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Why a 15 Percent Slow-Down in North Atlantic Ocean Circulation is Seriously Bad News

“We know somewhere out there is a tipping point where this current system is likely to break down. We still don’t know how far away or close to this tipping point we might be. … This is uncharted territory.” — Stefan Rahmstorf

*****

The North Atlantic ocean circulation (often called AMOC or the Great Ocean Conveyor) is now the weakest its been in sixteen centuries.

Increasing melt from Greenland due to human-forced warming of the atmosphere through the deep ocean is freshening the ocean surface of the far North Atlantic. To the south, higher ocean temperatures are increasing surface salt content through greater rates of evaporation. Fresh water prevents ocean water from sinking in the north and rising salt content generates increased sinking in the south. As a result, the rate at which waters move from the Equator toward the Pole is slowing down. Since the mid 20th Century, this critical ocean circulation has reduced in strength by 15 percent on decadal time-scales.

(Deep water formation in the North Atlantic is driven by the sinking of cold, salty water. Over recent years, this formation, which drives larger ocean circulation and atmospheric weather patterns, has been weakening due to increasing fresh water flows coming from a melting Greenland. Image source: Commons and the NASA Earth Observatory.)

Movement of warm Equatorial waters northward and their subsequent overturning and sinking in the North Atlantic drives a number of key weather and climate features. The first is that it tends to keep Europe warm during winter and to moderate European temperatures during summer. The second impact is that a fast moving current off the U.S. East Coast pulls water away from the shore keeping sea levels lower. The third is that warm water in the North Atlantic during winter time tends to keep the regional jet stream relatively flat. And the fourth is that a more rapid circulation keeps the ocean more highly oxygenated — allowing it to support more life.

A slowing down of ocean circulation in the North Atlantic therefore means that Europe will tend to cool during winter even as it heats up during summer. Sea level rise will accelerate faster for the U.S. East Coast relative to the rest of the world due to a slowing Gulf Stream combined with the effects of melting land glaciers and thermal ocean expansion. The North Atlantic jet stream will tend to become wavier — with deep troughs tending to form over Eastern North America and through parts of Europe. These trough zones will tend to generate far more intense fall and winter weather. Finally, a slowing ocean circulation will tend to increase the number of low-oxygen dead zones.

(Cool pool formation near Greenland juxtaposed by a warming and slowing of the Gulf Stream as it is forced southward is an early indication of ocean circulation slow-down. During recent years, this phenomena — which is related to larger human-forced climate change — has become a prevalent feature of North Atlantic Ocean climate and weather patterns. An indicator that climate change and ocean system changes for this region are already under way. Image source: Earth Nullschool.)

A 15 percent slow down in ocean circulation is not yet a catastrophic event. It is, however, enough to produce odd weather and climate signals. We have tended to see higher rates of sea level rise off the U.S. East Coast, we have tended to see more extreme winter weather across the North Atlantic basin. The long term trend for increasing ocean dead zones is well established. And European weather has become more and more extreme — with hot summers and severe winters.

With rates of Greenland melt increasing, there is a risk that the historic observed North Atlantic circulation weakening will increase further and more radically — producing still more profound results than we see today. In the event of large melt outflows coming from Greenland during abnormally warm summers or due to warming deep water melting glaciers from below — a possibility that rises with each 0.1 C of global temperature increase — we could see a very rapid weakening of ocean circulation above and beyond that which has already been recorded.

(Like Antarctica, Greenland features a number of below sea level locations directly beneath its largest ice masses. This feature makes Greenland more vulnerable to rapid ice loss and large melt outflows. Image source: NASA JPL.)

If such a tipping point event is breached — and there is increased risk for it as global temperatures enter a range of 1.5 to 2.5 C above 1880s averages during the 2020s through the 2040s — then we can expect far more profound weather and climate disruptions than those we have already experienced.

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54 Comments

  1. John McCormick

     /  April 24, 2018

    This is the Eastern North American and Western European Union’s game changer. From erratic weather to warmer sea surface temperatures to sea level rise and storm surges. Slowing the Gulf Stream has it all.

    Read Dr. Wally Broecker’s 1991 work on “The Great Ocean Conveyor”

    at
    pordlabs.ucsd.edu/ltalley/sio210/readings/broecker_1991_ocean_conveyor.pdf

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  2. wili

     /  April 24, 2018

    Great brief overview of the many elements connected to a slowdown of AMOC. Do we have any ranges of how much such a slow down has and yet might add to the sea level rise rates along the US East Coast, like in your general ‘hood?

    Of the many elements presented here, I’m pretty sure the general public at the most has some glimmering idea about the cooling aspect in winter, if they have seen “The Day After Tomorrow” (but then they may have unrealistic expectation of how fast, how extreme, and how extensive the cool down would be). It wasn’t really made clear, as I recall, in the movie, how a sudden multi-meter slr was supposed to be attributable to the same cause. Certainly few (in the US, at least…do they care?) would know that it also means hotter European summers, and more intense No. Atlantic storms (unless they read “Storms of My Grandchildren. So thanks for the overview, and I hope we have more discussion of these developments and likely outcomes here and elsewhere in the coming days/weeks/months…

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    • A complete collapse of the Gulf Stream would result in average sea level rise along the U.S. East Coast of about 3 feet. Present weakening has resulted in tidal fluxes that range from four to ten inches above normal early 20th Century ranges. This is on top of local subsidence and global sea level rise rates due to glacial melt and thermal expansion. Because the Gulf Stream strength fluctuates, this loss is dialated and reduced due to local weather and ocean effects. But the net range for sea level rise is already greater along the U.S. East Coast due to weakening ocean circulation.

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      • wili

         /  April 25, 2018

        Thanks for the added info, robert. As you know I’m sure, areas close to you are already experiencing sea incursions do to the combination of subsidence and global slr.

        Like

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  3. rhymeswithgoalie

     /  April 24, 2018

    I found a video my non-science friends and family would watch:

    Liked by 4 people

    Reply
  4. Robert in New Orleans

     /  April 24, 2018

    NASA Baffled by Ice Circles in the Arctic

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2018/04/23/nasa-baffled-by-mysterious-ice-circles-in-the-arctic/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.038e500cede3

    I am hopeful that this is nothing more than a bizarre scientific curiousity.

    Like

    Reply
    • Paul

       /  April 24, 2018

      Are all Washington Post articles written by/for twelve year olds?
      Little wonder the science behind global warming isn’t taken seriously.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
    • redskylite

       /  April 24, 2018

      I think that the news here is this is a new phenomena (not observed before), the speculation is that as the ice is now very thin the holes may have been made by seals – but it’s just speculation. Mysteries make interesting news, that seems to be what the WaPo reporter is playing on.

      National Geographic run with the same story – maybe that is more to your liking. .

      “While flying over the eastern Beaufort Sea as part of NASA’s Operation IceBridge, mission scientist John Sonntag made photos of something he had never seen before on April 14: odd crater-like holes in the ice.

      While experts agree the sea ice in the photograph is thin and likely young, since it is a grey color (indicating there is little snow), what made the holes is a mystery. “I have never seen anything like that before,” said IceBridge project scientist Nathan Kurtz. (See what the world would look like if all the ice melted.)”

      https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2018/04/arctic-ice-hole-photos-science-spd/

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    • redskylite

       /  April 24, 2018

      And some bright spark think that they can arrest the thinning and disappearance of the Arctic sea ice by restoring the albedo with man made sand. What could go wrong ?

      A pilot project at a lake in northern Alaska is one of a number aiming to slow climate change with geoengineering – but some worry about unintended consequences

      https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/23/sprinkling-sand-save-arctic-shrinking-sea-ice

      Like

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      • kassy

         /  April 24, 2018

        If (and that is a big if) you manage to actually put layers of it on ice stuff might grow on it?

        Liked by 1 person

        Reply
      • rhymeswithgoalie

         /  April 25, 2018

        I’ve toyed with the idea of synthetic, anchored “ice” floes strategically placed offshore for walruses, bears, etc. The platforms could be a few hundred meters long and relatively narrow (much smaller than WWII aircraft carrier, and simply constructed), possibly subsidizes by advertising visible via Google Earth.

        Other than that, I got nuthin’.

        Like

        Reply
    • Robert in New Orleans

       /  April 24, 2018

      At first my thoughts were that this phenomena might be related to breathing holes for sea mammals, but then my catastrophic thinking said gas venting from below. 😦 The problem with the image in the post is the lack of a reference scale size, as in how big is the vent? Was the image taken at high altitude or low altitude? This is where you need boots on the ground to investigate and confirm or at least a visit from a drone.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
    • The ice sits on a warming ocean. The fresh water layer is less well able to insulate due to the thinned ice in general. The overall Arctic environment is warmer. Heat in the form of upwelling is more likely to punch holes in the ice during winter time. In addition, the ice is more vulnerable to local physical factors such as mini gyres or warm current eddies. Winds can also produce Ekman type forces on the ice when it is thinned and perforated with micro-fractures — enhancing upwelling. Thin ice is also more susceptible to the action of animals — so the hole-gnawing explanation may also be plausible.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  5. Ronald

     /  April 24, 2018

    Slightly off-topic but related: A new study shows that corals on the northern Great Barrier Reef experienced a catastrophic die-off following the extended marine heatwave of 2016:
    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180418141504.htm
    “The study found that 29 per cent of the 3,863 reefs comprising the world’s largest reef system lost two-thirds or more of their corals”.

    Like

    Reply
    • We’re in a temperature and CO2 range where the corals are under considerable threat. It’s likely that bleaching events will become quite frequent affairs from this point on. To save the corals, we need to keep atmospheric CO2 below 450 ppm. Otherwise, you’re looking at a situation where maybe 10 percent or less survive the combined warming and ocean acidification impacts.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  6. This paper shows a slowdown in the last dozen of years https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26089521

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  7. redskylite

     /  April 24, 2018

    I’ve been reading about the slowdown of the AMOC for a number of years now and everything points to the slow-down persisting and indeed worsening. Many folk do not realize how much they owe to the warming currents brought to the higher latitudes of Western Europe, unsurprisingly it’s just taken for granted.

    Today I read in the Washington Post that melting ice is also freshening the Antarctic Southern Ocean and affecting currents there.

    Just more pressing reasons to hurry on giving up fossil burning and modifying industrial and agricultural practises.

    “One of the most worrisome predictions about climate change may be coming true”

    Two years ago, former NASA climate scientist James Hansen and a number of colleagues laid out a dire scenario in which gigantic pulses of fresh water from melting glaciers could upend the circulation of the oceans, leading to a world of fast-rising seas and even superstorms.

    Hansen’s scenario was based on a computer simulation, not hard data from the real world, and met with skepticism from a number of other climate scientists. But now, a new oceanographic study appears to have confirmed one aspect of this picture — in its early stages, at least.

    The new research, based on ocean measurements off the coast of East Antarctica, shows that melting Antarctic glaciers are indeed freshening the ocean around them. And this, in turn, is blocking a process in which cold and salty ocean water sinks below the sea surface in winter, forming “the densest water on the Earth,” in the words of study lead author Alessandro Silvano, a researcher with the University of Tasmania in Hobart.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/04/23/one-of-the-most-worrisome-predictions-about-climate-change-may-be-coming-true/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.f7b6997d4b9f

    Like

    Reply
  8. Shawn Redmond

     /  April 24, 2018

    For those wondering about CB, I read this post by him at 4:30 am EDT over at Cat6.
    coloradobob1 • 2 hours ago
    I am a huge blind fool , always have been . But nature takes, and nature gives. There I sit , between fool and tool. And to think that being a tool is an insult . No tools , we’re all looking for leaves to clean our bottoms. Being a tool is my high idea of human achievement.

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    • Shawn Redmond

       /  April 24, 2018

      MostlyOptimistic coloradobob1 • 3 hours ago
      Hey Bob…you have been missed and been asked about at RS.
      coloradobob1 MostlyOptimistic • 3 hours ago
      I am not part of that any more. I crossed his line. And he does not forgive.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
      • redskylite

         /  April 24, 2018

        Well spotted Shawn – I miss CB’s philosophy, insight and his good taste in music. He certainly trawls the news and posts some great articles. I’m sure he has crossed no solid lines and please come back Bob..

        Like

        Reply
        • Brian

           /  April 24, 2018

          At redskylite, just as an FYI, CB made personal attacks against people that are trying to do good work. I for one am thankful that RS keeps a site that is respectful of people.

          Like

        • redskylite

           /  April 24, 2018

          I hadn’t seen that, I know he had got frustrated at the good atmospheric scientist Katherine Hayhoe – but she’s much tougher than he thought though – but we all get frustrated at times. We all want the same thing though – end to fossil fuel exploitation and get the Earth’s carbon balance back and running.

          Like

      • John McCormick

         /  April 24, 2018

        Thanks Shawn, that helps me.

        Like

        Reply
      • I miss Bob. But he did engage in a number of personal attacks including some against scientists like Katherine Hayhoe. As a result, I put him under moderation (held his comments before approving them) for a couple of months. He’s actually presently not under moderation, but I’ve learned that he needs a lot of monitoring in this forum. It’s a sad thing for me. Bob is a good friend and I hope he is in a good place.

        Liked by 3 people

        Reply
  9. botterd

     /  April 24, 2018

    There is also another side to this phenomenon, which would be one of the few negative feedback mechanisms fed by global warming (it seems new science keeps revealing more positive feedback loops): the fresh water will freeze more easily and sooner, increasing albedo from what it would otherwise be, and less warm water will make it into the Arctic.Can they model these effects? Do they have any mitigating effect on (disproportional) Arctic warming?

    Like

    Reply
    • The negative feedback is regional and surface oriented. In other words, rapid ice melt from glaciers may produce a brief pause in global warming at the Earth Surface in the atmosphere (brief being measured in decades). However, as the Earth surface warming pauses, ocean heat uptake accelerates due to the fresh water wedge effect. In other words, the system is still gaining heat and energy imbalance at the top of the atmosphere actually increases. It’s just that most of the energy gets transferred into the oceans and ice sheets at this time. Once a significant portion of the ice melts, the atmospheric rates of temperature increase again build up.

      Most likely, we would tend to see periods of ice melt pulses after which the atmosphere cools off and the deep ocean gains heat. Once the slack is taken in, another set of ice melt pulses would tend to occur following a re-warming of the atmosphere.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  10. Kirk

     /  April 24, 2018

    I’m sorry but due to the thawing permafrost and other feedback loops, the Earth will warm up a little more than 2 degrees by 2040.
    Scientists from the Arctic council have stated that 20% of the permafrost will thaw by 2040. I suspect that it will be higher due to the other feedback multipliers.
    https://www.vox.com/2017/9/6/16062174/permafrost-melting
    Scientists also state that the permafrost holds twice the amount of greenhouse gases than is currently in the atmosphere.

    My estimations bring it to at least an 8 degree rise in global average temperatures above today’s average.
    I say at least because we don’t know at what point we will see a massive release of methane from the underwater methane hydrates. We can guess but we just don’t know. It doesn’t help that fracking is a growing industry and leaks do occur not just in the industry but from the surrounding land due to methane leaking out at other sources.
    I know that many people cling on to the idea that methane naturally decays in the atmosphere but methane has a half life of 7 years.
    The amount of methane released is far greater than that which decays hence the growth of atmospheric methane levels.
    I had this discussion with Michael E. Mann and he admitted to the same conclusion I did.
    As long as atmospheric methane levels remain constant or is increasing, only the GWP of methane when it is initially released can be used in any time span. So the GWP of methane at 20, 50 or 100 years will be the same as when it is initially released. Michael E. Mann stated that the value would be well over 100. According to the Arctic Methane Emergency Group (AMEG), the GWP value of methane would be 155.
    This severely throws out most research papers by a factor as great as 7.
    Doesn’t anyone hear get tired of reading “Faster Than Expected” headlines?

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • The present plausible worst case scenario outlined by Dr. Mann is 2 C by 2035. Most likely, we will be closer to 1.75 C by that time. My article above includes a range of 1.5 to 2.5 C during the 2020s through 2040s.

      AMEG scenarios are not plausible. And one point where IPCC prognostication has been spot on is rate of global temperature increase.

      Overstating the impact of methane is not helpful. You’re doing that now.

      We have zero indication that a major methane release of the kind that would rapidly accelerate human-forced warming through fossil fuel burning is imminent over the next two decades. And it is highly unlikely that we will see a methane release from the Arctic of a size that is capable of significantly accelerating human forced climate change between now and 2040.

      Generating a pretense that such an event is inevitable prior to 2040 is both irresponsible and inaccurate. Overstating methane’s impact also generates a ‘shiny object’ that harmfully distracts from the primary driver of the present crisis — fossil fuel burning.

      If you are a source of misinformation, which I think you are, then you will continue to repeat your false statements while avoiding actual facts. To be clear — we have zero indication in paleoclimate that the 1.5 to 2 C threshold puts major Arctic methane release of the kind you imply at risk. The risk instead is of longer term amplifying feedbacks that slowly add to the problem of initial human forced warming. That said, in the range of 4-7 C warming, larger, more rapid methane releases from highly stressed Arctic systems may be somewhat more plausible. The scenario you present, however, is not.

      To be clear the rate of atmospheric methane accumulation would have to increase by an order of magnitude to produce this scenario. The present rate of atmospheric methane accumulation is still less than during the 90s and the present primary sources of surface emission are presently fossil fuel infrastructure, the Equatorial region, and the Arctic. In other words, we do not have signal that this doomsday scenario is underway. If a signal emerges, I will identify it and write an article or a hundred about it. But it’s not happening now.

      Like

      Reply
  11. Syd Bridges

     /  April 24, 2018

    Unfortunately, I have to say that this news was expected. I read about the problem in the 1990s, along with Polar Amplification, and both have pretty much followed the script since then. The cold in northern Europe will make life there more difficult, whereas the property damage from SLR and more violent weather will cost the US trillions of dollars. Then there is the question of where the heat that used to go to northern Europe will go instead. My guess is that it will remain more in the tropical Atlantic and will exacerbate heatwaves and violent storms there. Looks like a lose-lose scenario all round-except for the profiteering carbon criminals, of course.

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    • My opinion is that the 2 C warming scenario (this Century) results in significant disruption to ocean circulation. It was one of the many reasons why I was so emphatic in my TV interview some years ago that 2 C was not safe. It’s possible that we avoid a full collapse of AMOC under the 2 C scenario. But losing, say, 35 to 60 percent would produce some rather rough scenarios as well. It all depends on melt rates from Greenland in the North Atlantic. That’s the ball to watch.

      We should also be clear that the present path gets us to 3 C or more warming this Century. In my opinion, that scenario produces a strong risk that AMOC loses 50 to 80 percent during this Century.

      Liked by 2 people

      Reply
  12. 12volt dan

     /  April 24, 2018

    Stefan Rahmstorf has a post at Real Climate that dives into the nuts and bolts of the new research (one of witch he was involved in) . It’s pretty technical but for those that can understand it (I’m not one ) it looks thorough
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2018/04/stronger-evidence-for-a-weaker-atlantic-overturning-circulation/

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
  13. Ridley Jack

     /  April 24, 2018

    412.37 new daily c02 ppm

    Like

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    • The Keeling Curve is still showing 411.21. However, we are likely headed to 413 or possibly a bit higher in the daily measure. I think that May will peak in the 411 to 412 range for the month.

      Like

      Reply
  14. June

     /  April 24, 2018

    A related story today in our local paper on possible regionalecosystem impacts of the slowdown.

    Deep current of record-breaking warm water causes concerns for the Gulf of Maine

    https://www.pressherald.com/2018/04/24/deep-current-of-unusually-warm-water-flowing-into-gulf-of-maine/

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  15. “The second impact is that a fast moving current off the U.S. East Coast pulls water away from the shore keeping sea levels lower.”

    Yes, and the East Coast “lower” is some of the “higher” already (The King of King Tides Approaches – 2).

    Stay woke.

    Like

    Reply
  16. redskylite

     /  April 24, 2018

    Based on the “Younger Dryas” experience – not just colder winters in N. Europe – but also so humdinger summers. Stockholm University reports . .

    “While winters become extremely cold, our study shows that European summers might get even warmer. While warm summers do not sound bad, the mechanism leading to this additional warming is responsible for several of the worst heat waves and droughts in Europe.”

    https://www.su.se/english/research/profile-areas/climate-seas-and-environment/collapse-of-the-atlantic-ocean-heat-transport-might-lead-to-hot-european-summers-1.383247

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    • bostonblorp

       /  April 24, 2018

      The 2003 European heat wave killed an estimated 70,000 people. “warmer summers” do indeed sound very bad.

      Like

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  17. redskylite

     /  April 24, 2018

    More concern with microplastics reported by the B.B.C

    Record concentration of microplastics found in Arctic

    Record levels of microplastics have been found trapped inside sea ice floating in the Arctic.

    Ice cores gathered across the Arctic Ocean reveal microplastics at concentrations two to three times higher than previously recorded.

    As sea ice melts with climate change, the plastic will be released back into the water, with unknown effects on wildlife, say German scientists.

    Traces of 17 different types of plastic were found in frozen seawater.

    Their “plastic fingerprint” suggests they were carried on ocean currents from the huge garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean or arose locally due to pollution from shipping and fishing.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43879389

    Like

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  18. Dave McGinnis

     /  April 24, 2018

    I must have a mistaken impression of the Gulf Stream.

    In Sverdrup I read it was a geostrophic current, powered by gravity. The western edge is higher than the eastern edge, like in your coffee cup, and the slope drives it or balances it. In that case, if it weakened, the western edge would settle downward due to the relaxed potential and thus slowing of the AMOC should ease sea-level rise on the US east coast, not make it worse.

    Where is my error?

    Like

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  19. Paul in WI

     /  April 25, 2018

    Here’s a good article about ocean circulation changes that may have ended the last ice age by triggering a large release of CO2 dissolved in the deep waters of the north Pacific Ocean:

    Shift in ocean circulation triggered the end of the last ice age

    Here’s an excerpt from the article:

    For climate scientists, understanding the exchange of CO2 between Earth’s oceans and atmosphere is essential to accurately modeling climate change.
    “The North Pacific Ocean is very big and just below the surface the waters are brimming with CO2; because of this, we really need to understand how this region can change in the future, and looking into the past is a good way to do that,” Gray said.
    While natural shifts in ocean circulation and ocean-atmosphere gas exchange fueled relatively dramatic climate change at the end of the last ice age, scientists say those changes happened much slower than man-made climate change.

    https://www.upi.com/https:/www.upi.com/Science_News/2018/04/24/Shift-in-ocean-circulation-triggered-the-end-of-the-last-ice-age/8381524574301/

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    • The last six millennia Earth was experiencing an average cooling of 0.016°C per century. Nowadays we’re close to 0.2°C warming per decade. That’s more than a hundredfold!

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  20. Abel Adamski

     /  April 25, 2018

    Never fear, the Technologists are here to solve this CO2 problem and keep the fossil fuel economy healthy and profitable and a hidden Carbon Tax passed in the last budget
    From MIT Technology Review
    https://www.technologyreview.com/s/610927/the-daunting-math-of-climate-change-means-well-need-carbon-capture/
    He adds that the boosted US tax credit for capturing and storing carbon, passed in the form of the Future Act as part of the federal budget earlier this year, will push forward many more projects and help create new markets for products derived from carbon dioxide (see “The carbon-capture era may finally be starting”).
    So instead we realize we have this legacy of emissions in the atmosphere and we need tools to manage that. So there are companies like Climeworks, Carbon Engineering, and Global Thermostat. Those guys said we know we’re going to need this technology, so I’m going to work now. They’ve got decent financing, and the costs are coming down and improving (see “Can sucking CO2 out of the atmosphere really work?”).

    The cost for all of these things now today, all-in costs, is somewhere between $300 and $600 a ton. I’ve looked inside all those companies and I believe all of them are on a glide path to get to below $200 a ton by somewhere between 2022 and 2025. And I believe that they’re going to get down to $100 a ton by 2030. At that point, these are real options.

    At $200 a ton, we know today unambiguously that pulling CO2 out of the air is cheaper than trying to make a zero-carbon airplane, by a lot. So it becomes an option that you use to go after carbon in the hard-to-scrub parts of the economy.

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    • Even at 100 dollars per ton, this effectively adds 50 to 100 percent to the cost of a carbon emitting airplane. It’s always cheaper to go renewables and to go electric when you add in the cost of carbon.

      Like

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  21. BS

     /  April 26, 2018

    So not only is climate change getting worse, it’s accelerating.

    Not cool.

    Like

    Reply
    • The impacts are ramping up. And we’ve had some increase in the rate of warming. I’d be careful with a purely simplistic acceleration narrative, however.

      Like

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