Still warming after all these years (again)

Spread this excellent new video from the talented team at Skeptical Science far and wide. It explains why the latest denialist trope — no warming for 16 years — is rubbish. Take out the impact of the three biggest factors driving natural variations in the global average temperature — volcanoes, the El Niño Southern Oscillation and the solar cycle — and what’s left is the underlying upwards trend being driven by our CO2 emissions. The world’s warming, Australia’s burning, ice is melting and we did it. No room left for wishful thinking or complacency.

The Doha Gateway: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair

Where we are, where we should be and the consequences. Climate Action Tracker’s graphic on our future choices.

And so. Another set of climate talks done, this year dusted with Doha sand and labeled the “Doha Gateway”.  I’m not sure what they’re a gateway to,  certainly no immediate improvement to the climate. The final hours were bizarre, to say the least.  We began the day on Saturday with a text much improved from the day before, but with some major issues outstanding.  Ministers wrangled behind closed doors for most of the day, changing bits of text here and there.

We were preparing for Russia who, with Kazakhstan, Belarus and the Ukraine, were set to continue the talks way into Saturday night.   They were holding out in the informals, furious about the discussions on hot air.

Hot air

The “Russian factor” is one those of us who’ve been involved for a few years are all too familiar with. Just when you think there’s general agreement, in come the Russians who manage to drag the talks on for hours.

“Hot air” has been major problem with the Kyoto Protocol for years.  Somehow, the Russians managed to get the Kyoto negotiators to agree to a baseline of 1990, before the collapse of the former Soviet Union, which meant millions of tonnes of carbon credits ended up in the hands of Eastern European countries, bringing them a handy income, and other countries an easy and cheap option to do nothing at home and buy cheap hot air.  Russia has 6Gt of hot air – that’s how much it’s been cheating the atmosphere.

In Durban and Doha, New Zealand has sided with this team against the wish of the rest of the world to make sure that this “hot air” didn’t get carried over into Kyoto’s second commitment period (CP2).

Continue reading “The Doha Gateway: Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair”

Dear Negotiators…

Guest Post by Sam Sharp, a member of the NZ Youth Delegation in Doha 

This morning I stood with 40 other youth from all around the world to represent the voices of 1.5 billion youth who are not directly represented here at the climate change negotiations in Doha.

We stood for one and a half hours, while thousands of negotiators and NGO’s passed us on their way to the negotiations. The response was pretty overwhelming.

Between us in NZYD, we were interviewed by eight different international journalists. Youth that I had never met in my life came and stood next to me to hold up the boards with our message

”Dear Negotiators, 1.5 billion youth are not directly represented here at COP18. Your decisions must reflect their demands”.  

The Irish ex-president and nobel peace prize winner , Mary Robinson, shook our hands. Thousands of photos were taken, iPhones and cameras left right and centre.

But to me, this international media attention was not what made this experience so special.

What blew me away, was the exchanges of smiles from a select few negotiators and this huge sense of pride I felt from standing with youth from all over the world  who are fighting for action on climate change.

Negotiators who looked us in the eye, acknowledging our message and saying “We are with you” have given me this new sense of hope among  this place full of cold stares and pressed business suits. In particular, it was the negotiators from the developing countries that really stopped to acknowledge what we were doing, as many of their youth are un-represented here at COP.

I have learnt this morning, that as youth we can give such a powerful message to the world, simply by standing together to show that regardless of our nationalities, we are all here for the same reason.

We are here to be heard, and we are here to show that we already doing what we can to make sure that our generations actions make a positive, lasting change. Regardless of the amount of negotiators that gave us a smile, it is us – today’s youth – that have shown that we have the strength in numbers and unity to actually make change.

Check out the NZYD Doha Blog 

Bad news but great pictures: dating NZ’s shrinking glaciers shows strong link between ice loss and CO2 increases

Here’s a superb video from the Department of Education at the American Museum of Natural History, showing how NZ and US scientists are examining the precise timing of glacier advances and retreats in the Mackenzie country around Lake Pukaki using surface exposure dating. Like all good geologists they use big hammers and small explosives to shatter rocks in order to sample “cosmogenic” Be-10 — a beryllium isotope formed when cosmic rays hit quartz in newly exposed rocks. See here for more on recent surface exposure dating work in the Pukaki area. Hat tip to Climate Crocks for spotting the video.

Shang a de Lange

Much exercised by the question of ocean warming, New Zealand’s most litigious temperature savant posts excerpts from an article on the subject, and thanks Waikato University’s Willem de Lange for introducing him to this “really clear treatment of ocean warming and ocean-atmosphere interaction”. Two things are interesting about Treadgold’s post, and neither has anything to do with the contents of that article1.

The piece, by oceanographer Robert E. Stevenson (deceased), was published in the summer 2000 edition of 21st Century Science & Technology magazine. This is interesting in and of itself, because 21st Century Science & Technology is is an organ of the Lyndon LaRouche movement, centred on an oddball and extremely fringe US politician. We last encountered LaRouche when exploring the footnotes in Ian Wishart’s remarkable climate book Air Con. Amongst many strange things, LaRouche believes that the President of the US and Prince Philip are conspiring to reduce the population of the world from 7 billion to 2 billion, and that financier George Soros is their henchman2. 21st Century Science & Technology espouses what might be charitably described as non-mainstream views on many science-related subjects, from the “swindle of special relativity” to global warming as “hoax“.

Which leads me to the second interesting thing: does Waikato University’s Willem de Lange, one of the tiny coterie of climate sceptics still active in New Zealand academic circles, listed by his university as an expert on “tsunami and storm surge prediction and mitigation; wave-induced sediment transport; dispersal studies; climate change; oceanography”, really regard Stevenson’s article as a credible reference? Would he be prepared to defend this 12 year old article’s interpretation of the physics of ocean warming against his peers? Or was he perhaps just digging around for a little chum to throw to the less well-educated hordes who congregate around Treadgold’s pulpit desperate for anything to support an oddball contention, that ocean warming somehow has nothing to do with the increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere? You be the judge…

You might think that de Lange, Treadgold and Lyndon LaRouche make for strange bedfellows, but when you have nothing better to turn to, I suppose — as Steven Stills so memorably sang — you have to love the one you’re with. Rather a pity for all their credibility, what little might be left of it.

[Bay City Rollers for the title, Steven Stills (& CSJT) for the close.]

  1. Life’s too short, basically, to debunk an article of dubious provenance now 12 years old. []
  2. No, really. Check the link. []