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Climate Change Research News 17 August 2023

Collated information from Jan Tendys:

Research into the state of the climate and research into the effectiveness of climate policy have to be distinguished from the particular solutions favoured by individual climate scientists eg Dr James E. Hansen, who explained the greenhouse gas effect to the US Senate in 1988, has advocated for building more nuclear reactors as well as using a carbon tax he calls rising carbon fee + dividend. See his website http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/ Many other climate scientists seem to prefer renewables or a mix and some like Mark Jacobsen are positively anti-nuclear. The recent heatwaves in many parts of the world, extending to heating of both land and ocean have preoccupied climate scientists recently. July 2023 was the hottest month on record, according to our global temperature analysis. Overall, July was 0.43°F (0.24°C) warmer than any other July in @NASAEarth's record, Climate change is one of the contributors to these heatwaves, another being the change from La Nina to El Nino James Hansen et al initially presented calculations that seemed to show the rate of change of the climate was accelerating. Not many in the climate scientist world agreed with him. His latest post on social media (X) says that what the record readings mean will only become evident in hindsight - will they retreat to a more normal level or continue to rise? An argument by David T. Ho, a professor of oceanography at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, is interesting But first a little revision: What is net zero emissions? Put simply, net zero refers to the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) that's produced and the amount that's removed from the atmosphere. It can be achieved through a combination of emission reduction and emission removal. Carbon dioxide removal or CDR encompasses a wide array of approaches, including direct air capture (DAC) coupled to durable storage, soil carbon sequestration, biomass carbon removal and storage, enhanced mineralization, ocean-based CDR, and afforestation/reforestation. Ho says: " After some small-scale demonstrations of ‘direct air capture’ (DAC) technology, which suck CO2 out of the atmosphere by chemical means, the 2022 US Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has devoted $3.5 billion to developing four DAC hubs. But it’s clear to me that deploying them to remove CO2 from the atmosphere is pointless until society has almost completely eliminated its polluting activities.Time travelTo understand why, think of CDR as a time machine. Take the proposed US DAC hubs, for example. Each facility is eventually expected to extract one million tonnes of CO2 each year.In 2022, the world emitted 40.5 billion tonnes of CO2 (P. Friedlingstein et al. Earth Syst. Sci. Data 14, 4811–4900; 2022). At that rate, for every year of operation at its full potential, each hub would take the atmosphere back in time by almost 13 minutes, but in the time it took to remove those 13 minutes of CO2, the world would have spewed another full year of CO2 into the atmosphere.Meanwhile, if everyone on Earth planted a tree— 8 billion trees— it would take us back in time by about 43 hours every year, once the trees had matured.The time-machine analogy reveals just how futile CDR currently is.We have to shift the narrative as a matter of urgency. Money is going to flood into climate solutions over the next few years, and we need to direct it well. We must stop talking about deploying CDR as a solution today, when emissions remain high— as if it somehow replaces radical, immediate emission cuts. "Carbon dioxide removal is an ineffective time machine" A cheerful finish for today: "Vast arrays of solar panels floating on calm seas near the Equator could provide effectively unlimited solar energy to densely populated countries in Southeast Asia and West Africa." 'Limitless' energy: how floating solar panels near the equator could power future population hotspots

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