Comments by Simon Donner Subscribe

On Pipeline Debates Distracting from Broader Climate Policy Concerns


I see your argument. Keep in mind, the article is not saying that the current PM and federal government would approve a carbon-pricing system - I'll leave the determination of their willingess to consider a pricing system to the political scientists - it is saying that without taking such action, climate experts have little choice but to do things like oppose pipeline construction.

As for the recommended pace of change, given the trajectory of greenhouse gas emissions and resource-dependence of the economy in Canada, any move, slow or not, in another direction would be a huge step.



March 25, 2013    View Comment    

On Carbon Emissions Blow Past the Financial Crisis



March 12, 2013    View Comment    

On Carbon Emissions Blow Past the Financial Crisis

John - If China's the reason that emissions "caught up" to the previous growth trajectory after the crisis, and the emissions by country data suggests as much, then is the question uncontrollable population growth? China is one country where population growth is effectively controlled. Rising standard of living is certainly also a driver of emissions growth


March 12, 2013    View Comment    

On New Oil Sands Pipeline Plan Would Dramatically Increase Carbon Emissions


I don't have an issue with the international accounting system. It is like democracy, the best worst option. As I said in the post, the point here is about the greater challenge. The Canadian government speaks of working on emissions reductions and promotes the slowing of emissons growth, despite planning to dramatically increase carbon exports. Technically, following the accounting rules, the exports do not go on our books. But if the goal of reducing carbon emissions in country is concern about climate change, increasing exports could undo the benefits or reducing emissions at home. So perhaps we should take both in-country emissions and exports into account when formulating policy.



January 14, 2013    View Comment    

On Is the 2 degree target likely to save most coral reefs?

I see your concern. Keep in mind the temperature target conclusions emerges from the results, not vice versa. We don't start this with any reference point. The paper's simply documenting what the latest analysis shows related about coral reef impacts under different levels of temperature change. The results are what they are. Your question refers to the implications -- if coral reefs are in trouble even at 1.5-2 C warming, is there much hope for protecting most reefs from climate change? Maybe not, but that's exactly why I conclude with "the importance of identifying the corals, habitats or entire reefs that are more resistant..." and point to work doing just that.


September 24, 2012    View Comment    

On Drought and ethanol crunch U.S. corn crop

The graphs are based on the latest USDA projections for this year, which take into account assumed drop in corn production, and does not consider DDG use in feed. In the analysis for the 2008 paper I mention, we looked at how the use of DDGs as feed grains can offset some of the decline in feed availability that comes from shifting corn over to ethanol production. With the current estimates of DDG to feed use, I think there's a ~30-40% feed bonus from ethanol production. That does change the numbers in this post, but it would only bump feed production from this year up to the level it was at five years ago. The basic idea, that using corn for ethanol diverts corn from other uses, thus making corn availability and the market in general more sensitive to drought.

August 25, 2012    View Comment    

On Proposed pipelines undermine Canada's climate target for 2020

That's right, the emissions accounting is based on the source of the emissions, not the original source of the carbon. I have no dispute with the accounting, the current system may be the only workable system. I'm simply pointing out that it is wrong to be self-congratulatory about achieving or trying to acheive national emissions targets (the federal government has touted a recent levelling off of national CO2 emissions) or provincial emissions targets (BC has active policy) when the country is pushing to massively expand carbon exports to other countries.

As I've said many times on the blog and in other forums, I'm not inherently against the pipelines or expansion of activities in the oil sands. I'm against doing such things without considering the global emissions. If Canada was making an effort to seriously reduce in-country emissions to counter-act the increase in "global" emissions caused by the proposed pipelines, I'd not have much of a problem with the pipelines.

The climate doesn't care where the carbon is burned. If the concern is the climate, we need to think carefully about carbon exports, not just in-country emissions that count on our balance sheet.

August 7, 2012    View Comment    

On Global warming trumps climate change?

Ok, though the definitions do vary. The point of the post is not which is the scientifically correct term rather which term the public tends to use.
April 5, 2010    View Comment    

On The path of climate science and the dissenting views

Right, the list is not "new". I mentioned this now because stories on Fox News have been mentioning it and linking to it in the last few days.

December 10, 2009    View Comment    

On The "CRU hack" and the deplorable state of reporting and blogging

Good questions. In this case, we have been told that someone hacked into a server and released the material. So I'm not interested. If that makes me pious and old fashioned, fine.  If it turns out this was done by a "whistle blower", and there's legal protection involved, then people should go ahead and analyse the contents. Analyse. Not quote snippets and leap to conclusions. I'm just saying that this is a case where the 24-7 nature of the blogosphere and reporting is not doing anyone any good.


November 23, 2009    View Comment    

On US-China cooperation on climate and, er, coal

Fine point. Presuming you're correct, then there are far greater problems with the direction proposed in this statement.


November 18, 2009    View Comment    

On Communicating climate change in an unscieintific world

I'll just point out two things:

i) The US temperature record is reliable. The arguments you quote, also used Anthony Watts; surface stations site, do not stand up to actual statistical analysis. I recommend you read the NOAA summary of the US surface temperature record - - which directly responds to these issues.

ii) Even if it the US temperature data were not reliable, the evidence for historical temperature change is not based solely on the US surface temperature record, or the global land surface temperature record. There are sea surface temperatures, ocean heat content, weather balloon measurements, borehole temperatures, ice core measurements, a wide variety of biological proxies.

I'm not arguing that you need to support any particular policy. I'm merely relaying what the science tells us about climate change. There is a difference between accepting the science and supporting particular climate and energy policy. Don't conflate the two. You don't need to reject sound science to reject the policy decisions.


September 8, 2009    View Comment