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Filed under: — gavin @ 27 October 2009

I was quoted by Andrew Revkin in the New York Times on Sunday in a piece about the International Day of Climate Action (involving events in 181 countries). The relevant bit is:

Gavin A. Schmidt, a climate scientist who works with Dr. Hansen and manages a popular blog on climate science,, said those promoting 350 or debating the number might be missing the point.
“The situation is analogous to people trying to embark on a cross-country road trip to California but they’ve started off heading to Maine instead,” Dr. Schmidt said. “But instead of working out ways to turn around, they have decided to argue about where they are going to park when they get to L.A.”
“If you ask a scientist how much more CO2 do you think we should add to the atmosphere, the answer is going to be none.”

I’ve been told that some readers may have misinterpreted the quote as a criticism of the campaign itself. This was not the intent and in fact my metaphor wouldn’t have made sense in that context at all. Instead, it was a criticism of people who are expending effort arguing about whether 350 is precisely the right number for a long term target, or whether it should be somewhat higher or lower. Since we aren’t currently headed anywhere near 350 ppmv (in fact we are at 388 ppmv CO2 and increasing by about 2 ppmv/yr), we need to urgently think of ways the situation can turn around. Tapping into the creativity and enthusiasm shown by the campaigners will certainly be part of that process.

We discussed some of the thinking behind this ‘Target CO2‘ when Jim Hansen and colleagues’ paper first came out, where I think we made it clear that picking a specific CO2 target to avoid ‘dangerous’ climate change is an inexact science at best. The comments by Robert Brulle and Ray Pierrehumbert at DotEarth and James Hrynyshyn also highlight some of that complexity. And I think the suggestions by ‘Paulina‘ for how a tweaked article might have been clearer are very apropos.

However, as the final line in my NYT quote should make clear, personally I think the scientific case not increasing CO2 any further is very strong. Since the planet has not caught up with current levels of concentrations emissions (and thus will continue to change), picking an ultimate target that is less than today’s level is therefore wise. Of course, how we get there is much trickier than knowing where it is we should be going, but having a map of the destination is useful. As we discussed in the ‘trillionth ton‘ posting a couple of months back, how we get there also makes a difference.

In my original email to Andy Revkin, I had actually appended a line:

If you ask a scientist how much more CO2 do you think we should add to the atmosphere, the answer is going to be none.

All the rest is economics.

(and technology, and sociology, and psychology and politics etc.) but the point is that working out how we get there from here is the real challenge and the more people who are aware and involved in developing those solutions the better.

214 Responses to “350”

  1. 151
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 104

    I would bet that NOAA weather page for kids was either hacked, or edited by someone incompetent intentionally to deny the science. Perhaps that Texas office webmaster needs to look at security logs on the site.

    Look at the _grammar_ as well as the _nonsense_ on the page:

    “The behavior of the atmosphere is extremely complex. Therefore, discovering the validity of global warming is complex as well. How much effect will the increase in carbon dioxide will have is unclear or even if we recognize the effects of any increase.”

    It got picked up and quoted elsewhere, which might help track it down.

  2. 152
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 104
    Oh, earlier on the same page:

    “… The increase in heating ability is due to carbon dioxide’s high capacity to hold heat.

    It has been thought that an increase in carbon dioxide will lead to global warming. While carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been increasing over the past 100 years, there is no evidence that it is causing an increase in global temperatures.”

    Right. This is what they’re teaching kids out of the Fort Worth office.
    The whole site might be worth a careful review by someone competent; it looks like it was basically ok and then edited by someone in spots.

  3. 153
    Jim Galasyn says:

    Hank, I emailed the webmaster at Others might want to chime in, too.

  4. 154
    Steve Fish says:

    Mark (#148, 31 October 2009 @ 6:33 AM):

    Thank you for the suggestion. My total house system is pretty well thought out. It is based on a 10 foot tall (for stratification), well insulated, 850 gallon stainless water tank that will be heated by the sun (collectors) and a Tarm wood gasification boiler when it is cloudy. Heat will be distributed to the floor of the house when it is cold out, and to various radiators for drying wood (for the interior of the house), food, and clothes. The radiators will have chimneys so they will thermosiphon. The dryer will be a closet where clothes hang on hangers or sit on shelves. Thus, shirts and pants will require no further processing, just take them out of the dryer and hang them in the clothes closet. The big tank and heater are part of the infrastructure I have already purchased.

    My overall plan is to reduce my fossil propane to a minimum. Also, because of my fixed income, I wish to isolate myself, as much as possible, from the increasing costs of fossil fuels. I have lots of free wood and sun.


  5. 155
    Timothy Chase says:

    Hank Roberts further quotes the NOAA webpage:

    “… The increase in heating ability is due to carbon dioxide’s high capacity to hold heat.

    It has been thought that an increase in carbon dioxide will lead to global warming. While carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been increasing over the past 100 years, there is no evidence that it is causing an increase in global temperatures.”

    I am having a little difficulty finding it at the moment, but Eli Rabett had a post about this not too long ago. Some chemists might actually have a difficulty grasping the greenhouse effect that results from their viewing it as being based on carbon dioxide’s heat capacity. What such chemists don’t realize is that carbon dioxide transfers the thermal energy due to its absorption of infrared radiation to the surrounding atmosphere via molecular collisions.

    This would include the far more prevalent nitrogen and oxygen molecules. Above 20 mb there will be more than a million collisions over the half-life of a quantum state of molecular excitation, and here at the bottom of the atmosphere we are at about 1000 mb. Nitrogen and oxygen are not greenhouse gases and cannot emit the thermal radiation. It is only when the thermal energy gets transfered back to a greenhouse gas molecule that the energy can get re-emitted. So if there is any sort of heat capacity limitation to the atmosphere that would be relevant it would have to include the nitrogen and oxygen.

    It kind of makes me think of those unscrupulous bars where the bar owners try to keep people inside the bar so that they will spend more money. The bar owners post bouncers at the door — with instructions to keep people in rather than keep people out. The patrons who are trying to leave but doing their drunk man’s walk are the packets of energy trying to get outside. All the tables and chairs could be the nitrogen and oxygen molecules, I suppose. The bouncers at the door? Those would be the greenhouse gas molecules. And of course the bar would be the climate system and outside the bar would be space.

    Funny they can’t think of this. I understand they talk about the various alcohols all the time. Maybe the web page was edited by one of those chemists…

  6. 156
    Mark says:

    Steve, #154, well all I can say is that is a lot more complicated than I would have thought of!

    Then again, I only have limited knowledge of building for efficiency.

  7. 157
    Deep Climate says:

    #104, 151, 152 NOAA NWS JetStream atmosphere page

    It looks like the CO2 statement has been on that page since the beginning (around 2003 or 2004). The U.S. temp was added in late 2007.

    I might do a post on this. Keep in mind that many meteorologists are not on board with the the AGW scientific consensus, and some of them might wortk at NWS.

  8. 158
    Mike says:

    Re: #157 and other posts on NOAA NWS JetStream atmosphere page

    There may well be meteorologists at the NWS who are skeptical about AGW, however providing temperature results from the USA only while implying they are “global temperature measurements” isn’t skeptical it’s deceitful.

    Amongst all the other errors I find this statement quite odd;

    “The 1930s through the 1950s were clearly warmer than the 1960s and 1970s. If carbon dioxide had been the cause then the warmest years would have understandably been in the most recent years. But that is not the case.”

    To me this sentence seem rather confused and irrelevant, unless the author was stuck in some sort of 1970’s timewarp.

  9. 159

    More on the JetStream page since I raised this first. I emailed the webmaster on 30 October as follows. To be charitable, I mailed them on a Friday and (even given that I’m in a very early time zone vs. the US) it could take them more than a day to get to this, so it’s early to say whether they are responding (I’ve had no reply as yet, and the page has not been fixed).

    This thing is really a poor effort. Even if written by someone who disagrees with the mainstream, it is full of obvious errors, hence my point that it looks like a vandalised WikiPedia page.

    If others are mailing them, here’s my contribution, as an indication of what they are being told:

    subject: serious errors at JetStream – Online School for Weather

    Serious errors on this page :

    In 1997, NASA reported global temperature measurements of the Earth’s lower atmosphere obtained from satellites revealed no definitive warming trend over the past two decades. In fact, the trend appeared to be a decrease in actual temperature. In 2007, NASA data showed that one-half of the ten warmest years occurred in the 1930’s with 1934 (tied with 2006) as the warmest years on record. (NASA data October 23, 2007 from

    The 1930s through the 1950s were clearly warmer than the 1960s and 1970s. If carbon dioxide had been the cause then the warmest years would have understandably been in the most recent years. But that is not the case

    First, the data presented is for the 48 contiguous states of the US, not the whole planet.

    Second, the data linked locally is out of date ( — why not just link to the original)?

    Third, the data linked is from surface stations, not satellites.

    Fourth, while it’s certainly true that natural influences cause the biggest short-term variations, this is not what is said on the page, which could lead the reader to the erroneous belief that there is no significant variation beyond natural influences.

    It may also escape the average reader that we don’t have satellite temperature data from before the 1970s. The author of the page certainly seems to be unaware of that fact.

    Finally, any conclusions about worldwide temperature changes need to be based on worldwide data; the last sentence is clearly false if you look at the worldwide data trend ( — probably the right one, but I can’t currently reach the NASA site). The last sentence is confusing, because it refers to “the most recent years” in the same paragraph as comparing the 1930s-50s to 1960s and 70s (missing the rather critical point that warming slowed for a while because of aerosol pollutants).

    It’s great that you are trying to inform the public but getting the facts right would be useful.

    The page as it stands reads like a vandalized Wikipedia article. I recommend getting someone who’s on top of the science to rewrite the whole thing. I hope the rest of the site is not as bad.

  10. 160
    Deep Climate says:

    #159 Philip M

    I fully agree with you. My point was, and is, that it looks like the page had dubious information from the beginning, although the U.S. information was added later. I’m still working on the time line. By the way, my initial search of the JetStream shows this is the only page that discusses “global warming” or “climate change”.

    #153 Jim
    To get to the bottom of this, you will no doubt have to go further up the food chain than the webmaster. But it’s a good start.

    Meanwhile, I’ll establish the time line of changes as best I can and report back later.

  11. 161
    Mike says:

    Re: Going higher up the food chain at Jetstream

    The Jetstream home page
    provides contact details of those likely responsible for the content on the site.

    “Welcome to JetStream, the National Weather Service Online Weather School…..
    You are free to use the materials in any manner you wish. We welcome your feedback on this project. Your input will greatly assist others in teaching the “hows” and “whys” of weather…….

    Contact Us:

    Steven Cooper
    Deputy Regional Director, NWS Southern Region Headquarters, Fort Worth, Texas

    Michael Vescio
    Meteorologist-in-Charge, NWS Pendelton, Oregon

    Dennis Cain
    a.k.a. “Professor Weather”, NWS Fort Worth, Texas”

    So perhaps an email to some of these folks might be illuminating? After all they are asking for feedback.

    [Response: I did. No reply as of Friday evening…. – gavin]

  12. 162
    Chris Colose says:

    I also sent an e-mail to the guys at the JetStream page. Likewise, no response.

  13. 163
    Hank Roberts says:

    > 850 gallon stainless water tank
    Strapped down to something much heavier for the next quake, I hope!

    Got any more of those lying around surplus? I’d put one in our crawlspace for heat storage too. Nice to have, pricey to build.

  14. 164
    Hank Roberts says:

    … A series of joint sub-projects and work-packages has enabled the scientists to develop a new, less expensive grade of raw material for solar cells. And the best news is that the new modules are just as efficient as current solar cells….

    “With today’s solar cells, the energy used to produce them is paid off in the course of two years. With the new materials, the payback time could be as little as six months” ….

  15. 165
    Steve R says:

    Re: C02 & plants. Full disclosure: Sylvan Wittwer, author of Food, Climate, and Carbon Dioxide also serves on the board of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, whose website one can access here:

    One can judge for oneself how credible that organization is.

  16. 166
    Steve Fish says:

    Hank Roberts (#163 & #164, 1 November 2009 @ 9:19 PM)


    I am still thinking through whether to mount the tank tight to a big chunk of concrete, or keep the mount flexible.

    I got the tank for $500, delivered, on Trading Time, a fun Saturday, 11:00 AM, swap show on our local KZYX (.org for streaming) community radio station. The guy got the tank for making biodiesel, but had to move for a job. (Also, be sure to listen to the Alternative Energy Hour on alternate Mondays at 9:00 AM. Tomorrow is an alternate off day. The host, Doug Livingston, designed both my solar power systems.)

    I have also seen inexpensive tanks on Craigslist SF Bay, and there are a couple of tank recycle companies in the SF bay area that are available online.

    The small contribution that we all can make toward 350 (or whatever) is to make our houses as close to carbon neutral as is possible. I believe that this can be done without sacrificing comfort and expense. One has to think about the cost as an investment that pays over time (e.g. money up front for a long term gain, just like for solar). Previous house designs use massive concrete floors to modulate hot and cold conditions. But, concrete makes efficient storage and retrieval difficult, is a difficult solution for retrofits, and there is a problem with lag time that doesn’t allow a response to quickly changing conditions, especially in the spring and fall months. I think that storing heat in water, which can be easily moved around, is more efficient, cost effective, and comfortable.


  17. 167

    Good show, Philip. Thanks for writing that.

  18. 168
    Chris S says:

    Re: Steve R. #165. I feel it is not really “full disclosure” unless one also recognises the author’s contribution to the field of plant physiology through the 1950’s & 60’s. (e.g. Bukovac and Wittwer, Absorption & mobility of foliar applied nutrients, Plant Physiology 32 (5): 428. (1957) ).

  19. 169
    Chris S says:

    On a more general note regarding the Wittwer book. Personally I am always a bit wary of books as citations – the book should have reference(s) to the original research involved in any claim it makes. It is not hard to provide links to those papers rather than expect someone (who’s time may be limited) to wade through a book to find a claim & then wade through the references that support it.

  20. 170

    Steve Fish, can you provide some design pointers for your heat storage system? We are going to have to redo our HVAC system and would like it to be much, much greener when we’re done. We’re researching but haven’t got too far yet, so possibly your information could accelerate the process a bit.

  21. 171
    Mark says:

    Kecin, 170, Have a look at some of the Finn and Swedish work. They’ve done “zero carbon footprint” homes for a couple of decades at least.

    You may have to live a bit like a hobbit, but there’s a charm to that too…

  22. 172
    L. David Cooke says:

    RE: 170

    Hey Kevin,

    Here is a great place to start: storage

    Folks here have been experimenting with practical and economic materials and systems for over three decades. Hopefully, you may find an answer for your needs within these pages. (Note another periodical of interest may be the Homepower:,5,1&articletypeid=4,2&readerlevelid=&regionlocationid=&authorname=&issue= )

    Dave Cooke

  23. 173
    Deep Climate says:

    For those interested – I’ve done a quick post on the NOAA rogue climate page. The earliest version of the page (from 2003) is similar to the current version. The only change since then has been the addition of the misinformation in 2007 about the temperature record, with its bizarre references to the NASA’s U.S. temperature record (the same temperature record where Steve McIntyre found a flaw in collation of data post-2000).

  24. 174
    Deep Climate says:

    By the way, I also emailed SRH deputy director Steven Cooper, asking that the discussion passage be replaced with a reasonable summary of the AGW scientific consensus as soon as possible. I also asked for an explanation of how such misinformation could reside at NOAA for six years.

    As noted in my updated post, I got a reply this morning. Cooper is apparently travelling, but has requested someone else to look into this. He also promised to address the issue further on his return to the office.

  25. 175

    Chris S. (re# 142),

    The only stuff edited out of my comments was an invitation to look through the archives at the web site indicated in #165. There, I think you’ll find some recent citations showing CO2 enrichment benefits to plants (including crops).


  26. 176

    Mark, David, thanks for the pointers! We want to store our run-off water, so if it can store energy, too. . .

  27. 177
    Steve Fish says:

    Kevin McKinney (#170, 2 November 2009 @ 8:00 AM):

    In addition to the excellent advice already given– one should always first take a “low hanging fruit” approach to heating and cooling when doing a retrofit. I don’t know anything about your situation, but–

    How tight is your building. The number of pathways for air to enter and exit can be surprising. Check around exterior doors and windows, through base boards, around outlet and switch boxes, and through holes made for plumbing. There is a nifty way to check this yourself, but there are professional house energy evaluators available in many regions that would help you with this and other invisible losses.

    How good is your wall and ceiling insulation and what are the energy calculations on your doors and windows? Do you need a reflective barrier in your attic? Is your attic properly vented?

    How many electric energy thieves do you have that are running 24/7? These are devices that use those little black cubes that are plugged into the wall, use a remote control, or have a clock in them. The little transformer power supply is still running when you turn the device off that can draw more than 5 watts continuously. These are more important when running on solar, but they heat your house by one of the most inefficient methods possible. Consider 10 devices X 5 watts X 24 hours= 1.2 KW/day.

    One of the largest unintentional heaters in a house is the refrigerator. A low tech solution is to allow convection from the heat exchanger to thermosiphon the hot air outside in the summer, and inside in the winter. Where is your water heater?

    The high end efficient retrofit for HVAC is a heat pump that exchanges heat with the ground (sometimes called a geothermal unit). In the summer the pump is very efficient exchanging with the cool ground. In the winter the ground is warmer than the outside air and the pump is a more efficient heater.

    Low end for heating could be a wood furnace that could be put in a basement or garage and hooked up to your current heating ducts. Wood seems expensive if you have to buy it, but compare its cost per BTU to other fuels. Low end cooling is a problem, but a well insulated and sealed house doesn’t require much. In the past when I lived in a humid area I preferred fans to air conditioning and only resorted to a couple of wall units when it was unbearable. My biggest surprise was during one very sticky summer heat wave when in desperation I set up one of those inexpensive all screen tents (often used for eating outside in buggy areas) in my back yard with a decent bed and a box fan. This worked so well for sleeping that I built a screened sleeping porch with a ceiling fan and used it from June to October every year until I moved. Sleeping outside, I learned a lot about nocturnal wildlife in my rural area, in the city the wild life might be more annoying.


  28. 178
    L. David Cooke says:

    RE: 175

    Hey Kevin,

    We have (5) 55 gal. rain barrels outdoors, (they worked great during the recent droughts). (Free from a local chemical company/pre-washed only requiring a 5/8″ drill keyhole saw and plenty of marine adhesive/sealant. One top for run off, one bottom for a hose, a 4×3 inch hole cut in the top and a piece of screen glued in place with additional sealant.) Now if we had a Greenhouse and a 10 foot drop we could feed a misting system which would warm a winter greenhouse/sun-room …, in association with a mass heat storage systems such as a south facing dark rock walls/floors and circulate the heated vapor through the house.)

    I doubt that the temperature of sun exposed Black polyethylene barrels, will be high enough to add to heating for the home. Now if we could go to a water cooled PV system and feed insulated barrels there might be a added value. That way in winter we might be able to divert the water to coils in the crawl space under the home; however, it would mean insulating the ground and foundation walls to a minimum of R38 and removing the insulation under the sub-flooring. The problem with this and many designs is water vapor control in the home.

    If you had a basement I would suggest a great idea (Another might be buried barrels and a geothermal water to air heat pump…); however, it would make you miserable during the summer… You would want to reverse the systems during the summer when you needed the PV heat sink the most… Good Luck, and have fun, hopefully you will find your way forward…

    Dave Cooke

  29. 179
    Mark says:

    Kevin, one thing to look for is heat *moderation*.

    There’s a form of fat that is meant to burn in-place. It’s not as efficient a burning as tranforming it to sugars and sending it on its way as happens when you’re underfed, but I really do think that too many people nowadays have central heating on too often. So any fat they have is the blubber of energy storage.

    Likewise in winter I’m walking around in a shirt (it may snow, but it doesn’t really get much below 0C during daytime) and others are walking past asking “aren’t you cold”. They certainly seem to be themselves: wrapped up in a thick coat with their nose and hands red from the cold.

    Problem is their body thinks it’s fine: the core temperature is just dandy. So it isn’t stoking the fires.

    So what isn’t in the coat is getting starved of heat.

    Me? My core is going “It’s flipping FREEZING out here. Stoke the boilers, lads!”. So my core may be somewhat cooler but my hands and nose are fine because they’re being fed heat.

    Now if I weren’t *eating* well, this would definitely be a problem.

    Or if I were a child. Or ill (like, properly ill).

    But I’m surprised at how some people need it warmer than I do just because I’ve gotten used to it.

    When the warm times come round, THAT’S when I have trouble. There’s only so many layers you can drop before people start complaining or you start bleeding…

  30. 180
    Mark says:

    Oh, and this may be teaching my grandmother to suck eggs (though why I’d want to remains a mystery…), but secondary glazing does far more for heat retention than double glazing. IIRC you need at least 3cm between panes of glass to stop heat transfer. Double glazing reduces noise a lot (quite important nowadays) and the better construction removes many cold spots. But doesn’t do a lot for insulation.

  31. 181
    Lynn Vincentnathan says:

    I agree with Mark #6. I think the whole point of the 350 movement was to address the wrongness of the 450 ppm limit policy-wonks, who seem to act as if we have plenty of time to begin thinking about this problem in a generation or two.

    Most people don’t know that we’re probably already committed to horrible effects from warming…I think 2.4C by late century…even if we halt all GHGs emissions today, save breathing, which is impossible. And they don’t know scientists are talking more realistically about 4C warming by 2060 or 2070, triggering climate hysteresis to go way above that over the next 100s & 1000s of years as the more likely scenario, or even limited runaway.* But most people have no idea about these dangers already in the pipes, and surely to beset us if we just stabilize at current emission level, or even decrease by half in 30 years.

    So we need a target that is squarely behind us — not in front of us. So yeh, we should be going to Maine instead of Califoria, and we need to figure out ASAP how to get there and start implementing NOW. We need to turn this vehicle around!

    And the 350 people actually say that the target should be 350 or BELOW…and there’s more sci confidence in that vast range than in a single number.
    *Listen to the presentations at

  32. 182
    Howard S. says:

    You are in error.

    Both double glazing and secondary glazing can save energy by reducing the amount of heat lost through windows. The more effective is double glazing, which works by trapping air between two panes of glass, creating an insulating barrier. It cuts heat loss in half and also reduces noise and condensation. Installing double glazing can knock up to £100 a year off heating bills and reduce a household’s carbon dioxide emissions by three-quarters of a tonne, but fitting it is a professional job and can be expensive.

    For those on a budget, secondary glazing could be the answer. It costs less than double-glazing and will still reduce heat loss and draughts, although the savings will be around half of those achieved by double glazing

  33. 183
    Chris S says:

    Chip #175:

    As I intimated in comment #169 I have neither the time, nor the inclination to browse your archives. If, as you claim, you “know what you’re talking about” I can safely assume that you are aware of the relevant papers yourself & that you can provide me with the reference to back up your claims. Which is it by the way – is CO2 a net benefit to plants or to crops? Your argument seems to have changed over the course of this thread. Surely you can at least give some recent papers relevant to the topic, or at least relevant to the points raised so far (which I summarised in #142), and don’t worry about paywalls – my institute has access to most, if not all of the big agriculture journals online & a very good library.

    One further question regarding the CO2science page: are the papers on CO2 & crops that are referred to in post #142 covered on the CO2science site? And if not, may I ask why?

  34. 184
    Mark says:

    “The more effective is double glazing, which works by trapping air between two panes of glass, creating an insulating barrier.”

    No, you’re wrong, Howard.

    I don’t have my university books any more but this was one of the problems we had to solve for coursework in university.

    The distance between the panes of glass is not enough to stop eddies transferring most of the energy needed to equate the two panes of glass. You’d be nearly as well of making it one solid piece of glass the same thickness.

    But at normal pressures and temperatures, the eddies do not reach 3cm across and so cannot directly transfer heat by convection so transverse conduction is the method left.

    There is, of course, the radiant option too, but kappa glass helps with the IR part and it is in most cases lower than conduction or convection in capability to transfer heat.

  35. 185
    Hank Roberts says:

    for example:
    Journal of Heat Transfer (ASME); Journal Volume: 109:4

  36. 186
    Jim Galasyn says:

    The rogue NOAA page is no more, and the “It’s a Gas, Man” lab has been removed from the lesson plan.

  37. 187
    Deep Climate says:


    Here’s an update on the contrarian “lesson” on CO2 at NWS JetStream.

    The lesson has been unlinked from the rest of the lesson plan. Presumably it will be reinstated once it is fixed.

  38. 188

    An interesting discussion on the topic of double glazing:

  39. 189
    Mark says:

    Interesting Kevin, but this

    “gas begins to circulate because of temperature differences and transfers heat between the panes”

    seems weird.

    If there’s a bigger temperature difference between the panes, then there’s a lower loss through the cooler pane.


    Convective cells also require some space to allow “up” and “down” to happen without causing turbulence and buggering the whole cell thing up.

    But a thin enough layer can still let quite a lot of heat through (as is implied by the quote from the article above).

    Now it could well be that the knowledge of fluid motion results has increased to make what I know redundant (e.g. when I went do university, engineers still didn’t believe bees could fly by what was known), but this quote:

    “IGU thickness is a compromise between maximizing insulating value and the ability of the framing system used to carry the unit.”

    indicates that they would like to be able to make it thicker but can’t because the frame won’t control the torque of a deeper unit.

    The only google links I can find are for companies that make secondary glazing, so not so good. The best I can get is that one company claims 70% efficiency savings with their secondary glazing (though whether this is compared to the large patio windows they’re selling) and 50% or more for double glazing from a supplier of such.

  40. 190
    Hank Roberts says:

    Barry Brook on the SciAm piece cited above:

    “The November 2009 issue of Scientific American has a cover story by Mark Z. Jacobson (Professor, Stanford) and Mark A. Delucchi (researcher, UC Davis). It’s entitled “A path to sustainable energy by 2030” (p 58 – 65; they call it WWS: wind, water or sunlight). This popular article is supported by a technical analysis, which the authors will apparently submit to the peer-reviewed journal Energy Policy at some point (or may have already done so). Anyway, they have made both papers available for free public download here.

    So what do they say? In a nutshell, their argument is that, by the year 2030:

    Wind, water and solar technologies can provide 100 percent of the world’s energy, eliminating all fossil fuels.

    Big claim. Does it stack up? Short answer, no. Here I critique the 100% WWS plan (both articles)…..”

    Links (comprehensive, very helpful) at the original page

  41. 191
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re Hank Roberts – I downloaded that pdf (WWS Mark Z. Jacobson, Mark A. Delucchi) (Its the Marks verses the Stevens! Also interesting that their middle initials are metaphorically the alpha and the omega.)

    I noticed a big ‘Do not cite, quote, etc.’ Yet it is publically available – does that negate the not citing and quoting (qualified by ‘incomplete draft for review’ in the citation)?

    One thing I’d really like to see that I haven’t found (tried to start one myself but then I got sidetracked) is a table showing the breakdown of how CO2(eq) per kWh, effective cost per kWh with zero interest, cost per kWh with realistic capital costs, land use, other emissions, worker injuries (there was a study, I think it compared nuclear to solar), etc, attributed to different components and processes in the stages of the lifecycle, for various energy technologies including coal, nuclear, solar, etc, now and future projected values. I recall finding one that had a lot of that (may have been an online thesis paper?) but it’s buried down in my entropy-rich notes… I also think that a better unit for energy for purposes of comparing power to energy would be the W-year, which is 8.766 kWh if averaged over leap years (not counting that occasional fourth year that isn’t a leap year).

    There’s so much information out there and sometimes its tiring reading through the text to get the numbers, which are not always given (in the original Solar Grand Plan article, the density of panel area per unit land area was never made explicit, though I found that later (I think it was either 1/2.5 or 1/3 for fixed-tilt panels – of course this will vary with latitude and land vs panel costs). Also somewhat hard to track down is the efficiency of conversion to and from CAES with or without heating.

    I like tables and graphs. (Not to be lazy, but I want to avoid feeling like I’m needlessly replicating another’s efforts.)

  42. 192
    Mark says:

    “I noticed a big ‘Do not cite, quote, etc.’ Yet it is publically available – does that negate the not citing and quoting (qualified by ‘incomplete draft for review’ in the citation)?”

    All Rights Reserved, remember.

    Though these are only the rights copyright gives them, which authors too seem to forget quite a lot.

    Citation and quotation are not covered by copyright and this is coded up in the US as Fair Use of copyrighted works.

    Citation is not even a copyrighted action: no expressive content on saying what and where a work is. But like I said, authors (or as it may be the distributors) have no more care for copyrights than the pirates do, just from a different perspective.

    And quotations too can be “de minimis” and therefore also not copyrighted.

    But publicly available doesn’t mean “public domain”.

    In fact one problem with PD is there’s no way of placing works IN the public domain which worries librarians and historians but copyright owners hardly at all.

    And with the spread of litigation culture (which to be honest was started in the UK rather than the US as many would suppose) with PD there’s no express “at own risk” statement so with software you could be held liable as the author of PD code that causes a problem someone wants to sue over.

  43. 193

    I was at a client’s house yesterday discussing the Future of Green and we got onto the subject of economics. He wants to size a solar power system to be large enough to recharge a car, which is one of my objectives longer term — several hundreds dollars a month in fuel charges buys a heck of a lot of solar power.

    I think the only way “350” is going to get sold is to tell people what life will be like when the cost of power is going DOWN along with the carbon emissions.

  44. 194

    For those who thought the bogus NOAA page was gone for good …

    It’s back.

    complete with bad grammar and the link to a bad local copy of the USA data set (though that link is now broken).

    Did anyone actually get a reply on emails on this? I haven’t.

  45. 195
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 192 Mark –

    This wasn’t about copyright law. I know about fair use. I was just wondering what their intents were as of now. That’s all.

  46. 196
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 194 bogus NOAA –

    Who’s doing this!?

  47. 197
    Hank Roberts says:

    > JetStream

    Wow. They _must_ have been hacked. Did you see this before, or is it new?

    “Summer Safety Rules
    Help reduce additional heat to the atmosphere by following the following conservation measures:
    * Protect windows. Hang shades, draperies, awnings, or louvers ….
    * Avoid using the oven.”

    —-end excerpt—-

    —> “reduce additional heat to the atmosphere” ??? <—

  48. 198


    After Deep Climate posted about this, a commenter noted that there was a link to Understanding Climate Change of the Fraser Institute (Canada’s Heartland Institute) on the Vermont State Climatologist’s Website.


    I have sent emails to the State Climatologist and to her Dept. Chair. I also did a Google for the file name and found another link on the Environmental Education in Wisconsin Website. I emailed the contact person there last night.

    This document is carefully designed to show that “the jury is still out” regarding the causes of climate change. To the uninitiated, it appears quite credible.

  49. 199

    Thanks for staying on this, Phil. It may not be earthshaking, but that doesn’t mean it’s not significant.

    That “discussion” is really weak and confused, the current controversy aside. For example: “The increase in heating ability is due to carbon dioxide’s high capacity to hold heat.”

    That statement seems tailor-made to confuse specific heat with radiative properties, particularly in the context of GW which they set up. I suspect the overall effect of this unit, if it’s done as given, will be to increase confidence in the mainstream science, because students will remember the activity much more than the confused (and, I would say, inappropriately wordy) discussion. Which is NOT to say that the latter shouldn’t be corrected.

    It almost looks to me as though a good activity was then “balanced” with a discussion written by someone with an axe to grind.

  50. 200
    Mike says:

    Re: Hank #197

    Looking at past versions of the JetStream page at web archive shows that line was originally “Thinking About Your Environment”. It was changed to the rather bizarre current line at the start of 08 at the same time as the misleading US temperature data was added.
    As for the clone on the ocean-service page, that’s part of the 2009 Year of Science resources so I would assume the whole Jet Stream site was simply copied over.