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The unprecedented 2016 measurement of large increases in CO2 concentrations over 2015 continues...

On February 21 of this year, to describe my practice of monitoring the situation at the Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide observatory I posted the following:

At the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory website, they have a data page which compares the averages for each week of the year with the same week of the previous year.

The data goes back to 1974, and comprises 2,090 data points.

I import this data into a spreadsheet I maintain each week, and calculate the weekly increases over the previous year. I rank the data for the increases from worst to best, the worst data point being 4.67 ppm over the previous year, which was recorded during the week ending September 6, 1998, when much of the rain forest of Southeast Asia was burning when fires set to clear the forests for palm oil plantations got out of control during unusually dry weather. Six of the worst data points ever recorded occurred in 1998 during this event, another was recorded in the January following that event.

It's looking very bad these last few weeks at the Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory.

There are now 2,094 data points as opposed to 2,090. Of these 2,094 data points, only 9 recorded a value exceeding 4.00 ppm over the previous year. Two of these nine have occurred in the last two months.

The most recent released data point, for March 20, 2016 came in at 4.19 ppm over the same week in 2015. (2015 was the first year to have exceeded an increase of over 3.00 ppm over the previous year.)

Of the top 25 such values ever recorded, 5 were recorded in 2016.

As I noted previously, the worst monthly increase ever observed was that of February 2016.

February 2016 recorded as the worst February ever, by far, for carbon dioxide increases over the...

In several years of watching this data, I have never been as disturbed by it as I am right now. It would seem that something is spiraling out of control.

The average data for all weekly data points for increases over the same week of the previous year since 1974 is 1.74 ppm; for the 20th century, 1.54 ppm, for the 21st century, 2.05 ppm; for 2015, 2.25 ppm; for 2016, 3.24 ppm. Since the Fukushima event caused Japan to shut (temporarily) its largest, by far, source of climate change gas free energy, nuclear energy (but not its coastal cities, even though living in coastal cities was far more dangerous than nuclear plants) the increase has been 2.25 ppm.

Don't worry though...be happy. They're building a solar roadway in France, and even if it gets covered by sand, grease, skid marks, and tire wear, it's the thought that counts.

Have a nice day tomorrow.

Life? or Theater?

Charlotte Salomon (b. 1917, Berlin Germany - d. 1943, Auschwitz, Poland)

Joods Historiche Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The painting is one of a series of Gouache works with the same title.

Between 2004 and 2014, the world spent $875.5B on solar energy; $711B on wind...

...$137.5B on biofuels, and 2015, from preliminary projections was even worse for all three forms of so called "renewable energy."

When small hydro, geothermal, and tidal energy is added the grand total spent on so called "renewable energy" amounted between 2004 and 2014 to 1.804 trillion dollars.

This is the claim registered by the so called "Frankfurt School UNEP Collaborating Center for Climate and the Environment".

Their data may be found at their website: Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2015

The amount of money spent on so called "renewable energy" exceeds the individual gross domestic product of countries like Russia, Canada, and Australia.

The amount spent on wind and solar alone exceeds the gross national product of Indonesia, a nation with more than 250 million people living in it.

The result of all this spending in the last ten years is that 2015 was the worst year ever recorded for increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the first year whose average value was more than 3.00 ppm over the previous year. For all of 2016, the weekly rates of comparison with the same week of the previous year are averaging 3.15 ppm.

The figures all represent an enormous failure. Of course this is an unpopular thing to say, and one can get in a lot of trouble and hear infinite amounts of whining that amounts to denial for saying it, as I have learned, but it is nonetheless, irrespective of whose hair it singes, the truth.

So called "renewable energy" is not sustainable because of its intense demand for metals and other materials, many of which are fairly exotic. The low energy to mass ratio - which by the way is made even worse by the thermodynamically absurd plan to "store" energy - means that there is not enough material on the entire planet to sustain it very much longer.

Solar and wind energy, combined, do not provide even 5 of the 560 exajoules humanity consumes each year. Their entire annual output assembled over half a century or relentless cheering for them does not exceed the single year increase in dangerous natural gas use.

Continuing this vast extremely expensive experiment and expecting a different result is not going to change a damned thing.

The world built close to 450 nuclear plants in a period of about 25 years, with the world's largest producer of nuclear energy, the United States, with roughly 100 such plants built, enjoying some of the lowest electricity prices in the world, although prices are rising nationally because of our desire to run down the so called "renewable energy" rabbit hole.

Worldwide, nuclear power plants produce about 28 exajoules of primary energy, and easily outstrip all the world's forms of so called "renewable energy" combined.

Now we hear that "nuclear energy is too expensive" and "nuclear energy is too slow."

These are announcements that what has already happened is impossible.

There is no reason that nuclear power plants should cost $10 billion dollars each, other than the fact that ignorant people - like arsonists complaining about forest fires - have done everything in their power to destroy nuclear intellectual and physical infrastructure by continuous specious appeals to fear and ignorance. This results in practically every nuclear plant built in modern times being a "FOAKE" case, "first of a kind engineering."

Suppose though that we spent $10B on each reactor, each designed, unlike wind turbines or solar panels, to run for 60 years, more than half a century. For the money squandered on solar and wind alone in the last ten years, we could have built 85 nuclear plants in the last ten years. The thermal output of a large scale nuclear plant is roughly 3000 MW(th), plus or minus a few hundred MW, registered as primary energy, which translates to an average annual energy yield of 95 petajoules. Eighty-five plants would yield thus close to 8 exajoules, and do so, without replacement, for 60 years. Each plant built would represent a gift made by our generation to the future generations.

That's not how we live today, of course; we place no value on the future, and couldn't care less about future generations but if we did...

I oppose spending another dime on so called "renewable energy." We have a technology that is far superior, more sustainable, and far cleaner. No amount of money will make so called "renewable energy" work, and, I note, with more than passing disgust, that since the wind does not always blow, and the sun doesn't always shine, it makes the "need" for dangerous natural gas (or worse, batteries) permanent.

I'm sorry if that offends anyone, but I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I didn't state clearly what I have found out. I often feel like the mythical Cassandra, who always told the truth but was never believed, but that is what it is.

Have a nice day tomorrow.

What "unique risks" are you talking about?

All of the nuclear operations, including Chernoybl and Fukushima - events which people who know very little science burn coal & gas to generate electricity to complain about endlessly - for the last half a century won't kill as many people as will die today and tomorrow from air pollution.

That would be 38,000 people, more or less, half of whom will be under the age of 5 when they die.

The experimental risk of nuclear power is vanishingly small, which is not to say that people who don't know anything about the topic don't keep inventing imaginary events that they value over the real event: More people dying every seven years than died from all causes, genocide, civilian bombing, combat deaths, and starvation, in World War II.

Your fear of "unique risks" trumps 50 million deaths every seven years how, exactly?

The paper was scientific not political. It's point is that nuclear energy saves lives.

My attachment to Bernie Sanders campaign - which has nothing to do with science, since for all intensive purposes Sanders is uninterested in science, as are, apparently most of his supporters - can be found on the Senator's "Energy" page, with which I'm sure his supporters, with their questionable views on climate change, are familiar.

Nuclear has prevented 1.8 million deaths, and potentially could have saved millions more, were it not for "nuclear exceptionalism," the notion that all other forms of energy can kill at will unless nuclear energy is perfect.

Nuclear energy need not be perfect, to be vastly superior to everything else. It merely needs to be vastly superior to everything else, which it is.

Since Bernie Sanders doesn't get that, I sincerely hope that he is not accorded the Democratic nomination. If I am forced to vote for him because his opponent is either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz, I will probably have to take a good stiff drink to do it, since it would violate my deepest moral views to have to vote for such a person as Senator Sanders represents. It will be the worst "lesser of two evils" moment I have faced since George H.W. Bush ran against Michael Dukakis.

Have a nice evening.

Nature: The Planet May Be In Trouble If China Controls It's Air Pollution.

Recently, in this space I referred to a paper published in Nature, (Nature 525, 367–371 (17 September 2015)) that reports that air pollution in China kills 1.4 million people per year.

My remarks are here: Nature: China's annual air pollution deaths now stand at 1.4 million per year

An excerpt from the original paper is now included:

Considering the global population of 6.8 billion in 2010, it follows that the mean per capita mortality attributable to air pollution is about 5 per 10,000 person-years. Of these 5 persons per 10,000 worldwide, about 2 die by CEV, 1.6 by IHD, 0.8 by COPD, 0.35 by ALRI and 0.25 by LC. The highest per capita mortality is found in the Western Pacific region, followed by the Eastern Mediterranean and Southeast Asia. The combination of high per capita mortality with high population density explains the (by far) highest number of deaths in the Western Pacific, China being the main contributor (1.36 million per year). Note that the mortality attributable to air pollution in China is approximately an order of magnitude higher than that attributable to Chinese road transport injuries and HIV/AIDS, and ranks among the top causes of death28. Southeast Asia has the second highest premature mortality, where India is the main contributor (0.65 million per year). The global mortality linked to air pollution is strongly influenced by these high numbers in Asia.

Even I rounded up, by 40,000 human lives, it still seems dire, no? (Who's counting? It's not like plus or minus 40,000 human lives count, unless the deaths can be attributed somehow to nuclear power, like say, Fukushima.)

This week's Nature raises a new worry about Chinese air pollution: That China may get air pollution under control.

First from the "news item" referring readers to the technical article within the journal:

Nature 531, 310–312 (17 March 2016)

In December 2015, world leaders agreed to limit the increase in global average temperature to less than 2 °C above pre-industrial temperatures (see Nature 528, 315–316; 2015). Meeting this aspiration will require large and rapid reductions in greenhouse-gas emissions, making it imperative to understand and account for the emissions from different countries. China has undergone rapid economic development over the past few decades and now has one of the world's largest economies — and greenhouse-gas emissions to match. On page 357 of this issue, Li et al.1 comprehensively assess China's contribution to climate change and explore how this has altered as the Chinese economy has grown...

...Li et al. used a model that couples biogeochemistry and climate to estimate China's contribution to global radiative forcing over the period 1980–2010. Crucially, they account for almost all anthropogenic drivers of climate change. They find that China's relative contribution to global radiative forcing from carbon dioxide emissions associated with fossil-fuel use increased almost threefold in these 30 years. This is to be expected, given the surge in China's economy over this period. More surprisingly, they find that China's relative contribution to total global radiative forcing has remained at 10% over this time.

To understand the reasons behind this remarkable result, Li and colleagues made a detailed analysis of the different drivers of radiative forcing. They found that the air pollutants that cause China's notorious pollution haze have had complex effects on climate, counteracting some of the increase in radiative forcing from greenhouse gases. Some components of air pollution, such as black-carbon particles, absorb sunlight and warm Earth's climate. By contrast, sulfate particles scatter light, resulting in climate cooling.

Over the past few decades, China's relative contribution to global radiative forcing from sulfate has increased dramatically. This is because Chinese sulfate emissions soared at the same time that Europe and the United States instigated controls that slashed their sulfate emissions. It has long been known that some air pollutants cool the climate2; what is remarkable in the present study is that the concurrent changes in different emissions have led to a stable overall contribution of China to global radiative forcing (Fig. 1).

Here is the technical paper: The contribution of China’s emissions to global climate forcing (Nature 531, 357–361 (17 March 2016))

From the text of the technical paper:

Figure 1 shows the relative and absolute contributions of historical Chinese emissions since 1750 to each component of global RF in 2010. Overall, China contributes 10% ± 4% (0.30 ± 0.11 W m−2 out of 2.88 ± 0.46 W m−2) of the current net global RF from anthropogenic emissions since 1750. This contribution is the sum of two terms with opposite signs. China contributes 12% ± 2% (0.48 ± 0.09 W m−2 out of 4.13 ± 0.40 W m−2) of the global positive RF from WMGHGs, tropospheric ozone and black carbon aerosols, and 15% ± 6% (−0.18 ± 0.06 out of −1.26 ± 0.24 W m−2) of the global negative RF from LUC-induced surface albedo changes, stratospheric ozone, the effect of ozone precursors on CH4 lifetime, and sulfate, nitrate and particulate organic matter aerosols.

Abbreviations: RF = Radiative forcing. WMGHG = Well Mixed Green House Gases LUC = Land Use Changes

According to the authors, the past counts, in case people want to argue that it's all China's fault, even though China's per capita emissions are about 1/4 that of Americans:

...It is important to note that the contribution of China to current global annual anthropogenic emissions is larger than its contribution to radiative forcings (Fig. 1). For WMGHGs that have long atmospheric lifetimes7 (from a few decades to several centuries), the legacy of past emissions from countries that began to emit early (such as Europe and the USA) still have a contribution to present-day RF larger than that of China, despite China’s much higher emissions nowadays. In contrast, because SLCFs have short atmospheric lifetimes7 (from days to months), it is the spatial distribution of current emissions, and the local processes controlling their atmospheric transport and removal, that determine the contribution of Chinese emissions of ozone precursors and aerosols to the global RF...

Of course, you had nothing to do with it at all, because you have a solar powered electric car made by BMW or Tesla or some other wonderful company that works on your brain like a narcotic at best, a hallucinogen at worst.


Some graphics from the paper:

a, The global RF components and their uncertainty, as estimated by the IPCC7. b, The relative contributions of China to the various components of global RF in 2010, with our assessment of uncertainties (see Methods). When one component of the RF is driven by only one species, China’s relative contribution to present-day emissions of that species is also shown as an empty bar oulined in the same colour. c, The absolute contributions of China to the RF components and uncertainties, as obtained by combining the values of the two previous panels using a Monte Carlo approach (n = 50,000). The ‘Total’ columns of a and c are obtained through Monte Carlo summation (n = 50,000) of the corresponding RF components; the ‘Total’ column of b is then deduced through the element-wise ratio of these two Monte Carlo ensembles. All uncertainties are one standard deviation.


All-sky RF of the SLCFs induced by China through emission of short-lived pollutants and precursors in 2010. These RFs are direct outputs from the LMDz-INCA model. a, The net RF of all the SLCFs combined. b–f, The RFs from black carbon, sulfates, tropospheric ozone, nitrate and particulate organic matter, respectively.

Returning to the news item:

Air pollution is a serious environmental issue in China, where 1.3 million people die each year because of exposure to poor-quality air outdoors3. Reductions in the emissions of air pollutants are urgently required to improve air quality, but this will also affect Earth's climate. Li et al. find that the current composition of Chinese air pollution causes almost no net radiative forcing — the cooling effects of sulfate aerosols balance the warming impacts of black-carbon emissions.

(The round down by 60,000 human deaths, but who's counting? It's not like Fukushima is involved.)

If you think it's hot now, just wait. China's rapid coal growth has stopped, and, as a result, it's sulfate loads are no longer rising as fast. Like many other rich countries, they're burning more and more dangerous natural gas. (They also have the world's largest program of building nuclear reactors.)

Don't worry. Be happy. France is building a solar roadway. It's meaningless, but it's the thought that counts.

Have a nice day tomorrow.


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"Sinclair was an outspoken socialist and ran unsuccessfully...

...for Congress as a nominee from the Socialist Party. He was also the Democratic Party candidate for Governor of California during the Great Depression, but was defeated in the 1934 elections."

This makes him a little different than Bernie Sanders of course, since Sanders ran as a socialist and won. Whether he will become the Democratic candidate for President and whether he will win, is entirely another question.

The quote above, of course, is only from Wikipedia, the wonderful but sometimes suspect source on which we have all come to depend, the page devoted to Upton Sinclair.

[link:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upton_Sinclair|Wikipedia, Upton Sinclair.

I've been thinking about Sinclair a lot lately, because I attend the wonderful "Science on Saturday" lectures at the Princeton Plasma Physics Lab with my family, and whenever fusion energy is discussed there vis a vis fission energy - I'm a huge supporter of fission energy, I am reminded often when they bad mouth fission over there of what may be Sinclair's most famous remark:

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!"

It occurs to me that Sinclair is relevant to present times in a disturbing way. Plus ca change...

I am old man, a tired old man, an aging baby boomer who is deeply distressed about the world my generation is leaving behind, ashamed of our illusions and our delusions that have brought the planet to a kind of abyss whose depth cannot be measured.

As far as this election goes, I feel like I'm watching a train wreck of the worst sort, an election dominated by petulance, sloppy thinking, innuendo, and yes, a healthy dollop of old fashioned straight up grotesque racism.

I'm sure that some brittle people will vilify me for saying as much, but I am terrified at the thought that the next President of the United States will be anyone but Ms. Clinton. I'm not sure that Ms. Clinton is the greatest person on earth; I'm not sure I even like her; I certainly do not agree with everything she has said or done.

But she's the only grown up on the stage right now. The only one.

Good luck to the United States, but even more importantly, good luck to the world, and, as we hurtle out of control to the 2016 election, I wish all future generations that they will survive what we have done.

February 2016 recorded as the worst February ever, by far, for carbon dioxide increases over the...

...previous year.

The Mauna Loa carbon dioxide observatory reports the monthly increases in CO[sub]2[/sub] over the previous year.

I keep a record of these monthly increases and sort them from greatest to least.

The data accessed today, March 11, 2016 is here: Trends in Carbon Dioxide, Mauna Loa

The data has been recorded since 1958, with differences being recorded since 1959. The average concentration for this dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide shows that in February 2016, we were at 404.02 ppm. In February 2015, we were at 400.26 ppm.

The difference, 3.76 ppm over February 2015, exceeds the previous record value for any February of 3.18 ppm set in 2013. The third worst February was February 1999, at 3.00 ppm over February 1998,immediately after vast fires consumed much of the Southeast Asia Rain forest when fires meant to clear rain forest for palm oil plantations - for "renewable" biodiesel among other things - went out of control.

In fact, 3.76 ppm, is the worst monthly increase for any month in the total history of carbon dioxide measurements at Mauna Loa. The previous record worst month was October of 1998, at 3.64 ppm over October of 1997.

The popular solution for addressing this accelerating tragedy is of course, so called "renewable energy." One can have some arguments with people who insist that this approach, which has sucked two trillion dollars out of the world economy in the last ten years, is reasonable.

The data signature, written in the atmosphere in irrefutable terms, suggests otherwise.

It's, um, not working.

The scope of this failure might inspire some shadenfreud from nuclear advocates like myself, but I wish I'd been wrong actually.

Kliban put it well:

Have a nice Friday.
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