Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Explaining Richard Tol and Bjorn Lomborg

Eli would like to help the bunnies understand economics.  James Boyce at Naked Capitalism explains it all at Naked Capitalism.  He points out that there are choices to be made about how to adapt to climate change and it won't be cheap.

A thought experiment illustrates the choices we face. Imagine that without major new investments in adaptation, climate change will cause world incomes to fall in the next two decades by 25% across the board, with everyone’s income going down, from the poorest farmworker in Bangladesh to the wealthiest real estate baron in Manhattan. 
Adaptation can cushion some but not all of these losses. What should be our priority: reduce losses for the farmworker or the baron? 
For the farmworker, and a billion others in the world who live on about $1 a day, this 25% income loss will be a disaster, perhaps the difference between life and death. Yet in dollars, the loss is just 25 cents a day. 
For the land baron and other “one-percenters” in the U.S. with average incomes of about $2,000 a day, the 25% income loss would be a matter of regret, not survival. He’ll find a way to get by on $1,500 a day. 
In human terms, the baron’s loss pales compared with that of the farmworker. But in dollar terms, it’s 2,000 times larger. 
Conventional economic models would prescribe spending more to protect the barons than the farmworkers of the world.
As Boyce points out what clearer explanation of how economists think than the Summers World Bank Memorandum
1) The measurements of the costs of health impairing pollution depends on the foregone earnings from increased morbidity and mortality. From this point of view a given amount of health impairing pollution should be done in the country with the lowest cost, which will be the country with the lowest wages. I think the economic logic behind dumping a load of toxic waste in the lowest wage country is impeccable and we should face up to that.

2) The costs of pollution are likely to be non-linear as the initial increments of pollution probably have very low cost. I've always thought that under-populated countries in Africa are vastly UNDER-polluted, their air quality is probably vastly inefficiently low compared to Los Angeles or Mexico City. Only the lamentable facts that so much pollution is generated by non-tradable industries (transport, electrical generation) and that the unit transport costs of solid waste are so high prevent world welfare enhancing trade in air pollution and waste.

3) The demand for a clean environment for aesthetic and health reasons is likely to have very high income elasticity. The concern over an agent that causes a one in a million change in the odds of prostrate[sic] cancer is obviously going to be much higher in a country where people survive to get prostrate[sic] cancer than in a country where under 5 mortality is 200 per thousand. Also, much of the concern over industrial atmosphere discharge is about visibility impairing particulates. These discharges may have very little direct health impact. Clearly trade in goods that embody aesthetic pollution concerns could be welfare enhancing. While production is mobile the consumption of pretty air is a non-tradable.
Of course, when this was leaked Lawrence Summers claimed that it was just a joke.

Monday, December 29, 2014

House Rules

There is hilarious twittering going on

Now Eli is an old bunny and he thought to hisself, where have the Rabetts heard this before?  So courtesy of UTube and Clip It and for the entertainment of all those out there

So Eli asks who plays Dean Wormer?  Eli knows who plays Otter in this dust up. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Odd Ends

So Eli has been accumulating a bunch of stuff over the last few days and needs to get at least some of it off his tab bar.  Without further ado, let the Rabett start with a something from Goldman Sachs via Bloomberg that explains quite a lot about what is going on with oil prices

How Profitable is $70 Oil

Obviously, the boys from Alberta are up against it with oil where it is, and if oil goes up, then they are up against it from renewables.   The Keystone demos were/are basically a holding action until the market woke up.  Bloomberg figures there is something like a trillion in stranded investments.

Somewhere back in the past, Eli pointed out that the play was a lot like the late 1970s, where OPEC shut down renewables by dropping the price, except now, even in Saudi Arabia, the price of lifting the oil is a lot higher than then.  So as China and India grow, and demand increases, if the demand for energy has to be met by oil, the price has to move up considerably.  As Al Gore says (red flag warning)
“Investors who haven’t yet come to grips with the stranding problem are like the classic scene in the Road Runner cartoons where the coyote runs off the edge of the cliff, and his legs keep moving for quite a long time before gravity takes hold,” Gore said by phone from Nashville, Tennessee. “There are investors out there whose legs are moving in mid-air.”
Next something from Wikipedia which shows the US inflation rate as a function of time

as the observant might note, positive inflation has only been a given since about 1950.  Before that inflation only really was significant during wartime.  A better view of this is available at Visualizing Economics with the wars labelled.  Given that inflation is running today and for previous years at ~ 1.5% the arguments for a discount rate about a percent or less when discussing the costs of climate change and how to deal with it appear ahistorical.  Nick Stern was righter than many give him credit for.

OTOH, if you think about the cold war, that might explain 1950 -  .  Keeping a large standing army and munitions industry going puts a lot of pressure on the economy.  Just sayin

Next, something interesting from the Great Orange Satin.  Markos Moulitsas Zúniga aka kos has built a webempire that makes about all of the others look tiny.  Doing so required a fair amount of smarts and obsession.  He has become obsessed with energy efficiency and is writing an excruciatingly detailed account of how to do so, and how doing so not only saves energy, but also money.
Hi, my name is Markos, and I am an energy efficiency junky. I am obsessed with it. I'm downright OCD about it. It consumes a huge part of my life. I bored my wife talking about it, I bored my co-workers talking about it, I bored my friends talking about it, and I might even bore you talking about it. 
But if I'm going to go all crazy over something, what could be better than focusing on eliminating my carbon footprint? Heck, I don't want to eliminate it, I want to go carbon negative—generating more energy than I consume, at home and in the supply chain of the goods and services I use.
Kos has three principles for his energy diet
1. I do what I do to protect my world. The decisions I make, the actions I take, all have an impact on the world around me. I consider it a duty to minimize the impact I make. THAT is my primary motivation. That said, there's no way I would be doing all I'm doing if my efforts weren't essentially paying for themselves, so ...
2.  Saving money is important.  Even if you're like "fuck baby seals," who doesn't want to save money? Maybe the guy still driving the Hummer. But if we want to motivate the general public to lower consumption and make environmentally friendly consumer and lifestyle choices, it has to be financially beneficial to them.
3. Don't sacrifice comfort. Sure, I can reduce my energy expenditures a great deal if I lowered my thermostat to 63 during the day, made everyone wear sweaters and hats at home. But that's not going to happen. Not only do I personally like a toasty house, but more importantly, so does my family. And if I want to have carte blanche to make efficiency gains around the house, I need to keep the family that lives in that house happy. In online forums, it's called the WAF (wife-acceptance factor), and it's a real thing. Thus, I won't be line-drying the laundry anytime soon, or eating only raw foods, or buying a smaller TV. Sure I could make major efficiency gains by doing certain things, but I'm well on the way toward a negative-carbon lifestyle without sacrificing comfort. It's not an either-or proposition.
Part II is about reducing electrical consumption by optimizing lighting.  No real surprises except the amount of money that can be saved by careful evaluation of current energy use and choice of LED bulbs (they are all not the same).

Part III is about killing the standby kilowatt vampires which eat your wallet while waiting for you to turn something on.  Smart toasters burn money.

Not yet posted are how to minimize the costs of big electrical power draws, home renewable energy (solar in his case), cutting the cord, reducing natural gas usage and water consumption.  Worth reading even if you don't or cannot go the whole way.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Sam and Dave

Time for some music

Sunday, December 21, 2014

What We Have Here Is a Failure To Communicate

So Willard Tony still thinks it's a cool idea to give Tim Ball the keys, and Tim, well Tim has some limits.  The latest is that the first results are in from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory, OCO-2 the first having crashed and burnt on launch. 

This would be no surprise to anyone who has been following the literature or the results from the orbiting SCIAMACHY instrument, but, to do the Sou thing,Tim Ball is dancing in the street
Preliminary evidence essentially exonerates humans as the source of CO2. That is a narrative unacceptable to the IPCC and all their media supporters. As a result the BBC, whose lack of journalistic integrity and political bias, was exposed in the emails leaked from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU), are obliged to spin the evidence. One comment in the article says,

It is possible to see spikes, too, on the eastern seaboard of the US and over China. These probably include the additional emissions of CO2 that come from industrialisation. 
This misinformation is contradicted by the lower than average levels over the UK and Europe. Another comment on Figure 1 says, 
Also apparent are the higher concentrations over South America and southern Africa. These are likely the result of biomass burning in these regions. 
This misinformation is a contradiction because the area of southern Africa is mostly grasslands and desert. How does that generate “biomass burning”? Figure 2 shows a map of the climate zones of Africa, ironically, it appears in an article pleading for financial help to deal with climate change.

The claim that South American levels are due to forest burning is ridiculous. At any given time, only a small area of the forest is being burned. It was higher in the past because countries like Brazil were encouraged to provide tax incentives to farmers to clear land, with help from the World Bank. The idea was that a country must have a solid agricultural base for a viable economy. The practice was stopped when the environmental finger of rainforest destruction was pointed.
So thence commences the waving of hands for which Tim and Willard Tony are famous, but, dear reader, Eli has a question.

Biomass burning tends to be associated with fires and one of the things that satellites can do is look down and map fires, so what does a map of fires between October 12 and 26 (roughly the same as the first OCO results show?  Not too hard to find.  NASA has a real time web applet to map the fire data from Terra and Aqua and what do you know, Tim has balled it all up again

 Of course, if like the SCIAMACHY team, you monitor for a decade or so (2002-2012) why yes, Virginia, you can see the anthropogenic CO2

Eli knows, all that anthropogenic CO2 is from the beer brewers in Belgium

In the Free Market Everything Has a Price

Some are just cheaper than others.

Eli has shown before that tobacco is really the original sin, responsible for much seemingly unrelated evil in the world, created in an effort to distract others from the problems associated with smoking.

Jules' Klimaatblog has dredged another piece of reality out of the tobacco archive which he modestly calls (Ab)using Libertarians as Useful Idiots.  Eli holds there is useful debate about one of the last two words. The memo is from the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco aka FOREST, an astroturf group, still going today, set up in 1978 by the tobacco lobby to oppose tobacco regulation.  The memo is from 1996, when tobacco regulations started to bite.  They saw trouble on the horizon from the younger generation who were growing up knowing that smoking was dangerous, but

The world still abounds with reactionaries, and in many ways, the 'fogey' strand of public opinion is probably destined to become even more prominent in the next few years, as the baby boom becomes irretrievably middle aged and gives up trying to pretend oterhwise.  The spinsterish attck on smoking and the 'wicked uncle' defenders of it (and of sedentary self indulgence generall) are both likely to gain in prominence and to quarrel with one another ever more publically.  Already the health and fitness craze has abated considerably
But there was hope
However we do not believe that the industry should despair, that the struggle for the right to smoke is destined for eventual defeat.  There is one major opportunity that FOREST has neglected in recent years, and this is the intellectual (as opposed to fogey/reationary) defense of individual liberty that has been dragged into public prominence on the coat tails of the classicla liberal or libertarian critique of the welfare state.  However in the last few years the obvious commonality of interest between FOREST and the youth wing of the libertarian/classical liberal revival has not resulted in an great active cooperation in this area
A situation they sent out to change by coopting the young libertarian wing of the Conservative Party in the UK.  Why, because politics was their only way out
What other argument is there?  Although we can and do vigorously refute the passive smoking hysteria, the primary health argument has been lost.  There is no way any feasible public case can be argued in medical terms.  While there are clearly perceivable psychological benefits from smoking, the evidence of risk to personal health is difficult to challenge.  Further, since the general population recognize these dangers our argument that smokers do exercise and "informed choice" is much stronger.
Moreover the freedom case also proactively strengthens us if the worst should happen:  if it were conclusively, scientifically demonstrated that passive smoking constituted a major health threat in normal social circumstances.  The libertarian case already argues, to use the jargon of the economists, that "externalities" are best "internalized" by the voluntary means of property rights.  In other words it would be up to individual property owners to establish smoking rules on their own property, not for the state to set down an absolute law applicable to all places.
 Permayhap bunnies recognize the similarity to how libertarians have been coopted by fossil fuel interests.  Perhaps they might recognize the same on two recent discussion threads, one at ATTP, and the other at the Good Bishops.  Perhaps.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The Shy Pacific

James Acker, a friend from USENET days writes from the Goddard Earth Science Data and Information Services Center about some recent results

The Pacific Ocean has been remarkably shy about its intentions this year, as many of the watched indicators have for months hovered close to (but not over) the edge of definitive El Niño conditions. Despite this uncertainty, the generally warmer-than-average waters of the Pacific have contributed to record high global surface temperatures in several recent months.  These warm waters are a significant factor if 2014 ultimately becomes the warmest calendar year ever recorded (instrumentally).
While, for the most part,  El Niño or not El Niño conditions are monitored by following physical conditions, such as sea surface temperature and height differences between the western (near Asia) and eastern Pacific (near South America).  In general sea surface temperature will rise in the central and eastern Pacific during an El Niño.

There is also an noticeable biological change associated with El Nino, a change in the color of the surface due to decreased biological activity as upwelling is limited, and fewer nutrients are found at the surface.  This reduces the amount of chlorophyll.  The associated color change can be observed from space and tells a strange tale.  There has definitely been strong surface warming extending from the western to central (Niño 4) Pacific and from there to the eastern Pacific (Niño 3 and 3,4) but the region closest to the South American coast near Peru and Ecuador has not warmed at all (Nino 1,2) which is fine for those who fish in those waters and depend on the upwelling nutrients to feed the fish they seek to catch.

Niño 3

Nino 1,2

This looks much more like what has come to be called a warm pool, central Pacific or Modoki El Niño, perhaps extending a bit more towards South America than usual (or a bit less as compared to the El Niño that your grandmother knew).  In an El Niño Modoki, the west coast of the US is hotter and drier than normal, exactly the opposite from the traditional El Niño.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hot Times

NOAA, in their conference call to discuss weather in November, put down a pretty strong marker that 2014 is going to be the hottest year on record.   It's actually a proposition, and Eli is not one to want an ear full of cider, so the Bunny recommends going out there and putting a few cans of shinola on it with your friendly local climate change deniers, whom, as every lagomorph knows can't tell shit from shinola.

Anyhow, Jake Crouch from NOAA points out that right now we are at the 6th warmest land temperature anomaly of 1.71 oF (don't you just hate, hate customary units, but it is the US) for Jan - November and the record warmest ocean temperature anomaly of 1.03 oF.  This, since the oceans are about 2/3 of the surface, makes for the warmest Jan-Nov period with an anomaly of 1.22 oF.

About the only places that are cool are eastern North America and the tip of South America.

Based on the NOAA record, for 2014 NOT to be the warmest ever, December would have to be the 21st coolest December on file.

However, since the oceans have a ginourmous thermal inertia, and it is the warmth in the oceans that is driving the record temperatures, that is, not very likely, as in bet that it won't happen.

Another part of the briefing dealt with the issue of whether an El Nino is developing in the Pacific, and the answer was, who knows, driven mostly by the observation that the whole damn tropical Pacific is hot, there is no gradient between the western and eastern parts to drive the trade winds.  This may indeed be a Strange New Climate with the heat from the oceans just rising to the surface, not your fathers kid.

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Purposeful Avoidance of the Truth Is Sufficient to Establish Actual Malice

So Eli hied hisself down the DC Court of Appeals and picked up a copy of the oral argument in CEI and National Review vs. Michael Mann.  Having a new toy, the Bunny is now pleased to present a piece from Michael Mann's attorney, John Williams, somewhat in response to what was written at National Review on line by Charles Cooke

Judge Easterly, meanwhile, wanted to know how the plaintiffs could demonstrate “actual malice” if the defendants “genuinely” believe that “[man-made] climate change is a hoax.” “We don’t have to get to the question of whether climate change is real to look at the accusations,” Williams shot back. This did not seem to convince. “You need clear and convincing evidence for malice,” Easterly said. Simply stating that your critics disagree with you is insufficient. 
This description has caused great rejoicing amongst the Steyn Simberg crowd, but maybe no

As to what Eli thinks is going to happen, well, as National Law Journal points out, the court has to figure out if they are going to allow immediate appeals of SLAPP suit rulings, 
In May, the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled that an anonymous Wikipedia editor could appeal a judge's order denying a special motion to quash a subpoena for his identity. In that case, local attorney Susan Burke sued the editor over information posted on her Wikipedia page that she argued was defamatory. Judge Catharine Easterly (at left), one of the judges hearing Mann's case, wrote the opinion.

Lawyers for the defendants sued by Mann pointed to Burke's case in arguing that the court should allow immediate appeals for denials of special motions to dismiss. The D.C. government has supported that interpretation of the law. 
As the federal and local courts sort out the practical realities of the anti-SLAPP statute, cases testing the law continue to trickle up. On the heels of the Mann case in the D.C. Court of Appeals is a defamation lawsuit filed by a local doctor against a former patient who wrote a negative review on Yelp. A judge partially granted a motion to dismiss under the anti-SLAPP law. The case is being briefed.
So probably yes, immediate appeals will be allowed, but to avoid being snowed under, they are going to have to define the grounds for dismissing under the SLAPP law in detail.  Given that, the court will, IEHO and EINAL, either affirm the ruling of the court below, or set out clear rules and toss it back.

We Have Not Inherited the Earth From Our Ancestors, We Are Stealing It From Our Children

Kate Sheppard writes at the Huff Post about the destruction of Shishmaref

Eight years ago the bunnies  read about how this Alaskan village on the shores of the Chukchi Sea is being devoured by climate change.  Indeed, in 2007 the AAAS even made a video about how it was the canary in the coal mine, a precursor to the fate of nations and this was featured at their annual meeting

As early as 2002, it was clear that the village was doomed and plans were drawn up to move to the mainland, but alas, the plans required money, and as Kate Sheppard writes, they required a site that was also not subject to climate change
Within a couple of years, however, the plan to move to Tin Creek fell apart. Subsequent feasibility studies revealed problems with the site. It too sits on permafrost -- which, in a melting Arctic, likely means that its days as a suitable location are also numbered. The town had to select a different location.
and the plan also required a couple of hundred million dollars, for a small village, with a small population, in the middle of nowhere.

So, Eli has a question.  How can our civilization adapt to climate change if we cannot even save a small village?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Shoving the Overton Window Towards Reality

Aaron Sorkin, creator and maybe most everything else of the HBO series Newsroom has groked Richard Alley, who of very anodyne hearings on climate change said:

This is certainly not both sides. If you want both sides, we would have to have somebody in here screaming a conniption fit on the red end, because you are hearing a very optimistic side
Sorkin has given use a useful reading of the red side, and yes the vision is deeply troubling. Improbable at this time, but not as improbable as the fantasies of climate change deniers.  Below  a small clip from the show

You can view the entire scene on YouTube

Randy Malamud at the Huff Post says we really are in the end times, Dave Roberts at Grist more or less concern trolls the show, and Eli, Eli is with Ugo Bardi, at Cassandra's Legacy who points out that
So, we have always been careful to follow the instructions: avoid scaring people, avoid looking like scaremongers, avoid even hinting that things may be worse, much worse than anyone could imagine. We have been careful to end all warnings with a list of solutions; saying that, sure, it looks bad, but the problem will go away if you just insulate your home, buy a smaller car, and turn off the lights when you leave a room. What we need is just a little bit of good will.

To no avail: the climate problem is still there, bigger and more fearsome everyday. Nothing changes, nothing moves, nothing. Nothing even remotely comparable to the scale of the threat. And, sometimes, you feel that you have had enough; you feel like screaming that this is NOT a problem you can solve with double-paned windows and smaller cars; it is NOT a problem for the next century; it is NOT a problem for another generation, It is here, it is now, it is big, it is damn big, and it is out of control. You feel like screaming that aloud.
Now the busy bunnies on the denial of climate change side, somehow, Eli notices, they never shrink from telling everybunny near and far that if we do something effective about climate change, well the world will collapse, the economy will die, the commies will take over and everyone will be screwed.

There is a certain asymmetry about this, and it is high time to make it clear that climate change ain't beanbag.

As Rick Perlstein has pointed out the long con is based on a theology of fear or better put, on arousal of fear in the audience, and based on recent voting, a successful one, Anybunny on the mailing list of the National Review, Mark Steyn, or any "conservative" think tank gets their fund raising emails each morning, designed to get the blood rising and the money flowing.

So tell again, why Sorkin's shot is futile?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Plenty of Trend at the Bottom

With all the talk about the pause, the plateau, new record surface temperatures and more, Eli was looking at something from his friend Rob Honeycutt which explained the world according to Judith Curry

when the Bunny noticed an interesting thing

Lots of trend at the bottom, and maybe even something to think about.

Monday, December 01, 2014

Ozone Photochemistry - Part 2

The purpose of this series of posts is to discuss the photochemistry leading to formation of tropospheric ozone and smog.

In Part 1 Eli discussed how tropospheric ozone forms and how photolysis of ozone leads to formation of HO radicals.  The story starts with the photodissociation of NO2 below 420 nm to form O atoms and NO.  The O atoms react with O2 molecules (plenty of them) to form ozone, O3.  Ozone it self is not the greatest thing in the world to breathe, and photolysis of ozone produces excited O(1D) atoms, which either react with water vapor to form HO radicals or are collisionally quenched back to O(3P), which, in turn reacts with O2 to reform ozone. 

Wither HO (or OH, depends on your age and field).  Let's start by not worrying about hydrocarbons.  In that case, in a really clean atmosphere the OH will react with carbon monoxide, CO  to form hydrogen atoms and CO2.  The carbon in CO2 is fully oxidized and that is the end of that.  The hydrogen atoms react with O2 to form hydroperoxyl radicals, HO2.  HO2 is a lot less reactive than HO, so as a general rule the atmosphere has a lot more HO2 than HO, but HO2 does react with NO and that reforms NO2

Eli is quite happy with the figure above, moving NO2 to the center emphasizes the intermingled NOx and HOx cycles.

There are a few things left out here.  The major one, of course, is reactions with volatile organic molecules including methane, CH4.  Eli has discussed that previously.  For another HO2 can react with ozone to form two molecules of O2 and HO, but that is roughly three orders of magnitude slower than the reaction with NO.  There are also some termination steps.  For example, the reaction of NO2 with HO yields nitric acid HNO3, which can rain out.  For another, HO + HO2 --> H2O + O2.  And then, of course, there is deposition.  Ozone hitting the ground will never rise.  Same for most of these other molecules.

Next we will discuss the implications of this chemistry for ozone in the unpolluted troposphere.

In the Beginning. . it was deja vue all over again

Jacquelyn Gill touched off a twitter storm of memories about climate blogging in the old days (11 years is old for a Bunny).  The Weasel has something, and so does David Appell.  It was more or less agreed that David's Quark Soup lead the way, if not then Tim Lambert @ Deltoid.  So Eli went to the science blogs and tried to find when Tim started blogging.

Not so simple.  He has moved his archive to science blogs when he moved Deltoid there.  Tim started writing for the net on gun and gun control.  There are articles there back to 1991 but it looks like they were posts or email exchanges with no comments.  The first commented posts appear in Fall 2003, and the first post about climate. . . . a keeper from March 2004, emerging from the nexus of tobacco control and climate change denial.  Tim had written about how The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition was an astroturfing operation of the tobacco industry (Steve Milloy, check) and Chris Mooney had an article in the Washington Post (told you nothing changes) on the sounds like science stuff.  Of course, the sounds like guys set one of them on Chris and somehow climate change got dragged in along with Richard Lindzen.  Tim, in his usual way just dug in.

I’ve been reluctant to write anything about the climate change debate because there is a daunting amount of material on the matter, and I don’t feel that I’ve read enough of it to make any kind of useful comment. However, the heart of Murray’s piece is the claim that Mooney misrepresented what the NAS report on climate change found. To see whether that claim is true you don’t have to read the entire literature, just the mercifully brief here. Lindzen (Richard Lindzen, check) writes: 
[I]t is quite wrong to say that our NAS study endorsed the credibility of the IPCC assessment report. We were asked to evaluate the IPCC “Summary for Policymakers” (SPM), the only part of the IPCC reports that is ever read or quoted by the media and politicians.
In fact, right in the very first paragraph of the report you find:
In particular, the written request (Appendix A) asked for the National Academies’ “assistance in identifying the areas in the science of climate change where there are the greatest certainties and uncertainties,” and “views on whether there are any substantive differences between the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] Reports and the IPCC summaries.”
The panel was asked to look at the reports and the summary and give their views on whether their were differences. Section 7 of their report is devoted to this. Lindzen was one of the panel members. How could he possibly be unaware of what the panel was supposed to do?

Lindzen continues:
The SPM, which is seen as endorsing Kyoto, is commonly presented as the consensus of thousands of the world’s foremost climate scientists. In fact, it is no such thing. Largely for that reason, the NAS panel concluded that the SPM does not provide suitable guidance for the U.S. government . . .
This is pretty well the opposite of what the panel concluded. In section 7 they actually report:
After analysis, the committee finds that the conclusions presented in the SPM and the Technical Summary (TS) are consistent with the main body of the report.
Again, Lindzen is one of the authors of the report. How can he say that the report says the opposite of what it actually says?

Lindzen continues:
The full IPCC report, most of which is written by scientists about specific scientific topics in their areas of expertise, is an admirable description of research activities in climate science. It is not, however, directed at policy. The SPM is, of course, but it is also a very different document. It represents a consensus of government representatives, rather than of scientists. As a consequence, the SPM has a strong tendency to disguise uncertainty, and conjures up some scary scenarios for which there is no evidence.
Scary scenarios, where has Eli seen this recently
I suppose it is possible that this is true, but it is not what the NAS report says. The panel checked with the scientists and found “that no changes were made [to the SPM] without the consent of the convening lead authors”.

Lindzen continues:
Similarly, in the case of our NAS report, far too much attention was paid to the hastily prepared summary rather than to the body of the report. The summary claimed that greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise. Yet, the full text noted that 20 years was too short a period for estimating long term trends, a crucial point that the summary neglected to mention.
What? There are only 20 years of data for surface air temperatures? That doesn’t sound right. Let’s see what the full text really says:
Although warming at Earth’s surface has been quite pronounced during the past few decades, satellite measurements beginning in 1979 indicate relatively little warming of air temperature in the troposphere. The committee concurs with the findings of a recent National Research Council report, which concluded that the observed difference between surface and tropospheric temperature trends during the past 20 years is probably real, as well as its cautionary statement to the effect that temperature trends based on such short periods of record, with arbitrary start and end points, are not necessarily indicative of the long-term behavior of the climate system.
Wow. Global warming skeptics have been pointing at the satellite data and arguing that it shows that there is no warming going on. The NAS panel points out that 20 years of satellite data is probably not enough to judge long term trends, so it should be treated with caution.
And right they were
Lindzen then pretends that the caution about the satellite data was meant to apply to the panel’s statement that greenhouse gases were causing global warming. It clearly was not meant to apply to that statement and it doesn’t even make sense if you try to apply it to that statement, since surface temperature data goes back at least one hundred years. Again, Lindzen is one of the authors of the report. I can’t think of any excuse for what he wrote here, can you?

Lindzen goes on to claim:
Our primary conclusion was that despite some knowledge and agreement, the science is by no means settled.
Well, no. Their primary conclusion is expressed at the beginning of their summary:
Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise. Temperatures are, in fact, rising. The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability. Human-induced warming and associated sea level rises are expected to continue through the 21st century.
Natural variability, hmm. . . .
It is possible that their conclusion is wrong, but they certainly didn’t throw up their hands and say that the science wasn’t settled as Lindzen claims.

I find Lindzen’s systematic misrepresentation of the report that he helped author completely inexcusable. As for Murray, after endorsing Lindzen’s remarks, he very commendably offered a link to the report so that his readers could check for themselves, so I don’t know what to make of what he has done. Didn’t he read the report himself? To compound the problem he has used the same Lindzen quote to attack a report by the Union of Concerned Scientists. Murray wittily calls a group containing twenty Nobel Prize winners the “Union of Crackpot Scientists”.
Nothing new under the rug.

Ozone Photochemistry Part I.

Over the US Thanksgiving holiday, well, actually in the news hole right before it, on Wednesday afternoon, US EPA announced new rules for ambient ozone, dropping the current limits from 75 ppb to 65-70 ppm with fairly long timelines to meet those limits. What the EPA means by such a standard is that

an area would meet the primary standard if the fourth highest maximum daily 8-hour ozone concentration per year averaged over three years  is equal to or less than the standard
 Neela Banerjee and Tony Barboza in the LA Times describe the new rules and the reaction to it, principally from the usual suspects who have never been right when they declared the end of the world as we know it due to some environmental improvement.  They have a pretty good Mom Rabett level explanation of how the ozone is formed
Ozone is created when unstable gases are released during combustion, whether at power plants, factories or in vehicle engines. The pollutants react with sunlight to create ozone, which can trigger asthma attacks, worsen heart and lung disease and lead to premature deaths.

Because so many sources emit those ozone components, the effect of an ozone standard is far-reaching, which has made politicians leery of regulating it. The Bush administration rejected EPA science advisors' recommendation six years ago for a tougher limit. The Obama administration vowed to implement a tighter standard, but the president shelved it and let the Bush-era limit remain at the start of his reelection bid.
The operation of the rule would take a while
Once finalized, the ozone standard would not go into effect for years. States are given three years to collect air quality data before their status is determined. They then have years to devise a plan to cut pollution and force industry and communities to comply.

The worst-polluted regions in the U.S., including Los Angeles, would have until 2037 to meet a new standard.
Ozone is not good for anyone's health and smog produced as a by product is also not good for living things.

Eli would like to take a few minutes of your time to discuss the chemical mechanism driving ground level ozone formation and its relationship to smog.

At root, three things are necessary, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from combustion and natural sources (think fossil fuel combustion and pine forests), reactive nitrogen oxide emissions (think fossil fuel combustion) and sunlight (think sunlight).  Oh yeah, you also need some humidity and some oxygen.

But let Eli start with NO2, using the MPI Mainz UV-Viz spectral data base

 NO2 is one of the few molecules found in the atmosphere that absorb strongly in the visible and near UV region.  The thermochemical limit for dissociation into NO and O atoms is roughly 400 nm for ground vibrational level NO2 but because low lying vibrational and rotational levels are thermally excited in the atmosphere, the effective boundary for photodissociation is about 425 nm.  Since the solar spectrum at ground level extends down to about 300 nm,
during the day NO2  will be efficiently dissociated.

 NO2 + hν ∠ 426nm  → NO + O(3P)   [1]

O(3P) is the ground (lowest) electronic state of the oxygen atom.  The next one up as it were, is O(1D) and Eli will explain why that is important in a moment.  The average time that an NO2 molecule lasts at the surface is of the order of an hour less during the summer when sunlight is more intense, more during the winter and so forth.  

The O(3P) produced in Reaction 1, then combines with oxygen to form ozone

O(3P) + O2 + M  →  O3 + M     [2]

When the oxygen atom and molecule come together they form a reaction intermediate which has enough energy to immediately fall apart.  The role of the third reactant, M, is to carry that energy away leaving a ground state ozone molecule, O3.  Without that no ozone would be formed

In the troposphere NO2 photolysis is the dominant source of ozone.  The ozone absorption spectrum is practically the mirror image of the NO2 absorption spectrum

For the troposphere, the important part of this spectrum is the region to higher wavelengths because the ozone layer in the stratosphere blocks everything  below ~290 nm and that is being generous, but there is some that leaks through above that limt as can be seen in this figure from Slaper, et al, showing the solar spectrum near 300 nm in Bilthoven, Netherlands with two different solar zenith angles.

Time of day and time of year play important roles in how much light is available below ~320 nm and it is only the light between the upper limit of the ozone absorption spectrum and the stratospheric ozone cut off that can be absorbed by tropospheric ozone created in Reaction 2

Oxygen atoms created by photolysis of ozone come in two flavors, ground state oxygen atoms O(3P), and excited state oxygen atoms O(1D).  In addition to the issue of the decreasing ozone absorption coefficient at wavelengths above 290 nm, the quantum yield of O(1D) decreases with increasing wavelength as discussed in Matsumi, et al.

Why is this important.  Well, it turns out that O(1D) from ozone photolysis is the principle source of HO radicals in the troposphere, and HO radicals, sometimes called the atmosphere's vacuum cleaner, are what degrades the volatile organic molecules coming out of fossil fuel combustion and those killer trees.

O*(1D) + H2O → HO + HO   [4]

Electronically excited O(1D) is mostly quenched to O(3P) by collisions with other O2 and N2 molecules which are much more common than water vapor.  However, O(3P) produced will simply cycle back to ozone via reaction [2] keeping the ozone concentration roughly constant.

The rest of the story (stay tuned) is the interplay between NO2, the VOCs, and HO that control ozone concentration and the generation of smog.