Tuesday, March 31, 2015

My Prediction for March GISTEMP: +0.86°C (=hot)

March was a hot month, globally. Recording the daily reanalysis temperature from the U of Maine site, as I described here, my estimate for GISTEMP's March anomaly is +0.86°C.

That would make it the 3rd-warmest March since 1880, and the 4th-warmest of any month since then.

Last month I was close -- too high by only 0.03°C

Over the last several months the HadSST3 sea surface temperature has been more linear with the U of Maine daily average (R2 = 0.92 since August); my guess for HadSST's March anomaly is +0.36°C, which would be their lowest anomaly in 12 months.

Here are my two graphs:

Saturday, March 28, 2015

US Carbon Dioxide Emissions Up 0.7% in 2014

Yesterday the EIA released the U.S. CO2 emissions for December 2014. For the year, US emissions were up 0.7%.

That's in a world were year over year emissions were flat, and China's decreased by 2%. We're not even keeping up with the average.

Patrick Moore Gets Called Out, Storms Out of Interview

Patrick Moore gets called out on one of his scientific claims, and so storms out of the interview.

Moore was being interviewed by a French TV channel, about the recent claims that glyphosphate -- the weed killer "Roundup" produced by Monsanto -- is unsafe and recently listed as a probable carcinogen by the World Health Organization.

He said he'd be "happy" to drink some of it -- and the brilliant French jounalist called him on it, saying they had some with them.

Dr. Moore quickly refused to back up his words, and stormed out, calling the interviewer an "idiot." The transcript:

So now you know how good Patrick Moore's word is-- not very good at all. But that's not surprising.

But hey, give him a break -- it's not easy being a corporate sellout.

Video here:

Friday, March 27, 2015

Earth Day: Because Dressing Right is What Matters

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Celebrate Earth Day with Eco-Friendly Fashion
Date: Fri, 27 Mar 2015 15:02:23 -0400
From: Jennifer Uy <XXX>
To: david.appell@gmail.com

Celebrate Earth Day with Eco-Friendly Fashion
Hi David,
Wanted to make sure you got this! Indigenous is known for more than their trendy, high-quality, eco-friendly fashion. They're committed to fair trade partnerships with culturally diverse artisans. 
Please let me know if this would be a fit for an Earth Day or Mother's Day segment!

The Perfect Gift for Any Fashion-Loving and Eco-Conscious Mom!
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Highlight your mom's beauty, uniqueness and compassion with a gift from INDIGENOUS.

INDIGENOUS, a leader in organic and fair trade fashion, promises high quality eco-chic fashion that's good to people and good to the planet.  INDIGENOUS keeps harmful chemicals and toxins away from the body through organic and sustainable materials and supports artisans through maintaining rich cultural heritages and knitting traditions with fair wages and fair working conditions.
Dedicated to impeccable quality, design and fit without sacrificing values, their amazing summer line has something for every stylish Mom.

She'll love the summertime sophistication of the chic and versatile Netted Poncho. Featuring soothing shades of teal combined with classic summer white, this flattering poncho is a go-to whether heading to the office, running errands with the kids or hanging around the pool. $198 www.indigenous.com.

The Maxi Tank Dress is so comfortable she may not want to take it off! Light grey with a pop of silver stripes, the empire waist flatters while organic cotton and low-impact dyes add eco-responsibility to amazing fashion. $138 www.indigenous.com.

Give her two gifts in one with the Reversible Maxi Skirt. Soft, organic and chic, this go-to piece is perfect for dressing up or dressing down. One side features solid black while the reverse side features black and white stripes. It's great for all season long!  $108 www.indigenous.com.

For additional information, please visit www.indigenous.com or contact jennifer@chicblvd.com

Jennifer Uy
Public Relations Account Executive

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Chicblvd Inc, 1487 poinsettia ave #125, Vista, CA 92081 United States

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rest of World Is Past Peak Oil (*)

Here is world oil production per capita, in barrels per person per year. The green curve includes US oil production and population, and the red line omits them. It seems only US production is keeping the world above Peak Oil(*).

* I don't think it's quite this simple, though, because if the US hadn't increased its production in recent years, other countries, most notably Saudi Arabia, might have stepped up their production to keep the red curve reasonably flat after 2006. And other countries might have taken up fracking more than they have, even though it's controversial. I'd suspect they probably will do more fracking, more than they are already, if oil production starts to seriously decline.

data sources:
monthly oil production, by country and for the world
World Population
US Population

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Californians, Lawns and God

"I believe it is a God-given right as Californians to be able to water gardens and lawns."

-- Diane Feinstein, Democratic Senator from California, as quoted in the Sacramento Bee, November 21, 2004.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Patrick Moore Bravely Comes Out Against a World with "no carbon dioxide"

Patrick Moore is back, writing for the Heartland Institute, with gems like this:
The IPCC’s followers have given us a vision of a world dying because of carbon-dioxide emissions. I say the Earth would be a lot deader with no carbon dioxide, and more of it will be a very positive factor in feeding the world. 
Except not a single soul is arguing there should be no carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The Heartland Institute is really scraping the bottom of the barrel these days....

And it seems Moore missed this bit of science about CO2 and food: "Wheat's Nutritive Value Decreases Under Elevated CO2."

N.b: Patrick, there is no hyphen in "carbon dioxide." Jeez.

Science Image of the Day

"Yet animal experiments support the idea that light is protective. Researchers first demonstrated
this in chicks, a common lab model for studying vision. By fitting chicks with goggles that alter the resolution and contrast of incoming images, it is possible to induce the development of myopia while raising the birds under controlled conditions in which only light intensity is changed."

- from "The myopia boom," Elie Dolgin, Nature 3/18/15

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Climate Scientists Should Not Be Drawing Up Carbon Divestment Principles

I think this is a huge mistake:

They include academics at Oxford, Imperial College London and Harvard.

Prof Myles Allen, of Oxford University, said the move was similar to principles governing investment in South Africa under apartheid in the 1980s.

"This is a challenging question being put to universities," he told BBC News.

"We have the opportunity here to think about the most constructive approach to the divestment issue."
This will exponentially increase the concerns and crys about scientists having conflicted positions and a financial stake in the outcome of their science.

Amazingly, the BBC reporter didn't even broach this idea.

Large positions in carbon-free investment vehicles has already led to the marginalization of Al Gore. Now it will spread.

And frankly, I can't really blame anyone for thinking that about a scientist drawing up "investment principles." By participating in such discussions, they are invariably going to have (or appear to have) the inside track on who might adopt those principles -- mutual funds, retirement accounts, banks, etc. That gives them the opportunity to quietly shift their personal investments in response to that knowledge, and whether they do or not, whether they say they do or do not, it will raise suspicisions, and thus suspicions about their science.

Nor do climate scientists have the expertise to draw up investment "principles." That's for bankers, economists, investment houses, individual investors. What do they need to know besides "we need to eliminate CO2 emissions?" They're in a much better position to make decisions about how to most efficiently make that transition. I'm sure they have smart people who can do the energy and CO2 calculations.

This throws gasoline on a roaring fire, and in the US at least it will be used by opponents of action on climate change. And frankly I can't blame them one bit, insofar as it involves any scientists work on these divestment plans. (And it will give rise to suspicisons about all other climate scientists too, regardless of their nonparticipation in such efforts.)

I just don't get this at all.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Marijuana's Carbon Footprint

The article "When It Comes To Energy, Indoor Marijuana Isn’t Green" on Talking Points Memo says
Image result for indoor pot growBy some estimates, indoor marijuana cultivation is accountable for producing some 15 million metric tons of carbon emissions annually—the equivalent to the amount of emissions produced by three million American cars. Put another way, one single kilogram of processed marijuana is responsible for the same amount of emissions as driving a 44 mpg car across the country five times. How can this be? It’s due in most part to the significant amount of electricity required to grow marijuana indoors.
Since there are now 320 million Americans, the first number comes to 0.05 ton CO2/person/year.

The second set of numbers gives, with 2900 miles between San Francisco and New York at 44 mpg, gasoline usage of 330 gallons. Since gasoline emits 8.92e-3 t CO2/gallon, that comes to 2.94 t CO2 per kilogram of pot, or 0.08 t CO2 per ounce, or 2,940 grams CO2/gram-of-pot*.

An ounce of pot is about 28 joints, so pot's carbon footprint is 2,980 g CO2/joint.

American per capita emissions are now 17.0 t CO2/yr, so a joint's footprint is 1.5 hours of per capita emissions*.

Assuming the entire event lasts for more than an hour and a half, you're reducing your carbon footprint by smoking. (If it comes from an indoor grow.)

To that you need to add the carbon footprint of a couple of bags of Doritos, and most of a day's worth of television, but hopefully you can subtract out the driving.

These numbers also imply Americans are partaking of 5,100 tons of indoor-pot per year, or an average of 16 indoor-joints/person/yr*. Which isn't obviously unbelievable.

Some, of course, more than others.  

* If I did the math correctly. Corrections welcome.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

America Needs 4.68 Americas to Support Its Lifestyle

An Oregonian article about the future of farming quotes a digital image seller:
"...the American middle class enjoys a lifestyle that needs 33 global acres per person."
The Popclock says we now consist of 320,544,000 people, so we need 10.58 billion acres to support our lifestyle.

Unfortunately, America has only 3,531,905 square miles of land area, which is 2.26 billion acres.

So it takes 4.68 Americas to support the lifestyle of all Americans.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Gov. Rick Scott Also Not an Accountant

"Now climate change is perhaps the most important long-term issue the next American president will have to deal with. Our international enemies will come and go; our deficits will rise and fall. But if the atmosphere keeps getting clogged with greenhouse gases, future generations will be too busy with the floods and droughts to care.

"If you were seriously thinking about running for president of the United States, wouldn’t this be something you’d want to have studied up on? Have you ever heard anybody say he couldn’t comment on tax policy because he wasn’t an accountant?"

-- Gail Collins, NY Times, March 13, 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015

February 2015: 7th-Warmest of any Month in GISS's Record

Go to Maps page
GISS Feb 2015 anomaly map
GISS's number for the February global surface anomaly is +0.79°C, which is the 2nd-warmest February since 1879 and the 7th highest of any month's anomaly since then.

And this past meteorological winter (DJF) is tied with 2007 for the warmest ever.

And so on and so forth. The last 12 months are the warmest 12 months in GISS's record, already 0.03°C above the record year that just ended with Dec 2014.

If for some reason you need to know the 18-year warming, maybe to mail to your Congressperson a few thousand times, it's +0.15°C.

And although you shouldn't talk about climate change over the last 10 years, if you wanna...
Judith Curry, June 2013: "Attention in the public debate seems to be moving away from the 15-17 yr ‘pause’ to the cooling since 2002 (note: I am receiving inquiries about this from journalists)." 
...the 10-year trend is presently +0.04°C/decade and rising fast -- just six months ago it was slightly negative. When the journalists were asking Judith Curry in June 2013 it was all of -0.01°C/decade.

I hope the same reporters are calling her back now asking what's going on. I hope they hear something about statistical significance.

Oh yeah: in late February I predicted that GISS's number would be 0.82°C based on the daily U of Maine Climate Reanalyzer number. So that was not too shabby.

Based on the first 13 days of March, I predict the GISS anomaly so far to be +0.77°C. But it's early still.

And if people start complaining about how cold it was in New York or Boston, so how can the February anomaly have been so warm, remember this from Feb 15th, which looks a lot like the GISS anomaly map above:

Democrats to Blame for California Drought

From a comment on an op-ed in today's NY Times, "The Southwestern Water WarsHow Drought Is Producing Tensions in Texas," by Richard Parker

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

My Op-Ed in Today's Oregonian on OR's Clean Fuels Bill

I have an op-ed in today's Oregonian, "'Clean fuels' program is appropriate, though minimally effective."

It looks at the climate impact of Oregon's Clean Fuels Bill, which awaits the governor's signature. It is, not surprisingly, very small -- a reduction in the ultimate amount of global warming by 5°μF.

Yes, 5 millionths of a degree Fahrenheit.

I discuss how I think that number should be interpreted, and what would happen if everyone in the world made that same reduction -- reduced warming would be 0.01°F. We've had 1.4-1.5°F warming so far (depends on the source), so that reduction is 0.7% -- perhaps not too shabby.

Still, this bill is obviously nothing but a baby-step toward the kind of cutbacks towards a minimal carbon state (let alone a carbon-free state). As you would guess, most of the comments on newspaper articles I've seen are against it. Some people are against it because it costs too much (an estimated 19¢/gallon, which is $21 per metric ton of CO2), and some are against it because its impact is so small. Some people criticize it for both of these reasons, if that makes any sense to you.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Defending Willy Soon With 7th-grade Insults

The Heartland Institute is flooding #Soongate with this tweet, every six hours for the past three days:

Meanwhile the people who want to seriously discuss Willie Soon have moved to #WillieSoonGate.

In their link, Joseph Bast (Heartland's president) tries the "call everyone names" defense, which frankly looks desperate and ridiculous.
“The Heartland Institute stands four-square behind Willie Soon. He’s a brilliant and courageous scientist devoted entirely to pursuing scientific knowledge. His critics are all ethically challenged and mental midgets by comparison...." 
Mental midgets! That wouldn't even fly in a high school debate. Joseph Bast reportedly makes over $150,000 a year. And his best defense is a 7th-grade insult.

Peter Dykstra has an interesting take on all this, starting with
The most remarkable aspect of Willie Soon’s soiled science scandal is that in the light of damning evidence of a serious ethical lapse, the climate denial camp shows no interest in self-policing.
Eli notes a relevant finding from InsideClimate News. and writes
InsideClimate News summarizes the 11 papers, including whatever financial disclosure information was included, and in 5 of the papers the non-controversial funders that add prestige to the paper were listed, while Southern and Donors were not. 
Soon (and his defenders) could have dealt with this problem on the very first day, by saying something like
Yes, funding hasn't always been disclosed in some of my papers. Disclosure from researchers is vital part of the scientific process, and it won't happen again. I'm sorry. 
Instead, they had to stomp their feet and act like someone stole their cookie, and get their weak and equally ineffective bench to do.the same.

By the way, Joseph Bast didn't even finish college. He was a brilliant student according to him, but his lack of a degree wasn't his fault -- he was done in by the bureaucracy.

Monday, March 09, 2015

Top 20 Cumulative CO2 Emitters, by Country

Here are the top 20 CO2 emitters of all time -- well, from 1900 to 2012 -- and the percentage of the total CO2 (1,306 Gt) they've emitted.

Data sources: WRI: 1900-2004, EIA: 2005-2012

Sunday, March 08, 2015

The Arctic's New Path to the Summer Melt

Right now Arctic sea ice (extent) is, well, behaving very differently than in years past. It's maximum (at least so far) was February 15th, several days ahead of the average. Since then it's been separating itself from the pack (bold purple line below):

NSIDC shows it's more than 2 standard deviation below the 1981-2010 average. According to my spreadsheet, it's 2.20 stdevs below the mean. Assuming the distribution of daily SIE is normal (Gaussian), that only happens 1.4% of the time. That's about half what you'd expect for the most anomalous year in a data record that's 37 years long (= 2.7%).

Neven has more here.

Friday, March 06, 2015

Temperature Reduction from Oregon's Clean Fuels Bill

Oregon's legislature recently passed the "Clean Fuels Bill," SB 324, which aims to reduce CO2 emissions from the transportation sector by 10% of 2010's emissions in 10 years. It awaits the governor's signature.

Naturally, nearly everyone is against it -- and it doesn't help that it was a favorite of environmental "consultant" Cylvia Hayes, the fiance of Governor Kitzhaber, who were both just run out of town for seriously blurring the lines of Hayes' participation in Kitzhaber's office.

The Oregonian's editorial board is, calling for the governor to veto this bill:
But leaving aside the program's complexity (not to mention the state's track record of mismanaging complex initiatives), its benefits simply aren't worth the costs. Slashing the carbon footprint of Oregon's road fuels by 10 percent would have no effect on global warming. Meanwhile, carbon dioxide emissions attributed to the state's transportation sector are relatively stable. In 2012, the latest year for which the federal government has data, state emissions from transportation were lower than at any time since 1990. Emissions in 2012, in fact, were 13 percent lower than in 1999. These numbers hardly point to a crisis requiring an expensive response. Yet implementing SB324 would boost fuel costs by up to 19 cents per gallon. That's the equivalent of a 63 percent hike in the state's gas tax, and not one cent would be used to improve roads or bridges.
So what will this mean for global warming? How much warming will be prevented? 

As with all such questions, it isn't a fair one. Yes, we all emit only a very tiny fraction of the world's CO2. We all contribute only a very tiny fraction to the resulting warming. Granted.

By the same token, the amount of food you will eat tomorrow is only a tiny fraction of the world's agricultural output. If you do not eat tomorrow -- or for the rest of your (very shortened) life, the world's agricultural system wouldn't notice. Not one farm would stop farming if you stopped eating.

But I bet you, like me, will eat tomorrow, and for all of our natural days afterward. So a more fair question is, how much would global warming be reduced if everyone in the world cut emissions by what the Oregon clean fuels bill will?

OK, here some numbers I worked up: 

Oregon's transportation sector emitted 22.3 megatonnes of CO2 (Mt CO2) in 2010.

So the reduction is, the state says, a total of 7.3 Mt CO2 (by a calculation I don't really understand, like whether they're considering each year to see the same reduction, or the same percentage reductions, or what they're assuming for the emissions trend over the next 10 years, or that it's compared to 1990 by 2020, but I'll use it).

The climate response function -- the ultimate amount of warming over total emissions -- is fairly linear, with a proportionality constant of 1.5 deg Celsius per trillion tonnes of carbon emitted (95% confidence limits 1.0 - 2.1°C/TtC).

That comes to 0.41°C/Tt CO2, or 0.41 millionths of a degree Celsuis per Mt CO2.

So Oregon's Clean Fuels Bill will prevent 3 millionths of a degree Celsius of warming, or 0.8 trillionths of a degree Celsius per state resident.

No, that's not much. Which is really a demonstration of the scale of the problem, and the inadequacy of our meager attempts to address it.

If everyone in the world did the same, emissions would be reduced by 1.4 Gt CO2/yr, preventing only 0.006°C of warming. 

This Bill only cuts Oregonian per capita emissions by about 190 kg CO2 per person per year, or a 1.2% of Oregon's per capita emissions. At 19 cents/gallon, I calculate the cost statewide to be $450 million, or 0.26% of GDP (in 2010) or $120 per person per year (that's per state resident, not per driver). 

So almost $500/yr for the average Oregon family of four per year. That's not trivial. 

At 19 cents/gallon, this works out to a carbon tax of $21 per tonne of CO2.

That's not an especially high carbon tax. British Columbia's carbon tax is now C$30/t CO2, or at the moment about US$24/t CO2. 

BC's carbon tax is working. But it's revenue neutral. Oregon's is not -- it's just another tax, which will pay for more government, in a state whose gas prices are already among the highest in the nation. 

I think that's a big mistake. Revenue neutral is much easier to support. A reduction in income taxes for the implementation of a carbon tax. Even a Wall Street Journal op-ed supported a revenue neutral carbon tax.

A carbon fee-and-dividend program would be even better.

The Clean Fuels program will also be regulation heavy:
The program would require the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to manage a market of so-called “clean fuel” credits — to be bought and sold among public and private entities, with gasoline consumers ultimately bearing the cost — but with few regulatory powers.
and it expects specific things from fuel suppliers:
Require importers of transportation fuels – owners of the fuel when it crosses into Oregon –
to reduce the average carbon intensity of fuels they provide in Oregon to meet the annual
clean fuel standards. To meet the standards, regulated parties can choose a variety of
strategies, including incorporating more lower-carbon biofuels, natural gas, biogas, propane
or electricity into their fuel mix, or purchase clean fuel credits from providers of clean fuels.
A carbon tax is much simplier -- there are no government run markets, no fuel credits, etc. The carbon tax is paid at the wellhead or port of entry. It naturally carries that cost along with the transfer of the oil or gas to the end user, with little additional regulation needed.

It's depressing that Oregon politicians made a hash of this bill, making it far more complicated than it needed to be. That drastically curtails support for it. Why not do what BC is doing? Dumb.

I'm not typically cynical about government -- or, at least, as cynical as it seems the average American is. But this definitely ups my cynical value a couple of notches, and I'm a supporter of reducing carbon emissions.