Eight years

I’ve just realised that I started this blog eight years ago today. This past year has been relatively quiet, partly because it’s been a rather unusual year and I’ve not really felt all that motivated to write blog posts, and partly because I’m not all that sure what to write about anymore. I do think that the climate debate has shifted so that we are more discussing what to do, rather than focusing on whether or not we should be doing anything.

IPCC AR5 (2013)

It feels like there’s less of a need for scientists to engage in debates about the science, which seems like progress. I do still wish that there were some things that were better appreciated. Carbon dioxide accumulates in the atmosphere, so (without negative emissions) a reasonable fraction of what we’ve emitted will remain in the atmosphere for a very long time. The changes (again, without negative emission technologies) are essentially irreversible on human timescales. The only real way to stop climate change is to get (net) anthropogenic emissions to zero. How much we will warm depends largely on how much we end up emitting (Figure). Just because we might miss a target doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try; just missing it is still better than giving up.

In other news, I got the first dose of my vaccine today, so I’m supposed to take it easy for the rest of the day. I have, though, ended up in a rather convoluted discussion on Twitter about plausible emission scenarios, so I may be failing to do so. It’s a lovely day, so maybe I should go and read a book in the garden. Hope everyone is keeping safe and well.

This entry was posted in Climate change, Personal, Philosophy for Bloggers and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Eight years

  1. David B Benson says:

    Yes, by all means go read Carl Zimmer’s new book…

  2. Eventual_Horizon says:

    Thanks for your contributions over the last eight years. This is one of the more informed corners of the internet with respect to climate discussions.

    As quiet as the last year has been it certainly hasn’t made a dent in atmospheric CO2 accumulation. It’s rather sobering to contemplate that a major global economic shutdown isn’t visible in the chart.

  3. you say: “The only real way to stop climate change is to get (net) anthropogenic emissions to zero.” and I think that is mostly true, but wouldn’t climate change continue to a certain degree if past anthro emissions create changes in the global carbon cycle that change the natural sinks and sources for the gh gases that are driving climate change? I guess this doesn’t matter if you think the amount of climate change that could arise from changes in the global carbon cycle are small enough to be inconsequential. Is that your position on changes in global carbon cycle that might arise from the anthro-related climate change?

    8 years! I am not sure what the average life is for a climate blog, but 8 years is impressive. Congrats on that.


  4. smallblue,
    Yes, you’re right that some carbon cycle feedbacks could lead to continued emissions even after we’ve got emissions to zero. However, if we manage to do that reasonably soon, then the impact of this may not be all that large. If we fail to get to zero soon, then it may well become a much more significant factor.

  5. Russell says:

    Congrtulations, but don’t look back : the centenary of climate communication is gaining on us:


  6. angech says:

    Eight years is a fantastic effort.

  7. Jim Hunt says:

    Many happy returns Ken. Time flies when you’re enjoying yourself! Does that sentiment apply to the “rather convoluted discussions on Twitter” as well as your estimable blog?

    In other news I’m an old fogey and hence got my newly rebranded “Vaxzevria” jab quite some time ago. I suffered no side effects whatsoever that I have been able to discern. Hopefully the same applies to you?

  8. Thanks Jim.

    I suffered no side effects whatsoever that I have been able to discern. Hopefully the same applies to you?

    So far, so good.

  9. Pingback: What I “read” this morning on my morning walk: 2021-04-14 – Ken MacClune

  10. aljo1816 says:

    Congrats on 8 years! I’ve followed your blog for most of that time and many posts have become something of a standard library of resources whenever I’ve found myself embroiled in climate change debates. They’ve also helped me understand quite a few concepts in climate science.

  11. aljo1816,
    Thanks. Good to know it’s been useful.

  12. Dave_Geologist says:

    Congratulations ATTP.

    You’ve been informing me since I was a lurker. And along the way I even learned something about exoplanets!

  13. Dave,
    Thanks, and thanks for all the geology related comments.

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