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Unforced variations: Apr 2011

Filed under: — group @ 1 April 2011

This months open thread. There are some Items of potential interest::

or whatever you like.


525 Responses to “Unforced variations: Apr 2011”

  1. 101
    Brian Dodge says:

    “If we went 100% renewable, what happens when it is dark and there is no wind?” RickA — 4 Apr 2011 @ 3:54 PM

    This.

  2. 102
    jthomas says:

    Gavin,

    You might want to tackle this guy:

    Wall St. Journal
    OPINION EUROPEAPRIL 5, 2011

    How Scientific Is Climate Science?

    “What is arguably the most important reason to doubt global warming can be explained in plain English.”

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704615504576171863463697564.html?mod=europe_opinion

  3. 103
    dhogaza says:

    David Benson:

    Turns out that Venus actually has more N2 than Terra by weight, which is another question for another day.

    “The surface of Venus is dominated by volcanism and has produced more volcanoes than any other planet in the solar system.”

    Wikipedia, I think (being too lazy to confirm at the moment)

  4. 104
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    “Geoff – there is currently a Canadian federal election happening – all that can be said is “hope the Conservatives don’t get a majority”.” – 59

    They are guaranteed to.

  5. 105
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    “If we went 100% renewable, what happens when it is dark and there is no wind?” – 69

    Well, then… On that day we can conclude that God has given us another day of rest.

    You wouldn’t turn down a gift from God would you?

  6. 106
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    “Ah – you are right! I did forgot hydro.” – 83

    But what happens when it doesn’t rain?

  7. 107
    seamus says:

    More interesting research: Mangroves Among the Most Carbon-Rich Forests in the Tropics “mangroves may be strong candidates for programs aiming to mitigate climate change by reducing deforestation rates”

    It’s such a shame that nuclear (especially gen iv) is often totally ignored when talking about clean energy plans. We need “all of the above” in order to supplant coal and provide power to the 1.6 billion people who still have no access to electricity.

  8. 108
    Titus says:

    Brian Dodge @91 answers this question:
    “If we went 100% renewable, what happens when it is dark and there is no wind?” RickA — 4 Apr 2011 @ 3:54 PM

    With “This” (a link to a solar reference).

    The question from RickA was “what happens when it’s dark”. Many parts of the world have very limited sun light at the times of year when energy is needed most. It’s a great option for most tropical regions where less energy is typically required. Hard to see right now how this will turn into a viable option. It certainly is a very limited option (and very high cost) option to RickA’s question.

  9. 109
    don gisselbeck says:

    Once again, we need to pay for wars in the Gulf and most of our War Department with petroleum taxes, not that anyone can hear that.

  10. 110
    Ron R. says:

    My 2c on the energy issue.

    Most of the difficulty in the debate between the dirty energy camp (oil, coal and nuclear) and the clean energy camp (solar, wind, geothermal etc. etc.) is that people tend to have an all or nothing view of things. It’s either/or for us. We have difficulty compromising.

    I think though the problem would be better characterized as a case of not having our priorities straight. From the beginning dirty energy has utterly dominated while clean alternatives have been given short shrift. What we should have done loooong ago was to completely reverse that. We should have done a 180. Had we invested in solar, for example, instead of paying scandalous subsidies to dirty energy which certainly did not need them, our outlook today would certainly be brighter. We SHOULD have made clean alternatives the dominant sources of energy and used the dirty forms, but only as a last resort. It’s a little late now but we could and should still endeavor to do that.

    I’m not talking about huge, centralized solar and wind farms, though those might be appropriate in certain situations. I mean de-centralized alternatives. I.E. if every building was outfitted with the system(s) that would best serve the energy needs of those occupying it (and we could obtain most or all of the materials necessary for construction simply by recycling the plastic and metal we’ve thrown and continue to throw away) our need for dirty energy would be greatly reduced. IOW, the dirty energy cultists often decry the inability of clean energy to cover everyone all of the time. So they throw the whole idea out. It can be debated whether clean could cover us all especially with improving technologies. But had we prioritized clean alternatives first and foremost decades ago and used the others as a filler for gaps everyone could have been covered and we more than likely would have never had to deal with such devastating crisis’ as the gulf oil spill or Fukushima.

    We have enough energy, we just have to get our priorities straight. Whether there’s time left to do so is another issue.

    P.s. For the solar naysayers out there take a look at what one teenager was able to accomplish with and old satellite dish and some mirrors.

    http://tinyurl.com/63kkl46

  11. 111
    J Bowers says:

    #84 Patrick 027 — “Not that I expect it to become as cheap as coal”

    Coal is hugely expensive, with that extra but hidden cost of $345 billion per annum to US taxpayers alone IIRC. It’s also the most dangerous with more deaths per terrawatt hour than any other source of energy, with oil in second place.

    The True Cost of Coal Power
    Full cost accounting for the life cycle of coal. Epstein et al (2011)
    Chart: The Deadliest Energy Sources in the World (deaths per terrawatt hour)

  12. 112
    J Bowers says:

    @ #92 J Thoms

    That would be Doug “climate scientists are corrupt call the FBI” Keenan probably doing his bit for the climate troofer cause in response to the BEST preliminary results. The tobacco tricks of casting doubt on climate science become more openly transparent with each passing week.

  13. 113
    Fred Magyar says:

    Brian Dodge @91,

    “If we went 100% renewable, what happens when it is dark and there is no wind?”

    Umm, candle light dinner, followed by activities that most conservatives can’t conceive of and wouldn’t approve of even if they could… >;^)

    Comment by Brian Dodge

  14. 114
    Kevin C says:

    OK, here’s a random thought which has been bothering me for a while. Maybe someone can tell me if I’m stupid, or otherwise.

    GISS has been showing a consistent upward trend, while HADCRUT has shown more of a plateau during the last decade. We know that the main difference is that HADCRUT doesn’t have global coverage and omits the poles. It is therefore also more strongly influenced by ENSO.

    It seems to me that since most energy is absorbed from the sun in the tropics, HADCRUT would also be more strongly influenced by the solar cycle. So it saw a steeper rise during the increase of cycle 23, and a more pronounce plateau during the solar minimum. You could say we are seeing the extra energy being absorbed in the tropics during the maximum and redistributed to the poles (where HADCRUT doesn’t see it) during the minimum.

    If that is so, then HADCRUT should show a steeper increase than GISTEMP as cycle 24 kicks in (bearing in mind that cycle 24 looks like being very weak). Does that make sense?

  15. 115
    flxible says:

    we need to pay for wars in the Gulf and most of our War Department with petroleum taxes

    I wonder if the Americans who consider the Gulf wars as being specifically to protect the cheap supply of oil complete that circle. ;)

  16. 116
    Ric Merritt says:

    There have been several replies to the naive (or trolling?) question What will happen if we go 100% renewable? None of them (sorry if I missed something amongst the crowd) included the most basic part of the answer, which is that we ARE going 100% renewable, or as near as makes no difference, whether we like it or not. Not all at once, of course, but since fossil fuels do not renew on the time scales of people and civilizations, we’ll be using something else more and more.

    Better concentrate on how to do that with minimal regrets. If it is to be done without horrendous losses, that must be demonstrated at scale, not merely wished for eagerly and devoutly. “Scale” means close to 100%, with infrastructure NOT dependent on fossil fuels. Infrastructure includes transportation, industry, and the built environment. This is all obvious, but strangely enough seldom figures much in public discussion.

  17. 117

    104, Kevin C,

    I don’t think so. Your assumption equates to the position that the tropics will be relatively warmer then other parts of the globe during the height of a solar cycle, and cooler at the minimum. Temperature is redistributed around the planet pretty quickly and efficiently, I think, so I don’t think that’s true.

    HADCRUT will always be low if a lot of the warmth is being pushed up into an area where they don’t use observations (i.e. the high Arctic), but I don’t think the conclusion that it will then reflect more warmth at times due to a “tropical bias” is true.

    In fact, the opposite could turn out to be true (i.e. that due to higher insolation/energy, more heat is redistributed poleward more efficiently, and HADCRUT would then demonstrate a negative bias).

    Consider these graphs:

    Wood for Trees : GISTEMP, HADCRUT, Sun Spots and TSI, 1950+

    and the same, zoomed in on more recent decades:

    Wood for Trees : GISTEMP, HADCRUT, Sun Spots and TSI, 1979+

    Wood for Trees : GISTEMP, HADCRUT, Sun Spots and TSI, 1990+

  18. 118
    Septic Matthew says:

    Here is an item on the costs of a current solar technology:

    http://cleantechnica.com/2011/02/19/solar-power-almost-as-cheap-as-natural-gas-in-six-states/

    I have lost the link, but the same CleanTechnical web page reported a few months ago that the city of Los Angeles had contracted for the installation of a new solar facility to provide electricity during peak demand. The solar facility won the contract because it was cheaper than the next-best alternative, which was natural-gas powered. I expect more announcements with that theme. Solar is nice for this purpose because peak production matches peak demand. Solar power costs, measured in $/megawatt-hour, continue to decline, both because of new technologies and because of continuous improvement in the manufacturing processes.

    Also more plentiful and cheaper by the year are technologies for converting and storing energy from wind and sun to provide backup when wind and sun are absent. That’s a topic for another post.

    It is a mistake to think of either/or (when many technologies can combine to provide solutions, each in a favored niche), and now-or-never (when the replacement of America’s coal-fired power plants will take place over decades.)

  19. 119
    Edward Greisch says:

    106 Ric Merritt: Nuclear is not a fossil fuel and we have enough for 30,000 years if we recycle.

    [Response: A quick reminder that nuclear energy is always off topic here. If you want to discuss that, please go to Barry Brooks’ bravenewclimate site. Thanks – gavin]

  20. 120
    Didactylos says:

    Ron R.: The “problem” is that there are not two camps, but as many camps as there are people in the debate. Everyone has their own view on energy, and each view brings with it its own set of compromises, problems and blind spots.

    I think it’s time we cut through some of the confusion. It doesn’t really matter what our energy policy is. Some of us can support nuclear power, others can prefer wind over solar – but we must agree that fossil fuels have to go. And by “go”, I mean leaving them buried.

    We can argue the other points as much as we like, but it mustn’t distract from the central goal. And, I think, details such as where and how to build wind, solar, nuclear and others will ultimately be decided by cold reality and stupid local politics.

    On the subject of microgeneration, I have to direct you to the opinions of David MacKay. In short, every little adds up…. to…. very little. For small-scale to work, it has to be ubiquitous. And then it’s not small-scale any more, it’s massive – just spread out a lot. The idea is right, but I rarely hear people discussing how to really make it work. They are usually far more interested in their own personal power project, and often feeling so virtuous (and worried about how much it really cost them) that they just want their ego stroking and the difficult questions kept far, far away.

  21. 121
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    RE:85
    “http://imgur.com/QAcJm”

    Good find Susan.

    — Transcribed —

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    You writing must be strong, right-wing and use supplied talking points without bogging down in too much detail. You are creating an online persona with a consistent tone. Ideally you can find or make up facts and statistics to stir controversy. Where suited humour, sarcasm and personal insults are welcome.

    You are a news junky who is able to log on to news forums, facebook pages several times a day. You are able to write comments tailored to new topics while always repeating key talking points.

    Compensation TBD. hourly rate and volume of online activity. Bonuses for controversial postings that heat up a topic or forum thread.

    How to apply: We are more interested in your writing than your resume. To apply submit a 100 word post based on the headline “ignatieff Promises No Coalition after Election.” Show us that you can write from a right wing character voice, score points, stir outrage and use humour.

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  22. 122
    GlenFergus says:

    Realers might enjoy Richard Glover’s weekend piece at the SMH on the internet and climate change deniers:

    …they fiercely drive their heads into the nearest beachfront, their bums defiantly aquiver as they fart their toxic message to the world.

    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/why-the-internet-will-destroy-the-planet-20110401-1cri1.html

  23. 123
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 88John E. Pearson says:
    Geothermal WHy not baseload
    I get the impression that geothermal is generally thought of as a baseload contributor; I was thinking that perhaps it might be designed to be ramped up in the colder, cloudier portions of the winter when solar is more scarce – depending on what wind, hydroelectric, and biofuels can do. (Hydroelectric could be seasonal and I suppose if we get more winter precipitation with earlier snow melt … but that would be after the winter energy usage peak and solar resource minimum, wouldn’t it? On the other hand, in Mediterranean climates with rainy winters… – of course, othere than given precipitation patterns, the potential problem with seasonal hydroelectric would be unacceptable or problematic reservoir variations – but I don’t know a lot about that. Large areas are helpful – what if water could be pumped from Lake Ontario back into Lake Erie in the summer? Just keep the zebra muscles out of the system…)

    On the other hand, the cheapest easiest ways to use solar power would be for lighting and heating (oh, depending on insulation and window technology). Even on a cloudy day, skylights can brighten a room. With good heat storage that can carry over into the night. What would be really cool is windows that let solar IR in in winter and reflect all but visible light in summer (use retractable filters (cost?) or transparent blinds if necessary (cost?)). Anyway, if cheap enough, no problem only using it for part of the year – it would still pay back well. One thing winter has going for it is that waste heat can be a resource, not a burden.

    Re 101 J Bowers – I was of course refering to the present cost that appears in transactions now, but yes it’s good to emphasize the public cost.

    Re 106 Ric Merritt – Have we been over this before? Infrastructure already available can be used. During the transition period, of course some fossil fuels (and corn ethanol and nuclear) will be used to produce renewable energy infrastructure. But as more of the energy we use is clean energy, more of the energy used to provide clean energy will be clean energy. If we still need (hydro)carbon for some particular uses (metals production, etc.) then so be it, but eventually we might make such fuels using renewable power – well, as you said, we’ll pretty much have to. (What fraction of energy use is best left for hydrocarbons? Maybe I did the math wrong (was in a hurry), but it seems like less than 0.2 % of U.S. energy consumption is fuel input to non-heating, non-cooling, non-machine drive industrial processes. http://www.eia.doe.gov/aer/pecss_diagram.html
    http://www.eia.doe.gov/aer/pdf/pages/sec2_15.pdf
    Then there’s some hydrocarbon products themselves (asphalt, plastic) and allowing some fraction of transportation (PHEV’s fuel inputs for long-distances if necessary, air travel, ocean boats?) remains unelectrified…, some fuel for (winter in particular) space and water heating)

    Re 97 seamus – what is this nuclear gen iv – no wait, we shouldn’t get into that here (which website should I go to). (Just my two cents though – build a component (like a fuse or surge protector) that is designed to fail above normal operating temps but below meltdown temps, which upon failling, would release either extra neutron-absorbing material (maybe a liquid, in case things get bent and solids can’t get through) or release some fraction of the fuel rods into a lower chamber … etc, halting the chain reaction)(PS maybe the depleted U should be used as a basement to catch melted fuel and hold it?). PS I’ve heard something about potential for Th-based nuclear power plant?

  24. 124
    Patrick 027 says:

    Sorry, just go ahead and delete my Re 97 part…

  25. 125
    J Bowers says:

    This is a new one:

    MBA course: ‘blind pursuit of profit is destroying the planet’

    Marbella University offers ‘Green MBA’ highlighting ‘lies, deceit and hype’ of business world
    […]
    Look at the “Green MBA” course description and you can see that issues such as population growth, climate change and “limited resources and raw materials” are all prominently discussed – even if there is still a tendency to slip effortlessly into management speak: “The business world must become aware of such developments and use all vanguard tools to efficiently navigate in such a challenging business environment.”…

    Press Release

  26. 126
    Steve Metzler says:

    112. GlenFergus:

    That Richard Glover article you linked to is just so full of win. Made my day. But of course, it is at the same time a sad commentary on where we’ve come to :-\

  27. 127
    don gisselbeck says:

    Re: #85,111
    Are you sure we are not being Poed here?

  28. 128
    Jonathan Abbatt says:

    Matt Ridley writing in the Times recently http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article2972845.ece , claims to have discovered that sea level rises are decelerating, thus reducing the main threat to our societies (and that climate change remedies are ineffective or too costly)..Anyone knowledgeable care to comment on his sources?

  29. 129
    Jonathan Abbatt says:

    Matt Ridley, writing in the Times recently, claims to have discovered that sea level rise is decelerating, reducing the main threat to human societies and that the proposed solutions are too costly or ineffective. See http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/article2972845.ece “Green cure for a nosebleed: choke the patient”. Anyone care to comment on his analysis?

  30. 130
    adelady says:

    That’s the ineffable beauty of Poe in a nutshell.

    You can’t actually tell without a fair bit more information about the source.

  31. 131
    David B. Benson says:

    dhogaza @93 — Yes, I think I knew that. But the question still remains; why so much more vulcanism.

  32. 132
    Vendicar Decarian says:

    “Are you sure we are not being Poed here?” – 117

    You should respond and find out.

    http://www.herinst.org/sbeder/PR/tanks.html

  33. 133
    Chris Colose says:

    It seems them pesky climate modelers have been outdone. Boogg Bang drives global climate change

    arxiv has great stuff…

  34. 134
  35. 135
    Sarah Albright says:

    Using the word ignorant to describe Republicans who refuse to listen to climate scientists is accurate, but insulting. It halts the national conversation because puts people on the defensive. Liberals are super sensitive to labels (unless they apply to Republicans), and are forever changing them, so this should be easy for them to understand. Maybe it should be said that these Republicans are “ignorant of climate change science” instead of “ignorant.” Petty point? Maybe. But it is part of the reason we can’t have a reasonable discussion about the issue of climate change in this country.

    Scientists and environmentalists have only themselves to blame if the public has yet to grasp the severity of the problem enough to elect politicians who will put effective regulations in place. Republicans are scared of carbon emission regulation because they are worried about what it will do to our extremely fragile economy. It is indeed a complex problem that will have dire consequences for future generations. We can’t survive without a healthy economy today, but we won’t be able to survive without a healthy environment tomorrow.

    People are scared. That is why our politicians are acting this way. I am neither Republican nor Democrat, and I am very tired of the insults thrown back and forth, the intolerance of ideas, and the pettiness that runs rampant in blogs like this. I am no scientist, but I do know that if we all sit around and argue like children, we will accomplish nothing. Education might be slow, but it is necessary. Community outreach programs are extremely effective, but there are too few. It will take time to bring about effective change, but the longer we sit around and insult each other, the less time we have to DO something about it.

    Now it is time for someone to come back with a clever insult.

  36. 136
    Ric Merritt says:

    Patrick 027 #113:

    Yes, we have been over this before a bit, but never with any responses that are comforting, or very illuminating. What we would need, to continue economic growth as conventionally defined, is transportation, including the big stuff (container ships, passenger and cargo planes, gargantuan dump trucks and open-pit mining shovels, you get the idea), construction, roads and bridges, manufacturing, all without FF, literally down to the ground.

    The transition has to always stay ahead of the FF production decrease, or the world economy will contract severely, perhaps convulsively. Any problems along those lines will affect all investments, including ones aiming for sustainability. You will notice that we’ve known this, to varying approximations, for decades now, without exerting ourselves very greatly. Maybe you know something about green container ships that I don’t, but I don’t see the needed progress.

  37. 137
    Don Gisselbeck says:

    Re: imgr
    Wow! I didn’t think anyone would seriously say “Ideally you can find or make up facts and statistics to stir controversy.” My somewhat paranoid brain still wonders if someone is trying to discredit truth tellers with false documents saying true things (ala the Dan Rather/G. W. Bush AWOL affair). If not, maybe we can use this. Whenever a denier shows up on a blog say “Are you getting paid for posting this? If not you should be.” Then give the link.

  38. 138
    One Anonymous Bloke says:

    Sarah Albright #124 That seems disingenuous to me. As an interested outsider I have watched coverage of the recent congressional hearings with alarm and disgust: it is abundantly clear that the issue is not ignorance, it is the corruption endemic in your government. People are ‘scared’, although I think ‘concerned’ is more accurate, because your politicians are acting this way.
    Blaming ‘scientists and environmentalists’ for the lack of clarity around these issues is equally naive in such a poisonous political environment.

  39. 139

    124, Sarah,

    There’s a lot to reply to in your 3 short paragraphs, but one thing in particular struck me:

    We can’t survive without a healthy economy today, but we won’t be able to survive without a healthy environment tomorrow.

    People are scared.

    This really bugs me. People have been programmed to think this for the past decade… be afraid for the economy, fear loss of income, fear taxes, fear fear fear and consume.

    People shouldn’t be scared. If you compare lifestyles of average Americans today versus in the fifties, I believe we have more security and more creature comforts, so far beyond what any human could ever expect that its frightening. I won’t get into a philosophical discussion of whether we are actually happier or have better or worse values, but I do think we’re spoiled, pampered, and live in fear of losing any little thing, because we seemingly have everything — cheap.

    We could easily live with less. The world is expected to spend 2 trillion dollars a year on electronic entertainment and media. 2 trillion a year. Couldn’t we sacrifice just a little of that to move forward, without harming the economy?

    When I go out I see streams and streams of cars driving by, hundreds of people hurriedly going places. Do we really all need to be constantly on the move? Do we have to live with an ability to use $0.50 of gas to go to 5tarbucks to get a Grande Skinny Vanill4 L4tte?

    People in the fifties thought it was a big deal just to get a TV. Today, we expect everything, from huge flat screens to 0n demand movies to the best health care on the planet to total and complete protection from job loss.

    Today’s conservatives talk about “entitlements” in the soci4list sense and the welfare state. But really, people have come to treat action movies with special effects, the Internet, giant televisions, huge SUVs, D1sney vacations, and a lot of other perks of modern society as “entitlements” in the true sense of the word.

    For the entire history of civilization, until the past fifty years, people lived with the constant realities that they could die or lose a loved one at any time, and that an ever changing world meant economic insecurity. For most of the history of the world, the vast majority of the population, from peasants and serfs to factory workers on up, toiled countless hours and lived like virtual slaves.

    During the Second World War the peoples of the earth tried to virtually destroy civilization in the name of their disparate ideologies. To engage in that monumental struggle, people made personal sacrifices beyond the imagination of any American living today.

    People today are spoiled brats.

    Today we finally have a society where the common man can enjoy a great degree of security and creature comforts… and we have grown so fat on this that people are scared to lose anything, or sacrifice anything, or to live responsibly and within reasonable limits so that this untenable system can actually last beyond another generation or two.

    People are scared.

    And that’s the problem. Instead of being scared of the things that should scare them, they’re scared of losing the tiniest little convenience from an overly pampered lifestyle.

    So please forgive this long diatribe, but I don’t buy it. People are scared, and that’s the problem. The economy is not fragile. The problem is that you believe that it’s fragile.

    How about if we start by growing up, and start by ceasing to exacerbate and prey upon people’s quite honestly irresponsible and unfounded fears.

    [Forgive the 0bfusc4tion mistakes, but the spam detector thinks I’m a very bad person.]

  40. 140
    caerbannog says:

    Sarah Albright said,

    It will take time to bring about effective change, but the longer we sit around and insult each other, the less time we have to DO something about it.

    Who’s “We”, Kemo Sabe?

  41. 141

    After the disheartening display of ignorance and snake oil sales showmanship at the hearings this week…

    Could we perhaps educate politicians by… trying to educate politicians? I’m not talking about the handful of rabid deniers who are beyond hope, but rather that disinterested majority who are sitting on the sidelines and letting the ignorant and politically motivated lead the way.

    It’s not going to happen in “hearings” like these (it’s spelled “h-e-a-r-i-n-g-s,” but it’s pronounced “laughable farce concocted for political reasons by people with closed minds and absolutely no intention of actually listening and learning”).

    What would happen if a group of leading climate scientists scheduled a conference specifically for congressmen and congresswomen and senators, in Washington, with a series of seminars and workshops specifically aimed at teaching the science to (and debunking the myths for) the policy makers in our government?

    This really doesn’t need to be big name scientists, and probably shouldn’t be. Any collection of ordinary but informed professors — actually, ones who are good at teaching, versus good at doing research — would do the trick.

    Is there any entity (such as the Union for Concerned Scientists) that could fund and organize such a venture?

    If not… perhaps its time one was created (the Union for Concerned Climate Scientists?).

    Expecting politicians to responsibly educate themselves is clearly not a workable approach to the problem. They won’t be motivated to do so until the problem has become so obvious and dangerous that they need to publicly admit to recognizing the problem in order to get elected — which means it will be too late to actually do anything about it.

  42. 142
    jthomas says:

    I’d like to point you all to this interesting study that just came out:

    “What Motivates a Climate Skeptic?”

    http://www.desmogblog.com/what-motivates-climate-skeptic

  43. 143
    Ray Ladbury says:

    Sarah Albright,
    So what would you suggest as a description for those who wilfully refuse to face reality?

    And if fear is sufficient to cause human beings to reject reality, then what hope can we have for the long-term survival of the species?

    Given the way the Rethuglicans are holding the government hostage right now, I’m afraid ignorant is just too charitable a term for me to use toward them.

  44. 144
    Susan Anderson says:

    I have to apologize. I have no idea if it is true, but in my life peregrinations I find that while I was absent, someone claims the Craigslist post, which I stole from someone else, is a plant. I don’t know if it is, but perhaps we should just take it as read that that kind of activity does take place, plant or not, and move on.

    Meanwhile, I agree with those who claim that all or nothing means we do nothing, which is not a good or viable option. The earth is about to deal us a huge surprise whether we like it or not, both in the form of consequences and of diminution of cheap sources of fossil fuel. The antis have been preventing full-scale development of the real cheap fuels, the renewables, since Carter and likely before. It’s a bad argument, not made better by persistence or successful anti-human-race results.

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Tenney Naumer has posted a few fascinating items about (a) ozone problems (I’ll leave that one alone) and (b) the giant pool of freshwater in the Arctic. What a schlemozzle!

    Anyone interested, or have any ideas?
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110325111901.htm

    (given my lack of science background, I’ve used the ScienceDaily cite instead of the article itself; also this ABC news item (ABC does a good job on these kinds of things; don’t go to the kneejerk anti-MSM thing here, please):

    http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/wireStory?id=13299904

    Anyway, does anyone know if this is real? I know the Arctic has been crazy lately, is this part of it?

    Tenney had a few items about this on her blog: you’d have to click on the titles or search to get past other material about Wisconsin and the Kochs (not that that is not of interest):
    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/

  45. 145
    adelady says:

    bob. I think that sense of ‘entitlement’ attitude is a bit ingrained. Think of a nomad or a peasant desperately clutching their one and only cooking pot or quilt. Hanging on to what we’ve got is fairly instinctive.

    It takes a bit of perspective to stand back and look at our bulging wardrobes and the clutch of contrivances sitting in the rechargers on a shelf and see them clearly. To see such things clearly in a developed country *should* lead to a sense of gratitude, if not pure wonder at the abundance of easily acquired food as well as all the cheap electronic gadgetry making our lives better or more fun (or easier housework).

    That fear you talk of is a rejection of the ideas of abundance and its associated gratitude. Not sure how best to promote it. Most approaches I’ve seen come very close to forms of either Buddhism or tree-hugging hippieism, though there is a strong theme of gratitude in much Christian thought, but that tends to get mixed up with a whole lot of other, not-so-helpful stuff in many people’s minds.

  46. 146
    Patrick 027 says:

    Re 130, etc. – you can lead an elephant to water but you’ll have to do a search to make sure he’s not packing some LSD to take with it.

  47. 147
    Ron R. says:

    Didactylos — 5 Apr 2011 @ 3:18 PM said, In short, every little adds up…. to…. very little. For small-scale to work, it has to be ubiquitous. And then it’s not small-scale any more, it’s massive – just spread out a lot.

    I think you need to listen to your own words. Of course, compared to giant power plants someone’s home solar system may be very small scale – but it’s enough for them. Get it? Yes, for small scale to work to fix our current energy problems it has to be ubiquitous, every home, office building etc. So yes if everyone did it, if clean alternatives were maximized as much as possible it would be big, but that’s not a problem, that’s the solution. Every kilowatt generated with clean energy is one less generated with dirty. Let everyone that can generate their own energy. Cost’s could be offset just by diverting subsidies going to dirty energy. Another benefit with de-centralized energy is that people would no longer, or at least not nearly to the degree that they are now, be at the mercy of the power giants that can raise rates whenever they feel like it. Nor would they be nearly as subject to massive blackouts as we are today.

    Don’t know where you were going with your last point. But let me give a personal example. I built our own home solar water heater for a few hundred dollars. I live in a area with distinct seasons so the cold season gets really cold (though that’s seems to be moderating lately – no news to anyone here). Still even with that I am able to turn off the gas since we only use it to heat water, from the beginning of April to the end of November the last couple of years. That’s seven months of savings and adds up to a lot. Some people have built their own solar and space heaters that work the year round. Now if everyone that could did something as simple as that think of the amount of oil and gas that would stay in the ground.

    There actually is a lot of creativity out there. You can see for yourself at this DIY site:

    builditsolar.com

  48. 148
    Ron R. says:

    Sphaerica (Bob) — 6 Apr 2011 @ 5:04 PM

    Nice thought but I guarantee that as soon as anyone trys to arrange a educate the politician seminar the Liars 4 Hire on the other side will do exactly the same thing.

  49. 149
    Radge Havers says:

    jthomas @ 131

    Seems to be a fair description of how the ideology plays out but doesn’t really explain the behavior. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say it’s because we’re born with early neolithic social predispositions which don’t filter out the dysfunctional ideation of others very well, belying the stability of our modern institutions. And if ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny in a behavioral sense, then the antics of certain pontificators suggest stunted growth somewhere at the root of the problem.

    Imagine Oog and Ook huddled together in their cave, feeling threatened, lips curled in a primate display of disgust and working themselves into a frenzy over those uppity Gorks who think they’re so special with their fire pits and their roundy wheel thingys; them and their fancy mouth words… Stupid Gorks. Go bonk stupid Gork heads.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  50. 150
    Ron R. says:

    Hi messed up the captcha again so resubmitting my comments,

    Didactylos — 5 Apr 2011 @ 3:18 PM said, In short, every little adds up…. to…. very little. For small-scale to work, it has to be ubiquitous. And then it’s not small-scale any more, it’s massive – just spread out a lot.

    I think you need to listen to your own words. Of course, compared to giant power plants someone’s home solar system may be very small scale – but it’s enough for them. Get it? Yes, for small scale to work to fix our current energy problems it has to be ubiquitous, every home, office building etc. So yes if everyone did it, if clean alternatives were maximized as much as possible it would be big, but that’s not a problem, that’s the solution. Every kilowatt generated with clean energy is one less generated with dirty. Let everyone that can generate their own energy. Cost’s could be offset just by diverting subsidies going to dirty energy. Another benefit with de-centralized energy is that people would no longer, or at least not nearly to the degree that they are now, be at the mercy of the power giants that can raise rates whenever they feel like it. Nor would they be nearly as subject to massive blackouts as we are today.

    Don’t know where you were going with your last point. But let me give a personal example. I built our own home solar water heater for a few hundred dollars. I live in a area with distinct seasons so the cold season gets really cold (though that’s seems to be moderating lately – no news to anyone here). Still even with that I am able to turn off the gas since we only use it to heat water, from the beginning of April to the end of November the last couple of years. That’s seven months of savings and adds up to a lot. Some people have built their own solar and space heaters that work the year round. Now if everyone that could did something as simple as that think of the amount of oil and gas that would stay in the ground.

    There actually is a lot of creativity out there. You can see for yourself at this DIY site:

    builditsolar.com


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