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What the world needs to watch

Global warming is mainly the result of CO2 levels rising in the Earth’s atmosphere. Both atmospheric CO2 and climate change are accelerating. Climate scientists say we have years, not decades, to stabilize CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

To help the world succeed, CO2Now.org makes it easy to see the most current CO2 level and what it means. So, use this site and keep an eye on CO2.  Invite others to do the same. Then we can do more to send CO2 in the right direction.

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@mospheric Post | May 14 2011 PDF Print E-mail

Earth's CO2 Newsletter

@mospheric Post is produced twice monthly by Pro Oxygen and distributed earthwide by CO2Now.org 


May 14, 2011
 
Year 2 | Edition 9


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In this edition of @mospheric Post . . .

Quotable Now

  *  Prince Charles hits out at climate change sceptics

The Latest Climate Numbers

Fresh data just released:
    *  Atmospheric CO2:  393.18 parts per million (ppm) in April 2011

        (This is the highest level for April in at least 2.1 million
          years -- up from 392.49 ppm in April 2010)

Exclusive CO2Now report:  
    *  Acceleration Report for Atmospheric CO2 -- current as of April 30, 2011

Visual Eyes

  *  Masdar in pictures -- The world's first zero carbon city

Climate Media

  *  CLIMATE SPOTLIGHT:  Antarctic Ozone: A game changer for climate science
  *  CLIMATE MEDIA:  41 recent articles, papers and reports from the other 6 continents

CO2Now Climate Sheet 'In Brief'

  *  17 leading measurements, benchmarks and targets for Earth's global climate.  
      (CO2Now is the only website where they are kept in one place and up to date.)     

Closing Spotlight

  *  Methane Feedbacks -- articles @ Climate Progress & Nature

About @mospheric Post

 


 

 

I would ask how these people are going to face their

grandchildren and admit to them they failed their future.


~ Prince Charles
February 2011  

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.

 

The Latest Climate Numbers

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

 

Month

Atmospheric CO2
parts per million

April 2011 

393.18 ppm

April 2010

392.49 ppm

April 2009

389.46 ppm

April 1986

349.57 ppm
(the last April with CO2 < 350 ppm)

April 1961

319.48 ppm
(50 years ago)

 

Acceleration Report for Atmospheric CO2 


Decade

April data only


Average Annual Increase* | Atmospheric CO2
parts per million

2002-2011

1.99 ppm per year 

1992-2001

1.49 ppm per year

1982-1991

1.58 ppm per year

1972-1981

1.48 ppm per year

1962-1971

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. 

 

CO2 Data Source

Via CO2Now  |  Monthly & Annual CO2 Data from NOAA-ESRL & Scripps

  

Visual Eyes | @mospheric Post

 

Masdar, UAE

The world's first zero-carbon city

Masdar City, 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.

"The 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." 

 


 

Antarctic Ozone

Climate Science "Game Changer"

 

Ozone hole to blame for increased Australian rainfall  |  The Province (Vancouver)
A Canada-U.S. study, described as a "game changer" for climate science, says Australia can blame its increased rainfall on the Antarctic ozone hole.

The hole 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 journal Science.

"It's 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 York.

The study's impact could — and should — be felt at international climate talks, say the researchers.

"This could be a real game-changer," co-author Lorenzo Polvani, from Columbia's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, said in a release.

He said 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 media coverage 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.

Ozone hole dominates shifting S.Hemisphere climate |  The China Post
Climate policymakers and scientists need to look beyond global warming emissions of carbon dioxide and take the loss of stratospheric ozone into account, researchers said on Thursday.

Revealing the hole truth on our wacky weather  |  The Age
Weather in eastern Australia is found to be tied, in part, to the Antarctic ozone hole, in a breakthrough for scientists trying to understand Earth's climate.

 

Recent articles, papers and reports.
From around the world.
About our world.

Acidifying Oceans

The ‘evil twin’ of climate change: Ocean acidification  | Australian Science Media Centre
Briefing on ocean acidification by
Donna Roberts,  Cairns, 5 April 2011.  Click here for the full briefing.  Click here to link to presentations at the Greenhouse 2011 conference in Cairns, Australia. 

Acidic ocean robs coral of vital building material  |  New Scientist
Carbon 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.

Balancing Earth’s Energy

Humanity's "Faustian aerosol bargain"  | Climate Progress
James Hansen has posted a new 52-page draft paper entitled “Earth’s Energy Imbalance and Implications.”   While this paper is a tougher read than most, the good news is that Hansen gave an hour-long talk on this topic last week, which is posted to YouTube.

(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 sense.

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)."

Biodiversity

Forty percent of planet threatened with loss of biodiversity: Minister  |  Angola Press
About 40 percent of the planet is threatened with the loss of its biodiversity as a result of human action, said Angolan minister of Environment, Fatima Jardim, on the occasion of Earth Day.

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.

Biofuels

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

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.

Blue Carbon

The 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. 

Carbon Capture

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.

Climate Activism

 

Bill McKibben at PowerShift 2011
A 15-minute talk to 10,000 people in Washington DC
RECOMMENDED



 

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.

Obama 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 nation’s capital.

Obama meets 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 all sides.

Climate Books

The Great 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 by Gilding.

 

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.

~ Nick Moraitis

Al Gore’s Our Choice is a must-have app-book on climate solutions  |  Climate Progress
The Nobel-prize-winning former vice president has redefined the digital book. 

Climate Controversy

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). 

Climate Dialogue

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 truth.

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.

Policy Brief: The industries that cried wolf  |  Australia Institute
An analysis of the claims made by Australia’s big polluters of the impact of a carbon price

Using  the 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 fascination.
 

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.

Report 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. 

Climate 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 Southeast Alaska.

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.

Why 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 socialist Kenyan.

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.

Climate Literacy

Infantile climate discussion rages while the atmosphere chokes   |  The Conversation
As our physical understanding of climate change has become more and more robust, public debate has become progressively more disconnected from the scientific literature.

Climate Politics

Elizabeth May wins first seat for Green Party in Canada  | Toronto Globe & Mail
Elizabeth May asked voters in her adopted riding to make history. And on Monday, voters in Saanich-Gulf Islands elected Canada’s first Green Party MP.

Canada's Saanich Gulf Islands - This is truly an amazing win  |  Victoria Vision
Elizabeth May had what I think is the biggest win by any Green candidate in any election in the world, ever. >>Thank you to Bill Davidson (Victoria, Canada) for recommending this blog post.

Canadian 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.

Environment 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.

Canadian political climate strangely cool on environment  |  Canada.com
A best-selling Australian author who is known as the "rock star" of modern science is baffled to see Canada's election campaign side-stepping around climate change and environmental issues.

 

The CO2Now Climate Sheet 'In Brief'

An updated, full edition is available at: The CO2Now Climate Sheet.    

The following data and targets are current as of  May 9, 2011:

0 tonnes

CO2 Emissions Target

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

CO2 Emissions Target

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.   

 8.07 pH

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.”

 12.7 °C

100-Year Average Global Surface Temperature  |  March 1901 - 2000

 13.2 °C

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.  

 172 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  Lowest level in 2.1 million years

 194 countries

Target of Most National Governments

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.” 

 280 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  Pre-Industrial Revolution

Atmospheric CO2 was stable at about 280 ppm for almost 10,000 years until 1750.

 300 ppm

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.

 350 ppm

Atmospheric CO2 Target for Humanity

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.”

 392.46 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  April 2010  |  Mauna Loa Observatory

Data posted by NOAA-ESRL as of May 9, 2011.

393.18 ppm

Atmospheric CO2  |  April 2011  |  Mauna Loa Observatory

Preliminary data reported May 9, 2011 by NOAA-ESRL

805 ppm

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.  

6,915,542,770

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.)

30.8 billion
metric tonnes

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. 


See the Full Edition of The CO2Now Climate Sheet

  


 

The methane hydrate feedback revisited  |  Climate Progress
In March 2010, the normally staid National Science Foundation issued a
press release warning “Release of even a fraction of the methane stored in the shelf could trigger abrupt climate warming.”  Now there is a new Geophysical Research Letters study on a paleoclimate analog that may be relevant to humanity today, “Methane and environmental change during the PaleoceneEocene thermal maximum (PETM): Modeling the PETM onset as a twostage 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. 
 

 

About @mospheric Post

@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. 

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