The Kardashian Index

Take a look at this graphic. It records the number of two somewhat related terms — climate change and food security — appear in Google searches.

GoggleTrends-climatechange+biodiversity

The data is for the number of searches over time presented as relative to the peak number of searches that in this case was for climate change in December 2009, the Copenhagen COP [out].

Now we have talked about these trends before [Climate change | Google trends #1 and Biodiversity | Google trends #2 ] and concluded that either everyone now knows all they need to about these terms and so has no further need for the Google Gods, or nobody cares.

What we need is something more positive, something trending in the right direction. All we have to do is add another term to climate change and food security.

GoggleTrends-climatechage+biodiversity+KimKardashian

Now the numbers are relative to a new peak for Kim Kardashian in June 2013, presumably because we wanted to know about her new beau.

The averages are meaningful here of course. Relative to that heady peak, the proportional averages mean that we need to know 30x more about Kim than the other two boring terms.

And we still want to know more. None of this ‘we know already’ about Kim for there is always something new to find out. People are still interested.

There is no doubt in my mind that the best source of information on how the world is travelling is to follow this Kardashian Index. It is, after all, going in the right direction — none of this decline or flat lining nonsense.

Governments, market analysts, even environmentalists need go no further than keep their eye on Kim’s search rankings to have a reliable, predictable and highly informative measure of the state of the planet.

And respect to Google for providing this index for free.

Ah, the depths to which we fall.

Postscript | I guarantee that with Kardashian as a keyword tag this post will receive orders of magnitude more views than any other on this blog… Thanks Kim.

Slow, slow, quick, quick | Postscript for the contentious mind

CO2 enrichment Cumberland Plain WoodlandA recent upbeat post on the importance of soil biology ‘slow, slow, quick, quick’ went by without comment.

Except that loyal readers wouldn’t imagine that Alloporus could really let a taxpayer spend of $40 million on infrastructure and operating costs of $1.5 million per year just for the CO2 for one experiment to pass without comment — especially when you look closely at the image to see that the patch of woodland is so small that the enrichment plots and controls will be subject to huge edge effects.

If significant funds are to be spent on a given research topic then there will always be those for and those against its import. On balance we could concede that understanding the effects of climate change on plant growth and ecosystem dynamics will be important. Findings will help lay the foundations for selecting the most effective responses to climate across ecosystems we rely on. We might say research on some of the more acute effects of climate change [temperature, severe weather, seasonal shifts] might yield better bang for buck, as would a focus on adaptation, but for the moment we could concede these points too.

When I visited the CO2 enrichment experiment at the Hawkesbury Institute of the Environment it was a windy day, the air was moving through the ‘cages’ freely and rapidly. We were told that high-tech control systems monitor wind and try to match the delivery of CO2 to maintain consistent enrichment levels. But I could not see it myself.

The experiment is sited in a small, naturally open patch of woodland constrained far more by moisture and temperature extremes than CO2, blitz occasionally by fire and with plant growth potential moderated by old soils. For me it was simply the wrong manipulation, implemented at the wrong scale and at a site too small for what was being tested.

So it’s not actually about the money. What seems unacceptable is the quality of the science.

Sounds crazy #5 | Carbon price forecasts

August 2013 is silly season here in Australia. We have a federal election in just a few weeks time and the inevitable merry-go-round of vacuous media grabs and absence of policy debate is upon us. It is actually rather depressing as the main parties jostle to hog the middle ground to spend money they don’t have whilst no one else can come up with anything better than “vote for me”.

It is also rather absurd. On the rare occasion when media do delve beyond the rhetoric, or for some unknown reason you dig yourself for evidence to help make a voting choice, what emerges are gems like this pre-election outlook from Treasury.  Somehow the economic boffins that work for the ministry have managed to predict that the carbon price that in Australia is currently fixed at $23 will first fall to $6.20 in 2014/15 [fair enough as the start of the flexible price period when the domestic scheme is pegged to the EU market has been brought forward a year] and then rise to $18.90 by 2016/17 reaching $38.0 by 2020.

Now we should remember that this is what is supposed to happen to a carbon price. The whole idea was that to ensure steady emission reduction the carbon market is capped so that supply is squeezed over time causing prices to rise. A rising price on carbon would encourage energy thrift and starts to make clean energy sources economically viable with the net effect of lower emissions. Except that the political will to set, stick to and steadily lower the cap has been conspicuously absent.

Alloporus borrowed a graph of the historical carbon price in the EU published by Point Carbon and appended the Treasury projections.

It looks like this:

CarbonPriceProjections

As regular readers will know Alloporus is no economist, but whilst $20 seems possible, $40 by 2020 is hugely over-optimistic. It would require a significant step change around 2015 to reverse a market that has a t best been steady but mostly fallen. Such a change would need considerable and coordinated global political will to achieve. No single nation would stick their neck out that far [probably why the Australian government linked the domestic scheme to the international market so as to neatly sidestep the pressure to go it alone].

Then consider that by 2020 we will have seen price shocks in oil [and possibly coal too] that, even if temporary, will have the required effect on emission reduction without the need for a separate policy. In other words fluctuations in energy needs in response to inevitable pulses in the global economy will allow the modest emission reduction targets to be met most of the time.

Of course politically it is best if the carbon price is low, but for any cap-and-trade policy to be effective the price needs to rise steadily. Alloporus suspects that the carbon price forecast from Treasury sound like some middle ground plucked from the ether for political expedience.

The craziness here is that a lot of money has been spent and committed to deliver emission reductions — a ‘clean energy future’ as the policy was tagged. Except that the cap-and-trade approach chosen only works if the price of permits [the carbon price] rose steadily over time. And this required that the market was manipulated buy controlling permit and offset credit supply. Now that governments have shied away from that part of the plan, the whole policy falls over and monies spent on free permits for exposed sectors and, in the case of Australia tax threshold adjustments and cash payments to households, turn into welcome handouts that have no impact on emissions at all.

$38.0 by 2020 is what they would like it to be, except wishful thinking cannot make it so. You actually have to implement the policy.

Soil carbon | What we think

I wonder what went through Steve Jobs mind just after the image of the iPad came into it?

Perhaps it was an original idea that formed in a flash of inspiration from the ether — the sort of thing that happens to imaginative types.

Or it could have been a steady accumulation of images, ideas and bits of less elegant technology that came at him from all and sundry that suddenly coalesced into something elegant.

Maybe it arrived as he peered over the shoulder of an Apple designer.

No doubt Wikipedia or the upcoming biopic knows the answer to what the origins were, but we can only speculate as to what he was actually thinking.

It was probably something like…

Hey, I’m really onto something here. Finally a device that everyone will want to have and fits our brand so well our competitors will just have to make copies. And hey, there’s big bucks in it.

You can bet he wasn’t thinking…

Oh boy, I have seen this all before. Crazy how it takes so long to get good ideas to stick, I mean I dreamt this little design up years ago. It will cost so much to develop that I can’t see anyone wanting to buy one from a store or even eBay — that is if the hardware people can even make the thing.

I reckon a big part of the reason Mr Jobs enjoyed so much success is that he didn’t ever think the glass was half empty.

And I don’t mean this in the ‘ra, ra, ra’ kind of can do attitude that Americans are so prone. I get the feeling that his was more a sense of knowing when the idea is right and that it would work.

Recently I attended an ‘Agriculture, Soil Health and Climate Change Forum’

organized jointly by the United States Study Centre, University of Sydney and the DIICCSRT [the Australian federal government department of many acronyms that includes the bureaucrats responsible for implementing climate change policy]. There were 80+ people present who all had more than a passing interest in promoting soil health. Some were just crazy passionate about it… and good on them.

Soil heath is a timely and critical topic. In many ways it is a ‘Jobsesque’ idea being simple, elegant, functional and ultimately something that we cannot live without. A global population that will rattle around 10 billion for at least half a century will go hungry if we stick with the current paradigm of soil as a place to put plant roots and inorganic fertilizer. The biology of soil is what gives its potential to sustain and provide, and whilst we do not fully understand why, managing for soil biology is the agricultural equivalent of an iPad.

So it was depressing [a carefully chosen word] to listen to an apologetic speech outlining how DIICCSRT, who as part of their atmospheric responsibilities also deliver the Carbon Farming Initiative, have failed to get soil carbon management onto its list of CFI offsets.

It wasn’t that there are technical challenges to soil carbon accounting for everyone knows there are. They are as fundamental as decisions to measure or model or even to go with simple activity reporting. They also involve gathering in uncertainty about what agricultural management does to soil carbon stocks [although here I believe we know more than we realize].

It wasn’t even that it has taken so long. We all knew it would.

What was so depressing was that the glass was half empty… and oh so hard to fill

Whatever Steve Jobs thought when the iPad first registered in his mind, you can be sure it was hugely positive.

Luckily the tone of the soils workshop was rescued thanks to a presentation from an overseas guest from the research arm of the US Department of Agriculture. His was a glass ready to be filled. He knew we had a problem with soil and that it was a big one. He knew that it was going to be hard to convince his research staff that they didn’t yet have all the answers and that the solutions would probably come from left field, possibly even from the ‘snake oil’ salesmen. It was going to be about going where we might not be wholly sure of ourselves because that was where the answers would be found.

He didn’t quite say, “boldly go”, but that was what he meant. I was hugely enthused.

It could be argued that we need both of these opposing attitudes to challenges. We need the naysayers to keep out feet on the ground and we need the ‘gung ho’ types so we can keep putting one foot in front of the other.

I think that we don’t yet know how to get the balance right and, in Australia at least, we are stuck. When it comes to environmental policy we have become paralyzed, exquisitely versed in stalling tactics and so fearful of innovation that we fear it like the devil. This is not good and may well be our undoing.

Mr Jobs would have shaken his head.

Carbon farming | when to rant and rave

carbon farming farmland

The other day I received an invitation from the Australian government’s Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education to a forum with the Domestic Offsets Integrity Committee (the DOIC). This is the committee that approves carbon accounting methodologies for the Carbon Farming Initiative (CFI) scheme that was touted as providing Australian farmers with the opportunity to earn carbon credits from land management change.

The invite was keen to point out that “there are now 16 methodologies available for farmers and landholders to undertake carbon offsets projects” and that “The CFI is a ground-breaking scheme offering Australian farmers and landholders the opportunity to earn carbon credits while potentially achieving environmental and productivity benefits”.

What to do?

My first rational thought was not to go. Why should I spend my own funds and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions by travelling from Sydney to Melbourne to attend a 2 hour discussion on a policy that so far has delivered nothing that a farmer could actually use. The 16 approvals to date are for methodologies related to capture of landfill gas [that most landfills had the infrastructure to do anyway], various approaches to growing trees that you cannot cut down, and avoided emissions from a few specialist activities such as piggeries. These have nothing to do with the bulk of real-world farming practices.

My instinct, however, was to attend and at some point in the proceedings stand up and bellow at the top of my lungs a string of obscenities to vent my frustration at what has been a slow and hugely inefficient process of bureaucratic numbness — not to mention the unnecessary reinvention of a wheel already fashioned by international carbon offset schemes.

Unfortunately such actions would only give me temporary relief and would be be swiftly followed by long-term personal damage. Even writing down my thoughts in this post is probably not very smart.

So instead of the rage filled rant, I will reply to the invitation politely saying, “unfortunately I am unable to attend”.

It is worth looking more closely at my frustration [and maybe at my copout].

The frustration

I have never been wholly convinced by the global approach to climate change policy.

I accept that 7 billion humans plus 10,000 years of agriculture and 200 years of global commerce have had an impact on the climate system and I know that we need to take some action.

What has always troubled me is the premise of the chosen policy that we can actually fix the damage we have caused simply by reversing our actions. As I have blogged before, King Canute really had a better chance.  That we can take an engineering solution as naive as emission reduction to a problem of this magnitude seems to be a scandalous inflation of our capability.

Does it also mean we going to fix Milankovich cycles by tweaking the tilt of the planet or take on the variation in the solar wind [both major climate drivers]? Craziness.

That said, emission reduction is prudent for two key reasons: 1) it will help economies transition away from fossil fuel energy sources to sources that are cleaner and less likely to run out and 2) in the short run will help make business more efficient. Both of these are important outcomes that have little to do with the climate.

What is missing from the policy is an understanding of the need to adapt to climate change particularly in the way we manage landscapes. Yes indeed, the very landscapes that supply almost all the food and water for all those people.

So for the CFI not to have methodologies that give farmers an opportunity to sequester carbon into soil, to rehabilitate vegetation in grazing lands, and to obtain co-benefits from more sustainable land management practices is a huge failing of the policy. And not least because these actions will also deliver adaptation as the climate changes.

So carbon, and by extension the CFI, is really about creating more sustainable and resilient landscapes and helping farmers leave behind unproductive practices  – and by the way, there is the potential for around 100,000,000 tCO2e per annum on the positive side of the national carbon account.

What is more, should carbon permit price track the international markets and come in below $10 tCO2e, land management practices that deliver carbon sequestration into vegetation and soil as well as avoiding emissions may still be cost-effective. Most land management activities sit towards the left of most cost-abatement curves and so are cheaper per ton of abatement than many of the engineering solutions.

The cop out

So why did I choose not to accept the invitation when it provided a great opportunity to scream and shout?

There is an element of shooting the messenger. Public servants are there to deliver the policy frame not necessarily to create it. It is likely that there are higher political forces that have chosen to slow down policy delivery and to steer away from the farming sector, higher than those charged with delivery.

Attending only to have a shout at the wrong people makes no sense.

There is also a feeling that attending would both validate a process that I do not agree and have little impact, particularly as providing feedback seems to have had little effect in the past. The system is still slow, lacks focus, and technical clarity.

An example from the many challenges faced by methodology developers is that the positive list cannot actually be a list of activities to take care of additionality if each methodology has to prove the validity of an activity already on the list. That negates the whole concept of a positive list approach [one tried and rejected by other schemes] seems to fall on deaf ears.

Ultimately though, I have folded and chosen not to point out the faults but to stay silent.

This does not make me feel any better.

Postscript

Whilst I was drafting this post I received n update from one of the major laws firms with an interest in the carbon market. Their take on the status of the CFI is quite contrary to mine — it seems that everything is dandy. In fact they must be drinking out of a glass so half full it’s overflowing.

If only I still had the energy to talk it up.

The heart of the matter

This article was written back in 2010 and was published online on The Climate Spectator. Nearly three years on it still makes fascinating reading as the rhetoric ramps up ahead of the federal election.

rocky shore NSWRecently the NSW Natural Resources Commissioner, Dr John Williams, hosted a workshop in Canberra on resilience thinking that was attended by a platoon of scientists, agency staffers and consultants, all concerned about the environment.

In his opening remarks, the Commissioner urged the participants to consider a simple enough question: What matters most?

A ripple went around the room as things that matter jostled for space in everyone’s head. No doubt thoughts of happiness, love, friendship, the mortgage and a few thoughts we don’t usually admit to arrived, and it was clear that there was not just one thought. The one thing that mattered did not appear instantly to everyone.

Caught as we are in the policy vacuum on climate change, with backflips and peculiar ideological positions to frustrate us, it might be useful to ask the same question of the climate change debate: What matters most?

Those representing heavy emitters will cry that exposure, unnecessary liability and uncertainty matter. Few of us like threats to business as usual. However, some exposed businesses have used climate change as an opportunity. We have all been offered the option to offset a flight or visit a carbon neutral office, where the most important thing is to be seen to be doing something good. Catastrophe can make for great PR, and so matters most, but for very different reasons.

Unless you install roofing insulation, climate change is of little consequence to small business. There is not much beyond the upward creep in the quarterly energy bill to keep your attention away from more pressing issues of cashflow, customers and the late arrival of a key staffer.

A couple of years ago, the general public in Australia thought climate change itself mattered most. They even elected a new government with a Prime Minister who claimed it was “the biggest moral challenge of our time”. Today polling suggests the majority see climate change as just another opportunity for politicians to renege on a promise. And a third of them think we should not pay a cent to fix it.

Climate scientists, at least those gathered under the banner of the IPCC, reached a consensus that greenhouse gas emissions matter most. Concentrations of gases that absorb reflected radiation, the atmospheric blanket that makes life as we understand it possible, were the key regulators of climate. Human activity was upsetting the delicate balance of greenhouse gas composition and we needed to stop that or risk catastrophic warming.

Emissions matter most because they lead to warming that puts more energy into the cyclical systems of atmosphere and ocean, changing the pattern of circulation, making it wetter, drier, and perhaps more stormy on an increasingly voluminous ocean. In short, having some very specific local climate effects.

The diplomats at the UNFCCC thought this mattered too, but not as much as the necessary diplomacy. So they negotiated at length to agree that net emission reductions matter, but that we need to negotiate some more to agree on the reduction targets and how to achieve them. Clearly, among the policy makers, it is debate that matters most.

Ask residents on the beach front at Byron Bay the question and it’s all about saving their homes from storms. They may not even know that warming will raise sea levels and may make some storm surges more acute, for it has always mattered that the ocean was only a wave away from your beachfront retreat. Save a thought for the 200 million citizens of Bangladesh on the Ganges delta who don’t even know that sea level rise matters most to them.

Irrigators along the Murray River in NSW who, despite having a legal license to extract water, have not seen any reach them for a long time, have another answer. What matters most to them is the real prospect of losing their livelihood altogether.

Clearly, there are as many things that matter most about climate change as if we had asked the question without the qualifier. Climate change is a threat and an opportunity, a challenge and a risk. For some it is real, but for most of us it is not the most important thought in our heads. So perhaps what matters most is not climate change at all.

Perhaps we have missed the real risk, the real challenge that we face, and the hint of what that is comes from all these specific concerns. What matters most is that we have the capacity to adapt and transform to a changing world.

It is critical that we give ourselves the flexibility to make our food production more efficient, ensure our environments will deliver all the services we take for granted and that our economic and social structures remain viable as they transition.

It also matters that we act on that capacity now, for the world is changing rapidly. The shifting climate just makes some of the inevitable the changes more acute and immediate. None of this should be a surprise, given that there are now close to seven billion souls trying to fix what matters most to them.

———

Here in April 2013 I am not sure if the timelessness of the sentiment in this article is what matters most.

Perhaps we should get our arses in gear.

TED | Alan Savory

CattleTED lectures are a neat idea. Somehow they have managed to legitimise thinking outside the box and I suspect we don’t fully appreciate how important this is.

Most ideas that stick come from our current paradigms for anything really new must be pretty special to succeed in a society dominated by commerce and naturally conservative mind-set. So ‘good on ya’  TED.

About a decade ago I met Alan Savory on one of his trips to Australia to promote his ideas on holistic management. It was an interesting encounter [for me at least] that took me back to my time in Zimbabwe in the late 1980’s and then to thoughts of what it must have been like to both wander through the bush and the corridors of parliament in the time leading up to Zimbabwean independence in 1980 as Alan Savory had done.

He claims in his book that it was a combination of his science training, days on end tracking in the bush, and his time in politics that brought him to understand the importance of intensive, timed grazing by larger herds for the health of our grazing lands. Now he has extended his idea as a solution to two huge global issues: desertification and climate change.

Check out his TED lecture, it starts slowly but is worth persisting to the punch line.

http://on.ted.com/Savory

The elephant in the bathroom may have farted

elephant02Well it would seem that somebody close to the policy makers might have noticed the elephant in the bathroom.

This week an article in the Financial Review talked of a carbon tax budget hole that could be $4 billion deep thanks to a carbon price that might not continue to rise after the fixed price period after all.

Blind Freddie can’t help but chuckle and the elephant’s stomach rumbles with contentment.

It seems that there has been some new modeling of the carbon price beyond the fixed price period on behalf of Australia’s Climate Change Authority. The numbers suggest a “fall from July 2015 to $10.72 a tonne”.

This should be no surprise given the current European market prices are hovering around $5 tCO2e — this difference from $23 per tCO2e and rising to the reality of current market price is the elephant standing quietly next to the bassinette.

Now if you are a government that has been struggling to get the balance sheet back in the black because it was one of the core things you promised to do, then $4 billion less revenue is a problem. Especially given that the carbon price policy was hugely unpopular in the first place and will continue to give you trouble in an election year.

If it was just a revenue shortfall [$10 instead of $23+ per tCO2e] that probably wouldn’t be too bad. Only the revenue is already either spent or committed, mainly to ease the pain for exposed industries and for consumers, making a market price dip in 2015 a double whammy.

Awkward for the Australian government but stayers among carbon traders in Europe are not too worried. The say it is just what markets do, they will show price volatility around long-term trends. And just now the price is low. Later it will rise again, not least because this is a regulated market designed specifically to manipulate credit supply to raise the price and reduce demand. Like all markets, success comes from the long play.

Then there is another thing that the elephant symbolizes.

Remember that the carbon price is for a permit to emit and fewer permits purchased mean fewer carbon emissions. This was the policy objective: to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases by making it more expensive to emit than the alternatives.

And as President Obama brings action on climate change to the State of the Union address, it will be hard to ditch the policy now. So here are a couple of options given we can see the elephant.

Ostrich option | Bury the report or, if the electorate cotton on, spin it like a fury.

After all 2015 is a long way off. There is plenty of time for anything to happen, perhaps even something positive. Remind yourself of the positivity of the ballsy carbon traders and wait. In the meantime, do whatever is possible to make the whole thing go away.

Be a honey badger | take hold of the policy, believe in it and shake it hard.

The idea of a carbon price was that it should deliver behavior change and make Australia less carbon intensive.  So embrace that and with the tenacity of a honey badger stick with it. Allow an aggressive permit allocation limit, ease the coupling to the EU carbon market by changing the proportion of credits emitters can source from overseas and explain why to consumers. There is no reason that the domestic market cannot have a higher carbon price than elsewhere other than the fear of ceding competitive advantage.

In short, show leadership.

Now there is a thing.

€0.40 per tCO2e | the elephant in the bathroom

Elephant-01I wonder what it would be like if there was an elephant in the bathroom given a  mature female African elephant weighs 2,000+ kg, stands over 2m at the shoulder and will drop 100 kg of dung in a day.

She is here folks, right here in the bathroom, the smallest room in the house. And she is so big that she could not hide even in her Majesties powder room.

€0.40 per tCO2e

There she is, wafting her trunk gently from side to side, chewing quietly on some acacia bark.

€0.40 per tCO2e

Can you see her yet? Did you hear her stomach rumble?

€0.40 per tCO2e

Oh yes, there she is. The market mechanism designed to make alternative energy sources more attractive by making greenhouse gas emissions expensive.

Remember, emissions are permitted but only so many of them and you need to buy a permit for some or all of them. These permits cost you money. You can buy offsets against those permits from energy efficient projects, even from projects that reduce emissions from land management, and these would be cheaper than the permits and so create an opportunity for trade.

Only to achieve the outcome of overall emission reduction the offsets cannot be too cheap, otherwise what is the incentive to change your emission profile? That, after all, is an expensive thing to do.

€0.40 per tCO2e

If you would like to read about how not to see this elephant, for after all an elephant in the bathroom makes taking a shower a challenge, try here

Time to save the global carbon markets

Climate change | Google Trends #1

You have to hand it to Google. They are just all over business development. They have found something that everyone needs, perfected it quickly and delivered it so effectively that nobody else can hope to compete.

Then whilst they continue to improve the core offering they find a great way to make money without most of their customers even realizing it.

Not resting on this success they invest in both the core offering and start to add bells and whistles. At some point along the way they get big enough and powerful enough from unprecedented popularity to start changing and then setting the rules [it used to be that a Panda was just an endangered species].

One of the many bells is Google Trends, a neat tool that spits out data on search behavior for a key word from 2004 to present.

Here is a graphic of what Google trends says about the keyword ‘climate change’

 

GTClimateChange

 

The numbers here are all proportional to the peak of search activity over the period — in this case the peak searching occurred in December 2009. So low numbers represent less interest in the term relative to the peak and trends in the data show if the term is growing or waning in popularity. It is also possible to pick seasonality or specific events that trigger a spike or trend in search activity.

What can we say about climate change?

On the graphic I have added a few select events, particularly the various UNFCCC Conference of the Parties (COP) that have been an end of year staple for a few years now

We didn’t really bother too much about it until An Inconvenient Truth tweaked our curiosity in 2006. Then we got really excited around the time of the COP in Copenhagen when then Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was calling climate change ‘the greatest moral challenge of our age’.

And what has happened since those heady days? Well, we have had three more COPs in Cancun, Durban and Doha with progressively more pathetic efforts at tackling the greatest moral challenge, accompanied by a downward trend towards pre-Al Gore levels of interest in the topic.

In a few more years we will have forgotten about it altogether.

Trends also suggests that regional interest in the topic now comes exclusively from the developing world with 8 of the top 10 countries by search volume from Africa. Only these are the places with the least resources to do anything about it.

Stats can also be a hoot. You’ll notice that after each COP there is a trough in search volume as everyone in the northern hemisphere tucks into their Christmas turkey and a regular annual dip in traffic in the northern hemisphere summer when its warmest!

No doubt that many equally critical challenges await and will trend upwards to their moment in the spotlight only to fall away again. Such is that nature of our attention span. It would just be nice if things went away because they were fixed.

On the upside, thanks Google for what will be endless hours of statistical fun.