A Climate Realist’s (not so) short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change. Question 7 (of 16) Will a tech breakthrough help us?

NOV. 28, 2015 gave his answers to 16 questions in the N.Y. Times regarding Climate Change.

Answers to Question 1: How much is the planet heating up?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/20/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-1-of-16-how-much-is-the-planet-heating-up/

Answers to Question 2. How much trouble are we in?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/21/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-2-of-16-how-much-trouble-are-we-in/

Answers to Question 3. Is there anything I can do?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/21/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-3-of-16-is-there-anything-i-can-do/

Answers to Question 4. What’s the optimistic scenario?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/22/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-4-of-16-whats-the-optimistic-scenario/

Answers to  Question 5. Will reducing meat in my diet help the climate?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/22/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-5-of-16-will-reducing-meat-in-my-diet-help-the-climate/

Answers to Question 6. What’s the worst-case scenario?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/23/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-6-of-16-whats-the-worst-case-scenario/

Justin Gillis answer to Question7. Will a tech breakthrough help us?

Even Bill Gates says don’t count on it, unless we commit the cash.

As more companies, governments and researchers devote themselves to the problem, the chances of big technological advances are improving. But even many experts who are optimistic about technological solutions warn that current efforts are not enough. For instance, spending on basic energy research is only a quarter to a third of the level that several in-depth reports have recommended. And public spending on agricultural research has stagnated even though climate change poses growing risks to the food supply. People like Bill Gates have argued that crossing our fingers and hoping for technological miracles is not a strategy — we have to spend the money that would make these things more likely to happen.

My answer to Question7. Will a tech breakthrough help us?

The CO2 increase is already showing its benefits by increasing harvests, forest growth and especially greening grasslands by more than 11%. The greening of the earth is real. See fig:In addition plants use less water to perform photosynthesis as CO2 levels increase.

But we need technological breakthrough to clean up our environment and  provide enough water for a thirsty planet, especially in the 10/40 window. Nearly all large cities in that area suffer a shortage of water. In Teheran the water table is sinking by 6 feet a year, and in Mexico City things ate just as bad. Southern California and Las Vegas depend to a large extent on water from Lake Mead, and unless checked Lake Mead is being drained at an alarming rate, (this winter being an exception).

Making clean water and cleaning up the environment takes a lot of energy, so it would be good to check from where the world gets its energy.

More than three quarter of all energy comes from fossil fuel, less than 0.1% comes from solar panels. To tenfold solar panels will not help much, hydropower is limited, ethanol competes with the food supply, only drastic action will change the situation. May I suggest to switch all electricity production now generated by coal and oil to nuclear power, but not any nuclear power, switch to Thorium based nuclear power generation. Until that is done it makes no sense to use electric automobiles and trucks except in special circumstances. There is a million year supply of Thorium, and Thorium based nuclear energy has only 0.01% of the long term nuclear waste of Uranium based nuclear energy.

Don’t believe me? Check out https://lenbilen.com/2012/02/15/eleven-reasons-to-switch-to-thorium-based-nuclear-power-generation/  and https://lenbilen.com/2012/02/15/eleven-more-reasons-to-switch-to-thorium-as-nuclear-fuel/

Then we can tackle the real problems, such as real (not “carbon”) pollution, water, energy distribution, electrification of the developing world, all worthwhile endeavors.

 

 

A Climate Realist’s (not so) short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change. Question 6 (of 16) What’s the worst-case scenario?

NOV. 28, 2015 gave his answers to 16 questions in the N.Y. Times regarding Climate Change.

Answers to Question 1: How much is the planet heating up?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/20/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-1-of-16-how-much-is-the-planet-heating-up/

Answers to Question 2. How much trouble are we in?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/21/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-2-of-16-how-much-trouble-are-we-in/

Answers to Question 3. Is there anything I can do?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/21/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-3-of-16-is-there-anything-i-can-do/

Answers to Question 4. What’s the optimistic scenario?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/22/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-4-of-16-whats-the-optimistic-scenario/

Answers to  Question 5. Will reducing meat in my diet help the climate?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/22/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-5-of-16-will-reducing-meat-in-my-diet-help-the-climate/

Justin Gillis answer to Question 6. What’s the worst-case scenario?

There are many.

That is actually hard to say, which is one reason scientists are urging that emissions be cut; they want to limit the possibility of any worst-case scenario coming to pass. Perhaps the greatest fear is a collapse of food production, accompanied by escalating prices and mass starvation. Even with runaway emissions growth, it is unclear how likely this would be, as farmers are able to adjust their crops and farming techniques, to a degree, to adapt to climatic changes. Another possibility would be a disintegration of the polar ice sheets, leading to fast-rising seas that would force people to abandon many of the world’s great cities and would lead to the loss of trillions of dollars worth of property and other assets. Scientists also worry about other wild-card scenarios like the predictable cycles of Asian monsoons’ becoming less reliable. Billions of people depend on monsoons to provide water for crops, so any disruptions could be catastrophic.

My answer to Question 6. What’s the worst-case scenario?

CO2 concentration is rising at an unprecedented rate, more than half a percent per year, an order of magnitude faster than the CO2 rise coming out of the ice age. The Arctic ice cap just showed a record low maximum, and the Antarctic ice cap was recently at a new low  since measurements began. So why am I not worried?

Well, I am, but not for the reason you think. What we are seeing is the rain-out after the last el-nino. But not only that, we are in a general cooling trend which the rain-out is masking. Let me explain.

This winter the Arctic was about 12 degrees F warmer than normal on average with a spike of 30 degrees F warmer than normal, well documented.                  What happened?  There came one storm after another all the way from the Philippines or China and caused record rain and snowfall in California.

So much for California’s “unending drought”.

Then the storms went over the West, picked up more moisture from the Mexican Gulf and went up the East Coast, rained in the North Atlantic and snowed out in the Arctic and Greenland. The picture on the right shows just much it has snowed this winter over Greenland, a record snow accumulation so far. And it is concentrated to  East Greenland while North and West Greenland had normal snowfalls. The storms went up through Iceland and it rained as far north as Svalbard, preventing the Barents Sea from freezing, but delivering so much snow to the rest of the Arctic that the ice accumulation was near normal in spite of the unusually warm winter.

Come spring Arctic temperatures will be lower than normal, as they have been the last two years snow melt will go slower than normal, and there will be more multi-year ice than the year before. Worldwide temperatures will no longer get the boost they got from the unusually warm winter, so the “18 year pause” will be back, now as a 19 year pause.

What worries me are a number of factors, all leading to a new ice age much faster than what can be expected even with our best efforts to increase the CO2 level.

The next solar cycle, cycle 25 will be weaker than predicted, surpassing even the Maunder minimum. The Maunder minimum coincided with the little ice age.

The earth’s magnetic field is starting to act erratically. The magnetic north pole is speeding up and is now way up in the Arctic, near the North pole. The chart on the right shows the observed north dip poles during 1831 – 2007 as yellow squares. Modeled pole locations from 1590 to 2020 are circles progressing from blue to yellow. In addition the magnetic field is getting substantially weaker, maybe a breakup is possible having two North Poles and two South Poles. If this occurs, the protection from the cosmic radiation from the Sun will be weakened, causing more clouds and maybe trigger the next ice age.

Then there is the double star KIC 9832227. They are only 1,800 light-years away, are an eclipsing binary pair, which means as they revolve around one another, each one briefly blots out the other from the perspective of a viewer on Earth. In 2021 or 2022 we will see them merge into one causing a red supernova. When this happens, because they are so near, we may even observe gravity waves. But from a climate standpoint there will be a burst of cosmic radiation, first the gamma rays clming at the speed of light, then with a slight delay the other cosmic radiation, coming at a time of the solar minimum and an unusually weak earth magnetic field.

This is new territory, and the best we can do is to increase CO2. It will not help much, but CO2 will help rather than hurt.

Then there is always the possibility of a supervolcanic explosion spewing ash way up into the stratosphere.

And for people who want to worry, don’t forget supersized meteorites!

All these worst case fears lead to a cooling earth.

On the other hand, the Sun is heating up at a rate of about 1% per 100 million years, not enough to worry about.

A Climate Realist’s (not so) short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change. Question 5 (of 16) Will reducing meat in my diet help the climate?

NOV. 28, 2015 gave his answers to 16 questions in the N.Y. Times regarding Climate Change.

Answers to Question 1: How much is the planet heating up?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/20/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-1-of-16-how-much-is-the-planet-heating-up/

Answers to Question 2. How much trouble are we in?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/21/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-2-of-16-how-much-trouble-are-we-in/

Answers to Question 3. Is there anything I can do?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/21/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-3-of-16-is-there-anything-i-can-do/

Answers to Question 4. What’s the optimistic scenario?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/22/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-4-of-16-whats-the-optimistic-scenario/

Justin Gillis answer to  Question 5. Will reducing meat in my diet help the climate?

Yes, beef especially.

Agriculture of all types produces greenhouse gases that warm the planet, but meat production is especially harmful – and beef is the most environmentally damaging form of meat. Some methods of cattle production demand a lot of land, contributing to destruction of forests; the trees are typically burned, releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Other methods require huge amounts of water and fertilizer to grow food for the cows.

The cows themselves produce emissions of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that causes short-term warming. Meat consumption is rising worldwide as the population grows, and as economic development makes people richer and better able to afford meat.

This is worrisome: Studies have found that if the whole world were to start eating beef at the rate Americans eat it, produced by the methods typically used in the United States, that alone might erase any chance of staying below an internationally agreed-upon limit on global warming. Pork production creates somewhat lower emissions than beef production, and chicken is lower still. So reducing your meat consumption, or switching from beef and pork to chicken in your diet, are both moves in the right direction. Of course, as with any kind of behavioral change meant to benefit the climate, this will only make a difference if lots of other people do it, too, reducing the overall demand for meat products.

My answer to  Question 5. Will reducing meat in my diet help the climate?

It will do very little for the climate, but it might help your personal economy to switch your eating habits. Beef used to be cheap, but no more. Bacon, baby pork ribs, beef tenderloin, veal cutlets, chicken wings are at premium prices, and switching from beef to chicken and turkey is already under way thanks to the wonderful regulator called the free market. However, there is one thing that will help the environment and indirectly the climate:

Switch from feed-lot beef to grass fed beef. Release more grasslands for responsible grazing to preserve the environment. Here is an interesting video:

What do you think?

A Climate Realist’s (not so) short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change. Question 4 (of 16) What’s the optimistic scenario?

NOV. 28, 2015 gave his answers to 16 questions in the N.Y. Times regarding Climate Change.

Answers to Question 1: How much is the planet heating up?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/20/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-1-of-16-how-much-is-the-planet-heating-up/

Answers to Question 2. How much trouble are we in?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/21/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-2-of-16-how-much-trouble-are-we-in/

Answers to Question 3. Is there anything I can do?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/21/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-3-of-16-is-there-anything-i-can-do/

Justin Gillis answer to Question 4. What’s the optimistic scenario?

“Several things have to break our way.

In the best case that scientists can imagine, several things happen: Earth turns out to be less sensitive to greenhouse gases than currently believed; plants and animals manage to adapt to the changes that have already become inevitable; human society develops much greater political will to bring emissions under control; and major technological breakthroughs occur that help society both to limit emissions and to adjust to climate change.

The two human-influenced variables are not entirely independent, of course: Technological breakthroughs that make clean energy cheaper than fossil fuels would also make it easier to develop the political will for rapid action.

Scientists say the odds of all these things breaking our way are not very high, unfortunately. The Earth could just as easily turn out to be more sensitive to greenhouse gases than less. Global warming seems to be causing chaos in parts of the natural world already, and that seems likely to get worse, not better. So in the view of the experts, simply banking on a rosy scenario without any real plan would be dangerous. They believe the only way to limit the risks is to limit emissions.”

My answer to Question 4. What’s the optimistic scenario?

We are now in a sweet spot as to climate, not too warm and no ice age yet. Were it not for increasing CO2 levels the little ice age might have triggered the onset of a real ice age, but a lot of factors, such as coming out of the Maunder solar minimum, starting industrialization in England and Germany sooting up the growing glaciers so they started melting again, the diminishing effect from the Tycho Brahe and Kepler supernovas cosmic radiation, all contributed to get us out of the start of the new ice age. Yet, we are into the latter stages of the bog generating phase of the interglacial period, and the onset of a new ice age is overdue.

We need more CO2, not less to keep us in the climate sweet spot. Increasing CO2 levels to between 850 and 1000 ppm should delay the onset by about 2000 to 5000 years (my guess), but after that the next ice age is coming. Historically, according to the Milankovitch cycles we should have already entered the next ice age.

This picture is simplified, but together with the other cycles the picture is quite complicated.

The take home from this picture is that daily insolation (at the 60th latitude) can vary by as much as 100 w/m2 or about 50 times the effect of a doubling of the CO2 level. It is also worth noting that the normal state of the earth is ice age, and thermal runaways have never occurred, even when in past geological ages, CO2 levels were over 10000 ppm.

 

 

A Climate Realist’s not so short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change. Question 2 (of 16) How much trouble are we in?

NOV. 28, 2015 gave his answers to 16 questions in the N.Y. Times regarding Climate Change.

Answer to Question 1: How much is the planet heating up?

https://lenbilen.com/2017/03/20/a-climate-realists-not-so-short-answers-to-hard-questions-about-climate-change-question-1-of-16-how-much-is-the-planet-heating-up/

Justin Gillis answer to Question 2. How much trouble are we in?

“For future generations, big trouble.

The risks are much greater over the long run than over the next few decades, but the emissions that create those risks are happening now. Over the coming 25 or 30 years, scientists say, the climate is likely to resemble that of today, although gradually getting warmer. Rainfall will be heavier in many parts of the world, but the periods between rains will most likely grow hotter and therefore drier. The number of hurricanes and typhoons may actually fall, but the ones that do occur will draw energy from a hotter ocean surface, and therefore may be more intense, on average, than those of the past. Coastal flooding will grow more frequent and damaging.

Longer term, if emissions continue to rise unchecked, the risks are profound. Scientists fear climate effects so severe that they might destabilize governments, produce waves of refugees, precipitate the sixth mass extinction of plants and animals in Earth’s history, and melt the polar ice caps, causing the seas to rise high enough to flood most of the world’s coastal cities.

All of this could take hundreds or even thousands of years to play out, conceivably providing a cushion of time for civilization to adjust, but experts cannot rule out abrupt changes, such as a collapse of agriculture, that would throw society into chaos much sooner. Bolder efforts to limit emissions would reduce these risks, or at least slow the effects, but it is already too late to eliminate the risks entirely.”

My answer to  question: 2. How much trouble are we in?

For climate alarmists: big trouble, for climate realists, not anything out of the ordinary as to temperature rise.
The temperature rise is predicted using models that assume the major effect on the climate is from rising CO2 and ignore other factors such as a changing cloud cover. The imbalance due to rising CO2 levels is less than 2W/m2, and every percent change in cloud cover makes a larger difference. Here is the performance of 73 climate models versus observations.
There is almost no correlation between models and observations. What is the problem? Looking at how the models model clouds gives a hint:The models are way off on the amount of clouds. Antarctica is almost cloud free and the Arctic has plenty of clouds. This means the models totally underestimate the effects of water vapor (the source of clouds) and overestimate the effects of rising CO2.  It turns out that clouds are the major stabilizer of the climate on the high end, thanks to their high negative feedback – more clouds, cooler climate. This means that even with a doubling of the CO2 levels we will not even get back to even the Medieval warm period. We are in a long cooling trend.
No such feedback occurs when it cools, rather more snow means higher albedo which leads to a new ice age. More CO2 will delay the onset of the next ice age, but will not prevent it. Fear not, the next ice age is probably more than 5000 years away.

A Climate Realist’s not so short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change. Question 1 (of 16) How much is the planet heating up?

1. How much is the planet heating up?

As of February 2016, the Earth has warmed about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, when records began at a global scale. That figure includes the surface of the ocean. The warming is greater over land, and greater still in the Arctic and parts of Antarctica, but there is very little warming in the tropics.

Since pre-industrial times the CO2 level has increased from 280 ppm to 405 ppm, an increase of about 45%, and we know that for every doubling of CO2 temperatures will rise about 1.6 degrees F unless other factors dominate, such as positive or negative temperature feedbacks.

During ice-ages global temperatures hover around 10 degrees F colder with CO2 levels around 185 ppm. Global temperature was about 6 degree F colder than today and in about 4000 year time temperature rose rapidly and we came out of the ice age. During that time, and with a 300 to 800 year delay CO2 rose from 185 ppm to 265 ppm, a 43% rise.  Coming out of the ice age, if CO2 was the only factor,  the effect of doubling CO2 would increase global temperatures by 11.5 degrees F.

Al Gore saw the charts, and got so alarmed that he wrote “Earth in the balance.” What he didn’t take into account was that the major rise in temperature was not due to the increasing CO2, but the loss of albedo when the ice melted. CO2 played a supporting role, a lagging one. Then, around 9000 years ago temperatures stopped rising, CO2 levels stabilized and we entered a period of relative stability. What happened?

The albedo came back, this time in the form of increasing clouds. Once the oceans got warmer and stabilized, there was enough water vapor in the air to make more clouds, and so stabilize temperature. Since then temperatures have been on a slow decline, and the trend was accelerating until the ” little ice age”. There were 3 notable warming periods, the Minoan, the Roman, and the Medieval warming period.

During the Roman warm period wine grapes were grown almost up to the Hadrian Wall. It is well documented, and in Northhamptonshire, England there were at least 9 flourishing wineries..

The Roman Northamptonshire wine
was good, not excessively fine.
So it just goes to show
that Al Gore does not know
of Climate Change past, that’s my line.

The the dark ages came and grapes no longer ripened in England. During the Medieval Warm Period there was at least one cheese farm on Greenland “Gården under sanden”, abandoned as the glaciers regrew, starting the “Little Ice Age”. During the little ice age it got so cold, that in Jan 1658 the Swedish army crossed the Great Belt of Denmark over ice, canons and all,  and sacked Copenhagen. We are still recovering from the “little ice age.” 2016 may have been a warm year, but most years since the ice age were warmer. See Chart.Greenlandgisp-last-10000-newWe are still in the sweet spot of a remarkable stable Climate, only more CO2 will save us from a new Ice Age. We are not yet back to the Medieval warming period, much less the Roman and even less the Minoan. A doubling of CO2 will not get us back to the Roman warming period since the negative feedback from clouds will dominate and limit the temperature rise.

As to the fear mongering claim that “The heat accumulating in the Earth because of human emissions is roughly equal to the heat that would be released by 400,000 Hiroshima atomic bombs exploding across the planet every day,” I can only say that the energy from the sun is equivalent to over 25oo Hiroshima bombs per second, or about 540 times as much as comes from human energy production, about 0.2%, hardly anything to worry about.

Change of tune in next week’s G20 meeting on Climate Change, a Limerick.

G20 to meet in Black Forest

Sweet unity  no longer chorused

The encouraging word

in the Paris accord

Mnuchin to farce metamorphosed.

(Bloomberg) — Finance ministers for the U.S., China, Germany and other members of the Group of 20 economies may scale back a robust pledge for their governments to combat climate change, ceding efforts to the private sector.

Citing “scarce public resources,” the ministers said they would encourage multilateral development banks to raise private funds to accomplish goals set under the 2015 Paris climate accord, according to a preliminary statement drafted for a meeting that will be held in Germany next week.

The statement, obtained by Bloomberg News, is a significant departure from a communique issued in July, when finance ministers urged governments to quickly implement the Paris Agreement, including a call for wealthy nations to make good on commitments to mobilize $100 billion annually to cut greenhouse gases around the globe.

“It basically says governments are irrelevant. It’s complete faith in the magic of the marketplace,” John Kirton, director of the University of Toronto’s G-20 Research Group, said in an interview. “That is very different from the existing commitments they have repeatedly made.”

The shift in tone comes as U.S. President Donald Trump’s Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, prepares for his first G-20 meeting, scheduled for March 17 to 18 in the spa town of Baden-Baden. While European nations including Germany have been at the forefront of combating global warming, Trump has called climate change a hoax.

The Republican president vowed during his campaign to “cancel” the Paris agreement but has said little about the deal since taking office. His cabinet members, meanwhile, have sent mixed signals. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. should keep a seat at the table for international climate talks. Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, on Thursday expressed doubt that humans were to blame for global warming and called the Paris agreement a “bad deal” for the U.S.

The most notable element of the draft is what’s missing. The statement issued after the G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors meeting in July dedicated 163 words to the Paris Agreement, pushing nations to bring the deal into force, meet emissions targets and fulfill financial pledges. This current draft dedicates just 47 words to the agreement, focusing exclusively on development banks raising private funds, without mentioning government financial support.

Germany, as the meeting’s host, leads the process of writing the statement, which will eventually be adopted via consensus by all 19 nations plus the European Union. The German finance ministry declined to comment on the draft.

“The most charitable thing to say is they’re waiting to see where Donald Trump actually lands by the time they get in Hamburg and thus, doing nothing to annoy the incoming American Treasury Secretary,” Kirton said.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who holds the rotating presidency of the G-20, has signaled that she would use the forum to push Trump on climate issues. The two leaders are scheduled to meet in Washington March 14.

“The takeaway is it clearly puts less emphasis on climate finance as a priority than last year’s did,” Alden Meyer, director of policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said in an interview. “It doesn’t talk about government action. That is a significant step back from what countries agreed to in Paris.”

Full statement: https://www.bloombergquint.com/politics/2017/03/09/g-20-document-shows-governments-retreating-from-climate-funding