Monday, March 28, 2011

Nuclear Power and climate change mitigation: the new Lysenkoism?

Remember our discussions about climategate and 'hiding the decline'? Remember our debates about Lysenkoism in this context? And how climate scientists lost the trust of the public? Now it's time to discuss a real nuclear-gate and  'hiding the fall-out' (or the potentiality of a fall-out). Is civil use of nuclear power just another Lysenkoism? How will nuclear science ever be able to regain the trust of the public?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Special issue on the Medieval Climate Anomaly

A few articles on the Medieval Climate Anomaly in this Newsletter of the PAGES program. You may criticize all except mine

Monday, March 21, 2011

Freddy Schenk zum "Hot Summer of 2010: Redrawing the Temperature Record Map of Europe"

A guest contribution by Freddy Schenk

A new study has recently been published dealing with the heat wave of 2010 in E-Europe:

"The summer of 2010 was exceptionally warm in eastern Europe and large parts of Russia. We provide evidence that the anomalous 2010 warmth that caused adverse impacts exceeded the amplitude and spatial extent of the previous hottest summer of 2003. "Mega-heatwaves" such as the 2003 and 2010 events broke the 500-year-long seasonal temperature records over approximately 50% of Europe. According to regional multi-model experiments, the probability of a summer experiencing "mega-heatwaves" will increase by a factor of 5 to 10 within the next 40 years. However, the magnitude of the 2010 event was so extreme that despite this increase, the occurrence of an analogue over the same region remains fairly unlikely until the second half of the 21st century."

Japan, nuclear energy and democracy

Looking at other climate blogs, nuclear power seems to be a link between the catastrophic events in Japan and the climate debate.  For many, nuclear energy is a necessary element of mitigation strategies; at the same time, resistance against nuclear power - especially by environmentalists or Greens - tends to be labeled in-consequent and irresponsible. This is often done in nationalistic terms (German angst, for example). In this post, I want to reflect upon both the irresponsibility and the nationalistic arguments. The question of energy deeply affects our basic understanding of culture and politics, to say the least. (The picture from The New Yorker here just serves as an illustration, but there is excellent free content on Japan in this issue).

Friday, March 18, 2011

The heat of the moment

The German government displays a striking capability of taking rapid and apparently important decisions, at least when it feels a sense of urgency from the electorate. That was the case after the collapse of Lehman Brothers and it is the case again after the Japan earthquake and the threatening ensuing nuclear mayhem. When voters are clearly more sensitive to milisieverts than to Libyan gas, it is advisable to move rapidly in some fronts and more slowly in others. Some would argue that this is the very sense of democracy - the government by people's prod - although others may think that at leat some times a little bit of leadership would not very damaging and could even have some positive effects. This is what Michael Levi seems to suggest in this interesting short interview in Tea with the Economist. By the way, was Desert Tec the project meant to secure the electricity supply to Europe produced by solar energy in North Africa ?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

When will the Japanese earthquake, and its tsunami, be attributed to climate change?

On January 4, 2005, India Daily had this analysis of the machanism behind the South Asian tsunami on Christmas 2004: "The cause of Tsunami is earth’s melting of permafrost in arctic circle due to global warming: Indian Scientists – many more global landslides and earthquakes possible." This is a fine example of attributing all and everything to climate change. Misusing the concept of climate change as a mere scare is effectively belittling the seriousness of the issue. I wonder when the first claims will show up that the present disaster in Japan is also (partially) caused by the emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere..

The article reads like this.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Helmut Schmidt über Klimapolitik

Auf einer Rede vor der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft hat Altbundeskanzler Schmidt  im Januar eine kritische Bewertung des IPCC gefordert:
Aktualisierung: Die MPG hat mittlerweile eine geänderte Fassung der Rede auf ihrer Internetseite veröffentlicht, in der die Bezeichnung "Betrüger" nicht mehr vorkommt. Leider wurde dies nicht als erratum gekennzeichnet, so dass  eine Leserin, die dem obigen link folgt, die umstrittenen Passagen nicht mehr findet. Dies hat nun einige Kommentatoren meines Beitrags dazu veranlasst, mir (und anderen) die Verbreitung von Falschinformationen vorzuwerfen. Ich denke die zeitliche Reihenfolge macht hinreichend klar, wo hier die Fakten und Falschaussagen liegen.

Der Originaltext auf der MPG Seite war wie folgt:

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Carnival for skeptics

The mixing of 10% biofuel E 10 in gasoline turns out to be a failure: the oil industry is forced by law to sell it, Germans don't buy it, gas stations are in trouble. spiegel-online writes:
 Germany recently began introducing gasoline containing a higher percentage of biofuels. But consumers have so far been skittish, leading to production chaos and shortages of traditional gasoline. Some politicians have called for laws mandating that biofuels be scrapped altogether.
It began as a plan to reduce the amount of CO2 being pumped into European skies. But a European Union directive requiring gas stations to sell fuel with 10 percent ethanol content has hit a snag in Germany, where consumers are avoiding the new petrol -- known as E10 -- because it is harmful to some cars. Suppliers have had to slow down deliveries of the fuel, but extra quantities of E10 on hand have left less room for and shortages of traditional fuel in a number of stations given the extra demand.
In today's news, it is portrayed everywhere as another weird and unnecessary climate protection measure; faznet calls it a result of the German "Klimaallergie" ("climate allergy"); even the taz tries to find out the culprit (chancellor Merkel?).  Thus, it turns out to be another highly unpopular and questionable climate protection measure (after the introduction of the energy saving light bulbs).