Saturday, April 30, 2011

Even The Weather Experts Are Shocked By Wednesday's Storms, Compare It To 1974 | Crooks and Liars

Even The Weather Experts Are Shocked By Wednesday's Storms, Compare It To 1974 | Crooks and Liars

This is not a political issue

The impact of the tornado swarms will not affect you differently if you are a republican or a democrat.
The flooding of the Mississippi will not damage the homes of liberals and spare conservatives.
The fires in Texas burn across political boundaries.

Death toll is over 300 and growing!!!!

We can't blame the current spate of tornado swarms on climate change.  These have happened before. But if they occur more often than they used to... then we can attribute them to climate change.

The exceptionally chaotic weather of  2010 is being followed by exceptionally chaotic weather in 2011.
Hello... this is climate change!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Prophets of the Environmental Apocalypse | (A)theologies | Religion Dispatches

Prophets of the Environmental Apocalypse | (A)theologies | Religion Dispatches

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

4 Degrees Hotter: Will This Be Our Future Climate?

4 Degrees Hotter: Will This Be Our Future Climate?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Mark Hertsgaard and James Hansen: Adapting to Climate Change Now

HT paulm

Really good, watch the whole thing. Toward the end Dr. Hansen discusses nuclear power. He said everything I've been saying. Thanks Jim!

Detroit's experiment

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

We should keep an eye on how well this works... because climate change will force many cities to relocate people due to rising sea levels.

Big E, little e

I have felt left out before, and it hurt... but this time, I am not hurt so much as alarmed.

I would not be welcome in the Environmentalist crowd. I do not subscribe to their creed, nor am I willing to be swayed by their dogma.
To an Environmentalist, nuclear power is dirty dirty dirty. It is something to be despised, and use of it opposed with passion.
A bona fide Environmentalist is left of liberal, and has an abiding hatred for anything even remotely associated with Ayn Rand.
A big E Environmentalist believes that the technology already exists to replace existing fossil fuel generated electricity with solar, wind and other renewables... and that we can do it in time to avoid catastrophic global warming.
A big E Environmentalist seems to be playing a zero sum game... that talking about adaptation should be avoided because you should be talking about mitigation. Nor should you talk about carbon capture... I haven't figured out why for that one yet.
A big E Environmentalist has a strict form of PC. Maybe call it EC.

A little e environmentalists looks at what's rational, reasonable and scientifically sound.
An environmentalist doesn't let personal politics cloud their view of what's needed to protect natural resources. Well, at least they try!  OK... little e environmentalists are like a herd of cats.

There currently is no workable plan to save humanity from climate chaos. We need one. A Global Plan.  A reasonable and workable Global Plan will include nuclear power as a bridge to get us off of fossil fuels.
It may contain provisions for geoengineering. It certainly will address adaptation. Without carbon capture, an evolving and immature technology,  we are likely to go over the 2C threshold.

Will Environmentalists oppose such a plan? I fear they might, and that's what alarms me.

Meanwhile the tornado swarms in the midwest are historic, as is the drought and fires in Texas.
2011 is looking like it's going to compete with the chaos of 2010.

Here's an excellent opinion piece that says it better than I can:

For the green movement, which is often justifiably accused of making the perfect the enemy of the good, having to confront real-world choices about energy technologies is painful. Most environmentalists assert that a combination of renewables and efficiency can decarbonize our energy supply and save us both from global warming and the presumed dangers of nuclear power. This is technically possible, but extremely unlikely in practice. In the messy real world, countries that decide to rely less on nuclear will almost certainly dig themselves even deeper into a dependence on dirty fossil fuels, especially coal.

In the short term, this is already happening. In Germany—whose government tried to curry favor with a strongly anti-nuclear population by rashly closing seven perfectly safe nuclear plants after the Fukushima crisis began — coal has already become the dominant factor in electricity prices once again. Regarding carbon dioxide emissions, you can do the math: Just add about 11 million tons per year for each nuclear plant replaced by a coal plant newly built or brought back onto the grid.

In China the numbers become even starker. Coal is cheap there (as are the thousands of human lives lost in extracting it each year), and if the hundred or so new nuclear plants previously proposed in China up to 2030 are not built, it is a fair bet that more than a billion tons can be added to annual global carbon dioxide emissions as a result.
Why nuclear power is still a good choice

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Water wars, setting the stage

"Whether China intends to use water as a political weapon or not, it is acquiring the capability to turn off the tap if it wants to — a leverage it can use to keep any riparian neighbors on good behavior," says Brahma Chellaney, an analyst at New Delhi's Center for Policy Research and author of the forthcoming "Water: Asia's New Battlefield."

Analyst Neil Padukone calls it "the biggest potential point of contention between the two Asian giants," China and India. But the stakes may be even higher since those eight Tibetan rivers serve a vast west-east arc of 1.8 billion people stretching from Pakistan to Vietnam's Mekong river delta.

Water wars? Thirsty, energy-short China stirs fear

As climate change causes these rivers dry up what's going to happen here?

Midwest twisters

When the storm count is finalized, this will likely be an historic tornado outbreak for North Carolina," said CNN meteorologist Jacqui Jeras. "It is quite unusual to have this many supercell tornadoes of this intensity strike the area."

At least 40 killed in U.S. storms, as many as 14 in one NC county

While twisters are common in these areas, this was the worst they'd seen in decades.
Climate change means this will eventually be the new normal. How are we going to deal with that? Will people move away from Twister Ally?

This mid-April 2011 tornado outbreak is likely to rank among the largest tornado outbreaks in history with 241 tornado reports.

HT Climate Chaos via Facebook

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Learn from history

Not for the feint of heart!!

The Great Famine

Learn from history. Or repeat it!

This is what we will see again if we do not deal with climate change... only maybe there will not be a Hoover to save anyone... maybe there won't be anybody to document it, maybe, if we get to  this point, we will have passed the point of no return.
It's up to us!


The price of oil at over $100/bl is the new normal.
Everything will be more expensive and none but the rich will continue to have the money to pay for all the stuff we're used to having.
Meaning most of us will buy less stuff.
Meaning the economy can't grow.
Continued high unemployment, concurrent with stress over government deficits.
It won't get better. Yes, maybe a few blips, but the long term trend is decay of the foundations of our civilization. Climate change will contribute more and more to this process of decay.

Unless (we US) voters get the climate zombies out of government and start to invest in a new energy system.

Jeremy Leggett talks about Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the implications for business at the Greenlinks event in Hereford, 8 Feb 2011

The above is newer, but poor quality and it cuts off...
Here's a better one, but old:

It isn't hopeless yet... but close

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Food insecurity

"The rain patterns here have really changed, it's different from the old days when you would be sure of a bumper harvest after the rains," says 70-year old Haruzive Gunge, of drought-prone Chivi District of Masvingo Province, 350 km from Zimbabwe's capital, Harare.
Changing weather patterns and increased frequency and intensity of hazardous events are overwhelming traditional coping strategies evolved over generations.
Zimbabwe: Regional Food Security Under Threat

So you think it's not reached here yet?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports that more than 6 million seniors nationwide are food insecure.
Hunger an issue for state's elderly

You will be able to get food if you have the money for a long time.  As conditions worsen it will take more and more money, as climate change  renders previous bread baskets into deserts, or swamps. Eventually it will impact us all. Yes, unless you are very very old, you will see this. How bad it gets depends on our leaders. I'm not optimistic.

According to Michael J. Roberts, assistant professor of agricultural and resource economics at North Carolina State University, computer models suggest that average global temperatures will rise enough to cause severe weather extremes that could cut yields by 20 percent for major crops such as corn and soybeans for the period 2020-2049.

That could happen even with marked reductions in emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide (CO2), he said.

If those emissions remain on a “business as usual” path, Roberts said, the yield reductions could be as much as 80 percent for the period 2070-2099.

Warming climate could cause reduction in U.S. crops

All this will be occurring as governments enact austerity programs to deal with deficit spending and debt. The most onerous elements of these programs fall on the poor. But as commodity prices rise, we will all become poorer.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Scientists Often Pigeonholed By Political Debates

This was hard for me to listen to.  Watts work essential? I disagree!  Also blaming scientists for loss of credibility? Not politicians?
Muller evidently didn't hear about how the Bush administration tried to silence Hansen!

So folks, remember, the ice is not melting! The ocean is not getting more acidic!
All is well, now go back to sleep.

Monday, April 11, 2011


J. SCOTT ARMSTRONG rebutting Krugman
We identified 26 analogous situations, such as the alarm over mercury in fish. Government actions were demanded in 25 situations and carried out in 23. None of the alarming forecasts were correct, none of the interventions were useful, and harm was caused in 20.
A Forecasting Expert Testifies About Climate Change

Emphasis mine. No links, no evidence... nothing to support that outrageous claim. I'm looking for documentation on the efficacy of the EPA regulations.

However there's this to refute it.
In America one-in-six children born every year have been exposed to mercury levels so high that they are potentially at risk for learning disabilities and motor skill impairment and short-term memory loss. That type of mercury exposure is caused by eating certain kinds of fish, which contain high levels of the toxin from both natural and man-made sources such as emissions from coal-fired power plants. One government analysis shows that 630,000 children each year are exposed to potentially unsafe mercury levels in the womb. If the government and its scientists know about the mercury problem, why do so many people continue to be poisoned?

In February 2004, a new analysis by the Environmental Protection Agency revealed that "about 630,000 children are born each year at risk for lowered intelligence and learning problems caused by exposure to high levels of mercury in the womb," nearly double the previous EPA estimate.

Looks like regulation is not doing enough:

Why is that relevant to this blog? Because some in congress are trying to castrate the EPA, which is trying to limit CO2... and if they succeed, it may put civilization at risk

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Totally hooked

Live video by Ustream

Decorah Eagles

What is needed is the truth

What is needed is perspective. Nuclear energy is not entirely safe, as Fukushima clearly shows, even if the current radiation-related death toll is zero and will likely remain so. But coal and other fossil fuels are far, far worse. And insisting only on renewables risks worsening global warming as an unintended consequence. We need a portfolio of clean energy technologies, deployed in the most environmentally responsible way. Above all, let us base our energy policy on a scientifically valid appreciation of real-world risk, and not on scare stories from the past.

Mark Lynas is the author of "Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet" and "High Tide: The Truth About Our Climate Crisis." He lives in Oxford, England. He blogs at
Why nuclear power is still a good choice

There are those who insist nuclear will supplant  renewable sources of energy, but I think, like the author above, that it is not a choice between nuclear and renewables, it's a choice between nuclear an coal. The reason? We have to build on the grid we have, and let it evolve to the grid we need for 100% renewables. We need a path to renewables, and nuclear is on that path.

I read one comment over at Grist claiming no amount of radiation is safe. This person likely has a very low opinion of the denier crowd (Climate zombies like WUWT). This same person is ignorant of the fact that we are constantly bombarded with radiation from natural sources.

In a front-page story at today's Washington Post, David Brown spotlights research on the comparative risks of nuclear and coal power. As Brown reviews, nuclear power is far less of a risk to public health than coal generation, and this difference is magnified when factoring in the health impacts of climate change. Yet despite the comparative advantages of nuclear power, both to human health and in tackling climate change, many liberal groups remain in strong opposition. In a guest post, risk communication expert and author David Ropeik reflects on the the role of ideology in shaping views of nuclear power and climate change. Both liberals and conservatives tend to deal with science-related information on the two topics in similar ways, argues Ropeik. Each tend to reject information that is contrary to their existing viewpoints-- Matthew C. Nisbet.
But the point here is not about nuclear power. The observation here is that our perception of risk is never a neutral unbiased view of the evidence. The psychology of how we perceive and respond to risk is an affective mix of facts and how those facts feel. And once we’ve made up our mind about a risk, Confirmation Bias takes over and we choose to believe the evidence that agrees with what we already believe. True liberals, non-wobbly liberals, are supposed to oppose nuclear power. Period. True conservatives, for some reason, are supposed to deny climate change. Period. Find the facts that fit. Toss out the inconvenient truths. Personally denigrate anyone who disagrees, because other views are not just a different way of looking at things. They’re a threat. These are litmus test issues for who gets to belong to the tribe, and who doesn’t.
Nuclear Fear, Science, and Ideology

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Energy Disasters

How does the accident at the Fukushima nuclear complex in Japan rank among other energy disasters? It depends somewhat on who you ask. Chernobyl is routinely sited as the benchmark for the worst nuclear accident in history. And yet, nearly all of the major energy industries have experienced catastrophic disasters in recent memory.

We noticed two lists in particular recently. The "edgy" business site Business Insider compiled this list of 24 disasters that happened just within the past year. The green-friendly Mother Jones offers a slightly different spin, offering up its list of the biggest "Dirty Energy Disasters." Big Think is digging deeper, and more broadly, examining the worst energy disasters of all time. This was an admittedly tricky assignment. In ranking these disasters we had to consider multiple factors, but settled on two in particular: the number of human lives lost, and the scale of the environmental impact.

The Worst Energy Disasters of All Time | Top Five | Big Think

In my mind the worst energy disaster of all time is the release of teratonnes of CO2 over the last century, resulting in climate chaos. But that's me.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Two degrees is out of reach

This is the worrying news coming from the latest-generation of climate modelling efforts, just published in Geophysical Research Letters (abstract) by a Canadian team of scientists. The team use an Earth system model, fired up with a new generation of carbon emissions scenarios, to conclude that even limiting the 2100 temperature rise to 2.3C above pre-industrial would require “an immediate and rapid ramp down of emissions, followed by negative emissions (sequestration) in the later half of this century”.

As for the goal of holding “the increase in global average temperature below 2C above pre-industrial levels”, well, to get onto that trajectory we would have to take global emissions “down to zero immediately”, because the allowable cumulative carbon budget associated with that temperature target has already been emitted. Whoops! This is unfortunate because keeping below 2 degrees is now the world’s ‘official’ goal, which was agreed at Cancun amidst great celebrations (pdf here – see para 4). Now, in the cold light of day, it looks like we’re already too late.

Two degrees is out of reach

HT greendig via Twitter

Evidence of Chain reaction in reactor 1

Newly released TEPCO data provides evidence of periodic chain reaction at Fukushima Unit 1 from Fairewinds Associates on Vimeo.

there's more

HT The Oil Drum

Monday, April 4, 2011


... their prepared testimony still had some memorable moments. One was the lawyer’s declaration that the E.P.A. can’t declare that greenhouse gas emissions are a health threat, because these emissions have been rising for a century, but public health has improved over the same period. I am not making this up.

Oh, and the marketing professor, in providing a list of past cases of “analogies to the alarm over dangerous manmade global warming” — presumably intended to show why we should ignore the worriers — included problems such as acid rain and the ozone hole that have been contained precisely thanks to environmental regulation.
The Truth, Still Inconvenient

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The Climate Show 10 Special: David Suzuki

What he said

Lateline - 31/03/2011: George Monbiot joins Lateline

GEORGE MONBIOT: Well, it's a horrible, traumatic, extremely dangerous thing that's happening in Fukushima and it's devastating to the lives of many people living around there. But the extraordinary fact is that no-one has yet received what is believed by scientists to be a lethal dose of radiation. And what has happened is that that power station there has been hit by a force nine earthquake, a major tsunami. Those have exposed a horrendous legacy of corner-cutting, poor design and of course appalling siting on an earthquake zone and all sorts of horrible effects in terms of the necessity for evacuation and the spread of low-level radiation and the rest of it. It's about the worst possible nuclear catastrophe that you could envisage and it rates very high on the scale of nuclear disasters. And yet even so, the extraordinary case remains that so far - touch wood, and let's hope very much that this remains the case - no-one has yet received a lethal dose of radiation.

And that has forced me, really, to challenge myself and to re-examine my preconceptions and to think, well, this is a nasty technology. I don't like it at all. But if the result of the great switch-off of nuclear power in Japan, in Germany, possibly in China, possibly the US, possibly in the UK, many other countries in response to this disaster is to move more into coal burning, which already seems to be the case, then we're talking about moving from a bad technology to a much, much worse one. And faced with a choice between those two options, it has to be nuclear.

This is what I have been thinking! Coal vs nuclear, not solar or wind vs nuclear!!

Economic?? Give me a break. Yes, nuclear has failed to internalize all costs... but how about coal? Heh? We are on the brink of destroying our ecosystem because we burn fossil fuels? How much is it going to cost to fix that (even if we could )?

Another thing that I've been thinking about is how much we might have learned about dealing with the problems of nuclear power in the last 40 years if environmentalists had been more open minded to it.

We are going to be doing lots and lots of stuff to save the planet, each with with unknown side affects. So hold your nose and tolerate nuclear as a transitional power source.

HT Paulm over at Climate Progress.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April 1st

Don't believe all the headlines today.

Journey to Planet Earth

Journey to Planet Earth

Aired Wednesday, I watched it last night. Not much new here, but it had high production values. The end was corny, but ya gotta give people hope, right? Hopefully they'll post the whole episode soon.

Also, I thought Jared Diamond deserved a few minutes of camera time.

Interactive Chart: Deaths per TWh by Energy Source


Timely for her to post this, since I've been thinking a lot about this subject.
People are deathly afraid of radiation, and perceive nuclear as being much more dangerous than it actually is in relation to coal. I think they tend to compare nuclear with solar and wind, rather than coal. Odd.

A point I'd like to make is that nuclear power never has and likely never will cause the extinction of a species.