False Alarm: Southern Ocean Still Soaking Up CO2

Southern Ocean CO2 absorptionThe Southern Ocean has recovered its ability to suck vast amounts of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, overturning fears the natural “sink” had stalled with dire consequences for future climate change. Climate scientists had feared the uptake of carbon dioxide by the Southern Ocean had slowed in what was feared to be a “feedback” response to human ­activity. New research published today in the journal Science reveals that rather than stalling, the amount of CO2 being ­absorbed by the Southern Ocean was on the rise again. –Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 11 September 2015

GWPF science spokesman David Whitehouse said the recovery of the Southern Ocean carbon sink “could be yet another explanation for the surface temperature hiatus”. He said the research was “another alarmist claim removed by science, showing that the ‘settled science’ isn’t settled at all. The fact is that the current models do not fit the observations, so there we have a vital part of future climate prediction shown to be not predictable,” Dr Whitehouse said. “The closer you look at widely held certainties, the more complex and less understood they become — that’s the science of a complicated earth.” –Graham Lloyd, The Australian, 11 September 2015

It [is] not the first time that lengthier observations have led to the demise of a short-term climate scare. The fact that researchers now acknowledge they cannot predict future trends indicates that they don’t fully understand the underlying physics and mechanisms. ‚ÄìBenny Peiser, The Australian, 11 September 2015

Radiocarbon dating, which is used to calculate the age of certain organic materials, has been found to be unreliable, and sometimes wildly so – a discovery that could upset previous studies on climate change, scientists from China and Germany said in a new paper. Their recent analysis of sediment from the largest freshwater lake in northeast China showed that its carbon clock stopped ticking as early as 30,000 years ago, or nearly half as long as was hitherto thought. The discovery that it is unreliable could put some in a quandary. For instance, remnants of organic matter formerly held up as solid evidence of the most recent, large-scale global warming event some 40,000 years ago may actually date back far earlier to a previous ice age. –Stephen Chen, South China Morning Post, 10 September4 2015

The secretary of state for energy and climate change has refused permission for a 194-turbine wind farm off the Dorset coast, citing negative landscape and heritage impacts as key reasons for her refusal. A decision letter issued today said that Amber Rudd had refused development consent for the Navitus Bay Wind Park, which would have comprised up to 194 wind turbines with an installed capacity of up to 970MW. The refusal was in line with a recommendation from the Planning Inspectorate. –Michael Donnelly, Planning Resource, 11 September 2015

A state senator announced Thursday that she’s abandoning a second Democratic climate change proposal amid reluctance from California lawmakers and Gov. Jerry Brown. Sen. Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, said she would withdraw a vote on her bill, SB32, which calls for cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent from 1990 levels by 2050. Instead, she will try to rally support for passage next year. In the final week of the legislative session, Democrats were already forced to drop a mandate to cut oil use from their climate change proposal amid fierce opposition from business groups and oil companies. A scaled-down version of the proposal to increase renewable energy use to 50 percent has yet to be voted on. —KCRA News, 10 September 2015

When David Cameron’s Conservative party rolled its way through elections this spring, we surmised that the new government, unencumbered by the demands of coalition politics, might be capable of kick-starting British shale production. But the Conservative party isn’t the only one touting the potential benefits of exploiting Britain’s estimated 1.3 quadrillion cubic feet of shale gas. In what can only be read as a boon to fracking’s political clout, Labour’s shadow energy minister has cautioned greens against their opposition. The UK has the shale reserves, it has the environmental, economic, and strategic incentives to tap it, and now, it seems, it has the political will necessary to overcome the local intransigence that has so far forestalled any UK shale boom. Will it be able to follow America’s lead? —The American Interest, 10 September 2015