The weatherfolk who never were

George Monbiot usually pays more attention to the climate than weather, but his recent interest in the latter should provide many hours of merriment, and not just in the UK;

This month, I questioned the credentials of the alternative weather forecasters used by the Daily Mail, the Express, the Telegraph and the Sun. I suggested that their qualifications were inadequate, their methods inscrutable and their results unreliable. I highlighted the work of these two companies: Exacta Weather and Positive Weather Solutions (PWS).

Now the story has become more interesting: do the people from Positive Weather Solutions, making its forecasts and quoted in news articles, exist?

US energy emissions flat for next 25 years

From the US Energy Information Adminstration’s latest thinking:

Total U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions remain below their 2005 level through 2035: Energy-related CO2 emissions grow by 3 percent from 2010 to 2035, reaching 5,806 million metric tons in 2035. They are more than 7 percent below their 2005 level in 2020 and do not return to the 2005 level of 5,996 million metric tons by the end of the projection period. Emissions per capita fall by an average of 1 percent per year from 2005 to 2035, as growth in demand for transportation fuels is moderated by higher energy prices and Federal fuel economy standards. Proposed fuel economy standards covering model years 2017 through 2025 that are not included in the Reference case would further reduce projected energy use and emissions. Electricity-related emissions are tempered by appliance and lighting efficiency standards, State renewable portfolio standard requirements, competitive natural gas prices that dampen coal use by electric generators, and implementation of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule.

Two comments: First, if we can hold energy-related emissions steady for the next while without resorting to a carbon tax, cap-and-trade scheme or other legislative stick, imagine what could be done with the right tools.

Second, similar trends are not expected in China and India.

The lukewarmer fallacy

From the Idiot Tracker comes this pearl of wisdom:

One of my least favorite lukewarmer fallacies is the concept of “no regrets” policies — that we should push ahead with policies that can be sold to the right wing as energy independence or job creation or whatever appeals to those in denial of the science. This is an asinine idea. Climate change is real. You don’t get to smart policy by agreeing to disagree on critical scientific facts pertaining to the future of human civilization. Here’s the truth; aggressive emissions cuts are the true no-regrets strategy. Uncertainty in climate change lies between bad and worse. The benefits range from saving trillions of dollars and millions of lives, on the low side, to averting planetary catastrophe.

Couldn’t have said it better myself. I know there’s a sizable community out there who disagrees strongly with this position. They argue the only way to make progress on the climate front is to frame the issue in terms that are palatable to the hard right. Over and over again we hear that we just have to package our case better, appeal to our opponents using language they can understand, and then we can turn this mighty ship of state.

To that I respond that we’ve been trying that for years. Those who have campaigning on the front lines, not just writing op-eds and playing armchair quarterback, know this. It doesn’t work. Just look at the current crop of Republican presidential hopefuls.

Republicans with cooler heads

Barring a miraculous revival of the fortunes of Jon Huntsman, Republicans this year will, for the first time, elect a presidential nominee who does not believe that humans are responsible for global warming. How did things get this bad?

The Climate Desk team found a few of the last Republicans among the party’s leadership who break with this new orthodoxy and spliced their heresies together in this video.

Continue reading “Republicans with cooler heads”