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Unforced variations: Apr 2014

Filed under: — group @ 6 April 2014

More open thread. Unusually, we are keeping the UV Mar 2014 thread open for more Diogenetic conversation and to keep this thread open for more varied fare.


296 Responses to “Unforced variations: Apr 2014”

  1. 151

    #141, Chris D.

    “So, lets take him at his word and do away with all standards and instead do greenhouse gas emissions trading.”

    Except he doesn’t say that anywhere in the article. He isn’t a fan of regulation and gives several reasons why. But in the real world, we’ve seen both approaches co-exist in the same policy space: for example, the acid-rain cap-and-trade plan which succeeded so well was complementary to the Clean Air Act. Nor did British Columbia take any of anti-pollution laws off the books when they enacted their carbon tax.

    So ‘doing away with’ the Montreal Protocol is clearly what we call a ‘straw man.’

    Speaking for myself, I certainly welcome the new CAFE standards–and by the way, IMO the Administration deserves some kudos for getting them done quickly and without any great fuss; still a bit of a mystery why the usual suspects didn’t try to make the usual sorts to trouble to any great degree–and the EPA actions following the endangerment finding. It’s a useful workaround for the obstructionist Teapublican bloc in Congress, and will probably accelerate the decline of coal-fired thermal capacity in the US.

    But that doesn’t mean that it’s the best of all possible climate policies–or would be, if we lived in the best of all possible worlds. And it doesn’t mean that that regulation would need to somehow ‘go away’ if the political landscape were to shift enough to enable a Federal carbon tax. It would still be there, doing its thing, even as emissions sources outside its ambit came under new financial pressure to mitigate.

    Two words: “Both And.”

  2. 152
    Hank Roberts says:

    Aside — climate scientists are not the only ones who use models of how aerosols behave. It’s worth looking at regulations that use models of aerosol dispersal — and how changes in what’s understood about how aerosols disperse affect projects, particularly financial calculations.
    e.g. https://www.google.com/search?q=aerosol+dispersion+safety+culture (most of those results lead to subjects off-topic here; just noting that scientists need to remember who else uses their numbers, and how).

    Aside, this is an interesting collection of work:
    U.S. Department of Energy’s Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Climate Research Facility
    http://www.arm.gov/about/history

  3. 153
    Chuck Hughes says:

    “Irrelevant, isn’t it? If what is most likely is a non-solution, thus essentially equaling mass extinction of some degree or other, what’s the point?

    The question to be asked is, what are the solutions. Yes, you can talk about die off, but what’s the point?”

    Comment by Killian

    I’m all for solutions Killian. I think that’s what everyone here is hoping for anyway, myself included. I see some very viable solutions but as many here are pointing out, it’s the politics of the situation we’re up against and public opinion/education about science itself. I posted a link to Peter Ward discussing public outreach and science education as A REQUIREMENT for hiring faculty who also engage in scientific research. The scientific community will have to engage the public and educate our young people starting in grade school.

    This IS the problem right here:

    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/04/18/oklahoma-students-know-less-about-evolution-after-biology-i-than-they-did-before-taking-it/#.U1HQPMcuwMU.facebook

    “A study published in the latest edition of Evolution: Education and Outreach demonstrated “the average student…completed the Biology I course with increased confidence in their biological evolution knowledge yet with a greater number of biological evolution misconceptions and, therefore, less competency in the subject.”

    The study, conducted by Tony Yates and Edmund Marek, tested biology teachers and students in 32 Oklahoma public high schools via a survey the pair called “the Biological Evolution Literacy Survey.” The survey was administered to the teachers first, to get a benchmark of their grasp of evolutionary theory. The survey was then administered twice to the students — once before they took the required Biology I course, and once after they had completed it.

    Yates and Marek found that prior to instruction, students possessed 4,812 misconceptions about evolutionary theory; after they completed the Biology I course, they possessed 5,072. Of the 475 students surveyed, only 216 decreased the number of misconceptions they believed, as opposed to 259 who had more of them when they finished the course than before they took it.”

  4. 154
    Icarus62 says:

    I may have asked this on here before – apologies if so:

    According to NASA GISS the net climate forcing has scarcely risen since about 1990, yet the OHC data shows that global warming is accelerating, which suggests that the planetary energy imbalance is growing rather than being reduced. Could this mean that some of the slower climate feedbacks are increasingly contributing to global warming, or is the data not accurate enough for us to be sure that this apparent contradiction really exists?

  5. 155
    sidd says:

    Some comparison to Greenland ice surface contour to bedrock depth at

    http://membrane.com/sidd/greenland-2013/walkback.html

    Csatho saw this is 2006, little kinks in surface contours where they cross bedrock canyons. I have some slides from her presentation there as well.

    For a comparison to the Rignot(2009) ice velocity, and some subsurface hydrology in NE Greenland, please see

    http://membrane.com/sidd/greenland-2013/convel.html

    sidd

  6. 156
    Killian says:

    149 Phil L said Killian at #145: You say, “I repeat, I said not a syllable on not cutting.” Perhaps I misunderstood your earlier statement, “Rather than fitting policy to consumption, we need to fit policy to systemic sustainability, and that means… let’s just stop chopping down trees altogether, except where absolutely unavoidable.” If I misinterpreted you, I apologize.

    The key is where unavoidable, i.e. needed. Forest “management” is driven by market forces, not conservation, and a need-driven decision process, rather than a want-driven market process, will result in a different policy. Left alone, forests don’t need out help. We “manage” forests because we want wood and are concerned about managing their productivity primarily for that reason. They will reach their own apex and have fires when needed, etc., so if we are going to harvest for our use, let’s make sure that is a need-driven process that does not exceed the productive limits of the forest.

    What we are taking now is not need-based, it’s market-based.

    152 Chuck Hughes “Irrelevant, isn’t it? If what is most likely is a non-solution, thus essentially equaling mass extinction of some degree or other, what’s the point?

    The question to be asked is, what are the solutions. Yes, you can talk about die off, but what’s the point?”

    Comment by Killian

    I’m all for solutions Killian. I think that’s what everyone here is hoping for anyway, myself included. I see some very viable solutions but as many here are pointing out, it’s the politics of the situation we’re up against and public opinion/education about science itself.

    I had to ask myself, can an unsustainable system, one the exact opposite of sustainable, completely dependent on growth, bring about a sustainable system? Can a class of governors driven by greed and power create a system devoid of greed- and power-based decision-making? I decided, no, it can’t.

    Luckily, this fit well with principles of sustainable design because it really calls for a massively distributed system in the form of multiple linked systems, each designed for local conditions, to maximize diversity and diminish brittleness. Decision-making has to mimic this because decisions – design – is place-based. Thus, if you could get 535 sustainability-aware people in Congress, it still wouldn’t work. Decisions have to made at the home > neighborhood/town > city/area > bio-region levels. You’d have to rearrange the states, at minimum, into something like four to ten bio-regions. In fact, you’d have to make North America the largest geographical and political unit. That won’t happen politically. It might happen socially, though, where we, the various peoples, tell the various levels of government to kis our grits, we’re busy saving ourselves and the world, thank you very much.

    We need a new system. A few months after I came to this conclusion regarding governance, I came across Buckminster Fuller’s observation that you don’t fight an older, established system head on, you build a better one and let the old one wither away. I’m paraphrasing, but that’s accurate.

    Then you look at what real, global social change regarding governance, societal design, resource use that is comprehensive, effective, life-changing, etc., has ever been spearheaded by governments and the answer is: none.

    Sustainability is ultimately local. You can’t design sustainability from Congress, so why bother asking them to try? Nope, new system coming. From the bottom up. If you’re expecting political solutions, you really are wasting your time. Start a garden, start a community general assembly, start a local currency, localize. Etc. That simply, you’ve just created the new governance. Yay!

  7. 157
  8. 158
    Chris Dudley says:

    Kevin (#151),

    “…still a bit of a mystery why the usual suspects didn’t try to make the usual sorts to trouble…”

    They do. All the new regulations get challenged in court. However, since it was the Supreme Court that ordered the EPA to comply with the law and study the dangers of greenhouse gas emissions, the subsequent regulations face only small modifications.

    Repealing the Clean Air Act and elimination the EPA are brought up in Congress pretty often and are used in fund raising campaigns all the time. But, the courts are pushing the EPA to do more, not less.

  9. 159
    SecularAnimist says:

    Killian wrote: “Nope, new system coming. From the bottom up.”

    Great news. I hope this bottom-up new system can stop the ongoing global increase in CO2 emissions and begin steep reductions in less than 5 years.

  10. 160
    Killian says:

    Other than societal collapse, it’s the only thing that can in a way that gets us to sustainable systems. All the stuff that is just higher efficiency and less-polluting, you now, greenwashing?, that stuff is as likely to get us to collapse and 6C as BAU, just more slowly because it doesn’t solve the underlying issues. It glosses over them. It freaks me out people here argue with me when I say industrial-scale solar is unsustainable; it’s more efficient, but still reliant on materials that are limited on this planet, thus, unsustainable. Worse, it eats up the time we almost certainly need to transition. But folks argue this point! Talk about it as a bridge, or what we might be able to do to make it sustainable, OK. But to argue its sustainability? Prima facie silliness. Anywho…

    As I have said for years, it’s the tipping points, stupid, and that means it’s the risk assessment. And that means act four decades ago. Since we didn’t do that, it means act now, act quickly, act massively, act simply.

  11. 161
    JCH says:

    “Some researchers have in the past attributed a portion of Northern Hemispheric warming to a warm phase of the AMO,” said Michael E. Mann, Distinguished Professor of Meteorology. “The true AMO signal, instead, appears likely to have been in a cooling phase in recent decades, offsetting some of the anthropogenic warming temporarily.”

    Any thoughts on this?

  12. 162
    sidd says:

    “Yates and Marek found that prior to instruction, students possessed 4,812 misconceptions about evolutionary theory; after they completed the Biology I course, they possessed 5,072. Of the 475 students surveyed, only 216 decreased the number of misconceptions they believed, as opposed to 259 who had more of them when they finished the course than before they took it.”

    That is my own experience. When I learn more about something, I have a lot more to be wrong about. Before I learn something, I was in the “not even wrong” area, with no idea of the right questions to ask, so being wrong wasn’t even a possibility. After I learn something, I know some more of the right questions to ask, but each such question is one more opportunity to be wrong.

    But for lil old me that is progress, from “not even wrong” to “wrong”
    and it’s fun to eventually sniff out the right answer

    sidd

  13. 163
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#160),

    Could you please post a link about peak sand. This is a new topic the should interest everyone. Last I heard, if seven maids with seven mops swept for half a year, it was very much in doubt if they could get all the sand clear on just one beach. Bitter tears have been shed over sand found in such large quantities. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/173170

  14. 164
    Phil L says:

    Killian #156 said “… so if we are going to harvest for our use, let’s make sure that is a need-driven process that does not exceed the productive limits of the forest.”
    The challenge is in defining “need”. I concur with IPCC Working Group III and the journal article I referred to above, i.e. forest management can mitigate the effects of climate change. That includes building with more wood and less concrete and steel, heating with forest biomass instead of fossil fuels, etc. Are those mitigation efforts needed? I think they are a good thing, others might disagree. What we can agree on is to “not exceed the productive limits of the forest.”

  15. 165
    GlenFergus says:

    Sidd’s Greenland:

    That sub-ice plumbing is extraordinary. Is the 1000 km long “Petermann Canyon” a flowing water course? For its whole length? That would be the longest subsurface river on earth.

    And what does it mean … how does this thing behave as it melts and melts? I still wonder if it goes something like the San Quintín piedmont lobe in Patagonia — which is gone now, having melted away in situ, soaked in its own juices … in my lifetime. No ice discharged to anywhere.

    Please can we have a kmz version.

  16. 166
    DIOGENES says:

    Killian #160 – Unforced variations: Apr 2014,

    “It freaks me out people here argue with me when I say industrial-scale solar is unsustainable; it’s more efficient, but still reliant on materials that are limited on this planet, thus, unsustainable. Worse, it eats up the time we almost certainly need to transition. But folks argue this point! Talk about it as a bridge, or what we might be able to do to make it sustainable, OK. But to argue its sustainability? Prima facie silliness”

    Not silliness! If their prime objective is to ‘sell’ renewables, it makes perfect sense. Your primary objective is survival of the biosphere; don’t assume that’s everyone else’s prime objective.

  17. 167
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    JCH @ 161 says “Any thoughts on this?”

    Yes.
    0. Where is your link?
    1. I think Mike keeps up with this see for instance
    Delworth_and_Mann_2000 cited by hundreds of later papers
    “Observed and simulated multidecadal variability in the Northern Hemisphere”
    2. The AMO does not change the global average temperature afaik. Your unlinked partial quote may have mislead you.

  18. 168
  19. 169
    DIOGENES says:

    For all those who continue to promote the fiction of fossil fuel’s decline and rapid replacement by renewables, think again. The following article should bring you a tad closer to reality (note that I did not say BACK to reality; that was never a starting point).

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/21/3429130/russia-arctic-offshore-oil-platform/

    “With Russian President Vladimir Putin on hand, the Russian Arctic offshore oil platform Prirazlomnaya, the first offshore oil rig to begin commercial drilling operations above the Arctic circle, sent off its first shipment of oil on April 18.

    “The start of loading the oil produced at Prirazlomnaya means that the entire project will exert a most encouraging influence on Russia’s presence on the energy markets and will stimulate the Russian economy in general and its energy sector in particular,” Putin said. “this is, in fact, the beginning of our country’s enormous work on oil production in the Arctic.””

  20. 170
  21. 171
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by DIOGENES — 22 Apr 2014 @ 9:27 AM

    I await with abated breath your version of “the only self-consistent plan on the climate blogs that will” stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from developing Russian offshore oil. Oh, you can’t do that? Perhaps you shouldn’t be so critical of others.

    Steve

  22. 172

    #160–

    Thing is, we aren’t going to get to ‘sustainable’ in one generation. Hopefully, we *can* get to ‘survivable’ in that timespan, and work toward true long-term sustainability from there.

  23. 173
    sidd says:

    Re:Greenland subglacial hydrology

    (Please note, the images I have posted are derived from the Bamber(2013) dataset, and all credit should go to that team.)

    I have updated

    http://membrane.com/sidd/greenland-2013/convel.html

    with the full image from Livingtone(2013) doi:10.5194/tc-7-1721-2013

    on subglacial hydrology. It is probably time to remind that the hydraulic potential beneath the ice depends ten times more strongly on the surface slope than the bedrock slope, so water can flow “uphill” on bedrock if the surface downslope is large enough in the uphill (relative to bed) direction.

    The paper is open access, and has a depiction of putative drainage changes as the ice sheet changes. Especially interesting to me are switches between Peterman and Humboldt, and between Nioghalvfjerdsfjorden/Zachariae and Storstrommen.

    As for providing kmz files, I have stayed away from them since they are so closely tied to Google. I have no translator easily available, and little time to investigate the possibilities. I personally use GRASS and some other open source tools, and while GRASS has a formidable array of formats it understands, kmz dos not seem to be one of them. I recommend GRASS in spite of its quirks. If you do use it, a warning is that it has an annoying habit of flipping Greenland upside down, watch out.

    I tend toward Mr Fergus’s suspicion, that Greenland will mostly melt in place. As Enderlin(2014) doi:10.1002/2013GL059010 points out, surface ablation now exceeds ice discharge. Fig 3 from that paper is linked from

    http://membrane.com/sidd/fireice/

    sidd

  24. 174
    Killian says:

    Phil L said Killian #156 said “… so if we are going to harvest for our use, let’s make sure that is a need-driven process that does not exceed the productive limits of the forest.”

    The challenge is in defining “need”. I concur with IPCC Working Group III and the journal article I referred to above, i.e. forest management can mitigate the effects of climate change. That includes building with more wood and less concrete and steel, heating with forest biomass instead of fossil fuels, etc. Are those mitigation efforts needed? I think they are a good thing, others might disagree. What we can agree on is to “not exceed the productive limits of the forest.”

    Actually, we have yet to disagree. Need is not a mystery. It is literal. Use what you need, no more than that. The real question is about the organization and structure of society and what it uses. Eventually, we will use much more wood because we cannot keep using concrete. But, there are many other natural materials, so even that statement is overstatement. Also, we will be using far less energy generally and building structures that need no external energy, or very little, so where we end up…?

    My point is not that I know what the amounts are, only that the decisions must be need-based, not want-based, that is, these decisions cannot be economic or political decisions and management needs to be local, not institutional at the end of the day. (See passage below reflecting local management.)

    That’s a can of worms we won’t get into now. Here’s a sense of what I mean:

    The notion of a virgin Amazon is largely the result of the population crash following the arrival of the Europeans in the sixteenth century. Studies suggest that at least 10-12% of the Amazon’s terra firme forests are “anthropogenic in nature” resulting from the careful management of biodiversity by indigenous people. However, unlike most current cultivation techniques, these Amazonians were attuned to the ecological realities of their environment from five millennia of experimentation and accumulation of knowledge, with a strong understanding of how to manage the rainforest to meet their requirements within a sustainable capacity. They saw the importance of maintaining biodiversity through a careful balance of natural forest, open fields and sections of forest managed so as to be dominated by species of special interest and greatest use to humans.

    http://news.mongabay.com/2005/1017-amazon.html

  25. 175
    Killian says:

    I repeat, why are Dudley’s immature remarks not in the Bore Hole?

    (!) said
    Killian (#160), Could you please post a link about peak sand.

  26. 176
    DIOGENES says:

    Steve Fish #171,

    There are three general types of posters on this blog. At one vertex of the triangle are the posters like Walter. He publishes solid factual information of where we are, and where we are very likely headed. Putin’s actions fit right into Walter’s projections of fossil fuel use three decades out, confirming the EIA projections of 50% HIGHER use of fossil fuels annually, and even making them look somewhat conservative.

    At a second vertex are posters like myself and Killian, who show what is required to avoid the impending catastrophe. While Killian might disagree, there is no way either of these plans, or even the plans of Hansen and Anderson, will ever get implemented. They are not what the public wants to hear.

    At the third vertex are posters like the ‘tag team’ and their vanishing followers. They post moderately ambitious plans for implementing low carbon technologies and higher energy efficiency technologies. These plans have little chance of getting implemented, since even they, as modest as they are, are well beyond where the public wants to go. But, even if they did get implemented, by some miracle, they would do almost nothing to avoid the impending catastrophe.

    And, what is the fate of these three groups. Walter, often as not, gets Boreholed. I get relegated to the RC-equivalent of the Ecuadorean Embassy – p.3. And, the ‘tag team’ with their non-viable non-impactful message; why, they get front and center treatment. And, we wonder why the recent Gallup Poll shows support for climate change amelioration disappearing? With the promulgation of the message I have shown above by the climate advocates, who can blame them? That’s the best we can do?

  27. 177
    Killian says:

    Re 172 Kevin McKinney said #160– Thing is, we aren’t going to get to ‘sustainable’ in one generation.

    Why not?

    Hopefully, we *can* get to ‘survivable’ in that timespan, and work toward true long-term sustainability from there.

    If it’s not sustainable, it’s not survivable. You are making a distinction without a difference. If we canto the latter, we have done the former. The key is simplification rather than trying to power and maintain what is. When people realize what simplicity means, they will better understand how and why it can be done rapidly. Besides, I don’t think the planet is going to give us that much time.

    If we haven’t reduced atmospheric GHG ppm/ppb significantly by one generation, I don’t see how the planet doesn’t flip totally past all important tipping points; the degradation of systems is just so massive already.

  28. 178
    DIOGENES says:

    Steve Fish #171 – Unforced Variations Apr 2014,

    “I await with abated breath your version of “the only self-consistent plan on the climate blogs that will” stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from developing Russian offshore oil.”

    As I have stated many times, my plan represents what is required to avoid the ultimate disaster, but is not salable. One of the reasons it is not salable is represented by what Putin is doing, and the rest of the countries anywhere near the Arctic will be doing in the near future. Putin realizes that his product is what the global masses want, and he will do whatever it takes to provide it. As the Arctic ice disappears and becomes more navigable in the process, the extraction of oil and other fossil resources will increase. Truly, a positive feedback mechanism!

    The fiction that you and the rest of the tag team constantly regurgitate is that low carbon technologies will expand rapidly AND replace the fossil fuel use. Putin’s actions, and the continually increasing global emissions, show the fallacy of your unfounded assertions. The EIA projections of ~50% INCREASED fossil fuel use annually in three decades reflect reality; in fact, they may even be conservative. You and the tag team offer nothing that will avoid the climate Apocalypse, even if it were implemented. My plan would provide a reasonable chance of avoidance, if implemented.

  29. 179
    Tony Weddle says:

    Icarus62,

    Do you have a link? According to James Hansen’s update (PDF), earlier this year, climate forcing has been increasing since 1990.

  30. 180
    Sean says:

    On some of the affects of capitalism – Bruno Latour – Lecture given at the Royal Academy, Copenhagen, 26th of February, 2014
    http://www.royalacademy.dk/Files/Billeder/Royal%20Danish%20Academy%20Lectures/Bruno%20Latour/136-AFFECTS-OF-K-COPENHAGUEcc.pdf or https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=8i-ZKfShovs

    Complex, deep, intense, confronting, light hearted and witty. Some short quoted snippets – “If the world were a bank, they would have already bailed it out”. Such is the slogan painted by Greenpeace militants in one of their recent campaigns. It says a lot about our level of intellectual corruption that we don’t find such a line simply funny but tragically realistic. It has the same bleak degree of realism as Frederick Jameson’s famous quip that: “Nowadays it seems easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of capitalism!”.

    This inversion of what is transitory and what is eternal is no longer a joke, especially since what should be called the “Australian strategy of voluntary sleepwalking toward catastrophe” is being implemented to the full after the last election: not content to dismantle the institutions, scientific establishments and instruments that could prepare his constituency to meet the new global threat of climate mutations,1 the prime minister, Tony Abbott, is also dismantling, one after the other, most departments of social science and humanities.2 Such a strategy makes a lot of sense: not thinking ahead is probably, when you are an Australian and given what is coming, the most rational thing to do. “Not thinking” seems to be the slogan of the day when you consider that in the United States alone something like a billion dollars,3 yes, one billion, is being spent to generate ignorance about the anthropic origin of climate mutations.

    “Agnotology”, Robert Proctor’s science of generating ignorance, has become the most important discipline of the day.4 It is thanks to this great new science that so many people are able to say in their heart “Perish the world, provided my bank survives!”. It is a desperate task to continue thinking when the powers of intelligence are dedicated to shutting down thought and to marching ahead with eyes wide closed. What is there, in this second nature, that generates such a lack of sensitivity to the worldly conditions of our existence? This is the problem we have to tackle.

  31. 181
    Chris Dudley says:

    For those concerned about source material availability for photovoltaics, here is an interesting article about a high efficiency cell made of silicon with copper contacts and n-type doping. Source materials are silica (sand), copper in minute quantities and dopant phosphorus. These are all quite abundant and will not run out. http://www.nrel.gov/news/features/feature_detail.cfm/feature_id=4309

  32. 182
    wili says:

    Joe Romm at Climate Progress just wrote: “Since this El Niño could be the defining climate event for the next few years, Climate Progress will be reporting on it regularly.”

    How about RC??

    http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/04/22/3429380/el-nino-global-warming-temperature-record/

  33. 183
    wili says:

    SkS now has a main post on the likelihood of an El Nino, too. https://www.skepticalscience.com/Is-a-Powerful-El-Nino-Brewing-in-the-Pacific-Ocean.html

    Any plans for anything from RC on this?

    [Response: Seems like a good opportunity for a guest post from a true expert on that topic. Will look into this… – mike]

  34. 184
    Killian says:

    181 Dudley said (why, we don’t know) For those concerned about source material availability for photovoltaics, here is an interesting article about a high efficiency cell made of silicon with copper contacts and n-type doping. Source materials are silica (sand), copper in minute quantities and dopant phosphorus. These are all quite abundant and will not run out. http://www.nrel.gov/news/features/feature_detail.cfm/feature_id=4309

    Shh, everybody! Dudley is pretending solar electricity generation systems only use solar cells and absolutely nothing else! Also that there is no manufacturing process for them! And that if there were, the manufacturing plants are sustainably built and maintained! And that they are never transported! Nor installed! Nor repaired!

    Quiet! Let’s listen to the gears spin! He’s obviously putting a huge amount of thought into this! Given he is such a student of Lovins, he must be correct!

    /sarc

  35. 185
    wili says:

    “Seems like a good opportunity for a guest post from a true expert on that topic. Will look into this… – mike”

    Awesome!

    (mysteriously relevant reCaptcha: “Keeling childke” –kinetic energy??)

  36. 186
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#175),

    The immaturity is in your understanding of renewable energy technology.

    You said “It freaks me out people here argue with me when I say industrial-scale solar is unsustainable; it’s more efficient, but still reliant on materials that are limited on this planet, thus, unsustainable.”

    And you are completely wrong, laughably so. Silicon solar panels are made from sand. There is absolutely no shortage of that. Sorry you did not enjoy the humorous nudge towards a more mature view. You are freaking out for no reason, twice.

  37. 187
    David B. Benson says:

    The RealClimate front page claims there are but 159 comments on this thread. Currently the popup is showing 183 comments. Similarly for Brigitte Knopf’s guest post.

    Even worse, the sidebar comes up, for more than one day now, with comment #88 of Brigitte Knopf’s thread as the most recent.

    [Response: To deal with some performance issues, we had to change the caching of the pages. We are still tweaking the settings. – gavin]

  38. 188
    Chris Dudley says:

    Killian (#184),

    You are really flaunting you ignorance. LEED certification is happening quite a lot in RE manufacture. http://www2.dupont.com/Apollo/en_HK/news_events/article20110616.html http://amonix.com/pressreleases/amonix-earns-leed-gold-certification-two-facilities-powers-solar-manufacturing-facilit http://www.gray.com/news/2011/09/15/leed-gold-certification-awarded-siemens-wind-turbine-nacelle-assembly-facility

    Interestingly, it takes much less energy to recycle a solar panel than to make it the first time, so the longer they are recycled, the better their performance becomes as the initial energy cost is more and more diluted.

    At this point you are just trolling which is where you unusually end up. You don’t actually have much grasp of what sustainability is, or why ii only deserves two cheers, or how much more enriching human interaction with the environment can be than just ticking over. You should really read a few books.

  39. 189
    Fred Magyar says:

    Steve @ 171,

    “I await with abated breath your version of “the only self-consistent plan on the climate blogs that will” stop Russian President Vladimir Putin from developing Russian offshore oil. Oh, you can’t do that? Perhaps you shouldn’t be so critical of others.”

    There is one thing that will stop Vladimir Putin from developing Russian offshore oil. CAPEX!

    It will happen probably sooner than later:

    http://peakoilbarrel.com/eias-international-energy-statistics-updated/#more-2654

    “There are plenty of projects in Russia, both, new projects and existing brownfield projects. Russia is a very mature producer. If you exclude all the drilling activity taking place every year, then Russian organic decline in production is close to 19%. To compensate for that organic decline, Russia drills somewhere between 5,000 and 6,000 wells every year.

    This year, as I said before, some people expected production to collapse. We certainly never thought it would collapse, but we did think it would decline. Instead it’s actually growing as a result of benefits from past investments in the new fields coming on stream this year. But we’re simply running out of the pipeline of these new fields. Therefore, next year there will be a lot fewer fields coming on stream; in the absence of new incentives to put more money to work to grow Russian oil production, it will naturally start declining, with organic decline rates of around 19% and growing.”

    “Sometimes, falling free cash flow is a short-term issue. Such was the case after the 2008 oil crash. Oil prices fell, and as a result free cash flow fell as well.

    The current downturn is different. Oil prices have remained relatively stable and yet free cash flow is falling. The reason for this change is simple. Capital expenditures (capex) are rising at a rate far above revenue, thus cutting free cash flow.”

    See also: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLCsMRr7hAg

    For extra credit you can have a bit of fun at http://mazamascience.com/OilExport/

    The reality is that fossil fuel consumption can not continue to increase for a number of reasons.
    This doesn’t mean that our problems are solved from a climate mitigation perspective. Unfortunately it just means BAU can’t continue and that we are squandering our resources trying to keep it going instead of using them to transition to a simpler way of life.

    As for Vladimir Putin, he is just another power hungry thug looking out for his own interests at the expense of anyone who gets in his way. He doesn’t care about his own people and certainly doesn’t care about the planet. He is a lot like many of our own politicians and corporate leaders.

    Cheers!
    Fred

  40. 190
    Wally says:

    CD 186 … “And you are completely wrong, laughably so. Silicon solar panels are made from sand.”
    See, it’s natural and safe, it’s only sand! If someone is a self-appointed expert in pv solar and renewables, wouldn’t you expect they could at least tell the truth, now and then?
    http://www.solarindustrymag.com/issues/SI1309/FEAT_05_Hazardous_Materials_Used_In_Silicon_PV_Cell_Production_A_Primer.html

    I could posted any number of links, I haven’t learnt anything new by doing this, with the link above simply convenient. Shall we talk about rare earth metals and batteries, and …. too? Oh, why bother. ( smile )
    Let’s just stick with a quote … “The immaturity is in your understanding of renewable energy technology.” … and ponder that thought for a moment.

    OK, the moment is up. Moving along.

  41. 191
    wili says:

    The linked video is a presentation by ecologist William Rees on the concept of and necessity for economic degrowth.

    William Rees // Part 1 of 3 // Why Degrowth?

    However unlikely to happen, it seems the most humane plan if it could be carried out. It is essentially a planned collapse followed by a stable-state economy. Most of the talk is about where we are and how we got here. It’s a bit bumpy at the beginning, so be patient.

    Much of the question period is quite good, too.

    The linked video is a presentation by ecologist William Rees on the concept of and necessity for economic degrowth.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJQdVCwOZ1Y
    William Rees // Part 1 of 3 // Why Degrowth?

    However unlikely to happen, it seems the most humane plan if it could be carried out. It is essentially a planned collapse followed by a stable-state economy. Most of the talk is about where we are and how we got here. It’s a bit bumpy at the beginning, so be patient.

    Much of the question period is quite good, too.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owhuUJjZ7s0
    Q&A // Part 3 of 3 // Why Degrowth?

    (OT: Can we all just stop with the personal attacks on other posters, please. It really degrades the whole tone of the site. Attack the ideas, ideally with accurate data, cited studies, clear argumentation, etc. But constant ad hominems only make you look mean-spirited, make the site feel like a cesspool of nastiness, and make it less likely that new posters will want to join the discussion. Thanks.)

  42. 192
    Steve Fish says:

    Re- Comment by Fred Magyar — 24 Apr 2014 @ 6:17 AM, ~#189

    Thanks for a little good news Fred.

    Steve

  43. 193
    Chuck Hughes says:

    I have a question for anyone who cares to voice an opinion:

    What are the chances that the coming El Nino could shake loose the Pine Island Glacier or other sections of the West Antarctica Ice Sheet? I’ve been reading Neven’s Sea Ice Blog and it’s a topic of discussion over there. This is assuming that this El Nino fully develops and equals something similar in strength to the 1998 El Nino.

    Opinions? Comments?

    Thanks.

  44. 194
    Chuck Hughes says:

    Here’s a very short video of the Pine Island Glacier and it’s latest activity:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQuVQqsyCNw

    Again, has this been factored into the latest IPCC reports?

  45. 195
    Killian says:

    Re LEED

    Folks, please do your homework. Much like USDA organic is not organic, LEED is not sustainable. It is a measure of *efficiency*, not sustainability. Remember! Sustainability is a threshold, not a continuum. If *any* component of an element is unsustainable, the entire element must be considered unsustainable unless or until that component is changed or removed. You either are or you are not. Even Straw Bale homes are not sustainable if they use any modern devices because those devices – lights, linoleum, what have you – are not sustainable. Only a Straw Bale house with truly recyclables *only* is sustainable.

    There is no such thing as “mostly sustainable.” This is not The Princess Bride and neither Dudley nor Lovins are Miracle Max.

  46. 196
    Chris Dudley says:

    Fred (#189),

    I think you are misjudging this. Oil prices are being held high enough to expand supply by all kinds of means. The Arctic oil is conventional oil and so is no more expensive than oil form the Gulf of Mexico to produce aside from the ice issue. That gives them lots of margin to play around with. Tar sands are obviously too profitable now. With Austin Energy signing a contract for solar power at five cents a kWh, it seem pretty clear that the Green River shale formation can now be produced profitably. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shale_oil_extraction#ExxonMobil_Electrofrac That is about 3 trillion barrels and it is only going to get cheaper.

    There are also smart supply options that are getting close http://www.nrl.navy.mil/media/news-releases/2014/scale-model-wwii-craft-takes-flight-with-fuel-from-the-sea-concept but the trajectory looks like a huge slug of fossil carbon from unconventional oil is on the way.

  47. 197
    Hank Roberts says:

    > likelihood of el Nino

    Thoughtful piece: Dynamic retardation of tropical warming
    Posted on April 24, 2014 by Isaac Held at his blog

    Among much else there, some about what’s modeled vs. what we infer from tracers and timing of observed changes about the actual course of deep ocean circulation; how that’s changing; and how that may relate to how and when the ocean changes state.

  48. 198
    Abi says:

    I’m having a technical problem.

    I can’t see the Unforced Variations April comments from # 164 (21 April).

    Abi

  49. 199
    Abi says:

    My last comment seems to have cleared the problem. Very odd.

    Thanks

    Abi

  50. 200
    SecularAnimist says:

    wili wrote: “Can we all just stop with the personal attacks on other posters, please.”

    “We all” don’t engage in personal attacks on other commenters.

    Only a couple of people do that, and they do it regularly.


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