free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 347. LET'S TALK GEOENGINEERING

Saturday, April 12, 2008

347. LET'S TALK GEOENGINEERING

In my opinion, arguments about whether people "believe" or "deny" GW are a complete waste of time. Sure, everybody "believes" in GW because it's cool and trendy; they cite the IPCC consensus with their mouth, while they pump the accelerator of their carbon fartmobile with their foot. Al Gore himself -- a well-known climate hypocrit of gargantuan proportions -- is the perfect figurehead for this ship of fools. Congressman Dingell nicely harpooned these people in the US Congress last summer:
This week's prize for honest liberalism goes to Michigan's John Dingell, who is having fun with his fellow Democrats while also making a useful point about the politics of global warming. The venerable Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee--first elected in 1955--has announced that he plans to introduce as early as this week a new tax on carbon emissions.

Now, that's the way to clear a Capitol Hill hearing room. Americans are already miffed at paying $3 a gallon for gasoline, a fact that has the Members assailing oil companies on a daily basis. So the last thing Democrats seeking re-election want to do is pile on another dollar or two a gallon in taxes--especially in the name of "saving the planet" from the speculative danger of global warming 50 or 100 years from now. Their voters have to deal with the more immediate danger of missing the mortgage payment.

Mr. Dingell knows all this. His point is to force his colleagues--and the voters--to be more honest about the cost of their global-warming posturing. It's one thing to pay 100 bucks to hear Madonna at the "Live Earth" concert, or impress your girlfriend by wearing an "I reduced my carbon footprint" T-shirt. It's quite another to accept that energy prices would have to rise by many multiples to make even a degree's worth of difference to the world's climate. "I sincerely doubt that the American people will be willing to pay what this is really going to cost them," Mr. Dingell said on C-SPAN last week.Source
I could care less about what people "believe". Even the coal companies "believe" in global warming. The only important axis is what people do, and by that standard, virtually everyone is a denier. These are the relevant facts about doing:

1) The only large-scale carbon initiative on the table, the Kyoto Protocol, will have virtually no impact whatsoever on temperature, sea levels etc. This is a peer-reviewed, demonstrated fact.
Yet Kyoto matters little for the climate. Even if all countries had ratified it (the United States and Australia did not), and all countries lived up to their commitments (which many will have a hard time doing) and stuck to them throughout the 21st century (which would get ever harder), the change would have been miniscule. The temperature by 2050 would be an immeasurable 0.1°F lower and even by 2100 only 0.3°F lower. This means that the expected temperature increase of 4.7°F would be postponed just five years, from 2100 to 2105. (Source: Cool It by Bjorn Lomborg P. 22, citing Wigley, T.M.L. (1998). The Kyoto Protocol: CO2, CH4 and Climate Implications. Geophysical Research Letters, 25(13), 2285-2288.)
2) We can't even get it together enough to implement an anemic, pointless plan like Kyoto. The Kyoto Treaty is an abject failure:
Some, such as Italy and Canada, are raising doubts about the sacrifices required. Britain admits it may not reach its target, while Japan flat-out says it can't reduce emissions by the expected amount, which is 6 percent below the 1990 levels.Source
Now, in the last few threads, a number of people (like KarenRei) have conceded that Kyoto will do nothing, and stressed that we need to make much deeper cuts which go beyond Kyoto. My opinion is that any real proposal for doing this (and I haven't seen one yet, just a lot of hot air and self-righteous posturing) will go the way of Congressman Dingell's legislation. If Kyoto is too expensive, and impossible, even for wealthy, high-tech nations like Japan, there's no reason to believe that something far more economically strenuous will be doable. The idea that we can easily kick the fossil fuel habit with windmills and solar is idealistic nonsense. In the real world, economics trump climate concerns, and, at best, carbon control measures will be token gestures. That is the reality on the ground.

Climate scientists themselves have seen the writing on the wall, and, in the past couple of years, have gotten dead serious about panic-button measures to cool the planet with geoengineering. Currently, efforts are focused on dimming the planet by injecting large amounts of sulphur compounds into the stratosphere. Some of the leading figures in this research are:

1) Paul J. Crutzen, atmospheric chemist and 1995 Nobel prizewinner for work on the hole in the ozone layer. In Aug. 2006 Crutzen published an article titled ALBEDO ENHANCEMENT BY STRATOSPHERIC SULFUR INJECTIONS: A CONTRIBUTION TO RESOLVE A POLICY DILEMMA?(pdf) in the peer-reviewed journal Climatic Change. For a quick overview, here's an article in the popular press.

2) Tom Wigley, National Center for Atmospheric Research, "mathematical physicist with a doctorate from the University of Adelaide in Australia, Tom is one of the world’s foremost experts on climate change and one of the most highly cited scientists in the discipline". Wigley published a peer-reviewed paper on sulphate injection in the peer-reviewed journal Science in Sept. 2006Source

3) Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Dept. of Global Ecology at Stanford University. He writes: "The least expensive option might be to use a fire hose suspended from a series of balloons. Scientists have yet to analyze the engineering involved, but the hurdles appear surmountable. Seeding the stratosphere might not work perfectly. But it would be cheap and easy enough and is worth investigatingSource. Here's a video of Caldeira lecturing on geoengineering at Google.

So, there you have it. Eminent climatologists, members of the consensus, publishing in peer-reviewed journals, boldly advocating the idea of pumping sulphur into the stratosphere to reverse global warming. Thank god somebody is shedding the airy-fairy idealism and facing the realities on the ground.

This might be a very cost-effective solution. And, of course, there shouldn't be any problem vetting the safety and effects of this procedure because current climate models are highly accurate, capturing all macroscopic behaviors of the climate, and capable of making reliable predictions literally hundreds of years into the future.
by JD

57 Comments:

At Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 1:50:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

If you post a comment, please give a screenname with the Name/URL option. You don't need to register or anything.
Thank you!
JD

 
At Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 3:19:00 AM PDT, Blogger FR said...

JD,

Didn't you praise Amory Lovins in one post? Lovins said that analyses of the "cost" of fighting GW have a sign error. He claims we'll actually save money and get richer with all the new technologies coming out than we would just burning every last ounce of coal.

Oil and natural gas are already too expensive, so for economic reasons, we need to use less and less of those every year. Eventually, nuclear and renewables will be cheaper than coal. That'll be the end of fossil fuels anyway. Fifty years from now, our fossil fuel consumption will be almost insignificant.

Are you actually serious about this geo-engineering stuff?

 
At Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 7:05:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Demesure said...

JD must be as serious about geoengineering as he is about "highly accurate & capturing all macroscopic behaviors of the climate models".

 
At Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 8:06:00 AM PDT, Blogger bc said...

I think either someone stole JD's account or he went insane.

I hope we get the original JD back, it's pretty embarassing when one of the premier PO debunkers turns out to be a fruit loop. No longer can I point people to peakoildebunked.

Cue an invitation to introduce things anally...

 
At Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 10:05:00 AM PDT, Blogger Prem said...

Dude, wtf. Is this peakoildebunked.com or globalwarmingdeniers.com?

Why are you fighting something which brings people to support alternate energy and all the other measure you propose here?

 
At Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 12:42:00 PM PDT, Blogger odograph said...

Ah well, this RSS feed was fun while it lasted.

But to say "GW are a complete waste of time. Sure, everybody "believes" in GW because it's cool and trendy;" is simply to reject science.

I don't just mean point-science, as in this one topic. It is to reject the entire scientific method."

Bye.

 
At Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 9:32:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Babun said...

JD : I guess you didn't think about the impacts of being politically incorrect :) I bet this cost you a lot of readers.

 
At Sunday, April 13, 2008 at 11:59:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

fr: Didn't you praise Amory Lovins in one post?

Yes, I respect AL, for his optimism and his approach to efficiency. Lovins-style efficiency is what will save our butts in the upcoming liquid fuel shortages.

However, AL is living in dreamworld. If we can easily switch 80% of world primary energy production (fossil fuels) to windmills, cellulosic ethanol, geothermal etc., and make a ton of money in the process, then why aren't we doing it? Why is China building a non-sequestered coal plant every week? Why is China's oil consumption skyrocketing? Why don't they just save money and get richer by not using any fossil fuels at all?

There are two possible answers: 1) All the citizens, business people and accountants in China are idiots, who can't/won't recognize their own economic self-interest, or 2) Amory Lovins is full of BS.

The correct answer is 2). If you want more detail, read this.

Try it yourself. Convert your whole life over to solar and windmills, get rid of the natural gas/coal/fuel oil heating in your home, and put in green systems. It's going to be extremely costly, not a source of income. This is why people heat their homes with coal in China, or cook their food with cow chips or plastic waste in the 3rd world. It's all about cost. Why doesn't AL show up and tell them how to get rich by switching over to windmills and geothermal?

The peaking of oil is going to lead to a mad rush into all the alternatives, not just the trendy ones. That means coal, and after that oil shale (most likely burning it straight out of the ground to generate electricity). There's is a very real possibility that all the coal will be burnt, most of it with no sequestration at all.

I see no credible prospect for reducing carbon emissions. and that's not just me talking.

This is Paul J. Crutzen, Nobel prizewinner, and one of the most eminent atmospheric scientists in the world:

"By far the preferred way to resolve the policy makers’ dilemma is to lower the
emissions of the greenhouse gases. However, so far, attempts in that direction have been grossly unsuccessful. While stabilization of CO2 would require a 60–80% reduction in current anthropogenic CO2 emissions, worldwide they actually increased by 2% from 2001 to 2002 (Marland et al., 2005), a trend, which probably will not change at least for the remaining 6-year term of the Kyoto protocol, further increasing the required emission restrictions."

That's Point 1.

Here's Point 2: Steadily rising carbon emissions present a risk of runaway/catastropic warming.

Both of those points come from climate scientists. All the GW zealots here believe both them. Yet strangely, they don't want to talk about the really obvious possibility:

We'll just keep up the party with coal, while artificially controlling the temperature with sulphur.

In fact, if you read the paper by Crutzen which I quoted above (I cite the pdf in the post), you'll find that controlling the air pollution from coal plants is an aggravating factor for GW. Coal pollution from China is actually helping to keep the temperature down.

 
At Monday, April 14, 2008 at 2:18:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

Dude, wtf. Is this peakoildebunked.com or globalwarmingdeniers.com?

Prem, peak oil is not about peak oil. It's about the inevitable die-off of mankind due to stupidity and hubris, in an interlocking, multifront crisis. Global warming pertains to that, and -- due to its close linkages with oil and fossil fuels -- is a constant topic at all the major peak oil sites. This site is no exception.

My view on global warming is that the climate scientists may be right, and they may be wrong. I understand that this rubs the GW cultists the wrong way because they are uncomfortable with any expression whatsoever of doubt.

I'm certainly not saying we shouldn't prepare for the contingency that the climate scientists are right. That's what this post is about. If I'm a denialist, why am I wondering what we should do if catastrophic warming occurs?

It seems to me that the people who don't want to talk about this issue are the ones in denial. They want to stay in their idealistic cocoon, and deny what might have to happen if warming accelerates. Shutting down all the coal plants in China, or telling them to quickly switch to sequestration or windmills etc. isn't going to be an option. People need to live and work, even in a climate crisis, and green piety isn't going to keep the lights on.

Pumping sulphur into the stratosphere is not an ideal solution, but it is definitely very tempting, and consonant with what we know of human behavior. Eat the burgers, and then get the bypass operation. Go for the quick technofix...

Yes it's very politically incorrect to talk about this, but I think any honest observer, including some of the most eminent climate scientists in the world, must admit that it's a real possibility, and maybe even a necessity. Centuries of warming and sea level rises are already locked in.

Why are you fighting something which brings people to support alternate energy and all the other measure you propose here?

A) I'm not fighting it. I explicitly recognize the possibility of severe climate change as one possibility.

B) It doesn't bring people to support alternate energy, at least not to any degree which might have an impact on the temperature. Look at Japan. They have the technology. Everyone in Japan believes in AGW. They know they have to get the carbon down, and they signed the Kyoto protocol. And yet they can't meet the Kyoto targets. Why? Is it that they don't believe in AGW strong enough? Do we need even more inflated hype to motivate them? Why is "believing" so important if believing has such a small impact on real-world behavior? I could get on a roll and convince everyone to be a denier tomorrow, and you wouldn't even notice the difference. As newly converted denialists, they wouldn't even need to go buy the SUV because they already own one.

 
At Monday, April 14, 2008 at 4:52:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Zaku said...

This is little of topic, but its opening new views example electric cars and other vehicles.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/12/071219103105.htm

JD, this propably can mean that electric cars are even better option in future.

 
At Monday, April 14, 2008 at 5:04:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

JD : I guess you didn't think about the impacts of being politically incorrect :) I bet this cost you a lot of readers.

I couldn't care less. I write what I honestly think, not to win a popularity contest.

Now, hopefully, back to the issue at hand... pumping sulphur into the stratosphere.

 
At Monday, April 14, 2008 at 6:00:00 AM PDT, Blogger al fin said...

Nice bit of satire, JD.

As you are finding out, when you start roasting people's sacred cows, they tend to resent you for it.

You are right that people's "beliefs" are irrelevant and not worth discussing. Unfortunately, that is all most people have--beliefs and opinions based upon virtually no real evidence at all. Never in their lives were they taught how to recognize evidence or distinguish supported information from unsupported innuendo.

If all they've ever learned is politically correct jingoistic blather, that's all that will ever make sense to them.

 
At Monday, April 14, 2008 at 7:37:00 AM PDT, Blogger FR said...

JD,

"If we can easily switch 80% of world primary energy production (fossil fuels) to windmills, cellulosic ethanol, geothermal etc and make a ton of money in the process, then why aren't we doing it?"

That's not what I meant to convey. Let me start with oil and natural gas. With the increasing scarcity (and thus, cost) of these two FF's, do you agree that our economy will benefit more from slowly decreasing our consumption? I think you agree on that (or at least as far as oil goes). As for coal, yes, it's still cheaper than anything else. But I don't think that's going to last long. Nuclear and various renewables will be cheaper, IMO, sometime in the near future (say next ten years or so). And at that point, new power generation plants will primarily be powered by one of those. That certainly doesn't mean 80%.

But I do belive that, given the evidence of human-induced global warming, taxing carbon is a pretty good idea, and would just speed up what I think will happen anyway.

 
At Monday, April 14, 2008 at 9:45:00 AM PDT, Blogger odograph said...

In my experience, people to go on about "beliefs", "political correctness" or the always popular "religion", do so because they themselves cannot lay out an rational and consistent argument.

Jumping from "NO WARMING SINCE 1998" to "THE OCEAN IS STRANGELY COOL" to ... what the heck ... "LET'S TALK GEOENGINEERING"!

That is freakin' insane. That is a classic "jump all over the map" seizure.

It is a Saint Vitus Dance.

How anyone could see this as having a rational or scientific foundation is beyond me ... though perhaps no one does. The classic denailist high-fives so often come not from science, but from a repeating of the empty sound-bites.

Who, actually, is trading "correctness?"

 
At Monday, April 14, 2008 at 10:43:00 AM PDT, Blogger bc said...

That is freakin' insane. That is a classic "jump all over the map" seizure.

Lol! We have seen that JD's debunking of Peak Oil is viscerally amusing, but I assumed it was ultimately based on a rational analysis of the facts.

But cherry picking data, lifting sound bites and picking bad research from GW denier sites is *exactly* the sort of irrational, group think stupidity that doomers exhibit. Disappointly, JD turns out to be more of your knee-jerk skeptic. In my book, that makes his opinion no better than the doomers he tries to debunk.

I am not one of those people who believe the end justifies the means; a conclusion arrived at by bad methodology is a bad conclusion, even if I like the conclusion.

In the context, it seems pointless to discuss geo-engineering. If there is actually no warming since 1998, I'll just carry on driving my fartmobile...

 
At Monday, April 14, 2008 at 12:47:00 PM PDT, Anonymous LuisDias said...

In the context, it seems pointless to discuss geo-engineering. If there is actually no warming since 1998, I'll just carry on driving my fartmobile...

Bingo!JD, you got pwned! :D

But what I can't figure out yet is the pure hatred that this guy (and many others, mind you) nurtures for Al Gore. That you don't like his arguments, fine, but please, despite some exaggerations, his presentation is top-notch and quite science-based. His solutions can be silly (carbon-credit?!?), but he does make people think, and that's already part of the solution. Even if people create new ways of doing things that are less carbon wasteful for the (hopefully) wrong reasons (read: GW), it is a great thing, for oil, gas and coal are part of our greatest problem: Pollution.

So, the hell with all this ranting.

But I still love ya, JD. Keep posting, no one's perfect and I love your rants.

 
At Monday, April 14, 2008 at 6:14:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

In my experience, people to go on about "beliefs", "political correctness" or the always popular "religion", do so because they themselves cannot lay out an rational and consistent argument.

My argument is 100% rational and consistent, as any reader can see. Carbon emissions are currently exceeding even the most pessimistic scenario of the IPCC (A1FI, fossil intensive). The cite for that is Raupach et al., given by Ken Caldeira at 1:57 of this video.

Meanwhile, "belief" in AGW, and "efforts" to combat it are at an all time high. Ergo, we live in a world of rampant climate hypocrisy, and the whole believer/denier distinction is basically irrelevant. That's an irrefutable fact, which cuts your religion to the bone. That's why you've chosen to dodge the argument and troll instead of confront it head on.

Your beliefs are a religion, Odo, because you simply cannot admit the possibility that climate scientists might be wrong.

In your view, climate scientists, and their slapstick computer models are infallible, like the pope, and not to be questioned. I disagree, and I have good company, such as Freeman Dyson. In terms of scientific qualifications, you don't deserve to lick Dyson's toejam, Odograph. Your claim that it is unscientific to doubt the infallibility of climate scientists/models is itself unscientific tripe of the rankest sort.

Oddly enough, bc also agrees with me: "GW science is dangerously cult like - dangerous for good science that is. There is a great deal of uncertainty in the science, and if GW does not turn out the way alarmists are predicting, it will set back science a long way in the public view."

Isn't that interesting? bc thinks exactly like me -- that climate scientists might be right, and might be wrong. The difference is that he's a castrated sheep who doesn't have the testicles to stand up for his views in public like I do.

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 6:56:00 AM PDT, Blogger Nick Tarleton said...

Injecting particles helps with GW, but does nothing about ocean acidification, which is at least as threatening. IMO, reducing CO2 directly (e.g. through ocean seeding) is much more promising.

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 7:15:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Luis Dias said...

JD, why do you say that "belief" is in an all time high, when I keep reading and listening to factoids just like the ones you present from friends and colleagues as the ultimate proof that GW is fake, or somehow misunderstood to the core.

Why do you say that "belief" is in an all time high, when you should know better that GW is still being viewed as the last fashion, and not as an inherent truth.

And "efforts"... Please, stop, you're making me hurt for so much laughter. Did you even noticed that the president of the most carbon intensive country in the world doesn't even believe in man made GW?

"yeah, uh, the globe is warmin'"

And why do you keep saying that people are hypocrits? I say people act in a very rational manner, that is, people choose what’s best for themselves, for their actions and inactions towards a carbon-free world is completely silly for if you don't waste, don't spend, someone else will for you. Everyone knows that for any behavior to be enforced, it has to be in the law, or else be an economic gain.

Furthermore, current carbon production is embebbed in the economy itself, and I, for buying an iPod or smth else, am contributing for pollution. But the realities are so disconnected, people really don't figure it out.

Lastly. People don't like being told they should not do something, or consume such and such, and etc. They do what they see others doing. Why would I eat vegetables when everybody else is eating red meat? Thought so.

Its difficult and mind-boggingly slow, this cultural evolution, specially in an age when just two years after "An Inconvenient Truth", JD already talks about belief being in an "all time high"....

Action is needed. And that calls for government action. Carbon tax. Fund Renewables research. Tax breaks for anyone who uses renewables. Education. Stop the debate about GW's veradicity, continue debate about its precise influence, and what can we do about it (and why not geoengineering...?). Heavy government investment in renewables in their own infrastructures (schools, city halls, libraries, etc, etc.) , pushing even further the demand, expanding its market.

Pave the way into the future.

So that, fifty years from now, we are not discussing energy failures, but deep space exploration, expansion on our already big moon base, build a mars base, and in a hundred years we may well use again carbon energy: from Jupiter.

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 10:48:00 AM PDT, Blogger odograph said...

"My argument is 100% rational and consistent, as any reader can see. Carbon emissions are currently exceeding even the most pessimistic scenario of the IPCC (A1FI, fossil intensive)"

Tell me, how does one model future CO2 emissions?

Can you do that with science?

You can't actually. The science can tell you how CO2 in an atmosphere behaves (badly), but to go forward, you have to make economic predictions. This is where layers of uncertainty are added in.

Do you suppose the recession will slow those emissions again?

Maybe this is where people get confused. We can actually start from a solid scientific foundation, but we face uncertain risks (with feedback loops as we consider our own future behavior).

People don't identify the layers to the problem, and confuse the uncertainty from one layer to the other.

(Not knowing GDP growth to the percentage point does not make atmospheric CO2 a good thing.)

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 11:17:00 AM PDT, Blogger al fin said...

You should understand that the same sense of skepticism and curiousity that led JD to doubt Peak Oil hysteria, has also led him to question the strong "doomer" aspect of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming (CAGW). CAGW has become a church now, with many of its true believers flocking to condemn anyone of heretical and independent thought.

I like JD and people like him, who can think for themselves.

The school system and a "dumbed down" culture is selectively breeding out the independent thinkers in favour of the clone minds.

Now I must be quiet and let someone send in the clones. Nevermind, don't bother they're here.

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 12:31:00 PM PDT, Blogger odograph said...

You know Al, I was laughing about that this morning. I gave a link here a week or so ago - an interview with the President of the National Academy of Sciences.

Let me get this straight ... clones listen to the National Academy ... and the rational get their science for 15 year old girls?

Thank you for that, truly.

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 12:32:00 PM PDT, Blogger odograph said...

s/for/from

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 12:46:00 PM PDT, Anonymous kolm said...

"This might be a cost-effective solution."

Absolutely correct, with the operative word being 'might'. This is an engineering project like no other, entailing that we have little to no knowledge how well this will work out.

However, I agree that this will be the most likely road. While it would not be complicated at all to get rid of coal plants (substitute with nuclear), decrease gasoline consumption per car (use efficient designs with <6l/100km average, <3l/100km peak, start mandatory carpooling, aggressive expansion of public transport) and convert to almost-vegetarian diet, we simply won't do it; the social, political and economical inertia is just too great. Hence geo-engineering, e.g. aerosol implantation or algae force-feeding of CO2 are the most likely bets for counteractions.

That does not mean, however, that those 'solutions' are not freight with thousands of unforeseen side-effects and dire troubles.

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 12:50:00 PM PDT, Blogger bc said...

I make a fundamental distinction between religion and science, and indeed science and all other forms of inquiry. I think that most people don't really understand how (or why) science works. To an outsider, it can seem like a religion, and often inconsistent and confused. The problem is that people project other models, like religion, or rhetorical debate, onto science, but these do not really apply.

Science is performed by people, so inevitably picks up some of their flaws. But the great thing about science is that it tries to compensate for these flaws and remove them form the science. This is unlike other systems, e.g. where a personality cult becomes the system.

This format is insufficient to go into much more detail. The important point is that attacking science with rhetorical tricks is a futile mix of paradigms, it's like eating soup with a fork. Armchair scientists have no chance of finding flaws that have been overlooked by a few thousand real climate scientists.

Unfortunately, if I say there is uncertainty in the science, that is picked up as saying the science is flawed, but really it is not. It is not really a question of whether scientists are "right or wrong". That is the paradigm of the debating chamber projected onto science. You really have to understand the nuances, but these are easily lost if you just set out to prove who is "right or wrong".

Anyway, if today's report on a 1.5m sea level rise by 2100 is correct, people may well be complaining that scientists have not been raising the alarm loudly enough.

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 1:01:00 PM PDT, Blogger bc said...

Let me get this straight ... clones listen to the National Academy ... and the rational get their science for 15 year old girls?

ROFL, I missed that link.

There is a difference between being open minded and just being gullible.

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 1:06:00 PM PDT, Blogger odograph said...

Link: Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Science, discusses global warming

 
At Tuesday, April 15, 2008 at 7:26:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

luis dias,
I think the thrust of what you are saying is this: We can't tolerate global warming denial, or even debate on the question, because we have to get carbon emissions down, and any doubt at all interferes with that political movement.

However, I would claim that that very idea is a form of denial. You seem to think that if we root out the skeptics, and hope hard enough, there will be some sort of groundswell by the public, or some amazing technology which will keep the fossil fuels in the ground. I strongly doubt that.

The fact is that growth in CO2 emissions accelerated from 1.1%/year in the 90s to >3%/year in the period 2000-2004. No region is decarbonizing its energy supply. Source.

So the idea that we can control carbon emissions if we can just end the GW debate, or have everyone watch the Ralph Cicerone video, is very pollyannish, IMO. Almost like a cargo cult... You're hopefully waiting for something that isn't going to come.

Fossil fuels are like drugs. People will pay premium prices, and use them even if they're illegalized. Most skepticism doesn't come from the science. It's permanent skepticism which isn't saying "I don't find the science convincing". It's saying "I like my SUV (or, alternatively, I like having coal to heat my shitty Mongolian shack), and you're interfering with that. Fuck off." Determining policy is a democratic process, and it's very likely that the large numbers of permanent skeptics of this type will be able to sabotage any policy which has a material affect on future temperatures.

True, we have a moral duty to at least try to do the right thing. On the other hand, we also have a moral duty to not delude ourselves that things will suddenly get better if the empirical facts show it is getting worse. Ungrounded hope is not a good thing. We have to prepare for the *most likely* outcome -- very stubborn skepticism/hypocrisy, and massive fossil fuel burning.

IMO, this is why the believer/skeptic debate is a red herring, and why geoengineering is such an important topic.

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 4:09:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Luis Dias said...

JD, those were interesting and provoking remarks, but they somehow mine your previous posts, and would like to add some thoughts.

I have a scientific education. I am and always was a believer in the science method as the most capable and reasonable method to pursue the truth. Having said that, I cannot truly say that GW is definitely real and man-made, I can only say that given the data and the large theoretical studies made so far, I have little doubt about it. Still, theoretically speaking, scientifically speaking, it is not dogma, and therefore any attacks on it are plausible and desirable. That's how science evolves, by questioning it permanently. To try to prevent that would be censorship of freedom, and a future path I cannot possibly defend.

But that's science. Politics is all the other way around. We here are not really discussing science, we could not, we are not scientists. What we are doing is discussing politics. And in politics, public debate, something strange is happening: reason is being destroyed. Polarization takes over and somehow, we are constantly being thrown upon a "duality" of "opinions", which are to be seen in "equal terms" and "equally respected", then defendents of respective corners duke it out in books, TV, blogs, newspapers, etc., without ever having a true "winner", except of course, to the media's pockets. It's reminiscent of the permanent Democrat-Republican debate, or even more deeply, reminiscent of eternal baseball, basketball and football matches, where the spectacle is about equal parties duking it out.

Common People have common sense, but greatly lack scientific sense. This is not football. It is not reasonable to say that Creationism or ID is acceptable in equal terms as Evolution Theory. But this is how people think about it, they think it is like football, they choose a club and duke it out with other clubs' fans.

It's a distraction. It's Karl Rove Politics all over again.

This is our political field. We have to play in this utterly stupid field, where any criticism on a very tiny portion on GW's theory is seen as "definite proofs" of its demise, and, more importantly, an excuse to do nothing about it. And we have to be careful: who benefits with this kind of publicity stunts?

Or to put it other way: who doesn't benefit with the measures I indicated, namely, carbon tax, stop carbon subsidies, facilitate renewable's sector market?

It's not about watching videos, its about reaching a public consensus that allows the politicians to adopt the required measures.

Is it achievable? Probably not. But by surrendering or hesitating, are we not playing Chamberlain's game? And even if we choose your point of view, to have leaders who come up front and say to us, "look we've been fucked up. Now the only way is geoengineering!", to reach that political possibility we cannot waste any more public debate about the veradicity of GW!!

One more thing. Carbon is accelerating. Granted. But so are renewables, and I dare say, much much more than those 3%. Coal price is tripling its contract price just this year alone, which means that in this renewable-fossil world war, we are probably watching not the beggining of the end, but the end of the beggining...

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 6:06:00 AM PDT, Blogger al fin said...

The herd-like mentality of doomers--whether peak oil doomers or climate doomers--is striking for its lack of originality, courage, or intelligence.

You may as well paste on fake beards and long-haired wigs and march around with signs saying "the end is near!" Drones and Clones.

If you want to hide behind a fake consensus of herd minds, you are welcome to do so. If you have a thinking mind, however, you should learn to use it.

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 7:04:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Demesure said...

Where are they the bastards who recommended biofuels to "combat climate change?"

Are they accountable for the current biofuel fiasco? Should they be minced and cooked to feed the hungry poor they help grow in number ?

Of course they are nowhere to be found because they are bastard non-elected non-accountable bureaucrats and stupid greenies scrambling to find yet another global scare to conceal the disastrous unintended consequences of their policy based on "settled science".

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 7:18:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Demesure said...

"Carbon emissions are currently exceeding even the most pessimistic scenario of the IPCC (A1FI, fossil intensive)."

@JD
What the AGW cultists wouldn't you tell is that, with the "pessimistic" scenario A1FI, the IPCC has "projected" that by 2100, the GDP per capita would be +1602% greater than in 2100, that is a 2100 Earth inhabitant would be 17x richer than now (see here for links)

What a "disaster" indeed!
That's how they've spinned a non-event into a global catastrophe. And that's why their end-of-the-world hoax is doomed even if the most fanatic cultists are too hare brained to realize it.

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 9:53:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Luis Dias said...

"What the AGW cultists wouldn't you tell is that, with the "pessimistic" scenario A1FI, the IPCC has "projected" that by 2100, the GDP per capita would be +1602% greater than in 2100, that is a 2100 Earth inhabitant would be 17x richer than now"

There's a saying.

It goes: when all the fish, all the trees and all the animals are dead, we will still have money to eat.

IPCC's projections are silly, because in a severe constrained world by GW, it would be impossible to have GDP to grow so much. They disconnected economics with their physics model. While we are at it, they also disconnected it with peak oil and peak gas and peak coal.

The lesson here is that it is not relevant for us its 100 year prediction. It is simply a model to tell us we cannot and should not grow indefinitely our CO2 production, independently of how and why we do it.

@al fin and demesure:

Thanks for your insight. Now tell me what wrong will it make to the world if we try to develop renewables faster, if we try to shut down high-pollutant coal mines and plants faster, if we try to not finance south arabian terrorists with our daily happy consumption?

We can make huge mistakes like corn ethanol. I agree with that criticism. I have some doubts on Obama when he speaks positively about ethanol. But not all ethanol is bad, and not all the current food crisis is due to ethanol production. Lastly, just because some silly democrats try to impinge ethanol on us because of GW, it doesn't mean necessarily that GW is wrong. It just means we should work harder into get more alternatives.

Like, for instance, electricity. And Mass Transit. Walking Neighborhoods. Energy savings: The Big Next Saudi Arabia waiting for us.

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 11:14:00 AM PDT, Blogger bc said...

IMO, this is why the believer/skeptic debate is a red herring, and why geoengineering is such an important topic.

I think you are mostly right on the first part, even if the battle for public opinion is won, the problem remains who will pay for it, or be willing to make sacrifices. A few will, but the majority won't, and won't be forced to.

The only thing that will prevent increased CO2 emissions is decline in FF. I don't believe that "everything will be burnt", the energy in oil shale is about the same as potatoes. If is not burnt locally, it will never be economic to transport it anywhere else.

But surely geoengineering has the same problem, who will pay for it? It will also need global agreement to conduct what may be a very risky experiment. Since neither of these are likely to happen, I think we can pretty much forget about geo-engineering.

There is really only one player in the whole thing, and that's the US government. If they decide to do something it stands a chance of happening, otherwise they veto everything. I don't see sentiment in the US changing soon.

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 11:23:00 AM PDT, Blogger bc said...

If you have a thinking mind, however, you should learn to use it.

I am thinking you are an idiot.

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 7:04:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

But surely geoengineering has the same problem, who will pay for it? It will also need global agreement to conduct what may be a very risky experiment. Since neither of these are likely to happen, I think we can pretty much forget about geo-engineering.

I don't think we can forget about it, unless you are certain that there will be no climate catastrophe. I see 3 cases:

1) GW alarmists are wrong. We don't do much to control carbon emissions, but nevertheless, no real catastrophe occurs. In this case: No worries.

2) GW alarmists are right, but through the miracle of technology, education and peak oil, we change our lifestyles, and get carbon under control enough to materially affect the temperature. I find this unlikely because I don't think we can control ourselves, and most of the warming is already locked in. Still, in this case too: No worries.

3) The GW alarmists are right, and we have a climate catastrophe. In this case, the question becomes: What is cheaper, blowing particles into the stratosphere from a balloon-suspended tube? Or letting the catastrophe proceed and paying for refugees/reconstruction etc.?

You yourself write: "Anyway, if today's report on a 1.5m sea level rise by 2100 is correct, people may well be complaining that scientists have not been raising the alarm loudly enough."

Do you think we can forget geoengineering if something like that occurs?

I think there is a strong tendency to stifle talk about geoengineering due to the issue of "moral hazard", i.e. there is a fear that talking about geoengineering may dissuade people from making conservation efforts etc. Underlying this, IMO, are quasi-religious beliefs like: 1) We shouldn't experiment with Gaia, 2) We should know our place in the scheme of things, 3) Technology can't be trusted and will cause our downfall etc. I don't have much respect for those positions. They're the foundation of Richard Heinberg's philosophy, not mine. I think the idea of large-scale engineering of the earth is an excellent idea, and something we must learn to do in order to continue technological/economic growth. So maybe the best approach is to actively market the idea of geoengineering to the public as the quick technofix.

I also find it very fishy how the much-vaunted, super-scientific, accurate-far-beyond-mere-weather-forecasting climate models suddenly become so shitty, unreliable and full of holes when we ask them to predict the results of pumping particles into the stratosphere.

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 10:49:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

the energy in oil shale is about the same as potatoes. If is not burnt locally, it will never be economic to transport it anywhere else.

Could be, but I'd actually have to see the calculation, as opposed to the soundbite.

At any rate, oil shale is quite widely dispersed and extremely plentiful, and burning it to generate electricity is happening right now in a number of countries, such as Estonia:

"In 2002 12.4 million tonnes of oil shale were produced. Imports amounted to 0.7 million tonnes, 9.4 million tonnes were used for electricity generation, 1.0 for heat generation and 2.3 million tonnes were processed for shale oil and coke production. Production of shale oil was 275 000 tonnes, 160 000 tonnes were exported, 7 000 tonnes were utilised for electricity generation and 114 000 for heat generation."Source(pdf)

The potato issue doesn't seem to be having much of an impact.

I don't see oil shale for power generation taking off any time soon in countries like the U.S. and Australia. They have lots of other options, like coal or nuclear. I can see it taking off in China as their coal peaks. Or in other countries which have shale deposits, but aren't capable enough to handle nuclear, and can't afford more expensive oil, gas and coal.

Here's some recent info on China:
"Between 2004 and 2006 China undertook its first national oil shale evaluation, which confirmed that the resource was both widespread and vast. According to the evaluation, it has been estimated that a total oil shale resource of some 720 billion tonnes is located across 22 provinces, 47 basins and 80 deposits. The shale oil resource has been estimated at some 48 billion tonnes."Source(pdf)

 
At Wednesday, April 16, 2008 at 10:55:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

The only thing that will prevent increased CO2 emissions is decline in FF.

If that's your position, then why all the angst about climate change denial? You yourself are conceding my point: that denial and belief are irrelevant as factors influencing the outcome.

 
At Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 2:51:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Luis Dias said...

JD,

I've been thinking about Gaia's argument, and I think that deep down, it doesn't fall into those 3 arguments you posted.

I think it falls down to a more dangerous thinking:

Who will be empowered to change the temperature of the Earth?

What temperature will be the best, and for whom?

If we can geoengineer the Earth, and even more dangerously, if we can locally geoengineer the Earth, isn't that a subtle weapon?

Yes, I know, we have nukes, but they pose a problem: they are detectable and traced back.

Not so much with geoengineering. You may be able in the future to sink a whole economic region of the planet into shambles without any trace of the perpetrator.

A weather cold war?

Not exactly saying we should avoid this. If it is a weapon, it will be used, no matter what. But we should be aware of the possibility of it.


"If that's your position, then why all the angst about climate change denial? You yourself are conceding my point: that denial and belief are irrelevant as factors influencing the outcome."

He was referring to FF declines, not peak FF's. FF declines could be fastened with clear political drive. Why do you keep fighting this is beyond me. There's plenty of people for us to divide and share concerns. If you are concerned with geoengineering or tech solutions, go ahead. There are others that try to lobby politicians into declining solutions. That's all fine by me.

 
At Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 6:09:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Luis Dias said...

I noticed this gem in Latoc's page:

"Charles Hugh Smith: Cost of Iraq War: $3 Trillion; Cost of Solar Plants to Power all 105 million U.S Households: $500 Billion



Editor's Note: The general point - that the money blown in Iraq would be better spent elsewhere - is, of course, valid. But numbers cited are off by at least a factor of at least five as he fails to account for the (simple) fact that a 500 megawatt solar farm will, on average, only generate 100 megawatts of actual power as solar is only 20% efficient typically.



So if the U.S. built 500 solar power plants each generating 250 megawatts,

the total cost would be $500 Billion-- 1/6 of the cost of the war. Even if

you refuse to make any conservation effort then you need 600 plants, and

the cost is $600 Billion. Throw in another $100 Billion for new transmission

lines, and you might spend $700 Billion-- a third of the cost of the war.



What's worse is he also fails to account that large scale solar electricity plants do NOT significantly reduce your need to burn fossil fuels for electricity. Without a cost-effective and scalable storage (battery) technology to provide power when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining, large scale solar/wind farms must be backed up by things like oil pumps or natural gas/coal fired powered plants. For this reason, the large scale expansion of renewables like solar power actually requires an expansion in the use of fossil fuels. For every extra 1,000 megawatts of solar or wind you install, you need install (or maintain) about 600-800 megawatts of fossil fuel power or you get rotating blackouts when the sun is not shining. Journalist Michael Kane explains, using wind energy to illustrate how this works:



Europe is light-years ahead of America in wind energy, and Germany leads

the world. The German numbers are painting a dismal picture for wind’s

capacity. E.ON Netz – one of the world’s largest private energy providers –

owns over 40% of Germany’s wind generating capacity. They released a

report stating that wind energy require "shadow stations" of traditional

energy on back-up reserve in case the wind forecast is wrong. They state

that reserve capacity needs to be 60% to 80% of the total win capacity!

So as more wind comes on line, it is all but certain that more hydrocarbon

reserve capacity will be required, further demonstrating how renewable

energy is used to supplement over-consumption. Source



Here is the real kicker: due to their prodigious size, these shadow stations cannot just be turned on and off at will. In order to be ready to produce electricity when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining, they must be fed a constant supply of natural gas or coal.



In other words, as counter-intuitive as it may sound at first, installing renewable energy at the industrial or utility level does not mean conventional power sources can simply be shut down or turned off. If anything, more coal fired or natural gas fired power plants have to brought on line to prevent blackouts from occurring when the wind is not blowing or the sun not shining.



Again, Charles' basic point is that the money spent on the war would be better spent here at home on domestic energy-security is (obviously) 100% valid. But the idea that you "plug-and-play" renewable energy systems into the existing grid misses several deal-breaker issues regarding what these systems are and are not capable of providing.
"

Brilliant!

This is a guy who posts an opinion attacking the war but basically says that the money spent there could energize all the houses in america, one conclusion that dr. doom could never ever assume, so he makes this ignorant and full of mistakes rant, so easily debunkable...

Is he losing his mind? Is he already short-circuiting?

I had to post this here before he would remember to do an Orwellian "I never written that" thing.

 
At Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 8:58:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Al Fin said...

I am thinking you are an idiot.

Nice try, bc, you almost got it right. Let's see, how can we fix it?

1. First of all, your belief that you are thinking contradicts all the other evidence you provide. So, correcting that mistake:

"I am you are an idiot."

2. No, very poor usage. Obviously, you cannot say "I am you", since you are clearly you, and I am me. Correcting that mistake:

"I am are an idiot."

3. Here again you make a simple grammatical mistake. First of all, the subject I is singular, and requires a singular 1st person present tense version of the verb "to be." That is clearly the word "am", not the neologistic compound verb phrase "am are", which is redundant, and includes the plural version "are" which does not correctly match the subjects number.

Correcting for that error and removing the word "are" provides you with the simple sentence you should have posted in the first place.

 
At Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 10:11:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry, off-topic but interesting anyway: http://www.thestar.com/sciencetech/article/415215

Looks like they've succeeded in extracting a constant flow of methane hydrate for the first time. Supposed to me be more of this available than coal, oil, and conventional gas combined. Japan is excited: they think the have enough of the stuff in territorial waters to last them for 100 years: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3740036.ece

 
At Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 10:42:00 AM PDT, Blogger bc said...

Correcting for that error and removing the word "are" provides you with the simple sentence you should have posted in the first place.

Now I am thinking you are an imbecile. Bordering on moron.

 
At Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 11:14:00 AM PDT, Blogger bc said...

I think the idea of large-scale engineering of the earth is an excellent idea, and something we must learn to do in order to continue technological/economic growth.

Ok, while we are thinking blue sky...
Actually, I think we may have already (accidentally) done all the geo-engineering we need for a few million years. As you know, we are (were) living in an Ice Age, we temps dropping -12 or so for 120,000 years then warm spells for 20,000 years. This pattern is synched to Milankovich cycles, and has occurred over the past 3 million years, due to a number of factors but one of them is low CO2.

The question that scientists posed in the '70s is that on paper, we should be heading towards glaciation. But the temps were getting warmer. Why? We can now be pretty certain the reason is AGW.

Anyhoo, since it will take the Earth a few million years to remove CO2 naturally down to levels where glaciations occur again, then we will stay in the "warm" zone for the foreseeable future. It may get a little too warm for a few thousand years, perhaps some aerosols will help with that. Many coastal areas will be under water, they will just have to move. This has happened several times before, to past civilisations.

 
At Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 11:52:00 AM PDT, Blogger bc said...

He was referring to FF declines, not peak FF's. FF declines could be fastened with clear political drive.

Actually I was referring to post-peak decline. FF will simply become more expensive, which will have a similar effect to carbon tax. I don't hold out any hope for clear political drive on emissions. Without the US behind it, there is not likely to be any action.

Apart from talk, political action so far has been the terrible biofuel mandates, which are likely to be increasing emissions, and certainly don't help food problems.

As I have argued before, there is *probably* not enough FF left to cause the "catastrophic" climate change some are predicting. But there may be enough FF left to avoid PO catastrophe scenario. This seems to be too pat and convenient, but the way I see it is the error bars have a big overlapping range in the middle.

 
At Thursday, April 17, 2008 at 5:02:00 PM PDT, Blogger al fin said...

The geoengineering scheme which best fits with contemporary environmentalism, is the nuclear option.

1. Nuke every major city in the world.

2. Let nuclear winter freeze the planet and destroy 10 or more years of harvests in a row.

In one fell swoop you will have reduced the population of the Earth, cooled the planet, and destroyed the globalist economy.

As a bonus, you will have obviated Peak Oil, since the world economy would be shot and demand for oil would plummet.

The nuclear option. For men who are men, who are not afraid to break a few eggs to make an omelette, like bc.

 
At Friday, April 18, 2008 at 2:04:00 AM PDT, Blogger green with a gun said...

JD wrote, "Try it yourself."

Done. Or rather, I've not done precisely what you demand, but our household carbon dioxide equivalent emissions have dropped from the Australian average of 30t (2.6 people per household, and half of all emissions of 24t per person being things households can control, like heating, food and transport) to 3.2t annually.

We have gas cooking and hot water heating, but as we're renting we can't change this. We pay for the so-called green gas option, but as we're not 100% on the value of everything they're doing, don't credit ourselves with any extra carbon as a result.

Net cost = saving $3,000 annually, compared to the average Australian lifestyle - which is just what we were living before we tried a lower-impact one.

The savings come from energy conservation, public transport, walking and cycling being cheaper, eating less meat, and so on. Indirect savings like "less healthcare costs because we're fitter and healthier from biking and eating more vegies" are not included - just lower consumer goods, utilities and transport bills.

If extended through Australia's 8 million households, this would cause $24 billion annually in savings. This is about half our current account deficit.

Now, 1.28t emissions per person is still a bit above where we need to be by 2050, but it's a bloody good start, I reckon, and is 11% the Western household average and 34% world average. A greater reduction would require some austerity (like no hot water) and/or the spending you speak of.

But a very substantial reduction in household emissions is possible without any significant discomfort or effort, and while saving money. I'm sure industry, agriculture and commerce are capable of at least half as much in reductions as we've managed, which leaves considerably less for Science! to have to do.

Next challenge?



JD also wrote, "My argument is 100% rational and consistent, as any reader can see. "

As odograph said above, you're being very inconsistent, one day telling us there's no global warming, the next day telling us huge geoengineering projects are required to mitigate it. Make up your mind.

A disappointing series of posts, your standards are really dropping, JD.

 
At Friday, April 18, 2008 at 2:33:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Slightly off topic but in keeping with peak oil debunked. It appears that the market is in fact providing a solution to the peak oil problem. In the UK several malls are starting to provide charging points for plug-in hybrids and electric cars.

Car charging green scheme hailed


Electric car charging stations, similar to this one, are to be introduced at Chapelfield shopping centre.
KATE SCOTTER
16 April 2008 07:00

Eco-friendly drivers are to be given the chance to save pennies and the environment by re-charging their electric motors for free while they shop.

Chapelfield shopping centre is working to make life easier for its “green” shoppers by installing electric car charging stations.

The city centre shopping centre is one of nine owned by Capital Shopping Centres (CSC) across the UK set to offer the free environmentally-friendly service to all shoppers with electric or plug-in hybrid cars, and aims to highlight the cost and environmental benefits of using electric cars.

Charging an electric car for about three hours is thought to cost as little as 45p, but the shopping centre is offering the service free of charge, and can keep a car going for about 30 miles.

The scheme, which has been launched in conjunction with the Energy Saving Trust, is the first new venture of its kind to be launched nationally within shopping centre car parks.

Kay Chaldecott, managing director of CSC, said: “We are always keen to introduce new methods of enhancing customer experience at our shopping centres and electric car chargers will not only provide a convenient new facility but will raise awareness of a greener method of transport.”

Chapelfield bosses said the scheme was currently at early stages and they cannot yet provide information about when it will be launched.

The charging points, known as Elektrobays, are simple to use with recharging cables and access keys free to hire direct from the shopping centres.

Chargers will also be available at shopping centres in Glasgow, Uxbridge, Bromley, Watford, Thurrock, Gateshead, Stoke-on-Trent and Nottingham.

Calvey Taylor-Haw, managing director of Elektromotive, which is the company behind the charging stations, said: “Electric vehicles and plug-in Hybrids are without doubt the way forward.

“With suitable battery technology now available, EV's will have a greater range, delivering a truly viable alternative to fossil fuelled cars. They are not only cheap to run but are quiet, clean and fun.”

Westminster City Council launched the UK's first charging points for electric vehicles in 2006 and now has 48 charging points in 13 of its car parks and 12 on-street charging points with another 20 planned.

The Chapelfield scheme has been welcomed by environmental groups.

Marcus Armes, of Cred, the carbon reduction programme based at the University of East Anglia, said: “It's an excellent initiative and anything that encourages electric vehicles should be applauded.”

Are you setting up a pioneering green initiative? Call Evening News environment reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email kate.scotter@archant.co.uk

 
At Friday, April 18, 2008 at 6:54:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

green,
I now understand that the only climate scenario which needs to be considered here at POD is the case where the climate alarmists are correct, and a climate catastrophe actually occurs.
What is your position on that case? Are you fundamentally opposed to geo-engineering? What's your take on the moral dilemmas of pumping particles into the stratosphere versus (say) allowing irreplaceable arctic biomes to fry? I know your hope/goal is for humanity to get a grip on itself, and for everyone to live a moral low-carbon lifestyle like you do. But what's your Plan B for the contingency where we don't get control of our carbon emissions fast enough to make a difference?

 
At Friday, April 18, 2008 at 8:27:00 AM PDT, Blogger DB said...

I'd like to second jd's question:
What if it's already too late (we've passed the tipping point) and that cutting carbon emissions alone to zero will be ineffective?

 
At Friday, April 18, 2008 at 12:07:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Luis Dias said...

"I now understand that the only climate scenario which needs to be considered here at POD is the case where the climate alarmists are correct,"

I thought you were the one calling shots, JD

:D

I really doubt that GW is as bad as the alarmist scenario. Then again, if geoengineering turns out to be relatively simple, we could all just wait until GW proves its theory, by observation and validation, not simple correlations, and its effects become nasty, and then boom!, deploy geo-mission 1.

Problem solved.

Next!

PS: no one answered me about the potential danger of such geoengineering, who gets to choose what temperature to which region, etc. I think it is an interesting topic, but hey.

 
At Friday, April 18, 2008 at 5:33:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

An interesting tidbit...
Ralph Cicerone, the head of the President of the National Academy of Sciences, and (according to Odograph) the man we should listen to on global warming, is strongly promoting geoengineering research.
Link

 
At Friday, April 18, 2008 at 6:46:00 PM PDT, Blogger JD said...

I really doubt that GW is as bad as the alarmist scenario.

That's surprising. What makes you say that?

 
At Saturday, April 19, 2008 at 9:35:00 PM PDT, Blogger green with a gun said...

JD wrote, "I know your hope/goal is for humanity to get a grip on itself, and for everyone to live a moral low-carbon lifestyle like you do. But what's your Plan B for the contingency where we don't get control of our carbon emissions fast enough to make a difference?"

There's no plan B. That's like Eisenhower saying, "if we can't organise an invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe, what's our plan B?"

If people can't get their shit together enough to have lower emissions through some combination of renewable energy, mass transit, and lower consumption lifestyles, they're not going to be able to get their shit together to do any grand global engineering projects, either.

In fact, I'd say that those sorts of grand geoengineering projects are harder to arrange than the sorts of things I'm talking about. I mean, we already know all about laying down train tracks and putting up wind turbines and growing more food near cities, and that sort of thing. We just have to scale it up, and any particular area doesn't have to wait on the agreement of the rest of the world.

But the geoengineering stuff? We've never done anything like that, we'd need the resources and agreement of dozens of countries, and so on. I'd say it's at least as hard, if not harder.

Basically, either we have our shit together for global and local work both, or we don't. If we do, then the renewable-reduction path is the best way we've found. If we don't, then we won't be doing anything.

This geoengineering stuff is just like the geosequestration. It's not a real prospect, it's just people buying time to avoid real action.

 
At Sunday, April 20, 2008 at 2:33:00 AM PDT, Blogger bc said...

I was wondering what we can learn from existing cases. There are many parts of the world that risk inundation now, due to sinking land mass rather than sea level rise. For example, Venice, New Orleans, Norfolk Broads, Maldives, Bangladesh - an incomplete list.

We currently have a choice in the UK, build a giant tidal barrier or abandon parts of Norfolk coast.

In all cases, action was deemed necessary only after a catastrophic flood or repeated small flooding. In most cases, the first reaction was to build sea defences (local geo-engineering), where such defences can be afforded. The sea defences are then reinforced until the situation is clearly hopeless, i.e the defences are eroded faster than can be rebuilt. Eventually the land is abandoned. About the only really successful case of engineering is Holland.

So if past practice is a guide, then
1) we will wait until GW effects are too severe to ignore.
2) Then we will attempt some sort of geoengineering to act as a quick fix.
3) Only when that becomes too expensive will we turn to fixing the root cause, and changing lifestyle.

 
At Sunday, April 20, 2008 at 6:30:00 AM PDT, Blogger JD said...

bc,
Very interesting comments. I've also been wondering about localized forms of geoengineering. In his video, Ken Caldeira shows some modeling of localized applications of aerosol just over the north pole. Also, mainstream climate science recognizes that man-made aerosols (which caused the mid 20th century cooling) have localized effects. In other words, we have already done decades-long localized geoengineering to cool the earth. We just didn't realize we were doing it at the time.
I also like your idea of looking at smaller examples of geoengineering, and earlier precedents. Good food for thought. :-)

 
At Friday, May 2, 2008 at 11:45:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

holy crap, they're seriously considering experimenting with dumping sulfur and aerosol into the atmosphere? am I living in an end of the world 1930's sci-fi? I pray that the group of folks that attempts that is promptly shot down, literally.

 

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