PBS Newshour on horrific heat and fire

Pay careful attention to Mike Mann; when asked about “this is the new normal,” he replies “It’s actually worse than that.”

21 responses to “PBS Newshour on horrific heat and fire

  1. yup, it’s worse than that. knock, knock… who’s there? sixth great extinction

  2. Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene


    Earth at risk of ‘hothouse climate’ where efforts to reduce emissions will have no impact, study finds



    I protested the first Gulf War because that was when we needed to take action on emissions.
    I was arrested for drawing a peace symbol in chalk on a bus that was purposely pumping diesel exhaust into the crowd after reversing into the protest to park with its engine running on considerably more than ‘idle’…..at the Second Gulf War protest.
    I grew indigenous plants and trees for more than 10 years (in the 100 000s in total).
    I first heard and understood about the greenhouse effect in the late 70s before the age of 10.
    I never have had a drivers license or drove.
    I have always talked about this and told people that it will happen in their lifetime.
    Short of being some sort of Una-bomber I really am not sure what else I could have done. No number of scientists have helped or changed anything about this….another one would have made no difference.

    ‘if i f**k up the planet gangsta rap made me do it’

    The whole song is rather excellent and so is the video. I don’t care who doesn’t like swearing. Sorry not sorry.

  3. Not only “worse than that”, there’s, now, in PNAS, Steffen, et al:

  4. The Mike Mann who was bagging the NYT climate change piece from early last year as too ‘alarmist’ ?

    • Yeah, same Mike Mann. However, he also said, in this clip, that we can move away from that future. Of course we can but from everything we know about human behaviour, to hold the view that we will move away is surely to be wildly optimistic about our chances. Michael Mann does seem to be that optimistic. Crazy but true. Remember that he didn’t accept Tamino’s work showing there was no slowdown, presumably because he part authored a study that “showed” there was a slowdown in warming. Maybe he thinks there can be “another” slowdown.

      [Response: I do believe he has changed his opinion, and is now convinced there’s no real evidence for a “slowdown” in global surface temperature. That’s the way good scientists are: they have doubts, they’re skeptical, but in the end they embrace the evidence.

      Interestingly, he has shown me evidence of “slowdown-type” events in *regional* temperatures which I can’t find fault with.

      I suggest his optimism is rooted in reality. Those who said it was impossible to go to the moon in a single decade had good reasons. Those who say it’s impossible to save ourselves from the worst consequences of climate change have good reasons. The former were proved wrong. I’ll do what I can to prove the latter wrong too. After all, actually getting serious about it is the one thing that hasn’t been tried yet.

      If you want to help, VOTE CLIMATE.]

      • “Interestingly, he has shown me evidence of “slowdown-type” events in *regional* temperatures which I can’t find fault with.”

        Even controlling for the much more extreme multiple comparisons effect that would be operating at the level of regional change? Interesting if so.

      • “After all, actually getting serious about it is the one thing that hasn’t been tried yet.”

        I’m afraid that getting the general population “to be serious” about any environmental matter might be impossible. As an example: a recent David Attenborough program on plastics pollution in our oceans made it fashionable to “be concerned” about the issue. The BBC produced a poster you could send off for (quite why one would need a poster on this is a puzzle to me). The posters were sent through the mail thoughtfully wrapped in plastic.

  5. Catastrophic climate change has arrived. All we can do now is limit the magnitude of the catastrophe. But I see no indication the society in which I live will even try.

    • Try this:


      1 TW of capacity is roughly 20% of the global total capacity, and better yet, the curve continues to be exponential. Moreover, increasingly adoption is being driven by the economic advantages of wind and solar, which means that greed and sanity are starting to pull in the same direction. The pace of adoption still isn’t fast enough, but let that exponential curve continue a few years more, and it will be.

      Of course, that’s just electricity; on a global scale, IIRC that’s maybe 25-30% of total energy use. Transportation is next, and there are signs of hope there, too, though the process isn’t as far along.

      Bottom line: there’s far more mitigation going on than most people realize–most goes unreported, or barely reported, in general media–and while we are certainly in a dangerous place, despair is both unhelpful and unwarranted, IMO.

      The global politics of climate change have essentially flipped in some ways: China and India, whom, we were so often assured, would ‘always’ be building more and more and more dirty thermal plants, are now building fewer and fewer, and have become leading proponents (and actual deployers) of renewable generation and clean transportation. (Partly because they see the horrible consequences of FF burning in the skies of their cities every day.) Europe, after decades of leading the climatic charge, is now playing a role rather like America used to: cautiously advocating for climate mitigation, but very much tempered by concerns about economic self-interest and in some cases, climate change skepticism (yes, Poland, I’m looking at you!)

      And, of course, America has become the chief obstruction on the road to sanity. If you are American, in November–


      And, in the run-up, you may want to save this date:


      • Globally, renewables, excluding hydro, generated less than 10% of electricity in 2017 (according to the BP statistical review), so wind would be far less than that. Nameplate capacity is far different from actual generated output. Add to that the fact that all renewables are, to some extent, fossil fuel extenders (because of FF emissions in their resource extraction, construction and operation) and the rosy picture sometimes painted about renewables isn’t quite as rosy.

        So, yes, far more – far far more – needs to be done, especially as emissions are still rising. There is no mitigation that is bringing those emissions down, which is what is needed.

      • @Mike Roberts,

        The citation of upstream emissions for solar-derived energy, including wind, is playing dirty and unfair because, frankly, it is being compared with the emissions of burning fossil fuels and none of their upstream emissions for exploration, drilling, pumping, transport, refining, and all the steel and metals which go into all those. So, sure, if you want to include upstream emissions, do so, but do it also for fossil fuels.

        Besides the upstream impacts of renewables are often mis-stated, since people typically cite materials and components as they used to be sourced. For example, wind turbines used to have magnets, which demand nickel. But no modern wind turbine does, since it is cheaper to have a wound coil of wire with a magnetic field supported just before spinning by a battery.

        Similarly, before EV batteries were produced at scale, the early ones were dirty. Similarly, any modern solar PV installation has extended producer responsibility, at least for the best manufacturers. So we cannot trash our SunPower panels, as SunPower has a right to take them at end of life and re-use them, and that is part of the contract signed when purchasing them.

      • Hey, hypergeometric, I’m not saying renewables are bad. You make many good points but renewables are unlikely ever to be completely clean or sustainable. Definitely part of the strategy but behavioural change is going to be more important, IMO.

      • @Mike Roberts,

        Definitely part of the strategy but behavioural change is going to be more important, IMO.

        Yes, it’s important, but limited. In the present heat spell in Massachusetts, the organization, Mass Energy, with which Claire & I have membership in a couple of programs, is urging shave the peak on peak demand days. The Dedicated do this, and we finagle our use of energy and EV charging around the peak, being sure we’re dumping as much of our PV generation to the grid as we can. But as temperatures rise from AGW, you aren’t going to get those who aren’t The Dedicated to raise the A/C temperatures on their homes. It’s like trying to convince them not to build big homes, something unnecessary, and implicitly supported by town and builder subpopulation, even if they have every right to do it. It doesn’t help either that the same big home enthusiasts are loathe to put PV on their roofs or that their neighbors, pressuring the town, won’t permit freestanding PV mounts in their large yards.

        And, I don’t want to go there again, but, too, there’s the phenom that people with PV use more electricity than they would if they hadn’t it, on average.

      • Mike, I think the BNEF is more reliable and comprehensive, as well as much more up to date. According to the graph in the story I linked, onshore wind has now reached 523 GW globally.

        Your point about capacity factors is correct as far as it goes, but I think many of us here are well-aware of that particular wrinkle. But you might not be aware of the ‘merit order effect’, by which wind and solar tend to displace dirty power in the grid mix because of their low incremental costs. That’s tended to depress the utilization rates of coal in particular over much of the world, including China. Percentage of actual generation via wind and solar can actually be higher than capacity share, IIRC.

      • Hypergeometric, I’m not really talking about behavioural change in terms of putting in PV or buying an electric car; that’s more a change in the stuff one buys or how one uses the stuff they buy now. I’m talking about a complete change in how we organize societies, how we measure success and how we acknowledge what we need, rather than what we want. Sure, some change around purchases and efficiency will help slow environmental deterioration but, ultimately, wanting to continue living the way we now think is normal (but, in historical terms, is an aberration) is dooming the planet.

      • @Mike Roberts,

        Okay but we are big animals, and the unsupplemented carrying capacity of the globe for us means a population which is a fraction of our current one, probably under one billion people.

  6. Stephan Harrison

    Figure 2 from the Steffen et al paper is very similar to that produced by David Wasdell in 2014 (see the link below and page 3).

    Click to access Sensitivity%20and%20the%20Carbon%20Budget.pdf

    He makes some interesting points, even though I don’t always agree with his views on climate sensitivity.

    However, it’s pretty clear that physics is beginning to take over the climate responses and our ability to mitigate is reducing quickly. Very dangerous times…

  7. One of the major stabilizers of a warm climate is the ocean heat reservoir. For the Miocene, deep ocean temperatures were about 3 to 5 deg C warmer than modern, so tended to cause temperatures to rebound after a transient cooling. Since I haven’t yet been able to get access to the Steffen et al paper, I am not certain they have addressed the heat reservoir issue. I believe that they are only referring to added carbon sources that replace human fossil fuel use.

  8. Check this website. I’ve been monitoring it closely for a few years now and up until the last couple of months I have never seen the northern hemisphere as loopy or as stalled out as it has been lately. https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/250hPa/orthographic=-131.16,88.85,284

    I too been aware of and paying extreme attention to climate change (and the 6th great extinction event, but that’s another post) since the mid-80’s when in my punker years of living on the streets of Berkeley I stumbled upon an SF Chronicle article on changing climate zones due to human influence. Six years ago – after realizing that as a construction worker I was helping humanity wreck the Earth – I walked away from my job and soon after took a vow of poverty. I can not in good faith support what we are doing anymore. Fortunately, I do not have kids, nor am I married, so my choice to drastically reduce my “footprint” was simple. I no longer drive and my “job” is being caretaker for a friend’s property in the Mojave Desert, which only pays room and board. I have come to terms with the fact that I will live out my last years (I’m 54) homeless and penniless, and I’m okay with that.