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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 21 declined, 26 accepted (47 total, 55.32% accepted)

Submission + - Mainstream scientists cashing in on climate wagers (reuters.com)

Layzej writes: Climate contrarians have long predicted imminent global cooling, A few have been willing to place wagers that mainstream scientists have been quick to accept. Often acceptance of the bet is followed by immediate retraction, as was the case when "Bastardi's Wager" was accepted by Joseph Romm or when Maurice Newman's $10,000 bet was accepted by physicist Brian Schmidt. In some cases bets have been formalized and the terms of many of those wagers are coming to a close. It may not be surprising to learn that those who put their money on the side of mainstream science are the ones who are cashing in.

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.

Keith Pickering reports on a series of three bets between Brian Schmidt and climate contrarian David Evans who also believed that diminishing solar output would dominate the temperatures of the last decade and beyond. The wagers pay out in 2019, 2024, and 2029. Pickering concludes "What Evans apparently doesn't realize is that because of the thermal inertia of the oceans, within narrow bounds we can already predict what global temperatures will be in 2019, 2024, and 2029. And David Evans is going to lose his shirt."

Submission + - Ocean absorption of man-made heat accelerates at colossal rate (www.cbc.ca)

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.

The magnitude of the ocean heat uptake is quite large and is now equivalent to 4 Hiroshima atomic bombs per second. But the study's authors and outside experts say it's not the raw numbers that bother them. It's how fast those numbers are increasing.

Submission + - Earth's Top Ten Weather/Climate Events of 2015 (wunderground.com)

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.

Submission + - Academics-for-hire agree not to expose fossil fuel funding (theguardian.com)

Layzej writes: An undercover sting by Greenpeace has revealed that two prominent climate sceptics were available for hire by the hour to write reports casting doubt on the dangers posed by global warming. The academics were happy to come up with ways to obscure the proposed corporate funding in their 'research', while admitting that the content likely wouldn’t make it through the peer-review process, so they’d have to handpick the reviewers themselves.

"Our research reveals that professors at prestigious universities can be sponsored by foreign fossil fuel companies to write reports that sow doubt about climate change and that this sponsorship will then be kept secret," John Sauven, the director of Greenpeace UK, told the press. "Down the years, how many scientific reports that sowed public doubt on climate change were actually funded by oil, coal and gas companies? This investigation shows how they do it, now we need to know when and where they did it."

Submission + - Global temperatures set to reach 1 C marker for first time (metoffice.gov.uk) 5

Layzej writes: Based on data from January to September, the HadCRUT dataset shows 2015 global mean temperature at 1.02 C (±0.11 C) above pre-industrial levels for the first time. The Copenhagen Accord recognizes "the scientific view that the increase in global temperature should be below 2 degrees Celsius." Physics Ken Rice points out that the next degree Celsius may be closer than we think. "It’s taken us about 160 years to warm by about 1C. This is associated with emissions of about 550GtC (550 billion tonnes of carbon, or ~2000 billion tonnes of CO2). Current emissions are around 10GtC/year. If we continue emitting as we are, we will double our cumulative emissions in about 50 years. If we continue to increase our emissions, it will be even sooner.

Submission + - Muzzled Canadian scientists can now speak freely with public (thestar.com)

Layzej writes: Over the last 10 years, policies were put in place to prevent Canadian scientists from freely discussing taxpayer-funded science with the public. "media relations contacts" were enlisted to monitor and record interactions with the press. Interviews and often the questions to be asked were vetted ahead of time, and responses given by scientists frequently monitored or prohibited. The journal Nature, one of the world’s top science journals, called the policy a “Byzantine approach to the press, prioritizing message control and showing little understanding of the importance of the free flow of scientific knowledge.”

The new government in Canada is lifting these restrictions. Scientists at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were told Thursday they can now speak to the media. In a statement on Friday afternoon, Navdeep Bains, Canada's new minister of innovation, science and economic development said "Our government values science and will treat scientists with respect. This is why government scientists and experts will be able to speak freely about their work to the media and the public,"

Submission + - Citi report: slowing global warming would save tens of trillions of dollars (theguardian.com)

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.

One of the most interesting findings in the report is that the investment costs for the two scenarios are almost identical. In fact, because of savings due to reduced fuel costs and increased energy efficiency, the Action scenario is actually a bit cheaper than the Inaction scenario. Coupled with the fact the total spend is similar under both action and inaction, yet the potential liabilities of inaction are enormous, it is hard to argue against a path of action.

But there will be winners and losers: The biggest loser stands to be the coal industry, where we estimate cumulative spend under our Action scenario could be $11.6 trillion less than in our Inaction scenario over the next quarter century, with renewables, wind and nuclear (as well as energy efficiency) the main beneficiaries.

Submission + - Next Texas Energy Boom: Solar (wsj.com)

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.

Submission + - New tool allows scientists to annotate media coverage of climate change (theguardian.com)

Layzej writes: Have you ever been skeptical of a climate change story presented by a major media outlet? A new tool holds journalists to account for the veracity of their stories. "Using the Climate Feedback tool, scientists have started to diligently add detailed annotations to online content and have those notes appear alongside the story as it originally appeared. If you’re the writer, then it’s a bit like getting your homework handed back to you with the margins littered with corrections and red pen. Or smiley faces and gold stars if you’ve been good."

The project has already prompted The Telegraph to publish major corrections to their story that suggested the Earth is headed for a "‘mini ice age’ within 15 years." The article has been modified in such a way that there is no more statement supporting the original message of an ‘imminent mini ice age’.

Submission + - Everything you think you know about Republicans and climate change is wrong (ourmidland.com) 2

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."

Submission + - Skeptics dare climate science deniers to take $25,000 wager. (csicop.org) 1

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.”

Submission + - "Founder" of Greenpeace says pesticides are safe to drink. (blogspot.com) 1

Layzej writes: "Founder of Greenpeace" Patrick Moore, who was reported here last week denying the physics of anthropogenic climate change on behalf of the Heartland Institute, is now claiming that the pesticide glysophate is safe for Argentinians to drink. "You can drink a whole quart of it and it won't hurt you" he stated. "It is not dangerous to humans". Although when pressed he refused to take a sip, he did state "I know it wouldn't hurt me".

Submission + - Climate Scientist Wins Defamation Suit Against National Post (huffingtonpost.ca)

Layzej writes: A leading Canadian climate scientist has been awarded $50,000 in a defamation suit against The National Post newspaper. Andrew Weaver sued the Post over four articles published between December 2009 and February 2010. The articles contain “grossly irresponsible falsehoods that have gone viral on the Internet,” and they “poison” the debate over climate change, Weaver asserted in a statement at the time the suit was filed.

The judge agreed, concluding “the defendants have been careless or indifferent to the accuracy of the facts. As evident from the testimony of the defendants, they were more interested in espousing a particular view than assessing the accuracy of the facts.”

This is the first of several law suits launched by climate scientists against journalists who have published alleged libels and falsehoods. Climate scientist Ben Santer suggests the following explanation for these types of defamations: "if you can’t attack the underlying science, you go after the scientist.”

Submission + - How a Founder of Modern Biology Got Suckered by Flat-Earthers (scientificamerican.com) 1

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.

Scientific American describes the events that followed. In the end Wallace and his family were subjected to death threats, and the wager cost him several hundred pounds and no end of trouble.

Submission + - 2014 - Hottest Year on Record (scientificamerican.com)

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.

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