Saturday, November 26, 2016

Monday, November 14, 2016

Krugman Does It Again

From today's New York Times:

And he has an almost school-boyish, smartest-kid-in-the-class aversion to ever being called wrong:

Trump was elected on 11/8. That night the Dow futures tanked, as did the Nikkei Index. But on 11/9 the S&P 500 went up 1.1% from its previous close. The next day it was up another 0.2%. At that point Krugman cried "uncle." Not very impressive.

But he's sure in the long run Trump will be a disaster. I'd like to think so too, but it's not clear to me at this point. Already he is showing signs of compromising his campaign promises -- on the wall, on the Affordable Care Act, on a Muslim ban, and on same-sex marriage.

Anyway, Krugman says Trump will bring "runaway climate change." If he means "runaway" in the scientific sense, a la Venus, he's wrong -- the Earth isn't close enough to the Sun to undergo such a runaway (but only by a few million km). Even if we burn all the fossil fuels available -- about 12,500 Pg carbon, according to Swart and Weaver 2012 -- we'd get 9 to 33 C of warming. Serious shit, but not runaway.

Maybe Krugman thinks Trump will keep us on RCP 8.5. Probably, but the world is on that anyway. Nothing the US can do individually to stop it, and I don't see the US killing the Paris agreement alone. If anything there might be some retaliation. I hope there is -- that's the best way to enforce a global carbon tax.

Passing the Torch

Wednesday, November 09, 2016


"We fear," remarked an Eskimo shaman responding to a religious question from the explorer Knud Rasmussen some fifty years ago. "We fear the cold and the things we do not understand. But most of all we fear the doings of the heedless ones among ourselves."

-- Loren Eiseley, "The Winter of Man" from A Star Thrower (1969)

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Krugman's Climate Hyperbole

Amidst all the other nutbaggery about this election, it's also made me lose some respect for Paul Krugman.

Sure, he's a Nobel Laureaute in economics, so he doesn't need my opinion. But I used to respect him for, especially, backing up his claims with data -- often from the FRED database. He had a great way of supplying a tidy graph that clearly supported his claims and easily refuted others, and of using toy models to make his points. 

That actually had a real influence on me, several years ago. I started trying to keep close track of the data -- not so much economic, but climate -- in order to know what I though I understood, and being able to back it up. 

But I can't say the same about Krugman anymore. For one thing, he has all but abandoned writing about economics in the last year, instead writing as a clear shill for Hillary. He dismissed Bernie, the clear progressive choice, from the very get-go.
My suspicion, with no supporting evidence, is that Krugman has been promised a place in Hillary's administration, either formally or (more likely) informally, as a deep consultant. He won't admit that, it seems, either way, which to me raises concerns about his objectivity. Even the NY Times doesn't seem to care about his relationships. 'Course, they have been heavily biased for Hillary all along. 

The other day, Krugman said on Bloomberg TV:
“If the Democrats take the Senate, we probably save the planet,” said Krugman, who recently bemoaned the absence of climate-related questions during the president debates. “Climate change has turned out to be an easier issue economically, and an easier issue politically than we thought.”
This is such hyperbolic crap. The U.S. could disappear tomorrow and the world would still have a very serious climate problem from its 35 gigatons of carbon emitted. (The US takes this up to about 40 GtC.)

Obama's Clean Power Plan 

US 2005 CO2 emissions from burning fossil fuels were 5.99 Gt CO2. 32% off that leaves emissions of 4.07 Gt CO2 in 2030 -- still huge. 

That reduction of 1.9 Gt CO2 by 2030 is hardly -- hardly -- enough to "save the planet," as Krugman thinks. It's nowhere close. Saving the planet still relies on immense cuts in the future, and ideally before 2030. Maybe it leads to Kumbaya reductions. I doubt it. Actually it's probably too late now anyhow.

Everyone in this presidential campaign is lying, has lied, will lie a again. At this point I just wish to avoid the destruction of America, and even of the world. But I don't see the big picture changing. I am sorry to see Krugman become part of the hyperbole and giving up on being part of the solution. 

Who cares at this point? 


Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Ocean Heat Content Continues to Drop, But the Drop is Slowing

Third quarter numbers for ocean heat content (OHC) were just published (0-700 m; 0-2000 m), and they show it continuing to drop, though the rate is slowing considerably.

Quarterly changes were:

0-700 m: -0.06 W/m2
0-2000 m: -0.16 W/m2

both less than 10% of last quarter's changes. Year-over-year changes are

0-700 m: -0.92 W/m2
0-2000 m: -1.10 W/m2

May be why lower tropospheric temperatures are still (UAH) at record highs.

N.b. Since 1955, the 0-700 m region of the ocean has absorbed 11.0 W/m2 of heat. That's like a permanent 100 Watt light bulb distributed over an area only 10 ft x 10 ft.