January 22 2018

January 22 2018

coral bleaching, Jerry Brown, climate change and credit ratings, more snowfall in Antarctica, skeptic prediction fail

The Guardian has an excellent op-ed about Edward Teller warning the oil industry in 1959 that carbon dioxide pollution was a serious problem for “energy patterns of the future.” The article describes how this warning, and others generated internally within the industry, were suppressed in favor of a deceptive public relations program sowing doubt and confusion.

The New York Times reports on coral bleaching. The Guardian describes new research regarding the impact of clouds on global warming that unfortunately adds to the growing evidence that clouds will not be a “brake” on atmospheric temperature rise.

The Guardian reports that the transportation sector has overtaken the power sector as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the US. The response of the Trump administration has been to weaken emissions standards for vehicles. The New York Times reports on the rolling out of new FEMA flood maps in the New York area that account for sea level rise for the first time.

Politico has an interesting article Jerry Brown, President of the Independent Republic of California. And Bloomberg reports on the various ways that federal government employees are resisting the Trump administration’s actions.

An op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel notes the growing impact of climate change is causing credit-rating agencies to reevaluate the credit-worthiness of certain communities. Those not taking strong action to make their communities more resilient are going to see their credit downgraded. The real estate journal Inman has an excellent article entitled The Coastal Mortgage Time Bomb, reviewing the inevitable impact of sea level rise on coastal property.

The Washington Post reports on a recent ice core study in Antarctica that documents a significant increase in snowfall. While predicted as an outcome of global warming, the snowfall is significant enough to partially offset the amount of sea level rise that is projected from ice loss. A key outstanding question is how widespread this phenomenon is, and whether it will stay this large in the long term. The Post also reports on scientific hypotheses regarding links between climate change and altered winter weather.

If you are like me, you find the willingness of the press to provide the mantle of “skeptic” to those who deny the evidence and theory amassed by climate science a bit frustrating (as I vented in this blog post). After all, the oldest scientific society in the world (The Royal Society) has as its motto “don’t take anybody’s word for it.” Every once in a while these “skeptics” actually make predictions that can be tested (the mark of a real skeptic), and the Guardian has a nice summary of how these predictions stacked up against actual measurements (quick summary: not well.) For those who can’t get enough of this tomfoolery, Dana Nuccitelli has a book that delves into more detail.