26 February 2014

Connecting the dots to win on climate

by David Spratt

On 20 March I spoke, together with Adam Bandt MP, at a forum in Melbourne on Global warming, Tony Abbott and the need for climate action.

The second half of my presentation was on how to turn the tide, looking at the "middle third" in recent polling and Tony Abbott's and his government's vulnerability on climate, and what they are desperate to not talk about:
  • More and more intense extreme weather events (exemplified by their silence on the spring 2013 fires, and record January 2014 heat);  
  • A public conversation that "connects the dots" between extreme events and climate change, and which gives immediacy to the perception of climate impacts;   
  • Constructing a climate narrative about human climate impacts, rather than electricity prices and taxes;
  • Public focus on the responsibility of political leaders to "protect the people" from climate change; and
  • Close attention being paid to the efficacy of their "direct action" climate plan.

23 February 2014

Arctic sea-ice loss adds 25% to carbon dioxide warming over last 30 years

First posted at robertscribler

What’s the difference between a majestic layer of white sea ice and an ominous dark blue open ocean?

For the Arctic, it means about a 30 to 50 per cent loss in reflectivity (or albedo). And when seasonal sea-ice states are between 30 and 80 per cent below 1979 measures (depending on the method used to gauge remaining sea ice and relative time of year), that means very, very concerning additional heating impacts to an already dangerous human-caused warming.

Arctic Ocean September 1, 2012
A dark and mostly ice-free Arctic Ocean beneath a
tempestuous swirl of clouds on September 1, 2012,
a time when sea ice coverage had declined to an
area roughly equal to the land mass of Greenland.
Image source: Lance-Modis/NASA AQUA.
How concerning, however, remained somewhat unclear until recently.

In the past, idealized climate simulations and physical model runs had produced about a two per cent overall loss in Arctic albedo based on observed sea ice losses. This decline, though minor sounding, was enough, on its own, to add a little more than a 10 per cent amplifying feedback to the already powerful human atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) forcing during recent years. Such an addition was already cause for serious concern and with sea ice totals continuing to fall rapidly, speculation abounded that just this single mechanism could severely tip the scales toward a more rapid warming.

12 February 2014

Oceans warmed at a rate of 12 Hiroshima bombs per second in 2013 as temperatures spiked

by Lindsay Abrams, via Salon.com 

Think global climate change hasn’t been very noticeable from where you’re standing? Down in the oceans (which is to say, over the majority of Earth’s surface), temperatures spiked last year, as warming proceeding at an incredibly rapid pace.
Skeptical Science calls attention to the oceans’ temperature rise for the final quarter of 2013, which literally was almost off-the-charts:
(via the National Oceanic Data Center)

07 February 2014

The why and how of radical emissions reductions (2): Corinne Le Quere

Second in a series | Part 1
On 10-11 December 2013, a Radical Emissions Reduction Conference was held at the Royal Society, London under the auspices of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research at the University of East Anglia. In this blog, we look at a presentation by Professor Corinne Le Quere, of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, University of East Anglia on "The scientific case for radical emissions reductions".
Le Quere framed "radical emission reductions" as reductions consistent with a two-in-three chance of keeping global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (°C), saying that there is no surety that 2°C is a safe threshold, but according to the geological record, there have been periods of up to 2°C warming during the past 800,000 years that did not trigger any "nasty or unexpected" feedbacks, though sea-levels were 5–10 metres higher than today.

06 February 2014

No warming "pause" says World Meteorological Organization head

The head of the World Meteorological Organization says there is no standstill in global warming, which is on course to continue for generations to come.
By Alex Kirby, Climate News Network

The planet is continuing to warm, with implications for generations ahead, and temperatures are set to rise far into the future, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) reports.

Global surface temperatures relative to 1951-1980. The Niño index is based on sea surface temperature in the Niño 3.4 area (5N-5S, 120-170W) in the eastern tropical Pacific for 1951-1980 base period. Green triangles mark times of volcanic eruptions that produced an extensive stratospheric aerosol layer.
It says 2013 was among the ten warmest years since modern records began in 1850, equalling 2007 as the sixth warmest year, with a global land and ocean surface temperature 0.50°C above the 1961–1990 average and 0.03°C higher than the most recent 2001–2010 average.

02 February 2014

As Tony Abbott launches all-out war on climate action, what's the plan?

[ Updated 2 February 2014]
NOTE: This blog was originally drafted as notes for a small group discussion in Melbourne. It is in part a situational analysis, covering the need to engage with conservative voters, the fragmentation of our efforts, and the growing gap between what is scientifically necessary and what is considered politically possible, resulting in a cognitive dissonance which is structurally embedded in the climate discourse. At first, I was reluctant to publish these notes because they are pretty blunt, but a number of people thought they were worth an airing, especially because the Abbott government is waging an all-out "shock and awe" war to destroy climate and environment public policy, for which much of our side appears ill-prepared.
by David Spratt
“Honesty about this challenge is essential, otherwise we will never develop realistic solutions. We face nothing less than a global emergency, which must be addressed with a global emergency response, akin to national mobilisations pre-WWII or the Marshall Plan… This is not extremist nonsense, but a call echoed by an increasing numbers of world leaders as the science becomes better understood… In the face of catastrophic risk, emission reduction targets should be based on the latest, considered, science, not on a political view of the art-of-the-possible.”
— Ian Dunlop, formerly senior oil, gas and coal industry executive and CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors,  "Global warming is a global emergency", Crikey, 25 February 2009
Australia's climate action movement is diverse: from large, professional national organisations to local volunteer community groups; from issue-specific campaigns focussing on coal, coal seam gas (CSG) and renewables to sector-specific groups; from organisations focused on policy-makers to activists directly confronting the fossil fuel industry. The election of the Abbott government has created a moment of crisis and a chance to review.

Code Red's most popular climate posts

Here's the pick of the crop: our most popular posts over the last three years, starting with the most read.

The state of the Australian climate movement as Labor falters and the conservatives gain ascendancy in mid-2012, some harsh realities and ways forward.

Arctic sea-ice melt record more than broken, it’s being smashed
The extraordinary events of the 2012 northern summer and their consequences.

Brightsiding is a bad strategy (5 parts)
Why all “good news” and no “bad news” is a bad climate action and communications strategy?

What would 3 degrees mean?  
The astounding global impacts of 2, 3 and 4 degrees of warming.