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Skeptical Science New Research for Week #43 2022

Skeptical Science New Research for Week #43 2022

Posted on 27 October 2022 by Doug Bostrom, Marc Kodack

Burgess, Pielke Jr. & Ritchie: Doomsayers?

We recently highlighted a paper by Kemp et al., Climate Endgame: Exploring catastrophic climate change scenarios. We noted that with a title avoiding euphemisms, the work might attract attention despite making reasoned points well grounded in supporting research, with a notable degree of calm. Sure enough, here come the comportment nannies, and they’re in quite a bit of a tizzy— even a lather— about “language, dears!” Catastrophic climate risks should be neither understated nor overstated begins in a fairly vanilla fashion but it’s not long before the authors  Burgess, Pielke jr. & Ritchie are having the vapors:

“Overemphasized apocalyptic futures can be used to support despotism and rashness. For example, catastrophic and ultimately inaccurate overpopulation scenarios in the 1960s and 1970s contributed to several countries adopting forced sterilization and abortion programs, including China’s one-child policy, which caused up to 100 million coerced abortions (7), disproportionately of girls. Past and present fascist and neofascist movements frequently use fears of environmental catastrophe to promote eugenics and oppose immigration and aid (8). The Sri Lankan government, concerned about pollution, rashly banned synthetic fertilizers and pesticides in 2021, contributing to an agricultural and economic crisis (9).”

We’ve all seen it, right? Push the boundaries of scientific inquiry too far and next thing you know, we’re in the PRC and having our babies counted, forced to have abortions— as reported from a deep body of literature consisting of a single article in Smithsonian Magazine.  Too much information in our little heads and we’ll dive directly into fascism! We’ll all starve during an economic crisis! All of the above! Or so the authors imply, supported by exactly zero scholarly citations.

Pass around the smelling salts and once everybody’s got their pulse rate down, let’s ask: of the two, which party is becoming overwrought here?  Back over to Kemp et al,  who conclude in their reply:

A lack of attention to extreme risks or completely speculative doom mongering would more likely lead to maladaptive responses and mental health stresses than the informed deliberation over catastrophic risks that we propose.

Reply to Burgess et al: Catastrophic climate risks are neglected, plausible, and safe to study

It’s hard to catch any hint of hysteria in that. Indeed, compared to Burgess, PIelke Jr. & Ritchie  who after all are selling their own brand of “speculative doom mongering” quite hard, Kemp et al. are positively, sincerely soothing.

But if we need some epic, scenery-chewing delivery of middle paragraphs built on dangerously sub-sophomoric citations and plunging us off our rocker and into a dark world of histrionics, now we know who to call. BPR have got it down. 

Kem et al. also reflect on remarks on their work offered in a thoughtful letter, in Reply to Kelman: The foundations for studying catastrophic climate risks

Other notables:

Accounting? How exciting can this be? The science of climate change is inherently intriguing, and the political processes leading to climate policy are drama. Accounting sounds rather dull. But it’s a new species of beancounters who are going to provide information feedbacks we need to cope with the mess we’ve created. We can’t succeed without competent GHG accounting, any more than business enterprises could succeed without counting revenue & cashflow. Michael Gillenwater points out some obvious gaps in Examining the impact of GHG accounting principles. In his opinion piece for Carbon Management, Gillenwater points out how accounting principles need to be rooted in solid foundations and guidance rooted in climate research. Right now principles are a bit unrooted, and this ambiguity is anathema to accounting accuracy. The IPCC offers most of the answers needed. Meanwhile, Unlocking CO2 infrastructure deployment: The impact of carbon removal accounting by Schippers & Massol meticulously illustrate how— for better or worse— policy choices emerging practice as seemingly innocuous accounting methods may help or hinder depoyment of carbon management technologies broadly agreed as necessary to control global waarming. 

Two interesting survey results in our government/NGO section: Americans Value U.S. Role as Scientific Leader, but 38% Say Country Is Losing Ground Globally from the Pew Research Center, and People don’t think the government is doing enough to combat climate change, from AP-NORC. We see a partisan split. If we think of cardiology and cardiac health instead of climate change, one group doesn’t want cardiologists, understanding of cardiac pathology or cardiac medical intervention to interfere, no matter the reality of the organ’s state of health. 

Revisiting the 2003–18 Deep Ocean Warming through Multiplatform Analysis of the Global Energy Budget. Not so many years ago, deep ocean warming in response to our changing the climate “up here” was wasn’t visible. With advancement of various ways of seeing, we’re no longer blind. And the more we’re able to see, the more warming we’ve found. Perhaps this paper with its synthesis of diverse observational methods represents convergence of our view on what’s actually happening, down in the gradually less freezing, more visible dark.

All of the above open access and free to read.

The importance of internal climate variability in climate impact projections. The abstract suggests that authors Schwarzwald & Lenssen have hit on something important: quite plausibly, natural climate variabiiity can signficantly expand our climate hazard & risk envelope, but natural variability is not well represented in impact assessments.  It does sound important, but even so most of us with an interest in the ultimate outcome of the paper’s insights will have to wait six months to read this work. More work is needed to make open access publshing affordable to researchers, clearly, when an article published by the largely taxpayer-funded US National Academy of Sciences isn’t readable by US citizens. [in fairness, in the US this is in the process of change but the affordability problem is open to solutions— there are possible backfire effects]

102 articles in 57 journals by 713 contributing authors

Physical science of climate change, effects

Radiation-constrained boundaries cause nonuniform responses of the carbon uptake phenology to climatic warming in the Northern Hemisphere
Descals et al., Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16502

Observations of climate change, effects

Appraisal of historical trends in maximum and minimum temperature using multiple non-parametric techniques over the agriculture-dominated Narmada Basin, India
Swain et al., Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 10.1007/s10661-022-10534-6

Assessing spatiotemporal variation in drought characteristics and their dependence on timescales over Vidarbha Region
Swain et al., Geocarto International, 10.1080/10106049.2022.2136260

Impacts of historical atmospheric and oceanic warming on heavy snowfall in December 2020 in Japan
Kawase et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 10.1029/2022jd036996

Interdecadal change in autumn rainfall over Southeast China and its association with tropical Pacific SST
Liu et al., Theoretical and Applied Climatology, Open Access 10.1007/s00704-022-04249-4

Multi-Year Sea Ice Conditions in the Northwest Passage: 1968–2020
Howell et al., Atmosphere, Open Access pdf 10.1080/07055900.2022.2136061

Revisiting the 2003–18 Deep Ocean Warming through Multiplatform Analysis of the Global Energy Budget
Storto et al., Journal of Climate, Open Access pdf 10.1175/jcli-d-21-0726.1

Temporal variability of daily precipitation concentration in Japan for a century: Effects of air temperature rises on extreme rainfall events
Higashino et al., Urban Climate, 10.1016/j.uclim.2022.101323

Ultra-oligotrophic waters expansion in the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre revealed by 21 years of satellite observations
Leonelli et al., Geophysical Research Letters, 10.1029/2021gl096965

Instrumentation & observational methods of climate change, effects

Evaluation of the spatial characteristics of climate scenarios based on statistical and dynamical downscaling for impact assessments in Japan
Ishizaki et al., International Journal of Climatology, 10.1002/joc.7903

Modeling, simulation & projection of climate change, effects

Downscaling ensemble climate projections to urban scale: Brussels’s future climate at 1.5 °C, 2 °C, and 3 °C global warming
Duchêne et al., Urban Climate, 10.1016/j.uclim.2022.101319

Future changes in eddy kinetic energy in the California Current System from dynamically downscaled climate projections
Quirós et al., Geophysical Research Letters, 10.1029/2022gl099042

Future changes of the extreme high-temperature events influenced by foehn winds in Niigata, Japan
Nishi & Kusaka, Atmospheric Science Letters, 10.1002/asl.1137

Global Marine Heatwaves and Cold-Spells in Present Climate to Future Projections
Yao et al., Earth’s Future, 10.1029/2022ef002787

Identifying a new normal in extreme precipitation at a city scale under warmer climate regimes: A case study of the Tokyo metropolitan area, Japan
Doan et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 10.1029/2022jd036810

Machine learning-based detection of weather fronts and associated extreme precipitation in historical and future climates
Dagon et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, Open Access 10.1029/2022jd037038

Advancement of climate & climate effects modeling, simulation & projection

Biases in CMIP6 historical U.S. severe convective storm environments driven by biases in mean-state near-surface moist static energy
Chavas & Li, Geophysical Research Letters, 10.1029/2022gl098527

Quantification of model uncertainty in sub-daily extreme precipitation projections
Majhi et al., Global and Planetary Change, 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2022.103967

Quantifying the uncertainty sources of future climate projections and narrowing uncertainties with bias correction techniques
Wu et al., Earth’s Future, Open Access pdf 10.1029/2022ef002963

Cryosphere & climate change

An ice-ocean model study of the mid-2000s regime change in the Barents Sea
Barton et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 10.1029/2021jc018280

Projected changes in sea ice and the navigability of the Arctic Passages under global warming of 2° and 3°
Chen et al., Anthropocene, 10.1016/j.ancene.2022.100349

Sea level & climate change

A high-end estimate of sea-level rise for practitioners
van de Wal et al., Earth’s Future, 10.1029/2022ef002751

Interannual-to-multidecadal sea-level changes in the Venice lagoon and their impact on flood frequency
Rubinetti et al., Climatic Change, 10.1007/s10584-022-03448-2

Paleoclimate

A new global ice sheet reconstruction for the past 80 000 years
Gowan et al., Nature Communications, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-021-21469-w

Spatial patterns of climate change across the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum
Tierney et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2205326119

Temperature-driven heterochrony as a main evolutionary response to climate changes in conodonts
Souquet et al., Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 10.1098/rspb.2022.0614

The velocity of postglacial migration of fire-adapted boreal tree species in eastern North America
Payette et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.2210496119

Towards solving the missing ice problem and the importance of rigorous model data comparisons
Yokoyama et al., Nature Communications, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41467-022-33952-z

Biology & climate change, related geochemistry

A warmer environment can reduce sociability in an ectotherm
Pilakouta et al., Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16451

Adult male birds advance spring migratory phenology faster than females and juveniles across North America
Neate?Clegg & Tingley, Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16492

Climate-mediated shifts in temperature fluctuations promote extinction risk
Duffy et al., Nature Climate Change, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41558-022-01490-7

Divergent Growth Responses of Healthy and Declining Spruce Trees to Climatic Stress: A Case Study From the Western Carpathians
Denisa et al., Dendrochronologia, Open Access 10.1016/j.dendro.2022.126023

European beewolf (Philanthus triangulum) will expand its geographic range as a result of climate warming
Olszewski et al., Regional Environmental Change, Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10113-022-01987-z

Higher latitude spring-flowering herbs advance their phenology more than trees with warming temperatures
Alecrim et al., Journal of Ecology, 10.1111/1365-2745.14023

Interactive effects of global change drivers as determinants of the link between soil biodiversity and ecosystem functioning
Berlinches de Gea et al., Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16471

Limited recovery following a massive seagrass decline in subarctic eastern Canada
Leblanc et al., Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16499

Niche width predicts extinction from climate change and vulnerability of tropical species
Grinder & Wiens, Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16486

Plant secondary metabolic responses to global climate change: a meta-analysis in medicinal and aromatic plants
Sun et al., Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16484

Potential for redistribution of post-moult habitat for Eudyptes penguins in the Southern Ocean under future climate conditions
Green et al., Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16500

Seasonal nearshore ocean acidification and deoxygenation in the Southern California Bight
Kekuewa et al., Scientific Reports, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41598-022-21831-y

Simulated climate warming decreases fruit number but increases seed mass
Zi et al., Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16498

The effects of marine heatwaves on acute heat tolerance in corals
Marzonie et al., Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16473

GHG sources & sinks, flux, related geochemistry

Climate disequilibrium dominates uncertainty in long-term projections of primary productivity
Felton et al., Ecology Letters, 10.1111/ele.14132

Drivers of global mangrove loss and gain in social-ecological systems
Hagger et al., Nature Communications, Open Access 10.1038/s41467-022-33962-x

Global tropospheric ozone trends, attributions, and radiative impacts in 1995–2017: an integrated analysis using aircraft (IAGOS) observations, ozonesonde, and multi-decadal chemical model simulations
Wang et al., [journal not provided], Open Access pdf 10.5194/acp-2022-381

Higher Temperature Sensitivity of Ecosystem Respiration in Low Marsh Compared to High Elevation Marsh Ecosystems
Carey et al., Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 10.1029/2022jg006832

How drought events during the last Century have impacted biomass carbon in Amazonian rainforests
Yao et al., Global Change Biology, 10.1111/gcb.16504

Initial soil organic carbon stocks govern changes in soil carbon: reality or artifact?
Fiske, Encyclopedia of psychology, Vol. 1., Open Access 10.1037/10516-089

Long-term changes in CH4 emissions: Comparing ΔCH4/ΔCO2 ratios between observation and proved model in East Asia (2010–2020)
Kenea et al., Atmospheric Environment, 10.1016/j.atmosenv.2022.119437

Soil organic carbon in Andean high-mountain ecosystems: importance, challenges, and opportunities for carbon sequestration
Alavi-Murillo et al., Regional Environmental Change, 10.1007/s10113-022-01980-6

The origin of carbonate mud and implications for global climate
Geyman et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.2210617119

Decarbonization

Drivers of straw management in rural households: Options for the development of the bioenergy sector in China
Del Valle et al., Energy for Sustainable Development, 10.1016/j.esd.2022.10.009

Lignin-derived carbon materials for catalysis and electrochemical energy storage
Wang et al., Carbon Neutralization, Open Access pdf 10.1002/cnl2.29

Modeling of wind energy potential using a high-resolution grid over Mekong riverside region in the northeastern part of Thailand
Tawinprai et al., Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 10.1007/s00704-022-04235-w

Plate tectonic modelling and energy transition
Wrobel-Daveau et al., Earth, 10.1016/j.earscirev.2022.104227

Aerosols

Sunlight can convert atmospheric aerosols into a glassy solid state and modify their environmental impacts
Baboomian et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.2208121119

Climate change communications & cognition

#Fighteverycrisis: A psychological perspective on motivators of the support of mitigation measures in the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic
Wallis et al., Journal of Environmental Psychology, Open Access 10.1016/j.jenvp.2022.101898

Between Impact, Politics, and Action: Frames of Climate Change in Indonesian Print and Online Media
Rochyadi-Reetz & Wolling, Environmental Communication, 10.1080/17524032.2022.2134170

Climate change impacts can be differentially perceived across time scales: A study among the Tuareg of the Algerian Sahara
Miara et al., GeoHealth, 10.1029/2022gh000620

COVID-19, climate change, and the finite pool of worry in 2019 to 2021 Twitter discussions
Smirnov & Hsieh, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2210988119

Interconnectedness and (in)coherence as a signature of conspiracy worldviews
Miani et al., Science Advances, 10.1126/sciadv.abq3668

The Demise of the Knowledge–Action Gap in Climate Change Education
Mooney et al., Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, Open Access pdf 10.1175/bams-d-21-0256.1

Who is the climate-induced trapped figure?
Ayeb?Karlsson et al., WIREs Climate Change, 10.1002/wcc.803

Agronomy, animal husbundry, food production & climate change

Are genetically modified and genome-edited crops viable strategies for climate-change adaptation among smallholder farmers?
Schnurr et al., Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 10.1016/j.cosust.2022.101216

Evidence for and projection of multi-breadbasket failure caused by climate change
Hasegawa et al., Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 10.1016/j.cosust.2022.101217

Impacts of climate variability and climate-smart agricultural practices on crop production in UNESCO designated cultural landscapes of Konso, Ethiopia
Gashure et al., Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 10.1007/s00704-022-04244-9

Negative effects of heat stress on maize yield were compensated by increasing thermal time and declining cold stress in northeast China
Zhang et al., International Journal of Biometeorology, 10.1007/s00484-022-02363-6

Rising winter temperatures might augment increasing wheat yield in Gangetic Plains
Shekhar et al., Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 10.1007/s00704-022-04246-7

The decreasing availability of reindeer forage in boreal forests during snow cover periods: A Sámi pastoral landscape perspective in Sweden
Harnesk, Ambio, Open Access pdf 10.1007/s13280-022-01752-w

Hydrology, hydrometeorology & climate change

Global drought trends and future projections
Vicente-Serrano et al., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Open Access 10.1098/rsta.2021.0285

Using machine learning to identify novel hydroclimate states
Marvel & Cook, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 10.1098/rsta.2021.0287

Climate change economics

Climate change and the nonlinear impact of precipitation anomalies on income inequality
Palagi et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 10.1073/pnas.2203595119

Energy structure dividend, factor allocation efficiency and regional productivity growth— An empirical examination of energy restructuring in China
Hongjun et al., Energy Policy, Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113307

The economics of managing water crises
Barbier, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Open Access 10.1098/rsta.2021.0295

The green economy as counterinsurgency, or the ontological power affirming permanent ecological catastrophe
Dunlap, Environmental Science & Policy, Open Access 10.1016/j.envsci.2022.10.008

Climate change mitigation public policy research

Cutting emissions outside borders
Cooper & Hawkes, Nature Climate Change, 10.1038/s41558-022-01504-4

Defining environmental services from agriculture to better understand the implementation of European agri-environmental policy
Aznar, Environmental Science & Policy, Open Access 10.1016/j.envsci.2022.10.009

Examining the impact of GHG accounting principles
Gillenwater, Carbon Management, Open Access pdf 10.1080/17583004.2022.2135238

From energy communities to sector coupling:a taxonomy for regulatory experimentation in the age of the European Green Deal
Bovera & Lo Schiavo Lo Schiavo, Energy Policy, 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113299

In pursuit of progressive and effective climate policies: Comparing an air travel carbon tax and a frequent flyer levy
Fouquet & O’Garra, Energy Policy, Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113278

Influences and pathways of urban form and lifestyle on carbon emission reduction
Shen et al., Urban Climate, 10.1016/j.uclim.2022.101325

Integration between photovoltaic systems and cultural heritage: A socio-technical comparison of international policies, design criteria, applications, and innovation developments
Lucchi, Energy Policy, 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113303

Optimal climate policies under fairness preferences
Rogna & Vogt, Climatic Change, Open Access pdf 10.1007/s10584-022-03436-6

Spatial threshold effect of tax competition on carbon dioxide emissions intensity in China
Fan et al., Climate Policy, 10.1080/14693062.2022.2137098

The asymmetric effects of fossil fuel dependency on the carbon intensity of well-being: A U.S. state-level analysis, 1999–2017
Thombs, Global Environmental Change, 10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2022.102605

Towards a green recovery in the EU: Aligning further emissions reductions with short- and long-term energy-sector employment gains
Koasidis et al., Energy Policy, Open Access 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113301

Unlocking CO2 infrastructure deployment: The impact of carbon removal accounting
Jagu Schippers & Massol Massol, Energy Policy, Open Access pdf 10.1016/j.enpol.2022.113265

Climate change adaptation & adaptation public policy research

Cross-sectoral and multiscalar exposure assessment to advance climate adaptation policy: the case of future coastal flooding of California’s airports
Lindbergh et al., Climate Risk Management, Open Access 10.1016/j.crm.2022.100462

How the USA can benefit from risk-based premiums combined with flood protection
de Ruig et al., Nature Climate Change, 10.1038/s41558-022-01501-7

Strategic analysis of the drought resilience of water supply systems
Murgatroyd et al., Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Open Access 10.1098/rsta.2021.0292

Strengthening climate adaptation in the northern region of Ghana: insights from a stakeholder analysis
Yeleliere et al., Climate Policy, 10.1080/14693062.2022.2134085

Thermal and mechanical characteristics of a thermal pile in permafrost regions
Shang et al., Advances in Climate Change Research, Open Access 10.1016/j.accre.2022.10.002

Climate change impacts on human health

Climate change determines future population exposure to summertime compound dry and hot events
Zhang et al., Earth’s Future, 10.1029/2022ef003015

Climate change impacts on human culture

The impact of climate change on the outdoor tourism with a focus on the outdoor tourism climate index (OTCI) in Hormozgan province, Iran
Valizadeh & Khoorani, Theoretical and Applied Climatology, 10.1007/s00704-022-04248-5

Other

Challenging the values of the polluter elite: A global consequentialist response to Evensen and Graham’s (2022) ‘The irreplaceable virtues of in-person conferences’
Whitmarsh & Kreil, Journal of Environmental Psychology, 10.1016/j.jenvp.2022.101881

Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives

Catastrophic climate risks should be neither understated nor overstated
Burgess et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2214347119

Climate-proofing the National Flood Insurance Program
de Ruig et al., Nature Climate Change, Open Access pdf 10.1038/s41558-022-01502-6

Drought risk in the Anthropocene: from the jaws of death to the waters of life
Bevan, Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, Open Access 10.1098/rsta.2022.0003

Reply to Burgess et al: Catastrophic climate risks are neglected, plausible, and safe to study
Kemp et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2214884119

Reply to Kelman: The foundations for studying catastrophic climate risks
Kemp et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Open Access 10.1073/pnas.2214794119

The importance of internal climate variability in climate impact projections
Schwarzwald & Lenssen , Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,  10.1073/pnas.2208095119

Book reviews

A Blue New Deal: why we need a new politics for the Ocean
Ruwet, Environmental Politics, Open Access pdf 10.1080/09644016.2022.2126616


Articles/Reports from Agencies and Non-Governmental Organizations Addressing Aspects of Climate Change

How Can We Protect Climate Refugees, Martín Gil et al., Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University

The authors investigate the possible pathways forward to ensure that individuals displaced by climate change have adequate legal protection. They begin by examining the forecasted implications of climate change as well as the complexity of quantifying and defining “climate refugees.” Second, they assess possible pathways for protection at the international, regional, and individual country levels to determine how various systems of refugee protection could be extended to include individuals fleeing climate change. Finally, they discuss the best ways forward for policy approaches and practices that are climate-resilient and inclusive.

Salton Sea Geothermal Development, Goodman et al., Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Geothermal energy offers an opportunity to generate baseload, renewable energy that can help support the transition to an energy economy with reduced impacts on climate change and replace older, more expensive, nonrenewable, and more resource-impacting energy-generation facilities. The United States has the largest known geothermal resource in the world, with over 31 GW of conventional geothermal potential. However, due to market conditions, an inability to properly quantify both electrical grid benefits and resource stability, and the difficulty of exploring and developing the geothermal resource, few new geothermal projects have come online over the past three decades. The Salton Sea, in Imperial County, California, provides a prime location and opportunity to develop new geothermal resources. The Salton Sea contains a robust, well-mapped, geothermal resource, with opportunities for concurrent development of lithium and other mineral resources. The authors describe the history of geothermal development at the Salton Sea and compare geothermal to other renewable energy sources in the area. The authors then use a techno-economic analysis (TEA) model referred to as MAGE (Model for Analysis of Geothermal Economics) to analyze the relative benefits and costs of various challenges and opportunities and provide recommendations for streamlining geothermal development at the Salton Sea and elsewhere. The challenges and opportunities analyzed in MAGE were informed by stakeholder interviews and literature reviews. Based upon the identified challenges and opportunities and the results of MAGE, primary findings are that certain nontechnical barriers such as permitting costs play only a minor role in determining the viability of the development of the geothermal resource at the Salton Sea. Other barriers such as permitting timelines, government/agency coordination, and the potential colocation of lithium extraction with a geothermal plant may result in much larger impacts on project viability.

2022 SCORECARD ON Insurance, Fossil Fuels and the Climate Emergency, Hapgood and Bosshard, Insure Our Future

The authors analyze the evolving role of the global insurance industry in the fossil fuel sector and in avoiding catastrophic climate collapse. They focus on 30 leading primary insurers and reinsurers, assessing and scoring their policies on insuring and investing in coal, oil, and gas. The authors highlight progress and loopholes, call out leaders and laggards, and identify challenges and opportunities for the year ahead.

Climate Change in the Indian Mind, 2022, Leiserowitz et al., Yale Program on Climate Change Communication

From October 21, 2021, to January 9, 2022, the authors conducted a nationally representative survey of 4,619 Indian adults (18+). The study was designed to investigate current public climate change awareness, beliefs, attitudes, policy support, and behavior, as well as public observations of changes in local weather and climate patterns and self-reported vulnerability to extreme weather events. 54% of people in India say they know either “just a little” about global warming or have never heard of it, while only 9% say they know “a lot.” Additionally, only 35% of people in India say they hear about global warming in the media at least once a week. However, when given a short definition of global warming and how it affects weather patterns, 84% of people in India say they think global warming is happening (15 percentage points higher than in 2011). 57% think global warming is caused mostly by human activities, while 31% think it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment. 74% say that they have experienced the effects of global warming (+24 percentage points since 2011).

Federal Vehicle Fleets: Observations on the Transition to Electric Vehicles, Mingus et al., Government Accountability Office

In fiscal year 2020, federal agencies operated and maintained around 610,000 non-tactical vehicles in their domestic fleets. These fleets, ranging from sedans to ambulances to buses, traveled over 4 billion miles and consumed more than 360 million gallons of fuel to help meet a variety of government missions. In December 2021, President Biden issued Executive Order 14057 calling for all affected federal vehicle acquisitions to be zero-emission vehicles, such as electric vehicles, by 2035, including 100 percent zero-emission light-duty vehicle acquisitions beginning in 2027. This order affects approximately 380,000 vehicles within federal fleets as they become subject to replacement. The authors examine: (1) the composition, use, and location of federal fleets and (2) the potential of federal fleets to transition to zero-emission vehicles. To address these objectives they analyzed government-wide data on vehicles in federal agency fleets and determined that these data were sufficiently reliable for providing high-level depictions of federal fleets, such as describing their overall composition and location. However, they may not be detailed or consistent enough to provide accurate and reliable vehicle-level analyses, such as day-to-day use. They also analyzed GSA information on the vehicles agencies can purchase or lease through GSA, including electric vehicles, and the vehicles agencies ordered in fiscal year 2021. To understand the status of electric vehicle charging infrastructure available to federal agencies, they analyzed data from the Department of Energy (DOE) on federally owned charging stations across the continental United States. They also spoke to GSA and DOE officials about the policies and practices that may affect the transition to electric vehicles.

Winter Energy Market and Reliability Assessment, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Staff, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission

The authors provide their outlook for energy markets and electric reliability, focusing on the period of December 2022 through February 2023 (winter 2022-2023). The report is divided into three main sections. The first section summarizes weather forecasts for the upcoming winter. The second section summarizes the natural gas and electricity market and electric reliability fundamentals expected for the winter. The last section discusses notable considerations for the upcoming winter, including coal supply issues, natural gas dependence in New England, natural gas pipeline outages in the West, and winter preparedness progress.

Current Methods for Life Cycle Analyses of Low-Carbon Transportation Fuels in the United States, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine

Transportation is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, with petroleum accounting for 90 percent of transportation fuels. Policymakers encounter a range of questions as they consider low-carbon fuel standards to reduce emissions, including total emissions released from production to use of a fuel or the potential consequences of a policy. Life-cycle assessment is an essential tool for addressing these questions. This report provides researchers and practitioners with a toolkit for applying life-cycle assessment to estimate greenhouse gas emissions, including identification of the best approach to use for a stated policy goal, how to reduce uncertainty and variability through verification and certification, and the core assumptions that can be applied to various fuel types. Policymakers should still use a tailored approach for each fuel type, given that petroleum-based ground, air, and marine transportation fuels necessitate different considerations than alternative fuels including biofuels, hydrogen, and electricity. Ultimately, life-cycle assessments should clearly document what assumptions and methods are used to ensure transparency.

China Country Climate and Development Report, Eckardt et al., World Bank GRoup

The authors provide analysis and recommendations on integrating China’s efforts to achieve high-quality development with the pursuit of emission reduction and climate resilience. Without adequate mitigation and adaptation efforts, climate risks will become a growing constraint to China’s long-term growth and prosperity, threatening to reverse development gains. Conversely, if efforts to tackle climate risks lead to a significant decline in growth and rising inequality, they would deprive millions of people of development and likely erode support for the reforms necessary to achieve a lasting economic transformation. Hence, China will need to grow and green its economy at the same time. The authors offer policy options to achieve these dual objectives by easing inevitable trade-offs and maximizing potential synergies between China’s development and climate objectives.

Circular Claims Fall Flat Again, Greenpeace

U.S. households generated an estimated 51 million tons of plastic waste in 2021, only 2.4 million tons of which were recycled. The authors also find that no type of plastic packaging in the U.S. meets the definition of recyclable used by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s New Plastic Economy (EMF NPE) Initiative. Plastic recycling was estimated to have declined to about 5–6% in 2021, down from a high of 9.5% in 2014 and 8.7% in 2018. At that time, the U.S. exported millions of tons of plastic waste to China and counted it as recycled even though much of it was burned or dumped.

People don’t think the government is doing enough to combat climate change, Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research

A majority of the public thinks the federal government is not doing enough to combat climate change. There is support for providing consumers with rebates to purchase energy-efficient appliances or tax credits to install solar panels, though few expect to do so personally in the next few years. More than half of the public think it is important for the government to restrict companies’ greenhouse emissions and provide incentives for the companies to do so. There is less support for incentivizing or restricting individuals’ greenhouse emissions. Sixty-one percent of adults have heard nothing or only a little about the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, which includes provisions to incentivize climate-friendly behaviors. Only a third think the legislation will help with climate change. Few say it will play a major role in whether they install solar panels, purchase an electric vehicle or install an electric vehicle charging station, or apply for a green energy job in the next three years. The public is largely in agreement that climate change is happening and caused at least to some degree by human activity. The energy industry and private companies are seen as more responsible for climate change than the energy consumption of individuals.

Americans Value U.S. Role as Scientific Leader, but 38% Say Country Is Losing Ground Globally, Brian Kennedy, Alec Tyson and Cary Funk, Pew Research Center

Pew Research Center conducted this study to understand how Americans view science and their levels of confidence in groups and institutions in society, including scientists and medical scientists. For this analysis, we surveyed 10,588 U.S. adults from Sept. 13-18, 2022. Everyone who took part in the survey is a member of the Center’s American Trends Panel (ATP), an online survey panel that is recruited through national, random sampling of residential addresses. This way, nearly all U.S. adults have a chance of selection. The survey is weighted to be representative of the U.S. adult population by gender, race, ethnicity, partisan affiliation, education and other categories.

Lifecycle Refrigerant Management, Theodoridi et al., Natural Resources Defense, Environmental Investigation Agency, and Council, the , Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development

Today, built into each cooling appliance and insulating foam in nearly every household, building, and car in America and across most of the world, there sits a type of fluorinated gas called a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) and/or a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC). When leaked out into the atmosphere, HCFCs cause the depletion of Earth’s ozone layer and both HCFCs and HFCs are extremely potent climate warmers. Pound for pound, these chemicals warm the climate several thousands of times as much as carbon dioxide. In total, the U.S. installed base of HCFCs and HFCs is equivalent to 3.6 billion CO2-equivalent metric tons today, mostly in use as refrigerants. Globally, it is approximately 24 billion. The primary global environmental policy on fluorocarbons is the implementation of the Montreal Protocol, which focuses on gradual reductions in the production, import, and use of these gases in the future. To date, however, the policies have not gone to sufficient lengths to prevent emissions, and thus environmental harm, from the HCFCs and HFCs of the past, i.e., those already out in the world. There is a huge opportunity for chemical producers, equipment manufacturers, federal and state policymakers, major corporations, and maintenance professionals to come together to prevent as many of these potent chemicals as possible from making it into the atmosphere. This report makes a first attempt at laying out the starting point for an approach, referred to here as Lifecycle Refrigerant Management.


Obtaining articles without journal subscriptions

We know it’s frustrating that many articles we cite here are not free to read. One-off paid access fees are generally astronomically priced, suitable for such as On a Heuristic Point of View Concerning the Production and Transformation of Light”  but not as a gamble on unknowns. With a median world income of US$ 9,373, for most of us US$ 42 is significant money to wager on an article’s relevance and importance. 

  • Unpaywall offers a browser extension for Chrome and Firefox that automatically indicates when an article is freely accessible and provides immediate access without further trouble. Unpaywall is also unscammy, works well, is itself offered free to use. The organizers (a legitimate nonprofit) report about a 50% success rate

  • The weekly New Research catch is checked against the Unpaywall database with accessible items being flagged. Especially for just-published articles this mechansim may fail. If you’re interested in an article title and it is not listed here as “open access,” be sure to check the link anyway. 

How is New Research assembled?

Most articles appearing here are found via  RSS feeds from journal publishers, filtered by search terms to produce raw output for assessment of relevance. 

Relevant articles are then queried against the Unpaywall database, to identify open access articles and expose useful metadata for articles appearing in the database. 

The objective of New Research isn’t to cast a tinge on scientific results, to color readers’ impressions. Hence candidate articles are assessed via two metrics only:

  • Was an article deemed of sufficient merit by a team of journal editors and peer reviewers? The fact of journal RSS output assigns a “yes” to this automatically. 
  • Is an article relevant to the topic of anthropogenic climate change? Due to filter overlap with other publication topics of inquiry, of a typical week’s 550 or so input articles about 1/4 of RSS output makes the cut.

The section “Informed opinion, nudges & major initiatives” includes some items that are not scientific research per se but fall instead into the category of “perspectives,” observations of implications of research findings, areas needing attention, etc.

Suggestions

Please let us know if you’re aware of an article you think may be of interest for Skeptical Science research news, or if we’ve missed something that may be important. Send your input to Skeptical Science via our contact form.

Journals covered

A list of journals we cover may be found here. We welcome pointers to omissions, new journals etc.

Previous edition

The previous edition of Skeptical Science New Research may be found here.


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