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Rising Seas May Force U.S. Climate Refugees to the Same 5 Cities

Rising Seas May Force U.S. Climate Refugees to the Same 5 Cities →

Drew Costley writes about cities preparing for the impacts of climate change. Friend of the blog Adam Volle will be at ground-zero, in Atlanta.

Atlanta’s first Climate Action Plan, developed in 2015, informs how the city will prepare for 2040, the year the city’s population is expected to have tripled in size, in part due to climate migration — from 400,000 to 1.2 million.

“It’s sad that people have to leave their homes where they’ve lived their entire lives and that they have to mobilize because of climate change,” said Jairo Garcia, who helped develop the plan as Atlanta’s former director of climate policy and renewables. “But without the right planning, it’s going to put a lot of pressure on cities like Atlanta.”

“Just escaping sea level rise in the coastal region and moving a little bit further inland, that’s not going to do you a whole lot of good.”

The city’s 2040 Development Plan, folding in recommendations from the Climate Action Plan, outlines a strategy to extend its resources for an expanded population. One section of the document calls for “significantly more and improved public space to support the life of our growing city.” Most climate migrants, it predicts, will not have their own outdoor space. Plans to develop housing focus on densely populated communities, like apartments and condominiums, rather than single-family homes. The city is also preparing to become more public transit-oriented, with four bus rapid transit lines criss-crossing Atlanta’s metropolitan area and “off-street superhighways for bicycles” that follow old railroads in the area.

This entry was tagged. Global Warming

Are We Headed Towards an Ice Age?

Are We Headed Towards an Ice Age? →

This is the type of thing that worries me.

Holdren does do us a favor by raising a subject which doesn’t get nearly as much air time when this topic is debated in the media. No matter what you think about the viability of various climate models predicting the effects of various atmospheric agents on the biosphere, there has always been a long term question about what mankind will do when (not if) the next ice age comes. Rather than looking at hockey sticks for global temperature trends in the 20th century, a more alarming picture comes into focus when you look at our track record for the last half million years.

Temperature graph for the last 400,000 years.

The relatively pleasant weather we’ve enjoyed throughout mankind’s rise across the globe is, traditionally, a fleeting thing. Eventually the glaciers come back and that’s something which our biggest brains have no clue how to stop once they start their southward march. Once the process starts, it happens pretty fast, too. (At least “fast” in geological time frames.) It might not spell the actual extinction of the species, but there wouldn’t be room for many people in the habitable areas. There are also theories out there which suggest that a sustained rise in temperatures can actually trigger a faster onset of glaciation. So when you’re done arguing about what to do when the ocean levels rise and swallow Miami, you can figure out how to grow corn on an ice sheet.

The Milwaukee Public Museum has an exhibit on the ice ages. It's a sobering thing to stand next to a scale replica of a glacier, looking up, and imagine everything that you know being kilometers underneath your feet.

This entry was tagged. Global Warming

Global Warming: Causal Density is a Bear

Global Warming: Causal Density is a Bear →

From Arnold Kling, at his askblog:

When there are many factors that have an impact on a system, statistical analysis yields unreliable results. Computer simulations give you exquisitely precise unreliable results. Those who run such simulations and call what they do “science” are deceiving themselves.

This is in the context of the The Economist's realization that greenhouse gases may not be quite as dangerous as previously thought.

Exquisite models are still just models. Their conclusions are only as good as the assumptions that went into making them.

This entry was tagged. Global Warming

Portland sequoia cut down for bike path

Portland sequoia cut down for bike path →

It's tempting to think that in a battle of green vs green, that a green project must lose.

The City of Portland cut down the giant sequoia in Pier Park, in order to make way for a pedestrian and bicycle greenway.

On Thursday, protesters crossed over caution tape and their presence halted the chopping down of the sequoia, along with other, less iconic trees close by. The tree will be used to build PP&R’s first Nature Play area at Westmoreland Park.

"It will help kids connect with nature, and provide a sustainable, natural playground in the first such endeavor across our system," Ross said, in a post on PP&R's Facebook page. "We will mitigate the loss of the sequoia by planting seven giant sequoias in neighboring Chimney Park, where there are much fewer trees."

Ironically, this is a net win for the environment. Young trees absorb much more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than mature trees do. By cutting down one sequoia and replacing it with seven young ones, Portland will actually be decreasing the amount of CO2 in its atmosphere. (But the dead sequoia will leak CO2 back into the air. It'd be better if it was buried deep underground. Oh well. Shame about the beautiful old tree too.)

Global warming stopped 16 years ago

Global warming stopped 16 years ago →

The world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago, according to new data released last week.

The figures, which have triggered debate among climate scientists, reveal that from the beginning of 1997 until August 2012, there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temperatures.

This means that the ‘plateau’ or ‘pause’ in global warming has now lasted for about the same time as the previous period when temperatures rose, 1980 to 1996. Before that, temperatures had been stable or declining for about 40 years.


A Fracking Good Story by Bjørn Lomborg

A Fracking Good Story by Bjørn Lomborg →

Fracking has done more to reduce US carbon emissions than anything that solar or wind could currently hope to do.

Carbon-dioxide emissions in the United States have dropped to their lowest level in 20 years. Estimating on the basis of data from the US Energy Information Agency (EIA) from the first five months of 2012, this year’s expected CO2 emissions have declined by more than 800 million tons, or 14%, from their peak in 2007.

The cause is an unprecedented switch to natural gas, which emits 45% less carbon per energy unit. The US used to generate about half its electricity from coal, and roughly 20% from gas. Over the past five years, those numbers have changed, first slowly and now dramatically: in April of this year, coal’s share in power generation plummeted to just 32%, on par with gas.

... The reduction is even more impressive when one considers that 57 million additional energy consumers were added to the US population over the past two decades. Indeed, US carbon emissions have dropped some 20% per capita, and are now at their lowest level since Dwight D. Eisenhower left the White House in 1961.

David Victor, an energy expert at the University of California, San Diego, estimates that the shift from coal to natural gas has reduced US emissions by 400-500 megatonnes (Mt) of CO2 per year. To put that number in perspective, it is about twice the total effect of the Kyoto Protocol on carbon emissions in the rest of the world, including the European Union.

How "Policy By Panic" Can Backfire for Environmentalists

How "Policy By Panic" Can Backfire for Environmentalists →

Remember how, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Al Gore (and many others) claimed that we were in store for ever more devastating hurricanes? Since then, hurricane incidence has dropped off the charts; indeed, by one measure, global accumulated cyclone energy has decreased to its lowest levels since the late 1970’s. Exaggerated claims merely fuel public distrust and disengagement.

That is unfortunate, because global warming is a real problem, and we do need to address it. Warming will increase some extremes (it is likely that both droughts and fires will become worse toward the end of the century). But warming will also decrease other extremes, for example, leading to fewer deaths from cold and less water scarcity.

This entry was tagged. Global Warming

No Evidence of Climate Change Harm

No Evidence of Climate Change Harm →

Don Boudreaux quotes Indur Goklany, on climate change (emphasis added by your kindly editor).

Here’s part of the conclusion of a recent, data-rich paper by Indur Goklany; this paper is Chapter 6 in Climate Coup (Patrick J. Michaels, ed., 2011):

Despite claims that global warming will reduce human well-being in developing countries, there is no evidence that this is actually happening. Empirical trends show that by any objective climate-sensitive measure, human well-being has, in fact, improved remarkably over the last several decades. Specifically, agricultural productivity has increased; the proportion of population suffering from chronic hunger has declined; the rate of extreme poverty has been more than halved; rates of death and disease from malaria, other vector-borne diseases, and extreme weather events have declined; and, consequently, life-expectancy has more than doubled since 1900.

And while economic growth and technological development fueled mainly by fossil fuels are responsible for some portion of the warming experienced this century, they are largely responsible for the above-noted improvements in human well-being in developing countries (and elsewhere). The fact that these improvements occurred despite any global warming indicates that economic and technological development has been, overall, a benefit to developing countries [pp. 181-182].

This is why I don't think we should be engaging in any crash programs to reduce carbon emissions or restrict fossil fuel usage.

The Problem with Anthropogenic Global Warming

Warren Meyer points out Richard Lindzen's Congressional testimony as a great example of the central problem with global warming models.

Here are two statements that are completely agreed on by the IPCC. It is crucial to be aware of their implications.

  1. A doubling of CO2, by itself, contributes only about 1C to greenhouse warming. All models project more warming, because, within models, there are positive feedbacks from water vapor and clouds, and these feedbacks are considered by the IPCC to be uncertain.

  2. If one assumes all warming over the past century is due to anthropogenic greenhouse forcing, then the derived sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2is less than 1C. The higher sensitivity of existing models is made consistent with observed warming by invoking unknown additional negative forcings from aerosols and solar variability as arbitrary adjustments.

Given the above, the notion that alarming warming is 'settled science' should be offensive to any sentient individual, though to be sure, the above is hardly emphasized by the IPCC. 4

Did you catch that? Even assuming that all of the warming that occurred from 1900-2000 was due to human activities (a very dubious assertion to begin with), the climate still isn't as sensitive to increases in CO2 as the climate models predicate. The climate models have to add in additional fudge factors to get the results that the "scientists" want to see.

Until that changes -- until there is hard evidence that the climate really is that sensitive to increases in CO2 -- I'll continue to oppose any kind of carbon caps, carbon taxes, or any other attempt by the government to control how we generate and use energy.

This entry was tagged. Global Warming

What Global Warming Consensus?

Survey: Less Than Half of all Published Scientists Endorse Global Warming Theory

In 2004, history professor Naomi Oreskes performed a survey of research papers on climate change. Examining peer-reviewed papers published on the ISI Web of Science database from 1993 to 2003, she found a majority supported the "consensus view," defined as humans were having at least some effect on global climate change. Oreskes' work has been repeatedly cited, but as some of its data is now nearly 15 years old, its conclusions are becoming somewhat dated.

Medical researcher Dr. Klaus-Martin Schulte recently updated this research. Using the same database and search terms as Oreskes, he examined all papers published from 2004 to February 2007. The results have been submitted to the journal Energy and Environment, of which DailyTech has obtained a pre-publication copy. The figures are surprising.

Of 528 total papers on climate change, only 38 (7%) gave an explicit endorsement of the consensus. If one considers "implicit" endorsement (accepting the consensus without explicit statement), the figure rises to 45%. However, while only 32 papers (6%) reject the consensus outright, the largest category (48%) are neutral papers, refusing to either accept or reject the hypothesis. This is no "consensus."

The figures are even more shocking when one remembers the watered-down definition of consensus here. Not only does it not require supporting that man is the "primary" cause of warming, but it doesn't require any belief or support for "catastrophic" global warming. In fact of all papers published in this period (2004 to February 2007), only a single one makes any reference to climate change leading to catastrophic results.

These changing viewpoints represent the advances in climate science over the past decade. While today we are even more certain the earth is warming, we are less certain about the root causes. More importantly, research has shown us that -- whatever the cause may be -- the amount of warming is unlikely to cause any great calamity for mankind or the planet itself.

This entry was tagged. Global Warming

Why Don't I Sweat Global Warming?

The answer climate sensitivity, diminishing curves, CO2 doubling, historical empirical data and more. Warren Meyer explains the whole thing with just two charts.

Coyote Blog: Problems With Catastrophic Global Warming Shown in Two Charts

To get a sensitivity of 3.0ºC, one has to assume that global warming due solely to man's CO2 (nothing else) would have to be 1.5ºC to date (where the red line intersects the current concentration of 380ppm). But no one, not the IPCC or anyone else, believes measured past warming has been anywhere near this high. So to believe the catastrophic man-made global warming case, you have to accept a sensitivity three or more times higher than historical empirical data would support. Rather than fighting against climate consensus, which is how we are so often portrayed, skeptics in fact have history and empirical data on our side. For me, this second chart is the smoking gun of climate skepticism. We have a lot of other issues -- measurement biases, problems with historical reconstructions, role of the sun, etc -- but this chart highlights the central problem -- that catastrophic warming forecasts make no sense based on the last 100+ years of actual data.

This entry was tagged. Global Warming

Monday Morning Reading List, Part 1

Massachusetts Universal Care Plan Faces Hurdles - New York Times.

People who must pay the full cost themselves, who are crucial to the success of the nation's most ambitious effort to achieve near-universal coverage, may now be a majority of the state's uninsured and not all are rushing to get coverage. Many of them are healthy young people in their 20's and 30's, state officials say.

Businesses are also less than thrilled about the universal mandate.

"This is going to bring me to my knees," said Deb Maguire, who runs Liam Maguire's Irish Pub and Restaurant in Falmouth.

Ms. Maguire said she had offered health insurance, costing employees $42 a week and her $45, but only about 10 of 30 employees purchased it. Now the others will enroll, she said, an expense significant for them and "just astronomical for me."

Asymmetrical Information: Okay, so what's the plan? Meanwhile, Jane Galt / Megan McArdle wants to know where the savings will come from in a world with universal healthcare

Winds of Change.NET: It's all about me, so praise me, why doncha? Donald Sensing reports on the downside of building self-esteem -- employees who crumble under criticism.

Evidence For Global Warming Evaporating? Ed Morrissey looks at Al Gore's evidence for global warming and reveals that it's thin indeed.

Madison's Very Own Global Warming Skeptic

I'm ecstatic to see that not everyone believes that my iPod is destroying the planet.

Local scientist calls global warming theory 'hooey'

Reid Bryson, known as the father of scientific climatology, considers global warming a bunch of hooey.

The UW-Madison professor emeritus, who stands against the scientific consensus on this issue, is referred to as a global warming skeptic. But he is not skeptical that global warming exists, he is just doubtful that humans are the cause of it.

There is no question the earth has been warming. It is coming out of the "Little Ice Age," he said in an interview this week.

"However, there is no credible evidence that it is due to mankind and carbon dioxide. We've been coming out of a Little Ice Age for 300 years. We have not been making very much carbon dioxide for 300 years. It's been warming up for a long time," Bryson said.

The Little Ice Age was driven by volcanic activity. That settled down so it is getting warmer, he said.

Humans are polluting the air and adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, but the effect is tiny, Bryson said.

"It's like there is an elephant charging in and you worry about the fact that there is a fly sitting on its head. It's just a total misplacement of emphasis," he said. "It really isn't science because there's no really good scientific evidence."

Just because almost all of the scientific community believes in man-made global warming proves absolutely nothing, Bryson said. "Consensus doesn't prove anything, in science or anywhere else, except in democracy, maybe."

This entry was tagged. Global Warming