Saturday, September 29, 2012

Climate change: the mess we are in

Imagine an alien from Mars asking you: what is the fuzz about climate change all about? You don't need the help of a noble prize winner to explain; a good journalist will do the job and give our extraterrestrial  friend an insight into the mess we are in. The climate mess is in fact an everyday story, like this one about artificial snow in an American ski resort:

"This coming ski season", the New York Times reports, "the resort, Arizona Snowbowl, will become the first ski resort in the world to use 100% sewage effluent to make artificial snow". The reason for this is climate change: Snowmaking is necessary to remain competitive, to guarantee the resort is open on Thanksgiving or Christmas latest, and to have a consistent ski season.

For many years now, 13 American Indian tribes and environmental groups are fighting against "the ski resort's expansion plans in the San Franciscan peaks that include clear-cutting of 74 acres of forest and piping treated sewage effluent onto a mountain to make snow." The protesters "consider the mountain sacred and view the wastewater snow a desecration". Taylor McKinnon of the Center for Biological Diversity, says: "It's a disaster, environmentally and culturally".

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Carbon Kicks

It's time for another poem on klimazwiebel, your favorite climate-poetry blog. Science is about finding out how climate works, how it functions. Philosophy tries to give it a meaning and to make sense of it (?). And finally arts and poetry try to figure out how it feels.

Recently, I posted Richard Braeutigan's 1962 techno-poem "All watched over by machines of loving grace" - a hippie-technology fantasy, a vision of an IT- controlled smart-grid world.

Half a century later, for the poet Michael Robbins (educated by Guns N Roses, hip-hop and the University of Chicago), Braeutigan's vision definitively has turned into a technological nightmare. He seems to live in a world with unclear boundaries between video games and reality, a kind of i-nightmare, and in his poem he struggles with issues like hybrid creatures, terror, and his carbon footprint which has turned him into a "Yeti for the Sherpas". Machines of loving grace? Well, not exactly - anger has raised his "appetite for destruction":

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The end of tribalism?

Post-Climategate: debating the end of tribalism 
In a very reflective post, Judith Curry looks back at a courageous statement by Mojib Latif about the cooling of temperatures:
From an article in the New Scientist by Fred Pearce, written in Sept 2009:
One of the world’s top climate modellers said Thursday we could be about to enter one or even two decades during which temperatures cool. “I am not one of the sceptics,” insisted Mojib Latif of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University, Germany. “However, we have to ask the nasty questions ourselves or other people will do it.”

As usually, Judith Curry sums up the discussions surrounding this statement, pre- and post- Climategate, and provides some interesting links. But her main focus is on the term nasty. She writes:

Friday, September 21, 2012

New, and (so far:) last CLISAP interview

In a series of in total 12 interviews with various participants at the Hamburg center of excellence CLISAP, the last interview has been published. This time the media researcher Andreas Schmidt

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

What's going on at the IPCC?

There are some disturbing news regarding the IPCC. As Roger Pielke Jr. reports on his blog, there is a strange tendency in the IPCC to exaggerate observed disaster losses due to climate change. He lists several examples where he had made suggestions to the IPCC of how to alter the official narrative, in order to avoid such exaggerations. The reply by the IPCC is sobering: it does not even seem to acknowledge the charges made by Pielke. This begs the question if they took him seriously in the first place. It seems not. As I remarked in a comment on his blog, this looks very much like arrogance of power or bureaucratic mentality (maybe both?). One is led to believe that the IPCC reckons no one will read the issues in any detail. Perhaps they are right in this respect and  Roger is wrong in his honest belief that "Nothing below [in his account of the saga] is complicated or nuanced." How long will it take until this is exposed to a wider audience?

Umfrage bei jungen Studenten

Eine Umfrage in einer disziplinär sehr diveren Gruppe junger Studenten:

1. Findet derzeit ein Klimawandel statt, egal ob menschgemacht oder natürlich?
1= ja 19
2= nein 0

2. Würden Sie sich als „Skeptiker“ bezeichnen?
1= ja 2,
2= nein 17

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

AGU Newsletter. Toshio Yamagata

This interview with the Japanese scientist Toshio Yamagata was prepared by Hans von Storch in July 2012. The original has been published in the August 2012 issue of the Newsletter of the Atmospheric Science Section of the AGU.

Toshio Yamagata is currently the director of Application Laboratory at Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology. He was the Dean of School of Science of the University of Tokyo from 2009 to 2012 and after retiring from the university in 2012, he was given the title of Professor Emeritus. His has done extensive modeling and analysis work with focus on large-scale dynamical processes of the oceans and the atmosphere. He has been awarded in 2004 the American Meteorological Society’s H. U. Sverdrup Gold Medal “for his outstanding accomplishments in the study of ocean and climate dynamics, especially with respect to El Nino and air-sea interaction over the Indian Ocean.” He is a fellow of the AMS and AGU for his accomplishments and outstanding contributions to the atmospheric and oceanic sciences.

Keine Kompromisse in der Anpassungsfrage

Hans von Storch und drei weitere Mitglieder sind aus einer Arbeitsgruppe der Deutschen Akademie der Technikwissenschaften (Acatech), die sich mit der Anpassung an den Klimawandel beschäftigt und von Fritz Vahrenholt geleitet wird, ausgestiegen. Die Stuttgarter Zeitung berichtet:
In einer eigenen Stellungnahme beschreiben die vier Forscher einen „fundamentalen Dissens“: Ihrer Ansicht nach hat die Klimaforschung die physikalischen Grundlagen von Treibhausgasen und Temperaturanstieg hinreichend geklärt. Acatech hält hingegen fest, dass man nicht abschätzen könne, wie sehr die Sonnenaktivität und Vulkanausbrüche das Klima der vergangenen 150 Jahre beeinflusst haben.
Hans von Storch führt noch einen weiteren Grund an:
 Man hätte die Strategien der Anpassung nicht losgelöst von der Alternative, der Vermeidung von Treibhausgasen, diskutieren dürfen. „Man hätte gleich zu Anfang klarstellen müssen, dass der Anpassungsbedarf steigt, wenn die Emissionen steigen“, sagt er.
Klare Worte. Allerdings um den Preis, dass nun keine Klimaforscher mehr in der Arbeitsgruppe sind.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The economics of Climate Change, or What happened to the Stern review?

It is about time Klimazwiebel readers get up to speed with the latest development on Nicolas Stern's famous report, commissioned by the UK Chancellor five years ago. In it, Stern famously called climate change the biggest market failure in history, suggesting carbon pricing (and carbon markets) as remedy. This report has been used as authoritative source in many quarters, above all by people endorsing stringent climate mitigation policies. It informed attempts to justify drastic and costly emission cuts, a strategy which seems to lose momentum. A firm focus on economic growth has become more important and citizen opposition to many renewable projects have stalled ambitious plans.

Friday, September 7, 2012

EU Klimaschutzziele

Kürzlich hatten wir einen interessanten Beitrag von Oliver Geden hier auf klimazwiebel mit Vorschlägen hinsichtlich einer Änderung oder gar Aufgabe des kaum mehr erreichbaren 2 Grad Ziels. Die EU Kommission erwägt offensichtlich bereits eine Änderung hinsichtlich ihrer ehrgeizigen Reduktionsziele von 30% bis 2020 auf 20%, wie auf faz-net zu lesen ist. Es ist bemerkenswert, wieviele Gründe - von denen jeder einzelne eine lange Erörterung wert wäre - sich in diesem kurzen Artikel finden. Und es ist interessant, dass diese Meldung, soweit ich das sehe, eigentlich kaum jemand hinterm Ofen - bzw jahreszeitlich angemessen - unterm Sonnenschirm hervorzulocken scheint.