Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Colorado oil & gas methane rules stronger than EPA's new version

Colorado oil & gas methane rules stronger than EPA's new version 

EPA follows Colorado lead in targeting methane leaks from oil & gas

Updated

 


 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday finalized regulations cracking down on leaks of methane from oil and gas operations across the country — a move Colorado made two years ago.
Colorado in 2014 approved the first regulations in the nation requiring energy companies to routinely check their oil and natural gas wells — both new and existing — statewide and fix equipment that is found to be leaking methane, a potent greenhouse gas, into the atmosphere. The methane that’s captured and kept in the system can be sold, reducing the net cost of the regulations.
Colorado regulations are “more protective” than what the EPA announced today, although the EPA’s rules will affect far more wells since they’re nationwide in scope, said Dan Grossman, Rocky Mountain regional director for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), which was involved in crafting Colorado’s rules.
Methane is the second biggest source of greenhouse gas pollution in the United States and nearly one-third of those emissions comes from oil production and the production, transmission and distribution of natural gas, according to the EPA.
Colorado’s push to curb emissions of methane, which is 25 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, came after the EDF, a Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group, joined with state regulators and three of Colorado’s biggest oil and gas companies to craft the regulations. The companies were Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC), based in a Houston suburb, Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL), Encana Corp. (NYSE: ECA), based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
Recent field surveys by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) of oil and gas equipment found a 75 percent drop in the number of sites where methane leaks were detected compared to similar surveys prior to the regulations taking effect, said Will Allison, director of the department's Air Pollution Control Division.
"Colorado's rules are working extremely well," Allison said.
"We've seen a significant decrease in the number of facilities where we're seeing leaks, and we think that's a reflection that vigilance and maintenance pays off, and that regular inspection of facilities that have many components that can leak over time makes sense," he said.
"We also think it captures more product, which is a benefit to the environment and the industry as well," Allison said.
Grossman, with the EDF, said that Colorado’s regulations won’t be weakened by the EPA’s version.
“Today’s EPA rule today created a floor, not a ceiling,” he said.
“Colorado will see little disruption in the way Colorado oil and gas operators are doing their business, but nationally, today’s rules are groundbreaking,” Grossman said.
Unlike Colorado’s regulations, which cover all oil and gas wells and associated equipment in the state, the regulations finalized by the EPA on Thursday focus on new oil and gas wells, as well as those that are modified or reconstructed. But the agency also said it’s starting the process to crack down on methane leaks from existing wells in the future.
It requires energy companies to check their equipment at least two times per year for leaks, and fix any that are found.
Colorado’s rules also require routine checks, based on the size of the facility. Big facilities, such as multi-well sites, must be checked once a month, smaller ones must be checked once a quarter, and the smallest ones checked once a year, Grossman said via an email.
Allison, with the CDPHE, said Thursday afternoon that the agency was still reviewing the complex rule and has questions about how Colorado can demonstrate to the EPA that the 2014 rules meet or exceed the federal agency's new rules.
"We'll want to further explore the rule and how it might work with the EPA. It's important that we reduce any duplication or inefficiencies that might accrue with the implementation of the federal rules," Allison said.
Allison said he was glad to see that the EPA will allow operators to show that new technology that comes along could be better than the existing infra-red cameras that are currently used to conduct inspections. That flexibility exists in Colorado's regulations and is a suggestion the state made to the federal agency, he said.
EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the agency’s new nationwide regulations for methane leaks “will protect public health and reduce pollution linked to cancer and other serious health effects while allowing industry to continue to grow and provide a vital source of energy for Americans across the country.”
They’re part of President Barack Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” to cut methane emissions, and its goal to reduce the 2012 level of methane pollution from the oil and gas sector by 40 to 45 percent by 2025.
The EPA said its regulations approved Thursday are expected to lead to the capture of 510,000 short tons of methane in 2025, the equivalent of reducing carbon emissions by 11 million metric tons.
The EPA estimated that the cost of compliance nationwide will be about $530 million in 2025, but the value of the benefits will be $690 million.
Doug Flanders, a spokesman for the Colorado Oil & Gas Association, an industry trade group, said via email that the group is still reviewing the 600-page document.
But Flanders also noted Colorado’s regulations “provide equivalent or greater benefits from an air quality perspective” compared to the EPA’s new regulations, and that complying with both sets of regulations could cause problems.
“Operators have already spent significant resources to comply with Colorado’s stringent program and shouldn’t be burdened with compliance with a potentially redundant and conflicting program,” Flanders said.
“States like Colorado are in the best position to regulate the industry, and can account for unique characteristics, such as infrastructure – like we have in the Denver-Julesburg Basin [north and east of Denver],” he said.

Burning all fossil fuels could lead to global warmth not seen in 65 million years

Burning all fossil fuels could lead to global warmth not seen in 65 million years

Burning all fossil fuels could lead to global warmth not seen in 65 million years

45 LINKEDIN 58 COMMENTMORE
If every last crumb of fossil fuel on the planet was burned — all 5.5 trillion tons of the Earth's oil, coal and natural gas now underground — the world could heat up by as much as 18 degrees in the next three centuries, according to a scientific study out Monday that researchers say is a critical warning message on global warming.
This would be as warm as when dinosaurs roamed the Earth about 65 million years ago, one expert said.
"In that scenario, most of the planet would be unlivable for humans (simply too hot for human civilization to function), and all of the major coastal cities of the world and all of the low-lying regions of the world would disappear into the ocean," said Penn State meteorologist Michael Mann, who was not affiliated with the study.
"The unregulated exploitation of the fossil fuel resource could ultimately result in considerably more profound climate changes than previously suggested," according to the study.
While an extreme scenario, such warmth would render some parts of the world uninhabitable and damage the planet's economy, human health and food supply, the study said. The Arctic could warm by as much as 35 degrees.
The study appeared in the peer-reviewed British journal Nature Climate Change.
“Our study shows a profound climate change in the absence of further mitigation,” said study lead author Katarzyna B. Tokarska of the University of Victoria in British Columbia in a statement. How the Earth’s climate responds to such high levels of emissions adds a new dimension to scientific knowledge, she added.
The study used simulations from climate models to explore the relationship between warming and the total amount of potential carbon dioxide emissions, based on estimates of world fossil-fuel reserves.
Burning oil, coal and natural gas releases emissions of "greenhouse gases" such as carbon dioxide and methane that cause the Earth's atmosphere and oceans to rise to temperatures that cannot be explained by natural variability.
The emissions already in the atmosphere have contributed to record warm years in both 2014 and 2015, with another record likely in 2016.
A global climate accord, the Paris Agreement, was signed last December to limit the temperature rise from global warming to under 3.8 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels.
Speaking about the study, Mann said, "If Hollywood were looking for a new dystopian vision of our worst possible future, it probably couldn’t do much better than this scenario."

Is much of our effort to combat global warming actually making things worse?

Is much of our effort to combat global warming actually making things worse? 

Is much of our effort to combat global warming actually making things worse?

by Judith Curry

Humanity is owed a serious investigation of how we have gone so far with the decarbonization project without a serious challenge in terms of engineering reality. – Michael Kelly

Michael Kelly has published an important new paper in MRS Energy & Sustainability: A Review Journal [link to abstract]:
Lessons from technology development for energy and sustainability
There are lessons from recent history of technology introductions which should not be forgotten when considering alternative energy technologies for carbon dioxide emission reductions. The growth of the ecological footprint of a human population about to increase from 7B now to 9B in 2050 raises serious concerns about how to live both more efficiently and with less permanent impacts on the finite world. One present focus is the future of our climate, where the level of concern has prompted actions across the world in mitigation of the emissions of CO2. An examination of successful and failed introductions of technology over the last 200 years generates several lessons that should be kept in mind as we proceed to 80% decarbonize the world economy by 2050. I will argue that all the actions taken together until now to reduce our emissions of carbon dioxide will not achieve a serious reduction, and in some cases, they will actually make matters worse. In practice, the scale and the different specific engineering challenges of the decarbonization project are without precedent in human history. This means that any new technology introductions need to be able to meet the huge implied capabilities. An altogether more sophisticated public debate is urgently needed on appropriate actions that (i) considers the full range of threats to humanity, and (ii) weighs more carefully both the upsides and downsides of taking any action, and of not taking that action.
Press release from MRS E&S
Cambridge (UK) professor says much of the effort to combat global warming is actually making it worse
As part of an open discussion on the critical issue of energy, sustainability and climate change, MRS Energy & Sustainability—A Review Journal (MRS E&S) has published a paper in which Cambridge (UK) engineering professor M.J. Kelly argues that it is time to review the current efforts to reduce carbon emissions, some of which “represent total madness.” This paper is one of a series of articles in MRS E&S that, with varying opinions, address this controversial topic.
In his peer-reviewed article, Lessons from technology development for energy and sustainability, Kelly considers the lessons from global decarbonization projects, and concludes that all combined actions to reduce carbon emissions so far will not achieve a serious reduction. In some cases, these efforts will actually make matters worse.
Central to his thesis, which is supported by examples, is that rapid decarbonization will simply not be possible without a significant reduction in standards of living. The growing call to decarbonize the global economy by 80% by 2050 could only foreseeably happen alongside large parts of the population plunging into poverty, destitution or starvation, as low-carbon energy sources do not produce enough energy to sustain society. According to Kelly, “It is clear to me that every further step along the current pathway of deploying first-generation renewable energy is locking in immature and uneconomic systems at net loss to the world standard of living.”
As Kelly notes, it has been 40 years since the modern renewable energy developments began, and yet the fraction of world energy supplied by renewables (wind, solar and cultivated biomass sources combined) has hardly increased. The BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2015 reports 3 % for wind, solar and cultivated biomass sources combined, for 2014.
Kelly’s argument is that weaning off fossil fuels will take much longer than postulated by some experts. He suggests that a more viable option is to employ another generation of fossil fuels—during which economic conditions of humankind can be improved and alternate solutions can be explored and developed. As the global population is set to rise from 7 billion to 9 billion in 2050, an altogether more sophisticated debate is needed on appropriate actions that considers the full range of threats to humanity, and carefully weighs the upsides and downsides both of taking action—and refraining from it.
For a counter viewpoint to this article, see Energy and sustainability, from the point of view of environmental physics, by Micha Tomkiewicz.
Excerpts from the paper:
The paper is behind paywall, here are some extensive excerpts (bold mine, except for section titles):
Introduction
I have stressed above the role of individuals in the Royal Society taking a leading role in the debates: it continues to this day with individuals aligned on both sides. The one change from history is that a bylaw of the Society that stood for most of its history has been overturned in recent decades. Whereas once “…it is an established rule of the Society, to which they will always adhere, never to give their opinion as a body upon any subject either of Nature or of Art, that comes before them”, now the Royal Society plays an active role in the debate, coming at it from only one side, without adequate acknowledgement of the lack of unanimity within the fellowship.
Most of the engineering Fellows I have consulted have some reservations about the current stand, reservations that are reflected here. One should be able to look to the academies worldwide for an open, balanced, and full discussion of these matters, with engineering-level integrity when contemplating what actions to take: in practice, the level of ‘post-normal science’ (where the ‘facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high, and decisions urgent’) gets in the way. There is no such thing as post-normal engineering. There is an abundance of reports focusing on the energy needs of humanity and the sustainability of mass action, but relatively little acknowledgement of the upsides of present cities as a way for allowing large populations to live in some comfort.
Decarbonizing the world economy
I start by accepting the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report at face value, although I shall return to this towards the end.
I am concerned that what is done in the name of decarbonization should leave the world in a better place. I am sure that what has been done so far in the name of decarbonization is set to fail comprehensively in meeting its avowed target, and that a new debate is needed. If our emissions of carbon dioxide are causing the world to warm and lead into possibly difficult times in the future, it is important also to establish the upsides of such emission. Peter Allitt quotes: “The rising carbon dioxide footprint may be troublesome, but it is a side effect of the creation of immense benefits.”
Scale
It is important to note the scale of the perceived problem. The entire history of modern civilization that started with the first industrial revolution has been enabled by the burning of fossil fuels. Our mobility, our health and lifestyles, our diet and its variety, our education system, particularly at the higher level, and our high culture would be quite impossible without fossil fuels, which have provided over 90% of the energy consumed on the earth since 1800. Today, geothermal, hydro- and nuclear power, together with the historic biofuels of wood and straw, account for about 15% of our energy use. Even though it is 40 years since the first oil shocks kick-started the modern renewable energy developments (wind, solar, and cultivated biomass), we still get rather less than 1% of our world energy from these sources. Indeed the rate at which fossil fuels are growing is seven times that at which the low carbon energies are growing, as the ratio of fossil fuel energy used to total energy used has remained unchanged since 1990 at 85%. The call to decarbonize the global economy by 80% by 2050 can now only be described as glib in my opinion, as the underlying analysis shows it is only possible if we wish to see large parts of the population die from starvation, destitution or violence in the absence of enough low-carbon energy to sustain society.
Energy Return on Investment
The debate over decarbonization has focused on technical feasibility and economics. There is one emerging measure that comes closely back to the engineering and the thermodynamics of energy production. The energy return on (energy) investment is a measure of the useful energy produced by a particular power plant divided by the energy needed to build, operate, maintain, and decommission the plant. This is a concept that owes its origin to animal ecology: a cheetah must get more energy from consuming his prey than expended on catching it, otherwise it will die. If the animal is to breed and nurture the next generation then the ratio of energy obtained from energy expended has to be higher, depending on the details of energyexpenditure on these other activities.
WeiƟbach et al. have analysed the EROI for a number of forms of energy production and their principal conclusion is that nuclear, hydro-, and gas and coal-fired power stations have an EROI that is much greater than wind, solar photovoltaic (PV), concentrated solar power in a desert or cultivated biomass: see Fig. 2 . In human terms, with an EROI of 1, we can mine fuel and look at it—we have no energy left over. To get a society that can feed itself and provide a basic educational system we need an EROI of our base-load fuel to be in excess of 5, and for a society with international travel and high culture we need EROI greater than 10. The new renewable energies do not reach this last level when the extra energy costs of overcoming intermittency are added in. In energy terms the current generation of renewable energy technologies alone will not enable a civilized modern society to continue!
Slide1Feasibility
Suppose the world unites and agrees to provide $1Tpa for ten years to mitigate future adverse climate change. What is the best strategy for spending that money for the reason given, namely to mitigate future climate change, and what will we be able to measure as the outcome of such an investment?
The answer is that no-one knows the latter now, or will ever know on the 2050 timescale. A crude calculation suggests that such a sum would allow the capture of all the CO2 from coal fired power stations over the next year, reducing global CO2 emissions by about 40%. But what difference would that actually make to the future climate, and would we be able to measure that difference as being attributable to the $1Tpa spent, and so even begin to assess the potential value-for-money of the investment?
What if the sun goes cool, or we have a spate of major volcanic eruptions: would we be able to isolate the contribution from the reduced CO2 emissions? No. It is sober to compare the sheer scale of this undertaking in view of the total uncertainty in the outcome. It is a current act of faith that investments in green energy projects are intrinsically good.

The scale of the different specific engineering challenges of the decarbonization project is without precedent in human history. This means that any new technology introductions need to be able to meet the huge implied capabilities. An appreciation of this sheer scale is very rarely admitted or even appreciated in many of the reports that advocate global decarbonization.
Generic lessons learned from introducing new technologies applied to decarbonization
As we decarbonize the world, we must improve the lot of humanity, not degrade it, and we must go with the flow of human progress not across or against it. Failure to appreciate these lessons could result in major investments not realizing their goals, with much of the investment having to be written off, representing lost opportunities to have done something else that was more effective.
Premature roll-out of immature/uneconomic technologies is a recipe for failure
The virtuous role of government funding in R&D is to be contrast with the litany of failure in recent times of subsidies in support of the premature rollout of technologies that are uneconomic and/or immature.
The primary problem is the use of public money, i.e., subsidies, to encourage the roll-out. They have a plethora of unintended consequences in the energy infrastructure sector. The reason so far for these failures is that the technologies are uneconomic over their lifecycles and immature in terms of the energy return on their investment.
There is an unintended and unwanted social consequence of the roll out of these new technologies. There is ample evidence in the UK of increasing fuel poverty (i.e., household spending over 10% of disposable income keeping warm in winter) in the regions of wind farm deployment where higher electricity bills are needed to cover the rent of the land (from usually already rich) landowners, a direct reversal of the process whereby cheap energy over the last century has lifted a significant fraction of the world’s poor from their poverty.
If the climate imperative weakens, so does the decarbonization imperative
In my view, the 2014 IPCC report was somewhat obfuscatory on this issue: there was no expert assessment of one key parameter, the climate sensitivity (the expected actual temperature rise for a doubling of CO 2 in the atmosphere), because of wide disagreements between models and data, and the current debate points to a lowering of the estimated range of values. In addition any prospect of a further reduction of the temperature rise over the next few decades (e.g., from the sun) gives us extra breathing space on new technology introductions.
This weakening of the timescale for future temperature rises has a direct policy implication in the here and now. Since the design lifetime of most fossil fuel plants is of order 40 years, the world would be wise to opt for another generation of fossil fuels to continue the improvement of the lot of mankind, while making a more determined effort over a longer time to develop real workarounds to the currently perceived problem of carbon dioxide emissions.
It is clear to me that every further step along the current pathway of deploying first generation renewable energy is locking in immature and uneconomic systems at net loss to the world standard of living. In view of the level of hard engineering evidence for this point that is already available, the romantic notion of sustainability at any cost, as opposed to hard-nosed sustainability, is indefensible. There should be a calling to account on how these matters came about.
The demographic transition
The population of the world started growing sharply at the time of the industrial revolution. In the 1960s, a qualitatively new feature emerged which will come to dominate demographics in the latter part of last century: the rate of growth of the population started to decline. As of now wherever the majority of people live in urban areas and have access to universal primary education (particularly for girls) the indigenous populations, are in absolute decline. This applies now in Europe, North America, and Japan. The drop in the fertility rates for child-bearing women in Europe is now so severe that Italy’s population will shrink from 61M to 8M and Germany from 80M to 4M over the century.
The population is predicted to grow to 9B by mid-century and to fall back, even to 7B by 2100. In one hundred years, the discourse will be on the possible uses of infrastructure for 2B people no longer alive on the earth. This future can be seen in certain parts of the world where depopulation has already started, as in the east of the former East Germany. Villages are vacated, buildings torn down—if left to decay they collect vermin and detract from the quality of life of the few who remain. This is now a more certain future than possible uncontrolled future climates.
This prospect has a major impact on the contemporary response to the perceived threats of future climate change. The infrastructure being planned now has to last only 100 years and should be designed for dismantling at the end of service life. The increased energy intensity of industry coupled with an eventually declining population is not as yet factored into the climate models.
JC reflections
This is a terrific paper, that I am still digesting, and will be working to incorporate some of this material into my public .ppt presentation on climate change.
I was particularly struck by:
  • Figure 2 and the EROI argument
  • The demographic argument, including the population decline in Europe
  • The idea of  sustainability at any cost, versus hard-nosed sustainability
But it is really the integration and exposition of all these points.  This is surely a compelling argument for anyone who cares about true sustainability and human well being.
When I have spoken with engineers at Georgia Tech, nearly all of them question the feasibility of a rapid transition away from fossil fuels (the ones that don’t question this have been civil/environmental engineers).
First it was the scientists, then the economists.  It is now time for the engineers to drive the discussion and policies on this issue.

Another Antarctic Sea Level Rise False Alarm

Another Antarctic Sea Level Rise False Alarm 

Another Antarctic Sea Level Rise False Alarm

by Rud Istvan

Aitken et. al. in Nature newly comports to confirm 2015 fears about instability of the Totten Glacier in Eastern Antarctica. This could ‘suddenly’ raise sea level as much as 4 meters! (Or, based on the abstract, maybe only 0.9 meters in ‘modern scale configuration’, but over 2 meters [2.9-4] in unspecified other configurations).

There are two parts to the story of Aitken et. al. 2016: the author’s comments as reported by MSM, and what the paper actually found.
Media reports         
An example from the Weather Channel:
“An Antarctic glacier three-fourths the size of Texas continues to melt into the sea, and if it disappears completely, sea levels will rise dramatically around the world, a new study says. The Totten Glacier is melting quickly in eastern Antarctica and threatens to become yet another point of concern as global temperatures rise, according to the study published in the journal Nature. It’s getting close to a “tipping point,” the study found, and if the glacier collapses, global sea levels could rise nearly 10 feet…”I predict that before the end of the century the great global cities of our planet near the sea will have two- or three-meter (6.5 to 10 feet) high sea defenses all around them,” study author Martin Siegert told the French Press Agency.” [Bolds mine]
From Science Daily, drawn from the Imperial College London press release:
Current rates of climate change could trigger instability in a major Antarctic glacier, ultimately leading to more than 2m of sea-level rise. By studying the history of Totten’s advances and retreats, researchers have discovered that if climate change continues unabated, the glacier could cross a critical threshold within the next century, entering an irreversible period of very rapid retreat. This would cause it to withdraw up to 300 kilometres inland in the following centuries and release vast quantities of water, contributing up to 2.9 metres to global sea-level rise. [Bolds mine]
Finally, the lurid title of Chris Mooney’s article in the WaPo on May 18: ‘Fundamentally unstable’: Scientists confirm their fears about East Antarctica’s biggest glacier
Paper
Most of the paper is a complex analysis of detailed gravimetric and magnetic data captured from low pass aircraft mapping an important ridge component of Totten’s subglacial geology.
It is helpful to understand the context for seeking evidence of alarming seal level rise (SLR) (see my previous CE post Sea Level Rise Tipping Points). SLR is not accelerating, so warmunists have searched for future ice sheet ‘tipping points’ that might cause the abrupt SLR supporting urgent CO2 mitigation. Greenland was the initial focus; it is not cooperating because of its bowl shaped geology. See my previous post for details and references.
The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) was the next focal point. The Ronne Ice Shelf proved pinned and stable per the above linked Tipping Points guest post. ANDRILL showed that the Ross Ice Shelf is also stable; its grounding line hasn’t shifted for about 4 millennia, ditto the Tipping Points sites linked to above. Attention then shifted to the Amundsen Embayment, where much was made in 2014 of the flowing Pine Island Glacier (PIG)–until it was pointed out PIG sits on an active volcano that has nothing to do with global warming. (There are volcanic ash layers embedded in PIG.) WAIS is not cooperating, either. So attention has now shifted to the East Antarctic Ice Sheet (EAIS) where Totten is the biggest glacier/catchment basin, almost half of the above figure’s NASA defined geological sector (which also contains the Moscow University Ice Shelf and the Frost glacier) just ‘east’ of the Wilkes Land sector in the figure  below.
Totten images 1
Where Totten enters the Southern Ocean, it is mostly grounded in shallows <500 meters deep. This does not affect its stability (like the Ross Ice Sheet), since the first ~500 meters of Antarctic coastal seawater is basically at the freezing point. But warmer seawater below about 500 meters is melting Totten’s base at a deep trough about 5 km wide and about 800 meters deep, discovered in 2015 [link]. This melting causes a slow retreat of the grounding line behind the trough. The annual basal melting/grounding line retreat rate is presently about 100 meters/year, (but as fast as 175 meters per year in some places according to Aitken per WaPo). It is useful to note that Aitken was an author, but not lead author, on the 2015 trough discovery paper.
This deep ocean melting process could move inland for about 150 km through the Sabrina subglacial basin (deep blue in the following figure from the 2015 paper) over about 1500 years before hitting a sub-ice rock ridge perpendicular to the glacier only about 200 meters below sea level, which would stop the melting (since melting water is below ~500 meters). Aitken et. al. 2016 estimate that this would raise sea level about 0.9 meters, or ~6 cm/century. No cause for alarm.
Toten images 2
What Aitken et. al. 2016 reports is another fjord like deep ‘fault trench’ through this blocking ridge, which would (if water temperature stratification remained undisturbed) enable basal melting to proceed through the interior Aurora subglacial basin behind the ridge. This process would continue for about another 350 km, or about 40% back into the Totten catchment basin. Aitken et. al. also used ice-penetrating radar to probe both the Sabrina and Aurora basin floors to confirm that Totten did in fact melt back through both basins about 3 million years ago in the Pliocene (before the onset of the current ice ages), with CO2 at about 400 ppm. That was spun into the PR alarm—it happened before at 400 ppm!!! At the current melting rates this would take about 3 millennia and could raise sea level about 2.9 meters, an unalarming 10cm/century. This is probably still far too fast, since all the Aurora warming water would have to enter undisturbed through the newly reported narrow trench through the ridge.
Totten images 3
This is NOT fundamentally unstable collapse, implying 2-3 meters SLR by the end of this century, as the authors clearly intimated in their press releases.
How to get 3 feet of SLR by melting the Sabrina basin back to the ridge? Simply assume that all the ice in the catchment basin to the ridge disappears, even that above sea level not subject to seawater melting. To the ridge and ‘trench’, the catchment basin is about 200-250 km wide, the glacier about 100 km wide, its mouth and protruding ice shelf 145 km wide. The assumption is dubious, but not implausible. It would imply ice flow similar to that of coastal northeast Greenland glaciers today (another overhyped SLR alarm favorite), except where there are no such flowing glaciers today, and where Antarctica never gets above freezing in summer (while most of Greenland does, briefly).
How to get 2.9 meters SLR from the red oval? Easy. Just use the same entire catchment assumption to that deeper recessional melting point.
How to get ~4 meters (WaPo)? Just assume that if the Aurora basin behind the ridge melts via trough/trench intrusion of warmer seawater, the entire catchment will then lose all its ice because it lost its Totten ‘plug’ (up catchment ice is about 2.5 km thick).
This is the same assumption Rignot made in raising PIG alarm about losing all the ice in the Amundsen Embayment catchment, even though his own paper showed that is impossible (as per my previous post at CE).
This is the same assumption that the Greenbaum et. al 2015 trench paper cited above made (on which Aitken was a co-author), upon which Aitken et. al. 2016 builds. From its SI,
8. Sea Level Potential for Totten Glacier and the Aurora Subglacial Basin
We estimate the global sea level potential of ice flowing through Totten Glacier using a modified approach applied for Thwaites and Pine Island Glaciers. We find the ice volume within the Totten Glacier Catchment20, correct for the higher density of seawater, subtract the volume of seawater required to replace the submarine ice, and divide the result by the area of the world oceans (3.6E14 m2). The result, ~3.5 meters, is conservative because it implies vertical catchment boundaries whereas, in reality, ice from neighboring catchments would contribute to the total sea level contribution if the entire catchment was drained of ice.
We follow a similar procedure to compute the total potential global sea level contribution of the Aurora Subglacial Basin (ASB) using catchment 13 defined on NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s drainage basin website21. Using that catchment we find that at least 5.1 m of global sea level potential is grounded below sea level and is therefore more susceptible to retreat. This figure assumes that all remaining ice grounded above sea level remains as it is today with unrealistic vertical cliffs. If all of the ice in the ASB were to melt, the total sea level contribution would be closer to 6.7 meters. The sea level figures here have not been corrected for isostatic rebound associated with the removal of ice loading of the crust.
[Note: the 6.7 meters assumes all the ice in this entire sector of the first figure disappears. It is easy to build scary PR from bad assumptions. Rignot blazed a false trail now relied on [SI fn 17, 18] by others.
Conclusion
The alarming estimates from this new Nature paper, particularly as represented by the media, are grievously wrong both with respect to the amount of and the rate of sea level rise that might be associated with melting of the EIAS Totten glacier.
There is unjustified author spin in the press releases and author’s interviews. There are underlying bad assumptions never mentioned except by reference to a previously refuted [here] bad paper by Rignot. A tangled web of deceit, to paraphrase a famous poem.
Regards to all CE denizens.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Sinking Solomon Islands and climate link 'exaggerated', admits study's author | Examiner.com

Sinking Solomon Islands and climate link 'exaggerated', admits study's author 

Sinking Solomon Islands and climate link 'exaggerated', admits study's author

Sunday, May 22, 2016

15 jokes that only smart people will truly appreciate

15 jokes that only smart people will truly appreciate

15 jokes that only smart people will truly appreciate












There's a special glee that comes from getting a really nerdy joke.
You feel smart both smart and dorky at the same time.
Redditors took turns sharing their own favorite intellectual jokes, and we've gathered our favorites here.
From chemistry to art to music, these are the jokes you can pull out at your next dinner party (if you want to hear a bemused groan from the crowd).
Time to test your knowledge — though there's an explanation if you don't get it.
Here are 15 of the best jokes for smart people:

A photon is going through airport security. The TSA agent asks if he has any luggage. The photon says, "No, I'm traveling light."
It's funny because: "Traveling light" is a turn of phrase used to indicate traveling without much (or any) luggage. In science, a photon is a particle of light (almost always moving).
It's on this list because: Air travel, amirite?!

Pretentious? Moi?
It's funny because: Only a pretentious person whose daily life doesn't require French would actually say "moi" and mean it.
It's in this list because: Clocking in at two words, it's the shortest joke in the English language.

A logician's wife is having a baby. The doctor immediately hands the newborn to the dad. The wife says, "Is it a boy or a girl?" The logician says, "Yes."Shutterstock
It's funny because: Processing that question through Boolean logic, "yes" is technically correct. How would you answer if the question were "Is it a boy AND a girl?"
It's on this list because: Logicians don't get enough love.

How can you tell the difference between a chemist and a plumber? Ask them to pronounce "unionised."
It's funny because: A more labor-conscious plumber would pronounce the word as "yoon-yun-ised." A chemist would probably say "un-eye-on-ised."
It's on this list because: What other joke can simultaneously address the removal of charged particles from an atom as well as the organization of workers trying to achieve shared goals?

Two women walk into a bar and talk about the Bechdel test.
It's funny because: The Bechdel test is a measure of gender equality in the media. A piece of media is considered to pass the test if it includes at least two women who talk to each other about something besides men. This joke passes the test.
It's on this list because: The media is self-referential.

Heard about that new band called 1023 MB? They haven't had any gigs yet.
It's funny because: A gigabyte is a measure of data equal to 1,024 MB. As you can see, the band is only 1,023 MB — they haven't had any "gigs" yet.
It's on this list because: A lot of people probably thought one GB is a nice, round 1,000 MB.

Heisenberg was speeding down the highway. A cop pulls him over and says, "Do you have any idea how fast you were going back there?" Heisenberg says, "No, but I knew where I was."
It's funny because: Werner Heisenberg was a German physicist and one of the key figures in quantum theory. His famous "Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal" states that we can know either where a quantum particle is or how fast it's moving, but it's impossible to know both at the same time.
It's on this list because: Heisenberg's life was amazing. Seriously.

C, Eb, and G walk into a bar. The bartender says, "Sorry, no minors."
It's funny because: C, Eb, and G are the musical notes that constitute a C-minor chord.
It's on this list because: The relationship between a major chord and its relative minor is pretty cool.

First Law of Thermodynamics: You can't win. Second Law of Thermodynamics: You can't break even. Third Law of Thermodynamics: You can't stop playing.
It's funny because: It's an absolute reductionist take on the real laws of thermodynamics, and the language is such that it implies life isn't worth living. In plain terms, the laws of thermodynamics are: Energy can't be created or destroyed; things tend to move from order to disorder, and the lower the temperature drops, the less disorderly things become.
It's in this list because: It's actually an accurate take on thermodynamics.

If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.
It's funny because: You were expecting the word "problem," but the joke-teller replaced it with "precipitate," which is the solid that forms in a solution of liquid after a chemical reaction has taken place.
It's on this list because: Chemists are hard enough to understand as it is. Now you have a slight edge.

A linguistics professor says during a lecture that, "In English, a double negative forms a positive. But in some languages, such as Russian, a double negative is still a negative. However, in no language in the world can a double positive form a negative." But then a voice from the back of the room piped up, "Yeah, right."
It's funny because: "Yeah" and "right" are technically affirmative words, but put these two positives together and you get an ultra-sarcastic, "Yeah, right."
It's on this list because: It's totally true.

"This is the sort of English up with which I will not put."
It's funny because: This phrase, with varying versions often attributed to Winston Churchill, is a response to the famous rule in English that a sentence isn't supposed to end in a preposition. In constructing the sentence this way, the speaker is technically correct, but it's an incredibly awkward way to communicate.
It's on this list because: Language is complicated. Let's mock it.

How many surrealists does it take to screw in a light bulb? A fish.
It's funny because: Surrealism is a movement all about creating weird, illogical art. As this joke makes no sense, it is itself a surrealist work.
It's on this list because: Banana.

Knock knock. Who's there? Knock knock. Who's there? Knock knock. Who's there? Knock knock. Who's there? Philip Glass.
It's funny because: Philip Glass is a composer whose music is often described as minimalist and repetitive.
It's on this list because: You've very likely seen a few movies he scored.

What does a dyslexic, agnostic, insomniac do at night? He stays up wondering if there really is a dog.
It's funny because: This poor afflicted soul's dyslexia has caused him to confuse "God" with "dog." His agnosticism forces him to wrestle with "dog's" existence. And his insomnia has him losing sleep over it.
It's on this list because: You never know someone's struggle.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Levin: Cuomo Interpretation of the Origin of Rights ‘the Definition of Tyranny’

Levin: Cuomo Interpretation of the Origin of Rights ‘the Definition of Tyranny’ 



Levin: Cuomo Interpretation of the Origin of Rights ‘the Definition of Tyranny’


Feb 2015

Earlier on Thursday, CNN “New Day” co-host Chris Cuomo debated Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore on the issue of the Alabama courts’ ruling versus a federal court’s ruling on same-sex marriage.
Ultimately, the discussion led to a debate about as to where citizens get their rights, with Cuomo insisting that rights are not from God.
On his Thursday radio show, conservative talker Mark Levin challenged that premise and argued that Cuomo’s interpretation is the definition of tyranny.
“The idea that we get our rights – our fundamental human rights from government or any collection of our citizens is the definition of tyranny, is the definition of totalitarianism,” Levin explained. “That’s not where we get our rights from. They come from a higher authority. And those of you who do not believe in a God, aren’t sure you believe in a God – believe whatever you want or don’t believe whatever you want … you cannot have a republic if you have no civil society. You cannot have a republic if you believe rights come from man. Justice Moore was correct. Chris Cuomo was not. And yet, Chris Cuomo speaks for millions and millions of people who have no idea what their country stands for or why they’re free.”

Palestine National Council

Palestine National Council

PLO Charter
Also known as "the Palestinian National Charter" or "the Palestinian Convenant".
Adopted by the Palestine National Council, July 1-17, 1968:
Article 1: Palestine is the homeland of the Arab Palestinian people; it is an indivisible part of the Arab homeland, and the Palestinian people are an integral part of the Arab nation.
Article 2: Palestine, with the boundaries it had during the British Mandate, is an indivisible territorial unit.
Article 3: The Palestinian Arab people possess the legal right to their homeland and have the right to determine their destiny after achieving the liberation of their country in accordance with their wishes and entirely of their own accord and will.
Article 4: The Palestinian identity is a genuine, essential, and inherent characteristic; it is transmitted from parents to children. The Zionist occupation and the dispersal of the Palestinian Arab people, through the disasters which befell them, do not make them lose their Palestinian identity and their membership in the Palestinian community, nor do they negate them.
Article 5: The Palestinians are those Arab nationals who, until 1947, normally resided in Palestine regardless of whether they were evicted from it or have stayed there. Anyone born, after that date, of a Palestinian father - whether inside Palestine or outside it - is also a Palestinian.
Article 6: The Jews who had normally resided in Palestine until the beginning of the Zionist invasion will be considered Palestinians.
Article 7: That there is a Palestinian community and that it has material, spiritual, and historical connection with Palestine are indisputable facts. It is a national duty to bring up individual Palestinians in an Arab revolutionary manner. All means of information and education must be adopted in order to acquaint the Palestinian with his country in the most profound manner, both spiritual and material, that is possible. He must be prepared for the armed struggle and ready to sacrifice his wealth and his life in order to win back his homeland and bring about its liberation.
Article 8: The phase in their history, through which the Palestinian people are now living, is that of national (watani) struggle for the liberation of Palestine. Thus the conflicts among the Palestinian national forces are secondary, and should be ended for the sake of the basic conflict that exists between the forces of Zionism and of imperialism on the one hand, and the Palestinian Arab people on the other. On this basis the Palestinian masses, regardless of whether they are residing in the national homeland or in diaspora (mahajir) constitute - both their organizations and the individuals - one national front working for the retrieval of Palestine and its liberation through armed struggle.
Article 9: Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine. Thus it is the overall strategy, not merely a tactical phase. The Palestinian Arab people assert their absolute determination and firm resolution to continue their armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution for the liberation of their country and their return to it. They also assert their right to normal life in Palestine and to exercise their right to self-determination and sovereignty over it.
Article 10: Commando action constitutes the nucleus of the Palestinian popular liberation war. This requires its escalation, comprehensiveness, and the mobilization of all the Palestinian popular and educational efforts and their organization and involvement in the armed Palestinian revolution. It also requires the achieving of unity for the national (watani) struggle among the different groupings of the Palestinian people, and between the Palestinian people and the Arab masses, so as to secure the continuation of the revolution, its escalation, and victory.
Article 11: The Palestinians will have three mottoes: national (wataniyya) unity, national (qawmiyya) mobilization, and liberation.
Article 12: The Palestinian people believe in Arab unity. In order to contribute their share toward the attainment of that objective, however, they must, at the present stage of their struggle, safeguard their Palestinian identity and develop their consciousness of that identity, and oppose any plan that may dissolve or impair it.
Article 13: Arab unity and the liberation of Palestine are two complementary objectives, the attainment of either of which facilitates the attainment of the other. Thus, Arab unity leads to the liberation of Palestine, the liberation of Palestine leads to Arab unity; and work toward the realization of one objective proceeds side by side with work toward the realization of the other.
Article 14: The destiny of the Arab nation, and indeed Arab existence itself, depend upon the destiny of the Palestine cause. From this interdependence springs the Arab nation's pursuit of, and striving for, the liberation of Palestine. The people of Palestine play the role of the vanguard in the realization of this sacred (qawmi) goal.
Article 15: The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national (qawmi) duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine. Absolute responsibility for this falls upon the Arab nation - peoples and governments - with the Arab people of Palestine in the vanguard. Accordingly, the Arab nation must mobilize all its military, human, moral, and spiritual capabilities to participate actively with the Palestinian people in the liberation of Palestine. It must, particularly in the phase of the armed Palestinian revolution, offer and furnish the Palestinian people with all possible help, and material and human support, and make available to them the means and opportunities that will enable them to continue to carry out their leading role in the armed revolution, until they liberate their homeland.
Article 16: The liberation of Palestine, from a spiritual point of view, will provide the Holy Land with an atmosphere of safety and tranquility, which in turn will safeguard the country's religious sanctuaries and guarantee freedom of worship and of visit to all, without discrimination of race, color, language, or religion. Accordingly, the people of Palestine look to all spiritual forces in the world for support.
Article 17: The liberation of Palestine, from a human point of view, will restore to the Palestinian individual his dignity, pride, and freedom. Accordingly the Palestinian Arab people look forward to the support of all those who believe in the dignity of man and his freedom in the world.
Article 18: The liberation of Palestine, from an international point of view, is a defensive action necessitated by the demands of self-defense. Accordingly the Palestinian people, desirous as they are of the friendship of all people, look to freedom-loving, and peace-loving states for support in order to restore their legitimate rights in Palestine, to re-establish peace and security in the country, and to enable its people to exercise national sovereignty and freedom.
Article 19: The partition of Palestine in 1947 and the establishment of the state of Israel are entirely illegal, regardless of the passage of time, because they were contrary to the will of the Palestinian people and to their natural right in their homeland, and inconsistent with the principles embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, particularly the right to self-determination.
Article 20: The Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, and everything that has been based upon them, are deemed null and void. Claims of historical or religious ties of Jews with Palestine are incompatible with the facts of history and the true conception of what constitutes statehood. Judaism, being a religion, is not an independent nationality. Nor do Jews constitute a single nation with an identity of its own; they are citizens of the states to which they belong.
Article 21: The Arab Palestinian people, expressing themselves by the armed Palestinian revolution, reject all solutions which are substitutes for the total liberation of Palestine and reject all proposals aiming at the liquidation of the Palestinian problem, or its internationalization.
Article 22: Zionism is a political movement organically associated with international imperialism and antagonistic to all action for liberation and to progressive movements in the world. It is racist and fanatic in its nature, aggressive, expansionist, and colonial in its aims, and fascist in its methods. Israel is the instrument of the Zionist movement, and geographical base for world imperialism placed strategically in the midst of the Arab homeland to combat the hopes of the Arab nation for liberation, unity, and progress. Israel is a constant source of threat vis-a-vis peace in the Middle East and the whole world. Since the liberation of Palestine will destroy the Zionist and imperialist presence and will contribute to the establishment of peace in the Middle East, the Palestinian people look for the support of all the progressive and peaceful forces and urge them all, irrespective of their affiliations and beliefs, to offer the Palestinian people all aid and support in their just struggle for the liberation of their homeland.
Article 23: The demand of security and peace, as well as the demand of right and justice, require all states to consider Zionism an illegitimate movement, to outlaw its existence, and to ban its operations, in order that friendly relations among peoples may be preserved, and the loyalty of citizens to their respective homelands safeguarded.
Article 24: The Palestinian people believe in the principles of justice, freedom, sovereignty, self-determination, human dignity, and in the right of all peoples to exercise them.
Article 25: For the realization of the goals of this Charter and its principles, the Palestine Liberation Organization will perform its role in the liberation of Palestine in accordance with the Constitution of this Organization.
Article 26: The Palestine Liberation Organization, representative of the Palestinian revolutionary forces, is responsible for the Palestinian Arab people's movement in its struggle - to retrieve its homeland, liberate and return to it and exercise the right to self-determination in it - in all military, political, and financial fields and also for whatever may be required by the Palestine case on the inter-Arab and international levels.
Article 27: The Palestine Liberation Organization shall cooperate with all Arab states, each according to its potentialities; and will adopt a neutral policy among them in the light of the requirements of the war of liberation; and on this basis it shall not interfere in the internal affairs of any Arab state.
Article 28: The Palestinian Arab people assert the genuineness and independence of their national (wataniyya) revolution and reject all forms of intervention, trusteeship, and subordination.
Article 29: The Palestinian people possess the fundamental and genuine legal right to liberate and retrieve their homeland. The Palestinian people determine their attitude toward all states and forces on the basis of the stands they adopt vis-a-vis to the Palestinian revolution to fulfill the aims of the Palestinian people.
Article 30: Fighters and carriers of arms in the war of liberation are the nucleus of the popular army which will be the protective force for the gains of the Palestinian Arab people.
Article 31: The Organization shall have a flag, an oath of allegiance, and an anthem. All this shall be decided upon in accordance with a special regulation.
Article 32: Regulations, which shall be known as the Constitution of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, shall be annexed to this Charter. It will lay down the manner in which the Organization, and its organs and institutions, shall be constituted; the respective competence of each; and the requirements of its obligation under the Charter.
Article 33: This Charter shall not be amended save by [vote of] a majority of two-thirds of the total membership of the National Congress of the Palestine Liberation Organization [taken] at a special session convened for that purpose.
Amendments
In a letter to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, Yasser Arafat stated that those articles which denied Israel's right to exist or are inconsistent with the PLO's new commitments to Israel following their mutual reognition, were no longer valid (see Oslo peace process).
The PNC met in a special session on 26 April 1996 to consider the issue of amending the Charter and adopted the following decision:
    A. The Palestinian National Charter is hereby amended by canceling the articles that are contrary to the letters exchanged the P.L.O. and the Government of Israel 9-10 September 1993.
    B. Assigns its legal committee with the task of redrafting the Palestinian National Charter in order to present it to the first session of the Palestinian Central Council.
The decision was adopted by a vote of: 504 in favor, 54 against, and 14 abstentions.
On January 1998, Yasser Arafat sent a letter to US President, Bill Clinton, outlining the implications of this decision in terms of the specific articles of the Charter that were nullified or amended as a result of that decision. In December 1998, both the PLO Executive Committee and the PLO Central Council reaffirmed this decision