Another Week of Global Warming News - December 1, 2013

This weekly posting is brought to you courtesy of H. E. Taylor. Happy reading, I hope you enjoy this week's Global Warming news roundup

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Information Overload is Pattern Recognition

December 1, 2013

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It's always nice to start with a chuckle:

Looking ahead to COP20 and future international climate negotiations:

Lots of COP19 post-mortems:

A startling paper by Gates & Larter. The tarsands EROEI is sometimes negative...

  • 2013/11/26: OilChange: The Tar Sands Smoking Gun
    According to a new scientific analysis, many tar sands wells are actually using more energy than they produce. From an economic and environmental perspective, this is total madness. In fact, according to the paper, the only reason that these wells are in any way economical is due to the prevailing low natural gas price in North America.
  • 2013/11/25: Fuel(via DOI): Energy efficiency and emissions intensity of SAGD by Ian D. Gates & Stephen R. Larter
    Currently, to mobilize and produce bitumen from Athabasca oil sands reservoirs, Steam-Assisted Gravity Drainage (SAGD) is the method of choice. SAGD, requires large amounts of energy and emits significant volumes of greenhouse gases to the environment. Here, we discuss the thermal efficiencies, energy balances, and emissions of SAGD. While the world's heavy oil and oil sand resource is large, average recoveries from heavy oil and oil sand reservoirs are typically low, ranging from 5% to 15% for cold heavy oil production and from 25% to 60% percent for steam-based in situ processes. This is for two reasons: firstly, geological heterogeneity and secondly, ubiquitous large scale fluid property heterogeneities are common on a range of spatial scales. Thus, there is a strong motivation to develop better recovery processes with lower energy and emission intensities. The thermal efficiencies, energy balances, and emissions of SAGD show a very wide range of field performance for the current thermal recovery projects in Alberta, with earlier pilots being more successful. The data suggests that at the extreme, some operations are actually not net energy generating with injected energy via steam, exceeding recovered chemical energy in recovered oil. Differential pricing of oil and natural gas, the main steam generating fuel, still permits these extreme cases to be economically profitable due to low natural gas prices. In all cases, carbon dioxide intensity is high.

Some late comments on that Heede paper:

How is the German Energy Transition [Energiewende] doing?

Here is something for your Crap Detector:

John Cook and friends continue their point-counterpoint articles:

A note on theFukushima disaster:

    It is evident that the Fukushima disaster is going to persist for some time. TEPCO says 6 to 9 months. The previous Japanese Prime Minister, Naoto Kan, said decades. Now the Japanese government is talking about 30 years. [Whoops, that has now been updated to 40 years.]
    And the IAEA is now saying 40 years too.
    [Now some people are talking about a century or more. Sealing it in concrete for 500 years.]
    We'll see.
    At any rate this situation is not going to be resolved any time soon and deserves its own section.
    It is very difficult to know for sure what is really going on at Fukushima. Between the company [TEPCO], the Japanese government, the Japanese regulator [NISA], the international monitor [IAEA], as well as independent analysts and commentators, there is a confusing mish-mash of information. One has to evaluate both the content and the source of propagated information.
    How knowledgeable are they [about nuclear power and about Japan]?
    Do they have an agenda?
    Are they pro-nuclear or anti-nuclear?
    Do they want to write a good news story?
    Do they want to write a bad news story?
    Where do they rate on a scale of sensationalism?
    Where do they rate on a scale of play-it-down-ness?
    One fundamental question I would like to see answered:
    If the reactors are in meltdown, how can they be in cold shutdown?

Not much good news coming out of Fukushima:

Post Fukushima, nuclear policies are in flux around the world:

The Arctic melt continues to garner attention:

As for the charismatic megafauna:

That Damoclean sword still hangs overhead:

As for the geopolitics of Arctic resources:

While in Antarctica:

The food crisis is ongoing:

The state of the world's fisheries is a concern. See also:

Food Prices are still problematic:

So, are these land grabs Colonialism V2.0?

Regarding the genetic modification of food:

And how are we going to feed 9 billion, 10 billion, 15 billion?

Across the Bay of Bengal, Cyclone Lehar threatened the East coast of India but weakened before landfall:

After zapping North Western Australia, Tropical Storm Alessia tried to reform in the Gulf of Carpentaria, but faded:

  • 2013/11/27: NASA: NASA Sees Alessia Reclaim her Crown as a Tropical Storm
  • 2013/11/25: NASA: NASA Sees Tropical Cyclone Alessia Make Landfall Near Darwin
  • 2013/11/25: ABC(Au): Former Cyclone Alessia set to make comeback

    Still some talk about the Haiyan recovery:

  • 2013/11/30: PLNA: Philippines: Typhoon Haiyan Affects Over Ten Million People
  • 2013/11/30: QuarkSoup: Clues to Typhoon Haiyan's Ferocity
  • 2013/11/29: Guardian(UK): From coconut farms to call centres: the struggle to rebuild lives after Haiyan
  • 2013/11/29: Xinhuanet: Philippine typhoon death toll rises to 5,598
  • 2013/11/28: al Jazeera: UN warns of food shortages in Philippines
    Food agency says lack of aid could force farmers to rely on humanitarian food assistance well into next spring.
  • 2013/11/27: WSWS: Washington uses typhoon aid to push for Philippine military bases
  • 2013/11/26: UN: With food still priority in typhoon-hit Philippines, UN boosts relief efforts
  • 2013/11/26: al Jazeera: Pacquiao short on funds for typhoon victims
    Pacquiao says freeze to bank accounts making it difficult to help victims of super typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.
  • 2013/11/25: UN: New UN programme aims to resuscitate economy in typhoon-hit Philippines

    While elsewhere in the hurricane wars:

  • 2013/11/29: CCP: 'Brown Oceans' Known to Fuel Tropical Systems Over Land
  • 2013/11/29: Wunderground: The Unusually Quiet Atlantic Hurricane Season of 2013 Ends
  • 2013/11/29: Guardian(UK): Climate change is increasing the intensity of extreme weather events
    Far from being isolated, the Philippines typhoon Haiyan followed other extraordinary meteorological events that are becoming more frequent and increasingly severe
  • 2013/11/27: ERW: Tropical cyclones may be carbon source in long term
  • 2013/11/27: GSA: Paleotempestology and 2011's Hurricane Irene
  • 2013/11/27: al Jazeera: What's in a weather name?
    A look at the reasoning behind the naming of weather systems.
  • 2013/11/26: QuarkSoup: 2013 Atlantic Hurricane TIKE [Total Integrated Kinetic Energy] Near-Record Low
  • 2013/11/25: NOAANews: Slow Atlantic hurricane season coming to a close
    No major hurricanes formed in the Atlantic basin - first time since 1994
  • This week in notable weather:

    Got any forecasts?

    • 2013/11/27: ABC(Au): Wetter and warmer summer for Tasmania
      The weather bureau today released its latest seasonal outlook for Tasmania which shows the state can expect wetter and warmer conditions than normal.
    • 2013/11/26: NNW: Wild weather swings expected this winter
      Canadians are being warned to expect wild swings in the weather this winter, giving each month of the season its own "distinct personality." The Weather Network is forecasting periods of intense storms that could leave Canadians thinking they're heading for one of the nastiest winters in a while, followed by spells of relatively tranquil weather.

    As for GHGs:

    And in the carbon cycle:

    Aerosols are making their presence felt:

    What's up with volcanoes this week?

    What's new in the Weather Machine?

    How is the temperature record?

    While in the paleoclimate:

    What's the State of the Oceans?:

    What's the State of the Biosphere?

    And on the extinction watch:

    How are the Insect Orders doing?

    More GW impacts are being seen:

    And then there are the world's forests:

    Climate refugees are becoming an issue:

    Emerging diseases accompany ecological change:

    • 2013/11/29: BBC: Wind-blown midges carried farm virus to UK
      A virus that hit farms in the UK last year came from midges blown across the Channel from France and Belgium, scientists have confirmed. The Schmallenberg virus, which emerged in the Netherlands and Germany in 2011, can lead to sheep and cattle having stillborn or deformed offspring. The disease has affected more than 8,000 farms across Europe.

    Corals are a bellwether of the ocean's health:

    Glaciers are melting:

    Sea levels are rising:

    As for hydrological cycle disruptions [floods & droughts]:

    First, stop subsidizing fossil fuels
    Second, put a price on carbon
    Third, begin to reduce the human population
    And elsewhere on the mitigation front:

    Consider transportation & GHG production:

    While in the endless quest for zero energy, sustainable buildings and practical codes:

    As for carbon sequestration:

    Large scale geo-engineering keeps popping up:

    Meanwhile in the journals:

    And other significant documents:

    As for miscellaneous science:

    What's new in models?

    What developments in the ongoing struggle for Open Science?

    • 2013/11/29: ScienceInsider: Scientists Ambivalent About Open Access
      Scientists overwhelmingly support the notion of making research papers freely available, but fewer publish their work in so-called open-access journals that make papers free immediately upon publication. Hindering some scientists are doubts about the quality and influence of open-access journals compared with traditional journals, according to results of an online survey conducted by Science magazine. Broadly speaking, traditional journals earn revenue from subscriptions, while open-access journals charge authors a publication fee of hundreds to thousands of dollars. We polled readers about their views on open access as part of a special issue on communication in science last month that included revelations of shoddy peer review by some fee-based open-access journals.
    • 2013/11/25: SciAm:IC: The Open Access Button: Discovering when and where researchers hit paywalls

    Regarding Manabe:

    Meanwhile at the UN:

    And on the carbon trading front:

    The idea of a carbon tax is still bouncing around:

    On the international political front, tensions continue as the empire leans on Iran:

    South [& East] China Sea tension persists:

    Now that the EU-ETS for airlines is in limbo, will it ever be resurrected?

    • 2013/11/29: EurActiv: MEP seeks to strengthen draft EU aviation emissions law
      Environmental groups have welcomed proposals by the European Parliament's environment committee rapporteur, Peter Liese, who wants to tighten an EU directive incorporating aviation within the bloc's Emissions Trading System (ETS), despite rumbles of dissent from low-fare airlines. The dispute between the EU and third countries over making airlines pay for their carbon emissions is far from being resolved. But the German liberal MEP Peter Liese, who is steering the draft directive through Parliament, is backing the European Commission's compromise proposal, while proposing amendments aimed at further strenghtening it.

    The fight over South Atlantic sea floor oil fields is back:

    In the solar squabbles between China and Europe:

    Remember the Argentina-Spain - YPF-Repsol squabble?

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership looks like a stealth corporate takeover:

    The issue of the law and activism is playing out around the world:

    What are the activists up to?

    The move to divest from fossil fuel investments is growing slowly:

    Polls! We have polls!

    Regarding Water Politics and Business; See also:

    Regarding science education:

    While in the UK:

    And in Europe:

    Meanwhile in Australia:

    Now we get to watch the suppository of wisdom destroy what little Australia has done to fight climate change:

    The mad Abbott seems intent on destroying public education:

    After years of wrangling, the Murray Darling Basin Plan is in place, but the water management fights are far from finished:

    And in New Zealand:

    While in the Indian subcontinent:

    And in China:

    While in Japan:

    And elsewhere in Asia:

    In the Middle East:

    And in Russia:

    While in Africa:

    And South America:

    In Canada, neocon PM Harper, aka The Blight, pushes petroleum while ignoring the climate and ecology:

    The NB fracking protests at Elsipogtog aren't ending:

    After gutting the CWB, the Tories will sell it off to one of their pals:

    The West-East pipeline is suddenly a focus of much dispute:

    Meanwhile in BC:

    Meanwhile in that Mechanical Mordor known as the tar sands:

    Also in Alberta:

    In Manitoba:

    In Ontario, Wynne is struggling to establish herself. Energy still looms large:

    While in la Belle Province:

    In the Maritimes:

    As for miscellaneous Canadiana:

    And on the American political front:

    The Keystone XL wheel grinds slowly. And it grinds woe:

    The Mayflower oil spill and its ramifications just keep dragging on:

    The GOP War on Women continues. See also:

    The actions of the Obama administration are being watched closely:

    As for what is going on in Congress:

    What are the lobbyists pushing?

    The movement toward a long term ecologically viable economics is glacial:

    IPAT [Impact = Population * Affluence * Technology] raised its head once again:

    Apocalypso anyone?

    Okay hot shot, how are we gonna fix this?

    How do the corporate media measure up?

    Here's a good example of burying the lede:

  • 2013/11/25: ABC(Au): Polls show Coalition struggling to win public support for direct action
    The Federal Government's also struggling to get the public onside for its direct action policy. A Nielsen poll out today gives the Government majority support for scrapping the carbon tax, but only 12 per cent of those polled liked its proposed replacement. The poll also puts Labor in front of the Coalition just two and a half months after the election.
  • Here is something for your library:

    And for your film & video enjoyment:

    As for podcasts:

    Meanwhile among the 'Sue the Bastards!' contingent:

    It looks like this BP trial over the Gulf oil spill is going to take a long while:

    Wrestling over a new energy infrastructure continues unabated:

    What do you have in energy comparisons and transitions?

    Hey! Let's contaminate the aquifers for thousands of years! It'll be a fracking gas!

    On the coal front:

    On the gas and oil front:

    In the gas and oil corps:

    Regarding oil and the economy:

    And in pipeline news:

    A rush of American triumphalism pervades the energy independence PR campaign. Think it will last?

    Biofuel bickering abounds:

    The answer my friend...

    Meanwhile among the solar aficionados:

    The nuclear energy controversy continues:

    Nuclear waste storage requires _very_ long term thinking:

    • 2013/11/26: NNW: Great Lakes nuclear dump proposal draws ire
      Kincardine, Ont. - Ordinarily, a proposal to bury radioactive waste in a scenic area that relies on tourism would inspire "not in my backyard" protests from local residents -- and relief in places that were spared. But conventional wisdom has been turned on its head in Ontario, where a publicly owned power company wants to entomb waste from its nuclear plants 680 metres below the surface near Lake Huron.

    Low energy nuclear keeps coming up:

    Feed-In-Tariffs are being variously implemented around the world:

    More people are talking about the electrical grid:

    How are the utilities adjusting (or not)?

    And then there is the matter of efficiency & conservation:

    Automakers & lawyers, engineers & activists argue over the future of the car:

    The reaction of business to climate change will be critical:

    Insurance and re-insurance companies are feeling the heat:

    What do we have in (weekly) lists?

    The carbon lobby are up to the usual:

    So what's with all the inactivity?

    As for climate miscellanea:

    And here are a couple of sites you may find interesting and/or useful:

    Low Key Plug


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