First Published on Truthout 12/26/2013
We are in the midst of an era of frightening contradictions, when it comes to public understandings of climate change. While climate changes are occurring more quickly than scientists have ever predicted, most people’s knowledge of these realities remains hazy and clouded by political overtones. Because of both the counter-intuitive nature of climate change and the massive misinformation campaigns created by the fossil fuel industry, the general population is 20 years behind most climate scientists when it comes to the straightforward fact of “believing in” climate change. This is an ominous statistic: Now that scientists are predicting that even worse impacts than previously understood will happen significantly sooner, a rapid global response will be necessary for any attempt to stave them off. We are likely closer to irreversible dangerous climate change, if it has not begun already – and in order to take action, there must be a basic public consensus. There is, however, some hopeful news on the technological front if action is taken soon.
In 1976, Wallace Broeker was one of the first to suggest climate change could alter our planet harmfully within our lifetimes. Even though a few scientists said we could be headed for an ice age in the 70s, Broeker had already made the connection and those few climate scientists have not talked about a coming ice age in nearly 40 years. Broeker is arguably the grandfather of climate science: he’s been at it for 55 years.
One of his first jobs was under Willard Libby, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1949 for discovering carbon-14 dating. This rare but predictable form of carbon is radioactive and it completely decays in about 55,000 years. It is because of carbon-14 dating that we know for absolutely certain that the extra carbon dioxide in our atmosphere came from burning fossil fuels.
There are many other ways that we know for sure. The physics of the greenhouse effect are easily demonstrated in the lab and even the simplest models from the early 1980s prove their effect. Surprisingly, the complicated high resolution climate models of today yield results that are quite similar to those of the simplest models of the early 1980s.
But how are we supposed to trust the models when they can’t even get the seven day forecast correct? Weather models predict what you need to wear to work or school this week. They are built out of the most recent weather data and by the time they run off five or six days into the future, they are often wrong.
One can load a climate model up with any old weather data; this week’s, last month’s or last year’s. It doesn’t matter where the models start in time. Climate scientists create scores and hundreds of model runs and then average all of those wrong forecasts together to get average weather. Average weather is climate. Climate is not the seven day forecast. The chaos that makes weather models wrong so quickly is actually what makes climate modeling work so well.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2013 (IPCC)
Climate measurements continue to become both more precise and more reliable – and thus, more terrifying. A new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which combines the work of 2,000 scientists from 154 countries, drawing from millions of observations from more than 9,000 scientific publications, confirms and strengthens previous predictions and adds one new and very important observation. Even one hundred percent emissions reductions will no longer keep our climate from changing dangerously. (1, 2)
These volunteer scientists also did something they normally don’t do this time. They debunked a climate myth. This is the “temperature flattening myth” that is so present in this perceived debate that has become so prevalent in our society. They story goes that earth’s temperature stopped warming in 1998, therefor climate change is not real. In 1998, we had the largest El Nino ever recorded. This massive warming of surface waters in the southern Pacific raised the temperature of Earth in that one year by about 0.15 degrees, or as much as it rose because of global warming in the previous decade.
The IPCC 2013 prominently sinks this myth as the fifth statement of fact in their Summary for Policy Makers (SPM): “Trends based on short records are very sensitive to the beginning and end dates and do not in general reflect long-term climate trends.” (3) The mythmakers chose 1998 as the beginning of their myth. This is plain and simple cherry picking. If one looks at the trend beginning in 1997, the temperature rise is anything but flat. If one begins in 1994, the annual rise rivals the fastest rise in the instrumental record from 1976 to 1997.
Since 1998, the global temperature record has been broken three times and tied once. The new IPCC report tells us that half of warming (57%) that should have already occurred has been masked by aerosols mostly emitted since the turn of the century in rapidly developing Asian nations (yes, warming would double if cooling smog pollutants were suddenly cleaned up in Asia). (4) The new IPCC report also tells us the deep oceans are now warming whereas before they were not, and ninety percent of actual warming has gone into the oceans (5, 6).
There is also new work, post IPCC 2013, that shows that warming since the turn of the century has been significantly greater than we thought. The reason is that the United Kingdom’s temperature record simply ignores the Arctic. The Arctic is the most rapidly warming place on Earth, but there are no thermometers there. Using advanced statistics, this new work adds Arctic temperatures back in. (7)
Brave New IPCC Proclamation: Greater than 100 % Emissions Reductions
The brave new proclamation in the new IPCC report was saved as the next to the last statement of fact in the SPM :”A large fraction of anthropogenic climate change resulting from CO2 emissions is irreversible on a multi-century to millennial time scale, except in the case of a large net removal of CO2 from the atmosphere over a sustained period.” A large “net” removal… this means greater than 100 percent annual emissions reductions… In other words, we have to take more out than we are putting in every year. We must begin to remove some of the long-lived carbon pollution that we have already placed in our skies. (9)
If we would have reduced our emissions to 1987 levels by 2012 – as was suggested prudent by the Kyoto Protocol – that would have been all that was needed. In the last 28 years we have emitted as many greenhouse gas pollutants as we emitted in the previous 236 years. (10) Somehow, we must begin to remove some of the load of long-lived greenhouse gases that have been accumulating in our sky.
Good News: The Solutions are Easily Within our Grasp Using Existing Technologies
The economic evaluations of the solutions to climate change show that 1 percent of global gross domestic product ($540 billion in 2012) is what we need to spend to control climate pollution every year – using existing technologies, techniques and policy. (11)
This $540 billion may sound like a lot, but it’s no more than we spend on either the Clean Water Act or the Clean Air Act in the US every year. It is no more than we spend on the military in the US every year -not counting wars. It’s twice what we spend disposing of urban garbage across the planet every year. It’s no more than what we lose to normal weather losses and delays every year in the US – not counting climate change enhanced weather extremes. It’s no more than we spend on advertising across the globe every year. It’s only 25 percent of what we spend on health care in the US every year – before Obamacare. (12)
The scale is large and the amount of work immense, but treating climate pollution is not unlike many other things that have been accomplished across this planet over decades past for amounts of money that are relatively small. Another reference: Exxon Mobile has a market capitalization of $417 billion alone. (13)
Extraordinary Urgency and The New Climate Paradigm
Now that I have put you at ease with the simplicity of the solutions, the hard truth is that this global greenhouse gas experiment has gone horribly wrong. There are discoveries that are extraordinarily important to the discussion of appropriate policy and behavior that are unknown by all but a few.
The new paradigm of climate science states that oil is responsible for 2.5 times more warming than coal in short-term climate time frames (20 years or less). The reason is because coal emits an enormous amount of sulfur dioxide when it burns. Sulfur dioxide is a global cooling pollutant – it cools instead of warms. (14)
Up until recently, science has not known much about cooling pollutants and the chemical reactions that take place in the atmosphere and clouds, water vapor and indirect effects. Now we know. We used to only understand global warming gases by their test tube signatures on warming. Now we know these complicated things about how everything behaves in the atmosphere and when the math is done, oil is responsible for 2.5 times more warming in the short term than coal. The cooling pollutants are short-lived though, so after twenty years carbon dioxide becomes the king of the warming gases once again.
But it is the short term that is crucial. If we cross an abrupt change threshold in the short term, or an irreversible threshold, our goose is cooked. In the long-term, we are far more likely to be able to develop solutions to mitigate for greenhouse gas warming. But if we fail to control radical climate change in the short term, we are toast.
Professor Broeker’s primary focus has been abrupt climate change. From his bio at the Columbia Earth Institute: “The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past [warm to cold, cold to warm]. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change…” (15) Over the past six or eight hundred thousand years, our climate has almost always changed in radical jumps from one mode to another. In the last 110,000 years, Greenland ice cores show 23 of these events where the average global temperature jumped 9 to 14 degrees globally in time frames of as little as a few decades to as short as a few years. (16)
The Climate Lag
Then there is the climate lag. It takes 30 or 40 years for greenhouse warming to catch up to atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases because of the great capacity of our oceans to cool the planet. This means that today we are operating on atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases from the 1970s. In the last 29 years we have emitted as many greenhouse gases as we emitted in the previous 236 years. Because of the great cooling effect of the oceans, we have not yet begun to see the warming that this recent doubling of greenhouse gases will bring. (17)
The Life of Carbon Dioxide
And carbon dioxide lasts a lot longer in the atmosphere than we have understood previously. This is largely because as it warms, less carbon dioxide can dissolve into the oceans or stay in the soils. We once understood that the life of carbon dioxide in our sky was 100 to 200 years. Now we know that 75 percent of CO2 stays in the sky for 300 years and the quarter stays there forever (in relevant time frames of 10,000 years or more). (18)
Greater Than the Last 56 Million Years
This is all happening with only a very slight amount of warming and our climate is a long, long way from catching up to greenhouse gas concentrations. Climate change projected by the IPCC 2013 report under the business as usual scenario projects warming in the next 80 to 90 years to be bigger than the Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum extinction event 56 million years ago, only changes today are happening 100 times faster than then. (19)
Climate Crazy: Way More than Climate Weirding
There are many more new climate science discoveries than the IPCC reports. Climate change is and has in the past manifested itself in ways that are completely foreign to mankind’s existence on this planet.
Icequakes appeared in the seismic record for the first time in early 1993, but it took seismologists another decade to determine they were coming from Greenland. They have a different signature from earthquakes, so some sophisticated filtering was required to pinpoint the locations of these quakes. About 184 of them happened between 1993 and 2007 when this research was completed. These icequakes are 1,000 times more powerful than any ice seismic event ever recorded. They register between 4.6 and 5.1 on the Richter scale and can last 30 to 150 seconds. Normal ice seismic events register 2.7 and last only a second or less. (20) You can see a time lapse movie of one of these icequakes here: http://uashome.alaska.edu/~jmamundson/research.html
Climate change caused Tsunamis a half mile high (mega tsunamis) were discovered in Hawaii and they happened about 120,000 years ago when it was only a degree or two warmer than today, in between our last ice age and the one before. They were likely caused as rising sea level destabilized the steep volcanic slopes of the Hawaiian Islands, resulting in mega underwater landslides. Blocks of earth a mile wide moved intact 100 miles across the bottom of the Pacific Ocean. The evidence is earth material stripped away from the sides of the Hawaiian Islands in a way that would not have happened with a landslide, and coral debris deposited in its place. (21)
The Amazon has already flipped from a carbon sink to a carbon source: because a 100-year drought in 2005 and another drought in 2010 that was half again more extreme have killed over 2 billion trees in the Amazon. As a result, the decaying trees are releasing more greenhouse gases than the entire Amazon normally absorbs every year in a non-drought year. (22)
The West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapsed 122,000 years ago, and it is quite likely that we saw ten to twenty feet of sea level rise occur in a century to as little as a decade. Separate records from reefs across the world tell us this tale. It happened about the same time as the mega tsunamis in Hawaii and was caused by what are referred to as dynamical ice sheet changes in the 2007 IPCC report. (23)
However, the IPCC tells us that sea levels will rise only 7 to 23 inches in its 2007 report and 14 to 59 inches in its 2013 report. The IPCC also tells us in its reports that those dynamical ice sheet changes are not considered in their evaluation. The research is there, but it is too new or the scant 100 century old evidence is too tenuous for a consensus process such as the IPCC’s. (24)
IPCC Underestimates: The Conservative Consensus Syndrome
Scientific American tells us very succinctly in the first sentence of a 2012 article how 20 years of IPCC reports underestimate climate change: “Across two decades and thousands of pages of reports, the world’s most authoritative voice on climate science has consistently understated the rate and intensity of climate change and the danger those impacts represent.” (25) A few examples:
- Antarctica is losing ice 100 years ahead of schedule. As recently as the 2007 IPCC report, the consensus opinion said that Antarctica would not begin to lose ice until 2100 or later. The recent 2013 IPCC report, however, tells us that not only has Antarctica already started to lose ice, but it has almost caught up with Greenland. (26)
- Arctic sea ice is declining 70 years ahead of schedule as of a record smashing year in 2007 according to work from the National Snow and Ice Data Center. In 2012, the record smashing 2007 record was itself smashed by an even greater decline in Arctic sea ice. (27)
- The IPCC predicted an annual sea-level rise of less than 2 millimeters per year in 2001. But over the last 15 years, the oceans have actually risen 3.4 millimeters per year, about 80 percent more than projected. (28)
- Carbon dioxide emissions are worse than the IPCC’s worst-case scenario. (29) Instead of reducing emissions across the planet, total emissions since 1987 have increased 81 percent. In the last 28 years, we emitted as many greenhouse gas pollutants as we had emitted in the previous 236 years. (30)
It’s not just the IPCC that underestimates. Even though global emissions are way up, US carbon dioxide emissions appear to be way down; down 16 percent since the peak in 2007. This would be good, but it’s a mirage. In 2011, 1.5 gigatons of CO2 were offshored in China (mostly) through goods produced there and shipped to the US. This leaves the US with an increasing, not decreasing, inventory in 2011. Our emissions have actually increased 11 percent since the “peak” year before the decline began in 2007. (31)
Welcome to the 21st Century: Aerosols from the East Have Cooled the Planet – A LOT!
Rapidly developing Asian nations are emitting far more greenhouse gases and other air pollutants than ever before. China just exceeded the US in emissions in 2006. Just six years later in 2012, they are emitting nearly twice as much as the US (88 percent more). (32) These greenhouse gases are emitted along with other air pollutants like sulfur dioxide. In developing nations, air pollution regulations are not as stringent and a lot more sulfur dioxide is emitted.
The sulfur pollutants (aerosols) are cooling pollutants, not warming pollutants like carbon dioxide. The air pollution is so bad in Asia that it is having a global impact on temperature. Remember, the IPCC says that aerosols are masking half of the warming (57%) that we should have experienced. When the masked warming is added back in, global temperature is right at the upper edge of the worst-case scenario, as is carbon dioxide. (33)
Extremes Caused or Enhanced by Climate Change
The intensity of climate heat extremes across the Northern Hemisphere has already increased 10 to 100 times since the 1951 to 1981 period. Specifically mentioned in a paper from NASA are the Texas/Oklahoma heat wave of 2011 and the Moscow Heat wave of 2010 that killed 11,000, and we shouldn’t forget the European heat wave of 2003. A European Union Health Program study now shows 70,000 to 80,000 excess deaths beyond what would have occurred normally for that summer. (34)
Cold weather extremes can even intensify on a warmer planet as the range of volatile weather increases with more energy in the atmosphere. Cold weather extremes in 2009/2010 and 2010/2011 in the eastern US and Europe, including Snowmeggedon in the NE US in 2010, validate modeling that increases these extremes because of Arctic warming. (35)
National Center for Atmospheric Research scientist Kevin Trenberth, two-time lead scientist for the IPCC, has spelled out a fundamental truth when answering the question: “Was this weather event caused by climate change?” His response, published in Climatic Change in March 2012: “All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.” (36)
The Fairness Bias
So why in the world is all this stuff not being reported? For one, the public is 20 years behind climate science. In 1990, 60 percent of climate scientists believed in climate change. Today, about 60 percent of the public believes in climate change and 97 percent of climate scientists believe. (49)
Even more important is the “fairness bias.” This has been well documented in the literature and it concerns the great perceived debate. The media are not climate scientists and do not know whom to believe. Almost no climate scientists trust the media’s coverage of climate change. Ninety-seven percent of climate scientists say that climate change is real, but the three percent who do not are reported with very loud, well-funded and persistent voices and the mainstream media reports both sides “fairly.” (50)
This “fairness bias” thing goes back a long way. It’s based in the Fairness Act and the Equal time Act and even the Journalistic Creed. It’s only fair to be fair. It’s a moral thing; give both sides a say. This works great when we are talking about issues. But science is not an “issue.”
The wealthiest and most powerful industry in the world perceives itself to be at risk of extinction and has invested literally hundreds of millions of dollars in campaigns to discredit climate science (propaganda campaigns). The propaganda created by these industries uses some of the same exact propaganda people and firms as were used in the smoking debate, the acid rain regulations debate and the ozone depleting chemical regulation debate. They take the 3 percent opinion and promote it endlessly, regardless of how many times these few scientists have been disproven in the literature.
By giving the 3 percent equal time to the 97 percent, the media bias their reporting. That and maybe they simply don’t understand the scientists’ press releases when they refer to dendrochronolgists, oxygen isotopes and precession.
The Scandal of the Scandals
The media has also played a role in furthering the discrediting of climate science because of sensationalistic reporting of supposed climate scandals. The big three:
Climate Gate Email Scandal: wording taken out of context in stolen emails was widely reported as proving climate scientists were dishonest in their work. Six independent reviews cleared all scientists involved. (60)
Himalayan Glaciers: A few errors in tens of thousands of facts are reported in the media ruthlessly, but the reason for the error is not. The 2007 IPCC report said that Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035. There was a simple Scribner’s error. The date should have been 2350. The error was in a short discussion of Himalayan glaciers in Volume 2 of the report Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Volume 1, The Physical Science Basis, had a 45 page discussion of global ice that was all correct, including the parts about the Himalaya. (61)
Amazongate: The United Kingdom’s Sunday Times erroneously posted a story about how badly the 2007 IPCC report misrepresented climate change impacts on the Amazon rainforest that made headlines across the world. Five months later – with almost no press whatsoever – the Times retracted the entire article and published a 400 word apology. (62)
Sky Mining: Really Good News
Broeker, like a few others, has recognized the likelihood that our global society will not be able to end the burning of fossil fuels and strongly advocates, along with emissions reductions, the collection and disposal of climate pollution in very similar ways that we collect and dispose of garbage. We can take it out of coal plant smokestacks, but that is less than half. There is no magic bullet to get the rest from transportation and buildings, and the IPCC says we need to remove more than 100 percent of emissions.
We can do this. But there is an academic hurdle to overcome. Using traditional calculations of the heat required for a chemical reaction to occur, CO2 capture from coal burning power plants works because flue gasses are 10 to 15 percent CO2. The typical air concentration is 0.3 percent or about 33 to 50 times less. When the math is done and the pilot flue gas capture tests are costed, it takes $60 a ton to remove CO2 from flue gas and $500 or more per ton for air capture. (63) This argument is very pervasive in industry. They say you can’t beat physics, so air capture is a bust. While valid, this argument is displaced.
We need to focus on energy generation, not energy (heat) requirements. The flue gas removal process takes about 700 degrees or 1,300 degrees F. The new air capture techniques happen from near room temperature to less than 100 degrees C. The cost to remove a ton of CO2 from the atmosphere in a full scale pilot plant is expected to be $200 per ton. Once fully industrialized it is expected to be $30 per ton. (64, 65)
Broeker puts it this way in his biography Fixing Climate: “If you extract a certain amount of CO2 from the air, you could replace that same amount by burning a fossil fuel without harming the planet.” It takes 170 times more energy to make electricity from the wind as it does from fossil fuels. It is much more efficient to make electricity from coal and then extract carbon dioxide from the wind. (66) Moreover, the new technologies are simply cheaper because they operate at far cooler temperatures.
Sky mining is a promising solution to our climate pollution needs. We took it out of the ground and put it in the sky; now we must take it out of the sky and return it to the ground.
At $200 per ton of CO2, we can remove 50 ppm CO2 from the atmosphere for $21 trillion. (67) This is $13 trillion less than US military and health care spending from 2000 to 2009 ($34 trillion). Worth repeating an endless number of times, once fully industrialized, the price drops to $20 or $30 per ton.
Because half of the CO2 we emit stays in our sky in time frames that matter, once the new solutions are fully industrialized, we can remove 27 years worth of climate pollution from our sky for what the US spends on health care in less than two years.
This is $3 or $4 trillion to basically fix climate change – remove 50 ppm CO2 from the sky for no more than the cost of a couple of years of health care… We might have to do this a few or even several times, but the cost would still be something similar to what the US alone has spent on its military and wars since the turn of the century.
Please tell your friends. To prevent dangerous climate change, we must now convince the public and our leaders to act decisively and robustly. Simple emissions reductions will no longer prevent dangerous climate change.
References with critical passages from firewalled papers and additional supplemental information
1) The IPCC Process… www.ipcc.ch/news_and_events/docs/ar5/press_release_ar5_wgi_en.pdf
2) Even 100 percent emissions reductions will not keep our climate from changing dangerously… SPM, E.8 Climate Stabilization, Climate Change Commitment and Irreversibility, page 20, fourth bullet.
3) IPCC sinks “Flattening Trend Myth”… IPCC 2013, Summary for Policy Makers, B.1 Atmosphere, page 3, third bullet.
4) Half of warming to date masked by Aerosols… IPCC 2013 Summary for Policy Makers (SPM), page 9, C. Drivers of Climate Change, bullet 7. Up to (-)1.9 Wm(-2) masked by aerosols out of 2.29 Wm(-2) = 57% (bullet 1). http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGI_AR5_SPM_brochure.pdf
5) Deep Oceans now warming… IPCC 2013 SPM, page 4 B.2 Ocean, bullets 2, 3 and 4.
6) 90% of warming absorbed by the oceans… IPCC 2013 SPM, page 4 B.2 Ocean, first paragraph (box).
7) Global temperature—adding the Arctic back in… Cowtan and Way, Coverage bias in the HadCRUT4 temperature series and its impact on recent temperature trends, Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, November 2013. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/qj.2297/pdf
Accuweather Review: http://www.accuweather.com/en/weather-blogs/climatechange/widely-used-dataset-underestim/19901408
8) More from the IPCC 2013… http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/uploads/WGI_AR5_SPM_brochure.pdf
Greenland ice loss increased 632 percent… SPM, E.3 Cryosphere, page 5, second bullet.
Northern Hemisphere snow cover decreased 50%… ibid. page 6, third bullet.
Earth is warmer today than the Medieval Warm Period… B.1 Atmosphere, page 3, box (warmer than the last 1,400 years. (Medieval Warm Period began +/- 800 AD.)
Permafrost warmed 3.6 and 5.2 degrees F in Russia and North America… E.3 Cryosphere, page 6, fourth bullet.
Sea level rise rate doubled since 1993… SPM, B.4 Sea Level, page 6, second bullet.
Carbon Dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide at highest levels in 800,000 yrs… B.5 Carbon and Other Biogeochemical Cycles, page 7, box.
Methane has caused more than half of global warming… SPM, C Drivers of Climate Change, page 9 fourth bullet.
Aerosols have masked half of global warming… SPM, ibid, seventh bullet.
Volcanoes have masked 5 percent of warming… SPM, ibid, eighth bullet.
Sunspot cycle cooled earth by 2 percent… SPM, ibid, ninth bullet.
9) Brave New Proclamation: Greater than 100 percent emissions reductions… SPM, E.8 Climate Stabilization, Climate Change Commitment and Irreversibility, page 20, fourth bullet.
10) As many emissions in the last 28 years as the previous 236 years… Data from Boden et al., Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, June 10, 2011.
11) Solutions cost 1 percent of global GDP…
One half percent… page 83, table 5, 5% discount rate, 450 ppm stabilization, 0.41% GDP (GWP).
Simplified Reference: Edenhofer et al., Synthesis Report from the Innovation Modeling Comparison Project, The Energy Journal, 2006. http://www.econ.cam.ac.uk/research/imcp/imcpissue.pdf
One percent. Alley, Earth: The Operators’ Manual, WW Norton, 2011, chapter 16: Costs, page 209; costs of water/waterwater infrastructure, page 217. The cost of our global water and wastewater infrastructure is similar to the 1 percent global GDP that the solutions to climate change will cost at about one percent per year.
Two percent… STERN REVIEW: The Economics of Climate Change, HMS Treasury, October 2006. Summary of Conclusions, paragraph 6.
12) Cost of Clean Air and Water acts, military budget, solid waste disposal, normal weather losses, advertising, health care…
“The Clean Water and Clean Air Acts each cost about one per cent of GDP”… This is a Quote from Professor Kenneth Caldeira who is an atmospheric scientist that works at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Global Ecology. Caldeira quote from interview in the New Yorker: Specter, The Climate Fixers, The New Yorker, May 4, 2012, paragraph 38.
Defense Spending and Wars… $14 trillion in defense and defense related spending since 2001. All Defense and defense related spending of the US Government: National Defense, NASA defense related, Energy Department defense related, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, State Department and Defense Department: Wikipedia, Military Budget of the United States, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget_of_the_United_States Military spending 1962 to 2016, This graph shows the inflation-adjusted defense spending of the United States federal government from 1962 to (forecasted) 2014. It is derived from the FY2012 “President’s budget” Historical tables (Table 3.2—OUTLAYS BY FUNCTION AND SUBFUNCTION: 1962–2014), adjusted using CPI inflation data. September 29, 2013 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:InflationAdjustedDefenseSpending.PNG
$205 Billion of disposing of urban waste globally… What a Waste, A Global Review of Solid Waste Management, World Bank, March 2012, Forward, second paragraph. http://go.worldbank.org/BCQEP0TMO0
Agricultural damages… In the U.S. alone we see $485 billion normal weather damages to agriculture every year, 3.4 percent of U.S. GSP in 2008.
Lazo et al., U.S. economic sensitivity to weather variability, Journal of the American Meteorological Society, June 2011, summary box.
Press Release: https://www2.ucar.edu/atmosnews/news/4810/economic-cost-weather-may-total-485-billion-us
Advertising: We spend $500 billion every year on advertising across the globe… eMarketter, Asia-Pacific Poised to Dominate North America as World’s Top Ad Market, According to ‘Most Comprehensive’ Edition of the eMarketer Global Media Intelligence Report, October 10, 2012, Chart: Total Media Ad Spending Worldwide by Region. $504 billion spent globally on total media ad spending in 2011, $572 projected in 2013.
Health care… We spend $2 trillion every year, averaged 2000 to 2009—before Obamacare—on healthcare in the US alone…
13) Exxon Mobile market capitalization $417 billion… The Financial Times, FT 500. http://www.ft.com/intl/indepth/ft500
14) New Climate Paradigm: Oil (Transportation sector) is responsible or 2.5 times more warming than coal (energy sector) in the 20-year time frame… Unger et al., Attribution of climate forcing to economic sectors, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), December 2009, page 3384, Figure 1: On-road (transportation) radiative forcing (global warming) of 199 Watts per meter vs. Power (coal) 79 watts per meter = 2.52 times more warming.
15) Professor Wallace Broeker, The Earth Institute, Columbia University… Abrupt climate change quote: See Broeker’s Bio, paragraph 8.
16) Abrupt climate change 23 times in the last 100,000 years…
Twenty-three times in the last 100,000 years our climate has changed 9 to 14 degrees F globally and 18 to 27 across the Arctic. Sometimes it took millennia, often a century or less and when climate was being pushed the hardest (naturally), as little as a few years.
Alley, Wally Was Right – Predictive ability of the North Atlantic Conveyor Belt Hypothesis for Abrupt Climate Change, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Science, February 2007, Figure 1 shows the 23 abrupt climate changes.
Two to three years… As little as one to three years and the methods and techniques to determine. “The high resolution records from the NGRIP ice core reveals that polar atmospheric circulation can shift in 1-3 years resulting in decadal to centennial scale changes from cold stadials to warm interstadials/interglacials associated with astounding Greenland temperature changes of 10K.”
Steffensen et al., High-Resolution Greenland Ice Core Data Show Abrupt Climate Change Happens in Few Years, Science Express, June 12 2008, page three, final paragraph.
17) Climate Lag 30 years… Hansen’s quote: The lag could be as short as a decade, if climate sensitivity is as small as 0.25-C per W/m2 of forcing, but it is a century or longer if climate sensitivity is 1-C perW/m2 or larger. Evidence from Earth’s history and climate models suggests that climate sensitivity is 0.75- T 0.25-C perW/m2, implying that 25 to 50 years are needed for Earth’s surface temperature to reach 60% of its equilibrium response.”
Hansen et al., Earth’s Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and Implications, Science, June 2005, third paragraph. http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2005/2005_Hansen_etal_1.pdf
18) Carbon dioxide stays in our sky for 300 years … “In fairness, if the fate of anthropogenic carbon must be boiled down into a single number for popular discussion, then 300 years is a sensible number to choose, because it captures the behavior of the majority of the carbon. … However, the 300 year simplification misses the immense longevity [10,000 years] of the tail on the CO2 lifetime, and hence its interaction with major ice sheets, ocean methane clathrate deposits, and future glacial/interglacial cycles. One could sensibly argue that public discussion should focus on a time frame within which we live our lives, rather than concern ourselves with climate impacts tens of thousands of years in the future. On the other hand, the 10,000 year lifetime of nuclear waste seems quite relevant to public perception of nuclear energy decisions today. A better approximation of the lifetime of fossil fuel CO2 for public discussion might be 300 years, plus 25% that lasts forever.”
Archer, Fate of fossil fuel CO2 in geologic time, Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 110, 2005, page 5 of 6, Summary, final Paragraph.
Abstract only: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2004JC002625/abstract
19) Greater than the last 56 million years… “The Pleistocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM) encompassed warming of 5 degrees C in less than 10,000 years, a rate of change that is 100-fold slower than that projected by RCP8.5.” The PETM occurred 56 million years ago.
Diffenbaugh and Field, Changes in Ecologically Critical Terrestrial Climate conditions, Natural Systems in Changing Climates, Science, Special Climate Edition, Volume 341, August 2, 2013, pg 490, first paragraph.
20) Icequakes… paragraph 3: “Although seismic studies of glacial regions have described a wide range of phenomena … magnitudes smaller than 2.8 and with dominant periods less than 1 s. In contrast, Ekstrom et al.  describe earthquakes with dominant periods between 35 and 150 s and surface wave magnitudes between 4.6 and 5.1, thus describing a new glacial phenomenon.” paragraph 4: “The earthquake detection algorithm as described by Ekstrom  has now been used on all the available global seismic data from 1993 to 2005. This analysis has resulted in the detection of 184 glacial earthquakes in Greenland.”
Tsai and Ekstrom. Analysis of Glacial Earthquakes, Journal of Geophysical Research, V112, April 2007.
Abstract only: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2007JF000944/abstract
21) Mega Tsunamis… Introduction (McMurtry): “Mega-tsunamis produced by giant submarine landslides (GSL) were first proposed for Hawaii and have since been implicated globally at other oceanic islands and along the continental margins. The primary evidence constitutes the large, detached submarine landslide blocks and fields of smaller debris recognized by offshore surveys, with additional evidence such as coral deposits found at high elevations that suggest giant wave impacts on land. While not discounting the possibility of locally generated tsunamis, some researchers have cast doubt upon the original hypothesis of giant waves impacting Lanai and other Hawaiian Islands from flank failures of the nearby Mauna Loa Volcano on Hawaii Island. These studies have focused instead upon island uplift, complex fluvial deposition, and interglacial high stands of the sea as alternative mechanisms to explain multiple occurrences of elevated deposits from the putative tsunami waves on these islands.”
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: Climate forcing of geological and geomorphological hazards – http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/368/1919.toc
McMurtry et al., Giant landslides, mega-tsunamis, and paleo-sea level in the Hawaiian Islands, Marine Geology 2004.
Abstract Link: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025322703003062
National Geographic: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2008/03/080314-warming-quakes.html
22) The Amazon has flipped from a carbon sink to a carbon source … A personal email to Lewis helped with the math: 2.2 and 1.6 Gt of Carbon (C) were killed in 2010 and 2005. It takes four years for half to decay and another 25 for the rest to decay resulting in 0.475 Gt emissions the first four years spread out non-linearly thereafter. The Amazon normally captures 0.4 Gt C in a non-drought year, so for the first +/- ten years after 2010 emissions will be greater than captured C.
Lewis et al., The 2010 Amazon Drought, Science, February, 2011.
Abstract only: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/331/6017/554.
Press Release: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/news/article/1466/
Over 2 billion trees… Lewis is quoted in the Guardian “in the low billions of trees.” http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/feb/03/tree-deaths-amazon-climate
23) West Antarctic Ice Sheet — Dynamical Ice Sheet Disintegration: Sea level rise of over 10 feet in 100 years… During the short warm period before our last 100,000 year-long ice age very similar to what we are experiencing today, marine archeologists tell us a reef called Excaret was suddenly drowned. This reef was in a stable area of the Yucatan Peninsula not affected by subsidence or geologic uplift processes. Corals are very picky about the depth of water that they grow in and the Elkhorn coral in particular was devastated by a sea level jump of 12 feet about 121,000 years ago. This time frame matches fairly well with the most recent collapse known of the West Antarctic Ice sheet from research by the British Antarctic Survey in 2010. The jump happened in a time period similar to that of the life of an elkhorn coral, which is 10 to 20 years.
Blanchon, et al., Rapid sea level rise and reef back stepping at the close of the last interglacial highstand, Nature, April 2009. First Paragraph, page 884: “During those jumps, direct measurement of rise rates shows that they exceeded 36 mm per year.” (1.2 feet per decade)
24) IPCC Sea Level Rise…
IPCC 2007 Sea level rise… 0.18 to 0.59 meters (7 to 23 inches), Summary for policy Makers, Table 1, page 7.
IPCC 2007 Sea level rise… 0.26 to 0.82 meters (10 to 32 inces)m Summary for Policy Makers, Table 2, page 21.
25) Conservative IPCC Consensus … Climate Science Predictions Prove Too Conservative, Scientific American, December 6, 2012, first sentence.
More… “Mass media in the U.S. continue to suggest that scientiﬁc consensus estimates of global climate disruption, such as those from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), are ‘exaggerated’ and overly pessimistic. By contrast, work on the Asymmetry of Scientiﬁc Challenge (ASC) suggests that such consensus assessments are likely to understate climate disruptions.”. Freudenburg and Muselli, Global Warming estimates, media expectations and the asymmetry of scientific challenge, Global Environmental Change, August 2010.
“Over the past two decades, skeptics of the reality and significance of anthropogenic climate change have frequently accused climate scientists of “alarmism” … However, the available evidence suggests that scientists have in fact been conservative in their projections of the impacts of climate change. … We suggest, therefore, that scientists are biased not toward alarmism but rather the reverse: toward cautious estimates, where we define caution as erring on the side of less rather than more alarming predictions.”
Brysse et al., Climate change prediction: Erring on the side of least drama? Global Environmental Change, February 2013.
26) Antarctica has begun to lose ice 100 years or more ahead of IPCC predictions…
Antarctic surface mass balance (SMB) in the 2007 IPCC Report was supposed to increase, not decrease, for all scenarios, through 2100. This means that snow accumulation was supposed to be more than melt, evaporation and iceberg discharge combined.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Fourth Assessment Report, Climate Change 2001: Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis, 10.6.5, Projections of Global Average Sea Level Change for the 21st Century, Table 10.7.
The 2013 IPCC report tells us that Antarctic ice loss has almost caught up with Greenland… Summary for Policy Makers, E.3 Cryosphere, page 5, third bullet.
27) Arctic Sea Ice decline 70 years ahead of schedule…v. Summertime melting of Arctic sea-ice has ‘‘accelerated far beyond the expectations of climate models.’’ Allison 2009, p. 7; see also Stroeve et al., 2007). Indeed, using unusually vivid language, the authors note that the record for previous Arctic sea ice summer minimum extent was ‘‘shattered’’ in 2007, ‘‘something not predicted by climate models . . . This dramatic retreat has been much faster than simulated by any of the climate models assessed in the IPCC AR4’’—with summer sea ice now well below the IPCC worst case scenario. Allison 2009, pp. 29–30. Summer minimum sea ice was higher in subsequent years, but still fell near or below the long-term observed downward trend (which, as just noted, declines faster than the model predictions). Then, in 2012, another record minimum was set.
Allison et al., The Copenhagen Diagnosis: Updating the World on the Latest Climate Science, University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Center, 2009.
Stroeve et al, The Arctic’s rapidly shrinking sea ice cover—A research synthesis, Climatic Change, 110, 1005-1027, 2012, published online June 2011.
IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Technical Basis, Chapter 10 Global Climate Projections, November 2007, page 771.
28) IPCC Sea Level Rise Conservative… The Copenhagen Diagnosis: Updating the World on the Latest Climate Science, University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Center, 2009, Page 7, paragraphs 5 and 6.
29) CO2 worse than the worst-case scenario… CO2 emissions were tracking the high-end scenarios developed in 1999 and applied in AR4, showing that scientists’ ‘‘worst-case scenario’’ has in fact been realized (Allison et al., 2009, p. 9), for the decade before the global financial disruption. Some people have pointed out that the emissions projections were not meant to be reliable in the short term, but it is interesting to note that, so far as these data may be relevant, they fit the pattern of underestimation.
30) In the last 28 years we emitted as many greenhouse gas pollutants as we emitted in the previous 236 years… Data from Boden et al., Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, June 10, 2011.
31) U.S. greenhouse gas emissions decrease is a mirage… US Inventory of U.S. Greenhouse Gas–Emissions and Sinks: 1990 – 2011: http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/Downloads/ghgemissions/US-GHG-Inventory-2013-Main-Text.pdf
Offshored Emissions: Global Carbon Atlas, http://www.globalcarbonatlas.org/?q=emissions
32) China’s greenhouse gas emissions are nearly twice what the U.S. is emitting… Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis center (CDIAC), Latest Published global Estimates 1751-2010 and Preliminary 2011 and 2012 Global & National Estimates.
33) Aerosols have masked half of global warming… IPCC 2013, Summary for Policy Makers, C Drivers of Climate Change, page 9, seventh bullet.
34) Heat extremes are happening 10 to 100 times more frequently… Abstract: “This hot extreme, which covered much less than 1% of Earth’s surface during the base period, now typically covers about 10% of the land area.” Discussion, page 6 of 9, third paragraph: “These extreme temperatures were practically absent in the period of climatology, covering only a few tenths of one percent of the land area, but they are occurring over about 10% of global land area in recent years…. It follows that we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.”
Hansen, Sato, Ruedy, Perception of Climate Change, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science of the United States of America (PNAS), August 2012. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2012/07/30/1205276109.full.pdf+html
35) Intensifying cold extremes on a warmer planted… Francis and Vavrus, Evidence linking Arctic Amplification to extreme weather in mid-latitudes, Geophysical Research Letters, March 2012. Conclusions, page LO6801, paragraph 15.
Francis defending: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/08/21/researcher-defends-work-linking-arctic-warming-and-extreme-weather/
36) “All weather events are affected by climate change because the environment in which they occur is warmer and moister than it used to be.” … Trenberth, Framing the way to relate climate extremes to climate change, Climatic Change, March 2012, concluding sentence.
37) Global Warming has Already Doubled the Droughts and Floods in the U.S. Southeast… A Duke University-led team of climate scientists suggests that global warming is the main cause of a significant intensification in the North Atlantic Subtropical High (NASH) that in recent decades has more than doubled the frequency of abnormally wet or dry summer weather in the southeastern United States.
Li et al., Changes to the North Atlantic Subtropical High and its Role in the Intensification of Summer Rainfall Variability in the Southeastern United States, Journal of Climate, October 2010, first paragraph.
38) Extreme winter precipitation events have increased eight-fold in Europe in the last 150 years…
Coumou and Rhamstorf, A decade of weather extremes, Nature Climate Change, March 25 2012, page 3, second column, second paragraph. “Extreme rainfall (beyond the ninety-eighth percentile) in European winters has increased nearly eightfold over the past 150 years, related to changing circulation patterns.”
Abstract only: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v2/n7/full/nclimate1452.html
39) Extreme precipitation events have increased 33% in the U.S… ibid.
40) Atmospheric moisture increased 4% and hourly precipitation extremes double that… ibid, page 3, second column, third paragraph.
41) Floods in England and Wales 20 to 90%… ibid, page 3, second column, fourth paragraph.
42) The one-day and five-day maximum rainfall events increasing across two-thirds… ibid.
43) Spring is coming 10 to 30 days sooner across the American West… Stewart et al., Changes in snowmelt runoff timing on western North America under a business as usual climate change scenario, Climatic Change, 62: 217-232,2004, page 223, fourth paragraph.
44) Increasing wildfires in the American West… a 78-day increase in the length of the fire season and a fourfold increase in the number of fires.
A. Westerling et al., Warming and earlier spring increases western U.S. forest wildfire activity, Science, 313, no. 5789 August 2006, page 941 fourth paragraph and third paragraph.
Climate Change on Wildfire Activity, Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources, September 24, 2007, page 28, first bullet: “There is a clear upward trend in the area burned and numbers of large forest fires in the western US, especially since the mid-1980s. The area burned by large forest fires is 6.7 times higher in the latter period 1987 to 2003 than in the earlier period from 1970 to 1986.” and third bullet: “The trend and year-to-year changes in number of large forest fires generally matches changes in the timing of spring onset, as indicated by the timing of peak runoff from extensive streamflow data in the western US. Many more large fires occurred during years in which spring arrived relatively early than during years when spring arrived relatively later (Figure 6). Additionally, there are significantly more early spring occurring years after 1986 than before that time.”
45) Cold waves in Europe and Great Britain caused by climate change… Zhang, Lu and Guan, Weakened cyclones, intensiﬁed anticyclones and recent extreme cold winter weather events in Eurasia, Environmental Research Letters, December 2012, page 6 paragraph 2.
46) More frequent droughts in eastern Africa… Funk, Exceptional warming in the western Pacific-Indian Ocean warm pool has contributed to more frequent droughts in Eastern Africa, Explaining Extreme Events of 2011 from a Climate Perspective, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, December 2012, page 1050 first paragraph.
47) The 2011Texas heat wave was 20 times more probable… Rupp and Mote, Did human influence on climate make the 2011 Texas drought more probable? Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, December 2012, page 1053, paragraph 7.
48) Great Britain hot Novembers 62 times more likely… Massey, Have the odds of warm November temperatures and cold December temperatures in Central England changed? Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, December 2012, page 1058, paragraph 5.
49) American’s views on climate change are 20 years behind those of the vast majority of climate scientists’… In 1991 only 60% of climate scientists believed that average global temperatures were up (paragraph 16), compared to 97% today (paragraph 4) But only about 60% of the public believes.
Lichter, Climate Scientists Agree on Warming, Disagree on Dangers, and Don’t Trust the Media’s Coverage of Climate Change, George Mason University, STATS, April 24, 2008. http://stats.org/stories/2008/global_warming_survey_apr23_08.html
58% of the public… American’s Concerns about Global Warming on the Rise, Gallup, April 8, 2013, first graph.
67% of the public… Climate Change: Key Data Points from Pew Research, Pew Resaerch Center, November 5, 2013, fourth graphic.
50) The “Fairness Bias” and climate scientists don’t trust the media… “Through content analysis of US prestige press— meaning the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, and the Wall Street Journal—this paper focuses on the norm of balanced reporting, and shows that the prestige press’s adherence to balance actually leads to biased coverage of both anthropogenic contributions to global warming and resultant action.” Boykoff and Boykoff, Balance as Bias Global warming and the US Prestige Press, Global Environmental Change, 2004, abstract.
“Only 1 percent of climate scientists rate broadcast or television news as very reliable and 3 percent rate local newspapers as very reliable, while 26 percent rate Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth as very reliable.”
Lichter, Climate Scientists Agree on Warming, Disagree on Dangers, and Don’t Trust the Media’s Coverage of Climate Change, George Mason University, STATS, April 2008, paragraph 12.
51) Carbon Dioxide is 30 percent higher than any time in 800,000 years of Antarctic ice records… accessed from the Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Trends, about paragraph 8. http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/ice_core_co2.html
and as high as any time in 15 million years… CO2 is a high as any time in the last 15 million years… Tripati, et. al., Coupling of CO2 and Ice Sheet Stability Over Major Climate Transitions of the Last 20 million years, Science Express, October 8, 2009, page 2, second column, second paragraph.
52) Arctic Warmer than any time in the last 44,000 to 120,000 years… “Here we use 145 radiocarbon dates on rooted tundra plants revealed by receding cold-based ice caps in the Eastern Canadian Arctic to show that 5000 years of regional summertime cooling has been reversed, with average summer temperatures of the last ~100 years now higher than during any century in more than 44,000 years, including peak warmth of the early Holocene when high latitude summer insolation was 9% greater than present. Reconstructed changes in snow line elevation suggest that summers cooled ~2.7 °C over the past 5000 years, approximately twice the response predicted by CMIP5 climate models. Our results indicate that anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gases have led to unprecedented regional warmth.” The methodology of this work can only look back 44,000 years. Inferring that earlier part of our most recent ice age back to 120,000 years before present was at least as cold as it was 44,000 years ago gives the 120,000 year number.
Abstract only: Miller et al., Unprecedented recent summer warmth in Arctic Canada, Geophysical Research Letters, October 2013.
53) CO2 is increasing 14,000 times faster than the long-term average for the last 610,000 thousand years… Zeebe and Caldeira, Close mass balance of long-term carbon fluxes from ice-core CO2 and ocean chemistry records, Nature Geoscience, Advance Online Publication, April 27, 2008. The 14,000 years quote comes from the University of Hawaii press release for the paper, ninth paragraph.
Press Release: http://www.hawaii.edu/news/article.php?aId=2272
54) Methane is 105 times more potent in the short term… Shindell et al., Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions, Nature, October 2009, figure 2, narrative.
55) Forest mortality in the western United States has doubled… Mantgem et al., Widespread increase of tree mortality rates in the western United States, Science, January 2009, abstract. http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs_other/rmrs_2009_van_mantgem_p001.pdf
56) Forest Die off in Canada, 10 times greater… mortality increased an average of 4.7 percent per year from 1963 to 2008.
Peng et al., A drought-induced pervasive increase in tree mortality across Canada’s boreal forests, Nature Climate Change, November 2011, abstract.
57) Committed warming of up to 8 degrees F, 6.5 degrees in the pipeline … “The observed increase in the concentration of greenhouse gases (GHGs) since the preindustrial era has most likely committed the world to a warming of 2.4°C (1.4°C to 4.3°C) above the preindustrial surface temperatures… The committed warming is inferred from the most recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates of the greenhouse forcing and climate sensitivity. The estimated warming of 2.4°C is the equilibrium warming above preindustrial temperatures that the world will observe even if GHG concentrations are held fixed at their 2005 concentration levels but without any other anthropogenic forcing such as the cooling effect of aerosols.”
Ramanthan and Feng, On avoiding dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system-Formidable challenges ahead, PNAS, September 2008, abstract.
58) Dust Bowl conditions will be the average condition beginning in 2030…
Dia, Characteristics and trends in various forms of the Palmer Drought Severity Index 1900 to 2008, Journal of Geophysical Research, March 16, 2011, revised. ` See the graphics for 2030 to 2039 in the press release. Dust Bowl drought Palmer Drought Severity Index is -4 to -5.
Press Release: http://www2.ucar.edu/news/2904/climate-change-drought-may-threaten-much-globe-within-decades
59) Megadrought across the American West beginning in eight years… More extreme than the Dust Bowl by 7 to 20 times, The Dust bowl lasted 10 years, megadroughts last 75 to 200 years. Three of them are evident between 900 and 1300 AD, the last one occurring about 1,000 years ago. From Seager 2012: “For context, a reduction in Colorado River flow of 10% is comparable to the variability of decadal mean flows over the past century (for example, ref. 8 and Supplementary Information). Furthermore, a 1,200-year tree-ring reconstruction of Colorado River flow at Lee’s Ferry27 has the very lowest value of 20-year means (during the twelfth-century megadrought), about 15% lower than the long-term mean Hence, anthropogenic climate change is projected to lead to a potential reduction of Colorado River flow comparable to the most severe, but temporary, long-term decreases in flow recorded [The Dust Bowl].”
Seager et al., Projections of declining surface water availability for the southwestern United States, Nature Climate Change, December 2012 with comments from Seager.pdf page 5, second paragraph.
Megadrought… These droughts were temporary, like the droughts of today, but in the near future, conditions comparable to these droughts will be the average climate condition. Dry periods that we know as drought today will be on top of megadrought dryness.
Cook et al., Long Term Aridity Changes in the Western United States, Science, November 2004, page 1017, top of page right column, see Figure 2, page 1016.
Full paper: http://tiggernut.com/ClimateChange/CookLongTermAridity.pdf
60) Climategate Email Scandal: wording taken out of context in stolen emails was widely reported as proving climate scientists were dishonest in their work. Six independent reviews cleared all scientists involved.
Debunking Misinformation About Stolen Climate Emails in the “Climategate” Manufactured Controversy, Union of Concerned Scientists, Issues-Global Warming, second paragraph: “Six official investigations have cleared scientists of accusations of wrongdoing.”
61) Himalayan Glaciers: The 2007 IPCC report said that Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035. There was a simple Scribner’s error. The date should have been 2350.
Banerjee and Collins, Undoing ‘The Curse’ of a Chain of Errors: Anatomy of IPCC’s Mistake on Himalayan Glaciers and Year 2035, The Yale Forum on Climate Change and the Media, February 4, 2010, paragraph 15, “The extrapolar glaciation of the Earth will be decaying at rapid, catastrophic rates – its total area will shrink from 500,000 to 100,000 km2 by the year 2350.”
62) Amazongate: The United Kingdom’s Sunday Times erroneously posted a story about how badly the 2007 IPCC report misrepresented climate change impacts on the Amazon rainforest that made headlines across the world. Five months later with almost no press whatsoever, the Times retracted the entire article and published a 400 word apology. Schmidt, Leakgate: A Retraction, RealClimate, Climate Science from Climate Scientists, June 20, 2010.
63) Flue capture $60 per ton, $500 or more for air capture… Section 5.1, paragraph 1: “The cost of direct CO2 capture from air will highly influence the overall economic feasibility of the utilization of atmospheric CO2 as carbon feedstock. Using current technologies, the cost to remove a ton of CO2 from point sources such as a coal burning power plant that contain 10–15% CO2 has been estimated between $30 and $100. The cost of direct air capture (DAC) on the other hand varies vastly from about $20 to more than $1000 per ton of CO2.”
Goeppert et al., Air as the renewable carbon source of the future – CO2 Capture from the atmosphere, Energy and Environmental Science, May 1, 2012.
Abstract only: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2012/EE/c2ee21586a#!divAbstract
64) Cost of Air Capture: $200 per ton initially, $30 per ton fully industrialized… Testimony to the Science, Space and Technology Committee chaired by Lamar Smith, 020410, page 5 first paragraph.
65) Air Capture: Sky Mining Reference…
Goeppert et al., Air as the renewable carbon source of the future – CO2 Capture from the atmosphere, Energy and Environmental Science, May 1, 2012.
Abstract only: http://pubs.rsc.org/en/Content/ArticleLanding/2012/EE/c2ee21586a#!divAbstract
$20 per ton (just over) capture and storage… Section 5.1 paragraph 2, “using the K2CO3/KHCO3 cycle is described as being able to capture CO2 from air for less than $20 per ton. The total cost including sub-surface injection was estimated to be slightly above $20 per ton.”
$49 to $80 per ton… Section 5.1 paragraph 3: “An air capture system designed by Keith et al. using a Na/Ca cycle was estimated to cost approximately $500 per ton C ($140 per ton CO2).81,98 The authors added that about a third of this cost was related to capital and maintenance cost. Further development and optimization of the system by Carbon Engineering Ltd.113 for the effective extraction of CO2 from air resulted in the decrease of the estimated cost to $49–80 per tonne CO2.”
$30 per ton long term… Section 5.1, paragraph 5: “Lackner and co-workers developed an anionic exchange resin able to release CO2 in a moisture swing process. The cost of only the energy required per ton of CO2 collected was around $15.101,194 The initial cost of air capture including manufacturing and maintenance can be estimated at about $200 per ton of CO2. However, this cost is expected to drop considerably as more collectors are built, possibly putting CO2 capture in the $30 per ton range in the long term.”
Conclusion, first paragraph… “Despite its very low concentration of only 390 ppm, the capture of CO2 directly from the air is technically feasible. Theoretically, CO2 capture from the atmosphere would only require about 2 to 4 times as much energy as capture from flue gases, which is relatively modest considering that at the same time the CO2 concentration is decreased by roughly a factor of 250–300.”
66) If you extract a certain amount of CO2 from the air… Broeker and Kunzig, Fixing Climate: What Past Climates Reveal about the Current Threat and How to Counter It, Hill and Wang, page 202.
67) 50 ppm CO2 for $21 trillion using existing technologies …
Hansen et al., Target Atmospheric CO2 Where Should Humanity Aim? Open Atmospheric Science Journal, November 2008, page 226 and 227, Section 4.4 Policy Relevance, page 227, paragraph 1.
“Desire to reduce airborne CO2 raises the question of whether CO2 could be drawn from the air artificially. There are no large-scale technologies for CO2 air capture now, but with strong research and development support and industrial scale pilot projects sustained over decades it may be possible to achieve costs ~$200/tC  or perhaps less . At $200/tC, the cost of removing 50 ppm of CO2 is ~$20 trillion.”