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@mospheric Post | May 14 2011
@mospheric Post is produced twice monthly by Pro Oxygen and distributed earthwide by CO2Now.org
I would ask how these people are going to face their
grandchildren and admit to them they failed their future.
~ Prince Charles
Climate sceptics gamble with the future | BBC The Prince of Wales has hit out at climate change sceptics for what he calls the "corrosive" impact they have on public opinion. >>Kudos to Prof. Michael Schlesinger (Chicago, USA) for distributing this BBC article in May 2011 via his email list.
Atmospheric CO2 data in this publication was released May 9, 2011 by the National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
Data for periods within the last year are preliminary.
Monthly Data for Atmospheric CO2
Atmospheric CO2 parts per million
(the last April with CO2 < 350 ppm)
(50 years ago)
Acceleration Report for Atmospheric CO2
April data only
Average Annual Increase* | Atmospheric CO2 parts per million
1.99 ppm per year
1.49 ppm per year
1.58 ppm per year
1.48 ppm per year
0.83 ppm per year
* Rates of change are calculated with Mauna Loa CO2 data released by NOAA-ESRL and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
which is being constructed near Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) will rely entirely on solar energy and
other renewable energy sources, and hopes to become the first zero-carbon,
zero-waste city.See Masdar in pictures.
The headquarters of the
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), to be located in Masdar City. It
will be the first building in history to produce more energy than it
consumes.[Photograph: Tgprn United Arab Emirates/AP]
Masdar City – a glimpse of the future|London Guardian The plan was to
make Masdar the world's first zero-carbon city, but as the global
"cleantech" market stalls in the recession, compromises are made.
Foster planned to accommodate 50,000 residents and 40,000 commuters and the
city was due be completed by 2016; now the final population will probably not
exceed 40,000 and the completion date has been put at 2021 or 2025. The idea of
a second Masdar City has been dropped; a $2.2bn hydrogen power project has been
called off, as has a "thin film" solar manufacturing plant, intended
for Abu Dhabi.
Masdar master plan is changing as the world economy changes," says Dale
Rollins, a former Shell executive, now Masdar's chief operating officer.
"It's unfair to say that what was decided in 2006 will hold for ever more.
The objectives have not changed but we have re-worked the master plan. The
technology and the market has moved on. We say we can do it better and we can
do it in less expensive ways."
has had a profound impact on the Southern Hemisphere, altering the climate all
the way to the equator, changing wind patterns and increasing rain in southern
Australia by about 35 per cent, according to a study published Thursday in the
somewhat like a domino effect, one change leads to another," said Michael
Sigmond, a climate scientist at the University of Toronto. He co-authored the
report with researchers at Environment Canada and Columbia University in New
study's impact could — and should — be felt at international climate talks, say
could be a real game-changer," co-author Lorenzo Polvani, from Columbia's
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said in a release.
international agreements about mitigating climate change should not be confined
to carbon alone, adding that ozone deserves more attention from the United
Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
. . . more mediacoverage of this story from the UK, China and Australia . . .
Ozone hole linked to southern
rain increases|London Independent The hole in the ozone layer over Antarctica is a significant driver
of climate change and rain increases in the southern hemisphere over the past
50 years, US scientists said Thursday. The findings are the first to link ozone
depletion in the polar region to climate change all the way to the equator.
ocean robs coral of vital building material|New
dioxide has pillaged the Great Barrier Reef of a compound that corals and many
sea creatures need to grow. The finding, from the first survey of ocean
acidification around one of the world's greatest natural landmarks, supports
fears that the ecosystem is on its last legs.
(Note: the volume output for this video is low. Headphones make it easier to hear.)
What the 'Energy Imbalance' paper says about accelerating sea level rise
"Based on our inferred planetary energy
imbalance, we conclude that the rate of sea level rise is likely to accelerate
during the next several years.Reasons
for that conclusion are as follows.
First, the contribution of
thermal expansion to sea level is likely to increase above recent rates. The
nearly constant rate of sea level rise since 1993 masks the fact that thermal
expansion must have been less in the Argo era than in the prior decade, when
ice melt was less but sea level rose 3 mm/year. Solar minimum and a diminishing
Pinatubo rebound effect both contributed to a declining rate of thermal
expansion during the past several years. But the Pinatubo effect is now
essentially spent and solar irradiance change should now work in the opposite
Second, the rate of ice melt is
likely to continue to accelerate. Planetary energy imbalance now is positive,
substantial, and likely to increase as greenhouse gases and solar irradiance
increase. Thus, despite year-to-year fluctuations, global temperature will
increase this decade and there will be a substantial flux of energy into the
ocean. Increasing ocean heat content provides energy for melting sea ice and
ice shelves. Sea ice protects the ice sheets from heating and ice shelves
mechanically buttress the ice sheets. It has been argued that loss of these
protections may be the most important factor causing more rapid discharge from
ice sheets to the ocean (Hansen, 2005, 2007)."
Spring may lose song of
cuckoos, nightingales and turtle doves|London
Observer Some of Britain's most cherished spring visitors are disappearing in
their thousands. Ornithologists say species such as the cuckoo, nightingale and
turtle dove are undergoing catastrophic drops in numbers, although experts are
puzzled about the exact reasons for these declines.
Gingrich questioned in US
over biofuels consulting job|Center for Public Integrity According to IRS records, the ethanol group Growth Energy paid Gingrich's
consulting firm $312,500 in 2009.The former House Speaker was the
organization's top-paid consultant, according to the records.
E10 debacle puts the brakes
on biofuels|Der Spiegel An attempt to introduce the biofuel mixture E10 in Germany has been
a disaster, after motorists refused to buy the supposed green gasoline. Car
makers, oil companies and politicians have all tried to blame each other for the
mess. Even environmentalists oppose the new fuel.
Growing pressure to change EU
biofuel policy|European Voice Hopes that plants could help Europe wean itself off its dependency
on oil have been given a serious dent as the consequences of using land for
biofuel become clearer.[This article
requires free registration]
Learning curve steep for U.S.
plant burning wood biomass|Wisconsin Journal The adventures and misadventures of a power plant's conversion to
burn wood instead of coal offer an informative and cautionary tale as Wisconsin
and the rest of the country struggle to find alternative renewable fuels.
Black carbon: Dark horse of
climate change |Environmental Health Perspectives For decades, efforts to slow global warming have mostly aimed to
limit heat-trapping emissions of carbon dioxide. Now scientists are pointing to
a different class of warming agents they say also must be targeted to keep
global temperatures in check.
powerful climate-stabilizing properties of Blue Carbon will be a spotlight
feature in the next edition of @mospheric Post.Subscribe now so you don’t miss it.
Canada to build
carbon-capture coal-power plant|Zimbio The Western Canadian province of Saskatchewan, which depends heavily
on burning coal for power, will build one of the world's first commercial-scale
power plants that will capture carbon dioxide emissions, the provincial
government said on Tuesday.
Carbon Fund Management
$70b Future Fund at risk from
climate change policies|Sydney Morning Herald Freedom-of-information documents have suggested that the guardians
of the $70 billion Future Fund have not discussed climate change in any
meetings since 2007, prompting questions about how Australia's largest fund is
managing carbon risk on investments.
Bill McKibben at
PowerShift 2011 A 15-minute talk to 10,000 people in Washington DC
McKibben’s PowerShift Speech|350.org I have worked with Bill for several years now, and I've seen him give a lot
of speeches. This one fired me like never before. Within the speech you’ll also
get a preview of the announcements set for the coming week about some of our
new plans for this year.
to thousands of young climate activists: Push me|Nation Shortly after 4 pm last Friday, April 15, Barack Obama dropped in
unexpectedly on a White House meeting that his aides were holding with the
Energy Action Coalition, a network of climate change groups on college campuses
that had drawn the 10,000 organizers to its PowerShift conference in the
with greens at White House|Politico President Barack Obama met with a dozen environmental activists at
the White House Friday as his energy agenda continues to come under fire from
Disruption|Reviewed at Make Believe The Great Disruption by Paul Gilding is not just another book.The review by Nick Moraitis is not just
another review.Like a tag team, the two
connect global realities and personal change.Below is an excerpt from Moraitis’ review, and a recording of a speech
I may live long enough to see humanity come out the other side of 2100 and breathe a sigh of relief that we made it through. But there is no doubt my life will coincide with a turbulent time.
So I couldn’t rationally put the book down and exclaim, “I agree, there is a more than even odds chance Paul is spot on” – and then go back to my personal ‘business as usual’. This is the type of mind-bending book that demands a personal response, an action plan.
US University to Lock Out Students Opposed to ExxonMobil | Post Carbon Institute
There's a storm brewing on the small campus of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (Massachusetts, USA) over the kind of vision for the future to be imparted to graduating students at this year's commencement (May 14, 2011).
Has the green movement been a miserable flop? | New Republic
What the hell went wrong? For months now, environmentalists have been asking themselves that question, and it’s easy to see why. After Barack Obama vaulted into the White House in 2008, it really did look like the United States was, at long last, going to do something about global warming.
Disaster needed for U.S. to
act on climate change|Bloomberg The U.S. probably won’t take significant steps to curb climate change until
an environmental disaster sways public view and prompts political action,
Robert Stavins of Harvard University said.
Environmental footprints may
produce backlash|Miller-McCune Sometimes not knowing your environmental footprint is the best policy for
the environment. New research suggests that for many people - perhaps most - knowing
your carbon footprint can discourage sustainable behavior.
How to make skeptics believe|Fast Company The process of convincing skeptics with science is more of an art, a
creative contortion of research, public policy, and 24-hour news lexicon.
Persuasion is more about saving face than an open-minded investigation for the
FIGHT OF OUR LIVES: Moore's Law vs. Murphy's Law |Post
Carbon Institute This article explores the
possibilities of innovation, substitution and efficiency to maintain economic
growth.It is an excerpt from Richard
Heinberg's new book 'The End of Growth', to be published in September 2011.
Usingthe Lessons From
40 Years of Environmentalism|TreeHugger The modern environmental movement was born on Earth
Day 1970, in an unprecedented burst of mass organizing—by some estimates 20
million Americans, a tenth of the population, took to the streets.
@mospheric Post is the only newsletter
I need in regards to climate change.
~ Richard Habgood
Co-host of Break'N'Ice, the long-running CFUV radio show on climate issues
Life without carbon: A play with
no script |Climate Safety As Paul Kingsnorth has emphasised, the standard
response to this dilemma has been to try and find increasingly clever ways of
‘selling’ a version of the future that looks a bit like today but has less
carbon in it. But ‘selling’ climate change and a low carbon future will fail,
because the future is no more a product to be promoted and sold than love or
7 reasons communicating climate science is tough | Carbon Brief The message from the world's climate scientists is clear: Earth is warming and humans are responsible. Almost all climate scientists (>97%) agree that human activity is a significant contributor to the increase in the average global temperature. But based on the same study, only 58% of the public agree.
Glosses Over Media Failures In Climate Coverage |Media Matters In a new report titled "Climate
Shift: Clear Vision For The Next Decade Of Public Debate," Matthew Nisbet
of American University attempts to debunk environmentalists' complaints about
media coverage of climate change. However, the evidence presented in the report
is far more limited than the conclusion it seeks to draw.
change beliefs are starkly partisan|Anchorage
Alaska Dispatch What Americans believe about climate change depends almost entirely
on their political affiliation and not their scientific understanding,
according to a new national study that found the same dynamic in two regions of
Climate change understanding
falls along political lines|LiveScience While public opinion on climate change might be polarized, it's a stark
contrast to the scientific community's unified stance regarding the warming of
our planet. The latest research finds public understanding of the issue falling
along political party lines.
you won't read this Earth Day article|Live
Science Getting people to care about environmental threats – especially distant
ones such as climate change – can be tough, environmental advocates say. But
whether or not people care about the environment may not matter much at all.
Policy in an age of post-truth politics|Grist But the crucial fact of post-truth politics is that there are no more referees. There are only players. The
right has its own media, its own facts, its
own world. In that world, the climate isn't
warming, domestic drilling can solve the energy crisis, and Obama is a
Climategate: What really happened? | Mother Jones How climate science became the target of "the best-funded, best-organized smear campaign by the wealthiest industry that the Earth has ever known."
Climate and Health
Namibia: Gawanas identifies
climate change risks|All Africa Because
one-third of disease in children under age five is caused by environmental
exposures, African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs, Bience Gawanas, says
that formulating a clear response in order to protect human health and ensure
that it is placed at the centre of the climate debate is essential.
Tory pollution tactics a bad choice: Government study|Canada.com The Conservative party's approach to tackling industrial pollution
would be the most costly for governments, the most damaging to the economy and
the least effective at cleaning up the atmosphere, says a federal
government analysis of climate change policies.
initiatives may be slower coming, NDP admits|Vancouver
Sun The federal New
Democrats say they might not be able to pay for $3.6 billion worth of green
spending initiatives that were promised in their platform for the first year of
a new mandate if elected to form a government.
Australia: The lethal
politics of climate change |BBC It would be tempting to argue that whichever
Australian politician manages to engineer a policy that is both environmentally
sound, economically viable and politically palatable could dominate Canberra
for years to come. Yet here we are dealing with an altogether different kind of
journalistic trope. Not a third rail, but a holy grail.
The following data and targets are current as of May 9, 2011:
Global CO2 emissions for long-term stabilization of atmospheric CO2
“Stabilizing atmospheric CO2 and climate requires that
net CO2 emissions approach zero”
0 w/m 2 watts per square meter
Global energy balance & the end of global warming
“Stabilizing climate requires, to first order, that we restore Earth’s energy balance. If the planet once again radiates as much energy to space as it absorbs from the sun, there no longer will be a drive causing the planet to get warmer.”
0.25 - 0.75 w/m 2
Global energy imbalance from rising atmospheric CO2 | 1750 - 2000
1.99 ppm per year parts per million
Atmospheric CO2 | Average Annual Rise | April 2002 - 2011
April Data Only The rate of increase for the latest decade is higher than any decade since the start of the atmospheric CO2 instrument record in March 1958.
Ocean Acidification: Average pH of Surface Oceans | 2005
Average pH of surface oceans has declined about 0.1 units since before the industrial revolution. This is an increase of about 30% in the concentration of hydrogen ions which is a considerable acidification of the oceans.
“…world leaders should take account of the impact of CO2 on ocean chemistry,
as well as on climate change…we recommend that all possible approaches
be considered to prevent CO2 reaching the atmosphere.”
100-Year Average Global Surface Temperature | March 1901 - 2000
Average Global Surface Temperature | March 2011
March 2011 is the 13th warmest March on record (since 1880). March 2010 is the warmest on record.
Preliminary data posted April 15, 2011 by NOAA-NCDC.
Atmospheric CO2 | Lowest level in 2.1 million years
Signatories to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
The United Nation's ultimate climate objective “is to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system.”
Atmospheric CO2 | Pre-Industrial Revolution
Atmospheric CO2 was stable at about 280 ppm for almost 10,000 years until 1750.
Atmospheric CO2 | Highest level in at least 2.1 million years (pre-industrial)
Circa 1912, atmospheric CO2 levels breached the 300 ppm threshold for the first time in at least 2.1 million years.
Atmospheric CO2 | Upper Safety Limit
“If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm, but likely less than that… If the present overshoot of this target CO2 is not brief, there is a possibility of seeding irreversible catastrophic effects.”
Atmospheric CO2 | April 2010 | Mauna Loa Observatory
Data posted by NOAA-ESRL as of May 9, 2011.
Atmospheric CO2 | April 2011 | Mauna Loa Observatory
Preliminary data reported May 9, 2011 by NOAA-ESRL
Atmospheric CO2 | Projection for Year 2100
This scientific projection, based on an analysis on March 4, 2011, accounts for the voluntary emissions reductions pledges of parties to the UNFCCC since the Copenhagen climate talks. The projected CO2 level represents a global temperature increase of about 4 °C.
World Population | May 1, 2011
More than 6.9 billion people are living on planet Earth. If humanity is to achieve a stabilization of atmospheric CO2 at safe levels, this is roughly the number of people who will need to be aligned with net CO2 emissions that approach zero. (See “0 tonnes” in The Climate Sheet.)
Humanity's Global CO2 Emissions | 2009
2009 global CO2 emissions were the second highest in human history. Global fossil fuel emissions – more than 88% of all carbon emissions – are projected to increase by more than 3% in 2010. In the past decade, 47% of CO2 emissions accumulated in the atmosphere, 27% were absorbed by land and 26% were absorbed by the ocean. The 2009 data was published November 21, 2010.
methane hydrate feedback revisited
| Climate Progress In
March 2010, the normally staid National Science Foundation issued a press
“Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger
abrupt climate warming.” Now there is a new Geophysical Research Lettersstudy on a paleoclimate
analog that may be relevant to humanity today, “Methane and environmental
change during the Paleocene‐Eocene
thermal maximum (PETM): Modeling the PETM onset as a two‐stage event.” (This is a Climate Progress repost of an analysis by Skeptical Science.)
Seafloor probe taps methane reservoir | Nature A
robotic submarine is measuring the amount of methane lurking in mud on the sea
floor. Measuring the greenhouse gas is important given that some scientists
have concerns about catastrophic releases of methane contributing to climate
change, and others are keen on mining such deposits for fuel.
@mospheric Post is an independent, volunteer-driven publication that is produced in Canada by Pro Oxygen, the maker of CO2Now.org. Pro Oxygen distributes @mospheric Post as a free information service for the advancement of climate literacy . . . starting with awareness of atmospheric CO2 and what it means.
Twice a month, @mospheric Post delivers the global numbers earthwide – straight from the atmosphere and virtually in real time. It also gives you access to the latest targets, reports and stories about our world, from around the world. Consider it your online source for getting the straight goods and the big picture on humanity's main environmental challenges.