A news cloud with a silver lining

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2016’s year in charts shows that clean energy revolution is unstoppable.

Trump’s budget sabotages America’s best chance to add millions of high-wage jobs

China’s latest five-year energy budget invests $360 billion in renewable generation alone by 2020. Beijing calculates the resulting “employment will be more than 13 million people.”

Cost Reductions, US Department of Energy (DOE)
Cost Reductions, US Department of Energy (DOE)

The UK government should take note.

Who would have thought

And we thought it would just get a bit pleasantly warmer and the plants would have more CO2 food to grow better.

‘Airpocalypse’ smog events in China linked to melting ice cap

The fast-melting ice in the Arctic and an increase in snowfalls in Siberia, both the result of global warming, are changing winter weather patterns over east China, scientists found. Periods of stagnant air are becoming more common, trapping pollution and leading to the build up of extreme levels of toxic air.

The work is the latest to show that changes in the rapidly warming Arctic are already leading to severe impacts for hundreds of millions of people across North America, Europe and Asia. The US has also seen a rise in episodes of stagnant air, which may be leading to higher air pollution there.

Maybe we are heading for Humexit.

Alarming warming

This staid presentation is bad news for us.

Earth’s oceans are warming 13% faster than thought, and accelerating

The bad news is in the “and accelerating”. We do central heating via hot water in pipes and radiators because the thermal capacity of water, its ability to store heat energy, is large. For example, for the same volume of iron and water, water will hold more energy if both are heated by the same increase in temperature.

The warming rate from 1992 is almost twice as great as the warming rate from 1960. Moreover, it is only since about 1990 that the warming has penetrated to depths below about 700 meters.

We are locked into this for several thousand years now.

Good news – and bad

Opinion is changing.

Climate change impacts are already hitting us, say Europeans

About 60% of people in the UK, France, Germany, and Norway think we are seeing the effect of global warming in climate change now.

Subsidising renewable energy with public money was popular, with 70% support in the UK and Germany, 75% in France, and 87% in Norway.

Yet the UK government gives renewables a bashing.

Budget 2017: Solar industry facing devastating 800% tax increase

And, to add insult to injury –

Bizarrely, state schools with solar panels will be forced to pay, while private schools will remain exempt.

Tactics for change

I think the views here are relevant for considering how we deal with climate change:

Broken Assumptions of Governance

This is well worth reading.

The observations are under heading:

People Make Rational Decisions
People Follow Procedures
Governance Should Treat Everyone Equally
Voting Works
We Can Have more Parties / Elect Better Representatives
We Know What Decisions To Make
Laws Should Be Carefully Deliberated and Made to Last
Transparency (Blockchain Will Save Us) [Forget the Blockchain bit, though that happens to be a special interest of mine]

Experts can still be effective: Scientists can win the war on science — by speaking out

Reality bites back

Our climate models are better than the deniers make out:

Climate change computer model vindicated 30 years later by what has actually happened

Now, 30 years later, the models have become much more detailed with fine-grained observed data to fit.

Expect investment in fossil fuels to drop as people warm to the thought of suing companies that extract and sell them takes off with climate change:

Chevron warns it could face climate change lawsuits with future oil drilling potentially ‘economically infeasible’

Spin-off

But not the kind we want.

Fish under threat from ocean oxygen depletion

It is increasingly clear that the heaviest burden of climate change is falling on the planet’s oceans, which absorb more than 30% of the carbon produced on land.

Scientists have long predicted ocean deoxygenation due to climate change, but confirmation on this global scale, and at deep sea level, is concerning them. Last year, Matthew Long, an oceanographer at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, predicted that oxygen loss would become evident “across large regions of the oceans” between 2030 and 2040. Reacting to the German findings, Long said it was “alarming to see this signal begin to emerge clearly in the observational data”, while Roberts said, “We now have a measurable change which is attributable to global warming.”

Research: Global Ocean De-Oxygenation Quantified