We Won't Stop Global Warming

I made the following comment recently in a discussion on Global Warming:

If you put it to a popular vote, and people learned that GHG emissions could be arrested (hypothetically) if they were willing to pay $7/gallon of gasoline, what percentage would vote for that? My guess is that it would be well less than 20%, implying that GW concerns will give way to economic concerns.

At one time I was really worried about Global Warming. And at the risk of starting a Global Warming debate here (one that I don't wish to participate in), my position is that the scientific consensus backs the hypothesis that human activity is contributing to Global Warming. I am not an atmospheric scientist, so in this case I rely on the scientific consensus of the experts. This is the same standard I apply to other fields in which I lack expertise.

I understand that the scientific consensus is sometimes wrong. But that is the exception rather than the rule. I am familiar with arguments against Global Warming, and I certainly don't want to see debate quashed. I also think that it is unfortunate that people who question Global Warming are sometimes shouted down with the kind of anger often reserved for the likes of Holocaust deniers. But even though I encourage the debate, I think the skeptics are soundly losing that debate.

So, since I do accept the scientific consensus, then why am I no longer seriously worried? Because I have come to the realization that we are never going to pay the price that it would take to halt - much less reverse - Global Warming. This article reiterates my opening comment:

To work, carbon tax must sting

Most Canadians tell pollsters they're concerned about climate change. Many insist they'd like to do something about it, and would even pay for measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

But propose actual cash amounts – 25 cents a litre on gasoline, perhaps, or a $10 daily commuter toll – and support evaporates.

"Once you put a price on it, people tend to think twice about it and say, `Maybe not,'" says Mario Canseco of Angus Reid Strategies, which surveyed about 3,700 Canadians on the issue last March.

The basic idea: Boosting the cost of anything containing carbon – the main greenhouse gas – would compel industries and consumers to seek cheaper alternatives. They'd switch to cleaner fuels or consume less – either by adopting more efficient technologies or simply reducing their activity. Presumably, the alternatives would be better for the environment.

The problem: No government appears willing to impose a cost high enough to actually change behaviour. And while several industry groups argue pricing carbon is a good idea, their enthusiasm is less than it seems.

And those excerpts explain the problem in a nutshell. I know that people aren't willing to pay the price, even though they "want" something to be done about Global Warming. If it means higher prices or inconvenience, the Western World will wring hands and wish for something to be done, but that's as far as it is going to go. Yes, I consider Global Warming to be a problem. But we simply aren't going to address it, hence I choose to focus my efforts on things that I think we will address. In the case of Global Warming, I can only try to react and position myself to prepare for what I think the consequences may be.

Now, I don't mean there won't be attempts to address Global Warming. But I maintain that we won't collectively do anything that will reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions. Despite years of fretting and Al Gore's efforts and the Kyoto Protocol and all of the words and effort that have gone into action, has there been any measurable tailing off of the rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations? How many nations that signed on to Kyoto are meeting their targets? And how many coal-fired power plants did China and India build since the agreement was signed?

I think the disconnect is that people don't see any immediate consequences, and they know that mitigation is going to cost them money. So, they figure "Let's just wait and see what happens." The average person just doesn't see this as a problem serious enough to make meaningful sacrifices over.

I certainly favor mitigation, because solutions generally would also provide mitigation for peak oil. I want to see us greatly slow the rate at which we are using up our fossil fuels, which is why I favor higher carbon taxes. I often see the argument that higher gas taxes in the U.S. aren't going to stretch our fossil fuel supplies. The reasoning is that this will reduce demand in the U.S., which will lower worldwide prices and spur demand everywhere else.

There may be some truth to that argument, but given that the U.S. is the largest user of crude oil, I think we need to get our own house in order before worrying that China or India will use up the oil that we don't. Besides, if we make our economy less dependent on oil - and as a result China uses more oil - isn't that going to be China's problem as supplies deplete?

If people will not make sacrifices to avoid GW, it is at least partly because there are people (the deniers) telling them they do not have to. Same for peak oil (see CERA). So when the crops start failing and they're proven wrong I nominate everyone on the wrong side of the issues to take the hit. It would only be justice.

This is why the globe has cooled 0.63c since February 2007 no? I would love to see a reasonable answer for that. Also I would love to see a reasonable answer as to why La Nina is so strong this year and continuing to strengthen when all says it should weaken. And then finally all tied in nicely with all this is the sun not having sunspots.

Maybe you can explain all this rationally otherwise I fear you have bought the hype.

Please if you are going to respond back your data up with real science. Check links below to verify what I am saying.


And to really shock you OMGWTFBBQ style.


Global Warming is a SCAM!!! But meh I know whats coming that is all that matters I guess. I can prepare myself but I cannot convince others to prepare. Its no different than peak food with global cooling. Sadly many will not prepare as they are ready for warming. And actually historically warming has always been tied with great times of wealth. Cold has been tied with great times of famine, plague, war, poverty etc.

Trust me I do not like the idea of Global Cooling but I think the idea of Anthropogenic Global Warming is absolute farce and looking at heightened solar activity accounts for all the warming that I have seen. If I were you I would pray the scientists are wrong who say weather is linked to Solar Cycles. If they are not wrong well.. There is estimates that even with fertilizer the earth has a carrying capacity to the tune of 2 billion.

I said my peace. Tear it to shreds please :)

Will Media Expose Global Warming Con Job?

Excerpt: In the past several months, a new "crisis" has heated up the controversy over man-made global warming. A few major-media writers and TV personalities are actually reporting statements by credible scientists who are challenging the assumption that carbon dioxide is the primary force causing global warming. There's a real possibility that big-name journalists will break ranks and pursue their next Pulitzer Prize by exposing the lack of scientific consensus on CO2 as a planet-heating pollutant. That would create a crisis of confidence among the activists, researchers and global-governance apparatchiks who want a global carbon tax to build their political and financial power base.


Arctic Sea Ice Sees 'Significant Increase' in Size Following 'Extreme Cold' (CBC – February 15, 2008)

Excerpt: There's an upside to the extreme cold temperatures northern Canadians have endured in the last few weeks: scientists say it's been helping winter sea ice grow across the Arctic, where the ice shrank to record-low levels last year. Temperatures have stayed well in the -30s C and -40s C range since late January throughout the North, with the mercury dipping past -50 C in some areas. Satellite images are showing that the cold spell is helping the sea ice expand in coverage by about 2 million square kilometres, compared to the average winter coverage in the previous three years. "It's nice to know that the ice is recovering," Josefino Comiso, a senior research scientist with the Cryospheric Sciences Branch of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, told CBC News on Thursday. […] Winter sea ice could keep expanding. The cold is also making the ice thicker in some areas, compared to recorded thicknesses last year, Lagnis added. "The ice is about 10 to 20 centimetres thicker than last year, so that's a significant increase," he said. If temperatures remain cold this winter, Langis said winter sea ice coverage will continue to expand.


New Peer-Reviewed Study Shows Arctic COOLING Over last 1500 years!

(Study published in Climate Dynamics, and the work was conducted by Håkan Grudd of Stockholm University’s Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology - Published online: 30 January 2008)

Excerpt: “The late-twentieth century is not exceptionally warm in the new Torneträsk record: On decadal-to-century timescales, periods around AD 750, 1000, 1400, and 1750 were all equally warm, or warmer. The warmest summers in this new reconstruction occur in a 200-year period centred on AD 1000. A ‘Medieval Warm Period’ is supported by other paleoclimate evidence from northern Fennoscandia, although the new tree-ring evidence from Tornetraäsk suggests that this period was much warmer than previously recognised.” < > “The new Torneträsk summer temperature reconstruction shows a trend of -0.3°C over the last 1,500 years.” Paper available here: http://www.springerlink.com/content/8j71453650116753/?p=fcd6adbe04ff4cc2... & Full Paper (pdf) available here: http://www.springerlink.com/content/8j71453650116753/fulltext.pdf

Solar Activity Diminishes; Researchers Predict Another Ice Age - Sunspots have all but vanished in recent years.

Excerpt: Dr. Kenneth Tapping is worried about the sun. Solar activity comes in regular cycles, but the latest one is refusing to start. Sunspots have all but vanished, and activity is suspiciously quiet. The last time this happened was 400 years ago -- and it signaled a solar event known as a "Maunder Minimum," along with the start of what we now call the "Little Ice Age." Tapping, a solar researcher and project director for Canada's National Research Council, says it may be happening again. Overseeing a giant radio telescope he calls a "stethoscope for the sun," Tapping says, if the pattern doesn't change quickly, the earth is in for some very chilly weather. […] In 2005, Russian astronomer Khabibullo Abdusamatov predicted the sun would soon peak, triggering a rapid decline in world temperatures. Only last month, the view was echoed by Dr. Oleg Sorokhtin, a fellow of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. who advised the world to "stock up on fur coats." Sorokhtin, who calls man's contribution to climate change "a drop in the bucket," predicts the solar minimum to occur by the year 2040, with icy weather lasting till 2100 or beyond. Observational data seems to support the claims -- or doesn't contradict it, at least. […] Researcher Dr. Timothy Patterson, director of the Geoscience Center at Carleton University, shares the concern. Patterson is finding "excellent correlations" between solar fluctuations, a relationship that historically, he says doesn't exist between CO2 and past climate changes.


Another prominent scientist dissents from ranks 'consensus' of UN and Gore.

Atmospheric Scientist Dr. Art Douglas. recently retired Chair of the Atmospheric Sciences Department Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska. (Bio info for Douglas here: http://flare.creighton.edu/douglas/ )
Excerpt: Whatever the weather, Douglas said, it's not being caused by global warming. If anything, the climate may be starting into a cooling period. […] The amount of sea ice is the largest ever seen in the Southern Hemisphere, and it has even snowed in Buenos Aires, Douglas said. "Within four or five months, it appears that a warming trend can go very rapidly in the other direction." Douglas said the climate can quickly correct itself, restoring lower average temperatures in as little as two years. He said he doubts global warming. […] Douglas said he believes the weather patterns the world is now experiencing are regional phenomena and not a global pattern. He also noted that the warmest year on record was 1998, but questioned why, if we're in a warming trend, it hasn't gotten any warmer than it was that year. Douglas said warming trends put more moisture in the atmosphere, resulting in more snow, which leads to cooling.

Latest Scientific Studies Refute Fears of Greenland Melt – July 30, 2008

Excerpt: Research in 2006 found that Greenland has been warming since the 1880’s, but since 1955, temperature averages at Greenland stations have been colder than the period between 1881-1955. A 2006 study found Greenland has cooled since the 1930's and 1940's, with 1941 being the warmest year on record. Another 2006 study concluded Greenland was as warm or warmer in the 1930’s and 40’s and the rate of warming from 1920-1930 was about 50% higher than the warming from 1995-2005. One 2005 study found Greenland gaining ice in the interior higher elevations and thinning ice at the lower elevations. In addition, the often media promoted fears of Greenland’s ice completely melting and a subsequent catastrophic sea level rise are directly at odds with the latest scientific studies.


Greenland climate not varying from ‘natural climate variabilty’ (Dec. 2007)

Excerpt: RECENT PAPER ON THE HISTORY OF GREENLAND ICE MASS Showing that, although the Greenland melt has increased during the 1992-2006 period, the melt was even higher in 1900s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. So there is no indication that the current melt is above natural climate variability. Of course people who look just on the 1990 to 2007 period "see" great melting acceleration and influence of carbon dioxide and anthropogenic climate change.


Re: Torneträsk record. So in this location there is not much of a trend. But over to the east, in western Siberia, there is plenty of permafrost loss that is quite new compared to what has occurred in the last 2000 years and longer.


I was thinking about publishing an essay on "The Last White Christmas" on how every little town and village was going to have it's last white Christmas as Global Warming took them out of the snowfall regime. That there just wouldn't be a white Christmas for that town, ever again.
Except that Global Warming is melting the permafrost all over Siberia and Canada and the melting permafrost is flowing down the rivers to the Arctic and freshening the Arctic Ocean, which is making it easier for the sea to freeze and form pack ice, which is making winter come a few weeks sooner each year.
Until the permafrost finishes melting and the Arctic Ocean resalinises, the ice pack will form faster and sooner than it used to.
The permafrost is only a few feet thick at the southern side but it is hundreds of feet thick in the areas of deep cold. It make take a while before the permafrost is completely gone.
Eventually the permafrost will be melted down far enough that the yearly melt won't be important. That make take ten or twenty years. Then the pack ice will finally go away.
So enjoy a white christmas while you can.

The only problem with this story is that it is wrong. The Arctic Ocean is losing the isolation that it had before and warm waters are helping to finish off the perennial ice.

Global Cooling: Amazing pictures of countries joining Britain in the big freeze

From UK Daily Mail – February 21, 2008

Excerpt: In light of such similar news from so many places round the world, it may not seem surprising that U.S. satellite data for January shows the extent of snow cover in the northern hemisphere as reaching its highest level since 1966, 42 years ago - and that temperatures were lower than their average for the whole of the 20th century. Furthermore, it is not only in the northern hemisphere that records are being broken. Following last year's freak snowfalls in such southern cities as Buenos Aires and Sydney, satellite observations from the other end of the world have this winter shown ice cover round the Antarctic at easily its greatest extent for this time of year since data began in 1979, 30per cent above average. […] Global warming "sceptics", on the other hand, are inevitably pointing to these record snowfalls as evidence that global temperatures are no longer rising as the CO2 theory predicts. We may, they suggest, be seeing the start of a period when temperatures reverse their generally upward trend over the past 30 years, as we did in those decades before 1978 known to climate scientists as "the Little Cooling". […] The truth is that it is still much too early to draw any long-term conclusions from 2008's great freeze. But it is one of the most startling developments to have emerged in the world's weather patterns for a long time - not least in that it was so unexpected. At least it raises important questions over how our global climate is evolving which the scientists will have to try to explain. To the millions of people whose lives have been seriously disrupted by this year's freeze, the concept of global warming must seem awfully remote.

Increased snowfall can be an indicator of warming climates, as it is in eastern Ontario. Open waters are subject to more evaporation than frozen ones, and the air takes up more moisture.

Arctic Sea Ice Sees 'Significant Increase' in Size Following 'Extreme Cold' (CBC – February 15, 2008)

Excerpt: There's an upside to the extreme cold temperatures northern Canadians have endured in the last few weeks: scientists say it's been helping winter sea ice grow across the Arctic, where the ice shrank to record-low levels last year.


Why don't you share with all the good folks here what happened to sea ice in 2006 after a huge record melt in 2005?

Why don't you share wit the good people here virtually any climatic record? You know, the ones that always show a kind of sawtooth pattern as opposed to a nice linear change?

Why don't you share with people the total ice concentration and thickness, too? Particularly thickness. Why don't you tell the good people here how much 5 or ten meter-thick ice still exists vs. about 1 meter?

Why don't you share with the good people here what would happen if, say, sunspots disappear for another ten years but we keep spewing GHG's in a business as usual mode, then sunspots get back to normal?

Lastly, why don't you share with the nice people here which of the people above, if any, can be found via exxonsecrets?


If you read this article

And follow down some of the comments to comment number 67 you will see that Ken Tapping has discounted an article that cherry picks a few comments about the sunspot activity and indicated that he in fact thinks global warming is a far more pressing issue than the late arrival of a few sunspots.

His article about sunspot activity can be read here.

Not to comment on the great burden of living a Luddite life ,I have existed near the South Bank of the Red River in North Texas for the past 35 yrs.Once belonged to the Wood Heating Aliance(radical ultra left wing die hard wood burning hickies )cut and delivered over 2000 cords of oak firewood over a 20 yr period to the Dallas /Ft Worth Metroplex.Used to dream of snow laden winters and Blue Northers.1983 December was actual coldest spell during this period.
But Winters kept getting warmer-once I was unloading in a rain a week after Thanksgiving with 70 deg air temp from El Nino that fall.(1 of 2 back to back)In 1998 had to exit that business from warming,lost it!
Now I want to ask Where is this cold coming from this winter?Are diverse areas of the globe being frozen solid simultaneously?Try China,Central Asia,our Great Plains.Global dimming?Less sun spots all of a sudden?or the combined particulate areial spraying campaigns of over 100 countries worldwide.

Giant X's in the North Texas skies these past few days.

As you can see from this graph from Cryosphere Today the northern hemisphere ice cover dropped dramatically and unprecedentedly this summer and has rapidly recovered but it is still almost one million square kilometres below the 1978-2000 average. If you ignore short term variations the trend is unmistakeably down.

Arctic Ice Cover

I saw this. Three questions come to mind. 1) what did this look like going back some 2-3000 years? Of course we don't know, so we cannot compare and make a claim as to what this trend means against past trends. 2) What caused the sudden spike down? And what caused the sudden recovery? 3) what's going to happen next?

So if you saw it, why didn't you report it?

Snot-nosed cherry picker.

The sudden spike down was caused by extended temperature anomolies reaching 10 or 20C at maximum for a long period of time in a statistically significant (in terms of changing climate versus changing weather) manner. This is orders of magnitude more serious (and more localized) than any of the global warming models predict, and has been one of the reasons people are claiming such different things.

A solid possibility on the recovery spike - Pack ice which is breaking up doesn't just melt into water immediately. It spreads out into small, floating chunks of surface ice which get counted as "low ice coverage." If a lot of this happens in a warm summer, the following winter you could be faced with a huge, several-inches-thick pack of ice, instead of a smaller, dozens-of-feet-thick pack of ice - particularly if the surface water is much fresher than the ocean water (and easier to freeze).

That there are cycles in sunspots is well known. The sun happens to be at the minimum of that cycle at present. If the predictions are correct, we should expect to see sunspot activity pick up in the next few years. Are we headed for "Global Cooling" due to a lack of sunspots, such as happened during the Maunder Minimum? It's possible, although not very likely.


Your data from UAH is just another of Spencer and Christy's anti-science attempts. For example, their data extends back to the late 1970's. So, why do they present only the AMSU stuff on the graphic, ignoring the older MSU results which they have spent years promoting? Maybe it's because the long term trend is warming, but the last few years may have shown cooling, due to the decline in the solar cycle. Spencer and Christy have continued to ignore the fact that their data has a basic flaw over the Antarctic, which I pointed out in a paper published in the GRL more than 4 years ago. My personal opinion is that they have an agenda and are spreading disinformation to discredit the other scientific results.

Was the Earth colder in 2007? Then why did the sea-ice melt in the Arctic result in such a remarkable decline?

E. Swanson

Current Arctic ice is the largest extent in 15 years, thickest too. http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2008/02/15/arctic-ice.html

The decline in minimum sea-ice extent last year was exceptional. Yearly variation might be expected to bring minimum extent back toward the trend line. However, the long term trend has been downward, which is the important measure, not one year's low extent. The same comment applies to yearly temperature measurements. It's the long term trend which is important and that's been heading higher.

Your quoted article does not say that the sea-ice extent is the largest in 15 years, nor the thickest.

"Clearly, we're seeing the ice coverage rebound back to more near normal coverage for this time of year," said Gilles Langis, a senior ice forecaster with the Canadian Ice Service in Ottawa.

Are you spreading denialist disinformation??

E. Swanson

"However, the long term trend has been downward, which is the important measure, not one year's low extent."

Exactly! I remember being on Yahoo's political message boards before they were suddenly and without any explanation eradicated, and the argument from the Anti-GW people was that 1998 was the warmest year on record and since then the world had cooled. Then in 2005 the previous record of 1998 was broken and that argument stopped being made.

Now there are arguments of a differing basis. Fact is though, as you mentioned in your post, the long term trend is towards warmer temperatures. The 650,000 year chart showing temperatures closely follow CO2 increases is all one needs to know to realize that if humankind puts more CO2 into the atmoshphere it will result in warmer temperatures. That's why 95% of the worlds ice is reducing in mass, not expanding.

Regional variations, La Nina's vs. El Nino's are irrelavent. The only factor that's important is the long term trend. But I've also seen these weblinks and articles trying to debunk GW and they all have one thing in common. A self interest in arguing against GW. If that is the mindset then one can always find anomolies to make their argument. Think though in long term measurements. What is happening to ice all over the world, not just in east antarctica or for one winter season in the arctic right after record melting in the Summer of the same year.

I'm convinced those against GW are intractable. There is no amount of evidence available to ever convince them otherwise. Whether that intractable position is the result of religious belief that only God can change the weather, or whether that is support of a political position, or some other reason altogether, the result is the same - intractibility.

It's like trying to convince a Catholic to become a Jew, or a Christian to become a Muslim. It's just never going to happen. What this means is the rest of us that do believe in GW just need to move forward with whatever technology and policies that make the best sense to reduce the build up of CO2 in the atmosphere. Plain and simple and not get distracted by intractibility.

Your friends at realclimate have acknowledged that the planet has remained stable in temp since 1998. They even conceded that if this continues for the next 5 years they will have to completely "rethink" their models. This was in reply to one of the comments about this very subject.

Link. Please.

Sorry, I did not keep the link. It was some time back in Dec during comments on a subject about temps. I thought you guys religeously read the site? Just email them and ask.

While I couldn't find the discussion you refer to, I found a recent article which addresses your issue, that is the fact that you are looking at short term data.



I'm convinced those against GW are intractable. There is no amount of evidence available to ever convince them otherwise.

I have a theory on this. Global warming has been framed as a moral issue rather than an economic one. If you accept the scientific evidence, then you must accept the policy proscription of drastically reduced emissions, because to knowingly let the earth warm would be morally wrong. This sucks all the oxygen out of what should be a reasonable debate: How much does it make sense to reduce emissions, and how much does it make sense to adjust to a warmer world?

My theory is that many people believe that reducing emissions will be more expensive than adjusting to the changes. But because that debate has been denied them, they fall back (consciously or unconsciously) to denying the science behind the warming.

I think it will make sense to do some reducing, and some adjusting, until the marginal costs are about equal (probably erring on the side of safety, since it's hard to undo emissions if their prove costlier than expected). That means more emissions restrictions than we have now (at least in the US, where the marginal cost of carbon is zero), but more fundamentally it means looking at it as an economic challenge, not a moral one.


Global warming has been framed as a moral issue rather than an economic one.

Peace yes.

But I don't see how GW can be framed as an "economic" issue.

GW is all about externalities.
It's all about refusing to "account" for the damage done by people pumping gases into the commons cesspool we call our atmosphere.

If someone dies on the other side of the planet due to an unusually harsh storm (arguably caused by GW), what's the cost to you, what's the cost to me?


From an "economic" point of view, we don't give a $h*t about the lost lives or lost lifestyles of others. So yes, it is a moral issue.

From an "economic" point of view, we don't give a $h*t about the lost lives or lost lifestyles of others. So yes, it is a moral issue.

Nope. Lives lost are represented as lost labor pool and reduced demand, which are represented as lulls in economic growth and more expensive labor/products. This is before we even touch capital loss.

This is fundamentally an economic issue, that unfortunately is often debated by those that don't understand or flat out disbelieve economics.

So if sea level rises wipe out Bangladeshi villages, one would ask "how much value do they add with their labor?"

The answer is "not much." In fact, it might not have any measurable economic impact on the US, so by that argument their deaths and displacement wouldn't matter.

Sure. You're discounting some of the value add of their labor more than you should of course. There are a number of industrial activities in Bangladesh that have comparative advantage that would push the price up globally (if rather marginally...) but lets say there's no economic impact.

Its sad, but ultimately moral arguments dont influence policy. Economic arguments do. If there's no economic impact, we're not going to do a damned thing about it.

while the displacement of tens of millions of people in Bangladesh may no have a significant impact on the US, almost any sea level rise will hurt many US coastal cities, such as New York . (link is to a google maps overlay showing where the new coastline would be with a N meter sea level rise (N is 0 to 15m). )

It is estimated that 600 million people live withing 10m (vertically) of the sea and, no matter which country you are, there is no way the displacement of that many people across the world would have a negative impact. 10m is long term possible, the 100M people within 5m is a more plausable scenario, assuming that global warming occurs, and some ice melt occurs (total Greenland and antarctic ice melt is about a 70m sea level rise).

ipcc (2001) on greenland melt rates (on the order of meters per hundreds of years per degree)

edit: typo fix

It would take thousands of years to melt both poles completely. Wont happen any sooner as you cannot change the lasws of physics. Especially since the ice is growing in Antarctica.

Second, how come the IPCC recent 2007 report had dramatically dropped the amount of rise from previous reports, and how come they note clearly that there has not been an accelaration in the current rate of sea level rise of about 4 inches in 100 years?

Until there is definative measurements showing a change in the rate of sea level on the orders required by your post then your just armchair speculating.

Double post

Another nonsensical reply. 1. You're wrong. (Not your. English much?) 2. The North Pole has already melted by about 50%, so please explain how that is going to take another "thousands" of years. 3. All of the ice sheets don't have to melt to cause havoc for humanity, or are you not aware that billions live within meters of sea level?

Concern sharpened in 1975 when Cesare Emiliani at the University of Miami reported measuring deep-sea cores that showed a shockingly rapid rise of sea level — a rate of meters per decade — around 11,600 years ago. (He remarked that this was exactly the time Plato had given for the fall of Atlantis!) Emiliani thought the cause of the flooding might not have been an Antarctic surge, but water rapidly released from enormous lakes that had been penned up behind the North American ice sheet, a titanic jökulhlaup. In places like Florida where the land sloped gently into the ocean, he wrote, "the sea would have been seen to advance inland 300 feet in... a single summer."(9) Other areas at risk included the Nile Delta and the Netherlands. Science journalists made sure that the more spectacular warnings reached a broad public.(10)

Further, the IPCC didn't even deal with ice melt in the report, despite your false claim. This is common knowledge, so why lie about it?

When the authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued its 2007 report, the authors found the new ideas about ice sheets so uncertain that they took no account of the possibility of ice surges in their sea level predictions. Some senior glaciologists worried that ignoring an unknown did not make it go away.


The Scandinavian Ice Sheet gives some clues:

The Scandinavian Ice Sheet (SIS) was an important component of the global ice sheet system during the last glaciation, but the timing of its growth to or retreat from its maximum extent remains poorly known. We used 115 cosmogenic beryllium-10 ages and 70 radiocarbon ages to constrain the timing of three substantial ice-margin fluctuations of the SIS between 25,000 and 12,000 years before the present. The age of initial deglaciation indicates that the SIS may have contributed to an abrupt rise in global sea level.


"This study supports what we've been learning about the Greenland ice sheet, which is that it will completely melt within 500 to 1,000 years," said Peter Clark, a professor of geosciences at OSU and an international expert in the study of ancient ice sheets. "Our new analysis of the ancient Scandinavian Ice Sheet, like other studies, is showing how these events unfolded in the past, which will help us better understand what the future will hold."

If there is a net gain in ice in Antarctica, it will probably not be enough to offset the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, scientists say. By itself and without any offsetting mechanisms, a collapse of the Greenland ice sheet would raise sea levels by about 20-25 feet. One prediction is that sea levels should increase by a foot or two by 2100, and up to 25 feet within 500 years. Some of that sea level rise is based on melting of glaciers and major ice sheets, and some is based on thermal expansion of water in the oceans, which increases in size as it gets warmer.


Of course the rising sea levels 12,000 years ago was much faster, all the ice that was as far south as the Canada US boarder was melting! In Ontario we had a huge lake that engulfed most of south-eastern Ontario. The Scarborough Bluffs were once a delta from a river feeding into that lake 12,000 years ago. If you look at a geological graph of rates of sea level over the past 12,000 years you wull see it follows an S curve. Fast during the hight of the major melt, and has been gradually slowing ever since to the current rate. You cannot extrapolate that past event to today because the ice mass is tremendously lower than back then. The last time Greenland was ice free was some 180,000 years ago. The ice sheet survived 400 years of the Medeval Warm Period which had a rise of temp just as fast as today's and was warmer than today.

And as noted in these outlandish speculations, you are still looking at 500 years down the road. Do you really think the world population by then will be in the billions? Do you really think by then even a 25 foot rise in sea level will be an issue? No, survival in a post carbon world, and possible recovery from WWIII, will be the major concern.

And, oh, BTW. If you want to ban me from posting non-referred papers against AGW because they are not refereed, then that applies to EVERYONE about EVERYTHING on TOD.

You are unable to engage in intelligent debate. This will be my last response to you.

First, you posted that ice sheets take thousands of years to melt. You were wrong.

Second, don't claim it's because it was so far south when it was *Scandinavian.* When you obfuscate, you lie. It is that simple. You are lying to project an agenda.

Third, anyone proven to obfuscate, lie and distort should be banned. You are the only poster I've noted doing this. Others seem to at least support their comments with something resembling intelligence and scholarship. You just lie.

Fourth, I did not post this info to debate other issues of melt. I posted simply to correct your distortions. What I think will happen with ice melt is not worth discussing with you. It would be a waste of time.

Fifth, on the issue of AGW you contradict yourself. You have claimed to be reading the literature and being open-minded. You don't even approach that description. 1. Everything you present has an anti-AGW bias. 2. You post your crap and claim objectivity but are not familiar with the most important recent science on the subject? Even though it has been widely distributed?!

Finally, luckily for you, I am just a reader here. I am quite certain my point of view means exactly zero to the people running this site. Were I an admin here, you would be gone unless and until you learned to present information without distortion.

Hell, they should ban anyone who responds to you: doing so is *that* much of a waste and an embarrassment. I am embarrassed I've given you any attention at all. It's the equivalent of driving a Hummer one block to the store to buy one plastic bottle of oil for a Winnebago.


In terms of amoral economics, if the wiped out unfortunates rely on charity from our country, then the wipe out is a net economic gain to "us".

A minus of a minus is a plus.

Or, if the wiped out unfortunates are owed net compensation from our country --say for sweat shop labor they didn't get paid for, or damage to their health due to sweat shop conditions, then the wipe out is a net economic gain.

Or, if the wiped out unfortunates were trying to climb the life style ladder by switching from walking to using automobiles,then the wipe out is a net economic gain because they no longer present "demand" for oil and thus they no longer cause oil to rise above $100/bbl.

Yes, "economics" is great fun and can be twisted and pulled in any desired direction just like a nose of wax.

A "lost labor pool" that is lost before we have to pay them is a gain on "our" balance sheet. A "reduced demand" that reduces our costs is a gain on our balance sheet. Believe it or not, there are some of us who do fully understand the deep "fund-a-mentals" of economic theory and of the modern world's practice thereof.

It's all in how one "accounts" for some things and blindly refuses to account for others(i.e., externalities).

Or, if the wiped out unfortunates were trying to climb the life style ladder by switching from walking to using automobiles,then the wipe out is a net economic gain because they no longer present "demand" for oil and thus they no longer cause oil to rise above $100/bbl.

This is a net economic gain. The demand they produce enriches the entire global economy.

A car has smoke and mirrors.

How does pumping noxious fumes into the atmosphere "enrich" everybody?

How does making everybody pay more for energy "enrich" everybody?

Clearly we are talking past each other. My definition of what "enriches" humanity and your definition of what "enriches" seem to be very different. I guess it's that kind of difference that makes the world spin and tilt off balance. Peace. :-)

p.s. It is producers who "produce" and demanders who demand. Demanders do not "produce" demand. Demanders "consume" that which the Producers produce. "Demand" is just a psycho-babble substitute word for consumption.

You could start with Adam Smith and then read Ricardo, then move on to more modern theories of labor and capital by say Keynes or Friedman. While ideology of the role of the state may be vastly different, nearly all economic models value people as a resource rather than a cost.

...nearly all economic models value people as a resource rather than a cost.

Please think about what you are saying for just a minute. To demonstrate the absurdity of of this assertion, I offer the following absurd example: If the human population were 100 billion instead of 7, while our resource base remained at its present level, would this extra 93 billion raise or lower the average standard of living? Economic output would of course be somewhat higher, but without increasing resource availability, the per capita wealth would be drastically lower.

If there are insufficient resources to maintain full employment, there will be an excess supply of labor. This excess will drive wages down and thus reduce the standard of living for those who are lucky enough to have a job. Those who are unemployed will be a drain on everyone else, as they will not be producing anything and they will still require clothing, food, shelter, and medical treatment. Their 'demand' is a net loss, as it must be subsidized by everyone else.

This is not to say that the economic deities mentioned above were entirely wrong. They assumed world resources were virtually infinite, which was a valid assumption at the time, when the world had a much smaller population. This assumption is no longer justifiable and as such, most of the economic laws which depend on this assumption are no longer valid.

Please think about what you are saying for just a minute. To demonstrate the absurdity of of this assertion, I offer the following absurd example: If the human population were 100 billion instead of 7, while our resource base remained at its present level, would this extra 93 billion raise or lower the average standard of living? Economic output would of course be somewhat higher, but without increasing resource availability, the per capita wealth would be drastically lower.

No, because people create resources. Sure there's an upper limit, but determining what that limit is is a seperate discussion.

This assumption is no longer justifiable and as such, most of the economic laws which depend on this assumption are no longer valid.

Thats not clear at all. Its eventually not true, but its still true today.

No, because people create resources.


I guess this is the place where we physics-oriented people butt heads with you economics-die-hard people.

In our world, matter/energy can neither be "created" nor destroyed.

In your world people "create" money out of thin air and apparently, since money and resources are interchangeable in your mind, people can also "create" resources out of thin air.

Sorry, they can't.
People don't "create" resources.
What we have on this planet Earth is what we have. Whether you bring 6.5 Billion of your resource-creators to the party or 100 Billion, they aren't going to be "creating" new resources. They'll be fighting over what limited resources are available. Simple as that.

Increased economic output is not the same as increased per capita income.

Increased per capita income for some is not always increased per capita income for others. There are zero sum and even negative sum games going on.

This is the argument George Monbiot made in the Guardian yesterday.

Juggle a few of these numbers, and it makes economic sense to kill people

Britain's official approach to climate change puts a price on human lives. And the richer you are, the more yours is worth

This isn't new information. Rich people are worth more by definition.

Rich people are worth more by definition.

Ah, but that dicounts the future. I would also put many great, but certainly not rich, scientists and engineers ahead of a lot of wealthy people with respect to worth.

From at least one perspective, those who are least among us have the greatest value because our care for them connects us with the highest value of all. This suggests that attempting to extend a theory of value of labor to a theory of value of people is a mistake.


The 650,000 year chart showing temperatures closely follow CO2 increases is all one needs to know to realize that if humankind puts more CO2 into the atmoshphere it will result in warmer temperatures. That's why 95% of the worlds ice is reducing in mass, not expanding.

But what if it is the other way around, CO2 closely following the temperature?

CO2 levels and global temperature are co-dependent in that they form a positive feedback loop. Increased CO2 levels raise global temperature and increased temperature melts permafrost, which releases more CO2 and methane, another greenhouse gas. This cycle continues until either all of the trapped gas has been released or a more powerful negative feedback loop brings the system into equilibrium.

See Earth's permafrost starts to squelch

I think few people argue against the greenhouse effect and positive feedback loop. This is not the point.
The main debate evolves around the human-induced global warming, the anthropogenic theory, so in this case is really relevant who was the first, the hen (CO2) or the egg (increased temperature).

Increase in temp. The current warming trend started around 1890, long before we started emitting large quantities of CO2 (after 1960).

Ah, shame on me, feeding the trolls. But they do try taking over issues like this. It's like arguing with a Jehovah's Witness about the kingdom of heaven when you're late to be somewhere.

But OK, I guess it's my turn to pick up the dog poop, so I'll throw one in here.

In this chicken-and-egg argument of whether CO2 causes global warming or vice-versa, yes we're seeing positive feedbacks; at least those perceiving the real world do.

But the CO2 causes the warming, period. Many instances of it have been kicked off by volcanism releasing greenhouse gasses. Anyone here flat-out dumb enough to think that rise in CO2 causes volcanos to erupt? Probably.

You asked about the causal relationship of the correlation. This feedback loop could be triggered by either a rise in temperature from increased solar input or an increase in greenhouse gases. Given we have raised the levels of CO2, we have at least contributed to the warming.

"Then in 2005 the previous record of 1998 was broken and that argument stopped being made."

Pachauri on Recent Climate Trends

Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the U.N. Panel that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, said he would look into the apparent temperature plateau so far this century.

"One would really have to see on the basis of some analysis what this really represents," he told Reuters, adding "are there natural factors compensating?" for increases in greenhouse gases from human activities.

... rebound back to more near normal coverage for this time of year..."

Hi BD,

The reference to this time of year could be significant. This is, after all, Canada and it's winter so you would expect a seasonal rebuild in this ice, although judging by yesterday's +12C temperatures and today's high of +11C here on the east coast, you could be forgiven if you thought it were already April or May. In any event, I'm left to wonder how conditions will fair come spring and summer and how these coming months will compare to previous years given that these temperate seasons appear to be growing increasingly warmer. Will the more normal, winter-like temperatures of the past couple months be sufficient to reverse any long term decline? I kinda have my doubts.


Include that the following places have had the coldest recorded temps this winter: China, India, parts of the US, Parts of central Europe. In the southern hemisphere they also saw the coldest year in decades. Antarctic ice is at the largest extent it's been in 50 years. Now before you claim that one winter is not a trend, one winter can indeed change the trend line, especially if this continues for several more years.

Now before you claim that one winter is not a trend, one winter can indeed change the trend line, especially if this continues for several more years.

Not being statistically inclined, I won't even attempt to fluff and bluff my way through this alternate universe but, yes, I agree one winter does not make a trend and, yes, a succession of future winters that are colder than what we would normally expect might suggest the emergence of an opposing trend. But if I were a dog and you had kicked me nine times in a row, I hope you'd forgive me for harbouring any lingering suspicions if you should fail to kick me a tenth.


Speculate all you want, you would only really know when things do or do not unfold.

True, I could become incredibly well endowed wealthy some day, but I'm hardly counting on it. And, btw, I'm not letting those boots out of my sight. :-)


Speculate all you want, you would only really know when things do or do not unfold.

Please don't talk about what people will know when since you have lied above about the content of the links you provided. You are not interested in anyone "knowing" anything.

"Antarctic ice is at the largest extent it's been in 50 years."

No it is not. It is barely above the mean for the time of year.
Antarctic ice cover


Notice the dramatic drop in 2007, but the dramatic rise in 2008, more so than previous years. And yes, I do see the over all long term gradual drop. I never said warming isn't happening, it has, since 1890.

How is this "denialist misinformation"?

There's an upside to the extreme cold temperatures northern Canadians have endured in the last few weeks: scientists say it's been helping winter sea ice grow across the Arctic, where the ice shrank to record-low levels last year. Temperatures have stayed well in the -30s C and -40s C range since late January throughout the North, with the mercury dipping past -50 C in some areas. Satellite images are showing that the cold spell is helping the sea ice expand in coverage by about 2 million square kilometres, compared to the average winter coverage in the previous three years. "It's nice to know that the ice is recovering," Josefino Comiso, a senior research scientist with the Cryospheric Sciences Branch of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland, told CBC News on Thursday. […] Winter sea ice could keep expanding. The cold is also making the ice thicker in some areas, compared to recorded thicknesses last year, Lagnis added. "The ice is about 10 to 20 centimetres thicker than last year, so that's a significant increase," he said. If temperatures remain cold this winter, Langis said winter sea ice coverage will continue to expand.

Ice between Canada and Greenland reaches highest level in 15 years.

Minus 30 degrees Celsius. That's how cold it's been in large parts of western Greenland where the population has been bundling up in hats and scarves. At the same time, Denmark's Meteorological Institute states that the ice between Canada and southwest Greenland right now has reached its greatest extent in 15 years. 'Satellite pictures show that the ice expansion has extended farther south this year. In fact, it's a bit past the Nuuk area. We have to go back 15 years to find ice expansion so far south. On the eastern coast it hasn't been colder than normal, but there has been a good amount of snow.'


Hey, JR, I've some land in Tucson I'd like to sell you. I'm moving to Vermont.

So it's -30 Celsius in Greenland. Is that a surprise to you? Who do you think is impressed?
The locals are bundling up in hats and scarves! Oh my! Do tell. How much are you paid to shovel this tripe with a straight face?

How is this "denialist misinformation"?

It's denialist information because it represents just one area, ignoring changes in other areas, such as the Barents Sea.


Your presentation is what's called "Cherry Picking". That's what lawyers and debaters do, pick the facts to support their side, while ignoring the rest. The important variable is the minimum area at the end of the melt season, not that in just one area mid way thru the seasonal changes, IMHO. The sea-ice off the southwest Greenland coast is heavily influenced by the East Greenland Current, which is, in turn influenced by the THC waters which sink in the Labrador Sea. There are fluctuations in the THC, which can also result in changes in local sea-ice.

But, none of that wouldn't interest you, would it?

E. Swanson

I live a bit north of Fairbanks, AK. The last few days have been unusually warm for this time of year at around 40 F (5 C) and this trend is expected to continue for a few more days. What does this prove?

Nothing. A few days or even an entire season does not make a climate. If the warming trend has reversed, we will not know for certain for at least a few more years, although a decade would be preferable.

A AGW denier who is trolling the site with disinformation? Colour me unsurprised. Just about every link I see there has been refute on RealClimate, just recently, the "Antarctica is cold!" and "The Earth was cooler this past year! ZOMG!!1! SCIENCE IZ WR0NG!11".

Deniers are remarkable in their ignorance. But I tire of them as I do YECs. No matter how many times you shoot holes in their bullshit, they move on to another out-of-context soundbite, scientist specialising in physiology dissenting from the IPCC or other total red herring to obfuscate the issue for the terminally stupid.

It'd be funny if only the planet wasn't dying thanks to it. Sorry, I mean the species. The planet is fine, to paraphrase George Carlin.

And Mr. Rapier, I wholly agree. Let the world burn. Least when we're all starving/drowning/bunkering down from superstorms, we can gloat to our heart's content. Kind've reminds me of the top brass during the Cuban missile crisis days. "If we're wrong, no one will be around to tell us we are."

RealClimate: Funded by Environmental Media Services


A far leftist organization with deep pocket. The site is well known for its own misinformation and censorship.

This little attempt at a smear confirms your position on GW is purely political and totally devoid of any scientific backing.
There is no mention of RealClimate in your link.


Registrant Organization:Environmental Media Services
Registrant Street1:1320 18th St, NW
Registrant Street2:5th Floor
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Washington
Registrant State/Province:DC
Registrant Postal Code:20036
Registrant Country:US

So what. You are trying really hard to avoid the science and introduce irrelevant subjects into the discussion. Following your "logic" TOD is crap because Bush is the leader of the US.

My gosh! I have a personal site with a hosting provider. Does that mean the hosting provider is supporting me directly? Heck no! It means I am supporting the hosting provider by paying for hosting, tech support, domain services, etc.

Just because RealClimate is hosted by Environmental Media Services doesn't prove jack squat except your own ignorance about how the world wide web works. To prove support you have to prove that Environmental Media Services is giving away bandwidth or other services to RealClimate.org.

Ah, No. EMS is the REGISTERED holder of the domain name RealClimate.org, .com, and a couple other dots. In other words they OWN RealClimate. Just like I'm the registered owner of my own domain(s). My site is hosted at NetNation, but I own the domain, just like EMS owns RealClimate (And pays the fees to keep the site running). Thus, RealClimate is an offshoot of EMS and hence RealClimate is controled by EMS. If you disagree with that then you CANNOT use the argument that WorldClimateReport is owned by big oil. Either they are both the same in that regard or they are not. If RealClimate is independent then so too is WorldClimateReport and CO2Science. You can't have it both ways simply because you favour RealClimate. In fact, I'd venture to say you favour RealClimate BECAUSE it is affiliated with far left leaning organizations.

It is common for ISPs to buy domains for their customer's use. This is not necessarily in the client's best interest (because it makes it harder to move to another hosting company.

Why don't you just ask RealClimate.org to make their books public?

Guarrenteed if the shoe was on the other foot, that WorldClimateReport was owned by "Big Oil" (It's not it's owned by Tucows) there would be a flurry of comments that they are influenced by "Big Oil" and hence has an hidden agenda. You can't have it both ways.

RealClimate: Funded by Environmental Media Services


A Disclaimer

Readers of the Feb. 14th, 2005 Wall Street Journal may have gotten the impression that RealClimate is in some way affiliated with an environmental organisation. We wish to stress that although our domain is being hosted by Environmental Media Services, and our initial press release was organised for us by Fenton Communications, neither organization was in any way involved in the initial planning for RealClimate, and have never had any editorial or other control over content. Neither Fenton nor EMS has ever paid any contributor to RealClimate.org any money for any purpose at any time. Neither do they pay us expenses, buy our lunch or contract us to do research. All of these facts have always been made clear to everyone who asked (see for instance: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/vol306/issue5705/netwatch.shtml).


More Hypocrisy: RealClimate and Funding Issues
Let's say I take him at his word that the contributors have not been paid for any reason and haven't even had a lunch bought for them. Fenton Communications is a left-liberal public relations firm that has been orchestrating Cindy Sheehan's anti-war campaign (not that I'm pro-war, I'm just saying...). Environmental Media Services is a left-liberal environmental orgnanization. Did Fenton handle RealClimate's press release free of charge or did the contributors of RealClimate pool their funds from their government paychecks to pay for the service? Does RealClimate pay EMS for hosting their blog? The author of the post doesn't say, but I would be surprised if the contributors of RealClimate paid for any of these services. If they didn't pay for these services out of their own pockets, then RealClimate has received and continues to receive the equivalent, in terms of subsidized services, of financial support from left-liberal and environmental organizations. And if they did pay for these services, why deal exclusively with left-liberal and environmental organizations?


Tom Nelson, 13 February 2008

1. Uber-alarmist James Hansen is head of NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.

2. Hansen is said to be the boss of RealClimate alarmist Gavin Schmidt at NASA GISS.

3. Gristmill alarmist Andrew Dessler says he did his post-doctoral work at NASA Goddard (at about the 40 second mark here).

4. RealClimate alarmist Eli Rabbet is said to be Josh Halpern:

Prof. Halpern is also the Co-Director of the NASA Faculty Fellowship Program at Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD in odd numbered years. This program supports about 30 faculty each year to do summer research at Goddard.

When this worldwide global warming hysteria inevitably dies, it will probably become clear that a core cause was groupthink among a surprisingly small set of people.

Is realclimate.org biased?

Realclimate.org is funded by Environmental Media Services, founded in 1994 by Arlie Schardt, a former journalist, former communications director for Al Gore's 2000 Presidential campaign.

EMS is closely allied with Fenton Communications.

Fenton Communications client list includes organizations associated with a diverse array of social issues, but they are most known for their work with liberal causes such as MoveOn.org and Greenpeace.

Since that is such a 'leftward' bias already, and since the 'leftward' bias of AGW and GW is pretty much a known fact.

A Little Testy at RealClimate

Heaven forbid a discussion of actual substance over there. If we did we might have to discuss Kossin et al. and how SSTs don't covary with intensity in all basins, and the fact that Emanuel signed on to the WMO consensus, and well, a whole bunch of stuff that is fair game to discuss in scientific circles, but not apparently at RealClimate. In my view the issue of hurricanes and climate remains uncertain and contested and is well worth discussing.

That's a lot of name-calling in one post.

As for the those hefty "subsidized services," you might have read a bit further downthread:

[It is not a question of cost, but time. We’d probably have accepted the offer from any organization that was willing to host this, whom we trusted to do a good job with the servers and other such technicalities. This is the opportunity that arose. We are no more “affiliated” with EMS than you are “associated” with Adelphia.net. -eric]

Doesn't matter. What matters is RealClimate has definite links and umbilical cord to far leftist organizations and funding. Hence their agenda is far left, rejecting anything that does not support their view, and slanting information to support their position. I get that labeled at me when I present sites that have a right leaning slant to them. RealClimate is no different in that regard either. The vast majority of people are politically in the middle. They view radical left or right with suspecion and rightly so because both sides have an axe to grind, both sides have deep politically motivated agendas.

My purpose for exposing RealClimate's left leaning parents is that the site is not unbiased squeeky clean science driven. It's a political organization.

Mother Earth doesn't care what your "agenda" is.

It's all just bunches of chattering monkeys to her.

The CO2 levels will continue to climb.
Infra Red absorption will continue to climb.
The system will tip over.

The monkeys will stop their chattering.
Peace at last.
We'll finally be giving peace a chance.

Let the dancing begin. :-)

"RealClimate has definite links and umbilical cord to far leftist organizations and funding."

Bare assertion fallacy. You haven't demonstrated any "left leaning parents" of RealClimate. Because EMS hosts their blog, they're tools of Greenpeace?

More to the point, RealClimate echoes the overwhelming scientific consensus: fossil carbon emissions are heating the planet. Can you demonstrate that the bulk of the scientific community is on the take from the "far left"?

I can't get over the pained look on all the faces as the audience squirmed in their chairs.... you would have thought the guy was roasting Stalin and the invited guests didn't know how to respond. I'm cracking myself up laughing and these folks looked like they're auditioning for the Stepford Wives. Unbelievable.


More to the point, RealClimate echoes the overwhelming scientific consensus: fossil carbon emissions are heating the planet. Can you demonstrate that the bulk of the scientific community is on the take from the "far left"?

First, there is no "overwhelming scientific consensus", that's been grossly exaggerated to give AGW dogma the appearance of legitimacy. More and more once IPCC scientists are leaving the "consensus". I guarantee you that far left organizations and radical environmental groups are reaping MILLIONS in donations because of the hype in AGW. There are BILLIONS at stake here, some $50 BILLION so far in the past 20 years spent in their direction. Give it time, it will all be exposed soon.

First, there is no "overwhelming scientific consensus", that's been grossly exaggerated to give AGW dogma the appearance of legitimacy.


  • American Association for the Advancement of Science: "The conclusions in this statement reflect the scientific consensus represented by, for example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the Joint National Academies' statement."
  • US National Academy of Science: "In the judgment of most climate scientists, Earth’s warming in recent decades has been caused primarily by human activities that have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. ... On climate change, [the National Academies’ reports] have assessed consensus findings on the science..."
  • Joint Science Academies' statement, 2005: "We recognise the international scientific consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."
  • Joint Science Academies' statement, 2001: "The work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) represents the consensus of the international scientific community on climate change science. We recognise IPCC as the world’s most reliable source of information on climate change and its causes, and we endorse its method of achieving this consensus."
  • American Meteorological Society: "The nature of science is such that there is rarely total agreement among scientists. Individual scientific statements and papers—the validity of some of which has yet to be assessed adequately—can be exploited in the policy debate and can leave the impression that the scientific community is sharply divided on issues where there is, in reality, a strong scientific consensus. ...IPCC assessment reports are prepared at approximately five-year intervals by a large international group of experts who represent the broad range of expertise and perspectives relevant to the issues. The reports strive to reflect a consensus evaluation of the results of the full body of peer-reviewed research. ... They provide an analysis of what is known and not known, the degree of consensus, and some indication of the degree of confidence that can be placed on the various statements and conclusions."

I guarantee you that far left organizations and radical environmental groups are reaping MILLIONS in donations because of the hype in AGW.

You really like that proof-by-assertion fallacy, don't you?

I'm just throwing back at you what you people throw back at me "Funded by Big Oil!!" BTW, there are a large number of scientists in those organizations who have vocally stated they DO NOT support their organization's statements.

If you can't debunk their science, and you can't, you've nothing to say on the subject. Now, here's your test to see whether you are worth *anyone's* time given your radical positions, lies and distortions.

1. If CO2 has nothing to do with global warming, why do all past records show a strong correlation?

2. Since the sun is currently at a solar minimum, but Earth has been warming while getting to that solar minimum, why aren't you mentioning that? And the fact that it is heading out of the minimum after this year, if past patterns hold?

3. Why did the ice melt so much in 2005 and 2007 with the sun so weak?

4. Since CO2 is higher now than it has been in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years, how did it get there and why is it not important?

Here's the kicker:

5. Please explain away Hansen, et al's, recent work on climate sensitivity.

Links at the end, explanations from you. If you can't manage this, you've no business speaking on the subject.


Old glaciers are a wonderful repository of historical information, because past samples of earth's atmosphere are locked up in them. Coral heads and Sargasso Sea sediments also leave Carbon 14 and Oxygen 18 clues to the past temperature of the earth. We all agree that the historical CO2 curves and the temperatures curves closely match each other. But when we look very, very closely at the CO2 and temperature data, we find that increases in CO2 are actually following increases in temperature and that CO2 doesn't cause warming - warming causes CO2 to increase. We've heard several anecdotal examples of local children becoming frightened after seeing Al Gore's movie, and maybe that's why we're so angry with him. To counter that, the British High Court has ruled that the film, if shown in their schools, must be preceded by a disclaimer that it is propaganda, not a documentary.. and a specific list of inaccuracies must be included in the warning. From our point of view, we're watching a world gone mad, with everyone hustling to get a piece of the action. Politicians, radical environmentalists, and even mainstream businesses are scrambling to appear as "green" as they can - and reap of piece of the financial action sure to follow as funds are diverted from normal paths in a headlong race to save the planet. […]What is potentially more alarming, is that some of the early knee-jerk scientists that were so quick to jump on the climate panic bandwagon are now fighting desperately to save their careers by deliberately producing falsified data in a last-ditch effort to support their individual research and save their professional reputations. In our own research, we uncovered some "data" in which a CO2 curve from an ice core study was conveniently moved some 87 years up the time scale, so the desired "results" could be obtained.


2. Since the sun is currently at a solar minimum, but Earth has been warming while getting to that solar minimum, why aren't you mentioning that? And the fact that it is heading out of the minimum after this year, if past patterns hold?

Answer: The current warm trend (which appears to have if not stopped, at least slowed down since 1998) started around 1880 and stopped in the 1940s long before the bulk of our CO2 emissions (some 70% of which has been in the past 50 years). Then dropped until about 1976 right when the CO2 levels were starting to accelarate. What caused that? What caused the Medeval Warm Period? How would one know FOR SURE that this trend is not normal. Also:

Solar data suggest our concerns should be about global cooling

Excerpt: Solar data suggest our concerns should be about global cooling. February 16th, 2008 by Warwick Hughes David Archibald’s new paper “Solar Cycle 24: Implications for the United States”, will be presented at the Heartland Institute Climate Conference in NY City, March 2-4, 2008. David points out how solar data indicates that Solar Cycle 24 which is in the early throes of commencing now, could initiate global cooling. Posted in Solar, IPCC, News and Views | 9 Responses1. julian braggins Says: February 17th, 2008 at 5:29 am


3. Why did the ice melt so much in 2005 and 2007 with the sun so weak?

Answer: Reference please to back that up.

4. Since CO2 is higher now than it has been in hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years, how did it get there and why is it not important?

Answer: We are currently coming out of a CO2 low, the lowest it's been in HUNDREDS of millions of years. CO2 in the geological past was often 3-4 TIMES the current levels. The current low in CO2, which started some 50 million years ago, is suggested to be cause by when India collided with Asia and changed rain patterns in that region. That rain soaked in CO2 disolved the growing mountains to produce the huge carbinate deposits in the India Ocean. And, yes, I have references to back that up (it's been understood for decades).

5. Please explain away Hansen, et al's, recent work on climate sensitivity.

Answer: Don't know it, but will google and read up.

Question for you. Why has the rate of sea level rise not accelarated? To get to the dire predictions of tens of feet there would have to be several times increase in that rate, if not as much as 10 times for the real outlandish predictions. But the rate of sea level has not changed in 110 years of measurments. In fact the IPCC says there has not been any accelaration in spite of their predictions (which they have 3 times now down graded).

Your #1: A pile of reaking excrement. You cite a judge's decision that some elements of a movie were not fully "evidence?" That judge's decision, which you left out, said NOTHING about the legitimacy of global warming as an scientifically supported theory. It said a **movie** was a little off - in it's **non-scientific** OPINION.

You're a damned fool. Next you'll cite global warming swindle...

I said talk about the science.

CO2: more ignorance. CO2 has nothing to do with warming? Warming causes CO2? This is sheer stupidity. The long cycles of solar energy trigger, other forcings reinforce. There is a lag of some hundreds of years at the beginning of warming cycles. (Can you not read graphs?) I cannot believe you would even attempt to claim solar radiation alone causes GW. Who pays you?

You fail question 1.

#2 Why do you cite NONE of the evidence against solar causes presented to you on this thread? Soon and Baliunas BS "research" was discounted FOREVER AGO.

Repeating the same incorrect, narrowly cast BS you've already posted does not qualify. You've offered nothing to support what has already been shown to be false.

You fail question 2.

#3: You are unaware of the Arctic melt in 2005 and 2007? Yet you post here on the topic? The links are already on this thread.

You fail this *topic.*

#4: What the hell have the lows for CO2 to do with the current unprecedented high? And what the hell do we care whether at some far distant time when dinosaurs roamed the earth had more CO2 and more heat? How is it in any way relevant to the current situation? It was a different world at that time with different geologies, etc. Irrelevant except in that the past helps us learn how things work. It is not in any way relevant to our current condition. Our current condition has never existed before. Never before has any organism terraformed this planet and ***artificially* raised the level of GHGs.

When are fools such as yourself going to understand the relevance of AGW? It is the changes in the planet relative to **current life** on the planet. I.e., it matters not what a dinosaur can live in, but what WE can live in. Further, our terraforming of the Earth is interrupting natural cycles leaving us with no historical data upon which to base future hypotheses because **this has never happened before.**

Does the fact that for hundreds of thousands, even millions, of years CO2 never went above 300 ppm, yet now stands at 385 not register in your brain?

Another non-answer. You fail question 4.

#5. Please explain away Hansen, et al's, recent work on climate sensitivity.

Answer: Don't know it, but will google and read up.

For the love of god...

Enough. I am sick to my stomach.

>> We've heard several anecdotal examples of local children becoming frightened after seeing Al Gore's movie, and maybe that's why we're so angry with him.

Better burn some books and the Wizard of Oz, because some kids become frightened with that, too. "Oooh! I'm sooo angry with Al Gore!"

I don't need to be a meteorologist to decide who's telling the truth and who's full of it. I just read how people reason (or pretend to).

Re: The sun and CO2 levels:

Solar Cycle 24: Implications for the United States (By Geologist David Archibald of Summa Development Limited in Australia)

Excerpt: I will demonstrate that the Sun drives climate, and use that demonstrated relationship to predict the Earth’s climate to 2030. It is a prediction that differs from most in the public domain. It is a prediction of imminent cooling. […]I will show that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is not even a little bit bad. It is wholly beneficial. The more carbon dioxide we can put into the atmosphere, the better the planet will be – for humans, and all other living things. […]We have 29 years of satellite temperature data. It shows that the temperature of the Southern Hemisphere has been flat, with a slight increase in the Northern Hemisphere. Note the El Nino peak in 1998. Globally, we have had 10 years of temperature decline since that peak in 1998, with a rate of decline of 0.06 degrees per annum. I am expecting the rate of decline to accelerate to 0.2 degrees per annum from the end of this decade. That satellite record is corroborated by the record of Antarctic and Arctic sea ice extent over the same period. There is no long term trend evident. Most recently, there has been a 1 million square kilometre increase over the long term mean. This is a five per cent increase. […]The peak US temperature was in 1936, at much the same time that Total Solar Irradiance peaked. If you have wondered why US temperatures are still lower than what they were 70 years ago, the fact that Total Solar Irradiance is lower than what it was 70 years ago might provide an explanation. […]The peak of the Medieval Warm Period was 2° warmer than today and the Little Ice Age 2° colder at its worst. The total range is 4° centigrade. The warming over the 20th century was 0.6 degrees by comparison. This recent warming has melted ice on some high passes in the Swiss Alps, uncovering artifacts from the Medieval Warm Period and the prior Roman Warm Period. […]2008 is the tenth anniversary of the recent peak on global temperature in 1998. The world has been cooling at 0.06 degrees per annum since then. My prediction is that this rate of cooling will accelerate to 0.2 degrees per annum following the month of solar minimum sometime in 2009. Dr Hansen’s statement that the maximum safe level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 350 ppm begs the question of what the actual ideal level is. I have taken the 1,000 ppm figure from the level that commercial greenhouse operators prefer to run their greenhouses at. The ability to grow food is going to be the overriding concern next decade. Regarding that 1,000 ppm level, we will never get there. Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels have been much higher in the geological past. But most of that carbon is now bound up in the Earth’s sediments where we can’t get to it. Half of the carbon dioxide we are producing now is being gobbled up by the oceans, in soils and in the Russian tundra. At best, we might get to about 600 ppm. What I have shown in this presentation is that carbon dioxide is largely irrelevant to the Earth’s climate. The carbon dioxide that Mankind will put into the atmosphere over the next few hundred years will offset a couple of millenia of post-Holocene Optimum cooling before we plunge into the next ice age. There are no deleterious consequences of higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels. Higher atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are wholly beneficial.


Uh, sorry to interrupt ... anyone else find these massive copy/paste efforts on climate inappropriate on TOD?

Anyone think non-peer reviewed, non-scientific papers should be allowed to be posted on the TOD? One that shows no sources for data? One commissioned for the Heartland Institute? Particularly one that says because greenhouses are set at 1000ppm of CO2 that is the standard for the entire ecosystem of the Earth?

How can that guy not be banned from this site?


If people want to continue to debate anthropogenic global warming, that is, of course, their right. However, perhaps their should be a special thread set aside for just that purpose. That way, jr can cut and paste to his heart's content and those who enjoy spending their day reading his links and refuting him can also do that to their heart's content. Seems like a waste of time to me, but people deserve to waste their own time any way they feel like it.

Many of the rest of us would like to move on and discuss possible solutions and ways to mitigate the effects of global warming and peak oil. And we are supposed to believe that realclimate.org cannot be trusted because it is an extreme left wing web site. Better that we get our info from extreme right wing web sites, I guess. It's all a fucking conspiracy, ya da , ya da.

I have spent tons of time examining this issue but don't feel I should be required to study and debate this issue for the rest of my life. The potential consequences of doing nothing just seem unacceptable to me.

David Archibald (Summa Development Ltd) is associated with the Lavoisier Group - a global warming denial entity funded by the oil and coal industry. All of Australia is funded by the oil and coal industry of course, but his research and public statements are not science you can rely on.

"5. Please explain away Hansen, et al's, recent work on climate sensitivity."


This page discusses Climate change and trace gases by James Hansen, et al., 2007.
I don't make it a point to simply read and criticize Hansen's work ... but this paper begged for it.

In this paper, Hansen admits and then proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the ice core data shows that CO2 will NOT have any effect on temperature. That's right, in an effort to prove that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, Dr. Hansen provides all the evidence that anyone should need to actually prove the contrary position.

But, then he provides the solution - Just fudge the data so that it matches his theory.


The same Vostok ice core that defines past Antarctic temperature also reveals the history of long-lived atmospheric gases. Bubbles of air are trapped as annual snowfalls pile up and compress gradually into ice. page 3
The temperature change appears to usually lead the gas changes by typically several hundred years, as discussed below and indicated in figure 1b. This suggests that warming climate causes a net release of these GHGs by the ocean, soils and biosphere. page 4
The temperature–GHG lag is imprecise because the time required for snow to pile high enough (approx. 100 m) to seal off air bubbles is typically a few thousand years in central Antarctica. ....
Despite multiple careful studies, uncertainties in the ice–gas age differences for the Vostok ice core remain of the order of 1 kyr. ....

Data from a different Antarctic (Dome C) ice core with slightly higher snow accumulation rate ... support temperature leading GHGs by ca 600–800 years. page 4

Basically, this says that temperature change causes a change in CO2. And when you look at the plots in other sources, it is obvious that the CO2 increase did not cause any additional temperature increase. In fact, in almost all cases, an increase in CO2 is correlated with a significant temperature decrease.

You can not tell that from the graphs in Dr. Hansen's paper because he has adjusted them so that most of the major CO2 increases coincide with temperature increases - that's right, he changed the data to fit the theory. In fact, that is the purpose of his paper - to explain why he thinks he is correct in changing the data in this way.

That's right, the data proves his theory wrong, so he changes the data.

Every schoolboy who has read anything on AGW knows the Ice Age/warm interval cycles are initiated by solar cycles. This is what he is referring to. You know this. Thus, you are a liar. Or you are unable to understand simple science. Which?

The idiot you quote is NOT a scientist, he's a twit. His explanation, which you failed to note:

My personal preference is for asteroids.

So, rather than read and respect the work of a man considered to be among the foremost climate scientists in the world, you take the word of a computer programmer in Florida?

Nutjobs, the both of you.

Global Warmer Hoaxer James Hansen Once Pushed Global Cooling

NASA bureaucrat James Hansen, who has been making a pretty penny by helping Al Gore prop up the global warming hoax, is a veteran of the global cooling hoax popular in the 1970s.

Investor's Business Daily reports that a 1971 Washington Post scare piece entitled "U.S. Scientist Sees New Ice Age Coming" fretted that burning fossil fuels discharges particles into the atmosphere that reflect the sun's rays back into space. Emissions over 5–10 years supposedly "could be sufficient to trigger an ice age."

The NASA research behind this hysteria was supported by a "computer program developed by Dr. James Hansen," the same guy who now refers to those who won't drink the global warming Kool-Aid as "court jesters."

The Global Warming Money Trail

To Newsweek's credit, a recent issue devoted to hyping the global warming hoax included a piece by MIT Professor of Meteorology Richard Lindzen, who refuses to drink the Kool-Aid. Lindzen observes that climate fluctuation is normal, and that warmer weather would be beneficial, not catastrophic. As Jeff Jacoby points out, Newsweek felt compelled to include a disclaimer that Lindzen "receives no funding from any energy companies," thoughtfully inoculating him from the standard claim that anyone who won't pretend to see clothes on the naked Emperor Albert is a shill for Big Oil.

Actually, the shills are on the other side. The global warming hoax may put the screws to the poor and middle class, but its perpetrators are making a mint. The reason unscrupulous scientists are willing to play along is that by hyping it into a crisis, they guarantee themselves fortunes in grant money.

NASA's wild-eyed James Hansen, for example, won a $250,000 Heinz Award in 2001, and last month was co-winner of the $1 million Dan David Prize.

"Reality has a well-know liberal bias."

Stephen Colbert, putting the phrase into a conservative's mouth.



Jesus dude, you will really go out on any limb in order to try and disprove the overwhelming scientific support for AGW won't you?


ummm, because NASA puts up most spacecraft that can study the earth from space? Because NASA funds a lot of science (which is their job!) - because Goddard is one of the leading research centers in the US (and world)

lets see what the mission of Goddard is shall we?

"GSFC has the largest combined organization of scientists and engineers dedicated to increasing knowledge of the Earth, the Solar System, and the Universe via observations from space in the United States. GSFC is a major U.S. laboratory for developing and operating unmanned scientific spacecraft. GSFC conducts scientific investigation, development and operation of space systems, and development of related technologies."

Gosh - you were right! how nefarious! those people are INCREASING THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE EARTH VIA OBSERVATIONS FROM SPACE!!!! Somebody ought to stop this at once!

my father is a very well-known geophysicist (not an appeal to authority) - he gets much of his research $ from Goddard and NASA - does this somehow mean his work (not AGW related btw) is not to be trusted?

seriously - you are borderline out of your mind with this stuff - you may as well be spewing out Trilateral Commission crap at us as to imply there is something sinister about scientists being connected to (OH THE HORROR!) well-known scientific centers and science-oriented government agencies

I know, I know, why do I bother responding to the crazy......


Wrong question. The question to ask is, "How did any NASA scientist get published or heard on climate change given their reports were edited or withheld and they were banned from speaking publicly about climate change that supported AGW?"

Bonus question: Why has G. Dumbya Bush squashed sound science on Global Warming and done nothing about Peak Oil while living in a modern, solar-powered, off-grid home?

NOTE: it is slander or defamation or something like that to call into question a man's word when his work has been above reproach. Show me ONE peer-reviewed paper debunking any of Hansen's papers. Just one.

A quick google found this:


In fact if you go to ClimateAudit.org and search in their site you will find numerous articles challenging Hansen's "theories."

An unrefereed blog post by a guy who has a few stories in Energy & Environment? I'm not hearing the edifice of Hansen's peer-reviewed work crashing down just yet.

Then you are missing part of the story by ignoring ClimateAudit. Are the critizisms there sound? If you don't read the critizisms from other sources you are not getting a complete picture. Besides, Hansen saying we need to bulldoze all the coal fired plants is a polticial radical statement that very much strains his credibility and puts questions as to his true motives.

Please tell me his true motives.

Oh he's handed out that drivel as well

"it's all a big left-wing tree-hugger conspiracy"

or my favorite

"they lie to get all that juicy fat research money that is just pouring out for AGW research"

Yep, some $50 BILLION over the past 20 years. CitiBank has vowed to fund AGW research by an additional $50 BILLION.

Citi Targets $50 Billion Over 10 Years to Address Global Climate Change

Includes Significant Increases in Investment and Financing of Alternative Energy, Clean Technology, and Other Carbon-Emission Reduction Activities

Builds on Existing $10 Billion Climate Change Activities


Oh no, investment in alternative energy technology -- those dastardly Commies at Citi will stop at nothing to destroy Capitalism!

Well, you tell me why Hansen would want millions to freeze in the dark, and thousands die because of his desire to bulldoze all the coal plants? Does he want to cull the US population? As that's what his actions would do. Seems highly irresponsible to me. Smells of some agenda to me.

I repeat:

Show me ONE peer-reviewed paper debunking any of Hansen's papers. Just one.

Now get your uneducated butt out of here.

Global Warming? New Data Shows Ice Is Back

Are the world's ice caps melting because of climate change, or are the reports just a lot of scare mongering by the advocates of the global warming theory?

Scare mongering appears to be the case, according to reports from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that reveal that almost all the allegedly “lost” ice has come back. A NOAA report shows that ice levels which had shrunk from 5 million square miles in January 2007 to just 1.5 million square miles in October, are almost back to their original levels.

Moreover, a Feb. 18 report in the London Daily Express showed that there is nearly a third more ice in Antarctica than usual, challenging the global warming crusaders and buttressing arguments of skeptics who deny that the world is undergoing global warming.

The Daily express recalls the photograph of polar bears clinging on to a melting iceberg which has been widely hailed as proof of the need to fight climate change and has been used by former Vice President Al Gore during his "Inconvenient Truth" lectures about mankind’s alleged impact on the global climate.

Gore fails to mention that the photograph was taken in the month of August when melting is normal. Or that the polar bear population has soared in recent years

You go to Newsmax for your science info? Why not just quote Rush "There Is No Ozone Hole" Limbaugh?

Oh, I see, just because YOU dislike the source means that the ice is not growing? Give me a break. Classic dogmatic reponse "I don't like that source so their information is a lie." I guess it will take the next IPCC report to say that the ice has returned before you accept the information as real, eh?

For data on the cryosphere, I go first to Cryosphere Today.

The Arctic ice pack is not growing; the long-term trend is clearly downward. See Nick Rouse's post upthread for the (alarming) graph.

How do you explain the current extent the largest and thickest in 15 years? Guess we will see what happens this summer. If it does not retreat as per previous years, then what? I guess you will just call it some anomally or caused by AGW. Everything that happens is because of AGW regardless, right?

How do you explain the current extent the largest and thickest in 15 years?

This claim is false.

Polar ice pack loss may break 2007 record
TREND: Ocean currents, global warming and wind combine to leave the Arctic ice fragile.
By Tom Kizzia
Published: February 12th, 2008 12:02 AM

...The last remnants of thick, old sea ice are dispersing, and the unusual weather cycles that contributed to last year's loss of ice are continuing, a climatologist told an Anchorage conference Monday.

"The buoys are streaming out," said University of Washington climatologist Ignatius Rigor, referring to the satellite-tracked markers used to monitor the flushing of ice into the North Atlantic. Such a pattern preceded last summer's record ice loss but was not expected to continue so strongly.


The thin veneer of new ice now covering the polar seas is not like the older, thicker sea ice that once covered the region in winter, Rigor said. In 1989, 80 percent of the ice in the Arctic was at least 10 years old, he said. Today, only about 3 percent of the ice is that old.

The new ice melts more quickly, and then open water absorbs more sunlight, warming the seas and making the next fall's freeze-up come even later, he said.

"Have we passed the tipping point?" he said. "It's hard to see how the system may come back."


Ominous Arctic Melt Worries Experts
WASHINGTON Dec 12, 2007 (AP)

..."The Arctic is screaming," said Mark Serreze, senior scientist at the government's snow and ice data center in Boulder, Colo.


This week, after reviewing his own new data, NASA climate scientist Jay Zwally said: "At this rate, the Arctic Ocean could be nearly ice-free at the end of summer by 2012, much faster than previous predictions."

So scientists in recent days have been asking themselves these questions: Was the record melt seen all over the Arctic in 2007 a blip amid relentless and steady warming? Or has everything sped up to a new climate cycle that goes beyond the worst case scenarios presented by computer models?

"The Arctic is often cited as the canary in the coal mine for climate warming," said Zwally, who as a teenager hauled coal. "Now as a sign of climate warming, the canary has died. It is time to start getting out of the coal mines."


Images of early breakup of the Beaufort Sea ice pack:

Beaufort Sea ice pack fracture

German scientists warn of changes in Arctic Ocean circulation

The 10-20 cm sea ice thickness increase (in only a part of the ice sheet, BTW) is no longer sufficient to accumulate ice from year to year. In addition to the atmospheric warming, the sea ice has to fight warmer ocean currents. The change in the ocean circulation is the main story of the dramatic ice loss in the last few years.

Sir, don't post such things. Dontcha know this sort of rubbish proves you're a communist in cahoots with the greenies in trying to overthrow capitalism and Jesus with this filthy lies? The Cold War was lost, comrade. Let us not try and sully America and FREEDOM's victory with such attacks based on science and logic.

Now, go and consume more, there's a good materialist.

I think it's looking more and more like the West lost The Cold War as well :-(

I confess, I am a member of the reality based community and associate with members of the reality based community.

the real data is here:


the picture shows that the sea ice is where it was in 2005, approximately. There was one other time on the record when the sea ice anomaly changed that much: 1996/97, when the anomaly changed from -1.5 to +1. 2007/08 it changed from -3 to -0.5. This is consistent with a trend of d e c l i n i n g sea ice:
The bottoms get lower, and the tops get lower, too.

That lack of sunspots is related to cooling is just a hypothesis, and a relatively poorly supported one. The Maunder minimum did correlate to the so-called Little Ice Age. However, there no evidence that the LIA was global (and some evidence that it was not). And if the LIA was caused by reduced solar activity, it should have been global, not just a North Atlantic phenomenon, since the same sun shines on all of us.

The amount of radiation the earth receives from the sun is directly proportional to the number of sunspots. Fewer sunspots means a cooler sun.
As for this winter being cooler than last winter just shows that climate is the average of weather over a period of decades.

Great Links SlicerDicer (seriously), especially the amsutemps link. Always been curious about the day-to-day global temperature.

Can we conclude that 'global cooling' began on Jan 1, 2008 and ended on, say, Feb 6, 2008? Wow, global temperatures have risen 0.74F since Feb 6! What's up with that?

OK, some sarcasm there, but the point is, climatologists should, I believe, focus on 10 year running averages (or something or that order) and leave the day-to-day stuff to meteorologists. The issues of why January 2008 was cooler than any year since 2004, is very interesting stuff and should be understood - but do you really want climatologists to focus only on that?

Cold? January 2008 was one of the warmest since 1879 here in Sweden. Top five or so. Almost no snow at al here in the mid south. My parents live in the mid-north and have had very warm weather too. All time high in one place. February might get many all time highs from many places in the east of the country, but that is yet to be seen. It might get cold yet.

Winter is defined as sub zero temperatures (Celcius) for five consecutive days here. None yet here in the south. And it is neither spring, and fall was officialy ended a week ago. Strange weather.

The rest of the world might have a cold winter, but not us here in Sweden. So visit warm Sweden! Not so sunny though I'm afraid. Rain rain rain...

Thank for sharing.

However, your assertions are incorrect on a number of points. Let's start with your assertion that globe has "cooled by 0.63 °C since February 2007.

That's a farily meaningless statement. As for looking at month to month variation compared to the 30-year baseline does not get you much and longer term trends are also key since there are some significant lag times built into the system dynamics. It's like predicting the outcome of some election based upon a survey of one-eyed, vegetarian monarchists.

Here is the data from the NASA GISS:

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/tabledata/GLB.Ts.txt and the trend toward increasing temperatures is definitely present. Also note that 2007, as a solar minimum year and the beginning of a new cycle od increased in sunspots, tied as tthe second warmest calendar year on record (with 1998 which was a record year withan extremely strong El-Nino associated with the ENSO).

I also observe that the uah website departs from long-standing meteorological practice of using 30-year averages to compute anomalies for individual sites and to roll them up (~5000 of them globally) into an aggregated value for each month. The folks at uah apparently decided that they would like to have a noisier baseline (why not use at 10-year average, or a 5-year average? Then you won't see anything).

As for hype, the physical basis for global warming theory and current anthropogenic causes is grounded in physics, plain and simple and the properties of the various GHGs that have been measured and confirmed in the field and the laboratory. It is not based upon some correlation. However, what is correlated is human's use of fossil fuels (as well as land-use practices) and the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere. Oxidation of carbon will give you carbon dioxide, whether through an intermediate step of carbon monoxide, or directly though complete combustion. If you use carbon-based fuels, you are going to produce carbon dioxide. Some of the strongest GHGs (in CO2 equivalent) are purely manmade.

To presume this is hype is a choice you make and there is a simple test you can take to prove the physic and chemistry wrong. So far, no person that has proclaimed this to be "hype" is willing to take the test.

As for solar cycles and the impact on contemporaneous measurements, it is a theory that is dead on arrival.

First, the Earth is heated (primarily) by solar radiation and the rate of radiation heat transfer is given by the Stefan-Boltzmann equation which relates the rate of radiation heat transfer (watts/square meter) to the fourth power of the absolute temperature of the radiation source (note the Sun is a near-perfect blackbody radiator). We have been monitoring the rate of radiation received (by satellite) for nearly 30 years and find that variation to be small (1368 W/square meter, +/- 1.5 watt/square meter over the sunspot cycle). The cycle variability is simply too small (by about an order of magnitude) to be the cause in temperature variability.

Second, the radiation spectrum is defined by the Planck Blackbody radiation law (that's how we know the Sun is a near perfect blackbody radiator) and so that too would change if there were significant variation. Simply put, there isn't that sort of change present.

Third, changes in solar activity of the magnitude required would have measureable effects on the quantities of various stable isotopes as well as radionuclides.

Lastly, temperature changes due to solar variability would heat the entire atmospheric column such that both tropospheric and stratospheric heating would be measureable. Unfortunately, what has occurred is tropospheric heating and stratospheric cooling, which is the fingerprint of global warming from a changing composotion of the atmospheric column.

A problem is that for those who wish to ignore anthropogenically caused global warming (which might be translated that they might have some role in the cause and therefore the assumptions about lifestyle and impacts might be incorrect) is that no cogent theory of "natural cause" to explain current observations, based in science (and with data) has been put forward. You may not wish to read the 1500 pages of the IPCC AR4 WG1 document or each one of the peer-reviewed documents used in the assessment report with all the uncertainties and the consideration fo alternative explanations, but it stands there ready to be read. The shorter technical summary gets at the highlights but not the details.

But unless and until such a cogent theory is put forward, all that can be said to you is "thank you for sharing" because it's made sure that our pencils are sharp.

There is a tendency to suggest that "this has happened before." My counter question is and shall always be "And how did the 6.7 billion people living on Earth at that time fare 'when it happened before'?"

I would like to make clear firstly that I understand that man-made global warming is probably causing global warming, and in any case support measures likely to reduce emissions.

I would also like to make clear that I am in no position to properly critique the issue, and it is in any case true that those who claim that we are instead going to have global cooling say that that should be apparent very soon, which at least is a nicely falsifiable position.

Having said that, I wonder if you could improve my understanding on a couple of issues?

You said that Global warming was based on well-understood physical processes.

It is my understanding that the straight-forward consequences of these are in fact many orders of magnitude too small to produce the results modelled, and that they rely instead on much more subtle positive feedback mechanisms, and positive feedbacks being far larger than negative.

Is this true?

Secondly, I understood that theories which claim that the sun are the reason for climate change also rely on feedback mechanisms, in a very similar manner, and so the fairly small variability can be magnified.

I also understand that one other mechanism suggested is cosmic rays affecting cloud cover.


I would be grateful for your thoughts on the matter - as I said, my understanding is that man-made GW is the most likely fit, but enquiring minds want to know!

Please see RealClimate's excellent Start Here page for an introduction to the science.

It is my understanding that the straight-forward consequences of these are in fact many orders of magnitude too small to produce the results modelled, and that they rely instead on much more subtle positive feedback mechanisms, and positive feedbacks being far larger than negative.

Is this true?

No. Try Spencer Weart's "The Discovery of Global Warming". Some pages may be missing from that. There used to be a free PDF at http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.html but it's not responding right now, maybe it will again.

As I understand it, predictions of warming, especially at the poles, were made without attempting to take into account positive feedbacks such as more dark sea showing through at the poles, so that melting would accelerate itself, but this may explain why it has been occurring faster than expected.

A quarter of the carbon in the atmosphere is of recent arrival, having come out of a smokestack or tailpipe. Here and in linked pages, I figure we can get it out.

How shall the car gain nuclear cachet?

That's a decent link - shame it cuts out when it gets interesting.

I am up to speed on the excess CO2 being man-made - different isotopes - that's the way I like my science - conclusive!

I've found an interesting link which seems quite balanced. They say that man-made GW is becoming increasingly certain.

However, some there think that there is some fuzziness in the data:

"I’m looking for the millennial scale of solar variability,” said astronomer Sallie Baliunas, a researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge. She added that “the records do show variability,” such as changes in radioactive carbon-14 abundance and a beryllium isotope in sediment that suggest changes in solar output. “Did the sun cause what we see on the ground?” she asked. “It doesn’t seem so. But there is some fuzziness in the data, which suggests it could go either way. The answer isn’t known at this time.”


I am always attracted to argumentation which does not seek to overstate it's case, and fro my purposes this sounds 'good enough', or rather the summation in the whole article does, as due to resource constraints we should be moving on from fossil fuels in any case, so the practical actions taken would be similar, and the risks of man-made GW can't be characterised as other than significant.

I still haven't found a resource that I am really happy with anyway to look in some more depth at GW without getting involved in huge amounts of work and evaluation.

Baliunas? Please... It is quite clear a lot of people here are unfamiliar with the research on climate change. Go do a person search on exxonsecrets.

I know of no original research from her. She does surveys of others' research, and - surprise! - only manages to find data against AGW. Her work with solar forcings has been trashed before. Look at her work with Soon.


I clearly stated that it was the whole article not just the extract which I found balanced, which again clearly states that man-induced climate change is overwhelmingly likely, so I don't really see why you have much problem with that.

I had not heard of the stuff she was saying about beryllium before, hence my selection of that part for my quote.

Regardless, consider the source. She's not very credible with regard to AGW. Do note she is not a climate scientist, as so often is the case with the anti-AGW people.

Also, you have stated you have not found "a" source. Why would you expect to? The very term concensus indicates a gathering of a wide range of research from a wide range of sources. But what concerns me is that you go searching and come back with one of the best-known deniers. Were you me, would that not raise a red flag for you? Besides which, you have already been given the single best source for an intro to the science of AGW:


Regarding the sun:


What we need to be most concerned about in the short or long-term, aside from the total overall change:


If you read Weart's history and still claim you haven't found "a" source, you simply are not looking for one.

NOTE: Keeping an open mind when there is legitimate reason is sane. Doing so against all reason is insanity. There is no legitimate counter-claim to AGW. Period. The only degree it can be claimed there is is in the same league as claiming evolution is "just" a theory. The scientists who did the IPCC did not say they "think" this is real. They said there was no longer any doubt.

What is entirely possible is... anything. In fact, we don't know all the triggers associated with climate change. It is entirely possible we could shift into another Ice Age fairly quickly *because of* imbalances caused by AGW. It is not the most likely scenario, but is possible. That silly movie a few years back about the Earth going ice ball in a month is fantasy. It happening over some decades or hundreds or thousands of years is not. Should the thermohaline shut down, all bets are off. Snow starts building up in Europe, more sunlight is deflected, snow and ice return to the North Pole.... etc., etc. But the trigger would have been AGW, not the sun.

People acting as if there is any legitimate debate on this is bordering on the criminal. Most of the "scientists" doing so do *not* do science on the subject, do not get peer reviewed and have been in the pocket of Big Oil in the past.

Again, WHY does G Dumbya live in an advanced, eco-friendly, off-grid home while battling against AGW and PO?


You are clearly ignoring what is being said to you, ie that it was the body of the article which I was in agreement with rather than the quote.
As for your rantings about red flags rising in your mind and not liking the quote I gave or it's source and so on, why would anyone in the world care? - I certainly couldn't give a stuff. I am responsible for my words to which you are not paying attention as opposed to your interpretation of the world or who you have chosen not to like.

I had not yet looked at the link you quoted as I simply haven't got around to it, but will do so in due course, although your fundamentalist attitude is hardly encouraging confidence in it's impartiality, but I will try to forget the source.

Please do read the excellent Weart history. It will answer your questions about the science.

Thanks for the recommendation, I will certainly do so when I have a chance to look at it properly.

I haven't studied the subject much, just took a quick look around and decided that there were genuine grounds for concern, and since my position was not far off consensus and I am not qualified to fully assess the conflicting claims just left it there.

Some of the critics of GW sound to me borderline insane, but OTOH some of the proponents of man-made GW do their argument no favours by the expression of almost religious degrees of certainty about what is after all a very complex system.

The intensity of the debate has also tended to overshadow other major impacts by man on the environment.

My main beef about the whole GW argument is not that it is incorrect, but the statement that sorting it out and moving into something which is rather metaphysically referred to as being in tune with nature is going to solve anything at all.

What is plain as a pikestaff is that the past 12,000 years have been a period of almost unprecedented climatic stability, and that even then major events have nearly wiped out whole civilisations, for instance the drought in Egypt which destroyed the pyramid builders.

Swings of the suddenness and magnitude as have occurred many times in the past would just be unsustainable by present civilisation.

In practise it seems that man's activities have stabilised the climate against what could otherwise be expected, and we are in the ball-game of trying to balance climate, not just stabilise it to some hypothetical natural level, unless we want to achieve harmony with nature by being dead.

Evolution when I was a boy was assumed to meander on, changing things gradually at a fairly constant rate.
We now know it works by sudden fits and starts, so called punctuated equilibrium.

It is clear that previous assumptions of consistent gradual change in climate are false, and swift and violent fluctuations occur.

Over and beyond the GW debate, we have to start accepting that, and coming up with ways of managing the climate, fluffy talk of nature's harmony just does not cut it.


You have made a fundemental error here. The orgin of holocene stability is in the balance of the ecosytem which stabalizes the composition of the atmosphere. It is not possible to fruitfully consider the question of managing the climate without taking this into account. You seem to think that past fluctuations in climate were swift. This is not the case except perhaps during mass extinction events. After the work of Hansen et al. (2007) it now seems quite clear that the cycle of ice ages really is owing to orbitial forcing driven by albedo changes on ice fields that experience spring time surface melt. That the refreezing takes longer that the melting over ice age cycles gives a visual impression that the melting is rapid, but it is not compared to the ability of the ecosystem to adapt. The American Pika, for example, would not be in trouble at the termination of an ice age because the range of their forage would move gradually and their range would follow. Biodiversity is thus maintained. The ecosystem is adapted to that rate of change. It is not adapted to the rate of change that is seen in some mass extinction events and it takes a very long time to reestablish a complex enough ecosytem to be able to provide stabilization to the climate after such events.

The ice ages themselves play an important role in interglacial stability. The phosphorous in soils can become exhausted over the interglacial period and the character of erosion from the movement of glaciers during ice ages replenishes this element allowing the subsequent growth of forests. Without the phosphorous, forests give way to grasslands. The growth of forests as glaciers retreat may provide a buffer for carbon released from melting disturbed soils so that carbon dioxide does not rise so rapidly that the ecosystem cannot follow. Climate and the ecosystem are very intricately intertwined.

What we are doing now is changing the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at a rate that is much much faster that the rate at which it changes at the termination of of an ice age. The effect of this is that climate is changing at a much faster rate than the ecosystem is able to respond. Its repsonse will not be rapid enough to avoid a serious reduction in its complexity and thus its ability to stabilize climate for hundreds of thousands of to millions of years. We cannot manage climate without the assistance to the holocene ecosystem of which we are also a part. An athropocene mass extinction will lead to larger amplitude climate shifts than the complexity of the current ecosystem allows.

Because you do not adequately appreciate the role of the ecosystem in climate stability, you are dismissive of it. But this is a problem with your lack of knowledge rather than with the suggested approches from those who are aware of how the climate is regulated. The ecosystem is climate stability. This is fundemental.


Chris, I am not really interested in debate with you since you choose not to stick to normal debating conventions.
You said in another discussion on nuclear energy that the licensing process in the States was corrupt.
On being asked to provide evidence of this your reply was that public funding of political parties in the US would result in an end to licensing.

This is plainly merely another unwarranted assumption, and is not evidential for your original slanderous allegation.
Since you will not retract I refuse to interact with such a dishonest debater.

However, for others who may think Chris is talking more than his usual eco-babble, here is one source for sharp variations in climate:

At the end of the Younger Dryas—a near-glacial phase that started about 12,800 years ago and lasted for about 1,200 years—annual mean temperatures increased by as much as 10°C in ten years

Please note that this source is not one which disputes anthropomorphic GW, as you can clearly see by going to the pages which deal with this on their site.

Please note also that I do not attempt to deny that man-made GW is anything other than rapid and severe, I am just pointing out that not everything in the garden is rosy even if it is sorted out.

Nor is it even necessary to hypothesis such a severe event as that one to realise that at current population levels we could be in deep trouble even with normal climatic such as that which occurred in a 200year drought which brought down the pyramid builders:

Ancient and Modern Egypt - Union College's Egypt Miniterm

This kind of major shift has happened many times, and we would be in deep trouble again if it did.

We therefore need to manage the climate actively, as we already make major impacts, we have got to make sure that they are in right direction.


It is your style of debate which leads you into difficulty. I have been very clear about the type of corruption we are experiencing and your insistance that that it take more of the form of the Stello-Fortuna affair is really your attempt to twist things because you do not apporve of your government's prudent actions in not over extending the operating lives of reactors. Your agenda is getting in the way here.

You should really look more carefully at your sources, as usual. The Younger Dryas was a thermo-haline circulation shut-down that affected Greenland strongly, but obviously the energy input or retention was not changing globally. This was a redistribution of energy not a loss or gain. The "mean" in your quote it the mean in the ice core, not over the globe, as you would know if you had bothered to read the footnote rather than selecting to leave it out of your quote.

Your difficulty here is that you do not comprehend the nature or scale of the greenhouse gas problem.


This is the last time I will bother to respond at all Chris.

As usual you are cherry picking, and instead of using your undoubted intelligence to inform you seek to mislead and to bend arguments to your agenda.

As usual, you are in error in your attempt to impute my motivation, as I most certainly would not support any attempt to extend the life of reactors beyond safe limits, and though I feel that that may in fact occur in the event of fuel shortages this can only be taken as approval by someone as determined as you are to distort the truth.

The footnotes were clearly available for everyone to see since I posted the link.

However, you seem to be fixated on the footnotes but have great difficulty reading the actual article itself, which clearly states:

Similar climate fluctuations have been identified in paleoclimate records from as far away as China.

Now I have no doubt that you were well aware that opinions diverge about the speed of climate change, and if you had presented your argument along the lines of:
'there are a number of opinions on the speed of natural climate change, but I find it most reasonable that it has been fairly slow, and this is supported in.....and so on'

I would not have an issue, but as you most certainly know many who are firmly of the belief that GW in man-made also suspect that climate works by passing trigger points, and that we will trigger one by CO2 emissions. If triggers can cut in now they could in the past, so that climate change may have been more abrupt.

In fact, you invariably seek to represent that yours is the only, really, really scientific opinion possible, and certainly try to avoid confusing the issue by indicating the range of opinion, in exactly the same way that you invariably present the very worst opinions that you can find about nuclear power, such as the death rate from Chernobyl or uranium resources, taking respectively the very highest estimate and the very lowest, without the slightest attempt to give contrary opinion.

In the present instance once again you argued the bit you fancied, and ignored the fact that much more recent changes such as those in Egypt would be enough to pretty much do for us, flannel about being in tune with nature aside- AFAIK they did not burn fossil fuel, of course they affected the climate in other ways but six and a half billion of us can hardly fail to do so too.

Your difficulty is that you have not confronted the fact that you are using your intelligence and training in the service of propaganda, and are in fact seeking to deliberately distort and obscure the issues, in other words, effectively lying.


Regional climate change, such as your examples in Greenland or Egypt are not global. The species living at that place could be wiped out, but the effect on the extinction rate will not be all that strong since many species or their close kin will survive elsewhere. This means that the ecosystem can rebuild and is robust. Overall, it can contribute to climate stability. A global ecosystem collapse that results in mass extinction does not have the ability to rebuid quickly. The complex web of niches is gone. Because of this, it cannot provide as much of a stabilizing influence. It can't even support megafauna such as ourselves.

You are urging managing the climate without taking into account the greatest factor in the climate system, the ecosystem. I can only say that this is a very dangerous proposal and will surely lead to disaster if followed.

I'm sorry that you are so thin-skinned about nucelar power. If you have any specific criticisms of methodology in estimating cancer deaths from Chernobyl, or if you have evidence of substanial new uranium deposits this would be very interesting, but just spouting the pro-nuke line as you are doing is not very informative. As we have seen over and over again, that line is not well supported by facts but is rather rife with deception and is almost always presented with a great deal of posturing and bluster.


Well, you have got me, this is so nonsensical that I am going to reply.

Do you seriously imagine that a drought of that magnitude and severity in the area of Egypt and Ethiopia would not be matched by other major events elsewhere?

Even supposing it was miraculously not matched elsewhere, what do you think the result of such an event in that region would have on the world, with millions starving?

Your statement that I do not take into account the ecosystem is so ludicrous that I have serious doubts that you in fact are capable of understanding much at all, and so possibly I was in error to some extent in accusing you of malice in misrepresentations, as you display all the traits of an incapacity to comprehend anything.

Of course the ecosystem is important, it is the idea that you are OK if you just get into tune with nature that I was critiquing, as nature is very likely to kill you no matter how in tune you are - in fact, to do anything effective you have to understand what is going on, but move far beyond 'being in tune' to actively seeking to manage the ecosystems you have researched.

You seem entirely unaware also that you are just spouting the anti-nuke line.
The difference in our argumentation is that I try to put the other case too, so far as I am able, or if it seems so downright daft that I am unable to fairly present it at least give an indication of where such arguments may be found.

As for new facts, you are so consistent in your 'principled opposition' - ie prejudgements on purely theoretical grounds based on dubious philosophies, that it is quite clear that no amount of evidence would sway you.
On the contrary I have always altered my positions when new evidence came to light.

Now, must close, I really can't work out why I am wasting my time on you.


Would you then propose a different analogy? Harmonization as opposed to discord pretty much sums up where we need to get to. Of all human creations, our imitation of the bird in our music probably most resembles the workings of the ecosystem. The web of interrelationships within the structure of a symphony mirrors the necessity of each role of species in the ecosystem rather clearly. Thus, getting back in tune and supporting the overall functioning of the ecosystem, and to some extent now, boosting certain portions of the whole to a greater role, particularly those that pull carbon out of the atmosphere, is just what is needed. Excluding nature from out efforts is just not going to work. If you are only opposed to the particular analogy, well, that is something different.

I would say that in some ways I am contributing to the argument against nuclear power. I've found that I'm able to ferret out the misrepresentations from the industry and thus provide a clearer picture of what is going on. There is a growing consensus around my critique of the ORNL page on radiation from coal, for example. Because there is so much that is untrue that is put out by the industry, I do not claim that I've found all the instances, but I have found some. Since this is original work, it is hard to call it "the line."


I said, "Regardless," which clearly indicates I considered your explanation and found it wanting and/or irrelevant. I further will point out: "I’m looking for the millennial scale of solar variability..."

A good scientist defining an agenda then going looking for the evidence? Note she did not state a hypethesis, she simply is seeking something she hopes is there to justify the money she gets from Exxon, et al.

I repeat: please.

She is not a climate scientist and is not working objectively. She sets out with an anti-AGW agenda. Clear?


Seems my reply from yesterday was "eaten." So, I will try again to answer your questions. As you will note, there are lots of strong feelings about this. I will add that the science does not care about feelings, you will not find "left-leaning" terms in the equations or "left-leaning photons."

So, I classify all of this under physics (e.g., chemistry as a subset of physics). So here's what I meant by well-understood physical processes (classified under physics):

Physics Principle 1: Carbon plus oxygen results in an oxidized (and lower energy state) for carbon as either partially oxidized carbon monoxide or fully oxidized carbon dioxide. These compounds might go on to other reactions, but it is the CO2 that has become the focus of the global warming discussion. I'll discuss the physical properties in another principle below.

Physics Principle 2: Mass (from the standpoint of chemical reactions) can neither be created nor destroyed. Thus, chemical reactions here on Earth follow a mass balance such that one unit mass of carbon produces 3.67 units of mass of carbon dioxide upon complete oxidation. We can ignore the amount of mass lost through energy release (in a nod to Einstein). We have reasonable estimates of carbon release to the atmosphere from various anthropogenic sources that go back quite far in time. We also know there is a cumulative effect when the rate of addition exceeds the rate at which the biosphere can process the additional carbon load.

As an aside, you can take the atmospheric measurements of CO2 from Mauna Loa (the longest continuous data source) and the estimates of carbon release per year and cumulative and run the regression back to the limit value you would get before the Industrial Revolution and you get ~280 ppm, which happens to correspond with the values found in glacial ice. Before someone gets bent out of shape over the earlier data not being accurate, I would point out that their values are so small compared to today that even if the values were in error by a factor of 2, they would have no effect on the regression.

Another interesting factoid: since 1979, more CO2 has been released to the atmosphere from anthropogenic sources than had been released by the human activities from the beginning of the Industrial Revolution through 1978 (and quite likely since man first began using fire). At the most recent rate of growth in the use of fossil fuels and land use, by the end of 2035 (assuming sufficient fuels exist) more CO2 will have been placed in the atmosphere than the entire Industrial Age up through 2007.

This is a correlation in support of a physical process that is and can be measured. The correlation is not causation, the acts of humans are causation. Thus, there is a relationship between the amount of anthropogenic activity and the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. I'll get back to CO2 and other GHGs a little further down.

Physics Principle 3: The rate of radiation heat transfer is given by the Stefan-Boltzmann equation. The rate per unit area (watts/sq meter) is related by a proportionality constant associated with blackbody radiation behavior AND the 4th-power of the absolute temperature. A 1 percent increase in the absolute temperature results in a nominal 4.1% increase in heat transfer rate. The Sun is a near perfect blackbody radiator and radiates at an effective average temperature of 5778 °K (you will see this number rounded to anywhere from 5000 - 6000 °K). If you plug this temperature into the Stefan-Boltzmann equation, you will get a heat transfer rate of more than 63 megawatts/sq meter from the Suns surface.

Physics Principle 4: The radiation spectrum, i.e., how much energy per unit of frequency (wave number) is given by Planck's Law of Blackbody Radiation. If it has mass, it has temperature. If it has temperature it radiates according to this relationship. The Sun's measured output spectrum is a near perfect match to the equation (that's how we know it's a near perfect blackbody radiator). This is the spectrum of mostly visible light that we see. Even the Cosmic Background Radiation (CBR) follows this equation (to better than one part in 100,000). Even if solar temperature increases or decreases, it must show up in the spectrum.

Physics Principle 5: The Inverse Square Law. The rate of radiation received at one astronomical unit away (~93 million miles) from the Sun's surface is given by the inverse-square law. In addition, it has been measured by satellite at 1368 W/sq meter. As I mentioned in the previous post, the variation due to solar periodicities has been measured and is quite small.

Physics Principle 6: The Earth is not a "target" for radiation measurement and due to geometry (the Earth as a sphere in space), the average top of atmosphere solar insolation is 342 W/sq. meter.

Physics Principle 7: Of the 342 W/sq meter that reaches the top of the atmosphere, 107 w/sq. meter is reflected back into space without be "used" by the planet. This is the "albedo." The remaining 235 W/sq. meter are what is available to "heat the planet" (and that must be radiated back out into space to maintain thermal equilibrium).

These principles associated with radiation are the principles that those who think that its all solar driven, have to contend with (and provide data that supports the contention). There are really only three factors involved, solar temperature, distance to the Sun, and albedo that can change the amount of energy available to heat the planet. The distance to the Sun is addressed by the Milkanovitch cycles of roughly 100,000 years. Solar temperature has not provided enough change to account for the observed recent temperature fluctuation, and albedo has been changing (land use, loss of ice which are both direct and indirectly associated with human activities).

Now, if you plug in 235 w/sq. meter, you will get an average planetary temperature of ~ -19.5°C. In addition, the radiation spectrum at this temperature is very different from the spectrum coming from the Sun. Clearly the planet is not that cold, so something must be at work to keep the temperature up. I'll skip through all the rest of the intermediate steps and come to the probable source. The source of this must be greenhouse gases (GHGs).

Physics Principle 8: Gas transmittance with respect to frequency (and reradiation) has been well-studied and documented for most GHGs. Diatomic oxygen and nitrogen are virtually transparent to both visible (incoming) and the outgoing IR radiation from Earth. Other gases, like water vapor, CO2, methane, ozone, nitrous oxide are not (at least in the IR ranges we are concerned with. You've probably seen the spectral transmittance graphs for various gas and it looks like "bands" that absorb light. In truth, it is more like a picket fence where, at distance, you can't see the pickets, just the fence. The best analogy I've found is that the GHGs are like an open weave blanket. The greater that amount of blanket, the greater the "insulating value" and the higher the temperature under the blanket becomes until the rate of heat release through the weave restores the heat transfer balance.

Physics Principle 9: The atmosphere is not the same from the ground to the top of the atmosphere. This is where people really screw up and it's hard to wrap your mind around it because it's not a simple computation.

At ground level, standard pressure and temperature conditions, the nominal water vapor content is about 21,000 ppm (volume, wet-basis. It is "zero" on a dry-basis). As a GHG, it is the gas with the highest concentration at sea level. But at 15,000 feet, on average, there is practically no water vapor in the air at all, so it's effect as a GHG falls as one increases in altitude. This is a fact of the vapor pressure/partial pressure relationship for water in air that is tied both to temperature and pressure.

OTOH the concentration of CO2 is "constant" with altitude in that it mixes quickly in the atmosphere. The same is true with nitrous oxide, methane and most other GHGs (the one exception is stratospheric ozone). Thus, while the GHG effect of water vapor "goes away", the effect of the other gases keeps on giving until such a level in the atmosphere that the rate of radiation release is equivalent to 235 w/sq. meter. The proper way to compute this is spectral "line-by-line" and layer-by-layer through the atmosphere and that takes lots of processing power. You might hear that the absorption spectrum is "saturated." Well, maybe in one sense standing at sea level. But 10,000, 20,000, 30,000 feet above you, it's a very different story. It isn't "saturated" at all.

Those are the basic physics and physical principles at work, though I could extend them further. The feedbacks, with regard to the radiation, is built in. Now as to the General Circulation Models; as to where the heat comes from and goes to, there are feedback loops involved, both negative (e.g., chemical reaction and absorption of CO2) and positive (e.g., heating changes the equilibrium concentration solubility of CO2 in water causing it to be released, which increases the atmospheric heating, which increases the ocean water heating, etc.). The models are becoming more complex to take into account more and subtler processes but they are only a representation (just as a map is a representation of geographic locations). Like maps, the only "100% accurate model" is the full-scale version. You got a spare solar system with a spare Earth you can lend me for experiments" ;->

As for the cosmic ray theory, it too is pretty much dead on arrival (see above on the CBR spectrum). However, an area where there still is uncertainty is with clouds and aerosols and whether and how they behave as either a positive or negative feedback in the global heat balance. Satellite (and other data) are currently being gathered to discern the degree of forcings associated with this.

I know this is a long response, but it takes more than a few simple phrases to illustrate the underlying principles. I hope this helps.

Thanks for a truly excellent and informative post.

I have found that some of the information I dig out either tends to be at too basic a level, or is really dealing with the details in a very technical way.
I should make it clear that I intend no disrespect to Barrett808, and the no doubt excellent link he provided, but it is somewhat daunting as it appears to be so comprehensive, and I have not plucked up the courage to tackle it yet!

One question - and for clarity's sake I wish to make it quite clear that I am not personally presenting this as an argument against GW, but it is a critique that I haven't heard answered and I am curious, is that CO2 lags rising temperatures by some time, I have seen the figure of 800 years bandied about, and hence anti GW people say CO2 emissions are a consequence, not a cause of GW.

I wonder if you could spare the time to throw any light on this issue?

people say CO2 emissions are a consequence, not a cause of GW.

Regardless of whether they are right in saying it is a consequence of warming, this would not establish that it is not a cause of warming.

How shall the car gain nuclear cachet?

In principle, true, but should there invariably be a time lag of the kind of order mentioned then it is difficult to see how the mechanism works, and I believe I am on safe grounds in saying that present understanding would lead to the sequence being the other way around, and if what you are arguing were the case then you would expect to see a step effect - ie. warming occurs, CO2 rises, and at a later date GW further increases.

I was not aware that such step effects had been observed.

I had assumed that the discrepancy was due to some of the dating being simply erroneous, but perhaps not.

Well, I have ventured out into the land of tin-foil helmets inhabited by some of the folk who think GW is some kind of government plot to answer my own question, googled for carbon dioixide, lagging indicator and came up with nothing of interest, so I had a look at the site Barrett808 referenced , Real Climate and came across a chap when I searched for the same thing there who was expressing exactly the same sentiment as myself:

The physics of CO2 as a green house gas I don�t question, however, I cannot find any examples of CO2 causing global warming. I can see where CO2 is lagging indicator in the historical record but not where it is a driver.


The nearest I found to an explanation from the mainstream was this from New Scientist:

What seems to have happened at the end of the recent ice ages is that some factor – most probably orbital changes – caused a rise in temperature. This led to an increase in CO2, resulting in further warming that caused more CO2 to be released and so on: a positive feedback that amplified a small change in temperature. At some point, the shrinking of the ice sheets further amplified the warming.

Since we have not isolated what in fact causes the initial rise, and are assuming that it is not the same unknown something but rather CO2 and other GW gasses which cause the further rise, based on admittedly strong grounds for suspicion from the physical models, I would tend to characterise our understanding of the climatic processes at work as something short of perfect.

I am therefore a little surprised at some of the degrees of certainly expressed, although I do sympathises with the frustration of those who have to keep rebutting the absurd anti-GW rants of the terminally stupid.

What rather alarms me is that with all the nattering about carbon, we may be missing the rather large 'something' which seems to be the effective trigger mechanism of the end of ice ages, and for all we know may have more influence than we presently think on later climate, so that we may be curing the wrong disease, or at least one of the symptoms rather than the main protagonist.

A little more agnosticism is called for, I think.

I do hope the folk in tin foil helmets don't latch onto this still more! - however, they are entirely unable to distinguish between a rational doubt and lunatic paranoia, so the rationality or otherwise of an argument does not matter to them.

The ice age timing and strength depends on an asymmetic distribution of land on the Earth's surface, having land where snow can acumulate close to the poles. The Earth's orbit is eccentric, not quite round. It travels faster when closer to the Sun and slower further away (Kepler's Laws). This affects the duration of the seasons. The Earth's orbital eccentricity is not constant so that there can be larger differences on the durations of the seasons or smaller differences. At high eccentricity, if the boosted season happens to be Winter/Fall and the diminished season is Spring/Summer, then snow can persist without melting at a lower latitiude. This increases the amount of sunlight reflected to space, cooling the region. More snow accumulates and glaciers are formed.

During glaciation and cooling there are a number of things that pull carbon from the atmosphere. A cooler ocean can hold more disolved carbon dioxide. Frozen soils do not release carbon doixide from decomposition. The snow itself holds a portion. This is a negative feedback that increases the extent of glaciation. The end effect is that larger non-atmospheric carbon pools are created which are ready to be released upon warming.

Last year, Hansen et al. pretty much nailed one of the loose ends in this theory by showing that terminations of glaciation can be explained by considering the effect on albedo (the amount of sunlight reflected) that surface melting of snow fields can have. This explained the timing of termination events as coinciding with increased sunlight during the spring time: http://journals.royalsociety.org/content/l3h462k7p4068780/?p=82c7a0f7525...

Once the glaciers begin to melt, then carbon from adjacent permafrost can be released, warming oceans release carbon, etc... This provides a positive feedback. Hasen et al.'s work suggests a climate senstivity of 6o C for a doubling of carbon dioxide, about twice as high as usually estimated using fast feedbacks. Thus, he has since said that the stabilization target we need is below the current atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.



This is a standard response which from now on you will always receive when you reply to one of my posts.

Your post will not be read by me or otherwise responded to.

In discussion previously you made statements alleging corruption in the licensing program for the nuclear industry.

When asked for your evidence you replied that if the political parties were publicly funded no more reactors would be licensed.

This is obvioualy an unfounded assumption on your part, and in no way evidential.

You nonetheless refused to withdraw, preferring baseless slander to debate.

On all other issues we have discussed you have consistently tried to load the dice, using every debating trick in the book.

For instance when discussing deaths at Chernobyl you chose to select the estimate form Greenpeace, without indicating that as respected a body as the World Health Organisation had vaastly different, lower estimates.

This is an attempt to deceive by misdirection.

Similarly, you chose The Limits to Growth, Greenpeace, estimate of uranium resources which are very low, without even a nod to indicate how different other estimates were.

These are only two examples of a consistent pattern of obscuring the facts, effectively lying.

This is without talking about the fact that you have dug out some obscure theory of eco-babble which sets down a set of criteria which, surprise, surprise, happens to rule out all the options but the ones you have chosen.

You are therefore pre-judging issues, and cherry picking data, so that no genuine debate is possible.

Since you insist on continuing to door-step me, I will tell you now just as I would any other fanatic with a bee in his bonnet, that you will receive absolutely no more attention from me, and I am entirely uninterested in your opinions, or any so-called ‘information’ from you, as it is entirely biased and untrustworthy.

If you want to read this again, keep replying to my posts.

Your present post is unread.


I replied because you felt that in your brief research you had educated yourself enough to be able to pronounce that very little is known about the termination of ice ages. You thus felt we should all view pronouncement about climate climate with caution owing to your now expert opinion. In fact, your opinion is not sufficiently informed to be considered expert. You might want to take a graduate course ot two in the subject. There is quite a lot of expertise in the UK and I'm sure you would enjoy the mental exercise. But, since you claim not to be a denier and thus not in the business of spreading uncertainty and doubt, you present statement, delivered as it was, needed correction.

We certainly do know what causes the initial rise in temperature: albedo change tied together with greater spring time insolation. If you were expert and following the literature closely, you would know this.

The quote I find from New Scientist is:

What seems to have happened at the end of ice ages is that an initial warming due to orbital shifts led to more CO2 being released into the atmosphere, resulting in further warming that caused still more CO2 to be released and so on. As the area of ice shrank, temperatures rose still higher.


Perhaps you could either post your link or explain what editorial liberty may have been taken with the quote.

In any case, your opinion is not supported.



This is a standard response which from now on you will always receive when you reply to one of my posts.

Your post will not be read by me or otherwise responded to.

In discussion previously you made statements alleging corruption in the licensing program for the nuclear industry.

When asked for your evidence you replied that if the political parties were publicly funded no more reactors would be licensed.

This is obviously an unfounded assumption on your part, and in no way evidential.

You nonetheless refused to withdraw, preferring baseless slander to debate.

On all other issues we have discussed you have consistently tried to load the dice, using every debating trick in the book.

For instance when discussing deaths at Chernobyl you chose to select the estimate form Greenpeace, without indicating that as respected a body as the World Health Organisation had vastly different, lower estimates.

This is an attempt to deceive by misdirection.

Similarly, you chose The Limits to Growth, Greenpeace, estimate of uranium resources which are very low, without even a nod to indicate how different other estimates were.

These are only two examples of a consistent pattern of obscuring the facts, effectively lying.

This is without talking about the fact that you have dug out some obscure theory of eco-babble which sets down a set of criteria which, surprise, surprise, happens to rule out all the options but the ones you have chosen.

You are therefore pre-judging issues, and cherry picking data, so that no genuine debate is possible.

Since you insist on continuing to door-step me, I will tell you now just as I would any other fanatic with a bee in his bonnet, that you will receive absolutely no more attention from me, and I am entirely uninterested in your opinions, or any so-called ‘information’ from you, as it is entirely biased and untrustworthy.

If you want to read this again, keep replying to my posts.

Your present post is unread.

I provisionally take this reply as an admission of mendacity in doctoring a quote from New Scientist to attempt to insert uncertainty which was not present in the original.


Jesus, this is painful.

The answer to your query you have already found. You quoted it above. You are making the mistake of interpreting scientific caution in speech with actual uncertainty. Let me say it as a layman because a scientist cannot state anything as "fact" that is not absolutely provable. This is why we call evolution a theory, when it is, for all practical purposes, fact.

Same applies here. The relationship of the Earth to the Sun as they fly through the sky is the trigger, or the primary trigger, for the primary cycle. At least, most of the time. AS your opponent, whom you foolishly dismiss as he provides you with the info you seek, stated before, the tectonic movements make a difference, volcanic activity, etc., etc. The primary mover is the orbital cycle. It leads to warming which triggers feedbacks.


I am perfectly prepared to accept the scientific consensus, the difficulty for the layman is in determining what that is.

In other words, experts will always disagree to some extent, so if you are not expert in a field it is rather difficult to determine the best source.

If I find a particular source to be unreliable, I seek other sources, and in fact if you read down to the post below you will find that Starship Trooper has answered most of the questions I had.

Naturally as with any normally curious person that gives rise to further questions.

Of course I take no notice of sources where to my certain knowledge on other subjects on which I am better informed it was clear that there was an attempt to bias the argument.

So you need not be concerned, as Starship was kind enough to help.

Everything he gave you you have already been given. You are either being petty, as it seems with the other fellow who gave you tons of info only to be dismissed by you because the two of you have some sort of personal issue, or lazy. Did you not read the info given you? I gave you the Weart info. Another person re-recommended it (whom you thanked, ignoring the fact it was I who actually gave it to you.) But you take the trouble of then thanking someone who is repeating what was already told you?

You are creating your own problems, friend. You are not an honest debater on this topic. Your personal feelings interfere with your intellectual activities.


You do seem to have problems reading what is written down.

I clearly said that I checked the Weart information, and indeed quoted from it for part of the information I found.

If I missatributed the link I was given, I apologise - it is a fairly long thread, and I was under the misapprehension that it was Barret 808 who gave me the information.

As for your dislike of my choosing not to give weight to information from MD solar, I clearly said in replies to him the reasons for that.

You might not agree with those reasons, but that has essentially nothing to do with where I should choose to place confidence - your own decisions on where you place your confidence are of course yours, as are mine.

Life is also far too short to engage in dialogue which is clearly unproductive. It takes some time for me to do so, but once I have clearly stated that the dialogue is at an end I regard any attempt to continue it and force their opinion or viewpoint upon me, as an imposition and worthy of no further notice.

You end up buying an awful lot of double glazing if you don't have some point where you cut people off.

We are all obliged to form judgements in issues in which we are not expert, be it should we support nuclear power, although we are not nuclear engineers, or if we are ill, which doctor we should trust.

We do it partly by looking at the information and assessing it to the best of our ability, and partly by deciding which of the various expert we have most faith in, as there is usually at least some variety of opinion.

You would be a fool to go to a doctor you did not trust, regardless of their medical qualifications.

As for your own case, I repeat what I said before, and you often damage the case you seek to advocate.

The vast majority of people are in the same position as myself, and are obliged to form some opinion on subjects which they are not qualified to do.

I am perfectly prepared to accept the scientific consensus, whilst noting if there appears to me to be some differences of opinion within it and trying to assess how great that is.

However persuading me that the viewpoint you espouse IS the scientific consensus is hardly achieved by your shouting loudly that that is the case- in short, because you say so it is not necessarily the case that what you say is correct.

I have some sympathy for your position as you were arguing against many quite absurd positions from some guy who is obviously a flat earther or whatever, and that can get irritating.

Essentially the difficulty you were having there is that you were attempting to use rational arguments against a radically irrational position, which a little thought would have shown you was not worthwhile.

If you find yourself arguing through a cloud of objections, where every reasoned rebuttal leads to fresh objections, and it becomes clear that the fundamental decision is a priori and not founded on logic and not subject to rational consideration, the best plan is usually to discontinue the dialogue - or at least that is what I do.

You are not however distinguishing that prior and unreasonable position from other, more reasonable hesitations others might have.

You appear to think that it is sufficient to say that they should have informed themselves better, but in the real world with real time constraints we are all more or less ill-informed about virtually everything.

Starship Trooper, on the other hand approached the issues from the point of view of the person, in this case me, who was somewhat lost in the morass of information.

Without that degree of empathy your case would be better supported had you never spoken.

You don't persuade or inform by shouting.

You do seem to have problems reading what is written down.

No. I have trouble giving a damn about irrelevant, personal dislikes - particularly in a discussion that is supposed to be about science. You are a good example of much of what is wrong with the world:

If you don't say it sweetly, I ain't onna listen! So there!

For chrissake, man, grow a pair.

There were severe contradictions in your postings. 1. You were searching for truth (but only from people you like.)

2. You were searchin for truth (but the best you could do is a bought-and-paid-for denialist.)

3. You were seeking the truth from "a" source. A = one. That was given you by the poster you mentioned above. You found it inadequate. I gave you an updated link to the same information, and complete, but you do not seem to have ever followed it. That is "A" source that I personally find to be "the" source as an introduction to the topic. But that wasn't good enough for you.

Since this is, indeed, going nowhere, let me leave you with this: You have not been enaging in honest debate. And, to the extent you need your hand held sweetly while attempting to educate yourself, I suggest you not do your exploring via public forums where doing such things as dismissing Weart's work as insufficient for an introduction to the issue will get you laughed at.

BTW, I am a teacher. Children I will mollycoddle. They need that support as they are still in the process of growing into adults. Adults? No. If you haven't figured out you can't have everything wrapped in pretty little bows by now, then you are seriously in need of a slap upside the head.

Final: We are well beyond any reasonable doubt about AGW. That is what the IPCC stated and that is what common sense, the science and even just our eyes tell us. I worry about the intelligence/sanity/humanity of anyone who really hasn't figured this out.


God help the children you are browbeating.

The fact is that with your attitude no one at all will take any notice of you, or care what you think.

In your opinion you may have all the answers, but anyone with any sense is going to discount your views as the judgement behind them seems so faulty.

If you don't understand that is how people think, then you don't understand human nature.

You still seem unable to listen or respond to the very simple answer which I have repeated made that I agree that GW is man-made.

You are deluding yourself when you claim that your treatment of the children in your charge will differ substantially.

People are all of a piece and your fundamental arrogance will affect your dealings with them.

Anyone as entirely lacking in empathy or human understanding, and who has such difficulty hearing what he is repeated told, is entirely unfitted to educate anyone, and in fact incapable of so doing.

Your children are forced to sit in the room whilst you pontificate, and then have to give back the same information and opinion that you have dished out.

They don't do it voluntarily and no one at all is going to pay you any attention who does not have to.

It has long been noted as a professional deformation to which the teaching profession is subject that their presence in the classroom with no peers, as the fount of all authority and information, can lead to their becoming entirely unfit for general society where they are one amongst many equals.

Of course the more intelligent are aware of this, and take care to mitigate it's effects.

It appears however that you are an excellent example of the problem.


This is just to freeze your reply.


Thanks for coming to my defense here. As you can see in Dave's reply, he resorts to personal attacks. I have pretty much come to the conclusion that he is not sincere but rather has a mission as a provocateur. He is here to appear to seem reasonable in finding a balance between renewables and nuclear power while spreading as much FUD about renewables as he can. Sincere discussion of these issues is beneficial, but Dave brings insincerity and fabrication which basically wastes everyone's time. I would say, just keep your eyes open for more of his deliberate falsehoods and correct them as they occur for the record and otherwise ingore him. I share a concern for his humanity, but it may be some time before he discovers what this means given where he is starting from. Until then, there is little more that can be done. Put the trolls on a restricted diet.


It's interesting you should ask as I spent part of last evening answering this question. Of course, we are talking about the previous natural cycles between glaciation maximums (minimum temperature) and the rise to interglacial maximum temperatures. The Milkanovitch cycles relate orbital dynamics of planetary motion to these periods.

Using the methodology that is currently employed on the EPICA ice core samples (Antarctica) from the Ice Dome C (Concordia) and the Vostok samples, it does indeed appear that CO2 changes "lag" temperature atmospheric temperature increases(as derived from stable isotopic concentrations in the ice by anywhere from 200-1000 years, though a more recent approach suggests that the actual time is much shorter. But is not the issue that some people would have you believe that it is.

First, as the energy flux begins to increase because of the orbital dynamics, the air temperature will begin to rise and much more quickly than water temperature, given their vast difference in specific heat. This begins the change of the ratios of the stable isotopes that relate to temperature conditions (in forming the snow and eventually the ice found in the ice cores). However, as ocean water temperatures begin to warm, the solubility relationship between water and CO2 (and other gases) begins to change. But remember it takes somewhere around 3,000 years to completely overturn and circulate the world's oceans once, so you have considerable lag before the CO2 that was "sequestered" by the ocean just before the temperature began rising, rises to the surface once again.

Now for convenience sake I'm going to round these numbers into a workable approximation of what the data shows. At the glacial maximum, nominal average CO2 concentrations have been around 190 ppm (dry volume basis, the lowest measured, however, was 172 ppm is the most recent data release from ~695,000 years ago) and during the warmth of the interglacial periods, the nominal CO2 level achieves ~290 ppm (In the last "super-long interglacial" period approximately 425,000 years ago that lasted about 30,000 years, the maximum concentration was 300 ppm). Further it takes at least 5,000 years for the temperature rise to "complete" to the interglacial maximum (most seem to take ~7000-8000 years), so even though the measured lags slightly behind the initiation of the temperature increase from the proxy data, almost all of the warming period benefits from the rising GHGs as a positive reinforcement of the increasing energy flux. Simply put, this lag is synchronous with the temperature rise and is entirely consistent with a system with long lag times as any engineer that remembers his or her process control theory will recall.

Now the thing I would stress is just because it seems to take a while for the increased CO2 levels to increase, does not mean that they aren't increasing from the get go. Assuming the nominal increase over 5,000 years of warming is 100 ppm of CO2, how long would it take you to "see" increasing CO2 levels and to be able to measure them is only 1/3000th of the oceans CO2 is available at any given time to release some portion of the gas due to increasing temperatures. Dealing with this mass flux has been a challenge and once models moved away from slab models to multi-layer, the complexities have gotten more difficult (more computations required) but finer resolution both temporally and spatially has been one of the benefits.

And if you consider how long it took in the past cycles for both temperature and GHG levels to rise, then present day values become all the more worrisome. At more than 380 ppm (Mauna Loa achieved 387 in 2007 and the high northern latitudes punched through 390 in 2007), we are way beyond anything seen in the ice data for the past 885,000 years. More importantly, what took a century to achieve in terms of CO2 increases is now being achieve yearly and the most recent data suggests that we are seeing century level increases every 6-8 months. Most of the previous interglacials lasted around 10,000 years before beginning the descent back toward glaciation. Again you would have a lag (and some lagging support for increased temperatures as the solar insolation rate declined, but it seems unlikely that we will enter that phase anytime soon given the concentrations compared to the previous interglacials.

We are driving this addition of CO2 to the atmosphere (and the temperature increase has responded accordingly. We may be driving but we are not steering.

Thanks, Starship, that makes a lot of sense, it seems the issue is basically similar to my assumption, one of measurement errors, and I would certainly agree that present CO2 emissions, and other greenhouse gasses, are unprecedented and worrisome.

Just for laughs, try feeding the same search terms as I did into google, and see the number of nut-case hits there are! - unfortunately, through all that chaff it is quite difficult to get some serious comment, and the New Scientist was surprisingly weak on the issue - it does seem to me probably the most difficult area to reconcile to the record.

One issue you might care to comment on - from the data I found (trying to avoid the nutcase sites) it appears that the period since the last ice-age has been one of unusual climatic stability
The Habitable Planet Unit 12 - Earth's Changing Climate // Online Textbook

And that sharp swings are more normal. Please do not take this as any comment on GW, as it just makes things even more worrisome rather than weakening GW case - do you feel that this is an artifact, due to poor data points, or are there trigger points where rapid climate change occurs even in the absence of GW?

Whichever you think is the case, how consensual do you think this is? Or is it an area of wide and justified debate?

If those greater extremes are the norm, even if we deal with GW, it is perhaps rather difficult to see our path through, as we would be in some difficulty even with more historic swings, such as the Little Ice Age or the drought which contributed to the collapse of the Old Kingdom in Egypt and can hardly have been of purely local significance, in any case just a repetition of that would make it difficult at present population densities to know where to put 60 million Egyptians.

Can the climate record more fairly be described as one of punctuated equilibria?

If you understand chaos theory, you have your answer. Chaos tells us that we can extrapolate (to a limited degree, obviously) what the multivariate possibilities are, but not what order we night see them in. Flipping a coin is a simplistic, but effective example.

Yes, climate can flip any time a bifurcation (tipping point) is reached. We don't know enough to predict these with any degree of certainty or, in fact, to identify them all. It has only been fairly recently that we got all this ice core data. It is only recently that multidisciplinary approaches helped us figure out that where the continents are has more effect than first assumed. (For example, dinosaurs down near Antarctica during periods of relative cold because the particular positions of continents kept climate in that specific area milder than expected.) Hell, it's only been 50+ years since we learned tectonic plates exist.

The reason the unusually high CO2 (at least for relatively recent geological time) is a problem is that we don't know what such a fast buildup of CO2 is going to do. It is, in fact, unprecedented. All the more so in that it is anthropological in origin, thus adding a layer of complexity never before seen. One guess is we are preventing an ice age from occurring, either now or in the future. In essence, we may have terraformed the planet into one of long-term warmth. If so, the trick is to maintain it at a level homo sapiens can survive at. Some believe we have already passed that and need to get back to, and maintain, about 350 ppm.

I fully accept that we need urgently to tackle greenhouse gas emissions.

My concern, and I suppose it is premature to say the least considering how far we are from dealing with man-made GW, is that the assumption seems to be that if we deal with that then everything is rosy, and that we can move into something which is usually termed harmony with nature.

I have no objection to being in harmony with nature, providing it doesn't involve me being dead.

Unless we can somehow mitigate, or at least predict these violent swings which it seems from what you say are, or at least may be, the natural order of things it seems that GW apart it is very difficult to see how an advanced civilisation could long maintain itself - I would have thought that that would be a very popular position for scientists, as it involves scads more research! :-)

So I was just trying to get a handle on what the present thinking is regarding the swiftness of purely natural variability, man-made activities to one side.

The climatological record is a mixed bag on this point. In the short-term, there is evidence of fairly dramatic swings (e.g., just look at how different the termpreature profile of 1998 "looks" compared to the years immediately preceeding or immediately following 1998. On very large time scales (say the EPICA ice core data) changes can look dramatic because of the compressed time frame (although I would point out that both the CO2 increases and the temperature increase over the past 100 years would "stand-out" compared to the normal variation.

If you go through the nearly 900,000 years of ice core data (the updated results for the period back from 650,000 years ago to the current limit is supposed to be published soon), you will find that most of the data suggests that the length of the "stable period" at the top of the interglacial curve is ~10,000 years though even in that period there a pertubabtions. Each cycle seems to have it's own variations and at more than 100,000 years per cycle, geological and evolutionary considerations are likely to come into play. The last "super-interglacial" appears relatively stable over 30,000 years.

But underpinning your question is whether the climate systems at a local level that humans have depended upon are subject to danger from variability and the answer is probably yes, even though on a global basis the climate "looks" quite stable. From my peers, there is less consensus on this, beyond, the likelihood that changes are likely to be more dramatic than anything we've experienced in the recent past. But whether that is a danger depends upon how we, as a species, can deal with changes that include both natural and manmade?

What is clear is this: on the path of exponential growth, natural cycles will get overwhelmed by human activities or systemic failure will occur because they system dependent upon growth as an underlying and fundamental principle and justifaction for "existence" encounter limits that are real.

As you have probably discerned from my writing, the math and the science do not depend upon or even "care" what path we choose. And yes, there are some very interesting personalities out there. But no matter how much handwaing goes on, the underlying principles that we as a species have distinguished as "science" goes on...relentlessly.

The Weart history is a bit daunting in size, but his writing is such a pleasure to read, you'll hardly notice.

Seems my reply from yesterday was "eaten."

Just FYI, it may have scrolled to the 2nd page. Only the first 300 posts will show up on the first page. After 300, the bottom ones go over to Page 2 of the thread.

Truly excellent. In all my readings I have never seen this laid out like this. Simple, elegant, effective.

Thank you.

I find it telling no deniers took a shot at responding to this. May I copy and paste and/reference this post from my blog or other sites?


Yes. Please do.

Thanks to Trooper for summarizing the case against solar forcing.

I would also add the following.

If solar forcing were the driver for the observed warming trend, we would expect:

  • Warming of the equator to dominate warming at the poles; we observe the opposite.
  • Warming of the dayside to dominate nighttime warming; we observe the opposite.

Variation in solar output is not responsible for the warming trend.

So what caused the warming from 1880 to 1947, what caused the cooling from 1948 to 1978? What caused the warming in the medeval warm period? How does one separate those natural warming trends from this one (which appears to have stopped in 1998)? What events have happened that were predicted? What events that were prediced have NOT happened?

Devil's advocate - evaporation at the equators (where evaporation has a much greater variation in response to temperature changes) nulls this effect, and causes a more stable temperature under the cloud layer.

Just making the case that *proving* anything in climate science is just as difficult as in economics, because any effect that can be stated self-consistently is undoubtedly felt to some degree (say, "Welfare destroys the free-market incentive to succeed"), but without being quantified to a prohibitively exhaustive level.

So detractors who are not interested in the truth of the debate (only in proving their pre-defined truths, such as "Taxation and government are inherently bad") will latch on to any effect they can theorize, and will not drop it until someone bothers to blow a few hundred man-years deploying sensors and satellites, exhaustively forming a narrative of weather patterns, and evaluating enough data to drive a man crazy, and conclusively proves that it's not statistically significant. By which time half a dozen other hypothetical disproofs will have arisen.

The problem is that we as a society place the onus of proof on the pro-GW scientist, rather than placing it on both sides of the battle. So one side gets to throw bombs, and the other side gets to try and defend themselves against bombs.

One can just as easily argue that those who prpmote AGW are far left leaning radicals hell bent on destroying capitalism and setting up a World Government. You diatribe against the right side who challenge AGW is just the same thing in reverse.

"The problem is that we as a society place the onus of proof on the pro-GW scientist, rather than placing it on both sides of the battle. So one side gets to throw bombs, and the other side gets to try and defend themselves against bombs."

That's not a "problem" that's a REQUIREMENT of science. The positive side must provide the evidence, and others get to "throw the bombs" at it. That's what makes science work!

The "other side" must provide a compelling counter argument to explain the data. Sunspots and cosmic rays have long been dismissed.

Also, your rhetorical style would be improved if you would rein in the SHOUTING.

An I have posted that very data. Must I list them?

Average temp static since 1998
New evidence of changes in the sun prediced to cause global cooling.
Ice increases in both poles.
Atmospheric CO2 lags temp increase by some 800 years.
New paper shows tornados have nothing to do with AGW.
Medeval Warm Period warmer than today, life flourished.

Predictions of AGW not come true
No increase in rate or intensity of hurricanes.
No change in rate or intensity of storms.
No change in rate of sea level rise.

The list goes on. You need to read posts in WorlClimateReport and CO2Science. Don't just dismiss the sites because they do not fall into your idology, read them with an open mind.

I wasn't shouting, I guess I should have used the bold tag, sorry.

Proof by verbosity and proof by repetition.

Global Warming is a SCAM!!!

I agree. It's nothing more than the governments of the world trying to control the economies of other nations. And while all the nonsense about "global warming" is being pushed forth, the real issue - Peak Oil - takes a back seat.

I'm absolutely not worried one bit of "global warming." It's a joke. I do worry about Peak Oil. That's real and it is already impacting everyone, especially the poor people.

You may not be worried about anthropogenic global warming, but you should be worried about drastic changes in ocean chemistry:

CO2 Threatens Oceans Regardless of Global Warming

Stanford, CA. Much of the carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuel burning is absorbed by the oceans. It is elevating ocean acidity threatening many species, especially those like corals, which use calcium carbonate to make their shells or skeletons. A study published in the March 9, 2007, Geophysical Research Letters* looks at how both increases in CO2 concentrations and increases in temperatures from climate change could affect ocean acidity. It found that regardless of global warming from carbon dioxide, the greenhouse gas is still a threat to life in the world’s oceans.

“Whether you believe in global warming or not, CO2 is going to run havoc in the oceans if unabated,” warned coauthor Ken Caldeira from the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology. “Temperature increases from climate change affect salinity, circulation, and marine biology. When carbon dioxide dissolves in the ocean, some of it becomes carbonic acid—a corrosive agent, which can eat away shells of important species in the global food chain. Since surface temperature increases affect how carbon is broken down in seawater, we wanted to quantify how the acidity of the water would be affected by temperature increases from CO2 emissions. We found that the pH, or acidity, of the water wasn’t significantly affected regardless of how much warming occurs over the next decades and centuries.”

Today’s average ocean pH value is about 8.1. On the pH scale, lower numbers are more acidic and higher numbers are more basic. The ocean pH has decreased by about 0.1 over the past two centuries. Using an Earth-system model, the scientists found that ocean pH will be reduced by a total of 0.31 units by the end of this century if CO2 emissions continue on their current trajectory to stabilize at atmospheric CO2 concentrations at 1000 parts per million.

The researchers modeled a world with a doubling of CO2 and corresponding temperatures of 0.0° C, 2.5° C, and 4.5° C to the year 2500. Under the latter two scenarios, the pH decreased by .48 and .51 respectively.

“Ocean acidification threatens all marine organisms that use calcium carbonate to make their shells,” said Caldeira. “However even as the planet warms, our study shows that we can help the ecological balance in the oceans by curbing CO2 emissions now by using wind, solar, nuclear power, and other alternative energy sources.”

This work was performed in collaboration with Long Cao and Atul Jain of the University of Illinois, Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

* L. Cao, Caldeira, K., and Jain, A.K., “Effects of carbon dioxide and climate change on ocean acidification and carbonate mineral saturation,” Geophysical Research Letters (GRL) paper 10.1029/2006GL028605, 2007.

Now that's a realistic concern. But do you think we're going to control CO2 because we might damage ocean life? Look at all the horrible pollution we have already been doing to the oceans over the past century.

Agreed, we must severely reduce toxic effluents into the oceans as well, if we're to have oceans in the future. And it's becoming pretty clear that when the oceans get sick, they take a lot of land species with them (e.g., Permian-Triassic extinction).

You casually dismiss decades of climate science, but this tangential problem you accept after a single press release.

This thread is eroding my faith in humanity.

This thread is eroding my faith in humanity.

My faith says that humanity will continue to act like a bunch of irrational monkeys flinging mud (or nastier stuff) at each other while the cage closes in on them.

Nothing here has shaken my faith.

Let the flaming wars begin.


One of the most interesting opponents of the idea of man-made global warming being the biggest problem is Pielke, who in amongst the critique of GW puts to my mind a very persuasive case that changes in land use etc are causing severe problems.

Here is a link to his ideas:
Interview with Roger Pielke, Sr.

I concern myself with Emissions yes absolutely. I concern myself with peak oil yes absolutely.

However I think policy decisions based on CO2 and Anthropogenic Global Warming are a farce. Yes I think we should reduce emissions to stave off peak oil.. yes I think we should for health benefits. However for all the other mumbo jumbo to hell with it. I see all the kids born with asthma and die from it increasing... lung cancer increasing with no smoking involved. Leads one place TACKLE THE PROBLEMS AT HAND!!!

I am so angered by the nonsense of AGW I could puke. As for all the comments above that support global warming. I only saw one link that contained hard data the rest was just words. Words that have hollow meanings. If you wish I will start listing scientific journals you can tear through at your university to show how serious of a threat the sun is and how it will change your life. However it seems that you would not take the time to drive down and check it out at your uni.. Nor would you even be responsive due to brainwashing of Al Bore and company.

I have heaps of respect for Al Gore but AGW is not one of them.

For hard data on climate science, please visit RealClimate's Start Here page.

And for references RealClimate WON'T publish, visit www.co2science.org and www.worldclimatereport.com.

You're going after RealClimate for allegedly corrupt financing by EMS, then you post a link to the Pat Michaels blog? Why not just link directly to Western Fuels and cut out the middleman?

For the same reason you don't cut out RealClimate as the middle man for far leftist political agenda of their parents. Why should anyone get just RealClimate's view? It's called balance. Read EVERYTHING you can from ALL sides.

That's why I still pay a lot of attention to the flat earth society.

For the "other" side to be taken seriously, it must present an alternative theory to explain the observed data.

Can you propose a mechanism by which dumping hundreds of gigatons of carbon into the atmosphere on a geologically brief time scale will not significantly change atmospheric/oceanic chemistry and climate? Be sure to account for the tight correlation between atmospheric CO2 and temperature observed over the last several hundred thousand years.

If your theory is "it's the sun" or "it's cosmic rays", be sure to account for the extreme sensitivity required for the warming trend to be caused instead by these tiny changes in total solar irradiance/cosmic ray flux, while remaining insensitive to billions of tons of fossil carbon emissions.

If you have such a theory, please publish in a peer-reviewed journal.

"far leftist political agenda" Please provide proof of your claims, or you can't expect to be taken seriously. There's an established monetary link between almost all AGW deniers and the oil and gas companies. I've not seen that relationship on the left.

I did. RealClimate is owned and funded by a left leaning political organization. David Susuki's foundation is the same. He is a VERY left political person. I've also noted a number of times that $50 BILLION in 20 years has been funneled into AGW "research". That's not including the BILLIONS in donations to left leaning environmental groups. The far left political parties are the ones on the AGW bandwaggon.

As for funding by "big oil" to combat AGW, it's a tiny fraction. You made an accusation, give the names of those who are funded by "big oil" and the evidence to prove your allegations. You want it from me, now I want it from you.

Typical denier tactic, repeating the same nonsense on every thread.

Yes, it's depressingly similar to "debates" with creationists.

Barrett808, yes jr is reminiscent of a creationist and believers of a 6000 year old universe.
I don't know if you have ever argued or debated with a religious zealot but the denialists like jr remind me of it.

They have too much at stake to ever change their beliefs. Their standing within the group they belong or lead is dependent on them standing up for the cause, faith or church. Their arguments are always circular. They may not want man to held to blame for GW as god created man, they would think that ultimately god would be blamed.
They may even secretly understand they are wrong but to save face they must always stand up for the cause.

They rarely change their belief even in the face of overwhelming evidence. Their dogmatism is impregnable.
Finally they are left with "well I believe it to be true, nothing will destroy my faith".

GW denialists are nothing short of being just plain bad people. The future of the human race is at stake and they want to discourage research and attempts at mitigation of human GW contributions!

They have nothing to lose. If GW destroys civilization, there will be no history to denounce them for future generations.

It has been pleaded many times on TOD to ignore jr's denialist posts but there is always someone who can't let it rest.
If we ignore him (hopefully) he will go away.

Indeed, normally I wouldn't feed the trolls, but I like The Oil Drum and I feel compelled to defend the climate science community from these scurrilous attacks.

The larger issue is that there's a distressing strain of AGW "skepticism" among even prominent Peak Oilers like Colin Campbell (see the latest newsletter). So I occasionally try to do my small part in educating TOD readers on the science.

What a bunch of dogmatic crap. Bad people, I guess you would agree to throw people like me in jail for challenging your dogma. People like you burned heritics at the stake not so many centuries ago.

It's unfair to ask for proof that the majority of deniers are funded by big oil? How double standard. Typical of a dogmatic position. So I ask again, what PROOF do you have that skeptics are funded by big oil? Show me references. Let's pick one of your favorite targets: Richard Lindzen. Show me he is funed by big oil.



Click the "Biggest Exxon $$ Winners" map.

And why would I believe this obvious smear from some leftist organization with their own agenda?

I wrote to Lindzen last spring over this issue, this is what he sent me.

Dear Richard,

Attached is a response. This and other false accusations have appeared for years. That is why I am sending you a stock response. That said, I would have few objections to getting support from big oil except for the fact that 1) I haven't needed it, and 2) they have never offered it.

Best wishes,


Statement concerning support.
My research has never been supported by any industrial source. I have always had research
support from one or more of the following: the National Science Foundation, the National
Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Department of Energy.
I have accepted two lecture fees from oil and coal firms about 17 years ago. In each case, I
shared the platform with speakers from the environmental movement. The same was true of a
talk I gave at a meeting sponsored by OPEC around the same time. It was claimed that the
publication of that talk was sponsored by OPEC. That is untrue. The lecture had been prepared
earlier as part of a series of lectures delivered at Tel Aviv University where I was a Sackler
Visiting Professor. It was subsequently published the Cato Institute in their magazine
During the early 90's, I also served for a couple of days as an expert witness for Western Fuels in
a court case in Minnesota. Western Fuels is a small coal cooperative serving publicly owned
utilities in the upper midwest. It is relatively unique among fuel companies in that it has no
customers to pass its expenses on to. It was created under President Carter as part of his policy
of reducing dependence on oil. Again during this period, I responded to a request to testify
before a Senate Committee. After testifying, I discovered that it is the practice of Congress not
to cover any expenses (travel, hotel, preparing 100 copies of testimony, etc.) associated with
testifying. Moreover, one is not permitted to use government grant funds for this purpose. Since
I was broke at the time, I accepted $300 from Western Fuels to cover some of the expenses. I
should add that this policy on the part of Congress has the effect of largely restricting testimony
to government employees and advocates. I covered my own expenses for subsequent
Congressional testimony.
The above represents the totality of my paid association with oil and coal firms.
Richard S. Lindzen
April 5, 2007

Thanks for taking the bait.

So you'll take Lindzen's denial at face value, but not RealClimate's.

Absolutely. RealClimate is a mouthpiece for eco-fanatic left wing groups. Unless you have DEFINATIVE proof Lindzen is on the take, you should stop claiming he is. I have more than enough shown that RealClimate is owned and funded by left wing political organizations. Besides, your ExxonSecrets is owned and funded by Greenpeace, a far left wing political organization. One wonders as to the accuracy of their data.

You don't like what Lindzen says because you WANT him to be the big boggy man. You just can't fathom that someone can be a genuine AGW skeptic without being in bed with big oil. Wake up.

Heartland Institute vs RealClimate

Written by via junkscience.com
Friday, 01 February 2008

!The Heartland Institute organizes a climate conference in March that is, unlike the conferences that you usually hear about in the media, open to climate skeptics and experts regardless of their political opinions or overall sentiments about the relationship between Nature and the human civilization.

The organizers have sent invitations to many kinds of climate experts, including some of the well-known champions of the climate alarm. These invitations have provoked a hysterical reaction of RealClimate.ORG.

The profoundly concerned scientists describe all the scientists who will attend - before they actually know who they are - as being corrupt by the "evil" oil industry, not being scientists at all, as people being paid concrete amounts of money to fabricate papers and talks, and so on. Their talks are described as "tobacco science". RealClimate.ORG even recommends their readers conspiracy theories from two hardcore smear ecoNazi websites, ExxonSecrets.ORG and SourceWatch.ORG, that preemptively throw mud at very concrete people who might (or might not) attend.

What about the remaining 450 scientists at the updated Inhofe’s list? Are the environmentalist whackos fast enough to create a similar Goebbelsian web page about every scientist who says the obvious, namely that the dangerous global warming orthodoxy is a hoax? Do they actually believe that they can eliminate the opposition as completely and effectively as NSDAP did without actually having police and other arms under its control?

The RealClimate "group" explains that the participants are not scientists at all - before they actually know who is attending - and they encourage the participants to skip the talks and enjoy a nice hotel in New York instead. They wouldn’t hear any science at all, so it is important that the participants can’t hear the talks…

Their smear job is so blatant, hateful, and inconsistent with any kind of a reasonable, balanced, open-minded, or scientific analysis of a question that I can’t really believe that there exist people who are intelligent enough to learn how to read but moronic enough to be influenced by this incredibly cheap propagandistic porn.

RealClimate is a "hardcore smear ecoNazi website," eh?

I call Godwin's Law on this subthread.

Have read it have laughed. I still see nobody giving reasonable explanation of why CO2 causes temps to rise there. I mean given if you look at the REAL CLIMATE data its CO2 lagging the temp increase by 800 years but whatever. Fact is not reasonable these days only propaganda.

BTW warming of the oceans can account for most of the CO2 rise and fall the lag being due to the time the oceans take to warm.

Have read it have laughed. I still see nobody giving reasonable explanation of why CO2 causes temps to rise there.

While you were laughing, you apparently missed this:

Basic Physics (19th century)

"As a dam built across a river causes a local deepening of the stream, so our atmosphere, thrown as a barrier across the terrestrial rays, produces a local heightening of the temperature at the Earth's surface." Thus in 1862 John Tyndall described the key to climate change. He had discovered in his laboratory that certain gases, including water vapor and carbon dioxide ( CO2), are opaque to heat rays. He understood that such gases high in the air help keep our planet warm by interfering with escaping radiation.

This is a person who hasn't read the science. Find anything by James Hansen, then get back to me. (He is linked on my blog.) Search on James Hansen and climate sensitivity for starters.

Do you dispute the existence of the greenhouse effect?

Do you dispute the ability of CO2 and other emissions in the atmosphere to simulate a greenhouse in place of glass?

Do you dispute the solid measurements we have of CO2 concentration rising rapidly during the fossil fuel age?


It is easy to cast aspersions on piles of research that's been through a peer-review process if you don't respect the scientist or the peers or the process, and your challenges don't meet the level of falsifiable claims based on more than anecdotal evidence. It's remarkably easy to do so when there is a well-funded (in political and monetary capital) opposition to the conclusions of the research. And it's drop-dead easy when you're faced with researchers who are content to admit that they don't know everything about the world. What is a necessary default mode to take (these people are tasked with advancing the frontiers of human knowledge) for them is an irrefutable sign of incompetence for you, and for a significant portion of the human population.

Can you conceive of a disaster which we aren't mature enough as a culture to take seriously?

What angers you is not AGW (valid or invalid). It is that a social movement has arisen to act on the preliminary conclusions (the *best guesses* of our scientists), and another social movement has arisen to oppose them. For many, this is a continuation of a centuries-old political rivalry, not an investigation into the arcana of natural systems. It has become a political fight. And it's absolutely impossible to solve it as a political fight. The prominent figures aren't concerned with science, they're concerned with interaction between people. And having politically-concerned people who don't know what they're doing try to influence the science inevitably makes the scientists resistant to outsiders (quacks). How many perpetual motion machines does a physicist have to discredit before he refuses to inspect any more? You see this as a conclusive proof of conspiracy, I see this as an inevitable reflex towards aggressive politics by a scientific tradition which was there for humanity in the past and will hopefully be there for humanity in the future. Support for global warming is astronomical within the scientific community at large even while the global-warming-specific community is quite small - because they understand what's happened, and how much of a warzone the social atmosphere is around climate science right now, and preliminary results suggest that there isn't time to allow a few decades to form an armistice.

If reasoned debate and investigation can shoot down 95% of anti-global warming propoganda, and reasoned debate and investigation can shoot down 30% of pro-global warming propoganda, is that 30% adequate proof of a sinister conspiracy?

Well give me a few days and I will pull all the peer reviewed journals information on Global Warming and how its related to solar cycles, ocean causing CO2 lag and everything else. But I am quite sure you could not find the time in your busy day to read them. However if you are truly interested I will find them just respond back.

:) Yes I do read real data and I have come to my own conclusions.


I am so angered by the nonsense of AGW I could puke.

This is true wisdom. "Who cares if there will be death and destruction for civilization, as long as it happens after I'm dead!"



Where does your "knowing" about peak oil come from? That is, how can you be so sure about peak oil? What do you rely upon for your assurance? Are you relying upon data accumulated over time, complied and published by voices you trust?

If so, then how is AGW any different? Both of these issues require trust at some point, do they not? It is difficult to have personally meaningful first-hand information about either subject, it seems to me, given the complexities of both energy systems and climate. Why do you "trust" the information about peak oil yet distrust the info about AGW?

I am not attempting to be provocative here; I'm genuinely curious. Our "certainty" about knowing is a fascinating subject to me.

I can tell you how I come to my conclutions, should you which to know. I read everything I can get my hands on, with no bias. I read both sides of the issue. Then I evaluate the evidence provided, I look to see what slant of any kind is behind the presentation of the data (political, monitary, etc) then I decide. I have to admit the pivital point for me about peak oil was Twighlight In the Desert. Up until then I was not 100% convinced. My geological understanding really helped understand the book, so I dug more.

As for AGW, I was almost swayed about 3 years ago until more data started to show up that did not support the theory. What really turned me off was the blatant radical leftist and dogmatic postion people hold that support AGW. As soon as I read the the science was "settled" I knew immediately that AGW was dogma and was in trouble. Nothing in science is settled, and people only proclaim something is settled when they have an agenda.

Twighlight In the Desert. My geological understanding really helped understand the book, so I dug more. What really turned me off was the blatant radical leftist and dogmatic postion people hold that support AGW. As soon as I read the the science was "settled" I knew immediately that AGW was dogma and was in trouble. Nothing in science is settled, and people only proclaim something is settled when they have an agenda.

Same for me. The more I read about "global warming" the more I see how much of a scam it is to transfer wealth from the 1st world nations to the 3rd world nations via carbon credits, etc. And when the entire liberal-left jumped on board the whole "global warming" bandwagon that was enough info that I needed to see it's a political agenda based on the control & transfer of wealth.

The concept of Peak Oil is straightforward and there is solid proof - the US oil curve post-peak and the global oil curve. It wasn't due to sunspots, etc. that US production peaked in the 70's.

"And when the entire liberal-left jumped on board the whole "global warming" bandwagon that was enough info that I needed to see it's a political agenda based on the control & transfer of wealth."

OR - the "liberal left" (if such a beast exists and can be said to have one agenda) lives in a reality-based world, is capable of understanding science, and wished to act BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE

It is amazing how politicized this issue has become - and how much the right likes to pretend that science has some sort of left-wing bias...


no, I know, we should just sit back and wait for more evidence - cutting carbon emissions now just would be what - dumb? left-wing?
or some sort of crazy wealth redistribution scheme?

how is it that most everybody here accepts the science on Peak Oil (which is probably far LESS studied since there is little access to National Oil Company's data) - but the moment AGW is mentioned the nutjobs come running out to contradict the vast majority of experts in the field - Wakefield and Pedalpusher - how do you POSSIBLY believe you know more about this than Hansen and the other climate scientists?

The science behind oil is easy to understand. The science behind climate is very hard, since climate is controled by chaos theiry and has millions of degrees of freedom. Big difference.

"Wakefield and Pedalpusher - how do you POSSIBLY believe you know more about this than Hansen and the other climate scientists?"

I don't believe anything. I look at the evidence, ALL OF IT, and make my own conclusions. And I also listen to scientists who disagree with people like Hansen. He is not the be all and know all of climate science. NO ONE IS!! That's the whole point of science, no one can claim to fully understand it all. NO ONE! There is no agument from authority in science. Soon as someone starts to say "so and so cannot be refuted" I know immidiately something is not right.

CHAOS and complexity theory, of which your understanding is apparently quite limited.

The systems studied via chaos and complexity do not entail "millions of degrees of freedom".

First, as you read everything, you need to next read Chaos: Making a New Science by James Gleick.

Then, check out Sync: How Order Emerges from Chaos by Steven Strogatz.
Google Books

Then, if you have the mathematics and calculus to handle it, Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos, also by Steven Strogatz.
Google books

Then maybe the lighthouse will switch on amidst the murky fog of your denial.

On the other hand, if you're just a charlatan or a shill, these books will only be a waste of your time.

I have read books on chaos theory, my position stands. Besides, if it was so cut and dried meteorologists would be able to predict the future weather by more than a couple days with accuracy.

If you dispute that climate is chaos driven take it up with Ross McKitrick of Taken By Storm

"if it was so cut and dried meteorologists would be able to predict the future weather by more than a couple days with accuracy."

This statement proves you obviously have read nothing about chaos and complexity, and you certainly don't understand it.

You are a shill or a charlatan. So you go on and have your fun and waste your time.

The unfolding of the future will prove you dead wrong, literally.

OR - the "liberal left" (if such a beast exists and can be said to have one agenda) lives in a reality-based world, is capable of understanding science, and wished to act BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE

That is the funniest thing I've ever read on this site. The vast majority of GW activists would be lucky if they could spell "science". They're just anti-business lefties looking for a cause.

That doesn't necessarily make them wrong, of course. But proclaiming they're doing it for the science is just stupid.

"The vast majority of GW activists would be lucky if they could spell "science"

so you would include the vast majority of climate scientists in that statement?

in your worldview, the actual scientists who study this subject would be lucky if they could spell science?

then there is just no point in arguing with you - you are clearly better informed and more knowledgeable than the actual scientists involved and have made your decision based on your superior knowledge to them - Hansen for example would be challenged to spell "science" you think?

I didn't say anything about the scientists. The scientists have accumulated a vast body of work and I bow to their expertise.

I said the activists. You know, the same people who are overwhelmingly anti-nuclear and anti-GMO food, both subjects that the science also supports.

You call global warming a scam and James Hansen and others alarmists, but you are not biased?

This is ridiculous.

Troll be gone.

Were I king of the world, such people would do prison time for negligent homicide.

Hey this is exactly the tripe that AGW supporters spew. Prison Time are you mental? Honestly man... Can you say yourself that you do not drive a vehicle. Do not eat burgers, do not eat packaged food. DO YOU GROW YOUR OWN FOOD!?!! I am 40% of the way to self sustainable can you say that? And I am AGW denier come on man... I build 200mpg vehicles for personal use blah blah..

Because we view differently you we should be jailed. There is no reason for such comments I know but that is about the radical view of it. Beleive us or we will cattle prod your ass into belief if that does not work we will send you to Bubba to make you believe. You sir are no better than the people in Salem.

This is WAY BEYOND ridiculous. I shall rephrase Gore "The Rational Debate is over" we have gone past that too absolute drivel and tripe.

I believe there are a very limited few who actually doubt climate change. I believe there is a much larger body of "deniers" that have an agenda and know they have an agenda. (G. Dumbya Bush is a perfect example: living green while claiming in public there is no such thing as AGW.) Then, there is an even larger group of sheeple who would know better if not blinded by fear and prejudice of one kind or another. It is the second group I refer to, and consider our friend the troll to be a member.

For clarity, I looked up the term: Negligent homicide is a charge brought against people, who by inaction, allow others under their care to die. (From Wiki.)

This would apply to those that actually have the care of others under their control. I would include ExxonMobile in this, as they have been directly involved in shaping public policy. It would also apply to politicians, etc. I will allow that it doesn't fit as nicely with our friend the troll with the "under their care" stipulation. Except...

Involuntary manslaughter, sometimes called criminally negligent homicide in the United States, gross negligence manslaughter in England and Wales or culpable homicide in Scotland occurs where there is no intention to kill or cause serious injury but death is due to recklessness or criminal negligence.

(Also Wiki.)

That one fits. So, my original contention is right if this holds as I do not believe our little troll believes his little rants. However, if he does, he would still be responsible because he is intentionally ignoring evidence to allow the "facts" he accepts fit his agenda. But let us go to another source:

MANSLAUGHTER - The unlawful killing of a human being without malice or premeditation, either express or implied; distinguished from murder, which requires malicious intent.

The distinctions between manslaughter and murder, consists in the following: In the former, though the act which occasions the death be unlawful, or likely to be attended with bodily mischief, yet the malice, either express or implied, which is the very essence of murder, is presumed to be wanting in manslaughter.


Remember, too: ignorance is no defense in a court of law.


So put your money where your mouth is. Send the cops to my door. I'd love nothing more than to take this to court and have you all laughed at by a judge.

You're an idiot.

Actually, if anything, the global warming data is more solid that the peak oil data, since proven and possible reserves of fossil fuels are state secrets. At least the GW data is sitting out there for all to see.

Arctic Climate Expert Urges More Honest Climate Change Discussion (Dr. Syun Akasofu, founding director of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks)

Excerpt: If the IPCC wants to represent this particular scientific field to the world, they are responsible for rectifying the great confusion and misinterpretation of scientific facts in the mind of the public. Some of the items that need clarification and action are: […]Ask the mass media to stop using scenes of large blocks of ice falling off the terminus of a glacier and of the spring break-up in the Arctic as supposedly due to the manmade greenhouse effect. (Glaciers are 'rivers of ice,' so that calving is natural, and spring break-up is a normal, annual event; both have been going on from the [beginnings of] geological time.) 3. Ask the mass media to stop using collapsing houses built on permafrost (frozen ground) as a result of the manmade greenhouse effect. (Their collapse is due to improper construction that allows the house heat to melt the permafrost underneath the structure.) 4. Tell that sea ice in the Arctic Ocean is not a single plate of ice. (The area covered by sea ice changes considerably because of winds and ocean currents, not just by melting.) 5. Call attention to the fact that anomalous, extreme, and unusual weather phenomena are not directly related to the manmade greenhouse effect. (The manmade greenhouse effect is represented by a slow increase of temperature at the rate of 0.6°C/100 years.) 6. Acknowledge that the use of the so-called "hockey stick" figure in the 2001 Summary Report for Policy Makers was not appropriate. (It [falsely] shows a sudden increase of temperature around 1900 after a slow decrease for 900 years, giving the impression of 'abrupt climate change.') 7. Acknowledge that the present warming trend is not unusual or abnormal in the light of past temperature changes. (There were many warmer periods than the present one, which lasted hundreds of years during the present interglacial period that began 10,000 years ago.) 8. Distinguish between the manmade greenhouse effect and a great variety of manmade environmental destructions, which are often mentioned by greenhouse advocates in the same breath. (The latter includes results from the over-harvesting of forests and fish, pollution, extinction of some species.) 9. Stop media reports telling that the sea level has already increased several meters during the last 50 years. (According to the 2007 IPCC Report, the rising rate is 1.8mm/year, so that the sea level increased 9 cm during the last 50 years.) 10. Scientists who study satellite data should not use the term "unprecedented changes." (They do not have satellite data before the 1970s and cannot tell if any of the changes are "unprecedented," even those that occurred in the 1930s or 1940s, not having comparable data.)


HAHAHA - I've know Dr Akasofu my entire life.

First - he is not a climate scientist - he is a retired geophysicist who's main focus of study is causes of the aurora - so what in his years of study of the interaction of the solar wind with the earth's magnetic field with the earth allows him to judge climate research?


this is a standard tactic - trot out a man with impressive credentials, who doesn't actually study climate - and use his opinions (and that is all they are) to try and discredit real research - it is intellectually dishonest at the least

I will grant that Dr Akasofu was the head of the institute there in Alaska and there were most likely some scientists studying the problem (although not very deeply in his time as this has been growing over the years)

The man is also a denier of the (now largely accepted) theory of the causes of the aurora - which IS his field of expertise - so even there he is a crank

hysterical - I LOVE that you trot out Akasofu as some kind of expert on climate change - proves everything I believe about how dishonest AGW deniers are.

I just posted what the article said. Take it as you will. The arguments seem quite true to me. The whole issue has been blown way out of proportion to the point of loosing all credibility. Just look at the posts here with huge predictions in sea level rise, when there has not been any change in the rate. Akasofu is right about that. He is right about the "hockey stick" that even the IPCC has now dropped. He's right about the depictions of melting ice. It all looks quite reasonable to me. The "cranks" are the ones proclaiming that all life will somehow evaporate (ala Lovelock) because of AGW.

"It all looks quite reasonable to me."

of course it does, it supports your narrow minded worldview that there is a vast leftwing conspiracy to redistribute wealth worldwide (or is yours just that the vast majority of climate scientists are charlatans out for those big fat contracts to study this?)

it doesn't look particularly reasonable to me for a man who spent his entire career as a physicist studying a problem completely unrelated to terrestrial climate to be casting a heap of doubt on those scientists who do nothing but study climate change.

And I think that Lovelock is probably more like the Chimp Who Can Drive is to Peak Oil - alarmist and possibly over-the-top

that said, I think Lovelock could be right and so could the Chimp (who cracks me up anyway - entertainment certainly has value)

So point out which of the points in the article are wrong. We know that Gore's film is full of inaccuracies, is in it for the money not the science nor the "cure", and there are a growing number of IPCC scientists who are leaving and have left because of the way overblow alarmism that AGW has produced in the media. 55 million years ago the world was 8C on average warmer than today, palm trees grew in Greenland. It was a time of huge divesification of mammals, tropical forests up to the arctic circle. Show definitive evidence that this warming trend would be any different. As a physicist you know how important equations are for making predictions, let's see them for the alarmist predictions.

MYTH #2: Regional proxy evidence of warm or anomalous (wet or dry) conditions in past centuries contradicts the conclusion that late 20th century hemispheric mean warmth is anomalous in a long-term (multi-century to millennial) context.

Such claims reflect a lack of awareness of the distinction between regional and large-scale climate change. Similar such claims were recently made in two articles by astronomer Willie Soon and co-authors (Soon and Baliunas, 2003; Soon et al, 2003). These claims were subsequently rebutted by a group of more than a dozen leading climate scientists in an article in the journal "Eos" of the American Geophysical Union (Mann et al, ‘Eos‘, 2003). The rebuttal raised, among other points, the following two key points:

(1) In drawing conclusions regarding past regional temperature changes from proxy records, it is essential to assess proxy data for actual sensitivity to past temperature variability. In some cases (Soon and Baliunas, 2003, Soon et al, 2003) a global 'warm anomaly' has been defined for any period during which various regions appear to indicate climate anomalies that can be classified as being either 'warm', 'wet', or 'dry' relative to '20th century' conditions. Such a criterion could be used to define any period of climate as 'warm' or 'cold', and thus cannot meaningfully characterize past large-scale surface temperature changes.

(2) It is essential to distinguish (e.g. by compositing or otherwise assimilating different proxy information in a consistent manner—e.g., Jones et al., 1998; Mann et al., 1998, 1999; Briffa et al., 2001) between regional temperature changes and changes in global or hemispheric mean temperature. Specific periods of cold and warmth differ from region to region over the globe (see Jones and Mann, 2004), as changes in atmospheric circulation over time exhibit a wave-like character, ensuring that certain regions tend to warm (due, for example, to a southerly flow in the Northern Hemisphere winter mid-latitudes) when other regions cool (due to the corresponding northerly flow that must occur elsewhere). Truly representative estimates of global or hemispheric average temperature must therefore average temperature changes over a sufficiently large number of distinct regions to average out such offsetting regional changes. The specification of a warm period, therefore requires that warm anomalies in different regions should be truly synchronous and not merely required to occur within a very broad interval in time, such as AD 800-1300 (as in Soon et al, 2003; Soon and Baliunas, 2003).

And more: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=11


Mann has no credibility after his so called "hockey stick" data that has since been shown to be totally false. RealClimate is just a one sided mouth piece of the radical left (and Mann as he is part of it.) Henson is in it for the money (he is part of RealClimate too) with the hundreds of thousands of dollars he's gotten from AGW.

That's what you people throw at me with my references, how do you like it back?

Word. It's more than a little ironic that Peak Oilers should question the much more mature science of climatology.

People who live in glass houses...

The notion that sunspots are related to climate change on a yearly basis does not negate the notion that CO2 is related to climate change on a millenial basis.

So nobody here thinks carbon can be removed from the atmosphere?

Retort: That must take more energy than was generated by the release of the carbon in the first place!

OK. Warm up the breeder reactors.

Retort: That must take more energy than was generated by the release of the carbon in the first place!
Not at all. There's plenty of exothermic mineral carbonation schemes. They're very large scale and very slow however.

You can remove it with agrichar, at potentially about the rate it is being emitted by man:

In 2100, if pyrolysis met the entire projected demand for renewable fuels, the process would sequester enough carbon (9.5 billion tons a year) to offset current fossil fuel emissions, which stand at 5.4 billion tons a year, and then some.


Incidentally, you also improve marginal soils!

I think that this observation about being able to sequester carbon is key. Big agribusiness is at the root of so many future and present problems that we should see it as a target of choice.
The free ride should come to an end either with a carbon trading scheme or the elimination of regulatory hurdles and other barriers to entry, coupled with parity laws to fascilitate the return to large numbers of small scale farms. The increases in efficiency conferred will be essential in a energy restricted future.And could offer a way through the financial mess unfolding.

A massive redirection by small farmers globally to engage in a culture that sequesters carbon versus releasing carbon, that builds healthy soil, and therefore health to those that consume the food should be a top priority.
Learning about codex alimentarus (coming feb 09) and the n.a.i.s. and how these are designed to eliminate small farmers should be understood as such.

Buy local, and change the world.

Engineer-poets site ergosphere.blogspot.com offers some good insights
as does westonaprice.org

When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Agrichar does not appear to be an exception. This process depends on biomass to extract the atmospheric CO2. If we could produce enough biomass to sequester the CO2 released as a result of consuming fossil fuels, we would be able to grow enough biomass to replace our fossil fuel use and would not need to sequester anything, as the process would be carbon neutral -- ignoring the initial CO2 released when developing the land for biomass growth.

Unfortunately we cannot produce anything close to enough biofuel to replace fossil fuels, which implies we cannot produce enough biomass to sequester the carbon produced from burning fossil fuels either.

If anyone has data showing we can produce this much biomass, I would be very interested in seeing it. This would imply we could convert the cellulose into syngas, a substitute for natural gas, and convert the syngas into synthetic crude or directly into diesel by way of the Fischer-Tropsch process. This would make much more sense than agrichar, as these fuels can be used with our existing infrastructure.

This is what I was looking at as an estimation of the potential of agrichar:
Special Report: Inspired by Ancient Amazonians, a Plan to Convert Trash into Environmental Treasure: Scientific American

As the article itself makes clear, it is by no means a done deal and a lot more work needs to be carried out to make sure it works

"What we're looking at is producing those kinds of charcoals in a modern pyrolysis reactor," notes Brown, who received a $1.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to attempt to recreate terra preta using corn stalks. He plans to have enough char generated by this spring to run field trials this year. By his calculations each square mile of corn farm that uses this "fiber to fertilizer" pyrolysis process can offset the emissions of 330 automobiles.

If that figure is roughly right then you need around 3million square miles to offset the emissions of the world vehicle fleet, and one heck of a lot more for the total FF burn - so it doesn't sound like it would do the whole thing, but might take a big chunk out, and perhaps enough if FF use or production is peaking.

Other solutions might help too -
here is one solution to trap it in serpentine, which may be as easy as crushing it up - costs energy though.
Mineral Carbonation at UBC

RealClimate » Save the World! Earn $25 million!

So nobody here thinks carbon can be removed from the atmosphere?

It can.

Retort: That must take more energy than was generated by the release of the carbon in the first place!

Extraction of pure CO2 from atmospheric diluteness would take significantly less than was generated in the first place. Capture by silicates is spontaneous, but increasing the silicates' surface area still takes a few percent.

OK. Warm up the breeder reactors.

Without breeder reactors, even very low-grade uranium deposits such as uraniferous marine shales are thermally equivalent to more than their own volume of petroleum. No-one believes that even several billion cars and drivers, all powered by nuclear motor fuel plants whose reactors are ordinary burners, can run the world out of uranium in this millennium.

So for instance the rate of discovery of economically demonstrated uranium resources in Australia during much of 2007 was 740 tonnes per day, thermally equivalent to 90 percent of the whole world's petroleum extraction rate. But not fiscally equivalent, of course.

How shall the car gain nuclear cachet?

Amazing how little attention this subthread draws.

1) There is panic because CO2 in the atmosphere is having a bad effect.

2) There are effective ways of removing the CO2

3) All of the attention goes to the CO2 in the atmosphere having a bad effect.

It takes less effort to be involved in the panic than in the Solution.

How right you are!

But it's not just CO2 in the atmosphere that's a problem, its also its subsequent transfer to the oceans, decreasing the CO3= ion concentration while increasing the bicarbonate ion. Result = acidification.

Shellfish depend on having adequate CO3= concentration to build their shells. Coral reefs, which support large ecosystems depend on the health of the reefs.

Acidification will happen whether there is actual warming as a result of the increased CO2 or not. Can we really afford to risk the collapse of the oceans and their ecosystems with this irresponsible behavior?

Next, it is a lot easier to reduce the amount of CO2 we add to the atmosphere by phasing out the use of fossil fuels, especially coal, than remove it once it's there (the occurence of Peak Oil and gas will go a long way to reducing emissions from light hydrocarbons, as long as we don't try to replace them with CTL). A parallel effort would be needed to limit or stop the destruction of the rain forests in the misguided effort to produce biofuels.

Phasing out the use of coal is imperative because, not only does it produce CO2, it produces dangerous mercury and particulate pollution which, in most parts of the world, is largely uncontrolled. Added to that, is the environmental damage of the land and watershed that the mining of coal causes.

That being said, even with maximum conservation, alternative forms of electricity production need to be phased in to replace the coal and nuclear plants that should be phased out. While they have a place, there is no evidence to show that increased wind and "conventional" solar (PV and thermal solar) even with geothermal added can replace but a minor fraction of the electric capacity that needs to be phased out.

I have been advocating the harvesting of "vertical winds" (aka CAPE) by development of the Atmospheric Vortex Engine technology. Understandably, due to the lack of a demonstration plant of adequate size, people have been reluctant to embrace this technology. In my opinion, this technology has a potential that is so enormous that we cannot continue to delay its development. The thermodynamic "mathematics" for its performance is very compelling.

I will now attempt to make an analogy between this and the development of the first nuclear weapons without making a "value judgement" on whether is was good or bad to do so.

Einstein, Oppenheimer, Feynman, and many others whose names I am ignorant of, knew that is was possible to construct a nuclear bomb by studying the "mathematics" of nuclear energy. Nevertheless, before the military would actually be willing to use such a weapon on the perceived enemy, it was essential that a "test" be carried out. Fortunately for the developers, they had unlimited funding from the government to go through the expense of doing so, and because the government believed in their expertise. It was expensive because it meant "using up" of a quantitiy of nuclear material that was very scarce.

The AVE needs such a test facility to convince the world of its potential. Unfortunately it doesn't have the financial backing neither of the US or Canadian government. It appears to be up to the people who would ultimately benefit from it to lead the funding campaign. There is a "Business Case" set up at the website to describe the development plans. Be the first on your block to contribute!

If hundreds of millions of dollars can be raised for political campaigns, much of it via the internet, why can't the same be done to develop the AVE? (Note: this idea is my own and is totally unauthorized by AVEtec, which knows nothing about this). I would suggest you contact the financial manager at AVEtec (see www.vortexengine.ca) and ask if they have set up a mechanism to receive such contributions, or if not, whether such a fund could be set up.

Be the first on your block to contribute!

I would have hoped by now that funding via conventional means would have materialized, and am sorry to see that, after all this time, it hasn't happened. However, perhaps in the long run, it would be better to do it this way than to see the rights sold off to large, well-funded, private concerns, to be exploited for private gain and not so much for public benefit.

Time is growing short in the face of Peak Oil and World Financial instability. Let's give this tecnology and its inventor, Louis M. Michaud, P.Eng., the "leg up" they deserve. The life you save, may be that of your child or grandchild.

It is far, far better to light a single candle than to curse the darkness.

Are there any carbon sequestration technologies which are capable of sequestering the CO2 at the same rate as we are releasing it by burning fossil fuel based hydrocarbons and can be scaled up fast enough to make a difference? For mineral based sequestration, can we obtain whatever mineral feedstocks are required fast enough to keep pace with our voracious appetite for consuming hydrocarbons? This seems like a tall order but I would love to see data showing it is at least feasible.

2) There are effective ways of removing the CO2

The whole point is, people aren't willing to pay the price. Some may, but you will never get a broad agreement that covers everyone it has to cover.

RE: How shall the car gain nuclear cachet?

The car can be dirty if equivalent carbon is removed at the same rate.

Big, central, fixed load reactors in Nevada separating C from O2 plus small, distributed, uneven load automobiles expelling CO2.

Gas tax pays the reactor maintenance bill.

I hate to bring it up, but do you know of any electrochemical process which can extract the carbon from atmospheric CO2 without consuming some other mineral feedstock in the process? I am not aware of the electrolysis equivalent for carbon dioxide (CO2 + energy -> C + O2). If this is possible, we would have a solution with the help of breeder reactors.

... extract the carbon from atmospheric CO2 without consuming some other mineral feedstock in the process? I am not aware of the electrolysis equivalent for carbon dioxide (CO2 + energy -> C + O2). If this is possible, we would have a solution with the help of breeder reactors.

Uranium is sufficiently abundant that the next few millennia of nuclear electricity production does not depend on breeder reactors. Solid oxide fuel cells can be run in reverse as carbon dioxide electrolysers, I seem to recall, or maybe it was molten carbonate fuel cells. The products are not carbon and oxygen but carbon monoxide and oxygen, so both can flow away from their respective electrodes. Carbon monoxide is unstable at room temperature and can be catalytically converted to carbon and carbon dioxide (Google "carbon monoxide disproportionation".)

How shall the car gain nuclear cachet?

You don't need a PHD to to take a gut poll and come to the inevitable conclusion that international agreements, carbon taxes and specifically the Kyoto Protocol is a complete waste of time. We didn't develop the steam engine or combustion technology based on international agreements. Why would we turn to an international body (with no real authority) to solve the problems associated with these opportunities?

If the climate heats up and the weather becomes unstable and kills off 5 or six billion of us then that is the answer. If humans continue to grow in population with no die off that is the answer.

If you believe that you need to prepare for climate change and peak oil then you need to find people who agree with you and take those actions in association with that particular group. Don't ask the world to change...all you're doing is wasting your time and energy and pissing a lot of people off for your troubles.

I can't see anything inevitable about your conclusions.

The Kyoto Protocol is having real effects in the real world by setting Government policies and taxes in many countries, including Europe and Japan.

There is nothing so real as taxes, and only today British Columbia altered it's tax system to increase carbon by 2.5% each year until 2012 whilst reducing income taxes.

So your premise appears unsound.

Herman Scheer in his seminal work: The Solar Economy (2002):stated

"While the delegates have been debating over the past decade, emissions have been rising by an unprecedented 30%...the conference process has given governments a perfect excuse to postpone any environmental overhaul of their respective domestic energy sectors until a global treaty has been agreed and ratified, on the pretext that a global framework is essential to preserve international competitiveness."

"It is also no cooincidence that global conferences have become fixated on policy instruments such as tradable emissions and win-win solutions...in the hope that that they can reconcile the interests of the fossil energy industry with the goal of preventing climate change. The energy industry, however, is betting on being able to maintain its established structures and retain its control over global enrgy investment...Where all the talk is of costs and burdens, it is easy to lose sight of the benefits of tackling climate change - benefits that will accrue to all."

And finally he sums it up:

"History provides many examples of technological revolutions that have resahaped the world. None have run their course without encountering massive resistance; no change has been brought about in consensus with those on the losing end, and none has been the subject of an international treaty...Nevertheless, many of these revolutionary changes have needed a political framework or targeted help at their inception in order to develop and showcase the economic and cultural benefits."

In light of what Mr. Scheer points out perhaps we need to focus on our local political framework in this country. Too much time and attention has been made of "the policies of other nations". California and a few other states are struggling with the political obstacles of passing green initiatives. This will be a bottom up change not a top down change.

Scheer continues:

"A global treaty that essentially looks to compensate the losers (fossil fuel insustry) against the gains of the winners (businesses that create renewable sources of energy) has failed before it has begun. What is needed isn't a reform of the industry but a replacement of one industry with another."

"Preventing climate change through consensus-building confernces is fantasy politics - all talk and no action."

From my viewpoint the question for America is not whether China or other developing nations will gain an economic advantage because we choose to re-tool our country to a rapidly changing "Solar Economy" but whether Americans as a people have the courage and conviction to move decisively to the new paradigm. This is an issue that requires a Marshall Plann scale with the committed support of the majority of us as a people. Until we recognize this issue as a national emergency we have no chance of moving forward. We will always find more reasons to "study the issue".

I hope this explains my reasoning in a better light.

That makes a lot more sense Joe.

However, I would point out that it is a very US - centric viewpoint.
I have argued elsewhere on this forum that the US is unlikely to take the lead on climate change issues, and in fact others already do so in Europe and Japan.

The relatively high availability and low price of fuels in the US doe not give nearly the incentive of other countries to do something to reduce use.

India and China will be in a much more similar position to those countries than the US in this regard, and will be coming off of a massive industrialisation program by the time they do something about it.

At times like that, like America in the 1880's, change can happen surprisingly quickly.

For instance, many of the facilities needed for a nuclear plant are built when you make a coal plant, transmission lines, cooling towers and so on, so the cost of switching is rather less than might be supposed.

At a certain level of income people historically choose to clean up air pollution, so the prospects of moves to nuclear and renewables in those countries seem rather good.

It may take a bit of getting used to, but in my view America is likely to be a follower not a leader on these issues.

Essentially they will be using technology developed by Germany and elsewhere and applying it to their far better wind ans solar resources.

For time-frames, see my reply to Robert below.

The Kyoto Protocol is having real effects in the real world by setting Government policies and taxes in many countries, including Europe and Japan.

Despite that, a minority of those who originally signed on to Kyoto are meeting their targets, and global CO2 concentrations are climbing steadily higher. Despite Kyoto, we are dumping more CO2 into the atmosphere than ever before. So, I would say the premise is sound. The proof is in the data.

Please see my reply to Joe above, but to deal with the timescale question which seems to me at the root of your argument I would make the following points.

Not being able to do anything about GW is very different to having time lags in implementation.

The world energy economy is a supertanker, and it was never going to turn on a sixpence.
GW came to the fore in around, say 1990, and we are now not even twenty years from that date, and yet already quite a lot of action has been taken and technologies developed which should greatly help.

Energy costs have risen to levels likely to seriously impact use only much more recently, say around 2005, and so much of this effort went in when it was much more problematic financially than now.

In the real world you are bound to get a hockey-stick shaped curve for the application of GHG technologies, with leaders far ahead developing the technologies others will need.

I think what is misleading a lot of the debate here is that little of that has happened in the US.

If you look at Sweden as a leader, they are well on course to just about eliminate GHG by 2030:
The Oil Drum | We Won't Stop Global Warming

It might be argued that this is unimportant, with Sweden making very little of the GHG worldwide.

Well, China plans to have the capability to build 10 nuclear power stations a year by 2020, so it seems reasonable that they could build 20-30 a year by 2030, and by then the science of GW should be abundantly clear.
This is besides rapid build of wind turbines for their excellent wind resource and other potential contributors.

India will not only build nuclear reactors, but is set to benefit from the research money which has gone into solar energy, as although it might be rather daft to try to generate your energy with solar in cold and wintry Germany, the dollars they are spending should shortly mean a lot of power for sunny India, and help overcome the failings of the Indian grid.

Similar considerations apply to the South of the US.

So I think you are being overly pessimistic and looking too much at short term failures to get to Kyoto levels of emissions, and our prospects of having massive reductions by 2050 are excellent.

Are we then stuck at that high level of CO2 concentration?

Not really, if we don't choose to be so, as a variety of technologies such as agrichar and others offer the prospect of taking out CO2, although personally I don't think plant level sequestration will happen.

So is all that soon enough?

The short answer is that no-one knows, as trigger points could have been exceeded.

However, taking a more median forecast most of the rise in warming is expected at the back-end of the 21st century and into the 22nd.

In any case, despair is pointless, and easy or hard the best we can do is get on with it.

I don't think that you have made your case that we have not got good prospects of success, although the road could be bumpy!

British Columbia Intends to Levy Carbon Tax on Fuels Beginning July 2008


It is a small tax to begin with, but worth noting. If this causes people to seek out biodiesel and ethanol, then all the better. It is a general carbon tax with offsets for low incomes.

If this causes people to seek out biodiesel and ethanol, then all the better.

Depends on what kind of ethanol and biodiesel. Some kinds can make the situation even worse.

This thread has been depressing. It brought out the deniers, it brought out those who completely misunderstood my point (but we MUST do something!), and it brought out all kinds of unrealistic scenarios of global cooperation to rectify the issue.

I think that it is interesting that there are already signs of problems with exported coal supplies--at least during periods of peak demand.

I think that your analysis is in many respects probably correct. I would add "we won't do anything until the costs get to too high to bear, at which point it will most likely be too late." That is, I suspect that we will institute carbon taxes, or even more likely, carbon rationing at some point, but we'll be closing the barn door after the horses. At this point, I think the most likely hope we have is simply to pray that the suffering point comes early enough to be useful - but that's not especially likely.

At this point, despite knowing that Global Warming was a serious problem for decades, we have pushed things until the bar is simply too high - now we have an excuse not to act, and it isn't "our fault." What is disturbing about this, of course, is that we have literally stolen the next generation's future to a degree (what degree we cannot know).


you want to publicise this thread? This is the most useless thread I've waded through at TOD since Hothgor times.

I agree. It is also because the negatives occur slowly in the aggregate - although catestrophic events (flood or hurricane) may bump it in people's conciousness.

Perhaps a strategy is to try and predict the changes and proactively prepare for adaptation. Where will crops be grown? Where can people live safely? Do we need to appropriate parts of Canada ? Ha, just kidding...

I agree with RR; the Comfort Culture will be unwilling to forego its basis, and runaway Global Warming will occur. That's the best assumption for personal planning, ala Westexas's ELP, IMO.

My vision is two Giant Millstones, one dwarfing the other by several orders of magnitude ./O rolling toward each-other on a collision course, with the smaller wheel being humanity's BAU system and the larger Gaia's Planetary system, and no doubt as to which will crush the other.

It's possible the Comfort Culture will come undone by Peak Energy prior to extensively calamitous climate change. And certainly by 2100 a new paradigm will be dawning, constructed by people born 3 generations from now.

I think we can see 2 reasons it will be ignored. The first is as stated: nobody and no government is willing to pay more for carbon use.

The second is provided by the global warming denialists here: we have little or no capacity as a society (whether in the U.S. or globally) for distinguishing propaganda from reality. There exists a kind of invisible hand (although we can identify suspects!) that takes every scientific fact and promulgates a counter-narrative in a form that the average person finds sufficiently persuasive to be left uncertain about the nature of reality. People and institutions do this because facts have implications and those implications lie in the realm of public policy and may constrain human and organizational action. In short facts have the potential to interfere with the will to power, and so those who seek power (and this is just about every person and organization, each at its own level) generally have an interest in undermining the policy force of scientifically determined facts, by obscuring their implications or even their existence.

It is not only that people have an economic interest in not paying a carbon tax... they have an economic interest in stirring doubt about any fact that might be taken to imply that they need to pay a carbon tax.

The rot goes way upstream, and undermines knowledge and the public perception of reality itself.

On the other hand, while it is difficult to imagine, for this reason, an intelligent response to what we KNOW in the abstract, it is possible to imagine all sorts of responses... from wise to desperate... to actual EXPERIENCED epidemiological or physical or climatological or agricultural limits or events.

As Kunstler said about peakoil, but we might say about global climate change too...

“People who refuse to negotiate with the circumstances that the world throws at them automatically get assigned a new negotiating partner: reality. Reality then requires you to change your behavior, whether you like it or not.”

If you believe it will get that far, of course, you are then talking about a die-off scenario in which only a small remnant of humanity will pull through.... It is hard to believe that we really are such animals... mere rats in a jar scrambling for the top over our fellow rats... unable to imagine the welfare of the colony as a whole. Yet, notwithstanding Jared Diamond's examples of stable island cultures/ecologies, there really are precious few examples of large groups of humans achieving awareness of "the interests of the whole community" and acting on those understandings.

We are soon to find out whether we are the kind of animals that simply wait for a collision with reality... or whether we have some collective ability to look ahead, peer beyond all the propaganda that seeks to obscure reality, perceive what reality is likely to become, and alter our course.

In the past, it was prophets who had the role of looking into the future and averting catastrophe. And since when they were successful they were proved wrong (think of Jonah for example) the job of being a prophet was always a poignant one... success meant conjuring in people's minds a future so awful and so certain that they would work to change that future and prove that the prophet was, essentially, wrong.

Well a successful modern day secular prophet must forecast a future that is so certain that, when we perceive it, we resolve to avoid it. Powerful interests are massing to make sure that never happens, and that we negotiate not with the reality that we can deduce is mostly likely to come but only with the "reality" of the present moment, when it finally hits us in the face.

we have little or no capacity as a society (whether in the U.S. or globally) for distinguishing propaganda from reality. There exists a kind of invisible hand (although we can identify suspects!) that takes every scientific fact and promulgates a counter-narrative in a form that the average person finds sufficiently persuasive to be left uncertain about the nature of reality

This is beautifully stated, Oregon7, thanks.

The tragic reality is that it is already too late. IF we had known in 1945, we would have had an opportunity to really do something effective on a global scale -- it could have been built in to the UN structure, and perhaps a global control and mitigation structure with real teeth could have been created to really deal with this. Unfortunately, we didn't know back then, and there is no way that we really could have known. Thus, all the carbon that has been emitted since 1945 has been "baked into the pie", so to speak, and even were we to slam on the brakes today and not emit another atom of FF carbon (which isn't going to happen, of course), we would still have a lot of GCC on the way, due to the lagging effects of CO2 buildup.

1945 was probably humankind's one good window of opportunity to create a global body with the power to actually solve some global problems. We all know what we got instead. The UN is not totally useless, but effective is not the word that comes to mind. Absent some sort of EFFECTIVE global body, we really have no good reason to think that any sort of effective global mitigation plan for this global problem will ever be implemented. We can occasionally get our act together for small potatoes stuff, like banning CFCs to save the ozone layer. That was difficult enough, and it was only a minor burden on anyone. Now we are talking about something truly major, even epic in scale, and very painful economically for just about everyone. Robert is right, it isn't going to happen.

We must not think that costs have been avoided though. Far from it - they have simply been shifted, from one generation to others, and from some regions to others.

The costs could be horrifying, too. For starters, just thinking about the USA, we're looking at the possible loss of south Louisiana (24,724 sq km under 1.5 m), south Florida (12,250 sq. km under 1.5m), and eastern North Carolina(5835 sq km under 1.5 m), per Lands Vulnerable to Sea Level Rise. How many thousands upon thousands of multiples of Katrina would these permanent losses represent in terms of cost and suffering? And what about changes in patterns of precipitation? According to This report from NOAA GFDL it looks like the already arid southern Great Plains can expect a further six to ten inch decline in average annual precipitation; much of California, Nevada and Arizona, and the lower Mississippi valley can also expect similar declines under the GFDL model. Can Denver, Amarillo, Santa Fe, Alququerque, Phoenix, Tuscon, Reno, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Sacramento even continue to exist with this much less precipitation, considering that these are averages, and that drought years will be even worse than they ever have? What would the complete and permanent evacuation and shut down of all these cities do to the national economy? Could states like Nevada or Arizona even remain in operation, or would they have to declare bankruptcy and just shut down? (For a more detailed and legible map of the GFDL projections, click here.)

These are only the "main headline" impacts of GCC, and just in one country (the USA). Many other countries would be hit as bad or even worse; some small island countries could end up entirely under water and cease to exist.

In total then, the economic impact of GCC might not be QUITE as devastating as a global thermonuclear war. Not QUITE, but almost. Pretty costly, if you ask me.

Geez, isn't it a little early to make this declaration?!

The IPCC doesn't really present a catastrophic view of the future at this point.

What if it did? What if it made the case that much of the world would become uninhabitable? (Lovelock)

GW is the result of our economic success. It actually wouldn't be that hard to bring the world economy to a screeching halt. A few nukes would do it (maybe just one). A plague.

If it became clear that my country was going to become a burnt wasteland, many people (including myself) would try their best to foul up the global economy. It's likely you could convince some folks to embark on suicidal actions to that affect.

But I don't think it would come to that. If the scientists were to show that the costs of GW will be unacceptable, enormous action would be taken without violence. Currently, the consensus view doesn't seem unbearable and that explains our sluggish and inadequate mitigation attempts.

If the scientists were to show that the costs of GW will be unacceptable, enormous action would be taken without violence.

New Orleans <==> Hurricanes

Just one counterexample.

I don't think so. In that case, all scientists could say was that a big one -- a sudden catastrophic event -- would eventually hit (maybe a century from now).

For a hugely damaging random event that happens once in a long time, I'm not sure the costs were unbearable. (They certainly were regrettable). Proof of this is that the costs actually have been absorbed. Life goes on.

What if it did? What if it made the case that much of the world would become uninhabitable? (Lovelock)

GW is the result of our economic success. It actually wouldn't be that hard to bring the world economy to a screeching halt. A few nukes would do it (maybe just one). A plague.

If it became clear that my country was going to become a burnt wasteland, many people (including myself) would try their best to foul up the global economy. It's likely you could convince some folks to embark on suicidal actions to that affect.

This is an interesting - and radical - set of statements. Inasmuch as I think the scientific consensus IS leading progressively more towards "doomsday" climate scenarios as the years go by - or at least a reasonable chance of them - (chance of runaway methane release from peat bogs and clathrates, etc), it'll be interesting to see whether others start talking like this. My own impression is that our society will tend to march placidly towards doom even if the science pointing towards disaster becomes irrefutable: very few will become activist over something that might happen decades hence.

Still, this does point out an undiscussed aspect of the situation. Cancer cells don't voluntarily stop reproducing, but cancer can often be cured.

The IPCC doesn't really present a catastrophic view of the future at this point.

It doesn't? You must have read reports from a different IPCC from the one I'm familiar with, or your concept of catastrophe differs greatly from mine.

As in many other Tragedy of the Commons situations, people want someone else to sacrifice for it.

I'll just keep running my goats on the commons, because, you know, it's the commons.

Sort of like -- "and I'll just keep flying to Bali for vacations, because I deserve it. And what difference does just one little trip make with all those people out there flying who really have no right to do it, but hey, who's going to stop them..." Etc.

I agree that it is unlikely that anything will be done consciously -- though I wouldn't categorically rule it out, because a truly repressive world regime could shut everything down and at least in theory, improve the environment.

However, it almost certainly will all come to a halt, and probably in the fairly near future, for very real geological and economic reasons that are not driven by individual choice or conscious selection-- but have been well documented on TOD. That seems obvious -- but maybe us doomsayers are wrong, and Lithium and UltraCapacitors and Nuclear and Carbon Sequestration really will come to our rescue and we (human beings) can continue to monopolize all the resources of the planet for ever and ever like it says in Genesis. (?) Doubt it.

Re "fairly near future", this (ht globalguerrillas) from Financial Times:

“We think we could go into crisis mode in many commodities sectors in the next 12 to 18 months . . . and I would argue that agriculture is key here.” Jeff Currie, Head of Commodities Research at Goldman Sachs.

Everywhere I look we are in situations where the "solutions" being proposed - like cutting taxes on that Bali flight - make things worse because Business-As-Usual is the problem and more of it make things worse. You are exactly correct - nothing is being done consciously.

cfm in Gray, ME

Business-As-Usual is the problem

I'd differ. Business is the problem, along with its pseudoscientific cult of "economics".

Of course our good ole-fashioned values (on which we used to rely) would have us sell the commons to KKR (or maybe Siemens or Vivendi), thereby solving the problem.

Have you paid your air bill this month?


Yes. The Tragedy of the Commons / Prisoner's Dilemna logic is inescapable. Individuals and small groups can make rational decisions to cooperate, but governments aren't individuals, so policy must assume that everyone will seek the most immediately realizable short-term gain.

To work, an AGW solution must confer a competitive advantage. It has to be part of a way to aquire money and power, and solar will do this.

Southern China is the most densely populated area on earth, yet the Gobi region of the north, and Mongolia, are the least densely populated. The Gobi recieves 250 days of direct sunlight per year, and is cold. Its the perfect spot for concentrating solar, and China/Mongolia will eventually start developing this resource, using their manpower and industrial capacity. The west will then attempt to catch up, concerned by the "solar gap".

All it will take is the perception that we are missing out on something to provide the motivation to switch.

I'm heading to Mongolia next week, I'll try to persuade them to make massive investments in solar energy. ;)

I don't know that much about solar panels though; could they withstand the variations in temperature that are typical in Mongolia (-45 C in winter, +30 C in summer)?

Their wind resource would be a lot easier to exploit, it seems to me.

PV panels were first developed for spacecraft, so that temp range is mild by comparison. I was talking about concentrating solar though, such as the Sterling Solar design. Carnot engines need a heat sink, so a cold desert would be a slight advantage.

Jussi, I would be very interested in hearing about your visit. What are their development plans, who are their trading partners, transportation links, etc..?

Those are good questions. I have found it difficult to find out about those and other energy-related things on the internet. I hope to be able to report on Mongolia to TOD, once I've settled down in Ulan Bator.

They use solar panels at the south pole. Sunlight 24 hours a day and the place isn't inhabited during the winter anyways. The efficiency of solar panels goes up when it is cold out.

So who records this data; or is it done remotely?

June data

Enter the data for Jan 08 and find the warmest temp for the past 12 months to be -6F At the south pole.

Mongolia is a poor country. It will be difficult convincing a nation with scant resources to invest in an expensive technology such as solar panels. However Mongolia has a relatively educated population and that might be their best resource. Solar panel production is labor intensive. If Mongolia could develop a production capacity for solar panels as an export that may be an easier sell and in the end allow Mongolia access to solar power as a national resource as energy prices climb.

It will be difficult convincing a nation with scant resources to invest in an expensive technology such as solar panels.

Mongolia is an ideal place for solar electric systems. I encourage everyone to read Chasing the Sun: Solar Adventures Around the World to learn how pilot solar rural electrification programs were set up in 11 developing countries, including Zimbabwe, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, and China.

If GW is real, it seems to me that Mr. PO is (with help in the near future from Mr. Peak NG, and Mr Peak Coal) going to pretty much solve the biggest part of the problem.

Unless you account for a phenomenon called "Global Dimming". In short: when we reduce spewing particals in the atmosphere w'll get fried.

Are you willing to bet the farm on that? Probably you have not heard of tar sands? Oil shale? CTL? Cleaning up rainforest for biofuels?

It amazes me how some believe that humans will just sit and idle when gas gets to 10 bucks and the lights start going out.

I don't know about "sitting idle."

As I stated on the previous thread, my project for the week is to build a charcoal cooker. I will be able to take "waste" wood from construction sites, and make an excellent soil amendment. At the same time I will be "sequestering CO2," lowering my use of Inorganic Fertilizer, and mitigating water runoff.

Jes doin my part :)

Oh, and I might even figure out how to "make a buck." (I can't help it; I've always had this Capitalist streak. :0

Coal-to-liquids and tar sands won't allow us to create as much CO2 as we currently do. At least I haven't heard that they will. If they did there would be no worry about Peak Oil.

We won't be able to release stored CO2 as fast as we currently do, but we will still be releasing it. GW doesn't require a particular rate of release. The problem comes from releasing it at all, over geologically insignificant time scales. ie. even if it takes 200 years to mine the tar sands, all that carbon still ends up in the atmosphere.

Of course, complete global economic collapse would halt CO2 release.

The problem comes from releasing it at all, over geologically insignificant time scales.

And the solution is to sequester carbon by not burning the oil and coal. Simple, nature's already done the job for us!

Coal-to-liquids and tar sands won't allow us to create as much CO2 as we currently do

Maybe not in the next 5, 10 or even 20 years. Can you guarantee that further in the future? As PO and PNG slowly unfold in the next decades, the logical consequence will be that all social and economic resources will be diverted to the cheapest and readily available alternatives. That's how market economy works. Now this will take a lot of numbers to extensively prove, but the most immediate and cheapest alternatives are exactly the ones I listed.

Unfortunately they release around 2-3 times as much CO2 per ton of oil delivered as conventional resources.

They don't need to become much of a solution before they are a big problem!

There is a long lag between increased CO2 concentrations and the associated warming. Even if we stopped emissions cold today, the earth would still warm for years, probably decades.

Agrichar looks capable of taking out enough CO2 at good enough costs to stop that and lower CO2 levels.

Yeah, I hear they say that. But agrichar has recieved very little interest except by techophile environmentalists a la treehugger - and of course people who have an economic interest in it.

Back when no one had heard of them, people could be forgiven to think that biofules would solve our problems - it took time for the limits and problems of biofuels to be appreciated. That's where agrichar is today - way too early to tell if they will be of any use.

It is also way too early to give up on it's helping a heck of a lot, as unlike the ludicrous ethanol from corn scheme it has the right kind of scale to potentially solve the problem completely and at minor cost since it also improves marginal land and provides biofuel.

There are also a number of other alternatives which do not involve problematic measures like spraying around clouds of sulphur.

You do seem to love your gloom though! I won't disturb it further by offering other alternatives as to why things may not be as bleak as you imagine! ;-)

Peak coal is a long way off, and coal pollutes so radically much more than oil. By the time we run out of that, Lovelock will seem like an optimist.

Peak coal is only a long way off if you assume that nobody is going to be substituting coal for oil or NG as those deplete -- a very incredible assumption.

I agree and disagree. I agree that under business as usual we won't address climate change. No freaking way. What we need is no less than a war footage, a dictatorship if you wish. Pretty much what this country did during WWII, but on international scale.

Whether we will see that? Highly unlikely either. It wouldn't stop me from advocating it though, because if we don't do it now, we'd face some other, much nastier form of dictatorship at later time, when we are facing the consequences.

Are you saying you would advocate a world police force come in and enfore Kyoto? Doing the wrong thing for the right reason still makes it wrong. Did you not read 1984 in high school?

A technocracy, not a dictatorship, but you would still have to do what you're told. Not for your own good, but the next generation. Corporations would have to be told to stop building coal plants, which have large profits, and start building nuke plants, which don't. People would have to stop building McMansions even if they could afford them. The investor class would have to accept lower ROIs on things. Car companies would have to stop building SUVs and start building glorified golf carts.

Barring a catalysm, it's hard to see that happening.

No, I'm not saying that. But if necessary this could happen too. Was Roosevelt's US, or Churchill's UK a police state? Nope, but it was not the type of spoiled-kids democracy we have today either.

People don't seem to grasp one thing - during crisis, democracy (as we know it) does not work! Until we are waiting for all the opinionated to say their words, all discontent to get content etc., nothing is going to be done. That's why military or corporate organizations are not democratic - they can not afford it.

There is a middle way in which resources are mobilized for the common cause without using violence. People will just have to forego some of their "freedoms" which they don't realize are in fact privileges - is driving a car for example a freedom or a privilege?

It's interesting that someone would bring up "1984" in the context of climate change. George Orwell wrote two separate books: "1984" critical of totalatarianism and "Animal Farm" critical of Stalinism.

The Soviet Empire has fallen...therefore "Animal Farm" as a criticism of Soviet Oligarchy is over.

Since the 1950's "1984" seems more and more applicable to the U.S. and our our drive for global hegemony or what is now euphemistically called "corporate colonialism".

The U.S. government, now the lone superpower, "has it's wars" under the direction of Project for a New American Century, which keeps the masses occupied. The MSM is a tool of obfuscation or even worse propaganda.

The "all volunteer U. S. Army" with the strategic support of outsourced contractors (Haliburton and other large military contractors) is the "world police force" that is currently in place to maintain Americas' access to cheap oil.

Do you consider Americas military presence abroad the right thing for the right reason?

If you do then that would make us right. Right?

I think we will do better than you assume, basically because fuel costs are going up.

Most here agree that oil will soon be in short supply, and according to an article here Europe alone plans to import nearly the entire increase in gas production worldwide..

Coal is the big unknown of course, but recently cost increases have been large, and it seems that for the big new users like India and China it may not be easy to ramp production, whilst licensing is hitting trouble in the US and other places.

Under those circumstances it seems to me that a more careful look at conservation is likely, together with a fast ramp-up of wind where it is competitive in China and likely the US.

Within ten years or so the groundwork should have been laid to build fleets of nuclear reactors in many countries, whilst in China they should be well on their way to being able to build ten a year.
In that context it should be noted that you can use a lot of the infrastructure from a coal plant for a nuclear plant, cooling towers, transmission lines and so on, and in the context of a richer China perhaps they will be keen enough to clean up from dirty old coal to alter some of their plants, in a similar way to the way the UK altered power generation after killer smogs.

Also in this sort of time frame a lot more renewables should enter the picture as being relatively economical, and solar and plug-in hybrids should make quite a difference.

We should also bear in mind that, theories of trigger points aside, a lot of the rise in temperature projected, as is the way of these things, would only really kick in after a massive coal burn at the end of the century - that is why the recent article on coal resources here was saying that it was possible we did not have enough carbon fuel to create the rises in CO2 emissions projected in even the lowest temperature variants of the GW scenarios.

IOW, the most extreme calls for CO2 reduction will not be met anytime soon, but there seems to be, at least to me, fair prospects of pretty major reductions in the mid-term.

China's nuclear program is truly staggering. Already 20 GW of nuclear capacity is under construction or about to start construction. They firmly plan to have 30-40GW by 2020 and the whopping 120 to 160GW by 2030. And unlike western companies, they are keeping to their timelines (no NIMBY and such). For comparison the first two nuclear countries USA and France - currently have 150GW combined.

However. By 2030 China plans to have an electric capacity of the breathtaking 2800GW! 20% of them are planned from renewables (up from 10% now - almost exclusively large hydro), while 160GW would be just 6% of those. Even accounting for the higher capacity factor of nuclear, even if they reach this goal would mean that only 30% of their electricity is carbon free (10%, nuclear 20% renewable).

The rest of those - 70% x 2800 = 1960GW will be from coal. This is triple their current capacity and twice the whole US grid. More than enough to fry the world IMO.

I am doubtful that all of those plans will materialize, primarily due to coal constraints, but achieving them even by half would be a real environmental Armageddon.

My hopes are in back-end loading, high coal costs and agrichar.

As I argued in my previous posts, most of the worst outcomes are projected if high coal burn continues for much of the rest of the century.

Unless the theory of trigger points is right, that should mean we have some leeway.

Higher coal costs would mean that conservation would be much more attractive, and once China has ramped it's wind and nuclear capacity up to the levels projected for 2020, then further expansion is much easier.

20-30 1.6GW plants a year sound do-able by 2030, since they will be at 10 by 2020, and would likely be the choice if coal is expensive.

At an altogether smaller scale in the UK, although it is difficult to bring much online before 2020, by 2030 we could essentially ramp up to produce as many nuclear reactors as we need to a year.

Wind power also has enormous potential in China, whilst solar should be of great importance to India within a few years, especially considering their frequent blackouts.

In the southern states in the US solar power should be economic, at least for air-conditioning and peak load.

Finally, it seems fairly trivial to capture vast amounts of carbon via agrichar, which would also improve the fertility of marginal soils, and so sounds financable.

I doubt we will get there by 2020, but we should be able to make a real hole in the problem by 2030.

I got my numbers slightly wrong (I was quoting from memory). China plans "just" 1800GW by 2030, and hydro is currently 18%, not 10%:


This would mean by 2030 roughly 15% nuclear, 20% renewable, 65% coal - which will still require doubling of their coal capacity.

I am bigger optimist for China than for the West. It is industrializing now and the people there are much more pragmatic, in times when pragmatism is exactly what we need. I recently had to stare in disbelief to a statement of a Swiss politician who rejected the nuclear option because "it would take 18 years to build a nuclear reactor". For less than 18 years (from 1973 to 1990) a neighboring country - France - built more than 60 reactors!

I certainly think China will go nuclear big time, and will surpass everyone else, especially after coal limitations become too blindingly obvious. Wind will also play an important role, not sure of solar. For both technologies IMO we in the west should provide technical assistance to speed it up... this is even more true for less developed coutnries like India. It is in our own long-term interest.

I suspect the real Swiss plan is to import more nuclear electricity from France - a nice political fix for them, which avoids arguing with some of the electorate.

India is the big place which could do with technical help - CANDU reactors could do a good job on utilising their thorium resources.

Isn't the fuel of Nuclear Energy, Uranium, a fossil fuel? Won't the ramping up of additional nuclear power plants create the same energy scarcity?

No, it is not a fossil fuel, and was not formed in the unique conditions needed to form oil and gas, hence it is far more widely spread and total amounts in the earth's crust and oceans are large.

Some such as Greenpeace seek to argue that we only have proved reserves for about 80 years or whatever, by counting only the known reserves and assuming a once through fuel cycle.

My own position is different, as is that of other nuclear advocates, and I feel that there are large errors in their position, but I prefer to point people to both arguments so that they can make up their own mind.

Other concepts which are relevant in making up your mind on what you think are that thorium may be used instead of uranium, and it is four times as abundant, although not without some modifications to most present reactors, although the CANDU can indeed do the job.

You can also breed fuel, as the French did for some years but the price of uranium was not high enough to make it worthwhile, and neither was it worthwhile to look very hard for more.

Future reactors which do not need extensive development are being designed to use fuel more effectively, as for instance this one:
advanced nanotechnology: thorium

ERORI is also a term you will here bandied about, it means energy return on energy invested.

Bear in mind that uranium is enormously more energetic than coal or fossil fuels per pound, and that fuel costs are a very small fraction of nuclear costs, so you can afford to pay ten times more for it without much altering power costs.

Here is a summary of the position from the POV of those like me who think concerns are ill-founded:

For the position of those who think that it could rum out, I can only direct you to the Greenpeace website, as I could not fairly summarise it as I think it to put it bluntly a pack on nonsense.

I'd be interested to know what you think after you have had time to mull it over.

Another thing which is seriously weird about Greenpeace et als comments on running out of uranium after 80 years is that they purport to be strong supporters of renewables, just as I am.

Now I have no serious doubt that in 80 years we could run things if we had to on renewables alone with technological progress between now and then.

The trouble is that doing it now on renewables alone would be damnably difficult or impossible since we don't have the technologies and most renewables rely on fossil fuel to fill in the gaps.

It would also cost quite staggering amounts of money.

It is extraordinary then that they should advocate ignoring this resource, since if it did indeed run out after x number of years then they would have achieved both their objectives of ending power from nuclear and switching to fossil fuels.

In reality it is my personal opinion that they don't really take their thesis that we will run out of uranium anytime soon that seriously,indeed I have trouble seeing how any rational being could, and are just picking up any stick to beat the dog, but of course I should not impute motivation too much and as I said I will be curious to know what you think.

Uranium is a relatively common metallic element, pretty much evenly distributed in the Earth crust.

"Fossil" is a buried ancient organism. Obviously quite a different thing.

Isn't the fuel of Nuclear Energy, Uranium, a fossil fuel?

No. If it were, nuclear submarines would need oxygen to react with it, and could not travel thousands of nonstop miles deep underwater.

Won't the ramping up of additional nuclear power plants create the same energy scarcity?

If that were true, governments and fossil fuel company owners would not find nuclear power plants threatening. You can see uranium's recent price history in a graph at the top left corner of http://uxc.com labelled "U3O8 prices".

On the same scale, the prices of coal, natural gas, and petroleum are respectively near $300, $1900, and $3700, so the latter two would be off the top of your screen. Add in their special consumption taxes and you will see that each pound of U3O8, while bringing in $75 for the mining companies, deprives government of thousands of dollars.

How shall the car gain nuclear cachet?

When you say 'on the same scale' what are you referring to, energy equivalents?

Are the special consumption taxes you refer to only those on petrol, or on coal and gas as well?

When you say 'on the same scale' what are you referring to, energy equivalents?

Are the special consumption taxes you refer to only those on petrol, or on coal and gas as well?

Yes, energy equivalents, based on uranium's production of 164 thermal MWh/kg in the CANDU reactors nearest me, according to a leaflet they gave me.

I don't think there can be much tax on coal, since it's only four times more costly than 164-MWh(t)/kg uranium to begin with.

How much the tax man makes on natural gas is something I don't actually know, but I gather that it's substantial from his part in this sort of behaviour, and the fact that gas pipelines of all sizes slip past many backyards as quickly and unceremoniously as the proboscis of a mosquito slipping through skin.

Can anyone supply some actual natural gas tax revenue data? (Maybe it's called excise tax.)

How shall the car gain nuclear cachet?

The price of energy equivalents is an excellent one, and shows again how misguided it is to think that we can't overcome any alleged shortage of uranium by switching to lower grades.

I am not so sure about your taxation point, as what they really seem to show to me is that if electric cars become widespread then governments will find other ways of charging us.

Tax rates on fuels vary so widely anyway that it is difficult to make any comparisons which would be of other than local interest.

In Britain at least my understanding is that taxes on fuels used for domestic heating are low or non-existent, and that normal corporation taxes are what would apply, so that they from a tax point of view it would not make much difference what source was used.

With petrol at $8 a gallon your prices for oil would look a lot higher here though!

However, at least at the moment it does not seem to me very valid to compare a vehicle fuel with a fuel for heating.

In Britain at least my understanding is that taxes on fuels used for domestic heating are low or non-existent ...

If that's true, one expects the British government to have had much force and verve in recent years in helping householders to reduce their heating fuel use by improved insulation, timed thermostats, heat pumps, and whatever other good and effective measures I can't bring to mind right now.

I'm predicting this aspect of your country's recent past because I don't know it. It's much like predicting the future, except it can be checked against reality more quickly, if you can tell us what has actually been happening, and do so.

Your government logically would be expected to have been strongly initiative-taking and results-getting. It should have been so because the fuel-saving results that have been there for it to get are politically advantageous and would not have cost it fossil fuel income, if the tax regime is as you say.

You could report your local experience, or you could show us a heating-fuel invoice and try to relate its prices to base commodity prices. Please do at least one.

How shall the car gain nuclear cachet?

I'm afraid I haven't had much luck - I have spent around an hour googling, without success.
I can tell you though that conservation efforts have been very low compared to Europe, with grants only intermittently available.

For natural gas prices it seems I am mistaken - I had forgotten levies on oil and natural gas production from the north sea, which is now coming to an end, so in that respect the Government will now have less incentive to encourage consumption.

Coal for electricity certainly does not have that levy, but I have not found out what the levels of taxation actually are.

I may have another bash at it later.

Just a thought which might complicate things.

If you tax a commodity you not only give the Government an incentive to keep up demand, you also give the consumer incentives to conserve.

Is that incentive to the consumer greater than the effect of conservation efforts and subsidies which the government might have instituted if it did not need to keep up revenues?

My guess is that it would be case dependent - for instance most of the cost of petrol in the UK is tax, so a reduction in cost in the absence off such tax of, say 50% would lead to higher mileage, almost regardless of measures of regulation and conservation.

Taxes on fuels for use in homes is however certainly modest compared to petrol, and it's removal would have a much lesser effect on demand, I would think.

It should also be noted that the imposition of a tax does not suffer form Jeavon's paradox, whereas conservation does - demand is still likely to pop out somewhere else at any given price point.

The Netherlands also had extensive gas reserves in the North sea just like the UK, but AFAIK it put a lot more effort into conservation despite it's effects on revenue.

The British Columbian government in it's budget the other day put great emphasis on discouragement of consumption, renewables development and so on, including carbon taxes but it appears the effects on CO2 emissions are projected to be slight.

To sum up, it is not clear how the relative effects of different tax regimes and regulatory measures interact to restrict consumption, but it is perhaps encouraging that in many countries both higher prices and the regulatory climate, now freed from tax losses as fuel has to be imported will move in the same direction.

It is not a fossil fuel but it is not a RENEWABLE fuel. At best, nuclear could help in the transition from FF to true renewables. The question must be raised, though: why not just build the renewables in the first place?

Because we don't have the necessary technologies to make it possible for them to power our civilization? Because they are expensive? Intermittent? Unsuitable for all places?

At this point of time renewables powering our civilization (or even a scaled down version of it) is nothing but a pipedream.

"Even accounting for the higher capacity factor of nuclear, even if they reach this goal would mean that only 30% of their electricity is carbon free (10%, nuclear 20% renewable)."

What makes you think Nukes are carbon free?


What makes you think Nukes are carbon free?

Governments would not footdrag, e.g. requiring a 40-something month licensing process in the USA, if nuclear energy did not deprive them of their carbon tax money.

How shall the car gain nuclear cachet?

Because they don't emit CO2? Seriously, nothing is "carbon-free", but indirectly on life-cycle basis nukes are emitting about the same as wind power and less than solar power:

Most estimates I've seen are between 20 and 80 g/kwth, depending on the assumptions.

If you don't believe nukes are reducing CO2 emissions here is a graph for you:

Per capita CO2 emission estimates for France (including Monaco).

As you see carbon emission per capita are falling steadily since mid 1970. At the same time electricity generation is... rising:

How are enough people going to afford a new hybrid and a solar/wind system ?
Especially during a recession/depression.

Hybrids ,solar/wind systems may not get cheaper. Can you afford those things now ? Why have you not bought them ?

All this technology that is supposed to save us may not be economically viable.

Conservation + renewables (real ones, not bogus ones like ethanol) is the only prescription which helps us out both with peak oil and with GCC. It just makes good sense to make these our number one priority - individually, locally, nationally, and globally. Even if we were to implement conservation as quickly and extensively as possible, and even if we were to bring renewables on line as rapidly as we possibly could, we're still going to be getting a lot of GCC. So unfortunately, Robert is correct, it is pretty much a lost cause. To the extent that we can implement max conservation and max renewables, to that extent hopefully we can leave some FF uncombusted to be used as petrochemical feedstocks instead (which really would be a very good idea). Thus,we shouldn't be waiting until we've already depleted most of our FF to get started with renewables, we really do need to ramp up these up big time, right now.

The problem with letting people wait for market price signals to make the investments in conservation and renewables is that the market does not internalize the massive externalities associated with the use of FF, with GCC being chief among those externalities. Also, the market seems to excessively discount the future, the the detriment of future generations, and indeed to the entire human species. A carbon tax would be one mechanism that could correct these market failures and provide good signals to encourage prompt investments in conservation and renewables. Such a case for a carbon tax is a complicated and sophisticated one, though, and does not distill down into a simple fifteen second sound bite. I suspect that the global warming bandwagon was intended in part to get around this problem. Unfortunately, the science is never going to be 100% certain about GCC, the effectiveness of a carbon tax as a mitigating strategy is going to be marginal at best, and imposing any such change on the economy is bound to create many losers rather than winners (the winners mostly haven't even been born yet); thus, opponents of a carbon tax will find it easy to block. Thus, I think that a broad based tax on FF for the purpose of promoting national energy security is probably a more promising approach. It is very hard to make a good case against energy security. While the worst case scenarios for GCC sound straight out of sci fi (and are thus difficult to be viewed as credible by some people), the scenario of a sudden disruption of energy supplies and the economic chaos it would cause is very easy for many people to imagine, and viewed as being very much credible. Thus, from the perspective of political strategy, I think that energy security is the horse we need to ride.

"Socialism collapsed because it did not allow the market to tell the economic truth. Capitalism may collapse because it does not allow the market to tell the ecological truth."
--Øystein Dahle, former Vice President of Exxon for Norway

The whole world is Easter Island, and we are all in the axe business. J.

What we need is someone who knows how to carve really big stone heads.

I specialize in marketing those big stone heads, optimizing search engines so when your customers search for a big stone head they find yours.

cfm in Gray, ME

Who needs big stone heads when we have these?.

Imagine what a visiting explorer from outer space would think finding these sprinkled all over the world.

(I won't get into the sparse tribes of natives that will be using them for shelter.)

Great minds think alike. I am in the axe buisness and it's time to change the buisness.

We Are Easter Island

But I maintain that we won't collectively do anything that will reduce worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

Until we'll have some nasty climate change event which opens everyone's eyes.

We just had a discussion on this yesterday:


with further comments by Euan Mearns

and Stuart Staniford


NASA climatologist James Hansen says it will happen in the next 10 years

JAMES HANSEN: Well, it's going to be realised within the next 10 years or so that we have no choice. We're going to have to bulldoze the old style coal fired power plants.

Scientist predicts disastrous sea level rise

With every Gt of CO2 we are putting in the atmosphere the problem will get worse. The only question is whether that event will be the tipping point for the whole climate system.

Until we'll have some nasty climate change event which opens everyone's eyes.

The point is, when people/governments feel like any changes they make won't immediately help, nothing will be done. It's tough enough to get national governments to do any long term planning. For the world as a whole, do you think China or India will suspend building new coal power plants?

Look at the graph at the link below. Despite the fact that worldwide energy costs went drastically up during this time, it is a steady march upward.


(EDIT: I inserted that graphic into the story now.)

We have seen oil usage drop on a year to year basis, but we haven't seen CO2 concentrations drop since we started measuring. I see nothing in that graph to give me hope that we will ever do anything that actually helps (as measured by CO2 concentrations). Concentrations will steadily march upward at least until total fossil fuel usage peaks. Localized economic considerations will always win out.

And we're up to 385 ppm CO2 in the last month. Remember how to cook a frog? We are the frogs and the water is getting warmer.

I think it's human nature to "make do" with what we have. Capitalist nature says "make a profit" with what we have. GW by itself won't change that, but peak everything might. Energy shortages have worked their way up the 3rd world this winter, and food shortages can't be far behind. I fear we'll see real change only when it hits us in the first world, not before. The question is whether we will have cooked our generation first, or, as Sharon posits, the next one.

"Concentrations will steadily march upward at least until total fossil fuel usage peaks."

Concentrations will continue their upward march even AFTER total FF peak as FF will continue to be burned and their emissions added. The only way to stop increasing CO2 concentrations is to STOP burning ALL FF. However, both of us agree that this won't happen.

The only way I can see global warming stopped is by a minor nuclear exchange (say 100 megetons)during a future resource war. Otherwise, the Comfort Culture will not cede its basis.

Until we'll have some nasty climate change event which opens everyone's eyes.

Like what? If for example the world crops fail, it is the 3rd world that will starve to death, the rich, most polluting countries will get by. The event will be written off as "bad weather", and I guess some people will secretly rejoice.

If we have such a failure that the rich countries have famine too, this will mean we are in such a deep err hole that there is hardly any other meaningful thing to do except running for the hills.

I have been global warming aware for 25 years now and I am inclined to agree with RR; I seriously doubt that civilization will make the sacrifices required to reduce carbon emissions by more than a token amount. CO2 emission reduction is a receding horizon, we missed our last best chance in the mid 1990's and the course for 500 ppm atmospheric CO2 is now locked in to the planetary guidance system.

I believe that after there has been a series of climate events of sufficient severity and consequence, geo-engineering technologies are going to be deployed. Sulfates in the high atmosphere, seawalls, and nuclear-powered desalination; or perhaps some as yet unheard of technological band-aid. I am not at all confident that the unintended consequences of geo-engineering can be avoided, but I fear that desperation will dictate our future actions.

I wonder what life will be like for my grand-daughter in a geo-engineered world. How will the natural world be altered? What will she think of her grandpappy who tried to do his best for her and her generation but was not equal to the task?

If the sea levels rise and the people in Galveston and Florida and along the Gulf Coast (not to mention Bangladesh and 3rd world countries)are inundated why should the people in Colorado or Utah plow their coal plants into the ground?

People who live close to the ocean made that decision based on their decisions. Perhaps they might have to move.

I am not sure that the children in those places would agree with you!

The ones that'll have to move in more than fifty years?

While I tend to agree that we WON'T rather than CAN'T do anything about global warming - I think the issue to just too important to give up on.

Personally I'd propose that those that want to go on polluting indemnify those that don't for the damage they will cause. If someone is going to lose their home because YOU pollute, then YOU pay for a new one. If someone is going to die of starvation because YOU won't act, then YOUR food goes to them instead. We can put a good estimate of the price for this today.

That value is taken from those who sit back today, out of export duties on the countries concerned. No silly statements allowing anyone to get worse for guilt, everyone is bound to reduce their pollution production or pay for it to those that do. Think of it as carbon credits with teeth.

And if we can't find anyone who feels its in their best interest to seriously address CO2 and thus become the beneficiaries of this global pollution tax, we should put the money into active sequestration projects that attempt to reduce that CO2 concentration now.

Should be a few trillion at least.

Something will be done about global warming. We will run out of carbon.

Something will be done about global warming. We will run out of carbon.

And that's my point exactly. That is the only thing that I can foresee changing the status quo.

Welcome to the Dark Side, Robert!


Although, some of us will try. Good luck with your new job!

Why are there so many here so unwilling to open your eyes and see the light? Could it be that you are so wedded to your doomsday beliefs that you cannot countenance he appearance of a "Messiah" technology from out of the blue that might be able to save your sorry, undeserving a**es?

The "Sophie's Choice" that is almost universally perceived here--one that requires a choice be made between continued economic prosperiy and environmenal disaster on the one hand (a least as far as the CO2 emissions problem is concerned), and economic decline on the other--this is a false dichotomy!

A means to produce electricity far more cheaply than burning coal, from a proven energy source of vast expanse, without emissions, has already been described afer many decades of study. See www.vortexengine.ca

I defy anyone reading here, and especially those blogging a realclimate.org to present here a good scientific (non-imaginary, non-speculative) reason why the process cannot work as described!

From Romans:

13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

I cannot.

Because it's such vague pseudoscientific gibberish that it doesn't present a falsifiable phenomena. It doesn't explain (despite much explanation and diagrams) how this is supposed to work, how this is supposed to generate energy, how a vortex can be stabilized through the upper atmosphere despite wind, how this benefits anyone, where the thermodynamic processes occur, et cetera.

A tornado is a very small-scale process that occurs when a continent-size weather system meets another such weather system very quickly. The explanation doesn't say how this is in any way controllable or generatable or harvestable, it just goes into claiming numbers from a prototype that's never been built and simulations that've never been done, based on processes they don't understand.

A "scientific" reason implies that the response be from a real scientist.

I'll let it go at that.

Any "real scientist" out there with a background in physics, atmospheric science, or a degree in mechanical engineering willing to have a go at it?

If you're going to require government-issued photo ID & certification, I'm going to have to see some credentials from you.

As someone with engineering training as well as significant lay experience in debunking these things:
It's impossible to understand from the site what exactly they're portraying, and they are making fantastic(root:"fantasy") claims. As such, it is impossible to disprove. So, you can keep on talking about Tornado Jesus, if your standard for disproof is so much higher than your standard for proof.

At a certain point, Real Scientists get the privilege of saying "Well now you're just stringing words together which don't mean anything," without offering an entire physics education in response.

Oh, excuse me, Dr U308--I didn't recognize at first that the criticism was coming from you. As with any comment made in the spirit of advancing scientific progress, it deserves a reponse even though the point you were trying to make was hard for me to understand, at first (apparently, you've been there, too).

First, let me be clear that the inventor of the AVE and owner of the website, Louis M. Michaud, P.Eng., has published 9 peer-reviewed articles on the subject, so the scientific basis is solid. Having said that, those adept at precise scientific language are occasionally not quite as adept at translating the same material into language that can easily be understood by, shall we say, "scientists in other fields or the general public", at least as far as a casual read is concered.

Perhaps having recognized this possibility himself, the inventor/author has created a Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) section, where he has broken down the various elements of the technology. There he addresses questions related to the effect of horizontal winds on the device.

In a nutshell, he says that the device can withstand horizontal winds, although these may shorten the effective height of the vortex. Vortices, because of their (vector) characteristics have been observed to maintain their integrity in spite of severe wind shear, but that, in any event, the larger the AVE device, the more resistant it would be to these disturbances.

I would add that certain designs of the AVE would be able to capture a portion of the energy in mechanical winds, just as many vertical windmills do. The preferred location would be, however, in an area where CAPE is a maximum, generally not in areas of high wind. Should the AVE need to be throttled back during high wind episodes, any conventional windmills in the area should be able to take up the electrical generation slack since they would be operating at their maximum power output.

To futher enhance the utility of the site to casual visitors and elucidate the operation of the device, I'm in favor of AVEtec producing and displaying animations that would accomplish this and thereby better capture the imagination of the viewer, than can simple text, even when accompanied by diagrams, tables and FAQs.

I will do what I can to convince the people at AVEtec of the importance of this. I hope others will contact them and urge this be done, also.

"It's always darkest before the dawn".


Your conclusions match closely with mine, and I must admit it is a bit disappointing. I have always been one to push for a solution to a problem, but I just don't see our political system being rational enough to really do something. So it becomes a matter of finding how to live with it and not working on another heart attack by worrying about it.

That said, I think the real effects we will see with both climate change and peak everything will be the increases in prices (fall of the dollar?) you talk about AND a growing frequency of shortages. The citizenry will make do with the price increases, but when the shortages start hitting, there will be real problems. Look at the huge increase of shortages of various sorts that have hit Africa over the past year (or two or three if you want to include Chad and Somalia), and you see what it is going to look like in the rest of the world.

I joined in the game World Without Oil last year, where different people described their fictional experiences of living in a world where sudden price increases and shortages of oil, gasoline, and diesel hit the US for a period of three months. It was very enlightening to see so many people visualizing the chaos, anger, and helplessness that would result -- and how they would respond to the situations.

So, don't worry about it. Push if you can on our country doing something, but most importantly, get your act together and prepare to survive when TSHTF. It will. At this point I believe climate change and peak everything are givens.

Sam Penny
the Prudent RVer

The question is not whether we will stop global warming. Obviously,we won't. Because it has been and will continue to occur regardless of what we do. The cake is already baked simply because co2 lasts hundreds of years once it is in the atmosphere. The question is, will we mitigate it to the extent that we won't create a runaway scenario of disastrous proportions. Perhaps we won't stop that either, but many of us will continue to do our part to get citizens and governments to change.

A related phenomenon which seems tragic to me is that people seem content in fowling their immediate nest when money is involved. Any tradeoff of money and a better local environment, much less a global environment is very difficult to achieve. Not that it is not being done anywhere. The Europeans seem much better at creating more livable cities than the United States. They also seem much better at planning and containing growth in a way that doesn't completely despoil the countryside. Or maybe things have changed even there.

What we do know is that, typically a crisis is required for people to make change. Katrina seemed like that kind of crisis. But nooooo!! Katrina mainly has become an opportunity for those racists who are happy to see the blacks leave New Orleans and those who saw it as an opportunity to privatize things like the school system. Change our ways? Hell, no. But New Orleans, like Iraq, has just become another conservative/neocon fantasy.

But anyway. Here's one person who would gladly pay at least $10 per gallon for gasoline in order to do something about oil consumption, global warming, and more livable cities and towns.

But isn't there some hope when you see what is happening in London with the congestion tax -- assuming that Ken gets releected?

The question is, will we mitigate it to the extent that we won't create a runaway scenario of disastrous proportions.

I doubt that it would be a runaway that destroyed most life. After all, we are burning previously living organisms. We may return to conditions more typical of that time period. Can humans survive that? Sure. Can civilization?


The big concern to me is whether we will warm the oceans enough to release the huge quantites of methane clathrates that are locked up in ice on the ocean floor. That happened once before in history, the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maxixmum, and it was responsible for >90% of species going extinct.

Even if we don't recreate the PETM, I'm not sure I buy the "burning previously living organisms" argument. Those organisms were not all living at the same time, and the carbon they fixed in fossil fuels was not all in the atmosphere at the same time.

Moreover, previous periods of warming emerged more gradually, giving the things we'll hunt & gather more time to adapt to the warming. This round of warming could be too sudden for many of the species a remnant of civilization would be trying to consume. Finally, the sun was cooler 100 million years ago than it is now. While I don't believe humans will become extinct, I don't think it can be ruled out.

Those organisms were not all living at the same time, and the carbon they fixed in fossil fuels was not all in the atmosphere at the same time.

I hadn't really thought about that before. That is a scary thought. But CO2 concentrations have been much higher than they are now without kicking off a runaway scenario.

Hey Tstreet How come it is the neocons that caused all the issues in NO when the Dems have controlled both the city and the State for so long. When will you guys realize the problem is endemic in all politicos. The only difference is the letter after their name.

Humans do not have much of a track record when it comes to acting to avoid adverse consequences. My bet is as follows: We burn all the Coal, Oil, Uranium and Trees available, Just as the preceding civilizations have done with their resources. Then we will set around and lament the good old days. Oh by the way; A lot of us will die.
Jack Stewart and others did an experiment in college that involved carefully organized fish tanks with oxygen, light and calibrated nutrient solutions. When inoculated with one algae cell they all ran to the same conclusion. The algae grew slowly the tank developed a slight tint, then an opaque green then a mass die off with the tank becoming a septic mess. Nothing could stop it except a predator for the algae. Our problem is we have no predator. L.Q.

Jack Stewart never heard of chlorine? I'm living 20 miles from biosphere 2. Keeping an ecosystem in balance is harder than it looks. At the same time, there's millions of aquarium fiends out there. Just remember to change the water every week and stock up on activated charcoal.

The algae grew slowly the tank developed a slight tint, then an opaque green then a mass die off with the tank becoming a septic mess. Nothing could stop it except a predator for the algae. Our problem is we have no predator.

I don't think the experiment is a very good model for humans. While we don't have significant predators we do have parisites, which can have a similar limiting effect on population.

Also we don't survive on "calibrated nutrient solutions", but by killing and eating other life forms which in turn have their own requirements, only some of which are supplied by us.

This is not to suggest that a human population crash is avoidable, just that absolute human extinction should not be inferred based on the algae tank model


"What is the difference between a man and a parasite? A man builds, a parasite asks 'Where's my share?' A man creates, a parasite says 'What will the neighbors think?' A man invents, a parasite says 'Watch out, or you might tread on the toes of God...'" -Andrew Ryan

Nothing like insane video game quotes...

And as we discussed last semester,

the Army Ants will leave nothing but your bones.

Perhaps you've encountered some of these insects in your communities,

displaying both their predatory and defense characteristics,

while imbedded within the walls of flesh and passing for,

what is most commonly recognized... as human. [Tom Waits, "Army Ants"]

cfm in Gray, ME

I think the argument you are making comes back to the hockey helmet issue. In the 70's when you polled the hockey players they said helmets should be required. But no one would volunteer to wear a helmet until is was _required_ - because of the edge a lack of a helmet gave (in peripheral vision, and intimidation). So it required a league rule for people to wear helmets, since people favored it, twas no huge deal. This is why I'm for a carbon tax and other painful regulations, but like Robert, I don't see it happening.

I'm not doing to go onto any Hillary/Obama/McCain/Huckabee/Paul(?) rant but it will take leadership, perhaps WWII style leadership (with rationing and a solid direction, a straightforward goal. But today there is no one who will even try. And even someone who will, a genuine leader may see the only way to galvanize the country is to go to war. We've read about the resistance to lifestyle changes on the DrumBeat. We declared war on "Terror" why not oil? Or is "Terror" included?

Btw, http://realclimate.org/ - this is about the best sight on Global Warming I've found.

The government of British Columbia has just announced a carbon tax. It starts on July 1 at a rate of $10 per tonne of CO2-equivalent emissions and rises in $5 annual steps to $30 per tonne in 2012. The tax is to be levied on fossil fuels, including gasoline, diesel, natural gas, coal, propane, and home heating fuel.

For gasoline, this works out at 2.41 cents a litre in July, rising to 7.24 cents in 2012. For diesel and home heating oil, it's 2.76 cents rising to 8.27 cents.

The tax is intended to be revenue-neutral, with offsetting reductions elsewhere in the provincial tax system. Details from http://www.gov.bc.ca.

In my view the tax isn't high enough, but it's a start.

I find your comments rather short-sighted: I recently read an article (and I can't find the darned thing again, so I apologize profusely for not linking to it) which simply pointed out that the richest 20% of the planet are responsible for the majority of carbon emissions. In short, the richer you are, the more you contribute to global warming.

If we subscribe to any sort of reasonable human rights charter, I suggest that there should be a clause in there that says that every human being should have an equal right/access to energy. This seems a fairly logical consequence of the assumption of all humans being equal and the finiteness of energy resources combined with the deleterious consequences of CO2 emissions.

However, if one institutes a carbon tax, who is affected first? Obviously the poor (who have less access to energy and a lower carbon footprint) are the ones who are affected first. If we place a "carbon price" on everything we purchase (including food, petrol, fossil fuel derived electricity etc...) the poor are forced to make hard choices each step of the way. For example: Do I feed my family or heat my house? Rich people on the other hand can afford to do both. They'll pony up the extra $$. A carbon tax therefore has less effect on the biggest CO2 producers (the rich).

I have two proposals that I think present more moral options (of course these are not my proposals, other people have proposed this many times over):
1. Some sort of graded carbon tax where essential commodities are lightly taxed (food and heating fuel for example) while luxury commodities (airline flights and ipods that have traveled all the way from China) are extremely heavily taxed. This scheme has to be combined with govt. sponsored programs like light rail public transport services, free housing insulation for low income families, and things like that, that will enable the poor to get by with less.

2. A more extreme version is a carbon ration. This is the one I prefer because it forces everyone to make an effort and makes the game between rich and poor take place on a level playing field. In this system you have a weekly/monthly/yearly carbon ration. Every time you buy something, travel somewhere or do anything that adds to your CO2 footprint, you get some value subtracted out of your ration. If and/or when you run out, you have to purchase carbon credit from someone who has spare ration left over before you can purchase any more commodity. Credit prices are determined by the market.

In summary, I think a carbon flat tax is immoral and pretty much morally equivalent to the current US attitude of asking the third world to reduce their emissions while doing nothing about their own.

I like the carbon rationing idea. To be effective though it has to be international, meaning that an US citizen will be able to buy and sell carbon rations from/to India or Pakistan. For example the world emits about 1 ton carbon/person/year. If we set that as a ration, an average US citizen will be using 8 times his/her ration, while an average Indian will be using much less.

The problem is that the West at once will become severely indebted to India and China. How could this be made politically possible? Maybe by transitioning period in which rich countries are given higher rations, which will converge to the 1 ton/person/year in the long term, while the 3rd world will move into the opposite direction.

I disagree about it being international - very hard to police with already suspicious countries.

No, what this country needs is a leader who can explain why our conservation benefits us much more than anyone else. Economically, as well as environmentally.

To be effective though it has to be international, meaning that an US citizen will be able to buy and sell carbon rations from/to India or Pakistan.

I'd suggest instead that it has to be geographically limited. Much as Smith's original works depended on capital being limited and for much the same reason. No particular area of the planet should be able grossly to exceed its own sustainable limits. Those of us in US should NOT be able to purchase credits from Pakistan.

cfm in Gray, ME

I agree that carbon rationing is the best and most direct approach. Carbon taxes allow the better off to simply buy their way into continued high carbon producing activities. Under rationing, at least the less well off and those who choose to produce less carbon can profit off those who choose to produce more carbon.

Due to the inelastic nature of those activities that produce lots of carbon, like automobile driving, a tax, in order to be effective, would have to be extremely high with uncertain results. In effect, we have had a big increase in carbon taxes over the last few years with higher prices at the pump and we have accomplished very little.

Life will be unfair regardless, but less so with carbon rationing.

2. A more extreme version is a carbon ration... it forces everyone to make an effort and makes the game between rich and poor take place on a level playing field. In this system you have a weekly/monthly/yearly carbon ration. Every time you buy something, travel somewhere or do anything that adds to your CO2 footprint, you get some value subtracted out of your ration. If and/or when you run out, you have to purchase carbon credit from someone who has spare ration left over before you can purchase any more commodity. Credit prices are determined by the market.

I believe this is the system that George Monbiot is advocating. He points out that (in his model) a return airfare from london to N.Y. would use up one's annual allocation.

With renewably sourced jet fuel, this would not be a problem. Perhaps a refueling stop in Bangor? http://mdsolar.blogspot.com/2007/12/jet-fuel.html


The mistake Robert makes is that he assumes nothing can be done unless the little guy is persuaded on moral grounds to make sacrifices.

Of course, your leaders don't think that way. Instead calculations are performed and public opinion is mobilized.

If the projection is for New York City to be a lagoon by 2100, it becomes an economic calculation, not a moral one. Real estate values fall. The city starts to wilt.

For the elite, GW is already becoming an economic issue:

As peak oilers, we generally believe that Iraq War II was a risk management issue. Back in 2000, I don't recall the little guy braying to make sacrifices so the US could keep it's finger on the world oil supply.

But for the last few years, Joe Six Pack has been over there making sacrifices. He's been bleeding and dying.

Global warming is rapidly becoming an economic issue. If you think the hoi polloi will be politely consulted on the this business, you are dreaming. They will be led around by the nose as per usual.

The mistake Robert makes is that he assumes nothing can be done unless the little guy is persuaded on moral grounds to make sacrifices.

No, that's not what I said at all. More to the point the governments of the (insert U.S., China, India, etc.) will not reign in their GHG emissions because of the impact on their economy. "Heck", thinks China, "I am only responsible for X% of GHG emissions. I am not going to wreck my economic growth just so (the U.S., India, the developing world) can just continue to increase their emissions.

That is the point. And if you look at the graphic in the article, you can see that since we started measuring CO2 concentrations, they have done nothing but march steadily higher. My argument is that this will not stop until either some kind of equilibrium is reached with the oceans, or we simply start running out of fossil fuels to burn.

No, that's now what I said at all. More to the point the governments of the (insert U.S., China, India, etc.) will not reign in their GHG emissions because of the impact on their economy.

The reason the US doesn't act is that it doesn't see the danger as being catastrophic. If sufficiently spooked at some point it could take unilateral action that would be effective. i.e. Large import duties on Chinese and Indian goods. This would have the effect of cooling all three economies.

Extreme? Yes. But better than losing New York City and Florida, etc.

It would be better, of course, that lowering emissions was accomplished via other means.

The current back-and-forth between the US and the developing world represents only the opening salvos on this issue. You ain't seen nothing yet!! The only reason this hasn't really heated up is that the IPCC is not yet saying a massive catastrophe looms. It hasn't yet posted a list of cities that will die.

If sufficiently spooked at some point it could take unilateral action that would be effective. i.e. Large import duties on Chinese and Indian goods. This would have the effect of cooling all three economies.

Hi George,

Not that I disagree with your assessment, but if the so called American way of life (or at least the portion that remains above tide line) hinges on the continued flow of cheap imports from these countries it seems like a pretty tough act to pull off. Unless I'm wrong, at this point the U.S. has pretty much sent the bulk of its basic goods production overseas and even if they could magically haul it back with the wave of a wand, the environmental impacts related to this production wouldn't be any less damaging and probably a good chance it would be even more. This is a political problem, for sure, but, fundamentally, it's 100 per cent consumer driven and unless we can get consumers to voluntarily curb their consumption (admittedly, another tough act) there's really no practical solution.


Hi Paul,

I'd be more inclined to call it "100 percent corporate greed driven" rather than consumer driven. Michael Pollan's latest book spends a good while talking about big agribusiness, big pharmas, and food consumerism in general, a really good read. In so many words (not Pollan's) I'd summarize that Big Food spends its dollar to convince consumers that their Sh*t is Ice Cream.

Well, I'm tired of being a consumer. Eating local, growing local, buying local, and following Westexas' ELP is our little way of protesting. These actions will help mitigate AGW and soften the future blow of peak oil, until the time that NAIS and the other programs make it illegal.

We need to assert our right to farm. A lot of nearby towns are creating Ag Commissions, but there are so few landowners who fit the qualification of being a farmer that these groups may fail.


You're way ahead of the curve, my friend. Not only have you recognized and acknowledged we're facing a potentially life-threatening problem, but you've already taken several key steps to help address it. At the end of the day, this is the kind of leadership that will make a real difference, as more of those you come into contact start emulating your actions.

My biggest fear is that we'll give in to that seductive notion that we're merely puppets on a string and thereby shun all responsibility for our own actions. It's not my fault I'm fat when Beatrice Corp. makes so many tempting flavours or, sure, I'd give up smoking but Philip Morris makes it so easy to purchase their products. Let me say I'd make a rotten therapist because five minutes into the session, I'd want to kick their whiny ass out the door. I once had a boss who made it clear she didn't want to hear excuses, only well reasoned solutions (contrary to what you might think, a truly lovely person and an outstanding and highly respected manager). Brilliantly simple advice and when you learn to apply it, makes a world of difference in your attitude and ability to solve problems.


The way you put it in your first post was extremely cogent:"...calculations are made and public opinion is mobilized."
So first we need a Calculator. That person(s) is not here yet, but could be here soon in principle. You are so right that public opinion is mobilized. Mobilized, made, shaped, drafted, shanghaied, bought, whatever. Public opinion in the current era is not happenstance.

Amateur efforts by advocates and campaigners, or discussions like this one have only the most marginal impact.
I am left feeling the only thing to do is hope for good leadership. Something which is perennially in short supply.

Hi oldhippie,

I agree public opinion can be bent and twisted by the mass media and various public and private entities with seemingly great ease, and I also agree a single individual can have a dramatic and enduring impact on our social psyche, even if the message runs counter to those of the prevailing forces (Rachel Carson and Ralph Nader are two names that come to mind, but there are many more). But as we look for good leadership to lead us out of the darkness, let's not forget the hard work that will get us there will come from our own toil. Perhaps we can start tackling these problems on our own, right now, because if we dither much longer waiting for the promised one, it may very well turn out to be a case of too little, too late. Whether we got ourselves into this mess by our own hand or allowed ourselves to be manipulated into it doesn't really matter; either way, we'll be the ones ultimately cleaning it up assuming, of course, we accept full responsibility. Besides, none of us should need to be told what it is we must do because, at this point, I have to believe all of us have a pretty good sense of what's required.

And on that note, the first elected official who can convince us to abandon the American way of life, as we've come to know it, will truly be our messiah.


I like your attitude. I like your rhetoric. I am enormously glad that there are still people like you.
The last word in your post (excepting the Cheers), "messiah", has it just right. I used to disdain the Great Man theory of history. Right now there's not much else.
I would dearly love to put aside the "been there, done that" cynicism I own. Let me know when you see an honest politician. One with vision.

The above sounds rude to me. Well. I can't say it's impossible we should find leadership or find our way. I remember Martin well. And other miraculous personalities who played smaller roles. It's been a while.

And, if I may return the compliment, I very much admire yours. Never give in. Never sell out. Most importantly, never sell yourself short.

And Mr. King is the perfect example of the kind of person I had in mind. Gandhi is another.


And they won't do a damn thing until they see a sea level rise that exceeds 4 or 5 mm/year.


The greatest contributor of CO2 in the US is from buildings:


We could go a long way with DSM, Smart appliances, re-insulating, etc. Chindia will continue on their sooty path, it is up to the wealthier parts of the world to lead the way, and the best approach is to bury costs. People will balk at paying a gasoline tax but won't think twice about having to pay $50 more for a fridge. Subsidizing installation of insulation and passive heating for existing homes is a good idea IMO, in the face of NA NG declines.

Hi Dude,

It's an interesting graph but that little blue line is potentially misleading given that North America sent its industry overseas and all of the related environmental baggage with it. If those operations had stayed here, how do you think that blue line would look? It also bears mentioning that although those products are now manufactured elsewhere, they're still largely consumed here. This is not directed to you, but this "blame China and India" syndrome really annoys the crap out of me; clearly, if we're going to play the blame game, the finger should point squarely at us. We move our smoke stacks over there; we demand these goods be supplied at the lowest possible cost, whatever the social, political and environmental consequences may be; we enjoy the fruits of the labour; and, oh yeah, we now reward ourselves with a convenient escape goat upon which we wash away all sin. Wow, what a nice little package with a pretty ribbon bow we've given ourselves.


Whether or not you went to the architecture2030 site by yourself or followed the links I posted, I am happy to see someone using that info here besides me. No one seemed interested, although the site is quite good, so I gave up.

I think it best to ship all the denialists to the Maldives and deprive them of any means of escape. They could then experience climate change first hand and argue with Neptune about why it isn't really happening.

RR: CO2 is by now only one of our worries, positive feedback forcing kicks in from many sides now, and there is nothing we can do about it. And this whole discussion shows one more time that people cannot agree on anything...hence my rather negative assessment on the probable fall of our civilization. But this will take time anyway, a lot of painful time...

Why are there so many here so unwilling to open your eyes and see the light? Could it be that you are so wedded o your doomsday beliefs that you cannot countenance he appearance of a "Messiah" technology from out of the blue that might be able o save your sorry, undeserving a**es?

the "Sophie's Choice" that is almost universally perceived here as requiring a choice be made between continued economic prosperiy and environmenal disaster on the one hand (a least as far as the CO2 emissions problem is concerned), and economic decline on the other, s a false dichotomy!

A means to produce electricity far more cheaply than burning coal, from a proven energy source of vast expanse, without emissions, has already been described afer many decades of sudy. See www.vortexengine.ca

I defy anyone reading here, and especially those blogging a realclimate.org to present here a good scientific (non-imaginary, non-speculative) reason why the process cannot work as described!

From Romans:

13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

"I can only try to react and position myself to prepare for what I think the consequences may be."

Unfortunately, we don't have a good handle on the rate of change. Which tends to nullify our best personal preparations for the change. When I think of measures that may help my kids, I realize it's all timing. In nature, it always falls back to timing. When is the estrous cycle, when do I fish that stream for sockeyes, should have sprayed the orchard 2 weeks ago.

Hi Robert,

I think your title would be better as: We Won't Stop Global Warming With a Carbon Tax.

Sin taxes are popular but I don't think they work if the amount of the tax greatly exceeds the total cost of running the government. The governed give assent to taxation that covers the cost of carrying out government functions, but going beyond this looks like tyranny. The size of an effective carbon tax is so large that it runs into this problem. Proposals to rebate the tax also tend to have a lot of wealth redistribution behind them which ends up being an objectionable mechanism. In other cases, where the size of the action was larger than the size of the government, shifting labor to war production for example, the missing consumer materials were rationed to avoid scarcity making prices too high.

I think the problem is with the tool (a carbon tax) not being suitable rather than people being unwilling to sacrifice for the future. The sacrifice just needs to be made explicit and doable. Don't say all your disposable income and more must now go to purchasing fuel. Say, rather, that you'll have more money because you'll be buying less fuel and it will have a lower price, but you are going to have to figure out how to buy less of it. Here is a number for arranging a carpool.


I am continually stunned by how poorly most folks seem to understand climate science. A bit like reading MSM articles about peak oil. I was a professional biologist who worked with climatologists. I read about all of IPCC Third Assessment Report. Imagine what Hubbert or Campbell would think when reading CERA reports, that's what if feels like reading what passes for discussion of climate change here.

What if....

Tomorrow the "World Astronomical Union" held a press conference in which it was explained that an asteroid was approaching the Earth with an 80% probability of strike, and that it was big enough to wipe out 95% of all life forms like the K/T impact. It will get here in two years and we will need to mobilize world governments, corporations and regular people on a huge and rapid scale to prevent all of us from perishing.

What would happen to...car factories, slot machine factories, airplane orders, the tourist industry, real estate speculation, biofuels, job training programs, consumer confidence, the stock market, news feeds about Brad Pitt....can anyone imagine?

Now plug in climate change and start thinking.


While I abhor war and can't think of one we've engaged in over the last several decades that was worthwhile, I can say one good thing for it. It concentrates the mind and causes mere mortals to accomplish things they could never do in peace time. When lives are on the line, people suddenly find a way to accomplish things beyond their usual imagination.

We are burned out, of couse, with all the phony drug wars and wars on terrors over the years, so just calling the effort to stop global warming a war won't cut it unless people are convinced of real consequences on real people in a time frame they can comprehend.

And I still keep going back to the same idea. What happens if we go all out to fight this menace and find out later it wasn't really necessary. What is the real harm done? And what if it cost a significant fraction of our GDP? Most of our increased GDP goes to the rich, anyway. We are afraid of slow growth or no growth because we don't want to consider a more equitable distribution of the wealth we do have.

You have an excellent point. Even if this turns out to be an effort in vain it is going to give a purpose to millions of people, it is going to shift us away from conspicuous consumption. And it has to give a lesson of cooperation - because, we in the rich countries will be morally obliged to show the way and help the poor satisfy their energy needs without destroying the planet.

From a moral point of view this is a win-win enterprise. However how can this be done in a world focused on "economing growth", where wealth equals power and getting wealthy is the all-but acknowledged purpose in life? Not gonna happen, unless we get some real shift in values in this or next generation... not holding my breath though.

I wonder if this 'asteroid view' isn't a bit of an oversimplification of the politics of AGW.

As soon as serious suspicion arose, plenty of telescopes would be pointing at an asteroid that size. There would be much cross checking before the announcement and even more afterwards. The real issue might be governments trying to hide it to avoid panic. But word would get out and it wouldn't be long before it showed up in hundreds, then thousands, of amateur telescopes. It's a verifiable scenario.

OTOH there are zero observatories that can see the climate 100 years from now. There is only computer-based educated guessing based on secret code, secret inputs, etc. etc. That sort of thing, to mutilate a saying of Arthur C. Clarke, exists in a domain of technology that to most is indistinguishable from magic. It's not a verifiable scenario. So from a political point of view, James Hansen, say, is little different from the Oracle at Delphi. (Then there's the extra matter of chronic lurid overinterpretation of random weather events. Alas, that cuts both ways as we are finding out: there will be plenty of histrionics for a very long time over this season's widely brutal northern-hemisphere winter.)

In addition, since AGW is at the very best a slow-motion crisis, one has to make a solid case that it's really bad enough to justify the means, especially since the means often propounded are essentially a perpetually entrenched global totalitarian state. Given the hideous experiences of the 20th century with merely temporary and local totalitarian states, that would need to be a case airtight to a degree never before encountered.

After all, Hollywood puts out silly disaster movies all the time. Shrill activists propounding pet causes paint lurid pictures all the time. It's all part of the political fallout of boredom and anomie, perhaps. And yet life somehow muddles on. Indeed, life existed in great profusion with no ice at the poles, as well as with more than now. Where is the serious case, comprehensible to a lay jury, that it would be impossible for both humanity and civilization to survive and even prosper even in a world where, three millennia from now, there was once again no ice at the poles? (No doubt the exact mixture of species of stomachs-on-legs, existential ciphers, infesting the wilderness at high latitudes would be very different, but it was also very different during the most recent Ice Age. Such things come and go. So what?)


One-word answer: agriculture.

We're not just risking a warmer cliamte, we're risking a more unstable climate. The climate during the last ice age was much more variable than the Holocene, and it almost certainly could not have supported agriculture. We could easily drive the global climate away from the recent "climate optimum," with unpleasant surprises like widespread desertification and more destructive monsoons. All within a relatively short time period -- and almost instantly on geological time scales.

I seriously think that the problem you allude to lies in the expertise of people who contribute to TOD. I'm starting to gather that a lot of them are engineers or in closely related fields. I don't see many who are qualified to understand how to model chaos. I think TOD contributers should lay off climate change and stick to their field of expertise, peak oil because they're making right fools of themselves.

I think TOD contributers should lay off climate change and stick to their field of expertise, peak oil because they're making right fools of themselves.

Is that aimed at me, or various contributors to the discussion? If aimed at me, I think I made it quite clear that I defer to the experts on the subject. On the other hand, I have seen that nothing we have done has slowed CO2 emissions at all, and we would have to get agreement across a number of governments to arrest the emissions. Not going to happen. It has nothing to do with modeling chaos. It has to do with observations of the data, and understanding the fact that many 3rd World countries aspire to a 1st Word standard of living.

My comment was a sympathetic response to Jason Bradford's irritation/distress at the general tenor of how climate change is treated on TOD. And yes, directed at you and other contributers (not random comment posters like me) to TOD. I come here to read articles because (I thought) contributers here were scientists who tried to take scientific approaches to real problems. Remarkably many TOD contributors' scientific sensibilities seem to vanish when they talk about subjects other than peak oil. Climate change seems to be a poignant example of this. I find your attitude rather flippant. I don't hear you saying anything like "I'm not worried about peak oil anymore because there's nothing we can do about it." Yet climate change is probably going to kill far more people than peak oil ever will. You offer up a carbon tax, without even considering other (better) possibilities. If you want to put climate change articles on TOD, why not get an expert (e.g., James Hansen) to make a guest post to lay out the stark (scientific) realities of what we are facing. If you want to talk about mitigation, why not get a mitigation expert (like...maybe...George Monbiot - well he at least tries to cite peer-reviewed journal papers...)?

My comment was a sympathetic response to Jason Bradford's irritation/distress at the general tenor of how climate change is treated on TOD. And yes, directed at you and other contributers (not random comment posters like me) to TOD.

But you stereotype 90% of the contributors with those comments. I accept the climate science. I made that clear from the first post. And I never said that it isn’t a serious concern. The point is, due to the nature of the problem, we will not do anything about it. We will continue to burn everything fossil-based in sight, and if we don’t China and India will. But the proof will be in the pudding. Look at that graphic I posted in 20 years, and see if the upward climb slowed. My prediction: No, it will continue along that path until we start running short of fossil fuels.

Remarkably many TOD contributors' scientific sensibilities seem to vanish when they talk about subjects other than peak oil. Climate change seems to be a poignant example of this.

Again, stereotypical, and mischaracterizes my own position.

I find your attitude rather flippant. I don't hear you saying anything like "I'm not worried about peak oil anymore because there's nothing we can do about it." Yet climate change is probably going to kill far more people than peak oil ever will.

Multiple problems in your comments there. First, I don’t say there is nothing we can do about it. I say that because of the nature of the problem, we won’t do anything about it. Peak Oil is a much different problem. We can’t put that one off. We don’t have a choice. We will have to confront it. So, I focus my efforts on that, because it is going to be a problem that will affect every one of us directly (and is doing so even now). We can’t actually say that about Global Warming. While Global Warming may mean life and death to some Pacific Islanders or those in hurricane prone areas (the list goes on), for the average American/India/Chinese, it isn’t a serious enough problem to take drastic action. As I have pointed out already, even among the most committed – the original signatories on to Kyoto, only about a third are meeting their obligations.

If you want to put climate change articles on TOD, why not get an expert (e.g., James Hansen) to make a guest post to lay out the stark (scientific) realities of what we are facing.

Your mistake is in looking at my article as a climate change article. It wasn’t. I addressed that up front, and said I don’t intend to debate the climate science. I accept it.

I can understand that passionate advocates on this issue would be upset by what I wrote. But that doesn’t change the fact that despite all the efforts so far, CO2 emissions simply continue to increase. If you consider why that is, you may come to the same conclusion I have reached.

Yes, you are correct in pointing out that nothing has happened to CO2 emissions. This is simple indisputable data. The fact that Kyoto didn't work means (in my opinion) that much more stringent steps need to be taken, primarily on countries like the USA that didn't sign up, and then on countries that didn't make their quota, like the UK. I think (from what information I've been able to gather) that climate change is far more of a problem than peak oil (if one takes a global perspective). Peak oil potentially means the collapse of western "civilization." Climate change potentially means the collapse of humanity.

So no, I don't reach the conclusion you reach. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree and leave it at that. I'm certainly not backing down from my position unless someone (with sufficient expertise) provides me with convincing data to the contrary.

So no, I don't reach the conclusion you reach. I guess we'll have to agree to disagree and leave it at that. I'm certainly not backing down from my position unless someone (with sufficient expertise) provides me with convincing data to the contrary.

I think we have a failure to communicate. Let's review. My position: The world will not actually manage to reduce the CO2 concentrations that are accumulating in the atmosphere. I cite history, I cite politics, I cite the actual observed data.

Your position is what? That we will reign it in? Is that your position?

Next, wtf does "sufficient expertise" mean? Are you still under the impression that we are discussing the climate science? What kind of expertise is needed to look at where we have been, where we are, and conclude where we are likely going? I am an engineer in the fossil fuel business. I know what the economics of fossil fuels look like. I know the direction China and India are going. I know that despite enormous increased in the price of fossil fuels, we continue to use more each year. I know that your "more stringent steps" solution won't be implemented in China or India (nor probably in the U.S.)

A climate scientist can explain the mechanics of global warming. But if you think we need to have a climate scientist to explain why we will reign in global warming, you are looking for the wrong expert for this discussion.

Okay, I'll try again.

1. Climate change threatens humanity and is therefore far more pressing than peak oil.

2. As a consequence of 1. mitigation is key to preventing a mass "die-off" of humans. Therefore I conclude that instead of giving up, we need to try harder, a lot harder.

3. Mitigation cannot work unless all humans are treated equally. Under this assumption your comments about China and India are non sequiturs. Until every country has equal right to pollute, they will NEVER come on board any agreement. Your attitude (sadly reflecting the majority view of the first world) contains the seeds of the ultimate failure of all current attempts to mitigate the effects of human produced green-house gases.

4. I'm making point 3, not to directly attack your view, but to point out one of the factors that an expert in pollution mitigation and policy might have brought up if they were writing an article on TOD on whether and how we could stop/mitigate the effects of climate change.

5. I come to TOD to read articles about Peak oil and oil supply in general, from experts who have better knowledge of the field than I do. Likewise, I try to say informed about climate change and how to stop it. (I go other places for that.) When TOD writers, like yourself, and like some others (not all, please I'm not trying to stereo-type everyone, but a frustrating number of you) stray from peak oil into climate change, you say some remarkably silly things. Your article being a case in point. Normally I'd just let this pass, ignore it and stick to the stuff I came here to read (oil supply) but unfortunately climate change is important to me. And the problem I have is people here read your articles, accord you with respect and listen to what you say. So when you write something like that (why we'll never stop climate change, or words to that effect), I'm not feeling very happy. Sorry if you bear the brunt of this, but it is more an accumulation of disgruntlement with articles and comments posted by you, Mearns and Staniford on climate change and things related to it... Sorry. That's it. If you guys were just random posters to TOD, I wouldn't care, but people listen to you and form opinions by what you write. I'll shut up now, and stick to oil articles.

Okay, I'll try again.

As shall I.

1. Climate change threatens humanity and is therefore far more pressing than peak oil.

I don’t necessarily agree with the argument that it is more pressing than peak oil. I think the average person will be impacted by peak oil first (I used to think just the opposite, however). Others are already more affected by climate change, but on average, I think peak oil affects people first.

2. As a consequence of 1. mitigation is key to preventing a mass "die-off" of humans. Therefore I conclude that instead of giving up, we need to try harder, a lot harder.

And there’s a big part of your problem. There is a great big disconnect between what we “need to do”, and what history and observations tell us that we are doing, and will continue to do. It’s like I have commented before on various topics. I see where we are. I see where you want to go. I don’t see a realistic path between the two. It’s like Vinod Khosla running the country on cellulosic ethanol. There is no path between here and there.

3. Mitigation cannot work unless all humans are treated equally.

Now you are making my points for me. When have all humans ever been treated equally? When will the average American ever think that the average African should have an equal share of their food/gasoline/wealth? Americans certainly want to see 3rd world countries do better, but they aren’t going to willingly give up substantially for that to happen. Your idealism is getting in the way of you seeing my point, which you have clearly still missed per your next item:

4. I'm making point 3, not to directly attack your view, but to point out one of the factors that an expert in pollution mitigation and policy might have brought up if they were writing an article on TOD on whether and how we could stop/mitigate the effects of climate change.

This is not a post on climate change. Agreed? So we can agree that the need for a climate scientists, which a few other posts along the same theme as yours, have called for. So now you want a pollution mitigation and policy expert? Guess what? I have done a ton of work in pollution mitigation. I have worked on CO2 sequestration and various schemes for reigning in CO2 emissions. What I have observed is that it is like bailing out the ocean with a thimble. As far as policy experts, aren’t those the people we have had working on this problem for years? Didn’t they have a big say in crafting Kyoto?

The gist is, the expert that you want wouldn’t have said anything differently than I would have about what we SHOULD or NEED to do. I can tell you all day about pollution mitigation techniques that work. There is some cost or inconvenience associated with almost all of them. Now you have to convince people to accept the cost, and then globally enforce them. This is where the path from here to there breaks down, and was the subject of the post. We can’t even get higher carbon taxes passed in the U.S., and yet what you need is a massive global reduction in fossil fuel emissions. Outside of a global benevolent dictator (whom some would certainly not see as benevolent once he cut their energy usage) there is no way it can happen.

5. I come to TOD to read articles about Peak oil and oil supply in general, from experts who have better knowledge of the field than I do.

And what you have is my conclusion that it makes more sense for me to focus my efforts on peak oil mitigation efforts, rather than Global Warming (and these efforts often contribute toward both goals). I actually can make a difference on the former. But as more and more coal plants are built, I can’t really impact the GHG emission side in any significant way.

Likewise, I try to say informed about climate change and how to stop it. (I go other places for that.) When TOD writers, like yourself, and like some others (not all, please I'm not trying to stereo-type everyone, but a frustrating number of you) stray from peak oil into climate change, you say some remarkably silly things. Your article being a case in point.

Yet I still fail to see that I said one silly thing. And you can’t point to any actual atmospheric data to suggest that efforts are having any impact. Sure you can say it just means we need to redouble efforts. But how are you going to accomplish that? My conclusion is that you aren’t. Again, as I said, I favor the efforts, because they will also mitigate peak oil. But I don’t see them actually slowing the accumulating CO2 emissions. And if emissions do slow, you can say you were right. If they don’t, just remember that the things I said weren’t silly at all. They were a sad observation on human nature.

I am rather disappointed with the level of this discussion. Thus far it has amounted to

a) we won't do anything about GW
b) oh, but we must, it's so very important
a) doesn't matter if it's important, we still won't do it
b) if we don't bad things will happen

(and then, as usual, we have our fringe snipers throwing in their off beat theories of how it's all caused by alien-beings, or some such)

It seemed to me that Robert was trying to get a discussion going about the social impediments to change during a slow moving "crisis." But we have not taken up that discussion. Robert includes a passage from an article that lays out the fundamental concern, that response to global warming (climate change would be more correct) will be determined by economic decisions.

I have no doubt that this is accurate as the economic is what drives so much of our current social milieu. The real question then becomes, is the economic basis of our decision to respond to a slow crises going to be determinative of our long term prognosis? As the stress on the environment (and society) increases will other non-economic values begin to be asserted, will they be convincing? Just how totalizing has the "economic discussion" become? And so on.

We can argue all day about whether we should or shouldn't respond, but until we start looking at the underlying values or (dare I say it) discourses that inform our decision making, we won't be able to get away from the "should" and into the realm of what can be done.

Just how totalizing has the "economic discussion" become?

It's become so total that few realise that "economics" is the problem.

One day, some wise soul will look back at this time in history and wonder why we allowed ourselves to become so deluded by the cult of "economics". The perversion of the concept of economy into a cult of materialism and waste will no doubt totally bewilder future generations.


You've nailed the problem exactly and I share your sentiments. I think we need an analysis of the social impediments to acting decisively on global warming and peak oil as well.

Here's my argument that Robert is wrong. The basic reason is that he assumes that society will continue tomorrow as it has in the past, with the same input resulting in the same output. This is historically clearly false in the case of the United States. American history goes through cycles in which there are long periods in which nothing much changes in terms of social assumptions, the social order, and political change (e. g. 1800 - 1859, 1870 - 1925, 1950 - 2000), and short periods of rapid and cataclysmic change (e. g. 1775 - 1790, 1860 - 1865, 1929 - 1945).

An example of "the difference it makes" is the reaction of the U. S. to World War I and World War II. We had roughly the same input: horrific European war results in the deaths of millions and millions. But the "output," the reaction of the country both before, during, and after these events was much different. (This isn't an exact analogy but I think you get the general point.) In World War I, we were managing the crisis, didn't get in until it was almost over, and afterwards retreated into isolation. In World War II, after some hesitation, we jumped in and mobilized the whole country, and then stayed around after it was done to make sure the job was really finished. This point is arguable, but I would argue that it is more valid than not valid based on the wide disparity over how the country viewed roughly the same "input" data.

We have been going through a long period of relative stability since World War II. You have the occasional minor crisis like Vietnam, Gulf War II, etc., but this has not threatened the existence of the republic. It is nothing compared to World War II, the Civil War, etc. So I'd ask, are we in the middle of a long period of relative stability, or in one of the short periods of rapid change? That's the question Robert needs to address.

My bet is on the latter, we are at the beginning of a period of short, rapid, cataclysmic change. This is also the thesis of Neil Strauss and William Howe in "Generations," "The Fourth Turning," and other books. You don't have to buy their idea that it's because of generational interactions (civic, adaptive, idealist, reactive) to see the basic point. We are entering a period of perceived social crisis -- one in which it is apparent, not just to worried climate scientists, but to Joe Sixpack and his wife and kids as well.

My bet is that we will see a struggle between different ways of envisioning the crisis. This does not guarantee success; we may see the public reacting in an unhelpful way -- deciding that it's really a struggle with "Islamo-fascism," or with the nasty oil companies, after all. But there is more than just a fighting chance that the public will perceive it as an "environmental crisis," and that we, ladies and gentlemen, will be handed the political microphone.

We need to have a plan for this sort of crisis mentality, rather than assuming that the culture wars of the 1980's and 1990's are just going to continue forever. Courage! The struggle is just beginning.

Keith Akers

Kieth, I think that is too US-centric.

The US by virtue of it's size and good technology will always be a large player, but I would suggest in GW and climate change it is not one of the key players.

The reactions of both China and India will count for a lot more, and much of the technology being developed to deal with the problems are being put through in Europe and Japan.

The reasons for this are both simple and more complex.

The simple reason is that fuel costs are a lot higher in Europe and Japan and security of supply less, and the subtler ones concern the different attitudes and traditions about Government intervention, the reaction in Germany against nuclear power due in part perhaps to their war history and so on.

However improbable it may appear to me that Germany will ever generate much of it's electricity from solar energy, it is undoubtedly true that their massive subsidies have pushed the field on, likewise for wind, and they lead in greenroof technology and plenty of others.

Both Japan and France occupy the positions of leadership in nuclear energy that the US once held, whilst Japan has made major strides in building very efficient air-heat pumps and home fuel cells.

The US and Britain lag in most of the the main areas of movement, and whilst the US will always be important I suggest that they are likely to lag rather than lead many other countries, later benefiting by, for instance, German expenditure on wind and solar, with the US's much better resources of both.
Money is also more difficult for these two to find, with their large expenditures on war, especially in the American case.

China and India share more characteristics with Europe and Japan in energy matters than with America, having relatively high population densities and poor security of supply, so the costs and incentives of changing energy structures is likely to bear down more heavily than on America and lead to more rapid change.
To give one example, NIMBYism is unlikely to slow things down at least in China.
Should fuel still be expensive I expect a truly massive nuclear build by 2030, after they have had a chance to ramp up, with them putting in around 25-30 nuclear reactors a year.
Unreliability of supply will also lead to the rapid uptake of solar in India as soon as it is available at reasonable cost.

Even Africa is likely in some ways to lead America:

“It’s a small miracle,” says Michael. “Even when the whole of Tembisa is plunged into darkness, my lights are working.” Fitted with white-light-emitting diodes (WLEDs), the lamps are run from a battery that is recharged daily by a solar panel, and requires no conventional power supply.


This tiny amount of power and LED light will make a major difference in Africa, and hopefully ramp up quickly, but would be of novelty and camping interest only in the US.

I think the idea is going to take some getting used to, but it seems to me that America is unlikely to lead the way for the rest of the world in this respect.

Hi DaveMart,

Perhaps I'm too US-centric, but this doesn't affect my basic points.

The main point is first of all that Shaman is right in that we need to look at the social impediments to GW and peak oil change. Is it just economic stimulus followed by crisis response, or is there more? I would argue "more."

The second point is that the future is not always like the immediate past, and that the U. S. is a case in point, and that you have short periods of rapid change interspersed with long periods of stability. I don't think it was your intention to argue that the U. S. is unique in this respect, was it?

This hardly peculiar to the U. S. What were the social factors that prompted the U. S. civil war in 1861, instead of 1831? Slavery was very much an issue. There was Nat Turner's rebellion in 1831. I think there's a key social element here: because in 1831 there were still people who had fought in the Revolutionary War around. The elders had been through one Great Crisis and they weren't going to get into another one. They had compromised on slavery when they wrote the constitution and they weren't going to go through that ordeal again, thank you very much. When they were all gone, the old social consensus that insisted on compromising on slavery disappeared.

You could make a case that the disintegration of the Soviet Union could not have occurred until most of the people who still remembered 1917 - 1923 were dead. And that nothing will really happen in China until everyone who remembers the Chinese Communist Revolution is dead. This isn't a point that I wanted to argue in detail, but I think that if we wanted to, we would find out that these countries also have long periods of stability interrupted by short periods of crisis and instability. Discontinuities happen.

Further, since we are talking about global warming (not peak oil per se), if peak oil comes soon, and it is lent an interpretation of a fossil fuel (or natural resources) crisis, not just a liquid fuels crisis, the solutions may be considerably more general than narrowly addressed to getting the cars on the road again. Global warming action (which actually has more support than peak oil action right now) may be considerably more plausible.

We're looking for a new "normal," but what is it going to be? I would not just blithely assume that "we" (whether this is a U. S. "we," a western world "we," or a world-wide "we") will do nothing because our perception of the crisis is too weak until it hits us in the stomach (when it's presumably "too late"). Other factors may be at play and a whole set of new issues may be brought out and acted on other than the ones actually precipitating the crisis. That's typical "crisis" behavior, I'd say.


Hi Keith, it seems that I have failed to get my basic point across, which is simply that looking at things form the US it can indeed seem that not much is happening, but looked at from Europe or Japan quite a lot is.

It will not solve GW overnight, but that was never on the cards anyway.

I hope it is not disrespectful to this forum is I reproduce here a post I made earlier in reply to Robert - it seems perhaps better to keep the argument together, although I will of course understand if the editors decide to cut it down to a link:

'Please see my reply to Joe above, but to deal with the timescale question which seems to me at the root of your argument I would make the following points.

Not being able to do anything about GW is very different to having time lags in implementation.

The world energy economy is a supertanker, and it was never going to turn on a sixpence.
GW came to the fore in around, say 1990, and we are now not even twenty years from that date, and yet already quite a lot of action has been taken and technologies developed which should greatly help.

Energy costs have risen to levels likely to seriously impact use only much more recently, say around 2005, and so much of this effort went in when it was much more problematic financially than now.

In the real world you are bound to get a hockey-stick shaped curve for the application of GHG technologies, with leaders far ahead developing the technologies others will need.

I think what is misleading a lot of the debate here is that little of that has happened in the US.

If you look at Sweden as a leader, they are well on course to just about eliminate GHG by 2030:
The Oil Drum | We Won't Stop Global Warming

It might be argued that this is unimportant, with Sweden making very little of the GHG worldwide.

Well, China plans to have the capability to build 10 nuclear power stations a year by 2020, so it seems reasonable that they could build 20-30 a year by 2030, and by then the science of GW should be abundantly clear.
This is besides rapid build of wind turbines for their excellent wind resource and other potential contributors.

India will not only build nuclear reactors, but is set to benefit from the research money which has gone into solar energy, as although it might be rather daft to try to generate your energy with solar in cold and wintry Germany, the dollars they are spending should shortly mean a lot of power for sunny India, and help overcome the failings of the Indian grid.

Similar considerations apply to the South of the US.

So I think you are being overly pessimistic and looking too much at short term failures to get to Kyoto levels of emissions, and our prospects of having massive reductions by 2050 are excellent.

Are we then stuck at that high level of CO2 concentration?

Not really, if we don't choose to be so, as a variety of technologies such as agrichar and others offer the prospect of taking out CO2, although personally I don't think plant level sequestration will happen.

So is all that soon enough?

The short answer is that no-one knows, as trigger points could have been exceeded.

However, taking a more median forecast most of the rise in warming is expected at the back-end of the 21st century and into the 22nd.

In any case, despair is pointless, and easy or hard the best we can do is get on with it.

I don't think that you have made your case that we have not got good prospects of success, although the road could be bumpy!'

I hope you find these arguments relevant Keith!


"I don't think that you have made your case that we have not got good prospects of success, although the road could be bumpy!"

I think we are in agreement. This most definitely was NOT the case I was trying to make. My argument was that the most intransigent country in the world, so far the U. S., could change rapidly and quickly in the very near future (next two decades or so), based on its own history. It might not, but on the other hand it could, and the sort of economic arguments that Robert was advancing based on incremental change do not apply in a time of crisis. Therefore, I reject the argument that "nothing's going to change."

I further agree that Europe is doing stuff, and that even China and India might do stuff as well, to deal with global warming in a massive way. The perception of crisis does not guarantee success, but it offers the opportunity to operate for a short period of time outside of the sphere of "normal politics."


Yeah - I was replying to Robert rather than you in the bit about the bumpy road and not giving up and so on - I just lifted that post.

I do think it is interesting though that there are apparently sound reasons why America is unlikely to be at the forefront this time, particularly as there are clear signs of imperial overstretch - all that makes it more difficult to finance a rapid change to the energy structure.

With the rise of China it all looks a bit similar to the position of Britain in 1907.

Most of us dwell in the past though - some still seem to think that nuclear proliferation can be stopped by not going for a civil nuclear program in the west, and demanding that reprocessing is only done in certain countries and so on.
They didn't stop proliferation to Russia, China, India, Pakistan, South Africa or Israel, and they are grossly overestimating American influence if they think that they can much impede it now - and BTW I am pretty right wing.

Sorry for the ramble, it's just a thought.

This is historically clearly false in the case of the United States.

And there's your problem right there. This is not just a case of the U.S. If the U.S. completely reigned in CO2 emissions tomorrow - and I don't see this in our near future - global emissions would continue to rise.

The problem with many of the commenters assumes that we will have something equivalent to a huge thermonuclear explosion that will galvanize people into action. That's not how it will be. The effects will accumulate. We may see 100 Hurricane Katrinas come and go, and if they all happened at once, there's your thermonuclear explosion. Instead, those really bad events will come at different times and in different parts of the world, and we will all wring hands because we can't get everyone to join hands on this issue. That is my prediction. Nature will arrest the problem sooner or later. The ultimate consequences are unknown, but we are certainly conducting a very dangerous experiment with the atmosphere.

Hi Robert,

Thanks for replying!

"'This is historically clearly false in the case of the United States.'

"And there's your problem right there. This is not just a case of the U.S."

O. K., let's try this again. This is historically clearly false in the case of China. Most recent example of discontinuity, the Chinese Revolution, followed by a long period of political stability. China before the modern period exhibits a similar pattern, although over a much longer time frame, of short periods of chaos and rapid change followed by long periods of stability.

"The problem with many of the commenters assumes that we will have something equivalent to a huge thermonuclear explosion that will galvanize people into action. That's not how it will be. The effects will accumulate. We may see 100 Hurricane Katrinas come and go, and if they all happened at once, there's your thermonuclear explosion."

And the thesis I'm making is that the stimulus-response model ("Hurricane Katrina" creates "wringing of hands, demands for action") breaks down in a period of perceived crisis. If we followed an incremental pattern, Lenin would have asked for a stimulus package instead of a revolution.

Kuhn makes a similar case for the distinction between "normal science" and "crisis science." In normal science, incrementalism rules. Anomalies are met by modifications to the existing theory. Most of the objections to Newtonian physics, including the problem with Mercury's orbit, were already known by the time of Einstein. In crisis science, the rules change. The same kind of thing tends to operate in politics.

This doesn't guarantee that we'll do something about global warming, not by a long shot. But it shows the likely scenario by which it will happen, which will not be a "thermonuclear explosion" (politically) at all. If there is a perception of a crisis, we could have a world-wide revolution without any "Katrina" at all. It would just happen seemingly spontaneously, perhaps like the "February Revolution" in 1917 Russia, which arose without any immediate crisis, without any planning, and at first without any particular leadership.

The real problem with my theory, which you do allude to, is that every country seems to be on a different "crisis schedule." While the U. S. is due for a rapid change starting about 2010, perhaps China would not be due until maybe 2025 or so, etc. But our economies are all linked, one of the upsides or downsides of globalization is that a crisis in one area will ripple outward pretty quickly. Where is China going to unload all those plastic toys if the U. S. suddenly goes green?


Good genrational dynamics resource here. John Xanakis got interested after reading Fourth Turning and has written a Web book and done research on his own. Has had a website for some years. He has expanded the whole theroy to all cycles in written human history. He theorizes convergence of cycles in th past and a total convergence in the current crisis for the whole of global civilization. He is a computer expert and this is his hobby.

Here is his free book.


List of all generational cycles according to country and age over many centuries:


Thanks, GalacticSurfer.

I read "Generations" and "The Fourth Turning" by William Strauss and Neil Howe. Very interesting, and very "prophetic" considering that they wrote their first book in 1991, when predictions of "crisis" must have seemed nebulous indeed. Long story short, they see long-term periods of political stability interrupted by short-term periods of crisis and dramatic changes. One cycle lasts about 80 to 100 years, they postulate generational dynamics as the driver.

On their model, radical social change can occur even when there is not necessarily an external stimulus to this change. They also, incidentally, provided a model by which tremendous external stimulus results in nothing much happening at all. This is what I am trying to convey to Robert.

While I like Strauss and Howe's account very much, one point needing more development is the exact mechanism by which crises arise and then subside. It sounds like the mechanism is just the effects of social psychology. I'd like to see some hard data which you could probably dig up from the modern period.

The next question they need to address is, is this a theory just of American history, or (as I took it) of the history of any large social-political entity? I presume the latter, but they don't make it explicit and I'd like to see how they handle that problem. And what if different social-political entities have cycles which are timed differently but then interact with each other in some way, e. g. if this currently a "crisis" period for America but isn't for China, India, or Russia?

Robert himself is suggesting this in his response above. It's not just the U. S., he says, and even if the U. S. went totally green that still doesn't save the world. It's a good objection, thanks Robert. I still think we will stop global warming because the global economy is too interconnected, because peak oil will hit sooner and really hard, and because revolutionaries will get the upper hand eventually in one country after another, and because these revolutions will have a cascading effect.

The possibility of the U. S. (so far the most intransigent country regarding global warming) being taken over by radical "green" leaders is not a sure thing, but it is quite possible. If you were in Russia in 1910 it would be hard to come up with a scenario wherein Lenin is in power a decade later, but it happened. Similar things might happen in China and India as well, and these things have a way of building on each other.

However, it is a real difficulty that China and India may very well be on a different "crisis" schedule. If we follow the idea that the most recent "crisis" period for China and India ended 5 - 10 years after the U. S., dating that to the period at and just after the Indian independence and the Chinese Communist victory, and give it 80 - 100 years (a la Strauss and Howe) then that means that their next crisis would come to an end maybe 2025 to 2030, or even later.

Russia is even more of a problem for the Strauss and Howe theory because there are two recent crises that you could look at: 1905 - 1925 and 1941 - 1945. My reading is that Strauss and Howe would view 1941 - 1945 as more of a "mid-cycle" event; extremely traumatic, but it did not really change the internal political situation. Stalin loosened his grip a bit and the USSR moderated a bit, but that's about it. The real political changes came 1905 - 1925. That means that the next crisis in Russia was due about 1985 - 2005. Oops! Well, you could say that the disintegration of the USSR was the crisis, or perhaps that there isn't that much difference between Putin and Brezhnev and that the cycle will last 100 years instead of 80, and that it won't start until maybe about now. I think Strauss and Howe have some explaining to do.

There is a danger that if we start making too many exceptions and explanations, this will turn into a rather vague theory with not much predictive power. Perhaps this is why Strauss and Howe haven't gone much beyond U. S. and British history. If Robert is rolling his eyes as he reads this, I'd suggest that he take a look at "The Fourth Turning" and "Generations." They have done their historical homework and it reads pretty convincingly, not at all an airy-fairy New Age type theory. It's enough to set you thinking that even though there are difficulties with the theory (which they acknowledge, by the way), that there is something here which explains history better than anything else we have right now.

GalacticSurfer, I've checked out the references you give above to the web site of John Xenakis. I applaud his effort to address precisely the questions I asked above. He analyzes War and Peace and looks at the invasion of Russia as a "midcycle" crisis for Russia but a crisis for France. This is a case in point where a country in crisis interacts, big time, with a country which isn't.

But at first glance I don't see that Xenakis adds that much to Strauss and Howe, so I would still suggest that people interested in this start with Strauss and Howe, who make a much more convincing and intuitive case. Xenakis expands and universalizes their ideas (Jesus winds up as a first-century counter-culture prophet), but doesn't really go into detail on difficulties with the theory. Also I am not at all convinced by his idea that the crisis must take the form of war, as Xenakis seems to believe. Strauss and Howe specifically reject that idea and so do I.

Bottom line, there are some problems with envisioning how we will stop Global Warming, but Robert hasn't convinced me that we won't, and if I were a betting man (and we had some assurance of a stable currency over the next 30 years), I'd bet that we will. The "classic" revolutions such as French, British, Russian, and American often defied stereotypes of oppressed masses rising up in revolt. (They did, sort of, but when you get into the details it looks very much different from the stereotype.) The only real argument I see from Robert is the "boiling frog" analogy, by which slow incremental changes which add up to a huge change which is never noticed in time.

But history provides counter-examples to this, about every 80 to 100 years or so. So the question is, are we entering a period in which the frog winds up cooked, or a period in which the frog jumps out of the pot before the heat has even been turned on, bites the cook, and runs off? That's what I'd like some discussion on, instead of just repeating the assertion that "incremental problems just won't provoke the needed changes."

If we sat down and explored this question in depth, reasonable people would conclude that revolutionary changes often do occur in history despite the fact that the immediate causes in themselves do not seem sufficient to provoke these changes. Whether the world (or a large enough part of the world) is now entering such a revolutionary period is the question, and (while I haven't read every post) I don't see Robert addressing this.


I read all of Xanakis book after reading the two books by Strauss and Howe. I was lucky to find their books as I had a feeling something was going to happen from my looking at astrology (very interesting constellations similar to mid 60s coming up 2008-2010) and had read a very long 6 band history of westen Europe since 1400, plus histories of Arabs, mongols, Ottomans and Jews. However lots of details and feel for culture and a broad scope but no overarching theory to tie it together. Strauss and Howe have an approximate theory which could generally explain a sort of sine wave of the movement of history. I personally presume each individual as a particle in the wave based on their birth date. Let's say the top of the wave is ca. war/crisis end. there is a trough/peak which goes say 40 years long with the vsionaries/heroes born around peaks and artist/lost generations born in troughs. To take my comparison furhter perhaps the wave hits against the shore or a source of interference. At any rate the simultaneous existence of the heroes with maximum action momentum and teampower and at time of youth/idealism/malleability and leadership from visionaries in leadership necessitates a crisis mode. The unravelling of the last twenty years before say, 911, simlarly was inevitable as the aftermath of the spring period of the 60s and 70s had to result in a blossoming of minicultures all developing their own interests. The burnt out cynical Xers combined with undisciplined boomers were the recipe for the current collapse situation on the markets and generally economically. Cynicism, nihilism, blind ideological stances,etc. At any rate we could probably put some sort of valence on all four types and call them particles and make some sort of equation in my simple model to determine how it will go down.

Cyclical market theories are quite similar but it seems that "Man is the measure".

Of course this is just a working hypothesis as social sciences inevitably are not provable, being much too complicated(unless you take a quantum mechanical model for thought forms surrounding humans in a quantum cloud
see chapter 11-"The psychological value of quantum physics" warning big PDF).

One of Strauss and Howe died recently and their recent works on millenials are uncontroversial. They probably did not want to rock the boat or be called doomers as everything seemed to be coming all too true.

I think we know much too little about reality to say much of anything but the wider we throw our net and allow our imaginations to expand the more likely we are to understand at least a small part of the greater reality. Any model is just an approximation but we just have to be open for anything between quantum mechanics, chaos and fractals, psycholgical schools, generational/cyclical theories, astrological concepts(essentially cyclical theroies),etc. whatever happens to show some correspondence with reality for whatever unknown reason. Take that correspondence, study it thoroughly and take what you can with a grain of salt and move on. Don't get fixated or ideological on it. Reality is not a model and can do what it wants.


I am not into astrology and am suspicious of anyone coming up with a "cycles" theory of the market, history, or anything else. The last "cycles" book that I read was "The Great Depression of 1990" by Ravi Batra. Oops. I don't think this is what Strauss and Howe are about. Strauss and Howe are popular writers but their knowledge of history and their writing make enough sense that their ideas need to be taken seriously.

In any event, you needn't buy the theories of Strauss and Howe to see the general point that history does not operate according to the "stimulus / response" ideas that Robert is putting forward, especially in a period of perceived crisis. Don't you think it will be likely that we'll have that perception pretty quickly once peak oil sets in?


I buy Strauss and Howe as a working hypothesis that sudden abrupt change happens due to"forgetfulness". I think frankly that this sort of thing happens with evoltuion, with climate systems and most anything else. Things just pile up and get too much, to make a general comment, then it all blows up. To say that things will gradually develop in a direction till say 2050 in light of ELM, massive climate change and the worst destabilized ecoomic situation in history is ignoring plain facts.

The several parallel occuring "crashes" will definitely force govt. action. 110 billion pound sterling privatizaiton of one single bank inthe UK alone and the prediction by a man linked by Roubini the other day that banking system and housing in USA will be nationalized. Here in Germany we get a 2 page market commentary daily from our bank at work and they say that the USD will be, after Yen and swiss franc the next carry trade currency, a permanent low interst currency. 911 and Katrina were jokes compared to all this. The reading of popular astrolgists with decades of experience is the TSWHTF in the next few years. West Texas says the same . Olduvai theory from Duncan says the same. David Walker from the govt. who just resigned said the same. Mayan astrology says the same. James Hansen says the same. Roubini, et al. says the same. I mean I am getting this from left right and centre and kooks and straights. This is real. No gradualism. this is not Matt savinar, Lovelock but everybody.

It seemed to me that Robert was trying to get a discussion going about the social impediments to change during a slow moving "crisis."

Count me among the disappointed. This has been a depressing thread to read. But it was also a depressing essay to write.

Without considering CO2 we still have the problem of energy leveraging our mental/physical abilities.

I use 'green' hydraulic power with my 'Tom Swift' electric chain saw and what havoc I can cause with just that wee device, simply staggers the imagination!

Or on a larger scale we are destroying the oceans bounty by overfishing it, CO2 is merely an added bonus in that regard.

I think we have the choice of:

A) reducing fossil fuel use, limiting population growth and as well limiting the amount of total energy at our disposal


B) Increasing the use of fossil fuel in order to produce a sharp climactic event which IMO would result in less long term damage than the longer drawn out the way we are going at it now. ( using the FF as well as adding new energy sources)

BTW Robert you do look good wearing that white hat, suits you!:)

BTW Robert you do look good wearing that white hat, suits you!:)

I think you were right before; I like wearing the black one.

Okay, just don't forget the mirrored sunglasses.

Actually, they are in my pocket as I write. Don't need them right now, though. It's still dark in Amsterdam.

I agree that nothing will be done because of lack of political will on the part of the elite who profit from the ongoing destruction of the planet biosphere and who so neatly control our government leaders.

I sat in a meeting between a Democratic congressional staffer and a grass roots group trying to get emissions cut 80% by 2050 [not a near enough target IMO; PO alone will accomplish it]. In response, the staffer gave all the corporatist reasons for NOT co-signing any such emissions reduction bill [china is worse, the bill would harm our economy, etc etc]. So much for the political party that supposedly has the superior understanding of the science behind the problem. That's when I realized: We are so scr**ed.

So for lack of leadership, our world economy will suffer the consequences of BOTH catastophic climate change and Peak Oil energy crisis. I am just sorry that Peak Oil did not arrive soon enough to mitigate Global Warming.

2000 year temperature records:

Loehle, C. 2007. A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-tree ring proxies. Energy and Environment, 18, 1049-1058.

Loehle, C. and J.H. McCulloch. 2008. Correction to: A 2000-year global temperature reconstruction based on non-tree ring proxies. Energy and Environment, 19, 93-100.

The Energy and Environment "Journal" is a shill publication where any polluter can publish any crank work.

The National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences examined the subject of the 'medieval warm period', and skeptics' claims that the world was warmer 1000 years ago vs. now. Their findings included;

# It can be said with a high level of confidence that global mean surface temperature was higher during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period during the preceding four centuries. This statement is justified by the consistency of the evidence from a wide variety of geographically diverse proxies.

# Less confidence can be placed in large-scale surface temperature reconstructions for the period from A.D. 900 to 1600. Presently available proxy evidence indicates that temperatures at many, but not all, individual locations were higher during the past 25 years than during any period of comparable length since A.D. 900. The uncertainties associated with reconstructing hemispheric mean or global mean temperatures from these data increase substantially backward in time through this period and are not yet fully quantified.

The basic conclusion of Mann et al. (1998, 1999) was that the late 20th century warmth in the Northern Hemisphere was unprecedented during at least the last 1,000 years. This conclusion has subsequently been supported by an array of evidence that includes both additional large-scale surface temperature reconstructions and pronounced changes in a variety of local proxy indicators, such as melting on ice caps and the retreat of glaciers around the world, which in many cases appear to be unprecedented during at least the last 2,000 years. Not all individual proxy records indicate that the recent warmth is unprecedented, although a larger fraction of geographically diverse sites experienced exceptional warmth during the late 20th century than during any other extended period from A.D. 900 onward.

Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium.

Interesting you are referencing the Mann 1998 paper that has been throughly refuted that even the IPCC no longer uses the "hockey stick" data any more. If you want up to date references on the medival warm period go to www.co2science.org. Each week they review peer reviewed papers on that period of earth history. It was world wide and it was warmer than today.

BTW, RealClimate has it's own hidden agenda, often misrepresenting data and censoring people who present information they don't want you to see. It's funded by a far leftist organization with deep pockets.

The Idsos who produce the content on co2science.org have spent many years distorting the data. Just one example, they repeatedly have presented "Station of the Week" data from the U.S. HCN network without using any corrections. I've posted many comments on sci.environment about their cherry picking efforts, pointing to the obvious needs for corrections. Just changing the time of day of reading the instruments can change the results. Moving the stations, which has occurred frequently, is another problem. Changing elevation is a problem as is moving from in town to country is another in a reverse of the "heat island" effect. One of my favorite examples was a station in Alabama that was moved half way across the state, yet, the Idsos used it anyway. I finally got tired of wasting my time each week and stopped commenting.

The Idsos used to post the full UAH MSU 2LT data set, but after the last round of corrections, which produced a warming trend, they dropped the data, only after I pointed out that they had been using the older data set!

BTW, peer review happens before a report is published. That the Idsos choose to make comments does not prove that they understand the data presented.

E. Swanson

Wakefield - keep your denialist BS in the same subthread that you started. Its annoying beyond words to be presented with the same old junk after having spent time scooting over it up thread.


PS. Please stop cherry picking your research - it really looks like you have some agenda to push.

Did you read Loehle's article about the need for these corrections? The earlier article was seriously flawed. His latest corrected version, with which I was directly involved, is still flawed. Please read the discussion about the first article on RealClimate:


Loehle in this latest graph only corrects the dating errors, but then uses interpolated data, which introduces further problems, and makes no attempt to area weight the data. One should also be aware that the graph ends in 1935, thus says nothing about climate since then. This graph proves nothing, IMHO.

Sorry Robert, I know you didn't want to start a discussion about Climate Change, but here we are...

E. Swanson

Thirty year out of date infered data isn't very helpful today since we have burned huge amounts of fossil fuels in that time.

Up to 1700 or so it possibly shows the normal variation of the climate over a relatively short timescale (though nobody knows for sure) - one thing we are sure of is the climate is not, and never has been, stable or predictable.

Back around 1950, when your chart stops, CO2 levels were way below what they are now.

If indeed the CO2 is a powerful greenhouse gas (nobody yet knows the temperature sensitivity) then we can possibly expect even the current level of CO2 to eventually lead to much higher temperatures than the chart shows.

Overall will the world be better or worse off if it is warmer on average? ... overall will individuals in the first world be better or worse off? ... nobody knows, there are too many variables. Beware of averages (and especially averages of averages) - they tell an 'executive summary' type story.

If we give up burning fossil fuels will the world be better off - probably NO, a large part of the first world's population think they will suffer - so don't expect them to vote for it - they and their politicians want growth. I personally am trying hard to live without FF and I can't - the current UN proposal is for us all to live with 30% less emissions in just 12 years ... but how?

As far as I can tell from the data so far the world does not know how to grow economically without increasing consumption of fossil fuels - so we will continue vainly trying to continue BAU despite all the adverse problems.

We can't even agree collectively who governs our various countries, so we are unlikely to agree how to solve all our interlinked problems. Life will go on, it will be different even if we don't get dangerous global warming - live for today, enjoy life to the full and don't expect somebody else to save you if things go 'pear shaped'.

AGW is just one of Kunstler's cluster.

I don't buy the idea that 'the people' or 'the market'
determine what is going to happen. The pandering of politicans to the lowest instincts of masses is highly overrated. Today, I find the politicans are the ones under pressure as the public can see BAU is increasingly not working.
In fact you can see the unease in the professional political class with large numbers of them retiring.

But GW is not an isolated issue. There is resource depletion and Peak Population. GW will be seen as part of a comprehensive approach. The GW deniers represent a BAU or return to the Past outlook.
The world has got problems(which are getting worse by the day) and they DON'T have any solutions.

The price of oil has gone up 10-fold in the last ten years and we still use more than we did 10 years ago. Why would a simple doubling or tripling lead to significantly use less? That is why I oppose a carbon tax and favor rationing. I'm glad to see a few more commenters coming around to that opinion. I also see that a liquid fuels crisis within the next 5 years will make all other political issues seem trivial. As for its share of fossil carbon contribution the petrol we burn in our cars is a minor fraction of the problem. It's the generation of electricity and heating buildings that are the big problems.
I am buying a 1700 sq ft house with a good southern exposure and I figure I can add 120 sq ft of solar collectors for under $1000 in the hope it will substantially reduce the amount of propane use. The big problem I face is my wife who thinks new flooring is more important. Oy ve.

If you don't mind, I'll comment.

It depends on your hot water use. Families use 20 gallons per day per person.

A family of 3 can get by with a 40(or 50) gallon hot water heater. You should reduce your water use as much as possible first.

Two (or three) 8'x4' collector panels connected to your 40 gallon propane hot water heater can reduce your energy domestic water energy use by 50%. You'll need a heat exchanger, antifreeze and circulation pump for the solar circuit and the domestic water system.

If the fuel is propane, at $2 a gallon(twice as expensive as natural gas per BTU), you might save $350 a year. Collectors have a +20 year life.

The installation cost will run around $4000 for a 3 person-2 collector panel set up.

If you have 6 people, double the above quantities(4 collectors, two 40 gallon hotwater heaters, two heat exchangers,etc.

More collector than you need won't help you save energy, due to cloudy days, etc.
Hopefully you can get a tax break on your solar system.

The tide of public opinion turns slowly - but it is turning. The science is there - the effects are becoming undeniable to the average citizen. What is lacking is a charismatic leader to bring the message home to most people.

A local law professor, Mary Wood, gave a speech at our library recently that models a coarse of action similar to the homeland mobilization "victory speakers" during WWII. Here is similar content:


Its a powerful message. The potential downside of global heating are truly horrific. If James Lovelock is correct, 90% of us are gone by the end of the century. All of our children and most of us will have to deal directly with severe effects.

Doing nothing is NOT an option - that will eventually become clear. However, turning around the positive feedbacks that are inherent in the natural system will be MUCH harder down the road. Then the problem will be mustering the resources to combat the problem while living with its consequences.

Thanks for posting this. Very similar to Climate Code Red report. Good to see more people laying out the case appropriately. I agree that huge shifts in public perception are in store.

The reason I asked the question of Dr. Bakhtiari, and used terms from physical chemistry, was his statement, "The major palpable difference between the four Ts is their respective gradient of oil output decline." My interpretation of that comment is that at each "transition" point where the gradient changes, we might view that as the "phase change" analogous to, say, frozen water melting, or hot water boiling.

And as for how much we do not know in a post-Peak Oil world, as Dr. Bakhtiari noted, that could be analogous to the phenomenon known as "flash evaporation."

Dr. Bakhtiari replied as follows:

"I certainly like your idea of 'phase transition,'...especially the analogy from ice to water, which occurs gradually. Start with ice and end with water, while to the very last second there is some ice present..."


The problem is collapse is accelerating now.

Even as we cope with Depression, we'll be dealing with natual disaster
at the same time.

Try to shorten your supply lines.

Thanks for posting that article. I followed it in part due to the tail end of the tag, fisheries. Little did I suspect it was presented to the Idaho chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

Lovelock, as you and Woods reference, has this to say:

"The world and human society face disaster to a worse extent, and on a faster timescale, than almost anybody realises, he believes. He writes: " Before this century is over, billions of us will die, and the few breeding pairs of people that survive will be in the Arctic where the climate remains tolerable.""


Is anyone else disturbed by the invocation of WWII as the appropriate response? The Allies won WWII by massive amounts of industrial production, industrial destruction and the nuclear bomb. Industry - in the sense of gearing up and producing - is not going to be helpful in this case. More is worse.

"...because of the efficiency with which it mobilized, the United States was also the only major belligerent to get out of the war much richer than before. Between 1940 and 1944, its workforce increased by almost twenty million people. Over the same four years, GNP rose by 54 percent. [p173 Martin Van Creveld, "The Changing Face of War"]"

Or are people flashing on some presumed sense of Unity? Tell that to the Japanese Americans, Native Americans and the African Americans of the time.

It strikes me the war metaphor is wrong, that the hierarchical command structure it implies is wrong, that the authoritarian society it implies is wrong, that the structures of our nations, culture, economies, technology and law are all wrong. We can't fix this with the tools that got us into the problem. Nor was the scale of change in WWII big enough. WWII was just Business-As-Usual.

Of course, it's way easier to know what is wrong than to know what is right. One bit of what is right, however, is opposing the continuation of Business-As-Usual. Czech writes in "Shovelling Fuel For A Runaway Train" that before we can turn the train around, we have to slow it down.

It's hard to think about that, but an example might be restoring and enforcing legislation like Glass-Steagall. Stripping corporations of personhood rights so that communities could exercise democratic control over economy. Breaking up Wal-Mart, big Ag, Pharma, the Fortune 500. No private corporations operates beyond a county and the surrounding counties - stuff like that in endless variations. Bring the train to a stop.

cfm in Gray, ME

Mary Wood's emphasis was on the urgency that motivates thousands of "Victory Speakers" to go out and talk in their communities about the impending threat. In the UK "Victory Gardens" were part of the war response. The mood was one of self-sacrifice towards a common goal - not exploitation.

If you look further at Mary's speech she goes into a formal legal argument about government's obligation as trustee of our shared resources. In her view, permitting agencies do not have the "discretion" to offer permits to pollute any more than a traditional trustee has the "discretion" to destroy a trust they administer. Responsibility is part of the message.

Certainly further industrialization is not likely to help with global heating. But the urgency of action - the time frame we have to act in - is more similar to war than any other metaphor.

Hmmm? WWII wasn't business as usual in a number of ways. For one, there was rationing. Two, there was a draft. Both give the notion that "we all" pitch in.

Sure their was war profiteering, but there was also a fair amount of oversight (which is why, considering the scope, the GW no oversight affect wasn't quite so bad).

Currently there is no collective sacrifice that rationing and the draft offer. It's all incentives or taxes or whatever individualistic "it's not me it's you" solution.

And remember the USA was very much opposed to going into WWII (especially the Republican party), but FDR still managed to get the draft started *6 months* before Pearl Harbor was attacked (by a vote).

Why don't we have strong leaders with foresight anymore?

Btw, the Germans didn't do rationing, possibly because such a self-sacrifice may have *roused* the people (or plain ol' arrogance) in a country where the corporate and government ties are very similar to the modern USA (reward those that help you [e.g. AT&T], attack those that don't [e.g. Qwest]). Always do what's good for business, and denying the government what they want (illegally - again with a NSA wiretapping reference) is bad business.

And of course (I agree with you about the fact that corporations trump individual citizens - without being human):
Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility. -Ambrose Pierce

WWII brought us into full employment, out of a depression, and left us with the legacy of a military industrial complex. There are dangers of course and the parallels are not perfect.

This is something from a WWII pamplet titled "Facing the War Facts" published by the New York State War Council Office of Civilian Motivation.

We Americans are not afraid of bad news. We want to be told the truth, the whole truth. We can “take it,” as we say. We know that if we face facts squarely, if we keep our aims clear, our determination steady, our loyalty unwavering, we shall be unbeatable.

Let us try to think, then, of some of the specific ways in which we can keep our morale strong and healthy through the war—and beyond.

Get suggestions from the group, then check against these points.

A. Keep our war aims constantly in mind. Remember that we are not out for conquest or glory. We are fighting for one thing only—the right of men to be free. We are free. We are going to stay free. We intend also to make freedom possible for all people.

B. Look at the entire war picture. Don’t be too jubilant or too depressed over one day’s report; it may have little or no bearing on the ultimate outcome.

C. Avoid “wishful thinking” by facing reality. Weigh good news against bad. Some examples of “wishful thinking”— the “invincible” Maginot line; Singapore, England’s “strongest” outpost; the “weak” Japanese air force.

D. Learn to discount rumors. There are a hundred rumors a week about dissension in Germany; about plots against Hitler; about Russia’s intention of making a separate peace; about weaknesses and confusion in this country.

E. Don’t shut your eyes to real dangers. If you know what danger threatens, you can go to work and prepare to meet it. But if you don’t know, you can only feel frightened and uncertain and unprepared. No certainty is so unsettling as suspense.

F. Don’t interpret all the news in terms of your own interests and concerns. Think rather of the good of our nation as a whole and of what you can do to promote it.

After reviewing, ask for other suggestions from the group.

Thanks Jason,

This is interesting. It's a coincidence, the first image that popped in my head when I read Robert's post was of a WWII vet I knew who told me about being what 18 or 19 - when he got his draft notice, he stomped on it. And then served...numerous close calls, medals and something else came out - he was one of the first US officers to see firsthand (one of) the camps. The point being - people do things. And also, the point being...I was surprised when he told me his first reaction. Not what you normally hear.

History has shown that while it is very difficult for a society to mobilize on difficult issues that don't seem to have immediate consequences, it has happened before. Civil rights is one example of this. There are also precedents in environmental issues, such as progress in tackling acid rain and CFC pollution. Global warming will be much tougher, but at least let's stop making such foolish and simplistic statements as, "We're doomed; we can never deal with long range problems".

I feel that those who give up on any meaningful progress are part of the problem.

The key to success is public attitudes. I dislike the approach of saying that we're all going to die if we don't deal with global warming. Quite frankly, that's fearmongering and in the long run it is divisive and unproductive. I would rather frame it as a moral issue, saying that we have a duty to preserve a healthy environment for future generations, for the impoverished nations of the world that will be hardest hit by global warming, and for the sake of stewardship of the natural world.

How can we do it? For starters, lead by example. Follow Jeff Brown's ELP model, which as we see has many benefits including mitigation of peak oil and climate change, as well as personal financial security and greater self-fulfillment. Work on promoting alternatives to consumerism, since consumerism is the fundamental problem here. Once public attitudes change, then we will be ready for proactive legislative action.

I think people telling pollsters they would like to curb warming is like saying they would like to lose weight or give up drinking or whatever. they like to sound virtuous but they are not really prepared to make any sacrifices to achieve that goal. They will do something as long as it does not cost them anything. It's like a new years resolution. Polititians, especially this side of the Atlantic are making a mistake as they seem to think that people will bear any burden or pay any price for environmental virtue. They will not.

(general comment)

One can understand the whys of Kyoto (97.)

1) Climate and CO2 emissions are a world problem. Therefore a world structure is needed to handle it. (This would seem to imply that it is a given that no-one would do anything on their own, and of course any scheme is voluntary because there are no possibilities of enforcement.) The UN agencies became responsible.

This structure is inappropriate and has led to comparisons and horse trading. Kyoto (iirc) alloted to Australia + 8 % (carbon emission equivalents) and 10 or 15 to Iceland. One feels like saying wtf, is that how we will reduce emissions? In these kinds of schemes and discussions there have to be winners and losers; that is what the UN does, so that is what you get. Moreover, the very concept of trading ‘carbon credits’ is meaningless in a global trade world, emissions are outsourced or externalized to begin with, and the trading just adds an extra layer to that. One might argue that all the shoddy and dodgy totting up that is done with Nation States in the left column entries is a pile of obfuscation. What happens on the ground is totally disconnected from the descriptive, wannabe ‘regulatory’ authorities because the two levels are *not* related.

2) The concept of tax (and credits) is based on the principle of user-polluter-exploiter pays. This is really quite disturbing. Complex and varied systems or processes (economic activity, etc.) are taxed on, or are requested to reduce, only one output - emissions. Amongst all the outputs or results (impossible to describe and quantify) only one nefarious output is taxed, others - soil erosion, deforestation, water pollution, child or frog death from industrial poisons, for ex. - are left aside. And the ‘bad’ outputs are never balanced against the ‘good’ ones. These might include longer life, better health, more fun, more science, more caring, better food, more egalitarian pol. systems, whatever, for humans, only them.. (all could be bitterly discussed..)

So, Kyoto and the like cannot have much or any effect.

If 51% of the voting public supports meaningful carbon taxes, such taxes become politically possible. But like Robert and many other commentators here, I doubt that government "leaders" will take the lead. After all, governments love perpetual expansion as much as businesses and growth economists.

Does this mean that proactive change is impossible? No. It means that waiting for proactive "leadership" from those currently at the helm is almost certainly futile.

Thus I propose that those of us who support immediate ACTION regarding GW and PO strike the word "they" from our day-to-day conversations. Examples:

"My wife and I cut our collective driving to 4,141 miles last year, and our goal for 2008 is less than 3,500. What are your family's goals?"

"Why burn gasoline to play? Lyn and I choose forms of recreation and amusement which don't use any fossil fuels or cause any pollution - and we have PLENTY of fun!"

And when someone notices I arrived via bicycle...

"Can I tell you why I rode my bike here? Thanks! It's because I don't want my country going to war for oil, and because I want to fight global warming. Now of course there are a lot of people who can't bicycle instead of driving, and I can't do it all of the time, but it IS what I could do ON MY WAY HERE TONIGHT. I think most of us have many more opportunities to slash our petroleum consumption than we realize. How do you think we can make it happen right here, right now, in Oregon, Wisconsin?"

"Would any of you give up driving to this bar if that's what it took to stop wars for oil?" (When I posed this question in Haack's Sports Bar here last December, a veteran of the current war immediately shouted, "Hell yes!")

Conversations without "they should" or "people won't". Just the first and second person.

Maybe speaking this way - and backing up our speech with our own actions - will "save the world". Maybe it won't. Meanwhile, it's what you and I can do when we open our mouths.

Hans Noeldner

I am also less worried than i used to be about global warming. All i can do at this point is think of it as evolution in action. natural selection is not negotiable.

Hello Econteacher,

Exactly! http://dieoff.com/page181.htm
by Jay Hanson, 02/20/98

It really will be back to the good old days! Shouts of "BRING ME HIS HEAD" will ring through the land, slaves, scalps, souvenirs and trophies of all sorts, ... exciting possibilities limited only by our ingenuity.

The good news is that recycling will finally become fashionable! We will see feral children mining the dumps for plastic to burn (Pampers) so they can heat the hovels they are forced to live in. The strongest kids will set traps for fresh meat -- rats -- while the weaker kids will eat anything they can cram into their mouths (old shoes, styrofoam peanuts, newspaper soup). Pandemics will sweep the world, punctuated every so often by explosions as abandoned and rotting nuclear facilities blow up. Leaking dumps and tanks will spew PCBs and radioactive hazwaste into the feral food chain spawning surprising new shapes for young mothers to enjoy nursing.[55] Toxic chemical fires, blowing garbage and trash, genetic mutations, filthy water, cannibalism ...

As the Easter Islanders say: "The flesh of your mother sticks between my teeth".[56]

The situation will be especially serious for a short time because the population will keep rising due to the lags inherent in the age structure and social adjustment. Then mercifully, the population will drop sharply as the death rate is driven upward by lack of food and health services.[57] Trapped in obsolete belief systems, Americans won't even know why their society disintegrated.

A hundred thousand years from now -- once the background radiation levels drop below lethality -- a new Homo mutilus will crawl out of the caves to elect a leader. Although we have no idea what mutilus might look like, evolutionary theory can still tell us who will win the election. He will be the best liar running on a platform to end hunger by controlling nature.

How could it be otherwise?
EDIT: Entropy is a real bitch. The [8 page PDF Warning] Thermo/Gene Collision for newbies:


Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

Alright dumbasses, I've got the ultimate solution to global warming:

A global cap and trade system on having children. Cap the population at a certain number, and you'll have to pay "child ofsets" to have children. Lower population, less enviromental damage. Plus, poor contries could get money for reducing their population growth rates, and reduce "population time bombs".

Think about it, China's one child policy has probably single handedly done more to reduce greenhouse gasses than all the world's governments policies combined.

It's goddamn genious.

Hello Daxtatter,

Good idea, if only we could get it implemented somehow. As posted before: what could also really focus ecologic understanding and stewardship for the planet is progressive finger amputation for Everyone based on human-caused biota extinction rates. I think the entire global population would 'grasp' the need for change long before we were all trying to survive with pointless stumps. My feeble two cents.

EDIT: even a partial implementation of this idea could change things quickly. Imagine when the orangutan or gorilla goes kaput in the wild. If every elected official and every person with a net worth greater than ten million bucks is legislatively impelled to give up their right pinky finger when this sad event occurs-- I bet they will work very hard to implement change before they lose their right ring finger to the polar bear, walrus, marlin, or salmon going extinct.

Bob Shaw in Phx,Az Are Humans Smarter than Yeast?

When I first read your suggestion of a cap and trade programme for children, the first imagine that came to mind was that of my parents desperately trying to barter me off for some (any) other child. I have to confess now that I've had the opportunity to read it once more, I find the whole idea far less objectionable. ;-)

One of Canada's late Prime Ministers emphatically declared the state has no place in the nation's bedrooms and that pretty much summed up public opinion at that time and some forty years later I would suggest this assessment still holds true. I can't imagine the political circumstances that would be required for such a dramatic reversal in direction, with the exception of some of the darker pictures painted here. And not that this matters much in the great scheme of things(*), but what in hell would those damn talking heads over at Fox News have to say about something like this? Whether the idea had merit or not (it's not like they care), would they not denounce it as the perfect expression of the sort of Nanny state they constantly warn us about? (sorry, I couldn't resist)


(*) Of course, given the little I understand about American politics, I could be wrong.

As Albert Bartlett has pointed out many times, it would still take 70 years or more for the population to stabilise. By which time it will still be too little, too late.

Robert, you say you are not worried about global warming any longer. However it sounds like there is a hint of worry in your writings, at least to me. Would it be better to say that you are resigned to humanity going this route (i.e. more CO2) despite your hope for the contrary?

Grey , I know Robert can speak for himself:), but if I read the article the way I read it, I would say he is narrowing in on doing things that can be accomplished and realizes that the universe will unfold as it should ... so what's to worry about there?

Personally I don't worry much about doing anything about CO2. I worry about looking after those around me, not about doing the impossible (as Stuart posting below posits ... a couple of fighting words here:).

I also think you are trying to get a discussion going here along more sensible avenues than feckless attempts at mitigation, if this comment is any help, good!

I agree that carbon taxes, while obviously economically efficient, are politically very problematic - so far been highly unacceptable in the US, and Europe has not really been very much better.

I think the better focus in the near term is subsidizing/mandating the development of conservation/efficiency/alternatives. Mandating that auto-makers increase fuel efficiency of vehicles (as we just did in the US) is much more politically acceptable than carbon prices. It will be a lot easier for people to kick the carbon habit when they can clearly see the alternative ways to run civilization.

IMO mandates are the worst possible tool. What they do is shifting the problem from its real cause (consumption) to the mere consequence of people's wants (production). They are enforcing this happy delusion that the public doesn't need to do a thing and the problem will solve itself, because they* will find a way.

I remember you being in the IT industry. How would you react if some clueless government official mandates that your application runs twice faster, after you've done all you possibly have to make it as fast as possible?

* those invisible geeks that know how to make my car run. they can do anything, even a 3 ton SUV getting 100MPG, aren't they?

I don't know if you are correct, in general, but the mandates we got recently will do virtually nothing and will kick in about the time we have already reached the tipping point. They do nothing to address the rolling stock and all the infrastructure we have now. Just tinkering with future autos is a virtually worthless exercise.

The same people who will continue to buy and drive SUVs are also demanding that the auto companies give them better gas mileage while their vehicles get bigger and more powerful.

Obama says we are the people we have been waiting for (not original by the way). That is scary. If we are the people we have been waiting for, we are in deep shit. Methinks we are going to have to wait awhile longer.

A leader with the ability to actually move people to a higher goal beyond their pure self interest is necessary. Apparently, millions of people think Obama is that leader. I hope they are right. But where will we be lead?

It will be a lot easier for people to kick the carbon habit when they can clearly see the alternative ways to run civilization.

I think they're all too busy seeking alternative ways to ruin civilisation.

Global climate change is already happening. It's not about warming, it is about changing the interactive, nonlinear, feedback-laden systems that drive the weather. Humans accomplish this through destruction and paving of landscapes, deforestation, and pollution.

We are already passing climate tipping points globally, and the weather is already exhibiting chaotic behavior.

The shifts in the weather now affect not only humans, but all other interactive environmental life-support systems on the planet. Different temperature changes, CO2 concentrations, and patterns of rain and drought now affect the gestation, development, and mortality of species, their competitors, their food supplies, and their predators.

Climate change, an unintended consequence wrought by our actions, is now a major player in the Holocene extinction event.

The results of our actions are again attacking the foundations upon which not just human life rests, but upon which the entire ecosystem depends.

It's a byproduct of unmanageable complexity, an unintended consequence. It is the result of attempting reactive top-down control during the last 12,000 years of civilization, of a physical world that is built and guided from the bottom-up.

The worldwide human population is, quite simply, fucked.

And the more that 6.6 billion of us keep using oil, methane, and coal, it will befoul the atmosphere even more and we'll get fucked that much harder as forces of inertia and entropy take over.

Sometimes I wish I hadn't studied chaos and complexity theories. Then I could go about my daily life in blissful ignorance of unmanageable, unsolvable problems like these.

Mr. Long skinny sword (no offense meant in fact I have several myself)

In keeping with your intent I will not comment on global warming.

I agree with you that nothing will be done to address the big issues coming down on us all.

IMHO this is due to the fact that nobody will do anything that negatively effects the growth and maintainence of wealth, both personal and national.

Does this not imply that the focus should be on the reasons for this reality not on the symptoms?

I read Nate and his behavorial emphasis posts over and over yet still can not hone in on a solution short of slipping into some green tights and stringing my bow and sharpening my dirk. (and this addresses symptom only)


My views on global warming and what will realistically be done about it pretty much parallel those expressed by Robert Rapier.

I would also add that in my view carbon sequestration (at least the version of it entailing capturing CO2 from combustion sources and pumping it underground) will enventually be seen to be a highly wasteful technological and economic deadend. And as such, it will never get much further than government sponsored boondoggle projects.

Then what IS to be done about global warming? i simply don't know! Maybe just let it happen and try to mitigate the effects, e.g., protecting or moving infrastructure from impacted areas and diversifying and decentralizing our agricultural resources to lessen the impact of new unfavorable weather patterns. But I suspect this will probably be too little too late and we will be in for a very bumpy ride.

The true Tradgedy of the Commons is only now being realized:

Those of us seemingly well protected in some First World Nation will find that the true cost of Global Warming will come from famines, drought, the associated stripping of vegatation, then economic disaster, and finally widespread wars. Wars such as in Somalia and Afghanistan that are intractable and very very costly to First World Nations.

$7.00 per gallon will be a bargain.

The following report summarizes the total likely costs of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars.


This report indicates these wars will cost the US $3.5 trillion over the 2002 - 2017 time period. Or about $775 per person per year.

Per capita gasoline consumption is about $500/year.

So if we paid for the wars at the pump it would add $1.55 to the cost of a gallon.

As Global Warming progresses, the number of wars and their security and economic impact on First World Nations will only grow.

Perhaps $7/gallon gas is a real bargain!

Another factor not considered in $7/gallon gas: Vehicles will get significantly better milage, more mass transit will be used, a lot less money will be sent out of the country every year due to reduced demand (kinda like economic stimulus), and that extra cash can be used to fund green projects or reduce other taxes. Total spending on gasoline over the long term would only be slightly higher than today since demand would diminish.

deleted - no longer funny as I must have clicked the wrong comment creator. Oh well.

Where I used to live they would only put a grip strip (special traction strips that allow cars to break better)down on a road crossing after someone had been run down on it. The council didnt want to fork out the money for grip strips on all the road crossings in the first place and Joe Public never complained until one of them got run down. I think its just human nature to prefer to deal with a problem after it has happened than think about any sort of prevention.

This article aligns with my opinion and why I have spent all of the time that I have on the SHPEGS idea. Renewable energy has to be cheaper than coal to succeed. Al Gore deserved the recognition he got for increasing public awareness, but public awareness isn't going to change anything.

The clean coal/carbon sequestration project here was scrapped when the price tag came in at 3.8b and would have worked out to $15k/household for the province. No one was willing to pay that kind of price tag, they think the power bill is too high now. There is a very strong chance that the billions tonnes of known reserves of coal here are going to go directly into the atmosphere over the next few hundred years.

The thin-film PV ideas are great, but they are going to make them cheap by getting the silicon out of China from an arc furnace hooked up to an old school coal fired plant. People will install the intermittent power source on their roofs and pat themselves on the back for helping the environment, but it's just going to be coal burned in China putting the energy into the panels for the homeowner to take back out from solar.

Wow! We actually agree on something!

Hi Oil Drummers- longtime reader here, first time commenter.

I think that it's a fallacy to assume that everything that needs to be done to reduce GHG emissions is going to cost a lot of money. Reducing energy use by improving efficiency, for example, can make a big contribution to GHG emission reduction. The recent McKinsey report "Curbing Global Energy Demand Growth: The Energy Productivity Opportunity," found that "the right policies and investments in existing technologies that yield an internal rate of return of 10 percent or higher could contribute to a reduction in global energy demand growth by at least half to 2020." (No, I don't work for McKinsey. I just found the report interesting, and it gave me some hope.) You can find the report here:

Now, energy efficiency alone isn't going to get the job done. But "earnings" from efficiency improvements could conceivably fund the more expensive things we're going to have to do.

(And if you want to know all about why governments and companies aren't _already_ investing in energy efficiency, when the rate of return is so good- the report covers that too.)

I think that it's a fallacy to assume that everything that needs to be done to reduce GHG emissions is going to cost a lot of money.

Who made that mistake? Of course there are lots of low cost GHG emission options. Problem is, population is growing and a lot of the 3rd World wants to be like the 1st World.

Again, I ask people to look at the graphic, and tell me exactly which point on there gives them cause for hope over this issue.

I think you make the cost of mitigation seem too high when you start out with a question like "would you be willing to pay $7gallon to stop GW?". There may be better questions like would you be willing to pay $1gallon tax, coupled with a
$1000/year credit on your income taxes. At least some people will do the math, and figure if they don't drive too much and/or buy a Prius etc. that they can come out ahead. And realistically a carbon tax is really a way to raise goverment revenue, and an opportunity to cut other taxes. It *might* be sellable, but it would have to be applied gradually, say .10gallon increase each year. We've already absorbed more than that rate of increase due to the global oil market. The real tragedy, as Im sure most TOD readers are aware, is that our inability to tax oil/gasoline simply means that the extra cost is shipped out to the oil exporters, rather than the retained by our own government. But yet I've never heard a politician make this argument.

We need a carbon tax. But a carbon tax which exceeds the price of capture/sequestration from free-air makes no sense. Of course we need some small scale geo-engineering experiments to figure out what that cost is. The purpose of the tax is to send a price signal to the markets, such that better decisions can be made. Power company execs every day must face a decision like:
do I meet future demand, by (a) build a coal plant, (b) build a Nuke plant, (c) build more renewables, or (d) aggressively promote conservation among my customer base. Slight differences if cost, and or percieved risk can skew decisions. Clearly all won't make the decision we would like, but you start to change the game.

I see that it is mostly carbon that is a problem. Well, why not extract the CO2 from the atmosphere? Then further extract the carbon. The carbon can then have multiple uses, solar panels, wires, building materials an endless amount of applications. The power used in extracting the CO2 can come from solar, wind, hydro, and or geothermal. To extract CO2, add hydrogen and heat in a closed compartment

They seem to have the method. But I wouldn't store CO2. We want oxygen gas and carbon materials.

So once you have a lot of CO2. All that's left is finding the right chemical process. Possibly electrochemistry has a solution.

I've read somewhere that theres a reaction

H + CO2 -> C + H20

where the driving energy for the reaction is heat. I'm having trouble finding the source but I do remember the chemical reaction clearly.

The end goal is to extract pure carbon and let O2 into the atmosphere.

I see that it is mostly carbon that is a problem. Well, why not extract the CO2 from the atmosphere?

Takes way more energy to extract and convert it than the energy that was originally produced in burning it, because 1). 2nd Law of Thermodynamics; 2). The CO2 is very dilute.

Takes way more energy to extract and convert it than the energy that was originally produced in burning it, because 1). 2nd Law of Thermodynamics; 2). The CO2 is very dilute.

It takes way less energy, than was originally produced in burning it, just to extract it as carbonate rock, without then converting it further. More.

How shall the car gain carbon-free nuclear cachet?

And even if it were true that recollecting the carbon took more energy than it gave, the generation of nuclear technology used to do the separating will be more efficient and need not be portable at all. A free standing plant turning CO2 into ugly black powder is all capital cost.

What we really need is some kind of self-replicating, self-sufficent widget that extracts CO2 from the atmosphere and sequesters it using just sunlight, soil and water.

Oh yeah, we chopped those down...

There is barely any use for CO2 itself. But a lot more to Carbon. The energy used will come by renewable means. Yes it does take more energy than initially, but the main idea is a means of a supply of a usable material as well as reducing CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. All of which is more beneficial than merely storing CO2.

Pure carbon has worth, just as energy supply. Even more so when carbon is turned into a solar panel, and or any other energy acquiring device.

Here's a quote
"The solar cell developed at NJIT uses a carbon nanotubes complex, which by the way, is a molecular configuration of carbon in a cylindrical shape. The name is derived from the tube's miniscule size. Scientists estimate nanotubes to be 50,000 times smaller than a human hair. Nevertheless, just one nanotube can conduct current better than any conventional electrical wire. "Actually, nanotubes are significantly better conductors than copper," Mitra added."

I have a nice long list of newspaper and journal clips that shows how the carbon trading system in Europe is causing all kinds of problems. In particular, dropping investments, companies moving (such as Nokia) to countries that arn't part of the trading system, and expected energy increases to the public of some 50%. Here's some samplings:


The Wall Street Journal, 11 February 2008

By Jeffrey Ball

Japan, famous for its hybrid cars and solar panels, may become an environmental pioneer in another sense: buying cheap carbon offsets abroad to minimize the burden on its domestic industry to clean up its act at home.

Under Kyoto, these won't be enough. Japanese and Russian officials agreed over the weekend to launch talks about Japan buying surplus greenhouse-gas emission permits from Russia. Such a sale would mark a major - and controversial - development in the geopolitics of what to do about global warming.

At issue is the Kyoto Protocol, the international global-warming treaty. It requires countries to cut their emissions below 1990 levels. That date is crucial in determining who wins and loses under the treaty.

The economies of Eastern European countries imploded after 1990 - and thus their emissions did too. As a result, Kyoto gives those Eastern European countries massive numbers of paper emission permits that they can sell to the highest bidder. The credits are known in the trade as "hot air." No country has more of them than Russia.

The prospect that industrialized economies such as Japan or those in Western Europe would get relief from their Kyoto cleanup obligations simply by buying paper emission credits from Russia has angered many environmentalists. But the treaty clearly allows such sales. One idea under discussion is that countries that do buy Eastern European hot air would require as a condition of the purchase that Eastern European countries promise to spend some of the revenue on "green" projects - retooling its factories to improve their energy efficiency, for instance. How that would work in practice is anyone's guess.

What's certain is that Japan is chafing under the emission-reduction promise it made under the Kyoto treaty. As we wrote last month, Japan pledged to cut its emissions 6% below 1990 levels by 2012. But as of 2006, Japan's emissions were 6.4% above 1990 levels - despite all those Prius hybrids that Toyota Motor Corp. sells.

Many Western European countries that signed up for Kyoto find themselves in a similar pickle. Japan is in an even tougher spot. Its past record of energy efficiency means it already has made many of the cheapest environmental improvements available to an industrialized economy. What's left to do is more expensive - and likely more disruptive to Japanese industry, which now is complaining loudly about its Kyoto burden.

Japanese and Russian officials are scheduled to get together later this month to talk more about a mutually beneficial sale of hot-air emission credits. Stay tuned.

and ...


AFP, 6 February 2008

(BRUSSELS) - A growing number of European industrial groups are scrapping investments because of EU plans to make them pay for the right to emit greenhouse gases, an energy industry association said Wednesday.

"Every week a project is being cancelled," said Johannes Teyssen, vice chairman of the World Energy Council, which represents groups in 96 countries.

Teyssen, who said he had lost count of the number of projects that had been called off, cited in particular the cancellation in recent weeks of plans for several coal-fired power plants in Germany.

While the shelving of the projects was "probably a reflection of increased costs," it was also a a result of the European Commission's "rigid and tough" stance on emissions, he said.


The Guardian, 7 February 2008

David Gow in Brussels and Will Woodward

Europe is facing an energy crisis because of green-influenced legislation and regulation, and difficulty in obtaining planning approval for key projects, energy companies warned yesterday.

Europe needs to spend €2tn (£1.5tn) on upgrading power networks in the next 25 years but leading energy companies have cancelled investments in new power plants worth billions of euros because of increased regulatory uncertainty, a senior executive claimed yesterday.

Johannes Teyssen, chief operating officer at E.ON, Germany's biggest energy group, blamed the European commission's plans to make companies pay for all their pollution permits from 2013, huge delays in approving planning applications and confusion among national regulators for the cancellations.

Teyssen, vice-chairman of the World Energy Council (WEC) Europe, said: "We see now every week a new investment project being cancelled across the EU." He cited at least four multibillion-euro projects to build power plants in Germany and said thousands of kilometres of new power lines were "lying on the table" because of planning delays.

The pan-European industry lobby, Eurelectric, says the EU will need about 520 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity by 2030. But the WEC, in a report handed to the commission yesterday, said investments had slowed in recent years and Europe was now twice as vulnerable to external shocks as it was in the 1960s. It would be 70% dependent on imports by 2030 without a change in policy.

Teyssen said the commission's plans to scrap free emission permits and move to a full auction system would further blight investment decisions. He also said it took longer to approve planning applications than to build a nuclear power station. "I hardly know of any EU nation where it's easy to build a high-voltage transmission line or new gas pipeline."

Centrica, owners of British Gas, said delays in planning applications were holding up projects for onshore wind farms and new gas-storage facilities. But, officials said, the group backed commission plans to auction pollution permits, creating greater regulatory clarity and offering incentives to invest in new low-carbon or carbon-free plants.

Teyssen urged the EU to avoid putting all its eggs into the renewables basket, arguing that they could cause more harm than good if national and cross-border grids were incapable of meeting the growth in their use.

"You need a broader picture; you can't just say green is good," he said.

However, the British government rejected the suggestion and said its energy market was the most competitive and liberalised in the EU and G7, encouraging investment from firms such as E.ON.

John Hutton, the business secretary, said: "We are legislating to speed up the planning system and to put in place incentives for energy companies to bring forward the investment we need. This will mean a dramatic expansion in renewables, new investment in nuclear power and technologies to clean up how we use fossil fuels."

Companies are also resisting the commission's drive to open the EU energy market to more competition, saying that uncertainty put them off investing in new projects. Eight countries, led by France and Germany, have attacked the central pillar of the commission's liberalisation package. This involves forcing the big continental players to "unbundle", or sell their gas and electricity transmission networks/pipelines to independent operators and allow new players to enter a more competitive market.

The eight, backed by big groups such as E.ON, France's EDF and GDF, and Italy's Eni, have formed a "blocking minority" within the council of ministers. They are proposing instead, in a letter to the EU energy commissioner Andris Piebalgs and MEPs, that national regulators draw up 10-year investment plans that the companies would be obliged to follow.

In the letter, seen by the Guardian, they say the "unbundling" plans are unconstitutional and inappropriate to "guarantee an adequate level of investment in the networks and foster the integration of our national networks".

The Piebalgs plan faces growing internal opposition within the commission itself, with one senior official saying that it would break up big companies capable of competing in global markets and force the EU to be more dependent on huge foreign players.

Now before anyone jumps on these as possible good things, bear in mind that this is people's lives and livelyhood here. What good is attempting to curb emissions if all it does is make tens of thousands of laid off workers who start to riot in the streets because they cannot feed their families? It's one thing to say that others need to sacrafice, but how many of you would be willing to sacrafice you and your families economic well being?

That's the crux of the whole issue. The whole point in Robert's quote from the Star (which I posted BTW) is that you will never get the public to swallow the carbon reduction pill if it means curbing their and their children's economic future. The public doesn't see complex connections, they don't want to see complex connections. They want to do their little tidbit of token attempt (new light bulbs), but beyond that you will not get the public to make any drastic changes voluntarily, and no politician in their right mind would force draconian measures on the public. As our Prime Minister has repeatedly said, there is no point in closing steel mills in Canada, laying off millions, and buy the steel from China who are immune from CO2 reductions.

And how much energy will be wasted transporting that steel from China to Canada?

"Carbon Credits" is one of the biggest scams out there next to Social Security. So China can pillage their land (which they have - I've ready many articles how horribly polluted it is over there) and don't have to worry about CO2 emission, but Japan, who has already been environmentally-friendly and much cleaner than China, will be penalized for its significantly smaller CO2 emissions? In other words, destroy the economies of the 1st world nations and move everything to the 3rd world?

The only aspect of "global warming" that I'm worried about is the horrible government policies that will be implemented to try to "fix" the "problem."

Yep, any time governments get involved in things it becomes FUBAR. What is sad is that the very thing this carbon trading system is designed to do, funnel money from "rich" countries to "poor" countries will do is line the pockets of the traders with tens of millions, making them rich.

JR -

I don't think anyone has promised carbon trading as the best solution. My take on Robert's hypothesis is that we (the royal "We") won't do anything about global warming as long as it is politically incorrect. Regardless of any differences of opinion as to whether AGW is real, it seems the general consensus of the thread is to support the hypothesis -- that for a number of reasons the U.S. Government and several others won't be taking action.

Personally I think peak oil poses a far greater risk to our economy and well being, but it does *feel good* to think that being 'green' and energy efficient has a silver lining or two.

And frankly I agree with one concern - regardless of what we do unilaterally, our corporations have already offloaded most of their environmentally sensitive operations to Asia. Will they help China reduce emissions? Only if they can make a profit in doing so.

The only wealth I see streaming to the 3rd world is our manufacturing jobs now in China or my engineering work now shipped to India. It isn't clear that left-leaning folks had anything to do with this. Perhaps you could help explain what the far left is planning.

Rather than arguing politics let me discuss one possible outcome:

Lets say for a moment that peak oil and natural gas are real, the U.S. and China continue to refuse a Kyoto-style reduction plan, and between the two countries there is enough coal to raise global temps another 2-4C, but we won't know the outcome for 50 years. Given the rough simplification of the Hippocratic oath as "at least, do no harm", which would be the better path, to accept the possibility of AGW or to deny it?

What do we do? Do we leave the coal in the ground and potentially save humanity, or do we burn it and save our economy? In either case, what do we do about China?

Excellent and rational questions. Personally, I don't think there is a rational answer to give you. I can give some of my own thoughts.

Some of the "solutions" for curbing CO2 and global warming will cause us to consume more money and more resources. I have a nice list of economic articles on how carbon sequestering will cost BILLIONS, be a detrument to the economy, and will actually fail for a number of reasons (the biggest is the scope of the emissions and the available places to sequester it, not enough). Even if we do sequester it, China and India will continue to emit. What I find amazing is the UN now does not want India to curb their emissions because they don't want to curb their growth!!

Two very hypocritical things there. 1) why would India be exempt? and 2) if curbing CO2 would hurt their growth, how would curbing CO2 in the US *NOT* curb our growth!! This to me smells of nothing but a political ploy.

I can easily tell you what the left is planning as I have visited their sites, and participated in their discussions to ferrit out this very question. It ranges from a variety of actions, but in a nut shell it's remove all businesses and place them all in the hands of the workers. Strip everyone who has money of their wealth and "redistribute" it to the poor, and finally to have one world government that controls everything. Wacko, oh yes, but take a visit to some of these radicals. If you follow what the UN does and how it operates, it is clearly driven by left leaning interests.

I don't think we are going to have to wait 50 years, soon as oil and NG go into terminal decline all bets are off as to what the future will bring. I don't at all rule out WWIII, I see China starting to throw its military might around the world as it seizes energy and materials. The US will mostly be impotent to stop it. Once the US economy goes into freefall due to higher energy costs, lower energy input, and debt defaults skyrocket, the US will be in such internal chaos that there is no way it will mount an effective deterrent to China.

Bleak, but that's what I see. That's why even if AGW were true, it's irrelevant, as our society isn't going to be this society in 50 years.

Knew I had these somewhere:

Jonah Goldberg’s New Book reports on global warming and liberal fascism

Excerpt: Goldberg feels that liberals are aligned against the tragic “wrong turn” society allegedly took when it rejected the beliefs that social and gender roles are not fixed; that tradition, religion and natural law have no binding power or authority over the individual’s will to power. He writes that "nowhere is the idea of the Wrong Turn more starkly expressed in both National Socialist and temporary thought than in environmentalism … Man, liberals insist, has lost his harmony with nature, his way of life is inauthentic, corrupting, unnatural.” Liberals demand the world’s belief in manmade global warming, despite many learned scientists’ contrary opinions. Environmentalism’s most fascist ingredient, Goldberg writes, is that “it is an invaluable ‘crisis mechanism.’ Al Gore constantly insists that global warming is the defining crisis of our time. Skeptics [of bandwagon liberal theories] are labeled traitors, Holocaust deniers, tools of ‘carbon interests.’” He recalls how Gore appeared before Congress last year and told them, “the world has a fever” and explained that when your baby has a fever, you “take action. You do what the doctor says.” No time to debate, no room for argument. We must go beyond politics. In practical terms, this means we must surrender to the global nanny state and create the sort of “economic dictatorship” progressives yearn for. Gore’s catastrophic global warming alarmism provides the perfect platform for the creation of a global authority that regulates just about every human activity, a prescription for an absolute global dictatorship. In Nazi Germany, crises were dealt with militantly. Soft measures were not the way to deal with immediate problems, such as what the Nazis defined as the “Jewish question.” According to Goldberg “The old critique of the Hebrew disease metastasized into an indictment of what could be called the human disease” — one of environmentalism’s chief bugaboos — overpopulation. One of the defining characteristics of both Italian Fascism and Nazism was their need to use coercion to impose their political and philosophical agendas. It is no accident that the progressive programs advanced by today’s liberals all employ coercion of one form or another to implement them. http://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/jonah_goldberg_fascism/2008/02/17/73406...


Excerpt: Here's the essential common core of hatred and destruction in the doctrines of Communism, Nazism, and Environmentalism. Only the concretes differ, not the fundamental principle of hatred for human life and happiness. Communism: The pursuit of individual self-interest causes monopolies, depressions, and exploitation of workers by capitalists. It must be replaced by self-sacrifice for the benefit of the working class and the Socialist State. Capitalists and landowners must be exterminated for the benefit of the proletariat. Nazism: The pursuit of individual self-interest causes racial impurity, national decline, and exploitation of German workers by Jewish capitalists. It must be replaced by self-sacrifice for the good of the Aryan master race and the National Socialist State. Jews, Gypsies, and Slavs must be exterminated for the benefit of the German Nation. Environmentalism: The pursuit of individual self-interest causes global warming, acid rain, and ozone depletion. It must be replaced by self-sacrifice for the good of other species—our "fellow biota"—and for the good of the planet, under the auspices of international treaties and a nascent Global Socialist State: the UN. Most of the human race must be exterminated for the benefit of exploited species and the planet. (This is what the environmentalist “extremists” already openly say. The “moderates” merely want to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 90 percent and thereby reduce the American standard of living to that of a third world country, with a third world country’s infant mortality and life expectancy.)


Engage Godwin's Law.

And no one on the TOD has ever used their leftist rants to follow Godwin's Law. Right.

We will never tax ourselves into changing something. The argument for "global warming" has gone to the ridiculous with talks of CO2 taxation and "carbon credits." Only the middlemen stand to make money from that. Taxation doesn't work because it doesn't apply to everyone. So Canada wants to add a 25c tax on gas so they will use less? Great for me! That means as an American I can use more since Canada isn't using their lot. And let's say the US does sign the Kyoto agreement. Great for small nations who didn't sign the agreement! All the big businesses can move to those tax-friendly nations and keep on doing business as usual. The only ones who suffer are the ones who are being taxed.

As long as there is one nation, state, city, business, or group of people who doesn't follow the Kyoto agreement (or whatever CO2 agreement most of the world decides to follow), it fails. This is very similar to the argument that "I'll use less gas by riding my bicycle to work." Great for me! You didn't increase the demand and thus I'll use your lot at the same price.

Only the free-market will make people change their habits, not some agreement or taxation or credits because there is ALWAYS a way to cheat the system.

The free market system is no substitute for ethics.

PedalPusher, are you willing to change your own habits towards a sustainable lifestyle?

Will you do so unilaterally, without being forced by taxes or laws or scarcities?

Will you work to convince your family, friends, neighbors, etc. to adopt systainable lifestyles as well?

Are you willing to make it uncomfortable for your family, friends, neighbors, etc. if they "cheat"?

In the matter of life you and I are "on the court", not "in the stands". Confining ourselves to third-person conversations about what OTHER people will and won't do ("Only the free-market will make people change their habits...") won't get us anywhere. Please check my post above.

Hans Noeldner

1. Only if I can profit from it / there's something in it for me.

2. See #1

3. Not my problem. I'd rather move to a community where everyone is living a sustainable lifestyle than try to convert my neighbors. Know why? When TSHTF and no one else prepared but me, guess who's garden and house will be raided by his neighbors? Nope, I STFU. Not my problem.

4. Nope because I'll be cheating as well to maximize my portion.

And I absolutely guarantee you this is how the majority of people think. Only suckers sacrifice their allotment of resources because others will more than gladly use/waste them. The best course of survival is to look out for "numeral uno" and not care about anyone else. This is survival we are talking about. If it doesn't benefit my survival, or in fact lessens my survival, why would I want to do it?

"Ethics" are for the plentiful and blessed. See how quickly that goes out the window when people are struggling to survive. I sincerely believe humanity's course is headed towards a Mad Max world.

So it's true.

The survival of the species depends on $$$$.

I wonder what kind of species will evolve?

Part kangaroo, (to hold all that $$$$) and part snake.

Our species, and the rest of the animal kingdom, have already evolved. Those who did not fight for their survival, "ethics" be damned, died off and did not produce any/many offspring. Those that hoarded the resources also attracted the most females and thus had the most offspring. Their genes which said to "hoard as much as you can and destroy all competition" were successfully passed on to the next generation. That is why man fights wars; that is why animals fight each other - survival!

Those people willing to give up their resources to "help others" will find themselves dead and their gene pool terminated. Look at those who sterilize themselves because they don't want to harm the planet with more offspring. Well, whatever genes they had which caused self-sacrifice died when they died without any offspring. My offspring, however, will fight for every bit they can get. After all, we are no different from the other animals.

you display nearly as much misunderstanding of evolution by natural selection as you do AGW.

"Darwin felt that "social instincts" such as "sympathy" and "moral sentiments" also evolved through natural selection, and that these resulted in the strengthening of societies in which they occurred, so much so that he wrote about it in Descent of Man: "..at some future period, not very distant as measured by centuries, the civilised races of man will almost certainly exterminate, and replace, the savage races throughout the world."

see? you're toast (eventually)

and of course we ARE different from the other animals - none of them are capable of destroying the entire planet the way we are

"I sincerely believe humanity's course is headed towards a Mad Max world."

Yep, as I have stated before, it's going to get real nasty before it settles down, if it ever does. That's why it's better to get out of the city ASAP and into farm county as far as possible from hoards of hungry people. People were isolated on farms in the 1880s fine, linked by rail to the rest of society (now mostly ripped up). People in rural areas will be far better off.

We were at a farm auction the other day looking to see what chickens and livetock sold for. CHEEP!! Chickens for $6 each, baby goats for $20 and baby sheep for $30. So once my son it set up in his mini farm we will bring come chickens and some sheep (to cut the grass!) and maybe the odd goat for milk. I also plan to buy 3 beehives this spring and set them up there too.

Bottom line, get as far away from the hoards as you can.