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House and Senate committee hearings

Filed under: — group @ 30 January 2007

There are two hearings today from the new congress that are of relevance for RealClimate readers:

The House Oversight Committee is having hearings on the possible suppression of climate change science by the administration (streaming from here). Witnesses include Drew Shindell (NASA GISS), Roger Pielke Jr. and R. Piltz. Update: Full hearing video available at C-SPAN.

The Senate EPW Committee is having an open forum for senators to discuss climate change legislation (streaming from here).

148 Responses to “House and Senate committee hearings”

  1. 101

    Politics should not interfere with science.

  2. 102

    Due to network problems I could not follow the livestream complety. The only voice was someone reporting current NASA satellites needed to observe and measure Earth to build up models will stop operation by ~2010. He even said there is no funding planned by the Bush administration for a second generation of satellites.

    Does this mean now that US scientists can open mouth and speak the truth they go blind in a few years for a long time?

    Interestingly European Space Agency put this story in the news today:
    Satellite data vital to UN climate findings

  3. 103
    Sashka says:

    Re: 94

    I’d say the problems with wind and PV generation lie in a different dimension. Coal and nuclear are economic while wind and PV are not. The only reason why they exist today is due to subsidies. The sad example with Indonesian palm oil shows exactly where the good intentions of this kind lead. But, as I said above, there is little chance that people will learn from past mistakes.

  4. 104

    Dr. Curry, thank you for your explanation. Knutson and Tuleya’s 2% increase in tropical cyclone intensity is in response to a 0.5ºC SST increase that is caused by growing atmospheric CO2 levels. You and I and I am sure, many, many others agree that the observed rise in intensity has been greater than 2% during the time of the SST rise (say the past 30 years or so). This indicates one of two possibilities (or perhaps some combination of both), 1) the models are wrong, or 2) the tropical climate has evolved during the past 30 years in a way that is not exactly how it would behave if CO2 increases were the only factor involved in the changes. There is evidence for the latter provided by Emanuel (2005), when he writes that the warming of the tropical atmosphere has not kept up with the SST increase – this had led to increased instability and a better environment for growing tropical cyclones…better that is, than that projected by K&T whose modeled atmosphere warms at a greater rate than the SST and thus suppresses storm growth.

    The problem I have with all of this, is that it seems to me that if tropical cyclones, to date, had only been influenced by CO2 increases, the increases in intensity would not be nearly as large as those observed and the changes would have been much more difficult to detect and the findings wouldn’t have been so sensational. To me at least, that factors other than CO2-induced changes are also at play combine to make the observed increases larger and easier to detect and more sensational.

    Thus, while I believe there is pretty strong consensus that a SST increase will lead to tropical cyclone intensity increases (at least on average), I believe the consensus is not nearly so well formed that the observed increases over the past 30 years are strong indicators of the impact that greenhouse gases have had. Do you agree with this last statement? And I am not asking whether you, or any other individual scientist, believes that the observations over the past 30 years are strong evidence of the impact of CO2 enhancement on tropical cyclone intensity, I am asking whether you believe that there is a ‘consensus’ that this is the case.

    -Chip Knappenberger
    to some degree, supported by the fossil fuels industry since 1992

  5. 105
    SecularAnimist says:

    Sashka wrote: “The problems with PV and wind generation are well known and well documented.”

    That’s a nearly 100 percent content-free comment. What “problems” are you talking about? What is their significance? Do you have anything to actually say about this, other than vacuous bromides like that? Talk about “noise”.

  6. 106
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    RE #93 & ground lost (which also includes the vast periods of Bush Sr & Clinton’s relative silence), I’d say the U.S. could have reduced GHGs by at least 10% from the 1990 figure by now, while increasing productivity more than it did, without hardly trying. Maybe 30% reductions with a little effort & upfront investments in conservation/efficiency that pay off better in savings than the best stocks or real estate.

    I’ve often thought that the U.S. not addressing global warming may be demoralizing for Europe & other places, so that they are not reducing as much as they could (tho Europe per capita emitts about half the GHG emissions as Americans). There’s a ripple effect in evil, it just spreads out.

    What we need is a president who will stand up at the pulpit or sit in a stuffed chair & tell the American people we all need to reduce our GHGs, individuals, households, businesses, government bodies at all levels, schools, churches, and that we can do much to reduce without having to lower productivity or living standards. We need community & religious leaders, teachers, weatherpersons, and all with any authority or respect to come out and encourage people to do the right thing. I’ve tried to get my church to do something, to at least raise awareness, but no one listens to me. I asked the priest to mention it, at least once a year, or once for every 100 times he rails against abortion, but he said he’s afraid of the Rush Limbaugh crowd (though the religious hierarchy, his & my superiors, have made statements that prudence REQUIRES everyone to mitigate GW, even if we the science seems uncertain — which it clearly is NOT!).

    I guess the politicos fear that if they speak out about GW, Exxon might hire a hitman to shoot them in the wallet. And others might fear of the Rush Limbaugh crowd. But the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

  7. 107
    Dan Hughes says:

    re: #93, “So, finaly i get to the point, why dont hybrids use diesel engines?”

    A good question. And I have one, too. Why doesn’t all personal gasoline-powered transportation have small-displacement engines with a turbo-charger to kick in when needed? The power needed for cruising at more-or-less constant speed is a fraction of that needed for rapid accelleration.

  8. 108

    [[Are there any graphs available which depict the probability density of climate sensitivity to CO2 doubling. From many models and runs with different assumptions and data variations. I imagine that it could resemble a normal distribution, with mean at 3 degrees celsius, and, what, 95% of the mass between 1.5 and 4.5 degrees? But I’m not sure.
    It would be most useful to have this picture as it explicitly communicates the uncertainties. Thanks! ]]

    I’m going to collect estimates from the primary literature and graph them myself. I already have six figures. When I have sixty or so I’ll put them into a histogram and see how it looks. Some estimates we can treat as erroneous outliers because we know there were systematic errors in the paper, e.g. Moller’s 1963 estimate of 10 K from CO2 doubling depended on erroneously treating the surface fluxes instead of the TOA fluxes.

  9. 109

    [[Coal and nuclear are economic while wind and PV are not. The only reason why they exist today is due to subsidies.]]

    Oh, you think coal and nuclear don’t receive subsidies? What planet did you say you were from?

  10. 110
    SecularAnimist says:

    Sashka wrote in #103: “Coal and nuclear are economic while wind and PV are not. The only reason why they exist today is due to subsidies.”

    That is laughably wrong.

    Private sector investment is pouring into both wind power and photovoltaics, coming from, among other places, the founders of Google and from other Silicon Valley investors. According to the WorldWatch Institute, in 2005 global wind power capacity grew 24 percent to nearly 60,000 megawatts, four times the growth in nuclear power capacity, and production of photovoltaics grew 45 percent to nearly 1,730 megawatts, six times the level in 2000. That’s the result of private free-market investment, not subsidies.

    In contrast, nuclear power has always, everywhere, been entirely a product of massive state subsidies — in the USA over $100 billion since the beginning of nuclear electrical generation, compared to around $6 billion for wind and solar.

    [edit – play nice people]

  11. 111
    Hank Roberts says:

    ” … 1) the models are wrong, or 2) the tropical climate has evolved during the past 30 years in a way that is not exactly how it would behave if CO2 increases were the only factor involved in the changes ….”

    Both statements are truisms and inarguable.

    George Box (1979): “all models are wrong; some models are useful”
    Google Scholar – “only CO2 affects climate” – did not match any articles.

  12. 112
    Sashka says:

    Re: 107

    Please document the subsidies received by coal-based power generators with the examples from this planet. I do hope you have some time left from your research on normal distribution

  13. 113
    Sashka says:

    Re: 105

    I did suspect the Google alone cannot cure ignorance. Neither PV nor wind are economic nor dispatchable. Look in Wiki to see what it means.

    As compared to many other types of electricity generation, wind is not dispatchable – it cannot be turned on or off at will by human or automatic dispatch.

    Critics also argue that the economics of wind energy may also be challenged when wind production is high at times of low demand. Due to the presence of other generating stations that are operated as base load (run as close to continuously as possible) or have minimum operating cycles, at high penetrations wind plants may contribute to the grid producing energy “surplus” to requirements at times of low demand. As with other generating plant, wind energy output may on occasion need to be curtailed, energy stored for later use, or load increased to compensate. While all of these solutions are commonly used to manage grids, wind “spilt” or curtailed generates no revenue, and prices for supply to the grid may be lower at times of high output, both of which could make wind farms less profitable.

  14. 114
    Charles Muller says:

    # 96 “Do a Google search on “normal distribution.” No one ever said all the model results were “equiprobable.” Even if they were, the fact that there are more of them closer to 3 degrees means the predictions graph out as a normal curve, not a flat rectangle.”

    Really no one ? Second Draft AR4, Box 10.2, 10-73, line 37-38 : “A probabilistic interpretation of the results is problematic, because each model is assumed to be equally credible and the results depend upon the assumed shape of the fitted distribution.”

    I suppose equally credible is not too far from equiprobable. The fact that there are more of them closer to 3 K may reflect many things (common prior assumptions, for example, so far models are not really independent and there are not so many ways to test them, as Kerry Emanuel wisely reminded us in his recent paper discussed here).

  15. 115

    Climate reality vs. interpretations are so wide apart at times it�s a wonder we are all living on the same planet. European Alps never seen anything like it in 1000 years, England never measured so warm since their records began in the 17th century, same with Holland, In America bees were still active in late December in NY state, I can go on. Poking fun at each other�s opinions as to what is happening is unique to this science. How about interpreting what is going on accurately and from there may be we will get the future right?

    Point a, GW is happening outside our houses. Point b, we should slowly be going towards an ice age (Milankovich wise). Point c, something is altering that course. Point d, that something has been known for 100 years, and finally we are starting to do something about it, perhaps because we have not quite passed the threshold of consciousness of our ability to change the world, its not obvious for some esteemed vocal scientists and politicians that we humans can alter the course of the mighty natural world, indifferent of our presence.

    Cutting our spending on wasteful energy practices, should be ingrained everywhere, as a cost saving measure in order to bolster the economies of the planet, as the conservative slogan goes “more money in your pocketâ�� giving a chance to another improbable liberal slogan: “cities with clean air” to be trueâ�¦.

  16. 116
    Paul M says:

    Here’s a little hint for the climate change readers. you may want to perhaps consider stocking up a little water and non-perishable food. I also propose the United Nation people spend this year taking a few ‘field trips” to get a better collective grasp on different cultures. One country visited every two weeks. Get the UN people off their rears and out into the world. I also propose putting on one more tick on the doomsday clock. If we humans can get out of this one without 50 per cent population loss, I will be impressed. Climate change and atomic bombs and bad leaders and fighting means trouble that will make our second worst problems fade away. Pop some popcorn, the show is about to begin.

  17. 117
    Sashka says:

    Re: 110

    It may be laughable but it’s not wrong. For example:

    To bring this into perspective, solar power of all varieties has been heavily subsidized throughout its technological history just to begin to turn a profit. The idea that solar thermal energy may become one of the cheapest and most reliable sources of energy is an incredible turning point for the technology. It appears, for solar thermal at least, there is a bright unsubsidized future.

    (SPV) Solar systems would still cost $2 kiloWatt/hour if the cell cost went to zero. What we need are higher efficiency cells. We should be saying we will accept higher costs to get 30 percent efficient cells

    Seriously, why don’t you read something on the subject before starting flame wars? It’s true that private business invests in PV and wind power projects. But this is largely because the governments subsidize the power prices.

  18. 118
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    103 & 110, and let’s not forget the much vaster subsidies that flow into oil & coal (I asked my Republican rep & he admitted to that), and the vast tax-breaks they get.

    And that’s not even counting military expenses for protecting oil (narrowly just expenses to ensure safe delivery of supplies; more broadly all the gov expenses to manipulate oil-rich nations; still more broadly, Gulf Wars I & II). Then if we internalize all the other environment & health-related externalities, in addition to reducing subsidies & tex-breaks, we’re talking maybe $30 per gallon, certainly at least $20. And I haven’t even added in harms from global warming yet — maybe add another $30 per gallon. Shall I proceed?

    We do pay for these, if not at the pump, then on April 15th, and if not then, individual victims pay with lost health/work & medical expenses, and remainder of the tab is passed on to our children and theirs & disproportionately to the poor countries of the world.

    As you’ve mentioned, Sashka (re palm-oil), and I agree, we really need a holistic approach.

    BTW, a “normal” curve in stats is the same as a bell curve in common parlance.

  19. 119
    Hank Roberts says:

    > Please document the subsidies received by coal-based power
    > generators with the examples from this planet

    Help with homework assignment?

  20. 120
    David Krenim says:

    I am highly confused about what to believe regarding ‘Climate Change’ and I came across this posting on Boston University professor’s blog recently that I would love an opinion on from you fellows. It contains some editorializing but also some interesting ideas about the models we’re using for climate study. Please do let me know what you think:

    “Re: the climate. The climate scientists (at NASA’s Goddard Space Center, the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Woods Hole Oceanographic Instiitute, our universities, etc.) are using an incorrect model. Talking about .2 degree rise in heat per decade, blah, blah, blah. That is a model from the 1970s. Scientists …are trapped in old-fashioned thermodynamic computer modeling systems. Like generals fighting the last war. (Or the current one!) And they are concerned about rises in sea level. Another old model. What really matters is changes in the current systems of the oceans, affected by polar and subpolar heat sinks. The changes are temperature sensitive, but have results that are far-reaching and have nothing to do with raising the temperature or ocean levels as the ultimate result. In fact, the next major event will be–brace yourself–an Ice Age. Coming on with incredible rapidity. (The gradualism of that event that we were taught in school is another computer modeling error.) Followed by….. well, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination in terms of crops and harvests and growing seasons….

    … James Hanson is the only climatologist who dares to think different at present, but even he has a limited understanding, which relies overly much on the old thermodynamic-based modeling systems. (Currents, in both water and air, are not so easily modeled. Fluid dynamics is much harder to map and predict than thermal changes, so the scientists ignore the currents and focus on the temperatures. It’s the old searching for the key under the streetlight when it was lost somewhere else joke. But that’s twentieth-century science.”

    Are we using the wrong, outdated thermodynamic models? Are heat sinks more relevant to this discussion? If not, why not? Thank you for reading things.

    [Response: Well, I rarely get surprised at the things I sometimes read on the web, but I really have no idea what this person is talking about. Maybe something related to the North Atlantic overturning gleaned from watching too many movies…. – gavin]

  21. 121
    lars says:

    how does your models explain the many global warmings and ice ages?

  22. 122

    Pat Neumann #99-

    Thanks, feel free to email me and I’ll send you some papers. But briefly:

    On the Red River Flood:

    On what I probably spoke about at U Minn:

    Also, I’m at CU not CSU, and my dad has been retired for a few years from CSU, but ti is a good school and I hope that your daughter enjoyed Colorado!


  23. 123
    Pat Neuman says:

    She enjoyed it too much. She’s still there and no moving plans. Getting to see family who live far away will become more difficult, as you know, for more than one reason. Fortunately there are no little ones yet. I’ve given my advise not to have kids because of what’s in store for this century, but she (and her soon to be husband) will make their own decisions based on what they believe. So please be careful about what you say that reaches the news in Colorado. If they here it from you they just might believe some of what you say even if they don’t understand where you’re coming from or going to.

  24. 124
    mz says:

    On making a sensitivity probability density function from many models:
    “I suppose equally credible is not too far from equiprobable. The fact that there are more of them closer to 3 K may reflect many things (common prior assumptions, for example, so far models are not really independent and there are not so many ways to test them, as Kerry Emanuel wisely reminded us in his recent paper discussed here).”

    Okay, so how about a graph for every model, but with varied initial conditions and parameters, which I understand are used. Then of course these “inputs” also have to have probability weights. (Ie a result with improbable initial conditions doesn’t add much to that result’s probability.) The point I’m trying to make that it’s damn hard for a layman to gauge with just one number… You have to get some feel of the problem.

    How about then for something really unscientific, have experts draw them by hand as what they personally think are probable? They should have some feeling about how sensitive the things are to which parameters since they’ve done lots and lots of simulations.
    This is important especially on the high-sensitivity end of the graph as it is very important even with small probability (in the Stern sense).

    A picture can say a thousand words.

  25. 125
    BarbieDoll Moment says:

    AP Wire news making its way across the pop media outlets….

    AP Wire 02/01/2007
    Warming linked to stronger hurricanes

    …”During marathon meetings in Paris, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change approved language that said an increase in hurricane and tropical cyclone strength since 1970 “more likely than not” can be attributed to man-made global warming, according to Leonard Fields of Barbados and Cedric Nelom of Surinam. In its last report in 2001, the same panel had said there was not enough evidence to make such a conclusion.”…”The report – scheduled to be released Friday morning – is also a marked departure from a November 2006 statement by the World Meteorological Organization, which helped found the IPPC.”…”But U.S. National Hurricane Center scientist Christopher Landsea has long disagreed with that premise. While he would not comment on the IPCC decision, Landsea pointed to the meteorological organization’s statement last fall.”

  26. 126
    Ike Solem says:

    Roger, perhaps you missed the first question while pondering the issue of the anomalies at NOAA, so here it is again:

    “Given that global temperatures continue to set new records every few years, do you think this trend is set to continue? Perhaps an easier question would be, how long do you expect the running 5-year temperature averages to show a continually increasing trend? In other words, do you think we are looking at a ‘natural fluctuation’ or a long-term warming trend set to continue until atmospheric CO2 (and other infrared-absorbing gas) levels are stabilized?”

    This actually relates to the issue of how to choose ‘baselines’ in order to calculate ‘anomalies’ from raw data; it’s not too hard to see the connection – could that be why you don’t want to answer the question?

  27. 127
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    Evidence of oil & coal subsidies & tax-breaks?

    I did read about these some 10-15 years ago, and wanted to make sure, so I asked my congressman, a noted Republican, and a knowledgable staffer in his office confirmed it. But I can’t remember the source where I read about it off-hand.

    I can say that petroleum costs a lot more in other countries (even those without high taxes on it), so it seems our prices are artificially lower, most likely due to tax breaks & subsidies.

    It works like this:
    Oil funds political campaigns (among many other recipients), and once in office gov people return the favor & give subsidies & tax-breaks to oil, all in the name of keeping gas prices lower for the common people & to facilitate business, of course. That is, among other favors gov does for oil/coal, which also include oil-friendly policies & laws & …. well, back on topic … suppressed and distorted global warming science.

  28. 128
    BarbieDoll Moment says:

    RE: 120.
    {“how does your models explain the many global warmings and ice ages?”}

    Past research has suggested and or focused upon insolation and or orbital factors, such as Milankovitch forcing.

    Arctic Climatology and Meteorology Primer.
    1) Exposure of an object to the Sun.
    2) Intensity of incoming solar radiation incident on a unit horizontal surface at a specific level.”

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    Global Warming Frequently Asked Questions

    …”In addition to changes in energy from the sun itself, the Earth’s position and orientation relative to the sun (our orbit) also varies slightly, thereby bringing us closer and further away from the sun in predictable cycles (called Milankovitch cycles). Variations in these cycles are believed to be the cause of Earth’s ice-ages (glacials). “…”While Milankovitch cycles have tremendous value as a theory to explain ice-ages and long-term changes in the climate, they are unlikely to have very much impact on the decade-century timescale. Over several centuries, it may be possible to observe the effect of these orbital parameters, however for the prediction of climate change in the 21st century, these changes will be far less important than radiative forcing from greenhouse gases.”…

    Other research on the same topic….

    Ice-driven CO2 feedback on ice volume
    W F Ruddiman
    Clim. Past 2, 43-55

    EO News: “Ice Sheets Drive Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels ”
    NASA’s Earth Observatory July 24, 2006

    The 1,800-year oceanic tidal cycle: A possible cause of rapid climate change
    C.D. Keeling and T.P. Whorf
    Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 97 (8), 3814-9 (11 Apr 2000)

    RE: 114.

    {“A probabilistic interpretation of the results is problematic, because each model is assumed to be equally credible and the results depend upon the assumed shape of the fitted distribution.”}

    All that said, historically, there is past research with projections to examine retrospectively in relation to the matter.

    For example, in the 1950’s Revelle and Suess projected a 20% to 40% increase in earth’s atmospheric carbon dioxide levels before 2000 while Callendar stated, in relation to his modeled doubling of the CO2, that the larger rises of temperatures would occur in the higher latitudes.

    AMS Conf. “13th Symposium on Global Change and Climate Variations” Session 3, Observed Climate Change I: Paleo and Instrumental Records, (14 Jan 2002)

    …”Callendar constructed a one-dimensional model in which the ten percent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration measured since 1900 explained the 0.25 C temperature increase observed over the same period. A doubling of carbon dioxide in his model resulted in a mean global temperature increase of 2 C with greater temperature increases in high latitudes.”…”In 1957, Roger Revelle and Hans Suess published an oft-cited article on the exchange of carbon dioxide between the atmosphere and ocean. Citing Callendar and Plass, the authors provided new estimates of the sequestering of carbon in the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere, and lithosphere using C14 techniques pioneered by Suess. After taking ocean reservoirs and other sinks in to account, Revelle and Suess estimated a twenty to forty percent increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide by the end of the century rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by industrial fuel combustion as the â??Callendar effect.â?? …”

    And what actually happened? We have seen a rise of 70, which falls within the range of Revelle and Suess’s initial projections

    310 in the 1950’s
    20% of 310 = 62
    30% of 310 = 93
    40% of 310 = 124

    and we have seen the larger temperature increases transpire at the higher lats, all from research conducted fifty-ish years ago.

    Scripps CO2 Program
    “High precision measurements of atmospheric CO2 made by Scripps and other organisations show that its average global concentration in 2005 was almost 380 ppm; about 70 ppm higher than the first direct atmospheric measurements made in the 1950s.”…

    Also see..

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    Global Warming Frequently Asked Questions

    …” Global surface temperatures have increased about 0.6°C (plus or minus 0.2°C) since the late-19th century, and about 0.4°F (0.2 to 0.3°C) over the past 25 years (the period with the most credible data).”…”The recent warmth has been greatest over North America and Eurasia between 40 and 70°N.”…

    NASA Study Finds World Warmth Edging Ancient Levels (09.25.06)

    ….”Scientists concluded that these data showed the Earth has been warming at the remarkably rapid rate of approximately .36° Fahrenheit (0.2° Celsius) per decade for the past 30 years.”…” The study notes that the world’s warming is greatest at high latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, and it is larger over land than over ocean areas. The extra warming at high latitudes is because of effects of ice and snow. As the Earth warms, snow and ice melt, uncovering darker surfaces that absorb more sunlight and increase warming. Warming is less over ocean than over land because the deep ocean can absorb great amounts of heat, and because they are so big, they take longer to warm.”…”The most important result found by these researchers is that the warming in recent decades has brought global temperature to a level within about one degree Celsius (1.8° F) of the maximum temperature of the past million years, which they suggest is a sensible upper limit for additional global warming.”…

  29. 129
    Hank Roberts says:

    Roger, are you aware of a party line one has to stay within, on the hurricane question, to be involved in the politics?

    “…the U.S. delegation, led by political appointees, was pressing to play down language pointing to a link between intensification of hurricanes and warming caused by human activity.
    “‘They have tended to highlight uncertainties on certain issues,’ …”

    The phrase “uncertainties on certain issues” could have several meanings. What’s your opinion?

  30. 130
    Hank Roberts says:

    Oops, the cite: the quotes I posted are from:

  31. 131
    Lars U says:

    Re: 93 & 107

    The reason for the delay of the diesel hybrid is that diesel engines are bigger, heavier and more expensive the petrol engines. The manufactures first priority was to sell small and cheap hybrids, now the trend is to sell larger hybrid cars with medium diesel engines (5 or 6 cylinders) that gives as high performances as a V8 or a V10 (or 12).

    As for putting in large turbo on small engines, that will give a really crappy driving performance that no customer would accept. But the idea is right so you will see smaller engines with turbo in the future but first the performance of the smaller engines has to improve, and it will.

  32. 132

    [[Please document the subsidies received by coal-based power generators with the examples from this planet. I do hope you have some time left from your research on normal distribution ]]

    Look through a federal budget, for Christ’s sake.

  33. 133

    [[how does your models explain the many global warmings and ice ages? ]]

    The modern theory behind the ice ages — that they are tied to long-period variations in Earth’s orbital inclination, eccentricity, and rotational precession — was advanced by Milankovic in 1930 and became generally accepted by the 1970s.

  34. 134
    Lars U says:

    Re: 133

    Are there any models that fit historical data (i.e ice ages and MWP) AND also predict major global warming in the next century?
    There is a big difference between understandng why there are ice ages and also include that in models that predict the future.

  35. 135
    Sashka says:

    Re: 132

    Assuming you did look through federal budget, would you mind sharing some of the pertinent lines?

  36. 136
    lars says:

    [[how does your models explain the many global warmings and ice ages? ]]

    “*Sun’s fickle heart may leave us cold”
    There’s a dimmer switch inside the sun that causes its brightness to rise and fall on timescales of around 100,000 years – exactly the same period as between ice ages on Earth. So says a physicist who has created a computer model of our star’s core.

  37. 137
    James says:

    Re #131: “As for putting in large turbo on small engines, that will give a really crappy driving performance that no customer would accept.”

    While I don’t know about what the mass market would accept, I do know of several people who have turbocharged Honda Insights (1000 cc engine). I’ve even driven one. “Crappy” is not the word I’d use to describe it: “awesome” fits a lot better :-)

  38. 138

    A good study of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry can be found at . The studies cited estimate the total subsidy, depending on how you define it, as being anywhere from 6.2 billion to 1.735 trillion 1999 dollars. Add that to the Price-Anderson Act and the other subsidies for nuclear, and that’s a whole lot of federal money going to existing energy sources. Now imagine that being diverted to conservation programs and subsidies for solar thermal power plants…

  39. 139
    Steve Sadlov says:

    RE: #120 – Consider a one-shot circuit. A resistor – capacitor circuit charges up and its voltage increases. The node between the resistor and the cap are tied to the gate of a MOSFET. The channel of the MOSFET is tied to the cap. When the gate voltage reaches a sufficient level, the MOSFET turns on and drains the cap very rapidly. The cycle is reset and repeats, ad infinitum. It is not unthinkable that, given the current overarching Ice Age configuration of the Earth, that the cold periods represent the periods after a “discharge” and then gradually, “charging” eventually results in an interglacial. An interglacial might be thought of as the asymptotal portion of the waveform, just prior to the next discharge. If so, then acceleration of the “charging” (heating) may indeed shorten the interglacial.

  40. 140
    Eli Rabett says:

    Of course, if the charge build up is too high the channel goes ZOT.

  41. 141
    Eli Rabett says:

    Diesel (and turbocharged) hybrids were another thing that Al Gore tried to convince Ford, Chrysler and GM were worthwhile. Essentially they have the engineering done. Of course, this project was killed by the Bust administration.

  42. 142
    Steve Sadlov says:

    RE: #140 – Electrical overstress would only occur either via ESD or if somehow the current source continued to increase even after the FET switched on. The analogy of accelerated warming is more like tweaking the resistor value down and hence lowering the RC time constant. The source (in this case the Sun plus the other various more minor ones) is more like an approximately constant current source with a bit of modulation applied, within certain bounds. Net result is, you get to the switching point quicker if the resistance is lower.

  43. 143
    Lars U says:

    On a Honda Insight you have an “electrical turbo”, not a mechanical one. Thatâ??s why you have good performance with it, there is no delay when you push down the pedal. With a large (large compare to the engine) mechanical turbo it will take too long to build up boost pressure and you will experience a dangerous lag, for example in a cross roads when you take off.

  44. 144
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    On the hurricane issue, I’ve been attributing them (a portion of their intensity) to global warming since 1990 when I first really learned about global warming & that it was predicted to intensify storms.

    Knowing that scientists err on the side of caution and avoid making false claims, and that potential victims, environmentalists, medical patients, and people living in the world would rather err on the side of caution in terms of solving or avoiding problems that are actually happening (though we may not be completely sure) or may happen, I realized that GW & GW enhancement of hurricanes could very well be happening, but science just hadn’t reached their artificial, high certainty level that it is happening.

    Also, I understood that it’s that last puff of intensity that blows the house down. So GW’s impact would be much greater than, say, a 2%, 5% or 10% increase in intensity may seem on paper: it would mean the difference between a branch of a mesquite tree breaking off (they easily break), and the roof blowing off, or a house being leveled.

    So, yes, in my books Hurricane Andrew in 1992 & Katrina were enhanced by GW. If anyone has proof at .05 (roughly equivalent to 95% certainty in common parlance) that GW did NOT enhance Andrew or Katrina, you can present it to me. But I have to tell you, I’m still going to keep reducing my GHGs…even if you have proof at .01 (99% certainty) that anthropogenic GW is NOT happening & will NOT happen even if we quadruple our CO2 emissions. And that’s because it just makes financial sense to do so, and reduces many other environmental & other problems.

  45. 145
    James says:

    Re #143: The answer to the Insight turbo question is sort of both yes and no. With the stock (no turbo) Insight, the electric assist does act rather like an instant-response turbo, in that it kicks in to provide more power on demand.

    With a turbo conversion, you have a quite small turbo that doesn’t have much lag, plus the electric boost. The result is that when you step on the gas, the acceleration ramps up quite satisfactorily :-)

  46. 146
    Lars U says:

    Re: 145
    The point is that the Honda Insight is a hybrid, and that’s the reason for it’s good preformance. Take away the electrical motor and you will find it crappy.

  47. 147
    James says:

    Sure, but that’s the whole logic of hybrids. It doesn’t take a lot of power to move a car down the road at a steady speed (I worked out a figure of about 17 HP to move my Insight at 65 mph). All those other horses under your hood are there just to provide decent acceleration on demand. By adding an electric motor to assist the acceleration, you can use a smaller & more efficient engine, and avoid having to haul around & feed the extra horses :-)

  48. 148
    Roger Smith says:

    Re: 74- the article is 2 years out of date. “Ultra low sulfur diesel” (15ppm sulfur) has been the standard since fall and diesel has been in the range of 30-50cents/gallon more than gasoline in the US northeast.

    “So, diesel engine is more economical per gallon than hybrid but (this particular one) is dirtier on sulphur. Other diesel engines, however, can burn a biofuel (which need not be produced the Indonesian way), so net-net I don’t see the balance tipping towards electric cars. ”
    As the PM emissions are primarily from carbon, and not sulfur, the new fuel doesn’t make much of a difference. Without a filter, the black carbon global warming emissions should destroy any climate benefits diesel may have.

    Good article on soot and climate here: