Washington Post: Scientists confirm that warm ocean water is melting the biggest glacier in East Antarctica
Scientists at institutions in the United States and Australia on Friday published a set of unprecedented ocean observations near the largest glacier of the largest ice sheet in the world: Totten glacier, East Antarctica. And the result was a troubling confirmation of what scientists already feared — Totten is melting from below.
The measurements, sampling ocean temperatures in seas over a kilometer (0.62 miles) deep in some places right at the edge of Totten glacier’s floating ice shelf, affirmed that warm ocean water is flowing in towards the glacier at the rate of 220,000 cubic meters per second.
These waters, the paper asserts, are causing the ice shelf to lose between 63 and 80 billion tons of its mass to the ocean per year, and to lose about 10 meters (32 feet) of thickness annually, a reduction that has been previously noted based on satellite measurements.
Bloomberg: Trump’s Wolves May Gather Around Obama’s Energy Nursery
The Energy Department’s research-and-development arm puts a modern spin on an old debate. The question may no longer be should the government help promising precommercial clean tech, but should the government help promising precommercial clean tech when the legacy energy system is threatening the long-term stability of global climate? All this as American politics is even more polarized than it was when ARPA-E was born a decade ago.
Brookings Institute: Another Clinton-Trump divide? Low-carbon vs. high-carbon America
To be sure, it’s not new to suggest that Clinton-voting “blue” states might be more ideologically sympathetic to President Obama’s strong carbon-reduction agenda than Trump-voting red states. However, what is striking, notes Brownstein, is the extremely tight alignment between states’ emissions and politics preferences. This alignment shows how very strongly economic self-interest shapes and reinforces ideology.
The New Yorker (Opinion): Rex Tillerson’s State of Denial
Is there such a thing as a non-denial denialist?
This question came to mind this week, when Donald Trump nominated the chairman of ExxonMobil, Rex Tillerson, to be the next Secretary of State. Several news outlets gave Tillerson credit for at least acknowledging that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, a fact that was already considered established science in the Victorian era. The Washington Post noted that Tillerson’s position — that climate change is not a “hoax” invented by the Chinese — is more nuanced than that of many other of Trump’s appointees, and “in the context of how Trump’s administration is shaping up on energy and environmental policy, could almost be called moderate.” The Times editorial board went so far as to praise Tillerson for having “reversed ExxonMobil’s long history of funding right-wing groups that denied the threat of global warming,” and suggested that he might “convince Mr. Trump not to pull out of” the Paris climate accord. All of which goes to show that Tillerson is smart enough to have positioned himself, and repositioned his company, so that there’s now at least confusion about where he stands. But you have to be pretty desperate — and at this point many people are — to take this as cause for optimism.