I have a poster on blogging in that same session, so I’m sure our paths will cross.
Also, for those interested in the water vapor feedback, session A53F should be interesting (schedule here). Speakers in that session include myself, Lindzen, Soden, and a bunch of other excellent speakers. Based on his abstract, it looks like Lindzen is going to roll out an update to his iris theory. Should be “interesting.”
For those of us who watch from outside, there’s the one public lecture: the Thompsons on compilation of time series of events across many ice cores, about rapid tropical climate change — I think this was the first press release about putting that all together, last June. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/06/060627093233.htm
I’ve only attended AGU once, last year, and found the conference was very worthwhile–and still continue mining the information and data from last year AGU to this day. For example, the presenter pictures of the tundra land based methyl-hydrate was very enlightening and eye opening.
I hope folks see to stay for the PA53A session. That late Friday session slot is a tough time, but last year McCracken, Sommerville, Keith, and Fleming ran a talk on geoengineering climate that was well attended–in an otherwise well emptied Moscone hall.
So I hope your session has folks lending attention since the interface of the science community to the rest of the world is a key fulcrum point for social change. If family illness was not a factor, I would be in attendance this year.
How Al Gore will be received is another highlight as well, and I’d bet his “climate talk” might end up being augmented with a discussion on methane in the future.
On another aside, what we are going to do to alleviate the carbon emmissions of about 20,000 folks descending on San Francisco from around the world is another matter altogether? Blogging and forums, and other IP technology, might be a solution to alleviate the need for much long distance travel….
Just to note for any locals that AGU membership is open to the lay public, and that once a member one can attend the fall meeting. This costs, unfortunately, but I’m thinking of doing a day if I can make the time.
On the subject of Lindzen and the iris (won’t this really be the third phase of this general concept, stretching back 20 years to the cumulus drying business?), I’m sure that many have noticed this new paper. It should all make for an interesting post.
As someone who travels by air on business, I am wondering if any scientists attending have comments on carbon offsets related to the burning of all that jet fuel? It’s probably hard to get your grants/institution to fork over, and how would the offsets be vetted?
To make Wacki happy, buy a digital voice recorder. At the conference, turn it on and put it in your pocket before you speak (you have to fool around a bit to find the best sensitivity and pocket. I find that the 3.5″ floppy holder, aka the front shirt or jacket pocket is best), record the talk and then put it into mp3 format that can be downloaded with the ppt presentation. I’m moving in this direction for my classroom lectures. My major project is to link it up to Dragon Naturally Speaking.
Probably too late, but there are any number of camera/electronics shops around the Union Square area where you can get one.
Al Gore is organizing “get-togethers” nationwide for people to view the film “An Inconenient Truth.” It’s an opportunity to meet folks in your area who want to do something about the issue. And we regulars may be excellent guests for such events — there are bound to be lots of questions, and we’re pretty well-informed about the issue. You can find a gathering in your area at:
I am now blogging conferences that I attend on a daily basis so that my students, many of whom cannot attend the same conferences, will get a semi-real time impression of the topic and discussions that go with it.
Re. no. 9 (David Graves)- offsets for air travel. Some travel agencies in Europe are charging a few dollars supplement to provide money for planting trees or subsidising wind farms. The UK Government is imposing an eco-tax of 10 pounds (20 dollars) per flight. Businesses can encourage more telephone or video conference calls in place of face-to-face meetings – but this has only limited potential. The unfortunate reality is that those who can afford it will not have to make any sacrifice to their lifestyle, and we would return to the concept of air travel for the rich only. It is up to those strongly in favour of controlling carbon emissions to set an example. While Tony Blair of course needs to travel for his job as Prime Minister, he doesn’t have to fly to the Carribean for his summer holidays (as he has for the last 2 or 3 years). Our environmentally conscientious Prince Charles doesn’t need 2 ski-ing holidays a year. Al Gore is flying all over the place spreading the message, but of course, he can justify it. For credibility, we need to see the most influential setting a true example and showing some personal sacrifice, and not just requesting (or making through law) that others make the change.
I input my zip code to the website and found 15 different Al Gore “get-togethers” planned in my area – which will be showing the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” in their living rooms on Saturday, December 16, 2006.
I forwarded your message to people in my family and I’ll sign up today for one of the “get-togethers”.
The “get-togethers” sounds like fun to me. They will help make it more popular for people to talk about reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions.
As a fervent NON-believer in GHG Warming, I heartily endorse this paper & the concept of a blog to explain scientific information.
Without Realclimate.org, googling, wikipedia and the Weart/AIP history of climate science, I and many others would not know what we now know.
I suggest that ALL journals & sciemtific organizations & researchers should be required to maintain blogs & scientific summaries similar to the IPCC TAR. Just part of the cost of doing business.
Good luck with the paper.
PS has the posting system changed? I used to be able to reference other posts by copying the post time (which included the URL reference) It didn’t work this time. Is this you, or the fact that I just switched to IE7?
Because it’s in my neighborhood, I’ve attended AGU for some 20 years. I’m not deeply informed on climate change so I rarely comment in places like this, but I went to today’s Union session on global T curves for the last 2 millennia. Mann and McIntyre both gave presentations. While Mann and some others practically spat at McIntyre, he was not the only one pointing out adjustments and corrections and improvements to Mann’s work, in particular the RegEM method and its standardization against the instrumental record and also the weaknesses of the tree-ring records. To me, accustomed to the scientific conversation, the doubts raised seemed well within the envelope, but McIntyre seemed to paint with an overbroad brush and his critics spoke with unusual venom. There was definitely a tug-of-war happening.
Generally I agree, although the IPCC’s system has to be funded. Who would fund such a system?
I’ve often thought that rather than just ‘RealClimate’ a ‘RealScience’ site might be a good idea, perhaps organised under the auspices of an international group of scientific bodies (like the UK’s Royal Society). Such a site could be there as a ‘soap-box’ for scientists to comment on the use of their work in the media.
On a narrower basis I agree various other disciplines could benefit from having blogs like this aimed at communicating with the wider public. But I think this would have to be done by groups of scientists. I only normally check out the blogs of climate related scientists, that’s a bad habit really. But there is a wider science presence in the form of scienceblogs: http://www.scienceblogs.com/
Re: 17 (Tim Jones)
That telegraph article completely misinterprets the upcoming IPCC AR4, at least in its current draft form. More Chinese whispers from Australia. Wait till February before passing any judgment (though our friend Inhofe seems not inclined to wait… http://washingtontimes.com/national/20061211-123435-9665r.htm. Luckily no respectable media outlet has jumped on this lark).
Comment by Zeke Hausfather — 12 Dec 2006 @ 2:46 PM
I think science blogging is an essential idea, for all genres. Not only does it inform the general public but it introduces the random factor of so many people seeing the information and how they will look at it. My question is “Gavin how many hours a day, on average, do you spend keeping this site so pristine?” because most other scientist won’t take that time unless it becomes mandetory (which probably means sloppy) or paid, but maybe the pay rate should be based on number of hits the site gets or some sort voting system to make sure the sites are well run. As for funding I think it should be goverment funded as a system of education for everybody.
I wonder whether Gavin could raise the question of the ethical implications of AGU allowing ExxonMobil to promote itself at the Fall Meeting through the Morning Mixer for students on Wednesday morning. As I pointed out in a letter to the company in September, it has misrepresented the science of climate change in its corporate publications and is funding a number of organisations that misrepresent the science. I find it highly ironic that AGU has arranged a number of sessions to discuss the integrity of science, particularly with respect to climate change, at the Fall Meeting, yet is happy not to challenge ExxonMobil about its activities. At the very least can Gavin ask AGU to reveal how much it has received from ExxonMobil, and whether any discussion took place about the ethics of providing a platform for the company’s public relations activities?
Sorry, to provide some context, here are the concluding statements about ‘Climate Science’ from the ExxonMobil report on corporate citizenship report:
“Uncertainty and risk
While assessments such as those of the IPCC have expressed growing confidence that recent warming can be attributed to increases in greenhouse gases, these conclusions rely on expert judgment rather than objective, reproducible statistical methods. Taken together, gaps in the scientific basis for theoretical climate models and the interplay of significant natural variability make it very difficult to determine objectively the extent to which recent climate changes might be the result of human actions. These gaps also make it difficult to predict the timing, extent, and consequences of future climate change.
Even with many scientific uncertainties, the risk that greenhouse gas emissions may have serious impacts justifies taking action. The choice of action must consider environmental, social, and economic consequences, as well as recognize the long-term nature of climate change.”
Make up your own mind about whether these statements are a reasonable representation of the state of scientific knowledge.
#22,23: the question was raised directly to AGU President Tim Killeen yesterday morning at the “integrity in science” session run by Peter Gleick of Oakland’s Pacific Institute. Killeen sidestepped it, simply urging students to show up and mingle with AGU’s top people. Personally I think he would have been out of line saying anything else. But the question was significant and a point was made.
As for Exxon’s statement, its second paragraph is the nut–action is justified. The first paragraph is at least arguable, although it is convenient for Exxon to assert that only perfect “objective” statistics is the gold standard.
Is any one speaking on the volumes of fossil fuels left in the world, Gas and Oil are going to peak within 5 to 25 years and that means that by 2050 only coal will be left to provide us and I dount that we can get it to scale to replace Oil and Gas which make up some 60% of currenlt world energy supplies in one for or another. We have some 6 to 7 hundred billion tonnes of Coal left and we consume some 6 billion tonnes per annum, that will have to goto 12 to 15 billion tonnes per annum to replace Oil and Gas (and that is just for todays numbers). At present consumption rates we have some 100 years of coal, without Oil and Gas we have some 40 years of Coal reserves, not enough to make climate change a major major factor come 2070 is it ?
anyone talking about that as I heard James Hansen mention these things in some talks he is giving.
#26: From what I’ve read here and elsewhere, releasing just the known buried reserves of fossil fuels would create CO2 levels that are generally agreed as being way above anything we’d care to see given the expected geophysical effects. Add to this positive feedbacks from methane releases and added water vapor and I fear we’d be a very unhappy bunch of primates indeed.
And consider: If we don’t curb our appetite for these fuels now, then toward the end of their (currently) expected availability there will be more, not less, demand for a scarce resource thus driving up the price. And therefore more, not less, effort at extraction of what was before marginally valuable reserves and more not less exploration in deeper and more remote locations heretofore deemed not worth the effort. We see just this happening with oil now.
The idea of what quantity of product lay in “reserves” is a function of how much we’re willing to work at getting them, which is driven in turn by their value in the market, which goes up with scarcity and/or demand.
As a rough guess, I’d estimate that every time the value of oil, coal or gas doubles this increases the extractable “reserves” likewise about 25% simply because there is more money to go and find them, or fetch them from difficult sources. By the time 40-100 years has passed with this kind of market-driven positive feedback one can imagine that the actual amount of fossil fuels to be extracted over that time might be double what we now know to be finite “reserves” at current market rates. The only force holding this back (apart from the very real limit on the actual quantity of buried organic material on the planet) is the price of the final fuel to consumers and governments. Would people be willing to pay $80/gallon for gas, or similar high rates for electricity generated from gas or coal, as these resources became scarce? My guess is, someone would be willing to, and enough would do that to keep the pumps going and the mines digging, until that expense and drain on economic output simply put an end to it even as a luxury good. But that might be a LONG way down the road.
In short, if you want to wait until everything is simply burned up then you might have a VERY long wait indeed, and might be burning up twice what you think you now need to burn up to simply get rid of it all. And the thought of doing THAT has a very high sphincter coefficient if you ask me.
James Hansen states that we can burn all of the Oil and Gas available to us but that it is Coal that is the main issue due to there being both more of it and because it is a very dirty fuel. However there are at present very few alternatives to fossil fuels, hence the reason for this site and the wider debate on climate change. Of course we have AGW but is it dangerous to humanity overall, sure people are going to die from AGW but looking at world response to the threat of AGW it would appear that some countries are prepared to sacrifice a lot to keep their position at the top of the leage militarily, politically and economically.
Unless we can develop suitable altrnatives to fossil fuels (which at the present time we are struggling to do) and get them out there and in use en masse by everyone the ineviatable issue is more AGW but will it be dangerous to all of us and will it even hurt most of us if it never becomes dangerous.
#28. Yes but…as the price goes up, alternative sources of energy become ever more attractive and the natural tendency is to change to the cheaper option: which is why nearly all the coal mines in the UK are now closed. Every year Solar and Wind power gets cheaper and it’s unikely we’ll ever need to use up all the hydrocarbons as other energy sources will emerge in time. The mistake is always to assume that all the options we see now are all the options we will ever have.
Of course, all this tends to work better in a market-driven economy; centrally planned setups like China are less flexible.
Re#30, there are curently no viable alternatives to fossil fuels on the scale that they are used, that is exactly the issue. Solar and Wind are limited by efficiency and do not produce anything like the energy of fossil fuels otherwise we would already be susing them en masse.
Think about it for a minute, Uranium is in limited supply and hance Nuclear fission is limited in its ability to scale. Fusion is nowhere currently, renewables are going to only provide around 20% maximum without major efficiency breakthroughs.
One option could be microwind and microsolar coupled to making making energy savings via insulation, efficient devices but that is unlikely to happen due to cost.
#30: If I were a business man in the alternative energy sector, I’d make sure that alternatives like solar and wind remain just ever so slightly MORE expensive than fossil fuels… and rely on the “greenness” factor to push people over the edge into buying. Then I’d track the price of my alternative against fluctuations in fossil fuels on the assumption that whatever people are willing to pay, they *should* pay. I imagine they still teach that principle on day 1 of business school.
The price of alternatives may indeed fall below fossil fuels if some industrial sector (or even a single country) decides to corner the market via price controls, the way Standard Oil did back in the beginnings of the industrial revolution, and for similar long term reasoning. Meaning, it would be a business ploy and not a real reduction in pricing, just as gas used to be pennies a gallon and the full price measured in tenths of a penny (which you can still see on the service station displays, as ludicrous as it looks now.)
My opening caveat, “If we don’t curb our appetite for these fuels now…” is the wildcard in the deck. Will consumers and governments really turn their backs on reliable and locally available oil and/or coal? Will the developing world in particular pass over these relatively less expensive energy resources as they modernize in a race with the developed world? “Unlikely” I would dare say. Nor do I see manufacturers of alternative energy sources like solar and wind generation to be any less pragmatic regarding profits in a mixed energy market than the oil barons that came before them. Thus I anticipate a neck-and-neck race between fossil and alternative energy sources, in both price per unit and growth in capacity, for many years. Nor will it help the situation that oil companies are getting into the alternatives scene. It should cause one to pause when they see “BP” mentioned as a leading provider of solar panels. When ExxonMobil enters the market you’ll know we’re in big trouble.
About the only thing I can see happening to shut down oil and coal consumption entirely (other than exhaustion of current and future available reserves) is a very rare kind of moral outrage at the prospect of our changing this planet counter our own interests, akin to the outrage at nuclear war or genocide (as weak as even that outrage has become). If enough people become fearful enough regarding the quality of life of future generations then maybe they’ll ween themselves off fossil fuels before they are entirely used up.
But moral outrage is a slippery thing, as Al Gore correctly identified in his AIT talk, and it can take many generations to change peoples’ minds.
The price of alternatives may indeed fall below fossil fuels if some industrial sector (or even a single country) decides to corner the market via price controls
Sunny (sic) Germany indeed is getting a lions share of the worlds solar cells by subsidising them the most. Since there is a finite worldwide production capacity at the moment, this has pushed up the price of solar cells on the open market. The price controls in Germany means that for somewhere like Australia which has a real lot of sun it is less economically viable at the moment. Governments should stop distorting the market with subsidies so the cells can go to the most appropriate places instead of the ones with the highest subsidies!
Al Gore made news today, not especially by asking scientists to become more active in policymaking (which is well and good) but by quoting the Big-Brother-has-slouched-in reaction of a hapless USGS scientist, Jim Estes, to new review rules announced at the agency. Right afterward I went to a session on how scientists can deal with the media. A speaker mentioned having phoned Estes to tell him Gore had quoted him; his reaction was “Oh shit.” That got the audience’s attention, probably scaring off a few scientists from even thinking about talking to the press. But lots of scientists do it right, like the ones on this blog.
Re #33 and #34. again the assumption is that renewables can replace fossil fuels which they cannot at the present time, not without major efficiency breakthroughs which cannot happen with Wind anyway as they already work at around 40% efficiency which is very good but not good enough, well not unless you are planning on covering half the planet in wind turbines and and the other half in solar panels. Maybe on the equator and in windy places they can help a bit but not enough I fear.
Fossil Fuels are energy dense, hence why we use them and their power is seen in artic lorries and aircraft etc.
Maybe we can all drive electric hybrids as reported in scientific american yesterday but they still consume fossil fuels from the grid in the form of coal, they just create less pollution in urban areas.
Re “Re#30, there are curently no viable alternatives to fossil fuels on the scale that they are used, that is exactly the issue. Solar and Wind are limited by efficiency and do not produce anything like the energy of fossil fuels otherwise we would already be susing them en masse.”
Wind power is cost-competitive with fossil fuels right now, and solar is dropping. Both markets are growing at double-digit rates.
Re #18 & the IPCC “downgrading” man’s role in the warming, I think that is in reference to climate SENSITIVITY to GHGs, and I believe the low end was upgraded, as well. (Why didn’t they also point out that climate SENSITIVITY had been “upgraded” by xx% at the lower end?) I think these changes have to do with scientists being more certain, narrowing the confidence interval (which often happens as more & more data come in). RC has discussed SENSITIVITY several times…it is how much warming (within a confidence interval range) to expect with a standardized amount of CO2 (2 times pre-industrial level, I believe).
That, however, says nothing about what the CO2 levels will be in 2100 & hence does not predict the upper limit to the warming — which depends on whether or not we cease & desist from this ghastly earth-warming experiment & whether or not nature starts kicking in its own GHGs as a response to the warming. Both cases are looking very bad — our emissions are increasing a lot, and permafrost is melting faster than anyone expected, and some ocean methane hydrates are at shallower depths than anyone thought, acc to a recent study (closer to the warming waters). So who knows what the CO2 levels will be in 2100 — not to mention the further warming from an iceless dark Arctic ocean acting as a big heat absorber.
At any rate, I consider the IPCC reports fairly conservative in their estimates, AND each succeeding report comes back with “it’s worse than we thought” type information on the whole. Just stick your finger to the wind & see which way it’s blowing. You don’t have to be a weather man or rocket scientist.
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 15 Dec 2006 @ 9:48 AM
Re my recent post, it occurred to me that the narrowing of the confidence interval for climate sensitivity (the “downgrading” of the high figure & “upgrading” of the low figure) actually strengthens the proof for AGW (I think). If the climate change we’re witnessing today were just noise or random fluctuations, I think there would tend not be a narrowing of the confidence interval around some figure higher than todays global average temp — such a narrowing tends to happen mainly when something is happening, AGW in this case. The really important figure, I think, would be that the low end is further away from 0 (the null hypothesis) than before. If I’m wrong, just let me know.
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 15 Dec 2006 @ 10:06 AM
James Hansen states that we can burn all of the Oil and Gas available to us but that it is Coal that is the main issue due to there being both more of it and because it is a very dirty fuel.
Which is another reason why the attack on cars emissions is misguided.
Many people are to lazy to read text and beside this to reach certain social groups we need to use visuals as well. I suggesting to use more Videos, Podcasts and such media to share solution, technology and progress. Also this influence the authenticity, accessibility, and feelings positive.
And i hope i can find soon some media streams from this years AGU on youtube and video.google.com.
#35: Estes has good company in Hansen then. Scientists should not be afraid to say that their work is being censored or doctored in some manner, or is headed in that direction. While most do not understand science as an area of work, people still rely on unbiased scientific results to help them decide what is a problem in the environment and what is not. That some oil-industry-lubricated politician might be fiddling with the facts means that people are left in the dark on matters of grave importance to their quality of life, if not their survival, and that kind of back room dealing is intolerable in a representative government.
I’ve in the past worked on an academic team doing field research on matters of serious importance to public health (involving heavy metal contamination) and I can tell you that under the best of circumstances government agencies are not shy about questioning “troubling data points”. Researches *do* worry about their funding being pulled once data starts rolling in. That’s the first thing you think about when the levels exceed regulatory standards; how am I going to keep my funding with results like this?
Science and politics intersected the MOMENT the EPA was created in response to concerns from the public about research showing that industrial and agricultural pollution was damaging the environment. The MOMENT that the government began regulating businesses about their discharges into the environment, the fate of all future scientific research on environmental issues was handed to the lobbyists for mining and manufacturing concerns. It has been a titanic struggle ever since, and most scientists seem to just want to do their work and so understandably allow managers to decide what is published and what is not. I have had the very good fortune of hanging around entirely with academics (because the work I’ve participated in remains in the realm of specialists) and academics are far more willing to go mano-a-mano with industry lobbyists holding government positions. I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to try and do respected work while under government observation, often under the noses of people hired right out of industries with a keen interest in one’s results.
With regard to the streaming, recording, and IP narrow-casting from AGU meeting…
And related to Gore’s AGU comments…
This may be old news from last year, but I happened to sit in on a session that covered editorial and publication issues of the AGU.
One dominant point of view presented seemed to be that the AGU pubs division is a major revenue machine–competing along with other like privates like Elsevier.
This seems to be in marked contrast to the open access government supported journals of Europe: journals that still engage the peer review process, but are open to all eyes. For the greater good, it seems that the for-profit business model runs counter for the collective learning of both the scientific community and society at large, and by extension, even to the work force to business private sector capitalism, and ensuing long-term sustainable economic growth.
Also another voice suggested that all scientists should strive to write abstracts readily understood by other scientists–encouraging the usage of specialized nomenclature for the body and analysis. It was pointed out that some abstracts resolve as too specialized for scientists outside of the exact field to understand, at a glance, what is being posited.
In general, as multimedia literacy pervades our modes of online communication, perhaps academic standards of publishing should evolve to include an evolving formal standards model to support animations, audio, and hyperlinked documents.
I say, as the Internet evolves, so better the thinking of the AGU. Officially encouraging the recording each session–simply audio–and then providing a posting space for presenters, online, with some very reasonable fee for access–would be great start.
An earlier comment called the attack on cars misguided. First, let me say I don’t know what attack the commenter was referring to, but let me launch one right now, OK?
Transportation accounts for over a quarter of US energy use. How much of that energy is wasted moving over-powered status symbols or testosterone-enhancing-amusement vehicles? Perhaps half or more? Maybe an eighth or more of our total national energy consumption? Maybe 14 Quads? Wasted on non-essential energy intensive activity? And how much additional tire and brake particulate is added to our atmosphere as a result of this frivolity?
What’s in YOUR lungs?
Comment by Stephen Pranulis — 15 Dec 2006 @ 1:42 PM
You could remove most of the question marks in your comment by googling around a little bit.
Generally I support your sentiment. I would add that in order to heat our homes we burn inordinate amounts of natural gas which accounts for a lot more CO2 than all cars together. I don’t understand why people are allowed to live in four bedroom houses that need so much gas to heat and power to cool in the summer. (Funny enough, inhabitants of the those houses are often the same people who want to eliminate SUVs.) The planet would be a lot safer if everybody lived in studios and one bedroom apartments. That’s what we should work on.
It’s only a brief segment of Gore’s speech, but it’s probably one of the most important parts. It deals with requirements by the Bush administration that scientists in government jobs submit their research for review (by non-scientists) before its publication.
It’s tantamount to censorship. Every one of us who values the freedom of scientific research should write to our elected representatives demanding that congress forbid Bush’s censorship tactic by law.
“Transportation accounts for over a quarter of US energy use”
In the northeastern US, transportation-related emissions are closer to 40% of the total GHG emissions, and this is the fastest growing sector. Putting all of your eggs into any one basket is foolish policy. Cars are also the primary source of smog-forming NOx emissions, and the health effects of ozone days are well understood.
Gore stumbles when he says that the reason we allow censorship of science to happen is because of the way we now accept any message. I think the reason he struggles there is because he does not really believe what he is saying! He knows, that the reason we do not want to believe the scientists, is because they are telling us some very disturbing truths!
I doubt that even he is willing to face up to the truth. Scientists have already said that to stop global warming we will have to reduce CO2 emissions to 40% of the emissions we produced in the year 2000. That is impossible in a free economy!
The capitalist economy is driven, not by the Marxist labour theory of value, but by the energy theory of value. Without an increase in energy consumption the economy will contract. That means no democraticaly elected government can contemplate an end to growth. No democratically elected (free) government can encourage a reduction in fossil fuel consumption. A reduction in consumption of fossil fuels to the level needed to save the world would severely disrupt the American and the global economy. Let’s face it, fossil fuels provide 90% of our energy needs. With 60% less oil we would be 60% poorer :-(
When Gore attacted the Bush administration for hiding the truth, did he suddenly realise that Bush is right? With 60% less oil Americans would be 60% poorer. Did he suddenly realise that democracy does not have an answer to global warming? Did he realise that we are all doomed? No! He is not that bright, he is only a politician :-)
A point about economics in regards to hard to extract fossil fuels. New more efficient technologies would need to be developed. It makes no economic sense to burn two barrels of oil to extract just one.
RE #42, no one who has actually attended AGU sessions would make such a suggestion. Audio-only recordings would be largely of unlistenable sound quality (due to poor speaking practices and, often, thick accents) and nearly useless on top of that, as so much of what is presented is a combination of speech and Powerpoints. Also, the majority of AGU presentations are posters, in which the value lies in engaging the authors personally. Finally, presentations at meetings are not the best science–by which I only mean that they have little or no peer review and that they are not prepared for universal distribution. They are the scientific community’s internal discussions, and about 1 percent of them would be worth the broad public’s attention. Believe me, bloggers would not like podcasts of AGU’s raw audio.
But I have seen that some major talks, like the memorial lectures, are videotaped. It would be nice if AGU made those available for streaming or as mp3s, where the incremental expense is slight and the benefit plausible.
Sorry – I left Friday morning, so I can’t see your poster. But did you see Singer’s? He was on the 1st floor on Thursday. I went from his poster to Hansen’s talk and it was a bit of a shock. Singer’s main contribution was a list of questions to ask Al Gore. Does anyone have a copy? I wanted to take one but the place was packed.
Comment by Debra Tillinger — 15 Dec 2006 @ 11:11 PM
RE: #50 by Andrew
While I agree that the AGU presentations and posters engage in the process of unproven science, I have a slightly different take of the value of an audio recording…
Last year when I attended AGU conference, I had no trouble understanding any of the English of the presenters of the twelve sessions I attended, with the exception of a fellow from China, and I was able to get most of it…
Many presenters provide a URL: to either advance organize or post process their talking points in a conceptual framework. Often, this is the entry to a body of work and supporting or dissenting papers and evidence; the audio of the session serves to deepen the context of the papers, and subsequently, the schematic linking of the information in the cognitive processes of the mind.
Moreover, a videotape of the session is less valuable than the combination of access to those powerpoints in conjunction with an audio reference.
Question and answer sessions are very revealing in some instances; moreover, some of the argument subtext of the moment is revealed in the audio modality. Some of the presenters were wisely kind enough to rephrase questions they were posed with that makes it even more clear what is happening.
For example, Michael Ghil, of UCLA, has some audio only archives of presentations online dealing with stochastic climate modeling, and provides the .ppt files used during the presentation. He and his French accent is understandable enough… The chartsâ��somewhat interdisciplinary and complex–are much more accessible with the audio verbal explication.
While I can agree that arms-length discussion is of value (and perhaps of pleasure), the greater temporal disparity of reading, listening, and discussion in an online discussion community can very effective in gaining valid understanding of itâ��s own right.
For a RealClimate reference, some of the readers here might recall the June 2006 forum on Communicating Science & Technology by Rasmus.
I don’t see why digital presentations, archives of live conferences, can’t be a goal of AGU and like social bodies of science. Recording audio is very easy–it can be as simple as setting down a solid-state recorder at the podium, and/or diverting the audio feed for the room.
Then, it’s not a big step to use a shrinkwrap software product like Breeze to sync the sound to a powerpoint for all to download and experience on demand.
But perhaps we can simply agree to disagree on the inherent value of a relatively carbon-neutral wild audio recording of a run of the gamut AGU session.
For a topic of interest to me, audio of the session would be of high value, despite the hum of air conditioning, the shuffling of papers, and intrusion of sidebar conversation, amidst the critical vetting of ideas and discourse.
Having to submit research and findings for review by others at an agency should be a positive step in presenting material that is free from error, redundancy, plagiarism and bias. Problems occur when others (both scientists and non-scientists) are given authority to change or not accept a report without having to show justification. In dealing with work related to climate change and global warming, changes and refusal of findings took place without justification both before Bush became President (2001) and after.
And your solution to the problem of heating large houses sounds like high snark. In the US, not only can we can live in four bedroom houses if we can afford them, but we can easily come up with creative ways to heat them if we want. If I had a four bedroom house, I might make sure it was well insulated, and plaster it with solar heat collectors. As a result, I could produce a smaller CO2 footprint per family member than I might living in a badly heated studio or bedroom apartment.
Ideologues can and will take comments out of context, and use then to sow mischief so we all need to take care in what we say. Moreover, ideologues sometimes embed innocent sounding but misleading comments as a way of discrediting a source. YOU wouldnâ??t be trying to do that now, would you? Cheers.
Comment by Stephen Pranulis — 16 Dec 2006 @ 10:06 AM
I disagree. Offering your work for review within your own institution is a good idea, and certainly par for the course; I doubt there’s an agency for which this isn’t the norm. But the resposibility to ensure quality in publication lies with the peer review process.
But that’s not what the Bush administration rules are about. There is absolutely no place in science for the review/approval of scientific work by nonscientists. It’s akin to requiring that before a medical treatment can be permitted, a lawyer has to approve it! Both practically, and morally, wrong.
[Response: Why do you so inquire? i.e. there are many things that could be said, but presumably you have a reason for asking. That reason for asking is probably much more useful in crafting an appropriate response.... -gavin]
And in a completely unrelated topic, I would like to ask for some help – perhaps from Hank Roberts, the master searcher:
* I am one of the 1000 trained by Al Gore and The Climate Project (www.climateproject.org)
* I am trying to find an article on realclimate and cannot; I hope to include it in my presentation
* The article I am looking for is one posted in the forum; it was in response to a question I asked about Veizer’s Cosmic Ray Flux argument, and I think it was raypierre who broke out three graphs – they showed that Veiver had conveniently omitted the latter part of the CRF/CO2/Temperature graph.
I want to use these three graphs in my presentation to show people how some of the science they may have heard about as legitimate is not.
Sorry for being off topic, but I have searched and searched….
Re #56: “As a result, I could produce a smaller CO2 footprint per family member than I might living in a badly heated studio or bedroom apartment.”
In addition, if I want to do something about the heating efficiency and/or energy sources of my house, I only have to consult myself – and possibly my bank account :-) If I lived in an apartment, I would have to convince the owner to spend his money on something that wouldn’t have any obvious return for him.
How come Al Gore did nothing about the ignoring of inconvenient truths on climate change by NWS directors in 2000?
Maybe because he’s been so busy, trying to persuade congress to deal with the issue back in the 80s, running for vice president, running for president, lecturing about global warming all over the world. He’s been the world’s strongest advocate for action on the issue. When it comes to global warming, let’s not forget who our best friends really are.
Re “The capitalist economy is driven, not by the Marxist labour theory of value, but by the energy theory of value.”
Actually, the theory of value associated with modern capitalist economics is the marginal utility theory of value. And you don’t need eternal growth for a free market to function; one of fixed size works just as well.
Modern capitalist societies are put under extreme stress and often collapse when there is no growth for a prolonged (say, 5 year) period of time. This is mostly linked to high levels of debt and to a one-way transfer of wealth to the rich, which will forcibly break down when growth stops.
In societies where inequality and debt are more modest, such as Japan, zero growth can be handled much better.
Strangely enough Shashka, my observation is that it is those who live in tract chateaus who HAVE the SUVs. The entire lifestyle is built around large houses and large cars. Indeed a major concern is that housing policy in the US encourages people to operate fleets of autos. It is easy to try and paint those concerned with these issues as being inconsistent, but unless you have some data please resist.
Brian, any good reference librarian can help you more than I with searching. I took your search words and found three hits, none here, perhaps one of these three is what you’re remembering. (Firefox 2 on the Mac breaks the fancy new Google/RC search, I get zero results, this is a straight Google search).
In viewing the information at the wiki link, I see that Mr. Gore was active in speaking out on global warming in 2004 (but 2000?).
More important to me in 2000 was that my letters of concern and my requests for help sent to Dr. James Baker (Director of NOAA), William Daley (Secretary of the DOC), supervisors at the DOC Ethics Division and Al Gore were totally ignored.
My letters of concern and requests for help in 2000 can be viewed in comments to the article at:
Nicely done. I see it as a must read, and perhaps a topic of discussion in entirety…
Another side note, as of today, not a mention in the LA Times of the AGU Al Gore talk about the distortion of science by external political forces… Curious… Meanwhile, the NY Times positioned the story in the context of a few flamings Gore got on CNET… Both either missed the point or the entire story, so it seems… Despite the AP news feed… Go figure.
Re 74 I think what Brian was looking for can be found by putting Veizer into the search box at the top of this page. When I did that it came up with this link: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=153 There are several graphs in that article.
Yes well we talk about the phenomena of AGW but not a lot is said about doing anything about it probably because no one quite knows where to start in regard to curbing CO2 emissions by 70% asap.
The Politics is difficult due to all of the jobs that reside in the energy sector not to mention the power and influence on capital hill. Humans do not like change because no one quite knows where the power will end up no one wants to embark on large scale change.
The Economics is all messed up because Economics relies on their being sellable solutions that are COST/EFFECTIVE and considering we have different types of energy source and alternatives available but none can replace any one type and hence no one knows where the balance is as yet.
It is going to take a long time before this is sorted out, longer than 450 ppm and maybe longer than 500 ppm
Re #67 where Barton says “And you don’t need eternal growth for a free market to function; one of fixed size works just as well.”
There is a multiplier effect associated with the money supply. This provides a positive feedback, and so it is extrememly difficult/impossible to find the fixed size where the economy is stable. The optimum is a gently expanding economy. that gives you full employment. Too much expansion and the economic system will crash when the resources run out. But they still run out with a gently expanding economy, only much later.
RE: 73, 78 Covering ice with any material, even black plastic, will slow down the melting somewhat. Why? Ice melts because it absorbs some of the downwelling solar IR (that’s why the albedo of fresh ice or snow is quoted as 90% and not 100%- if totally white the albedo is 100%, but only for visible light- at most, it only reflects 80% of the downwelling solar) and also most of the downwelling thermal IR.
If the ice is covered, the only way the heat from these two sources can get to it is by passing through the cover. Because the cover, either black plastic or sawdust will not be firmly bonded to the ice, there will be air pockets that will slow down the heat transfer, since convection is more inefficient than conduction in transferring heat energy.
Of course, our friends from the 19th century might have gotten a little more bang for their block of ice if they had used white sawdust (probably not available at the time).
The discussion about censorship of government research brings back some bad memories of how all this started. This may have been brought up before, but here goes.
In the early 1980′s, Reagan was elected president and had as one of his basic goals the elimination of much of the government, based on a simplistic view that government per se is bad, i.e., intrusive, inefficient and in the end a hindrance to progress.
He appointed people to carry out this mission. Although he wasn’t successful in eliminating any government departments (two of his targets, Education and Energy survive today), there were lasting changes.
One of those was that disclaimer at the top or bottom of papers, posters and presentations that says something like “the views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the agency” (EPA, etc.)
This was partly done so that all those papers, posters and presentations wouldn’t have to get sent to Washington and approved. They tried that for a while and it just took too much of their valuable time.
Later on, though, especially in recent years when it became apparent that people were actually reading some of the papers, looking at some of the posters and listening to some of the presentations and that policymakers might actually have to respond (the global warming era), the censorship process got ratcheted up. But it all began in the 1980′s with Reagan.
One particularly amusing story or maybe not that is true concerns the then (1980′s) EPA Asst. Administrator for Air, Noise and Radiation (don’t those just fit together like a hand in a glove?).
She was a former school teacher and decided that the best way to limit all those unnecessary missives out of Durham from the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards that would wind up in the Federal Register would be to check them for grammatical errors and if she found any, send them back for rewrite.
In the days before spell check, the Asst. Admin. of the EPA, a couple of phone calls away from the president, was spending her time doing the red pencil thing, on the look out for “which” and “that” violations.
Nowadays, her more clever descendents secretly rewrite documents for the authors and make sure that everyone knows that the people speaking are only speaking for themselves, as if their work was privately funded or they paid for it on their own.
Leaving the public and media wondering which one to believe or is it that one to believe? Where are the English teachers now that we need them!
Pete, the frustration and anger level is building throughout the non-political, non-economist world but the pitiful fact remains that the 3-4 billion AGW culprits have few options other than individually changing lifestyles, purchasing energy efficient cars, appliances, etc. That can get us to first base but not home.
It will require the leadership of short-term elected office holders and short-term investors to come to their senses and take on this fast moving and challenge. I have personally concluded the planetâ??s climate change is far ahead of model projections and even VP Goreâ??s assessment.
How to get the politicos and international Wall Street and Goldman-Sachs types into the serious discussion is going to depend on large multi-national corporate interests understanding they are soon to be â??or already are- AGW victims. Perpetual drought and severe storms will be their early indicators. (We are measuring the expansion of the topic heat, are we not?)
Pest infestations and disruption of historic ag planting/harvesting cycles will begin to weigh heavily on timber and grains markets. Even the US ethanol industry will succumb to the ravages of increasing droughts in the drying corn-producing regions of the US North America.
Colorado River flow is dependant upon snow pack in the Rockies and that is diminishing. So to is the Columbia River annual flow.
And, melting glaciers in the Andes and Himalayas now – and will continue to â?? threaten water supplies for cities and agriculture on which more than 500 million people depend.
We know all of this but the stuff has not really hit the fan, yet. Will there be time for us to correct our collision course? If a 70% CO2 emission cut or stabilization at 450-550 ppm are goals,I think not. Adaptation will ALSO PLAY A MASSIVE PART IN OUR RESPONSE.
Would that VP Gore would put aside the polite message of “Inconvenient” and refer to the future in real terms (even politically incorrect terms of predicting global collapse of capitalism) that will cause people to lose sleep over the realization that we are sealing the fate of our children’s future.
Keep an eye on Australia these next several years. It is possibly Australia will be the first nation (way ahead of Maldives and Tuvalu) to suffer the changes brought about by AGW. Southern Australian drought could become a (permanent) fixture in its climate and economy.
Comment by John McCormick — 18 Dec 2006 @ 10:07 AM
Thanks to all who responded to my request for info on the Veizer paper. Hank, I’m not trying to show only one side. When I first came to realclimate, I was somewhat sceptical (ie, brainwashed); I just didn’t believe that people would lie to the extent that some have, given the consequences. I had read a convincing-sounding article in Canada’s National Post by Tom Harris, in which he quoted Veizer, a real scientist, as ‘proving’ that Cosmic Ray Flux was the real reason for fluctuations in the Earth’s temperature. I actually read Veizer’s paper, then asked here about it. One of the scientists here was kind enough to break out Veizer’s graphs into several: CRF, CO2, and temperature – and to include the graphs past whenever Veizer conveniently stopped, I think in the 1950′s. So, I wanted to find those graphs and show them.
As to those wondering what Al Gore has done: When I went to Nashville for the training, I elected to stay with a host family rather than at a hotel. It turns out that my host was a former journalist, and had interviewed Gore 25 years ago. She gets frustrated with people who think this is something new for Gore, or a way to get attention – she said he was talking about this stuff when she first interviewed him. As to not responding to letters, I don’t know the reason, of course, but the man must get thousands of emails, letters, and phone calls weekly, if not daily. He has a staff, and I suspect they decide what he gets to see to an extent.
Al Gore’s footprint: near-zero. The book and movie were completely offset (yes, I realise offsetting is not the long-term solution) by a company called Native Energy, as is all his travel. 100% of the profits from the book and movie are going into The Climate Project (www.climateproject.org), the group doing the training of presenters like me. He really is walking the talk, as best he can. Nobody is perfect, but I often get the impression that Americans are waiting for the Second Coming in the hopes of voting him or her in as President.
Re. #84. … [As to not responding to letters, ... ]
For anyone commenting on the disappointment I felt that Al Gore and others in the Clinton/Gore administration were not active in replying to my letters in year 2000 … which showed my deep concerns about climate change, hydrologic modeling and flood prediction … please do not oversimplify my statements as if I’m just complaining about Al Gore having not responded to my letters 2000.
My letters to several directors and supervisors within the Clinton/Gore administration went unanswered on a subject of great importance to me, the U.S. and the world. I think Al Gore knew about my letters of request for help to others in his administration – or he should have known about them.
As I said in #75, I sent letters to several people in the Clinton/Gore administration in 2000 including … Dr. James Baker (Director of NOAA), William Daley (Secretary of the DOC), supervisors at the DOC Ethics Division … I would like to know why my letters to these others were not answered and why Al Gore didn’t bring up global warming as an issue in the 2000 debates.
In 2000, I also sent letters of grievance to suspensions which were issued to me for expressing my concerns about climate change and hydrologic impacts in the Upper Midwest. My letters of grievance went to the Director of the National Weather Service, Br. Gen. Jack Kelly, and the Deputy Director of NWS, John Jones. None of my grievances to the suspensions which I received in 2000 were justly considered. All of my requests for consideration by NWS directors in 2000 were denied for “lacks merit”.
Last week Al Gore urged scientists to be more active. That is exactly what I’m trying to do, and have tried to do since January of 2000 – which cost me my job as a federal civil servant and my career as a hydrologist.
Thank you for the interesting links. Not sure about your calculations, though. The transportation is all bundled together without break-up into commercial trucks/buses and private cars.
Personally, even though I have two relatively inefficient cars in the household and a relatively modest house I still pay about twice as much for heating/cooling than for gasoline. I assume it roughly translates into CO2 pollution. So my personal guilt is more on the house side. Must be similar for most people unless they drive a lot more than we do.
Savegaia, have you had a high school level chemistry class? Tell us what you know so we have some idea where to begin. If you understand exothermic and endothermic reactions and chemical bond energy it will help.
#89 Yes i had one but it wasnÂ´t very successful. You can consider my knowledge on school chemistry on a scale from 1 -10, a 4 i guess :)
I attended a climate ozone layer seminar as a private person in university ~12 years ago, and besides reading on the web i have some basic understanding on how the carbon cycle works.
I think im capable to understand most of it but need some training with specialy formula and understanding of air chemistry and how the reaction of molecules work in particular.
Re #83. John, it is going to be a long hard trek becuase timescales are so short. 3 ppm per annum rising to 4 ppm at some point due to feedbacks etc. 400 ppm is 10 years off and we have no chance of averting it do we? 500 ppm is another 40 years after that (or sooner) plus the latency in the oceans. A 3 deg C average temp rise world wide by 2080 – 2100 is really going to hurt us. pestilence, famine, drought, subsidence, flood (somewhere I guess) and not to mention, heat and the strain this will place on our existing systems. One other major blooper is the population being some 9 billion by 2050 falling back to 6 billion by 2100 could just tip us over the edge in many ways. Energy duage is set to double within 40 years and a large part of that might come in the short term from fossil fuels (although I doubt that they will scale much more than they are now without a massive investment) and that means more CO2 unless humankind is making plans now for its demise.
I am not sure that they alternatives will be ready in time en masse.
For a fairly crude personal carbon calculator, check out this site: http://www.safeclimate.net/calculator/
It should give you a sense of where your emissions come from, but leaves out important items like food and recycling.
Also, generally gasoline is used for light-duty vehicles and diesel for trucks and heavy-duty vehicles. Diesel has higher carbon content and “black carbon” soot emissions which have a significant warming impact above and beyond the CO2, but there are a lot of gasoline vehicles.
No probably about it, the miracle of photosynthesis is a real winner, but in order to get rid of carbon dioxide you not only have to undo a favourable and very stable chemical state, but you have to collect it too.
Cat black near the top cynically says alt energy would price based on the increasing price of oil/coal reserves. Obviously you have forgotten that most basic of principals called competition. Cartels will always defect to Nash equilibriums and the best price will often reduce to marginal costs rather than substitute good matching. In a nutshell, when alternatives are cost effective relative to increasing prices of current goods we go the cheap way and the things that are more plentiful and common are cheap. Assuming one can get over the transitional hump of start up costs over the next 60 years.
Yesterday the UK approved to very large scale (largest in the world at the present time) wind farms on the east coast near London. The larger one will consist of some 341 turbines covering some 90 square miles and the second one some 100 turbines covering some 13 square miles. They will produce 1.3 GW of electricity and help power some 1 million of Londons 3 million homes. Here comes the fun bit, they will contribute 1 percent to the UK idea of 20 percent renewable energy by 2020. These are offshore windfarms and hence to get to 20 percent by wind alone will take around 441×15=6000 more wind turbines of this nature. So Surely Wind cannot be more than a small factor in the plan for alternatives to Fossil Fuels.
In the UK Offshore wind turbines work at around 31 percent efficiency.
#79 Economics isn’t messed up, while your complaining about lack of action free market dynamics will have commerce grads plucking the riches of new opportunity. Thst is why as scientists you can’t afford to ignore economists as they unfortunately (for you) have the advantage of influence and action. They also should not have difficulty acting on changes as economics is the social science of choices made in a world with limited resources. Remember that. Economists accept the world has limited resources. Also cost effectiveness is better worded as cost benefit. Why do you think Stern has been trying to deal with it in his own way, he got more publicity in one hit than just about anyone you care to mention (other than journo Gore) This resounding superiority of science attitude will turn more people off than ever, already a lot of people are sick of GW and don’t give a rats, its like were going off the other side of the hill, weve peaked and some are going whats next. You have to engage all things be it politics or economics or science. Without this holistic approach to influencing decisiions you will fail.
Matt, tune in to what Texas Utilities is proposing to construct over the next decade; 11 coal-fired power stations. Seems its on-board economists tuned up with the TXU engineers to capitalize on Texas lignite…a commodity that is not now a limited resource.
Leave it to the economists to know a cost effective investment.
This is a tricky one and I agree that economics is required in order to resolve the issues before us. However the free market economy is not necessarily the mechanism to deliver us from salvation, it may work and it may not. Fossil Fuels occupy a vested interest and a known financial stream of huge profits that can only increase as we approach Peak Oil and Gas that is delivered to organisations that sponsor Governments to keep the status quo. Sure several major organisations have agreed plans for CO2 trading and the like but as we require large scale cuts in CO2 to minimise temperature rises of upto 3 deg C by 2100.
I am doubtful that free market capatalism will deliver. Most Governments will not use Taxation to do the job and hence some reasonable temperature rises are inevitable and no one (especially economists) know what the consequences will be.
Cartels will always defect to Nash equilibriums and the best price will often reduce to marginal costs rather than substitute good matching. In a nutshell, when alternatives are cost effective relative to increasing prices of current goods we go the cheap way and the things that are more plentiful and common are cheap. Assuming one can get over the transitional hump of start up costs over the next 60 years.
Economics does not necessarily rule our future vis-a-vis CO2 emissions. Remember the 2nd world war. Americans made dramatic sacrifices from sea to shining sea — willingly, we didn’t have to be threatened or legislated to it — and the tiny sacrifices of a hundred million individuals added up to a vast difference. Mega-corporations transformed themselves to work for the cause, some because they saw a huge profit in it, others for purely patriotic reasons, yet others because the long arm of Franklin Delano Roosevelt put the screws down hard. From the top to the bottom of the economic heirarchy and the government, people worked together in order to overcome the greatest threat to their children’s future yet seen. And we won.
Today’s threat is even greater. But our ability to meet the challenge is still there. Two things are lacking: first, sufficient awareness of the gravity of the threat; second, the leadership to mobilize the people’s hearts and minds. In the long run, these will be far greater influences than macroeconomics.
There are ways to extract the CO2 from the air. They are very expensive and unlikely to scale to the size needed. More practical would be to capture the CO2 emitted from large sources such as power plants. Then you have to find a place to put it for a long time. This is called sequesterization. Searching under CO2 or carbon sequesterization should get you a fair number of links. OTOH, we could do the dinosaur trick and turn into coal.
I think you misunderstand economics which is a science in itself. People mobilise to war because of the PERCEIVED benefits of doing so and behaviour of people and their LEADERS is the realm of economics as well as psychology and politics. What I was targeting was the opinion that alternatives would be priced to match what we use for fuel now, that I don’t believe to be true. However the only failure is in giving people the feeling that GW will have a cost too large. In that I agree fully with Grant as it is true the economic principles concerning game theory and cost benefit requires all the players to have an idea what those costs and benefits are, that is where you guys come in so keep it up and try making it more public (crack the media). Also until some of you become the leaders of people you will always underachieve in the realm of influence which you most richly deserve given your intelligence and wisdom.
“GORE: I do. I think that in this 21st century we will soon see the consequences of what’s called global warming. There was a study just a few weeks ago suggesting that in summertime the north polar ice cap will be completely gone in 50 years. Already people see the strange weather conditions that the old timers say they’ve never seen before in their lifetimes.”
“GORE: I’m really strongly committed to clean water and clean air, and cleaning up the new kinds of challenges like global warming.”
103: This *is* a good cut on the tree question (pardon the pun) but the problem with all sequestration options is keeping the carbon locked up but in an economical manner.
Rather than bury the trees, I’d think we could find novel uses for the pulp they create for us, or the lumber if you stick with firs and pines. Even low grade pulp and wood chips from fast growing species are being used to make new kinds of building materials like OSB and wood i-beams. Planting fast-growing trees over vast areas of former forests would pull in a lot of carbon and generate a lot of wood suitable for pulp and chips, which when harvested and formed into suitable building products could generate a lot of homes, bridges and public structures. Cement manufacturing is a HUGE source of CO2, so let’s stop using cement entirely for structures, build smaller, build more often, and build EVERYTHING out of wood or wood products.
Structures so built would eventually collapse or fall to termites, so the amount of time you buy is measured in decades or centuries rather than millenia… but at least it doesn’t require any new inventions or additional environmental damages, other than the damages that come from harvesting the trees, which could and should be managed.
I’m not even a lumberjack! I’m a systems biologist. But I’ve longed for a world of cities and homes made entirely of wood. Even, grown in place around wood panels and posts. Huge trees with integrated platforms, or hollowed out and buttressed inside. There is so much we could do besides rip up the ground to make cement, bricks and steel for buildings, while we pump CO2 into the air in the process, making those same concrete canyons unlivable in a few decades.
James Hansens latest take on AGW set against Peak Oil and Gas and Coal usage. It would seem to suggest that we need to address/tackle electricity supply via Coal (there are numerous options available to us here) rather than bothering with transport although it would be a good idea to reduce gas and oil use somehow to allow us to transition away from them over time.
So nuclear, renewables, and the like can replace Coals energy production but what replaces transports energy source. Type II Ethenol, Hydrogen made from renewables, energy efficiency gains help less energy rich fuels etc?
One other thing is: would 1 Deg C be that benign that we just go ahead and blow all of the Gas and Oil anyway?
What about producing char coal from wood and dump it? ItÂ´s very simple low-tech. The coal might improve the soil (terra preta?), and you could harvest pyrolysis oil as bio fuel. IÂ´m looking for some expert commentary on that scheme.
Comment by Florifulgurator — 20 Dec 2006 @ 10:20 AM
I did not spread lies about Al Gore!
My comments in #86 were that my letters to several directors and supervisors within the Clinton/Gore administration went unanswered on a subject of great importance to me, the U.S. and the world and that I think Al Gore knew about my letters of request for help to others in his administration – or he should have known about them. I learned recently that my brother sent a letter to Al Gore in 2000 as well, which also went unanswered.
Global warming was not brought up as an issue in the 2000 or 2004 Presidential debates that I remember. I remember being very disappointed about that, especially in 2004. In commenting in #106, I wasn’t even thinking about Vice President debates, which few people watch. I don’t remember watching the Gore vs ? debates in 2000. Do you know how the numbers stack up i.e percent of viewers watching debates for President vs percent watching V.P. debates?
Even in the V.P. debates in 2000, global warming was not really brought up as an issue by the weakness of the comments made by Al Gore about global warming (#106). Compare what Al Gore said in 2000 about global warming vs some of what I said about global warming in 2000:
———- Forwarded Message ———-
Subject: My job, safety, and global warming
Author: Pat Neuman at W-CR-MSR
Date: 4/20/2000 10:21 AM
TO: William Daley, Secretary of the Department of Commerce
From: Pat Neuman, Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, National Weather Service, North
Central River Forecast Center, Chanhassen, Minnesota
April 20, 2000
I appreciated your 4/19/00 message to us. You have my full and
enthusiastic support in seat belt safety efforts. I also appreciated
your encouragement for us to share thoughts and ideas about the
Department and its work, and to feel free to respond to this message.
I now ask for your views relating to short and long term safety
from floods and the consequences of global warming.
I also ask for your specific views about my job responsibility
to the public, in relation to a 3/30 Proposal to Suspend memorandum
from my supervisor at the NWS North Central River Forecast Center
located in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The 3/30/00 Proposal to Suspend
is now on the desk of the acting NWS Central Region director for his
decision. I received the Proposal to Suspend for two reasons: 1) not
following my supervisor’s instructions to not work on global warming,
and 2) using my computer at work for expressing personal views on
My job to provide spring snowmelt flood outlooks for the National
Weather Service requires that I learn about global warming. My efforts
to learn about global warming, it’s hydrologic consequences, and the
need to provide for public understanding of the hydrologic implications,
have been in direct response to the messages that Dr. James Baker,
director of NOAA, has been giving on national television, beginning
in January, 2000.
My efforts to provide snowmelt flood outlooks in late winter of this
year benefited from my knowledge about global warming which I
obtained through recent study, particularly the work of NOAA and EPA. In addition to providing operational hydrologic outlooks and
forecasts, my job also requires the development of procedures for
hydrologic outlooks, river forecasting, and flash flood guidance. I
believe that knowledge of global warming and its implications to
hydrology are essential for development of sound hydrologic
procedures for making outlooks and flood forecasts.
I successfully accomplished all supervisory assigned duties at work
that were not related to global warming. My supervisor acknowledged
that was true in my recent six month performance review.
Most of my work and sending of messages related to global warming were
accomplished using e-mail from my home computer, on my personal time,
without reference to my noaa e-mail address.
I sent some messages from my work computer, where I keep some addresses that are not on my home computer. Messages that I sent from
work had a message in them identifying myself as a private citizen.
My intention was to represent myself as a private citizen, and not to
use my work e-mail to imply that my office of employment was in support
of my messages.
On January 28, I wrote and sent a message titled: “President Clinton’s
Strategy Wrong” on my home computer, during the same evening of the
President’s State of the Union Address. The next day, from work, I
forwarded that message to several other locations, including: other
governmental agencies, the President, Vice President, CBS News, and
some newspaper editors. I sent that message to help in spreading Dr.
James Baker’s message that global warming is real, that global warming
affects public safety, and that its consequence are short and long term. I also felt a need, in conscience and duty, to make recommendations on
how to act to slow global warming.
My purpose of bringing attention to the existence and consequences of
global warming, related to my job, is that by doing so, I can be more
direct and successful in providing improved spring snowmelt flood
outlooks to the public, this year and in years to come.
Without public understanding of global warming, the NWS mission, which
I support, can not be fulfilled. I believe that without some action
by all governmental agencies and the public to slow global, the knowledge
and commitment to understanding global warming by governmental agencies and the public will be shallow. Without a deep
understanding of global warming, the public will not have the
confidence or ability to obtain maximum benefit from NCRFC spring
snowmelt flood and hydrologic outlooks and predictions.
Many tasks for many government agencies, including my office, will be
most successful, short and long term, if the tasks are performed based
on the latest scientific knowledge that global warming is here, and
that global warming, according to National Climatic Data Center under
NOAA and the Department of Commerce, is accelerating. This is what I
believe to be true.
For your personal evaluation, I have included the 1/28/00 e-mail message
that I sent from my home and work computers, provided below.
Response from all of my messages has been minimal. I believe that
most people refuse to believe that global warming is real, with major
hydrologic implications and major consequences to Earth.
Please reply to the following requests:
1. I would appreciate knowing your views on the hydrologic implications
of global warming, especially in relation to providing
NWS operational outlooks and forecast products, and procedure
2. I would appreciate knowing your views about my job responsibility
to the public, in relation to a 3/30 Proposal to Suspend memorandum
from my supervisor at the North Central River Forecast Center located
in Chanhassen, Minnesota. As given earlier in this message, I received
the Proposal to Suspend for two items: 1) not following my supervisor’s
instructions to not work on global warming, and 2) using
my computer at work for expressing personal views on global warming.
I will look forward to your reply.
Patrick J. Neuman, senior hydrologist
NWS NCRFC, located in Chanhassen, Minnesota email@example.com
work phone: 952 361 6664 ext 514
home address Chanhassen, MN (moved in March).
home phone: XXX
———- Forwarded Message ———-
Subject: Request to DOC Ethics Division , 4/11
Author: Pat Neuman at W-CR-MSR
Date: 4/11/2000 2:51 PM
To: DOC Ethics Division, Gaye Williams and J. Roell
From: Pat Neuman, National Weather Service, NCRFC, Chanhassen, MN
I also request, as I had requested in a previous message to DOC
Ethics Division, that DOC Ethics Division provide me with an
explanation on why I did not receive a reply from several messages
that I sent in early February, 2000, to Dr. James Baker, Dir. of NOAA,
requesting assistance in my efforts to provide for improvements in the
understanding of the relationships that exist between global warming
and hydrology, and requesting assistance in office related problems
that I was encountering in my efforts related to global warming,
following Dr. Baker’s statements on CBS News on global warming,
January, 10, 2000.
I now have deep feelings on this subject, and in good conscience, I
believe, that there is a direct relationship between global warming
and the responsibility that I have as a National Weather Service North
Central River Forecast Center employee, in providing for accurate and
timely spring snowmelt flood outlooks, and other hydrologic outlooks,
that must incorporate the latest state of knowledge and evidence in
providing services for maximum public benefit.
I do not wish to be a bother to such an important person, as is
Dr. James Baker.
It is now clear to me that I need to know, from Dr. Baker
himself, which direction I should go regarding my complications at
work, on this extremely complex and controversial issue, which has
large professional and personal implications for me as an individual,
and large implications for the public, in the present and in the future.
Please contact Dr. James Baker and ask him for his
A. How I should proceed, personally, in dealing with the 3/30
Proposal to Suspend memorandum from my supervisor, and subsequent
related, and yet to be specified, unjustified and unethical
disciplinary actions directed against me by my supervisor.
B. How I should proceed, as a deeply concerned NWS employee,
with good conscience, and having devoted my career, with good effort
to the mission of NWS, to deal with a supervisor who I believe
has acted unethically, by choosing to ignore, discount, or cover up
the significance of global warming as it is related to the
mission of NCRFC and NWS.
When I informed my supervisor in January and early February that I was
researching global warming, in following the lead of Dr. James Baker,
concerning the seriousness and definitive evidence of global warming,
and the hydrologic implications, my supervisor’s reply to me was that
Dr. Baker, and related efforts and reports from NOAA and NCDC were all
driven by politics, and of little or no long term meaning with respect
to the missions of the NWS and NCRFC.
My supervisor expressed these views to me on more than one occasion,
which was very disheartening to me.
Please respond as soon as possible to my request, since my time
on this effort is very limited, as stated in the 3/30 Proposal to
Suspend memorandum from my supervisor.
“In commenting in #106, I wasn’t even thinking about Vice President debates, which few people watch. I don’t remember watching the Gore vs ? debates in 2000.”
Pat, in 2000 the presidential race was Gore versus Bush! Gosh, how can anyone forget the Florida vote counting fiasco and the Supreme Court’s subsequent action which resulting in the selection of Bush as president? Thus, the quote in post 106 is from the 2000 campaign *presidential* debate. And global warming was specifically brought up during that debate, per the transcript link. The vice presidential campaign debate that year was between Lieberman and Cheney.
I suppose you’re right, but it should not have been that way. I received a message last night from my brother, Mike Neuman, about his letter and attachment which he sent in May, 2000 to his Elected Government Officials.
To: My Elected Government Officials
President Bill Clinton
Vice President Al Gore
From Michael T. Neuman, Resident of Madison, Wisconsin
Subject: Protection From Global Warming
* Senator Kohl
Senator Russ Feingold
U.S. Representative Tammy Baldwin
Governor Tommy Balwin
State Senator Fred Risser
State Representative Terese Berceau
Madison Mayor Sue Bauman
Alderperson Jean MacCubbin
Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk
Dane County Supervisor Al Matano
“World scientists now agree. Global warming is a potential threat to
present world populations: human, animal and plant populations, and
all future world populations as well.”
“In my professional (1) opinion, major, large scale actions to cut
greenhouse gases must begin now. People” …
It seems that we people are the ones who will have to demand GW as an issue. Also see the League of Conservation Voters for environmental voting records of all the politicos ( http://www.lcb.org ).
It’s our and our children’s future; we have a right to better representation in a democracy.
Comment by Lynn Vincentnathan — 21 Dec 2006 @ 4:34 PM
Tides leveraging Antarctic glaciers into the ocean??
I’ll be glad when conferences and holidays get out of the way *smile* and we can hear about this tidbit — seesm to be one of those little stories with huge implications:
Report Says Tides Affect Speed of Antarctic Ice Slide
December 21, 2006 â�� By Alister Doyle, Reuters
The Rutford Ice Stream of western Antarctica slips about a metre (3 ft) a day towards the sea but the rate varies 20 percent in tandem with two-week tidal cycles, it said. And the effect is felt even on ice more than 40 km (25 miles) inland.
Gudmundsson said it was unclear whether a projected long-term rise in world sea levels, like a rising tide in slow motion, might accelerate a run-off of ice from Antarctica. *snip*
“Patrick J. Michaels writes: “First, Gore’s science fiction. Due to the warming of the surrounding ocean, big ice-shelves begin to crack off and float away. Because that ice is floating, it doesn’t raise sea level a bit. But then the ice cracks all the way back to where it is grounded on the ocean floor. That stuff isn’t floating and the ocean rises dramatically, some twenty feet in a hundred years.”
I haven’t seen this movie, nor do I intend to, but how can ice be “grounded on the ocean floor” when ice floats? Further, if there was such ice, for it to come adrift and melt would surely lower sea levels, not raise them! I write some science-fiction, which doesn’t claim to be anything more, but I don’t think any self-respecting SF editor would accept a story grounded on such a plot.
– Hal G. P. Colebatch
Nedlanbds, Western Australia
Dear Patrick, I like your title “Sealing” — Republican (elephant) Seals, at that!
RE: the ocean-floor “grounded” non-floating ice you mention, (which al-Gore’s “indocyoudrama” “depicts” elementary… to his envirocatastrophism- hysterics-induced scenario) — as you know, that portion which is submarine contracts to 90% of its volume upon liquification. That in order not to reduce sea-level, it must be offset by 10% of its pre-melt volume in “grounded supra-marine” (above-water) ice, is obvious (with only that portion of above-water “grounded” ice exceeding the 10% necessary to offset the contraction of the submarine portion of “grounded” ice, being able to cause any increase in sea-level; and of that excess, only 90% of its pre-melt volume, were it entirely to melt). Decreased salinity from infusion of fresh melt-water would facilitate refreezing during six months of darkness.
Has anyone made any realistic calculations on actual net change in sea-level were the sun to go completely berserk and relegate the water-cycle to an exclusively two-state system (liquid-gas) vs. (solid-liquid-gas)? Such calculations would be essentially unambiguous quantitatively. I have yet to see mathematical documentation (all relevant factors considered) of any resultant sea-level under said parameters, much less any convincing argument to suggest the realization of such terms are in any way forthcoming.
– Gary Clark
I saw the news article on the Environmental News Network. ENN has articles from the popular press (mostly AP and Reuters) on environmental and scientific issues. You can subscribe and they send a weekday email with summaries of articles. Its very useful to keep up with the environmental issues. They have the Reuters article: http://www.enn.com/today.html?id=11899
Comment by Joseph O'Sullivan — 22 Dec 2006 @ 1:26 AM
In fact, a high tide hinders the ice flow – in effect, holding it back, with the higher rate occurring when the tide is low. Thus rising sea levels will tend to reduce the rate of ice loss, or as least slow the increasing rate.
RE 126 – tides holding it back
The potential that got my attention was the possible jiggling (surely that is a term of craft for some physical scientist…) which might contribute to movement, if only because of a loosening of the bond between the ice and the land.
The paper by Dr. Fricker linked above says:
“… study rifts at the front of the ice shelves. Rifts are fractures which cut to the base of the ice shelves and eventually lead to tabular iceberg calving. Iceberg calving accounts for 2/3 of the total mass loss from Antarctica, yet little is known about the processes involved in rift propagation, and we do not know how these processes will respond to climate change.
” … study the propagation and evolution of active rifts using a combination of fieldwork and satellite remote sensing (see http://eqinfo.ucsd.edu/~helen/amery_rift ) …
” … rift propagation is episodic and occurs in discrete events separated by approximately 2 weeks.”