Thursday, June 30, 2011

A new solar minimum ahead ?

Some news are trickling down to the mainstream media about the current unusual solar minimum and about the consequences it may have for the climate. This purported grand solar minimum, if it finally materializes, is however even more intriguing.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Climate people

Recently, we had a discussion here on klimazwiebel about Al Gore's new article,  including Anthony Watts' critique etc. One reader  commented:  "The difference between Watts and Gore is that Watts is a meteorologist and Gore, well, isn't." I still have to think about this statement. How come that we obviously understand what it means?  I think we all agree that our commentator wanted to say with this argument: Watts is right, and Gore is not.
I don't want to discuss here again Gore and Watts; I just want to discuss the very nature of this statement. Let's put it as neutral as possible: "He's a scientist, and, well,  she is not". I ask myself, what is this difference about? The difference between a (natural) scientist and somebody who is not a natural scientist. This differentiation is an argument which more or less unconsciously structures many of our discussions on klimazwiebel. We should share some thoughts about it.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Leserfrage: Warum Englisch?

Diese Nachfrage erreichte mich:

"Da dieser Name (Klimazwiebel) eindeutig Deutsch ist und man folglich zuerst Beiträge Deutscher Sprache erwarten darf, steht die drängende Frage: Wozu dieser allmählich ödende Schwall (rund die Hälfte) an englischem Zeug? - Die Inhalte der eingestellten englischen Wortfolgen sind nicht sonderlich umfassend, enthalten auch kaum wissenswerte Aussagen. Alles nur Sachen, die man sowieso schon weiß. - Was soll's also? Wie wäre es mit weglassen?"

Eine Antwort ist: weil wir auch Teilnehmer haben, die kein Deutsch lesen können.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Reimund Schwarze über Kyoto

Ist das Kyoto-Protokoll tot?

Reimund Schwarze gehört zum Climate Service Center (des Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht) und zum Helmholtzzentrum für Umweltforschung Leipzig (UFZ) in Leipzig.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Al Gore fights the "Climate of Denial"

 Al Gore, our favorite Southern rocker, has a new piece out in the latest issue of the Rolling Stone. The title is promising, it's word play and doom say: "The Climate of Denial". On first sight, there is nothing really new about it, but being hip is not what you expect from a weathered rocker. Instead, the question is if the Nobel-prize and Academy Award winner  is still the best?  Is it the five star piece we all expect? Does he adapt rhythm, style and argument to the latest switches & turns in climate discourse?  Unfortunately, I have no time right now to guide you through the article. But you will make your own way through. And let us know what you think about it!

Monday, June 20, 2011

The Blogosphere as a Nervous System

Gerald Traufetter hat auf spiegel-online in einem feinen Artikel die jüngste IPCC Affäre für das deutsche Publikum aufgearbeitet: Blogger werfen Weltklimarat Interessenkonflikt vor. Die skeptische Blogosphäre, allen voran ihr Held Steve McIntyre, hat den Autoren eines IPCC Berichts als Greenpeace Campaigner "enttarnt". Es ist ein schöner Schachzug von Gerald Traufetter, dass er "Blogger" in die Überschrift setzt. Hat nicht Jerry Ravetz zuletzt auf dem Workshop in Hamburg wieder betont, dass die Blogosphäre eine immer wichtigere Funktion in der Produktion und Kontrolle von Klimawissen spielen wird? Ohne Zweifel haben wir hier ein Beispiel dafür, welche Rolle Blogs bereits heute spielen. Früher oder später werden wir unser Bild von der Wissenschaft gründlich revidieren müssen. Was bedeutet es für unser Wissenschaftsverständnis, wenn ein pensionierter Ingenieur einen Greenpeace Campaigner als Autor des IPCC "enttarnt", der den "state of art" der Klimawissenschaft definiert?
Hier ein paar links zu den Blogs, aus denen Gerald Traufetter u.a. seinen Artikel gebaut hat.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

More extreme weather?

Whenever I talk to colleagues or friends, they take it for granted that we already see the effects of climate change, manifesting itself in more extreme and unexpected weather. John Vidal has a piece in the Guardian which sums up many instances of such changes. There are not many scientific studies among his sources but this should not count against him, if we are going to take public percpetion seriously. So what do you make of this? Is the weather getting weirder? Should we worry?

Monday, June 13, 2011

CLISAP Studie zum weltweiten Medieninteresse am Thema Klimawandel

CLISAP-Studie zeigt: Medieninteresse am Klimawandel: EU und USA reagieren ähnlich.

In einer Presseerklärung vom 6. Juni 2011 heisst es: "Die Zahl der Presseartikel zum Thema „Klimawandel“ hat sich seit 1996 weltweit auf das vier- bis achtfache erhöht. Wie eine Studie des KlimaCampus der Universität Hamburg jetzt zeigt, hat sich das Medieninteresse europäischer und nordamerikanischer Länder dabei besonders ähnlich entwickelt. Andere Staaten aus Asien, Afrika, Südamerika oder Arabien weisen kaum länderübergreifende Übereinstimmungen auf.


Hinter der Studie steht Mike Schäfer.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ad-hoc Umfrage unter Kreuzfahrt-touristen

Im Zuge einer Veranstaltung für Passagiere auf einem Kreuzfahrtschiff - mit eher reiferem Alter - habe ich eine ad-hoc Umfrage durchgeführt.Ich werde diese Umfrage bei Veranstaltungen mit Laienpublika fortsetzen. Vorschläge zur Verbesserung der Fragen sind willkommen. Evtl. läßt sich auch noch eine Frage (platzmäßig) unterbringen.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Help needed!


According to my daily newspaper, this graph shows that in the last three decades, global average temperatures keep on rising. That's what climate science says, I am told. The curves look like, but I don't have a natural science education. Can anybody out there tell me:
a) is this graph correct?
b) is the interpretation correct?
c)  should I be concerned?
d) and - sorry for that -  why should I believe you?
I think I share these questions with a few millions out there. So help is needed urgently. Thanks!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

„Rettet die Welt vor Weltrettern“


Ein Gastbeitrag von Silke Beck (vielen Dank!)


Niko Paech, Vorsitzender der Vereinigung für ökologische Ökonomie, geht in seinem Artikel "Rettet die Welt vor den Weltrettern" in der SZ-Serie: Die grüne Frage  mit den Vertretern seiner Zunft und der sogenannten Nachhaltigkeitsschickeria hart ins Gericht. Der Autor kritisiert die Al Gores mit überlegener theoretischer Nachhaltigkeitsexpertise und legt den Finger in die Wunde und misst diese an ihren Taten: sie führen unverhohlen eine diametral entgegen gesetzte Alltagspraxis, da sie
„im Namen des Klimaschutzes genauso pausen- wie wirkungslos von Kontinent zu Kontinent jettet, um den immer gleichen Vortrag - manchmal sogar vor den immer gleichen Konferenztouristen - zu halten.“

Monday, June 6, 2011

Climate change and migration

In some commentators the recent news about fast rise of CO2 emissions has elicited a return to the pre-Copenhagen apocalyptic rhetoric. Central elements are the 450pmm CO2 concentrations to avoid 2 degrees C rise of global average temperatures which is believed to be the absolute upper limit before climate change enters a runaway process towards the final collapse.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Nuclear Energy and National Identity Part V: Against National Stereotyping

25 years "Hamburger Kessel" (police kept anti-nuke protesters encircled for one day. June 8, 1986)

Why do newspapers or journals such as The Daily Telegraph, Die Zeit or the New York Times  write about the German national character when commenting on Merkel's decision for a nuclear phase out? What role do these mostly embarrassingly stupid stereotypes play in the discussion about energy supply? This makes me really wonder. German angst; Germany, the land of great poets and thinkers; German irrationalism; German organization etc etc - what is this all about?
Here my explanation: the debate about nuclear energy is highly emotional. There are excellent and reliable science & technology experts on both sides, pro and con. There is the question of the future (of economy, of markets, of resources, of values, of technologies etc),  which is unknown. There is the question of global warming and CO2 emission, again highly emotional. There is a troubled history of 40 years struggle about nuclear energy in Germany (see the picture above) etc. In short, there is both an abundance and a shortage of good arguments - again, on both sides.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Nuclear Energy and National Identity Part IV: German angst

The New York Times makes a great effort to understand Germany's nuclear phase out: "Germany's deep suspicion of nuclear power reaches a tipping point".  The NYT expert in European affairs, Alan Cowell, undertakes some history & soul searching, adding bits & pieces to complete the puzzling German anti-nuclear sentiment. He starts with the sell out of Geiger counters in Berlin shortly after Fukushima and comes to the conclusion that it must be (surprise, surprise!) angst; and he introduces into the political moment when Angela Merkel makes her surprising decision. He concludes that these "two intertwined phenomena — angst and electoral maneuvering — led to what seemed one of the most abrupt reversals of Angela Merkel’s years as German chancellor."

Nuclear Energy and National Identity, Part III: Kraftwerk


Video:


about the "soundscape" of  German post-war identity: for example the sound and mobility of the German Autobahn (album: Autobahn) - (they leave it open whether it will be possible do the same with the wind turbines); the sound of computers (album: Computerwelt) - computers were both an instrument of governmental surveillance in the 70ies, during the fight against the terrorists, and a means to produce man-machine music (which Kraftwerk became famous for) ; and about the double meaning of "radioactivity", which also means the activity of the radio. Kraftwerk is far from "technophob", instead, it's the man-machine which is at the center of their artistic productivity. In contrast to current discussions about Germany in the light of the nuclear phase out, Kraftwerk offers a highly complex insight into the German post-war "Befindlichkeit" (mental state). They are high-technology and anti-nukes; no contradiction.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Nuclear Energy and National Identity, part II: Rational Germany?

In the respectable German weekly Die Zeit, this week's editorial article is titled in English: "No risk, no fun!", and it addresses the German nuclear phase out also from a strictly national perspective. It serves well as a counterpart to the Telegraph article; it again shows that energy is not a question of simply physics, mathematics and countability. Instead, the question of energy is deeply related to national cultures. As if national identity were fueled by energy!
While Daniel Johnson's Germany is still one characterized by WWII, Bernd Ulrich paints a peaceful picture of post-war Germany in Die Zeit; a Germany as it presented itself for example during the World Cup 2006.  The spirit of his euphoric celebration of the nuclear phase out is inspired by this imagery. Already in 1954, after the defeat on the battle field, Germany surprised on the soccer pitch: "We are back again!" The article breathes the same spirit of "we are back again - wir sind wieder wer"; the nuclear phase out is here presented as another step into a peaceful future; this time from the nuclear cooling ponds to a renewable energy future.
(The article is not online, and there is no English version; the summary and translations in the following are all of my responsibility).

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Nuclear Power & National Identity: Irrational Germany?

There is an international debate going on about Germany's nuclear phase out. Here is an article from Daniel Johnson in The Telegraph "Why Germany said no to nuclear power". In a nutshell, this commentary presents all stereotypes ever held about Germany. The commentator mixes them up, adds some (interesting) details about Germany's nuclear history, and presents the phase out as an indigestable, irrational German stew. That's how the Krauts are! It reminded me spontaneously of soccer matches between Germany and England; in the media, sport commentators start with presenting the teams and end in talking about national stereotypes, about war and peace, about life and death. This article is a great example for the difficulties we have in debating our energy futures. Like sports commentators, we switch effortlessly from the nuclear cooling pond to the pitch and back, insisting that it's all rational, scientific and economic.

More news, boys (and girls)!


The letters section of the Guardian opens with the headline ‘Lack of political will hinders a climate bailout’, picking up Caroline Lucas’s (MP Green Party) message in her letter. She takes issue with the Guardian’s view (article on 30 May) that policy makers are out of solutions for slowing this process. In her view, it is the lack of political will, a ‘shocking absence’ of political will.