In this second episode of our mini-series on climate science, we begin to dive a bit deeper on narrower subjects, starting with a look at how we take the Earth’s temperature, on land, on the sea surface, and deeper in the ocean depths. Along the way, we discuss temperature measurements at the heart of the “Climategate” nothingburger, the 2013 “Pausebuster” paper proving the supposed “pause” or “hiatus” in global warming trends didn’t actually happen, and a recent kerfuffle over that paper. We also find out if the melting of permafrost and undersea methane clathrates could lead the planet into runaway global warming, and discuss some research on the net emissions effect of switching from coal to gas in power generation, including the thorny issue of fugitive emissions from natural gas production and distribution. And finally, we’ll take another look at the question of decoupling economic growth from energy consumption, and how emissions are counted in the first place. After listening to this interview, you’ll be well-equipped to listen critically to both the latest scientific findings on global temperatures, and to the arguments of global warming skeptics. Plus, we’ll talk about the implications of Trump’s proposed budget, which would gut the very agencies that deliver these crucial scientific measurements.
Geek rating: 7
Guest: Zeke Hausfather is a research scientist at Berkeley Earth, a nonprofit research group, and a PhD student with the Energy and Resources Group at U.C. Berkeley. He was previously the VP of Energy Science at Essess, Inc, an energy efficiency startup that develops vehicle mounted thermal imaging systems, the senior climate analyst at Project Drawdown, the chief scientist at C3 Energy, and the cofounder and chief scientist of Efficiency 2.0, a behavior-based energy efficiency company. His research focuses on improving observational estimates of global temperatures, climate model/observation comparisons, and climate impacts of energy systems.
Recording date: March 17, 2017
Air date: April 5, 2017