,” Baxter explained. Make it personal: candidates are easier to sell than issues. If your position doesn’t have an opposition, or if your candidate doesn’t have an opponent, invent one.

    There is so much more and thus we now have a world in massive strife thanks to those two and their successors

    Reply
  11. Abel Adamski

     /  December 9, 2016

    Just one more, whilst Australian about Australian media and politics, it was by one of our intellectual giants who was a scientist and a Labour politician. The subject matter is universal , not just Australian

    http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-opinion/stupidity-is-on-the-rise-in-our-age-of-enlightenment-20120808-23uiq

    Reply
  12. Shawn Redmond

     /  December 9, 2016

    Using the monthly data from NOAA for CO2 levels I was curious to see how quickly we increased ppm by ten parts. What I found is more than a little alarming if you push the grade into the future. First month that showed 320 ppm May 1960, First year all months at or above 320 ppm 1968. Eight year span.
    First month at 330 ppm May 1972, all 1977, 5 years.
    First month at 340 ppm March 1980, all 1983, 3 years
    First month at 350 ppm May 1986, all 1989, 3 years
    First month at 360 ppm May 1993, all 1997, 4 years
    First month at 370 ppm April 1999, all 2002, 3 years
    First month at 380 ppm April 2004, all 2007, 3 years
    First month at 390 ppm March 2010, all 2012, 2 years
    First month at 400 ppm April 2014, all 2016? one month to go!

    Another way to look at it is the jump between the initial round number to the next in years:
    12 yrs
    8 yrs
    6 yrs
    7 yrs
    6 yrs
    5 yrs
    6 yrs
    4 yrs
    I don’t have the tech savvy to graph this, but the jump times are on a staggeringly steep plunge no? or rise depending on which side you decide to graph. A rough average seems like the time it is taking to get from one month at said round number to all at or above is slightly less than half the time it takes to get to the next one on the 10’s. If these numbers keep going in opposite directions we will be doing 10 parts every two years by the end of the 2020’s. Please feel free to shot this full of holes.

    Reply
    • Shawn Redmond

       /  December 9, 2016

      shot should be “shoot”, lock and load quickly please.

      Reply
    • Cate

       /  December 9, 2016

      She shoots: have no idea how to graph it either, but I’m thinking hockey stick. She scores?

      Reply
    • NOAA provides this graph of the annual growth rate by decade. The average round number period for the 2000s, for example, was every 5 years. Looks like the 2010s are tracking closer to 4.5 to 4 years in the average. Previous decades:

      1960s to 70s — 12 years
      1970s to 80s — 7.8 years
      1980s to 90s — 5.5 years
      1990s to 00s — 6 years (Pinatubo Cooling Effect)
      2000s to 10s — 5 years
      Present Decade — 4.5 to 4 years

      We’re closing in on three times faster than 60s-70s. 230 to 250 ppm per century is pretty brutal. But it gets worse if we keep burning fossil fuels.

      Reply
      • Shawn Redmond

         /  December 9, 2016

        Equally disturbing, I was hoping for holes. The difference that strikes me is that they tell a similar story, but looking at how quickly we add ten more ppm is more of a shocker for those of us who see graphs as a foreign language. The shortening time span to add ten more ppm is more alarming to the average Jane/John Doe. The message has to be framed in such a way as to make it interesting to the afore mentioned. On that topic I think we should work harder to change CC to ACD or just CD, climate disruption would be harder for the denial industry to corrupt, I believe. After all it just marketing to them…. “Co2 is disrupting the climate patterns” harder to subvert don’t you think. Liken it to adding sugar to the gas tank. It won’t change the gas you can still start a fire with it but at the same time the ICE won’t run for long.
        “We’re closing in on three times faster than 60s-70s. 230 to 250 ppm per century is pretty brutal. But it gets worse if we keep burning fossil fuels”. If, as many here suspect, Natural feedbacks are starting than we could be staring at another 100 ppm by mid century. This struggle for survival has to be won in the PR department on the public opinion front yesterday! Banging our collective heads on the wall of denial isn’t productive at all. We have to step sideways and look for a window to crawl through in order to move forward and we have to do it real soon. This recent series of post are both excellent and disturbing RS. Stiff upper lip old boy its about to get rough.

        Reply
        • Shawn Redmond

           /  December 9, 2016

          33 years till mid century, if it takes four years to add 10 ppm we’ll add 80+ ppm co2 only by then. Should it take less than 4 years to add that 10 ppm and there is nothing to suggest this won’t be the case, shit I gotta stop doing this math. Time for a single malt Glenlivet 15 year French oak reserve I believe, Cheers.

        • Agree on “climate disruption,” esp re flash floods, wildfires, droughts. Also fond of “climate science denier,” which avoids the Rubio Response to “climate change denier” (“climate is always changing”). Problem with “climate disruption” is that it uses a lot of characters on Twitter. I do still use it when I can.

        • The trend is NOT your friend, I’m afraid to say… BUT(!) once we adjust our demand curve, renewable energy is far superior to digging, pumping & piping, and then combusting fossil fuels–dirty, toxic substances which are getting harder and harder to process for a multiplicity of reasons. Development of renewable energy across the globe is increasing exponentially and virtually unstoppable. While it won’t be pretty, take heart, for this corrupt administration is Big Carbon’s Last Stand!

  13. Griffin

     /  December 9, 2016

    Another great post Robert.
    Imagine what the writer of this article (104 years ago!) would think if they could read your post today.

    Reply
  14. Ryan in New England

     /  December 9, 2016

    All our worst fears about Trump are quickly becoming reality. And perhaps the most dangerous aspect of a Trump presidency is his ability to ensure catastrophic climate change is in our future. With his pick of Scott Pruit for head of the EPA this is quickly becoming a worst case scenario.

    “Pruitt doesn’t believe in the mission of the EPA, which is to protect human health and the environment,” said Lisa Garcia, vice-president of Earthjustice and a senior adviser to the last two EPA administrators.

    “This isn’t a business agency, it’s an environmental agency. It’s scary to have someone who doesn’t believe in the mission of the EPA walking in to run it. I expect they will choke the funding of the EPA and stop enforcing laws. The work of the agency will basically come to a halt.

    “People at the EPA are in shock, they are worried about carrying out its mission. People are worried about how they will do their jobs, even people who voted for Trump. They didn’t expect this. Clean air and water, safe places for our children to play – these things should be bipartisan. They should be above politics.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/08/epa-scott-pruitt-disaster-environment-senate-democrats

    Reply
    • Hatrack

       /  December 9, 2016

      “These things should be bipartisan. They should be above politics.”

      Yeah, well guess again.

      Reply
    • So I think people working at the agency need to get together and organize an opposition to this. You can’t strike because you’re a federal agency. But you can hire a lawyer and a private investigator and an investigative journalist and go after people, like the director, if they act in a way that is corrupt or malfeasant. In other words, if the director of the agency underakes the agency’s mission and fails to fulfill or actively attempts to sabotage it, then that is the very definition of criminal malfeasance.

      NASA is a bit trickier. But I think you could do something similar there. But in the case of the EPA, there’s this clear mission. If you have someone that’s actively going against it, it can be targeted directly. Of course, the republican Congress will try to defund the organization as well. But that’s a legislative battle which could get very ugly. I’m pretty sure even some republican representatives don’t want burning rivers and polluted water and drowned cities and raging droughts in their districts. There’s a fight that’s still to be had here.

      Reply
    • Also, why the hell isn’t Obama pushing through his Supreme Court candidate? What’s he doing now? Just rolling over and dying? Congress has had more than enough time to act. It’s time for Obama to step in and say ‘time’s up.’ He is the President and this Supreme Court appointment happened on his watch. Just giving it to republicans without a fight and doing all you can will hurt our country immensely.

      Reply
      • Mark in New England

         /  December 9, 2016

        I second that Robert! You’ve penned some powerful and frightening articles lately, so glad that you’re one of the lone voices bearing witness to the sinking ship.

        Reply
      • My understanding is that the magic date for the Supreme Court nominee is Jan. 3, when the Senate will briefly have a Democratic majority. I hope he does do it–the Republicans aren’t playing beanbag anymore.

        Reply
  15. Where do I begin? To me, it isn’t about JOBS that vicious word every politician repeats so often, it’s about quality. Henry Ford once said if my employees can afford to buy my cars I’ll sell millions of them. Quality jobs have been diluted by over 100 million new residents in our country since Regan. They come because CEOs want consumption and cheap labor. Secondly, we are rapidly using automation most rust belt industries even coal now comes from our ripped off mountain tops, not mines. We can not employ the whole world in good paying jobs. For me, it’s about quality of life. Our pending EPA Administrator argues about the economic hardships of environmental rules. Tell that to the kids drinking lead in Flint, or the 6,000 deaths because the last Republican EPA Administrator lied about the 9/11 air quality with 15 new cancer cases daily, or our Water Protectors at standing Rock, or those dying from Asthma from our severed mountain top coal, or our dead suffocating oceans because of a 40% decline of phytoplankton because of pollution. His greed made him a water boy for CEOs making him as much a terrorist as they are. He even used his religion to kill us. Sound familiar?
    DRAIN THE SWAMP. LOCK HIM UP. We must storm the Bastille with pitch forks NOW! We are out of politicians, they all became bought and paid for by greedy CEO bastards who could care less about our welfare. It’s not their JOB!

    Reply
    • Funny thing is those environmental regulations create quality of life jobs. Jobs at EPA are good jobs. Jobs cleaning up rivers and monitoring fish and wildlife are good jobs. Jobs in related science are good jobs. If you kill the EPA, you kill all the high quality jobs that go along with it. In addition, you can’t have quality of life if you’re living in a toxic cesspool of industrial waste. You’re sick and likely bankrupt due to high healthcare costs if you can afford them or get credit for the care. If you can’t you’re probably not living and breathing.

      As for the pitchforks, I’d be careful about that. We do have representatives that support our interests. They just mainly happen to be on the democratic side. I would absolutely support mass peaceful protest ala DAPL. And, in my view, that’s absolutely what’s called for at this time.

      Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  December 9, 2016

      I agree..that if we don’t raise our voices, and peacefully resist ….we are doomed. We must get people out of their slumber..off of their couches..and away from their screens..to take action. IMO…it is our only hope to mitigate some of the damage that is going to be done.

      Reply
      • I’ll be in Washington to stand in solidarity with a 1 million woman protest against #NotMyPresident. It will be the first of many direct actions I plan to participate in as part of the resistance against the great injustice that has invaded and occupied our capital and that is now doing so many things to harm the public and to hurt our nation’s many peoples. Who is with me?

        Reply
        • Suzanne

           /  December 9, 2016

          I am hoping to go. I just read today that the organizers are still fighting to get a permit in D.C. and that the Lunatic’s lawyers are opposing it..by putting pressure to have no permits given out for a period of time around January 20th. (But no..Liberals are being hyperbolic about this becoming a Fascist nation).

        • Permit or no. I’m going.

  16. Suzanne

     /  December 9, 2016

    At the New Yorker:
    “Why Scientists are Scared of Trump: A Pocket Guide” by Elizabeth Kolbert
    http://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/why-scientists-are-scared-of-trump-a-pocket-guide

    ext week, the American Geophysical Union will hold its annual conference in San Francisco. The A.G.U. meeting is one of the world’s première scientific gatherings—last fall, some twenty-four thousand experts in fields ranging from astronomy to volcanology attended. This year, in addition to the usual papers and journals, a new publication will be available to participants. It’s called “Handling Political Harassment and Legal Intimidation: A Pocket Guide for Scientists.”

    The guide is the creation of a group called the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund. One of the group’s founders, Joshua Wolfe, and its executive director, Lauren Kurtz, made the decision to write it on the day after the election. “There is a lot of fear among scientists that they will become targets of people who are interested in science as politics, rather than progress,” Wolfe told me in an e-mail.

    With each passing day, that fear appears to be more well founded. The one quality that all of Trump’s picks for his cabinet and his transition team seem to share is an expertise in the dark art of disinformation.

    ____________________
    If you can please consider a donation to Climate Science Legal Defense Fund…

    Reply
  17. A well-written article from the land of Oz…
    Enough is enough! Time for honesty on climate and energy policy.

    Applies equally to the US and T***p’s favourite – coal. Also to Canada and Trudeau’s actions, if you just substitute tar sands for coal.

    Reply
    • Thanks for this, Dave.

      Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  December 9, 2016

      Has the entire Western Civilization gone mad when it comes to what is going on with CC? I know Canadians were so hopeful when Trudeau won…but it sure doesn’t look like he is going to take the drastic steps necessary to end the dependence on fossil fuels. As an American, I wanted to believe he was going to be a “shining light” on clean energy. And as far as Australia and the U.S….right now…lost causes I am afraid.

      Reply
      • mulga mumblebrain

         /  December 11, 2016

        Suzanne, the poison is worst in the Anglosphere, thanks to 1) The malignant influence of the Rightwing MSM, particularly the Murdoch machine. 2) The malfeasance inherent in unlimited money contributions to politics, which is open and unabashed corruption. 3) The total triumph of the death-cult of Free Market capitalism. This ludicrous superstition, that mimics cancer in its drive for infinite growth on a finite planet, operates under a series of ‘axioms’ each more ludicrous than those that came before, and on that basis declares itself ‘scientific’. Among other lunacies, it simply declares pollution an ‘externality’ that may be ignored, and the planet’s ecology a sub-set of the economy, rather than vice versa. It also, regretably, empowers the worst among us, the psychopaths, with predictable results. Yet the requirement to be rid of capitalism if humanity is to survive, simply CANNOT ever be uttered, so total and totalitarian is its dominance.

        Reply
  18. June

     /  December 9, 2016

    Unintended consequences at work. How many more lie ahead, especially if governments start messing with geoengineering instead of rapid mitigation?

    Unhealthy forests affect distant ecosystems

    “People have thought about how forest loss matters for an ecosystem, and maybe for local temperatures, but they haven’t thought about how that interacts with the global climate,” says senior author of the report Abigail Swann, an ecosystem scientist at the University of Washington.
    …Ecologists have demonstrated, once again, the global importance of healthy forests. Fell enough woodland in North America, and the consequences make themselves felt in the forests of Siberia.

    And clear the tropical rainforest in the Amazon, and the Siberian conifers experience even greater cold and drought. This “teleconnection” confirms that activities in one region can disturb the climate equilibrium in another.

    http://climatenewsnetwork.net/unhealthy-forests-affect-distant-ecosystems/

    Reply
  19. Syd Bridges

     /  December 9, 2016

    Thank you for yet another informative post, Robert. We are heading rapidly back into the mid-Miocene, when funnily enough, there were no humans and no civilization. I know that the reactionaries would like us back in the seventeenth century, minus the King, but safely before the eighteenth century Enlightenment, but they are outdoing even their own standards. I mean, going back three or four centuries in twenty years is quite an achievement, but going back fifteen million years in a century, now that is really something to brag about!

    But there will be big winners too, as Andy’s link above reminds us. I have watched the jellyfish stories over the last fifteen years, and they certainly look like winners. Many will probably survive a Canfield Ocean and so the Anthropocene might be followed by the Scyphozoene, which as jellyfish fossilize very poorly could mean that we end the Phanerozoic Eon too. After five hundred and forty two million years, I think we can all agree that it’s time for a change! The Phanerozoic could be followed by the Neohadean Eon, only this time we won’t need a Late Heavy Bombardment-we’ll have done it all by ourselves.

    Reply
    • Brilliant! I hope you don’t mind if I quote this on my personal Facebook page, because it is apt in so, so many ways.

      As for your ‘king’ statement. I think they kind of shot themselves in the foot and just elected Trump as king or emperor. That’s the way Trump and his family seem to see it.

      Reply
  20. June

     /  December 9, 2016

    There’s nothing like boots on the ground to verify arctic sea ice changes.

    Are North Pole Expeditions a Thing of the Past?

    Imagine doing the hardest thing you’ve ever done for 50 days straight. That’s what an expedition to the North Pole is like. And it’s even harder going there now than it was six years ago—take it from Eric Larsen, who has trekked to the top of the planet three times. And he might be the last person to complete the harrowing journey, which he recounts in his new book, On Thin Ice: An Epic Final Quest Into the Melting Arctic.

    “The difference in the quality of ice compared to my last expedition here [in 2010] was shocking.”

    …Larsen verifies this in his book: “It’s like someone pulled the plug, and all of the ice that was previously held together was now spreading apart.”

    When Larsen and Waters were just 33 feet from the North Pole, the ice under their feet was drifting away from the pole faster than they could walk. So they ran. On May 6, 2014, they reached the North Pole, becoming the 46th and 47th people to complete such a trek unsupported. And they might be the last.

    http://www.nationalgeographic.com/adventure/activities/polar-exploration/eric-larson-north-pole-book/

    Reply
    • Cate

       /  December 9, 2016

      June, exactly. Dr David Barber, one of Canada’s leading Arctic scientists, underlines how crucial it is to eyeball the ice, to get up there and get out on it. He tells how their research vessel, a large ice-breaker, recently steamed at full speed through an icefield that the satellite had identified as thick, solid ice. It was in fact, “rotten” ice—basically, thick slush.

      Reply
  21. Suzanne

     /  December 9, 2016

    “The Planet is Heating Up Faster than Species can Migrate” at Popular Science
    http://www.popsci.com/planet-is-heating-up-faster-than-species-can-migrate

    Visitors to the Santa Catalina Mountains just outside Tucson, Arizona encounter a very disturbing sight: patches of dead alligator junipers scattered across hillsides at the base of the range. Wildfires did not destroy these trees — climate change did.

    The trees can’t survive where it’s hot, so many have moved to higher elevations, where it is cooler. But if the heat keeps rising, they will die there too, and eventually cease to exist entirely.

    “They can’t cope with the conditions,” says John J. Wiens, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona. “They simply can’t change fast enough.”

    What is far worse, however, is that this is no isolated example.

    Reply
  22. Cate

     /  December 9, 2016

    Giraffes. Extinct. Giraffes, for goodness sake. Elephants, rhinos, gorillas, okay, they’re hunted, that explains some of it, but giraffes?? Giraffes!! How can this be happening?

    I know the answer, I just can’t take it in.

    http://e360.yale.edu/digest/giraffe_populations_now_vulnerable_to_extinction_iucn_red_list/4859/

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  December 9, 2016

      Cate…
      Not sure how much more bad news we can all take. It is coming so fast and furious…it is becoming almost impossible to take it all in. I find myself waking up in the middle of the night with my heart pounding like I had a nightmare…but then I realize it is just our new reality…which is an awake nightmare. I know how it is affecting our mental and emotional health..but I do wonder what it is also doing to our physical health.

      Reply
      • This is how I’ve felt for the better part of 8 years. In my opinion, it’s a part of waking up. A part of learning to see reality with eyes unclouded. It’s a dark place. If we’re going to make it without going nuts, we need to learn how to carry our own lights into the dark. And part of that is in knowing that by seeing what’s happening and by reaching out to try to change it, we are acting out of the deepest and bravest of benevolent impulses. Continuing to act in this environment is as necessary as it is compassionate. The darkness has come. But we cannot let it paralyze us. That is the poisonous nature of what we must confront. And we must not turn away.

        Reply
        • Suzanne

           /  December 9, 2016

          Robert,
          I don’t know how you have done it for so long. Please tell me you are taking care of yourself..because we would be lost without you.
          I am doing all the “right things”…eating right, exercising, meditating…etc. but still am too scared to check my B.P. (LOL). I am rereading Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth”…to try to get back in some kind of emotional balance..but not even close to achieving that right now.

        • I am good. I’m building a support network. Helping friends and family. Taking care of my wife and my cats. Writing, researching, putting myself on a training regime (exercise etc) and planning my next steps which will include, as you have, taking part in direct action. I am a pretty centered person. I am vegan and healthy for my age. Just did 20 pull ups and a 2 mile run yesterday. Every now and again, I crash when I push things too hard. I think that’s OK. The time to push is now. This is not about me. My solace comes from knowing that, no matter what, I tried to do the right thing. That I will have done my best. That I will have fought on the right side for and for all the right reasons. That without what I’m doing multiplied by 1 million and better, there’s no hope. So I light my own light and console myself that I am a part of what’s necessary to bring hope to the world.

        • Hey, that is excellent news re Eckhart! It’s been a very slow process for me absorbing his message, but it definitely helps. Still very hard not to lash out when I see all the miserable stuff going on in the world, but I am working on it.

        • Cate

           /  December 9, 2016

          “Carrying our own lights into the dark” is so apt, RS. We all have our moments of fear, despair, and anguish, but what matters is how we respond to that. Each person has to find a way to cope with this emergency, to locate a source of strength, to learn how to keep as well as possible, to stay connected with others, engaged with the issues, and focused for the fight. For me, it’s faith—a decidedly left-wing and non-fundamentalist version, I might add—but what works for me may not work for the next person. This huge planetary crisis calls upon each of us as individuals to be and do the best we can. It is, again as you so perfectly phrase it, about lighting your own light in the name of bringing hope to the world—- because what else makes any sense?

      • Suzanne,
        There may be some influence of emotional issues on health, but my opinion, for what it is worth, Is that it is less than generally supposed. For example, neurotics don’t seem to actually suffer more physical ills than the general population (all medical studies are problematic, but these have been done). However, it is such an interesting topic, practically unprovable, tailored to make you feel guilty, and fills in where there are no other answers, that it persists as a major preoccupation.
        Poor emotional and poor physical health are probably more a result of coordinated factors such as poor environmental conditions, unfortunate lifestyles and nutrition, genetic issues, and the inevitable anxiety and depression that accompanies physical illness, that it seems to me not very kind to imply that someone has caused their own illness because of some emotional weakness.
        Alas, in reality, the upshot is just what the doctors tell you to do – keep active and live a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately they don’t much warm about environmental issues, that you have to do yourself.
        IMHO, please don’t shoot!

        Reply
  23. Hatrack

     /  December 9, 2016

    Cross-posted to Democratic Underground.

    Reply
  24. Suzanne

     /  December 9, 2016

    Please dear God….Could we please go one day without a new reason to be horrified by the Lunatic and his Regime?

    At Bloomberg…”Trump’s Team Memo Hints at Broad Shake-up of U.S. Energy Policy”…
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-12-09/trump-team-s-memo-hints-at-broad-shake-up-of-u-s-energy-policy

    Advisers to President-elect Donald Trump are developing plans to reshape Energy Department programs, help keep aging nuclear plants online and identify staff who played a role in promoting President Barack Obama’s climate agenda.

    The transition team has asked the agency to list employees and contractors who attended United Nations climate meetings, along with those who helped develop the Obama administration’s social cost of carbon metrics, used to estimate and justify the climate benefits of new rules. The advisers are also seeking information on agency loan programs, research activities and the basis for its statistics, according to a five-page internal document circulated by the Energy Department on Wednesday. The document lays out 65 questions from the Trump transition team, sources within the agency said
    _________________

    And who said that the Lunatic wasn’t going to be as bad as he seemed during the campaign?

    “When a person shows you who they are….believe them” —-Maya Angelou

    Reply
    • Enemies list…

      Reply
    • Mark in New England

       /  December 9, 2016

      Is it neo-fascism yet?

      Reply
      • I think that’s pretty fair to say at this time.

        Reply
      • DJ

         /  December 9, 2016

        Fascism, or just self-serving cronyism? Either way, what a disaster.

        Reply
        • Dan Borroff

           /  December 9, 2016

          Roy Cohn was Trump’s lawyer, a closeted gay man full of rage. He taught Trump to attack full force. I’d expect the same strategy towards EPA and NASA. Another fact is all his appointees have strong anti-gay records so who knows what will happen.

    • Question: how stable are USA public jobs?

      Here in Brasil, if one is a public servant, one starts the career by being able to pass theorical tests (highly competitive ones. For example, competition for the test for my job when I did the test was 1700 candidates/vacancy), plus titles (doctorates, masters degrees, etc), medical and physical tests if the career requires it.

      If the person is admited as a public servant, for the first 3 years of the career (critically, this time is less than an elections cycle here), that person needs good evaluations from the immediate superior to keep the job. After that, the public servant is stable, and can´t be dismissed unless gross incompetence (for example, not showing up to work for more than 10 days without medical reason) or criminal charges (corruption, etc) happen.

      That means that though changes in government and politics affect the high command of institutions (and some levels not so high), there´s no way for a politician to spurge political enemies from the public career ranks, a measure that has been sealed in the Constitution here in 1988, by politicians that had seen during the militar dictatorship here how bad things could get when public careers had no stability.

      How stable are public servant jobs in the USA? Can Trump simply dismiss the people that he may consider “enemies”, even in the lowest ranks of the hierarchy, or public servants may continue to do their work, regardless of him?

      It´s one thing when the worst that a politician in charge can do is cut funds. Things may get dire, but the job can still be done (example in Portuguese: http://www.wikiparques.org/guarda-parques-nao-abandonam-parque-do-rio-preto-ao-fogo/ ). But if the politician can simply fire you, then things get uglier.

      Reply
      • Before the republicans went nuts, that’s the way government jobs used to be here in the US. Now, they just cut funding and people are dumped by forced furloughs.

        Reply
  25. coloradobob

     /  December 9, 2016

    Donald Trump’s Interior Secretary Doesn’t Want to Combat Climate Change

    On Friday the Wall Street Journal reported that Donald Trump has chosen Washington Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, chair of the House Republican Conference, to be his Secretary of Interior. The Interior Department is responsible for three quarters of the nation’s public lands, and includes under its umbrella agencies like the National Parks Service, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the US Geological Survey, and the Bureau of Land Management, and the Bureau of Reclamation—all which are on the front lines of the fight against climate change.

    But if her record in Congress is any indication, don’t expect McMorris Rogers to make climate science or conservation a priority. In 2008, after Al Gore earned a Nobel Peace Prize and an Oscar for An Inconvenient Truth, she dismissed the former vice president’s warnings about global warming. “We believe Al Gore deserves an ‘F’ in science and an ‘A’ in creative writing,” she joked.

    Link

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  December 9, 2016

      How long before the oil and gas leases in National Parks go flying out of the Department of the Interior like there is no tomorrow?

      Reply
  26. Andy_in_SD

     /  December 9, 2016

    A rather large chunk of glacier went “boom” twice this year due to sub glacial water.

    The avalanche at the Aru glacier in July 2016 was a massive event that spilled ice and rock 98 feet (30 meters) thick over an area of 4 square miles (10 square kilometers). Nine nomadic herders and many of their animals died during the 5-minute cataclysm. It was the second-biggest glacial avalanche ever recorded, and initially mystified scientists.

    “This is new territory scientifically,” Andreas Kääb, a glaciologist at the University of Oslo, said in a statement in September. “It is unknown why an entire glacier tongue would shear off like this.” [Images of Melt: Earth’s Vanishing Ice]

    http://www.livescience.com/57150-culprit-of-deadly-tibet-avalanche-found.html

    Reply
  27. The really troubling part is that human emissions have plateaued. Can you say tipping points?

    Reply
    • … at record high levels of 50 billion tons of CO2 equivalent gas hitting the atmosphere. We are probably seeing some feedbacks from the Earth system now. The big driver of it all remains as human emissions.

      Reply
  28. Cathy McMorris-Rodgers is the Rep for my congressional district. She’s been…obviously deranged since childhood and the majority of people that live around here continue to vote for her. She plays the religion card real well, too, being as the planet is only 5,000 years old like the guy snarled at me the other night at the local market I was filling with my gear… She has done absolutely nothing for the poverty-stricken under-educated people around here (almost all are woefully lacking in anything even resembling critical thinking skills), and they STILL vote her back in every election because she’s a Republican. It has nothing to do with anything but her promoting her religious beliefs and being Republican.

    But Meth production is doing real well and everybody has AR-15s and AK-47s. There are still trees to cut down though the mountainsides are starting to look like a dog with mange, and ESPN every weekend. I’m not being sarcastic, folks, this is reality here. At times I feel like I’m in the Deep South except nobody has the accent.

    There are good people that live around here trying to make a change but it’s like paddling against a double-overhead pounding beachbreak with never-ending sets rolling through. How does any of us keep going against this crap?

    REALLY big sigh.

    RS: It isn’t neo-Fascism. That’s a cop out. It’s Full Blown Fascism; right wing corporatism controlling the government. Reagan really got this going and after 36 years of neo-liberal right wing presidents we get the end result, the epitome of right wing thinking, in Trump.

    Hitler was not a leftie, neither was Mussolini or Francisco Franco or Pinochet or Marcos or the Shah of Iran or the rest of the huge list of conservative right wing dictators that have plagued the planet for so long. And they are rising again, everywhere, like cancer cells. The right are always so violence prone, so angry, and so easily directed by those who personally benefit by it all (like McMorris-Rodgers).

    So how long is this blog of yours going to stay in existence before it gets censored for being ‘fake news’ do you think? Net Neutrality is about to disappear, also, looking at Trumpette’s pick that will cover that aspect of the coming Dark Age.

    As for Obama and his SCOTUS, quit looking at what Obama says but what his administration has done the last eight years. His record stinks. More wars, more drilling, more pipelines, more fracking, more war spending, more oil leases (even as BP gushed), more war crimes, more private prisons, more immigrant deportations than any other president, more arrests of whistleblowers releasing major criminal government crimes than any other president. Look at all the neoliberals he either kept from W Bush or put in place. The list is huge, mostly bad to worse, and goes on and on.

    It was a brilliant masterstroke for the wealthy rightwing who own the corporations to fund Obama because you couldn’t say anything against him because, well, he was supposed to be a black man and that would be racist now wouldn’t it? He was a perfect chess move.

    The defining paradigm of black in America is slave ancestors. Obama has no relatives that were slaves. He never lived in a ghetto. Never attended schools with rats running in the classrooms and cops walking the halls. Black people are worse off after 8 years of Obama. Read BlackAgendaReport for the truth about that!!

    Obama KILLED the progressive movement in this country. Just like Bill Clinton did. Why is he now warning the public about the power he is about to hand over to Trump? Like he didn’t know about the Clinton campaign gaming Bernie who was the ONLY candidate who would have beaten Trump?

    Here’s one to read:

    Republicans vs Democrats: Two Neoliberal War Parties With the same Economic and Foreign Policies

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article45904.htm

    I’m so disgusted that I could scream. And Suzanne, being twisted up inside over all this means you are paying attention. Seeing the trainwreck coming doesn’t make it any easier, though.

    Reply
    • Griffin

       /  December 10, 2016

      You had me at the paddling out against the beach break analogy. Awesome rant and completely on point. Searing truth right there.

      Reply
  29. Vic

     /  December 9, 2016

    The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

    Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

    1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

    2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

    3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.
     
    4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

    5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

    6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

    7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

    8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed
    to the government’s policies or actions.

    9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

    10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

    11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

    12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

    13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

    14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

    http://rense.com/general37/fascism.htm

    Reply
    • Vic,
      Thank you for this link – fascinating – sounds like some place I know…
      Unfortunate that you commented just before a new post by Robert – suggest you comment again sometime soon on a post where it is somewhat applicable.

      Reply
  30. coloradobob

     /  December 9, 2016

    Test test test

    Reply
  31. Ryan in New England

     /  December 9, 2016

    The Trump team is hard at work creating a list of those who will likely be targeted once he is in power because they understand climate change is part of reality. Every day the news gets worse, and the future looks darker. And this coming disaster hasn’t even officially begun.

    “With some of these questions, it feels more like an inquisition than a question, in terms of going after career employees who have been here through the Bush years to Clinton, and up to now,” said one current Energy Department employee. “All of a sudden you have questions that feel more like a congressional investigation than an actual probing of how the Department of Energy does its job.”

    “If the Trump administration is already singling out scientists for doing their jobs, the scientific community is right to be worried about what his administration will do in office. What’s next? Trump administration officials holding up lists of ‘known climatologists’ and urging the public to go after them?” Halpern asked.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/12/09/trump-transition-team-for-energy-department-seeks-names-of-employees-involved-in-climate-meetings/?utm_term=.f2c0bb7d46c0&wpisrc=al_alert-hse

    Reply
  32. utoutback

     /  December 10, 2016

    What we know is that Earth Sciences are the study of the amazing multi-factorial system on which we depend for life. Unfortunately, the present powers that be are mostly interested in a more pseudo-science called Economics. You know, the study of how humans use/consume the natural environment and create “value”, meaning some abstract currency, that can be accumulated to convey status/power.
    Sadly for them and all of us, economics will not save us from the disaster that the real, material as opposed to abstract world will soon produce. The “new world order” will not care much for humans whether they be rich or poor.
    My advice: Be kind, do your best, keep the faith and don’t give up without a fight.
    And, in all this practice compassion.

    Reply
  33. T-rev

     /  December 10, 2016

    it now appears that the world is set to experience a 3.3 to 3.5 part per million jump in the atmospheric CO2 measure for this year

    To paraphrase Professor Kevin Anderson,

    for the last 25 years or so that we’ve had the IPCC we’ve been very concerned about CO2 emissions, imagine how bad it would be if we wern’t concerned. /s

    Reply
  34. Great and sobering post Robert. I prefer to stare straight into the blinding sun myself. My question is one that may not have an easy and straightforward answer, and that’s ok: Should we be really using the CO2e data (of around 490 ppm co2e currently) to get a good sense of where we are climactically vs just the CO2 readings? If so, then we’re blowing past mid-Miocene levels and beyond 70 foot sea level rises,etc.

    I’m also vegan! Great way to reduce innocent creatures’ suffering and lessen GHG emissions!

    Reply
  1. flassbeck economics international - Economics and politics - comment and analysis
  2. NOAA– Atmospheric CO2 Increased by 2.77 Parts Per Million During 2016 | robertscribbler

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