AGW Observer

Observations of anthropogenic global warming

New research – climate change mitigation (September 1, 2016)

Posted by Ari Jokimäki on September 1, 2016

Some of the latest papers on climate change mitigation are shown below. First a few highlighted papers with abstracts and then a list of some other papers. If this subject interests you, be sure to check also the other papers – they are by no means less interesting than the highlighted ones.


Climate change and individual duties (Fragnière, 2016)

Abstract: Tackling climate change has often been considered the responsibility of national governments. But do individuals also have a duty to act in the face of this problem? In particular, do they have a duty to adopt a greener lifestyle or to press their government to act? This review critically examines the arguments provided for and against such duties in the relevant philosophic literature. It first discusses the problem of causal inefficacy—namely the fact that individual greenhouse gas emissions appear to make no difference to the harmful consequences of climate change—and whether it clears individuals from any moral obligations related to climate change. Then, it considers various other arguments for the existence of such duties, including integrity, fairness, universalizability, or virtue. Finally, it assesses the existence of a duty to promote collective action through active citizenship. The conclusion emphasizes that most writers agree on the fact that individuals have at least some duties to take action against climate change, but that disagreement remains about the exact nature and, above all, the extent of these duties.

Renewable and nuclear electricity: Comparison of environmental impacts (McCombie & Jefferson, 2016)

Abstract: Given the widely acknowledged negative impacts of fossil fuels, both on human health and on potential climate change, it is of interest to compare the impacts of low carbon alternative energy sources such as nuclear energy, hydropower, solar, wind and biomass. In this paper, we review the literature in order to summarise the impacts of the different technologies in terms of their materials and energy requirements, their emissions during operation, their health effects during operation, the accident risks, and the associated waste streams. We follow up these comparisons with some more anecdotal evidence on selected impacts that are either particularly topical or are important but less commonly addressed. These include impacts of wind turbines on persons and on bird life, the underestimated problems with biomass, and concerns about biodiversity reduction. Finally we address the public attitudes towards both renewable energy technologies and to nuclear power. The conclusion is drawn that energy policies of many countries are perhaps more strongly influenced by public and political perceptions of available technologies than they are by rational assessment of the actual benefits and drawbacks. Policy recommendations follow from this conclusion.

Consideration of Land Use Change-Induced Surface Albedo Effects in Life-Cycle Analysis of Biofuels (Cai et al. 2016)

Abstract: Land use change (LUC)-induced surface albedo effects for expansive biofuel production need to be quantified for improved understanding of biofuel climate impacts. We addressed this emerging issue for expansive biofuel production in the United States (U.S.) and compared the albedo effects with greenhouse gas emissions highlighted by traditional life-cycle analysis of biofuels. We used improved spatial representation of albedo effects in our analysis by obtaining over 1.4 million albedo observations from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer flown on NASA satellites over a thousand counties representative of six Agro-Ecological Zones (AEZs) in the U.S. We utilized high-spatial-resolution, crop-specific cropland cover data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and paired the data with the albedo data to enable consideration of various LUC scenarios. We simulated the radiative effects of LUC-induced albedo changes for seven types of crop covers using the Monte Carlo Aerosol, Cloud and Radiation model, which employs an advanced radiative transfer mechanism coupled with spatially and temporally resolved meteorological and aerosol conditions. These simulations estimated the net radiative fluxes at the top of the atmosphere as a result of the LUC-induced albedo changes, which enabled quantification of the albedo effects on the basis of radiative forcing defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for CO2 and other greenhouse gases effects. Finally, we quantified the LUC-induced albedo effects for production of ethanol from corn, miscanthus, and switchgrass in different AEZs of the U.S. Results show that the weighted national average albedo effect is a small cooling effect of −1.8 g CO2 equivalent (CO2e) for a mega-Joule (MJ) of corn ethanol, a relatively stronger warming effect of 12.1 g CO2e per MJ of switchgrass ethanol, and a small warming effect of 2.7 g CO2e per MJ of miscanthus ethanol. Significant variations in albedo-induced effects are found among different land conversions for the same biofuel, and among different AEZ regions for the same land conversion and biofuel. This spatial heterogeneity, owing to non-linear albedo dynamics and radiation processes, suggests highly variable LUC-induced albedo effects depending on geographical locations and vegetation. These findings provide new insights on potential climate effects by producing biofuels through considering biogeophysical as well as biogeochemical effects of biofuel production and use in the U.S.

Quantifying expert consensus against the existence of a secret, large-scale atmospheric spraying program (Shearer et al. 2016)

Abstract: Nearly 17% of people in an international survey said they believed the existence of a secret large-scale atmospheric program (SLAP) to be true or partly true. SLAP is commonly referred to as ‘chemtrails’ or ‘covert geoengineering’, and has led to a number of websites purported to show evidence of widespread chemical spraying linked to negative impacts on human health and the environment. To address these claims, we surveyed two groups of experts—atmospheric chemists with expertize in condensation trails and geochemists working on atmospheric deposition of dust and pollution—to scientifically evaluate for the first time the claims of SLAP theorists. Results show that 76 of the 77 scientists (98.7%) that took part in this study said they had not encountered evidence of a SLAP, and that the data cited as evidence could be explained through other factors, including well-understood physics and chemistry associated with aircraft contrails and atmospheric aerosols. Our goal is not to sway those already convinced that there is a secret, large-scale spraying program—who often reject counter-evidence as further proof of their theories—but rather to establish a source of objective science that can inform public discourse.

The Conditional Nature of the Local Warming Effect (Druckman & Shafranek, 2016)

Abstract: The local warming effect occurs when perceived deviations in the day’s temperature affect individuals’ global warming beliefs. When people perceive the day to be warmer than usual, they tend to overestimate the number of warm days throughout the year, and to report increased belief in and worry about global warming. For many, this is normatively concerning because a single day’s perceived temperature fluctuation is not representative of longer-term, large-scale climate patterns. It thus makes for a poor basis for global warming judgments. Recent work shows that the local warming effect might disappear when people receive a reminder to think about weather patterns over the past year (i.e., a correction). This paper employs a survey experiment that extends past research by exploring the generalizability, conditionality, and durability of the corrective information. It identifies the conditions under which a local warming effect is more or less likely to occur.

Other papers

The importance of climate change and nitrogen use efficiency for future nitrous oxide emissions from agriculture (Kanter et al. 2016)

Methane emissions measurements of natural gas components using a utility terrain vehicle and portable methane quantification system (Johnson & Heltzel, 2016)

Impacts of current and projected oil palm plantation expansion on air quality over Southeast Asia (Silva et al. 2016)

Climate change education and knowledge among Nigerian university graduates (Ayanlade & Jegede, 2016)

Potential emission savings from refrigeration and air conditioning systems by using low GWP refrigerants (Beshr et al. 2016)

The world’s biggest gamble (Rockström et al. 2016)

Statements about climate researchers’ carbon footprints affect their credibility and the impact of their advice (Attari et al. 2016)

Should environmentalists be concerned about materialism? An analysis of attitudes, behaviours and greenhouse gas emissions (Andersson & Nässén, 2016)

Austria’s wind energy potential – A participatory modeling approach to assess socio-political and market acceptance (Höltinger et al. 2016)

Time-varying analysis of CO2 emissions, energy consumption, and economic growth nexus: Statistical experience in next 11 countries (Shahbaz et al. 2016)

China’s wind electricity and cost of carbon mitigation are more expensive than anticipated (Lam et al. 2016)

New Tools for Comparing Beliefs about the Timing of Recurrent Events with Climate Time Series Datasets (Stiller-Reeve et al. 2016)

Most Americans Want to Learn More about Climate Change (Perkins et al. 2016)

Atmosfear: Communicating the Effects of Climate Change on Extreme Weather (Janković & Schultz, 2016)

Rapid scale-up of negative emissions technologies: social barriers and social implications (Buck, 2016)

Revisiting the climate impacts of cool roofs around the globe using an Earth system model (Zhang et al. 2016)

Low carbon cities: is ambitious action affordable? (Sudmant et al. 2016)

Energy efficiency outlook in China’s urban buildings sector through 2030 (McNeil et al. 2016)

Wind, hydro or mixed renewable energy source: Preference for electricity products when the share of renewable energy increases (Yang et al. 2016)

Reducing beef consumption might not reduce emissions: response to Phalan et al. (2016) (Barioni et al. 2016)

Universal access to electricity in Burkina Faso: scaling-up renewable energy technologies (Moner-Girona et al. 2016)

A New Model for the Lifetime of Fossil Fuel Resources (Michaelides, 2016)

A method to estimate climate-critical construction materials applied to seaport protection (Becker et al. 2016)

Multi-model assessment of global hydropower and cooling water discharge potential under climate change (van Vliet et al. 2016)

Technoeconomic assessment of beetle kill biomass co-firing in existing coal fired power plants in the Western United States (Beagle & Belmont, 2016)

Statistical analysis of compliance violations for natural gas wells in Pennsylvania (Abualfaraj et al. 2016)

A new way of carbon accounting emphasises the crucial role of sustainable timber use for successful carbon mitigation strategies (Härtl et al. 2016)

Climate consequences of low-carbon fuels: The United States Renewable Fuel Standard (Hill et al. 2016)

A spatially explicit assessment of the wind energy potential in response to an increased distance between wind turbines and settlements in Germany (Masurowski et al. 2016)

The scientific veneer of IPCC visuals (McMahon et al. 2016)

Climate impacts of geoengineering in a delayed mitigation scenario (Tilmes et al. 2016)

Co-benefits of global and regional greenhouse gas mitigation for US air quality in 2050 (Zhang et al. 2016)

Increasing recycling through displaying feedback and social comparative feedback (Mickaël & Sébastien, 2016)

How geographic distance and political ideology interact to influence public perception of unconventional oil/natural gas development (Clarke et al. 2016)

Assessing greenhouse gas emissions of milk production: which parameters are essential? (Wolf et al. 2016)

Do effects of theoretical training and rewards for energy-efficient behavior persist over time and interact? A natural field experiment on eco-driving in a company fleet (Schall et al. 2016)

Evaluation of usage and fuel savings of solar ovens in Nicaragua (Bauer, 2016)

Transport demand, harmful emissions, environment and health co-benefits in China (He & Qiu, 2016)

Key challenges to expanding renewable energy (Stram, 2016)

Economics of nuclear and renewables (Khatib & Difiglio, 2016)

Nuclear power: Status report and future prospects (Budnitz, 2016)

Afforestation to mitigate climate change: impacts on food prices under consideration of albedo effects (Kreidenweis et al. 2016)

Supplementing Domestic Mitigation and Adaptation with Emissions Reduction Abroad to Face Climate Change (Ayong Le Kama & Pommeret, 2016)

Re-framing the climate change debate in the livestock sector: mitigation and adaptation options (Rivera-Ferre et al. 2016)

Readily implementable techniques can cut annual CO2 emissions from the production of concrete by over 20% (Miller, Horvath & Monteiro, 2016)

Risk, Liability, and Economic Issues with Long-Term CO2 Storage—A Review (Anderson, 2016)

Global low-carbon transition and China’s response strategies (He, 2016)

Realizing potential savings of energy and emissions from efficient household appliances in India (Parikh & Parikh, 2016)

Coal power overcapacity and investment bubble in China during 2015–2020 (Yuan et al. 2016)

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