28 January 2011

But temperature and CO2 went up an down in the ice ages?

How often do we hear that? Or similar statements such as;
In the ice ages, the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere increased after increases in temperature, so CO2 can't be causing warming.

My short answer would be to say
Hey, how many coal-fired thermal power stations were running in the ice ages? Yeah, thats right, None!

But there is a Climate Crock of the week Youtube video explaining that the initial trigger (or forcing) for the ice age cycles has been the Earth's axis and that CO2 can be both a forcing and a feedback amplifying the impacts of the tilt and spin changes. And, as ever, James Hansen's work plays a key role.

Google some carbon dioxide

Did you know that on Google, you can make your own charts of per capita carbon dioxide emissions? I have USA, the United Kingdom and New Zealand on this chart.

24 January 2011

New Zealand per capita carbon dioxide

I am "quite fond of"/'obsessed with' making charts of variables indicating climate change. Here is a chart I have made with the R (programming language) that I have uploaded to Blogger. The source of the data is a spreadsheet from the report CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion (2009 Edition), International Energy Association, Paris.

R is a command-line program. The R code for the chart is:

co2pc <- c(4.80,5.40,5.77,5.98,5.52,6.04,6.20,5.80,5.19,5.22,5.15,
5.63,5.62,5.86,5.99,5.66 ,6.01,6.37,6.41,6.34,6.20,6.73,6.44,6.55,
6.62,6.99,7.67,7.67,8.09,8.36, 8.78,8.76,8.93,8.75,8.84, 8.99,8.48)
years <-c(1971:2007)
plot(years,co2pc,type='o',lwd=2,col=2,ylim=c(0,10),cex.lab=1.2,ylab='tonnes CO2 per capita',xlab='Years')
title(main="New Zealand Carbon Dioxide emissions per capita 1971-2007")
mtext(side=1,line=-1.5,"Source: CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion (2009 Edition), IEA, Paris")

I have recently used Flickr to store a couple of these charts. And you can embed them in a blog. Hence here is a chart of New Zealand emissions of Carbon Dioxide per capita from 1971 to 2007.
New Zealand emissions of Carbon Dioxide per capita 1971 to 2007

However it looks a bit fuzzy compared to the image uploaded to Blogger. It looks better over at Flickr.

Someone has asked NZ's line isn't very straight, is it? I wonder what happened in the mid 90s? Good question.

21 January 2011

Will fossil fuel GHG emissions peak soon?

Not according to Exxon Mobil. Their annual energy outlook predicts that carbon emissions will rise by 25% in the next 20 years. The working assumption must be that international climate change treaties will not have any effect in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the next 20 years (let alone causing them to peak and decline).

In a similar vein, the BBC reports that the chief economist of the International Energy Agency, Dr Birol, has said kiss goodbye to the 2C temperature rise limit and that key nations were not prepared to take the steps necessary to cut growth of carbon emissions and that it was virtually impossible for the world to keep within the CO2 limits defined as safe for the climate.

15 January 2011

Queensland floods do what NZETS cannot

It appears the the Queensland floods have done something the New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (NZETS) cannot do.

The New York Times reports that the floods have increased the price of coal.

Prices for export coal used to produce electricity and for making steel in Asia are hitting new highs, as Queensland's largest coal mines remain closed and railroad companies grapple with mudslides.

the price of metallurgical coal could eclipse record highs hit in 2008. Global prices for seaborne steel-making coal are approaching $300 a metric ton.

Thermal coal burned at power plants is also seeing production disruptions

James Hansen would approve, even though the Queensland rainfall is probably not one of his strategies in Options for near-term phaseout of CO2 emissions from coal use in the United States.

11 January 2011

Hansen Emissions and Global Warming

Here is James Hansen giving a four minute explanation of global warming caused by our greenhouse gas emissions and the need to phase out coal within decades.

07 January 2011

Carbon dioxide

It's hard to believe, but the man in this Youtube video, who thinks Global Warming involves the claim that carbon dioxide is carcinogenic, is soon to be the speaker of the US House of Representatives.