Reuters reports that British climate expert Chris Hope just won a 2,000 pound sterling ($2,830) wager made five years ago against two members of the Global Warming Policy Foundation who had bet Hope that the Earth would be cooling by now. They also highlight a $10,000 bet made in 2005 between British climate modeller James Annan and two Russian solar physicists. The solar physicists had counted on waning solar output to halt warming. Annan will win if average global temperatures from 2013-17 are warmer than 2003-07. "Things are looking good for my bet," Annan said.
Layzej writes: A colossal amount of man-made heat has been sucked up by the world's oceans in the past 18 years, and the rate at which that happens has been accelerating. The world's oceans absorbed approximately 150 zettajoules of energy in the 132 years between 1865 and 1997, and then another 150 in the next 18 years, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Layzej writes: With only a few stations left to report, 2015 is virtually certain to beat 2014's record as the planet's warmest year since record keeping began in 1880. The new record was caused by the long-term warming of the planet due to human-caused emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide, combined with a extra bump in temperature due to the strongest El Niño event ever recorded in the Eastern Pacific. Record warm ocean temperatures in the tropics in 2015 led to a global coral bleaching event, which is expected to cause a loss of 10 — 20% of all coral worldwide. Weather Underground recounts several other records that accompanied the heat including the most intense hurricane ever observed in the Western Hemisphere, the ongoing agricultural fires in Indonesia — the most expensive disaster in Indonesia's history estimated at $16 billion in damages, flooding in America and India, and record central pacific hurricane activity.
Layzej writes: Citi Global Perspectives & Solutions (GPS), a division within Citibank (America’s third-largest bank), recently published a report looking at the economic costs and benefits of a low-carbon future. The report considered two scenarios: “Inaction,” which involves continuing on a business-as-usual path, and Action scenario which involves transitioning to a low-carbon energy mix.
Layzej writes: The Wall Street Journal reports: "Solar power has gotten so cheap to produce—and so competitively priced in the electricity market—that it is taking hold even in a state that, unlike California, doesn’t offer incentives to utilities to buy or build sun-powered generation."
Falling cost is one factor driving investment. "Another reason for the boom: Texas recently wrapped up construction of $6.9 billion worth of new transmission lines, many connecting West Texas to the state’s large cities. These massive power lines enabled Texas to become, by far, the largest U.S. wind producer. Solar developers plan to move electricity on the same lines, taking advantage of a lull in wind generation during the heat of the day when solar output is at its highest.
Layzej writes: The popular narrative in the media these days is that the GOP is in denial about the science of climate change. Mark Reynolds of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby says that this perception is largely manufactured by the media that thrives on conflict. After meeting with over 500 House and Senate offices in Washington, his organization found that republicans largely accept the science, but balk at solutions that involve more government, more red tape and more regulations.
Many republicans would like to have a seat at the policy table. They would bring a market-friendly approach that doesn’t dictate which technologies win or how we should conduct our lives. Reynolds suggests that a Carbon Fee and Dividend is one such solution. "By returning all revenue from the carbon fee to households, we accomplish two things: Keep the federal government from getting bigger and add jobs by putting money into the pockets of people who will spend it."
Layzej writes: The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) is throwing down the gauntlet to the Heartland Institute, a group that claims that global warming stopped in 1998, with a stark, simple challenge: If the 30-year average global land surface temperature goes up in 2015, setting a new record, the Heartland Institute must donate $25,000 to a science education nonprofit. If CSI’s prediction proves incorrect, and the 30-year average global temperature does not go up, CSI agrees to donate $25,000 to an educational nonprofit designated by the Heartland Institute. It is CSI’s intent to repeat this challenge every year for the next 30 years.
“The theme of Heartland’s climate conference was ‘Fresh Start,'” observed Lindsay. “By predicting that a new record average temperature will be set every year for the next 30 years, we are in effect giving them 30 ‘fresh starts.’ I fear that what we’ll all find, however, is that as temperatures rise and the crisis deepens, each ‘fresh start’ will grow more and more stale.”
Layzej writes: In January of 1870, John Hampden proposed a wager that challenged "all the philosophers, divines and scientific professors in the United Kingdom to prove the rotundity and revolution of the world from Scripture, from reason, or from fact. He will acknowledge that he has forfeited his deposit, if his opponent can exhibit, to the satisfaction of any intelligent referee, a convex railway, river, canal, or lake."
To Alfred Russel Wallace this sounded like easy money. Poor Wallace thought that Hampden only needed to be shown some proof in order to accept the plain fact that the earth is round. He knew nothing of Hampden and his ilk, or he may never have accepted the wager. But in addition to wanting to win a cool £500, he believed “that a practical demonstration would be more convincing than the ridicule with which such views are usually met.” He was about to find out that practical demonstrations have absolutely no effect on these truest of true believers.
Layzej writes: Data from three major climate-tracking groups agree: The combined land and ocean surface temperatures hit new highs this year, according to the United States' National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the United Kingdom's Met Office and the World Meteorological Association.
If December's figures are at least 0.76 degrees Fahrenheit (0.42 degrees Celsius) higher than the 20th century average, 2014 will beat the warmest years on record, NOAA said this month. The January-through-November period has already been noted as the warmest 11-month period in the past 135 years, according to NOAA's November Global Climate Report.
Scientific American reports on five places that will help push 2014 into the global warming record books.