Notes for 4/21/16 KZSC Interview

Want to give you climate news and facts beyond what you already know: Here's my Top 5 Climate Facts
1. Even if all GHG emissions cease tomorrow, temperatures will not go back down - they'll remain constant for a thousand years or more (Solomon et al 2009, Gillett 2010, Mathews and Weaver 2010. Why?
a. 93% GHG heat to oceans
b. We're 0.6 watts/m2 out of thermal equilibrium
c. Yes, CO2 would drift downwards some, but temperatures would not
- yet just getting up to current temperatures has melted nearly all the Arctic Ocean Ice, and it appears it will all disappear soon.
- Vaks et al. 2013 Siberian speliotherms show entire permafrost melts when Arctic Ocean ice is gone, which happens at +2.3C above pre-industrial. Today we are at +1.3C and rising rapidly.
- Permafrost contains twice the carbon as in the entire atmosphere. How much of this will escape to the atmosphere is not well determined.
- Lawrence et al. find that melting of the Arctic
- Human-caused climate change will last for 10's to 100's of millennia, from the work of Eby et al. 2009, and Zeebe 2013
2. Pulitzer Prize winning organization Inside Climate News found internal documents showing Exxon-Mobil's own scientists knew how catastrophic their business model would be for future generations, but Exxon's response was to dismantle much of their climate science funding and instead put millions into funding climate denial groups. The Attourneys General of a growing number of states looking to prosecute them for securities fraud and/or racketeering under the RICO statues.
3. Guy McPherson's claims of near term human extinction are just plain wrong, based on outdated or junk science, and misrepresentations. The "Methane Apocalypse" is off the table. Early fears from the discovery of methane leaks from the Arctic mistakenly took guesstimates of methane amounts in the form of hydrates, and assumed they could be triggered to escape in a runaway massive event.
a. Climatologist David Archer in IPCC scientists' blogsite RealClimate.org, calculates hydrates stable only below 350m depth, about 250m below the bottom sediments of the Arctic Ocean. Heat transfer through sediments is extremely slow. Many many centuries for slow release. However, on millennia time scales, the release of ancient hydrates is likely, as we're exiting upward in global temperatures out of the Ice Age determined range for the interglacials. But if it's released slowly, it's only a mild amplifier to the CO2 which remains the prime culprit. A recent paper estimates about 30% additional warming forcing over the coming couple of centuries.
4. THE most effective tactic short-circuiting public concern at the level required, is the collective refusal of the broadcast media to tell the story. MediaMatters found that the sum total of all time devoted to climate change by CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox in 2013.... was 27 minutes! And even less in '14, and then less still in '15. Even if a person yells "Fire" in a crowded theater, the first thing you'll do is look around and if no one is panic'ing, you won't react either.
5. Tim Garrett's work, shows no pathway other than strong negative growth of world GDP leads to stabilized atmospheric CO2. Generalized Jevon's Paradox.
a. CO2 emissions off-shored to Asia, and global CO2 emissions are still accelerating upwards with not a hint of change in the derivatives of the curve
b. decarbonizing was stronger in the late 20th Century than it has been in the 21st Century. Surprised? The rapid industrialization of Asia has more than compensated for the decarbonizing via solar and wind. Probably growth in nuclear and hydro in the late 20th, but now both of those are in either maxing out or in decline.
6. Fast + slow climate feedbacks, from paleo data, raise the ECS from ~4C up to 6-7C (Hansen 08, and PALEOSENS workshop. Very worrying given that 560ppm (double pre-industrial) looks very hard to avoid). A +6C world would be very difficult to live in, and incompatible with modern society. But takes centuries to get there.

7. Voluntarily reducing your carbon footprint in half - and by your example inspiring fully 1 BILLION of the wealthiest global citizens to do the same.... will only reduce our CO2 emissions by a paltry 13%.

8. Gilens and Page (2014) looked at nearly 2000 national legislative bills submitted over the most recent 20 year period, correlating with how desirable was the passage of these bills, by 4 groups of Americans: 1. Avg citizens, 2. Mass-based lobbys, 3. business lobbys, 4. Economic Elites and their lobbys. They found zero independent correlation with Avg Citizens, and not much better for mass-based lobbys (cc=0.24), but very strong correlation with Economic Elites (cc=0.78). Even more important, the bills least favored by the economic elites were 100% stymied.

9. Active Atmospheric CO2 removal is essential for long term. But cost is ~$500/ton. This corresponds to about $28,000 for every man, woman, and child on Earth if the goal is to pull out CO2 down to 350ppm.

10. Solar PV panel area the size of a little less than Texas could supply current world energy. But plummeting panel costs now account for little more than 10% of total installed cost for homeowners (and all hardware is only 44%), and the other costs are not falling at anywhere near that rate. Good news is that once a tipping point is reached, adoption can still rise sharply even if prices aren't falling exponentially any longer. But, still hurts 3rd world adoption, where carbon emissions are still rising steeply.

11. New article in NYT: "Dark Ages" as our old knowledge of Earth ecology and patterns are swept aside and new patterns don't emerge and understood until crippling damage. Wrong crops, mass migrations...

•Global subsidies projected to rise to $5,300 billion for 2015.
•This is over 6% of Gross World Product; more than is spent on all healthcare, worldwide

 

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- carbon capture by soil could be significant if we went totally organic, but cost of food would rise significantly due to labor costs

- losing 1%/yr of our topsoil due to commerical fertilizer and general Ag practices to reduce food costs."We're losing more and more of it every day," said David Montgomery, a geologist at the University of Washington. "The estimate is that we are now losing about 1 percent of our topsoil every year to erosion, most of this caused by agriculture." If don't halt very rapidly, farming becomes impossible by mid-century. The National Academy of Sciences has determined that cropland in the U.S. is being eroded at least 10 times faster than the time it takes for lost soil to be replaced.

This is confirmed by the observations that the Hadley cell boundary (which now borders Southern California), marking the latitudes of descending drying air that cause the Earth's great deserts, has already moved northward by ~5 degrees of latitude (about 350 miles) since 1979, corresponding to the period of rapid CO2-induced climate change (Johanson and Fu 2009), and this continues.

- 2014 China deal, if worldwide adopted, would still only keep the 40Gt CO2/year currently we have, constant for the rest of the century. reduce emissions 27% below 2005 levels by 2025 and all developing countries (similarly defined) peak emissions by 2030.

- IPCC AR5 estimated tree planting only sequester 1.4 Gt CO2/yr
- need 7 trees to compensate for the CO2 of one person
- need to plant real trees on are=size of US or a little less, to soak up current emissions.
- Each ppm in atmosphere is 7.81 Gt CO2
- US + China pledges in 2014, even if followed in kind by entire world, merely leave CO2 emissions ~constant at today's 40 Gt-CO2/yr
- get IPCC breakdown of climate forcing by attribution.

- wind turbines kill 46,000 birds/yr, but fossil fuels kill 110 million birds/yr!

 

Climate not Black or White. Many shades of Gray; the evidence suggests a rather darker gray than most average folks probably believe.