Why current policy under protects us significantly
How the drivers of the percieved debate have obsured
the feasibility and economic simplicity
of directly treating climate pollution
An iceberg armada disembarks from the Ilulissat Icefjord in Greenland. Melt and ice discharge from Greenland increased over 500 percent in just the ten year period 2002 to 2011.
Climate Change Now, founded in 2005, uses techniques described in the new discipline of global warming psychology to help educate the world on the most recent climate science, climate change impacts, climate policy, solutions, and our future.
Climate Discovery Platform
* Over 400 interpretations of academic literature
* Over 50 popular press articles
* Two documentaries in a reality rockumentary format
* Numerous short films
* A book on fundamental but unknown climate discoveries
* Three dozen songs set to climate issue lyrics
* About a bazillion photographs
The aftermath of Hurricane Ike, 200 miles away on Padre Island. Ike was a monstrous sized Cat 2 storm with a Cat 4 storm surge that struck Galveston in 2008. Atlantic hurricanes have increased in intensity due to global warming. The storm surge from Ike deposited an astonishing amount of debris on Padre Island. It took a year to clean this mess up because it was located on the 62 mile long four-wheel drive only wilderness beach of the National Seashore.
Why We Do What We Do
In the early and mid-1990s it was all too clear, from the viewpoint of academic climate science literature, that the media did not have a decent grasp of climate science. What was being reported to us was counter intuitively, understating what researchers were reporting. The alarmist media was not being alarmist enough.
For a decade the gap between public knowledge and what was really going on in climate science just kept growing. The Climate Change Now Initiative was founded to address this disconnection between climate scientists, the public and our leaders, and unfortunately, the gap has continued to grow. Current public, media and policy awareness is literally 20 years behind.
Hurricane Sandy set the following records: largest Atlantic hurricane with tropical storm winds spreading 1,000 miles, lowest pressure ever experienced in the Atlantic, and biggest New England storm surge. Her kinetic energy, the total amount of energy in the storm taking wind speed and multiplying it by area covered, was greater than that of hurricanes Katrina, Andrew and Wilma—all cat 5 storms. All this and when Sandy made landfall she was not even a CAT 1 hurricane. She made an unprecedented left turn into North America that was caused by a stalled blocking high over Greenland linked to Arctic Amplification with climate change.
We are here to communicate climate science in plain English. That the public does not know that the solutions will be no more expensive than what we spend on advertising across the planet every year, reflects the radical impact of the climate change counter-movement on climate science education. Traditional climate science education has been proven almost completely ineffective. New techniques are required. Communicating science the old boring way is out. Color, photos, video, action, adventure, and music are the tools we use.
Is killing coal a good thing? Certainly there are better ways to get our energy. But the latest science says that global cooling sulfates emitted alongside CO2 as we burn coal have masked 57 percent of warming that should have already taken place. Policy that would have us stop burning coal immediately, only considers the long-term time frame and global warming pollutants. We must consider net warming from all global warming and cooling pollutants and carefully evaluate the timelines with which we employ strategies that reduce warming.
Global Warming Psychology
There is a new discipline of science in town. It is called global warming psychology. The global warming psychologists have been trying to determine why in the world climate science education and outreach is not as good as that for other sciences. Simply put, it is plainly counter intuitive that such a small change in temperature could create anything bad. Beyond the obvious though, there is the climate change counter-movement.
Drexel and Stanford, (Brulle 2013) describes a thing called the climate change counter-movement (CCCM) and their $900 million annual budget. Climate change is something our civilization has never experienced before, it is as complicated as rocket science, and as variable as the weather. Jacobson 2013 says the CCCM leverages selective aspects about these different things to support Conservative agendas by interjecting propaganda into their discussions. Their campaigns then help elect Conservative leaders who mostly believe climate science is smoke and mirrors.
Climate Change Counter-movement
The propaganda is spread by just a few individuals working with the major conservative think tanks and policy institutes. These are some of the same individuals that propagated the debates on smoking, acid rain and ozone depleting chemicals. They use the same suggestions of doubt that they used in these previous campaigns that served to delay and strengthen opposition when government regulation appeared forthcoming; and they are also the same voices that tell us the solutions will ruin our economies.
Global warming psychology tells us the CCCM’s misleading quasi-logic is so compelling that traditional science education cannot compete. This is why Climate Change Now and Climate Discovery employ outreach techniques that display authoritative reference prominently, use plain English and not arcane science jargon, demonstrates skill in the science, tells stories, and shows real impacts to real people and things happening right now, not ambiguous impacts happening to future generations because of long-term projections.
Onion Creek Flood, Austin, Texas 2012. Floods and droughts have demonstrably increased in frequency and severity and every year more research finds more connections with the extreme weather continuing to increase. As an example, in the last 30 years in the U.S. Southeast both floods and drought have doubled.
Current Policy and Advocacy
Do Not Reflect Current Science
The recently enacted US climate policy, the Clean Power Plan, is only 12 percent more stringent than the Kyoto Protocol born of the Rio Earth Summit in 1992. Since about 1984, the world has emitted as much CO2 as we emitted in the prior 230 years. Climate scientists told us when Kyoto was first envisioned that if we delayed, the solutions required and impacts would be much more significant. Literally a generation of delay has created the need for what IPCC is calling "a large net removal of CO2 from our atmosphere," where we must remove "largely" more CO2 from the sky than we emit every year.
Large Net Reductions of Atmospheric CO2
The key word here is “net.” Large emissions reductions still allow total atmospheric carbon to increase. Even total emissions reductions like Austin, Texas’ new net-zero strategy, reducing emissions 100 percent, do not approach the "large net reduction of CO2 from the atmosphere" that the IPCC says is required. In other words we have to remove more CO2 from the sky than we put up there every year--"largely" more.
Padre Island National Seashore, normal Spring Tide; sea level rise from global warming has pushed many barrier island beaches to or beyond the collapse threshold. When sea level rise from warming is combined with natural subsidence and generations of sand starvation from inland reservoirs, beaches and coastal wetlands begin to disintegrate. Fifteen years ago this beach was 200 to 300 feet wide with three four-wheel drive trails: at the dune line like is shown above, at the high tide line and in between. But the high tide line is now immediately adjacent the dunes and the other two trails have disappeared. First the beach disappears, then the dunes start to erode, as is happening on about the most sensitive dozen miles of Padre Island's total 90 mile length.
Not all parts of all beaches are created equal. Conflicting currents, geologic features and old storm scars leave beaches more vulnerable in some areas than others. It is in these areas that beach erosion and beach disintegration begin first.
This is South Padre Island, 13 miles beyond the end of pavement on the four-wheel drive beach. The biggest normal high tides during normal non-storm conditions are now seeing the surf eroding into the dunes in these critical areas.
Global Cooling Pollutants
Have Been Ignored
Since 2009, it has been apparent in academia that we have learned enough about global cooling pollutants to add them to the warming equation. When this is done, in the most important 20 to 30 year time frame; air travel actually cools the planet, transportation creates 2.5 times more warming than coal, and reduction of coal emissions actually warms the planet more than doing nothing at all.
The IPCC backs this up with science that shows 57 percent of warming that should have already occurred--because of greenhouse gases already emitted and remaining in our sky--has been masked by global cooling sulfates (smog) emitted from burning fossil fuels, mostly from coal.
Net warming from cessation of burning coal (greenhouse gas warming + cooling from global cooling pollutants) in the time frames where short-lived global cooling sulfates are active, produces more warming in the short-term climate time frame than doing absolutely nothing at all. Air travel is fueled by diesel jet fuel which has a high concentration of sulfur emitted at altitude where cooling is enhanced, and transportation in general uses gasoline with very low sulfur concentrations that allow short term warming to be greater than that from coal because dirty coal is full of sulfates that mask warming.
The Flats on the backside of Padre Island. Only inch or two above sea level, a year of high tides in 2013 saw the flats disappear underwater, maybe to never return again, in time frames that matter.
Climate Pollutant Mitigation Timing is Critical
Our society is rapidly catching on to the fact that we must regulate global warming pollutants. But the science associated with current policy is literally a generation old. Much more must be done, as we have been warned. “Strong net removal of atmospheric CO2” is now required and we must use current net warming math to time global warming pollutant mitigation strategies appropriately.
The biggest example of this new "timing" strategy is coal. Swapping coal for natural gas reduces emissions of long-lived carbon dioxide, but it also stops emissions of short-lived sulfates because natural gas is almost free of sulfates. When the math is done, in the short term, more warming occurs than doing nothing at all.
We can’t stop the reduction of coal emissions because the long-term time frame is important too. But the short term is even more important because of the outsized risk of abrupt climate change.
Abrupt Climate Change
Highly robust evidence from preserved air in the Greenland ice sheet shows 23 times in the last 100,000 years our climate has warmed or cooled 9 to 15 degrees F across the planet in time frames of a couple of decades to as little as a few to several years. Changes in Greenland were 25 to 35 degrees. These abrupt climate jumps should not be confused with the relatively slow, steady climate change of modeling projections of four degrees F this century.
The abrupt changes were generally caused by shutdowns of the Gulf Stream in the northern Atlantic by the release of iceberg armadas from the North American and Greenland Ice Sheets. The icebergs melted and created a pool of buoyant fresh water in the North Atlantic that did not readily mix with the salty waters of the Gulf Stream, causing it to stall, allowing Europe and northeastern North America to go into the deep freeze. But modeling still lacks the sophistication in almost all instances to recreate these abrupt changes. Because climate policy is based on modeling, abrupt changes are not included in policy. They only exist in the evidence and in caveats in the climate science consensus opinion put forth by the IPCC.
This is the Greenland Ice Sheet at a place called point 660, about 20 miles east from Kangerlussuaq, on the west coast, just north of the Arctic Circle. At its edge, the ice sheet is a hundred feet tall and rapidly climbs to 1,000 feet within a few miles. Or at least it did until what ice scientists call "The Big Melt" began about the turn of the 21st century. The area in this photo saw 100 vertical feet of melt between 2004 and 2007. Since 2007, Greenland has generally been even warmer.
Risk of Abrupt Change
Because abrupt climate change is not considered in policy, this makes it no less real and no less risky. We know these changes happened in most instances because of research in oceans sediments showing vastly different biologic assemblages when water temps were cold (shutdown) and warm (flowing strong), and from really robust evidence in Greenland ice (bubbles of air). That the climate science consensus opinion and current climate pollution policy put more trust in modeling than in actual evidence is one of the most confounding developments in the world of climate science and climate pollution policy today.
Abrupt Climate Change Finally Modeled
In 2014, science workers from Australia and Hawaii created a modeling experiment that replicates evidence of abrupt climate changes in Greenland between 30,000 and 50,000 years ago. They were caused by Heinrich events (iceberg armadas) that created Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles (abrupt temperature change) by shutting down the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic. The shutdown led to rapid formation of winter sea ice that completely shut down heat transfer from the ocean to the atmosphere catalyzing global abrupt change.
Ice loss in Greenland has increased over 500 percent between 2001 and 2011. Iceberg discharge has increased four hundred percent in the last 20 years.
Gulf Stream Shutdown
For a decade or two after Bond and Broeker, and Dansgaard and Oeshenger described the extraordinary string of abrupt climate changes trigger by iceberg armadas in the North Atlantic, a repeat of this type of impact was considered unlikely. Current scant data was saying the stream was stable. Then, two pieces of work by teams led by researchers from Germany’s environmental program and the University of New South Wales looked at ocean sediments in the North Atlantic near New Foundland and saw that melt from Greenland has been impacting the Gulf Stream for going on a century now, much more of the change happening more recently.
For the last ten years, science has considered that, by the time the Greenland melt rate increases enough to influence the Gulf Stream, warming would be too great for the North Atlantic to ice over and catalyze these abrupt changes. But this time period was estimated to be between 2080 and 2100 at the earliest. Like so many things, past science understates the speed and extremeness of actual impacts.
We don’t know how this ongoing shutdown will impact global climate, or even if it will shut down entirely, but it is becoming apparent that something related to climate change is affecting the climate of northeastern US and northern Europe in winter—far ahead of schedule.
Gulf Stream Shut Down Is Real; Will Abrupt Change Happen?
This modeling accurately hind-cast these abrupt changes when we were in the depths of the last ice age. Temperatures routinely plunged and rose again with astonishing magnitude and rapidity relative to any kind of historical climate changes we know of like the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period that have happened since about 800 AD.
The future was not evaluated, but now that researchers have achieved this success, the door is more open to modeling the future. The science that abrupt change will be caused by iceberg armadas is changing as our world reacts to warming faster than previous science anticipated.
The Solutions are Embarrassingly Cheap
Based on the IPCC’s strong negative emissions statement, and considering that “strong negative emissions” could equal 200 percent to 300 percent of annual emissions, the US commitment of 32 percent emissions reductions by 2030 and 80 percent by 2050 represent only about 15 to 40 percent of IPCC’s suggestion at 200 percent strong negative emissions and 11 to 27 percent of their 300 percent strong negative emissions.
So we literally have no choice. All the reforestation, efficiency measures, biofuels, smart cars and smart grids and reductions of fossil fuel emissions with alternative energy sources will not reach a “large net removal.” We must begin to remove some of the accumulate CO2 directly from our atmosphere.
Over 92 million acres of forest have been devastated by a native bark beetle gone berserk because of warming. Only extreme cold of -40 below can kill the beetle and this cold disappeared from the beetle's home a generation ago. These forest will attempt to regrow as young trees are vigorous. But unless warming is reduced from current levels, as the trees begin to mature they will succumb to this or similar insect or disease attacks. For scale, Yellowstone National Park, which has seen a greater than 90 percent kill of their ecocritical white bark pine, is 2 million acres. The current kill is twice the size of New England.
Carbon Dioxide Air Capture Machines: Clockwise from top left: Carbon Engineering no. 2, Carbon Engineering no. 1, Global Thermostat, Climeworks, backside photo of a modified Global Thermostat.
The technologies exist today to remove 50 ppm CO2 from our sky for $200 per ton totaling $21 trillion dollars. This technology has been around since WWII. New technologies today, as are pictured here, cost in the neighborhood of $200 per ton as well. But these new technologies have just been developed to the field trial stage. Once fully industrialized it is entirely feasible the cost could drop 90 percent or more. This is how we can remove 50 ppm CO2 from the atmosphere for $2 trillion dollars; less than the cost of health care in the United States for one year.
We spend $2.9 trillion dollars on health care in the US every year. We spend $500 billion in the US on our military every year not counting wars and another $500 billion a year on damages from extreme weather, not counting climate induced extremes, and another $500 billion annually on sick days in the US alone, and another $500 billion every year on the Clean Air Act, and another on providing clean drinking water around the globe, and another $500 billion on advertising across the planet every year.
The costs are no different
than so many things we do
every day in our society
Padre Island, 53 miles beyond the four-wheel drive only sign. Even though this area suffers from natural subsidence and sand starvation from the Mansfield Pass jetties, the beach was stable until about the turn of the 21st century. This is when sea level rise from melting ice and warming water expanding caused the apparent sea level rise here to broach the barrier island sea level rise disintegration threshold. The surf here now erodes into the dunes during the two highest tides of the year—Spring and King Tides during April and October—during non-storm conditions. Altogether, more than a dozen miles of Padre Island, North and South, suffer from dune erosion today, up from zero last century. This is one way that barrier island disintegration starts. Unless the warming equilibrium is restored, these beaches will not recover naturally. Image was taken at dead-low tide, April 2014.
So why then,
is this deal not yet done?
The climate change counter-movement has ruined traditional climate science outreach even among environmental advocates. When the American Physical Society (APS) paper, Direct Air Capture of CO2 with Chemicals, was wrongly used by the CCCM to discredit developing sky mining technologies, they significantly imparied the ability of the only solution capable of arresting climate change--in time frames that matter--from making a difference.
Even though the seventh ranked academic journal in the world rebutted the report (Nature), the damage was done. Widespread repetition of this dangerous propaganda continues today. The scientific community does not have the resources, training or the popularity to go up against the $900 million annually funded climate change counter-movement.
Lake Travis, Austin, Texas: Unprecedented rainfall drought in 2011 has been joined by a new phenomenon -- lake level drought. It is caused, or enhanced by climate change. In Central Texas, National Weather Service 30-year average rainfall has increased 7 to 20 percent, and the last five years saw 30 to 60 percent more rainfall than in the previous most extreme drought recorded (1950s)--all while inflows were only half that in the '50s. Increased population, pumping and reservoir construction contribute but to a large extent, changes in the way rain falls have made the biggest contribution. The most extreme storms have increased 16 percent in Texas with a corresponding increase in dry periods. Warmer temperatures mean a non-linear increase in evaporation, so when it does rain, more soaks in and less runs off. Because runoff is responsible for 90 percent of the volume of Central Texas Lakes, climate change (mostly) has created a new kind of drought where it can rain more, but there is less water.
The Media’s Godzilla Bias
The APS report openly acknowledges this bias, yet the media prominently reported on the APS study and never mentioning their caveats or the Nature rebuttal. Their reporting on the APS study was so prevalent and the the media so badly ignored any counter argument, that even environmental advocates and most climate scientists believe air capture to be economically unfeasible.
This current drought in Texas and weather like this all over, defies the traditional definition of extreme. It is only happening with 1.4 degrees F warming. If we stopped all emissions today, overshoot, or additional warming already in the pipeline of up to 7.5 degrees F would occur. Because emissions are at or beyond the limits of the worst-case scenario, it would probably warm even more. This is but another reason why a large net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere is so important.
Over and over again, researchers working on the new air capture technologies have published work supporting and furthering these technologies, but scientists are not the media or even education specialist and they do not hold influence over half (or more) of the politics and media outlets in this nation. This is why the new discipline of global warming psychology is so important. These communication techniques hold the key to achieving scientific justice.
The North American pine beetle attack was supposed to be over when the beetle killed all of its prey. Large stands of lodgepole pine--their primary prey--are indeed gone and the attack has slowed remarkably. But in the summer of 2015, from a thorough but anecdotal view of a 6,000 mile forest observation journey through the heart of the Rockies, different insect and disease impacts area as widespread as at the peak of the pine beetle pandemic in 2009. Lodgepole pine only account for about a quarter of the forests of the North American West. Spruce beetle, fir beetle, spruce and fir budworms and blister rust have now become no less rampant than at the peak of the pine beetle pandemic.
How much of observed warming is natural?
A. less than half
B. about half
C. more than half
D. all of it
E. none of the above
The damage to climate science education can be summed up with this example that represents literally dozens of fundamental pieces of the climate change issue that have gone wanting in the public’s eye because of the doubt cast over this science; when all other sciences still have the prestige they have always had.
Hardly a person, leader, environmental advocate and even many disciplines of climate scientists do not know how much of observed warming has been caused by man and how much is natural. The answer is not half, more than half or even all of it.
Because of the warming mask placed on our climate by global cooling pollutants emitted alongside CO2 when burning fossil fuels, approximately 135 percent of observed warming has been caused by man. More than all warming has been caused by man because global cooling sulfates hide warming that should have already taken place. And... our climate is not naturally warming at all, it is naturally cooling as we leave our current 10,000 year-long interglacial headed back into another ice age pulse.
We Do Not Know How To Behave
Our civilization has never experienced climate change before. There is no analog. This is not a thing from our past. The significant impacts already occurring are either happening in remote wilderness areas or are beyond the familiar realm of our history.
Climate Discovery interprets the literature into English. We look at the big picture, communicate these things according to global warming psychology, and present the solutions as the simple and economic treatment of the pollution that it is.
South Padre Island, mile 18, high tide, non-storm conditions. The most sensitive areas are impacted first. These areas are often invisible to the vast majority because of how difficult it is to reach them.
Global Warming Psychology 101:
Please Tell Your Friends
Because climate change is so foreign to our civilization and impacts to biota and ecosystems—no matter how devastating to the environment—are almost completely obscure to most of us, we all must learn new things. The best way for this to happen, so the global warming psychology says, is for each of us to experience global warming impacts first hand.
As good as the results may indicate, obviously there are challenges with this strategy. Knowledge is the second most impactful thing in global warming psychology, so we must help each other learn. We are on the right path, but we must act further before we cross a threshold to abrupt climate change.
Please become involved with the movement. If you can’t become personally involved, then give so that others may communicate for you.
Onion Creek, Austin Texas, Halloween Flood, 2013. Future climate change with current policy allows 2 to 3 times more warming than has already occurred. How many hundred-year storms in a row will it take? How much greater can flooding become? In hydrology, there is a thing called the Possible Maximum Precipitation (PMP). This is where all of the meteorological cards align, moisture is maxed out, physical mechanisms are maxed, etc. The rainfall that caused this record flooding in Austin was about 12 inches in 8 hours. The 500-year 6-hour storm in Austin is 8.5 inches. The 6-hour PMP for Austin is 31 inches. The PMP is also modeled based on warmth in our old climate. The moral to this story is that Mother Nature's furry can become unimaginably more extreme and it is all tied to warming. Be cautious when considering how bad extreme conditions can become.
They key to appropriate action is communications
We can’t do it without you
Please tell your friends
An underice river explodes from beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet. Melt flows down through crevasses to the bottom of the ice sheet where it lubricates the flow of the ice sheet to the sea. So much water can accumulate beneath the ice sheet that it can actually float--nearly two feet, so far. The lubrication floats the ice sheet and miles wide pieces can unstick and slide downstream thousands of feet. When the ice grinds to a halt, icequakes 1,000 times more powerful than anything previously recorded in Greenland occur (5.2 on the Richter Scale). This phenomena began for the first time in the early 1990s but was not identified as being what it is until 2007.