Friday, February 09, 2018

Pesky Ozone hole defying Greenie predictions

Scientists are surprised that the ozone is thinning out in the lower stratosphere because their models do not show this trend and CFCs continue to decline.

A team led by researchers from ETH Zurich and the Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos in Switzerland have found that despite the ban on CFCs, the concentration of ozone in the lower part of the stratosphere has continued to decline at latitudes between 60 degree South and 60 degree North.

Geneva: The ozone layer – which protects life on Earth from high-energy radiation – has continued to thin over the last three decades, a study has warned.

In the 20th century, when excessive quantities of ozone-depleting chlorinated and brominated hydrocarbons such as CFCs were released into the atmosphere, the ozone layer in the stratosphere – ie at altitudes of 15 to 50 kilometres – thinned out globally.

The Montreal Protocol introduced a ban on these long-lasting substances in 1989.

At the turn of the millennium, the loss of stratospheric ozone seemed to have stopped. Until now, experts have expected that the global ozone layer would completely recover by the middle of the century.

However, a team led by researchers from ETH Zurich and the Physikalisch-Meteorologisches Observatorium Davos in Switzerland have found that despite the ban on CFCs, the concentration of ozone in the lower part of the stratosphere has continued to decline at latitudes between 60 degree South and 60 degree North.

The study, published in the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, used satellite measurements spanning the last three decades together with advanced statistical methods.

Ozone is formed in the stratosphere, mainly at altitudes above 30 kilometres in the tropics. From there it is distributed around the globe by atmospheric circulation.

The scientists were somewhat surprised that the ozone is thinning out in the lower stratosphere because their models do not show this trend and CFCs continue to decline.


New study claims economic systems must be restructured to fit `within planetary boundaries.'

This is basically a re-run of the old "Limits to Growth" paper of 1972.  It says that basic needs (as defined by them) can be met for everyone without exceeding the resources available on the planet but for higher needs to be met "provisioning systems must be fundamentally restructured".  But they have no idea how to do that

A good life for all within planetary boundaries

Daniel W. O'Neill et al.


Humanity faces the challenge of how to achieve a high quality of life for over 7 billion people without destabilizing critical planetary processes. Using indicators designed to measure a `safe and just' development space, we quantify the resource use associated with meeting basic human needs, and compare this to downscaled planetary boundaries for over 150 nations. We find that no country meets basic needs for its citizens at a globally sustainable level of resource use. Physical needs such as nutrition, sanitation, access to electricity and the elimination of extreme poverty could likely be met for all people without transgressing planetary boundaries. However, the universal achievement of more qualitative goals (for example, high life satisfaction) would require a level of resource use that is 2-6 times the sustainable level, based on current relationships. Strategies to improve physical and social provisioning systems, with a focus on sufficiency and equity, have the potential to move nations towards sustainability, but the challenge remains substantial.


This Article addresses a key question in sustainability science: what level of biophysical resource use is associated with meeting people's basic needs, and can this level of resource use be extended to all people without exceeding critical planetary boundaries? To answer this question, we analyse the relationships between 7 indicators of national environmental pressure (relative to biophysical boundaries) and 11 indicators of social outcomes (relative to sufficiency thresholds) for over 150 countries. Our study measures national performance using a `safe and just space' framework1,2 for a large number of countries, and provides important findings on the relationships between resource use and human well-being.

A safe and just space

There have been two recent, complementary advances in defining biophysical processes, pressures and boundaries at the planetary scale. The first is the planetary boundaries framework, which identifies nine boundaries related to critical Earth-system processes3. The boundaries jointly define a `safe operating space', within which it is argued the relatively stable conditions of the Holocene may be maintained4. Of the seven measured planetary boundaries, four are currently transgressed (biosphere integrity, climate change, biogeo-chemical flows and land-system change)3.

The second advance is the estimation of environmental `foot-print' indicators for multiple types of biophysical resource flows. Footprint indicators associate specific environmental pressures (for example, CO2 emissions, material extraction, freshwater appropria-tion) with the consumption of goods and services5. This approach assigns responsibility for embodied resource use to final consumers, and includes the effects of international trade.

We combine these two approaches to measure sustainability at the national scale, by comparing national consumption-based environmental footprints to `downscaled' planetary boundaries6. The nascent literature proposes a number of different ways that plan-etary boundaries could theoretically be downscaled to national equivalents7, taking into account factors such as geography, international trade and equity8. Some studies apply a top-down approach that distributes shares of each planetary boundary to countries based on an allocation formula9-11, while others apply a bottom-up approach that associates local or regional environmental limits with each planetary boundary12,13.

Within our analysis we apply a top-down approach that distributes shares of each planetary boundary among nations based on current population (a per capita biophysical boundary approach). While the environmental justice literature emphasizes the need for differentiated responsibilities in practice14, a per capita approach allows us to explore what quality of life could be universally achieved if resources were distributed equally. It is an important question to address given that it is often claimed that all people could live well if only the rich consumed less, so that the poor could consume more2,15. We acknowledge that an annual per capita boundary may not be an appropriate way to manage resources that are geographically and temporally bounded (for example, freshwater use, where river-basin geography and a monthly timescale may be more appropriate in practice16). Moreover, a deeper understanding of equity may require some notion of shared responsibility between producers and consumers17.

Here, we adopt a human needs-based approach to defining and measuring social outcomes, drawing on the work of Max-Neef18 and Doyal and Gough19. Human needs theory argues that there are a finite number of basic human needs that are universal, satiable and non-substitutable. `Need satisfiers' can vary between individuals and cultures, but arguably have certain universal characteristics that may be measured empirically20.

The theory of human needs developed by the above authors under-pins the safe and just space (SJS) framework proposed by Raworth1, and described in her book Doughnut Economics2. The framework combines the concept of planetary boundaries with the complementary concept of social boundaries. It visualizes sustainability in terms of a doughnut-shaped space where resource use is high enough to meet people's basic needs (the inner boundary), but not so high as to transgress planetary boundaries (the outer boundary).

The SJS framework includes 11 social objectives, which were selected by Raworth based on a comprehensive text analysis of government submissions to the Rio+ 20 conference. The objectives reflect the main social goals mentioned in the majority of submis-sions, and thus align well with contemporary policy, including the social objectives in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)21. The SJS framework also has important precedents in the ecological economics literature, namely the objectives of sus-tainable scale, fair distribution and efficient allocation22.


Regional ambient temperature is associated with human personality

This study was rather good on the whole.  I myself have done research on the effect of climate on conservatism but this study asks whether climate affects your personality.  They first defined an optimal (clement) average temperature as 22 degrees Celsius and examined the personality of people living inside and outside that limit.  They found that people who grew up in "clement" climates were all-round good eggs.

They derive from that a suggestion that global warming might make people bad eggs but that is poor logic.  Global warming would surely do no more than change polewards where the good eggs were to be found

Regional ambient temperature is associated with human personality

Wenqi Wei et al.


Human personality traits differ across geographical regions1,2,3,4,5. However, it remains unclear what generates these geographical personality differences. Because humans constantly experience and react to ambient temperature, we propose that temperature is a crucial environmental factor that is associated with individuals' habitual behavioural patterns and, therefore, with fundamental dimensions of personality. To test the relationship between ambient temperature and personality, we conducted two large-scale studies in two geographically large yet culturally distinct countries: China and the United States. Using data from 59 Chinese cities (N?=?5,587), multilevel analyses and machine learning analyses revealed that compared with individuals who grew up in regions with less clement temperatures, individuals who grew up in regions with more clement temperatures (that is, closer to 22?øC) scored higher on personality factors related to socialization and stability (agreeableness, conscientiousness, and emotional stability) and personal growth and plasticity (extraversion and openness to experience). These relationships between temperature clemency and personality factors were replicated in a larger dataset of 12,499 ZIP-code level locations (the lowest geographical level feasible) in the United States (N?=?1,660,638). Taken together, our findings provide a perspective on how and why personalities vary across geographical regions beyond past theories (subsistence style theory, selective migration theory and pathogen prevalence theory). As climate change continues across the world, we may also observe concomitant changes in human personality.

Summary from the body of the article:

In summary, to large-scale studies from China and the United States found that the ambient temperature during an individual's youth was related to the key dimensions of personality: individuals who grew up in more clement regions scored higher on both the socialization factor (Alpha) and the personal growth factor (Beta) of personality, as well as on each of the Big-Five personality factors.

These effects were robust when controlling for various factors that might affect personality-related constructs: selective migration, individual response style, demographic factors (age, gender, and education), socioeconomic factors (population density, GDP per capita, rice-farming area, and wheat-farming area), ecological factors (pathogen prevalence), and other meteorological factors (air pressure, humidity, and wind speed).

 It is particularly telling that our large datasets from two geographically large yet culturally distinct countries provided converging evidence. Taken together, these findings are consistent with our temperature clemency perspective of personality: growing up in temperatures that are close to the psychophysiological comfort optimum encourages individuals to explore the outside environment, thereby influencing their personalities.


It’s All Over: Hong Kong Pulls The Plug On Electric Cars Incentives

Tesla’s sales in Hong Kong plunged during much of 2017 after the local government cut tax incentives for electric vehicles.

Data from Hong Kong´s Transport Department shows Tesla sales fell to just 32 between April and December 2017, a dramatic decline from the near 2,000 sales notched up over the same period of 2016.

The removal of tax incentives in Hong Kong almost doubled the price of some Tesla models.

A major blow for Tesla, it underlines how the company´s sales can be highly sensitive to changes in government policy.

There was also a similar fall in electric car sales in Denmark following the local authorities´ decision to end tax breaks.

Tesla shares were down 1.3% in pre-market trading on Monday.

Tesla is lobbying the Hong Kong authorities to at least partially reverse the tax change.

The sheer scale of the sales slump is likely to have come as a surprise to the government, strengthening the hand of those supporting a rethink when it finalises its budget in the next few weeks.

In total, including non-Tesla models, just 99 electric cars were registered in Hong Kong over the last nine months of 2017.


Back to Earth: Tesla's losses grow on Model 3 delays

The day after Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk blasted his Tesla Roadster into space, his electric car company's mounting losses brought him back to Earth again.

Tesla Inc. posted a record quarterly net loss of $675 million in the fourth quarter, up from a net loss of $121 million in the same period a year ago. The Palo Alto, California-based automaker is struggling to meet production targets for its first mass-market car, the Model 3 sedan. It's also spending heavily on future vehicles, including a semi that's supposed to go into production next year.

Tesla lost $1.96 billion for the full year, a record for the company and nearly three times its loss of $675 million in 2016. Tesla has never made a full-year profit since it went public in 2010.

Tesla's adjusted fourth-quarter loss of $3.04 per share was ahead of Wall Street's estimated loss of $3.15 per share, according to analysts polled by FactSet. The adjusted loss eliminates one-time expenses, including stock-based compensation. Revenue for the quarter was $3.3 billion, which was in line with analysts' forecasts.

Tesla's total revenue for 2017 was $11.8 billion, which was also in line with analysts' forecasts.

Musk is a masterful marketer, and the red ink may not stem investors' excitement. The company's shares jumped 3 percent to close at $345 Wednesday after SpaceX successfully launched its Falcon Heavy rocket with Musk's cherry red Roadster as its cargo. The convertible, with a dummy in a space suit at its wheel, is now heading toward an asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Tesla's shares are also in the stratosphere, up 8 percent from the start of this year.

While Tesla's true believers love these stunts, some analysts are questioning whether Musk should be spending more time fixing Tesla's woes. Clement Thibault, a senior analyst with the web site, grumbled about Musk's recent fundraising efforts for The Boring Co., his new tunnel-drilling company.

"He appears to be more eager to sell hats and flamethrowers rather than meeting previously stated production targets for Tesla vehicles," Thibault wrote in a note to investors.

Musk said Tesla has learned some valuable lessons about production and is steadily resolving problems with the Model 3. For example, he said, the company has nearly completed an automated battery module assembly line which will speed production at its Nevada battery factory. But he didn't say whether the company will meet its stated goal of making 10,000 Model 3s per week at some point this year.

"If we can send a Roadster to the asteroid belt, we can probably solve Model 3 production. It's just a matter of time," Musk said on a conference call with analysts.




Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here or here


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