Climate Letter #1146

This year’s month of March was the third warmest on record.  With the El Nino warming now out of the way temperatures for the month fell right on line with the underlying warming trend, which has been rising 0.18C on average for each of the last four decades.  (Just two more similar decades would bring the existing linear trend right up to the 1.5 target level.)  This WMO report describes many extreme recent anomalies around the world, both hot and cold.
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Antarctica’s annual snowfall has risen 10% over the last 200 years.  This was determined by analyzing 79 ice cores taken from across the continent.  The rate of increase followed the rate of temperature increases in the region, which were low before 1900 then gradually speeded up through the present day.  The additions to surface ice are more than offset by melting in various places under the lower edges of the sheet.
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Can shipping industry emissions be reduced in sync with the Paris Agreement? (Carbon Brief)  This in-depth analysis shows why such action is so important and the difficulties involved in getting there.  The need to keep black soot out of the Arctic heightens the urgency of finding solutions.
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The cement industry is an even bigger source of CO2 emissions—6% of the global total from humans.  The volume is enormous and the process of making cement emits the gas in an invisible manner.  Cement is “taken for granted as a necessary building block of basic civilisation…..Cement companies need to invest and innovate in order to avoid impending risks to their operations and the wider world. There is a solution – cement companies just need to invest properly in finding it.”  (How convincing is that as a dependable route to reduction?)
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The carbon footprint of an individual or society is embedded in almost every purchased object.  The ten examples of everyday items described herein are a real eye-opener.  Bear in mind that one kWh is the amount of energy consumed by burning ten old-fashioned 100-watt light bulbs for one hour, something most people now try to avoid.  Reducing purchases of things not really needed provides an even greater way to lower one’s carbon footprint, but that reality is seldom promoted in a society driven by advertising.
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Book review, from the Washington Post:  “No Immediate Danger,” by William T. Vollmann.  Vollmann, a novelist, has researched and written a 601-page tome where “he throws himself exuberantly into numbers, producing dozens of calculations and comparative tables on the global-warming potentials of the three worst greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide), the energy required to manufacture the “big five” materials (cement, paper, steel, plastics, aluminum), the solar energy lost en route to reaching the Earth’s surface, and dozens of others.”
Carl
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