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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Censoring science

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar on Wednesday became the first federal department head to issue long-awaited rules to protect scientific integrity, drawing praise from environmental and scientific advocacy groups who had grown frustrated waiting for White-House-promised action on the issue.
...
Jeffrey Ruch, who heads the watchdog group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, applauded Interior for issuing its new rules despite the delay of broader guidelines by the Office of Science and Technology Policy.
“Interior has been the poster child for manipulation of science,” Ruch said. “[The new policy] will have government-wide influence because if Interior can do it, then anybody can do it.”
...
For years, Interior has been accused of putting policy objectives before science. An inspector general’s report in April declared that “the lack of a comprehensive policy leaves not only Interior, but those who rely upon its scientific information, vulnerable to tainted data and misinformed decisions.”


Interior sets rules for scientific integrity By Kim Geiger Tribune Washington Bureau

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In the year 2525

When this song came out, I thought we'd get this far.



I don't anymore.

Schwarzenegger tells it like it is.


Countdown


HT Whatshisname Climate Progress

Are you listening?




BRIEFING: Extreme Weather in a Warming World
From New York City to Nashville, Washington to Pakistan, 2010 has seen more than its fair share of extreme weather events. To probe the long-term trends of disruptive weather events in a world beset by climate change, Chairman Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and the Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming held a briefing to discuss these issues.


The briefing featured Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States, who discussed the historic floods that have displaced millions of his countrymen. The briefing also included top climate scientists.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A great disturbance in the force

How are you going to explain to your children why these animals are extinct in the wild?

Monday, September 27, 2010

Do you want to believe?



Article here

Today's press conference

UFOs eyed nukes, ex-Air Force personnel say-CNN



Update

"I've been asked about UFO's and I've said publicly I thought they were somebody else, some other civilization."--Commander Eugene Cernan, Commanded the Apollo 17 Mission. (LA TIMES, 1973) "At no time, when the astronauts were in space were they alone: there was a constant surveillance by UFOs."--


NASA astronaut, Scott Carpenter

From the X File Dept: The NASA Files

The Hard Way

If we fail to elect leaders who are willing to make hard choices reality will eventually step in and do it for us. 


Check out Part 1 - Kurt Cobb on Navigating Collapse (23 minutes) and Part 2 - Kurt Cobb on Alternative Energy & Climate Change (27 minutes) at Resource Insights

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Open letter to the world

I, like many others, see this time as an opportunity to be heroes.

We're not doing very well as a whole, but there are groups and individuals who are working the problem... ala Costner.

I hope technology will prevent us from going over the magic 2C... while we work at kicking the fossil fuel habit.

In the end, if we don't become people who see ma nature, and love and cherish her enough to live in harmony with her, it will be, at best, a siege.


We'll be in the history books folks... as heroes or fools. The choice is ours.

The girl who silenced the world for 5 minutes
Mark Hertsgaard names Generation Hot: Living through the next fifty years on earth

Storms

Storms of the unusual kind

Lest you forget, Pakistan is still flooding here and here

...the World Health Organization estimates that 150,000 people are killed by climate change-related issues every year, and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said that global warming poses as much of a threat to the world as war
8 ways climate change can kill you


Hurricane Igor made to Newfoundland!


Heard on PBS News hour
Parts of western Wisconsin and southern Minnesota were paralyzed today
after severe flooding. Remnants of Tropical Storm Georgette have dumped nearly a foot of rain this week. That sent rivers and streams rising out of their banks, washing out roads, and forcing hundreds of people to evacuate. The governors of both states have declared emergencies.
Actually Georgette is off the southern tip of Baja.


Lisa, who has been meandering around the Atlantic for weeks, has strengthened into a hurricane, again.



Financial Storm brewing


PBS talked to Greenspan about letting the Bush era tax cuts lapse.
JEFFREY BROWN: You don't?


ALAN GREENSPAN: I think it will have a negative impact. I'm not -- I don't deny that. This is a tradeoff between bad and worse...


JEFFREY BROWN: Bad and worse.


ALAN GREENSPAN: ... not between good and bad. In fact, I sometimes put it between terrible and catastrophic.


JEFFREY BROWN: Really, I mean, catastrophic?


ALAN GREENSPAN: Oh, indeed. I mean, we have never been in this position before. And you don't have any evidence that we're in control of the budget. There has been no cut that I can -- that I'm aware of in any significant program in recent years, either -- by any Congress.


You ever have a day when nothing went right? You had a dinner party planned and the sink clogged, the refigerator went on the friz and the car broke down? Well mankind is having one of those eras.

Rex Nutting has it right

The economy can’t grow forever
Some people are in denial. They believe that the Earth’s resources are limitless and that a bean stalk can grow to the sky. Or perhaps they know deep in their heart that we are on the road to an environmental and economic catastrophe, one that they think they alone will survive through wits, gold, and guns.
...
We can downsize the right way, or the wrong way. The right way is to voluntarily rearrange our priorities so we don’t consume more than the Earth can produce, but to do that some of us will have to sacrifice and we’ll all have to share the only planet we’ll ever have. We’ll have to consume to live, not live to consume.


The wrong way is Malthus’s way: War, famine and plague.


Neither way will be easy. Nothing is more important.
Bravo

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Playing God with the planet.

...
Removing carbon from the atmosphere would help the ocean acidification issue, but the most commonly discussed method for doing this is ocean fertilization. This involves adding nutrients to the ocean to induce phytoplankton to bloom and suck carbon out of the atmosphere. The phytoplankton would then die and sink and take their carbon to the deep sea, there to be stored forever. At least, that’s the idea.


Some kind of geoengineering may very well be part of the solution to our climate woes. As Goodell points out, we are currently geoengineering the planet by accident – changing the albedo and adding all kinds of things to the atmosphere and warping the entire water cycle. However, we got ourselves into this mess by doing irreversible things to the planet without adequately considering the cost. Ocean scientists need to be at the forefront of geoengineering considerations, making sure that decision makers don’t forget about the health and welfare of 70% of the earth’s surface. And hopefully in the future, that will include participating in meetings like Future Tense.


Why ocean scientists can’t ignore geoengineering

A Future Tense Event: Geoengineering


Very scary stuff!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Heroes or Fools

In July of this year, Lloyds of London issued a white paper on the risks of peak oil, noting that we are headed toward a global supply crunch.1 In September, 2010, a paper was published in Energy Policy called “Global oil depletion: A review of the evidence.”2 It concludes, “A peak of conventional oil production before 2030 appears likely, and there is a significant risk of a peak in oil production before 2020.” In other words, the world’s conventional oil production may start declining in not too many years.

It seems to me that if we are in fact reaching limits with respect to oil supply, this should be of considerable concern. We have a financial system that demands economic growth, for reasons that will be discussed later in this paper. At the same time, as we approach limits with respect to oil production, the ability of the world’s economy to grow becomes constrained, because in order for economic growth to occur, we will need to do more and more, with less and less oil.
The conflict of these two forces – a need for economic growth in a world that can no longer provide growing oil supply – sets the financial system up for a systemic risk of collapse. Furthermore, there is significant evidence that the financial problems of 2008 were early signs of this systemic risk affecting the financial system. If oil supply should actually begin to decline in the future, we can expect financial problems of 2008 to return and worsen.
Systemic Risk Arising from a Financial System that Requires Growth
in a World with Limited Oil Supply (The Oil Drum)



When coupling the peak oil crisis with the climate change crises, we must conclude that we are fools and therefore hosed or we will rise to the challenge and be seen by history as extraordinary heroes.

Reboot

...
But it may be time for some world leader (President Obama?) to cut to the chase and say, from the outset, that propelling meaningful action to constrain emissions in the middle of a global growth spurt (and a lingering financial mess) requires a fundamental reboot.


The meetings of major emitters, first conceived under President George W. Bush and built on by Obama, are a smart step, but without more concrete goals and deadlines they, too, threaten to dribble off to inconsequentiality.


In the meantime, it’s probably wise to split the climate issue into its component parts — for instance pursuing international partnerships for energy innovation and building resilience in vulnerable places to any climate hazard. Trying to hash out such initiatives in one forum is simply impossible.

Get Used to ‘Soft’ Climate Diplomacy

Reboot. Exactly the right word for our times.

Carbon Capture II

To make the CO2 bricks, Belcher and her graduate students modified baker's yeast to express genes that are normally found in sea creatures like abalones, which make hard carbonate shells. Carbon dioxide is bubbled into water, and then combined with mineral ions to make solid carbonate materials. Enzymes in the yeast help the mineralization process.


The process can produce two pounds of carbonate for every pound of captured CO2, according to MIT.
New Process Uses Genetically Modified Yeast to Turn Carbon Dioxide Emissions Into Bricks for Construction

Let's see... we need to pull ~32 gigatonnes per year out of the atmosphere to remain at ~390 ppm... that's 70400000000000 pounds of bricks a year, providing we continue emissions at today's rate.

Related post
Carbon Capture

The 40 Year Lag

In the movie The Age of Stupid, the 40 year lag time between the CO2 being emitted and the climate reaction was mentioned. I did a few minutes of googling but couldn't find anything to back that up.
Skeptical Science contributor  Alan Marshall has posted the science behind the 40 year lag
...
The estimate of 40 years for climate lag, the time between the cause (increased greenhouse gas emissions) and the effect (increased temperatures), has profound negative consequences for humanity. However, if governments can find the will to act, there are positive consequences as well.
With 40 years between cause and effect, it means that average temperatures of the last decade are a result of what we were thoughtlessly putting into the air in the 1960’s. It also means that the true impact of our emissions over the last decade will not be felt until the 2040’s. This thought should send a chill down your spine!


Conservative elements in both politics and the media have been playing up uncertainties in some of the more difficult to model effects of climate change, while ignoring the solid scientific understanding of the cause. If past governments had troubled themselves to understand the cause, and acted in a timely way, climate change would have been contained with minimal disruption. By refusing to acknowledge the cause, and demanding to see the effects before action is taken, past governments have brought on the current crisis. By the time they see those effects, it will too late to deal with the cause.


The positive consequence of climate lag is the opportunity for remedial action before the ocean warms to its full extent. We need to not only work towards reducing our carbon emissions to near zero by 2050, but well before then to begin removing excess CO2 from the atmosphere on an industrial scale. Biochar is one promising technology that can have an impact here. Synthetic trees, with carbon capture and storage, is another. If an international agreement can be forged to provide a framework for not only limiting new emissions, but sequestering old emissions, then the full horror of the climate crisis may yet be averted.


Spreading the Word
The clock is ticking. All of us who understand clearly the science of climate change, and its implications for humanity, should do what we can to inform the public debate. I wrote the original version of this article in February 2010 to help inform the Parliament of Australia. The letter was sent to 40 MPs and senators, and has received positive feedback from both members of the three largest parties. To find out more about this information campaign, and for extensive coverage of the science of climate change and its technological, economic and political solutions, please visit my web site at climatechangeanswers.org


Read the whole thing.

.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Why this blog?

There are tons of blogs that report current events which highlight the problems we face.
There are blogs that report the economic dilemma we're facing due to the financial markets.
There are blogs about peak oil, that warn us of the consequences of expensive oil
There are blogs that warn us of the consequences of over population.
There are blogs about pollution.
There are blogs about conservation.
There are blogs about anything you can think of.

I want to talk about how all the problems listed converge into a perfect storm. That we the people are too broke and too stressed to invest what we must to save ourselves. That we the people have options. That we the people are not powerless.

I need your feedback. I need your ideas. I need your stories. Will you help?
BTW I'd like to inject some humor too.

Good discussion going on over at Climate Progress

Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter Future [Not!]

I am having trouble finding words for the pictures in my head.
Here are the pictures
Cities A, B and C show sharp declines in population.
Cities D, E and F show huge increases in population. All the people from A, B and C have moved to D, E and F because of drought, floods whatever... and lack of resources.
What's that going to do to the availability of resources in cities D, E and F? How's the infrastructure going to handle the sudden influx? Where will these people live? How are the current residents going to feel about the stress these migrants are putting on their neighborhoods?


There are many novels with this theme, but one of the best is Lucifer's Hammer
There's a couple of SciFi movies too: Waterworld and Mad Max.

Pseudoscience debunked.

A coalition of leading climate scientists yesterday filed a 48-page document to the US Congress refuting an attack on climate science made earlier this year by the Ukip deputy leader, Lord Christopher Monckton.


The detailed rebuttal addresses nine key scientific claims made by Monckton, a prominent climate sceptic, to a house select committee hearing in May. It includes the responses of 21 climate scientists who variously conclude that Monckton's assertions are "very misleading", "profoundly wrong", "simply false", "chemical nonsense", and "cannot be supported by climate physics".


Monckton, a former journalist and policy adviser to Margaret Thatcher, who has been the deputy leader of the UK Independence party (Ukip) since June, was invited by the Republican party to give evidence to the house select committee on energy independence and global warming.
'Chemical nonsense': Leading scientists refute Lord Monckton's attack on climate science

Ah, the Republicans invite a journalist to teach them about climate change. Monckton is also a well know climate science 'skeptic'.
Monckton has been among the most persistent and vociferous of critics, labelling climate science as the "largest fraud of all time" and arguing that it is being used to establish a "new world government".
How rational is it to believe that 97% of all climatologist studying climate change and virtually every government on the globe are colluding to take over the world by hoaxing the poor gullible planetary inhabitants with bogus climate change?

Here are the top 10 denialists

I would find them amusing if they had no influence. How tinfoil hat types like this can be seen as credible by anybody is scary. Oh, and guess who'se financing them?

Please listen to this:

Abraham Presentation

Meetings meetings meetings

This week 17 nations will meet in NY to dither over how they can avoid committing to anything to save the planet (snark)
They'll do the same thing in Geneva later this month, Tianjin China in October and Cancun in November.
World powers to tackle climate amid skepticism

In this case the skepticism isn't about whether AGW is happening.  It's about whether the world's governments will be willing to do anything about it.

Reminds me of the old joke
"We'll continue to have these meetings until we figure out why nothing is getting done"


Meanwhile northern India is experiencing floods from unusually heavy monsoons.
India floods leave 2 mln homeless, destroy crops
I know somebody somewhere is keeping track of the annual death toll due to floods, but I can't find it.
This is cool though


Words words words
The Millennium Development Goals remain as good an organizing framework as we have for how to meet the shared and urgent needs of people everywhere.


But we must look beyond 2015. To ensure that our achievements are enduring and sustainable, we must increasingly consider the growing threat of climate change in our development policies.

Climate Change Threatens to Undermine Progress on Development

They have a good pitch. But no ball.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Tough Realities

Man has never lived a sustainable lifestyle. Is it in our DNA to grow and consume until we've exhausted the resources? We've protected ourselves from most of the natural forces that would keep our populations at a sustainable level. In the past, the civilization might collapse, but the people moved on to a new area to exploit. Now we're out of room. There's nowhere to go.


The good news is that globally we may reach zero population growth by 2080. The bad news is that we will have to stuff a couple billion people into an already crowded and resource exhausted world.


Most people have not considered what a decreasing population growth means to our economy and lifestyle. As birth rates drop the population ages. The ratio of workers per retiree drops. Here in the US that ratio is projected to be 2.1 by 2040 (at current retirement age).


An aging population means that health care costs rise. It is expected that health care costs will consume 20% of the GDP by 2019. As of 2002, those over 65 (13% of the population) consume 36% of every health care dollar. It is clear that ratio cannot hold when 30% of the population is over 65.


The recent economic meltdown has reduced the older worker's ability to finance his/her own retirement. Many had counted on their home equity, which disappeared.


The national debt is $13 trillion and the annual deficit for 2010 is projected to be $1.5 trillion.


There are some tough realities to face here. We cannot continue on the path we're on.

  • Young people cannot count on Social Security and Medicare. Like my farmer grandfather, they need to save for their retirement, while still being stuck paying the SS tax.
  • We will need to pay higher taxes
  • We cannot pay tens of thousands of dollars in health care to provide a sick person an addition month of life. We will have to calculate bang for buck. I don't know whether we're up to that.
  • We will retire later and later until we really don't retire at all. We may change what we do, but we will continue to produce as long as we're physically able.
  • We will need to improve productivity due to a shrinking workforce.
  • We will need to reduce our standard of living.

So we see that only one component of the current convergence of crises will cause significant changes to our way of life.

On the brighter side:
How to Shrink a City

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Collapse

I just watched NatGeo's Collapse. Fabulous. They covered almost everything that our generation is facing:
  • Over population
  • Peak Oil
  • Water shortages
  • Climate Change
All these challenges are converging right now. It's up to us whether we follow our instincts to expand and grow until our resources are gone, or learn to live in a sustainable society.


Collapse Based on the Book by Jared Diamond

Stop the world! I want to get off!

Inhofe as chairman of the of the Environment and Public Works Committee?
His top priority, he says, is to stop "wasting time" on global warming hearings and get down to business on issues he says have been neglected, like overseeing U.S. EPA and passing major transportation and water infrastructure bills.


"We haven't really been doing anything because they've been wasting all of our time on all that silly stuff, all the hearings on global warming and all that," Inhofe said.
Sen. Inhofe Confident He'll Be EPW Chairman After Midterm Elections


A must read collaborative post by Climate Progress and Skeptical Science:

A detailed look at climate sensitivity
Debunking the dangerous anti-science fantasy of the 'lukewarmers



Dumb de Dumb Dumb
Any scientist who has not sold his soul to the environmental movement will tell you that the reason that greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide (CO2), do not cause any warming is due to the fact that they have to conform to the laws of thermodynamics. The first law states that “energy can be neither created nor destroyed. It can only change form."
No science, fake science, and the destruction of the nation


Sorry, I thought this was so funny!

HICD = Human Induced Climate Disruption... like it?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Have you heard?

Concerning the Hirsch report

[oil man] - What happened after you published your 2005 report on ‘peak oil’ for the US Department of Energy (DoE) ?
The people that I was dealing with said : « No more work on peak oil, no more talk about it. »


People that were high in the administration hierarchy ?
The people that I was dealing with were high in the laboratory level. They were getting their instructions from people on the political side of the DoE, at high levels.
After the work we did on the 2005 study and the follow-up of 2006, the Department of Energy headquarters completely cut off all support for oil peaking and decline analysis. The people that I was working with at the National Energy Technology Laboratory were good people, they saw the problem, they saw how difficult the consequences would be – you know, the potential for huge damage – yet they were told : « No more work, no more discussion. »


That was in 2006, under Bush administration. Has anything changed with the Obama administration ?
It has not changed. I have friends who simply won’t talk about it now. So I have to assume that they are receiving the same kind of instructions.
Peak oil : “A conspiracy to keep it quiet” in Washington, says Robert Hirsch
Interview with Robert L. Hirsch (2/2)


 
HT The Oil Drum

I'm not big on conspiracies... but this has me going a bit.





Google it yourself. It's scary

40 years of clean air progress

To this I can attest personally. In the 60s and 70s a trip to LA meant an asthma attack. The air was brown, and you couldn't see the mountains just a few miles away.
Now I live here (behind the Orange Curtain) and I can see the mountains clearly almost every day, and if there is a mist, it's white, not brown. No more asthma either.


Dealing With the Issues of Nuclear Energy by Steven Chu


The old time environmentalists will have to make peace with nuclear power.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Kite Power





We've gone full circle. Ben Franklin is smiling.

A Nobel prize doesn't make you a climatologist

The bottom line? The predispositions within us, which are amplified these days by polarized media and politics, almost guarantee that even “ perfect information” on climate will never magically galvanize the kind of response that would be required to decarbonize human energy choices even as human appetites and numbers crest.
The Nobel Divide and the Climate Divide
ANDREW C. REVKIN
Depressing

This from a Nobel prize winning physicist

The geologic record as we know it thus suggests that climate is a profoundly grander thing than energy. Energy procurement is a matter of engineering and keeping the lights on under circumstances that are likely to get more difficult as time progresses. Climate change, by contrast, is a matter of geologic time, something that the earth routinely does on its own without asking anyone’s permission or explaining itself. The earth doesn’t include the potentially catastrophic effects on civilization in its planning. Far from being responsible for damaging the earth’s climate, civilization might not be able to forestall any of these terrible changes once the earth has decided to make them. Were the earth determined to freeze Canada again, for example, it’s difficult to imagine doing anything except selling your real estate in Canada. If it decides to melt Greenland, it might be best to unload your property in Bangladesh. The geologic record suggests that climate ought not to concern us too much when we’re gazing into the energy future, not because it’s unimportant, but because it’s beyond our power to control
I guess he skipped climatology class the day they taught the carbon cycle and greenhouse effect (or maybe didn't take the class at all?). He's a quantum physicist. Oh, and this guy doesn't believe in black holes either. Kind of a kook I'd say.

Update
Scientists React to a Nobelist’s Climate Thoughts

Scopes Trial Redux

Essentially putting global warming science on trial, Texas officials on Thursday expanded their arguments in a lawsuit meant to prevent the federal regulation of greenhouse gases.
State hammers EPA on science of global warming


This ought to be interesting.

HT Cost of Energy
The record heat experienced in the United States in the summer of 2010 is no isolated event. Global temperature data compiled by NASA show that the first seven months of 2010 was the hottest such period on record. This comes on top of the warmest decade on record (2000-2009), which surpassed the previous record set by the 1990s, which itself supplanted the 1980s as the warmest decade on record at that time.

The Worst Summer Ever?

McKibben on the solar panels rebuff

It was all a little odd, to say the least. They refused to accept the Carter panel as a historic relic, or even to pose for a picture with the students and the petition they’d brought with them. Asked to do something easy and symbolic to rekindle a little of the joy that had turned out so many of us as volunteers for Obama in 2008, they point blank said no. In a less than overwhelming gesture, they did, however, pass out Xeroxed copies of a 2009 memorandum from Vice President Biden about federal energy policy.
...
Actually, I’ll be surprised if the White House doesn’t put up solar panels within a year. But even if they do, that would just be the barest of beginnings. We’ve run out of spare decades to deal with climate change -- the summer’s events in the Arctic, in Russia, in Pakistan proved that with great clarity. I may be a wuss, but I’m also scientifically literate. We know what we need to do, and we will do it. Enthusiastically.
Notes on the Enthusiasm Gap


Well here's my idea:
We could go on strike. Stop buying anything but absolute necessities. Reexamine what's needed... do you need that iphone or blackberry? Do you need to eat out? Ever? Can you work from home? Carpool? All these things help us avoid lining the pockets of the big corporations that are currently in charge.  The economic recovery will stall, but perhaps it should be made to adapt to a new normal... one of sustainability, not growth.


Now here is a segment of the economy that needs to grow
THE global climate change industry is now worth more than $528bn, powered by China's rise as one of the top nations for climate revenues.
China powers booming world climate change industry

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Wish I understood this better

This paper will make the rounds again on all the blogs trying to diss global climate disruption. The work has been out for a couple of years... so it's not exactly breaking news.

A new version of the paper gets a big boost from a small but influential science journalism publisher today – the AAAS’s ScienceNow. Reporter Phil Berardelli doesn’t write it long, but long enough to get outside astronomers saying that the paper is legit. At issue, as he writes, is whether the extrapolation showing magnetic fields dropping in about 2015 below the minimum needed for sunspots reflects a very likely scenario. His hook is an update of the thesis, for an international virtual symposium, on line at the preprint site arXiv astro-ph.



This is a legitimate news topic. A decent chance that the Sun will moderate its overall output (which overall has positive correlation with sunspot number despite intuition that proliferation of big cool dark spots ought to dim a star), and thus counteract to some small or large extent the current warming driven by fossil carbon burning, merits full public airing. It sure would complicate efforts to get the world’s nations to drastically change their energy policies. A Maunder Minimum II could chill any chance for a carbon tax even if, when the minimum wanes, the climate-forcing rebound would cook us for sure. And anyway, ocean acidification would proceed apace.
...
The new paper, from a quick read, sees the anemic rise in sunspot number during the first phases of the 11-year solar cycle’s current iteration as evidence that whatever the trend’s fate, it’s not showing signs of stopping now. As it says, “It is important to note that it is always risky to extrapolate linear trends; but the importance of the implications from making such an assumption justify its mention.” That’s a heavily nuanced, if perhaps true, sentence. A reporter who sits down with, or just spends some time on the phone with these two to ask how they regard their paper’s role in political and ideological debates over global warming might get a terrific story.

One prediction seems safe: this series of ever-updated papers will get more press.
- Charlie Petit

AAAS ScienceNow: The way things are going, sunspots will disappear in five years and Earth might cool off.
Related post
Need Something Else to Worry About?




I will say this again... the Republicans in congress are a single organism. An X files fungus of immense proportions suffocating the democratic process. If they don't wake up and smell the climate change, they'll smother life on this planet as well.


Reaching at all
No, liberals did not ‘overreach’ on climate -David Roberts





Prop 23 and the Oil Companies (Legal Planet)
.It is frequently said that “the oil companies” are financing Prop 23. This turns out to be a bit of an overgeneralization. According to Greenwire,


While some companies are supporting Proposition 23, Shell Oil Co. opposes it, Chevron Corp. is officially neutral, Exxon Mobil Corp. and BP PLC have decided not to get involved and ConocoPhillips has yet to contribute. Three oil refiners — Valero Energy Corp., Tesoro Corp. and Koch Industries — have contributed most of the $8.2 million raised to support Proposition 23.
Shell Oil, in particular, deserves praise for its position. Shell’s climate change adviser has posted a lengthy critique of Prop 23. (As an aside, it was pretty cool to find out that Shell even has a climate change advisor who maintains a blog). He makes a very cogent point about the impact of Prop 23 on business:
Related posts:
Must defeat CA's Prop 23
Shell Oil (Tuesday)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Must defeat CA's Prop 23

In an e-mail letter sent Tuesday to members of the National Petrochemical and Refiners Association, Charles Drevna, the group's president, said passage of Proposition 23, the ballot initiative that aims to roll back the state's greenhouse gas reduction law, is key to stopping climate change laws in other states and would mean "the difference of life and death" for the oil industry.
Oil industry group blasts Schwarzenegger over climate change law

What's wrong with this picture?


"As worldwide population increases by 40 per cent over the next 40 years, sparsely populated Canada, Scandinavia, Russia and the northern United States will become formidable economic powers and migration magnets," states the UCLA summary of Smith's vision. "While wreaking havoc on the environment, global warming will liberate a treasure trove of oil, gas, water and other natural resources previously locked in the frozen North, enriching residents and attracting newcomers."
Climate change could make Canada's North an economic hothouse

Um,  oil and gas? for generating more CO2?
And he forgot to mention METHANE locked in the frozen tundra... a major feedback that will worsen global warming.


California for sale?
California Braces for Showdown on Emissions



Traditionally, public support for environmental measures suffers during tough economic times. Here in California, backers of the initiative have seized on that anxiety — which is particularly acute in this state, with its 12.3 percent unemployment rate — in search of a victory.


“I believe the battle over cap and trade in America is taking place in California on Nov. 2 of this year,” said Dan Logue, a Republican assemblyman from north-central California who wrote the ballot initiative. He added: “What we’re saying is, this is not the time for political correctness. This is a time for putting America back to work; let the experiments happen later.”
...
Early polling suggests that voters who know about the measure are evenly split.

Yet supporters said they were concerned that the proposition could slip through at a time when Democratic spirits are low. More significant is the question of how much more supporters of Prop 23 can raise to finance their campaign. Of the $8.2 million raised so far, $1 million came from the Koch firm, $4 million from the Valero Energy Corporation and $1.5 million from the Tesoro Corporation; both corporations are based in San Antonio.

Hope this catches on

Pioneers of the New Normal
These folks are turning lawns into vegetable gardens and organizing their neighbors to start pea patches and farmers markets. They're getting together with neighbors to swap preserves and skills, and to relearn the skills their grandparents had. They are protecting local resources--water, land, forests, and fisheries--that can offer sustenance into the future, and they are starting up energy and weatherization cooperatives.


They're paying off their debt, moving their money out of big corporate banks to local banks and credit unions, and supporting local businesses. As they do, they are freeing themselves from the global corporate economy that moved jobs overseas and fueled the speculation that undermined the real economy of jobs, goods, and services. These folks have chosen instead to use their resources to strengthen local economies and the small and medium-sized businesses that are most likely to create the new jobs of the next economy.


These are the pioneers of the new normal, and you can find them building the foundations of a hopeful future in urban centers, small towns and suburbs. Maybe you're one of them.

Related posts
Culturenet

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rob Dunbar: Discovering ancient climates in oceans and ice



TED

Cool it?

Cool It," like the Davis Guggenheim film "An Inconvenient Truth," acknowledges that global warming is happening and is a concern, but that is the only thing the two films agree on.

Timoner's documentary takes issue with what it considers to be the fear-based message in "An Inconvenient Truth" and does its part to discredit many of that movie's claims, including the amounts oceans will rise due to global warming, the loss of the polar bear population and the connection between Hurricane Katrina and global warming.

But, perhaps most importantly, the new film completely disagrees with the Al Gore approach of how to work on the issue. The film looks at the hot topic from a position of economics and opportunity cost. It suggests that the $250 billion dollars a year some environmental activists want to spend on global warming would not have a significant enough impact on climate change to warrant the expense. Instead, the film proposes that if these monies were spent on other issues like poverty, hunger and disease, the world would be able to do more good.
You can be the judge. The film already has distribution by Roadside Attractions with a proposed release date sometime this November.






Post by: CNN Entertainment Producer JD Cargill


Filed under: Toronto International Film Festival • movies
'Black Swan,' 'Cool It' stir up buzz in Toronto


OK, say that the scientist who are scared for our future are wrong.
We still can't ignore the fact that peak oil may have already occurred. Demand will exceed supply.  Alternative sources of energy will be required.
The  loss of sea ice in the arctic is fact, not a prediction and the peril the Polar bears and walrus face is tragic.
IMHO those who would reap profits  by creating yet another artificial debate,  about the consequences of dumping billions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere, are traitors to their planet, the environment and their species.


Consider these numbers: $350 million in net operating savings over the project lifetimes, 400,000 metric tons of annual greenhouse gas emissions, and more than 650 million kilowatt hours of electricity.


These are the astonishing savings unearthed by 51 EDF Climate Corps fellows working at Fortune 1000 companies this summer.
Energy Efficiency Sleuths Uncover $350M in Savings

And who put them in charge?
The head of the American Petroleum Institute, the largest U.S. oil and gas industry trade group, is pushing a proposal in Congress to block the Environmental Protection Agency from capping carbon dioxide emissions.
Washington bureaucrats should not decide the energy policy of the United States,” Jack Gerard, chief executive officer of the Washington-based group, said on a conference call with reporters today.
Oil, Gas Companies Back Effort to Bar U.S. EPA From Imposing Carbon Limits

Monday, September 13, 2010

Who's looking out for you?

A comprehensive Wonk Room survey of the Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate finds that nearly all dispute the scientific consensus that the United States must act to fight global warming pollution. In May, 2010, the National Academies of Science reported to Congress that “the U.S. should act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a national strategy to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change” because global warming is “caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for — and in many cases is already affecting — a broad range of human and natural systems.”
...
Remarkably, of the dozens of Republicans vying for the 37 Senate seats in the 2010 election, only one — Rep. Mike Castle of Delaware — supports climate action. Even former climate advocates Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) and Rep. Mark Kirk (R-IL) now toe the science-doubting party line. .”
GOP Senate Candidates Oppose Climate Science And Policy

Mke Castle was defeated by Christine O'Donnell so now no Republican candidates will be willing to support a climate bill.
Hopefully some of these people will be defeated. They're a kooky bunch.

Must see

Must see
http://testtube.nfb.ca/

I've seen this before (on TED I think) from a different scientist, but I like this a lot.

Fatigue


The San Bruno gas fire and the futility of harping on fossil-fuel disasters

So why aren't we sufficiently riled up to change the situation? One of the more persuasive theories is status quo bias. Psychologists find that when people are anxious (and nothing breeds anxiety like a recession), they cling to what they know, even if it's clearly problematic. Our fossil-fuel economy may be gasping, sputtering, and occasionally blowing up homes, but at least it's the devil we know, not some mysterious cleantech network of solar panels and smart meters and compact neighborhoods.

MSM failure:
Juan Cole: The media’s failure to cover “the great Pakistani deluge” is “itself a security threat” to America

Aid deficit
Suffering endured by flood victims cries out for a generous response

In this age of the global electronic village, it's hard to conceive that a natural disaster that has dislocated millions and caused billions of dollars of property damage could be out of sight, out of mind. Unfortunately, that appears to be the case with flooding in Pakistan that has taken a terrible human toll in the past few weeks.
Read the comments. Disgusting.

World economic forum urges leaders to act on climate change
The forum is the Asian version of the World Economic forum held each year in Davos - its theme this year is 'Driving Growth through Sustainability'.
 I guess they're seeing the effort to move toward sustainable energy as a growth opportunity, unlike the GOP here in the US.


A Vigorous Global Response To a Systemic Issue (Why is Climate Change so Different?)
...
Also, although the banking industry is powerful and may experience some short-term pain as the result of a regulation, no one is talking about getting rid of money and replacing it with something altogether different. But we are talking about stopping the use of fossil fuels to a large extent and moving in an entirely different direction. So it’s not too surprising that an international response to the financial crisis is a bit easier than the energy transformation required by climate change.


Still, wouldn’t it be nice to see a similar story like “Economic Regulators Agree on Global Response to Climate Change”? Not going to happen, I’m afraid, or at least, not anytime soon.

Aussie Population Growth Debate (HT Matt at The Oil Drum)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

This and that

San Bruno, CA 50 year old gas main explodes... killing at least 3.
And that without being stressed by storm, flood, heat etc.
How do you figure New York's century old sewer system is going to handle a hurricane?


Climate-proofing infrastructure



After seeing this The truth is getting lost in the Amazon
A warmist coup seems to have taken place on Amazon, the online bookseller, writes Christopher Booker



I checked, and indeed it looks like the tide is turning. I suspect the freaky weather of 2010 had something to do with it.



Check this out over at The Oil Drum



Human Resource Use: Timing and Implications for Sustainability




Huge Windstorm Spawns New Classification: 'Super Derecho'
Ma Nature has more in store for us I'm sure.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Carbon Capture

Invisible carbon pumps
A group of oceanic micro-organisms just might prove a surprising ally in the fight against climate change


UNDERSTANDING how the oceans absorb carbon dioxide is crucial to understanding the role of that gas in the climate. It is rather worrying, then, that something profound may be missing from that understanding. But if Jiao Nianzhi of Xiamen University in China is right, it is. For he suggests there is a lot of carbon floating in the oceans that has not previously been noticed. It is in the form of what is known as refractory dissolved organic matter and it has been put there by a hitherto little-regarded group of creatures called aerobic anoxygenic photoheterotrophic bacteria (AAPB). If Dr Jiao is right, a whole new “sink” for carbon dioxide from the atmosphere has been discovered.
....
Dr Jiao and his colleagues propose that AAPB, and possibly other, similar microbes, have a predominant role in pumping carbon into a pool of compounds that cannot be turned back into carbon dioxide by living creatures, thereby building up a large reservoir that keeps carbon out of the atmosphere. If that idea is confirmed, it will need to be incorporated into the computer models used to understand the Earth’s carbon cycle and its effect on the climate. But it also raises a more radical thought. The newly discovered microbial carbon pump could provide a novel way to extract CO2 from the atmosphere, should that ever be deemed necessary to combat climate change.
...
If AAPB could be recruited, they would provide an alternative way of getting the sea to lock up CO2. How that might be done is obscure at the moment, for the organisms are still barely understood. Moreover, there would surely be side-effects to stimulating their activity. Those side-effects, though, might be more bearable than the ones associated with iron seeding. Only further research can find that out.

Climate change is affecting the phytoplantion, which is one component of the AAPB food supply.
Declining algae threatens ocean food chain: study
Since 1950, phytoplankon mass has dropped by about 40 percent, most likely due to the accelerating impact of global warming
, they reported.

So here's a potential forcing, a feedback whatever you want to call it...where the warmer it gets the less effective a key natural carbon capture mechanism becomes.

DOE giving $575 million in carbon capture grants

Friday, September 10, 2010

RL Miller over at Grist

Stupid goes viral: Climate Zombies in IA, MO, UT, VT, and WA



I'm tracking Climate Zombies: every Republican candidate for House, Senate, and Governor who claims that global warming is a hoax, doubts the science of climate change, and wants a new Dark Ages for America.


Climate change denial is a cult plain and simple. The entire mime is to control the minds of the mindless.



On environment, Obama and scientists take hit in poll

Scientists themselves also come in for more negative assessments in the poll, with four in 10 Americans now saying that they place little or no trust in what scientists have to say about the environment.


I can't imagine people trusting politicians financed by Big Oil and Big Coal to protect the environment for their children. This Island Earth... sponsored by BP. Right.

Who're you going to trust?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Courage

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius -- and a lot of courage -- to move in the opposite direction." -Einstein

Energy: Reducing CO2 Emissions Will Be Harder Than You Think

TIME (blog) - Bryan Walsh


That's a lot of wedges and it means a lot of energy too. Hoffert estimates that maintaining global economic growth while keeping atmospheric CO2 concentrations below the magic 450 ppm number—which some environmentalists say is still too high—would require the production of approximately 30 terawatts of carbon-neutral power by 2050. (That's terawatt as in "one trillion watts," as in 826 times more energy than you'd need to send Marty McFly's DeLorean back to 1985.) But we have yet to produce a single terawatt of carbon-free energy, and given the gridlock in the U.S. over climate and energy policy, I can't say we're moving in the right direction either, and neither does Hoffert:

Broad investment will be crucial to enabling such basic research findings to cross the “valley of death” and develop into applied commercial technologies. Carbon taxes (1) and ramped-up government research budgets (2) could help spur investments, but developing carbon-neutral technologies also requires, at the very least, reversing perverse incentives, such as existing global subsidies to fossil fuels that are estimated to be 12 times higher than those to renewable energy (18). We have to stop marching the wrong way before we can turn around.





There are two types of economic growth 1) expansion: it gets bigger and 2)development: it gets different.

So I think we'll need numerous global transformations of culture and economy to save life on Earth... transform our get bigger economy into one that just gets different, and converting our energy production infrastructure (a large part of the economy obviously) to carbon neutral technologies.

We'll need millions of carbon capture devices installed too... only the technology is not there yet.


In addition the scientists are being optimistic about the consequences of having that much C02 in the air.
Dr James Hansen believes even our current atmospheric CO2 (388 ppm) is too high.





The right’s climate denialism is part of something much larger
Scientific claims are now subject to ideological disputation. Rush Limbaugh is telling millions of people that they've taken the red pill and everything they once knew and could trust is a lie. They've woken up outside the Matrix and he is their corpulent, drug-addicted, thrice-divorced Morpheus. What could go wrong?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

While there is still time

New post at The Cost of Energy



Over at Grist, Bill McKibben is asking for your input. He wants you to “think about the possibilities for direct action, and write them down and send them to us”. He offers some guidelines — think big, keep it legal, be mindful of costs and physical limitations (”we’re not going to have hundreds of people rappelling or scuba diving”), etc., all of which I agree with completely.

A call for direct action in the climate movement: we need your ideas

I commented both places with:




1 MSM continues to downplay the role of climate change in weird weather, present denialist opinions as if they were as credible as science, and ignore the plight of the victims thus far (i.e. millions of Pakistanis), so people really really don’t know what’s happening.
2 People are struggling to survive this ‘recession’
3 Voters are supporting people like Sharron Angle (stupid, gullible and/or inept electorate)

Not a chance that demonstrations will move them… none at all. (Been there, done that)

This issue needs to distance itself from a counter culture type revolution. It’s science… and the future of all life on the planet depends on action. The man on the street is confused by it, can’t understand the science, can’t get his arms around the magnitude of the problem and the herculean effort that will be required to mitigate it.
We need world leaders like Obama, the pope, etc. If Obama doesn’t get it, how can we expect Joe the plumber to?
Hansen included this letter in his book Storms of my Grandchildren:
http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2008/20080703_DearPrimeMinisterFukuda.pdf

I recommended sending a copy (hard or soft) to every world leader we can, and include a photo of our children/grandchildren.









Update

No letter is too long... include only the section Hansen included in his book


Finally, Prime Minister Fukuda, I would like to thank you for helping make clear to the other leaders of the eight nations the great urgency of the actions needed to address climate change. Might I make one suggestion for an approach you could use in drawing their attention? If the leaders find that the concept of phasing out all emissions from coal, and taking measures to ensure that unconventional fossil fuels are left in the ground or used only with zero-carbon emissions, is too inconvenient, then, in that case, they could instead spend a small amount of time composing a letter to be left for future generations.

This letter should explain that the leaders realized their failure to take these actions would cause our descendants to inherit a planet with a warming ocean, disintegrating ice sheets, rising sea level, increasing climate extremes, and vanishing species, but it would have been too much trouble to make changes to our energy systems and to oppose the business interests who insisted on burning every last bit of fossil fuels. By composing this letter the leaders will at least achieve an accurate view of their place in history.



BTW Hansen's book should be a must read for every high school senior



What about asking the ACLU to file a class action suit against big oil, big coal and even the government on behalf of everyone 10 and under?
That the defendants policies are denying future generations of the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness?