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July Matched, and Maybe Broke, Record for the Hottest Month Since Analysis Began (wmo.int)
105 points by infodocket 76 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 119 comments

With this topic it's important to remind people that while individual actions to address climate change are good, and encouraged, it's going to take serious systemic action and cooperation to address this to the degree it should be.

There was a climate scientist not long ago calling for a "world war-like mobilization" in regards to addressing climate change and that's exactly what needs to happen. Buying an electric vehicle and slapping a solar panel on your roof simply isn't enough.

Transport is a third of emissions, most of that road transport, so if everyone bought an electric car it would certainly have an impact.

I think people have to bear in mind this is also about industrial scale. One person buying an electric car brings down the price for another, each new person brings down the price more and opens up the possibility to more people, and at some point you’ll get a mass transfer. Electric cars are only something like 0.3% of cars on the road but already have the scale to get quite close to competitive. They're already cheaper for high mileage cases.

Although I do agree we will need concerted effort, it’s likely this will be in conjunction with, not opposed to, these kind of individual decisions.

It would have an impact alright, a catastrophic impact. Most people don't have cars, and we need to reverse the trend of increased car ownership.

Why? Electrification of grid electricity is comparatively easy, and may even substantially happen (say, to 60-80%) without government action because of the relentlessness of the learning curves for wind and solar. But that’s only a third of emissions. The core challenge is to electrify transport and heating to tackle the other two thirds. Replacing combustion cars with electric cars might involve a lot of mining (as does all of industrial civilization), but it will almost certainly be a benefit for climate change. Just plateauing the number of cars would be an achievement, reducing them by 90%+ globally, as would be needed without electrification, is cloud cuckoo land.

EVs still have big co2 lifecycle footprints, more than is sustainable, so a dead end. Bonus: each new EV will put another low cost used gas vehicle on the market to guzzle gas for another 20 years.

Their lifecycle is almost all dependent on the grid, most of the rest is the battery, which are already being manufactured using renewable energy. Even mining is being electrified. In the UK I can already buy a car which will reduce emissions by 40%, and by the end of its lifetime probably 80% as the grid decarbonises. Or even more if I have solar panels. How many decades of campaigning would we need to halve car ownership? Your perfect outcome from this is not going to happen, not quickly enough to tackle the problem, don’t make the enemy the perfect of the good.

That's bad math. If you add EVs to a grid that's in the process of decarbonizing, the marginal impact is all that extra power comes from whatever would be shut down next.

EVs are still worth it if they're powered by coal or natural gas. But quoting them as getting cleaner as the grid decarbonizes is wrong, until the existing load is satisfied with renewables (even instantaneously).

The only exception is if EVs allow you to increase the renewable share beyond what you'd otherwise be able to do eg with demand dispatch.

Campaigning is not going to cut it, private car use will need to be regulated with clear YoY reduction targets and big enough incentives to reach them (eg high gas taxes, supplemented with income transfers if social fairness is desired by voters).

I agree that perfect is the enemy of good, but I think EV production is net harmful and your numbers overoptimistic, so the argument does not apply in my view.

The only pro ev argument that still has legs IMO is that since we'll have to stop the remaining oil and coal from being exctracted and burned in any case, EV availability can provide popular support for it. But it's much better if we can just rein in car dependency.

Yes, but do both of them. Eat less meat, minimize flying, get the electric car, get the panels. Just know it's not enough and push for coordinated response.

Buying an electric vehicle and slapping a solar panel on your roof simply isn't enough.

Perhaps, but in your comparison folks still grew "victory gardens". [0] Personally, I'm reminded that I need to call the installer back about putting those "victory panels" on my roof.

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_garden

We’re going to need both approaches: ground up and top down. People will need to learn to do with less. Better to start a mass movement towards popularizing minimized consumption so that people are used to the idea and embrace it when the policy changes (such as a carbon tax) begin to incentivize specific choices.

We can either do this now, in an organized and equitable way, or later in a chaotic and unfair way.

In November 2020, the 26th COP summit will be held in the UK, where world leaders will agree on the action plans for cutting emissions.

When that conference ends, we have one decade to cut global emissions by 50%.

Are we going to make it? If so, how?

All options need to be on the table. It's crucial that when someone spends their time and energy on a project that's good but not your preferred strategy... just let them. Put your energy into advancing your own goals (instead of destroying theirs), and we can all meet in the middle. That's what it will take.

My 2000 sq ft home is currently using about 8kwh per day of electricity in summer, which I think is pretty good. I'd love to get solar panels to get that down to below zero.

I treat electricity reduction like a game, always trying to go further. Lately I've been using a solar cooker to cook food and it's awesome. It keeps the cooking heat and smell out of the house while using no electricity. I only recently just started but I've made curry, pizza, veggie burgers, potatoes, baked bread, and reheated leftovers. My next target is getting the summer usage down to 7kwh per day average. I think improving water heating is going to be the ticket there by reducing the heater temperature a little, wrapping it in a thermal blanket, and getting a more efficient shower head. Having a solar water heater would be huge but that's a possibility for down the road.

What are other people doing?

> All options need to be on the table. It's crucial that when someone spends their time and energy on a project that's good but not your preferred strategy... just let them. Put your energy into advancing your own goals (instead of destroying theirs), and we can all meet in the middle. That's what it will take.

This is such an important realization which I think (hope) more and more people are coming to. No point in debating solar vs wind, batteries versus fuel cells. Do all the things.

Whoa, I didn't know about solar cookers, I'm gonna look into it. Did you buy yours or make it? Any recommendations?

Currently working on getting panels installed before the tax incentive expires. We get a stupid amount of sun here in Colorado, and Xcel has a good net metering program.

Also in Colorado here! I got an "All Season Solar Cooker" - plenty of Youtube videos showing it and other options in action. I also just finished making a toy solar oven made from cardboard, aluminum foil and seran wrap. It gets up to around 165F in strong sunlight. When I build a real oven made from wood, mirrors and glass, I think it will reach about 350F. I'm going to keep experimenting with toy designs before building something more substantial. I'd like to have multiple solar cookers and ovens to be able to cook several dishes at a time.

For the solar cooker I prefer to put the cooking pan inside some pyrex dishes. This acts like a greenhouse and limits the wind's ability to blow heat away. It gets very hot, but not as hot as a solar oven. Hot enough to bake bread!

Insulation and heat pumps. New houses built in Sweden _above the Arctic circle_ use less than 9000 kWh per year. 300mm of insulation and a geothermal heat pump that gives you at least 3 kW of heat for every 1 kW of electricity.

I'm sorry, is that number supposed to be in any way impressive?

You can cut that number by a factor of 3, just by building apartment blocks instead of individual houses. It cuts down the heat loss area, and lets you install larger pumps that benefit from efficiencies of scale.

AFAIK, an average flat around the latitude of St. Petersburg uses ~300-500 kWh per month, or 3600-6000 kWh per year. And that's considering that most housing stock there was built in the 70s and 80s.

If we're talking top of the line insulation and a geothermal heat pump, the numbers should be way lower than that even. Not to mention that generally speaking living inside the Arctic circle is a giant waste anyway. You can't do agriculture there and it costs a lot to heat things. It should be reserved for research stations and temporary work establishments.

You’re right, it wasn’t impressive so I double checked. It’s 6414 kWh (3596 kWh in southern Sweden) for heating and hot water production without geothermal, only by air heat reuse. It’s a two story house at 164m2 which is three times as large as an average apartment.

My point is the insulation is the cheapest way of lowering heating (and chilling) costs.

Also, lots of mining, logging and manufacturing jobs up north.

Are we going to make it?


Global heating is pretty much inevitable. There's no taste for fixing it among the people who can actually do something. Politicians don't see farther than their next term in office, and the rich don't need to fix it. It's not really a case of "if" any more. It's going to happen.

Speak for your own country.

Where I live major political parties are now scrambling to adopt greener policies after losing big to green parties in the recent EU wide elections.

Because people have shown that if they don't do it, they will vote for someone who will.

There's also the issue of thousands of students rallying for greener policies every friday instead of attending school. It's been going on for some time and politicians are further under pressure because of that.

> Speak for your own country

This phrase might be applicable if each country had its own atmosphere.

Most countries have their own politicians and he was speaking of political will as if the political sitation was the way he described everywere.

That's great, but Europe could dial all emissions to zero right now there would be virtually no impact. Even the US doing the same would hardly put a dent in climate change's trajectory, and the issue people have is that we can't simply assume that if we overhaul our entire economies at ruinous cost, China (over 2x America's emissions now and increasing every day), India, Russia, etc will be inspired to get on board. We need a binding global solution. Domestic solutions seem worthless to me.

> overhaul our entire economies at ruinous cost

Reading this gives me a headache. Guess what will WAY be worse than that?


Also most of the developing countries, those people like you like to point their finger at and use as an excuse to keep dooming yourself, your planet and most of all your children's futures, will be hit first and the hardest by climate change. And they know it. China is already coming around.

I'm seeing a lot of rhetoric and no substance. Yawn.

If the industrialized world can make greener tech and practices cost-effective (with or without a carbon tax), that efficiency and economy of scale will radiate out to the rest of the world in a positive feedback loop. The problem isn't that scalable solutions don't exist; it's that oil and gas are still (artificially) cheap by comparison. It's one thing to ask the Western middle class to take a hit to their lifestyles, but the working poor across the world don't have that option.

Per country emissions is a terrible measure, because the atmosphere doesn't care about country boundaries. For accessing whether or not a country is doing its share to address the problem, per capita emissions is a much better measure.

The atmosphere cares even less about per capita than per country. It doesn't care about whether we "do our share" either.

You specifically called out China for high emissions. If you measure per country, then if China were to split up into several smaller countries, all of which keep the same per capita emissions, by per country they would all be low emissions countries. That nicely illustrates the absurdity of per country.

Global heating has already happened, we’re 1C up on preindustrial. The question is how high are we willing to go. Doing nothing will lead to another 6C, concerted serious action will be another 2C, and we could end up anywhere in between, depending on what and whether tipping points exist, as well as people’s good sense, and their willingness to elect politicians who will do something.

> Doing nothing will lead to another 6C

Surely doing nothing (not actually doing nothing, but rather continuing to burn fossil fuels) leads to, well, ~ infinite warming until we run out of fuel?

Or is the assumption that at 6c we're dead so whatever?

Without big feedback loops you actually have to go out of your way to get above a certain level of warming. RCP8.5, for 8.5C of warming, involves a frankly silly quantity of emissions, I assume this is because CO2 absorbs at certain wavelengths and there are diminishing returns as concentrations get really high.

Of course, we don’t know what the feedback loops are, they could kick in and take over. The IPCC is quite conservative about including feedback loops, and mainly deals with direct effects. But the same logic applies either way, within any reasonable range any reduction in CO2 emissions is worth pursuing.

I also personally think the economics for certain low carbon technologies will dominate over a middle/long time period, just that as it stands they won’t take over quick enough to dramatically bring down emissions.

What kinds of feedback loops is the IPCC known to exclude, and is there any serious study into what the potential consequences are? Like, how possible is it that there is a feedback loop that will push us well beyond the RCP8.5 scenario?

Two examples I recall are the albedo changes from melting of on-land glaciers and ice-sheets, the IPCC thinks think will take hundreds of years. And then the Methane Clathrate idea, which is very controversial but could contribute to some degree.

I don’t think anyone in the world can answer the question about how likely these feedback effects are, unfortunately!

I agree. This is a runaway train. The poor and undeveloped countries are going to have massive drought and starvation. Eventually, the dangers will be real enough to matter. It will also accelerate less rapidly after 1B people die. This is particularly sad as it could be avoided.

“Runaway train” is just rhetoric to avoid doing anything. There is a huge amount to play for and there is never a time at which it’s reasonable to give up. Even if you’re choosing between 5C and 6C, make that choice and don’t abdicate responsibility. By your admission, millions of people’s lives may rest on the decision.

It’s just being realistic. No country is going to do what it takes and the worst offenders are still increasing their emissions.

Lots of first world countries (including the United States, although admittedly not as fast as we could) are cutting emissions by either market forces or government fiat. By "No country", we're really talking about China and India.

China’s doing a lot, they’ve played a big role in scaling up solar and batteries. They’re accelerating into the transition, directing growth from a carbon economy into massive investment into replacement technologies, which is not a bad idea.

I agree that replacement technologies are the way forward. The question is (and it's a legitimate question, I'd like to know), is China _using_ the replacement technologies? Or are they using fossil fuel-based industrial supply chains and exporting the final product? If the latter, what's the net gain/loss?

I’m fairly sure China’s the biggest market for both EVs and solar.

"No country is going to do what it takes"

That's not being realistic. That is decidedly pessimistic and something that no one could say at this time.

You seem to misunderstand the situation. This is the - very realistic - "collapse of civilization as we understand it" outcome by 2050. Collapse of global ecosystems and modern life as we know it.

Collapse by 2050 strikes me as very unlikely, unless there’s some massive feedback loop which kicks in. The difference between warming for RCP2.5 and RCP6 isn’t that great at 2050, it’s 2060-2080 where the real difference opens up, I think that’s when you get the collapse of civilisation outcomes become possible.

Here is some of your feedback loop: https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/New-Models-Point-More-Glob.... The marine stratocumulus results are not good. Collapse by 2050 seems entirely reasonable and I expect that to move up new results have all been worse than modeled.

Seriously: we are all going to fucking die from this if nobody does something, and soon. Except maybe a few billionaires in space or bunkers.

Looks like early stage research. We need to keep an eye on these sorts of things, but you’re doing more damage than you are helping by promoting theories which are not well established.

I'm definitely happy to be corrected, but I am curious how you arrived at that conclusion based on the article.

There is a long term upward trend in the ECS upper bound, there is model convergence towards that new upper bound figure, and it agrees with recent satellite observations from CERES. I think this constitutes a fair amount of support that warrants my concern.

Mainly from the section about not being sure whether it’s a model artifact. Don’t get me wrong, if that’s what emerges as the likely sensitivity I’ll change my mind happily, I’m just tired of people repeating doomsday scenarios and basing it on speculative work.

Nope, my doomsday prediction are based on almost two decades of following the issue closely and some educational background that has overlap. But I'm not a climate scientist and I recognize that. But I do think you are understating the severity of this (all models trending up and observed changes that agree with the models)

> Looks like early stage research

No it doesn't. The link there is not a scientific article but points to a set of models benchmarked against data for the IPCC report.

Trying to check there's no artifact is just good science, no need to reproach them for that.

I'm not reproaching them, I'm pointing out their own caveats.

We seemed to have difficulty with the Kyoto climate deal with a 5% reduction.


The United States wouldn't even sign it because it "would cause serious harm to the U.S. economy."


That assumes keeping temperatures below 1.5C, and no negative emissions technologies. In reality, likely this number will slip to 2C, and some negative emissions will be assumed. That brings us to the Paris emissions reduction pathways, which are very achievable with shared global effort.

The more we can eliminate the need for negative emissions, the better. But we shouldn’t assume no negative emissions, and the most stringent temperature pathway, otherwise people will just assume that action is impossible and use it as an excuse to do nothing.

How? Buy less stuff, travel less, eat less meat.

That's profoundly too-little, too-late. Its a false narrative designed to pacify folks into inaction i.e. not taking political action. If we only skip a burger now and again, we don't have to address dependence on fossil fuels! Ridiculous.

Your asking the beginning meditation student to sit in an all-day eight hour session of silence. Let's start them out with a quickie ten-minute guided meditation session with soothing voice in their headphones, eh?

Drastically curtailing airline flights and eating less meat is a considerable step for most Americans who aren't already doing so. Let 'em start with that, maybe they'll make the next step to riding the bicycle to work a few times a week, maybe they'll find they can just cut meat altogether. Next thing you know, they're washing their hemp clothes in their water-saving washer less often.

Because let me tell you what voting green has gotten me over the last thirty years...

That's the point -all dwindles to insignificance next to power generation, transportation, industry.

You're right - there are far more people that don't care at all than the number of those of us that do. Which is why we have to fight.

But companies need butts in seats for that water cooler effect, so people might have a good idea once in a blue moon when talking in person! That alone is worth forcing everyone to spend up to three hours a day traveling to and from work!

Sadly, I expect that the only result of this summit will be to plan for another summit a few months to a year later.

Could we start framing hot years in the same way we do floods? I mean, everyone knows what a "10 year flood" or a "100 year flood" is supposed to look like. No one has a proper statistical relation for what the likelihood of a broken temperature means, and I find that rather odd.

Even if climate change has made it so that the 100 year year broken temperature records are now 10 year temperature broken temperature records, could we at least say that statistically? Is it too much to ask?

As a counterpoint, consider this quote from an article [1] by economist Robert Murphy: "In the climate change debate, people often forget that under all but the most catastrophic scenarios, the future generations who will benefit from our current mitigation efforts will be much richer than we are. For example, Nigel Lawson points out that even under one of the worst case scenarios studied by the IPCC, failure to act would simply mean that people in the developing world would be “only” 8.5 times as wealthy a century from now, compared to 9.5 times as wealthy if there were no climate change. [2]"

[1] https://www.econlib.org/library/Columns/y2009/Murphyclimate.... [2] Nigel Lawson, An Appeal to Reason: A Cool Look at Global Warming (New York: Duckworth Overlook, 2008), p. 36.


What is this "wealth" you speak of?

Can you eat money?

Do all the technological advances, smartphones, VR, blah blah, counteract killing off the megafauna, turning the natural landscape into deserts and concrete?

Pure insanity.

Nigel Lawson the politician and noted liar and misleader? That Nigel Lawson?


Could anyone who is more informed comment on this WSJ article discussing climate change media coverage? https://www.wsj.com/articles/how-the-media-corrupted-climate...

Sure. You live in an echo chamber on HN where everyone is worried about climate change. The WSJ is another echo chamber that is almost the polar opposite where people either don't believe in climate change, or that it's greatly exaggerated.

I've engaged with commenters in the WSJ hundreds, if not thousands, of times. Basically, you'll talk yourself into one big circle. People have all sorts of standard answers like "the climate is always changing", references to debunked movies, a handful of "scientific names", the Global Warming Hiatus, etc.

You can address all of them but they'll simply start over again with the same comments in the next article.

Several years ago I was even going to create an FAQ of questions.


The only positive is that recently the WSJ stopped letting people comment on most articles.

While we're talking about this, I just listened to an older Freakonomics about climate change (http://freakonomics.com/podcast/save-the-planet/)

One of the guests was Nathan Myhrvold, who was advocating for geoengineering. I'm wondering why geoengineering is not being seriously considered as a solution at this point.

Perhaps your understanding of both camps might help explain this.

> I'm wondering why geoengineering is not being seriously considered as a solution at this point.

Because an overshoot in the other direction would be even worse than a couple degrees of warming. Feedback loops can work both ways. We are currently in an ice age[1] and glaciation covering most of the northern hemisphere could happen in about a decade[2]. Reducing emissions is just tuning a known activity and second order effects aside is perfectly safe, but geoengineering is a giant unknown that could cause catastrophic consequences.



> https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC34297/

That was an interesting read. It suggests that really abrupt changes in warming are possible. The downside seems that only one good data source exists.

Are you aware of any computational modeling of the large scale mechanisms? I'm coming from computational neuroscience and bayesian modeling and found this data pretty interesting

I don't, but the data quality really is impressive, so it would be interesting to see if anyone has tried to develop a model using it, especially since you could test it by taking other cores.

I started reading a bit and found CESM but it seems like a lot of these models require supercomputers. It's not clear that simulation of many years (ie predicting what a core might look like) is feasible.

Many of those in the 'doubt climate change' camp are deeply suspicious of anything any government body wants to do.

I've also widely engaged people who doubt or deny climate change, trying hard to approach in an open handed, friendly way, and mostly succeeding.

In my opinion, a big chunk of the people who doubt climate change are and will remain extremely opposed to any kind of geoengineering. Perhaps violently so.

In people's minds, there's a huge leap between trusting scientists' saying that the earth is warming fast, fucking things up in the future, and trusting scientists' saying that we need to actively change the world right now in response to climate change. And I appreciate that distinction.

In truth, I think quite a few people unconsciously push back against climate change because they are afraid of the possibility of active geoengineering in response.

I am extremely skeptical of climate change arguments because I overwhelmingly hear it from politicians who lie through their teeth about virtually everything and typically for their own gain. I want to believe but my bullshit meter just goes off so strongly whenever I hear a politician say anything

Look at it this way: if an ideologue, or otherwise motivated actor, can accomplish their goal or spin their story using facts that happen to be true, why wouldn't they? If someone is politically motivated, for example, to tighten border security, it's surely possible they'll fudge numbers about criminal immigrants to tell their story; but if a real, un-p-hacked statistic tells that story, why bother bullshitting when you can shout the truth from the rooftops?

I don't trust politicians, but I have some trust in nerds. While scientists and engineers are far from immune to groupthink or perverse incentives, there is so much clout to be gained (not to mention a feel-good pro-growth story), if the case for AGW wasn't strong, I think we'd be seeing a stronger contrarian pushback from within scientific communities (including taking their case to the public through TED talks, podcasts, YouTube, etc) [1]. Be it string theory, or the lipid hypothesis, or OOP-vs-FP, how rare is it to actually get 95%+ of nerds to agree on anything?

[1] For an example in action, see physicist Richard Muller, who spent years as a skeptic and founded an organization to debunk climate change, only to change his mind after examining the results: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berkeley_Earth

As for why people there might be so reluctant to embrace it, I think Upton Sinclair's words: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

Well, the issue no-one on the climate change side wants to address is that the ramifications of most of the proposed solutions are as bad as the effects of climate change itself.

Can you elaborate on what specific policy proposals would be "as bad" as extinction?

Making energy more expensive makes everything more expensive. Those at the margins will find themselves even closer to the edge, while those who thought they were secure find themselves less so. The vouchers and whatnot that were supposed to offset the effects are mostly captured by the same type of rent-seekers and parasites that capture nearly any other form of aid. Widespread unrest and starvation result.

The unwashed masses you speak of, those that are struggling, simply don't use that much 'energy'; or at least the most polluting forms. They live in small flats, eat whatever's in the shop, sit in and watch TV, and walk or get the bus to work.

If they pollute, they do so as a side-effect of misallocation - e.g. food is shipped halfway across the world not because it has to be or should be but because low fossil fuel prices make it viable; electricity has high carbon impact (e.g. UK ~0.3kg/kWh) for historical reasons; etc.

They certainly don't fly about or do anything that has no replacement at present.

A country letting things get become "too expensive" in these silly monetary coupon terms and so everyone starves would be a complete governance failure.

Then again, some countries are currently failed states in that sense; in the UK we don't care if people get enough to eat, we give them some pictures of the queen's face if they jump through a ton of hoops and hope it works out. That likely wouldn't be viable.

Can you elaborate on how you came to the conclusion that global warming == extinction? To discuss the question of what would be "as bad" as global warming, me need to ~agree on what those bad outcomes actually are.

Im skeptical that climate change will ever make humanity extinct. Lead to highly undesirables states, yes, but extinction, no.

I've been what many would call a climate change alarmist for a couple of decades now.

I think it's also quite unlikely that climate change, or even results from it, will make humans extinct. Even if climate change triggers some kind of global thermonuclear war, which I think is a small possibility, I'm pretty convinced that humans are here to stay.

Maybe not many of us, but some.

In my opinion, extinction isn't the main worry. Collapse of civilization should be what we're trying to avoid. And that is a real possibility I think.

Thank you. Regardless if I can follow you to "collapse of civilization" being a likely consequence or not, this is a step in the direction of a nuanced discussion.

(As an aside, Im not convinced humans are here to stay, but for very different reasons.)

> Im not convinced humans are here to stay, but for very different reasons

I hear you, and I agree.

that is not even remotely accurate

The percentage of posters that have access to the WSJ paywall isn’t going to be that high. The rest of us can only comment on the first 100 words.

This is to be expected- we will continue to break these records until such a time we deploy carbon sequestration at scale.

Carbon sequestration is a red herring. It won't keep up with emissions and will waste valuable time reducing emissions, which can be done now. I don't know if you've done the simple energy delta math on most sequestration plans, but a lot of them involve emitting a lot of new carbon.

Carbon sequestration is a necessity at this point for many emissions scenarios. BECCS (Bio-Energy with Carbon Capture and Storage) seems to be the IPCC's favored technology at the moment. It doesn't have to keep up with emissions, we need to cut emissions to the point that sequestration can bring us carbon negative.

That approach has really serious technical challenges (poor fuel quality and proximity of suitable land to population centers vis a vis the energy necessary to transport it). It's not clear how it's going to scale up to the necessary level.

What is the plan to pay for carbon sequestration? My assumption was always that it would be via carbon taxation or some kind of offset/credits scheme— if you run a business with a conventional emissions footprint, you need to pay for that footprint, and the cost of paying (for someone elsewhere to capture and sequester your emissions) will simultaneously provide the incentive to improve efficiency and reduce your emissions at the source (which is always preferable to having to scrub them afterwards, of course).

But... carbon taxes seem to be a huge non starter. The current (centrist) Liberal government in Canada introduced an extremely modest and utterly inadequate one that is revenue neutral (the money for the year came back on our tax returns this spring), and the opposition Conservative party is having a field day attacking it as a "cash grab" that's just ideologues taking money out of the pockets of "everyday Canadians". Check out the parade of last carbon-tax-free fill ups posted on social media the night before it kicked in:


And the keyboard warriors on social media are even worse— they read the word "tax" and their brains just click over into rage mode, despite that carbon taxation is a long time conservative policy, and that similar market-based solutions were openly favoured by previous generations of right wing politicians in Canada:


How do we make progress on this? If a relatively progressive country like Canada can't even collect a tiny payment for incentive purposes (because all the revenue is being returned), how in the heck are we supposed to get to a place where polluters are charged the actual cost of scrubbing their emissions?

If we can't get polluters to pay directly, where are the trillions going to come from to pay for this? We can't even seem to find the money to build high speed rail, or get proper running water to our indigenous communities.

A carbon tax and dividend scheme might be more politically palatable, as it wouldn't be as regressive.

This is exactly what the Canadian system is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_fee_and_dividend

It's almost certain to be repealed when the current government loses power in this fall's election. :(

But the larger point is that when you pay back all the revenues as dividends, then you only get the reduction incentives. Where does the extra cash come from to actually pay for sequestration?

That is unfortunate.

Perhaps government contracts to sequestration companies in order to hit emissions targets could be carved out of existing budgets. I'm from the U.S. and there is certainly money to be diverted. Maybe we just need sequestration contractors in the right districts for certain politicians?

Possibly. But the reality is that if we (either Canada or the US) were looking to "spend money on jobs", there are a million things we could have been hiring people for over the past couple decades, even stuff as simple as infrastructure maintenance and tree planting.

Looks like there are projections for a bunch of jobs in the carbon capture industry (eg https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2010/mar/17/carbon-c...), but I'm still hazy on how we're going to find trillions in the general revenue pot to make it happen.

Attacking a 'carbon tax' worked for the conservatives in Australia to take down a centre-left government. I'm sure conservatives in Canada took note.

In the meantime in Finland, NE Russia and Baltics: "The average temperature over Europe in July 2019 was just above the 1981-2010 average for the month. It was warmer than normal over western Europe, except for south-western Iberia, but cooler than normal over the east of the continent, particularly the north-east. " [1]

[1] https://climate.copernicus.eu/surface-air-temperature-july-2...

You could just as well pick out unusually hot regions as well, the article is about a global average, it takes both these fluctuations around the mean into account. What matters is that the mean is increasing.

I was not trying to deny the average increase. Rather I wanted to point out that there are extremes which are becoming more pronounced on both ends. The July was extremely cold in NE Europe and even the map shows only few degrees below average, in real life it translated to nightly temperatures falling to almost freezing point several days in a row. And the August here is no better so far...

I had been using electric blanket July/August - quite unusual :-)

The look outside the window right now is depressing :(

These Western Europeans will never understand what we must suffer here :-)

Ah, I see. Is that definitely something which is happening, with good statistical evidence?

Edit: I suppose this is to do with oscillations in the jet stream?

Yes, we have had cold summer in Eastern part of Europe and heatwaves in Western Europe. Both are indirect result of climate change.

Indirect because this summer had been result of jetstream change - the same circulation that had been sucking hot air to Western Europe had been also blowing cooled air into Eastern Europe.

Actually it was fascinating to watch circulation daily...

Try https://earth.nullschool.net/#current/wind/isobaric/500hPa/o...

Unfortunately jetstream is still poorly understood and scientists debate results of changes in jetstream. There was a popular and well explained article in Financial Times.

As it is behind paywall...

> The impact of the jet stream on climate change, and whether it will shift in the future, is hotly debated by scientists. It is seen as one of the central issues that will determine how weather patterns across western Europe, in particular, will shift as the planet heats up. > “This is a critically important part of climate science, and one of the least well understood,” says Prof Williams. “We know the climate is getting warmer, and this is settled by now, but it is the consequences of that warming — like the jet stream — that we are just starting to explore.”

> “We think the rapidly warming Arctic is making these wavy patterns happen more often, and as a result we are seeing weather patterns themselves become much more persistent,” she [ Jennifer Francis, senior scientist at Woods Hole Research Centre] adds, meaning that weather such as heat or storms can be trapped in place for longer.

> Other scientists predict the opposite could happen: climate change could cause the jet stream to get stronger and move toward the poles. Atmospheric models — the complex simulations that run on supercomputers and forecast long-term weather and climate — tend to support this view.


Thank you for your detailed explanation. The visualisation you mentioned (by nullschool.net) is what I use regularly, however, without much understanding of climate dynamics.

Today we are back to normal West to East flow hence clouds, storms and rains. But during heatwave we had sort of omega shape (circulation) flow sucking hot air from Africa right up North (more or less France-West Germany) going up to Nordkap and returning South with cooled air.

Watch air movement at 500 or 850 with temp or humidity overlay...

I am not that smart myself. ICM UW has very enlightening daily commentaries.


A species which by dint of evolutionary happenstance has skirted limits on reproduction and consumption goes ahead to strip its habitat. Big surprise (said no ecologist ever).

A pity in this case its habitat is a whole planet, but that's life (and death). I wonder if something like this eventually happens on every living world, and if the overrunning species generally comes to harbour a comforting superstition that basic biology doesn't apply to it in its magnificent superior aloneness?

For finding where you can have the most impact here, I highly recommend Project Drawdown; it's a data-driven roundup of proposed solutions, ranked by how effective they are actually estimated to be. It takes into account things like cost, timelines and political feasibility as well. There's a summary of the book here: https://www.drawdown.org/

If you are in the US, consider looking into Citizens Climate Lobby. They are pushing for a carbon tax-and-dividend bill, shown by independent analysis to be enough for the US to surpass the Paris Accord if implemented, it currently has bipartisan support in the House: https://citizensclimatelobby.org/

And if you're into graphic design, there's a really small group of devs within CCL working on an OSS project we're using to coordinate calls to representatives - like reminding members to call, helping with talking points and tracking which districts we are making calls in: https://projectgrandcanyon.com/ You can message me (email in profile) if you're keen and I can put you in touch with the maintainers.

genuine question: does that imply that no recent month set a hottest record, or we'd have seen that in the news?

June broke the record, too: https://www.noaa.gov/news/june-2019-was-hottest-on-record-fo...

July was hotter than June.

May was the 4th hottest ever: https://www.noaa.gov/news/may-2019-was-4th-hottest-on-record...

Thanks : I hadn't thought of looking it up there, though should have.

The server appears to be down. Mirror: https://outline.com/fqYT2e

We'll be alright.

Unfortunately, any gains my western countries will just be wiped out by other growing nations. America could cut its emissions by 90% and it wouldn't put a dent in what Chind puts out.

Un-industrialized portions of Africa are about to go full tilt into industrialization as well. China is beginning to invest heavily in manufacturing and infrastructure all over the continent. There is zero chance we make it out of this without significant impact to the global climate.

Arctic areas are heating up at twice the rate of the rest of the planet, and the melting permafrost will release enormous amounts of co2 into the atmosphere that will dwarf the emissions of all countries.

It's time to stop pointing fingers and start coming up with solutions.

Western nations have had a 200 year head start. Even if our current status is middle of the pack, we have a lot of climate guilt to atone for.

Even moreso because we are outsized in our cultural influence. As we model the lifestyle changes ourselves, and those changes are reflected in the movies, etc that we export. That impacts what lifestyle the rising middle class aspires to in places like China and Africa.

Well, if they're watching our movies then they won't be surprised when our solution turns out badly for them.

Not sure what point you're trying to make here, but right now the rising middle class worldwide wants to join westerners in doing things like living a suburban, car-oriented lifestyle, eating lots of beef and chicken, and flying to overseas vacation destinations.

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