The year in stoats

carbon-tax-now A post a month, chosen not quite at random, and I couldn’t always restrict myself to one post. Somehow, I feel that not a great deal happened scientifically during the year. But I still enjoy writing this stuff, and people still read it, so on I go.

* Himalayan glaciers to disappear by… when? an obligatory reference to the CRU nonsense, but its a spin-off, so that’s OK.
* Death at UAH (and Wolf Hall)
* Fortuna Imperatrix Mundi – its not all chance folks (and Hobbes again, and 400 ppm CO2)
* Currygate, part 3: the key papers exposed – no round-up of the year could be complete without at least one dissing of Curry. Oddly, her blog has gone from oh-how-exciting to oh-dear and now down to not even bothering clicking the links in my feed reader & close to unsubscribing (so really I shouldn’t have mentioned her at all. But I seem to have sooo many posts). Still, others seem to like her stuff (Round in circles with Accelerated warming of the Southern Ocean and its impacts on the hydrological cycle and sea ice? also refers, if you want your prejudices confirmed).
* Three views of sea ice – the summer minimum this year was a nail-biter and the current extent is interesting too.
* Dumb America. An all too frequent phenomenon by no means restricted to Americans. Meanwhile, I am old.
* Every now and then I think I’m oblige to re-state What I think about global warming even though the answer is unexciting and largely unchanging. A classic from the Climate Scum is a fun interlude, but I should not forget NN who did indeed write a bloody paper about it, then.
* August is full of holidays but I found time to read and write Scientific Perspectives on the Greenhouse Problem? and by golly it is a stinker.
* Then I had my Big Fight with PZ which was jolly exciting, briefly. But the Boston Marathon was more fun.
* Not much fun was They make a wasteland and call it peace but that post is still rather prophetic (and there is some follow-up here). That Jimbo Wales is a twat, you know?
* The Wegman story is still ongoing – what will 2011 bring? Presumably GMU can’t stall forever.
* I rather like the recent Explaining too much but Can’tcun is also important. I can’t point you to the carbon tax now post, because I haven’t written it yet.

Best wishes for the New Year to All. Your year’s proverb is There’s no light the foolish can see better by.

[Update: jealous of other people knowing their site traffic, I looked at Alexa, and discovered something related:

The top queries driving traffic to scienceblogs.com from search engines. Updated monthly.

Query	Percent of Search Traffic
1	pharyngula		3.10%
2	sign out		1.40%
3	science blogs		1.02%
4	respectful insolence	0.60%
5	pz myers		0.56%
6	pz			0.23%
7	stoat			0.18%
8	nifty stories		0.16%
9	phd comics		0.14%
10	science blog		0.13%

Obviously PZ wins, but I'm doing OK too.]

Refs

* Best posts of 2009
* 2010: best posts, and personal reflections – PW
* Top Inkstain posts of 2010 – JF
* My top ten (or so) list of climate-science related events of the 20th century in chronological order – mt
* 2010 blog round-up (Bart) and his blog highlights.

Comments

  1. #1 David B. Benson
    2011/01/01

    I found Dr. Dei paper discussed in
    http://climateprogress.org/2010/10/20/ncar-daidrought-under-global-warming-a-review/
    scarily exciting. I quote from Dei’s paper This is very alarming because if the drying is anything resembling Figure 11, a very large population will be severely affected in the coming decades over the whole United States, southern Europe, Southeast Asia, Brazil, Chile, Australia, and most of Africa.

    [I don't have access to the paper, unfortunately (oops, yes, I do: http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/adai/papers/Dai-drought_WIRES2010.pdf). And while the picture does look exciting, I don't know what it is a picture of - it doesn't bother give any units but instead uses a variable called "condition" that I don't understand. It can't be rainfall - the pattern is all wrong for that.

    Having now looked at the original paper that figure isn't in it, so I'm still none the wiser. Was it just cooked up for the press release?

    Meanwhile: fig 10 from the paper shows a pattern that can be attempted to be believed. But it uses a 22-member all-AR4-ensemble. That is stupid; you shouldn't do that: some of the models are poor.

    Incidentally, whilst looking for the PDF I found RP Sr having one of his traditional rants (http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/10/21/the-national-science-foundation-funds-multi-decadal-climate-predictions-without-an-ability-to-verify-their-skill/): he even slipped in the good old septic talking point about "you can't predict the SST a season in advance how can you predict drought 100 years in advance". Oops.

    Ah, now following RP Sr to the press release (http://www2.ucar.edu/news/2904/climate-change-drought-may-threaten-much-globe-within-decades) I find "Regions that are blue or green will likely be at lower risk of drought, while those in the yellow and red spectrum could face more unusually-extreme drought conditions" so I *think* (but don't know) that those pics are not of actual drought, but some measure of drought risk. It is quite annoying that they don't really tell you what the pics are - RP Sr really should have ripped them up for that -W]
    -W]

  2. #2 Paul Kelly
    2011/01/02

    David B. Benson,

    Cool to be year’s 1st comment. Scared excitement is a unique reaction to a bit of science. Is the thrill in the looming catastrophe or the comeuppance for those who didn’t see it coming?

  3. #3 Sou
    2011/01/02

    Happy new year.

    OT – your Daily Mail has reported the creation of a new State in Australia that no-one else knew existed, including Australians and Queenslanders. Not sure if it’s still part of Australia – or if it’s another country altogether. According to the Daily Mail map, Queensland territory has been cut by about half:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1343034/Australian-towns-evacuated-floods-biblical-proportions-sweep-northeastern-quarter-continent.html

  4. #4 eachran
    2011/01/02

    WC : 2011 is a critical year where we have the chance to get things right.

    It isnt only carbon taxes but the whole menagerie of associated issues including targets (zero to negative emissions is my target) and sources of funds for adaptation.

    I’ve read you and your mates on the net over the years and you seem to be quite an intelligent bunch of people : the point is to concentrate your firepower.

    I am not a Hansen man though I doff my cap to him for his public profile and the professional work he does and like him I am a grandfather : in my case 5, from 15 to 5 years of age. It is not my intention to leave 2011 without trying to make things better for them and for grandchildren everywhere.

    David Benson did I read that you had given up and that the bad guys had won? If so shame on you.

  5. #5 Steve Bloom
    2011/01/02

    “Scared excitement” sounds like a pretty good definition for alarm, PK. Unique, you think? Re the comeuppance, it’s probably better to apply it to those who refused to see it coming.

    William, since Dai was talking drought, both precip and soil moisture get taken into account, meaning that the correlation with the former shouldn’t be very good. Re the poor models, what do you think of Knutti’s campaign to dump them? I tried to get the Empty people to comment on it, but no luck so far. In any case Knutti’s case seems to be getting made to a great extent on the failure of the poor models to get Barents ice cover (and by extension the Arctic) right, which puts it more or less into your area of expertise.

  6. #6 Paul Kelly
    2011/01/03

    eachran

    I’m going to quote your sentence “2011 is a critical year where we have the chance to get things right.” often. It can be said about almost any situation. It is said at the beginning of almost every year.

    About targets, it would be good if everyone was aiming at the bulls eye. CO2 emissions are on an outer ring of the target. Dead center in the middle is burning based energy. That that burning must be replaced is unarguably true even if climate is not at all considered. Therefore, success should be measured in terms of energy replacement. Targets are then percentages of sources by whatever date.

  7. #7 eachran
    2011/01/03

    Paul Kelly, ta for reading my stuff.

    The critical year was qualified by the chance etc. But you need to look at the politics of all this : who are the major players, for example, and what can one do to push them in the right direction. 2011 is not bad in this respect with Mr S and Madame Lagarde in France running the G-show with everything to play for for Mr S’s next Presidentials. Added to which I suspect that Angie is smarting from Copenhagen and the pathetique display put on by the Europeans by not leading when every demand was for leadership. The France German axis is getting quite bedded down now : progress was made last year – you need to think of a political combination of 150m population of rich people with something to preserve.

    And on your point on targets I disagree. Your approach tends to follow, but doesnt match because of different objectives, that of Mr Mackay’s in his withouthotair, but and here I depart ; there is no requirement for any economy to mimic yesterday’s economy. If there were then we would all be communicating by tablets of stone. The same applies to energy requirements.

    The point here is that the set of goods and services in a zero emission world may be very different from the set consumed today.

    What we need is a mechanism for getting from here (from where we wouldnt start given the choice)to there : the mechanism is the price system through carbon taxes to drive the stuff out of the system.

  8. #8 Paul Kelly
    2011/01/04

    I’ve looked at the politics of all this and have concluded that politics is not at all suited to the task. I think it is clear in this instance that the appeal to politics leads only to frustration and delay. There is every opportunity outside of the political structure.

    “The point here is that the set of goods and services in a zero emission world may be very different from the set consumed today.”

    Of course. It is necessary to project our energy needs 10 to 50 years into the future to assess the task ahead of us. The mechanism of carbon pricing taxes to drive the stuff out of the system is the least effective way to go, and not just because there is almost no likelihood of such taxes being imposed.

  9. #9 eachran
    2011/01/04

    I do bets. I have one running on UK house prices on The G’s CiF.

    How about this : EUR200 at evens on carbon taxes being introduced into the EU by 1st Jan 2014.

    I sympathise with you about politicians but they are all we have and most of them are trying to do a good job.

    If you want to be really depressed then read the Annex to the 2000 G20 meeting where it tells us all what to do to avoid a financial mess.

    http://www.g20.org/Documents/2000_canada.pdf

    But I think that we have good chances this year : the French will want to do a good job and there are many French people in key international institutions currently : G20, IMF, WTO, ECB for example. In the main they try to be rational. You will note that M. Allegre and the egregious Mr Lomborg recanted last year : perhaps Mr Watts will this.

    As to mechanisms to fix the problem I think we need a range of mechanisms but carbon taxes is critical to get the market going. Without the market it will certainly be a disaster.

    We shall see.

  10. #10 Paul Kelly
    2011/01/06

    eachran,

    I only bet on cards and not much anymore.

    We have so much more than the politicians can ever deliver. We have ourselves.

    Elsewhere you pointed out there are currencies other than money. Good will in all of its almost infinite forms is such a currency. Here you say without the market it will certainly be a disaster. If the carbon tax post ever comes on, I hope to show that carbon taxes are anti- market; and, what is and is not possible in a market that includes good will as a medium of exchange for energy transformation.