Saturday, May 28, 2016

New Discovery May Scale Back Climate Alarm

CERN Research Shows Pre-Industrial Skies Were Cloudier Than Thought

A new discovery about how clouds form may scale back some of the more dire predictions about temperature increases caused by man-made global warming. That's because it implies that a key assumption for making such predictions is a bit off. Nobody knows just how cloudy skies were in the old days. Scientists have figured there were far fewer clouds than now, Kirkby said. But the discovery of a new natural route to cloud formation suggests that cloud cover was in fact greater than scientists had assumed. If so, the way these simulations work, it would mean that greenhouse gases haven't been quite as potent in producing warming so far as scientists thought. So, ton for ton, they may not be quite as potent in producing future warming either. --Seth Borenstein, Associated Press, 27 May 2016

Our planet’s pre-industrial climate may have been cloudier than presently thought, shows CERN’s CLOUD experiment in two papers published today in Nature. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) considers that the increase in aerosols and clouds since pre-industrial times represents one of the largest sources of uncertainty in climate change. The CLOUD experiment is designed to better understand such processes. CLOUD has also found that ions from galactic cosmic rays strongly enhance the production rate of pure biogenic particles – by a factor 10-100 compared with particles without ions. This suggests that cosmic rays may have played a more important role in aerosol and cloud formation in pre-industrial times than in today’s polluted atmosphere. --CERN, 25 May 2016

Computer climate models relied on by scientists and governments to forecast the impact of climate change may be running too hot, according to the conclusions of a new paper, which says models may overestimate so called climate sensitivity. This may mean that forecasts from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on the amount of global warming that we can expect may be overestimated by between a half and four times if the conclusions of this research are confirmed. --Reporting Climate Science, 16 May 2016

As part of an open discussion on the critical issue of energy, sustainability and climate change, MRS Energy and Sustainability—A Review Journal (MRS E and S) has published a paper in which Cambridge (UK) engineering professor M.J. Kelly argues that it is time to review the current efforts to reduce carbon emissions, some of which “represent total madness.” In his peer-reviewed article, Lessons from technology development for energy and sustainability, Kelly considers the lessons from global decarbonization projects, and concludes that all combined actions to reduce carbon emissions so far will not achieve a serious reduction. In some cases, these efforts will actually make matters worse. -- Cambridge University Press, 23 May 2016

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, promised on Thursday to roll back some of America’s most ambitious environmental policies, actions that he said would revive the ailing U.S. oil and coal industries and bolster national security. “Any regulation that’s outdated, unnecessary, bad for workers or contrary to the national interest will be scrapped and scrapped completely,” Trump told about 7,700 people at the Williston Basin Petroleum Conference in Bismarck, the capital of oil-rich North Dakota. Earlier this month, he told Reuters in an interview that he would renegotiate “at a minimum” the U.N. global climate accord agreed by 195 countries in Paris last December, saying he viewed the deal as bad for U.S. business. He took that a step further in North Dakota. “We’re going to cancel the Paris climate agreement,” he said. --Valerie Volcovici and Emily Stephenson, Reuters, 27 May 2016

Russia set itself at odds with a drive by China and the United States for rapid ratification of a global agreement to slow climate change when a senior official said on Wednesday that Moscow first wanted a clear set of rules. Top greenhouse gas emitters China and the United States say they plan to join the Paris Agreement this year and almost all other nations say they will ratify as rapidly as possible -before the rules are in place. But Russia, the number three greenhouse gas emitter, questioned the plan in a rare sign of disagreement about implementation. –Alister Doyle, Reuters 27 May 2016

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