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Ac A

Ok, regarding the last comment of Dominik Lenné:

"A comprehensive, working cap and trade system for emissions." - in my opinion, C&T us just an silly extension to BAU scenario, not really intended to decrease carbon emissions. I global deal would be needed, which will not be agreed upon.

Decrease of carbon emission in Europe, USA, and Japan is the result of economic recession/depression, not a result of intelligent response... Alex

Ac A

And here is another call in the last sentence of the article: "We need a carbon tax in America and worldwide. And we need it more than ever -- now!" - so which one is it?


A stiff carbon tax would be far more effective than a cap and trade program. The justification for such a tax is that it forces business and consumers to internalize costs of using fossil fuels. These external costs (the destruction of our environment) are huge. The tax should be implemented in a clearly deliniated step up approach so that businesses and consumers can plan their investments accordingly.

Bob Wallace

A carbon tax with the revenues used to subsidize end-user utility bills would tip the scales against carbon-heavy energy sources while creating minimum disruption to businesses and private citizens.

Getting coal out of the system would free up tax dollars now going to treat coal-created health care problems. It would also reduce health care premiums.

A well designed bill would be largely transparent to end-users while speeding the transition away from fossil fuels.


I agree with DJPrice and Bob Wallace.

A carbon tax can be made revenue neutral, simply by rebating the total amount collected to everybody on a per capita basis. Or it can be made partly neutral by replacing an existing tax structure with a carbon tax. Or something in between can be done.

These approaches have the effect of building the cost of carbon pollution into the economic decisions that everyone makes on a day to day basis, and can be much more efficient at reducing fossil fuel dependence than any regulatory scheme.



Other than pacifying the Neo-Cons why would we want to make the carbon tax revenue neutral?

Every country is going to be faced with huge bills just dealing with the damages done by AGW & most jurisdictions are under taxed at present. A tax that slowed FF consumption & provided money for stimulus by funding higher dykes, an improved electrical grid or mass transportation systems could prove a panacea.

I'm for a carbon tax but would prefer one that provided needed revenue.




A few years ago, that is what I advocated publicly. But you are right in that many countries could use an additional source of revenue.

My reason for making the observation is that making a tax partly revenue neutral is one additional degree of flexibility that lawmakers can employ. As a consequence, there is no reason to make such a tax "small" if a larger tax would accomplish the desired effect more effectively.


Terry/Donald....I think we all agree the tax needs to be significant. I don't believe it should be revenue neutral although such a tax will be regressive and hit the poor disproportionally. I think it should be increased, over time, in an explicit way. Capital investment is slow to adjust to changes and businesses will need to see the future costs in order to plan accordingly.


I would like to comment on the first comment from AC A: "Decrease of carbon emission in Europe [...] is the result of economic recession/depression, not a result of intelligent response"

Some of the reduction in Europe was due to decrease of eastern economics in 1990, but there was a big effort undertaken - in Europe exists a Carbon tax, large taxes on petrol (>50%). Furthermore, renewable energy is boosted and paid by poeples electricity bill and insulation of houses is paid by taxes. So - there is really some effort undertaken in Europe, especially in northern Europe. Now we really face the risc that poeple here are getting frustated paying the bill allone and in vain. We need now also some effort untertaken in Northern America to stay on the road. Otherwise poeple in e.g. Germany will just increase the dikes a bit more and start watching the temperatures rising to more comfortable levels here.


I have had an interesting discussion on carbon taxes with Timothy Worstall of the Adam Smith Institute. He is a regular contributor to Forbes Magazine and the Daily Telegraph. He seems very influential.

He is an advocate of a carbon tax but I don't think he has yet appreciated the scale of climate change.

To my surprise he calls himself "rather a lefty"

I don't agree with all he says but he's worth reading.

I have written before on carbon taxes and spend some effort to get my favorite economists to do more. They support it but seem to do little.

One big problem is that economic models do not disaggregate their labour sectors sensibly. They could then show that a carbon tax recycled into creating employment for the low paid (who are the ones out of work) could create full employment without economic growth

dominik lenné

This is all quite heavily OT, but anyway:
With cap&trade vs. carbon tax, there are pros and cons for each.

Predictability: there are statistical ups and downs of energy price anyway, which make planning for industry difficult. On first look, a thoroughly planned rising carbon tax gives more predictability. But c&t can act stabilizing on economy, as with low demand, the certificate price will drop also.

Ease of implementation: carbon tax wins, but: noone knows which tax path yields which emissions reduction path. With c&t, reduction is well-defined.

At the end of the day, these are details of lesser importance. Hansens proposition is perfectly tailored for the notoriously state hating US. If it is necessary to make enough GOP diehards to embark on climate saving, it's the best.


Taxing carbon makes a lot of sense. Carbon can be taxed substantially, however it makes more sense to use the tax money to heavily subsidize solar power, wind power, and other "alternative" energy sources. This should result in a fairly rapid change of energy sources.
I haven't addressed the complications of changing to a different source of electrical power either. Part of these carbon tax revenues would likely also need to be invested into energy storage systems to stabilize supply fluctuations that would occur using solar and wind power sources.
Here in the United Stated Pacific Northwest some of the windmills have to be feathered at times because in combination with hydro power there is too much power for the grid to handle. One coal power plant has already been closed and another one is currently on the block to be closed soon.

dominik lenné

Thinking about it, I had to give my original blog post an overhaul.

As often, things are more complex than they appear at first sight:

The snow data are “extent” – data which means, that they contain 10 – 15 % snow free area (not 100% sure about this point).

The albedo of land is bigger than that of water (ca. 0.2 vs. ca. 0.1,http://www.climatedata.info/Forcing/Forcing/albedo.html).

Contrary to intuition, the mean solar irradiation in mid summer in those areas, where the main snow melting difference occurs (around the 60° N) is lower than on the polar sea around the north pole!(http://tamino.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/sea-ice-insolation)

The data for other months than June are not given in my source, probably in the paywalled original paper, so they might look less crassy.

On the other hand, the capacity of heat absorbtion of land is smaller than that of sea surface, which will direct the absorbed energy earlier into atmosphere instead of the water body. Also, the speed of recent summer snow loss seems to be higher than that of sea ice.(http://www.livescience.com/26091-arctic-snow-cover-decline.html)


What amuses is that you are all rather recapitulating the arguments that the economists have been having over the past decade and more.

For example: "I think it should be increased, over time, in an explicit way. Capital investment is slow to adjust to changes and businesses will need to see the future costs in order to plan accordingly."

That's the William Nordhaus view. Start low now (say, $30 per tonne CO2-e) and provide a known rise over time to say $250 by 2040. This provides both certainty about investments for the future and also incentives to make sure that future investments are low to no carbon.

The Stern view is that we can have a lower tax but start now: at, say, $80 per tonne. Higher now, yes, but lower in the future.

Most economists would say that the Nordhaus view wins here: it's always going to be cheaper to make sure that new stuff is low carbon instead of tearing down what we've already got to make low carbon stuff. Allow the current infrastructure to reach the end of its natural economic life and replace it is cheaper than trying to replace it before it all wears out.

Re cap and trade v carbon tax. CT gives you certainty about emissions reductions. But not about the price of them. Carbon tax gives you certainty on the price but not the amount. And the thing is (as the Stern Review tells us) what we should actually be targetting is the cost, the price, not the amount.

We're not going to have no climate change, that's for sure. And we obviously don't want catastrophic such. So give that we're going to have some but not too much, what is the right amount? Clearly, that's where the costs of the climate change are equal to the costs of mitigating climate change.

If a 1 oC rise (entirely made up numbers here) will cause $100 of damage then we're willing to pay $100 now (discounted to net present value of course) to avert that damage. But we'd be insane to pay $200 now to alleviate $100 of future damage. And silly to be only willing to pay $20 now to alleviate $100 of future damage.

OK, you've got to add in expected outcomes (ie, probability of various temp rises, the damage they would do etc) and argue about the discount rate. But this is indeed exactly what the work of Nordhaus and Stern is all about.

And given that it is this cost/price thing that we actually want to target then that's why we want to use a carbon tax not a cap and trade system.

"Other than pacifying the Neo-Cons why would we want to make the carbon tax revenue neutral?"

That's a political question. The point about the carbon tax is that it works even if it is revenue neutral. What the revenue is spent on is also entirely irrelevant. It works just because the tax is being levied. That's the point that people are trying to get across.

"He is a regular contributor to Forbes Magazine and the Daily Telegraph. He seems very influential."

Sadly I'm not influential at all: just another freelance journalist trying to make a living.

It's also a standard complaint among economists. The more settled the economists think the answer is, the less influence that answer has on public policy. Just about every economist would agree that either c&p or a carbon tax is a full and complete solution to hte problems of climate change. Most would argue that the carbon tax is better. No country has a proper and full carbon tax. QED.

Ac A

Hi Timothy,

nobody is influential in 7+ billion planet, but some are more than the others :-)

regarding: "Just about every economist would agree that either c&p or a carbon tax is a full and complete solution to hte problems of climate change" - ah well, I just doubt that they are right...



Last year I took part in a CCS workshop in Australia. My take on the cost estimates presented there was the following:

CCS based on coal (a few R&D demo sites) was estimated to cost about 40 USD per ton of CO2.

CCS based on natural gas (a few operational sites) was roughly about 20 USD per ton of CO2.

CCS based on oil (no real attempts) could be somewhere in between.

Coincidentially, these preliminary cost estimates are fairly well aligned with the relative CO2 emissions from the various fuel types.

What if a global CCS tax was introduced along these lines. Not to say that the revenue should be used for CCS projects. But in order to create a level playing field for competing technologies, a transparent global system (aiming at these tax levels within a decade) may help policy-makers decide on future investments within the energy sector.


The British Geological Survey say

If the [carbon price] remains low, CCS will be slow to develop because there is no financial incentive. When CCS technology is better developed and proven, its costs may lower. Some people suggest that money spent on CCS will divert investments away from other solutions to climate change.

That means we need a high carbon price soon so that power stations can become carbon negative with CCS and biomass.

Have we the time to "allow the current infrastructure to reach the end of its natural economic life"?

The Arctic snow is disappearing fast with the Arctic sea ice and messing with our weather and food supplies!

Ac A


it is not at all clear, how high carbon price can global economy endure - actually, the financial crash of 2008 was helped by high oil prices, far from being as high as CCS requires. So when (not if) the global economy crashes agian, it is not clear that CCS will be possible (economic) to build, but I am not an economist.

In other new, New York Times has good summary of global weirding:

Heat, Flood or Icy Cold, Extreme Weather Rages Worldwide



Ac A

Is Paul Beckwith credible in the circles?

"Give me a plane, pilot, nozzle, and sulfur and I can calm the climate." - but read the whole piece...



Climate Changes

I think that a tax on CO2 will be pointless. Just like yearly price increases in alcohol or tabacco makes no difference to the consumer. I believe that CO2 should be seen as a polluting by-product from the Fossil fuel industry and treated like we did with CFC's. Only then will manufacturers of petrol and other fossil fuel combustibles get their act together and produce a product that is environmentally friendly. Remember petrol with lead? they passed law and the fuel industry had to act accordingly (although reluctantly).


it is not at all clear, how high carbon price can global economy endure - actually, the financial crash of 2008 was helped by high oil prices,

That's a good point. I also wonder whether a system that has economists dancing naked around the totem pole of GDP growth is flexible enough to accommodate higher energy prices. Perhaps the system needs to change. Root causes and symptoms...


Something that strikes me, based on looking at http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/map/images/fnl/sfctmp_01.fnl.html , is how constrained the areas of cold are to the land areas. In other words, there is little by way of cold air masses over the Pacific or the Atlantic. Reminds me of the charts showing how 90% of global warming has occurred within the oceans.

So, the question is, will snow cover be pushed back from the edges of the continents at a faster pace?

Doug Lofland

January Thaw in Siberia? http://www.wunderground.com/blog/24hourprof/show.html

Aaron Lewis

Any carbon tax that works is cheaper than real global famine.

Climate change could disrupt our industrial agriculture so there is real famine in the industrial world. Industrial workers do not work when they are starving.

If there is not enough food around, then simply raising workers’ wages so can buy more food does not work, it merely raises the price of what food there is.

While the cost of going off a carbon based economy may be huge, it is trivial compared to the full cost of global warming. A real famine would cost us civilization.

dominik lenné

Not only sea ice but also snow cover development isn't reflected in numerical models:


"Derksen says that scientists need to understand why the observed changes do not match up with the projections of widely used models. He found that the snow-cover projections generated by the climate models being used in the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change underestimate the extent of spring snowmelt in the Northern Hemisphere. 'Even if we’ve become a bit more willing to be aggressive with the scenarios we use to drive these models, it still doesn’t seem to be enough to describe what we’re observing,' says Sharp."


"Something that strikes me, based on looking at it, is how constrained the areas of cold are to the land areas." Donald

Looking at this temperature map of the NH, I see something different. The cold temperatures are almost perfectly aligned with the current snow and sea ice cover. Where ice is slow to form in the Kara and Barents seas, the temperatures are warmer. The question is weather the surface warmth is the cause of the lack of snow and ice or whether the lack of snow and ice is the cause of the high surface temperatures. I think they reinforce each other; it is a little bit of both.

On Christmas Eve in Chicago, we had a heavy snowfall through the night. At times, looking out the window, it looked like a blizzard. The temperatures for a few days prior to Christmas Eve had been abnormally warm and the ground temps reflected this. Christmas morning, there was no snow on the ground.

I believe our focus with regards to the progress of AGW and the associated climate change should be on the base where snow and sea ice forms. We know that most of the warming that is occurring is in the ocean temperatures. The oceans are acting like a heat sink. This is also occurring on the land but is more difficult to see. The most obvious effect is the slow reduction in permafrost. Both permafrost reduction and ocean temperature rise is slow and damn near impossible to reverse (in human time frames). If our focus were on this and if we could somehow create historical records going back several hundred years, I believe that we would see obvious evidence that real global warming has been occurring since the advent of the industrial revolution.

We are in serious trouble.


When looked at this way, the volume of ocean water that is warming represents the greatest threat to human civilization and the declining permafrost is evidence why this is the case. If we look at the frozen ground under the shallow Arctic seas, where methane hydrates are stored, these warming ocean waters will, in the long run, cause an enormous release of methane into the atmosphere. I am concerned that the groundwork for this release has already been laid down and there is no real way to reverse it.

There is a rapidly developing theory and a large body of supporting evidence that this process was responsible for the Permian extinction event that occurred 250 million years ago. During this event, 95% of all life became extinct, plant and animal.


The fossil record shows that there was an initial, primarily land based extinction, caused by a 4C rise in temperatures. This was followed by dramatic increases in atmospheric C12, evidence of massive methane releases into the atmosphere. This was followed by a dramatic extinction event in the oceans which preceded another huge land based extinction event. If there is any comfort to draw from the work done on the Permian extinction, fossil records show that the event took nearly 80,000 years to play out completely.


Is there really sufficient time for any of these schemes?

If anthropomorphic emissions suddenly ended tomorrow would this save the Arctic ice cap?

Can modern civilization survive without the modulating influence of both polar caps?

Yul Brenner & the Marlborough Man stopped smoking - the cancer didn't stop growing.


Jdean Dingler

On the topic of extinction events, I'm not seeing much in the way of counter evidence against a global extinction event. Even if it takes 80,000 years to play out, the early years may well be dramatically catastrophic to end our high tech civilization.

Add in the economic view? what is the economic cost of extinction and what is the monetary cost of avoiding it? From this view, we might learn that there's no sane monetary reason to avoid extinction. It may be more cost effective to die off.

I know this is a grim and pessimistic view, but if true, then there is likely no real hope that we will make the investments necessary to stave off our own extinction, because any project to do so, will soon reach insurmountable cost overruns and be abandoned to chase cheaper alternatives.

R. Gates

Jdean Dingler said:

"It may be more cost effective to die off."


Of course, what is most "cost effective" is for people to downscale their lives to reduce consumption, increase energy efficiency, de-carbonize, live in a smaller home instead of a McMansion, and general consider future generations instead their own selfish over-consumptive life. If our actions lead to our own extinction, it won't be because the most "cost effective" thing to do was die off, but because we were too selfish to give up our mass consumer life styles that are literally eating the resources of the planet.

Jdean Dingler

I agree R. Gates.

And It's a matter of perspective.

Dr. Albert Bartlett puts a bit of perspective on the dilemma.



"From this view, we might learn that there's no sane monetary reason to avoid extinction. It may be more cost effective to die off."

Oh...do you think this may be pessimistic? Pessimistic or not it seems to suggest an ironic twist to a famous quote regarding looking at the long run when focused on the economy.

"The long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run we are all dead." John Maynard Keynes

Keynes was a brilliant economist, decades ahead of his peers. I doubt that he realized that he was articulating a fatal flaw in the capitalist system that would lead to our extinction.

Espen Olsen

Snow cover? How about dust cover?




Saw these photos earlier....absolutely stunning, beautiful and violent in a way that only mother nature can provide.

Jdean Dingler

Djprice537 nice observation...

The carbon tax is a nice idea, but I see the implementation and acceptance of it, such a paradigm shift that we're unlikely make that change until an ongoing crisis smacks us around for more than a decade.

And with the twin crisis of resource depletion and GW coming together, I see world war as our first step at solving our problems.

That's the tool we have historically reached for first, when economies are threatened.


I hope the crisis is not war and believe we might be facing this crisis in the coming growing season in the U.S. The drought is worsening across the breadbasket. As bad as it was last summer, unless precipitation changes dramatically in the next 3 months we are going to have real problems.

R. Gates

Jdean Dingler:

This quote from the article you linked to:

“Sanity is the ability to live within the laws of nature.”


I think I know what Prof. Bartlett meant by this, but I think the perspective is slightly wrong. You cannot not live within the laws of nature. If you jump off a very high cliff, surely the laws of nature (i.e. gravity) will bring you to the bottom. And without a parachute, you surely will have lived and then died within the laws of nature.

What I would say is "sanity is the ability to clearly understand the laws of nature and live in conscious creative harmony with them."

In this regard, I'm starting to think that taking conscious responsible control for the Anthropocene we've created (ala Mark Lynas) is the best path forward. If you consider the perspective that we accidently or unconsciously brought the Anthropocene into being, then we need to own it and learn everything we can about how this planet's various climate, biological, energy, and other systems interact in order to go about the business of responsible and sane Anthropocene management.


I'm sure that this is not the right place to post this, but please read at least the first two pages and skim through the charts of http://ncadac.globalchange.gov/download/NCAJan11-2013-publicreviewdraft-chap2-climate.pdf

This is a draft climate assessment released by the US for public comment. More pointed than the IPCC draft.


Following up, the draft gets to projections of sea ice decline around pages 67-68.


...and there is a Summary on page 88.

Seems to me that it might be worthwhile to have a post on Neven's trusty Sea Ice blog on the cryospherical sections of this interesting document, which is also reviewed here...


Lynn Shwadchuck

I'm only a pessimistic Canadian, but this report Joe Romm has just blogged about is from a body whose mandate is pretty lukewarm: "The NCA will help evaluate the effectiveness of our mitigation and adaptation activities and identify economic opportunities that arise as the climate changes.  It will also serve to integrate scientific information from multiple sources and highlight key findings and significant gaps in our knowledge.
The NCA aims to help the federal government prioritize climate science investments, and in doing so will help to provide the science that can be used by communities around the country to plan more sustainably for our future."

I find this phrase particularly ominous:"identify economic opportunities that arise as the climate changes".



Lynn, the mandate might not allow for much more than report writing, but the report that just got published deserves widespread attention.

Susan Anderson

So far (I'm on page 7 of the Executive Summary) the NCA report seems to be thorough and accurate.

"The knowledge that climate change is real and accelerating ...." seems to strike the right chord.

Susan Anderson

Yes, it's quite good. I didn't want to download or read the whole thing, so tried the Executive Summary. I like the bit about crosscutting themes and issues.


While they are not staring as directly as you guys at the changes under way, and continue to underestimate the timeframe, it is significantly more realistic than previous efforts.

Steve Bloom

Anyone feeling very optimistic after reading the new report can fix that problem here (and note the link to the actual paper).


Steve Bloom....

I'm not sure I read this report and see the same thing you do. If we are going to make the drastic changes needed to survive, we need to begin to have a dialogue which honestly describes the result of doing nothing. The quicker these kinds of reports ddrive common dialogue across human society, the quicker we will act.

I see this report as a reason to be optimistic about humanity's ability to face the truth.


>"Sea Level Rise
Global sea level has risen by about 8 inches since 1880. It is projected to rise another 1 to 4 feet by 2100.
The oceans are absorbing over 90% of the increased atmospheric heat associated with emissions from human activity (Church et al. 2011)."

1 foot is presumably 26cm from 4th assessment report. 4AR was very clear this did not include ice dynamics in ice sheets. Current rate of rise of 3.2mm per year gets you to 1 foot without any acceleration; that is very unlikely. Also things have moved on since 4AR. 2 to 7 foot would be more appropriate.

>"90% of the increased *atmospheric* heat"
That should 900% shouldn't it (or drop the atmospheric)?

>"11. The oceans are currently absorbing about a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted to the atmosphere annually
Work done by LeQuere et al. 2009 reported that the oceans currently absorb a
quarter of anthropogenic CO2"

I am more familiar with about a half being quoted elsewhere. Here is the abstract of LeQuere et al. 2009:
Don't tell me they quoted the 29% ***emissions increase*** as about a quarter instead of converting the 43% to 57% then deducting a small land absorbtion figure!

So my reaction from a quick glance at just a page of key messages is that it is poor. maybe the public feedback will improve it.


The source of my pessimism and I am pessimistic is my fear we have set in motion a process which cannot be stopped. An ice free Arctic Ocean in the summer will cause an inexorable increase in Arctic Ocean temperatures. It does not matter if the ocean continues to freeze over in the winter. This increase will eventually cause the release of huge methane stores. It is not a question of whether this release occurs. It is a question of when.....game over.

I do not have a science background, cannot be sure we have reached a tipping point and this is the only cause for any optimism on my part.

I do know we are operating in a system (the earth) and AGW is a system wide response to our impact on the environment. If we have reached a tipping point, the only possible effective action would necessarily be a system wide. Addressing symptoms will not save us. One example of a response addressing a symptom would be to add sulpher particles into the upper atmosphere. This will not work.

We instead need to operate within the existing system for an effective response. One example might be to enhance CO2 capture in oceans by causing enormous phytoplankton blooms. While stopping CO2 increases in the atmosphere is essential, it is inadequate. Where else in the system can we work to enhance CO2 capture...lots of it?


The reduction in sea ice duration and snow cover duration in Northern Greenland has impacted the Dodge and Storm Glacier's at Cape Alexander. The former is now actively calving, not the case in the past.



Any carbon tax that works is cheaper than real global famine.

Yes. I believe James Hansen has suggested $1000 per tonne of CO2e. I was going for £1000 per tonne. What's your tax rate?


Is there really sufficient time for any of these schemes?
If anthropomorphic emissions suddenly ended tomorrow would this save the Arctic ice cap?

Let's keep trying. What about anthropomorphic extractions?
1. Biomass burning with carbon capture?
2. Olivine?
3. & many others the market could provide.
Any one nation could implement a high carbon tax - and have full employment - and enable schemes like these.


Alex, Neven
(The full version of this didn't appear for some reason. Too long?)

it is not at all clear, how high carbon price can global economy endure – actually, the financial crash of 2008 was helped by high oil prices,

What do you mean by "global economy"? It’s perfectly possible to have full employment and a high carbon price. Job creation doesn’t need economic growth but carbon intensive goods and services must be made more expensive and labour intensive goods cheaper.

Read the rest here

Jim Williams

Djprice537, we can increase the ocean surface area. That should help absorb CO2 a lot.


>"we can increase the ocean surface area. That should help absorb CO2 a lot."

Can or are?

As it is a matter of partial pressures equalizing, I can't see that making much difference even before I start thinking about where and how. However, I am not an expert and could be wrong.

Espen Olsen


""it is not at all clear, how high carbon price can global economy endure – actually, the financial crash of 2008 was helped by high oil prices""

I am pretty sure the one of the reasons for the massive loss of jobs in the manufacturing industry in Denmark, is due to the fact that Denmark introduced heavy "environmental" taxes over the last 10 - 15 years, these jobs moved to economies with a lighter tax regime, so if the taxes are not introduced in all economies, those with good faith will be the big losers!


>"those with good faith will be the big losers!"

while those without that good faith also suffer

Susan Anderson

Yes, the Ehrlichs, despite desperate attempts to discredit them, continue to dispense sound reality bites.

I'm not optimistic, just think the report begins to dig a bit deeper than most of what we see in the public domain.

P3 mines to provide a nice short item showing polar temperatures in a way a kindergartner should be able to see:

(no doubt you all have already provided more current versions with even more startling warming)

I mostly don't post here, preferring to absorb the superb work you all do but do go right through the comments and links, for which I thank you all.

Tenney pulls some maps:

Susan Anderson

Yes, Darwinian selection enhanced by recent opportunism has guaranteed the success of the greedy short-termers versus the survival of the rest of us. But giving up without trying is a dead end. In the long run, sociopathic profiteers can run but they cannot hide. Depressing.

Aaron Lewis

Carbon tax: Actual number(s) does not matter as much as demonstrating a clear global will for very large and increasing carbon taxes without loopholes.

All must buy-in, or it will not work. The buy-in will be a change of culture and attitude. We need to move toward true sustainability. Our Civilization is not built of iron and cement, it is built of wheat, rice, corn, and soybeans. It is going to be very hard for all the economists dancing around the Maypole to admit that the ghost of Malthus stalks the wheat fields of Kansas, the soybean fields of Brazil, and the corn fields of Argentina. A buy-in to sustainability involves recognition that population growth is a core problem.

If humans do not get this done rather promptly, Mother Nature will impose her own tax system (without loopholes) that we will not like. Mother Nature is not squeamish.


>> Susan Anderson

OMG, is this real situation on that picture or just a model? https://dddeb0d3-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/site/apocalypse4realseaice2012/home/sea-ice-concentration-and-thickness-comparison/Ice%20Thickness%20010113.jpg?attachauth=ANoY7cpdIEmmIqWqi4Gbt4wpW7aSkG4IuXmZyANOvi9XGT2vsx0O1L6MIWLAT5b7dM3cNAHCmzoNgJvJF0QEabUBGlci6jPMWbdMrHQ2qdFMz_X7ACwOyxQpITuNHhDH6L6DxpjoqXatL6ofmJ4FtjtvH-PIqVo6vS-uJzUK--G4u2Tz50CS2kCQNBQDXNGLgBY2BOPfyGaQJqm7shwO5eI-orWMzKrdPyEzUPE7PW2KnIvLmiz1LfobGT1YrFa2r_B6dc9F5OxhNY9u15nj87rWTPQJsDupG71oavrikgbSyU0MeCD8asJdwyoxl9BSKxR5TMrqO4Xn&attredirects=0

How can it be so?



I understand that the image is a model. The caption says "And of course, this stunning modelled version from January 1st"



I don't think you can have read my blogs pieces or papers. Within the closed national economy I studied, subsidising the labour of the low paid creates jobs for them. If the subsidies come from increased taxes on capital and the labour of the higher paid, the affluent may have a downward pressure on their wages but since production rises (because more people are in work) this is partly offset by a higher GDP.

The argument is similar if the subsidies are financed by a carbon tax: the biggest polluters - the affluent - may lose but the subsidies ensure full employment at the bottom of the labour market. Higher up the labour market, the affluent might have to cut their labour rates to get jobs but they could increase their living standards by cutting their pollution.

In an economy that has substantial trade flows it would be necessary to tax imports on the basis of their carbon content. The goods produced from overseas would face high taxes if they had high embodied carbon. This would repatriate "green" jobs and the subsidies could plug any gap that was left by cutting "polluting" jobs.

Question: Did Denmark recycle it's environmental taxes into creating jobs for the low-paid?


China would quickly clean up its act if we taxed imported goods on embodied carbon.

I don't always agree with Myles Allen but I heard him recently praise California for it's emissions standards for cars. Because California insisted on better standards the rest of the USA had to follow. That's a good example. A well designed carbon tax regime would spread throughout the world in much the same way if it were implemented in a market of sufficient size (e.g. Europe).

P.S. Hansen's carbon fee would work in a similar way but perhaps less directly.

R. Gates

The Arctic Vortex is of course currently very disrupted and unlikely to reform to it's previous winter level. This disrupted vortex has had the effect to spill two major lobes of cold air down on both sides of the NH. All of this relates of course the sudden stratospheric warming event that took place in late December and early January. Here's a very nice animation of this bubble of warm air coming up into the stratosphere from lower latitudes and heating the entire NH stratosphere in rather rapid and dramatic fashion:


Play this several times to get a feel for the warm bubble rising up from the lower and lower latitude atmosphere to spread across the polar stratosphere. Most interesting from the location of this bubble, was that it began in in lower latitudes over approximately 70 degrees east longitude and around 20 north latitude (approximately over India). At the time this "bubble" (vertically directed Rossby wave) began over India around December 20th, that region was seeing a warm spell, but was also the area of focus for the MJO. The warm southerly winds and energy from the MJO were advecting energy up toward the Himalayas. That created the vertically directed Rossby wave (the "bubble" that rose into the stratosphere, continued North, fracturing the Arctic vortex and spilling cold air down over lower latitudes in the troposphere. In this rather remarkable set of teleconnected events, we see how a warm tropospheric event (the MJO) combined with the proper terrain (the Himalayas), can take a warm tropospheric event, turn it into a warm stratospheric event, with the net result that the Arctic vortex is shattered and lower latitudes are subsequently cooled.

R. Gates

A follow up to ongoing SSW event and the NH weather patterns caused as result.

Great chart showing the “trigger” for the NH SSW event that began in late December. Here is a chart showing the upper tropospheric wind anomaly for the past 30 days. Note the high pressure system directly over India caused an anti-cyclonic circulation of southerly winds coming in over to the west of India at the 150 mb level:


These warm southerly winds, hit the Himalayas, and are then vertically directed, creating a vertically directed “bubble” or vertically directed Rossby wave that hits the tropopause over the Himalayas. Reference back to this animation to see this bubble then migrating upward into the stratosphere:


This bubble of energy is then spread further upward in to the stratosphere and continues north, until we see the resultant SSW event over the entire NH polar region.


Lanevn, Susan,

That image with no ice near the pole is from Apocalpse4Real website. There has been discusion that the hole isn't real. The model should handle data holes around the pole but is doing so badly at the moment. A fix is in preparation.

Susan Anderson

Thanks Crandles, I remember the discussion about the moving false hole; hope Lanevn can get some clarity. I was just following Tenney's post, and its not surprising A4Real had a piece of that. I'm not good at the nitty gritty science part but try to follow what I can.

There does appear to be some unusual stuff going on up there.

Here's another interesting resource on the subject. I have no clue how to read the 3-way graphic, but the animation is fascinating and text interesting.
"Sudden Stratosphere Warmings" by Lee Grenci.

This probably belongs somewhere else - apologies in advance.

Susan Anderson

The Wunderground animation I was raving about is the same one posted by R. Gates earlier, fwiw.


The US Climate report is getting some exposure --

"This version of the report is far more blunt and confident in its assessments than previous ones, Hayhoe said: "The bluntness reflects the increasing confidence we have" in the science and day-to-day realities of climate change.

"The report emphasizes that man-made global warming is doing more than just altering the environment we live in, it's a threat to our bodies, homes, offices, roads, airports, power plants, water systems and farms."



Well, the climate report is still a draft. This is so far the key message regarding Arctic sea ice:

Summer sea ice is receding rapidly and is projected to disappear by mid-century.

This projection is based on sea ice extent, volume is not mentioned. The confidence level is described as high.


The comment phase starts tomorrow here: http://review.globalchange.gov/

Everybody can register and contribute...


To reaffirm the "hole" in the polar imagery from NCOF is not real but a model anomaly, this is the response I received from the UK Met:

"The hole is not real - it is due to a combination of a gap in the satellite cover and a modelling problem. The model should be able to cope with the satellite gap, but is not doing this as well as it should. We are making a change later this month to rectify the problem, and the hole will no longer be present."

The upcoming change in the NCOF/Met modeling will be from the Louvaine le Neuve Ice Model (LIM), developed in Belgium. This is the model which has the problem. The change is a switch to the CICE model as a Met modeling basis.

According to the "My Ocean" Service Desk, the change may be coming on February 5th.

I am updating the A4R websites today, the CH4 and CO2 imagery are begin updated first, then the sea ice data.

The METOP 2 IASI data set is not complete, there has been a lapse in updating since the 10th. The NOAA OSPO have been notified.


Way off topic - but when discussing ice conditions around AK - some may find the info/charts provided by the ANC NWS office useful: http://pafc.arh.noaa.gov/ice.php




Thanks for the heads up!

Volume losses should be mentioned in the final draft.


Espen Olsen

Joekelbugt; North East Greenland,

The sea ice around looks very vulnerable:



To all: I'm moving to a new apartment, so I'll be mostly off-line for a few days.

Espen Olsen


I am not sure if I should answer you, because I don't think it is the appropriate forum to discuss this matter.
But you can be assured I am very concerned about the situation in the Arctic, but what is behind this situation I am not 100 % clear about, but something is very wrong!

In general I find your views elitist and unrealistic.
You indicate industry jobs are low paid jobs?
It may be so in many economies but not in all!
I would claim without a competitive industry any economy is doomed, without this "sandbox" engineers, scientist and many others would have reason to go to work, because from where would be inspired to develop or do simple research?

Your question: Did Denmark recycle it's environmental taxes into creating jobs for the low-paid?
Oh yes I think they did that in a very big way. The average power cost for a consumer Denmark is
DKR. 2,70 , USD. 0,48, Euro 0.36, GBP 0,29 pr Kwh (unit).
Far above the average cost of electric power in any country I know of.
And where did all those taxes go? It went to the wind-power industry(Vestas)thru subsidies, but these high power prices also killed a lot of other businesses in the name of this white elephant.
Not to mention the landscapes these monsters have ruined.
In Germany with much lower electric power prices than Denmark, but still heavy taxed, a growing number of poor families cant afford to pay their electric bills.



You mentioned Joekelbugt. The Jan 13 picture at Nord shows disintegration.




Feel free to continue this conversation HERE where I point out the following advantages of a carbon tax to create jobs:

- It creates jobs
- It reduces domestic demand for energy so it

- closes the "energy gap"
- reduces imports
- increases exports

- It redistributes from rich to poor

Please note the last item.

"Unrealistic"? Yes - but it's a mad dream to think we can escape this unfolding disaster and have cheap energy for the next few decades.

"Unrealistic" is what we are left with.

John Christensen

Related to the topic of this post - Arctic Snow Cover Decline - it is noteworthy that while the summer snow cover is showing steep decline (likely a result of decline in Arctic glacier volume and extent), there is no proof that Norther Hemisphere winter snow cover is under any pressure:

This winter we have the third consecutive winter with a positive snow cover anomaly, and no clear trend in the data.

October, November, and December all showed a positive anomaly with December being the largest NH snow cover on record (since 1967).

Seems like: NH temperatures have not increased to a level where this negatively impacts snow precipitation in fall/winter months, and open Arctic waters may help to increase humidity and chance of large snow fall (but also far from the Arctic?)


>"This winter we have the third consecutive winter with a positive snow cover anomaly, and no clear trend in the data."

Not very important but:

I think the link provided went up to the winter Dec 11 to Feb 12. Dec 12 is much above average so this winter is likely to be fourth consecutive winter with a positive snow cover anomaly.


John C.

I think you are on target. I see winter snow cover as similar to winter arctic SIE. Both are less susceptible to AGW. Summer snow cover is a far better indicator of AGW. Will winter snow cover eventually decline? Sure.

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