## Flying

I noticed another discussion on Twitter about whether or not climate scientists should fly. I have written about this before and the issue of people making personal sacrifices is something I’ve pondered recently. I have a great deal of respect for those who’ve decided to forgo something like flying in order to reduce their personal carbon footprints. However, I don’t think this should be expected of climate scientists, in general, simply because their research happens to be highlighting the risks associated with continuing to emit CO2 into the atmosphere. I would add, though, that those who actively advocate for changes in our lifestyles should practice what they preach.

Something that did surprise me, though, was that emissions from air travel make up only about 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions (about 11% of emissions from transportation). So, emissions from air travel do not currently make up a significant fraction of global emissions. However, it is expected to grow and, if we do reduce emissions from other sources, it could make up a much more significant fraction in the future. It is therefore important to think about emissions from air travel, but right now reducing emissions from air travel will – alone – not significantly dent global emissions.

However, there are many other factors to consider. It can be a significant fraction of an individual’s carbon footprint. A single long-haul flight could be 10% of someone’s annual emissions. So, if someone wanted to reduce their personal emissions, flying less can have a big impact. Similarly, it is one of the most carbon intensive forms of transport. If it is possible to travel via bus, train, or even car, emissions will probably be lower than if travelling by air. I certainly now think much more about how I should travel than I used to; if I can catch the train, rather than flying, I try very hard to do so.

However, there are many positives to flying. We can directly explore other cultures and environments, helping us to appreciate how diverse and amazing this planet can be. Even though many meetings could (and should) be done using videoconferencing facilities, there are occasions where a face-to-face meeting would be far more effective than meeting remotely. Many people’s families are spread around the globe and I think it’s important to be able to see one’s parents, children and siblings.

So, I do think it’s extremely important that we think of ways to reduce our emissions, and I have a great deal of respect for those who are making personal sacrifices so as to do so. I also think we should all be thinking more and more about how we can minimise our carbon footprints. However, I don’t think we should be going around expecting individuals to forgo things simply because their research happens to indicate a risk associated with those activities. Ultimately, global emission reductions is going to require much more than simply some people giving up some carbon intensive activities, and we shouldn’t pretend otherwise.

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### 198 Responses to Flying

1. Solomonic approach might be that scientists take part in symposiums by skype or other streaming platform and choose to restrict their flying to travel required by their research.

2. smallbluemike,
Yes, I agree that we should hold more meetings remotely, or stream talks/seminars so that people can participate without having to actually travel. There will, however, still be occasions when actually travelling to a meeting is preferable to meeting remotely.

3. The key point about emissions and flying is that CO2 and water vapor emissions are much more damaging in terms of forcing when emitted in Stratosphere than at the surface or, for that matter, in Troposphere.

Indeed, one “easy” change is to reroute flights to travel strictly in troposphere (yes, in weather and slower) instead of higher.

Indeed, one big reason why the end Permian mass extinction was so bad was that the LIP column pushed CO2 high into Stratosphere.

4. hyper,

The key point about emissions and flying is that CO2 and water vapor emissions are much more damaging in terms of forcing when emitted in Stratosphere than at the surface or, for that matter, in Troposphere.

Interesting. I had assumed that the CO2 at least would end up well-mixed, or is it simply difficult to mix it if it is emitted into the stratosphere?

5. Andrea Sella says:

While i concur with you that air travel represents a small proportion of the overall emissions, that is not a reason not to consider reducing them, especially given their exponential growth. For the UK the implications are stark – as CarbonBrief has pointed out (https://www.carbonbrief.org/analysis-aviation-to-consume-half-uk-1point5c-carbon-budget-2050) at current rates of growth air travel will consume half of the UK’s carbon budget by 2050. Hence it is an issue that has to start to be addressed now.

Flying is jaw-droppingly cheap per km compared to many other forms of transport. Part of the reason is the fact that in 1947 the Chicago Convention on International Air Travel explicitly forbade the taxation of fuel and lubricants for aircraft. Hence air travel enjoys a very substantial subsidy that makes it possible for it to undercut other forms of travel. Until we level the playing field air travel emissions how do we have any hope of changing things? Given how thin margins for the airlines are, their business model is extremely sensitive to the price of fuel which means that there is a real opportunity here to moderate their emissions simply because they would be force to pass on the cost to travellers. That might have some impact.

While I agree with you that seeing other cultures and learning about diversity is brilliant, as is the importance of meeting people face to face, I worry that these are just excuses to stave off the fell day when we will have to reduce our travel. Air travel is not distributed evenly across the population. The statistics are very skewed with some individuals flying enormous amounts – typically people at the top end of the income scale.

And the problem is that nowhere do travel brochures or tickets or newspaper travel columns ever put these things into context. I know people who have recently put solar panels on their roof and then taken their family to Latin America for Christmas; others choose to fly from Southern England to Scotland. It is a mixture of mis-pricing and denial.

Nowhere do we see this more eloquently expressed than in the Weekend FT which ran an article yesterday entitled “18 hours, 5 movies, 9000 miles” which discusses the dangers of blood clots, the quality of the inflight food and the sheer tedium of flying from Doha to Aukland in one hop. The author, Simon Usborne, then writes “I dare not calculate the carbon footprint” . You can look it up with the ICAO carbon calculator (https://www.icao.int/environmental-protection/CarbonOffset/Pages/default.aspx), it’s 900 kg which, doubled to account for radiative forcings, works out at almost the same as my family’s gas and electricity emission… for a year.

So the question for individuals thinking about reducing their emissions has got to be, where do you start? You need to do a rough sensitivity analysis and flying comes out pretty high on the list.

6. Andrea,
Thanks, a lot of important points there.

at current rates of growth air travel will consume half of the UK’s carbon budget by 2050. Hence it is an issue that has to start to be addressed now.

Absolutely. I’m certainly not arguing that we shouldn’t be thinking about what to do now. I’m mainly suggesting that expecting a small group of people (climate scientists) to stop flying simply because of what their research indicates is not really the way to do so.

Flying is jaw-droppingly cheap per km compared to many other forms of transport.

I think this is a key point. I’m constantly amazed that it is often much cheaper to fly within the UK than to catch the train. We could probably achieve quite a lot of we priced air travel properly.

While I agree with you that seeing other cultures and learning about diversity is brilliant, as is the importance of meeting people face to face, I worry that these are just excuses to stave off the fell day when we will have to reduce our travel.

Indeed, I think we are partly making excuses. I’ve been to meetings at which I’ve thought that we could just as easily have met remotely. I also think we probably have too many conferences. I try to go to one or two a year, but I could easily go to many more. I realise that it’s more important for early career people than for people who are more established, but this probably means that we need to change the culture, rather than simply accept that there will be a stage of one’s career during which one flys a lot.

So the question for individuals thinking about reducing their emissions has got to be, where do you start? You need to do a rough sensitivity analysis and flying comes out pretty high on the list.

Agreed. If individuals who do fly want to reduce their emissions, then reducing how much they fly is a great place to start.

7. The sheer scale and global dispersion of IPCC & COP meetings should compel the carbon offset seeking classes to cut the international climate conference circuit;s carbon footprint by chartering a few large ocean liners and turning it into a global regatta , pausing every few weeks to embark and discharge working group members on their home continents

With high occupancy guaranteed , the per diem cost might, if anything, go down slightly.

8. BBD says:

But marine bunker is truly filthy stuff, Russell.

9. BBD says:

@hyper

Indeed, one big reason why the end Permian mass extinction was so bad was that the LIP column pushed CO2 high into Stratosphere.

Please, if not too much trouble.

10. entropicman says:

There are practical limitations.
A glaciologist commuting between the Scott Polar Institute in Cambridge UK and Hadley in Antarctica without flying would spend their whole time in transit.

11. Willard says:

> But marine bunker is truly filthy stuff

How so?

I thought Russell’s idea was brilliant. My father-in-law is a cruise convert, and holding conferences there could be awesome sauce.

12. While flying accounts for 2% of the world’s CO2 emissions, that 2% is produced by the fewer than 18% of the global population who fly. So, given flying’s necessary reliance on fossil fuels, the likely growth in those emissions will be hugely significant. Thus the symbolism attached to flying less cannot be understated.

13. BBD, marine bunker is merely the leftovers from distilling off petrol and jet fuel, and vastly less of it is burned per shipboard passenger mile that jet-setting as usual.

I would however be overjoyed if the Virgin Climate Cruise Line comissioned a fleet of these splendid vessels
to reduce conference transport fossil fuel consumption even further

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Clipper

If working groups of more that 200 are required, we can lean on Virgin’s sainted proprietor to bring back seven masted schooners .

14. require much more than simply some people giving up some carbon intensive activities

So, people other than those who think CO2 is a problem should reduce emissions, because the people who think CO2 is a problem can’t control themselves?

15. BBD says:

@ Willard

How so?

This NPR interview gives a good idea:

HUMES: They call it bunker fuel. And it’s basically the stuff that’s left over after you’ve refined everything of value out of petroleum. And these ships – these big container ships don’t burn it by the gallon. They burn it by the ton. You know, and they can go through 200 tons of this stuff in a day sailing. And the emissions from it are horrific. It’s the consistency of asphalt. You could actually walk on this fuel when it’s in the tank. But they heat it up so that it becomes a fluid. And then they can burn it. And there’s 6,000 total in the worldwide fleet.

If you take 160 of them, the emissions from just those vessels, of the type of emissions that cause smog and particulate pollution, those 160 mega ships will be the equivalent of the emissions of all the cars in the world. And that’s just a tiny fraction of the worldwide fleet. Together, the cargo fleet generates about 2 to 3 percent of world carbon emissions, which would – if that fleet were a country, it would put them in the top 10 emitters of carbon dioxide in the world. In fact, it would put it ahead of Germany – the fourth-largest economy in the world.

So they are prodigious polluters. And the oddest thing about this is that it’s all off the books when we look at countries and businesses’ carbon footprints because for it to count in the global assessment of carbon pollution, it has to belong to a country. But when these ships are at sea and beyond national boundaries, their emissions aren’t part of that accounting. So this tremendous impact doesn’t even figure in our calculations about, for instance, the carbon footprint of a product or a country or a business.

And there’s this from the Guardian:

From the upstairs windows in Colin MacQueen’s house there isn’t a view of the sea but he can clearly see the ships. Docked in the port, less than half a mile away, they tower over the roofs of flats and houses. “They are colossal,” he said. “These cruise liners are much bigger than the container ships. They use as much fuel as whole towns.”

The view is pretty spectacular. But it’s what he cannot see that worries MacQueen. Like many cities across the UK, Southampton has such poor air quality it breaches international guidelines, and while the government and local authorities are looking to take action on cars, maritime fuel – the dirtiest and most polluting of all diesels – is on no one’s radar. Not only do the giant cruise liners churn out pollutants at sea, they also keep their engines running when they are docked in places like MacQueen’s home town.

Southampton has a real problem with air pollution from shipping.

16. TE,

So, people other than those who think CO2 is a problem should reduce emissions, because the people who think CO2 is a problem can’t control themselves?

Ummm, no, and it is hard to see how you can have interpreted it in this way. I have to say that it is becoming increasingly difficult to take you seriously, which I do find unfortunate. Maybe you’re actively trying to not be serious, but that too is somewhat unfortunate, but a bit better than you actually trying to be serious.

17. Joshua says:

So, people other than those who think CO2 is a problem should reduce emissions, because the people who think CO2 is a problem can’t control themselves?

I hope I can collectively speak for others and thank TE for his concerns.

18. I would love to be able to take a ship to go to a conference. Even if travel takes a few days that should be no problem if you can work on board. Reducing the numerous unfair subsidies for flying might make that viable again.

However, a conference on board a ship is only more travel. You would still need to get everyone to the same spot at the begin and end of the conference.

19. V V:
However, a conference on board a ship is only more travel. You would still need to get everyone to the same spot at the begin and end of the conference.

Not so:
You only have to get to a port of embarkation, which as ATTP points out, is usually possible by fuel efficient ground transport– most people live within 100 miles of the sea.

I’ve taken the liberty of illustrating the concept:
https://vvattsupwiththat.blogspot.com/2018/03/bringing-climate-conference-emissions.html

and having sailed on this ship, whole heartedly endorse her as fast, spacious and sea kindly.

20. Russel Seitz, why not hold the conference in the port of embarkation? That saves travel. (And with current ship dirty air.)

21. ATTP, the 2% is misleading, or likely to induce complacency. For high emitters, flying will be a much greater proportion (look for example at Peter Kalmuson’s book). The Oxfam ‘extreme carbon inequality’ report shows the top 10% being responsible for 50% of emissions, and flying is a big reason for that. Worth trying the WWF calculator, which distinguishes between different flight destinations …
http://footprint.wwf.org.uk
In 2014, before I retired as a consultant travelling all over the place, and before I really understood the climate emergency, I took 24 international flights. So I am not going to preach to anyone about their record.
But with GDP/person growing and travel a key ‘bucket list’ for most people, we cannot dodge this.
The argument against properly pricing air travel is that it would be regressive – because those that can afford to will continue to do so. But need a solution, that’s for sure.
P.S. I recently took a break to Bordeaux, from London via Paris, by train travelling at 300km/hr. I wouldn’t swap that for the hassle and stress of flying. We could do lots to reduce short haul flying.

22. @BBD, @ATTP,

I’ll put the references and reply regarding effects of high altitude aviation emissions in a response to ATTP. I’ll post that later, and will take time to compose, since it is more complicated, and I’ll try to be clear. Understanding on the processes have improved since the late 1990s. It was originally thought, as ATTP mentioned, that CO2 was well-mixed. It is, eventually, but the literature is less sure of the rate. There are satellite observations which indicate CO2 concentrations above the Tropopause have increased over the years, and linger, although these are not necessarily attributed to aircraft emissions. (Actually, space launch emissions have been looked at.)

Regarding the end Permian, there’s a definitive PNAS paper from Ogden and Sleep in 2012. By the way, and apologies for not defining it, LIP means Large Igneous Province. There are less formal definitions and descriptions here, here, and here. The most dramatic description of the end Permian was offered by Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson in his COSMOS episode “The Lost Worlds of Planet Earth”.

I have to say the first two times I watched that COSMOS episode I was in tears by the end.

23. BBD says:

Thank you Hyper, that’s great. I should have said that I know what an LIP is, but I haven’t read Ogden & Sleep 12 nor watched the NdG T video.

24. BBD , NPR & the Guardian should do their maths better-

Monster Maersk container ships and Ultra Large Bulk Carriers “can go through 200 tons of this stuff in a day sailing.”
But they move a half million tonnes , while jumbo jets also burning 200 tonnes a day deliver but a few hundred tonnes of payload.

25. Ships are quite energy efficient, but climate change is not the only problem, ships also produce terrible amounts of air pollution.

German cities with air quality problems along the Rhine are thinking about requiring ships to connect to the local grid when moored and shut off the dirty engine.

26. Willard says:

> German cities with air quality problems along the Rhine are thinking about requiring ships to connect to the local grid when moored and shut off the dirty engine.

And then there’s international law:

Emissions of gases impacting climate do not come from land-based sources only. Although the shipping industry contributes less than 3% of global industrial CO2 emissions, the IMO is concerned about ocean acidification and is taking steps to reduce the contribution of the shipping industry. Other gases — such as carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and fluorinated gases — also contribute to climate change. The Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of the IMO in July 2009 has agreed to disseminate a package of interim and voluntary as well as technical and operational measures to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from international shipping. Proposed amendments in October 2008 to the MARPOL Annex VI regulations — which have entered into force on 1 July, 2010 — is an attempt to reduce harmful emissions from ships even further. The Third IMO GHG Study, published in 2015, updates previous versions and witnesses the IMO’s sustained concern about climate change. IMO’s participation in the 2015 Paris UN climate Change Conference indicates its involvement in pursuing the mission of safe, secure and efficient shipping on clean oceans. However, the exclusion of the shipping industry in the Paris agreement emphasized the urgency for further actions. MEPC’s 69th session held in April, 2016 is addressing the issue. An ambitious project and mandatory system for collecting ships’ fuel consumption data announced in April 2016 to help mitigate the harmful effects of climate change are two recent examples.

http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/International_Marine_Environmental_Law1.html#ClimateChange

Thanks for the references, BBD.

27. Richard,

ATTP, the 2% is misleading, or likely to induce complacency. For high emitters, flying will be a much greater proportion (look for example at Peter Kalmuson’s book).

Yes, I agree and maybe didn’t make this clear enough. For those who fly a lot, probably the easiest way to substantially reduce their emissions is to fly less.

28. Steven Mosher says:

arguments about small percentages pretty much fail in the face of the carbon budget realities.

There is however a cool optimization problem. find the location that minimizes the carbon expenditures to attend for all attendees.

29. @ATTP, regarding aviation emissions and altitude,

I assuming everyone here understands lapse rate (per segment below). That explanation is from the American Chemical Society (ACS), and explains away things like the surface budget fallacy.

What’s important to understand is how warming works in a multilayer atmosphere before disturbance by excess emissions. Above the Tropopause, warming in Stratosphere is achieved by energy released from UV impact upon Oxygen, forming O3 or Ozone:

However, in Earth’s oxygen-containing atmosphere, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun drives photochemical reactions whose net result is to add energy to the atmosphere above the troposphere. At these high altitudes, ozone, O3, is formed and decomposed by high and medium energy UV radiation, respectively. These are the processes that protect life on the planet by absorbing these damaging UV wavelengths and at the same time warming the surrounding atmosphere, so that temperatures increase with altitude, as shown in the figure. Because warmer, less dense gas is layered over cooler, denser gas, there is little vertical mixing and this part of the atmosphere is stratified—hence the name stratosphere.

Now the status of CO2 being well-mixed in atmosphere has been an assumption, at least since 1994. There have been short-term vertical profiles made with aircraft, and, while consensus has confirmed the well-mixing status of CO2, there have been occasional empirical contradictions. (That one was from 1969.) In 2003, a more nuanced examination delineated both residence time and spatial structure of mixing, based upon tracers, although the conclusion was that implications of atmospheric chemistry for climate work were minimal. The status of the matter as of 2017 is given by Diallo, Legras, Ray, Engel, and Añel. They do not examine mixing times, but simply concentrations, and find evidence for 6-8 ppmv variations in CO2 concentration from Tropopause upwards. In 2011, Foucher, et al reported results showing CO2 concentrations in the low Stratosphere do not cycle in phase with Troposphere or Tropopause. In 2012, Emmert, et al took at look at CO2 in the Mesosphere and found a change at 80 km. Then Yue, Russell, et al reported the disturbing result that CO2 concentrations above 80 km are increasing at 12% per annum whereas below only at 5% per annum. (Yue, et al also have a good summary of what is known from where.) The consensus by climate scientists appears to be that, while we are now aware of temporal variations in CO2 concentrations in Stratosphere, and, in fact, in Troposphere, and these also have strong spatial variations, during the course of a year these mix out. To what degree increasing Mesopheric concentrations of CO2 affect radiative forcing, remains to be worked out. My thoughts are that the effects from radiative forcing of bursts of CO2 at altitude might turn out surprising, based upon simple radiative transfer models (e.g., Section 2.3.1 of Aamaas, Peters, and Fuglestvedt), whatever the altitude. Note that CO2 remains a deep playing for absorption in an important band above Tropopause:

Also, how this might interact with cooling of Stratosphere because of CO2, I do not know. Could local perturbations of CO2 concentrations along frequented flyways disturb lapse rates sufficiently to be of climate dynamics concern? Also do not know.

That’s CO2. A common concern about aircraft emissions, however, is with non-CO2 species, including NOx, CH4, and H2O, particularly when the latter is emitted at an altitude where the atmosphere is very dry (producing contrails and other effects). Stevenson, Doherty, et al give a good summary of the complexities of the associated chemistry. Fuglestvedt, et al give impacts in the context of other forms of transport, informing policy tradeoffs. Details of the chemistry are given by Köhler. (Hydroxyls are involved .)

The best summary of these effects I’ve found is Gauss, Isaksen, Lee, and Søvde, “Impact of aircraft NOx emissions on the atmosphere – tradeoffs to reduce the impact”, even though it’s from 2006. There are uncertainties.

As mentioned, there have been proposals to reduce some effects, notably from NOx, by flight level changes, even if that increases net CO2 emissions. In the end, the degree and size of aviation emissions relative to global energy emissions, something which continues to be a major challenge. And there’s the wild card of non-mixing.

30. The nature of the part of the population that tends to fly and the nature of the trips they take, the all-in carbon cost multiplier of “the flight” is likely substantial.

If I want to get from Toronto to Lake Louise (Alberta), I have to fly the 3,000 km (one-way). Then drive 200 km to the resort. As must all the food and booze for me and all the people who need to be there to house, feed, entertain, instruct, groom runs, man ski lifts, etc. And then to the top of the mountain as well. Of course, the snow-making, groomers and ski lifts are carbon powered (it’s Alberta!). And who goes to the Rockies just to ski the resort runs? So toss in a helicopter ride to check out some fresh powder!

All-in, it is a carbon orgy, and if we are serious about there being a carbon budget, the all-in emissions for the trip are tonnes that are irrevocably made unavailable for some other future use for someone else. Whether it is for heating for the poor, search and rescue, agricultural tilling, etc.

Fortunately, the invisible hand via prices and discount rates have already properly determined that the flight and vacation is the optimal way to spend those tons, now and forever.

31. BBD says:

@hyper

Ogden12 describes a plausible mechanism for abrupt and massive CO2 release but doesn’t really say anything specific about enhanced forcing from CO2 injection into the stratosphere, unless I’ve missed it. That’s not to say that direct injection of CO2 to the stratosphere by jet engines isn’t an overlooked forcing enhancement – I don’t know. but not sure that Ogden supports this.

32. The main polluant from bunker burning is SO@, as residual fuel oil often contains % sulfur. ONe could of course take the view that , as SO2 represents a negative climate forcing, this is a feature rather than a bug, albeit a feature whose amplification might require shis with funnels of Titanic dimensions, and a crew wearing gas masks .

The regulatory extremity of climate mitigation migh consist in mandating a rolling increase in the sulfur content of marine bunker, with taxes and fines for failure to com[ply goint towards materials develioment for marine diesels burning pure molten brimstone.

The preceeding is a Poe.

33. Steven Mosher says:

Funny.. when its climate scientists yall dont want to hold them accountable, but the rich?
ya, slam them.

Look I know you careers will suffer if you dont fly.

34. “Those who have the privilege to know have the duty to act.” – Albert Einstein

“Somebody has to do something, and it’s just incredibly pathetic that it has to be us.” – Jerry Garcia

35. @BBD,

I never said Ogden and Sleep supported that bit. The evidence that there is is not conclusive on CO2, although the NOx connection is troubling (and always, for supersonic transport, was). Still, there are their Figures 1 and 2, reproduced below:

It’s possible, given some of the references I cited for @ATTP, that Ogden and Sleep did not consider how high such a disruption might loft. Maybe

Wilson L, Sparks RSJ, Huang TC, Watkins ND (1978) The control of volcanic column
heights by eruption energetics and dynamics. J Geophys Res 83:1829-1836.

doesn’t extend to such a massive regime.

36. Careers don’t necessarily suffer, but young careers do.

Nevertheless, and you cannot properly question this, if climate scientists were to do this, it would only be an exercise in ethical purity. It wouldn’t even be an example that they could expect anyone else would reasonably follow. Most people don’t seem to think very highly of climate scientists.

And I think you are proof of that.

37. That last remark of mine was directed to @Steve Mosher. Sometimes I can’t figure out how WP figures out where in the discussion thread to put comments.

38. Richard Erskine raises concern that taxing aviation fuel would be regressive. To the contrary.

Consider
(1) the non-flying majority is mostly much poorer, and would pay *no tax at all*,
(2) among those who fly, those with more money tend to fly *much more*,
(3) business class has a far higher footprint than tourist class,
(4) pricier non-stop longhauls have a somewhat higher footprint than the same trips with intermediate stops, and
(5) private jets must have the biggest footprints of all, per passenger mile.

The first two items alone would be enough to ensure that a tax on the aviation footprint would be more progressive than almost any other tax on goods and services – really, it’s an extremely well targeted luxury tax.

Putting a price on the aviation footprint would also help make lighter-than-air aircraft a financially viable alternative for freight and for some passenger routes.

39. Willard says:

> Sometimes I can’t figure out how WP figures out where in the discussion thread to put comments.

If you respond in the WP box (with a bell), it’ll try to publish the comment right under the one to which you reply.

If you respond in the box at the end of the page, it’ll publish the comment at the end of the thread.

40. Frederick – I don’t disagree and a progressive tax could work. I was mainly addressing how it could be perceived, so structuring the tax correctly (avoiding unintended side effects) ‘selling it’ politically would be key. As I said, we need a solution for sure. Maybe you have it.

41. zebra says:

@Fredrick Guy,

Could you elaborate on your #4? I’m guessing it has something to do with passenger-mile patterns, because I have always assumed that multiple take-offs, and a less-than-straight flight path, would result in more fuel consumption, not less.

42. zebra,
I think it’s a combination of being able to cram slightly more people into a short-haul flight than into long-haul flight and that you need to carry more fuel on a long-haul flight than you do on short-haul flights.

43. Nigel Harris says:

Regarding bunker fuels, the main air pollution problem is sulfur. Over the years, allowable sulfur in land-based fuels has been very substantially reduced, all the way to 10-15 ppm by weight for road diesel and gasoline in major consuming regions like N America, W Europe and China. But in marine bunker fuels up to 3.5% weight of sulfur (35,000 ppm) is allowed in international waters. So sulfur pollution is now so mismatched between road and marine fuels that it may well be true that a couple of large container ships produce more SOx pollution than all the road vehicles in North America.

But this is already being tackled through an international treaty on marine pollution (MARPOL) and the International Maritime Organization (IMO). Since 2015, allowable sulfur in marine fuels has been capped in emission control areas (ECA) in Europe (Baltic, North Sea) and US/Canadian coastal waters. The limit in these areas is 0.1% sulfur. China has its own regime of sulfur limits in key coastal areas. And from 1st January 2020, all ships, globally, will have to either use fuel with below 0.5% sulfur, or be equipped with flue gas desulfurization units. This is expected to lead to a dramatic reduction in the quantity of that heavy, thick residual fuel oil being burned by ships, as it is practically impossible for most refineries to produce residual oil with less than 0.5% sulfur. So ships will switch to marine diesel (lighter, distillate fuel) or blended fuels. There is also a move towards use of LNG as a ship fuel – especially for things like Baltic Sea ferries, where sulfur limits are 0.1% and LNG refueling is practical.

44. Dave_Geologist says:

Hyper
CO2 in the stratosphere

Presumably it depends on where the emissions come from, as the stratosphere warms upwards
. So you could quite quickly get the CO2 (if not the aircraft) to an elevation where it’s emitting at a higher temperature than it would in the upper troposphere. Which would be less harmful from an AGW POV.

Changing flight height would have unintended consequences. For example engine and wing designs will be optimised for currently preferred cruising altitudes. IIRC one of the hits on Concorde’s viability when it was forbidden to fly supersonically over land was that it actually burned more fuel flying subsonically than flying supersonically. So increasing its costs, reducing its range and weakening its USP of short journey times.

Plus more congestion will cause inefficiency which will burn more fuel. Fun fact, the highest I’ve ever flown was between Scotland and London, because the N-S short-haul jet routes fly above the E-W Transatlantic routes (turboprops fly below). Presumably making them somewhat less fuel-efficient but range matters less for short-haul.

45. zebra says:

@ATTP,

Quick search yields this:

http://www.worldwatch.org/planes-utilize-most-fuel-during-takeoff

“Planes use the most fuel, and produce the most harmful emissions, during takeoff. On short flights, as much as 25 percent of the total fuel consumed is used at this time. The most fuel-efficient route length for airlines is 4,300 kilometers, roughly a flight from Europe to the U.S. East Coast. About 45 percent of all flights in the European Union cover less than 500 kilometers.”

46. BBD says:

@hyper

@BBD,

I never said Ogden and Sleep supported that bit.

Gosh, sorry. When you wrote this, I took it to mean what it said:

Indeed, one big reason why the end Permian mass extinction was so bad was that the LIP column pushed CO2 high into Stratosphere.

47. @BBD,

Gosh, sorry. When you wrote this, I took it to mean what it said:

Indeed, one big reason why the end Permian mass extinction was so bad was that the LIP column pushed CO2 high into Stratosphere.

Yeah, but that was a different process, at a much bigger scale, at least in areal density, although I’m not sure its pace of emissions was bigger than what humanity is doing. The issue is did the LIP keep things (soot, CO2, SO2, etc) from being well-mixed. The geologic record suggests alternating catastrophic warming and crashes in temperature.

As I wrote in the extended response, we still don’t know. Mesospheric accumulation of CO2 is a bit of a surprise, and Stratospheric winds are not well mapped.

48. @BBD,

One thing though, and I neglected to grab the reference when I read it, small effects can result in big changes: Apparently, a Space-X launch on an unusual up-and-down trajectory was enough to disrupt ionization in Mesophere enough to take out GPS navigation in a region for hours.

49. @Dave_Geologist,

CO2 in the stratosphere

Presumably it depends on where the emissions come from, as the stratosphere warms upwards
. So you could quite quickly get the CO2 (if not the aircraft) to an elevation where it’s emitting at a higher temperature than it would in the upper troposphere. Which would be less harmful from an AGW POV.

If it’s supposed the CO2 gets injected into a layer at some high altitude $h$, doesn’t it depend upon how opaque that layer is to energy from UV-dissociated Oxygen? The CO2 is transparent to that UV. But the thermal once O3 is created is not.

50. BBD says:

@hyper

The issue is did the LIP keep things (soot, CO2, SO2, etc) from being well-mixed. The geologic record suggests alternating catastrophic warming and crashes in temperature.

If you are interested in end-Permian kill mechanisms you might find Brand et al. (2016) interesting (preprint here). They argue that the second and most deadly phase of the event was driven by methane releases triggered by volcanic CO2-forced warming:

The gas composition of the end Permian brachiopod-inclusions reflects dramatically higher seawater carbon dioxide and methane contents leading up to the biotic event. Initial global warming of 8–11 °C sourced by isotopically light carbon dioxide from volcanic emissions triggered the release of isotopically lighter methane from permafrost and shelf sediment methane hydrates. Consequently, the huge quantities of methane emitted into the atmosphere and the oceans accelerated global warming and marked the negative δ13C spike observed in marine carbonates, documenting the onset of the mass extinction period.

51. Vinny Burgoo says:

It’s hard to compare flying to land-based conferences with having conferences on ships because the flying option generates emissions on land (hotels, meeting rooms etc) that are included in the ship option’s carbon tally but floating conferences are almost certainly a worse option carbon-wise. A 2015 estimate of emissions from a week-long cruise in the Med versus a week in a Spanish hotel reckoned the cruise holiday would emit ~1260 kg CO2e per passenger versus ~310 kg for the hotel holiday. (Those estimates didn’t include emissions from travel to and from the resort/cruise ship or from excursions and the hotel estimate didn’t include anything for hotel construction. Ship construction less end-of-life recycling was 64 kg of the cruise estimate’s 1260 kg. The authors reckoned the hotel’s equivalent would probably be less. See ‘A Life Cycle Assessment of the Environmental Impact of Cruise Holidays’, Farr & Hall, 2015.) There’s also pollution from sewage, bilges and funnels to consider, and cruise ships score worse on that front too. Plus modern cruise ships are dreadfully ugly, dontchaknow.

The best option would be to have far fewer international conferences with far fewer people attending each one. For the IPCC, that might mean a conference for 500 people (30,000 attended COP23) held every five years, perhaps in Almaty, which Wiki says is the world’s ‘centre of population’, or in Salekhard, which is the closest you can get by train (plus a short boat trip) to the Yamal Peninsula, which apparently is the world’s ‘economic centre of gravity’. Delegates from places not connected to the Eurasian rail network would be allowed to catch a freighter to the nearest mainland Eurasian port with a train station.

Over at CliScep, Paul Matthews thinks IPCC conferences should be held in Birmingham but those two options seem fairer. Besides, trains to Brum can be erratic, especially when there’s an inch or two of snow.

52. Dave_Geologist says:

If it’s supposed the CO2 gets injected into a layer at some high altitude h, doesn’t it depend upon how opaque that layer is to energy from UV-dissociated Oxygen? The CO2 is transparent to that UV. But the thermal once O3 is created is not.

As I understand it, most of the inter-molecular energy transfer is by inelastic collisions between molecules, not radiation and absorption. So CO2 gets heated by collision with N2 molecules which have been heated by collision with ozone molecules which have been heated by absorbing solar radiation.

At least at P,T conditions where the atmosphere is in Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium.

A key atmospheric concept is Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium. If the atmosphere was not in LTE, the definition of temperature would be hard to define. Here we describe what this means. Local thermodynamic equilibrium means that over time scales of interest all independent degrees of freedom in the system are in equilibrium with each other. This sounds very abstract but it is critically important because it means that we can describe a volume of air as having a temperature and pressure.

Local Thermodynamic Equilibrium, the precondition for Kirchoff’s Law, and what applies to the bottom 60-70 km of our atmosphere

And from another source on timescales

What matters is the ratio of the probability of a collisional transfer to the lifetime of an excited state against decay by emission of a photon. For the principal vibrational modes of C02, these become comparable at pressures corresponding to levels in the stratosphere. For rotational levels, on the other hand, many fewer collisions suffice and LTE applies at all levels up to the region of strong dissociation of CO2 beyond the mesopause.

So I would read that as meaning that the stratosphere is in LTE, at least for rotational modes, and not far off for vibrational modes.

53. @BBD,

Thanks on Brand, et al!

54. Thanks @Dave_Geologist!

55. Dave_Geologist says:

If you are interested in end-Permian kill mechanisms you might find Brand et al. (2016) interesting (preprint here).

If an LIP was to blame you’d expect, at least qualitatively, an initial aerosol and dust effect causing cooling, followed by CO2 driven warming as the aerosols and dust fell or were washed out. Maybe in cycles if the LIP had a driving plume that pulsed on a Ma timescale like Iceland. Assuming you got enough explosive eruptions to inject into the stratosphere (an LIP would be mostly gently erupted basalt, but because it’s Large there are bound to be a few magma chambers which are big enough and persistent enough to differentiate some nice, sticky, explosive rhyolite).

There is a recent paper suggesting it was the cooling that did it in at end-Permian. But I’d want to see more support elsewhere in the world before buying it. Their argument was that the extinction event in that part of China coincided with an unconformity interpreted as a Type 1 sequence boundary caused by a glacial sea-level lowstand. When the sea came back up, perhaps as dust fell out and CO2 took over, the Permian critters were already gone.

Issues for me are (1) local vs. global and (2) what was so special about that glaciation?

1) The site is in the same region as the Emeishan LIP, which may itself be implicated in the end-Guadalupian extinction ~10Ma before the end-Permian. 10Ma is a blink of the eye in mantle-plume terms, so I’d be concerned that uplift and subsidence in the same region was related to continuing plume activity, even if there’s not much surface volcanism in the region. A surge in the Iceland plume, for example, has been implicated* in a major episode of compression and uplift on the UK and Norway continental shelves during the mid-Miocene, tens of millions of years after the last local volcanism. The original plume activity has been implicated in a 1km uplift of the Irish Sea, by crustal underplating with no surface volcanism. The P/T boundary is marked by a gap in sediments, so all we know is that the extinction happened somewhere in the gap. I’d like to see the evidence replicated at multiple sites, further away from smoking guns. Plus some actual glacial deposits somewhere, not just an inferred sea level fall.

2) The early to perhaps mid Permian was a time of continental Gondwanan glaciation, so presumably there was still lots of life around which had lived through previous glacial/deglacial cycles. What was special about this one? OK they’d had maybe 20Ma to get used to a more equable environment. And if you buy an LIP explanation for the end-Guadalupian extinction, what was so special about the Siberian Traps? Only the obvious point that it was bigger. So a longer “nuclear winter”, deeper freeze and faster, more powerful warming? Just too quick for life to cope?

Hmm, too quick for life to cope. What does that bring to mind?

* It coincided with a jump in the Mid Atlantic Ridge configuration north of Jan Mayen Island, but there’s a chicken-and-egg argument there. Did the ridge jump trigger a plume surge, or did a plume surge trigger the ridge jump? In keeping with the title of this site, I’ve chosen the plume as the culprit, since there’s a published numerical model which shows that the additional gravitational potential of a more active plume can apply enough horizontal stress to do the job.

56. JamieB says:

ATTP:

“So, emissions from air travel do not currently make up a significant fraction of global emissions.”

Even before accounting for non-CO2 effects, if aviation were a country it would rank seventh in GHG emissions, between Germany and South Korea. Not so insignifcant.

Regarding non-CO2 effects, Carbon Brief wrote a good explainer:

https://www.carbonbrief.org/explainer-challenge-tackling-aviations-non-co2-emissions

As a crude rule of thumb, a factor of 1.9 (sometimes 2.7 although that’s considered an overestimation now) is often applied to the CO2 emissions to attempt to capture the non-CO2 effects.

johnrussell40 :

“While flying accounts for 2% of the world’s CO2 emissions, that 2% is produced by the fewer than 18% of the global population who fly. ”

Can I ask where you got that from? I’ve been looking for estimates of how many people fly in a given year.

57. “There’s also pollution from sewage, bilges and funnels to consider, and cruise ships score worse on that front too. Plus modern cruise ships are dreadfully ugly, dontchaknow.”

Indeed I do, which is why I didn’t nominate any.

The five master I point to mostly burns fuel for lighting and air conditioning, and with the sail area of a very large wind turbine, but not the noise, regularly crosses the Atlantic in two weeks without burning much of anything- the sails drive the ship and the propeller drives the motor-generators ( and the reverse osmosis membrane water maker)

She is the antithesis of ugly under sail, and I woud not discount the moral example of seeing progress in the atmospheric sciences propelled by the atmosphere itself.

58. BBD says:

It is, to be fair, a rather nice notion, Russell.

59. angech says:

Mosher says: “There is however a cool optimization problem. find the location that minimizes the carbon expenditures to attend for all attendees.”
Konigsberg, perhaps?

60. Reblogged this on The Musing Cogitator and commented:
This is one of my favorite blogs to read, entitled ” and There’s Physics.” This particular post concern’s flying’s impact on climate change. Enjoy.

61. angech says:

Time was running out for reducing Carbon usage, some said it had run out long ago.
The tipping point was due to be reached in the next 4 weeks. Action was urgently needed and there was one obvious way to do it quickly if only everyone would agree. The ultimate Clinate Solution Conference in Basel in 1 week. Messages were sent out, planes and pilots appropriated and airports readied. 50,000 people, all climatologists or in related fields, with politicians of all persuasions under UN auspices gathered for the fray. Entrails crossed the sky in all directions.
At the end of the meeting the conveyor rose to acclaim and announced success.
“Due entirely to this meeting” he said, ” We have know averted the 4 week deadline”…..

Well, I thought it was funny.

62. Steven Mosher says:

“Nevertheless, and you cannot properly question this, if climate scientists were to do this, it would only be an exercise in ethical purity”

There is either a budget and every bit counts or there is not a budget. There is either a commons you pollute or there is not. Arguing that your bit is small is no different than the USA arguing its bit is small.

But ya the problem is global. Wait for “us” to act.

63. There is either a budget and every bit counts or there is not a budget. There is either a commons you pollute or there is not. Arguing that your bit is small is no different than the USA arguing its bit is small.

Actually, no. Whether it is in observed behavior of self-described environmentally conscious recyclers, or people who have invested in residential PV, both populations have a well-documented tendency to buy-more-stuff, in the first case, exacerbating the effects of consumption, or use more electricity, in the latter case, because they think they are generating their own and don’t have to worry about it so much. In the latter case, indeed, this is a reason why net metering is not a great way of compensating homeowners for solar generation. It’s pursued principally because the utility does not need to rejigger their billing systems or install special metering at customers. The better way is to charge homeowners the full, time-variable amount for their use, and compensate them for their generation, also in a time-variable and need-variable way.

Similarly, surveys have shown that when neighbors obtain residential PV, there is sometimes less urgency felt for them to do so.

It’s also known that if market mixes change, say substituting bodies on flights who don’t give a damn about climate or emissions for people who do, usually because of discounts, it’s entirely conceivable without other strictures, the abandoning of flying by a caring market segment could result in greater net emissions, not less.

These are the kinds of factors which simple market forces never capture, and idealized economic analyses miss.

Moreover, a claimed commitment to “a budget” implies commitment to developing negative emissions technology, and its enormous costs, since the globe cannot achieve the budget without getting to zero emissions. That’s not possible because agriculture, even if planted, maintained, harvested, transported, processed, and delivered with zero emissions produced a chunk of emissions, something like 2-3 GtC per annum. That’s not going to be zeroed so, without negative emissions, the budget won’t be met.

64. BBD, Darwin did get a lot of work done on the Beagle.

Had he been aboard the 5,000 tonne five master in question, he would have had room for >200 colleagues, sailed three times faster, and might not even have gotten seasick- some tens of kilowatts of converted wind power are devoted to roll control with active water ballast- i sailed 800 miles in winds to 23kts and we never heeled more than 13 degrees .

65. angech says:

It is called having your cake and eating it, too.
Steven is right.
“agriculture, even if planted, maintained, harvested, transported, processed, and delivered with zero emissions produced a chunk of emissions, something like 2-3 GtC per annum. That’s not going to be zeroed”
That is the problem. Lose, lose.
You have to decrease agriculture as well.
Must do so everyone has to tighten their belts HG.
Or it just won’t work.
It is like flying, I like traveling and flying. Well actually getting somewhere different. The flying is horrible. Could not do it 150 years ago. Probably blocked from doing so in 30 years [will be dead] so I want to do it now. Why wreck everyone”s enjoyment for people we will never meet or know?

66. “In the absence of a price, we sort of pretend that digging trillions of tons of fossil fuels from deep under the earth and putting it into the atmosphere– we’re pretending that that has no probability of a bad outcome,” he said, adding that it’s up to people and their governments to make carbon pricing happen.

Musk pointed out in a matter-of-fact tone that there’s a chance humanity returns to the Dark Ages at some point in the future, which is what’s driving his work on sustainable energy and space travel.

“We want to make sure there’s enough of a seed of human civilization somewhere else to bring civilization back, and perhaps to shorten the length of the Dark Ages,” said Musk.

One of the best interviews of him I ever heard was that by Dr Neil deGrasse Tyson on Star Talk Radio

67. Steven Mosher says:

Hyper.. Is there a budget or not?
simple question

68. Steven Mosher says:

“Moreover, a claimed commitment to “a budget” implies commitment to developing negative emissions technology, and its enormous costs, since the globe cannot achieve the budget without getting to zero emissions.”

Huh. the question is this.

1. Given a target 2C
2. Given a relationship between emissions and the target
3. Is there a BUDGET that it makes sense to not overspend?

But hey, if there is no budget, I’ll fly to Hong Kong for lark.

i

69. @Steven Mosher,

There is, and it’s squishy. But, squishy or not, we’ve almost certainly blown threw it completely, due to both absence of collective action, and inherent economic inertia for converting things. It’s probably a good idea to exceed it less than to exceed it more. What are the consequences of blowing the budget? Well, it’s fair to say, things being okay and things being as they were are both now out of the question. We don’t know how bad they’ll get, and no one appears interested in funding that adequately, at least in the United States. Is it “curtains”? Most definitely not. What’s in play is extreme economic hardship, on the soft side, or collapse of civilization, a bit harsher, or annihilation of 90% of humanity on the harshest. There are no technological magic bullets except to pursue the saving remnant idea Musk has, as quoted above. Worse, the standard economic wisdom that the future is likely to be richer than the present because It Always Happens That Way seems to me totally silly. I can’t believe people actually think that way.

Question for the people who’ll be around long after I’m gone: How lucky do you feel Nature will cut you slack to procrastinate? I don’t. I think the limitations of our engineering, policy, maths, and our lack of knowledge of how things work underestimate what will happen. And I don’t say we should pursue the Precautionary Principle as great leaders like David Suzuki counsel. I’m willing to address the situation as an engineering problem, with tradeoffs and what-not. But permitting people to continue to exploit resources to the detriment of The Plan seems at least foolhardy, if not criminal.

As I’ve documented here and elsewhere, my family is doing quite a lot to mitigate. Ain’t gonna matter. The governance of the suburbian town that happens to be a practical location for our work commitments has never seen a development it doesn’t like. We fight these at Town meeting, and inevitably get defeated.

70. Huh. the question is this.

1. Given a target 2C
2. Given a relationship between emissions and the target
3. Is there a BUDGET that it makes sense to not overspend?

Yes, but, from my perspective, we have zero chance of keeping within it. Question is, given the harm that will come of that, do you want to make it worse?

We are not going to keep warming to +2C, no matter what Al Gore or anyone tells you. It’s Neverland thereafter.

71. Steven Mosher says:

“Yes, but, from my perspective, we have zero chance of keeping within it. Question is, given the harm that will come of that, do you want to make it worse?”

precisely.

That is why my argument was, “every little bit helps” it is not that hard to grasp. You grasp it because you take action. What I am pointing out is this: The argument “my little bit of cuts wont help”, is precisely the logic that causes the problem.

72. Steven,
Yes, I agree that the total amount that we emit is essentially what matters. Therefore every bit helps. However, there is a difference between trying to minimise how much we emit and insisting that, for example, climate scientists completely give up flying.

73. Dave_Geologist says:

Is there a budget or not?

1) Is there a budget within which we cause no harm – Yes. Have we blown it already – Yes.
2) Is there a budget within which we cause more harm – Yes. Have we blown it already – Not Yet. Will we blow it in the 2020s or 2030s with the Paris 3°C actions – Yes.
3) Is there a budget within which we cause a lot of harm – Yes. Will we exceed it with BAU – Yes.
4) Is there a budget within which we cause catastrophic harm (real catastrophe, not denier CAGW straw-man catastrophe) – Yes. Have we blown it already – No. Will we blow it if we burn the available fossil fuel – Absolutely.

74. zebra says:

Sounds a bit like that definition of insanity, though… coming up with budgets, blowing through them, over and over…

It would seem like better engineering/design practice to accept, as I have suggested, that you have to change the paradigm.

Speaking of airplanes, I don’t remember if I’ve used the analogy here, but we tend not to build airliners with one engine, we like to have two trained pilots on board, and we design the plane to have some capability to maneuver even if both engines fail.

That’s despite the fact that the engines are quite reliable, the pilots quite healthy, and we probably could save money with different aerodynamics.

So, why the reluctance to examine “designs” that may help ameliorate (inevitable?) future suffering, rather than bemoaning the lack of unobtainium?

75. BBD says:

It would seem like better engineering/design practice to accept, as I have suggested, that you have to change the paradigm.

Except that you don’t say how. This smartest-guy-in-the-room shtick allied to suggestions that are either ridiculous, wrong or vague to the point of handwavery is getting old fast.

So, why the reluctance to examine “designs”

Aside the fact that this sounds dangerously close to Breakthrough-Boys-style hippie punching, what ‘designs’? I’ve seen nothing whatsoever that merits the description of a ‘design’ so far.

76. Dave_Geologist says:

Actually in engineering it’s quite common to have multiple thresholds (analogous to budgets in this case).

1) Normal Operating Condition. Sufficiently below the Normal Operating Limit that fluctuations due to lag in system response or to accommodate temporary changes in conditions don’t take you above that limit.

2) Normal Operating Limit. What it says. Exceeding that limit will require some sort of notification to higher authority, but is still safe, at least if you don’t do it too often and induce fatigue. Questions will be asked if you make exceedance a habit. Under special circumstances you may be allowed to intentionally exceed that limit, for example during testing or (if it’s a well) during a stimulation job. With wells, what happens then is that you have a similar set of limits for the duration of the job, but with different values. Enhancing normal operations, e.g. to make up a shortfall, does not qualify as a special circumstance.

3) Safe Operating Limit. What this particular unit has been tested to. On installation or on a schedule, as appropriate. Exceeding that will require notification to a still higher authority, and typically requires an immediate controlled, safe shutdown followed by inspection, repair, re-testing etc., and the higher authority’s approval to restart.

4) Design Limit. What it says, typically based on some sort of CAD model. You don’t test to that limit, because you’d expect half your units to fail on test.

77. zebra says:

@Dave-G,

So who is the Higher Authority in this case, Dave? 😉

My point was that the four harm-levels you gave were dependent on emissions levels only. You may be somewhat more optimistic than I am, as we discussed previously, but not so much that you shouldn’t be looking for more things to do to that might help reduce the negative impacts.

I think my analogy is better: Sully landed that plane because he trained to do so and the wings were big enough. In other cases, at least some lives were spared for similar reasons– and often, many have been lost for lack of contingency planning.

78. Steven Mosher says:
79. @zebra, @Dave_Geologist,

I don’t see any harm in having emissions limits, as long as there is also a robust GHG monitoring program from space and elsewhere which independently checks it, and looks for, say, temperature-induced fugitive emissions from Nature, or side effects of consequences. (For example, excess CH4 from forest fires.) Regarding:

… looking for more things to do to that might help reduce the negative impacts.

that’s harder than it might seem, both in practice and in policy.

For example, it’s well understood that in 300+ years Boston will be uninhabitable in its present form … returned to the bay that once was there. People have thought about moving the city elsewhere, even done architectural drafts. But the problem is where? Picking a place assumes we can project all the consequences of flooding and other climatological effects, the rates, and so on.

The policy part of that is that we are really lousy at acting upon what Nature is telling us now. We’ve had a freight train of storms on the East Coast shouting about where people should not live. What do we do? We rebuild in exactly the same spots. Now, I understand why people do that, with the way laws and rules are written, and people’s desires and economics. But the point is those are completely out of touch with what reality is saying. We don’t listen. How would we suddenly listen enough to know where to put a New Boston?

80. @zebra, @Dave_Geologist,

81. Steven Mosher says:

ATTP
I don’t see the logic behind your comment other than to shield some folks from criticism. Every bit helps. Every bit will be there for centuries. So yes any one who flies , including climate scientists, should take a moral beating.

82. Steven,

Every bit will be there for centuries. So yes any one who flies , including climate scientists, should take a moral beating.

Yes, I would agree with this (assuming that we regard flying as no longer acceptable). My suggestion was that it shouldn’t be climate scientists alone who take a moral beating.

83. zebra says:

@Hyper-G,

(This is getting off-topic for this thread– I mostly said something because it was a good thread to use my airplane analogy, so maybe it should move to “solutions and motivating action”?)

Anyway, somewhere in comments on previous threads I offered my contingency proposal, which is that as much effort should be put into accelerating the demographic transition as “we” put into promoting the energy transition.

I’ve come to that conclusion over many years of puzzling about this issue. It has much to recommend it, including the fact that it does not rely on convincing anyone about climate change directly, and is not coercive. But, as I have also said before, people’s reluctance to discuss it may be a result of exactly that fact.

Where does Boston move? Let the market decide. But if you have half as many people, you have twice as many options.

84. BBD says:

@ hyper

Case in point regarding unplanned surprises.

Here’s another one.

Now if only we could get the population of the US to halve itself in two decades and the remainder just up sticks and move to the coast…but maybe not the East coast…

And not talk about emissions for God’s sake. Heaven forbid anyone does that.

85. BBD says:

and is not coercive

So you say. But which demographics will be nudged, and which will be pushed? What colour will they be?

Maybe, just maybe, population control handwaving isn’t a great idea at all.

86. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

Every bit helps. Every bit will be there for centuries. So yes any one who flies , including climate scientists, should take a moral beating.

Serious moral guidance from the guy who wrote earlier this month:

Me? I will prolly burn more than my fair share;
I’d make up for by re incarnating as a tree.

Out of the door. Line on the left. One cross each.

87. Consequences … ECMWF forecast for Tuesday 27th March 2018, run of 20th March:

88. Steven Mosher says:

“Serious moral guidance from the guy who wrote earlier this month:”

I am fully prepared to take my moral beating. please begin. but this time with Feeling!

you still dont get it. I will make it easy.

I think what ya’ll object to, more than anything else, is someone outside your tribe delivering the moral beating. In fact neither tribe much listens too or takes the moral beatings from other tribes so seriously.. Its also why its so hard for tribes to demounce members when other tribes call for folks
to denounce them. So tribe A same to Tribe B, denouce X for farting. Tribe B will defend X using any manner of argument. Sometime later they will beat each other up about farting.

I

89. Steven Mosher says:

“Yes, I would agree with this (assuming that we regard flying as no longer acceptable). My suggestion was that it shouldn’t be climate scientists alone who take a moral beating.”

More important is who delivers the beating. CLimate scientists wont listen to skeptics beating them about air travel. They will isten to other climate scientists. Maybe the fear of not flying is
overblown? some will try not flying, they will share their experience.

Probably going to tak a combination of bottoms up ( convincing each other) and top down (changing the rules).. and we probably will exceed the budget..

90. Joshua says:

I think what ya’ll object to, more than anything else, is someone outside your tribe delivering the moral beating.

How ’bout just the simple fact that the whole argument books down to an ad hom, and tells us nothing meaningful about the science of climate change?

91. Steven Mosher says:

“How ’bout just the simple fact that the whole argument books down to an ad hom, and tells us nothing meaningful about the science of climate change?”

ad hom? well first I am not making a point about AGW. I’m making an observation about how people respond to moral beatings and who should adminster them to have maximum effect.

Its a simple principle. we even have a ton for cliches for it.. In the first place there is nothing impractical about a sound moral beating or ad hom if you wish. We are, after all, social creatures.
We will police each other with signs (words) or force if necessary. And because we are also individuals we have a bunch of cliches to resist or object to moral beatings.

as an excercise list some cliches I’ll start you ;people in glass houses… when you are done ask yourself why these tools exist.

92. Steven Mosher says:

“Maybe, just maybe, population control handwaving isn’t a great idea at all.”

do you object to indirect methods such as improving womens education, raising standards of living and urbanization?

93. Steven Mosher says:

oh, BTW we solved the spent fuel storage problem for nukes. I’ve been hinting at this for a while,

http://www.deepisolation.com/

94. wrt flying and more: level the playing field by phasing out all inducement, tax credits, exemptions etc that encourage air flight so that transportation costs can come in line a bit. And of course, phase in a carbon tax to make the true cost of fossil fuel consumption known and felt.

95. I think what ya’ll object to, more than anything else, is someone outside your tribe delivering the moral beating. In fact neither tribe much listens too or takes the moral beatings from other tribes so seriously.. Its also why its so hard for tribes to demounce members when other tribes call for folks to denounce them. So tribe A same to Tribe B, denouce X for farting. Tribe B will defend X using any manner of argument. Sometime later they will beat each other up about farting.

It could be tribes. Or it could be that a properly trained and disciplined group really has a direct Line to an Omniscient Deity, and the other ones don’t. Apart from understanding where Cassandra was at, I don’t see why the group with Line ought to pay the others any mind.

96. Dave_Geologist says:

zebra
I did think of a flying analogy 😉
1) Normal climb rate – trade-off between speed, economy and getting out of congested air space.
2) Maximum climb rate under normal conditions – set sufficiently below stall speed that you have some leeway if you accidentally exceed it you won’t stall. Alarms go off when you cross it. can be used at pilot’s discretion. Probably a lot at busy airports.
3) Safe climb rate (probably from test-pilot flights) – maximum rate at which this aircraft type with this loading has climbed without stalling. Allowed at pilot’s discretion in emergencies, like Sully did. But if he’d landed safely on the wheels they certainly wouldn’t have put the aircraft straight back in service. And on another day the wings might fall off.
4) Design climb rate. What the CAD/CFD model predicts. May or may not have verified by test-pilot.

97. Dave_Geologist says:

zebra:
Who is the Higher Authority?

In defining the various thresholds, the risks and consequences thereof, and advising whether particular emissions paths go above or below a particular threshold – the IPCC of course. That’s what it’s there for. Also monitoring/compiling CO2, temperature, etc. data.

In making policy decisions based on that advice? The governments of the world, in the forum of the UN. E.g. the Paris Agreement.

In day-to-day country-level monitoring and emissions mitigation – the governments of those countries. But they’re the lower (Normal Operating Limit) authorities.

In reviewing global progress, responding to unforeseen circumstances such as ice-shelf collapse or some countries backsliding – the UN (higher authority). So in practice the governments of the world, because anything with teeth will need a vote.

In these last two cases, the IPCC is more in the position of a meter or a gauge than an authority.

98. Dave_Geologist says:

zebra

My point was that the four harm-levels you gave were dependent on emissions levels only.

Per my post above, they’d be updated as new evidence came in. So we might find that what we thought would give us 3°C will actually give us 4°C, and have to re-jig our targets. But with decadal time-lags we can’t just be reactive. That guarantees we’ll do to little, too late For better or for worse, we have to be guided by model projections. I understand that there are plans for the next IPCC report format to be changed, so that rapidly changing science can get regular updates between the jamborees. In the same way you wouldn’t keep a turbine running at the same speed if it made a funny noise, and would drive below the freeway speed limit on a run-flat tyre.

The actual temperature thresholds have been pretty well worked already.

My personal take would be that we must stay below PETM temperatures (about 8°C warming globally). That would literally mean the end of civilisation as we know it. Spain went from a climate like today but a bit warmer (5°C globally) to one characterised by 30-year droughts interrupted by megafloods which rolled car-sized boulders and covered the entire landscape.The southern Appalachians remained as mixed forest but lost about half of its tree species and ecosystem services. The North Sea was a fish-free toxic algal soup (one consequence of which was the deposition of fissile black shales which have cost the drilling industry billions of dollars in lost time).

So 3°C would be my Normal Operating Limit and 5°C my Safe Operating Limit. I might take 8°C as my Design Limit, but the climate is broken by then so I’d want to look at the subsequent, smaller ETM’s to see if the tipping point can be better constrained. Plus of course continental configuration was different, so models. My Normal Operating Conditions would be Holocene temperatures so we’re committed to being above that for a long time. Again the analogy works, because the equipment operator would be aware that it wan’t condition-normal to be permanently between the NOC and NOL, and should be more alert. And should have reported up the line in the expectation that someone is looking at how to get back to the NOC. I’d settle for 1°C though, as we’re there already and things are just starting to break but we can adapt (albeit adaptation will include moving Miami).

99. Thanks so much for the analysis regarding the Permian end … Regarding

… what was so special about the Siberian Traps?

Ogden and Sleep make the case that it was an intervening bed of coal which the lava incinerated.

100. Sorry … That last was to @Dave_Geologist. The response from email isn’t necessarily putting them in the right place in the thread.

101. Willard says:

> I’m making an observation about how people respond to moral beatings and who should adminster them to have maximum effect.

I do not always make observations, but when I do it’s seldom about who should this or that.

Look. It’s not that complex. AGW is a We thing, not an Me thing. Variations on Groundskeeper’s “I gave up my car, what have you done?” is a bit meh, and while there is merit in trying to make sure there are no free riders, solving the free rider problem won’t work by personalization. It only leads to scapegoating, which is pure ClimateBall:

Except for those who like to rip off their shirts, nobody likes it, from wherever it comes, e.g.:

ScottD answered RichardB’s rhetorical questions, BTW:

Not unlike what AT said.

102. Dave_Geologist says:

hyper … what was so special about the Siberian Traps?

Yes, I know about the coal. But there’s nothing special about coal CO2 vs. other CO2. Maybe also get some heavy metals and fly ash, but volcanoes emit a lot of nasties on their own. For example, large volcanic eruptions spread detectable mercury pollution across the globe. It’s been used to correlate distant events with the eruptions.

So the question is not why the end Permian had more warming, a bigger LIP and more extinctions than the end-Guadalupian. But why, if it was only more of the same, it was so bad. Maybe something special about the coal, but I doubt it. Maybe a threshold value for metabolism/calcification/lack of oxygen/CO2 poisoning (the early Triassic was also very hot although not so hot, and there were no reptiles on equatorial and tropical land, and no fish in the equatorial and tropical seas). Or maybe it was just too quick for adaptation or migration.

103. BBD says:

Dave

Isn’t the thinking that the Siberian Trap LIP magma intrusion into coal beds produced much *more* CO2 because of all the coal burnt than it would otherwise have done had the coal beds not been present?

Which, others suggest, was sufficient to force GMT high enough to trigger secondary carbon cycle feedbacks from clathrates and permafrost melt.

A similar argument has been made for the NAIP triggering the PETM by magma intrusion into carbon-rich marine sediments (Svensen et al. 2004). Lots of CO2, rather rapidly, and boom goes the clathrate gun and you get a towering hyperthermal.

104. @Dave_Geologist,

Or maybe it was just too quick for adaptation or migration.

It was, ipso facto, that few genera adapted, and only 52% of families (Raup, 1979). I understand there are incomplete sequences, as there tend to be, except perhaps for the end Permian, in China. Whether this happened all at once, or, perhaps, life began adapting and then got clobbered again, we don’t know, but the end result was pretty bad.

As far as the Traps go, O&S write in their Abstract,

Large isotopic excursions recorded in this period are potentially explained by rapid venting of coal-derived methane, which has primarily been attributed to metamorphism of coal by basaltic intrusion. However, recently discovered contemporaneous deposits of fly ash in northern Canada suggest large-scale combustion of coal as an additional mechanism for rapid release of carbon. This massive coal combustion may have resulted from explosive interaction with basalt sills of the Siberian Traps. Here we present physical analysis of explosive eruption of coal and basalt, demonstrating that it is a viable mechanism for global extinction. We describe and constrain the physics of this process including necessary magnitudes of basaltic intrusion, mixing and mobilization of coal and basalt, ascent to the surface, explosive combustion, and the atmospheric rise necessary for global distribution.

Their Introduction notes:

The flows directly killed only those biota in their path, and basalt is not a massive source of greenhouse gases such as CO2 (8). Recent studies suggest flood basalts may have mobilized carbon in thick deposits of organic-rich sediments, resulting in global climate change and extinction (4, 5, 7, 9–13). New work also suggests magmatic release of CO2 from mantle-derived eclogite as a potential extinction mechanism (14). …

McElwain et al. (16) expanded on this idea by linking the intrusion of Karoo-Ferrar magmas into coal with the 183 Ma Toarcian oceanic anoxic event. In this model, basaltic intrusions metamorphosed sediments driving off hydrocarbons, including methane, which quickly oxidized to carbon dioxide (CO2) and water. This sudden release of organic carbon acidified the ocean and caused a $\delta{}^{13}C$ excursion in the sedimentary record. …

In addition to these mechanisms for carbon release, fly ash recently documented in contemporaneous sediments in northern Canada suggest explosive combustion of coal by mafic intrusion (17). This paper explores the physical mechanism by which coal and basalt may have erupted and contributed to the end-Permian mass extinction along with other previously proposed mechanisms.

The process begins with a massive mafic sill preferentially intruding, heating, and mixing with thick coal seams in Siberia (Fig. 1). This mechanism is far more efficient than dikes in quickly delivering heat to coal. The hot coal–basalt mixture extrudes at numerous surface locations. The physical mechanism behind this process of pipe initiation and fracturing would be similar to that described by Jamtveit et al. (18). The coal in the mixture ignites on contact with the air, causing pyroclastic fly ash, soot, sulfate, and basaltic dust to ascend into the stratosphere. …

… [W]e note potential adverse effects on biota. Large injections of dust, CO2 and methane into the atmosphere may have generated a highly unstable climate, driving extinctions of land biota. Ocean acidification may have resulted from the sudden addition of CO2 to the shallow mixed layer on the scale of months to years, driving extinction of marine organisms and formation of the observed dissolution horizon (2).

When examining the size of the explosion they infer, O&S write:

Based on these values, all of the carbon in approximately 1,000 $km^{3}$ of coal would need to be fully liberated and injected into the
atmosphere in order to cause the observed isotopic excursion.

The deformable rheology and low density of coal beds tend to confine basaltic magma into sills. Geometrically, an intrusion must have occurred over a surface area of 11;000 km2 (i.e., approximately 105 km square on a side) if the cumulative thickness of coal in the Siberian basin is 92 m (5). A typical moderately thick coal bed of 20–30 m (19) may be more realistic and would increase the affected region to an approximately 200-km square. Single intrusions large enough to mobilize this amount of coal are well documented in flood basalt provinces (20). Alternatively, intrusion of basalt sills into coal may have resulted in devolatilization of the coal at depth and incorporation of those volatiles into erupting basalt, leaving behind natural coke (21–23). For this scenario, a larger coal bed is needed and can be calculated based on coke production data.

Since O&S, there’s been additional work, some assigning the Canadian ash to wildfires (Hudspith, Rimmer, Belcher, 2014), but summarized in the 2014 Geological Society of America paper by Bond and Wignall “Large igneous provinces and extinctions: An update”, which appears in a book edited by Keller and Kerr.

Clarkson, et al wrote in Science in 2015 regarding the importance of ocean acidification, and how all shell-forming organisms were eliminated. They offer constraints on timing, at least for marine events:

The PTB extinction event spanned ~60,000 years (2) and can be resolved into two distinct marine extinction pulses (3). The first occurred in the latest Permian [Extinction Pulse 1 (EP1)] and was followed by an interval of temporary recovery before the second pulse (EP2), which occurred in the earliest Triassic. The direct cause of the mass extinction is widely debated, with a diverse range of overlapping mechanisms proposed, including widespread water column anoxia (4), euxinia (5), global warming (6), and ocean acidification (7).

They note, regarding EP2, that “A plausible scenario for this is the decarbonation of overlying carbonate host rock, into which the Siberian Traps intruded (26), or the direct assimilation of carbonates and evaporites into the melt (33).” They conclude:

An acidification event of ~10,000 years is consistent with the modeled time scale required to replenish the ocean with alkalinity, as carbonate deposition is reduced and weathering is increased under higher pCO2 and global temperatures. …

The PTB was a time of extreme environmental change, and our combined data and modeling approach falsifies several of the mechanisms currently proposed. Although the coincident stresses of anoxia, increasing temperature, and ecosystem restructuring were important during this interval, the $\delta{}^{11}B$ record strongly suggests that widespread ocean acidification was not a factor in the first phase of the mass extinction but did drive the second pulse. The carbon release required to drive the observed acidification event must have occurred at a rate comparable with the current anthropogenic perturbation but exceeds it in expected magnitude. Specifically, the required model perturbation of 24,000 PgC exceeds the ~5000 PgC of conventional fossil fuels and is at the upper end of the range of estimates of unconventional fossil fuels (such as methane hydrates). We show that such a rapid and large release of carbon is critical to causing the combined synchronous decrease in both pH and saturation state that defines an ocean acidification event (11).

Rothman, et al in 2014 reported in “Methanogenic burst in the end-Permian carbon cycle” that:

The methanogenic expansion was catalyzed by nickel associated with the volcanic event. We support this hypothesis with an analysis of carbon isotopic changes leading up to the extinction, phylogenetic analysis of methanogenic archaea, and measurements of nickel concentrations in South China sediments. Our results highlight the sensitivity of the Earth system to microbial evolution.

Grasby, et al in 2015 noted (“Progressive environmental deterioration in northwestern Pangea leading to the latest Permian extinction ”) that:

The loss of siliceous sponges is coincident with the global LPE event and is related to onset of high loading rates of toxic metals (Hg, As, Co) that we suggest are derived from Siberian Trap eruptions.

So you’re right on that, Dave, although I don’t know if they are referring to EP1 or EP2.

Finally, Saunders in 2016 (“Two LIPs and two Earth-system crises: the impact of the North Atlantic Igneous Province and the Siberian Traps on the Earth-surface carbon cycle”, Geological Magazine) makes a couple of interesting remarks. First, he says that in the catalogue LIP events are geologically short-lived, and their association with correlated extinction events is plausible for that very reason:

Many mass extinction events and several oceanic anoxic events and hyperthermals, on the other hand, coincide with flood basalt eruptions. Given the geologically short duration of most flood basalt events, the likelihood of this being pure chance is very small.

The second remark from Saunders is this disturbing characterization:

In addition to the CIE, the onset of the PETM is marked by a large oxygen isotope excursion that indicates a global surface warming of between 4 and
7 °C (Kennett & Stott, 1991; Bains, Corfield & Norris, 1999; Jones et al. 2013). The increase in high-latitude sea-surface temperatures was higher (8–10 °C) than their tropical equivalents (4–5 °C) (Zachos et al. 2003). The surface temperature increase migrated to progressively deeper waters, with bottom-water temperatures increasing by as much as 5 °C (Zachos et al. 2003).

Saunders cites, in addition, a precursor +4°C warming event that made things worse (page 206), although (page 207) this is inconclusive.

Saunders discussed plumes associations with:

The role of a mantle plume in the formation of the Siberian Province is contentious primarily because, unlike the NAIP and Iceland, there is no obvious modern day descendent hotspot (although some workers have suggested that the Iceland hotspot could fill this role; Smirnov & Tarduno, 2010). Furthermore, the Siberian Province does not show clear evidence of surface uplift (Czamanske et al. 1998) that would be expected from the emplacement of a hot start-up plume (Campbell & Griffiths, 1990). However, Sobolev et al. (2011) have proposed that the plume may have contained a significant proportion of dense eclogite that reduced the dynamic uplift (see also Cordery, Davies & Campbell, 1997) and that the plume also stripped the base of the lithosphere, effectively making space for it to ascend and decompress (a form of delamination, also espoused by Elkins-Tanton, 2007).

Regarding the extinction proper, here is Saunders summary of the paleontology and paleobotany:

Wang et al. (2014) compiled data on 1450 species from 18 sections from south China and northern Gondwana, and integrated these with the radiometric data of Shen et al. (2011). They observe an abrupt extinction of 62% of species over the 61 ± 48 ka interval between Beds 25 and 28. However, Song et al. (2013b) report two pulses of extinction, the first in the latest Permian deposits at Bed 25 and the second in the Lower Triassic deposits at Bed 28. This suggests that rather than a prolonged period of crisis there were at least two extinction pulses, perhaps with fundamentally different environmental causes, with brief periods of recovery in between.

Good times, no?

105. angech says:

“Question for the people who’ll be around long after I’m gone: How lucky do you feel Nature will cut you slack to procrastinate?”
We will be lucky to be more than a 1 mm line in the bedrock in 100 million years time.
Whatever we do.
The amount of clathrate from our farming practices and bodies will barely light a match.
Yet if we have another magma intrusion there is coal comfort in knowing that we have done our bit in reducing CO2 levels for the future robosimians.

106. Steven Mosher says:

willard. of course nobody likes a moral beating. my point is practical. i have a higher probability of administering an effective moral beating on you if we are both in group.

like duh. in group social pressure beats pressure from outsiders..

and yes pressure from in group can even spark more bad feelings…the exchange you supply proves my point.

ya know personalizing sins can flip a whole social group instantly.. duh..weinstein..metoo.. do you live under a rock?

107. Joshua says:

Steven –

ad hom? well first I am not making a point about AGW. I’m making an observation about how people respond to moral beatings and who should adminster them to have maximum effect.

Doesn’t look like much of a point to me. Looks like one big ad hom, to me. Let’s blame climate scientists for the problems in developing policies to address climate change. Because hypocrisy.

As if all climate scientists dropping their carbon footprint to zero would have any measurable effect.

But leveraging that argument works well as a rhetorical strategy. Everyone likes a bad guy gambit. It’s like slippery slopes and laws of unintended consequences. They all work very well when to personalize the discussion and find an otter (or play victim).

108. Joshua says:

Yeah – if your goal is to apply a “moral beating,” there’s lots o’ ways to do it.

109. Willard says:

> i have a higher probability of administering an effective moral beating on you if we are both in group.

Sure. Even then, leading by example may have a better chance to work.

I guess we’re returning to Matt 7:

110. Steven Mosher says:

“Doesn’t look like much of a point to me. Looks like one big ad hom, to me. Let’s blame climate scientists for the problems in developing policies to address climate change. Because hypocrisy.

Who actually cares if its an ad hom? you think logic should rule? You think that you can wish away the effectiveness of fallacies both formal and informal. My point remains. If you want to increase your probablity of applying an effective moral beating, then beat you own tribe.
Look. For years ya know conservatives have been bitchin about the moral decline in liberal hollywood. Complaints about Woody, and Polanski, and those moral beatings from the outside
had like zip effect. Along comes metoo. Climate scientists wont listen to moral beatings from skeptics. Sceptics wont listen to moral beatings from AGWers. Whether that moral beating is legit
or a variety of hypocrisy. I make that rather trivial observation: beatings work better when adminstered by tribe members on their own. I suppose you have to find a way to disagree with this.
Meh, thats par for your course.

“As if all climate scientists dropping their carbon footprint to zero would have any measurable effect.”
Depends on the accuracy of your measurment system. But I’m not making a consequentialist argument. Every little bit counts whether you can measure it or not. Physics says so. I’m not in the mood to deny basics. Anyway, some Aussie somewhere made the same argument with respect to Australia. Why join Paris when joining Paris wont have any measureable effect. Interesting that
we reject these arguments when it comes to countries, but not when it applies to individuals
or groups of individuals (like climate scientists)

“But leveraging that argument works well as a rhetorical strategy. Everyone likes a bad guy gambit. It’s like slippery slopes and laws of unintended consequences. They all work very well when to personalize the discussion and find an otter (or play victim).”

Thank god you came to your senses. YES it works as a rhetorical strategy. It works BETTER
if a tribe beats its own. And futher when it comes to changing human behavior you have two choices: Rhetoric or force.

111. Joshua says:

You think that you can wish away the effectiveness of fallacies both formal and informal.

No.

https://andthentheresphysics.wordpress.com/2018/02/22/climate-hawks/#comment-112264

112. Dave_Geologist says:

HH abd BBD
I will read and comment on the additional stuff. Lot to go through and probably a bit of background reading required.

In brief. Yes, coal fine, explains extra large scale, although the Siberian Traps is a very large LIP in its own right. But the nice thing about coal (like petroleum source rock for the PETM) is that it gives you a way to get a short pulse of emission on the back of a more drawn-out LIP. And use it up so it’s a one-off. A plume-fed LIP ultimately gets its energy from the rise of hot plume material, or if it’s rift-related by the spreading rate, both of why should ultimately hit geodynamic limits. And there are potential petrological differences to look for because disequilibrium melting and crystallisation will proceed differently, especially for the plume which is rising through different pressure regimes. And in rifting, for example very slow spreading doesn’t make “proper” oceanic crust.

There are other fast post-threshold mechanisms suggested for the PETM, e.g. Antarctica was, like now, mostly high plateau so tundra/permafrost thawing would start slowly in the coasts and valleys and run away once the whole plateau got above freezing. And the PETM inventory had the entire Paleocene to accumulate whereas later ETMs had much shorter accumulation periods. I’ll put something in the next thread about the PETM and other palaeo periods as it’s relevant to targets.

Whether the PT was just too big to cope with is academic IMHO because, at the risk of sounding catastrophist, I believe a PETM event would mean the end of civilisation as we know it. By which I mean many entire countries would, in practice, be uninhabitable. And the inhabitants wouldn’t just meekly lay down and die. And the uninhabitable area would include big chunks of the USA. Yes, Cass would say 24/7 a/c, but he no doubt lives in a nice suburb, not a trailer park or a ghetto or a ranch with livestock to look after.

Whether the PT was too fast to cope is of interest, ditto the PETM. We could warm faster than them, even if we don’t hit the same peak temperature.

Re the plume. I wouldn’t expect to see a mantle expression today. 10Ma is a short time in the life of a plume, 250Ma is not. There should be characteristic features left though. Initial thermal uplift, enhanced by intra- and under-plating, followed by thermal subsidence to about half the initial uplift. Evidence of the initial uplift can be missed. For decades most stratigraphers rejected the fission-track and other evidence for 1km of regional uplift in western Britain, even though there was strong supporting evidence in addition to AFTA (much, admittedly, unpublished oil-industry stuff). I came up with a near-700m estimate myself back in the 80s, and not so far west. Maybe there’s a lesson there for Siberia,

I find it hard to think of a non-plume mechanism that adds so much heat. Perhaps widespread rifting as in the formation of the Rheic ocean, but that leaves its own signature. Which admittedly may be hard to see under kilometres of basalt.

113. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

> you still dont get it. I will make it easy

> oh, BTW we solved the spent fuel storage problem for nukes. I’ve been hinting at this for a while

My observation is that that Steven Mosher’s comments make a great deal of sense if they are read in the voice of Han Solo.

114. Steven Mosher says:

No Rev wrong character.

Here.

116. BBD says:

117. partner and I drove down to PDX for music and fun on Wednesday. We drive our prius, camp overnight in tiny tear drop trailer with no hookups and had a great time, though we burned some carbon budget that rightfully belongs to our grandchildren imho. We shared table for music and food with a couple who are flying to Mexico next week for two week stay in luxury hotel, hang at the beach, excursion to mayan or aztec temples where humans were sacrificed. They seemed like very nice folks and we share a lot as retired couples with time on our hands and impulse to travel and enjoy a little of the “good life” as we define it. Our overlap is a very low cost live music venue in NE Portland, but after that, we diverge quite a bit about the “good life.”

My partner and I have not been on airplane in decades now and that’s not likely to change. I think we are all making carbon choices on a spectrum of justice that makes it difficult for me to inflict a moral beating on this couple. I want a fair system that encourages us all to do better and I think the only way to create a fair system is to phase out all subsidies for fossil fuel and high carbon emitting activities and to tax carbon emissions effectively, which is to say, at the pump.

the problem of impact on low income people and communities has to be considered so that reducing carbon emissions does not increase wealth and inequality globally. This is something we can do. It is something we show little commitment to doing. Singling out groups, scientists, retired folks who want to travel, etc. is just noise. The signal is carbon emissions and how to reduce them in a just and compassionate manner and very, very quickly.

Moral beating discussions are just more noise.

Mike

118. Dave_Geologist says:

HH and BBD
LOTS of goog PT references there so I’ll confine myself to the could-it-be-a-plume aspect.

The role of a mantle plume in the formation of the Siberian Province is contentious primarily because, unlike the NAIP and Iceland, there is no obvious modern day descendent hotspot (although some workers have suggested that the Iceland hotspot could fill this role; Smirnov & Tarduno, 2010). say

The reconstructed position coincides with the mantle region that also saw eruption of the ~ 61–58 million year-old North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP). Together with LIP volume estimates, this reconstruction poses a dilemma for some non-plume models: the partial-melts needed to account for the Siberian Traps should have depleted the enriched upper mantle source that is in turn crucial for the later formation of the NAIP. The observations instead suggest the existence of a long-lived (>250 million-year-long) lower mantle chemical and/or thermal anomaly, and significant temporal changes in mantle plume flux.

That Bad Boy has a lot to answer for! The PETM and the PT!

Interestingly, Gillian Foulger, a plume sceptic, has argued that the Iceland “hot spot” derives from a zone of unusually fertile lower mantle, not a plume.

We suggest an alternative model that attributes the enhanced magmatism in the Iceland region to high local mantle fertility from subducted Iapetus oceanic crust trapped in the Laurasian continental mantle lithosphere within the collision zone associated with the Caledonian suture. This crust is recycled into the melt zone locally beneath the mid-Atlantic ridge where isentropic upwelling of eclogitized crust or a crust–peridotite mixture produces excess melt.

It’s also argued that the stationarity of Iceland relative to the mid-Atlantic Ridge (which is moving in the hotspot reference frame) implies that the spreading centre triggered the plume (insert non-plume word for advection of hot, deep mantle if you’re a sceptic), not the other way round. One problem with that is that it’s long been know from dredging that some of the seamounts west of Scotland are Cretaceous, since confirmed by radiometric dating. They’re on extended continental crust, and have been interpreted as early pulses of the plume (Evidence from episodic seamount volcanism for pulsing of the Iceland plume in the past 70 Myr). The Iceland plume is very “pulse-y”, as seen in sediments, the compressional features I mentioned and the https://www.nature.com/articles/35079561. And one suggested mechanism for pulsing plumes is, surprise, surprise, entrainment of eclogite,hotspot (although some workers have suggested that the Iceland hotspot could fill this role; Smirnov & Tarduno, 2010). say

The reconstructed position coincides with the mantle region that also saw eruption of the ~ 61–58 million year-old North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP). Together with LIP volume estimates, this reconstruction poses a dilemma for some non-plume models: the partial-melts needed to account for the Siberian Traps should have depleted the enriched upper mantle source that is in turn crucial for the later formation of the NAIP. The observations instead suggest the existence of a long-lived (>250 million-year-long) lower mantle chemical and/or thermal anomaly, and significant temporal changes in mantle plume flux.

That Bad Boy has a lot to answer for! The PETM and the PT!

Interestingly, Gillian Foulger, a plume sceptic, has argued that the Iceland “hot spot” derives from a zone of unusually fertile lower mantle, not a plume.

We suggest an alternative model that attributes the enhanced magmatism in the Iceland region to high local mantle fertility from subducted Iapetus oceanic crust trapped in the Laurasian continental mantle lithosphere within the collision zone associated with the Caledonian suture. This crust is recycled into the melt zone locally beneath the mid-Atlantic ridge where isentropic upwelling of eclogitized crust or a crust–peridotite mixture produces excess melt.

It’s also argued that the stationarity of Iceland relative to the mid-Atlantic Ridge (which is moving in the hotspot reference frame) implies that the spreading centre triggered the plume (insert non-plume word for advection of hot, deep mantle if you’re a sceptic), not the other way round. One problem with that is that it’s long been know from dredging that some of the seamounts west of Scotland are Cretaceous, since confirmed by radiometric dating. They’re on extended continental crust, and have been interpreted as early pulses of the plume (Evidence from episodic seamount volcanism for pulsing of the Iceland plume in the past 70 Myr). The Iceland plume is very “pulse-y”, as seen in the sedimentary record, the Miocene compressional features I mentioned and the V-shaped Ridges. And one suggested mechanism for pulsing plumes is, surprise, surprise, entrainment of eclogite (althgh they argue for entrainment from the lower mantle, whereas Foulger argues only for upper mantle convection).

I think I feel a hypothesis coming on. The Siberian Traps were so huge because their plume arose from highly enriched lower mantle. It got depleted so went quiet for a while but still had a bit of oomph left and was bubbling away gently (too many mixed metaphors, I know). It found itself under a zone of enriched upper mantle in the late Cretaceous, which combined with sea-floor spreading gave it enough oomph to get going again. Note that the Atlantic margins have seen multiple episodes of underplating since the Middle Jurassic,
so you can maybe combine bits of the self-generated model with the plume model.

We’ve come a long way from flying, I hope ATTP doesn’t mind!

119. Dave_Geologist says:

Interestingly, Gillian Foulger, a plume sceptic, has argued that the Iceland “hot spot” derives from a zone of unusually fertile lower mantle, not a plume.

That should have been upper mantle.

120. Dave_Geologist says:

Arrgh. I saved it to an editor as it was so long and somehow pasted part of it twice.

ATTP, I’ve taken the liberty of correcting it, can you delete my previous garbled post please? Thanks.

HH and BBD
LOTS of good PT references there so I’ll confine myself to the could-it-be-a-plume aspect.

The role of a mantle plume in the formation of the Siberian Province is contentious primarily because, unlike the NAIP and Iceland, there is no obvious modern day descendent hotspot (although some workers have suggested that the Iceland hotspot could fill this role; Smirnov & Tarduno (2010) say

The reconstructed position coincides with the mantle region that also saw eruption of the ~ 61–58 million year-old North Atlantic Igneous Province (NAIP). Together with LIP volume estimates, this reconstruction poses a dilemma for some non-plume models: the partial-melts needed to account for the Siberian Traps should have depleted the enriched upper mantle source that is in turn crucial for the later formation of the NAIP. The observations instead suggest the existence of a long-lived (>250 million-year-long) lower mantle chemical and/or thermal anomaly, and significant temporal changes in mantle plume flux.

That Bad Boy has a lot to answer for! The PETM and the PT!

Interestingly, Gillian Foulger, a plume sceptic, has <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0377027304003300<a href="argued that the Iceland “hot spot” derives from a zone of unusually fertile lower mantle, not a plume.

We suggest an alternative model that attributes the enhanced magmatism in the Iceland region to high local mantle fertility from subducted Iapetus oceanic crust trapped in the Laurasian continental mantle lithosphere within the collision zone associated with the Caledonian suture. This crust is recycled into the melt zone locally beneath the mid-Atlantic ridge where isentropic upwelling of eclogitized crust or a crust–peridotite mixture produces excess melt.

It’s also argued that the stationarity of Iceland relative to the mid-Atlantic Ridge (which is moving in the hotspot reference frame) implies that the spreading centre triggered the plume (insert non-plume word for advection of hot, deep mantle if you’re a sceptic), not the other way round. One problem with that is that it’s long been know from dredging that some of the seamounts west of Scotland are Cretaceous, since confirmed by radiometric dating. They’re on extended continental crust, and have been interpreted as early pulses of the plume (Evidence from episodic seamount volcanism for pulsing of the Iceland plume in the past 70 Myr). The Iceland plume is very “pulse-y”, as seen in sediments, the compressional features I mentioned and the <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/35079561<a href="V-shaped Ridges. And one suggested mechanism for pulsing plumes is, surprise, surprise entrainment of eclogite (although they argue for entrainment from the lower mantle, whereas Foulger argues only for upper mantle convection).

I think I feel a hypothesis coming on. The Siberian Traps were so huge because their plume arose from highly enriched lower mantle. It got depleted so went quiet for a while but still had a bit of oomph left and was bubbling away gently (too many mixed metaphors, I know). It found itself under a zone of enriched upper mantle in the late Cretaceous, which combined with sea-floor spreading gave it enough oomph to get going again. Note that the Atlantic margins have seen multiple episodes of underplating since the Middle Jurassic, so you can maybe combine bits of the self-generated model with the plume model.

We’ve come a long way from flying, I hope ATTP doesn’t mind!

121. Dave_Geologist says:

HH
I think Saunders is being over-considerate to the no-plume hypothesis, especially given this:
A mantle plume origin for the Siberian traps: uplift and extension in the West Siberian Basin, Russia; Saunders et al 2005

The West Siberian Basin (WSB) records a detailed history of Permo-Triassic rifting, extension and volcanism, followed by Mesozoic and Cenozoic sedimentation in a thermally subsiding basin. Sedimentary deposits of Permian age are absent from much of the basin, suggesting that large areas of the nascent basin were elevated and exposed at that time. Industrial seismic and well log data from the basin have enabled extension and subsidence modelling of parts of the basin. Crustal extension (β) factors are calculated to be in excess of 1.6 in the northern part of the basin across the deep Urengoy graben. 1-D backstripping of the Triassic to Cenozoic sedimentary sequences in this region indicates a period of delayed subsidence during the early Mesozoic. The combination of elevation, rifting and volcanism is consistent with sublithospheric support, such as a hot mantle plume..

That’s classic hot rifting, a topic on which I’ve published myself. There’s a well-established relationship between the amount of subsidence during extension, and the subsequent thermal subsidence caused by relaxation of the isotherms which were raised by extension. You can tell from the rotated pre-rift fault blocks how much extension there was, and you can easily work out how much syn-rift sediment there should be. Back-of-envelope (actually, reading off a nomogram 😉 because for actively compacting sediment there’s no analytical solution and you need a finite-difference model), for β=1.6 it should be about 2.5km on average at the end of rifting, about 2km after further compaction under post-rift sediments. To have no syn-rift sediments means you either had a lot of excess heat flow, or you started at a very high elevation (5-6km if you don’t even have sediments preserved in the deepest parts of half-grabens). Absent evidence of a pre-existing Alpine or Himalayan scale mountain range, my money is on a plume.

122. BBD says:

Whoah. Thanks Dave. It’s great having a proper geologist on here. Broadens the horizons. I for one can say that while I know a little about the linkage between LIPs and extinction events knew absolutely sweet FA about what caused LIPs. My answer – sit down now – would have been ‘volcanism’. 🙂

123. Willard says:

> I hope ATTP doesn’t mind!

I’m sure he would mind less if you had a guest post under your sleeve, DaveG.

Just sayin’.

124. Steven Mosher says:

Small blue Mike wants a fair system and a gas tax.
Forget that in the US only 20% of the Co2 comes from all transportation. Just as my individual contribution amounts to zip, I suspect that the gas tax will amount to zip. What’s different is that Mike gets to apply force to a bunch of people rather than rhetoric to a retired couple. Rather he gets the government to apply non rhetorical solutions for him. He gets to express his will over others–drive less–at a distance rather than in person. Most more comfortable way of control. Of course the gas tax must also be fair. Are we talking exemptions or rebates for the poor? For farmers, for rural folks who have to drive farther? For independent truckers, who knows. What we do know is Mike doesn’t really care about his grandkids. I think They are way more important than some music gathering if you look at it fairly. Chances are that even with a gas tax Mike would still travel and burn Co2. One does not buy a travel trailer unless one intends to use it, and to continue to use it despite increased gas taxes. The tax isn’t to get you to stop driving, it’s to get others to stop driving.

125. Everett F Sargent says:

SM sez (a bunch of really silly strawperson stuff, like screen doors will work on a submarine, as long as you stay on the surface, which kind of defeats the purpose of calling it a submarine to begin with in the 1st place) …

“For independent truckers, who knows.”

247 autonomous trucks are the future. Skynet is out to get you, so run really fast when you cross the road or you’ll end up as Skynet roadkill (with a real dullard of a specimen of homo sapiens sitting behind the (soon to disappear) wheel to watch you die). 🙂

You tax all FF energy use, not just gasoline. The tax is also a progressive tax, the more you own/earn the more you pay. Whomever said that tax policy is really simple has already been shot in the head. The purpose is not to stop FF usage but to curtail usage, then over time, lower cost renewables replace the higher taxed FF usage.

If that doesn’t work then the Skynet bots will just find another way to kill off homo sapiens. Skynets “R” Us.

Don’t like taxation? Then move to the Moon or Mars.

I don’t think life is fair, but then again I really don’t care.

126. Joshua says:

Don’t like taxation? Then move to the Moon or Mars.

One used to be able to go to Somalia, but alas, even that paradise has been ruined by organized, state run theft.

http://www.africareview.com/news/Somalia-reintroduces-taxes-after-23-years/979180-2237214-150g3ur/index.html

127. Steven Mosher says:

Sarg

1. I didnt suggest doing fairness AT THE PUMP, small mike did. I didnt notice
you calling him to account for that.
2. Yes 247 trucks. big fan. Now, address mikes fairness issue.

Simple fact remains you wont get there with Just a tax at the pump, and whatever you do, there will be the fairness issue.

in my simple mind I dont want folks who drag travel trailers around talking about fairness. I’ll put it this way. Some people will be able to afford the ‘sacrifice’ of higher prices. Higher prices wont deter them because if they really cared they would stop now. They want others to sacrifice.

raise airfares? FFS the university pays the ticket. You’ll still fly to conferences and just charge it.

when I had to pay my own air travel it was easy to give it up as I did. Now that its paid for, meh

In other words, its a supply problem first and foremost. taxes are fine, they decrease some cigarette smoking, but even when California went to 9 bucks a pack… didnt stop me.
They are 16 RMB in china, taxi to work is 15RMB

128. Steven Mosher says:

“Don’t like taxation? Then move to the Moon or Mars.”

Stupid shopper, China is closer. Cheap transportation and cigarettes. whats not to like

129. Dave_Geologist says:

I’m sure he would mind less if you had a guest post under your sleeve, DaveG.
Just sayin’.

Let me work up to it Willard.

As a teaser I was thinking of adding some pointers to the Paris thread, on past climates. Not so much what Paris most-likely outcomes would be like, but about what the palaeo record says about higher sensitivity cases. E.g. what would it take to have zero chance of inflicting an end-Permian even on our descendants in hundreds of years time.

To do a guest post I’d need to organise my thoughts, check that my memory of stuff from years ago is correct, and that the science hasn’t moved on. Plus, not replicate something where I could just say “go read that”. Although acting as a general-geologist interpreter of a palaeoclimate specialists work might be an option.

130. John Carpenter says:

“In other words, its a supply problem first and foremost. taxes are fine, they decrease some cigarette smoking, but even when California went to 9 bucks a pack… didnt stop me.”

Enter legal marijuana. Uh, forget most of what I just preached, we want that smoke. What a joke.

131. Everett F Sargent says:

SM sez (continuing with even more strawpeople) …

No one is asking (or forcing) anyone to STOP. Do you even remotely get the not STOPPING part? You have to slow down 1st before you can STOP if you do choose to completely STOP.

So, for example, China doesn’t really give a fudge about health care, as in smog much.

In the USA, we have ‘so called’ clean air and clean water and there is a tax on cigarettes to cover the health care costs of that fraction of the population that still chooses to smoke (said taxes are not being used for their originally intended purpose though and, in general, health care costs are through the roof).

Everything sold or bartered would be subject to a carbon tax. Everything. You can redistribute that carbon tax in a progressive way and restrict those refunds to renewable upgrades or increased efficiencies (some, hopefully most, will follow those rules and some are determined to break those rules, that this is not an original idea/thought at all should not mean that this has to be explained in every discussion, as I just did).

A carbon tax is but one tool that would be necessarily included in a toolbox of solutions going forwards.

In the end, you try different things, a carbon tax is but one of those (mostly proposed things). I have my own reasons for being skeptical with regards to the success of a carbon tax, but we will never know the outcome of different alternatives unless we try them out 1st. This isn’t about you and your one off behaviors, it is about the total population demographic behaviors though.

If you have a better way of getting from point A to point B, then I’m all ears. I must admit though, that under the current USA administration, there is a concerted effort to anti-try or untry.

132. Steven Mosher says:

“Enter legal marijuana. Uh, forget most of what I just preached, we want that smoke. What a joke.”

yup.

133. Steven Mosher says:

“No one is asking (or forcing) anyone to STOP. Do you even remotely get the not STOPPING part? You have to slow down 1st before you can STOP if you do choose to completely STOP.

Huh. I stopped flying. 2009. Finished the climategate book and stopped.
Didnt slow down. just stopped. weird, that you dont get the stopping part. The specific I was refering to was dragging around a travel trailer. No physical requirement to slow down before stopping. Just sell it, or better yet chop it up so other wont be tempted to drive to places for entertainment. Do your part, stay at home, especially if you are retired. So you didnt see the world when you were young. Your loss, dont burn your grandchildrens future for the luxury of driving to music concerts.. Just stop, or dont start.

134. Steven Mosher says:

‘So, for example, China doesn’t really give a fudge about health care, as in smog much.”

Now there you go being a stupid westerner. Doesnt give a fudge?

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-01-11/china-is-winning-its-war-on-air-pollution-at-least-in-beijing

Today is pretty bad in what has otherwise been a much improved winter AQ season.

Oh ya, in case you wondered about data sources for claims about China Air quality

http://berkeleyearth.org/air-quality-real-time-map/

maybe you forgot, jeez.

135. Everett F Sargent says:

SM,

Posting your own exceptions does not change the overall picture very much, if at all. I have ZERO interest in a ‘so called’ real time map. Monthly data or annual data or weekly data or daily data, something that quantifies the differences between different locations and/or regions and/or countries.

Let me state this as clearly as I can: It is not about me, it is not about you and it is not about SBM.

You and only you are trying to make it about SMB and/or you. I really don’t know why. I don’t have a dog in this fight as I just wanted to correct some of your. oh look a squirrel routine.

Bye.

136. Dan Hughes says:

Steven said: “FFS the university pays the ticket. You’ll still fly to conferences and just charge it.”

( Not necessarily the university, but at least the research contract. )

Yep, and a part of the carbon costs of a conference gets a double increase because you’re using the carbon costs of the taxes paid by almost everyone while you collect your salary and do not pay for your conference costs. Instead, because you’re already getting paid, and with the carbon costs associated with your income, why not pay your own conference costs? All of them; travel, lodging, food, &etc. Save some carbon costs.

Oh yeah, the conference itself has intrinsic/implicit carbon costs in all the overhead in electricity, paper, transport between conference days/sites, support personnel, all those glasses of water at all those dinners, &etc. Someone needs to cover that delta.

Cimate Science defined the talk. Some Climate Scientists insist that everyone else walk the talk. The optics are not good. Nope, the optics are very, very bad. Take the recent example set by the reporter from the New York Times who is writing about the environmental problems of carbon while traveling by chartered aircraft to far-off places. Or the daily continuous examples set by DiCaprio, Bernie, Al, Kerry, and a long, long, long, list of others. Their optics are obscene.

Everyone with an above-average income is making an above-average contribution to the carbon costs, based solely on the carbon costs of pre capita income: I suspect that includes just about everyone reading this blog ( a personal computer is not a necessity for life ). Plus many of those with extreme wealth seem to go the extra mile to make extreme contributions. Multiple obscene houses in multiple distance locations.

The beat never ends.

137. But it isn’t primarily where people might think. Fact: Every pound of consumer product results from 70 pounds of upstream tailings, energy, etc, and, then, disposing of products also consumes. Here’s the rub though: Stop this cycle, or significantly reduce it, and economic demand will choke. This is the whole point about economic prosperity being incompatible with environmental sustainability. It is not entirely about personal choice. To make this sustainable, we all need to be poorer.

138. Willard says:

> a part of the carbon costs of a conference gets a double increase because you’re using the carbon costs of the taxes paid by almost everyone while you collect your salary

Accounting doesn’t work like that, DanH.

***

> Take the recent example set by the reporter

Peddling works like that.

139. Willard says:

> forget most of what I just preached

You yourself might have forgotten, JohnC. Unless you preached to make tobacco illegal? I could live with that.

140. John Carpenter says:

Willard,
Not about making something illegal… its about messaging, marketing and vilification to suite ones needs…. until it doesn’t.

141. Joshua says:

Speaking of messaging and marketing:

Combined with the large increase in salience after 2006, more persuasive cues and messages from parties are reaching the public than ever before across all our media. In contrast, contrarian scientists and climate skeptic\ organizations and have had a comparatively minimal and perhaps even diminishing presence in both mainstream and, surprisingly, Fox News coverage of climate change, as shown in those same panels in Figure 1. This does not mean Fox News’ coverage is not
laced with climate skepticism. It does mean that such skepticism is typically not cloaked
in the pseudo-authority of organized climate skeptics.

A closer look at the coverage of organized climate skeptics, as shown in Figure 2,
reveals how marginal their impact has been in the media. Contrarian scientists and
organizations dedicated to casting doubt on climate science have seen their presence in
coverage decline over the years, even in Fox News, while their occurrence in the television
coverage is now effectively non-existent. More prominent in the news are industry and
conservative movement groups. The former are comprised of companies like Exxon and
industry-led organizations like the now defunct Global Climate Coalition. The latter
include strident advocacy organizations like the Heartland Institute and more mainstream
conservative think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

Other cool stuff in that article.

142. Joshua says:

Hmmm.

Our results also provide some suggestive evidence that citizens may sometimes form opinions about politics from signals they receive from opposing party elites. Democratic messages were more consistent and increasingly available in the media over time, while Republican elites were less frequent and mixed in their messaging until recently, when much of climate change polarization had already occurred. It is possible that Republican voters were negatively persuaded by the clearer and more abundant signal sent by Democratic elites in the media. This is consistent with other research that identifies boomerang effects in science communication where frames or messages designed to persuade may, in fact, do the opposite among certain segments of the public (Hart & Nisbet, 2012). It is also in line with prior research showing that cues from an opposing party are as influential in persuasion as cues from the party with whom the voter identifies (Berinsky, 2009; Nicholson, 2012), though more research has to be done to test this causal proposition in the context of climate change with either aggregate time series analyses or an experimental design

…With regard to Steven’s concern about the susceptibility of climate scientists to moral beatings if they fly on airplanes….perhaps one implication of the findings of that study is that prominent climate scientists (who are likely associated, ideologically, with Democrats) flying less, and promoting such behaviors, would have a boomerang effect and just make them even more susceptible to moral beatings?

IMO, once you start worrying about “moral beatings,” the game is lost. People who are out looking to inflict moral beatings will always, always, find a means to carry out their goals. Their ability to beat morally functions more or less independently of the action of their targets. Trying to chase down susceptibility to moral beatings, from those whose focus is on inflicting moral beatings, is a waste of time.

143. Willard says:

> its about messaging, marketing and vilification to suite ones needs…. until it doesn’t.

Your caricature does that well, JohnC.

I don’t see any inconsistency between taxing tobacco and taxing pot. I see one between fighting for the freedom to promote and sell a product that definitely kills and waging a war on drugs.

144. John Carpenter says:

“I don’t see any inconsistency between taxing tobacco and taxing pot.”

There isn’t any

“I see one between fighting for the freedom to promote and sell a product that definitely kills and waging a war on drugs.”

Of course you do, because that is not an apples to apples comparison. Now tell me that pot is a product that definitely doesn’t kill. You can’t. If you agree cigarette smoke is harmful and leads to lung disease – then you agree pot smoke leads to the same conclusion. Pretty simple Willard.

145. John Carpenter says:

“IMO, once you start worrying about “moral beatings,” the game is lost.”

Joshua, I don’t think it’s about worrying about moral beatings, its about how effective they are when comparing who gives them… in or out of group. Maybe you don’t agree that moral beatings within a group are more effective than moral beatings from out of group. In my experience they are.

146. Joshua says:

Hey John Carpenter –

In my experience they are.

I’m not sure that we can ganeralize to gain much insight into this particular context – which is pretty much fossilized, IMO, into fixed tribal camps.

In this context, my guess is that those who are interested in moral beatings are those who already have their minds made up that they are morally superior. The basic motivation behind their engagement on the issue is to reflexively confirm their moral superiority. And I think it’s less than useful to worry about their goal to obtain the moral high ground because it is a circular mechanism. They will always find the high ground via one means or another. You can’t prevent them from doing so no matter what you do. It’s kind of like the “skeptics” can’t be wrong mechanism.

But maybe if you explain more about how you see this playing out in this context it might help. What evidence do you see of how the moral beatings taking place influence the basic calculus to a meaningful degree?

147. Willard says:

> Now tell me that pot is a product that definitely doesn’t kill.

Proving negative existentials is still an open problem, John.

148. Willard says:

> If you agree cigarette smoke is harmful and leads to lung disease – then you agree pot smoke leads to the same conclusion.

Wut?

149. John Carpenter says:

“Proving negative existentials is still an open problem, John.”

Fair enough.

“Wut?”

Willard, playing dumb does not suite you. I think we can agree that consistently inhaling smoke, regardless of the source, is not good for your lungs or your health. Are you choosing to be skeptical about this?

150. Willard says:

JohnC,

We know that smoking cigarettes causes cancer. In fact:

Tobacco kills up to half of its users.

Tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year. More than 6 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Around 80% of the world’s 1.1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/

I don’t think something like this has been established regarding pot, otherwise I know an industry who would have promoted these results a while ago.

Now, recreational pot soon will be legal in Canada. What does the government do? It warns about adverse side-effects, e.g.:

151. angech says:

Willard says: March 26, 2018 at 12:52 am “> If you agree cigarette smoke is harmful and leads to lung disease – then you agree pot smoke leads to the same conclusion Wut?”

Not exactly proof Willard but people who work in the COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] area have a lot of people on home oxygen for precisely the reason that long term inhaled smoke causes severe lung damage.

As for
“We know that smoking cigarettes cause cancer. In fact: Tobacco kills up to half of its users.”
There is a difference between being associated with death, causing death a little earlier and causing death as the only reason like a bullet.
All people die, all smokers die, smokers die a little bit earlier on average but enjoy life a heck of a lot more until they get all gunged up and SOB etc,etc.
Would you rather smoke and mix with the cool crowd or be a dweeb? Short answer, all the non science fellows and girls and some of the science ones would rather be cool. I guess. Evidence based. All the cool kids I once knew smoked.

152. “Would you rather smoke and mix with the cool crowd or be a dweeb? Short answer, all the non science fellows and girls and some of the science ones would rather be cool. I guess. Evidence based. All the cool kids I once knew smoked.”

I think you will find times have changed a bit. If anything that is just a damning indictment of the “cool kids” of your era, i.e. that they were so desperate for peer esteem that they would seriously increase their risk of dying from cancer.

Bonus: angech wrote (@ WUWT):

Funny how CO2 doubling produces 4 degrees of putative warming from a baseline of 280 ppm but nobody, goes backward by halving the CO2 for 10 times to see how cold we would be-. – 40 C colder?
We could theoretically go back to 1 molecule of CO2 and double that and get 4 C of warming.
I do not think so.
Bunkum.
Hence the CO2 doubling is logically wrong.

LOL.

153. I should point out that “nobody goes forward by doubling the CO2 for 10 times to see how warm we would be-. +40C warmer?” either ;o)

154. @dikranmarsupial,

Yeah. Isn’t the CO2-free estimate of Earth’s surface temperature something like 200 ° K?

155. The logarithmic relationship breaks down long before you get to one molecule. This sort of thing makes it clear to me that angech is not engaging in good faith. How often have we discussed the fine points of climate sensitivity here, and then I find him claiming it is bunkum and logically wrong at WUWT.

156. angech says:

“The logarithmic relationship breaks down long before you get to one molecule.”
Why?
So, how many molecules does it take to start up?
Another magical in this range it does this but….?

157. verytallguy says:

Angech,

the logarithmic relationship is purely a convenient fit of data to a curve. It is only relevant to the range of data fitted. In other words, It’s empirical, not based on any underlying truth.

I’ll try to find a reference for you.

158. @verytallguy, @angech,

Also, the relationship is log-linear only for a portion of the range. There has been some study which indicates that the relationship, that is, sensitivity, might be different in hothouse climates. The original paper is thus linked.

159. dikranmarsupial says:

Angech, don’t you think that perhaps YOU should have found that out before dismissing it as bunkum? You are making my point for me.

160. Willard says:

> [P]eople who work in the COPD [chronic obstructive pulmonary disease] area have a lot of people on home oxygen for precisely the reason that long term inhaled smoke causes severe lung damage.

I don’t doubt it, Doc.

Show me some stats.

161. Dan Hughes says:

I wonder what the compliance rate is among Salon readers:

Humanity’s meat and dairy intake must be cut in half by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate change

And members of Greenpeace:

In a recent press release on its website, Greenpeace called for a reduction in meat, dairy, and egg consumption.

Or, say, among Climate Scientists who argue for mitigation in favor of adaptation. Or, what is the compliance rate among readers of . . . andthentheresphysics

Saying the talk and not walking the talk is the most certain way to destroy creditability.

162. Dan,

Or, what is the compliance rate among readers of . . . andthentheresphysics

Can you give an example of something that people have advocated for here …. oh, forget it, it’s not really worth even asking you to try.

163. Joshua says:

Saying the talk and not walking the talk is the most certain way to destroy creditability.

How would I destroy my credibility among people who don’t think I’m credible?

164. The Very Reverend Jebediah Hypotenuse says:

Saying the talk and not walking the talk is the most certain way to destroy creditability.

I’m not sure what ‘creditability’ is – but firing off a obvious tu quoque like that is unlikely to enhance your score.

165. VTG it is my understanding (possibly rather flawed) that it isn’t just a convenient curve-fit, but that there are physical reasons to think it will be approximately logarithmic. I recently saw a reference to this paper, which seems interesting, although I’ve only skimmed it so far and it is currently rather beyond me, so caveat lector:

Why logarithmic? A note on the dependence of radiative forcing on gas concentration

First published: 28 November 2014

https://doi.org/10.1002/2014JD022466

Abstract

Line‐by‐line radiative transfer computations show that the logarithmic dependence of radiative forcing on gas concentration not only applies to broadband irradiation fluxes such as in the well‐known case of the CO2 forcing, but also applies to the spectral radiance change due to both CO2 and other gases, such as H2O. The logarithmic relationship holds for monochromatic radiance requires an explanation beyond the conventional ideas based on the spectroscopic features of the gas absorption lines. We show that the phenomenon can be explained by an Emission Layer Displacement Model, which describes the radiance response to gas perturbation under normal atmospheric conditions such as temperature linearly varying with height and gas concentration exponentially decaying with height.

Note it hasn’t been cited much and about half are self-citations, but then again, it is a propaedeutic note, rather than a research paper, so perhaps that isn’t surprising. On the flip side, Prof. Pierrehumbert is thanked for his comments in the acknowledgements and Suki Manabe and Isaac Held for discussions, which increases my confidence in the paper. Note that when someone doesn’t have the expertise to judge a paper for themselves it is a good heuristic to be guided by people who know what they are talking about.

166. “Saying the talk and not walking the talk is the most certain way to destroy creditability.”

climate skeptics talk a lot about scientific method, but their application of it is not uniformly good. YMMV with that approach! ;o)

167. Thanks for the reference, @dikranmarsupial.

I’m sure they are correct, but it would be good to have Eli’s take on this, too. He often makes atmospheric radiation physics a lot simpler to understand.

168. verytallguy says:

Thanks Dikran, hyper.

I can’t find any obvious reference, so Angech will have to trust me. (!)

169. Steven Mosher says:

sarg.
the data is there since 2014.
hourly
daily
monthly
annually.
peer reviewed

the air quality is improving because the government is taking action. your assertion,unsupported by any facts, is wrong.
FFS, when my co workers have to move out of their buildings because indoor coal heating is being banned thats not an exception thats the result of the government taking action.

170. Steven Mosher says:

here sarg

Hourly data back to 2014
knock yourself out

http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/air-quality/local/China/Beijing/Beijing

171. Steven Mosher says:

“Joshua, I don’t think it’s about worrying about moral beatings, its about how effective they are when comparing who gives them… in or out of group. Maybe you don’t agree that moral beatings within a group are more effective than moral beatings from out of group. In my experience they are.”

Ordinarily I say outrageous things just to enjoy seeing if I can defend it. But in the case of moral beatings I thought it was rather obvious that in group beatings work better than out group.
Its hard to see why Joshua disagrees with this, maybe he has data? dunno

If you want to see the result of an in group beating witness Judith. when your in group beats you
you have a choice: repent or change your identity.

172. Willard says:

> I wonder what […]

Not a good idea, DanH.

Second warning.

173. So, angech, are you willing to acknowledge that your assertion that the use of a constant warming per doubling for ECS is not “bunkum” and “logically wrong” as you claimed at WUWT?

174. oops, forgot the “is incorrect” at the end.

175. Joshua says:

Steven –

Its hard to see why Joshua disagrees with this

Really? Try reading what I wrote again. Get back to me. We’ll talk.

176. Everett F Sargent says:

SM sez (another lot of strawpeople) …

You were saying …
http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/air-quality/CityAverageList.php

China and India top that dirty list (they are the only two on that list)

Meanwhile, the USA and CA are looking quite good on the clean list, but I don’t see Beijing on the clean list.

Such a simple means to deflect from your repeated oh look a squirrel routine (e. g. by your singling out a single city in China as if it were actually representative of all of China’s cities, contrary to what you may think, Beijing != China. Did I even mention Beijing? No I did not. I did mention China as in the country of China, mkay.).

This has got rather boring. The exception to the rule (e. g. Beijing) proves the rule (e. g. China’s air pollution sukz)

177. Actually UNFCCC judges the USA to be severely out of compliance with it’s INDC schedule, not that the world as a whole is doing well.

178. Steven Mosher says:

sarg.

1. the air is getting better.
2. the government cares.

your claim is they dont care.

that is false. the air across all of china is bad.
true. the air is getting better. in beijing and across the nation. because the government cares and is making changes. we have been monitoring the country since 2014. aq is improving. the data show this.

no data shows the government not caring which was your claim.

if you want to argue that they dont care enough, then go ahead and move those goalposts. i might agree.

its getting better
because of government action
they care.

doubt it…i pointed you at the data, for beijing and the whole world.

data.

179. Everett F Sargent says:

SM sez …

Trying to improve the worst nation in the world to still being the worst nation in the world, is like saying drinking less lead paint is good for you …
National Average Particulate Air Pollution (PM2.5)
http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/air-quality/CountryList.php
http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/air-quality/CityAverageList.php?country=China
http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/air-quality/CityAverageList.php?country=United%20States%20of%20America

Taking Action on Air Pollution Control in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) Region: Progress, Challenges and Opportunities
http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/15/2/306/pdf
Received: 1 January 2018; Accepted: 29 January 2018; Published: 9 February 2018

“Therefore, exploring the progress and the challenges of the Action Plan in BTH is crucial to allow further progress, and—even more-importantly, helping to formulate a more strategic plan in the next stage and to meet the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People’s Republic of China (MEP’s) target on controlling annual PM2.5 concentration below National Ambient Air Quality Standards Level II of 35 µg/m3 in all cities by 2030 [4], which, according to recent research, can barely be met with the current policies, particularly in the BTH region [14–16].”

So AQ is improving, still by far the worst in the world though. Can’t wait for the day when China can claim its AQ is better than Bangladesh.

WMO Ambient (outdoor) air quality and health
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs313/en/

Guideline values, PM2.5, μg/m3 annual mean, 25 μg/m3 24-hour mean

So 35 μg/m3 in 2030 (maybe) versus WMO recommendation of 10 μg/m3? Way to go China (in 2030 maybe).

Also this part “we have been monitoring the country since 2014” is a bit of a stretch as “you” (nee “we” or BEST) have not yourselves been collecting and presenting China’s or the worlds air pollution data in the 1st hand sense, various public entities make their AQ data available as they have the instrumentation and collect and monitor their own data themselves. D’oh! 😦

180. Everett F Sargent says:

“Guideline values, PM2.5, μg/m3 annual mean, 25 μg/m3 24-hour mean”

“Guideline values, PM2.5, 10 μg/m3 annual mean, 25 μg/m3 24-hour mean”

181. Everett F Sargent says:

This one looks like a mole has invaded China (it is actually Godzilla) …

And this one looks like Mickey Mouse has invaded China (ditto Godzilla) …

Don’t look at Japan or Western Europe on North America though (way too much green)

182. Joshua says:

the air is getting better. in beijing and across the nation. because the government cares and is making changes.

Interesting to see a libertarian speaking favorably of centrist governing in the context of the following:

https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/03/29/climate/epa-cafe-auto-pollution-rollback.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage

I left Judith a comment congratulating her on this development. I tend to doubt it will pass through moderation.

183. @Everett F Sargent,

Oh, and who is ultimately responsible for that?

That’s from Davis and Caldeira, 2010, “Consumption based accounting of CO2 emissions”, PNAS, 2010.

184. Everett F Sargent says:

hypergeometric,

The rest of the world … that’s how you know who was elected . .. because They Took Our Jobs …

I’ve seen that paper ,,, really kind of obvious … really.

185. John Hartz says:

A rather critical assessment of flying academics…

The Climate Change Hypocrisy Of Jet-Setting Academics, Opinion by Nives Dolšak and Aseem Prakash, HuffPost, Mar 31, 2018

186. Steven Mosher says:

“A rather critical assessment of flying academics…”

beat me to it

187. Steven Mosher says:

“This one looks like a mole has invaded China (it is actually Godzilla) …”

Yes, if prior years it was much worse. Like I said, it’s getting better.
Current estimates are that it will cost around 4Million jobs.. or let me put it this way.

During party meetings in beijing they will on occasion force the nearby factories to close.
Idled workforce is about 4m. One problem is that as they shut down coal, the replacements
are not always there .. and so in a few cases hospitals had no power ( one thing to consider when comparing with market based approaches)

188. Steven Mosher says:

“Interesting to see a libertarian speaking favorably of centrist governing in the context of the following:”

Favorably? I spoke factually. Sarg made the uninformed comment that the government doesnt care. it does. As a Libertarian I’m commited to facts first and philosophy second. In most cases I think individual liberty will produce the best sub optimal result, sub optimal because of course nothings perfect. You might call me an empirical libertarian rather than a philosophical one.
When it comes to air pollution, it’s entirely unclear to me what the best approach is. regulation? taxation? market based approaches. And it’s entirely unclear what the proper metric for judging approaches should be. Air quality is obvioulsy one, but so is economic well being and it tough to trade off the 2. In Beijing for example, we could get to blue sky at the cost of about 4 million jobs.
So even with ultimate authority the state can only make gradual improvments. Rome, day, wasnt built in one. And when its all cleaned up of course folks can look back and explain how it could have been done better. In short, challenges like air pollution and climate change are quite unique and I think it best that folks just junk their pet philosophies when discussing them and approach the issue with pure pragmatism… folks gunna try stuff and see what works. Only problem is you wont know if you got it right until too late, so of course philosophical approaches will dominate. Neat problem.

Funny story about how things work here. We are smoking in the boys room next to the no smoking sign, and some one explains to me. you can smoke anywhere as long as there is no
smoke alarm. So we test that in a resturant with no smoking signs on the table. Yup sure enough.
the sign means nothing, the alarm controls behavior. weird.

189. Steven Mosher says:

“SM sez …

Trying to improve the worst nation in the world to still being the worst nation in the world, is like saying drinking less lead paint is good for you …”

At some point you need to honestly own your error. You claimed the government doesnt care.
It does.
Now, you might argue it should care more, no argument
Now, you might argue that it should have acted early, no argument
And you might might argue that its doing to little, no argument.

You might say any number of things that are actually backed up by fact, and you’d get no argument from me.

But you didnt do that. here is what you said

‘So, for example, China doesn’t really give a fudge about health care, as in smog much.”

And my argument is that they do give a fudge. The data show air quality improving.
is the job done? Nope. never claimed that
is it perfect every day? Nope. never claimed that
could it be better? yup.
Do they give enough fudge about it? hard to say, its an enormous problem.
Do they give a fudge? yup, they give a fudge.

You could have made it easier by just saying you exaggerated to make a point, because that is what you did.

Then we could have a civilized discussion.

190. Joshua says:

In most cases I think individual liberty will produce the best sub optimal result,…

What empirical evidence shows you that air quality is better in locations where there isn’t regulation of “individual liberty” to pollute the air?

Air quality is obvioulsy one, but so is economic well being and it tough to trade off the 2.

Do you have empirical evidence that economic health is negatively correlated with government regulation of air pollution? What is your empirical evidence that there is a tradeoff?

One of the best photos I ever took was in a small airport in Italy. It captures a bunch of Italian men smoking cigarettes while standing directly in front of a “Vietto Fumare” sign.

191. Steven Mosher says:

Joshua
‘In most cases I think individual liberty will produce the best sub optimal result, sub optimal because of course nothings perfect. You might call me an empirical libertarian rather than a philosophical one.
When it comes to air pollution, it’s entirely unclear to me what the best approach is. regulation? taxation? market based approaches.”

in bold

WHEN IT COMES TO AIR POLLUTION…… Its unclear to me.

As for the economic tradeoff. estimates around Beijing run about costing 4million jobs in industry
still they are taking actions, demolishing apartment buildings (with indoor coal) and factories, quite a lot in the end of 2017. 2 days notice. US news covered it a little.

related story

https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/05/china-air-pollution-solutions-environment-tangshan/

192. Steven Mosher says:

“One of the best photos I ever took was in a small airport in Italy. It captures a bunch of Italian men smoking cigarettes while standing directly in front of a “Vietto Fumare” sign.”

Same with the bathroom at work. everyone smokes by the no smoking sign.

193. Steven Mosher says:

“Do you have empirical evidence that economic health is negatively correlated with government regulation of air pollution? What is your empirical evidence that there is a tradeoff?”

tradeoff is probably the wrong word. The issue would be managing the dislocations. We can see, for example, that we get blue skies by shutting down factories in Heibei. Pretty clear evidence.
Now, they dont this this permanently. why not? It would be pretty interesting data if you could show that shutting down all the factories outside beijing had no economic effect. That would be great data. Seems pretty clear that there is a path from dirty to clean that involves aliviating some suffering on the health side while not trying to impose too much suffering on the economic side.
if there were no balancing no tradeoff why then just shut it all down tommorrow. Not sure what you would do with hospitals …. see as the shut off coal folks had to switch to gas, and there were gas shortages.. even at hospitals

What winter was like

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/04/poor-bear-brunt-beijing-coal-cleanup-with-no-heating-at–6c

https://www.ft.com/content/21cb4ed2-d7f9-11e7-a039-c64b1c09b482

So is there a trade off? ya, if you have an industrial base that has lower costs because of a lack of regulation and you impose costs, there will be an effect.

you dont magically get clean air without paying some costs. net net, when its all said and done?
a good thing

194. Steven Mosher says:
195. Everett F Sargent says:

SM sez …

How exactly do you think that China actually gives a fudge? Because all the empirican/observational data suggests that China doesn’t give a fudge. Maybe in 2030 they might care just a little bit more, which is an infinite improvement from zero. But I think China must cross that zero line 1st, because right now China anti-cares. How do I know this? The USA and Western Europe and Japan went through this decades age (e. g. the Clean Air and Water Acts), otherwise known as a known know. So #ChinaKnew already what the consequences of unregulated industries were, yet to date show no real substantive efforts to even remotely try to meet WMO standards in (maybe) 2030 (overshooting the WMO by a factor of 3.5, no less, on a per annum basis).

China saying they care is like Trump promising to build his wall. Talk is cheap. Lives not so much.

I actually think it is all a PR stunt by the Chinese, they care much more about tourism \$ then the do about their own people. China has been shamed into providing some very minor improvements (with respect to WMO standards) in air quality only because they got such a bad wrap during the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Or put another way, I don’t think the current USA government gives a fudge about health care in the exact same way China doesn’t give a fudge about health care. I’m pretty sure on that one.

This is still happening in China today and for 10,000 tomorrows to come …

In 2030 it will look like this at high noon ,,,

196. Everett F Sargent says:

#ChinaKnew (Pollution Tom Lehrer 1965) …