The Climate Show #11: a trillion tonnes of trouble

Glenn says he thinks this show’s “a cracker” (but he always says that), and despite the lack of a special star guest — though with the help of assorted luminaries from the Climate Futures Forum (David’s Karoly and Frame, Robert Gifford and Erik Conway –) we cover a huge range of issues, from Jim Hansen’s upcoming visit to NZ, the climate talks in Bangkok and Arctic ice, to why we need to think about our carbon budget, and why a trillion tonnes of the stuff might be a tad too much. John Cook joins us to discuss why there really is a scientific consensus on the reality of climate change and its causes, and in the solutions section we look at new developments in battery technology.

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The Climate Show

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News & commentary:

Climate Futures Forum: Routefinding the future: reflecting on the climate futures forum.

Jim Hansen to tour NZ: dates announced.

New warning on Arctic ice melt.

Bangkok climate talks stall.

The trillionth ton:,
A ton too far (more bad news).

Scotland could cut emissions 50% by 2020.

Interviews: David Frame, Bob Gifford, Erik Conway.

Debunking the skeptic with John Cook from Skeptical Science.

Scientific Consensus

The broader picture: The 5 characteristics of scientific denialism

Common technique: Fake Experts —

The argument: “31,000 scientists signed a skeptic statement (OISM Petition)”:

Response to the survey question “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?” (Doran 2009)

Distribution of the number of researchers convinced by the evidence of anthropogenic climate change and unconvinced by the evidence with a given number of total climate publications (Anderegg 2010).

Naomi Oreskes searched the Institute for Scientific Information database for papers matching ‘climate change’ – out of 928 papers, 0 papers disagreed with scientific consensus.

Fact and Fraud: Brad Johnson (Wonk Room)



Batteries that can recharge in seconds.

Lithium-air batteries could rival liquid fuels.

Thanks to our media partners:, Scoop and KiwiFM.

Theme music: A Drop In The Ocean by The Bads.

[PS: Not Fade Away was Buddy Holly of course, but this is my excuse…

… and the stutter was of course d-down to Daltrey, who also did a f-fade …

… unmissable, that. What a band, what a drummer!]

7 thoughts on “The Climate Show #11: a trillion tonnes of trouble”

  1. Re the Li-Air batteries, whatever happened to Al-Air? That was the in-thing a decade or so ago. Cruise into the service station, slide the Al-Air box out, slide the new one in and you’re off. The spent Al-Air, effectively pure alumina, is shipped to Tiwai Point for re-smelting.
    Then again there was excitement over Nano-technology SuperCaps. GMC put out a super-cap power drill that was recharged in about 30 secs and gave a couple of minutes running before it had to be dropped into it’s charging cradle. Pity they went belly-up (for other reasons) before that could be developed.

    As far as the political consensus problem, I hate myself, but I’m praying for a climate-related disaster that will scare the bejeziz out of everybody before we cross some point of no return. Assuming we haven’t already.

    1. Not sure about Al-air (flying out of Libya perhaps?), but there is at least one scheme designed around drop-in Li-ion batteries, and there was talk of something similar for Boron (as a powder fuel?).

      On disasters: you’d think Australia would be there already, what with fires, floods and cyclones, but the pollies and there electorates seem all too ready to forget…

  2. Gareth and Glenn:

    I watched The Climate Show #11 last evening and it was excellent; the best ever. But I always say that. Sorry that this comment is off topic but I wanted to suggest that for #12 you have John Cook talk about his new book “Climate Change Denial.”

    1. Definitely: we’ll have John talking about the book in #12, and Bryan will have a review ready to go at HT to coincide with the launch. Blanket coverage…

  3. The BBC article linked to above (“New Warning on Arctic Ice Melt”) is just another dismal piece of reporting by the Beeb.

    The article implies that the latest science has pushed out the likely timeframe from ice-free conditions from 2013 to 2016, but it hasn’t.

    “Scientists who predicted a few years ago that Arctic summers could be ice-free by 2013 now say summer sea ice will probably be gone in this decade…And one of the projections [the new model] comes out with is that the summer melt could lead to ice-free Arctic seas by 2016 – “plus or minus three years”.

    Maslowski’s original numerical projection predicted ice-free conditions in 2016 +/- 3 years, which was reported as “as soon as 2013” which then just became “by 2013”.

    Maslowski has now built a physical model which, as the article reports, predicts ice-free conditions in 2016 +/- 3 years. That is, the new physical model produces the same results as the older numerical projection.

    Just another fail by the MSM, who don’t seem to be able to get it right even when they try….

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