Valuable @Stanford study shows life-cycle #tarsands C intensity dropped a lot but still 12-24% higher than from conventional oil production. Abstract (Env. Research Letters):
There has been increased scrutiny of the Alberta oil sands due to their high carbon intensity (CI) relative to conventional crude oil. Relying entirely on public and peer-reviewed data sources, we examine historical trends in the CI of oil sands extraction, upgrading, and refining. Monthly data were collected and interpolated from 1970 to 2010 (inclusive) for each oil sands project. Results show a reduction in oil sands CI over time, with industry-average full-fuel cycle (well-to-wheels, WTW) CI declining from 165 gCO2e MJ−1 higher heating value (HHV) of reformulated gasoline (RFG) to 105 (−12, +9) gCO2e MJ−1 HHV RFG. 2010 averages by production pathways are 102 gCO2e MJ−1 for Mining and 111 gCO2e MJ−1 for in situ. The CI of mining-based projects has declined due to upgrader efficiency improvements and a shift away from coke to natural gas as a process fuel. In situprojects have benefitted from substantial reductions in fugitive emissions from bitumen batteries. Both mining and in situ projects have benefitted from improved refining efficiencies. However, despite these improvements, the CI of oil sands production (on a pathway-average basis) ranges from 12 to 24% higher than CI values from conventional oil production. Due to growing output, total emissions from the oil sands continue to increase despite improved efficiency: total upstream emissions were roughly 65 MtCO2e in 2010, or 9% of Canada’s emissions.
This past Thursday, I attended an event called Fashion as Evolution: Consumer Power, hosted by Ampleen at the Scandinavia House on Park Avenue. The room was packed with fashion students, experts and professionals for the first in a series of events focusing on consumers’ potential to affect the shift toward sustainable practice in the garment industry.
When keynote speaker Amy Hall, director of social consciousness at Eileen Fischer, first presented a Powerpoint slide, showing the words “Fashion vs. Sustainability,” I must confess I didn’t expect much. I was glad when she went on to provide these rather startling statistics about today’s garment industry:
under 3% of clothes bought in the United States are made here
85% of our textile waste goes straight to the dump
There are more people working as slaves today than ever before, many in garment production
Via @AIRworldwide, a telling #Haiyan stat beyond human toll, comparing total $ losses to insured losses:
"[T]otal damage to residential, commercial, and agricultural properties from Super Typhoon Haiyan will range between USD 6.5 billion and USD 14.5 billion. However, because insurance penetration in the region is relatively low, AIR estimates that insured losses will range between USD 300 million and USD 700 million."
Guarantees a very long financial disaster for residents of affected areas.
Estelle Chaussard, Falk Amelung, Hasanudin Abidin, Sang-Hoon Hong
We use interferometric synthetic aperture radar (InSAR) time-series analysis of ALOS L-band SAR data to resolve land subsidence in western Indonesia with high spatial and temporal resolution. The data reveal significant subsidence in nine areas, including six major cities, at rates up to 22 cm/year. Land subsidence is detected near Lhokseumawe, in Medan, Jakarta, Bandung, Blanakan, Pekalongan, Bungbulang, Semarang, and in the Sidoarjo regency. The fastest subsidence occurs in highly populated coastal areas particularly vulnerable to flooding.We correlate the observed subsidence with surface geology and land use.
Despite the fact that subsidence is taking place in compressible deposits there is no clear correlation between subsidence and surface geology. In urban areas we find a correlation between rapid, patchy subsidence and industrial land use and elsewhere with agricultural land use. This suggests that the subsidence is primarily caused by ground water extraction for industrial and agricultural use, respectively. We also observe subsidence associated with exploitation of gas fields near Lhokseumawe and in the Sidoarjo regency. A continuation of these high rates of subsidence is likely to put much of the densely populated coastal areas below relative sea level within a few decades.
Great to see @coralmdavenport as new DC @nytimes energy/environment reporter. Here’s @dleonhardt memo:
Coral Davenport Joins The Times
Coral Davenport will be our climate-and-energy reporter in Washington. Read more in this note from David Leonhardt.
Paul Volpe and Bill Hamilton used to work with her. John Broder competed with her. Carl Hulse knew her as a Hill reporter. I was simply one of her readers, and Elisabeth met her only recently. But we all had the same reaction: Coral Davenport is the perfect person to replace John as our climate-and-energy reporter in Washington. After a lunch interview with her, Elisabeth came back to the bureau and pronounced: “We should hire her immediately.”
Clever @RAN punking of @HersheysKisses over rainforest palm oil & orangutan continues with faux media warning about faux news release & tweet:
Jeff Beckham <email@example.com>
Date: Sat, Oct 26, 2013 at 4:03 PM
Subject: Hershey’s Hoaxed
Earlier today you received a falsified press release claiming to be from the Hershey Company regarding a purported new “responsible palm oil policy” by our company. In fact, Hershey has no such policy nor any intention of adopting such a policy in the near future.
Hershey takes our responsibility to our shareholders very seriously and the fact is palm oil is the least expensive and most readily available edible oil on the international market place. While we appreciate the diffcult situation palm oil production has created for orangutans and Indigenous peoples in Indonesia, our company simply cannot justify the extra expense it would entail to source palm oil responsibly at this time.
Thank you for your understanding and we apologize for any confusion that may have resulted from this tasteless stunt.
An ode to the Hudson Highlands: “A billion years of time and toil are etched in these old hills. Carved by ice and dynamite, but they stand firm here still. Seen tomahawks and cannon fire, and mighty industries. But these Hudson Highlands will endure when we are history.”
Super @RKunzig “whatdunnit” on competing camps and Younger Dryas cool spell. Check this lede:
Why did mammoths, mastodons, and other mega-beasts vanish from North America?
Was it because:
1) humans killed them;
2) they couldn’t hack the climate after the Ice Age ended; or
3) an exploding comet ignited continent-wide wildfires, sent hundred-mile-an-hour winds and tornadoes howling across the land, and shattered the North American ice sheet, while also maybe gouging out the Great Lakes?
“Stadium wave signal predicts that.current pause in global warming could extend into.2030s..” It’ll be interesting to see if IPCC or this Wyatt/Curry thesis matches coming years best. Details from Georgia Tech:
‘Stadium Waves’ Could Explain Lull In Global Warming
One of the most controversial issues emerging from the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) is the failure of global climate models to predict a hiatus in warming of global surface temperatures since 1998. Several ideas have been put forward to explain this hiatus, including what the IPCC refers to as ‘unpredictable climate variability’ that is associated with large-scale circulation regimes in the atmosphere and ocean. The most familiar of these regimes is El Niño/La Niña, which are parts of an oscillation in the ocean-atmosphere system. On longer multi-decadal time scales, there is a network of atmospheric and oceanic circulation regimes, including the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation.
A new paper published in a recent online edition of the journal Climate Dynamics suggests that this ‘unpredictable climate variability’ behaves in a more predictable way than previously assumed. The paper’s authors, Marcia Wyatt and Judith Curry, point to the so-called ‘stadium-wave’ signal that propagates like the cheer at sporting events whereby sections of sports fans seated in a stadium stand and sit as a ‘wave’ propagates through the audience. In like manner, the ‘stadium wave’ climate signal propagates across the Northern Hemisphere through a network of ocean, ice, and atmospheric circulation regimes that self-organize into a collective tempo.
Judith “Judy” Curry is a professor and the chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS) in the College of Sciences (CoS). Credit: Rob Felt.
The stadium wave hypothesis provides a plausible explanation for the hiatus in warming and helps explain why climate models did not predict this hiatus. Further, the new hypothesis suggests how long the hiatus might last.
Building upon Wyatt’s Ph.D. thesis at the University of Colorado, Wyatt and Curry identified two key ingredients to the propagation and maintenance of this stadium wave signal: the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) and sea ice extent in the Eurasian Arctic shelf seas. The AMO sets the signal’s tempo, while the sea ice bridges communication between ocean and atmosphere. The oscillatory nature of the signal can be thought of in terms of ‘braking,’ in which positive and negative feedbacks interact to support reversals of the circulation regimes. As a result, climate regimes — multiple-decade intervals of warming or cooling — evolve in a spatially and temporally ordered manner. While not strictly periodic in occurrence, their repetition is regular — the order of quasi-oscillatory events remains consistent. Wyatt’s thesis found that the stadium wave signal has existed for at least 300 years.
The new study analyzed indices derived from atmospheric, oceanic and sea ice data since 1900. The linear trend was removed from all indices to focus only the multi-decadal component of natural variability. A multivariate statistical technique called Multi-channel Singular Spectrum Analysis (MSSA) was used to identify patterns of variability shared by all indices analyzed, which characterizes the ‘stadium wave.’ The removal of the long-term trend from the data effectively removes the response from long term climate forcing such as anthropogenic greenhouse gases.
The stadium wave periodically enhances or dampens the trend of long-term rising temperatures, which may explain the recent hiatus in rising global surface temperatures.
“The stadium wave signal predicts that the current pause in global warming could extend into the 2030s,” said Wyatt, an independent scientist after having earned her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado in 2012. READ THE REST.
Dawn of the International New York Times brings big expansion of @NYTopinion. A note from the editors:
International Opinion Expansion
We’re very happy to announce an important expansion of the Editorial Department’s opinion offerings, to coincide with the IHT’s reincarnation as the International New York Times next week. Read more in this note from Andy Rosenthal, Terry Tang, Trish Hall and Sewell Chan.
Two writers have joined The Times editorial board as part-time members: Mira Kamdar, based in Paris, and Masaru Tamamoto, based in Yokohama, Japan. Ms. Kamdar is a faculty member of the École de Journalisme at Sciences Po and the author of “Planet India: The Turbulent Rise of the Largest Democracy.” Mr. Tamamoto has been a senior fellow at the World Policy Institute, a research associate at Cambridge University and a MacArthur Foundation fellow in international peace and security at Princeton University.
On the Op-Ed side, a roster of more than two dozen opinion contributors will write monthly columns from around the world. They include:
• Mustafa Akyol, a Turkish columnist and the author of “Islam Without Extremes.”
• Matthew d’Ancona, a political columnist for The Sunday Telegraph, The Evening Standard and the British edition of GQ, and a former editor of The Spectator, the conservative political magazine.
• Alaa Al Aswany, an Egyptian writer and the author of the best-selling novel “The Yacoubian Building” and “On the State of Egypt: What Made the Revolution Inevitable.”
• Tahmima Anam, a Bangladeshi writer, columnist and anthropologist and the author of the novel “A Golden Age.”
• Julia Baird, an Australian journalist and broadcaster.
• Vanessa Barbara, a Brazilian novelist, editor of the literary Web site A Hortaliça, and columnist for the newspaper Folha de São Paulo.
• Jochen Bittner, a German journalist and the political editor of the weekly newspaper Die Zeit.
• Pamela Druckerman, an American journalist in Paris and the author of the best seller “Bringing Up Bébé: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting.”
• Ali Jarbawi, a political scientist at Birzeit University and a former minister of planning, and minister of higher education, for the Palestinian National Authority.
• Sylvie Kauffmann, a French journalist and the editorial director and former editor in chief of Le Monde.
• Norihiro Kato, a Japanese literary scholar and a professor at Waseda University.
• Young-ha Kim, a Korean novelist and the author of “I Have the Right to Destroy Myself,” “Your Republic Is Calling You,” and “Black Flower.”
• Nikos Konstandaras, the managing editor and a columnist at the Greek daily newspaper Kathimerini.
• Enrique Krauze, a Mexican historian, the director of the literary magazine Letras Libres and the author of “Redeemers: Ideas and Power in Latin America.”
• Adewale Maja-Pearce, a Nigerian writer and the author of “Remembering Ken Saro-Wiwa, and Other Essays.”
• Kenan Malik, a British author, broadcaster and science journalist.
• Pratap Bhanu Mehta, an Indian political theorist and the president of the Center for Policy Research, a think tank.
• T. O. Molefe, a South African essayist who is writing a book on post-apartheid race relations.
• Murong Xuecun, a Chinese novelist and blogger and the author of “Leave Me Alone: A Novel of Chengdu.”
• Murithi Mutiga, a Kenyan journalist and editor at the Nation Media Group, in Nairobi.
• Vali R. Nasr, an Iranian-American political scientist and the dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
• Shmuel Rosner, an Israeli columnist and former Haaretz correspondent.
• Nilanjana S. Roy, an Indian journalist and critic and the author of the novel “The Wildings.”
• Beppe Severgnini, an Italian columnist at the daily newspaper Corriere della Serra.
• Bina Shah, a Pakistani columnist and the author of several novels and story collections.
• Slawomir Sierakowski, a Polish sociologist and political activist.
• Maxim Trudolyubov, a Russian journalist and the opinion page editor of the business newspaper Vedomosti.
• Clemens Wergin, a German journalist and the foreign editor of the newspaper group Die Welt.
• Yu Hua, a Chinese writer and the author of “To Live” and “China in Ten Words.”
The new editorials and Op-Ed contributions will join the distinctive opinion features to which our international readers are accustomed, including Roger Cohen’s columns and Patrick Chappatte’s twice-weekly cartoons. Finally, Serge Schmemann, whose distinguished run as the IHT editorial page editor since 2003 comes to an end next week, will bring his many years of experience as a correspondent and editor to writing for the opinion pages.
Stay tuned for more news about the opinion expansion in the weeks ahead.
Bravo, @BobSchieffer, for grilling Sen. @JohnCornyn this way: “Senator, isn’t there something wrong when you say “I won’t fund the government unless I can attach my personal wish list to the legislation every time we vote? I’d love to see the government find a cure for cancer, but I don’t think you can say I’m not going to pass and pass any funds for the rest of the government until the NIH finds a cure for cancer. I mean, isn’t that just kind of the same thing here?
Encouraging conclusions for musicians, artists, filmmakers? Study finds: “file-sharing can actually benefit the creative industries in various ways. The report mentions the success of the SoundCloud service where artists can share their work for free through Creative Commons licenses, the promotional effect of YouTube where copyrighted songs are shared to promote sales, and the fact that research shows that file-sharers actually spend more money on entertainment than those who don’t share….”
via @earthinstitute: James Hansen to Lead New Columbia Program on Climate Science and Policy (More on Hansen @dotearth)
Leading climate scientist and activist James Hansen will direct a new policy-oriented climate program at the Earth Institute. Hansen, long known as the U.S. government’s top climate scientist, retired this year as director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies; he will now direct the newly founded Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions. The program will adopt a two-fold strategy of climate research coupled with communications and outreach, aimed at conveying the results directly to high-level civic leaders and the media. Hansen said he hopes the program will drive policy and market reforms “needed to preserve a habitable planet.” He said these would include questions relevant to policymakers and civic leaders, issues such as the fossil fuel-emission targets that he argues must be achieved to stabilize climate.
The new program will conduct original research, including analyses of data on ongoing climate variability and projections of future changes; , the interplay of different physical forces at work; and the earth’s long-term past climate history. It will also look into ways to mitigate climate change. Hansen said, “The public is beginning to realize that climate is changing, but they need to know the implications for policies. To provide that information, we need to stay on top of the science.”
The program will work closely with climate scientists, policy experts and faculty and staff across the Earth Institute, with the goal of reaching a broad audience and extending the program’s impact. “We are thrilled that the Earth Institute will host Jim Hansen’s new climate program, which promises to make a major global contribution to a sustainable planet. The Earth Institute is blessed with truly great global leaders in climate science and policy, including James Hansen, Wally Broecker, Klaus Lackner and several others, plus superstar young Earth system scientists throughout the University. The Earth Institute aims to support this remarkable, indeed unique, assembly of talent to help the world to find a safer trajectory. Hansen’s upcoming work will do that directly and also inspire the efforts of countless others,” said Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute. The Grantham Foundation has pledged up to $1 million over the next three years as a matching gift to encourage others to support the effort. It will contribute one dollar for every three raised in support of Hansen’s program.
Hansen has been a pioneer in climate science and a leader in the field since the early 1980s, when he began testifying before Congress about projected climate changes that have since taken place. He was trained in physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa, where he received a PhD. in physics in 1967. He spent virtually all of his career at the Goddard Institute, which has supplied much of the basic data on the effects of carbon dioxide and other substances on climate. In recent years, Hansen has become an increasingly outspoken advocate of using science to counteract human-influenced changes to the climate.
Beginning in 2000, as encryption tools were gradually blanketing the Web, the N.S.A. invested billions of dollars in a clandestine campaign to preserve its ability to eavesdrop. Having lost a public battle in the 1990s to insert its own “back door” in all encryption, it set out to accomplish the same goal by stealth.
Hard to count all the ramifications, both of the revelations and their dissemination.
"Scientists are trained to be careful in their analysis and to prove results beyond a doubt. Their work is a contribution to the science. But in the real world of climate change we do not have this full luxury."
Unless it’s out of context, I’d have to disagree.
In the real world of climate change policy, testing the robustness of early work claiming to find connections between sea ice conditions and Northern Hemisphere storminess is not a luxury.