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Unforced Variations: Feb 2013

Filed under: — group @ 4 February 2013

This month’s open thread on climate science…


421 Responses to “Unforced Variations: Feb 2013”

  1. 251

    Thanks, Malcolm. That’s helpful.

  2. 252
    Susan Anderson says:

    It might be time to let Killian have the last word, since he seems to wish to dominate the conversation. It looks like an argumentative soliloquy with various punters who have gone from answering to encouraging him. IMHO this is feeding the troll.

  3. 253
    Vendicar Decaruan says:

    Secret funding helped build vast network of climate denial thinktanks

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/feb/14/funding-climate-change-denial-thinktanks-network

  4. 254
    Chris Korda says:

    Killian @244: “Sustainability is the only way you mitigate climate effectively” is not a scientific statement. Neither evidence nor references are provided. It’s simply an opinion, and it looks like a weak attempt to justify continuing to post unsupported off-topic rants after you’ve been politely asked to desist. Every forum has limits, and RC is no exception. Please read the quotes @240 again.

    Steve @221: Agreed that this is more “Superman1 trolling” but unfortunately there isn’t much to be done except refrain from feeding. “When an individual consistently disrupts a group and refuses to moderate their behavior, the best/only option may be to ignore that individual, in the hopes that they will eventually tire of soliloquizing and seek a more receptive audience elsewhere.” (“quench” Dec @286)

  5. 255
    Dave Peters says:

    Lawrence (# 211 & 212)

    Food for your trolling, perhaps, can be found in the Dec. 31, 2012 entry of theidiottracker.blogspot.com which identifies a positive feedback in the differential opacity of first year arctic ice, compared with shrinking more permanent cover. A claim of measured 3X increase in transmission and 50% absorption, for new vs. older ice is referenced to a 12/31/12 GRL article, which I have not seen mentioned at RC.

    You mentioning “never having seen” Queensland heat spells of such length, calls to mind my experience last summer in Colorado Springs, when a quarter billion dollars worth of (350) mountainside homes burned. The temperature that afternoon peaked at the all time record of 101 F., but I remember the noon weather report stressing the aridity at 6,000 feet, thusly: “the relative humidity is in the low single digits–you might as well say there is no humidity!” In my entire life, I have never heard that comment.

    A week or so later, when that super-heavy air finally migrated to the East Coast, its collision with normal moisture resulted in a “derecho”, a powerful storm front ranging hundreds of miles. Also something virtually none of us had ever heard of in all our lives.

  6. 256
    Killian says:

    248 Jim Larsen “Prove ____ is currently sustainable.” I think pretty much everything we as a species enjoy doing is potentially sustainable.

    Agreed, from a certain perspective. We have football, the Romans had their amphitheaters. Same role, really. For me the shift to sustainability and localization equals a shift to local activation. Localization being a necessary way of life (not to imply there will be no travel, but that it will be far more limited than today unless or until long-distance travel is made sustainable), hopefully there will be a shift back to people playing football instead of watching it on TV, e.g. I see no reason for music to go away, though electronic music might be quite limited. We always had town commons, but likely the modern town common, the mall, will go the way of the Dodo.

    Americans, generally, have little real feel for how much more simply many other cultures/nations live than we do. Unsurprisingly, those nations also tend to report a greater level of happiness/contentedness than typical OECD nations/cultures. Far from Dudley’s “sty”, imo. Even within the OECD, Europeans generally report greater satisfaction than Americans, yet live on about half the fossil fuels.

    But, those in thrall of the tech-oriented world we have today find the idea of simplicity truly uncomfortable even as study after study confirms simpler, more connected communities are more content.

    Our current techniques for pretty much everything aren’t sustainable.

    Obviously agreed.

    That’s a problem, but your logic is backwards and rushed. Sustainability is ONLY required when excess resources are exhausted. Until then, it’s just planning for the future.

    This is obviously incorrect; we are already in overshoot and some exhausted resources will not be replenished. Far wiser to keep them available for unknown future needs and opportunities. If you have watched Albert Bartlett’s presentation, you will understand what I mean when I say we are less than a minute to 12:00, by definition. One minute to 12:00 is the point where you have half your resources left. We have less than half our resources left on a number of fronts. Large fish, non-polluted water, non-declining aquifers, healthy soils (most Big Ag farmland is productive only because of chemical inputs, the soil itself is largely dead), etc. When we combine this with Liebig’s Minimum we realize we need not be at the halfway point with all resources, merely critical resources.

    The time to move to sustainability is not when you have run out of resources, as you posit, but well before then. It takes a long time to shift societies peacefully and with relatively little disruption. For example, it generally takes 17 years for the auto fleet in the US to completely turnover. (This does not include people who choose to drive older vehicles or cannot afford something newer.) The Hirsch Report from 2005 found the following:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirsch_report

    “Mitigation efforts will require substantial time.
    * Waiting until production peaks would leave the world with a liquid fuel deficit for 20 years.
    * Initiating a crash program 10 years before peaking leaves a liquid fuels shortfall of a decade.
    * Initiating a crash program 20 years before peaking could avoid a world liquid fuels shortfall.

    This report is about resources only, but the same applies to climate and economics. Transitions take time if you want them to be orderly. The longer you wait, with resources growing ever more scarce, the more difficult the transition will be.

    Climate is already well past the inflection point we are discussing. Two measures suffice, as canaries in the coal mine, to make this clear: phytoplankton down at least 40% and Arctic Sea Ice volume down more than 80%. (Both are counted from non-preindustrial points; counting from pre-industrial times, the losses would be greater than the reported 40% and 80%, respectively.)

    Like the trillion ton(?) carbon limit. Assuming (pretending) it’s 100% accurate and tipping-point-like, we get to unsustainably spew a trillion tons of carbon without harm. IOW, we get to use resources unsustainably to build a sustainable world system. (oh, the odds of our blowing that one..)

    I think we are in agreement here…? I disagree with any conception that there is any room to spare. Up thread I posted agreement with Gavin that the new paper on UV light effects on permafrost just filled in a bit that helped make the speed of change make more sense. That response was incomplete. What I should have made more clear: My repeated statements over the years to the effect that observed changes were far faster than expected changes, and that this would continue to be true, and that permafrost and clathrates were a short-term consideration, not just a long-term consideration, were validated by this new info. That is what I meant by saying the new paper wasn’t “new” risk from my perspective, but confirmation of risk.

    Gavin remains rather sanguine. It will be interesting to see if Archer does, also. This new info brings the science closer to my perspective. Hopefully it will help others do the same.

    So, no, we cannot burn all this additional carbon and expect a liveable outcome. Sustainability (regenerative design) is necessary now, and, from the perspective of the Hirsch Report-type thinking (though it was only about resources), we are at least two decades late in taking substantive action. Discussion of how the various responses will affect climate are vital.

    We get guidance from principles of sustainable design, and note that making natural choices before technical allow far more control in the sense that the speed of change is one which can be easily monitored and allows for corrections to errors; that natural solutions are far less likely to have unintended consequences because of the first point and because they can be undone far more easily, and because we understand the natural systems better in terms of their potential effects. Reforestation will change global patterns, but in relatively predictable ways, e.g. We have as pretty good understanding of the water cycle and forests, as well as wind patterns. And, we can cut them down pretty quickly.

    Just one example.

  7. 257
    SecularAnimist says:

    Of course solar energy isn’t “sustainable”. The Sun will burn out in a few billion years.

    Meanwhile, we have an URGENT need to stop the increase in GHG emissions and begin steep reductions within FIVE YEARS, leading to near-zero global GHG emissions within TWENTY YEARS (again, with most of the reduction occurring in the first decade), if we are to have any hope of avoiding the most catastrophic outcomes of anthropogenic global warming.

    Arguing about whether the technologies that we have in hand NOW, which are clearly capable of helping us achieve that result in the urgently short time-frame required, are “sustainable” over periods of centuries or millennia, is simply irrelevant.

  8. 258
    SecularAnimist says:

    Questions for Killian:

    Is there ANY technology for generating electricity that is “sustainable”?

    Are there ANY technologies that use electricity that are “sustainable”?

    If not, would electricity be prohibited in the “sustainable” world you envision?

  9. 259
    sidd says:

    1)dont feed the “troll.” (“troll” is a term of art from Usenet.) If you think someone is trolling, shut up. Responses usually outnumber trollposts by factor of 2 or more.

    2)40% phytoplankton decline debunked at
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v472/n7342/full/nature09952.html

    sidd

  10. 260
    Chris Dudley says:

    SA (#258),

    The other SA (#252) is right. Don’t feed the anonymous troll who insinuates special knowledge while never explaining his credentials. It is typical of those who parrot propaganda from the OT nuclear industry.

  11. 261
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Chris Korda — 16 Feb 2013 @ 12:14 PM

    I agree.

    Steve

  12. 262
    Hank Roberts says:

    Killian O’Brien, I presume?

  13. 263
    Phil L says:

    Re the statement “The only sustainable systems on the planet are aboriginal” … The aboriginal people who lived in my part of the world before European settlement did have a sustainable way of life, but it was based on depleting the local resources and moving on to another area, eventually returning when the ecosystem had recovered. It worked because of their small numbers and the vast areas available for relocation. Those conditions don’t apply anymore.

  14. 264

    The very first things the aborigines did when they reached and Australian mainland was burn the entire thing to the ground.

  15. 265
    john byatt says:

    OT

    Australians

    Complete list of where our politicians stand on climate change

    https://uknowispeaksense.wordpress.com/election-2013/

    please re-comment on blogs that you may visit

  16. 266
    Killian says:

    Thomas Lee Elifritz said, The very first things the aborigines did when they reached and Australian mainland was burn the entire thing to the ground.

    Hyperbole. And that was, what? 40,000 years ago? I don’t suppose they 1. had a reason nor 2. learned anything along the way? And, has anyone claimed they lived sustainably in Australia? I really don’t know, but I suppose surviving for 40k years or more in a largely inhospitable place is a fair indicator they did.

    Phil L said, it was based on depleting the local resources and moving on to another area, eventually returning when the ecosystem had recovered. It worked because of their small numbers and the vast areas available for relocation. Those conditions don’t apply anymore.

    Yes, and farmers still rotate crops to maintain production. Some people burn. Some ecosystems need periodic burning, so the closer you get to designing an ecosystem like that, the more likely it is to be not only beneficial, but necessary. And, yes, population is important. I believe I have made that point myself.

    While there is only one useful definition of sustainable, there are many ways to do it. This is why I say sustainablity is ultimately local.

    What is sustainable in one location will not be in others, and vice-versa. We also know far more about our world due to science, sharing methods and techniques from around the world and trial and error. With international communication, there is the opportunity for anyone almost anywhere to gain access to the information they need to achieve sustainability. If we make this a global goal, all the more so.

    Remember, part of the science, the most important part at this point, is solutions:

    Permaculture at U Mass

    Taking permaculture into formal education, Australia

    Thirty year comparative study of regenerative design Regenerative farming uses 45% less energy (Note: this is for large farms. Switching to small holdings will improve this by eliminating the need for most tractors, combines, etc.) and conventional produces 40% more GHGs. (Note: More than this if small holdings w/o major FF investment in machines.)

    Reforestation and biochar can reduce atmospheric CO2 by 50 ppm – Hansen

    How to Solve the Climate Problem : James Hansen, “The plan for getting back to 350 ppm assumes major reforestation, but that is in addition to the fossil fuel limit, not instead of. Forest preservation and reforestation should be handled separately from fossil fuels in a sound approach to solve the climate problem… The public must be firm and unwavering in demanding “no offsets,”… ”

    So much for the theory that if it isn’t in a science paper, it’s pull pucky. Here’s an example of permaculture being four decades ahead of the science. Soil scientists catch up with permaculture, 40 years later.

    However a small but growing group of scientists are beginning to think smaller when it comes to conservation—much smaller. They have begun to study the microbes living in the soil, and their results are showing just how important microscopic life is in the macrobiotic world. A healthy, diverse population of soil microbes results in a healthy, diverse ecosystem. Changing an ecosystem also changes its microbes, scientists have found, and this may permanently scar the environment.

    “Soil is not sterile,” said Noah Fierer, a microbiologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder. “These microbes are crucial to maintaining soil fertility.

    And here I thought this was a given, having studied permaculture. We are not beginning to figure this out. We have known this for a very long time.
    I urge those of you who like to dismiss anything not studied with 14k papers, as climate change once was not, to not dismiss knowledge because it does not fit your definition of knowledge, evidence, fact or information – particularly if it is outside your experience.

    Do the math, folks: eliminating the need for energy is wiser, simpler and more achievable than trying to meet current energy wants with currently non-renewable resources and systems.

  17. 267
    Jim Larsen says:

    256 Killian said, ” I see no reason for music to go away, though electronic music might be quite limited.”

    That hurt your cred. Typical speakers produce 85-90dB from one watt of power. Either you spout willy-nilly -OR- you’d begrudge us 5-10 watts to entertain an entire room. Given your aboriginal desires, I have no clue which…

    “The time to move to sustainability is not when you have run out of resources, as you posit, but well before then.”

    No I didn’t and I agree with you. I gave an edge example, and even labelled it “pretend”. Aiming to deplete the excess right at the moment you no longer need it is the best possible result in a game, but missing the cutoff in real life can mean misery, and it is bleeding expensive (or profitable) to cut things too close.

    257 SecularA said, “we have an URGENT need to stop the increase in GHG emissions and begin steep reductions within FIVE YEARS, leading to near-zero global GHG emissions within TWENTY YEARS (again, with most of the reduction occurring in the first decade), if we are to have any hope of avoiding the most catastrophic outcomes of anthropogenic global warming”

    I’m glad you’ve changed your mind and now come close to agreeing with me.

    And yes, it’s just a hope. I think we’re already committed to brimstoning our atmosphere to save the Arctic sea ice, and we surely won’t stop before we’re fully committed to massive geoengineering.

  18. 268
    Chris Dudley says:

    There has been some criticism of solar power not having legs to stumble into the future. Typical propaganda put out on bravenewblogs and other OT sites. But, the economic inevitability of solar seems to indicate that it will gallop into the future, not just stumble.

    Estimates for the cost of silicon modules fabricated in China in 2015 come in at $0.42 per watt. http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/02/17/1604661/chinese-companies-projected-to-make-solar-panels-for-42-cents-per-watt-in-2015/

    Used for twenty five years at a typical (non-desert) US site in a farm with balance of system (BOS) costs of $2 per watt, that gives a electricity cost of about $0.05/kwh. So, conversion to solar substantially lowers electricity costs at that point. But, much of the silicon module cost is energy cost. So, if energy costs go down, so do module costs, and (when we rely on aluminum) BOS costs as well. So, in addition to further improvements in fabrication methods, economies of scale and vertical integration, use of solar makes further use of solar cheaper.

    So, ill-conceived sustainability questions are not to the point. It looks much more as if Prometheus is setting himself up for another round with the vultures. Our question: Will Pandora use the key solar power gives us to open up the box of the Green River Shale? Will we have the style, maturity and grace to temper our use of Prometheus’ first gift when give the second. Have we grown or can we?

  19. 269
    jgnfld says:

    @241, 243, etc. on “proof”…

    I know of zero scientific proofs (math is not a science) that can be proven deductively. None. Nada. Zero.

    ALL science involves at important parts of the the chain _inductive_ logic which by definition cannot be proven true. Rather it can only be shown to be ever more likely true.

    Of course denier types use this all the time to show that scientists cannot _prove_ global warming. Wrongly in a scientific sense. Correctly in an ultimate logical sense.

  20. 270
    Chris Korda says:

    At the anti- Keystone XL rally in DC on Sunday, I had just finished the lap around the White House, and as the river of people dissipated around me on 15th Street, I found myself walking behind James Hansen! He was strolling along incognito with his collar up and hat brim down low. I hailed him a few times but he didn’t turn around, perhaps wary of strangers given his arrest two days previously. In a flash of quick thinking I addressed him as Professor Hansen and that did the trick. We had a nice chat despite the pneumonia-inducing temperatures. I attempted to commend his bravery but he remained staunchly modest. Those of us who yearn for the promised sequel* to “Earth’s Energy Balance and Implications” should take heart: it will be published in four weeks. What astonishing luck to run into him in a crowd of 35,000. It really made my day!

    *applying Climate Response Functions to RCP scenarios rather than historical temperatures, see RC Oct 2012 OT @626

  21. 271
    jgnfld says:

    While I understand the symbol of Keystone (though much California heavy oil might be a far, far better one in truth) I really think that going after any single carbon project is just plain not the way to go. Especially one in another country when there are equivalent-to-worse projects in your own. It reeks of paternalism. And worse, certain US national oil interests are perfectly happy to get their bitumen at a huge discount as is happening right now.

    Get carbon priced right through various market measures–for example Hansen’s revenue neutral carbon tax–and the market will take care of things much better than rallies about singular projects.

    “compassion ntryess” seems entirely appropriate, somehow.

  22. 272
    Hank Roberts says:

    > going after any single carbon project

    Oh, I don’t think there’s any risk of that.
    The point is to stop building the fossil fuel infrastructure.
    We need to replace it.
    Making more of it makes fossil fuels cheaper in the short term.

    The real cost of fossil fuel includes replacing the whole system.
    The sooner we start replacing the system, the less doing that will cost.

    You can’t stop just one.

    Nobody has suggested a plan/workflow in which building that pipeline or getting out all possible methane and burning it is on the right path.

    The point is, as Stoat points out, that leaving the stuff in the ground amounts to walking away from a whole lot of money. I’d add it also amounts to preventing a whole lot of grief.

    Money for us, grief for hypothetical grandchildren of people we don’t know.
    Your money or their life.
    As Jack Benny was wont to say, “I’m thinking ….”

  23. 273
    Killian says:

    “Troll?”

    “Given your aboriginal desires”?

    you’d begrudge us 5-10 watts

    be·grudge
    1. resent something somebody has: to resent the fact that somebody has something
    2. not want to give: to be unwilling to give or pay something

    I resent that Jim will have electricity for music available. And/or, I just don’t want him to have it. Nor anybody else. Yup. That’s exactly what I said.

    Definitely time to stop feeding the trolls.

  24. 274
    Killian says:

    269 jgnfld says: @241, 243, etc. on “proof”…

    I know of zero scientific proofs (math is not a science) that can be proven deductively. None. Nada. Zero.

    Uh… is sustainability a scientific proof?

    logical proof: An argument based on inductive or deductive reasoning. In classical rhetoric, logos.

    The logic is flawless: no claims of sustainable manufacture exist for any part of the chain for renewable energy. Ipso facto…

  25. 275
    Susan Anderson says:

    Chris Korda, congratulations and thanks for the info.

  26. 276
  27. 277
    jgnfld says:

    @274
    Inductive logic and therefore scientific inference is never “flawless”. By definition. That is the whole point of how and why we do science the way we do. You simply do not understand inductive logic or the scientific method if you assert that it is “flawless”.

    For proof (!) see http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/logic-inductive/ starting with the first sentence: An inductive logic is a system of evidential support that extends deductive logic to less-than-certain inferences.”

    As for “logos” Aristotle, among other Greeks, in his presentation of rhetoric and logos quite clearly understands that most important public matters possess a degree of doubt and are not deductive but rather inductive.

  28. 278
    Chris Dudley says:

    For those with their ears to the ground on sustainability issues, William McDonough and Michael Braungart, authors of the landmark book “Cradle to Cradle” which essentially defines sustainable design, have a new book coming out. “The Upcycle: Beyond Sustainability—Designing for Abundance” proposes that “[i]nstead of protecting the planet from human impact, why not redesign our activity to improve the planet? We can have a beneficial footprint. Abundance for all. The goal is within our reach.” http://www.amazon.com/The-Upcycle-Beyond-Sustainability–Designing-Abundance/dp/0865477485/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1358087393&sr=8-1&keywords=the+upcycle

    I think that for those wedded to the idea of growth in a Perti dish, who harp on population all the time, this book may be too much for them. They’ll react like Johna cursing the fig tree, just mad because destruction won’t come. But, for those interested in climate issues, this work may offer some welcome approaches to problem solving.

  29. 279
    Chris Dudley says:

    jgnfld (#277),

    Not sure you have to go that far. You are arguing with a sophist. As Socrates demonstrated, these are insincere ignorant folk trying to use intellectual dishonesty to score points. So, PV panels are durable and the sophist is aware of this. So the sophist asks for proof that they are being recycled. Since they have not lasted past their useful life, of course there is no proof, so the sophist thinks it has scored a clever point. But, it has gotten sloppy as sophists will because they are not interested in knowledge, only argument. The sophist asks for proof that any solar is sustainable. But, the sophist has caught itself in a trap of its own making because it is clear that back when people decided not to live in a sty anymore and started taking baths, the Romans did not use up all the sunlight heating their baths. And, we continue to warm our baths with sunlight today even in wintery places like Japan. And, we’re not going to use up all the sunlight either. And, getting out of the sty improved hygiene and health so solar power turns out to be more than sustainable, it turns out be life enhancing.

    Thus, even though the sophist is largely ignorant of logic, it can still be answered as it asked owing to its sloppiness in laying traps. And, since it is uninterested in knowledge, trying to teach it the finer points of thinking is like offering pearls to swine.

    But, with either approach the troll gets fed so maybe another tack like silence would be better. Oops….

  30. 280
    wili says:

    “we have an URGENT need to stop the increase in GHG emissions and begin steep reductions within FIVE YEARS, leading to near-zero global GHG emissions within TWENTY YEARS (again, with most of the reduction occurring in the first decade), if we are to have any hope of avoiding the most catastrophic outcomes of anthropogenic global warming”

    Unfortunately, we are going the other way. 3.5 ppm increase over last year. At this rate, we will hit 400 ppm this May, 500 within the next 30 years (even without major carbon feedbacks kicking in, which they undoubtedly will).

    CD, it’s Jonah, and it is not clear what plant was intended by the kikayon plant, probably not a fig tree, though.

    In any case, I do agree that our goal should be repaying some of the debt we owe to the earth and to the future.

    But we have to first _stop_ living the wildly unsustainable lives nearly all of us individually and collectively live (and certainly as an industrial society). We are such a very long way from living in a minimally sustainable way, I am concerned that your link work will give some little things to do to feel good about themselves even as they continue to live enormously unsustainable lives.

    But I try to keep an open mind, so thanks for the link – I’ll look into it.

  31. 281
    Killian says:

    Chris Dudley said “[i]nstead of protecting the planet from human impact, why not redesign our activity to improve the planet? We can have a beneficial footprint. Abundance for all. The goal is within our reach.”

    Yet, when I say the same, you’re rude. How does that make sense? Regenerative design is the process of using natural principles – those patterns and processes found in nature – to make nature more abundant than it is on its own while living within the resource constraints of the planet.

    I’ve not read the book, but it if is legit, they are 40 years late to the party. If it is based on the absurdity of endless substitution, it will have little to offer.

    I think that for those wedded to the idea of growth in a Perti dish, who harp on population all the time, this book may be too much for them. They’ll react like Johna cursing the fig tree, just mad because destruction won’t come. But, for those interested in climate issues, this work may offer some welcome approaches to problem solving.

    And I think you should learn to discuss without belittling others.

  32. 282
    Killian says:

    Hank Roberts said http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2F978-1-4614-3348-4_31/lookinside/000.png

    This is not useful without the text. Have it? There is at least one flaw in that it sets up economics, societal and environmental as co-equal. This fundamental flaw pervades discussions of “Smart Growth”-type discussions while everything is a subset of the environment. It will be important moving forward to clarify this in the decision-making process. Bolivia, e.g., has established environmental considerations in business decisions within their legal system.

    Do you happen to know if the writers base their discussions on typical (classical/neoclassical) economics? If so, their economic assumptions are almost certain to be flawed.

  33. 283
  34. 284
    SecularAnimist says:

    jgnfld wrote: “going after any single carbon project is just plain not the way to go”

    It’s a funny thing, but that’s what the fossil fuel corporations say about going after EVERY single carbon project.

  35. 285
    SecularAnimist says:

    Killian wrote: “I think you should learn to discuss without belittling others.”

    With all due respect, you have been “belittling” every other commenter on this thread — and quite rudely so — since you got here.

  36. 286

    “…it is not clear what plant was intended by the kikayon plant…” True…

    OT Sidenote:

    This is a Biblical reference.

    Jonah was a most imperfect prophet (which was what got him allegedly swallowed by a whale)–most importantly in that he did not want the people of Ninevah to repent. When they did, and were duly forgiven, “it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry.”

    (But to pick nits, it was not Jonah who cursed the fig/castor plant/whatever, although Jesus notably did so, much later.)

    Any who care can read the story here:

    http://www.esvbible.org/Jonah+3/
    http://www.esvbible.org/Jonah+4/

    /OT sidenote

  37. 287
    sidd says:

    a useful list of disruptive tactics to derail discussion
    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2012/11/the-15-rules-of-web-disruption-2/

    see for example, #3,#4,#12 and #15

    notwithstanding the suggestions there, best response is always don’t feed the troll

    sidd

  38. 288
    Chris Dudley says:

    wili (#280),

    Knew there was an H in there someplace. Thanks.

  39. 289
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#281),

    If you feel you are a prophet, just come out and say it.

  40. 290
    jgnfld says:

    @284

    Take out “single” would be my suggestion (as well as the editors of Nature, I might add. We need to go after EVERY carbon project, true. The mistake in going after Keystone is that even if successful and everyone is cheering a “success” that LeBrea keep keeps pumping away just fine at almost the exact same dirty level.

    In an odd twist of market fate, approving Keystone would _significantly_ raise the price of that source.

    I think I’ve had too much to drink as I just typed “oursPr another”

  41. 291
    Chris Dudley says:

    Kevin (#286),

    Thanks for the link. Nice presentation. Guess my point is that if we all make it through, even our dyslexics and our cattle, there will be people who will be grumpy for the lack of calamity. Those folks won’t welcome the new book by McDonough and Braungart.

  42. 292
    Killian says:

    @284 jgnfld said, Take out “single” would be my suggestion (as well as the editors of Nature, I might add. We need to go after EVERY carbon project, true. The mistake in going after Keystone is that even if successful and everyone is cheering a “success” that LeBrea keep keeps pumping away just fine at almost the exact same dirty level.

    There’s always opportunity cost. And someone somewhere is going after most carbon emissions, so it’s not like this isn’t happening. The real error is not going after consumption. If global oil consumption dropped even ten percent, it would probably price the tar sands out of profitability.

    it’s hard to make money on new tar-sands projects unless the price of crude is above $60 to $80 per barrel. That explains why the boom in Alberta’s tar sands is a fairly recent phenomenon. Until prices rose, much of the oil wasn’t profitable to harvest.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/19/joe-noceras-wrong-a-carbon-tax-wouldnt-be-good-for-canadas-tar-sands/

    We use about 20% of global oil in the U.S., so could put quite a dent in that on our own.

  43. 293
    flxible says:

    Nothing will stop the tar sands being exploited short of forcing the petrosaurs to abandon the billions already invested there. If the XL pipeline doesn’t happen, other options are already being worked on, the bitumen will be shipped to eastern Canadian refiners and the eastern U.S., or to West Coast [or Alaskan] ports for shipment to Asia. There doesn’t need to be “new” tar sands projects opened in the near future, there’s currently more production happening than the climate can afford. As said, stopping XL will not represent any “success”.

  44. 294
    Hank Roberts says:

    Think of the tar sands as the early stage of a massive carbon sequestration program.

    Just got to corral the crazies who want to burn the stuff rather than see it buried in the ground.

    Make the money pump run the direction it needs to instead of the direction it wants to.

    Simple matter of legislation.

    Were it not for the Fermi Paradox I’d trust we’d be smart enough to do it.

  45. 295
  46. 296
    David B. Benson says:

    Top Predators Have Sway Over Climate
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130219091014.htm
    Well, over CO2 release from freshwater environments anyway.

  47. 297
    Hank Roberts says:

    Hey, there’s a question someone might know the answer to.
    What’s the volume/content of the tar sands compared to the volume/content of CO2 that needs to be sequestered to get temperature under control longterm?

    What fraction of our carbon debt would be added, by burning the tar sands?
    How much more would it add to current debt?

  48. 298
    flxible says:

    “Simple matter of legislation.”

    Hank, that would be a true Black Swan event. Especially in Canada, where ‘hewing wood and drawing water’ [to pump into the ground in order to force out the last drop of oil] is the very raison d’être. In fact the federal and provincial govt’s have been enabling the tar sands with every breath.

  49. 299
  50. 300
    Killian says:

    Hank Roberts said Hey, there’s a question someone might know the answer to.
    What’s the volume/content of the tar sands compared to the volume/content of CO2 that needs to be sequestered to get temperature under control longterm?

    25% of existing CO2 needs to go bye-bye. We’re at 394 or so and need to be at 300 or less. How many billions are there?

    What fraction of our carbon debt would be added, by burning the tar sands?

    Only a fraction of the Tar Sands are economically viable, seems I read just in the last day or so it was about 25% and the total Canadian is something like 1.3 trillion barrels equivalent. We’ve already burned around 1 trillion.

    But this question doesn’t exist in isolation. While the tar sands are exploited, being the among the most expensive to extract, the cheaper forms will be given preference. We are burning tar sands because 1. it brings money to Alberta, but mostly 2. because light sweet crude is well on its way down the slope of extraction. So, it’s all the other oil and gas and coal *and* the tar sands.

    How much more would it add to current debt?

    How much carbon, plus the CO2 involved in extraction, is there in around 300 billion barrels of oil?


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