Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Credulous Bunny Takes a Look

One thing that Eli, credulous bunny, should have learned, is that when you read something by PRJr, well you count your fingers afterwards.  So Roger wrote

and Eli commented.  In the midst of this Kevin quoted from the Stern Review Executive Summary
The increased costs of damage from extreme weather (storms, hurricanes, typhoons, floods, droughts, and heat waves) counteract some early benefits of climate change and will increase rapidly at higher temperatures. Based on simple extrapolations, costs of extreme weather alone could reach 0.5 - 1% of world GDP per annum by the middle of the century, and will keep rising if the world continues to warm. 
but of course  there is more, for example in the text from Page 10 Chapter 5
The costs of extreme weather events, such as storms, floods, droughts, and heatwaves, will increase rapidly at higher temperatures, potentially countering some of the early benefits of climate change. Costs of extreme weather alone could reach 0.5 - 1% of world GDP by the middle of the century, and will keep rising as the world continues to warm.
The consequences of climate change in the developed world are likely to be felt earliest and most strongly through changes in extreme events - storms, floods, droughts, and heatwaves. This could lead to significant infrastructure damage and faster capital depreciation, as capital-intensive infrastructure has to be replaced, or strengthened, before the end of its expected life. Increases in extreme events will be particularly costly for developed economies, which invest a considerable amount in fixed capital each year (20% of GDP or $5.5 trillion invested in gross fixed capital today). Just over one-quarter of this investment typically goes into construction ($1.5 trillion - mostly for infrastructure and buildings; more detail in Chapter 19). The long-run production losses from extreme weather could significantly amplify the immediate damage costs, particularly when there are constraints to financing reconstruction.  
The costs of extreme weather events are already high and rising, with annual losses of around $60 billion since the 1990s (0.2% of World GDP), and record costs of $200 billion in 2005 (more than 0.5% of World GDP). New analysis based on insurance industry data has shown that weather-related catastrophe losses have increased by 2% each year since the 1970s over and above changes in wealth, inflation and population growth/movement. If this trend continued or intensified with rising global temperatures, losses from extreme weather could reach 0.5 - 1% of world GDP by the middle of the century.27 If temperatures continued to rise over the second half of the century, costs could reach several percent of GDP each year, particularly because the damages increase disproportionately at higher temperatures (convexity in damage function; Chapter 3).
The auditors are interested

Note From the Management

Russell has been having trouble posting links.  After calling in Bunny support, it turns out that Blogger insists on addresses starting with https:// and sends http:// off to 404 land.  This may affect other Blogger blogs.

Thank you for your attention.  Readers may return to Tom's usual food fight.

Same old my way or the highway

This time from Peter Dauvergne's book Environmentalism of the Rich. This Nature review by Edward Humes has the goods:

The book reserves its harshest criticisms for environmental organizations and public figures (including, jarringly, primatologist Jane Goodall) for extolling such environmentalism as a source of optimism. And he makes a leap, arguing that the environmentalism of the rich saps the energy and outrage that drive protest, and encourages complacency.

This is where Dauvergne muddles his case. It is one thing to say that we have little reason to be optimistic. It's another to assert baldly, and with no real data, that the business world's new-found interest in sustainability is interfering with old-school activism. Elsewhere in the book, Dauvergne concedes that recycling, organic and sustainable products, and coalitions that certify sustainable seafood and forestry are making a positive contribution....What his evidence really shows is not that an interest in sustainable products is harming the environmental movement, but that it's not enough. Nor is activism, regulation or the combination of all three. Dauvergne is correct that making consumer products less bad doesn't make them good. He just can't admit what seems obvious to others: it's a start.

The obvious parallel that Humes also calls out is Naomi Klein's misnamed book, This Changes Everything, a book about climate change that changed nothing for her prescription for society in general, other than to add non-radical environmentalists to her bad people list.

Eli and I both have made clear we weren't impressed, although a while ago I admitted I hadn't actually read her book. Rabett Reader John Puma was kind enough to send me a copy (he and I have very different views of it, and I hope he shares his).

I had the book for a while, painfully read about a third of it, put it down a year ago and have been looking guiltily at the cover ever since. I need to cut bait here and admit I'm not going to finish it, but what I read doesn't change my impression from other reviews. I had other critiques too that I've since blanked out, but mainly I'll add that she doesn't adequately wrestle with rapidly declining costs of renewable energy and power storage as factors that could make zero to net-negative emissions possible after mid-century, even in a fairly capitalist world.

For better or worse I should add that I know people in The Nature Conservancy (heavily criticized by Klein) and work with them on projects in Northern California, and at least here, she doesn't know what she's talking about IMNSHO.

Anyway, Klein's book isn't doing anyone a service lying mostly unread on my floor. I'll pay John Puma's favor forward:  any prior Rabett commenter (commented at least once before in the last 6 months, say) living in the U.S. who wants it, just leave a comment and I'll mail it to you. We can communicate offline to arrange details.

One final thought - I see a parallel here to many of the lukewarmers, for whom the science is accurate only up to the point at which it essentially forces a policy choice that they don't like, and then the science in their opinion suddenly veers in a different direction. For Klein (and I'll bet Dauvergne) to find that the science of climate change miraculously leads to the conclusion they already supported for other reasons, should be suspicious. Maybe they should reflect a bit.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Whither pH?

A bit of a while ago, friend of the blog, Simon Donner who studies Pacific Island corals posted a tweet

  to which Eli responded
 and indeed, on the next day when talking with an organiker colleague, Eli mentioned this and in response heard  some, not all in his class thought that the difference in acidity which is the [H+] ion concentration between two acid solutions was the difference between their pHs.

Since pH = -log [H+], this common mistake can have consequences whether one is thinking about organic reactions or ocean biochemistry.

Looking at the chart above, the difference in [H+] ion concentration between pH = 8.2 and pH =  7.7 is

pH= 8.2      [H+] = 10-8.2 = 6.3 x 10-9
pH= 7.7      [H+] = 10-7.7 = 2.0 x 10-8

That's a factor of more than 3 greater

Anyhoo, this set off a train of thought bringing Eli back to yesteryear, actually bask to before his yesteryear and even Mom Rabett's yesteryear.  Why do we use pH rather than just the [H+] concentration.  The Rabett expects that Russell will chime in on this, but what the heck

It goes back to how acidity is measured, specifically the insturment(s) used to measure pH and to more than a little extent to the log tables of yesterday.  Allow Eli to explain

pH is mostly measured through the electrical potential developed across a thin glass window at the bottom of an electrode.  A potential difference is developed between the H+ ions in the solution and the ions on the inside.  The voltage difference between this electrode and a standard electrode is in the mV range over pH scale and is proportional to the pH, that is the logarithm of the H+ ion concentration. 

Fritz Haber and Zygmunt Klemensiewicz were the first to develop a usable pH electrode in 1909, but usable was a stretch because they depended on a a galvanoscope to read out the voltage difference and required patience, luck and skill.  The big step forward was made by Arnold Beckman who hooked up a vacuum tube amplifier to read out the voltage difference and got rich.  He also gave it away to good causes, something that must be mentioned

While vacuum tube amplifiers were pretty good at amplifying, and the scale of the meter could read out the now larger voltage difference, they really could not take antilogs to turn the pH into an [H+] ion concentration.  Besides which pH meters are not very precise, even with care, luck and skill, so there really was no advantage to abandoning pH.

On the other side of this, calculators were at best adding machines, and while there were beasts that could multiply (on the old IBM comptometers you set up the multiplication, walked away and had a cup of coffee before coming back for your result), most did multiplications by hand or converted numbers into logs using log tables, at which point multiplication becomes addition of logs and division subtraction of logs much easier things to do.  Some had nice K&E slide rules, slide rules are essentially log tables on a stick.  A nice stick sometimes, but a stick none the less and if you were lucky two significant figures with a third sometimes possible by squinting.

So there really was no reason to abandon pH for numerical [H+] ion concentrations.

Till today, driven by two things.  First, even refrigerators have implanted digital computers and lcd screens so converting pH to concentrations and displaying them is no longer an issue.  Second, new kinds of [H+] probes are hitting the market which are both precise and accurate

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Ethon looks in on PR Jr

Eli was in the process of getting his act together when Ethon stuck his beak through the door.  PR Jr is at it again the bird said.  He just had a message from Phil Clarke, pointing out that Roger was parking his car on John Christy's lawn.  The lad (PR Jr, not Phil) had tweeted

pointing to a new article in Global Environmental Change.  So Eli walked out the door with Ethon and went to take a look.  For the masochists amongst the bunnies, this can be had for reading w/o paywall.

UPDATE: As to the frequency and  cost of weather disasters in the US, well Jeff Master's in 2013 had that.  2005, was of course, the 1998 of disaster years

NOAA has a nice page to bring bunnies up to date and for the auditor's in the hutch a table of particulars

And oh yes, Roger is going after Gavin Schmidt again and Gavin is not having any of it.  See your Twitter if one or the other has not blocked you, and your incognito window if they have

Interestingly, the figure, shown in the tweet is not in the paper, and guess what Roger's Internet habits showed up in John Podesta's email
Date: 2014-07-28 12:35
Subject: Climate Progress In Action

In March, Nate Silver hired Roger Pielke, Jr. to write about climate change for his new website. Pielke basically has made a career of "accepting" climate change but disputing that we can really do anything about it or that it has much of an impact. The new 538 was perhaps the most hyped website to launch in years -- and it's partnership with ESPN gave it the potential to reach a broad new audience.

Prior to Pielke writing anything, ClimateProgress published piece reviewing his disputes with climate scientists and the problems with his approach. The piece included numerous quotes from climate scientists:

Quickly, Pielke wrote a piece questioning the link between climate change and extreme weather. Within hours, ClimateProgress published a comprehensive debunk, with quotes from many prominent climate scientists:

Pielke was so upset with our piece, he called the scientists we quoted and threatened to sue them.

Silver was forced to apologize:

Embarrassed, Silver was forced to publish a rebuttal to Pielke piece by an actual climate scientist, which was also devastating:

Pielke never wrote another piece on climate change for 538. Today, he confirmed that he left the site because Silver wouldn't publish his stuff any more:

I think it's fair say that, without Climate Progress, Pielke would still be writing on climate change for 538. He would be providing important cover for climate deniers backed by Silver's very respected brand. But because of our work, he is not.

I don't think there is another site on the internet having this kind of impact on the climate debate. Thanks for your support of this work. Looking forward to doing even more in the coming months.

-- Judd

Whatever said Ethon and had another peck

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Your freezer is a battery of coldness

File this under the category of things I don't know much about but will talk about anyway, but it seems like home refrigerators and especially freezers could be much better managed for power variability that we'd see in a system dominated by solar and wind. They use more power than anything in the home other than heating and cooling, so adapting to variability seems like a big deal.

Received knowledge is the ideal maximum temps are -18C for the freezer and 5C for the refrigerator. My oh-so-genius insight is they could both get colder, especially the freezer, when power is available and then allowed to drift upward when it's not. So in power system with lots of solar, both the fridge and freezer should kick in at mid-afternoon. The fridge drops to 1C and the freezer to -23C or maybe colder, and then power demand is ended or sharply reduced by late afternoon, when solar is disappearing and other power demands are ramping up.

My other maybe/maybe-not insight is that if the max temps are constant temps, maybe those maximums could be exceeded periodically during the daily cycle without limiting food storage times. Maybe a freezer could spend two hours daily rising -18C to -13C without too much of an issue, and maybe a refrigerator could drift up to 7C before it has to start cooling back to 5C.

Refrigerators get opened a lot and can't be cooled as much as freezers, so the benefit isn't as great, but still exists. For freezers, ones that aren't opened or rarely opened might get through to sunrise without demanding power.

Systems with just a clock and a calendar could make use of solar availability to store coldness. Smart systems on the internet could do even more, especially with wind. If wind turbines somewhere start dumping extra power in the system at 10 p.m., your fridge and freezer turn on and run as long as the power lasts or until they get as cold as they should go.

Just a thought.

More info on managing power availability here. Also here on commercial scale storage of coldness.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Arctic Cruises

There has been some tweeting about how Arctic sea ice regrowth has been, well anemic, weak, and so forth.  Indeed it is back in 2012/2007 territory, well below what is normal even in these abnormal times.

so Eli decided he would go look at the maps to check if he and Ms. Rabett could still book that Arctic cruise.

and well, sort of.  A narrow block in both the Northern Sea Route and the Northwest Passage, but otherwise clear sailing.  Next year should be very interesting

My Saturday Night Live skit excerpt


(Skit opens on the stage of the third Clinton-Trump presidential debate, in the middle of the debate)

TRUMP: Look, Putin...from everything I see, has no respect for this person.

CLINTON: Well, that's because he'd rather have a puppet as president of the United States.

TRUMP: No puppet. No puppet.

CLINTON: And it's pretty clear...

TRUMP: You're the puppet!

CLINTON: (pauses)

CLINTON: Trump is unfit, and he proves it every time he talks.

TRUMP: No, you are the one that's unfit.

CLINTON: (hesitantly) Donald is a tall, orange-faced man-gasbag who cheats his workers and assaults his wife?

TRUMP: No, you are the tall, orange-faced man-gasbag who cheats his workers and assaults his wife!

 CLINTON: (to audience)  Well, the next five minutes are going to be interesting.

(end excerpt)

It's interesting that other than mugging for the camera, a SNL skit could mostly use the actual debate dialog, like the vast majority of what's written above.

More from Kevin Drum, who called out the debate excerpts. 

In other news, I did my civic duty last weekend in Reno, going door-to-door for the Democrats. Keeping the Nevada Senate seat is crucial too. People were pretty friendly for the most part, so I recommend it as a good weekend activity.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Answering the Question

A bit over a week ago in the so called town hall debate between major party presidential candidates, a character by the name of Ken Bone asked an interesting question
What steps will your energy policy take to meet our energy needs, while at the same time remaining environmentally friendly and minimizing job loss for fossil plant workers?
Mr. Bone has had to answer to a few femurs tossed at him for this and that reason, some of the usual stuff that he posted on line here and there previously, his employment in the coal industry, etc. but be that as it may, it is not a bad question.  Eli will put up links to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump's answers, but here he is more interested in providing a useful answer.

First, what appears to have been missed in the discussions that Eli has seen is that the question itself assumes that fossil fuels are going away, that, by itself was important.  It slipped through with nary a whimper from the denial industry.  Eli's answer (remember the candidates only had a minute or so, would go something like this.

"Thank you for that question Mr. Bone (even Eli can be polite on occasion).  I would like to start by discussing some of its deeper implications.  As you acknowledge, the changes we are making to the atmosphere and oceans by burning huge amounts of fossil fuel cannot continue without causing immense harm to creation and the creatures in it including us. We must replace them.

This will be difficult but the challenge contains within itself opportunities which, if we are serious, can be used to support those displaced from the fossil fuel industry and build new industries.  We will need millions of workers to erect and maintain the new energy sources and their supporting infrastructure, solar, wind, hydro and nuclear and the new smart electrical transmission and transportation networks.  New industries are being built. Let us build them here.

In closing let me provide a bit of historical background.  The fossil fuel industries which were, and I stress were, necessary for the creation of the industrial world are not old.  The coal industry is roughly 200 years oil,  oil  about 100 and gas pipelines only about 50.  Given that history we can see that building new energy systems to replace them in a 50 year time frame can be done, given the best science we have we can see that it must be done.  Economics and ethics tells us how it can be done while improving the lives of all in this country and on the Earth."

Anybunny else want to try?

Friday, October 14, 2016

Trump, staff, and surrogates are illegally defaming private individuals accusing Trump of assault

Not a defamation specialist, but -

Falsely labeling people as liars in public media is an obvious damage to their reputation, so the only remaining question is whether the people calling these women liars had any obligation to look for the truth before they made the statements. I'll assume here they did one of two things:  no investigation at all/just started calling the women liars, or that they asked Trump in general if anything like this happened and he said no.

Proving defamation against a public figure is hard, you have to go beyond being stupid or incompetent in your attack. Defamation against private figures means the lower bar of negligence - if you did not meet a reasonable standard of care in making your statement, then you've committed defamation. Doing no research at all before make false claims is clearly defamatory against private figures (and I think probably against public figures too); doing only a little research is a gray area.

Some of Trump's accusers are undoubtedly private figures (woman on the plane, the staffer in his office building). Some are more borderline (the journalist, the beauty pageant contestant), but even the borderline ones aren't public political/mass media figures. Regardless, the negligence standard applies in at least some cases.

I think a cursory question to Trump:  "Did you ever do this stuff? No? Great, we're just going to call them all liars no matter the number of accusers, their details, or their personal credibility" isn't enough to be non-negligent. There was plenty of information indicating otherwise prior to the Trump-Billy tape, plus the tape, plus each credible accusation afterwards in sequence, all making the blanket claim that all the women are liars to be defamatory.

The ones who should be suing for defamation aren't Trump and his ludicrous threat to the NY Times, it's these women against Trump, the campaign, his staffers possibly, and definitely his surrogates for lying about them.

The barrier against winning is the he said/she said nature of the claim, but discovery and relative credibility of Trump and his accusers can put that to the test.

Legally you'd want to wait to get your ducks lined up. Politically it would be great to get the complaints filed ASAP.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Mitrovica redux

A prior post refers, regarding some law professor wasting time in Congress by saying Mitrovica's work - showing reduced sea level within 2000 km of melting ice caps, because gravity - means there's nothing to worry about. The professor was unable to read the next sentence in Mitrovica's work that the effect means more water ends up further away from the ice cap after melting occurs.

What I couldn't figure out from the limited information in the magazine article was whether no sea level rise at 2000km was a net effect that considered the effect of added meltwater or was just the tipping point for the gravitational effect.

Tamino did a great post on the same issue linking to a video from Dr. Mitrovica, and above is a screencap. It's hard to read the legend, but the video itself is clear: his analysis is a net effect that includes meltwater volume. The legend measures the net effect of an ice melt amount sufficient to raise seas one meter, and only the darker oranges and red are above average. If Greenland melted, and only Greenland melted but nowhere else, then northwestern Europe wouldn't be too badly affected, and a few parts of Norway, Scotland, and Ireland would have no effect. Europe in general doesn't escape unscathed from Greenland's melt, however, and that ignores the other effects like Antarctica and thermal expansion.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Tiny Hands Hauls Out His Index Finger and Shoots Clinton

Everybody, including Eli is going on with the stalking of Hillary, 

but there is a moment, a majic moment when Tiny Hands Trump hauls out his index finger and shoots her.

Thursday, October 06, 2016

New First Amendment Cases May Be Coming to a Crowded Barrier Island

Matthew, the hurricane, is hitting the Bahamas and bearing down on the eastern shores of Florida  Georgia, and even South Carolina.  While damage inland will be significant, the barrier islands are toast.  As Marshall Shepherd wrote

and the Weather Channel is scared of what will happen
as well as Rick Scott, the Governor of Florida and not somebody Eli would ever recommend is urging evacuation
but Matt DRUDGE thinks it is an evil plan of President Obama to scare folk about climate change
and his fans, well his fans vote, and they vote for the strangest things

Definitely playing by Lewandowsky rules here.

But Eli has a question.  If freedom of speech does not extend to yelling fire in a crowded theatre, what are the rules for tweeting don't evacuate from a low lying beach on a barrier island.  Should Matthew make landfall in Florida, it would be interesting to see how the family of victims pile on to Drudge and Co.

Wednesday, October 05, 2016

And So the World Begins

News comes from the Secretary of the UNFCCC that the Paris Agreements have been ratified

Eli and Ms. Rabett will open a carbon dioxide producing beverage tonight and sequester some.

Monday, October 03, 2016

Chart of the Year.

Joe Romm was reading the 2016 update of US DOE's Revolution . . .  Now: The Future Arrives for Five Clean Energy Technologies  when he exclaimed: Chart of the Year

The must-read report reveals the game-changing progress core clean energy technologies have made over the last several years — specifically, solar, wind, LED lights, batteries, and electric cars. Accelerated deployment driven by smart government policies, both domestically and around the world, have created economies of scale and brought technologies down the learning curve faster than almost anyone expected.

The next time an opponent of climate action questions the cost-effectiveness and scalability of climate solutions — or the value of government clean energy policies — the top chart and indeed the whole report should be front and center in your response.

This was picked up all across the tweet zone, Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and some, well some (actually all) of the luckwarmers have no rhythm,  Our good news is their embarrassment, and up stepped Andy Revkin to tweet

Eli, Eli OTOH is a strange cross between a chemist, a chemical physicist, a spectroscopist, a kineticist and, oh well a blogger, so what he saw is something that was better plotted elsewise.

Taking electrons in hand the bunny wrote to the drawer of the graph and person most responsible for the report, Paul Donohoo-Vallett at DOE HQ down the block for the data and Dr. Donohoo Vallett replied post haste

At a minimum the LED curve suggested a first order (exponential) fall off in cost, and to be honest the others looked sort of the same to Eli so he replotted it all as a semi-log plot and fit the decreases to straight lines

Not perfect but a lot better than force fitting to a Tolian (Tolian's being functions that go exactly where Richard Tol wants them to) with a lot less effort.  A bunny can fuss about this brute forcing, but not Eli.  The most interesting part of this is converting the slopes to half lives for each of the technologies.
Wind Utility Scale PV Residential PV  LEDs EV Batteries
Half Life/Yrs 7.68 4.50 5.68 1.70 3.21
r^2 0.94 0.98 0.98 0.98 0.97

Not too shabby and LEDs are beating the current version of Moore's law.