Global Temperature: the Big 3

The title is a bit of a pun, since it refers to both the “big 3” global temperature data sets — NASA, NOAA, and HadCRUT4 — it also refers to the third year in a row global temperature has set a new record.

big3


NASA and NOAA held a joint press conference to announce their latest results, and HadCRU released their data at the same time. While the “third record-hot year in a row” may be what gets the most airtime and column inches, it’s the continuing trend (which has been ongoing for 40 years) that’s the real story.

The recent strong el Niño contributed to the extremity of this year’s record, but we’ve had strong el Niño events before. The reason this one beat the pants of all those previous el Niño years is the trend, the persistent warming of the planet caused by greenhouse gases. Also known as: global warming. Anybody who tells you different, is selling something.

If we estimate the influence of factors besides global warming, things like el Niño, volcanic eruptions, and solar variations, the overall trend becomes more clear but the extremity of 2016 is reduced. For NASA data (since 1951), the unadjusted data look like this:

nasa_1y

But after adjustment we get this:

nasa_adj

Unadjusted NOAA data:

noaa_1y

Adjusted NOAA data:

noaa_adj

Unadjusted HadCRUT4:

cru_1y

Adjusted HadCRUT4:

cru_adj

Note that when we allow for non-greenhouse factors, only NASA data still show 2016 as the hottest year on record. That’s because they all treat the Arctic differently. NASA does the most detailed estimate of Arctic temperature, while HadCRU simply leaves it out — but since the Arctic warmed so much last year, leaving out the fastest-warming region on Earth of course makes your global estimate an underestimate.

And what did happen to the Arctic? This:

arctic

The yearly average Arctic temperature was an amazing 1.4°C hotter than the year before, and an astounding 1.02°C hotter than any previous year.

What happened to Earth’s overall temperature last year was shocking. What happened to the Arctic was beyond shocking. There will be consequences.


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70 responses to “Global Temperature: the Big 3

  1. I’ve seen for a while, already, “skeptics” turning to UAH and the “not statistically significant” argument there for 1998 vs. 2016, and we’re probably like to see the same for the data from the NCDC, which showed a .04C rise from 2015 to 2016 https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/time-series/global/globe/land_ocean/ytd/12/1880-2016. I haven’t seen much reference to RSS, the former “gold standard” to some. Surely it’s not because that one doesn’t fit the “skeptic” narrative.

    • It is axiomatic to the denialists that there is no warming or that it is minimal. Therefore the gold standard is whatever data set shows the least warming. Everything else is pettifoggery.

    • Ray,
      RSS TLT v3.3 shows a very similar result to the new UAH TLT v6.0beta5 but shows significantly less warming than UAH TLT v5.6. While RSS v3.3 and UAH v6.0 both attempt to measure similar profiles of the atmosphere (averaging 4.2km & 4.5km altitude respectively – UAH v5.6 averages 2.5km), there are big descrepancies between these TLT measurements and the land surface measurements. A revised RSS TLT is expected. RSS TTT v4.0 has already been subject to revision. Despite an average altitude of 6.3km, it has trends remarkably similar to GISTEMP (see graph here (usually 2 clicks to ‘ownload your attachment).
      So RSS TLT v3.3 probaly still fits the denilaist narative (mainly because of problems with TLT measurements over land) but is likely to be much less of a ‘good fit’ within a year or so when a v4.0 appears. UAH (it being the product of fellow travellers) is thus a safer bet with its TLT v6.0 even though it has not been published properly yet.

      • Thanks, Al. I think that I’ve seen some references as to how the some of the various versions match up (or not), but I don’t think that I’ve seen it discussed to the extent that you did there, although I’m sure that someone’s written pretty extensively on the topic.

        One thing that I’ve wondered about, and which I haven’t seen particularly addressed, is that the satellites measure various slices of the atmosphere, but in the measurements from something like TLT how close to the surface are they seeking to measure? That may seem like a fairly basic question, but it isn’t one that I’ve seen mentioned.

      • Ray,
        The TLT measurements pick up a fair bit of surface signal. The big problem they face (or should that be one of the big problems they face) is the large land diurnal temperature range and the timing of the satellite orbit within that range. The RSS Browser gives a graphic of the altitude weightings of the various series they produce. A similar graphic from UAH is here. The trends shown on thatUAH graphic are calculated (by Spencer) from radiosonde data for the satellite profiles & are not UAH trends. The actual UAH TLT global trends for v5.6 & v6.0beta5 are presently 0.15°C/decade & 0.12°C/decade respectively, the difference mainly stemming from ex-Tropical NH & Arctic, regions (Land & Ocean) showing respectively two-thirds to a half the warming trend in v6.0 compared with v5.6.

  2. remember past framing for conservatives: three years in a row of hottest year on record. We haven’t seen that before. 5 years in a row of global temperature rise. That hasn’t happened before. We need our old weather back.

  3. But, but–I thought ‘adjustments’ only increased warming! ;-)

  4. But surely, three years is not a statistically meaningful sample…

  5. Not really on topic, but this seems a good place to ask:

    Up to now NASA and NOAA have been stellar sources, but what will happen post 1/20? Will the politicians meddle with the reports?

    If so, what are the good alternative sources? UKMET, JMET, and …?

    • BEST. Takes more of the arctic in than HADCRUT (UKMET) and JMA.

      The issue will be the maintenance of GHCN. JMA also relies on that data pre-2000.

  6. From the article:

    What happened to Earth’s overall temperature last year was shocking. What happened to the Arctic was beyond shocking. There will be consequences.

    A video that may be of interest… Jennifer Francis on how there seems to be a new positive feedback in the Arctic, with Arctic amplification reducing the temperature gradient between the Arctic and mid-latitudes, resulting in a slower, wavier jet stream that brings more heat and moisture from the mid latitudes, increasing the melting in the Arctic, and with moisture leading to increased cloud cover in the Fall and Winter, resulting in a greater cloud greenhouse effect in the Arctic region

    Jennifer Francis: A New Arctic Feedback
    January 16, 2017
    https://climatecrocks.com/2017/01/16/jennifer-francis-a-new-arctic-feedback/

  7. So all adjusted data points towards a warming of 0.6 °C in 40 years, with no statistically significant acceleration. Could you be more precise on the kind of “consequences” you expect in the next century with this warming rate ?

    • The last 40 years do show a remarbalbly constant global temperature rise. If you examine the evidence properly, you will find it shows that rise to be an average warming of 0.73 °C in 40 years globally and 1.1 °C in 40 years over land. Being an average some places will have experienced less warming and some more warming than these averages. As the average temperatures rise, the deviations from average temperature will also rise and the impact of other climatic phenomenon should also be considered. Thus we can conclude that by 2100 large parts of the globe that through history have effortlessly support thriving human populations will become rather stupid places to house hundreds of millions, for instance places like the Mediterranean lands.
      The UN IPCC have done a lot of work on this, but then you probably know that already although the consequences they describe apparently have yet to sink in.

  8. JA: So all adjusted data points towards a warming of 0.6 °C in 40 years, with no statistically significant acceleration.

    BPL: Excuse me. Did you do a quadratic regression on the whole data set and do a partial-F test on the x^2 term? If not, how do you know there’s “no statistically significant acceleration?”

    JA: Could you be more precise on the kind of “consequences” you expect in the next century with this warming rate ?

    BPL: The difference between now and a mile of ice over Chicago and New York is 5.5 K. We’re talking about the mean global annual surface temperature, not the weather. Specifically, consequences will include longer and more widespread droughts, more storms and flooding on coastlines, generally less predictable weather, and in the long run, worldwide agricultural failure and the collapse of modern civilization. How does that grab you?

  9. BPL : I didn’t do any calculation, but it is pretty obvious to me that no clear acceleration is visible, and I’m sure that IPCC wouldn’t have missed it if it were present. But I’m sure Tamino could help for this issue.
    But I’m not aware of statistically significant increases of all other meteorological phenomena you’re mentioning, apart from temperatures. So I doubt also that this will really happen in this century if the warming rate doesn’t accelerate (but maybe it will of course). Unless the suppression of fossil fuels could produce much more rapidly the collapse of civilization you’re fearing…?

  10. JA: I didn’t do any calculation, but it is pretty obvious to me that no clear acceleration is visible

    BPL: That is not a competent way to do statistical analysis. Crack a book.

    JA: I’m not aware of statistically significant increases of all other meteorological phenomena you’re mentioning, apart from temperatures.

    BPL: I am, since that’s something I’ve personally researched. The land fraction on Earth of areas in “severe drought” (PDSI-PM <= -3) has gone from 10% in the late '40s to 20% now. The fraction in "excess moisture" has also risen. Agriculture is only possible between those extremes.

    JA: Unless the suppression of fossil fuels could produce much more rapidly the collapse of civilization you’re fearing…?

    BPL: I don't see why it would, as long as we transition to other energy sources as fast as possible.

    • I did do the analysis on the data, and a quadratic term is not justified–not enough data to justify it yet, given the noise. Can’t rule one out, either.

      • A partial F-test on the full dataset, as was recommended by BPL, gives a very significant result for the quadratic term (I used only GISTEMP’s unadjusted but I would put any amount of money down that the result is significant for the full adjusted data too). For calendar-year annual data, 1951-2016, I get a partial F-test p-value of 0.00013; excluding 2016, I get 0.0087.

        I myself would be wary about decreasing the dataset to contain the years over which, prior to testing, our intuition makes us think there is no acceleration. Statistical testing ought not be done to verify what the data seems to do (or seems not to do, there is no large epistemic difference)—that artificially inflates the rate at which the test, when you perform it, gives a false positive or false negative.

        As it were, the partial F does indeed not give a significant result for a quadratic term on this selective subset of the data.

      • In case some people don’t appreciate the argument about selectivity, consider that the RMSE of the fitted linear model to the last 40 years, when trying to predict those 25 years prior, is about 50% higher than the RMSE with the fitted quadratic model over the same period.

        If you admit this is expected then you tacitly admit that selectivity was at place of course, but what’s interesting as well is that the quadratic term predicted when fit to the last 40 years performs not just better, but also almost as well as the model fit to the whole dataset. The difference in RMSE for those first 25 years is about 11% higher when restricted to only the last 40 years, when comparing the full quadratic term models. The coefficient estimates for the two models’ quadratic terms are quite close to each other (“not statistically distinguishable”).

        The main issue, I’d say, is the drop in sample size, not that there hasn’t been acceleration over the last 40 years. Again, lower sample size decreases power, which means that even given an actual effect, *you should expect to miss it more frequently as N goes down*.

      • Alex and BPL,
        The data before and after ~1974 is heteroskedastic, and what is more, we know why–atmospheric aerosols from high-sulfur fuels. There is no significant curvature since 1974.

  11. …I’m not aware of statistically significant increases of all other meteorological phenomena you’re mentioning, apart from temperatures. So I doubt also that this will really happen in this century if the warming rate doesn’t accelerate…

    There are several logical fallacies rolled into your statement. You could redeem yourself somewhat if you could identify them on your own.

  12. BPL : I’m sure that climate scientists have done a proper calculation of the accelerating trend, after all they’re paid for that ! or for Tamino, it’s just a matter of hours to do the calculations. I could do it but I trust much more the professional people of course.
    For the energy transition, I would be glad of course if it were possible. I just have some doubts. For your information I’m living in France. France is a very good guy in the energy landscape. It has one of the lowest carbon intensity of all western world, thanks to its huge nuclear park. Logically, it has encouraged electrical heating (which is an absurdity if power is produced by thermal power plants, because it is much more interesting to use directly the heat than to convert it in electricity with 30 % yield), sparing a good part of gas and oil (30 % approximately). The issue is that during cold waves, like the one we are currently experiencing, the nuclear plants just can’t do it. We have to import a lot of power from our neighbors, who have a lot of … thermal plants. (Germany and Spain have also a lot of windmills and solar panel, unfortunately not very useful during calm, anticyclonic winter weather). So without the thermal plants of our neighbors, we would probably just freeze in the dark. This would be of course worse if we would replace our nuclear plants by intermittent renewables, as many green ecologists call, of course.And there is not enough uranium to replace all thermal plants in the world during more than a dozen of years, unless you want to build thousands of breeders all around the world, which could cause its own issues. So do you have a solution? I doubt that climate scientists have the skill to demonstrate with their model that the replacement of fossil fuels could be done without harm, but may be other kinds of scientists have done it ? which ones ?

    BTW I hope you enjoyed your summer holidays ? where have you been? and how ?

    • So J Archington, what you are saying is:-

      ”I don’t like to admit I’m innumerate and entirely reliant on others to provide statistical analyses. But I’m stupid enough to think I know all the answers so it isn’t a problem. And I can drone on for ever about how fossil fuels are essential to power moden society. I challenge you to show I’m wrong on that. And you are yourself responsible for GHG emissions so don’t you dare go all holier-than-thou about it.”

      Of course, if mankind remains as profligate with its energy-use as you are with your use of words, it will be a sorry situation we hand on to future generations.
      The task of de-carbonising our energy-use is doable but it is not going to be easy. If it were easy, we wouldn’t object so much to gobby morons like you aspousing your fantasy science to one-and-all, would we J Archington?

    • Jacobson et al have demonstrated that Wind, water and solar power (WWS) can power the entire economy around the world. See their website: http://thesolutionsproject.org/

      Jacobson has many papers that show it is possible to use WWS. It will be as reliable as current power supplies and cheaper. Their papers have hundreds of citations from other researchers. Perhaps if you read them you will be more optimistic that there are alternatives to fossil fuels.

  13. For the droughts, I’m afraid that your work has not been much publicized. But as IPCC has done a wonderful work in gathering all available scientific data and studies about climate change, I’m sure you could give me the reference in their report where these facts are exposed ?

  14. JA: This would be of course worse if we would replace our nuclear plants by intermittent renewables

    BPL: I don’t know if you knew this, but energy can be stored. It can also be transmitted from place to place.

    JA: I’m sure you could give me the reference in their report where these facts are exposed ?

    BPL: Start here:

    Battisti, D.S., and R.L. Naylor 2009. “Historical Warnings of Future Food Insecurity with Unprecedented Seasonal Heat.” Science 323, 240-244.

    Cook BI, Anchukaitis KJ, Touchan R, Meko DM, Cook ER 2016. Spatiotemporal drought variability in the Mediterranean over the last 900 years. JGR Atmospheres, accepted.

    Dai, A., K.E. Trenberth, and T. Qian 2004. “A Global Dataset of Palmer Drought Severity Index for 1870-2002: Relationship with Soil Moisture and Effects of Surface Warming.” J. Hydrometeorol. 1, 1117-1130.

    Zhao Maosheng and Steve W. Running 2010. “Drought-Induced Reduction in Global Terrestrial Net Primary Production from 2000 Through 2009?” Science 329, 940-943.

    http://www.ajournal.co.uk/pdfs/BSvolume13(1)/BSVol.13%20(1)%20Article%202.pdf

  15. JA: “Unless the suppression of fossil fuels could produce much more rapidly the collapse of civilization you’re fearing…?”

    …and of course, we’d never be able get by without whale oil. See you down at the local blacksmith’s shop!

    • It’s quite a trick to conflate a process like the ongoing carbonization of the atmosphere that is ongoing, and which affects multiple natural processes which we cannot control, with a process like the ‘suppression’ of fossil fuel use which is entirely elective and almost entirely within human control.

      Put briefly, we can’t stop the seas rising or the ice melting, or the manifold bad effects of climate change, from proliferation of climate refugees to the acceleration of the ongoing ‘sixth extinction’, unless we stop carbonizing the atmosphere. We could, however, adjust the parameters of the financial, technical and social aspects of our energy economy in a continuous and ongoing fashion. IMO, the chances of us being as stupid as, say, Nicolas Maduro of Venezuela are pretty darn low–though with Trump on Day 2 of his administration, that statement could still be shown to be wrong.

  16. AlexC : if the “full data set” starts from 1950, the acceleration is obvious, even to the eye. I said no visible acceleration for 40 years, i.e. since 1976. Did you find a significant quadratic term in this period ?
    Al Rodger : I’m not innumerate, I just don’t have the time right now to do this calculation. I just looked quickly at the the graph and the absence of acceleration since the 70’s seems to me pretty obvious.. But ok, I will check.
    BPL : I’m happy to know that we could store hundreds of GWh at a much lower price than the one we are paying for imported power during peak hours. Could you please write to the RTE (the french electricity distribution company) to sell them your solution ?
    Another interesting case is Iceland : Iceland has much more renewable electricity per capita that you could EVER dream. Much more than the average energy consumption per capita in all developed countries actually. And not intermittent ! good hydro or geothermal electricity, steerable and always available; Actually they don’t care about progresses in windmills and solar panels, they just don’t need them. However, they produce more CO2 per capita than French or even chinese people , although their country is totally devoid of any fossil resources and they have to import them; any idea why ?

    Thanks for the references, but they are not free : I would have preferred a summary in the excellent (and free) IPCC report.

  17. To all : I should stress that I am in no way against the replacement of fossil fuels. Nobody can reasonably argue against this need, for a very simple reason, that has nothing to do with climate change : it’s just the fact that they are finite resources and we know for sure that we will have to do it without them in a few centuries, if not decades. This would be true of course even of CO2 had no infrared absorption bands. So it’s not a political or an affective issue, it’s just a truism.

    The thing is that I’m just observing the world and I see that no country has succeeded in building a power generation system that is not based on steerable sources, which are : thermal plants, nuclear, or hydropower (when the natural conditions allow it). And no country in the world has yet succeeded in replacing fossil fuel for transportation. I’m afraid I’m quite insensitive to religious beliefs, and I do not believe predictions of sacred texts , even if they call themselves “scientific reports” : I’m just waiting for facts and examples, juste ONE country reaching a decent standard of living without using fossil fuels. Even a single one would be enough for me.

    BTW , BPL, you didn’t tell us about your summer vacations ?

    • “…finite resources… a few centuries…”

      True, but the rub is in that ‘few centuries’ bit. If we keep using FF for those ‘few centuries’, then according to the best information we have–like AR 5, f’r’instance–we will be well and truly done. To a turn.

      Time frame matters, intensely.

    • I’m just waiting for historical facts and examples. Can you name just ONE historical country that went from wood heating to coal heating instantaneously instead of over a period of many decades? That went from charcoal for iron to coke for iron instantaneously (it took about 2 centuries in Great Britain).

      It has taken many decades to get where we are and will take many decades to fully turn things to a different path. Using that an an excuse to do nothing is ridiculous.

      BTW, China shut down 100 coal projects last week some in the process of construction and is putting the money into renewables. It won’t change things overnight but is that a reason to do nothing? http://ieefa.org/china-scuttles-plans-100-coal-plants/

    • I’m afraid I’m quite insensitive to religious beliefs, and I do not believe predictions of sacred texts, even if they call themselves “scientific reports” : I’m just waiting for facts and examples, juste ONE country reaching a decent standard of living without using fossil fuels. Even a single one would be enough for me.

      Your comparison of (peer-reviewed?) scientific reports to sacred texts suggests that you lack sufficient scientific meta-literacy to distinguish between them. Regardless, it’s irrelevant to your argument that a “decent standard of living” requires fossil fuels.

      Economic development has historically been driven by “cheap” fossil fuels, but they are only cheap because the “free” market for energy externalizes their climate change costs. The resulting market forces continue to discourage the development of carbon-neutral energy sources and infrastructure. Without government intervention, the costs of AGW will severely damage the global economy long before sheer scarcity drives FF prices high enough to make a difference — and for millions of people the cost will be the loss of homes, livelihoods and lives. That’s an important reason why it’s an “affective” issue.

      The rationale for carbon taxes, as one form of government intervention, is to internalize enough of AGW’s costs in the price of FFs to eliminate their current market advantage over available alternatives. If history is a guide, market forces would then drive the transition to a carbon-neutral economy, allowing standards of living to be maintained while leaving the remaining fossil carbon in the ground.

      Here’s why it’s a political issue: The principal obstacle to the transition is opposition by the individuals and families who’ve accumulated vast fortunes selling FFs at prices that externalize the cost of AGW. It’s not surprising they’d want to protect their revenues, and as the public record makes clear, they are investing in a sophisticated disinformation campaign to sustain public doubt in both the reality of AGW and the economic feasibility of replacing fossil fuels, as well as election financing to forestall the necessary government intervention.

      Any questions, JA?

  18. JA: no country in the world has yet succeeded in replacing fossil fuel for transportation.

    BPL: I think you’ll find that Brazil has 100 million cars running on ethanol. So it can be done.

    • And it’s important to note that the ethanol cycle in Brazil using sugar cane for sugar and dried cane waste for heat for distillation is much more efficient than the US using corn.

    • JA – we really need to think about what we can do rather than what we have not done. politics of the possible please. The future is unwritten

      • Yes. You could easily look back in history and create a lengthy list of “find me one” examples, all apparently convincing–if we didn’t know they’d all been done: “Can you name just ONE successful rock album to come out on CD? Hah! Gotcha!”

        OK, *now* we know that Billy Joel’s “52nd Street” broke that particular barrier. But until October, 1982, there wasn’t a single example. Since then, the list has grown rather lengthy.

  19. Of course I did not try to deny that you can replace part of the FF use by renewables, again the facts show it is indeed possible. Unfortunately at the world scale, this replacement is limited at a few % and there is very low evidence that we could gain an order of magnitude. Furthermore, the cost of renewables relies on cheap technique (concrete, steel, electronics) that are cheap only thanks to the use of …FF. Renewables can be best viewed as (low gain) amplifiers of FF energy. . And even with a 30 , 50, or 70 % replacement (which would be huge), there would be nothing preventing to extract the same amount of FF … just for a longer time (or maybe just allowing more poor people to get out of poverty, we’re not lacking of applicants !) . So the effect on climate would be weak.
    Anyway, it seems difficult to argue that ANY rate of warming is threatening mankind, so that it would be an emergency to stop completely as quickly as possible every single use of FF. More reasonably, we should expect some compromise between the use of some amount of FF and the possible drawbacks of this use (just like we accept a limited amount of casualties caused by the use of cars : who is calling for their total eradication ?). So what is for you the ” reasonable” warming rate you think mankind could cope with ?
    BPL : you really don’t want to say anything about your summer vacations ? did you only bike around your home ?

    • What I think we need to do in the long term is reduce our carbon dioxide emissions by around 99%. That remaining 1% should be enough to keep the continental ice sheets from returning. I can’t foresee us doing that, so we’ll have to do the best we can and muddle through the higher temperatures or die trying. The lower we can keep those temperatures the easier it will be.

      While the current greenhouse gas increases need to come down quickly, it will still take decades to make significant progress. We’ll probably still be reducing them centuries from now, and reducing the actual levels will take even longer.

    • Of course, we’ll never be able to replace all the whale oil, either. And what will women do without whalebones for corsets.

      Do you even know how renewables work?

    • michael sweet

      Renewable energy has only been economic for five years or less. How can you expect economies to have switched over completely in that time? Changing energy sources takes decades.

      Sweden currently generates 50% of all energy from non carbon sources. Once they switch cars over to electricity (which will take about 10 years for most cars) they will be even higher.

      Did you look at the Solutions Project (http://thesolutionsproject.org/)? You have not stated what you think is wrong with their plan to generate 100% of all energy using wind, water and solar (that is all energy, not just electricity). That is certainly more than “a few percent”. Many people have shown that all electricity (including heat/cooling currently using oil) can be generated with WWS. China is starting a serious renewable build. They are also a leading developer of electric cars.

    • Unfortunately at the world scale, this replacement is limited at a few % and there is very low evidence that we could gain an order of magnitude.

      Oh, some might consider this ‘evidence’:

      http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/wind-solar-energy-be-cheaper-fossil-fuels-by-2018-1598238

      http://www.irena.org/menu/index.aspx?mnu=Subcat&PriMenuID=36&CatID=141&SubcatID=3802
      “Global PV capacity soared from 40 GW in 2010 to 219 GW in 2015. Solar PV could to account for as much as 7% of global power generation by 2030 – a six-fold increase from today. ”

      I guess you could call 7% “a few percent” but then again, that’s only solar.
      Wind is already at 5%.

      https://cleantechnica.com/2016/10/13/global-wind-energy-capacity-reaches-456-gw-set-hit-500-gw-year-end/

      There’s more in the comment to address, but I’m out of time for the moment. More later, perhaps.

    • JA: Unfortunately at the world scale, this replacement is limited at a few %

      BPL: Limited by what?

      JA: you really don’t want to say anything about your summer vacations ? did you only bike around your home ?

      BPL: What in God’s name are you talking about? Why would you care about the vacations of a total stranger?

  20. BPL : you really don’t want to say anything about your summer vacations ? did you only bike around your home ?

    This is just plain ridiculous.

  21. It’s been noted that the Trump WH website has yanked climate change from the “issues” pages, leaving only a paean to fossil fuels under the energy policy tab.

    However, they have not yanked the “We the people” petition pages. There’s already a petition to restore the deleted issues, which I’ve signed, though without any illusions that they’ll comply any time soon. I’d like to see something more directly targeted to the climate change issue as well.

    For those who’d like to act on this:

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov

  22. Doc Snow : My percentage was calculated on the total energy use, not on the mere power production. Approximately 30 % of energy is used for electrical power, so you can basically divide your percentage by 3.
    The “price” is confusing, because it doesn’t include the extra cost of storage if you want to compensate for intermittency.
    With an average load factor of 25 % (average power compared to installed capacity), it becomes increasingly difficult to manage more than this percentage of renewables in electricity production. Look at the story of El Hierro island trying to reach “100 % renewables”
    http://euanmearns.com/el-hierro-end-2016-performance-update/

    And again, Iceland doesn’t care about all these problems because they have a lot (a BIG lot !) of renewable, non intermittent electricity, and nevertheless they still produce more CO2 per capita than France.

    [Response: No they don’t. What’s your problem?]

    BPL : I was curious about your summer vacations because before the use of fossil fuels, it was very rare to have vacations more than a few miles away from home (actually it was very rare to have vacations at all). I was just curious to know whether you had found a solution to this issue.

    • “No they don’t”

      In 1980 they didn’t, in 2013 they do. But, what’s the point? Nuclear is also capable of handling electricity generation, and more easily than wind and solar. Whether it will be cheaper in the long run is still unknown.

    • Good to know that you are talking about overall energy use, not just electricity. But I don’t think just scaling things by 30% is an adequate analytic approach. For instance, the greater efficiency of BEVS means that very substantial reductions in total energy use result from decarbonizing transportation. (Sorry, don’t have hard numbers for that at hand just now.)

      More fundamentally, the difficulties of El Hierro are sad, but not terribly predictive of national or regional-scale systems. The case of Iceland is a bit more interesting. Some suggestive information on that here:

      https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=/amp/s/phys.org/news/2016-06-climate-mitigation-co2.amp&ved=0ahUKEwjF14ylttfRAhVH3IMKHR4wCekQFgg7MAQ&usg=AFQjCNFJS6Egq4iyFh8e96tn_fodKTN3_A&sig2=_BO8Yz3F6RfXry7tqjSAdA

      (Sorry for the long URL.)

      But fundamentally, I don’t see anything in your post suggesting that eliminating fossil fuels is not feasible.

    • The main reason for the high CO2 per capita of Iceland is its transport section. Electricity generation is essentially completely and totally renewable. And of that, 65% is used by the aluminium industry, which is also a major factor in CO2 emissions per capita (and not due to electricity consumption, but due to the process).

    • JA: I was curious about your summer vacations because before the use of fossil fuels, it was very rare to have vacations more than a few miles away from home (actually it was very rare to have vacations at all). I was just curious to know whether you had found a solution to this issue.

      BPL: Ah, now I get it. I’m jetting around the world like Leo DiCaprio, which proves that climate scientists are “Do as I say, not as I do” hypocrites.

      Well, surprise, my bigoted friend. I didn’t go anywhere this summer. My wife and I did go to Washington in October, and we drove, in my seven-year-old Kia sedan. BTW, no one is advocating giving up long-distance transportation, we just want to fuel it with different energy sources. So you can drop the “climate scientists want everybody to live in mud huts and walk to work” garbage, thank you very much.

  23. The issue with Iceland is that they produce much more renewable power than the average energy consumption per capita of any other country :
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_countries_by_electricity_consumption_per_person

    so basically they have plenty of good renewable energy (3/4 hydro and 1/4 geothermal), much more what is needed for domestic use. Actually they don’t need any improvement in windmills, solar panels or storage facilities – they just don’t need that. However they didn’t succeed yet in replacing all the uses of FF by electricity. They still don’t know how to drive 4×4 cars, ships or trucks with electricity. Most of it is actually used by huge industries (aluminium and ferrosilicium), which need a lot of power, but also a lot of carbon (burnable anodes). So the issue isn’t merely producing enough renewable power : barring power production (which is still a real problem out of Iceland),and transportation (which is also a big problem) there are a lot of industrial processes that use FF to produce cheap materials – including those needed for power production devices.
    Again i WOULD like that we could do all these things without FF – having no vesting interest in any FF industry, I can’t be against that. It just don’t see how it is feasible just now – and if it were, can you explain why we don’t ask developing countries to develop without increasing there FF consumption ?

    [Response: All you’ve said, repeatedly, is that it’s just not possible to make progress. Which makes me wonder: why are you here? If resignation is your only approach, why not do it in the privacy of your own home?

    If you won’t or can’t help, then get the hell out of the way. The rest of us aren’t giving up, and we’re wise enough not to buy your defeatist narrative.]

  24. I’m not saying that we can make progress. I’m saying that, just now, there is no clear evidence that suppressing the use of FF will be harmless to the society and our way of living (especially if we have to cut them off very rapidly !). . We can make progress of course, but this argument holds also against GW …

    It doesn’t offer a solution, but claiming that there is no problem if we cut off our use of FF doesn’t offer a solution as well, if it’s wrong. At least, it offers an explanation of why the world isn’t doing exactly what you would expect.

    • Let’s see, there IS clear evidence that business-as-usual will certainly lead to multi-trillions of dollars of damages to society, to mass relocations of people in sensitive areas armed with nukes (for example India/China will be SO happy to take in many hundreds of million Bangladeshis, I’m sure, as sea levels rise–the Pentagon itself notes this as a serious potential “harmful” consequence), to large and largely negative effects on agriculture, fisheries/aquaculture, and silvaculture, to degrading the environment and ecologies of many areas, and to many other expensive and HARMFUL consequences over the coming century.

      All this you discount totally or accept as somehow “normal” and instead you focus only on the (yes) difficult tasks of replacing energy infrastructure which will need to be replaced one way or another anyway if only for repair and replacement reasons over that same span.

      Interesting way of thinking.

    • “…claiming that there is no problem if we cut off our use of FF…”

      Strawman. No-one is saying we simply ‘cut off’ FF use. Everyone is saying that we need to make the fastest possible transition to net-zero carbon emissions, and that is not the same thing.

  25. They still don’t know how to drive 4×4 cars…

    Not sure why you think that, nor why you think it’s highly important, but all-wheel drive electric cars are very definitely A Thing:

    http://www.autoblog.com/2016/04/04/tesla-model-3-awd-rwd-options-official/

    Sure, all-wheel isn’t quite the same as true 4 x 4, but a) it largely meets the same need for the great majority of drivers, and b) it seems unlikely that the minority who actually demand true 4x can’t or won’t be able to get it in an all-electric vehicle eventually. (“Eventually” being a function of market forces and politically-determined policy choices.)

    ships…

    Well, there’s quite a bit more history, knowledge and practice WRT maritime electric propulsion than you might think:

    https://www.dnvgl.com/maritime/advisory/battery-hybrid-ship-service.html

    https://www.siemens.com/innovation/en/home/pictures-of-the-future/mobility-and-motors/electric-mobility-hybrid-electric-ships.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_boat

    https://cleantechnica.com/2013/11/05/us-navy-launches-new-all-electric-zumwalt-destroyer/

    https://cleantechnica.com/2015/06/13/worlds-first-electric-battery-powered-ferry/

    That’s not to say that there is presently a clean, drop-in FF-free solution for all maritime power applications. But there is clearly a big niche for hybrid systems, which will reduce emissions by increasing efficiency, and a smaller one for battery systems, which can be in theory entirely emissions-free. It’s also possible that green synfuels will be a possible solution, or piece of it at least.

    or trucks…

    Electric heavy trucks are A Thing, too:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2015/01/31/tesla-cofounder-ian-wright-looks-to-electrify-commercial-trucks/21870741/

    http://www.worktruckonline.com/list/tag/battery-electric-vehicles1.aspx

    So, to a significant degree, we do ‘know how’. It’s implementation, refinement, further innovation, development and deployment that we need. Again, I don’t mean to say that there are no difficulties or challenges involved. But there is no reason to think that this path is not feasible.

  26. Doc : come on, you surely know that “hybrids” system are just … fossil fuel driven. And that a ferry crossing a fjord doesn’t have the same kind of requirements as tankers or container ships.
    But I am ready to believe that it IS possible to power an industrialized country with a very low CO2 emission rate. I’m just waiting for one, single thing : just seeing an example of it.
    Another remark : Tamino has a great skill to demonstrate the positive correlation between time, temperature, and CO2 level. But he could also study the correlation of all these quantities with global GDP, and actually all the common indication of standard of living. Of course it is also positive. So if it doesn’t demonstrate that we could do the same development without FF, it demonstrates for sure that their negative influences are still, by far, much lower than their positive influence.

    [Response: You’re like a tobacco executive protesting that the negative consequences of job loss from warning labels on cigarettes and banning advertising to kids far outweighs the negative consequences of the product’s health impact. Tell it to the mothers of sons and daughters who have died of lung cancer.

    When Floridians have to abandon the city of Miami, you might begin to understand. When the U.S. wheat crop drops by 30% due to midwestern flooding in the same year California food production plummets from southwestern drought, when a heat wave you can’t even comprehend kills tens of thousands in Europe while another kills thousands in Australia while another kills tens of thousands in the U.S., when India and Pakistan lob nuclear weapons at each other in a fight over water resources, maybe you’ll get it.

    You belong somewhere else. Not here.]

    • JA, what you seem to fail to comprehend is that every Joule not used or every Watt replaced by renewables represents not just progress toward a goal but also TIME. Every tonne of CO2 we don’t emit now gives us more time to develop solutions–or failing solutions, limits consequences. We can always make things worse–and we are.

    • Doc : come on, you surely know that “hybrids” system are just … fossil fuel driven. And that a ferry crossing a fjord doesn’t have the same kind of requirements as tankers or container ships.

      Yep. Sure do. (Though actually, hydrocarbon-electric systems may be powered by biofuels or synfuels, not fossil fuels.)

      I pretty much said so in my comments. Did you have a point in there somewhere?

      I’m just waiting for one, single thing…

      Why don’t you have a drink while you wait? Maybe it’ll cheer you up.

  27. used the hush function on j archington. thanks for that function! No reason to engage with that folks. or as ja might pose it: show me a single example of a poster like that one who has absorbed the science and arguments and changed their positions. Moving the goalposts and acting sincere is bs. don’t feed or waste time on the trolls

  28. There’s a hush function? How does it work? Wish I’d known about that earlier.

    • put your mouse cursor over the name, then the Hush and and hide comments options pop up. All I see at this point from J Archington is the comment is blocked message.

  29. “I’m saying that, just now, there is no clear evidence that suppressing the use of FF will be harmless to the society and our way of living”

    People like J Archington said the exact same thing about draft horses a little over a hundred years ago. Previously they also said it about whale oil, and a little earlier they said it about human slavery. If people like J Archington held sway human progress would come to a halt. They simply can not conceive the potential of different ways of doing things.

  30. Tamino, that God damned Arby’s ad keeps focusing the page on itself so I can’t scroll down. You or they need to fix this.