Hunter Cutting, Director of Strategic Communications at Climate Nexus, talks about the upsides of the issues surrounding climate change. “One of the very interesting things I think about this whole issue is it’s actually not a scientific problem. Thanks to work of scientists we’re actually pretty clear what causes global warming,” said Cutting. “What we’re really talking about is moving our economy from a fossil fuel economy to renewable energy economy and the cost to that is marginal at best.”

From here.

From the Yale Climate Connections, a brief interview with Michael Mann.

Global warming can cause record winter storms. It may sound counterintuitive, but it’s no snow job. When the oceans warm, more water evaporates into the air.

MANN: “And what that means is there’s more precipitation. Water is cycling more vigorously through the atmosphere, and that gives us more extreme weather.”

That’s Michael Mann, a professor of meteorology at Penn State University. He says in summer, an unusually warm ocean can strengthen storms like Hurricane Irene.. but in winter, the evaporation from a warm ocean collides with cold arctic air and turns to snow.

As seawater evaporates, it also releases additional energy into the atmosphere. This extra energy then fuels storms, making them more intense.
This past winter, a large area of the North Atlantic was much warmer than usual — which Mann says contributed to the record Nor’easters that buried parts of New England in snow.

MANN: “So climate change is actually providing more energy to intensify these nor’easters, and it’s providing more moisture so that they can convert that moisture into record snowfalls.”

2014 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean surface. So New England, get your shovels ready for more extreme snow in coming years.

Hear the Interview Here

A few links to places addressing this important question:

Andreas Lubitz: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Lubitz, 28, was a German national living in Montabaur, Germany. Montabaur lies in the famous Rhineland region of Germany, about halfway between Cologne and Frankfurt. The Telegraph reports he lived there with his parents and also had an apartment in Dusseldorf.

The FAA lists “Am Spiessweiher 8, Montabaur, Germany” as Lubitz’s address. Google Street View is not available for Lubitz’s home, but the Google Map below shows that he lived in a suburban area.

Who is Andreas Lubitz? Everything we know so far about Germanwings co-pilot

Full name: Andreas Guenter Lubitz.

Who was Andreas Lubitz? Germanwings co-pilot who ‘intentionally killed’ 150 passengers in deliberate Alps crash

German media reports he had 630 flight hours and joined budget airline Germanwings straight out of Lufthansa Flight Training School in Bremen in September 2013. Authorities have not confirmed if he had any experience as a professional pilot prior to that.

Andreas Lubitz: Who is Germanwings co-pilot who ‘locked out captain and crashed flight 9525 into French Alps’?

Lubitz is that the 28-year-old was from Montabaur, a town in the district seat of the Westerwaldkreis in Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany.

The LSC club, where he was a member, posted a death notice on their website naming him.

Andreas Lubitz a young co-pilot loved flying, no terrorist links

Lubitz scored 100 per cent in his psychological testing to become a professional pilot, Carsten Spohr, an official with the Germanwings parent company Lufthansa said on Thursday.
“There wasn’t the least doubt in his capability,” Spohr said at at press conference.
Lubitz started his training in 2008, which was interrupted for several months for an unspecified reason, Spohr said.
“I can’t say more about the reasons for his absence,” Lubitz said.

You probably already know that Patrick Moore is a guy who was involved early on in Greenpeace, and has since used his Greenpeace connection (claiming to have been a founder, though he wasn’t) to get paid speaking gigs all around the world. He speaks out in favor of nuclear energy (much to the annoyance of Greenpeace) and he is a global warming denier.

Anyway, here is a very funny interview with Moore that is supposed to be about GMOs but turns out to be about … well, just watch:

Hat Tip GM Watch

Meanwhile, don’t forget to listen to my interview with Anastasia Bodnar on GMOs.

Richard Alley takes a page (unintentionally, I’m sure) from my playbook for debating creationists: You wanna tell us global warming isn’t real? Then go back to North Korea where you are obviously from, you Anti-American commie non-patriot!

Well, he doesn’t say it exactly that way, but you can hear it for yourself. The point is, if you deny the basic physics of climate change science, you might as well tell us that our system of national defense and apple pie are all made up too!

From Peter Sinclair’s series of elevator pitches:

It is almost National Point Out Dog Doo Day. The exact day depends on your local conditions. This is when the snow banks melt, and you can find dog doo left over the winter everywhere.

These days this is a bit of an atavistic celebration, like the King Cake eaten at Mardi Gras. Nobody who gets the king in the King Cake ever actually gets to become king any more, and because of government interference in doggie deification practices there is precious little dog doo to go around anymore.

But at Mount Everest, the shit is about to hit the fan. And by “fan” I mean “global warming.”

The Washington Post, always on top of important news, has the story.

For some 62 years over 4,000 people have climbed Mount Everest, with many more getting part way up. Few of them, it seems, have practiced the age-old rule of hiking in the wilderness: Leave only your footprints, and poop as necessary, behind. The routes up the great mountain are littered with broken equipment, empty O2 canisters, trash, and dead bodies (people die doing this). And, of course, human excrement galore.

As the glaciers melt due to global warming, this stuff is making an appearance. The Washington Post reports Mark Jenkins as saying, “The two standard routes, the Northeast Ridge and the Southeast Ridge, are … disgustingly polluted, with garbage leaking out of the glaciers and pyramids of human excrement befouling the high camps.” (See also Maxed Out on Everest.)

Apparently the cesspool left by the Conquerors of Everest has reached the point that it is now a health problem. Wapo:

Ang Tshering, president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, warned that pollution — particularly human waste — has reached critical levels and threatens to spread disease on the world’s highest peak.

It is estimated that approximately 26,500 pounds of human excrement generated in the area every years, though most of that is carried by Sherpas to a disposal site, which apparently has become a point pollution source because of this. The excrement does not deteriorate very quickly, so it builds up. Yaks fall into the disposal pits now and then.

New rules are being implemented. But the poop in the ground already is not going to go away any time soon.

Read the whole story here.

It seems that oil executives, possibly in concert with the Oklahoma University administration, may have pressured scientists to downplay the link between fracking and earthquakes, according to EnergyWire. It is a long and complicates story and you should go to the source to learn more. Briefly,

Oklahoma’s state scientists have suspected for years that oil and gas operations in the state were causing a swarm of earthquakes, but in public they rejected such a connection.

When the Oklahoma Geological Survey (OGS) did cautiously agree with other scientists about such a link, emails obtained by EnergyWire show the state seismologist was called into meetings with his boss, University of Oklahoma President David Boren, and oil executives “concerned” about the acknowledgement.

One of the oilmen was Continental Resources Chairman Harold Hamm, a leading donor to the university.

The seismologist, Austin Holland, told a senior U.S. Geological Survey official that as far back as 2010, OGS officials believed an earthquake swarm near Oklahoma City might have been triggered by the “Hunton dewatering,” an oil and gas project east of the city.

“Since early 2010 we have recognized the potential for the Jones earthquake swarm to be due to the Hunton dewatering,” Holland wrote to USGS science adviser Bill Leith in 2013. “But until we can demonstrate that scientifically or not we were not going to discuss that publicly.”

Instead, he pointed to changing lake levels.

And when USGS officials linked a “remarkable” surge in earthquakes in Oklahoma and other states to drilling waste disposal in 2012, OGS criticized their “rush to judgment.”

Holland told EnergyWire the intense personal interest shown by Boren, Hamm and other leaders hasn’t affected his scientific findings or those of OGS.

“None of these conversations affect the science that we are working on producing,” Holland told EnergyWire. “We have the academic freedoms necessary for university employees doing research.”

But Holland and OGS have been the voice of skepticism in the scientific community about connections between oil production activities and the hundreds of earthquakes that have shaken the state.


Graphic from here.

“Hi Professor.”

“Oh, hello, RP, come on in. Great to finally have a student come by for office hours! What can I do you for?”

“Well, Professor, I think I’ve narrowed down my undergraduate thesis topic, and I wanted to run it by you and see what you think.”

“Certainly, my boy, that’s a great idea. Much better to get some input on the project near the beginning so you don’t end up going off the rails later on! So, have a seat and tell me what you were thinking.”

RP remained standing.

“Well, eventually I want to prove that global warming isn’t so bad.”

“Whoa, hold on a second, that’s rather begging the question, don’t you think? We don’t prove or disprove something like that. We propose hypotheses and them and the data and the science lead us where they may. I’m pretty sure global warming has a down side, but even if I didn’t know that, I wouldn’t think you’d start out an undergraduate thesis with a presumption it is good or bad.”

“Well, professor, I get that, but I actually wanted to look at the damage cost of bad storms, how that goes down rather than up over time, but first I just wanted to show that there are fewer hurricanes.”

“Um, RP, you can ask the question, ‘Is there a change in hurricane frequency’ for a certain time range, or ‘is there a change in damage costs’ then see if it goes up or down, but you can’t set out to ‘prove there are fewer…’”

“Oh, I’ve got data, Professor, I just need to work out the statistics. So I have a plan.”

“Well, OK, then, what’s the plan, then? Tell me about your data? A quick warning, first. Hurricanes are actually rare beasts, when you think about it. Think about most statistics. To characterize a population you want minimally dozens of observations. To look at change over time you might want dozens a year. That’s the only way to track something like hurricanes.”

“OK, fine, professor. Well, first, I am going to look only at Atlantic hurricanes.”

“RP, the Atlantic hurricane basis is the smallest one, it has the fewest hurricanes. Plus, under global warming while tropical storms are expected to increase, it is thought the Atlantic may experience frequent years with significantly attenuated tropical storm activity owing to Saharan dust and teleconnections with …”

“Right, then, I’m only going to look at the biggest ones, maybe just Category 3 and 4.”

“RP, that is exactly the opposite of what you should do, that reduces your sample size even more you should include all…”

“Then, I’m only going to count landfalling hurricanes.”

“RP, you have pretty much guaranteed that your sample sizes are going to be too small, you’ve latched on to the part of the system with the highest variability and …”

“So thanks for the great advice, professor, I’ve got to go!”

RP steps out into the hallway and sees his friend. “Hey, wait up, Andy, I’m done with my meeting about my thesis!” The door closes behind him.

Office hours can be so lonely. Even when a student actually shows up.

According to a source cited by NPR the Ferguson Police Department

… violated the Constitution when it policed to raise money and with a racial bias toward African-Americans, according to a law enforcement official familiar with the report.

The investigation, the source says, concluded that blacks were disproportionately targeted by the police and the justice system and that has led to a lack of trust in police and courts and has led to few partnerships for public safety.

The report will be released on Wednesday. But there are some tidbits available including two emails between police and court employees.

One says Obama will not be president for long because “what black man holds a steady job for four years.” Another says a black woman in New Orleans was admitted to a hospital to end her pregnancy and then got a check two weeks later from “Crime Stoppers.”

According to the data assembled in the report, African Americans constitute 67% of the Ferguson population but make up 85% of the vehicular stops and 93% of those arrested, and are twice as likely to be searched as whites but less likely to possess drugs or weapons one searched.

In the court sytem, African Americans were 68% less likely than non-African Americans to have cases dismissed by municipal judges and more likely to have arrest warrents taken out on them. NPR reports that “From October 2012 to October 2014, 96 percent of people arrested in traffic stops solely for an outstanding warrant were black,” and “Blacks accounted for 95 percent of jaywalking charges, 94 percent of failure to comply charges and 92 percent of all disturbing the peace charges.”

Please Don’t Paint Our Planet Pink!: A Story for Children and their Adults” is a new children’s book by Gregg Kleiner about global warming. The idea is simple. Imagine if you could see CO2? In the book, it is imagined to be pink. The imagining takes the form of a quirky father, one imagines him to be an inventor of some sort, coming up with the idea of making goggles that would allow you to see CO2 as a pink gas. This is all described by the man’s patient but clearly all suffering son, who eventually dons the prototype goggles and sees for himself.

I read this to Huxley, age 5, and he loved it. He kept asking questions, and saying things like, “Is that true? Really?” I knew he would enjoy the book for its witty chatter and excellent illustrations, but frankly I did not expect him to be enthralled. He is fairly laid back when it comes to matters of science, nature, and for that matter, mathematics. He tends to absorb, then, later makes up song about it or comes up with difficult questions. His reaction was unique.

Bill McKibben’s reaction was pretty strong too. He is quoted as saying, “I’ve often wondered what would happen if CO2 were visible. Now I know!” … except he already knew. There would be pink everywhere. At the density of about 400ppm. More than the 350 value that gives his organization its name!

I had only one small problem with the book, and that is the description of what fossil fuels are. The majority of oil probably formed in aquatic, mainly marine, environments as the detritus of mostly small organisms and invertebrates, not dinosaurs and old trees like the book says. Coal is probably most plant matter, but boggy plants and detritus formed in low spots. And so on. Had I edited the book, I would have asked for a sentence or two to broaden the concept of where fossil fuels come from, and maybe a sentence or two to underscore the fact that the fossil fuels we use today were deposited in fits and starts of many tens of millions of years. The process of painting our planet pink over just several decades has released a huge percentage of that Carbon, mainly as CO2. It is like taking five years to fill up a glass of milk then spilling half of it on the sofa in one second. (A proper analogy for the targeted reading age for this great book.)

People often ask me for a recommendation on a book about climate change for kids. This book is great for that purpose. It fits a wide range of ages, but primarily little kids and elementary school. This is not an explainer on global warming, but rather, a great story that gives a sense of the importance of climate change without totally freaking out the audience. The illustrations by Laurel Thomson are excellent.

Of you want to do something about climate change, buy a few copies and give them to your local school’s library (they probably call it a media center) or your local preschool. And your kid, of course. Or to your annoying climate denying cousin’s kids. That would be good.

Gregg Kleiner also wrote Where River Turns to Sky.

“You can believe the United States Navy or you can believe the Senator with the snowball.”

“You can believe the Pope or you can believe the Senator with the snowball.”

“We can believe [great American corporations] or we can believe the Senator with the snowball.”

“You can believe every single major American scientific society, or you can believe the Senator with the snowball.”

Remember earlier this year when Senator James Inhofe stood on the floor of the United States Senate and displayed a list of supposed climate scientists who question the reality of global warming? That list was produced by the Heartland Institute, who now use the list and it’s infamy to raise money. One of the “climate scientists” on that list was Willie Soon. We’ve talked about Willie Soon before (see: Science Denialists Make Fake Journal, Get Shut Down, Willie Soon Gate, and Willie Soon, will he soon be fired?) and he is now been exposed by the New York Times for ethical violations. I understand that he has testified before Congress before. I wonder if his testimony can now be re-examined.

Anyway, just thought you’d like to know. And that you might enjoy the above meme.

Oh, and there has been some interest in who is on the list. This is the list of “those who can not be challenged!”… Continue reading