Being misinterpreted, misquoted or misrepresented in the press is par for the course, isn’t it? When Andrew represents your view as being that “promoting 350… might be missing the point”, it *does* make it sound like you’re criticising the 350.org campaign, but that’s not what your quote is saying. That’s typical of journalism though – everything has to be hyped up, there has to be drama or conflict or disagreement injected into the story whether it exists in reality or not. Journalism is very rarely just about presenting the facts, and almost always about selling newspapers or gaining viewers or whatever, regardless of the facts.
[Response: This is not the case here. Revkin was very clear about what we were talking about and wanted to make the point that I have clarified above. There are cases where you would have been correct with this diagnosis – but this is not one of those. – gavin]
Not having seen the original article, your excerpts here do sound like a criticism of 350.org. Thanks for the clarification! To be expected of you guys, you do great work!!
Comment by Jeff in Cincinnati, OH — 27 Oct 2009 @ 1:51 PM
I’d hoped to retain that great final line, but in the eternal space crunch, it got dropped.
The vital question, I’m told repeatedly by specialists in the non-science arenas you list (economics, technological change, politics), is what policies have the best shot of producing a peak and decline that limits climate risks as delineated by the science.
And most of those curves are quite similar no matter what end point is chosen, given the change required just to stablize at ANY concentration in a world heading toward 9 billion people seeking decent lives.
A couple of useful additional perspectives that didn’t fit in print were offered by Rajendra Pachauri of the IPCC (who endorsed the 350 campaign):
“We are dealing with a dynamic system. Hence, what would really be relevant is the trajectory of concentration levels and therefore emission trajectories. The 350 number has some appeal, because it would to some extent determine the peaking period and the rate of decline. Of course 350 by itself provides no solution. It would merely be the end point of a trajectory which theoretically can have infinite alternatives.”
And Mike Hulme, the British climate maven who wrote “Why We Disagree About Climate Change”:
“I never quite know what targets like 400, 350 or 280 mean…. If we mean stabilise back at 280 by 2200, say, then we can pump a lot of CO2 in the meantime, before some really good carbon scrubbing technologies in the 22nd century come along. Same argument actually for 280 by 2100 if you’re a technology optimist. So really if one wants to deal in long-term numbers then talk either about future C budgets (how many gigatons are you going to allow), or else set the peak concentration and by when. My guess is that for CO2 we will hit 500ppm sometime this century (harder to guess what CO2-equiv will be). On what to aim for – I wouldn’t play politics will long-term numbers: far too easy for them to be hijacked and used for all sorts of dubious reasons and causes. Much better is to focus on near-term goals (2015, 2020) and to break them down into manageable sectors (e.g. aviation, municipalities, aluminium sector, etc.). The rhetoric of global long-term targets raises the illusion that we can govern globally over the long-haul (the illusion of Copenhagen) – and we can’t.”
Many thanks to Gavin for his clarification, and for his work (and everyone else’s at RC) over the years. For whatever reason Andy chose to paint the 350 effort as unlikely in his story, but it was reported the day before we actually showed you could mobilize millions of people in 5200 events in 181 countries in what the press is calling ‘the mose widespread day of political action in the planet’s history,’ all around a scientific data point. I think tht should be heartening to all.
The biggest point the number gets across, i think, is that climate change is not some future threat but a present crisis. If you have a moment, I recommend browsing through the photos we’ve got up at 350.org (a tiny subset of the 21,000 now in our flickr photostream) to get a sense of the people who are waking up to this reality.
Just one last thought here, upon reading Bill’s comment.
There were two things to report on (and my reporting continued through the actual day of action):
1) The amazing coordinated globe-spanning mosaic of actions
2) the basis for the focal point of that action.
On the first, there’s no question an epic effort was carried off with astonishing scope and skill.
On the second, there remain large, substantive and vital questions. As I said in a comment response somewhere on my blog, a keystone question is 350 by when? As Pachauri and others explained, 350 ppm on its own is kind of like judging a car’s mileage by “miles” without the “per hour.”
My story had to examine both the news and the context. We’ve been pilloried in the past for simply reporting what folks are saying without examining the evidence and argument. I’m not drawing ANY comparisons at all, but examples that come to mind are when a president pumps up the WMD threat, or when candidates rattle off jargon like “clean coal.”
Re #3. There is no easy answer to limting AGW. You just turn off using 4.5 billion tonnes of oil per annum in any meaninfgul way without changes on every level. On energy sources, on our energy usage, on the technology that provides the means to use it, on your expections and aspirations in our lives (our culture) etc.
There is no one single way to even limit emissions as the world wants more energy presently and its coming from fossil fuels for its infrastructure is vast and poewrful both dail, economically and politically.
Thanks for the clarification. I must admit it didn’t make much sense when I first read it, since the natural interpretation of “those promoting 350″ would be as a reference Bill McKibben and 350.org. As I didn’t think you were actually criticizing them, and your quote would not have made sense in that context anyway, I was left to presume that your original point had been obscured.
Probably, it would have made more sense for Revkin just to omit that phrase and referred to “those debating the 350 target”.
Of course, I strongly disagree. I’m sure Revkin was trying to paraphrase or summarize Gavin’s thoughts as accurately and succinctly as possible. You’d have to look at a transcript of the interview to know exactly how the misunderstanding or lack of clarity occurred. But surely there’s no reason to throw around accusations of deliberate distortion. There is no evidence of that whatsoever.
which draw attention to the low hanging fruit of mitigation, specifically HFCs, black carbon, methane, and tropospheric ozone. In the Sturm und Drang around Copenhagen, we must not miss the chance to severely limit or eliminate these non CO2 contributors, especially since controls on these emissions is not so politically charged, therefore a good starting point for negotiation.
[Response: This is not the case here. Revkin was very clear about what we were talking about and wanted to make the point that I have clarified above. There are cases where you would have been correct with this diagnosis - but this is not one of those. - gavin]
Then I apologise, of course – thanks for the correction.
First, let me thank Bill and his team: Oct 24 was a fantastic effort. For me, the key 350 message is not the number itself, but the point it makes: we’re already way past our target and need to take action that goes beyond any being considered at the moment. Most governments seem to be buying into 450ppm/2ºC without any clear appreciation that the 450 is CO2e(total), and the chances of staying under 2ºC only 50%. 350 nicely makes the point that 450 is dangerous. I asked my local MP on Saturday (my personal action – he put up with it for 20 minutes!), if he realised that his government’s targets if applied globally committed the world to damaging change? He didn’t, and while I doubt he’ll be arguing for 350 in his party’s caucus, at least he’s aware that 50% cuts by 2050 are no longer credible – for NZ or any other country.
I find “350″ as far more memorable than my favority long term target, 300 ppm CO2e. The latter doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
But first we need to stop going up.
Then we need to start coming down.
SOme of the coming down actions can offset going up actions until the latter stop. An example is planting lots of forests. Lots.
Comment by David B. Benson — 27 Oct 2009 @ 3:40 PM
“If you ask a scientist how much more CO2 do you think we should add to the atmosphere, the answer is going to be none.” I’m a scientist and my answer is “it doesn’t matter”. CO2 is good for plants and CO2 is driven by temperature change, not vice versa.
[Response: I should have clarified that I meant ‘scientists that know what they are talking about’. – gavin]
I thought the whole point of the 350.org thing was to challenge people to understand that we’re currently driving in the wrong direction, and somehow or other we have to get back to an atmospheric concentration that is lower than today’s. For the last few years, there was a lot of talk about 450 being feasible. Bill McKibben set out deliberately to challenge this thinking as too feeble. So, the metaphor of driving in the wrong direction is exactly what 350 is all about.
Plus, you have to admit that the question “what is an appropriate level of atmospheric CO2?” is a much more productive question for getting non-climatologists to think about than the simplistic yes/no questions of “is climate change happening?”, “is CO2 the wrong villain?” and “is geoengineering a good idea?” that get bandied about in the media. (Hat tip to Michael Tobis for pointing this out in a talk yesterday).
I think this is one of the communication issues that climatologists have been slow to understand. “Is 350 the right number?” is a lousy research question for a climate scientist. But it’s a very productive way to frame the discussion for the non-science audience.
Thanks to Andy Revkin and Bill McKibben for the clarifications above, as well as the article. I could wish the NYTimes would allow Andy to have included the vital sentence. As news emerges every day of consequences far and wide, I’m beginning to notice that people on the street are more aware of climate change than pundits. Time for them to get out of their lairs and notice that most people can see things are changing, not for the better.
it is amazing that the organized and well funded denial effort continues to have traction. Labels instead of facts, lies instead of reflection, parsing every little word for something to exploit, making the story about personalities, changing the subject, providing expertise that is anything but, it goes on and on.
350.org is a brave effort and I hope we will all continue to support it.
I don’t think that’s the whole story, since Kevin Anderson has been arguing for a ‘planned recession’ and Herman Daly for a steady-state economy. And besides CO2 there seem to be other planetary boundaries as well, according to Hansen, Schellnhuber, Crutzen and others: http://www.stockholmresilience.org/planetary-boundaries
The real political debates haven’t even begun yet.
Comment by Lennart van der Linde — 27 Oct 2009 @ 4:33 PM
In the original paper The number is 450 ± 100 so 350 is about the upper limit of the safe zone.
But in the Paper it clear that it isn’t the finale number and only a reference for start. It give us a clear message that we are already in the dangerous zone. I think we can agree on that.
“planet being nearly ice-free until CO2 fell to 450 ± 100 ppm; barring prompt policy changes,
that critical level will be passed, in the opposite direction, within decades. If humanity wishes to
preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is
adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm ”
” We suggest an initial objective of reducing atmospheric CO2 to 350 ppm, with the target to
be adjusted as scientific understanding and empirical evidence of climate effects accumulate.
Although a case already could be made that the eventual target probably needs to be lower, the
350 ppm target is sufficient to qualitatively change the discussion and drive fundamental changes
in energy policy. Limited opportunities for reduction of non-CO2 human-caused forcings are
important to pursue but do not alter the initial 350 ppm CO2 target. ”
Target Atmospheric CO2: Where Should Humanity Aim?
James Hansen et al.
[Response: We’ve discussed the CO2, CO2-eq_kyoto and CO2_eq_including_aerosols issue before. It isn’t particularly relevant here since the CO2 and CO2_eq_including_aerosols are actually quite close. CO2-eq_kyoto is not what the climate responds to. – gavin]
Comment by David B. Benson — 27 Oct 2009 @ 4:43 PM
I would venture that there is a difference between:
“If you ask a scientist how much more CO2 do you think we should add to the atmosphere, the answer is going to be none.”
“If you ask a scientist that knows what they are talking about (according to me, Gavin) how much more CO2 do you think we should add to the atmosphere, the answer is going to be none.”
Thanks for the clarification! ;^)
[Response: That’s fine. Though you’ll find that the intersection of the class of people who do actually know what they are talking about and the class of people who I think know what they are talking about is quite large. – gavin]
I am convinced that if you were from Siberia, answer should not be “none”. Nor if you where a citizen of China or India.
So, “none” is the answer of people (confortably) living in Europe or in the USA.
Taking in account the actual number of people and their way of life I am not at all sure that “none” is actually the “right” answer nor the most frequent.
[Response: Permafrost melt in Siberia is a serious issue that is affecting a lot of their infrastructure, billions of people in India and China depend heavily on glacier-fed water that is already being affected by warming and which might lead to summer drying up of rivers like the Ganges if the situation continues. I doubt very much that many residents in those watersheds would think that the CO2 should be increased at that cost. Note that this is not a policy proposal, just an aspiration. – gavin]
Comment by Pierre Allemand — 27 Oct 2009 @ 5:16 PM
Next Generation Conservation: the Government’s Role in Emerging Ecosystem Service Markets October 23, 2009 The Duke Environmental Law and Policy Forum (DELPF) announces its 2009 SYMPOSIUM together with the USDA Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets. The symposium will bring leading experts together to discuss the role of the Federal government in shaping and developing markets for ecosystem services. Admittance is free and open to the public. For more information visit http://www.law.duke.edu/journals/delpf/symposium or email email@example.com **
It is my sense that a general agreement that health care today is a problem hasn’t helped us to the solution. What is needed is a shift towards understanding the economists. I agree with Gavin, “All the rest is economics.” I’m struck by the number of people in the public who trust IPCC for the science, but get their policy information from sources other than IPCC. I can see the scientific concern that economists are too optimistic (about hydro in 2030, bioenergy in 2030) but not the concern among many in the public that IPCC is not optimistic enough.
The people I knew who went to the local 350 event are all over the place on solutions: we can be all renewables by Thursday, we need a strong nuclear component, we can get there from here by lowering our own footprint. Perhaps the various groups putting on events will encourage a discussion of IPCC WG3?
Gavin: “If you ask a scientist how much more CO2 do you think we should add to the atmosphere, the answer is going to be none.”
You can’t be speaking as a scientist when you say this. A scientist might say more CO2 will have these consequences and there could be scientific debate over the consequences, but when you make a value judgment about none, you are outside of science and into politics and ethics.
Karen Street (28) — This is such a difficult goal that the answer is “all of the above”.
Jim Hansen says burn no coal without CCS. Yup.
Some advocate renewables. Yup.
Others talk up nuclear powered electricity generation. Yup.
Still others promote air capture via photosynthesis. Yup.
A few advocate air capture via other chemistry. Yup.
Many advocate energy efficiency. Oh my, yes!
Comment by David B. Benson — 27 Oct 2009 @ 7:15 PM
David (28) All of the above is indeed needed, with the need for CCS R&D appearing in recent uber reports in 2nd coming font. However, of the people I know who went to the local 350 event, many oppose some of the larger solutions in “all of the above”.
Now how do we morph support 350 to support for all of the above?
Karen Street (31) — What is being opposed? I certainly would like to know.
There are those who oppose mountaintop removal coal mining. I do too. But even the US has ample supplies of coal mined other ways and many other countries also burn lots of coal and are most unlikely to stop.
Comment by David B. Benson — 27 Oct 2009 @ 8:10 PM
Dear Dr. Schmidt or fellow RC team member,
Just a few quick questions. If as has been discussed in the past, that the natural carbon cycle appears to have an annual difference between emission and uptake; Is this difference not the motivation behind groups like the “350″ as opposed to a warning of exceeding a set target level with error bars?
Also based on your learned opinion; is the current energy demand and demand through the next 50 years achievable with little negative impact on the current society and economic base?
The reason for the first question is this would suggest that there would be a belief that if “All Things Remained the Same”, if we were to return the population or mineral/fossil energy demand to pre-1950 levels and use today’s aerosol and possible CO2 entrapment/abatement technology the current conditions could be reverse-able.
The reason behind the second question is that this becomes one of the leading oppositions to the Carbon and Energy Security Bill currently in Congress. It would seem that if we could more accurately outline the direction and the results of actions taken we could demonstrate the value in taking action quickly.
It took the recession to cause a drop in our rate of emissions. Will H1N1 be needed to do the same for ppm? How soon then will we see temperature start to drop, and stabilize? It would be nice to see some of this done intentionally. In any case, people will probably just claim then that there was no real problem and go back to their pleasures.
Thanks for the clarification. I’ve appreciated your statements in the past that turning emissions growth around is the first step that is needed but I’m glad that you can voice some support for a goal beyond that now. Not everyone is going to be on board before Copenhagen, if that is the right phrase. Yet, Copenhagen needs the greater urgency that having 350 in the air can provide. Having your more explicit support together with David Archer’s is very welcome.
350 is one way to look at our situation. Another is using recommended CO2 reductions. In 2007, the IPCC, under the assumption that 450 was the operative number, warned of catastrophic consequences if we do not reduce CO2 emissions by 80 percent of the 1990 level by 2050. A ballpark guess would be that 80 percent of the 1990 level would translate to over 90 percent of current 2010 level. But, if we are talking about 350 rather than 450, another ballpark guess would be that we actually need to reduce CO2 by what — 100 percent, 110 percent, 120 percent of the 2010 level?
It seems that the percentage of CO2 reduction required presents a clearer picture of the challenge we face than the ppm estimate.
You ask how support for 350 ppm can be translated into support for nuclear power. It really can’t be because nuclear power has such a large carbon opportunity cost that it can’t be a part of a solution. All of the above might work for 650 ppm, but we need the best of the above for 350 ppm. http://rmi.org/images/PDFs/Energy/E09-01_NuclPwrClimFixFolly1i09.pdf
Re. the idea that science is seperate from economics, sociology etc doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. For example, many scholars have catalogued the intimate relationship between the eulogising of scientific knowledge claims and the capitalist profit motive. Studies in the sociology of science have shown that science isn’t conducted by non-social beings in a non-socialized context. And how true is this of climate science, the most politicized of all sciences (witness debates around IPCC press releases and assesments). The division you propose is false.
To those alleged scientists (#16) who claim more CO2 is good for plants, point us to your publications. I’ve searched for literature on this subject and yes, plants generally grow faster with more CO2. But the rate of improvement varies greatly, and there can be downsides, like more CO2 without increasing nitrogen = lower nutritional value. When you start factoring in deleterious effects of climate change as well, there’s no serious case. Rice for example drops in yield dramatically as temperature increases, and much of the world’s rice is grown near its upper temperature limit. Here’s something you could read for a start:
For starters, check out the book Food, Climate, and Carbon Dioxide by Sylvan Wittwer–a crop scientist who conducted some of the early work on crop production and atmospheric CO2 enrichment.
Here is an excerpt from the final paragraph in the book:
“Now after more than a century, and with the confirmation of thousands of scientific reports, CO2 gives the most remarkable response of all nutrients in plant bulk, is usually in short supply, and is nearly always limiting for photosynthesis…The rising level of atmospheric CO2 is a universally free premium, gaining in magnitude with time, on which we all can reckon for the foreseeable future. Direct effects of increasing CO2 on food production and the output of rangelands and forests may be more important than the effects on climate.”
[Response: Perfect example of someone who might be a great plant guy but who has absolutely no clue about the larger context. And frankly, I surprised that you are going down the ‘CO2 – they call it pollution: We call it life’ self-parody hole. – gavin]
I have become disillusioned with Andy Revkin’s reporting on climate change. The need to turn a report on 350 Day into a debate between so-called experts about the validity of the number 350 is part of the same junk journalism that we have seen all along on climate change. He is missing the forest for the trees. The point is not that 350 is exactly the right number. The point (as Gavin said) is that we are going in exactly the wrong direction. I would add that, the way Gavin was quoted, it definitely sounded to me like he was criticizing participants in 350.org equally with their “opponents”. Lame reporting.
As a lukewarmer who understands the positive effect of CO2 on leaf photosynthetic productivity, water-use efficiency and nitrogen-use efficiency among plants, but was concerned about its effect on climate, I am tempted to join the dark side after taking a look at the ERBE and CERES data in Richard Lindzen’s pdf presentation, posted on your nemesis Watts Up. Is there a good reason why all models predict a positive feedback and the data show negative feedback? There had better be, or I’m going to fall off the fence onto the side of CO2 as a plant food with only a small climate effect. Jeer away (as I cower in fear, peeking through the holes between my fingers)!
P.S. Don’t bother with all the dissuasive political nonsense… just jump right to SLIDE 45 and SLIDE 46. I await your reasoned dismissal of his clear demonstration of negative feedback.
[Response: We’ve gone over this before – there is plenty of evidence that total feedback can’t be negative. Thus it becomes an interesting issue to investigate why Lindzen comes up with the result he does. Perhaps you’d care to try and replicate it? How in fact did he pick his time periods that he uses? What difference does the inclusion or not of the Pinatubo forcing have? Why didn’t he use the coupled models as opposed to the atmosphere-only models? Does this analysis actually correlate to the sensitivity in the models themselves? The curious thing is that Lindzen was convinced the sensitivity was around 0.5 deg C years ago (see Morgan and Keith, 1995) before this analysis was even possible and based on no evidence that has stood the test of time, and now (surprise!) his analysis finds exactly the same number. I think a little scepticism is in order and I’m sure that there are some explorations of the robustness of this result in the works. – gavin]
Should I bother to provide more examples of crop scientists who think CO2 is could be a net benefit, or will they all fall, by default I guess, outside your intersection of scientists-who-know-what-they-are-talking-about and those that you think know what they are talking about?
[Response: Do what you want, it’s your time you are wasting. CO2 concentration is a completely minor factor in determining crop yield compared to better management, fertiliser use, more appropriate crops, mechanisation, water resources etc. It is a tiny issue in assessing cost and benefits of climate change regionally and yet if you want to parade a suite of people who can’t see beyond their nose, feel free. It will demonstrate more about your political approach than anything concerning a proper assessment of the issues. In fact, it would show directly that you weren’t concerned with the latter. Go ahead, make my day. – gavin]
Gavin: Why is that a ‘self-parody hole?’ The benefit of CO2 to plant growth has been known (and utilized) for decades or longer. The same is true of its effect on climate. The only difference is that there is no debate on the former. Every plant scientist in the world knows that CO2 has been impoverished for the past 20 million years or more. I concede and worry about the radiative forcing effect of CO2, and that human civilization developed in low CO2, but really, how is focusing solely on its benefit to plant life any more self-deprecating than devoting one’s career to focusing only on data that supports the hegemonic hypothesis of climate modelling scientists.
[Response: Because no-one is worried about CO2 because of the effect it has on plants (which for all the quotes coming from Chip et al is much more complicated than the talking point suggests particularly when you think about what kind of plants benefit most and the other limiting nutirents). It’s like someone coming along to a lecture on how to prevent drownings by insisting that everyone needs water to drink. It’s simply not relevant and is put up as a political distraction. I’m not sure what “hegemonic hypothesis” really means, but it sounds so good, I’ll use it in my next lecture. – gavin]
“According to CBO’s estimate, if we act now to address global warming and invest in clean energy, the economy 40 years from now may be about 249 percent bigger, instead of 250 percent bigger. And we’ll still get to 250 percent – in May instead of January 2050.”
The mathematics of eternal growth, as alluded to here, are evidently incompatible with life on Earth. This statement sounds delusional to me. We a being told that a somewhat limited form of delusional thinking is the best we can hope for from our system.
Comment by Daniel C. Goodwin — 28 Oct 2009 @ 11:18 AM
Jeffrey (32), I use IPCC to tell me which economists they trust. International Energy Agency Analysis analysis is at the top. I understand that some scientists consider economists too optimistic because Science magazine interviewed 3 scientists when the Working Group 3 Summary for Policy Makers was released, and all 3 made that comment. Generally, when Science magazine prints a result like 3/3, there may be a pattern. Since WG2 predicts a decline in hydro in many locations between now and 2030, and WG3 predicts an increase in hydro in the developing world, with no comments on the developed world, I can see their point.
Chris (38), you cite a source that differs from the analysis of IPCC and the sources IPCC depends on. Would you be willing to look at cost estimates in Working Group 3, or International Energy Agency?
David (33), you’re kidding? Nuclear power and CCS are opposed by quite a few people who were at the local 350 protest. I’ve also heard “me, change my behavior?” from a large number of people, though I don’t know that any went to the local 350 event.
If a group is going to pick a number and define a public movement around it as a rallying cry, then you wouldn’t expect people to ask why you picked that number, and whether it was achievable on any realistic time frame?
If you don’t want people to miss the forest for the trees, then don’t adopt a strange-looking tree as your public rallying cry.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Staples such as cassava on which millions of people depend become more toxic and produce much smaller yields in a world with higher carbon dioxide levels and more drought, Australian scientists say.
On the CO2 – crop yield front, elevated CO2 has been observed to increase yield in some cases. However, the picture can be complex. Here is a prime example:
Spring wheat (Triticum aestivum L. cv. TRISO) was grown for three consecutive seasons in a free-air carbon dioxide (CO2) enrichment (FACE) field experiment in order to examine the effects on crop yield and grain quality. CO2 enrichment promoted aboveground biomass (+11.8%) and grain yield (+10.4%).
however, from the same paper:
However, adverse effects were predominantly observed on wholegrain quality characteristics. Although the thousand-grain weight remained unchanged, size distribution was significantly shifted towards smaller grains, which may directly relate to lower market value. Total grain protein concentration decreased significantly by 7.4% under elevated CO2, and protein and amino acid composition were altered.
Hogy, P. et al. (2009) Effects of elevated CO2 on grain yield and quality of wheat: results from a 3-year free-air CO2 enrichment experiment. Plant Biology, 11, 60-69.
An extremely worrying new study looked at cassava tubers, a staple food product in many poorer regions of the globe, and reported that yield decreased and concentrations of toxic cyanogenic glucosides in the leaves increased with higher CO2:
We found that total plant biomass and tuber yield (number and mass) decreased linearly with increasing C-a. In the worst-case scenario, tuber mass was reduced by an order of magnitude in plants grown at 710 ppm compared with 360 ppm CO2. Photosynthetic parameters were consistent with the whole plant biomass data. It is proposed that since cassava stomata are highly sensitive to other environmental variables, the decrease in assimilation observed here might, in part, be a direct effect of CO2 on stomata. Total N (used here as a proxy for protein content) and cyanogenic glycoside concentrations of the tubers were not significantly different in the plants grown at elevated CO2. By contrast, the concentration of cyanogenic glycosides in the edible leaves nearly doubled in the highest C-a. If leaves continue to be used as a protein supplement, they will need to be more thoroughly processed in the future. With increasing population density, declining soil fertility, expansion into marginal farmland, together with the predicted increase in extreme climatic events, reliance on robust crops such as cassava will increase. The responses to CO2 shown here point to the possibility that there could be severe food shortages in the coming decades unless CO2 emissions are dramatically reduced, or alternative cultivars or crops are developed.
Gleadow, R.M. et al. (2009) Growth and nutritive value of cassava (Manihot esculenta Cranz.) are reduced when grown in elevated CO2. Plant Biology, 11, 76-82.
Indeed yes, I think Storm van Leeuwen and Smith (2005) have got a good handle on directly associated emissions should there be a build up of nuclear power. However, the opportunity cost aspect was not fully addressed. We should definitely wait for a carbon free energy supply before considering any more nuclear power.
Karen Street wrote: “Nuclear power and CCS are opposed by quite a few people who were at the local 350 protest.”
I did not attend any 350 protest event, although I support the campaign. I oppose nuclear power and CCS because they are neither necessary nor effective means to reducing CO2 emissions, so there is no need to deal with the very real and very serious problems and harms that they would bring. Indeed, squandering resources on nuclear power and “clean coal” takes resources away from actual effective solutions — i.e. rapid deployment of efficiency and renewable energy technologies, organic agriculture, reforestation, mass transit, etc. — and thus exacerbates the problem rather than helping to resolve it.
Unfortunately, given the massive, entrenched economic and political power of the coal and nuclear industries, it is probably inevitable that lots of resources will be wasted on both, enriching a few corporations while doing nothing to reduce GHG emissions, particularly in the time frame within which major reductions are urgently needed.
Comment by SecularAnimist — 28 Oct 2009 @ 12:55 PM
Gavin (re: #47),
What you say about the factors driving ever-increasing crop yields is very true and largely explains why crop yields have been ever-increasing while the climate has been changing. The impact of atmospheric CO2 enrichment is hard to quantify as it takes many roles—from direct fertilization and mitigation of other environmental stressors (water, heat, air pollution, etc.), to climate alterations. The effect of the first two on crop production is certainly positive, the effect of climate alterations is perhaps more debatable (extended growing seasons vs. high temperature limitations, precipitation delivery, etc.).
But, I think that you would encounter little argument, that if you were just to assess the overall vegetative health of the earth, more atmospheric CO2 would be better.
But obviously, there are other things to consider in this issue besides just the general response of plants (and of the things that eat them).
Karen Street (51) — I wasn’t kidding, I just wanted to know what those at your event were against.
SecularAnimist (55) — CCS technolgies, when ready, can be employed with a variety of fuels. For example, oxy-fuel natgas turbines ought to be ready within 15 years. As for “clean coal”, if some capture technology actually works, then it will also work for a wood or biochar fired burner. These last are actually carbon negative. Irrespective of that, be quite sure that nations with abundant coal resources will continue to burn coal; South Africa, India, Indonesia, Australia and China come to mind. Be better if they use CCS, what?
As for the debate about nuclear I’ll just point to http://bravenewclimate.com/
which emphasizes the postive aspects of nuclear and attempts to refute the negative missives. Irrespective of that, it seems that China has on order or under construction another 16 Westinghouse AP1000 units; probably better than more non-CCS coal burners, methinks.
As for diverting attention from all those other things, I certainly hope not. (Forgive me for now shouting.) ALL of the above are required; this is a planetary emergency and nothing can be left undone.
Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Oct 2009 @ 2:08 PM
We’ve been above the pre-Industrial Revolution rate of CO2 now for 150-200 years or so. Are plants significantly bigger or more robust than they were in the 18th century? Even if they were, where could we plant stuff that isn’t currently already planted with stuff?
lulo says: “…Every plant scientist in the world knows that CO2 has been impoverished for the past 20 million years or more”
Impoverished eh? You don’t say. And contrary to your assertion, there is plenty of ‘debate’ on how CO2 affects plants, given that there are millions of plant species growing in every conceivable environment on the planet.
And Chip there’s much more to CO2 effects on plants then their effects on managed crops, as will become apparent when any accelerated terrestrial carbon gain to date starts to asymptote out under the influence of other limiting factors, and show up as an accleration of CO2 in the atmosphere and oceans instead. Sinks can saturate you know.
I don’t intend to launch into another futile argument with proponents of nuclear power. I was responding to Karen Street’s comment which I understood to be suggesting that it is inconsistent to support the goal of the 350 campaign (i.e. rapid reductions in GHG emissions) while opposing nuclear power and “clean coal”.
In my view it is not inconsistent, since nuclear power and CCS are neither necessary nor effective for rapidly reducing emissions, and indeed the “opportunity costs” of unnecessarily investing resources in nuclear and CCS when those resources would be far more effectively invested elsewhere hinder our efforts to rapidly reduce GHG emissions rather than helping.
You may argue that I am mistaken about nuclear and “clean coal”, but given that I do believe they are unnecessary and unhelpful, it is not inconsistent of me to support the 350 campaign while opposing nuclear and “clean coal”.
I love it when Gavin gets going. Nice language, fun to read.
On the subject of plants and CO2, consider poison ivy and the like, which love it. Thistles might be OK, but …
A little off topic, I got a bee in my bonnet a while ago about algae, but as I begin to get more up to speed, am finding out how dangerous it is. There was an interesting radio “Science Friday” on new speculation that algae killed the dinosaurs. This is a point well worth considering. The “dead zone” off the mouth of the Mississippi was cited. Now that Exxon has taken over the project, we have serious Pandora’s box potential here.
Can somebody post a link to a good site that gives current data and historical trends for CO2e (equivalent), as opposed to just CO2? I suppose I could calculate it myself, but I haven’t the time for that.
58: “But since we all know that is not possible..
sounds a bit silly, doesn’t it?
If one has to reduce this to a slogan, there has to be a better one.
“If you ask a scientist how much more CO2 do you think we should add to the atmosphere,” To answer a scientist as human need to combine his values with his science. Since all scientist are humans it natural. Saying more CO2 will have these consequences… is the answer to what are the consequences of adding more CO2 to the atmosphere. Almost all scientist that don’t like billions of refugees and dead people till the and of the century will say NONE.
The other are puzzle of the human nature how and intelligent person don’t see that if no rain nothing will grow But I think I have a hint
“On the deck of the Estonia ferry, which sank in the Baltic Sea in 1994, one man smoked a cigarette. Others sat in groups, doing nothing, as the water surged onto the ship.
The most common response in most disasters is not panic, but rather the opposite.
Our first instinct is to normalize the situation – to come up with wildly creative and reassuring explanations for why smoke might be creeping across the ceiling or why oxygen masks might have dropped from the airplane ceiling.”
“The rising level of atmospheric CO2 is a universally free premium, gaining in magnitude with time, on which we all can reckon for the foreseeable future. Direct effects of increasing CO2 on food production and the output of rangelands and forests may be more important than the effects on climate.”
I regressed world cereal production 1961-2002 on CO2, fertilizer consumption, and temperature anomaly. With fertilizer taken into account, partial-F tests show that neither of the other two variables matter.
So, in effect, there is NOT a “CO2 fertilization effect.” Not where it counts.
If at any point, I have given the impression that I think that CO_2 cannot have any effect because it is present only in ppm, then I wish to point out that I do *not* hold this opinion. I actually *do* agree that CO2 has a positive effect on the Earth’s radiative balance. I simply, for a variety of reasons not worth rehashing here, remain skeptical of the magnitude of change predicted. I am also confident that not all of the expected environmental effects of CO2 are deleterious. I am, therefore, technically only a climate change ‘skeptic’ in terms of its details.
As a matter of fact, as a private citizen, I am always happy to support green technology and the idea of carbon taxes, such has just been instituted in some European countries. I do not drive a car – ever, and I can very easily afford to. Efficient care of our finite resources is always a good plan. However, I also happen to believe that the focus on climate change is the worst thing that has happened to the environmental movement since it began in earnest in the late 1960′s. The obsessive focus on a theme that has been understood in its basic theory since Tyndall and Arrhenius discovered it in the 19th Century has driven the world’s attention away from the truly devastating environmental problems of our time: land degradation and deforestation, soil erosion, destruction of the ocean floor, water pollution, toxic contamination, persistent organic pollutants, invasive species – the list goes on, all multiplied in their respective footprints by population growth. Today, on the other hand, everyone seems to think that if their only footprint is a carbon footprint. If they control that, they are somehow environmental activists.
So, if I question the emphasis on climate change as a private citizen, it is assumed that I am no longer on the left wing, which seems to have effectively obtained the patent on environmental righteousness. If I use reason and peer-reviewed fact to question the details of climate change as a scientist, I am viewed as an outsider – a wacko, oil-backed thug… as an atheist and a non-smoker, I have even had people relate climate change skepticism to creationists and the smokers lobby! What utter balderdash!
By far the worst, however, is that, when I don’t include the tangential climate change mumbo-jumbo in my papers and funding applications, reviewers always make comments like… ‘the methods are sound and the analysis appropriate, but the authors could more effectively relate the implications of their study within the context of climate change… yada yada yada.’ But I don’t study climate change! Why the heck would I put it in my papers. If there are implications in the context of climate change, are they not apparent? So, I am forced to stick crap like this into papers, even though I don’t study climate change, because that is the order of the day. On paper, I am the biggest proponent of climate change going, and this is what really ticks me off.
Pretty soon, Nature is coming out with yet another climate change journal (yawn)… including policy, impacts and science. Why so keen to place policy and impacts go into scientific journals? Are we scientists or lobbyists? I am beginning to wonder.
Secular Animist: If you want to slow the rise of CO2 and you think you can do this without nuclear, you are living in a dream world. Besides, why do you want this dream? To be simplistic, nuclear power requires nothing more than a little uranium mining and careful disposal and we get massive quantities of energy. What would you prefer? Tar sands wiping out an area the size of Lake Erie from the face of the Earth? Conventional oil with tens of thousands of oil-laden ships? Oh, that’s right, you think you can convince people to use so much less energy that we will be able to rely on alternative fuel? Believe me, I am a proponent of wind, solar, geothermal and tidal energy, as well as use reduction… but where do you suppose the lower and middle classes are going to suddenly come up with the funds to purchase geothermal and solar energy for their homes, apartments and trailers? They have other things to worry about. If you want to limit CO2 emissions in the short or medium term, you are left with little choice but nuclear all the way. Nuclear energy is the solution.
[Response: As I’ve said before – not every thread has to devolve into a discussion of nuclear energy. No more please. – gavin]
Benson: Clean coal? You still have to put energy into its mining… if you’re into lopped off mountain tops and massive transportation issues, that’s your call. Why not just go nuclear? Oh, yeah… coal is cheap and there is tons of it in the good ol’ USA. I guess you bought their lobby line.
However much that might happen in the USA, it certainly will not in those other countries which have plentiful supplies. As for the US, burning coal produces many harmful emissions; I’d rather we didn’t but if wishes were horses beggars would ride.
I advocate a shotgun approach, try some of everything even halfway sensible to see what works better than other methods.
Comment by David B. Benson — 28 Oct 2009 @ 7:14 PM
Lulo, Just curious. Do you manage to maintain your perfect state of self delusion without drugs or do you require pharacological assisance?
First, you would be challenged to find any well accepted, peer-reviewed research that supports your sanguine attitude. Aside from a few lightweight denialist screeds, all the literature points toward climate change being a serious theat to human civilization.
Second, wrt plant growth, if you understood anything about ecology or agriculture, you would know that what happens in some laboratory trial under perfect growth conditions is irrelevant. What matters is what happens to yield of crops in the field–especially in a world with population approaching 9 billion.
Third, no serious person is advocating that we ignore other critical environmental issues. That is a straw man. What matters is building a sustainable economy.
To that end, it is also a mistake to prejudge winners in the future energy infrastructure–be they nukes or renewables.
So, please, get serious and learn some real climate science.
Increased CO2 makes the production of carbohydrates easy, and protein difficult. As you alluded to with the cookbook, weeds grow best, while protein-rich plants produce no extra protein. For human consumption, that’s a bad thing. For sugar cane ethanol, it’s probably a good thing.
On 350 — I think 350 is the number which has gathered the most common citizens’ hearts. It sounds good, it’s reasonable, and it isn’t quick to accomplish. Gavin points out that the actual number is not so relevant as turning the car around. I say that anyone who opposes using the number 350 as a first guess for a safe level of CO2 is wasting time arguing. Accept the number as a reasonable first guess. Whatever the safe amount really is, it isn’t a set number, anyway. If we go up quickly, then it will put more inertia towards further heating, and then the number could be 325. It depends on where tipping points lurk.
The obsessive focus on [climate change] has driven the world’s attention away from … land degradation and deforestation, soil erosion, destruction of the ocean floor, water pollution, toxic contamination, persistent organic pollutants, invasive species
Do you have evidence to show that there has been less attention paid to these issues, or are you just reasoning from (a) the fact that there has been more attention to climate change, and (b) the assumption that there is only so much attention to go around (the zero-sum fallacy)?
Deforestation has if anything received renewed policy attention as a climate change issue. Witness Brazil’s recent 80% play, etc. There are risks here as well as opportunities, but with REDD on center stage of climate negotiations you can hardly say climate change has put deforestation in the shade.
In any case climate change will exacerbate many other environmental problems. Species extinction globally, for one thing (not on your list). Regarding soil erosion and water pollution (prominent on your list), consider a sample paragraph on North America from IPCC AR4 WG2, section 14.4.1:
Climate change is likely to make it more difficult to achieve
existing water quality goals (high confidence)… Restoration of beneficial uses (e.g., to address habitat loss, eutrophication, beach closures) under the Great Lakes Water Quality agreement will likely be vulnerable to declines in water levels, warmer water temperatures, and more intense precipitation… Based on simulations, phosphorus remediation targets for the Bay of Quinte (Lake Ontario) and surrounding watershed could be compromised as 3 to 4°C warmer water temperatures contribute to 77 to 98% increases in summer phosphorus concentrations in the bay… and as changes in precipitation, streamflow and erosion lead to increases in average phosphorus concentrations in streams of 25 to 35%… Decreases in snow cover and more winter rain on bare soil are likely to lengthen the erosion season and enhance erosion, increasing the potential for water quality impacts in agricultural areas…
“simply, for a variety of reasons not worth rehashing here, remain skeptical of the magnitude of change predicted.”
The reasons are not being rehashed because they have been shown to be insufficient and you wish to just be able to repeat “I have my reasons” when they are not your reasons since they do not explain your skepticism.
What leads you to think that with all the feedbacks (positive and negative) that CO2 doubling would cause significantly less than 3C change?
Why do you think it impossible?
Have you done the maths?
Gilbert Plass did them in 1956. You should be able to get the answer yourself in no time with the power you’re typing on available.
If you’re skeptical, TEST. That’s what a skeptical scientist does. They don’t go “I’m skeptical” and then leave it there.
Personally, I think to focus on just CO2 or just “pollution” is a distinction without a difference. Maybe more CO2 makes plants grow faster – I am not convinced it makes them healthier or more nutritious. But certainly, the emissions from fossil and biofuels that produce ozone and peroxyacetyl nitrates are toxic to all forms of vegetative life – as well as humans, creating cancer, emphysema and asthma. We need to stop burning oil, coal and biomass as a source of our energy or we will simply destroy our food supply.
In addition to my comment @81, I’d also like to draw Chip’s (and others) attention to the Journal of Experimental Botany’s special issue on “Crop Science for a Changing Climate”.
I’d recommend reading Leakey et al. “Elevated CO2 effects on plant carbon, nitrogen, and water relations: six important lessons from FACE” which is accessible here: http://jxb.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/erp096v1 in full (or at least the lesson summaries). The summary for lesson 6 I reproduce in full:
“Controlled laboratory and field chambers have provided an immense database on plant responses to rising [CO2] and, more importantly, insight into potential mechanisms of response. FACE on the other hand, which allows treatment of plants under field conditions at a realistic scale, has provided an important reality check. It has both shown where hypotheses developed in controlled environments do or do not apply, as well as insights into the mechanisms that may cause the difference.
Overwhelmingly, this has shown that data from laboratory and chamber experiments systematically overestimate the yields of the major food crops, yet may underestimate the biomass production of trees.
Improved projection of these hugely important parameterization data for predictive models will require many more FACE experiments, since the large-scale FACE experiments have been conducted at best at just one or two locations in a given ecosystem type.”
“NASA climate scientist Gavin Schmidt predicts 2010 may break a record, so a cooling trend ‘will be never talked about again’”.
Was this report correct?
[Response: Kind of. I said that 2010 might break a record (given that it will start off with a reasonable sized El Nino), and that if it did, we’d stop hearing about the cooling from 1998 nonsense. But of course, as soon as 2012 rolled around, we’d start hearing about how it’s been cooling since 2010…. – gavin]
Sure there are studies that show along with every other plant, weeds grow better as well.
For descriptions of an overwhelming number of papers that show positive vegetative response to elevated CO2 concentrations,
here’s what the authors of Chapter 5 (Food, Fibre, and Forest Products) of the IPCC AR4 WGII conclude:
Experimental research on crop response to elevated CO2 confirms Third Assessment Report (TAR) findings (medium to high confidence). New Free-Air Carbon Dioxide Enrichment (FACE) results suggest lower responses for forests (medium confidence). Crop models include CO2 estimates close to the upper range of new research (high confidence), while forest models may overestimate CO2 effects (medium confidence).
Recent results from meta-analyses of FACE studies of CO2 fertilisation confirm conclusions from the TAR that crop yields at CO2 levels of 550 ppm increase by an average of 15%. Crop model estimates of CO2 fertilisation are in the range of FACE results [188.8.131.52]. For forests, FACE experiments suggest an average growth increase of 23%for younger tree stands, but little stem-growth enhancement for mature trees. The models often assume higher growth stimulation than FACE, up to 35% [184.108.40.206, 5.4.5].
CM: Species loss was my primary reason for including deforestation, land degradation and ocean floor destruction. I hope you are right that I have made a zero-sum error and these issues are getting the attention they deserve. Would climate changes exacerbate what is already the world’s sixth great mass extinction? I believe so. I also believe even larger gains could be made by re-establishing and protecting natural ecosystems directly. This would also enhance resilience in the face of change. Most plants can exhibit remarkable acclimation to new environmental stress, but there would be winners and losers at a much faster pace than the slow process of speciation.
Gail: I agree with your comments.
Mark: I have discussed the equations on RC before (last winter). I do not have qualms with the mathematics, but some of the assumptions that precede them (eg. proportion of CO2:Tair relationship caused by CO2 over 30%), and some of the parameterization choices (tendency for choices to be made that result in high- end radiative forcing impacts). I conceded back then and today as well, that I am not a climate scientist (though I have encoded SVATs, it had nothing to do with these equations). You disagreed with me, provided some interesting food for thought, but didn’t convince me to change my mind. The only issue I wanted addressed here was Lindzen’s satellite data being in disagreement with model values for the cloud feedbacks related to SSTs. Gavin has provided me more reason to be skeptical of his claim, but I respectfully submit that he hasn’t refuted it.
Anyone know how to find a copy of this? Might be what Chip Knappenberger is referring to?
[CITATION] Obstacles to Environmental Education: a hegemonic hypothesis
M Maher – Unpublished paper presented at biennial conference 1982
Cited by: Towards a map of commitment: A socially critical approach to geographical education, J Fien – … Research in Geographical and Environmental Education, 1999 – Routledge
Another perhaps likely possibility in context: the term “Hegemonic Hypothesis” also shows up in this, paywalled:
Dramatically reducing carbon emissions would be very easy. If we really wanted to we could be there within 20 years, almost completely off fossil fuels except for specialized applications like aviation and other industries that have specific technical requirements for burning fuels in furnaces (steel production, for example.)
Of course the problem is the same old problem that our economies have been struggling with for decades — an antiquated patent system that is just begging for abuse by established industries to use it as a tool to stifle new technical developments for the purpose of maintaining the status quo. The most famous and significant example being of course Chevron’s withholding of the electric car battery.
Here is how we could get off fossil fuels:
- convert to electric cars: they are better, cheaper, and produce no emissions. This will be happening rapidly over the next decade anyways once the batteries are free to flourish unencumbered through the market. In 10 years I predict 98% of the market for new cars will be electric.
- put solar panels on your roof: depending on where you live and a few other factors, this would provide more energy than you use over the year. This is currently not cost quite competitive however, but soon will be since hey are developing rapidly. The government could really help this along with incentives.
- get rid of your natural gas furnace and put in a heat pump which uses electricity. This is a bit more expensive than a gas furnace but the benefit is that you produce no carbon emissions. The extra electricity required could be balanced by the solar panels on your roof.
- continue with expanding wind energy generation for the grid.
Technically, we are already there, we need no new developments. Economically, the transition will not hurt the economy overall, rather it will help it by opening up new opportunities. It is POLITICALLY that is the stumbling block, because established vested interests really don’t want us to move away from fossil fuels because then they won’t be making money anymore. Unfortunately, they are in large part the ones in control.
Comment by Mark Cunnington — 29 Oct 2009 @ 2:00 PM
CM: Species loss was my primary reason for including deforestation, land degradation and ocean floor destruction. I hope you are right that I have made a zero-sum error and these issues are getting the attention they deserve. Would climate changes exacerbate what is already the world’s sixth great mass extinction? I believe so. I also believe even larger gains could be made by re-establishing and protecting natural ecosystems directly
Climate change is already starting to undo decades of conservation in north american coniferous forests. Huge swaths within protected wilderness areas, national parks, etc dying from insect infestations tied to warming, increased catastrophic fire risk due to warming (and past suppression, sure), etc etc.
Ever hear of The Nature Conservancy? A few years back they started research with the goal of trying to figure out just how severely coming warming is going to trash their privately-purchased conservation tracts.
Suggesting that we can directly protect natural ecosystems while ignoring warming is stunningly ignorant.
“If you ask a scientist how much more CO2 do you think we should add to the atmosphere, the answer is going to be none.”
If you make preposterous claims like this you will undermine both the authority of science (by invoking it in a statement that is false) and the public respect for scientists (by telling them that we would all say such an obviously stupid thing). So, please don’t. Rather, say something true like “many scientists would insist that we should emit no more carbon, because the dangers they see far outweigh economic benefits of emission.”
[Response: That’s exactly what I said. Phrase it any way you like. – gavin]
Mike Cunningham, that is an excellent summary of the situation. There aren’t any obscene profits in renewable solar and wind energy so it is going to take public demand to make the transition. That is why I think the “other” greenhouse gases are so important to investigate. CO2 and climate change may seem real and urgent to a relatively small proportion of the population, but to most folks so far they are far off problems that don’t matter to their daily lives.
Explain to them that ozone and emissions from ethanol are responsible for terminal illnesses and that epidemic of asthma that is keeping kids out of school, and maybe they’ll figure out how dangerous burning fossil and biofuels is to them personally.
And start the conversation about how those same volatile organic compounds are lethal to vegetation – like the trees that give us shade, lumber, nuts and fruits, and shelter to so many other species. Not to mention annual crops, all of which are already showing the telltale symptoms of ozone damage.
I might have used a metaphor that reaching the 350 ppmv goal is more like deciding you want to drive from New York to Hawai’i by car. Until we recognize just how completely unrealistic we are being about our goals, we are more likely to drown than to get where we want to go. We have technology we refuse to use, while pursuing technology that will become a maintenance nightmare in a few decades, to generate power. “None” is not an achievable goal so long as we try to drive our car to Hawai’i, instead of using air or water craft.
Comment by Geno Canto del Halcon — 29 Oct 2009 @ 3:23 PM
What I really like about this site is how denialist trolls result in real good information being posted as follow-ups, e.g., some of the stuff about plant responses to CO_2 (confirming my own reading on the subject, but good to hear from others who’ve checked into it in more detail). Keep it up (not the trolls, the good stuff).
Chip (#90), the same IPCC chapter projects that even a 1-2ºC rise will negatively impact food production in low-latitude countries, and total world food production potential will decrease if temperatures rise by more than 3º — and that is taking into account the positive effect of CO2 fertilization.
Lies aimed at school kids: this page, part of National Weather Service’s JetStream – Online School for Weather claims
In 1997, NASA reported global temperature measurements of the Earth’s lower atmosphere obtained from satellites revealed no definitive warming trend over the past two decades. In fact, the trend appeared to be a decrease in actual temperature. In 2007, NASA data showed that one-half of the ten warmest years occurred in the 1930′s with 1934 (tied with 2006) as the warmest years on record. (NASA data October 23, 2007 from http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.D.txt)
If you go to the data linked, it’s only for “Contiguous 48 U.S. Surface Air Temperature Anomaly”, which we know has not warmed that much. However it’s totally false to claim that that data represents “the Earth’s lower atmosphere”. I doubt even that the data they present is from satellites. It looks suspiciously similar to this data set which, as far as I know, is based on surface measurements. Possibly the version they have up is before one of the corrections that’s been reported.
Anyway all round this is pretty dodgy: false claims about the provenance of the data, and of what it represents. And why link to a copy of the data when the original is (a) publicly available and (b) subject to correction?
What’s happening? Have deniers infiltrated NWS or NOAA?
[Response: This is quite bad. I will investigate… – gavin]
Regarding your comment: “get rid of your natural gas furnace and put in a heat pump which uses electricity. This is a bit more expensive than a gas furnace but the benefit is that you produce no carbon emissions. The extra electricity required could be balanced by the solar panels on your roof.”
I’m a bit concerned with this notion, the NG resource is a lower Carbon to BTU resource and offers a higher efficiency (nearly 45%) by direct local conversion of the heat of combustion. This is less of an issue then 70% of the current power grid resource using the conversion of 100% Carbon powered systems with a fuel content source to end use efficiency of less then 10%.
As to the powering of the heat pump and the resistive heat-strip (used for air temperatures below roughly 38 Deg. F.), there in lies to crux of the issue regarding solar power, Peak Demand! For the average 1500sq’ home you are likely using between 10 and 15kw for about 20 min/hour for normal outdoor temperatures below 40 Deg. F down to about 28 Deg. F. Going further you may be running at about 40 min/hour for outdoor temperatures for ranging between 8 and 28 Deg. F., providing you are using the normal specified home insulation (as specified after 1992) for your region.
That would suggest a range of between 3.5 and 5kw hours demand just for heat. Most homes average 3.6kw for their total energy demand sans heat, so add another 3.5 to 5kw hours and you are running close to 7 to 9kw hours at the end use point. Using 200 Watt solar panels this would equate to roughly 35 to 45 panels (at roughly $25K to $35K just for the panels). If each panel is roughly 1.5 meters then you are talking about 475 to 625sq’ on a south facing roof surface. And all of that only being supplied for roughly 6-8 hours/day. (You would need 3 times that capacity to supply energy for 24 hours of direct use and 4 times that or 12 times the capacity if you use a 40% efficient storage system, (42% conversion to storage and 95% conversion from storage). Hence, the requirement of a power grid that can provide a low carbon 24 hour base load. Or sans a combination solar and nuclear solution this equates to nearly 70-90kw of energy demand from the high carbon resource.
Personally, at this time I kind of like a residential NG generator/furnace in combination with solar PV/water heating peaking system. However, if you have a better practical suggestion I’m game…
Comment by L . David Cooke — 29 Oct 2009 @ 7:33 PM
If “CO2 has been impoverished for the past 20 million years or more”, why does my lawn grow better when I put 20-10-10 (N-P-K; no extra CO2) fertilizer on it? Is Leibig’s law of the minimum just a myth?
Good article. Whether 350 is higher or lower than what needed..there is consensus amongst scientists that 350 is in the minimum safe level. But what is the safe level for CH4 (1+ GTonne under the arctic regions)and N20 and CO and micro particulate soot matter? We need another figure to include all greehouse gasses (CO2e); otherwise there are going to be countless people who will feel they have been deceived by the 350 hoopla whereas the true ‘target’ figure (CO2e) will in actuality be considerably harder to acheive. As Jim Hansen keep hammering on..we have to lock the remaining coal and oil in the ground and fast track feasible alternative energy systems for industy and our increasing populus..that is the ONLY way it’s going to be achieved.
Logically I fear we have missed the boat but as they say miracles happen.so lets hope!
[Response: I wouldn’t say there was a ‘consensus’ on 350 as a specific ‘safe’ level – as discussed above that is an inexact number. But we are really talking about CO2-eq here (since that is what climate is responding to). Thus decreases in CH4 or N2O or CFCs or black carbon would all contribute to bring things back down. – gavin]
Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 29 Oct 2009 @ 11:00 PM
Gail, 98: Be careful with that line. You can talk to people about the more classically recognised pollutants from hydrocarbon use – NOx, SOx, VOCs, mercury, and whatever else, but we’re continually getting better on those fronts, anyway. I don’t think it’s a very compelling argument for getting off hydrocarbons. And besides, I know biofuels aren’t very popular at the moment, but done well, they can play a role, and they also present some of these issues.
Mark Cunningham, 93: If we really wanted to, we could do all manner of things, but it would cost us. You are being rather optimistic when you say we don’t need any more technical developments. Batteries have quite some ways to go before they’d be commercially competitive with internal combustion. You admit solar isn’t there yet, but are counting on the costs there to continue downwards. You know, there are a lot of people working on a lot of different ideas; maybe there’ll be an unexpected breakthrough, but I’ll take that as a bonus, not as something I’m counting on.
Question, somewhat off topic and probably answered in depth elsewhere (such as…duhhh…Climatology 101?):…
When I look at the Vostok ice core graph, it seems that in the Holocene we are 1000s of years past a peak and a point where a new glacial period of sharply declining temperatures should have begun. At least if the pattern of the preceding regular cycles would have naturally repeated (governed primarily by the Milankovitch cycles?).
Is it at least possible that CO2 and AGW will at some point be at least partially balanced out by what would be a cooling Milankovitch trend? What accounts for the failure of a “normal” onset of a glacial cooling right after the peak at the beginning of the Holocene? And it’s continuing delay? Human activity?
[Response: Ruddiman has suggested this, though this is far from being universally accepted. If you look back further there were longer interglacial periods when the eccentricity was small (like today & 400,000 years ago). -gavin]
Chip #90: I must admit I’m a little disappointed. You have been presented with three studies from this year (2009) that show that CO2 ‘fertilisation’ is not as positive an effect as you claim and in defence of your claim you present the IPCC AR4 report.
I’ll quote directly from the section of the report you refer to [220.127.116.11]:
“Importantly, plant physiologists and modellers alike recognise that the effects of elevated CO2 measured in experimental settings and implemented in models may overestimate actual field- and farm-level responses, due to many limiting factors such as pests, weeds, competition for resources, soil, water and air quality, etc., which are neither well understood at large scales, nor well implemented in leading models.”
As evidenced by the studies quoted in #54 & #87 further work is suggesting that CO2 effects are less beneficial than models & controlled environment (glasshouse) studies were suggesting. Again I’ll draw your attention to the Journal of Experimental Botany’s special issue, this time to Whitmore, A.P. & Whalley, W.R. Physical effects of soil drying on roots and crop growth (available here: http://jxb.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/60/10/2845 ) and also Gregory et al. Integrating pests and pathogens into the climate change/food security debate (see here: http://jxb.oxfordjournals.org/cgi/content/full/60/10/2827 ) for further illustration of the complexity of the problem over & above the simplistic “CO2 is good for plants”
Moreover, as CM points out in #101 “the same IPCC chapter projects that even a 1-2ºC rise will negatively impact food production in low-latitude countries, and total world food production potential will decrease if temperatures rise by more than 3º — and that is taking into account the positive effect of CO2 fertilization.”
In fact it is in the paragraph directly above the one you quote in #90: I’ll quote it here in case you missed it:
“While moderate warming benefits crop and pasture yields in mid- to high-latitude regions, even slight warming decreases yields in seasonally dry and low-latitude regions (medium confidence).
The preponderance of evidence from models suggests that moderate local increases in temperature (to 3ºC) can have small beneficial impacts on major rain-fed crops (maize, wheat, rice) and pastures in mid- to high-latitude regions, but even slight warming in seasonally dry and tropical regions reduces yield. Further warming has increasingly negative impacts in all regions [5.4.2 and see Figure 5.2]. These results, on the whole, project the potential for global food production to increase with increases in local average temperature over a range of 1 to 3ºC, but above this
range to decrease [5.4, 5.6]. Furthermore, modelling studies that include extremes in addition to changes in mean climate show lower crop yields than for changes in means alone, strengthening similar TAR conclusions [5.4.1]. A change in frequency of extreme events is likely to disproportionately impact small-holder farmers and artisan fishers [5.4.7].”
I had expected better from a scientist who ostensibly “knows what he is talking about”.
> I had expected better from a scientist who ostensibly “knows ….”
He may know, but not say; he works for a business selling “advocacy science” — which advocacy; to do “advocacy science” means being subtly foolish.
In advocacy, the idea is to try to give _just_ the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another, _not_all_ of the information helpful for others to judge the value of your contribution.
Q110 Shelema. That’s true to a small point but the timelines are vastly different. Cyclical natural variations in the global climate happen at a considerably slower rate than anthropenically induced change. If the industrial revolution and the fossil fuel mania had occurred some thousands of years back we would probably be long gone by now.
Comment by Lawrence Coleman — 30 Oct 2009 @ 6:53 AM
Sorry, I tripped over my calculations again, the statement:
“(You would need 3 times that capacity to supply energy for 24 hours of direct use and 4 times that or 12 times the capacity if you use a 40% efficient storage system, (42% conversion to storage and 95% conversion from storage).
Should have read:
(You would need 3 times that capacity to supply energy for 24 hours of direct use and 2 times that or 6 times the capacity (*est.)if you use a 40% efficient storage system, (42% conversion to storage and 95% conversion from storage)).
(*est. based on 1.8x=33kwh with total peak demand of 9kw/hr hours at a 95% efficiency conversion and 40% (42%*.95%) of 14 hours provided by a conventional battery storage system resulting in about 33kwh/day total generation for normal summer demand and roughly 65kw for winter.)
Roughly the average base load demand would run about 1.4kw for summer and 3.2kw in winter, with peaks running up to 3 times the base load (Remembering that an average clothes dryer or oven burner can run up to 3kw when active, while a electric stove burner may run between 1.2 to 3.5kw.
If you notice my intent is to try to discuss things in the content of the current societal practices. Meaning the practical application of matching resources to societal activity. As to the use of either an indoor or outdoor simple evaporation clothes dryer, you have two issues, the first is the time involved and second is the time of day.
With most western families being made up of working couples there is little time during the day available to “do clothes” during the week. As for the weekend, most people I know prefer to relax/play or have other issues they need to address. Hence, the time-frame to “do the wash” is fairly limited for outdoor drying during the day.
Then again as you move south the average humidity is so high the evaporation process could take days, with clothes “souring” in the meantime. Up north you would be limited to mainly indoor drying for roughly 7 months of the year. As to the limited “weekend drying time-frame” outdoors that is providing that it does not rain.
A curious question, how do you dry your clothes now…? Also, you do realize if you only baked during the winter (and used a rock/brick lined oven…) you could use the heat generated to help warm the interior of the home and hence, reduce carbon emissions that way… Does that mean if your birthday is in the late Spring, Summer and early Fall you will have to wait until winter to celebrate with cake?
Of course there is the possibility of utilizing a coil on the backside of Solar panels to heat a indoor “drying room” where you have solar heated metal plates surrounding drying racks… Of course that is not really a new approach. (Most Pre-Industrialized societies would call this the basement or “smoke house” used to preserve foods by drying.) The issue is you would now need to add roughly a 60sq’ room to dry the clothes of two people for one week. At an average of $135/sq’ this would add $8,100 to the cost of a home min. For a family of 4.4 (2+ 2.4) this would run up to about $16,000 and require about 120sq’… Also, you would still need to run a fan to pump less humid air into the drying room…
Hmmm…., there you go Mark what a great idea, a Solar Clothes dryer… I have to hand it to ya that is innovative thinking…, though would you not think a $16,000 price tag is a bit steep?
[Response: You can buy a traditional ‘solar dryer’ for the price of a piece of string. – gavin]
Comment by L. David Cooke — 30 Oct 2009 @ 10:34 AM
You can buy a traditional ‘solar dryer’ for the price of a piece of string.
If your homeowner’s association hasn’t banned them … otherwise it’s the price of a lawyer with a piece of string :)
(for those outside the US, there have recently been some well-publicized battles between those unfortunate enough to live in such housing developments who want to dry clothes outside, and their homeowner’s association which bans the practice.)
(for those outside the US, there have recently been some well-publicized battles between those unfortunate enough to live in such housing developments who want to dry clothes outside, and their homeowner’s association which bans the practice.)
“If you notice my intent is to try to discuss things in the content of the current societal practices. Meaning the practical application of matching resources to societal activity.”
But society generally lives with a washing line, no car, poorly treated water, agricultural subsistence living.
Even in the first world, you have cheap car urban subsistence living.
A tumble dryer is not a commonly used thing in the UK.
Demanding that you keep your tumble dryer just because is an example of an entitlement society. Just like in the UK any attempt to curb short-haul flights is attacked because people want to go to Marbella on a package holiday. Oddly enough they complain about foreigners coming here too…
I am not contending that the real world shows the level of response that you find in controlled laboratory conditions. The complexities of the real world are far more than can be replicated in a lab. The same situation undoubtedly holds true when trying to assess other real-world responses from laboratory experiments (such as the response to ocean acidification).
I am contending, however, that atmospheric CO2 enrichment is a net benefit for the general plant life on earth (the response of specific species may vary based on situation).
We can trade references if you’d like  but I think that overall you’d find many more references showing CO2 benefits to plants than CO2 detriments.
“Technical Abstract: Experimental CO2 research with plants and whole ecosystems has made it clear that there is no straightforward relationship between the generally observed stimulation of leaf photosynthetic rates by elevated CO2 concentrations and growth or productivity. The large number of tests with a broad spectrum of species and growth conditions has made it obvious that the extent to which greater availability of carbon to plants will translate into more structural growth depends on nutrient availability, either directly or via soil moisture conditions. The realism of projections derived from experimental works thus depends on the realism of nutrient and water regimes provided during tests. For the vast majority of non-agricultural ecosystems it seems that resources other than CO2 control growth and productivity to such an extent that CO2 concentrations above current levels exert little or no long-term stimulation….”
You can’t point and armwave at the same time.
“Advocacy science” is clever foolishness.
RE: Dr. Schmidt’s response to 117 and posts 118-121
I love it, here we have the perfect example of why the economics will not work to curb carbon demand.
Current entry level to use a clothes line, $4.00 for a stout rope, 6.00 for a pressure treated pole, 3.00 for two eye screws and 2.50 for a bag of quick-curing concrete. Total entry cost approximately $16.00 Add in the 20 min labor to dig a hole put in the pole, fill the hole with the concrete, fill with water and mix thoroughly. Cover remainder of hole with dirt. Install a eye bolt about 6 feet above the ground. Fix the other eye bolt into the side of your domicile. Tie rope tightly to eye bolt in domicile and wait 48 hours for the concrete to cure. Two days later stretch rope to pole and tighten, then tie off… Not instant; but, fairly easy and low cost and very low maintenance maybe a new $4.00 rope every two years.
Now compare that to a Dryer, price ranges from roughly $300 to over $900 per unit. If the 220 service is not already run you have to pay no less then $250 for labor and nearly the same for wire and outlet. Cut a hole in you domicile and run a exhaust tube to the outdoors roughly another $100.00 for parts and labor. Then it is simply a matter of around 10.40/month to power (in high urban areas). Entry cost between $300 and $1500, minimal maintenance, clean lint filter and brush out exhaust outlet twice a year, and roughly $140.00 to power/year.
So if we triple the cost of the power to $520/year or even 9 times to 45.00/mth how likely is it to decrease the loss of convenience and time of using a dryer over a clothes line… It is likely Zero!
This is clearly a case where we need the technically capable people to resolve major issues, to match up technology with the need. As society here in the west moves faster the cost to achieve it increases as does the need for energy to achieve the higher rate of change…
Any suggestion to the contrary and the obvious push back is the result. If we wish to change society we need to change the technology to match up with the needs and not adjust the needs to the technology…
For instance the little solar dryer suggestion at $16,000 could that have been done better sure. We could have used the solar heat output to heat a copper heat exchanger and blown outside or even pre-dried air through it and then passed this through to the drum of a standard Gas Dryer.
With a temperature of nearly 180 Deg. F that would be plenty to to accelerate drying and coupled with dry air flow into the drum provide similar convenience for day time usage and with a resistance or even a gas heating source to provide off hour capability as well. Then if you where to go one more step and ran the exhaust air through an exhaust heat exchanger (It would have to be easy to clean lint out of out the tubes.) You could even trap a portion of the heat in a water bath feeding a Point of Use water heater or water to air heat pump heating system.
The difference, the later is more complicated solution; but, it would likely be implemented well before the easier and cheaper. Even if you outlawed residential dryers and forced folks to use public dryers there would be an explosion of “Duds and Suds”…, across every corner of the Americas.
Of course we have not even breached the issue of Dry Cleaners nor about how many professional people actually have their clothes washed and dry cleaned there. (Not to mentioned Steam pressed….) Sorry, I digress…
The point, as we originally attempted to address, you are unlikely to change needs imposed by modern society. We all have to do a better job of bending technology to meet those needs.
Re: 105. Yes, Dave Cooke, you are right that in winter solar panels aren’t going to be sufficient. I was being overly optimistic, partly because there is a long way we could go with this technology right now if we wanted to that would make a huge dent in carbon emissions. But it won’t be sufficient by itself. But in that 20 years maybe we will have increased wind generation to a significant part of the grid, if we make good decisions right now.
Over the course of a year your solar panels would provide more energy than you use. In winter you are going to be taking more energy from the grid than you produce; in summer the opposite.
I like the idea of a heat pump / natural gas combo unit so that when it’s really cold you can use natural gas. It’s a good interim solution. Or the government could step in and offer some good incentives to help with the capital costs of installing a geothermal heat pump (they’re throwing around billions right now) which will work with the same efficiency regardless of the outdoor temperature.
Regarding cost for solar panels, they are coming down really fast. You can follow the trend and estimate when they will reach grid parity.
Comment by Mark Cunnington — 30 Oct 2009 @ 1:13 PM
“Re: 105. Yes, Dave Cooke, you are right that in winter solar panels aren’t going to be sufficient.”
If you tilt them toward the sun it becomes quite a bit more efficient. The problem is that the radiant from the sun is spread over a larger area of earth but contains nearly the same amount of energy, and it’s the thermalisation of that energy that makes the ground warm. So the thinner the energy is spread, the colder the ground.
“Then it is simply a matter of around 10.40/month to power (in high urban areas). Entry cost between $300 and $1500, minimal maintenance, clean lint filter and brush out exhaust outlet twice a year, and roughly $140.00 to power/year.”
Please tell me how much time you think it takes to hang out the washing and bring it back in?
NOTE: if you hang washing on a line to dry you often don’t have to iron. How long do you take to iron your clothes?
“So if we triple the cost of the power to $520/year or even 9 times to 45.00/mth how likely is it to decrease the loss of convenience and time of using a dryer over a clothes line… It is likely Zero!”
And again, how much convenience is saved? You have to sort out your washing and iron afterwards. Unlikely you’re taking longer to hang out the washing on the line and take it back in with the occasional starched crease ironed in.
“This is clearly a case where we need the technically capable people to resolve major issues, to match up technology with the need. ”
Or we need to think innovatively rather than conservatively and look at the real cost rather than the assumed cost because you’re already doing one thing and therefore discount any effort used in its operation.
And how is “I have to hang my washing out on a line” a major issue???
Chip Knappenberger wrote: “I am contending, however, that atmospheric CO2 enrichment is a net benefit for the general plant life on earth …”
You are simply repeating the same broad, sweeping, vague, unsupported “contention” that you made previously, while continuing to completely ignore the numerous commenters who have referenced scientific studies that show that “contention” to be false, or at best, extremely questionable.
Although I found Dave Cooke’s cost analysis fascinating, I agree with you about clothes lines. We find our pulley line between the deck and a redwood tree to be more convenient than a dryer, and we prefer the texture and odor of the clothes. It just takes a small change in attitude to make small, personal contributions to 350 (or whatever number).
I am working on a wood powered dryer for the winter rainy period.
If a tiny minority (perhaps 5 percent) of the Earth’s human population cannot continue to enjoy the lifestyle of profligately wasteful energy use to which they have become accustomed during a tiny fraction (perhaps 5 decades) of the time that human civilization has existed, that’s unacceptable.
Perhaps he would like to explain the non-negotiable, absolute necessity of destroying the Earth’s biosphere so that a tiny minority can operate coal-fueled clothes dryers to the tens of millions of people around the world who have no access to electricity at all, for whom a simple solar-powered electric lantern, radio and/or cell phone represents a revolutionary improvement in well-being.
Lets try your questions first, the time to hang and collect clothing is not the issue. (drying time and environmental variables are) Ironing, not much, as we purchase as much wash and ware as possible to reduce the need. (Having specified and gotten permission to change from Dress Shirt and Tie to Polo shirts along with a change from Dress pants to Khaki’s or Casual slacks have been a boon, both in energy and wardrobe budget reductions and maintenance.)
Opportunity Cost is not unlike the issue as discussed by Dr. Schmidt elsewhere recently. There is sufficient society imposed demand, requirements, needs that opportunity cost may provide an initial reduction in the range of 5%; however, the demand hardens up very fast.
Hence, to make a strong inroad you would have to make it an economic burden for the average person to continue to pursue the undesired technology. This means in most cases raising the price over 400% to the point that it invades the former budgeted amount by over 5% and there is no chance of it’s return to former levels.
As long as there is a cost appropriate option provided you may see some change, generally what it will do is place more demand for pay increases to cover the cost rather then forcing a change in the technology. Thus not only have you not accomplished the goal you have now spurred on inflation.
As to your final, “how is hanging wash a issue”, clearly you do not live a life in which 9/10 of your waking time is focusing on events outside of the home. This would suggest that you and Steve may indeed have similar circumstances. It is unlikely you live in a downtown metropolis or urban region, also you likely do not do the laundry. If you ask your partner if they would prefer a clothing dryer as opposed to a clothing line I think you would be surprised about the response.
As to living in the south and drying of clothes, simply put, prior to air conditioning you wore very little clothing. Pre-AC many used cloth diapers and the amount of daily wash would be sufficient to stress many a young home maker. Add in the the time to hang the clothes, monitor the weather and do the next load while ironing the Sunday bests was a full time chore. Clearly the indications are you have not had a lot of experience growing up or raising a family under similar conditions.
You are making many of us jealous, to have the opportunity to make a decent living (enough to afford a computer apparently) and get a great education while living in the country with Red Wood trees and chirping birds and raccoons and squirrels and an occasional black bear lumbering down the near by river snagging Salmon out of the cool flowing stream as you sit in your shaded home content and munching on home made/grown (fresh) goodies is great. However, not many have the ability to enjoy similar experiences due to the nature of their profession or region of the country.
I take it you cannot put up a Wind Turbine and are probably shaded by the Red Wood tree such that you cannot take advantage of Solar panels. Now that nearby river with a couple of vertical cross axis water turbines may allow you access a few kw, if only you had access rights…
Just curious, if you are in Northern California say near Redding, CA and likely up near the lava fields how do you handle the cold and snow when you have to put out the wash? Granted you can stand on the top stoop and wind out the line and bring it back in; but, how many sheets have you had torn up when they froze and the wind started whipping while you were busy trying to get the wood stove going, so you could warm your hands after you have finished scrubbing out your Long Johns on the wash board…? By the way do you use a chain saw or a two man cross cut saw? I take it you likely burn a lot of wood, on average, how many trees are you planting to replace either the trees you cut down or are cut down for you?
I recently discovered a book which finally puts manmade global warming to bed in a coffin and then nails the lid firmly shut. It’s called SuperFreakonomics and it’s written by Top Men who are bravely attempting to solve the world’s problems through the medium of selling books. My worldview was immediately challenged by the image of an exploding apple on the cover. Most people would never expect an apple to actually explode like that. In many ways this book has all the qualities of Blog Science. It’s almost like a blog written on paper with comments disabled.
Re 104 by Phillip Mechanick: Gavin, please let us know the results of your inquiry about this. It is appalling that such a grossly incompetent presentation would be made for school children. Clearly, no one gave this even the most cursory check.
And tharanga109? If we’re improving the situation with the “other greenhouse gases” how come all the trees are dying? Seriously.
Today I looked up pictures from the internet of years past that show beautiful fall colors the day before Thanksgiving in my area. Right now MOST of the trees are already bare, and those leaves that remain are brown. links posted on my blog.
I really did like your analysis. I would have liked to have seen it when I lived on the grid in West Virginia. On the other hand your sarcasm regarding my opulent lifestyle is wasted. I am a retired professor from a small mid Atlantic university (check the pay scale) that carefully saved for retirement. The only place I could afford with some trees and privacy near my home area and kids was in the relatively remote northern California coastal range (near the Anderson Valley). I am off the grid (I use solar), I have no landline phone, no natural gas, no cable or broadcast TV (satellite for internet only), and provide my own water, septic and road maintenance. All I need is a little sun, firewood, and propane to cook, heat water, and for emergency heating. After property and infrastructure costs I am having to build my new home myself. My current cabin is small and efficient enough that it only requires about 1 cord of wood/year, that I cut myself, for heating. The new house will be more efficient. All of my neighbors, rich and poor, live with the same conditions.
The insight I would like to promote here is that I have undergone a major transition from a standard high energy use lifestyle to a very constricted one, and I have experienced an increase in my quality of life. All it took was a shift in perspective. Having done this, I think that if I had to move back to high humidity summers and winter snow (e.g. for a job), I could now find ways to adapt efficiently. What we all need is some leadership for exchanging our consumer attitudes for more simplicity, an emphasis on community, and some creative new ways for how we can live efficiently. I think that much of the EU is ahead of us on this, but there is way more to do.
In this particular case I agree Andy Revkin did an overall good job. But this clarification by gavin is a good thing, too.
Comment by Marion Delgado — 30 Oct 2009 @ 11:09 PM
On the plus side, I think Dave Cook could do a bang-up job ghost-writing UltraSuperFreakonomics.
I wish the other Dunning-Krugers in the radical economics movement would accept that the above argument re clothes drying was indeed representative – a classic argument for their POV – since it’s so arrogant, yet so obviously full of fail. But they won’t. If you “win” you were mainstream all along, if you “lose” your argument was not sound rational choice or whatever economics, now was it?
Comment by Marion Delgado — 30 Oct 2009 @ 11:20 PM
Chip #122: “I am contending, however, that atmospheric CO2 enrichment is a net benefit for the general plant life on earth (the response of specific species may vary based on situation).”
I refer you back to your comments at #16 & #45 in this thread where you appear to be asserting that added CO2 is beneficial to crops (e.g. “There are plenty of agronomists…who think that adding CO2 to the atmosphere is not a bad thing”). You now seem to have shifted your position to CO2 increase being beneficial to “general plant life” which I’m sure you’d admit is a very different proposition – I’m not sure you’d find (m)any agronomists who would contend that promoting weed growth is a “not a bad thing”.
So far in this thread we have seen references to rice yield dropping dramatically with increased temperature (#42). Wheat quality declining significantly with increased CO2 (#54) and cassava becoming more toxic with increased CO2 (#54). We have also seen that recent evidence points to lower yield increases than previously predicted from modelling & lab studies (#87, #111) and that yield will likely decline in seasonally dry & tropical areas (#111 – quoting your own link in #90) in even moderate warming. Again, I’d like to see an agronomist claiming that this is “not a bad thing”
I have to say that I’m intrigued by what was edited out of Chip’s last two posts, both directly after comments about trading links. Though I’m sure that, if the quality of evidence Chip has provided so far is any guide, they won’t bolster his argument as much as he would like.
Also, I am from one of the coldest parts of Alaska, and there you can easily line dry in winter – much of it dries before it freezes, and the rest sublimates. There are certainly cold, constantly rainy places where line drying doesn’t work. To use them as the standard, though, is simply a lie.
“love it, here we have the perfect example of why the economics will not work to curb carbon demand.”
Yes, we do, but Dave Cooke does not realize that (a) he’s the example and (b) the reason is, the goal of the economics is to make it not work, so the economics, which is not based on reality, as proper Austrian economics is forbidden to be, can always be twisted, obfuscated, double-talked and cherry-picked into not working. But most of us had already gotten that.
“Lets try your questions first, the time to hang and collect clothing is not the issue.”
“(drying time and environmental variables are)”
Do you only have two sets of clothing and therefore must wait around in your skivvies like that Levi advert guy while they dry?
Myself, I have plenty clothes and can afford to sit around in them doing something else while my clothes dry.
And why is not the time taken waiting for the clothes to dry in the dryer not a problem? You’re spending time and money, and we all know that time is money, so you’re double-paying here.
“Ironing, not much, as we purchase as much wash and ware as possible to reduce the need.”
“There is sufficient society imposed demand, requirements, needs that opportunity cost may provide an initial reduction in the range of 5%; however, the demand hardens up very fast.”
Streamofconcsiousnessbabbling here, please try speaking in english rather than tongues.
What does this matter? You’ve spend maybe three grand you could have gone on holiday with.
Or bought a present for your wife.
“As to your final, “how is hanging wash a issue”, clearly you do not live a life in which 9/10 of your waking time is focusing on events outside of the home”
So your assertion is that if you spend a lot of time outside you spend even longer hanging out your washing than if you were a white-collar worker in a cube 9-5?
If not, how does this make a difference?
“It is unlikely you live in a downtown metropolis or urban region, also you likely do not do the laundry.”
This is both incorrect and doesn’t follow on from the “9/10ths of your time outdoors”.
“If you ask your partner if they would prefer a clothing dryer as opposed to a clothing line I think you would be surprised about the response.”
I’d be asking me, so I wouldn’t be surprised at my partners answer, unless I’m seriously schizophrenic.
And again, why would a partner want or demand a dryer? Nothing you’ve said says that the time taken is a problem, nor the effort. You’ve just stated that it is so and then assumed that (since there IS unwarranted effort and time spent on a washing line) anyone would say they’d prefer not to use a washing line.
But if your assertion that a washing line is much more effort is wrong, then your proposition falls over.
“Add in the the time to hang the clothes, monitor the weather and do the next load while ironing the Sunday bests was a full time chore.”
Have you ever heard of the Hovis ads? Maybe it’s on youtube. It’s all about the “grim oop north” and how they worked hard and had a hard life but were ‘appy.
Something from the 1940′s in Britain it harks back to.
As does the idea of “Sunday best”.
You still have to load the dryer while doing the next load and ironing (which you don’t have to do if you dry on the line).
And funnily enough, despite working full time, I get time to do it.
“Clearly the indications are you have not had a lot of experience growing up or raising a family under similar conditions.”
I grew up in a poor family. 5 kids, one low-pay blue collar dad. Our holiday was to Brad Haven beach 12 miles away with a hamper of pies and sandwiches. We had a washing machine (twin tub) and that was posh for us.
So I do have a lot of experience growing up under similar conditions, you arrogant twonk.
What I *don’t* have experience with is a household where you have so much money to throw away that you’ll spend it on drying your clothes when there’s a perfectly good outside to do it in.
That level of extravagant spending is not where I grew up, but I suppose you’ve become so used to it you can’t see any other life, can you.
“I am working on a wood powered dryer for the winter rainy period.”
Move the air or the clothes if you can. If that means ducting air from the sunny side to the dark side of the house to get a temperature gradient to move the air then see about doing so. If it’s going to be heat driven, use a heat exchanger and duct the warm air around the house and draw cold air from underneath to keep the air recirculating.
Even if it’s cold, aspiration will dry your clothes.
Chip #122: every reference I’ve found shows some benefit to plants from more CO_2 but that benefit is not uniform and is offset by other problems like the effects of raised temperature, or reduced nutritional content of plants.
This is just a small sampling, and stuff I can get from home without going via my university library. To claim that CO_2 is a largely unmitigated gain is pure ignorance. The studies I’ve found making that claim are pretty old, or written by people with an agenda. There is plenty of evidence that elevated CO_2 is not a sufficiently strong benefit to offset the downsides, even without adding in climate change. Grasses are our single biggest family of food crops, and a substantial fraction of the economically important varieties evolved for relatively low CO_2. Add in climate change and there is really no case for hyping up CO_2.
I would bet that NOAA weather page for kids was either hacked, or edited by someone incompetent intentionally to deny the science. Perhaps that Texas office webmaster needs to look at security logs on the site.
Look at the _grammar_ as well as the _nonsense_ on the page:
“The behavior of the atmosphere is extremely complex. Therefore, discovering the validity of global warming is complex as well. How much effect will the increase in carbon dioxide will have is unclear or even if we recognize the effects of any increase.”
It got picked up and quoted elsewhere, which might help track it down.
“… The increase in heating ability is due to carbon dioxide’s high capacity to hold heat.
It has been thought that an increase in carbon dioxide will lead to global warming. While carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been increasing over the past 100 years, there is no evidence that it is causing an increase in global temperatures.”
Right. This is what they’re teaching kids out of the Fort Worth office.
The whole site might be worth a careful review by someone competent; it looks like it was basically ok and then edited by someone in spots.
Thank you for the suggestion. My total house system is pretty well thought out. It is based on a 10 foot tall (for stratification), well insulated, 850 gallon stainless water tank that will be heated by the sun (collectors) and a Tarm wood gasification boiler when it is cloudy. Heat will be distributed to the floor of the house when it is cold out, and to various radiators for drying wood (for the interior of the house), food, and clothes. The radiators will have chimneys so they will thermosiphon. The dryer will be a closet where clothes hang on hangers or sit on shelves. Thus, shirts and pants will require no further processing, just take them out of the dryer and hang them in the clothes closet. The big tank and heater are part of the infrastructure I have already purchased.
My overall plan is to reduce my fossil propane to a minimum. Also, because of my fixed income, I wish to isolate myself, as much as possible, from the increasing costs of fossil fuels. I have lots of free wood and sun.
“… The increase in heating ability is due to carbon dioxide’s high capacity to hold heat.
It has been thought that an increase in carbon dioxide will lead to global warming. While carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been increasing over the past 100 years, there is no evidence that it is causing an increase in global temperatures.”
I am having a little difficulty finding it at the moment, but Eli Rabett had a post about this not too long ago. Some chemists might actually have a difficulty grasping the greenhouse effect that results from their viewing it as being based on carbon dioxide’s heat capacity. What such chemists don’t realize is that carbon dioxide transfers the thermal energy due to its absorption of infrared radiation to the surrounding atmosphere via molecular collisions.
This would include the far more prevalent nitrogen and oxygen molecules. Above 20 mb there will be more than a million collisions over the half-life of a quantum state of molecular excitation, and here at the bottom of the atmosphere we are at about 1000 mb. Nitrogen and oxygen are not greenhouse gases and cannot emit the thermal radiation. It is only when the thermal energy gets transfered back to a greenhouse gas molecule that the energy can get re-emitted. So if there is any sort of heat capacity limitation to the atmosphere that would be relevant it would have to include the nitrogen and oxygen.
It kind of makes me think of those unscrupulous bars where the bar owners try to keep people inside the bar so that they will spend more money. The bar owners post bouncers at the door — with instructions to keep people in rather than keep people out. The patrons who are trying to leave but doing their drunk man’s walk are the packets of energy trying to get outside. All the tables and chairs could be the nitrogen and oxygen molecules, I suppose. The bouncers at the door? Those would be the greenhouse gas molecules. And of course the bar would be the climate system and outside the bar would be space.
Funny they can’t think of this. I understand they talk about the various alcohols all the time. Maybe the web page was edited by one of those chemists…
Re: #157 and other posts on NOAA NWS JetStream atmosphere page
There may well be meteorologists at the NWS who are skeptical about AGW, however providing temperature results from the USA only while implying they are “global temperature measurements” isn’t skeptical it’s deceitful.
Amongst all the other errors I find this statement quite odd;
“The 1930s through the 1950s were clearly warmer than the 1960s and 1970s. If carbon dioxide had been the cause then the warmest years would have understandably been in the most recent years. But that is not the case.”
To me this sentence seem rather confused and irrelevant, unless the author was stuck in some sort of 1970′s timewarp.
More on the JetStream page since I raised this first. I emailed the webmaster on 30 October as follows. To be charitable, I mailed them on a Friday and (even given that I’m in a very early time zone vs. the US) it could take them more than a day to get to this, so it’s early to say whether they are responding (I’ve had no reply as yet, and the page has not been fixed).
This thing is really a poor effort. Even if written by someone who disagrees with the mainstream, it is full of obvious errors, hence my point that it looks like a vandalised WikiPedia page.
If others are mailing them, here’s my contribution, as an indication of what they are being told:
In 1997, NASA reported global temperature measurements of the Earth’s lower atmosphere obtained from satellites revealed no definitive warming trend over the past two decades. In fact, the trend appeared to be a decrease in actual temperature. In 2007, NASA data showed that one-half of the ten warmest years occurred in the 1930′s with 1934 (tied with 2006) as the warmest years on record. (NASA data October 23, 2007 from http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.D.txt)
The 1930s through the 1950s were clearly warmer than the 1960s and 1970s. If carbon dioxide had been the cause then the warmest years would have understandably been in the most recent years. But that is not the case
First, the data presented is for the 48 contiguous states of the US, not the whole planet.
Third, the data linked is from surface stations, not satellites.
Fourth, while it’s certainly true that natural influences cause the biggest short-term variations, this is not what is said on the page, which could lead the reader to the erroneous belief that there is no significant variation beyond natural influences.
It may also escape the average reader that we don’t have satellite temperature data from before the 1970s. The author of the page certainly seems to be unaware of that fact.
Finally, any conclusions about worldwide temperature changes need to be based on worldwide data; the last sentence is clearly false if you look at the worldwide data trend (http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.txt — probably the right one, but I can’t currently reach the NASA site). The last sentence is confusing, because it refers to “the most recent years” in the same paragraph as comparing the 1930s-50s to 1960s and 70s (missing the rather critical point that warming slowed for a while because of aerosol pollutants).
It’s great that you are trying to inform the public but getting the facts right would be useful.
The page as it stands reads like a vandalized Wikipedia article. I recommend getting someone who’s on top of the science to rewrite the whole thing. I hope the rest of the site is not as bad.
I fully agree with you. My point was, and is, that it looks like the page had dubious information from the beginning, although the U.S. information was added later. I’m still working on the time line. By the way, my initial search of the JetStream shows this is the only page that discusses “global warming” or “climate change”.
To get to the bottom of this, you will no doubt have to go further up the food chain than the webmaster. But it’s a good start.
Meanwhile, I’ll establish the time line of changes as best I can and report back later.
“Welcome to JetStream, the National Weather Service Online Weather School…..
You are free to use the materials in any manner you wish. We welcome your feedback on this project. Your input will greatly assist others in teaching the “hows” and “whys” of weather…….
Steven Cooper Steven.Cooper@noaa.gov
Deputy Regional Director, NWS Southern Region Headquarters, Fort Worth, Texas
… A series of joint sub-projects and work-packages has enabled the scientists to develop a new, less expensive grade of raw material for solar cells. And the best news is that the new modules are just as efficient as current solar cells….
“With today’s solar cells, the energy used to produce them is paid off in the course of two years. With the new materials, the payback time could be as little as six months” ….
Re: C02 & plants. Full disclosure: Sylvan Wittwer, author of Food, Climate, and Carbon Dioxide also serves on the board of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, whose website one can access here: http://www.co2science.org/index.php.
One can judge for oneself how credible that organization is.
Hank Roberts (#163 & #164, 1 November 2009 @ 9:19 PM)
I am still thinking through whether to mount the tank tight to a big chunk of concrete, or keep the mount flexible.
I got the tank for $500, delivered, on Trading Time, a fun Saturday, 11:00 AM, swap show on our local KZYX (.org for streaming) community radio station. The guy got the tank for making biodiesel, but had to move for a job. (Also, be sure to listen to the Alternative Energy Hour on alternate Mondays at 9:00 AM. Tomorrow is an alternate off day. The host, Doug Livingston, designed both my solar power systems.)
I have also seen inexpensive tanks on Craigslist SF Bay, and there are a couple of tank recycle companies in the SF bay area that are available online.
The small contribution that we all can make toward 350 (or whatever) is to make our houses as close to carbon neutral as is possible. I believe that this can be done without sacrificing comfort and expense. One has to think about the cost as an investment that pays over time (e.g. money up front for a long term gain, just like for solar). Previous house designs use massive concrete floors to modulate hot and cold conditions. But, concrete makes efficient storage and retrieval difficult, is a difficult solution for retrofits, and there is a problem with lag time that doesn’t allow a response to quickly changing conditions, especially in the spring and fall months. I think that storing heat in water, which can be easily moved around, is more efficient, cost effective, and comfortable.
Re: Steve R. #165. I feel it is not really “full disclosure” unless one also recognises the author’s contribution to the field of plant physiology through the 1950′s & 60′s. (e.g. Bukovac and Wittwer, Absorption & mobility of foliar applied nutrients, Plant Physiology 32 (5): 428. (1957)http://www.plantphysiol.org/cgi/reprint/32/5/428 ).
On a more general note regarding the Wittwer book. Personally I am always a bit wary of books as citations – the book should have reference(s) to the original research involved in any claim it makes. It is not hard to provide links to those papers rather than expect someone (who’s time may be limited) to wade through a book to find a claim & then wade through the references that support it.
Steve Fish, can you provide some design pointers for your heat storage system? We are going to have to redo our HVAC system and would like it to be much, much greener when we’re done. We’re researching but haven’t got too far yet, so possibly your information could accelerate the process a bit.
For those interested – I’ve done a quick post on the NOAA rogue climate page. The earliest version of the page (from 2003) is similar to the current version. The only change since then has been the addition of the misinformation in 2007 about the temperature record, with its bizarre references to the NASA’s U.S. temperature record (the same temperature record where Steve McIntyre found a flaw in collation of data post-2000).
By the way, I also emailed SRH deputy director Steven Cooper, asking that the discussion passage be replaced with a reasonable summary of the AGW scientific consensus as soon as possible. I also asked for an explanation of how such misinformation could reside at NOAA for six years.
As noted in my updated post, I got a reply this morning. Cooper is apparently travelling, but has requested someone else to look into this. He also promised to address the issue further on his return to the office.
The only stuff edited out of my comments was an invitation to look through the archives at the web site indicated in #165. There, I think you’ll find some recent citations showing CO2 enrichment benefits to plants (including crops).
In addition to the excellent advice already given– one should always first take a “low hanging fruit” approach to heating and cooling when doing a retrofit. I don’t know anything about your situation, but–
How tight is your building. The number of pathways for air to enter and exit can be surprising. Check around exterior doors and windows, through base boards, around outlet and switch boxes, and through holes made for plumbing. There is a nifty way to check this yourself, but there are professional house energy evaluators available in many regions that would help you with this and other invisible losses.
How good is your wall and ceiling insulation and what are the energy calculations on your doors and windows? Do you need a reflective barrier in your attic? Is your attic properly vented?
How many electric energy thieves do you have that are running 24/7? These are devices that use those little black cubes that are plugged into the wall, use a remote control, or have a clock in them. The little transformer power supply is still running when you turn the device off that can draw more than 5 watts continuously. These are more important when running on solar, but they heat your house by one of the most inefficient methods possible. Consider 10 devices X 5 watts X 24 hours= 1.2 KW/day.
One of the largest unintentional heaters in a house is the refrigerator. A low tech solution is to allow convection from the heat exchanger to thermosiphon the hot air outside in the summer, and inside in the winter. Where is your water heater?
The high end efficient retrofit for HVAC is a heat pump that exchanges heat with the ground (sometimes called a geothermal unit). In the summer the pump is very efficient exchanging with the cool ground. In the winter the ground is warmer than the outside air and the pump is a more efficient heater.
Low end for heating could be a wood furnace that could be put in a basement or garage and hooked up to your current heating ducts. Wood seems expensive if you have to buy it, but compare its cost per BTU to other fuels. Low end cooling is a problem, but a well insulated and sealed house doesn’t require much. In the past when I lived in a humid area I preferred fans to air conditioning and only resorted to a couple of wall units when it was unbearable. My biggest surprise was during one very sticky summer heat wave when in desperation I set up one of those inexpensive all screen tents (often used for eating outside in buggy areas) in my back yard with a decent bed and a box fan. This worked so well for sleeping that I built a screened sleeping porch with a ceiling fan and used it from June to October every year until I moved. Sleeping outside, I learned a lot about nocturnal wildlife in my rural area, in the city the wild life might be more annoying.
We have (5) 55 gal. rain barrels outdoors, (they worked great during the recent droughts). (Free from a local chemical company/pre-washed only requiring a 5/8″ drill keyhole saw and plenty of marine adhesive/sealant. One top for run off, one bottom for a hose, a 4×3 inch hole cut in the top and a piece of screen glued in place with additional sealant.) Now if we had a Greenhouse and a 10 foot drop we could feed a misting system which would warm a winter greenhouse/sun-room …, in association with a mass heat storage systems such as a south facing dark rock walls/floors and circulate the heated vapor through the house.)
I doubt that the temperature of sun exposed Black polyethylene barrels, will be high enough to add to heating for the home. Now if we could go to a water cooled PV system and feed insulated barrels there might be a added value. That way in winter we might be able to divert the water to coils in the crawl space under the home; however, it would mean insulating the ground and foundation walls to a minimum of R38 and removing the insulation under the sub-flooring. The problem with this and many designs is water vapor control in the home.
If you had a basement I would suggest a great idea (Another might be buried barrels and a geothermal water to air heat pump…); however, it would make you miserable during the summer… You would want to reverse the systems during the summer when you needed the PV heat sink the most… Good Luck, and have fun, hopefully you will find your way forward…
Kevin, one thing to look for is heat *moderation*.
There’s a form of fat that is meant to burn in-place. It’s not as efficient a burning as tranforming it to sugars and sending it on its way as happens when you’re underfed, but I really do think that too many people nowadays have central heating on too often. So any fat they have is the blubber of energy storage.
Likewise in winter I’m walking around in a shirt (it may snow, but it doesn’t really get much below 0C during daytime) and others are walking past asking “aren’t you cold”. They certainly seem to be themselves: wrapped up in a thick coat with their nose and hands red from the cold.
Problem is their body thinks it’s fine: the core temperature is just dandy. So it isn’t stoking the fires.
So what isn’t in the coat is getting starved of heat.
Me? My core is going “It’s flipping FREEZING out here. Stoke the boilers, lads!”. So my core may be somewhat cooler but my hands and nose are fine because they’re being fed heat.
Now if I weren’t *eating* well, this would definitely be a problem.
Or if I were a child. Or ill (like, properly ill).
But I’m surprised at how some people need it warmer than I do just because I’ve gotten used to it.
When the warm times come round, THAT’S when I have trouble. There’s only so many layers you can drop before people start complaining or you start bleeding…
Oh, and this may be teaching my grandmother to suck eggs (though why I’d want to remains a mystery…), but secondary glazing does far more for heat retention than double glazing. IIRC you need at least 3cm between panes of glass to stop heat transfer. Double glazing reduces noise a lot (quite important nowadays) and the better construction removes many cold spots. But doesn’t do a lot for insulation.
I agree with Mark #6. I think the whole point of the 350 movement was to address the wrongness of the 450 ppm limit policy-wonks, who seem to act as if we have plenty of time to begin thinking about this problem in a generation or two.
Most people don’t know that we’re probably already committed to horrible effects from warming…I think 2.4C by late century…even if we halt all GHGs emissions today, save breathing, which is impossible. And they don’t know scientists are talking more realistically about 4C warming by 2060 or 2070, triggering climate hysteresis to go way above that over the next 100s & 1000s of years as the more likely scenario, or even limited runaway.* But most people have no idea about these dangers already in the pipes, and surely to beset us if we just stabilize at current emission level, or even decrease by half in 30 years.
So we need a target that is squarely behind us — not in front of us. So yeh, we should be going to Maine instead of Califoria, and we need to figure out ASAP how to get there and start implementing NOW. We need to turn this vehicle around!
And the 350 people actually say that the target should be 350 or BELOW…and there’s more sci confidence in that vast range than in a single number.
*Listen to the presentations at http://www.eci.ox.ac.uk/4degrees
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 2 Nov 2009 @ 2:38 PM
Both double glazing and secondary glazing can save energy by reducing the amount of heat lost through windows. The more effective is double glazing, which works by trapping air between two panes of glass, creating an insulating barrier. It cuts heat loss in half and also reduces noise and condensation. Installing double glazing can knock up to £100 a year off heating bills and reduce a household’s carbon dioxide emissions by three-quarters of a tonne, but fitting it is a professional job and can be expensive.
For those on a budget, secondary glazing could be the answer. It costs less than double-glazing and will still reduce heat loss and draughts, although the savings will be around half of those achieved by double glazing
As I intimated in comment #169 I have neither the time, nor the inclination to browse your archives. If, as you claim, you “know what you’re talking about” I can safely assume that you are aware of the relevant papers yourself & that you can provide me with the reference to back up your claims. Which is it by the way – is CO2 a net benefit to plants or to crops? Your argument seems to have changed over the course of this thread. Surely you can at least give some recent papers relevant to the topic, or at least relevant to the points raised so far (which I summarised in #142), and don’t worry about paywalls – my institute has access to most, if not all of the big agriculture journals online & a very good library.
One further question regarding the CO2science page: are the papers on CO2 & crops that are referred to in post #142 covered on the CO2science site? And if not, may I ask why?
“The more effective is double glazing, which works by trapping air between two panes of glass, creating an insulating barrier.”
No, you’re wrong, Howard.
I don’t have my university books any more but this was one of the problems we had to solve for coursework in university.
The distance between the panes of glass is not enough to stop eddies transferring most of the energy needed to equate the two panes of glass. You’d be nearly as well of making it one solid piece of glass the same thickness.
But at normal pressures and temperatures, the eddies do not reach 3cm across and so cannot directly transfer heat by convection so transverse conduction is the method left.
There is, of course, the radiant option too, but kappa glass helps with the IR part and it is in most cases lower than conduction or convection in capability to transfer heat.
“gas begins to circulate because of temperature differences and transfers heat between the panes”
If there’s a bigger temperature difference between the panes, then there’s a lower loss through the cooler pane.
Convective cells also require some space to allow “up” and “down” to happen without causing turbulence and buggering the whole cell thing up.
But a thin enough layer can still let quite a lot of heat through (as is implied by the quote from the article above).
Now it could well be that the knowledge of fluid motion results has increased to make what I know redundant (e.g. when I went do university, engineers still didn’t believe bees could fly by what was known), but this quote:
“IGU thickness is a compromise between maximizing insulating value and the ability of the framing system used to carry the unit.”
indicates that they would like to be able to make it thicker but can’t because the frame won’t control the torque of a deeper unit.
The only google links I can find are for companies that make secondary glazing, so not so good. The best I can get is that one company claims 70% efficiency savings with their secondary glazing (though whether this is compared to the large patio windows they’re selling) and 50% or more for double glazing from a supplier of such.
“The November 2009 issue of Scientific American has a cover story by Mark Z. Jacobson (Professor, Stanford) and Mark A. Delucchi (researcher, UC Davis). It’s entitled “A path to sustainable energy by 2030” (p 58 – 65; they call it WWS: wind, water or sunlight). This popular article is supported by a technical analysis, which the authors will apparently submit to the peer-reviewed journal Energy Policy at some point (or may have already done so). Anyway, they have made both papers available for free public download here.
So what do they say? In a nutshell, their argument is that, by the year 2030:
Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world’s energy, eliminating all fossil fuels.
Big claim. Does it stack up? Short answer, no. Here I critique the 100% WWS plan (both articles)…..”
Links (comprehensive, very helpful) at the original page
Re Hank Roberts – I downloaded that pdf (WWS Mark Z. Jacobson, Mark A. Delucchi) (Its the Marks verses the Stevens! Also interesting that their middle initials are metaphorically the alpha and the omega.)
I noticed a big ‘Do not cite, quote, etc.’ Yet it is publically available – does that negate the not citing and quoting (qualified by ‘incomplete draft for review’ in the citation)?
One thing I’d really like to see that I haven’t found (tried to start one myself but then I got sidetracked) is a table showing the breakdown of how CO2(eq) per kWh, effective cost per kWh with zero interest, cost per kWh with realistic capital costs, land use, other emissions, worker injuries (there was a study, I think it compared nuclear to solar), etc, attributed to different components and processes in the stages of the lifecycle, for various energy technologies including coal, nuclear, solar, etc, now and future projected values. I recall finding one that had a lot of that (may have been an online thesis paper?) but it’s buried down in my entropy-rich notes… I also think that a better unit for energy for purposes of comparing power to energy would be the W-year, which is 8.766 kWh if averaged over leap years (not counting that occasional fourth year that isn’t a leap year).
There’s so much information out there and sometimes its tiring reading through the text to get the numbers, which are not always given (in the original Solar Grand Plan article, the density of panel area per unit land area was never made explicit, though I found that later (I think it was either 1/2.5 or 1/3 for fixed-tilt panels – of course this will vary with latitude and land vs panel costs). Also somewhat hard to track down is the efficiency of conversion to and from CAES with or without heating.
I like tables and graphs. (Not to be lazy, but I want to avoid feeling like I’m needlessly replicating another’s efforts.)
“I noticed a big ‘Do not cite, quote, etc.’ Yet it is publically available – does that negate the not citing and quoting (qualified by ‘incomplete draft for review’ in the citation)?”
All Rights Reserved, remember.
Though these are only the rights copyright gives them, which authors too seem to forget quite a lot.
Citation and quotation are not covered by copyright and this is coded up in the US as Fair Use of copyrighted works.
Citation is not even a copyrighted action: no expressive content on saying what and where a work is. But like I said, authors (or as it may be the distributors) have no more care for copyrights than the pirates do, just from a different perspective.
And quotations too can be “de minimis” and therefore also not copyrighted.
But publicly available doesn’t mean “public domain”.
In fact one problem with PD is there’s no way of placing works IN the public domain which worries librarians and historians but copyright owners hardly at all.
And with the spread of litigation culture (which to be honest was started in the UK rather than the US as many would suppose) with PD there’s no express “at own risk” statement so with software you could be held liable as the author of PD code that causes a problem someone wants to sue over.
I was at a client’s house yesterday discussing the Future of Green and we got onto the subject of economics. He wants to size a solar power system to be large enough to recharge a car, which is one of my objectives longer term — several hundreds dollars a month in fuel charges buys a heck of a lot of solar power.
I think the only way “350″ is going to get sold is to tell people what life will be like when the cost of power is going DOWN along with the carbon emissions.
Wow. They _must_ have been hacked. Did you see this before, or is it new?
“Summer Safety Rules
Help reduce additional heat to the atmosphere by following the following conservation measures:
* Protect windows. Hang shades, draperies, awnings, or louvers ….
* Avoid using the oven.”
—> “reduce additional heat to the atmosphere” ??? <—
After Deep Climate posted about this, a commenter noted that there was a link to Understanding Climate Change of the Fraser Institute (Canada’s Heartland Institute) on the Vermont State Climatologist’s Website.
I have sent emails to the State Climatologist and to her Dept. Chair. I also did a Google for the file name and found another link on the Environmental Education in Wisconsin Website. I emailed the contact person there last night.
This document is carefully designed to show that “the jury is still out” regarding the causes of climate change. To the uninitiated, it appears quite credible.
Thanks for staying on this, Phil. It may not be earthshaking, but that doesn’t mean it’s not significant.
That “discussion” is really weak and confused, the current controversy aside. For example: “The increase in heating ability is due to carbon dioxide’s high capacity to hold heat.”
That statement seems tailor-made to confuse specific heat with radiative properties, particularly in the context of GW which they set up. I suspect the overall effect of this unit, if it’s done as given, will be to increase confidence in the mainstream science, because students will remember the activity much more than the confused (and, I would say, inappropriately wordy) discussion. Which is NOT to say that the latter shouldn’t be corrected.
It almost looks to me as though a good activity was then “balanced” with a discussion written by someone with an axe to grind.
Looking at past versions of the JetStream page at web archive shows that line was originally “Thinking About Your Environment”. It was changed to the rather bizarre current line at the start of 08 at the same time as the misleading US temperature data was added.
As for the clone on the ocean-service page, that’s part of the 2009 Year of Science resources so I would assume the whole Jet Stream site was simply copied over.
The second version of JetStream was simply copied from the original SRH version as part of NOAA Year of Science education project. I’ve contacted the NOAA contact for this education program, and he has already replied to the effect that the problem will be rectified as soon as possible.
Also, as noted at my website, I did receive an answer from NOAA SRH Deputy Head Steven Cooper, possibly because I mentioned that I was blogging about the matter. I’m sure there were too many emails to reply to each one. But the point is they did take action.
Belated thanks to Dave Cook, Steve Fish and Mark for heating/cooling thoughts.
We have been avid practitioners of heating/cooling moderation, eschewing AC for the most part (though we use our attic fan a good bit after about 7 PM to cool the house down from the day’s heat. In winter we keep the thermostat low-often about 60F. I’ll add a couple of layers & be just fine indoors during the day, even if engaged in something sedentary.
Kevin, for my part you are welcome. What I discovered a long time ago is that when it is cold out we have been very comfortable with the thermostat set quite low if there is a warm spot to back up to. I have always used a wood stove, but any small heater that has much less capacity than needed to heat a whole room, much less the the whole house, provides comfort. In some ways this strategy is much better than the dry, even, heat of a central heating system because it provides a warm place for the family to gather.
I am a strong supporter of the 350.org initiative for one simple reason. Bill McKibben has recognized that we must not only cease to emit carbon into our atmosphere, as this in itself will only delay disastrous climate change: we must also bring its atmospheric concentration down to a safe level, to 350 ppm or lower.
It is my opinion that this level must be low enough to keep our planet well below the end-of-century two degrees Celsius of warming that is being talked about today.
In their September 29 PNAS paper, “Constraining future greenhouse gas emissions by a cumulative target,” Matthew England et al state that “A global mean warming of 2 degrees C could still have devastating impacts on climate, ecosystems, human health, and infrastructure….Two degrees Celsius should thus not be seen as a mere aspirational target: it surely has to be the maximum stabilization target for global warming: http://www.pnas.org/content/106/39/16539.extract.
However alarming this must sound, there is an even darker perspective, that of Australian professor Clive Hamilton, who has posted his October 21 lecture to the Royal Society of the Arts, “Is It Too Late to Prevent Catastrophic Climate Change?” http://www.clivehamilton.net.au/cms/media/documents/articles/rsa_lecture.pdf. He tells us, “It is clear that limiting warming to 2 degrees C is beyond us; the question now is whether we can limit warming to 4 degrees C. The conclusion that, even if we act promptly and resolutely, the world is on a path to reach 650 ppm and the associated warming of 4 degrees C is almost too frightening to accept.”
I think most of us would agree that 4 C is not “almost,” but truly too frightening. And for the sake of humanity and our biosphere, we must not accept this fate. We should to all we can, on every level, to stop emitting any more carbon, and then use our brilliant minds to find a way to as soon as possible safely remove and neutralize all the excess atmospheric CO2 presently in our atmosphere.
There is no other alternative.
Pretty good post. I just bumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have actually enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way, I will be signing up to receive your feed and I hope you post again very soon.