Let's Have More Than One Climate Conversation

By Keith Kloor | November 20, 2012 12:53 pm

Are we at a crossroads in the climate debate? Will the renewed attention being paid to global warming in the wake of Hurricane Sandy be a lasting “teachable moment,” or more of a Groundhog Day-like moment?

What do I mean? Let’s recall the wave of media (and science) coverage that followed Hurricane Katrina in 2005. It served as a preview of the climate change/severe weather meme that has now become an effective frame for climate communicators. Additionally, in 2006, Al Gore’s Oscar-winning An Inconvenient Truth helped to widely publicize the perils of climate change. That same year, Time magazine warned us:

In the Canadian high Arctic, a polar bear negotiates what was once solid ice.

Yes, there were a lot of teachable moments during the mid-2000s. And people seemed to be paying attention. I bet many thought a corner had been turned.

Alas, public opinion on global warming swings easily (and superficially) between concern and indifference, like “waves in a shallow pan, with a lot of sloshing but not a lot of depth,” Andy Revkin has observed.  Thus it was no surprise when the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 pushed the looming climate crisis off the public radar. In the next few years, the bleak economy and political forces in the United States (such as the rise of the Tea Party and the GOP’s dismissal of climate science) combined to make climate change an increasingly partisan issue that President Obama was eager to avoid during the 2012 election.

Enter Hurricane Sandy. The massive, destructive storm has thrust global warming back into the national conversation these past few weeks. Michael Bloomberg’s 11th-hour endorsement of Obama for reelection made big news in large part because of the Mayor’s emphasis on climate change as a reason. Thought leaders, scientists, and pundits have similarly talked up climate change in a Sandy context. The media has done its part to stoke the conversation.

Most of these efforts, as I discussed here, have sought to reinforce the message that “Frankenstorm” Sandy is a manifestation of greenhouse gas-fueled climate change and symbolic of the “new normal.” However, there are some (who care deeply about communicating the climate threat) that have argued this may not be a wise strategy. Read, for example, George Marshall’s essay at Revkin’s Dot Earth blog. Marshall, if you aren’t familiar with him, heads up the UK-based Climate Outreach and Information Network. Nobody can accuse him of being a crypto climate denialist or Big Oil stooge. His work is singularly focused on getting people engaged with climate change. Here’s an excerpt of his recent essay:

In the wake of extreme heat, droughts, and Hurricane Sandy, many people are assuming that, at last, there may be the critical mass of extreme weather events that will tip public opinion towards action on climate change.

This is based on the long held assumption that extreme climate events will increase awareness and concern ““ and this would seem logical considering that climate change suffers as an issue from distance and a consequent lack of salience.

However this assumption deserves to be challenged. Climate change awareness is complex and strongly mediated by socially constructed attitudes. I suggest that there are some countervailing conditions ““ especially in the early stages of climate impacts. It is important to recognize that many of the social and cultural obstacles to belief are not removed by major impacts and may, indeed, be reinforced.

I encourage people to read the whole piece to grasp his argument. I kinda doubt that President Obama, in the aftermath of his victory, had time to read it. But he seems to understand the complicated cultural dynamics that Marshall discusses. In his recent press conference, the President said this:

So what I’m going to be doing over the next several weeks, next several months, is having a conversation, a wide-ranging conversation with scientists, engineers, and elected officials to find out what can — what more can we do to make a short-term progress in reducing carbons, and then working through an education process that I think is necessary — a discussion, a conversation across the country about what realistically can we do long term to make sure that this is not something we’re passing on to future generations that’s going to be very expensive and very painful to deal with.

Initially, I scoffed at this as an empty gesture. But I wonder if my critical judgement was too hasty. Maybe the way to build long-term, sustainable engagement with climate change is through an educational “listening tour,” the likes of which Revkin and Mathew Nisbet have previously proposed. I realize that such an approach sounds modest compared to Bill McKibben’s “Do the Math” tour and the groundswell of support for climate action he is currently trying to build. But the two goals need not be mutually exclusive.

That said, the headlines continue to paint a narrative that works against the deliberative, consensus-building efforts that President Obama favors. This week, the World Bank issued a report (more a clarion call) that has been picked up widely in the media and accompanied by an op-ed by World Bank President Jim Yong Kim titled, “The Latest Predictions on Climate Change Should Shock Us Into Action.”

Other big climate news also generating worldwide headlines is this: “Greenhouse Gases Hit Record High.”

This latest alarming bulletin and the sense of urgency expressed by the World Bank feeds into a dominant narrative that, for many people, was epitomized by Hurricane Sandy. What will be interesting to see is if this Wake Up World! narrative diverts attention away from another important conversation that we should be having in a post-Sandy world that needs to be re-engineered with climate change in mind.

Can we have more than one climate conversation at the same time?

  • MarkB

    Just as the anti-Viet Nam crowd celebrated in the streets when an American bomb would hit a Hanoi hospital – the better to reveal the iniquities of Amerika – so their direct descendents today pray (secularly) for hurricanes and floods to kill as many people as possible. Where do I sign up – I want to be just like them!

  • Tom C

    Obama also said this at his press conference:

    THE PRESIDENT:  “As you know, Mark, we can’t attribute any particular weather event to climate change.  What we do know is the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even 10 years ago.” 

    This is an untrue statement. Does anyone care?

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    In modern ecological planning, it’s common to sit all the stakeholders and people affected down with the scientists and engineers of a project in order to build consensus. Some people seem to think that this is completely at odds with the way that climate policy in the US has been pursued.

    But here’s the thing. Congress has already done a great deal of reaching out to and consensus building with skeptics and industry groups, bringing many (at least of the latter) on board with climate action. Congress rejected policies put forward by those favoring extreme climate action in favor of conservative/Republican proposals. This resulted in the first passage of climate legislation in the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, it died in the most obstructionist Senate in recent history.

    Was the process of building ACES wrong? When conservative and liberal economists agree on economic policy that also enjoys a majority support in public opinion, who is to blame for the effective veto power that people Grover Norquist have?

    I think it’s easy to say that we need more hand-holding and outreach, and I don’t want to stand in the way. But in the current political climate, I don’t see how it can possibly be productive. Cap and trade is declared dead in the water. Carbon taxation is declared dead in the water. Breakthrough Boyz style clean energy investment is, despite their promises of bipartisan support, declared dead in the water. The most inefficient outcome, EPA regulation, is being attacked relentlessly. Hell, even modest adaptation is being attacked, from international down to local governance scales.

    What’s left to pursue?

    I agree with the social science on resistance to accepting climate reality. But I don’t see how overcoming it translates into any sort of meaningful political action in today’s political climate of unbridled obstructionism and sabotage.

  • Joshua

    their direct descendents today pray (secularly) for hurricanes and floods to kill as many people as possible

    Yes indeedy. Reminds me of when I was praying for all my friends and family to die in terrorist attacks so Bush would look bad!

    Anyway, I know I was fervently praying for my basement to be filled with water. I was sooooo disappointed when Sandy didn’t deliver. Good thing that some other folks nearby in NJ suffered, though. Nothing quite as satisfying as seeing the sum of people’s worldly possessions ruined and piled up on the street as trash and waiting to get carried away. Their suffering almost made up for my disappointment.

    Almost – but not quite.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    TB I agree. As I said earlier,

    the assumption seems to be that climate policy in the u.s. is an either/or proposition. Either the federal government implements a national carbon pricing scheme via tax or C&Tand it gets serious about arm twisting BRIC countries on the international stage or”¦.bust.This framing of the problem is simplistic and unhelpful IMO. There are many, many climate oriented policies being enacted by sub-nationals in N. America and by other countries around the world. Is this sufficient given magnitude of the challenge? No. But, to insinuate that the the lack of action at the federal level in the U.S. stems from a strategic miscalulation is grossly disingenuous. Is anyone really surprised that no climate legislation has made it through Congress and received 60+ votes in the Senate? Of course not. No other legislation of similar magnitude has succeeded either.

    Now I realize that the TBI folks and RPJr fanboys want to promote pixie dust + adaptation (Hi Ken Greene!). they’re perfectly entitled to make a detailed argument outlining why their preferred approach is more politically realistic than a revenue neutral carbon tax (Hello Mr. Norquist!). I’m still waiting “” although unwilling to pad roger’s wallet by reading his book(s).

    Here in Canada we don’t have the “˜laboratory’ model that folks in the U.S. have when it comes to enviro policy (Hello California!). While it’s still too early to tell, the Washington and Colorado votes on “˜potting up’ and AB32 suggest to me that the federal government in the U.S. will be a follower rather than a leader in days to come on both these issues.

  • harrywr2

    #3

    Congress rejected policies put forward by those favoring extreme climate
    action in favor of conservative/Republican proposals. This resulted in the first passage of climate legislation in the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, it died in the most obstructionist Senate in recent history

    No, the Energy Policy Acts of 2005 and 2007 passed both the House and the Senate and were signed into law by Bush Jr.

    Those acts gave us mandated bio-fuel standards, mandated vehicle Cafe Standards and provided subsidy for full scale demonstration of  every conceivable form of alternative electricity production method…

    The result has been that the US is currently ‘leading the world’ in emissions reductions.

    The full scale solar demonstration projects are hung up in the permitting stage in California, the full scale nuclear demonstration projects just started construction this year. We added plenty of wind and learned that the amount of ‘geographic separation’ required to capture the ‘wind always blows somewhere’ is greater then originally thought. We also have full scale ‘smart meter’ demonstration projects to determine how much ‘demand shaping’ is practical. Solar PV costs have dropped dramatically and now make ‘some’ sense in  limited circumstances. The most efficient central air condition has gone from a SEER rating of 14 ten years ago to a SEER rating of 23 today.

    From an engineering and grid standpoint an enormous amount of ‘learning’ has been done and an enormous amount remains to be done.

    Some people like to see pricetags before they agree to purchase something. We don’t know the pricetag of energy storage or how much demand shaping is practical so continued massive rollout of wind seems a bit premature. We don’t know the pricetag of nuclear, so rolling that out bigtime seems premature as well. Solar PV is coming down but it is only competitive in places with large summer peak loads and good solar insolation.

    Waxman-Markey set a target without any idea of how much the costs of meeting that target would end up being.

    The one ‘climate policy’ Obama did manage to push thru…a $7500 tax credit for electric vehicles with a goal of 5 million electric vehicles by 2015 appears that it will fall short of it’s goal by about 4.9 million vehicles. Volt sales are up, Leaf sales are down. European electric vehicle sales are in the same boat.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    a couple quibbles (and one question):

    the fuel economy provisions in the 2007 EISA were clearly included as a reargard action in response to moves by California and other states to implement much more aggressive standards earlier (remember that emissions of CO2 are, for practical purposes, cumulative). So, it’s a little disingenuous to give the repubs credit on that front — especially when you consider that Dubya deliberately ignored the EPA’s own legal counsel and denied California the waiver it needed.

    the amount of “˜geographic separation’ required to capture the “˜wind always blows somewhere’ is greater then originally thought.

    would be interested to see some references if you have them (genuinely curious). 

    one more thing. around these parts it’s generally referred to as ‘peak shaving’ not ‘demand shaping’ when the topic is electricity demand management…

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    Harry,

    Pretending that ethanol mandates which displace food production and offer no carbon savings represent actual climate legislation is absurd.

    “The result has been that the US is currently “˜leading the world’ in emissions reductions.”

    Absolute rubbish. The US suffered a recession and has seen a glut in natural gas that is in no way expected to keep emissions down in either the short or long term.

    http://i.imgur.com/77G6Z.png

    I suppose the same folks that think a La Niña heralds the onset of global cooling only naturally see short term drops in emissions as something much more meaningful than they are in reality.

  • Ed Forbes

    “..Enter Hurricane Sandy. The massive, destructive storm..”……..What a joke…….a cat 1 hurricane that is downgraded to a tropical storm at landfall is the poster child of the CAGW Green Taliban…..If the local build out can not handle a tropical storm, what the hell do you think will happen when hit by a fully natural cat 2 or cat 3 storm?……O’ya….I keep forgetting….all weather is now climate. It is now proof of CAGW if it is hot, cold, wet, or dry with the green religious sects.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Umm, thingsbreak, U.S. emissions are now as low as they were in 1992. And in case you missed it, the recession has been over for a couple of years, now. That’s what happens when Democrats get elected (yay!). 13 quarters of consecutive GDP growth.

    Sure, natural gas has contributed to the fall in emissions. But so has energy efficiency and take-up of renewables.

    Our population in 1992 was 254 million. Today it’s 315 million. And we’re emitting the same amount of CO2.

    Put your Grinch costume on, TB. You’re just in time for the holiday season. Don’t get malaria now…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Posted this on the previous thread by mistake…And lest you think that we exported our carbon emissions

    Source: tradingeconomics.com

    Change the start date to 1992–or any other date that fits your fancy.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Posted this on the previous thread by mistake…And lest you think that we exported our carbon emissions

    Source: tradingeconomics.com

    Change the start date to 1992–or any other date that fits your fancy.

  • Doug Allen

    As someone who cares deeply about science, conservation, and the common weal, I think the current hype about climate change, global warming, and “new normals” will have the same awful effect similar hype has had in the recent past- disrepect for alarmist scientists (and unfortuately science in general), further politicalization of science and polarization of the electorate, unintended consequences like the tragic use of food for fuel, and opportunity costs like ignoring the solving of problems we actually understand.  Be worried.  Be very worried. With fear mongering and propaganda replacing science, there will be little chance to identify, let alone solve, the important problems facing humanity. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    As for the broader theme of this post, I’ve already commented that making your strategy hostage to the weather is about the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. Well, there’s the No Pressure video…

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    Tom Fuller: “Umm, thingsbreak, U.S. emissions are now as low as they were in 1992.”

    I don’t really understand what point you think you’re making. The drop in US emissions is primarily attributable to two phenomena:

    - decreased GHG emissions due to the recession
    - a marked and short-lived increase in nat.gas vs. coal that no one is expecting will continue and had no impact on global emissions (thanks to record coal exports)

    There are certainly other contributing factors. The steady increase in energy efficiency is one of them, but it’s small over the few years we’re talking about.

    Do you think there has been some sort of meaningful change in US emissions trajectory over the longer term?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Thingsbreak, Do you think your opponents are incapable of reading published statistics? What utter contempt you must have for anyone not granted Elect status.

    The DOE attributed one-third of the drop to reduced economic activity. One-third. And that drop has continued after the recession.

    Thirteen consecutive quarters of GDP growth. Thirteen consecutive quarters of increased industrial production. But a continuing drop in CO2 emissions is all due to the recession that ended in 2009?

    Yes, I do think a meaningful change in US emissions trajectory is underway. Because I actually look at statistics instead of trying to manipulate them.

    It’s because we’re all riding around in sleds pulled by polar bears desperate to escape the torrid heat of the North.

  • harrywr2

    #15

    marked and short-lived increase in nat.gas vs. coal

    Sorry, but the productivity trends for coal east of the Mississippi river have been trending downward for a full decade. Last year saw another drop of 6.9%. Add that the trends is coal transport costs have been going up annually by an almost equal measure coal is losing cost competitiveness against a number of alternative energy technology’s in ‘substantial’ US electrical markets. I.E. The US Eastern Seaboard.People making decisions about building power plants just don’t look at todays price, they look at the long term trend. The longer term trend in coal prices East of the Mississippi is up, up and up.The Chairman of Peabody Coal which mines the bulk of it’s coal in Wyoming will tell a different story, unfortunately Wyoming is a very long way from the US Eastern Seaboard.40% of the price of delivered coal in the US is now ‘transport costs’. Longer transport distances and increased diesel fuel costs.If the price of diesel going to go down or up? The Chinese are buying 20 million cars a year. Somehow I think ‘up’ is the only direction oil will go for the remainder of my life.West of the Rocky Mountains it has been impossible to get a NOx permit for a new coal fired plant for decades. Smog is a big issue. That isn’t going to change.The coal plants we have are aging and at some point they will need major refurbishment, at which time they will be replaced by gas,wind or nuclear.US EIA projections of coal fired retirements is low gas price case and high gas price case are between 40GW and 55 GW others put estimates as high as 78GW.EIA has a nice article on all the reasons for the coal to gas shift. The price of gas is only one of them.http://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.cfm?id=7330

  • BBD

    @ 16

    All US-based misdirection about how reduced US emissions matter in any way whatsoever needs to be viewed in the shadow of the Keeling curve.

    Keep spinning the same old spin. Meanwhile, up it goes, ever higher. 

    I’ll upgrade this stuff from crypto-denialist tripe status the day the Keeling curve starts visibly flattening out.

  • Sashka

    Sandy-Shmandy. We had the same crap thrown around after Ivan and Katrina. But guess what? When dust settles there will no credible peer-reviewed publication linking any given weather event to climate change.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Shorter BBD: “Blah-blah, blah.” But while I’ve got you on the line, maybe you can answer a question.

    I want to make sure I’m using the right figures in calculating the increase in CO2 concentrations.

    I show CO2 concentrations in 1880 as 240 ppm and in 1945 as 340 and in 2010 as 385 ppm.

    If those are correct the annual growth in concentrations has slowed from 0.25% annually to 0.19% annually.

    So if the numbers I’m using are wrong, it would be useful to know.

  • BBD

    Repeat BBD: you and harrywr2 are indulging in crypto-denialist tripe. Look at the Keeling curve. Now say ‘blah, blah, blah’ to that

    And as so often, your numbers are wrong.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sigh… BBD, you really should learn a bit about numbers and percentages if you’re going to discuss this subject.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hmm. It looks like the time required to double CO2 concentrations is 365 years if growth is 0.19% annually. If it is 0.25% per year it will take 277.6 years to double.

  • Nullius in Verba

    Tom,

    As pained and disappointed as I am to have to agree with BBD, I think you ought to check your numbers.

    Law Dome CO2 data gives 290 ppm for 1880, 310 ppm in 1945. I can go with your 385 ppm in 2010.

    The percentage rise over the 65 years from 1880 to1945 is (310/290 – 1)x100% = 6.9%, and the average annual percentage rise is thus 1.069^(1/65) = 0.1%.

    The percentage rise over the 65 years from 1945 to 2010 is (385/310 -
    1)x100% = 24.2%, and the average annual percentage rise is thus
    1.242^(1/65) = 0.3%.

    However, this is misleading because the form of the equation assuming an exponential rise in emissions is A+Bexp(k(t-t0)) giving an increasing rate of rise in level, not Bexp(k(t-t0)) which is what would give a constant percentage rate.

    Fitting the above 3 points, we get [CO2] = 282.7+7.27273 Exp(0.0203347(t-1880)). Doubled CO2 baseline occurs in 2059, and the exponential part doubles every 39 years, which is what the rate of rise would approach if it continued indefinitely.

    Of course, it won’t. Models are not reality, especially not economic models, and this one is especially stupid. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go wash my hands.

  • Nullius in Verba

    Correction: the exponential part doubles every 34 years. (ln(2)/0.0203347.) Apologies.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hmm. NiV, I took my data from chart 2 here: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:KFkI2GaARsIJ:wikis.milkenschool.org/%40api/deki/files/2612/%3Ddata_analysis.docx+&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESj3v14Al4HWADG7ShGR2o0taWoXZI4RSJSuxObVKb_I5nZwuGusgPv1NOpmkM0cgMC3v9XB4MiqzaQRbd5uyCkfOfVpc_xMzB5iPfskc7GzOh11AU-AHvzTT-lvZlj7Byc7TX9r&sig=AHIEtbSl5SeCe-Kv4cGd-aIjyqjlGQ4TYwAnd I was unaware of any description of the rise as anything other than linear. The rates of course would vary, but I’m certainly willing to be educated on why this would not be the case. If anything I would have expected a slowdown in terms of percentages, as of course the total grows and the yearly contribution may not from year to year.

  • BBD

    Stuffed again, eh Tom. Never learn, do you.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Notice the difference between you and me–and NiV, for that matter. I ask a question. I follow it up. I’m trying to understand some of the equations tossed around–where they come from. You toss a link to something that has no relevance and follow up with snark. NiV provides data and shows his work. And you actually think the conversation is over.

    See why you get your butt handed to you in every discussion? I thought you had actually retired in disgrace, content to mumble and grumble at Judith’s.

    Get ‘em!

  • Nullius in Verba

    #26,

    There are all sorts of models for the rise. I’ve seen constant plus exponential, piecewise exponential, quadratic, linear, piecewise linear, and those based on economic projections. I only picked that one because people were talking about ‘acceleration’ in percentage terms.

    There is a very simplistic (and somewhat Malthusian) model assuming population growth is exponential (fixed percentage rate), energy use is proportional to population, and CO2 concentration is the integral of emissions. That gives you the exponential plus offset model. If you want to talk about things relative to a constant growth rate as a measure of how well we’re doing, it has its merits. But it doesn’t fit the data, or any sort of realistic projections. Both population and energy intensity are projected to level off. And prediction is very difficult, especially of the future.

    BBD’s argument that a drop in US emissions is somehow refuted by the Keeling curve, which is of course now driven by the developing world emissions that the Greens have no intention of limiting, is a nonsense. But I think it’s important to use the right argument to say why. He can’t refute a claim about one country with a global total. But the global total is going up quite fast.

  • harrywr2

    #21 BBD,

    Look at the Keeling curve.

    Why? Do you think that the Keeling Curve is going to motivate US Citizens to buy electric cars at 10 or 100 times the rate of their European counterparts? Do you think the Keeling Curve is going to stop ‘Green’ Europeans from being the #1 purchaser of exported America coal? Sorry BBD, the world is filled with sanctimoneous ‘selfish people’ who will bitterly complain that ‘someone else’ needs to make sacrifices while they ‘save their wallets’.I’ve seen ‘no war for oil’ bumper stickers on the back of vehicles that get 5 MPG. The owner will have some ‘rational justification’ why they be given a ‘special exception’ for consuming more then their fair share of oil and then go on to say that ‘others that don’t have my ‘needs’ should to do more to save oil.Unfortunately, there are 6.9 billion people that think just like that.If you want to worry about ‘saving the planet’ then find Secretary Chu $16 billion
    to build a demonstration 4th Gen nuclear reactor with an outlet temperature of 900°C. He’ll use it to make ‘carbon neutral’ transportation fuels.Sorry, but the Climate Concerned community is predominantly anti-nuclear and anti-energy and is  interested in pursing policies that impose a ‘minimalist lifestyle’ on humanity.Humanity isn’t interested…and the sooner the ‘climate concerned’ give up their idea that humaity can somehow be magically convinced to live in a shoebox karl marx apartments and  crammed into cities the sooner we can all drive around in ‘carbon neutral’ synfuel powered BIG CARS free from concerns about environmental impact or wars over resources. My primary form of transportation is a motor scooter, I don’t own air conditioning and I live in an area with minimal heating needs, 85% of the electricity I consume is ‘fossil free’. The trees growing in my back garden that I planted more then offset my ‘carbon consumption’. Your not going to be able to solve the ‘CO2′ problem with policies that basically say we should all be ‘poor together’ for the sake of the planet. Humanity always has been and always will be way too selfish to do anything more then make symbolic gestures that they would.We used to bury food in the US because no one was willing to pay the shipping costs of sending it to starving people in Africa. Now we either pay farmers to not bother growing it all all or convert it into vehicle fuel.If you are concerned with the Keeling Curve I suggest you figure out how to give people the life style they prefer at a price they can afford with a substantially smaller carbon foot print. Any other policy is going to fail. No government will risk civil unrest.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I’m just looking at the Keeling curve. It looks linear in its form to me. Given that emissions have not been linear, it seems odd to impute other a lockstep relationship.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Whoops! NiV, when you write, “Law Dome CO2 data gives 290 ppm for 1880, 310 ppm in 1945. I can go with your 385 ppm in 2010,” you are correct and I was mistaken (read wrong line on the chart). If the growth is linear, that’s growth of 0.1% annually between 1880 and 1945 and yields a doubling time of 693 years. That accelerated to 0.33% annually for the period between 1945 and 2010, with a doubling time of 210 years.During the second half of the period, emissions look like they almost quintupled, from about 1,500 mt to what looks like 7,500 mt. Concentrations clearly don’t move in lockstep with emissions. Emissions do rise and so do concentrations–I’m not arguing otherwise. But it seems to take quite a bit more emitting to get a given rise in percentage of concentrations.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I’m just playing around here, trying to have more than one climate conversation.

    The Keeling Curve is interesting. The area under the curve is fascinating.

    CDIAC lists estimated human emissions by year from 1751 through 2008.

    Between 1751 and 1880, cumulative human emissions were estimated at 5,128 million metric tonnes of CO2. 

    Then came the recovery from the Little Ice Age, accompanied by human emissions of ten times as much CO2–50,048 metric tonnes between 1880 and 1945.

    1945, for many, marks the start of major human contributions. Between 1945 and 2000, humans emitted 228,783 mt of CO2. Truly impressive. 

    However, since 2000, we have emitted 90,000 mt of CO2.

    I have trouble relating this to either CO2 concentrations or the temperature record…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Here’s a link to the CDIAC data: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/tre_glob_2009.html#

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Oh–a couple of places above I wrote metric tonnes instead of million metric tonnes. Sorry. It’s the latter.

  • Doug Allen

    Look at the Keeling curve.  OK.  CO2 ppm has increased from about 290 to about 400 in about 130 years.  Temperatures have gone up about 0.8 C in those 130 years.The 38% increase in CO2 ppm could possibly be responsible for the 0.8 degree C rise, if other forcings are nil or cancel each other out.  That is one possibility among many.  However, the preceding 130 years, 1750-1880, also had a similar temperature rise of about 0.8 C when the increase in CO2 was from about 280- 290 ppm.  It seems a lot more likely to me that most of the recent 130 years temperature rise is from those poorly understood forcings called natural variability- the explanation for the previous 130 year temperature rise.  Attribution is poorly understood- despite the obviously wrong IPCC 4th assesment statement that recent warming is very likely (defined as 90% or more confidence level) caused by increasing CO2 (and other GHG) levels.  Obviously wrong because CO2 emissions and ppm concentrations have continued to accelerate and temperatures have flat-lined.So BBD is free to assert his dimwitted certitudes and everyone else can stake out similarly unsupported positions because there is no proof- nothing even close- about what role increasing CO2 levels will have on temperature.  Claims of catastrophy (and policy based on that) dumb down the conversation, create all sorts of terrible unintended consequences and tragic opportunity costs- and even make the precautionary principle an impossible goal because hype and divisiveness have poisoned the well of good intentions.

  • David in Cal

    The destructiveness of Sandy wasn’t due to climate change.  It was because of a confluence of specific weather and tidal conditions.The post discusses whether using Sandy is an effective political strategy.  But, what about integrity? Isn’t is just wrong to based a campaign on a dishonesty?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    David in Cal, that’s kind of what I mean about the stupidity of basing strategic communications on the weather. Not only do they have to find increasingly tenuous connections to climate change, well, the weather can change…

  • steven mosher

    BBD is correct. US emissions dont matter. burn the frickin coal.every last ounce.

    There is, as I have pointed out, no comprimise with these folks. there is no negoatiation. They want everything their way. If you make a cut in emissions, it doesnt matter. Its too small. It doesnt count. Nothing will satisfy them except total capitulation to their demands. This why they have not succeeded in getting a deal and we are worse off. They have driven us to the cliff. Of course, they will blame gridlock on the stupid skeptics, but when they refuse to budge an inch with people who agree there is a problem, you see that they are without integrity honor or common sense. its their way or nothing.

  • Joshua

    Evidence of a “skeptic” at work:

    First this:

    BBD, you really should learn a bit about numbers and percentages if you’re going to discuss this subject.

    Then this:

    Notice the difference between you and me”“and NiV, for that matter. I ask a question. I follow it up.

    And this:

    I’m just playing around here, trying to have more than one climate conversation.

    Just to be clear, it isn’t the (1)  over-confidence or the denigrating comments that marks a “skeptic.” It is the (2) over-confidence, self-deception, and inability to control for their own biases that make a “skeptic.”

    Note that these behaviors (whether of the first type or the second) are not exclusive to combatants on either side of the debate. Of course many combatants do recognize both forms of behavior, but only from the other side. That lack of accountability is what makes stakeholder dialog, and controlling for biases, impossible.

    Bring on the accountability.

  • Tom Fuller

    I’ll tell the next skeptic I see, Joshie.You don’t want stakeholder dialogue. You want to hold the stake.

  • BBD

    Stuffed again Tom. And you will never learn.

    Thanks for saving me the bother Joshua.

  • BBD

    Fuller

    You toss a link to something that has no relevance

    More lies.

    The link I provided contains the following information:

    For the past ten years, the average annual rate of increase is 2.07 parts per million (ppm).   This rate of increase is more than double the increase in the 1960s.   

    See the table below.   

    Exactly relevant, and the table provides the data back to 1962 demonstrating an increasing rate of growth since then.

    And you say I ‘toss’ a link ‘that has no relevance’. Such blatant dishonesty.

    See why you get your butt handed to you in every discussion? I thought you had actually retired in disgrace, content to mumble and grumble at Judith’s.Get “˜em!

    I am beyond fed up with your shit. You live in a fantasy world. I think the balance of your mind is disturbed.

  • BBD

    @ 39 mosher

    There is, as I have pointed out, no comprimise with these folks. there is no negoatiation.

    Negotiate with physics. See how far you get.Misrepresenting circumstantial change in US emissions as substantive progress is usually done by the crypto brigade (Fuller is a fine example). You should be careful whose hand you hold. People will draw conclusions.

  • BBD

    @ 39 mosher

    There is, as I have pointed out, no comprimise with these folks. there is no negoatiation.

    Negotiate with physics. See how far you get.

    Misrepresenting circumstantial change in US emissions as substantive progress is usually done by the crypto brigade (Fuller is a fine example). You should be careful whose hand you hold. People will draw conclusions.

  • kdk33

    David in Cal: Integrity left the building. Long, long ago.

    Yes, the public is asked to “believe” in climate change. “belief” is difficult because climate change is “distant” and “not salient”. All of this is to say the problematic/dangerous climate change is interesting speculation – extrapolation into the highly complex of unremarkable, but simple and incomplete physics – with little or no real data in support.

    There are two kinds of believers: 1) those who make their livings off climate change – directly as (mostly) academics, or indirectly via crony capitalist sustainable energy ventures, and 2) idiots

    Am I wrong? Why then exploit Sandy (or Katrina, or polar bears) in a wholly unscientific way to promote the “science”? Why lie?

    As one of my least favorite politicans said recently: “Use your common sense folks”. The public evaluates climate “science” claims at several levels. Folks tend to disbelieve liars. But, then again, climate “scientists” have generally been the skeptics best friend (and thank you, BTW).

    Happy Turkey Day

  • BBD

    @ 29

    Standard misrepresentation by nullius:

    BBD’s argument that a drop in US emissions is somehow refuted by the Keeling curve, which is of course now driven by the developing world emissions that the Greens have no intention of limiting, is a nonsense. But I think it’s important to use the right argument to say why. He can’t refute a claim about one country with a global total. But the global total is going up quite fast.

    I did not argue that a drop in US emissions is ‘refuted’ by the Keeling curve. I pointed out that the crypto brigade use the circumstantial fall in US emissions to argue that substantive progress is being made on emissions controls. This falsehood is the springboard for the next part of their message which is: it’s all fine, shale gas, we don’t need to do anything, the market’s taking care of it. This is sufficiently dishonest to be classified as a lie.

    And who are these ‘Greens’ that nullius introduces? Are they made of straw, perhaps? Green straw?

    This sort of calculated and deeply repellent misdirection is the very essence of bad faith. It is nullius’ defining rhetorical characteristic.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Shorter BBD: “Quack, quack, quack.” 

    90,000 million metric tonnes of CO2 since 2000. That’s nigh on half the total between 1945 and 2000. If you counted from 1998 to today it’d be more than 100,000 million metric tonnes. 

    Funny what that hasn’t done.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Roughly one-quarter of all human emissions of CO2 have come since 2000. This has resulted in less than ten percent of the observed rise in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, and none of the observed rise in GAT.

  • BBD

    @ 48

    Funny what that hasn’t done.

    You show your true colours.

    Denialists use the recent slow-down in the rate of warming as an excuse to claim that ‘AGW is falsified’, as you are insinuating here.

    I shall have to upgrade your from crypto-denialist to full-blown denier. 

    Meanwhile, scientists continue to investigate the physical world, considering phenomena ranging across natural and anthropogenic aerosol loadings in the stratosphere and troposphere, changes in stratospheric water vapour levels, changes in the rate of ocean heat storage, changes in ocean circulation and related phenomena like ENSO, changes in cloud cover and changes in solar output over the last decade. It’s possible, even likely, that several of these factors are temporarily offsetting the effects of GHG forcing.

    It’s revealing that as well as hinting at your denial of the very concept of GHG forcing you should immediately have started to try and undermine the latest figures on atmospheric CO2 emissions.

    That’s another hallmark of denialism.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD, your mental taxonomy is of interest only to yourself and those providing you with mental healthcare. Which might amount to a considerable number.

    Denier? I do deny that you are relevant to the conversation, as your contribution generally is just repetition and reposting of links, with the occasional worship of James Hansen thrown in on Sundays.

    I’m certainly happy that scientists continue to investigate the phenomena that may retard the effects of anthropogenic contributions to CO2 concentrations. They have indeed postulated some plausible reasons and perhaps in the future we will recognize one or more as true. Evidence, however, is thin on the ground at this point. 

    And in any event, that’s not what you are doing, BBD, is it? You’re doing nought but showing the flag and launching hysterical tirades against any who disagree with you.

  • Tom Scharf

    Summary from Sandy propaganda:  If we will agree to a economically debilitating and globally inequitable carbon tax, the greens will control the weather for us.  

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Tom Scharf, alternative summary from Sandy propaganda:

    “Maybe this time it will work. Maybe this time the world will forget what we said about Katrina, Muscovian heatwaves, Pakistani floods and Texan droughts.”

  • Tom Scharf

    #50. Scientists are investigating everything except the most obvious, that climate sensitivity in the models is too high. Welcome to climate science’s third rail. Trying to discuss this is met with emotional tirades. Hansen will claim coal dust is actually cooling things down before he will cross the religious threshold of publicly discussing CS is too high. The data matters. The answer to what it will take for this to be realistically analyzed is not a science question. 

  • BBD

    Shorter # 51

    Rant.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    You did.

  • Jarmo

    Chinese chief climate negotiator announced something interesting:

    China says its emissions will keep rising until its per capita GDP is around five times its current rate, further dampening hopes that the world’s largest polluter will agree in principle to ambitious binding emission reduction targets at this month’s Doha Climate Change Summit.

    Heading into the conference, Xie Zhenhua, China’s chief negotiator, told state news agency Xinhua it would be unfair and unreasonable to expect the county to make absolute cuts in emissions when its per capita GDP stands at $5,000.

    What does five fold increase of GDP mean in terms of emissions? Double or triple the current emissions?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Jarmo, as you know I have been looking at this issue over at my normal place of business. It is my projection that by 2075 the world will be consuming six times as much energy as at present and that most of that energy will come from coal.

    There is a wolf, little boy. Sadly, the world will have tired of inaccurate fearmongering and will not be doing enough to prepare or prevent this state of affairs.

  • BBD

    Fuller

    What source are you using for CO2 emissions totals?

  • BBD

    @ 57

    Paging harrywr2
    ;-)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    And once again BBD proves that he just parachutes in to insult and attack, making no attempt to understand what has been written.RTFT.

  • BBD

    Come on Tom, what source are you using for CO2 emissions?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @50
    this thread has certainly been instructive hasn’t it?

    Misrepresenting circumstantial change in US emissions as substantive progress is usually done by the crypto brigade (Fuller is a fine example). You should be careful whose hand you hold. People will draw conclusions.

    +1

    the crypto brigade use the circumstantial fall in US emissions to argue that substantive progress is being made on emissions controls. This falsehood is the springboard for the next part of their message which is: it’s all fine, shale gas, we don’t need to do anything, the market’s taking care of it. This is sufficiently dishonest to be classified as a lie.

    +1

    next time you make it over to this side of the pond we’ll play the fuller drinking game. drinks on me :)

  • BBD

    No insult, no attack. Harrywr2 never tires of claiming that Chinese coal consumption will drop dramatically any second now… You must remember harry’s schtick, unless your memory is shot? Is your memory going, Tom?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD: Here’s a link to the CDIAC data: http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/tre_glob_2009.html#

  • BBD

    Marlowe

    Careful what you say. I’ll probably be in Toronto next summer ;-)

    Where do you think Tom’s getting his numbers from, eg #48 #49?

  • BBD

    Is this the only source you are using? I think you might be muddling up tonnes of carbon with tonnes of CO2 somewhere along the line. CDIAC is carbon, not CO2.

  • BBD

    Either that or you are ignoring the action of carbon sinks – about *half* anthropogenic CO2 is absorbed by natural sinks on an ongoing basis.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The title of the page I referred you to is  ”Global Fossil-Fuel CO2 Emissions”.

    The first two sentences on the page are: “Since 1751 approximately 356 billion metric tonnes of carbon have been released to the atmosphere from the consumption of fossil fuels and cement production. Half of these fossil-fuel CO2 emissions have occurred since the mid 1980s.”

    I don’t really care if they convert CO2 to carbon for the purposes of their presentation, as long as they do it accurately.

  • steven mosher

    BBD.

    You dont get it. I agree with you on the physics.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hiya Steve. Happy T-Day.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    One of the points I am working towards with these comments is obviously about sensitivity. If a quarter of our total emissions have not moved the dial for temperatures, it is not an argument for high sensitivity. If I recall correctly, temperature rises in the 70s and 80s were presumed to be (at least in part) a fairly rapid reaction to recent increases in CO2 concentrations. That isn’t happening now.

    The other points can wait for a bit, I guess.

  • BBD

    Tom

    Since 1751 approximately 356 billion metric tonnes of carbon have been released to the atmosphere

    Go to the data download page. You will see this:

    All emission estimates are expressed in million metric tons of carbon. To convert these estimates to units of carbon dioxide (CO2), simply multiply these estimates by 3.667.

    Always go to the data download page. Always check.

    And you didn’t factor in sinks, did you?

    This is starting to look like the usual mess.

  • BBD

    @ 70

    Oh, I get it, steven.

  • BBD

    Tom

    As far as I can tell, you aren’t competent to add up change from a hot dog. FFS leave calculations of climate sensitivity to the experts.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD, the fact that they performed an arithmetical calculation to convert CO2 to carbon has nothing to do with what we are discussing. Please refer to Michael Tobis for clarification.

    I am discussing emissions. I link to data for emissions. I don’t understand the operations and interactions of the major global carbon sinks. I don’t discuss them.

  • Joshua

    There is, as I have pointed out, no comprimise with these folks. there is no negoatiation.

    Ah yes. Selective attention:

    Reminds me of this:

    http://viscog.beckman.illinois.edu/grafs/demos/15.html

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    If indeed about a quarter of all human emissions of CO2 have occurred since 1998 and temperatures have not risen, the atmospheric sensitivity looks sluggish. This is in contrast to what was presumed to be a rapid reaction to the rise in concentrations noted in the second half of the twentieth century.

    I am open to considering the possibility that atmospheric sensitivity changes. That it might be high under certain conditions and low under other conditions.

    However, the evidence of this decade does not provide support for monolithic claims for a single, high sensitivity figure.

  • BBD

    TomI am discussing emissions. I link to data for emissions. I don’t understand the operations and interactions of the major global carbon sinks. I don’t discuss them.

    This is frightening. Seriously. How can you even contemplate a sensitivity calculation based on a varying fraction of ACO2 if you refuse to quantify the effects of sinks? They are the other determinant of how rapidly the fraction of atmospheric CO2 changes in response to ACO2 emissions. Do you really not see this?

    As I said, please, for the sake of us all, leave it to the experts.

  • BBD

    the atmospheric sensitivity looks sluggish.

    Aaaaaaaarrrrrrggggghhhhh!!!

    FFS Tom!!

    That is why the *real scientists* distinguish between Transient Climate Response (TCR) and Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS). You really haven’t got the first clue, have you?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The ‘real experts’ have not been able to resolve sensitivity to a narrower range than existed decades ago. ‘Real experts’ understand that climate sensitivity is between 1.5C and 6C. 

    The last decade does not offer evidence supporting higher values for either TCR or ECS.

  • BBD

    I’m not going through the non-arguments about sensitivity again Tom. The scientific consensus is that the most probable value for TCR is around 2C and the most probable value for ECS is around 3C. The estimate is *not* solely based on modelling. It derives from paleoclimate data, observational data (weak evidence because of short period of observation under *changing forcings*) and from modelling. Knutti & Hegerl (2008) remains a useful and short overview which I recommend to you every time we do this dance. Perhaps one day you will read it.

    Peddlers of uncertainty need to remember that there is much, much more evidence supporting the most probable values given above than for the extremes. Those arguing for a very low sensitivity need to admit to themselves that this is as contentious (and unsupported) as arguing for a very high value.

  • Jarmo

    #58

    I agree, Tom. The only surprise here is that the Chinese actually put it into plain words, instead of some wishy-washy rhetoric.

    All those even slightly troubled by rising CO2 levels should realize that the UN-led efforts and Kyoto Protocol are completely bankrupt. The basic principle of Kyoto, that developed countries should cut emissions while developing countries can freely increase emissions, means only that emissions will increase faster than ever. 

    Back in the 1990′s, USA was number one emitter and EU27 #2, then China, Russia and India. Now it’s China, the US , EU, India and Russia.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD, as I’ve mentioned before, I read Knutti & Hergerl in the blessed days before I made your acquaintance.

    That’s the paper that leads off with “The quest to determine climate sensitivity has now been going on for decades, with disturbingly little progress in narrowing the large uncertainty range.”

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Jarmo, the Indians have been equally as blunt about their aspirations. And the WRI just released a report about global plans for 1,249 new coal stations over the next few years.

    The trouble is ahead of us, not upon us. But trouble there is.

  • BBD

    Tom @ 84

    Let’s not ignore the context:

    Climate sensitivity, the global equilibrium surface warming after a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration, can help with the translation of atmospheric CO2 levels to warming. Various observations favour a climate sensitivity value of about 3 °C, with a likely range of about 2″“4.5 °C. However, the physics of the response and uncertainties in forcing lead to fundamental difficulties in ruling out higher values. The quest to determine climate sensitivity has now been going on for decades, with disturbingly little progress in narrowing the large uncertainty range.

    Later, we find this:

    Although uncertainties remain large, it would be presumptuous to say that science has made no progress, given the improvements in our ability to understand and simulate past climate variability and change as well as in our understanding of key feedbacks. Support for the current consensus range on S now comes from many different lines of evidence, the ranges of which are consistent within the uncertainties, relatively robust towards methodological assumptions (except for the assumed prior distributions; see below) and similar for different types and generations of models. The processes contributing to the uncertainty are now better understood.

    Which leads to this:

    Furthermore, for a stabilization at, for example, 450 p.p.m. CO2 equivalent forcing, which is a level that would avoid a long-term warming of 2 °C above pre-industrial temperatures with a probability of rather less than 50% (Fig. 5), the necessary emission reductions are <b>large and not strongly affected by the uncertainty in S</b>. The uncertainties in such an emission pathway are shown in Fig. 6, considering only CO2. Taking non-CO2 forcings into account requires even lower emissions.

    Consider the last point carefully. It offers no comfort for lukewarmers that I can see.

    I’d go back and have another look at K&H. Perhaps your memory is playing you false.

  • steven mosher

    BBD,

    you will have to update your reading from 2008.

    TCR is probably headed down from 2C to something like 1.8 (Held) or lower. taking a new look at pinatubo data, perhaps even lower than 1.8.

    The high end of the distribution is looking more and more unlikely (hmm, need to pull something from Ar5 for you ) and if nic lewis paper holds up ( finding data errors and programming erors in Forest) you might see an ECS of 2.8 or lower.. that is a 50% probability that its less than 2.8.
    There is of course a political reason for keeping the figure at around 3, despite the historical trend downward. maybe sum jerry rigging of the expert prior can help.

    Hansen has a new paleo paper in the works, basically the same 3C answer, with some interest points that might allow for a narrowing of the estimate. you’ll have to wait to see that one.

    as for 2C, dear god we are going to hit 450 without a doubt, especially if the same captians are driving the global treaty boat. That’s why a compassionate person would focus on near term adaptation. the heat is in the pipe, its coming out. cant stop it. the ice will be gone. better start thinking about how you and your children will adapt. Your grandchildren?? pray for some technology breakthrough.
    Shit even Al gore thinks we will cross the threshhold

  • BBD

    Steven

    The high end of the distribution is looking more and more unlikely (hmm, need to pull something from Ar5 for you ) and if nic lewis paper holds up ( finding data errors and programming erors in Forest) you might see an ECS of 2.8 or lower.. that is a 50% probability that its less than 2.8.

    This is exactly what the last paragraph quoted from K&H addresses. It *doesn’t matter* if TCR and ECS are a little below 3C. So why focus on it? It has the feel of manufactured controversy.

    As for the higher values – agreed. Whenever you bring this up I link to Annan & Hargreaves
    (2006) to prove it.

    I also agree about short term adaptation and emissions trajectories that we can believe in. No difference there.

    Here’s where things get complicated:

    There is of course a political reason for keeping the figure at around 3, despite the historical trend downward. maybe sum jerry rigging of the expert prior can help.

    Interesting choice of words: ‘despite the historical trend downward’ and ‘jerry rigging’. Almost sounds like you suspect a cabal behind the scenes is faking things. Let’s say one exists. What does it hope to achieve? Isn’t the general view that ECS is about 3C +/- 0.5C? So what’s the big problem with ~2.5C? Apart from the obvious lack of comfort for lukewarmers with aspirations to influence public policy. See K&H.

    It’s hair-splitting. It feels like manufactured controversy.

    ***

    Hansen has a new paleo paper in the works, basically the same 3C answer, with some interest points that might allow for a narrowing of the
    estimate. you’ll have to wait to see that one.

    This Hansen draft paper? Same result as H&S2012 from improved estimates of radiative terms. *About* 3C. Give or take 0.5C. Say ECS is 2.5C. Fine. We’re still in the sh*t. Let’s not manufacture controversy.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    2.8 vs 3.0 = quibbling

    1.5 (Fuller) vs 2.8/3.0 = ignorant vs informed

  • BBD

    2.5C is quibbling.

  • harrywr2

    #85 Tom

    And the WRI just released a report about global plans for 1,249 new coal stations over the next few years.

    The WRI report is absolute nonsense Tom.

    The 2020 Total Generating Capacity target for China is 1,600 GW, it has been for years. 400 Hydro, 200 wind, 100 nuclear + solar. That leaves 900GW of coal, of which they already built 790GW.

    So the Chinese are planning an additional 110GW of coal between now and 2020…not the 500 GW WRI claims.

    India has plans to build 76 GW between now and 2017. They missed there 11th Five year plan…they miss the energy targets in all their 5 year plans….coal India has already stated there is no possible way they can supply the coal for that much capacity….but WRI has them somehow exceeding their target by 700%.

    So the WRI estimate of 1,200 minus the 400GW coal plants the Chinese are never going to build minus another 400 the Indian’s are never going to build gets you to maybe 400. If you can find the 20GW of coal fired capacity with ‘shovel in ground’ that the WRI claims is being built in the US you are a better man then I. I can only find half and half of that is being ‘subsidized by the DOE as advanced technology demonstrations. The rest never got past permitting. I suspect they’ve inflated the numbers for every other country on their list. There is huge difference between someone ‘investigating possibly building something’ and it gettting built. In the US ‘proposals’ run 5 or more to 1.

    It’s kind of like the Pentagon has plans to invade Canada…it does and has had those plans for 200 years. I don’t think the Canadian’s worry about it.

    The climate debate has two really interesting sides, one that spends all it’s time inflating future emissions projections and another that spends all it’s time arguing over ECS.

    That way they cover their bases in a policy discussion…we need a policy because ECS is worse then we thought or if ECS isn’t ‘worse then we thought’ emissions are going to be ‘worse then we thought’.

  • Jarmo

    #85,

    Tom, I made a bit of calculation concerning time to answer the question: How long will it take from the Chinese to grow their economy from 5000 US$ per capita to 25000US$ per capita level when their emissions will supposedly peak?

    Presuming CAGR of 9 % (which everyone says is impossible to maintain for longer periods), Chinese emissions would peak in 2031.

    Presuming CAGR of 6 %, Chinese emissions would peak in 2040.

    Between 2031 – 2040 seems like a good bet.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hiya Jarmo and Harry,You both may be right. The WRI is prone to hyperbole and never misses a chance to be as pessimistic as possible. 

    Predicting peak emissions is pretty tough–I have China’s as a bit further out, around 2050, but you might well be right. But they’ll peak just as India is hitting its stride, sadly, which will take us right to 3000 quads in 2075, which may  leave us all remembering Katrina and Sandy with fond nostalgia.

    If so, it will also leave us cursing the fools who squandered the public’s good will and attention with idiotic and phoney connections between today’s climate and Xtreme weather.

    See? I can get pessimistic, too.

  • Jarmo

    #93,

     Tom, I think your pessimism is on solid foundations here.

    How much new coal power will be built is an interesting question but I think the crucial one concerns carbon intensity.

    The numbers indicate the best case scenario is that China’s current emissions will only double. Provided they cut carbon intensity around 3-4 % annually for 20 years. I think US carbon intensity went down 50% between 1980 and 2010. China would have to do the same in 20 years. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Well, our energy consumption has dropped to 310 mbtus per person per year–from a high of about 327 mbtus. China’s consumption had risen from 15 mbtus to 79 mbtus over the past couple of decades. 

    And they really want to catch up with our levels. All 1.3 billion of them.

  • Jarmo

    Breakthrough Institute has an article on decarbonisation rates, according to which Sweden achieved 3.6% annual carbon intensity reduction between 1971-2006. The trick? Make 65% of your primary energy supply zero carbon. In practise, 90% of electricity must be from zero carbon sources. 

    http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/which_nations_have_reduced_car

  • Tom Scharf

    Looks like 2012 may set record for lows on tornadoes. Anybody want to render a guess that all the Sandy experts will chalk this up to natural  variability ?    

  • Jarmo

    #97,

    The reality is that any big drought, storm, tornado, hurricane, snowstorm or heatwave comparable to ones we have had in the past 5000 years will today be immediately linked with global warming. Correlation is automatically causation.

  • kdk33

    Yes.  So CO2 makes weather better.

  • BBD

    Well, that was a show-stopper, kdk33.

  • Steve Fitzpatrick

    Tom Fuller,The trajectory of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is mainly controlled by the rate of ocean absorption (and probably to a much lesser extent, biomass accumulation) compared to the rate of emissions.  There are multiple rate constants and lags involved, which make a simple connection of recent emission rates to increases in atmospheric CO2 incorrect (in a purely physical sense).  The overall (long term) process is net CO2 release from the warm sea surfaces in the tropics, and substantially stronger CO2 absorption in regions of  very cold surface water and deep convection at high latitudes.  The emission of CO2 from warm surface water takes place because the concentration of CO2 dissolved in cold deep water is much higher than the equilibrium value for warm tropical surface water.  The thermo-haline circulation continuously brings CO2 rich cold/deep water to the surface where warming of that water causes release of CO2,  and meanwhile continuously creates cold, CO2 rich(er) deep water at high latitudes. .Since the upwelling water in the tropics sunk to the deep at high latitudes ~1,000 years ago (or more), when CO2 concentrations were much lower than today, the present day rate of CO2 release in the tropics, as upwelling water warms, is MUCH less than the present rate of CO2 absorption at high latitudes.  Which means that the ocean acts as a huge net sink of CO2.  There are some short term effects due to diffusion of CO2 into the thermocline, which add some complexity and uncertainty to the response, but a very reasonable expectation is for the CO2 “pump” that is driven by thermo-haline circulation to increase net CO2 absorption by the ocean at a rate which is approximately proportional to the difference between current atmospheric CO2 concentration and the atmospheric concentration ~1,000 years ago (that is, proportional to 400 PPM – 280 PPM = 120 PPM).  .As atmospheric CO2 continues to rise, the net rate of uptake will also rise.   For example, at 450 PPM (15-20 years from now), we can reasonably expect the thermo-haline driven CO2 absorption to increase by a factor of about (450-280)/(400/280) = ~42% compared to today.   For the rate of CO2 growth to continue to rise at the current rate (~2.5PPM per year) when the atmosphere reaches 450 PPM, emissions will have to be higher than today by ~21%, and at 500 PPM, ~42%.  While these increases in emissions strike me as probable, they are by no means certain.  Broad substitution of lower emission and no-emission energy sources (natural gas, solar, nuclear, wind) for coal in the global energy mix could actually lead to a significant slowing in the rate of growth in atmospheric CO2 compared to today, and perhaps even a reversal..The reason there was a greater atmospheric “response” to CO2 emissions in the past is that less of those emissions were being absorbed by the ocean.   The ocean will continue to absorb a large fraction of CO2 emissions for a very long time, certainly until the “age of carbon energy” ends.

  • BBD

    The ocean will continue to absorb a large fraction of CO2 emissions for a
    very long time, certainly until the “age of carbon energy” ends.

    I wonder what that will do to ocean pH? What do you think?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #102,

    Restore it to normal, of course. :-)

  • harrywr2

    Jarmo Says:

    Presuming CAGR of 9 % (which everyone says is impossible to maintain for longer periods), Chinese emissions would peak in 2031.

    http://www.power-eng.com/news/2012/11/23/top-stories-of-the-day-china-power-and-coal-nov-23.html

    China’s consumption of clean energy-generated electricity went up 26
    percent on year
    to 810.2 billion in January-October, accounting for
    20.4 percent of the country’s total electricity supply

    How many years will it take until ‘clean energy’ increasing at 26% a year to overtakes a growth rate of 9%/year? 20% of total electricity supply is well beyond the point where double digit year on year growth is ‘substantial’.The Chinese buy some foreign technology, improve it, standardize it, then go ‘full bore’ on deployment.The Chinese currently have about the same fossil fired generating capacity as the US(they don’t have much gas). They’ve got almost 3 times as much hydro…209 GW vs our 78 GW, this year they passed the US in wind…57 GW vs our 55 GW, next year they should pass us in Solar.Until the CAP1400 deployment plan is articulated it’s not possible to say when they will pass the US in nuclear. Last I heard is that it probably won’t be fully articulated until the 13th 5 year plan..which is 3 years from now. There are some Australian’s saying they expect China to surpass the US in nuclear in the early 2020′s.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Steve Fitzpatrick, I don’t believe science claims to have a good grip on all of the factors you describe. More pertinent to the discussion, back in the late 80s and 90s nobody was talking about those factors when temperatures were rising swiftly, alongside emissions. In fact they said that the response was both quick and expected–even expectable.

    So to me it sounds like you are bringing in partially understood factors to explain away the sudden decorrelation of temperatures and emissions–I’m sorry if I’m misinterpreting you.

    In any event, one quarter of all human emissions in the past 14 years with no discernible effect. That takes a lot of explaining.

  • BBD

    nullius

    Restore it to normal, of course.

    Very droll. Good to see you keeping your spirits up.

  • BillC

    Tom Fuller #105,I put very much weight behind what Steve Fitzpatrick says. While these factors may be “partially understood” in a quantitative sense, they are well-understood in a qualitative sense. Understanding of this has increased a lot since the late 80s. At any rate, Steve’s explanation doesn’t address the decorrelation of temperatures and emissions. It addresses the decreasing % of ACO2 emissions that remain in the atmosphere. The slowing down of temperature rise is (IMO) due to a couple of things 1) initial overestimate of the rate of rise attributable to AGW 2) some of the energy going elsewhere but still into the Earth system, like melting the arctic sea ice. (I’ve started saying this elsewhere and I’ll say it here – if you combine the atmospheric temperature trends and arctic sea ice trends, normalized by energy content, both the decline in temperature rise and the acceleration in ice melt more or less go away. I wish we could do the same with the people who trumpet them, on each side). 1) and 2) above are probably due to internal variability from ocean circulations. ####################BBD: The pH of the ocean will go down. Now will you or someone who cares explain to me why WE MUST BELIEVE THAT AGW and OA are crises in the same time frame!?####################Mosher: You are starting to sound like an alarmist. I am going to hear you start wringing your hands about arctic methane releases any day now!

  • Tom Scharf

    The point in #105 is a clear case of confirmation bias.  When temperatures are rising, nobody is working very hard to explain this away as natural variability because it matches their “expectations”, when temperatures are not rising, we get a slew of hand waving and new research to explain why this is really an anomaly.  How much of the temperature rise since 1980 was natural variability?  Answer: None, of course.  We are left with a state of affairs that leads us to believe that natural variability only acts to suppress temperatures, never increase them, which is of course silly.  You can’t have a logical conversation about this. 

    Another case is all the immense work on Arctic ice melt.  It’s like the opposite side of the Earth doesn’t exist.  It’s the evil step sister.  Let’s all pretend it doesn’t exist.

  • steven mosher

    2.5 ? ok. thats a good number.
    we agree.
    that amounts to 500 billion in costs we don’t
    have to incur and pushes out the window to switching
    over to renewables.
    cool 500 billion more for adaptation.

  • steven mosher

    bbd

    you need to read up on optimizing strategies under uncertainty. narrowing the range of ecr is worth trillions
    it pays to watch stuff after ar4. more later phone posting sucks

  • kdk33

    We’re still warming, but not warming. At the same time.
    Fascinating

  • kdk33

    If it cooled down 1C would we have an extra trillion to spend?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #112,

    You may be interested in figure 1 in Tol 2009.

    http://www.econ.yale.edu/~nordhaus/homepage/documents/Tol_impacts_JEP_2009.pdf

    Not that I’d take it too seriously, even so.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @111

    google ‘ocean heat content trends”. that is all.

  • BBD

    @ 109 steven

    that amounts to 500 billion in costs we don’t
    have to incur and pushes out the window to switching
    over to renewables.
    cool 500 billion more for adaptation.

    First point: 2.5C ECS – I don’t agree that the evidence points to a value this low. I accept it as a lower bound for the purposes of discussion because it means we can discuss something other than ECS.

    Second, where did the $500 billion number come from? The difference in practical terms between an ECS of about 3C and a ECS in the range 3C – 2.5C is trivial. $500 billion saved? Really? How and where?Summary: I don’t buy this at all. Let’s go back to K&H08 for a reminder why:

    Furthermore, for a stabilization at, for example, 450 p.p.m. CO2 equivalent forcing, which is a level that would avoid a long-term
    warming of 2 °C
    above pre-industrial temperatures with a probability of rather less than 50% (Fig. 5), the necessary emission reductions are large and not strongly affected by the uncertainty in S. The uncertainties in such an emission pathway are shown in Fig. 6, considering only CO2. Taking non-CO2 forcings into account
    requires even lower emissions.

  • harrywr2

    #94 Jarmo.

     I think US carbon intensity went down 50% between 1980 and 2010. China would have to do the same in 20 years. 

    October 2012 Chinese Energy Policy Paper

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/china/2012-10/24/c_131927649_3.htm

    The Chinese government has made the commitment that by 2020 non-fossil energy will accont for 15 percent of its total primary energy consumption, and CO2 emission per unit of GDP will be 40-45 percent lower than in 2005. As a responsible nation, China will make every effort to fulfill its commitment.

    The US is the worst example for carbon intensity improvements. We have an enormous supply of ‘cheap coal’ sitting in the Powder River Basin. The price of coal in the US decreased between 1980 and 2000. So any carbon intensity improvements we had were a result of some combination of market saturation and appeals to social responsibility.

    As we’ve seen in the last 5 years in the transition to lower carbon gas, things can happen very quickly when ‘greed’ comes to the table.

    The Chinese ran out of cheap coal around 2005.Greed is already sitting at the ‘decarbonization’ table.

    If I wander over to World Nuclear News and search on China + Dome, the time it takes the Chinese to place the dome on a nuclear power plant has gone from 80 minutes to less then 30 minutes in the last two years. Someone in China is making substantial progress on the ‘cheaper-faster’ part of nuclear construction, just as they did with solar panels.

    In the US one of the barriers to cheaper nuclear construction is our reliance on the ‘local’ union hall. Historically, the vast majority of the labor used to build nuclear power plants(or any large construction project) has come from the local union hall, that means that the crane operator and guidewire crew placing the nuclear dome will most likely have never placed a nuclear dome before, that necessitates going painfully slow. If I look at Chinese dome placement times…it would appear they are moving the crane operator from site to site and the crane operator is getting good at placing domes.

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    105 and the blather which followed  <a href=”http://rabett.blogspot.com/2012/11/back-to-future-once-more.html”>could not be more wrong</a>.  Even in the 1988 Urmodel there was much discussion of natural variability.

  • Steve Fitzpatrick

    #102,”I wonder what that will do to ocean pH? What do you think?”Well, of course, there has to be some downward shift in pH at higher atmospheric CO2 concentration.  However, the expected shift is modest, and one must recognize that the range of pH in the ocean, and even the range of pH a single species experiences, is substantial..  Where upwelling water is warming substantially (the tropics) the water becomes supersaturated in calcium carbonate, and CaCO3 precipitates out of the warming water.  Even at much higher atmospheric CO2 concentrations (say up to 750 PPM or more) it will remain supersaturated in CaCO3. Controlled tests with warm water shell-forming species show that most are unlikely to suffer much, unless atmospheric CO2 were to reach implausible (eg. >900 PPM) levels; most corals, clams and crustaceans seem to do fine at most any plausible atmospheric CO2 level.  Where there is greater ecological risk is cold-water species that form CaCO2 shells (especially aragonite shells rather than calcite shells).  These species may not be able form shells at all above ~900 PPM CO2.  These species may go extinct if atmospheric CO2 rises above ~900 PPM.  (BTW, that level of atmospheric CO2 seems to me unlikely.)

  • Nullius in Verba

    #115,

    “Second, where did the $500 billion number come from? The difference in practical terms between an ECS of about 3C and a ECS in the range 3C ““ 2.5C is trivial.”

    You think so? OK, let’s not worry about it then. :-)

    Using the best fit line from figure 1 in Tol 2009, we get costs of $1.87 tr reducing to $0.55tr in today’s $ (i.e. I used this year’s global GDP of ~$70tr to interpret %GDP). That’s a saving of $1.28tr. Of course, there are lots of studies and lots of assumptions you can make, but it’s in the right ballpark for mainstream climate change modelling.

  • BBD

    nullius

    What practical difference does it make if ECS is in the range 3C – 2.5C or if the figure is close to 3C? Go on, give me meaningful examples. And read the quote from Knutti & Hegerl again before responding.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #119,

    As far as I’m concerned, I doubt it makes much difference at all. But the ‘climate concerned’ trying to scare us all about the coming catastrophe seem to think there is one, and their quantification of it is summarised by Tol. Feel free to look up all the papers he references and examine their assumptions.

    I saw your Knutti quote already, but it says nothing at all about expected costs arising from any given amount of global warming. It talks instead about the CO2 level the models say is needed to achieve certain levels of global warming. The only possible allusion it makes to costs is the famous 2 C threshold for ‘dangerous’ climate change, which we know from Phil Jones was ‘plucked out of thin air’.

  • BBD

    @ 120 nullius

    The expected costs will be about the same for the range 3C – 2.5C. Whatever Tol says. It’s a simple point, and one that I’m not hearing refuted. Mosher is over-emphasising his numbers, but you and I know that we shouldn’t do this, don’t we?

    Pretending that shoving global average temperature up by ~2C in a century isn’t going to cost us at every imaginable level is, frankly, a self-serving delusion which, as you are fond of saying, I cannot be bothered to debate. It’s a waste of pixels.

  • kdk33

    Hard to imagine that 2C would hurt.  Warming occurs primarily where/when it is cold – high latitudes, wintertime, night time.

    Longer growing seasons, expanded crop ranges, more rain. Lower heating bills.

    Scary!

  • harrywr2

    #121

    The expected costs will be about the same for the range 3C ““ 2.5C

    No, the 2.5C gives a longer timeline for replacement of existing energy infrastructure. All of our energy infrastructure will need to be replaced at some point regardless of ones belief in ‘climate change’. The question is how much cost we will incur by prematurely throwing out infrastructure that has not reached it’s useful life or how much cost we will incur by deploying infrastructure that is only a ‘short term’ fix.I used to follow the Australian climate debate and one of the reasons given for not pursuing ‘nuclear’ as a ‘decarbonization’ tool was that it would ‘take too long’.The argument has been used in the UK as well. 3C means urgent immediate action, 2.5C gives some room for sensible solution on sensible time frames in order to miss the ‘dreaded’ 2C threshold.

  • Steve Fitzpatrick

    #121,”Pretending that shoving global average temperature up by ~2C in a century isn’t going to cost us at every imaginable level is, frankly, a self-serving delusion”.  Humm.. 2C in a century sort of implies 0.2C per decade, which is the IPCC estimate for the next few decades, derived essentially from the model ensemble average.  If the ensemble is mistaken (and it very well may be), then the rate of rise will be different.  I must admit to having no idea what you mean by “every imaginable level”.  Warming of ~0.8C over the last century does not seem to have cost humanity very much at all, and can it could be argued to have had a substantial net benefit, so claims of vast cost for a 2C rise (assuming that projected rate of rise is correct) would seem to demand some accurately quantified examples of vast cost that result from accurately quantified consequences of warming.  Don’t get me wrong here: there certainly is reason to be concerned about potential problems from warming, but that concern seems to me to justify careful continued analysis of a) the expect rate of warming, b) consequences for that warming, c) expected costs for those consequences, and d) the expected costs for mitigation and/or adaptation strategies.  It is from these things that a broad political consensus for action could be formed.  IMO, making claims of people having self-serving delusions only makes a broad consensus less likely.   It is also important to recognize that adaptation, if needed, may be the only option in the near future, since substantial economic growth in the developing world is inevitable for at least the next few decades, along with continued CO2 emissions growth.  To be acceptable everywhere, mitigation needs to focus on improving energy efficiency and making more energy available with both low cost AND lower emissions, rather than forcing lower energy use via drastically higher energy costs.  That is simply not going to happen, even if many think that is the only practical approach.

  • Jarmo

    #117,

    The US is the worst example for carbon intensity improvements. We have an enormous supply of “˜cheap coal’ sitting in the Powder River Basin. The price of coal in the US decreased between 1980 and 2000. So any carbon intensity improvements we had were a result of some combination of market saturation and appeals to social responsibility.

    Actually, if you look at the Breakthrough Institute data I linked earlier, it shows that US carbon intensity improvement 1971-2006 was on par with Denmark, the darling of green energy enthusiasts.

    The problem with China is that their energy consumption is growing and fast. Although they are adding renewable and nuclear energy, they are also adding more coal energy. Most reports on China energy state that there will be little change in status quo regarding percentages of energy produced by coal, hydro and other renewables in the near future.

    As I stated earlier, in the best case China’s emissions will double before they plateau. Fivefold increase in GDP and just twofold increase in emissions. That’s optimistic.

  • harrywr2

    #125 Jarmo

    Most reports on China energy state that there will be little change in
    status quo regarding percentages of energy produced by coal, hydro and
    other renewables in the near future.

    Investment in Hydro + Nuclear is running double investment in coal. This is a big change from 2 years ago. They just committed to 21 GW of solar by 2015, from 2 GW now. Another 80GW of hydro ,43 GW of wind, and 28 GW of nuclear by 2015 according to the October 2012 Energy plan. The Hydro and Nuclear must already be under construction because they take longer then 3 years. They have roughly 10 GW of wind power ‘awaiting grid connection’ that isn’t in their figures yet. Coal fired build in the 1st 10 months of this year was 30GW.’Most reports’ on Chinese Energy trends are done by people selling something. Peabody Coal reports read just about the same as World Resource Institute reports. They both look at how much energy will be needed and ignore how much ‘clean energy’ is in the pipeline.

  • Barry Woods

    125#that 2C, includes the 0.8C we have already had!  Only 1.2C to go to hit 2C

  • Jarmo

    #128,

    As you know, wind and solar “installed capacity” and how much energy they actually produce are two distinctly different concepts. Last summer, green press triumphantly announced that German solar panels produced 22 GW on a Saturday, accounting for almost 50% of national electricity consumption at noon. Share of solar of annual German electricity consumption? Meager 4%. Right now in November? Close to zero.

    As I pointed out before, China’s expansion of hydro cannot continue forever because they will run out of rivers. They tripled their hydro generation between 2000-2010. They have already harnessed over 200GW, over 50% of all economically  exploitable hydro in China (Total of 400GW capacity). That 80 GW increase by 2015 you mention leaves 120GW to exploit. Building hydro also means drowning valleys, moving populations by force etc. Three Gorges Dam was already a controversial project.

    The 5 year plans are surprisingly vague on how they are going to cap the use of coal. Anyway, presuming that the Chinese actually achieve all the ambitious goals they have stated, hydro, renewables and nuclear will account for 15% of final energy in 2020. That leaves 85% for fossil fuels.

    By comparison, the US today produces over 16% of their energy with nuclear and renewables.

  • kdk33

    Ahhh..  0.8 C, so we are down about $1 trillion, and humanity would have been much better off if we had eliminated fossil fuel as an energy source 45 years ago. 

    Right?

  • harrywr2

    #129 Jarmo

    As I pointed out before, China’s expansion of hydro cannot continue forever because they will run out of rivers..

    Yes. 400 GW of Hydro and 200 GW of wind will most likely end up being a hard limit.Not all hydro involves flooding valleys. Run of the River hydro can be used as a multiplier.  On the Columbia in Washington State we have the Grand Coulee Dam at approx 7 GW which involved substantial flooding, and then a series of down stream dams of approx 14GW capacity that didn’t involve substantial flooding of valleys. The Chinese don’t generally comment on various issues when they still have ‘unresolved engineering questions’.

    I.E. They had no target for solar other then ‘some’ until they worked out the issues related to grid connection. In their October 2012 update they brought their 2020 target forward to 2015 in regard to solar. 

    They had an 18 month ‘pause’ in their new nuclear permitting due to Fukushima. They have now resumed permitting. Obviously nothing that is permitted today will be operational by 2015. They have maintained a moratorium on ‘inland nuclear’ until engineering issues related to cooling in areas with limited water resources are resolved. It’s expected that inland nuclear won’t be prioritized until the 13th 5 year plan(2016 +).

    Of course after looking at all the efforts of the Chinese to reduce their coal consumption as related to electric power the big elephant in the room is their coal use as it relates to steel and concrete.

    If we assume 4 million tons per GW of coal fired plant running at 100% capacity and they approx 800 GW of capacity then the chinese would be consuming around 3.2 billion tons of coal for electricity. Their plants are only running at 60% capacity, which means only approx 2 billion tons of their coal consumption is for electricity.

    That leaves us with about 1.8 billion tons of coal being used for something other then electricity production.(Mostly cement and steel) It’s hard to imagine that the Chinese Urbanization rate will accelerate much beyond the current level….their population growth for all practical purposes is over. 

    US Steel Consumption was 111 Million tons in 1973…it peaked again in 2006 at 120 million tons. A per capita decline.

    US Cement consumption in 1973 was 81 million tons. In 2006 it was 128 million tons. We had a population of 211 million in 1973, we had a population of 300 million in 2006. Roughly per capita US Cement consumption has been for all intents and purposes unchanged since 1973.

    US Aluminum Consumption was 5.1 million tons in 1973. It peaked in 1998 at 7 million tons and was down to 6 million tons in 2006. On a per capita basis it has declined.

    Chinese Steel Consumption in 2012 is projected to be 700 million tons.  On a per capita basis about 20% higher then the US.

    Chinese cement consumption is currently 1.8 billion tons. On a per capita basis about 3 times of US cement consumption.

    Chinese Aluminum Consumption is currently around 20 million tons. About 25% below US per capita Aluminum consumption.

    Where is the room for increased growth in the ‘energy intensive’ materials that have dominated Chinese energy consumption in recent years? Except for Aluminum on a per capita basis they already consume more energy intensive materials then the US.

    At some point they will get rich enough to drive cars and have air conditioning..at roughly $5,000/year per capita income I don’t see a lot of Chinese in a position to spend on either anytime soon. They might have cars and air conditioning, but they will use them sparingly, unlike the idiots in my office building that keep is so cool in the summer I have to wear a coat.

  • Jarmo

    #132,

    That leaves us with about 1.8 billion tons of coal being used for something other then electricity production.(Mostly cement and steel) It’s hard to imagine that the Chinese Urbanization rate will accelerate much beyond the current level”¦.their population growth for all practical purposes is over. 

    Wrong. China has tried to prevent the influx into cities from poor provincial areas by a sort of internal passport system. Ever heard of migrant workers in China. Over 200 million people work in cities but cannot move in there permanently with their families without residence permits. In the next 15 years, possibly 500 million people will move into cities, half of them existing migrants without permanent residence, and the rest new migrants. 

    “In 2011 a total of 252.78 million migrant workers (an increase of 4.4% compared
    to 2010) existed in China. Out of these, migrant workers who left their hometown
    and worked in other provinces accounted for 158.63 million (an increase of 3.4%
    compared to 2010) and migrant workers who worked within their home provinces
    reached 94.15 million (an increase of 5.9% compared to 2010).  Estimations are that
    Chinese cities will face an influx of another 243 million migrants by 2025,
    taking the urban population up to nearly 1 billion people. In the medium and
    large cities, about half the population will be migrants, which is almost three
    times the current level.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Migration_in_the_People's_Republic_of_China

  • Tom Scharf

    Check out the image used in this article over at the NYT today depicting about a 200 ft sea level rise in NYC:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/25/opinion/sunday/is-this-the-end.html?pagewanted=1&_r=0

    Last month’s “weather event” should have taught us that. Whether in 50 or 100 or 200 years, there’s a good chance that New York City will sink beneath the sea. 

    This is your typical run of the mill alarmist tripe.  Quotes of sea level rise without any associated time frame.  Using the most extreme scenarios from a single study, etc.  We’ve all seen this before.  Amusingly they also blame Bush for 9/11 in some rather strange pose.

    Someone better call in the Climate Community’s Quick Reaction Task Force, that’s what they are there for right?  Somehow I’m guessing they won’t be interested in taking this article on.

    Shameless.  Zero integrity in this movement.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Don’t worry, Tom Scharf–Eli’s already on the case over at his blog.http://rabett.blogspot.com/2012/11/back-to-future-once-more.htmlThe Klimat Komitat has its eye on this kind of subversive dialogue. On the other hand, who can worry about a rabbit?

  • Kuze

    I’m still scared about this Time cover.

  • Kuze

    Ooops, “insert image” didn’t work. Here we go: http://docs.google.com/File?id=ddnmhspm_135jmc2kfw_b

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Re-reading Rabett’s post on this discussion, the bait and switch is obvious. Rabett references “Global climate changes as forecast by Goddard Institute for Space Studies three-dimensional model.” where the authors performed model runs for temperature showing wide variation including periods of climate stability or decline that lasted decades.

    Rabett concluded his post rather abruptly, saying Mrs. Rabett was calling. Presumably that is why he didn’t tell an eager world why model runs with “greenhouse gas concentrations fixed at about the 19858 values with heat exchange across the maximum mixed layer depth in their ocean model ” is a cogent argument to make about the real world, where greenhouse gas concentrations have climbed steadily and emissions have skyrocketed, with a fourth of all human emissions coming since temperatures hit their (so far) peak in 1998.

  • harrywr2

    #132 Jarmo

    In the next 15 years, possibly 500 million people will move into cities,

    Between 2000 and 2010 Urban population increased by 207 million and rural population decreased by 133 million.

    In 2000 23% of the Chinese population was 14 or under. 1.26B * .23 = 289 million.

    In 2010 that number dropped to 17%. 1.34B * .17 =  227 million.

    It is a  normal for rural young people everywhere to go off to the big city in search of opportunity.

    China’s 20-24 age demographic peaked in 2010 and is now in permanent decline absent a dramatic reversal in fertility rates.

    Exactly how does rural-urban migration accelerate in China when the primary pool of potential migrants is decreasing?

  • Jarmo

    #139,

    It is not just young people, it is everybody. A similar thing took place in Finland in 1950-1975, although on a much smaller scale. People simply had no work as agriculture and forestry were mechanized and had to move to look for work. In 1950, there was 1 million people in Finnish towns and cities. By 1975 there were 3 million, out of total of 4.5 million. 600 000 left the country altogether to seek work in Sweden, Australia, Canada and the US. It’s the same in China.

    Many are farmers and farm workers made obsolete by modern farming practices and
    factory workers who have been laid off from inefficient state-run factories.
    They include men and women and couples with children. Men often get construction
    jobs while women work in cheap-labor factories. Most come from Sichuan, Hunan,
    Henan, Anhui and Jiangxi Provinces. A 60- year-old grandmother from
    Sichuan who was as laborer on a construction site in Shanghai told the Los
    Angeles Times, “If you’re willing to work, you can get a job here even if you’re
    old.”

  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    If you do a run with forcings fixed you get an estimate of variability.  Which is what Hansen et al did in 1988, and as they point out many others had concerned themselves in the previous years with estimating natural variability.  Now Mr. Fuller was blathering on here in his fact free way about how no one every tried to estimate natural variability in climate models, or concerned themselves much with it in previous years, which as Eli showed, was rank ignorance on Mr. Fuller’s part.

    http://rabett.blogspot.com/2012/11/back-to-future-once-more.html

    .  Seriously O TV star, this is getting old doing the Ginger Rodgers bit

  • harrywr2

    #139 Jarmo

    It is not just young people, it is everybody. A similar thing took place in Finland in 1950-1975

    http://www.economist.com/node/21548273

    After three decades of migrating to the coast, the inland population is increasingly working closer to its roots

    http://www.marketplace.org/topics/world/end-great-migration-chinas-workers-return-home

    Zhang Xianjun just returned from a factory in Guangzhou, where he assembled plastic parts. He left home ten years ago, joining a quarter of a billion other Chinese in the largest human migration the world has known. But times have changed. These days, factories are migrating.

    There is somewhat of a boomerang effect. i.e. Rapid migration to urban areas produces spikes in real estate values in urban areas and depresses real estate values in rural areas.

    With the population of rural china decreasing by 133 million in the last decade I would expect housing prices in rural china to be close to zero. If ones housing costs are effectively free then taking a low paying job in rural china makes more economic sense then taking a higher paying job in urban china and having a big housing cost.

    There were 50 million people living in rural America in 1910..in 2010 it was 59 million.

    In the US and Europe our preferred grain is wheat, which lends itself to heavy mechanization. In China the preferred grain is rice, which does not lend itself to heavy mechanization.

    I don’t expect urbanization to stop in China…I just don’t see an acceleration in the rate. As the rural population in China declines, the incentives to stay in rural China will increase unless the Chinese population gives up eating rice.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Rabett’s dropping are, as usual, neither true nor useful. In addition to getting my statements wrong, he ignores what Hansen et al actually found.

    But then Eli’s defending a religion, so nothing else matters. 

    Certainly there’s no point, from his point of view, in noting that one fourth of all human emissions in the history of the planet have occurred since 1998. And that nothing has resulted from those emissions. 

    Far more important is the almost-hurricane Sandy, hitting at high tide and producing destruction and storm surges that are, well, pretty much as have happened in the past and have been predicted for the present and the future, regardless of climate change.

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Collide-a-Scape

Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, a senior editor at Cosmos magazine, and adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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