Racing to Catch Ludicrously Fast Model 3 Production Ramp, U.S. Automakers Grew EV Sales by 102 Percent in June 

Early on, Tesla recognized that responses to climate change were necessary — not just from individuals and governments, but also from industry. And Tesla realized that, when mated with wind and solar energy, electrical vehicles could become a powerful force for driving an energy transition capable of rapidly cutting global carbon emissions.

(Reduction in coal burning and lower than predicted demand for fossil fuels has helped to generate a carbon emissions plateau during 2014 to 2016. Rapid additions of renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and electrical vehicles provides a potential to begin to bend down the global emissions curve near term and reduce the damage that is now being locked in by fossil fuel based carbon emissions. Image source: IEA.)

Tesla’s Market-Driven Response to Climate Change

Electrical vehicles possess a number of key sustainability advantages that aren’t widely talked-about in the public discourse. Electrical motors are considerably more efficient than ICE engines — so broadening EV use lowers energy consumption in transportation while at the same time allowing EVs to draw power from traditional and newly emerging renewable sources. The massive batteries housed in EVs and sold after-market also have the capacity to become a major solar and wind energy storage asset that could ultimately enable the removal of peaking, high emissions, coal and gas plants.

In light of these opportunities, back in the mid 2000s, Tesla made a bold, necessary move. Its leadership decided that it would attempt to become a major automaker dedicated solely to electrical vehicle sales. This business plan would hitch Tesla’s economic future entirely to the success or failure of clean energy ventures. Unlike most present automakers, Tesla would not suffer from divided loyalties to harmful incentives linked directly to fossil fuel based economies. It decided to make its clean energy break by producing top of the market, high-quality electric-only vehicles and, then, by leveraging loyalty to a superior brand, move vertically down into broader market segments.

(If Tesla’s planned Model 3 production ramp to 5,000 vehicles per week by end of 2017 holds true, then the all-electric automaker’s quarterly deliveries are about to go exponential. Image source: EV Obsession.)

Such a disruptive end run on the world’s energy and vehicle markets was bound to encounter stiff resistance and loud detractors. However, if successful, Tesla would force traditional energy and transport players to make a tough choice — follow in Tesla’s footsteps and try to compete, or face dwindling customer bases as a massive wave of innovation completely upended markets. The automaker decided that the best way to goad a broader transition toward electrical vehicles in western markets was to lead it. And that’s exactly what Tesla has been doing.

Major EV Sales Growth on Tap for 2017 Due to Automaker Shift + Model 3 Sales

In the U.S., during 2017, the trend of an emerging industry reaction to Tesla is becoming quite clear. The major automakers are all in a scramble as the imminent arrival of the Model 3 nears. The vehicle, which begins production this month, aims to provide very high quality, Tesla’s trademark swift acceleration, top-notch tech, groundbreaking automation, and 215+ miles of all-electric range for a 35,000 dollar base price. An offering that is disruptive due to quality and accessibility alone. But add to it the 400,000 + preorders that Tesla has accumulated and you’ve got what basically amounts to a volcanic eruption in the global auto market.

In large part, as a response to Tesla’s market-transformation plan, a number of major automakers are deciding to provide their own competing offerings. This year, GM beat the Model 3 to the start line with the 200+ mile range, high-quality Chevy Bolt. Toyota, launched its competitively-priced Prius Prime plug-in hybrid. Nissan redoubled efforts to position its best-selling Leaf all electric vehicle even as it announced plans for a 200+ mile range version in 2018. Meanwhile, Volvo plans to electrify all its vehicles by 2019.

(Increasingly attractive EVs and plug in hybrids like the Chevy Bolt, the Prius Prime, and the Nissan Leaf helped to boost U.S. electrical vehicle sales in June as automakers gear up to compete with Tesla’s Model 3. Image source: InsideEVs.)

This activity has generated considerable growth in sales as customers discover electrical vehicles of ever-increasing variety, value and capability. During June of 2017, all-electric vehicle sales from major automakers in the U.S. market (excluding Tesla) increased by more than 100 percent over June of 2016 on the back of the entry of attractive, highly-capable models like the Bolt. Meanwhile, plug-in hybrid sales grew by 11.5 percent. Total U.S. EV and plug in hybrid sales for the month from major automakers + Tesla hit a new record in June of 17,182 on the back of major automaker sales growth (a total growth of about 16 percent for the entire U.S. market).

Tesla, on the other hand, showed slightly lower June 2017 sales vs June 2016 in U.S. markets as it experienced a hiccup in 100 kw battery pack production. But with the Model 3 nearing launch, an explosion of EV sales from Tesla is in the offing over the coming months. According to statements by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the ground-breaking vehicle is expected to trickle into the market by adding about 30 sales in July. By August, deliveries are expected to triple to 100. By September, another 1,500 or so Model 3s are expected to arrive. Production will then, according to Musk, swiftly ramp up to 20,000 per month by December.

If these ambitions bear out, and if about half of Model 3 sales are in the U.S., then the U.S. could see north of 40,000 EVs and plug in hybrids sold in the U.S. during December. This would represent a 60 percent + jump over the all-time record EV sales month of December 2016. But even if Tesla’s extraordinarily ambitious production ramp-up goals for the Model 3 aren’t reached by December, the excitement surrounding the vehicle is likely to continue to spur growth and competition in the larger EV market through the period. And that’s a bit of much-appreciated good news for those of us who are increasingly concerned about climate change.

Links:

Big Auto’s Fully Electric Car Sales Up 102% in USA

Plug-in Electric Sales Report Card

Next Generation Leaf to Have 215 to 340 Mile Range

Volvo Electrifying All Models By 2019

CO2 Emissions Flat for Third Straight Year

EV Obsession

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168 Comments

  1. Doug

     /  July 5, 2017

    Next week I am buying a 2014 of 15 Chevy Spark EV. It’s remarkable the prices for slightly used electric vehicles now. I am paying about $9,000 for one that has about 30,000 miles and its range is close to 100 miles. Used Leafs are really inexpensive now too.

    Reply
    • Agreed. We’re biting bullet on a Leaf shortly for our second EV. Local utility has arranged a deal on new Leafs with $10,000 off.

      Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  July 8, 2017

      I read an article that said now is the brilliant time to buy a used EV or hybrid, since the masses are buying giganto-mobile SUV monstrosities since they believe gas will never go up in price (bigger the better, and with enough seating for a village. Think mining dump trucks for soccer moms).

      Good thinking sir!

      Reply
    • +1. It’s amazing. You can really save a lot of money with this kind of in-town runabout.

      Reply
      • Agreed. Very happy with our Mitsubishi EV – 4+ years old now, about 40,000 miles, very little maintenance. Its range is only rated at 62 miles, but that’s enough for 3 or 4 trips to town and back (we live 6 miles from the local business center). The one minor drawback is that its heater reduces the range in winter, and it can get pretty cold here in Vermont. Even so, no plans to sell it anytime soon.

        Reply
  2. EV sales world wide are growing exponentially–and that’s *before* the Tesla 3 starts to roll out.
    http://volewica.blogspot.com.au/2017/07/world-ev-sales-reaches-new-record.html

    Reply
  3. climatehawk1

     /  July 5, 2017

    Tweet scheduled.

    Reply
  4. Greg

     /  July 6, 2017

    All hail the all-electric car, as BEVs take over the Norwegian market in June.
    Norway once again has raised the bar for plug-in car sales, setting several new all-time records last month.

    Tesla Model X
    Amazingly, new passenger BEVs (all-electrics) and PHEVs (plug-in hybrids) registrations combined to account for a whopping 42.2% of the market!

    In total, 6,011 new BEVs, PHEVs (and a few FCVs) were registered last month (up some 65%).

    The driving force behind the new record was doubling of sales for the all-electric vehicles over a year ago – thanks mostly to the updated VW e-Golf, Tesla Model X and also the new Renault ZOE and Ampera-E.
    http://insideevs.com/norway-plug-in-vehicles-sales-surge-to-record-42-market-share-in-june/

    Reply
    • It’s fantastic to see these vehicles reach such high penetration in certain markets. 2017 through 2019 look like very exciting years.

      Reply
  5. Greg

     /  July 6, 2017

    Cummings, yes the ICE making company, sees the light too. Hoping to not die like the carriage wagon suppliers did.

    http://insideevs.com/cummins-outlines-plans-for-electric-powertrains-by-2019/

    Reply
  6. Greg

     /  July 6, 2017

    The batteries in these electric cars are transforming energy storage and tranportation. Example:

    BMW’s i3 high-capacity batteries, which it uses in its i3 compact electric vehicle, has applications beyond BMW’s own – case in point, the car maker is now supplying German boat propulsion system company Torqeedo with i3 batteries for its Deep Blue aquatic electric drive systems.
    https://techcrunch.com/2017/07/05/bmws-i3-battery-now-being-used-for-torqeedos-electric-boat-motors/

    Reply
    • Nice to see movement into other forms of transport. Boats are certainly lower hanging fruit than aircraft. But even that area is showing some promise.

      Reply
      • Nice comparison of aviation and shipping–in cartoon form, no less–here: http://tyndall.ac.uk/ideas-and-insights/aviation-shipping

        Reply
        • Electrification of shipping is certainly a lower hanging fruit than aviation. I don’t necessarily agree with the findings that you can’t electrify aviation. It’s just that the capability doesn’t exist at present. So in the broader sense focusing on reduced air miles is more important for climate change (but also a heavier lift policy-wise).

          We should be clear that if renewables and electrification do not win out, then we are pretty much screwed. Economic systems require energy to thrive and nations are not going to willing wreck their economies. This is why fossil fuels as a basis for energy is basically a form of heroine for human civ. Removing the fossil fuels and replacing it with renewables is kind of like replacing a drug addiction with regular exercise and the ‘runner’s high’ is just a happy side effect.

  7. Greg

     /  July 6, 2017

    Been seeing more of these among business suited commuters in D.C. An example of how less and less expensive, and smaller, batteries are changing transportation and possibly automobile usage overall in the near future.

    Reply
    • Mblanc

       /  July 6, 2017

      I think this is the most exciting area in electric mobility really, bikes, scooters, skateboards, unicycles etc.

      I think I might start working on an airbag bodysuit, because I get the feeling we seeing quite a lot of road rash in our brave new world!

      Reply
      • wili

         /  July 10, 2017

        Welllll, the question is…what is this replacing. If this guy used to be walking (or rollerblading, or biking…) on this route, then I would say this is a giant step backward.

        Reply
        • Craig Teller

           /  July 11, 2017

          A step backward? Naw, millions of young guys like him were thinking about buying a little ICE hatchback that fit his budget. But things are moving fast and a hatchback just doesn’t send a message anymore.

        • It considerably expands the range of person who’s taking public transport or using sidewalks to get to work or various markets. I’d call it a plus.

    • Any word on electric bike shares? I think there’s definitely a relatively sizable niche for just such an offering.

      Reply
  8. Greg

     /  July 6, 2017

    Has America gone far right or just twisted into itself? Read the skies:

    Reply
  9. Greg

     /  July 6, 2017

    Flooding all over but this one in Southern Japan is worth noting. The Japanese have funneled their rivers to avoid flooding but it is not designed for 10 centimeters an hour:
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/9398417/Unprecedented-rainfall-causes-floods-and-landslides-in-Kyushu-southern-Japan.html

    Reply
  10. Greg

     /  July 6, 2017

    Even if ICE engines carbon is not a concern to our friends and family, show them this:
    Researchers studied the emissions of 7 gas vehicles equipped with direct fuel-injection systems, and found…
    “Once inhaled, these particles remain in the body forever,” explains project leader Norbert Heeb. Evidence shows that they can penetrate the membrane of the air sacs in the lungs and get into the bloodstream. And it gets worse: “Liquid or solid chemical toxins from the combustion process… accumulate on the surface of the particles, which can then smuggle these substances into the bloodstream – like a Trojan horse.
    http://insideevs.com/new-study-gas-engines-dirtier-evs-cleaner/

    Reply
    • bostonblorp

       /  July 6, 2017

      I fully expect (and look forward to) a near-term future when the ICE becomes viewed as a disgusting, dirty, antiquated machine. A child born today will marvel we used to have millions of these machines belching noxious air and that whole cities used to be layered in a haze of pollution we called smog.

      Reply
      • Craig Teller

         /  July 11, 2017

        Hey, fossil fuels created the modern world as we know. The education to understand global warming was paid for by fossil fuels. But we should have started pulling ICE vehicles off the road in the 70s, or at least vastly increased their mileage per gallon. We have let the oil buccaneers dominate us for too long.

        Reply
    • utoutback

       /  July 7, 2017

      All hail DT who would have said – “Yup!”

      Reply
    • Any house next to a major road or highway puts its occupants at severe risk today for worsening future chronic ailments. These are sacrifice zones that people don’t really talk about all that much.

      Reply
  11. Greg

     /  July 6, 2017

    Tired of seeing just my name around here but…
    On Thursday evening, Governor Brown (California) will mount a new challenge to the administration on climate change. In a videoconference address to a global citizen festival in Hamburg, Germany, where President Trump and other officials will negotiate wording of a statement on the Paris climate change accord, Governor Brown will issue a sweeping invitation to a global “climate action” summit meeting in San Francisco.

    “Look, it’s up to you and it’s up to me and tens of millions of other people to get it together to roll back the forces of carbonization and join together to combat the existential threat of climate change,” Brown will tell the thousands of people expected to attend the festival. In the message, a preview of which was provided by aides, he will invite “entrepreneurs, singers, musicians, mathematicians, professors” and others who represent “the whole world” to the September 2018 conference in San Francisco.
    …“It isn’t being cooked up because of Trump,” Governor Brown said in an interview Wednesday. “No nation or state is doing what they should be doing. This is damn serious, and most people are taking it far too lightly than the reality of the threat. You can’t do too much to sound the alarm because so far the response is not adequate to the challenge.”
    https://nytimes.com/2017/07/06/climate/jerry-brown-california-climate-summit.html

    Reply
    • Brian

       /  July 6, 2017

      Just because others don’t post much doesn’t mean they don’t read it!

      If you post links to verified news sites (like the NY Times, like you did here), and if those sites don’t sit behind paywalls, you will be driving eyeballs to those sites. Further, the new sites are going to see where that traffic comes from, and hopefully inspire them to write more about what those eyeballs care about (in this case, news about the environment and climate change).

      I initially started reading Jeff Masters in 2004 about hurricanes, and was reading that site religiously around the time of Katrina in 2005. Now that they’ve changed the commenting system there, I know I don’t go there as often as I used to. The comments used to be an excellent source of random information, but I find that to be not as true these days.

      I don’t know when I convinced by the overwhelming amount of scientific evidence that shows anthropogenic climate change is both real and a huge existential threat to life as we know it (to human civilization and hence sentient life, but not all life on earth), but it wasn’t in that first year. I never once posted on Weather Underground; but here I am telling you straight up that the posts make a difference, comments make a difference. It’s sort of like carbon dioxide; just because you can’t see immediate effects, doesn’t mean it’s not building up to a critical mass somewhere out there.

      Reply
    • Andy_in_SD

       /  July 8, 2017

      We all take our turns when we find too many gems at once. Do not feel bad, one iota. We all appreciate the digging and disclosure by you and everyone 🙂

      Robert is the bus driver, but without us passengers he would have trouble finding a reason to drive that bus (terrible analogy).

      Reply
  12. Abel Adamski

     /  July 6, 2017

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/05/hopes-of-mild-climate-change-dashed-by-new-research

    Hopes of mild climate change dashed by new research

    Planet could heat up far more than hoped as new work shows temperature rises measured over recent decades don’t fully reflect global warming already in the pipeline
    But the new work, using both models and paleoclimate data from warming periods in the Earth’s past, shows that the historical temperature measurements do not reveal the slow heating of the planet’s oceans that takes place for decades or centuries after CO2 has been added to the atmosphere.

    “The hope was that climate sensitivity was lower and the Earth is not going to warm as much,” said Cristian Proistosescu, at Harvard University in the US, who led the new research. “There was this wave of optimism.”

    The new research, published in the journal Science Advances, has ended that. “The worrisome part is that all the models show there is an amplification of the amount of warming in the future,” he said. The situation might be even worse, as Proistosescu’s work shows climate sensitivity could be as high as 6C.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  July 6, 2017

      I’d love to hear robert’s or other’s views on this article. Here is the link to the actual article: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/7/e1602821.full

      Reply
    • For wili and other lurkers —

      My general position remains that Earth System Climate Sensitivity (long term climate sensitivity once all the feedbacks are accounted for) is in the range of 5-6 C. This view was originally informed by my reading of Hansen and then by subsequent reading of various climate model approaches to Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity studies (Which were the ones that initially produced the 3 C number and generated more optimism for slower rates of warming. These studies, however, often did not include various long-term feedbacks. Nor did such model studies achieve the same levels of warming observed in the paleoclimate proxy data.). This view has continued to be informed by various paleoclimate proxy temperature studies. The above article by the Guardian and underlying science it is based on further reinforce this view.

      I don’t believe that the actual range achieved will vary all that much from this 5-6 C per doubling of CO2 baseline. In my view, the uncertain elements involve how rapidly such warming can be achieved, what level of carbon feedback an initial forcing produces (which adds to the base forcing), and how rapidly and severely various geophysical changes will tend to manifest along the way to achieving new equilibrium states.

      Reply
  13. Inspired to bring back an oldie-but-goodie about the total carbon footprint of gasoline (petrol):

    Reply
    • And the double counting of the oil industry hacks on energy consumption just came home to roost in a big way.

      Consider this analysis of the above statistic —

      An electric vehicle gets about 3 miles of range per kilowatt hour. So the amount of electricity used to produce a gallon of gasoline would have already moved an electric vehicle 14 miles. This also effectively reduces the fuel efficiency of oil powered vehicles by 14 miles per gallon. The result is that some fossil fuel driven vehicles would have net negative mpg ratings if the electricity used to produce the gasoline were counted.

      😉

      Reply
  14. Robert in New Orleans

     /  July 6, 2017
    Reply
    • Craig Teller

       /  July 11, 2017

      Is that Panda of solar panels big enough to be seen from space?

      Reply
  15. Allan Barr

     /  July 6, 2017

    2 million bpd demand destruction is all thats needed to drop price of oil by 25%, 20 million EVs should do that. That takes out tar sands, deep water oil and arctic oil. With prices of renewables now as cheap or in many cases cheaper than fossil fuels along with battery prices rapidly falling I see a massive transformation into renewables faster than expected. Huge implications for nations whose economies and currencies are fossil fuel backed and very positive implications for those who invest into renewables. Sea change on its way.

    Reply
    • Also worth noting: EVs are so much more efficient that it takes much less electricity than one might think to power a fleet of them. If the U.S. had 100 million EVs, and each was driven 12,000 miles a year, that would come to, hmm, 1.2 trillion miles. An EV gets about 4 miles per kilowatt-hour (kWh) of electricity, so that EV fleet would consume 300 billion kWh annually. THAT IS ONLY A BIT MORE THAN WIND ENERGY CURRENTLY GENERATES IN THE U.S. TODAY (226 billion kWh in 2016). And that’s with wind at only 5.5% of U.S. generation.

      Reply
      • John McCormick

         /  July 7, 2017

        Thanks for putting together the demand needed to power nearly half of U.S. vehicles on the road today.

        Reply
      • It’s just ludicrous how inefficient present gasoline and diesel driven vehicles are from a net energy use perspective…

        Reply
  16. Jeremy in Wales

     /  July 6, 2017

    This is a very fast moving story, Volvo (owned by Geely in China) are only selling electric or hybrid vehicles from 2019 and France today said ICE sales would be banned from 2040.
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/05/volvo-cars-electric-hybrid-2019
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/06/france-ban-petrol-diesel-cars-2040-emmanuel-macron-volvo
    China is driving this change, largely to improve air quality.
    But this change combined with the battery storgae can change the economics of electricity supply. The EV combined with self driving ability could change the economics of car ownership – buying use by the mile rather than purchase or lease.
    http://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/self-driving/rethinkx-selfdriving-electric-cars-will-dominate-roads-by-2030
    If this sort of model gets widely adopted it could slash the total number of vehicles on the road and release large amounts of urban land back to more useful use and give freedom back to the older population.
    Plus improves the enviroment – quite impressive if a bit utopian.

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t call it utopian — more solutions oriented. Perfect vision scenarios are unlikely to be achieved, but you do get to a far more sustainable world in the practical vision scenarios.

      Reply
  17. Jeremy in Wales

     /  July 6, 2017

    This is a very fast moving story, Volvo (owned by Geely in China) are only selling electric or hybrid vehicles from 2019 and France today said ICE sales would be banned from 2040.
    https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/jul/05/volvo-cars-electric-hybrid-2019
    China is driving this change, largely to improve air quality.
    But this change combined with the battery storgae can change the economics of electricity supply. The EV combined with self driving ability could change the economics of car ownership – buying use by the mile rather than purchase or lease.
    http://spectrum.ieee.org/cars-that-think/transportation/self-driving/rethinkx-selfdriving-electric-cars-will-dominate-roads-by-2030
    If this sort of model gets widely adopted it could slash the total number of vehicles on the road and release large amounts of urban land back to more useful use and give freedom back to the older population.
    Plus improves the enviroment – quite impressive if a bit utopian.
    (forgot there can only be two links)

    Reply
  18. Jeremy in Wales

     /  July 6, 2017

    This “Fully Charged” episode just out a few days ago, discusses some of the changes discussed above.

    Reply
  19. Greg

     /  July 6, 2017

    British numbers for June. As we saw this month in the US, the overall British auto market shrink by nearly 5% in June, while plug-in sales continued to still rise at a decent pace; hitting a new record market share of 1.83%.
    http://insideevs.com/plug-in-vehicle-market-share-in-uk-hits-new-high-of-1-83-in-june/

    Reply
    • It’s pretty impressive that we see continued EV growth even in overall shrinking markets. A testament to the quality and desirability of the EVs out there. People want EVs. People want to have a positive individual impact on climate change. It’s one place where product demand and social responsibility meet up.

      Reply
  20. Greg

     /  July 6, 2017

    Related, Wind energy may have achieved one of its most significant landmarks ever with WindEurope’s announcement that floating offshore turbine technology has “come of age.”

    WindEurope, which represents the interests of the most advanced offshore wind markets in the world, last month claimed a “breakthrough pipeline of projects” proved floating turbine designs had achieved technological maturity.
    “Floating offshore wind is no longer consigned to the laboratory: It’s a viable technology ready to be rolled out on an industrial scale,” said the industry body in a recent press release.
    https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/floating-offshore-wind-has-come-of-age-now-its-ready-to-scale

    Reply
    • John McCormick

       /  July 7, 2017

      Greg, from that article, the following: ““The size of turbines is rapidly increasing, with MHI Vestas currently proposing 9.5 megawatts, and I believe by early to mid-2020s we will be at 15 or more,” Ahilan said.”

      Technology and private sector are becoming the front line defense where governments are becoming impotent and broke.

      Reply
      • Craig Teller

         /  July 11, 2017

        Actually, President Obama for eight years played a significant role in jumpstarting clean technology. Many green businessmen found it easier to get funding because of him. Also, green businesses have been hanging around long enough to give one another advice in their specialized area. A lot has been happening.

        Reply
      • Government policy has actually helped to drive renewable energy innovation in industry. Government often provides the much needed executive function and incentive. Industry is often the engine. If we become confused and think that industry should provide the executive function, that’s when things tend to get corrupt and distorted. This isn’t to say that industry CEOs and investors can’t provide individual leadership through their influence. It’s just that industry itself is systemically and traditionally a follower of incentives not a driver of trends (outside of extraordinary individual leadership cases like Musk etc).

        Reply
  21. Greg

     /  July 6, 2017

    Further thoughts on Model 3. GENE MUNSTER: Tesla’s Model 3 launch will be as big as the introduction of the iPhone
    “Over the next 10 years, the Model 3’s value, in combination with its technology, has the potential to change the world and accelerate the adoption of electric and autonomous vehicles,” Munster wrote. “We believe we will eventually look back at the launch of the Model 3 and compare it to the iPhone, which proved to be the catalyst for the shift to mobile computing.”
    https://www.yahoo.com/finance/news/gene-munster-teslas-model-3-151225566.html

    Reply
  22. Hilary

     /  July 7, 2017

    Excellent interview from here this morning in NZ, you can listen or download on the link =26 minutes:
    2020: The Climate Turning Point
    “Kathryn Ryan talks to Christiana Figueres – the former UN climate chief and a key architect of the 2015 Paris Agreement. Ms Figueres and a team of top climate scientists recently published a report outlining six critical milestones that they say must be met within the next three years. If they’re not met, they say there will not be enough time to decarbonise the economy before overshooting tipping points, which could lead to permanent changes in the global climate.”
    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201850245/2020-the-climate-turning-point

    Reply
  23. Recent progress in perovskite solar cells:

    There has been huge progress in a new class of solar cells. These new solar cells are called perovskite because their structure is similar to the perovskite mineral (calcium titanate).

    There has been huge, startlingly rapid progress on these things, but they also have problems with stability and toxicity (most of them contain lead). Efficiency progress is fantastic – they are up to 22 percent or so efficiency and climbing rapidly.

    Several groups are working on transparent perovskite solar cells that could be physically stacked with silicon solar cells, producing solar panels with higher combined efficiency, it is hoped. The perovskite would absorb mostly the shorter wavelength radiation in the visible range (blue/yellow/green), while the silicon cells would absorb in the red and near infrared.

    At this time, most of them contain lead, but some of the less efficient ones contain tin instead. Most of them are subject to rapid environmental degradation, although rapid progress is being made there too, with coatings and such. Production costs could be very low, with roll to roll processing possible, for some of them. Electroplating is also being investigated, another low cost process.

    This rapid progress is hopeful, and could be a real climate game changer.

    Reply
  24. Greg

     /  July 7, 2017

    A follow-up to Japan historic flooding from last thread. 18 km high storm! and 150 mm per hour! rains.
    (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/9398417/Unprecedented-rainfall-causes-floods-and-landslides-in-Kyushu-southern-Japan.html)
    Graph below

    Reply
  25. Shawn Redmond

     /  July 7, 2017

    OT but this will show up as a plus in the GDP because the damage will constitute economic activity in the clean up and rebuild!
    https://www.aol.com/article/weather/2017/07/06/too-much-rain-chinas-floods-roil-hydropower-corn-supplies/23019343/
    BEIJING (Reuters) – Severe flooding across southern China has forced the world’s largest power plant to slash capacity on Tuesday, delayed grain on barges and damaged farms along the Yangtze River, as the death toll rose to 56 and economic costs hit almost $4 billion.

    Heavy rainfall, mudslides and hail caused by the annual rainy season has killed 56 people and 22 people were missing across 11 provinces and regions as of Tuesday morning, according to the Ministry of Civil Affairs.

    More than 750,000 hectares (1.85 million acres) of crops have been damaged and direct economic losses totaled more than 25.3 billion yuan ($3.72 billion), it said.

    The government said it had disbursed 700 million yuan ($103 million) in emergency aid to four flood-hit provinces – Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Hunan and Guizhou.

    Rain in the southern provinces is expected to ease in the coming days, but weather forecasters predict downpours will move to the southwestern province of Sichuan.

    In what analysts said was a move unprecedented in its scale, the Three Gorges and Gezhouba, two of China’s top hydropower plants, closed as much as two-thirds of their capacity to avert flooding further downstream on the Yangtze River.

    Reply
  26. Suzanne

     /  July 7, 2017

    At Vox…”Almost 90% of Americans don’t know there is scientific consensus on GW”
    https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2017/7/6/15924444/global-warming-consensus-survey

    According to the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, which conduct an annual survey on what Americans think about climate change, only 13 percent of Americans correctly identified that more than 90 percent of all climate scientists have concluded that human-caused global warming is happening. (It’s actually at least 97 percent of climate scientists that agree human-caused global warming is happening.)
    ____________________________

    Dumbing down of America…decades in the making….”Mission Accomplished”

    Reply
  27. Greg

     /  July 7, 2017

    We already knew that Tesla CEO Elon Musk was working toward making Tesla powertrains last a million miles. It’s not a hard concept to consider, since the systems that power electric cars is super-simple in comparison to the significant complexity of an ICE powertrain.
    Tesla electric drive units are getting an unadvertised upgrade that could potentially make them ‘last forever’.
    http://insideevs.com/tesla-quietly-revises-electric-drive-units-model-s-x/

    Reply
    • Longer lifespans for EVs also add a larger competitive footprint vs ICEs. For example, the long term impact of a million mile EV is about x5 that of a comparable ICE vehicle. An EV capable of lasting that long and used for such a long period effectively reduces the need for producing so many vehicles per year. This is another potential positive sustainability impact.

      Reply
  28. Greg

     /  July 7, 2017

    Part of the story. Windows/glass becoming smarter and generating electricity:

    Transparent, Solar Power-Generating Windows Are the World’s First

    Trying to make large buildings energy-neutral, companies are taking advantage of building windows’ surface area to harvest solar energy.
    https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/tech/these-transparent-solar-power-generating-windows-are-world-s-first-ncna780206

    Reply
  29. Greg

     /  July 7, 2017

    Electric cars, via distributed electric generation, will enhance our national security
    Courtesy Peter Sinclair:
    Russian Hackers Target Nuclear Plants
    “I’ll say it again. Distributed Energy Generation will enhance National Security.”
    https://climatecrocks.com/2017/07/06/russian-hackers-target-nuclear-plants/

    Reply
  30. Greg

     /  July 7, 2017

    SA Government announces Tesla will build 100MW giant battery as part of its energy security plan

    TESLA, the company of tech billionaire Elon Musk, will partner with French renewable energy developer Neoen to build the “world’s biggest lithium ion battery” in South Australia.

    And if they don’t deliver the battery in under 100 days from the contract being ticked off, it will be free.
    http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/business/sa-government-announces-who-will-build-100mw-giant-battery-as-part-of-its-energy-security-plan/news-story/9f83072547f41f4f5556477942168dd9

    Reply
  31. wili

     /  July 7, 2017

    Good piece in Rolling Stone by Taibbi: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/taibbi-goodbye-and-good-riddance-to-centrism-w487628

    ” … Atlantic senior editor David Frum tweeted in despair:

    “I think we need a word to describe people broadly satisfied with the status quo & skeptical of radical changes based on wild promises.”

    “I mean, there have to be a few of us, right? Maybe we could form a movement of some kind or form a political party with that word in it?”

    Frum’s clarion call spoke to the almost total cluelessness of the D.C./punditoid class to which he belongs. (To be clear, though I’m a New Yorker, I also belong to this miserable group.)

    The idea that people who want expanded health care, reduced income inequality, fewer wars and more public services are “unrealistic” springs from an old deception in our politics.

    For decades pundits and pols have been telling progressive voters they don’t have the juice to make real demands, and must make alliances with more “moderate” and presumably more numerous “centrists” in order to avoid becoming the subjects of right-wing monsters like Reagan/Bush/Bush/Trump.

    Voters for decades were conned into thinking they were noisome minorities whose best path to influence is to make peace with the mightier “center,” which inevitably turns out to support military interventionism, fewer taxes for the rich, corporate deregulation and a ban on unrealistic “giveaway” proposals like free higher education. Those are the realistic, moderate, popular ideas, we’re told.

    But it’s a Wizard of Oz trick, just like American politics in general. There is no numerically massive center behind the curtain. What there is instead is a tiny island of wealthy donors, surrounded by a protective ring of for-sale major-party politicians (read: employees) whose job it is to castigate too-demanding voters and preach realism.

    Those pols do so with the aid of a bund of dependably alarmist sycophants in the commercial media, most of whom, whether they know it or not, technically inhabit the low end of the 1 percent and tend to be amazed that people out there are pissed off about stuff.

    If 80 percent of Americans ever realized their shared economic situation, they could and probably should take over government. Of course, they wouldn’t just be taking power for themselves, they’d be taking it from the big-dollar donors who own such a disproportionately huge share of wealth in our society.

    Such people of course have many very good reasons to embrace the status quo. The problem is, they’re not terribly numerous as a group, which unfortunately for them still matters in a democracy. It’s one of the unpleasant paradoxes of exclusive wealth. If you live in a democracy, you’re continually forced to manufacture the appearance of broad support for the regressive policies underpinning your awesome lifestyle.

    Reply
  32. Andy_in_SD

     /  July 8, 2017

    As the world forges forth into smart grids, wind, solar, EV vehicles, low carbon foot print life…. a group of people (who will not be named) scream “beautiful coal” and other nonsense like “If you create the supply, the demand will follow”.

    At what point does the balance of the world classify carbon heavy / unenvironmental manufacturing as a WTO issue, and that culprit gets a worldwide tariff on all exports? And this while those that embrace the future do not need to run such expensive power plants, and can thus manufacture cheaper once the amortization is complete on the power generation.

    What then? MAGA my arse…..

    We will be akin to the last guy who made the best slide rules who said calculators will never catch on.

    Reply
    • wharf rat

       /  July 8, 2017

      “MAGA my arse:”

      MEEGA*

      Once Dominant, the United States Finds Itself Isolated at G-20

      * everybody else
      =
      Never fear; California is here.

      The New Nation-States
      How Trump’s rejection of the Paris accord is reshaping the political landscape.

      BY BILL MCKIBBEN
      July 6, 2017

      the Paris decision may also reshape the world for the better, or at least the very different. Consider: A few days after Trump’s Rose Garden reveal, California Governor Jerry Brown was in China, conductingwhat looked a lot like an official state visit. He posed with pandas, attended banquets—and sat down for a one-on-one meeting with President Xi Jinping, which produced a series of agreements on climate cooperation between China and California. (Trump’s secretary of energy, Rick Perry, was in Beijing the same week: no pandas, no sit-down with Xi.) It was almost as if California were another country. Call it a nation-state—a nation-state that has talked about launching its own satellites to monitor melting polar ice. (Rat does; he calls it The Republic of Awesome)

      https://newrepublic.com/article/143600/new-nation-states-trump-rejection-paris-accord-reshaping-political-landscape

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  July 9, 2017

        Thank goodness for California, and a few other states for standing up to Trump’s abysmal climate policies. At least the rest of the world knows we are all not as stupid as Trump and his voters.

        Reply
      • This makes me want to move to California. MD is OK. But Brown is really kicking it up a notch. Great commentary by McKibben here.

        Reply
    • A failure of leadership on a grand scale. A failure to even effectively follow the clearly visible trends. As a result, the federal government under Trump risks consigning the U.S. to the great dustbin of once-powerful nations who fell into decadence and forever lost that vital imagination and drive that leads to — ever necessary — innovation.

      Reply
  33. Shawn Redmond

     /  July 8, 2017

    Hold on!
    New data out Friday from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows that there have been nine extreme weather events — each racking up more than $1 billion in losses — during the first half of 2017.

    An average year between 1980 and 2016 had just 5.5 major events , after adjusting for inflation.

    That means we’ve already racked up more than a year’s worth of weather disasters in 2017 — the second-fastest pace in history.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/america-is-closing-in-on-a-record-number-of-weather-disasters-early-2017-7

    Reply
    • utoutback

       /  July 8, 2017

      As I watch US & Russia (both committed FF states) hand holding, North Korea rockets, the world leaders making trade arrangements, violence in the streets and climate “events” I wonder. Yes, renewable energy sources and battery technology are advancing and there will be EVs for those who can afford them, but will we avoid war? And will we commit the amount of resources needed to change what is needed in time?
      We know that even if we stopped additional CO2 releases today there is still additional warming with associated climate changes built into the system. I’m afraid the worst is yet to come.
      I know Robert! I’m not giving up. But, realism is a hard thing.

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  July 9, 2017

        +1

        Reply
      • From the climate perspective — the worst is definitely yet to come. And we need to invest, innovate, prepare and mitigate in order to be ready for it. In other words, we have the ability through our choices now to make climate change less harmful and more manageable. And we should be cheering on the innovations that allow us to do that even as we keep a very concerned weather eye to the presently evolving situation.

        Reply
    • Thanks for this, Shawn.

      Reply
  34. Abel Adamski

     /  July 8, 2017

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20161018-the-worlds-knowledge-is-being-buried-in-a-salt-mine

    An excellent source of information and this article is about preserving information for the future in our digital age

    Another excellent article out of so many

    http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20170330-the-uncertain-future-of-democracy

    Reply
  35. OT but more basic information on ocean processes.
    1. https://phys.org/news/2017-07-extreme-low-oxygen-eddies-atlantic-greenhouse.html
    Mobile low oxygen eddies moving across the Atlantic producing nitrous oxide, a “hitherto unknown phenomenon in the Atlantic,” says Dr. Fiedler.”
    “The latest study, now published in Scientific Reports, demonstrates that at the core of the eddy, the highest levels of the greenhouse gas nitrous oxide ever measured in the open Atlantic were found in only 100 meters of water depth.

    2. Bacteria collaborate to propel the ocean ‘engine’. July 5, 2017
    https://phys.org/news/2017-07-bacteria-collaborate-propel-ocean.html

    Essential microbiological interactions that keep our oceans stable have been fully revealed for the first time, by researchers at the University of Warwick.

    Dr Joseph Christie-Oleza and Professor David Scanlan from the School of Life Sciences have discovered that two of the most abundant types of microorganism in the oceans – phototrophic and heterotrophic bacteria – collaborate to cycle nutrients, consequently, drawing carbon from the atmosphere and feeding the ecosystem.

    This is contrary to the popular scientific belief that marine phototrophs and heterotrophs compete with each other to consume the scarce nutrients found in seawater.

    Phototrophic bacteria use light to ‘fix’ carbon dioxide from the air, and convert this into organic matter – which leaks out, and is consumed by heterotrophs, which in turn release nutrients back to the ecosystem so the phototrophic bacteria can continue to do their job: photosynthesise and fix more carbon.

    This interaction keeps the level of nutrients in the ocean balanced and keeps a healthy base that ultimately sustains the entire marine food web. Half of the planet’s primary production and half of the oxygen we breathe rely on this system to work efficiently. The speed at which these nutrients are circulated will define the rate at which the oceans will continue to buffer against carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is a major greenhouse gas.

    “Here we give experimental evidence of a basic concept in ecology, where nutrients need to circulate to maintain a stable ecosystem, like money in the economy! If one of the partners takes too much and doesn’t give back, he himself will suffer the consequences in the long term. The system will self-regulate and always reach a stable state”, commented Dr Christie-Oleza.

    Reply
  36. Shawn Redmond

     /  July 9, 2017

    “Something wicked this way comes.” Living here in the Northeast, where most are complaining about the cooler temps, makes one who is paying attention to the global situation quite glad to be here. However I have to say I worry for the portion of the population that can’t find relief for various reasons. Not to mention the wild life!
    https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/new-heat-wave-bakes-southwest-us
    After suffering through the most intense heat wave ever to affect the region so early in the year during mid-June, the Southwest U.S. is once again roasting in record heat. On Friday, Death Valley, California hit 127°–a tie with June 20, 2017 as the hottest temperature measured in North American this year, and just 2° shy of Death Valley’s hottest reliably measured temperature on record. Numerous stations throughout Arizona, Nevada, and Southern California recorded record highs for the date on July 7, and several stations notched top-five warmest temperatures ever recorded for any date:

    Reply
  37. Vic

     /  July 9, 2017

    It seems we might have another environmentally aware billionaire shaking trees in the global market place. UK based, Indian born Sanjeev Gupta appears to be carving out a new niche by buying out struggling metals manufacturers and returning them to profitability by powering them with cheaper energy sources – renewables of course.

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-09/sanjeev-gupta-new-owner-of-sa-whyalla-steelworks/8691072

    Reply
    • wili

       /  July 9, 2017

      Great, so we can rape the planet with wind and solar instead of fossil fuels…what a wonderful improvement! /sark

      It’s true that this kind of development could rapidly move a lot of activity that was using ff to renewables, but this pretty well illustrates the short sightedness of people advocating simply BAU switched to renewables…we are doing a whole lot of really bad and unsustainable things to the planet besides AGW. The one thing the global existential threat of GW should make us do is reflect on the entire industrial project that got us into this mess, along with the mind sets that drive it. But it doesn’t seem that we are collectively going to be taking that reflective turn any time soon.

      Reply
      • Paul

         /  July 10, 2017

        Well said wili.
        There’s a long, long way to go. There’s no one even discussing degrowth let alone any politician standing for it.

        Reply
      • Jeremy in Wales

         /  July 11, 2017

        Slightly harsh. First became aware of this individual 4 or 5 years ago when he started investing heavily in Wales, historically a area of heavy industry, where the company is called Liberty Steel. This heavy industry gives a heavy CO2 output per head of population.

        As the attached article says “Liberty’s plan to establish an integrated and competitive steel business which involves making steel from recycled material using renewable energy sources.” A virtuous circle if you like.

        The company largely takes scrap and recycles it in the UK (instead of shipping it to the far east) via electric arc furnaces and is trying to use renewable energy, investing in a wood chip power station (converted from coal) and a tidal lagoon company (Severn estuary has second highest tides in world).

        While BAU growth cannot continue individual companies should be able to grow (largely by taking over failing companies) if they do things in a better way, not just greenwash, and in addition gives decently paid jobs and security to employees who would otherwise be thrown on the scrap heap. One of the reasons Brexit and Trump happened was the lack of hope in areas such as the south of Wales or the Appalachians.

        http://www.walesonline.co.uk/business/liberty-steel-plan-create-600-12154512

        Reply
      • Over-played.

        The overall impact of renewable energy is far, far less than fossil fuels. In any case, traditional systems of economic growth do not arise from renewable based economies. Fossil fuel is extractive, wealth concentrative, and dominance oriented. Renewables are harvest-based, wealth distributive, cooperation oriented. Such systems naturally decentralize economies and enable higher levels of equality.

        Net energy consumption can increase under renewables without the same level of harmful impact as fossil fuels — even if renewable energy consumption were to equal x10 present fossil fuel energy consumption. However, ironically, net energy consumption after transitioning to renewables tends to fall due to the increased efficiency of renewable energy based systems.

        Anyone concerned about sustainability and equality should support renewable energy 100 percent…

        Reply
  38. Abel Adamski

     /  July 9, 2017

    From Bloomberg New Energy Finance
    New Energy Outlook 2017
    https://about.bnef.com/new-energy-outlook/

    What sets NEO apart is that our assessment is focused on the parts of the system that are driving rapid change in markets, grid systems and business models. This includes the cost of wind and solar technology, battery storage, electricity demand and the uptake of EVs among others. Get the report.

    “Renewable energy sources are set to represent almost three quarters of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power generating technology until 2040, thanks to rapidly falling costs for solar and wind power, and a growing role for batteries, including electric vehicle batteries, in balancing supply and demand.”

    8 Coal’s point of no return

    Sluggish demand, cheap renewables and coal-gas fuel switching slash coal use by 87% in Europe and 45% in the U.S. by 2040, while coal generation continues to grow in China but reaches peak in 2026. A mere 18% of planned new coal power plants will ever get built. That means 369GW of projects stand to be cancelled.

    Reply
  39. wili

     /  July 9, 2017

    http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-m … story.html

    “Thousands of cows die in California heat wave; disposing them becomes a problem”

    “Cow mortality, that happens every day,” Tom Tucker, the county assistant agricultural commissioner, told the newspaper. “It’s the heat that has made it worse. It hasn’t stopped. We are losing our cows, and it is at an extreme.”

    An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 cattle have died in the last month…

    Reply
  40. Suzanne

     /  July 9, 2017

    Always love listening to Richard Alley. Here is a presentation on March 22, 2017..
    “The big picture on energy and climate,” discusses the dynamics of how money, jobs, national security, ethics and the environment influence perceptions and decisions about energy.

    Reply
  41. Suzanne

     /  July 9, 2017

    Paul Watson essay..”Human Lives are not more important than Animal Lives”
    https://www.outdoorjournal.com/blog/human-lives-are-not-more-important-than-animal-lives/

    Reply
  42. utoutback

     /  July 10, 2017

    Secretary of Energy Perry is looking for ways to require electrical supplier to use energy from coal, nuclear and gas fired power plants.
    http://thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/329142-perry-orders-energy-department-study-of-electric-grid
    I heard a report on NPR that a government regulation allows him to declare and electrical grid emergency and that he is stating that the gird is not reliable when using wind and solar power sources.
    One more way for the Trumpsters to push old energy down our throats.

    Reply
    • utoutback

       /  July 10, 2017

      Couple of typos:
      1st line – requires
      5th line – declare an

      Reply
    • Try it and see how many states and businesses go into full-on policy revolt. In other words, given the various economic incentives at play, it will be very difficult for the federal government to force fossil fuel based energy down everyone’s throat. Of course, they can try and, in doing so, admit the abject failure of fossil fuel economics by requiring dirty, expensive energy consumption by government mandate.

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  July 12, 2017

      Covered well in a conservation article
      https://theconversation.com/are-solar-and-wind-really-killing-coal-nuclear-and-grid-reliability-76741

      Are solar and wind really killing coal, nuclear and grid reliability?

      U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry in April requested a study to assess the effect of renewable energy policies on nuclear and coal-fired power plants.

      Some energy analysts responded with confusion, as the subject has been extensively studied by grid operators and the Department of Energy’s own national labs. Others were more critical, saying the intent of the review is to favor the use of nuclear and coal over renewable sources.

      So, are wind and solar killing coal and nuclear? Yes, but not by themselves and not for the reasons most people think. Are wind and solar killing grid reliability? No, not where the grid’s technology and regulations have been modernized. In those places, overall grid operation has improved, not worsened.

      With the conclusion being.
      In the end, Secretary Perry has posed good questions. Thankfully, because of lessons learned while he was governor of Texas, we already have answers: despite concerns to the contrary, incorporating wind and solar into the grid along with fast-ramping natural gas, smart market designs and integrated load control systems will lead to a cleaner, cheaper, more reliable grid.

      Reply
  43. Suzanne

     /  July 10, 2017

    A NY Magazine front page article on CC….
    “When will Climate Change make the Earth too hot for humans?”
    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html

    It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas — and the cities they will drown — have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.

    Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  July 10, 2017

      Correction: Title of this comprehensive article is..
      “The Uninhabitable Earth” by David Wallace-Wells

      Reply
    • Troutbum52

       /  July 10, 2017

      David Wallace-Wells’ article is a must read. He destroys the attitude that we can get by with just a little “adjustment” and life will gloriously continue as it does today.

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  July 10, 2017

        I thought so. I will be forwarding it to those in my orbit, for whom CC is not a priority, or even a concern. If after you read this article, you still think CC is not something to be concerned about…then you will drown in your river of Denial.

        Reply
    • Scheduling tweet on this, thanks.

      Reply
    • Abel Adamski

       /  July 10, 2017

      Excellent article
      If I May Highlight
      He is especially focused on what’s called the aerosol approach — dispersing so much sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere that when it converts to sulfuric acid, it will cloud a fifth of the horizon and reflect back 2 percent of the sun’s rays, buying the planet at least a little wiggle room, heat-wise. “Of course, that would make our sunsets very red, would bleach the sky, would make more acid rain,” he says. “But you have to look at the magnitude of the problem. You got to watch that you don’t say the giant problem shouldn’t be solved because the solution causes some smaller problems.”

      Red Sky Prophesy

      The Conversation had a piece about this subject with very pro proponents in the comments, I also note the trends in Arctic ice,it was suggested the Arctic would be the best place to seed to restore albedo. Note someone did as a private endeavour try iron seeding in the ocean some years ago, I wonder.

      Reply
    • wili

       /  July 10, 2017

      Yes, that is an excellent article. Here’s one important extract:

      “The Earth has experienced five mass extinctions before the one we are living through now, each so complete a slate-wiping of the evolutionary record it functioned as a resetting of the planetary clock, and many climate scientists will tell you they are the best analog for the ecological future we are diving headlong into. Unless you are a teenager, you probably read in your high-school textbooks that these extinctions were the result of asteroids. In fact, all but the one that killed the dinosaurs were caused by climate change produced by greenhouse gas.

      The most notorious was 252 million years ago; it began when carbon warmed the planet by five degrees, accelerated when that warming triggered the release of methane in the Arctic, and ended with 97 percent of all life on Earth dead.

      We are currently adding carbon to the atmosphere at a considerably faster rate; by most estimates, at least ten times faster.

      The rate is accelerating. “

      Reply
    • humanistruth

       /  July 10, 2017

      Michael Mann begs to disagree.
      “The article argues that climate change will render the Earth uninhabitable by the end of this century. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. The article fails to produce it.

      The article paints an overly bleak picture by overstating some of the science. It exaggerates for example, the near-term threat of climate “feedbacks” involving the release of frozen methane (the science on this is much more nuanced and doesn’t support the notion of a game-changing, planet-melting methane bomb. It remains unclear how much of this frozen methane can be readily mobilized by projected warming.

      Also, I was struck by erroneous statements like this one referencing “satellite data showing the globe warming, since 1998, more than twice as fast as scientists had thought.””

      Fear Won’t Save Us: Putting a Check on Climate Doom
      https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/07/10/fear-wont-save-us-putting-check-climate-doom

      Reply
    • David Roberts concurs with the general thrust, in a tweet thread:

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  July 11, 2017

        Is this article perfect? Of course not. However, I do think “overall” it is comprehensive in painting the picture of where we “could” land up if we continue to take a passive approach to dealing with Climate Change. ,
        I have far to many individuals in my life, many are politically liberal, who only have a cursory idea of where we are headed if we continue a passive approach to finding solutions. Many, as is human nature, see it as a problem that will not effect them, or even their children, that will “somehow” be solved by science, in a timely manner. Or they are just so overwhelmed with other issues in their busy lives, they are not focused on CC, and they certainly are not reading blogs like this one to learn the details or different aspects as they pertain to CC.
        So, for me, if this article gets the attention of the public and “wakes up” a few of them, I don’t see that a few sentences where the author takes journalistic license as a reason to dismiss the entire work. This is just how this non scientist, but very concerned citizen sees it.

        Reply
        • wili

           /  July 11, 2017

          Thanks, Suzanne. That’s pretty much my take on it, as stated below. It’s always good to correct an error or two, but that doesn’t really negate the main thrust of the argument. And I do think methane, both from the oceans but also from land, is a real concern that should not be swept under the table (though it would be nice if we could keep it ‘swept’ under the permafrost!).

          Here was another major take away for me:

          “But the many sober-minded scientists I interviewed over the past several months — the most credentialed and tenured in the field, few of them inclined to alarmism and many advisers to the IPCC who nevertheless criticize its conservatism — have quietly reached an apocalyptic conclusion, too:

          No plausible program of emissions reductions alone can prevent climate disaster.”

        • Suzanne

           /  July 11, 2017

          +1

    • First, Mann is absolutely correct — it is highly unlikely that human fossil fuel burning will render the Earth uninhabitable for human beings by 2100. But it’s possible that such a thing could happen in a few centuries in the absolute, very worst, carbon emissions and climate sensitivity scenarios.

      The article is correct in some of its broader concerns, but it does (as Mann rightly points out) erroneously over-state the velocity at which some of the various impacts are likely to unfold while also inaccurately framing a number of key issues. It also has an overly simplistic view of both the underlying processes involved and in the potential positive impact of various mitigation based human responses. Some of the language also leans too heavily on fossil-fuel centric thinking.

      That said, we do have the capacity to render large regions around the equator practically uninhabitable by 2100 (as noted in the article). We have the capacity, under business as usual fossil fuel burning to have stratified oceans by that time (although probably not the Canfield Oceans hinted at in the article). We absolutely have the capacity to see the Earth with a greatly reduced life support capability by 2100 and a nasty global mass extinction reaping its horrid rewards en masse by that time. Large subsets of modern human civilization would likely collapse by or well before 2100 under BAU emissions without some kind of unforeseen adaptive capability emerging. But human beings would still be around — although living in a world that is both far more desperate, dangerous, hot and miserable.

      I’ve written a cli-fi blog based on potential worst case scenarios for the late 21st Century that was based heavily on scientific research. It is also probably a bit imperfect:

      https://robertscribbler.com/2016/07/29/hothouse-2090-category-6-hurricane-a-grey-swansong-for-tampa/

      To read this article, even in its imperfection, is to come to the conclusion that BAU based fossil fuel burning is a path that we absolutely do not want to follow. But we should also fully reject the implied notion that such a dark future is inevitable. It is only inevitable if we make it so by continuing to burn fossil fuels.

      Reply
  44. DJ

     /  July 10, 2017

    OT, the forest fire situation in British Columbia is disastrous, with no indication that things will be improving any time soon.

    Reply
  45. wili

     /  July 10, 2017

    Noam Chomsky – “The Most Dangerous Organization in Human History”

    Reply
  46. wili

     /  July 11, 2017

    ” The national weather service Meteo France said 6.8 centimetres (2.6 inches) of rain fell in a violent two-hour storm late Sunday, dramatically ending days of hot and humid weather.

    A record-breaking 4.9 centimetres (1.92 inches) fell in one hour, equivalent to three weeks’ rainfall in an average July, the agency said.
    The previous one-hour record for rainfall in Paris was set on July 2 1995, when 4.7 cms were recorded.

    Sunday’s downpour forced the closure of about 15 stations due to flooding, three of which remained shuttered early Monday, but traffic was otherwise normal, Paris transport authority, the RATP, said.

    In June 2016, a three-day downpour led the river Seine in Paris to rise to its highest level in three decades.

    Many of its tributaries broke their banks, leading to flooding and the evacuation of more than 20,000 people in northern France.

    Scientists from France’s Laboratory for Climate and Environment Sciences warned at the time that global warming was to blame for the increased intensity and frequency of such storms. ”

    https://phys.org/news/2017-07-pounds-paris-shutters-metro-stations.html

    Reply
  47. Sheri

     /  July 11, 2017

    Ths is Sheri, Phoenix refugee from heat in San Diego. I Ithink half of Arizona is here in July and Aug. I m here becauase of a broher in the hospital for about 3 months now. Yes,he is getting better steadily and will be released ina few weeks. He collapsed from an infection started in gall bladder nd became bacterial blood infection, sepsis I think it is called.

    Anyway, Ithought I should report that the past week to10 days has been brutal in phoenix, I left there this mornng. i know more peope whose AC units have completely broken down on them than i have in many years. the Ac companies have been really slammed by the extra heat this years,sometimes people have truble getting someone to fix their AC unit for several days. Some people have been know to hang out intheiroffices from early am, 5 or 6 am, to after dark, about 8 or so. i let myAC company forgoe my usual maintenance a few weeks ago because theyhad so many customers to see who had no AC in ourfirst bigheatwave last month. Mine has been fine and they checked it last week.
    I haven’t been around to read many comments, so i seethere is enough to read here. Forgive my typos, Be well out rhere,

    A Zonie in San Diego, who can walk to the beach from this apt tomorrow,
    Sheri

    Reply
  48. Peter Sinclair has written about Doomers/Dr Mann re an article in New York Magazine https://climatecrocks.com/2017/07/10/mann-to-doomers-not-so-fast/#comments

    Reply
    • wili

       /  July 11, 2017

      Thanks for the link, and the others. It would be great to have a good collection of relevant links, and we have a good start. This seems as if it’s worth a good discussion (maybe a main post from our own, rs?? ‘-) ). It is always good to correct any inaccuracy in anything, but it seems to me that the main thrust of the article is right on target. But I’m as interested in the discussion and people’s various views and perspectives as on the article itself.

      Here’s defense of the piece in Slate: http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2017/07/we_are_not_alarmed_enough_about_climate_change.html

      “Alarmism Is the Argument We Need to Fight Climate Change

      New York magazine’s global-warming horror story isn’t too scary. It’s not scary enough.”

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  July 11, 2017

        Thanks for the Slate article. Good to see “more” conversation on the subject of CC coming out as a result of the NY Magazine piece in other mainstream outlets.

        Reply
      • islandraider

         /  July 11, 2017

        Mark Lynas: “Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet”. Here is a link to the summary document…

        http://www.sustainablewoodstock.co.uk/onetwo%20degrees%20summary.pdf

        I don’t find Mr. Wallace-Wells article to be alarmist in the least.

        Reply
      • I’m going to think about it. It’s obviously a subject that we need to approach in an inclusive fashion. Of course, it’s not really helpful if we break down into various factions over this issue. At some point, if you keep burning fossil fuels, you end up with this kind of dark future (some of which you get by 2100, some of which you get well after that). And we should absolutely talk about the terrible thing that we want to avoid at all costs.

        Some studies indicate that humans in general do not deal well with this kind of information. That the response is negative. I don’t agree. I think we need to say — this is how bad things get if we don’t act, if we don’t halt fossil fuel burning soon. We don’t want to get there. We need to be clear why we are working so hard to stop climate change. It’s because human-caused climate change is probably the worst possible future for planet Earth imaginable.

        Reply
    • Suzanne

       /  July 11, 2017

      I just posted my feelings about the NY Magazine article above. I don’t think the article is perfect, and yes, it does contain some journalistic hyperbole, but I do think it serves a vital purpose. And yes, climate scientists, like Mann, should stick with the facts, and of course, avoid hyperbole and doom porn. That goes without saying in my book. But authors such as this one, David Wallace-Wells, and even Dahr Jamail also serve a vital purpose, as non scientists, to get the word out on the critical imperative to make Climate Change a priority in people’s consciousness and lives.

      One more point.

      Most climate scientists are not the most effective communicators. And many, rarely give a comprehensive view of the problem. It has been my experience they only communicate the effects as it relates to their field of study as it pertains to CC. Again, I am not being critical, just an observation. Which is why those like Michael Mann, Richard Alley and Katharine Hayhoe, are such treasures when it comes to educating the public about Climate Change. There just aren’t enough of them that have those communication skills.

      So, bottom line, we need journalists to give us all the pieces of the Climate Change puzzle in a way that will “wake people up” to what is happening..and hopefully, get them interested in learning more from the Climate Scientists.

      Reply
      • +1

        The quest for perfect knowledge is, all-too-often, the enemy of the good. And sometimes too many qualifications, caveats, and too much kow-towing to reticence provides a false comfort. That said, I think Mann’s criticisms here were spot-on and that he wasn’t doing any of the above. The article did go a step or two too far. And the inaccuracies Mann noted were very important.

        The edge with which climate change reaps the whirlwind is quite sharp. And there is much reason to be alarmed. But we don’t have to over-state the problem in order to get attention. It’s bad enough as-is already.

        Reply
      • Ed

         /  July 11, 2017

        I read the comments on the NYMag, in addition to Mr. Wallace-Wells article. I found the comments more depressing because they are dominated by the ill-and-misinformed littering half-truths, lies and obfuscations. It is indeed hard to get through to those who are now vested in denial. Truly sad.

        Reply
  49. wili

     /  July 11, 2017

    here’s a scholarly paper on the current (sixth) mass extinction event:

    Biological annihilation via the ongoing sixth mass extinction signaled by vertebrate population losses and declines

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2017/07/05/1704949114

    Abstract:

    The population extinction pulse we describe here shows, from a quantitative viewpoint, that Earth’s sixth mass extinction is more severe than perceived when looking exclusively at species extinctions. Therefore, humanity needs to address anthropogenic population extirpation and decimation immediately. That conclusion is based on analyses of the numbers and degrees of range contraction (indicative of population shrinkage and/or population extinctions according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature) using a sample of 27,600 vertebrate species, and on a more detailed analysis documenting the population extinctions between 1900 and 2015 in 177 mammal species.

    We find that the rate of population loss in terrestrial vertebrates is extremely high—even in “species of low concern.” In our sample, comprising nearly half of known vertebrate species, 32% (8,851/27,600) are decreasing; that is, they have decreased in population size and range.

    In the 177 mammals for which we have detailed data, all have lost 30% or more of their geographic ranges and more than 40% of the species have experienced severe population declines (>80% range shrinkage).

    Our data indicate that beyond global species extinctions Earth is experiencing a huge episode of population declines and extirpations, which will have negative cascading consequences on ecosystem functioning and services vital to sustaining civilization. We describe this as a “biological annihilation” to highlight the current magnitude of Earth’s ongoing sixth major extinction event.

    Reply
    • wili

       /  July 11, 2017

      Guardian article on the same: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jul/10/earths-sixth-mass-extinction-event-already-underway-scientists-warn

      ” Earth’s sixth mass extinction event under way, scientists warn

      Researchers talk of ‘biological annihilation’ as study reveals billions of populations of animals have been lost in recent decades”

      I have for a long time countered people who say we live in a culture of death. Death, after all, is a natural consequence of life. But we aren’t just ending life. We are obliterating entire species. Forever. By the dozens. Every day.

      We are, in fact, a culture of annihilation.

      Reply
      • Suzanne

         /  July 11, 2017

        Thanks for the links Wili. The Guardian article had lots of comments, which I think is a good thing. It means people “cared” enough to read the article and then comment. I always despair when I see a mainstream article about CC or related subjects with few comments.

        Reply
  50. Somewhat OT, sorry. New article in Siberian Times about methane blowout craters and methane filled pingos in Siberia:

    http://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/gas-pipelines-supplying-europe-in-real-danger-from-exploding-tundra-top-scientist/

    “‘Based on satellite data, we have marked 7,000 bulges (pingos) – or even more,’ said Bogoyavlensky, deputy director of the Oil and Gas Research Institute, Moscow.”

    “Scientists now believe that Yamal’s landscape – pockmarked by round-shaped lakes – was substantially caused by this process over hundreds of years.

    This means it was not solely the recent ‘global warming’ that was responsible but more subtle rhythms of melting every decade with the Arctic Ocean ice cover melting by some 14%.”

    So scientists are now coming to the view that this circular lake topography is mostly due to methane blowouts. Some debris was thrown up to a kilometer away, says this article.

    I think it’s likely that sometimes the gas eruptions trigger explosions, and sometimes not. Flammable limits for methane in air range cluster around a few percent methane. If the concentration of methane is right, and a spark is generated by rocks in the permafrost colliding, an explosion may result, maybe.

    This circular lake topography covers hundreds of thousands of square kilometers. Are these gas eruptions due to simple methane gas production by thawing permafrost or are they due to an underlying regional layer of methane hydrate originating in glaciations 90,000 years ago?

    Ice sheets can create stability zones for gas hydrate hundreds of meters thick, due to the pressure of the ice sheet and the cold temperatures under the ice sheet. Drilling rig blowouts at 50-200 meters in the natural gas fields of Siberia are common, and the shallow blowouts are caused by methane of bacterial origin, unlike the deep thermogenic gas from the giant gas fields. So a truly regional layer of relic gas hydrate under wide areas of Siberia, containing billions of tons of methane, seems more and more probable, I think.

    Reply

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