Looking Under the Cloak of Complexity

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 6:04 AM GMT on September 01, 2012

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Looking Under the Cloak of Complexity: Models, Water, and Temperature (7)

This is a series of blogs on models, water, and temperature (see Intro). The earlier entries in the series are linked at the end.

Doing Science with Models 1.4: In this series I have used the example of balancing a checkbook to talk about the balance of energy that is at the center of the study of the Earth’s climate. In one of the earlier entries I wrote about the cloak of complexity that obscures climate science, and I made the statement that climate science was, in fact, simple physics (energy balance) but in a complex system. In this entry I want to explore complexity. I will stick to the budget equation for money.

Here again is the budget equation for the amount of money that I have.

Today’s Money = Yesterday’s Money + Money I Get – Money I Spend

The equation looks pretty simple, but … when I first started to think about how to write about models, rather than “Money I Get,” I wrote down “Income.” After I thought about that for a moment, I saw that the Money I Get might come from several places. If I use the model of a 1040 Tax Form, for instance, I might have income, and royalties, and gambling winnings. If I get lucky, I might just find some money. I’ll ignore the various methods of ill-gotten gains. The point is that the Money I Get can come from a number of places. It can get pretty complicated if, say, I have a couple of jobs, get paid for some piecework, sell my jars of homemade pickles, receive vouchers for health insurance, and hurry to collect every penny of Social Security that I can.

Then there is Money I Spend. That should probably have been Money I Get Rid Of, because I might drop some money, get robbed, or lose my retirement investment because I bought into a good-sounding geoengineering project to cool the planet using tunnels in the ocean. Again there are a lot of ways that things can get complex simply by the way I get and the way I get rid of money.

The comparison of the budget equation to the Earth’s climate and climate change is that there are many ways the Earth can gain energy or get rid of energy. Even if you say, “The Earth gets energy only from the Sun,” then if you think about how to count that, there is energy from particles like electrons and protons and there is energy from radiation, like visible light. Then there is that question point of view, are we really interested in how much of that energy reaches some boundary of Earth at the edge of Space, or are we interested in the amount of energy at the Earth’s surface? The answer is, scientifically, both of these places, but for the climate that matters to the humans on the surface of the Earth, we have to know what energy gets to surface of the Earth. So we start to add and subtract: We have the Sun's energy at the top of the atmosphere minus the energy that goes into charging up the ionosphere minus the energy that breaks up oxygen atoms to make ozone minus the energy reflected back to space by clouds … you get the point. Simply calculating the budget of energy that gets to and goes away from the surface of the Earth is a challenging accounting problem.

Point of View: In the previous blog I wrote about the importance of point of view. What does the stick man on Simple Earth see?




Figure 1: Simple Earth 1: Some basic ingredients of the Earth’s climate.

First, let’s look into his accounts. He has a checking account to pay his utilities and a checking account to buy knitted sweaters for his terriers. There are a couple of savings accounts, retirement accounts, and because of his years as a highly paid scientist, a large mutual fund of ethically based, environmentally sensitive companies. At the end of every month, if there is money left in his utilities account, then he puts half of that into one of his savings accounts and the other half into that account for the terriers’ sweaters.

So let’s think about that transfer. From the point of view of the sweaters-for-terriers account, the transfer from the utilities account is Money the Terriers Get. It is a source of money – production. From the point of view of the utilities account, this is Money the Utilities Spent. From the point of view of the stick man, money is conserved; the total remains the same. Looking at the level of the accountant, the transfers between accounts are losses in one account and gains in another account, but the total worth remains the same.

Bringing it back to the stick man’s climate, he sees energy going from the ocean to the atmosphere (perhaps in a hurricane), energy going from the atmosphere to the land (perhaps blowing over trees), energy going from the ocean to land (surf on the beach), energy going from the atmosphere to ice (melting the glaciers in Glacier National Park). These are all transfers within the accounts of the Earth. When the winds make waves in the Gulf of Mexico, the atmosphere loses energy and the ocean gains an equal amount of energy. We build up more and more complexity, but we are still just balancing a budget.

There is one more source of complexity that I want to explore -Time. Let’s start with credit. One month, a simply fabulous terrier sweater appears on the web, and I charge it on my Usurious Bank credit card. Usurious lets me take years to pay and only charges me 5 percent per month. So now rather than What I Spend happening instantly, I have already spent some of the Money That I (will) Get. Of course, it costs me a little more than the actual money I paid for the terrier sweater; there is that interest rate. Every month, an extra bit of money is added to the debt that I will eventually have to pay.

We add complexity to our accounts by spreading out our income and expenses over time. If I were fortunate enough to lend money and receive interest then someone else's debt would look like income to me, but spread out over time. We do this all the time; we invest; we buy on credit; we buy items that we hope will become more valuable, like terrier sweaters of the Hapsburg’.

Where does this element of Time fit into the climate? Everywhere. Energy (heat) and carbon dioxide can stay in the ocean for a long time compared to how long they stay in the atmosphere. How long? That, too, is an issue of complexity, but think about the interest rate in that loan. If the interest rate goes up, it costs you more, and if you pay the same amount every month, then it takes you longer to pay off the debt. If you increase the Time that the atmosphere holds energy (heat) near the surface of the Earth, then it takes a little longer for that energy to get back to Space, to leave the Earth. Therefore, the surface of the Earth is warmer. We change the transfers between accounts. It still, however, only requires us to balance the budget to understand what is happening.

Interesting Research: Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling - This past week saw a record low in Arctic sea ice. (nice blog in Washington Post) The previous record low was in 2007. There are those who dismiss this as a record low of sea ice because it is from “satellite data,” which are only about 30 years of observations. But I would argue that we can make a pretty convincing argument that these are record lows for, well, thousands of years. It’s really quite profound.

The paper that I want to highlight in this entry is a couple of years old. It is “Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling” which was published by Darrell Kaufman and co-authors in Science in 2009. ( Correction, 2010 ). This paper looks at the energy budget and temperature of the Arctic over the past 2000 years. The data that are used to represent temperature are from tree rings, lake sediments, and ice cores. All of these are valid proxies for temperature, and we rely on some type of model to convert the original measurement, for example, the amount of biological detritus in lake sediment to temperature.

Lake sediments provide a remarkable measure of temperature. Because of the extreme cold of the winters, and the lack of biological activity, the biological part of the sediments is a measure of summertime temperature. Biologically rich, summertime layers are separated from each other by biologically poor sediments from other seasons. This allows numbering the years with high confidence.

If you focus on the Arctic for the last 2000 years and count up the energy budget, an important part of that budget comes from the energy provided by the Sun. Because of the way the orbit of the Earth around the Sun changes, for most of the last 2000 years there has been a decreasing amount of sunlight in the Arctic summer. If only solar heating was considered, the Arctic should still be cooling. This is documented in the paper.

Starting in the 20th century, the warming of the planet associated with increasing greenhouse gas has countered the cooling associated with decreasing solar heating. This signal has increased in the more recent years, with the graph beginning to look like a variation on the hockey stick. Here is a version of one of Kaufman’s summary figures from the website of Scott Mandia at SUNY Suffolk entitled Global Warming: Man or Myth?



Figure 2: Summary picture of Arctic mean temperatures for the past 2000 years from Kaufman et al. (2009) (Correction, 2010). This figure was redrafted by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. The figure shows a decline in temperature that is consistent with a decline in solar heating. Though the solar heating suggests a continued decline in temperature, this decline (loss of energy at the surface) has been overwhelmed by warming (gain of energy at the surface). The warming is attributed, primarily, to carbon dioxide buildup.

So again and again, climate scientists use this accounting to understand the energy present in the different accounts that make up the portfolio of Earth’s energy budget. The story is consistent: the surface of the Earth is warming. The Arctic is the most stunning example of this warming. There has been enough energy to melt ice that had accumulated over many years. And in the past five years, we have seen two record lows of ice extent; ice mass declines. These years are amongst the warmest in the last 2000 years. The ice will continue to decrease with weather systems causing the ice amount to vary up and down a little bit. There is no reason to expect systematic cooling and recovery. The Navy will need a new fleet for the open waters.

r


Series links:

Models, Water, and Temperature



Models are Not All Wet: Series Introduction

Models are Everywhere

Ledgers, Graphics, and Carvings

Balancing the Budget

Point of View

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249. cyclonebuster
4:46 AM GMT on September 12, 2012
ECO SHOCK ARCTIC MELTDOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Link


TUNNELS YET ANYONE?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20221
248. RevElvis
2:13 AM GMT on September 12, 2012
Climate change challenges power plant operations

WashingtonPost.com



BOULDER CITY, NEV. — Drought and rising temperatures are forcing water managers across the country to scramble for ways to produce the same amount of power from the hydroelectric grid with less water, including from behemoths such as the Hoover Dam.

Hydropower is not the only part of the nation’s energy system that appears increasingly vulnerable to the impact of climate change, as low water levels affect coal-fired and nuclear power plants’ operations and impede the passage of coal barges along the Mississippi River.

For more than three-quarters of a century, the Hoover Dam has represented an engineering triumph, harnessing the power of the mighty Colorado River to generate electricity for customers in not just nearby Las Vegas but as far away as Southern California and Mexico.

But the bleached volcanic rock ringing Black Canyon above Lake Mead, the reservoir created by the dam, speaks to the limits of human engineering. Higher temperatures and less snowpack have reduced the river’s flow and left the reservoir 103 feet below elevation for its full targeted storage capacity, which it last came close to reaching in 1999.
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 25 Comments: 948
247. BobWallace
12:29 AM GMT on September 12, 2012
Quoting SteveDa1:
The Sky Is the Limit for Wind Power

Wind turbines on land and offshore could readily provide more than four times the power that the world as a whole currently uses. Throw in kites or robot aircraft generating electricity from sky-high winds and the world could physically extract roughly 100 times more power than presently employed—and the climatic consequences remain minimal.

Two new computer-model analyses suggest there are few limits to the wind's potential. Although "there are physical limits to the amount of power that can be harvested from winds, these limits are well above total global energy demand," explains climate-modeler Kate Marvel of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.



Here's a fun little map - the amount of our coastlines that would be needed if we powered ourselves with nothing buy offshore wind...

Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
246. SteveDa1
10:18 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
The Sky Is the Limit for Wind Power

Wind turbines on land and offshore could readily provide more than four times the power that the world as a whole currently uses. Throw in kites or robot aircraft generating electricity from sky-high winds and the world could physically extract roughly 100 times more power than presently employed—and the climatic consequences remain minimal.

Two new computer-model analyses suggest there are few limits to the wind's potential. Although "there are physical limits to the amount of power that can be harvested from winds, these limits are well above total global energy demand," explains climate-modeler Kate Marvel of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
Member Since: October 17, 2006 Posts: 60 Comments: 1297
245. BobWallace
8:41 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting Neapolitan:
As an article in Grist ("Chevy isnn't losing $49,000 on every Volt it sells, for God's sake") put it today:

"In sincerity, I find conservative hostility to electric cars fairly baffling. I get that they're wrapped into a delicious little sushi roll with cappuccinos and sandals as emblems of the decadent, self-absorbed left -- but haven't they moved into the mainstream by now? Along with coffees? If anyone should be indifferent to electric cars, it should be enviros. Electric cars are basically the natural gas of the automotive world: better than dirtier fossil fuels, but still pretty bad."


"General Motors is dismissing a media report describing the Chevrolet Volt, its extended-range electric car, as a major money loser. Those reports, the automakers says in a statement, are "grossly wrong."

Reuters estimates that GM is losing as much as $49,000 on every Volt. That's $10,000 more than the extended-range electric car's sales price. But the automaker said the wire service's calculations ignored that development costs are typically spread out among all vehicles sold over the course of the model's lifetime.

GM has acknowledged it's losing money on the Volt, but won't say how much. But GM argued that its investment will pay off over time as Volt sales accelerate and the cost of the extended-range electric/generator powertrain comes down and is offered in other models over time."

Link

A new car model can easily cost over a billion dollars to bring to market. That's just a normal ICEV car. The Edsel cost about $2 billion in today's money to develop.

Successful new models can take a few years to recoup their development costs.

(I wonder how Tesla did it so cheaply? They may have found a better way....)
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
244. Neapolitan
8:23 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting iceagecoming:


The Pope is on board>

Emission-Free Pope Goes Green With Electric Car.



Link
As an article in Grist ("Chevy isnn't losing $49,000 on every Volt it sells, for God's sake") put it today:

"In sincerity, I find conservative hostility to electric cars fairly baffling. I get that they're wrapped into a delicious little sushi roll with cappuccinos and sandals as emblems of the decadent, self-absorbed left -- but haven't they moved into the mainstream by now? Along with coffees? If anyone should be indifferent to electric cars, it should be enviros. Electric cars are basically the natural gas of the automotive world: better than dirtier fossil fuels, but still pretty bad."
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13292
243. iceagecoming
8:19 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting Neapolitan:
David Horsey at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer nails it. Again:

Horsey


The Pope is on board>

Emission-Free Pope Goes Green With Electric Car.



Link
Member Since: January 27, 2009 Posts: 23 Comments: 1031
242. BobWallace
8:04 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Pintada - you got that CO2/GDP graph ready to show us?

Looking forward to your version.
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
241. BobWallace
7:11 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting pintada:
Great minds think alike.

"[W]e believe those consequences are manageable... It's an engineering problem and it has engineering solutions."
- Rex Tillerson, CEO ExxonMobil

"Climate change very slow but real. So far all cures worse than disease."
- Rupert Murdoch, CEO FoxNews

"Great, CO2 in the US and Europe may have peaked. We might be turning the corner."
- Bob "Denial Lite" Wallace


Great minds indeed.


Pintada. You are overstepping bounds.
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
240. pintada
6:47 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
What’s the number one reason we riot? Hunger — food becoming too scarce or too expensive. So argues a group of complex systems theorists in Cambridge, and it makes sense, Motherboard reports.

In a 2011 paper, researchers at the Complex Systems Institute (CSI) unveiled a model that accurately explained why the waves of unrest that swept the world in 2008 and 2011 crashed when they did. The number one determinant was soaring food prices. Their model identified a precise threshold for global food prices that, if breached, would lead to worldwide unrest.

Technology Review explains how CSI’s model works: “The evidence comes from two sources. The first is data gathered by the United Nations that plots the price of food against time, the so-called food price index of the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN. The second is the date of riots around the world, whatever their cause.” Plot the data, and it looks like this the above graph.

Black dots are the food prices, red lines are the riots. In other words, whenever the UN’s food price index, which measures the monthly change in the price of a basket of food commodities, climbs above 210, the conditions ripen for social unrest around the world. For billions of people around the world, food comprises up to 80% of routine expenses. When prices jump, people can’t afford anything else; or even food itself. And if you can’t eat — or worse, your family can’t eat — you fight.

Today, the food price index is hovering around 213, where it has stayed for months — just beyond the tip of the identified threshold. Low corn yield in the U.S., the world’s most important producer, has helped keep prices high.

“Recent droughts in the mid-western United States threaten to cause global catastrophe,” Yaneer Bar-Yam, one of the authors of the report, recently told Al Jazeera. “When people are unable to feed themselves and their families, widespread social disruption occurs. We are on the verge of another crisis, the third in five years, and likely to be the worst yet, capable of causing new food riots and turmoil on a par with the Arab Spring.”

Even before the extreme weather scrambled food prices this year, CSI’s 2011 report predicted that the next great breach would occur in August 2013, and that the risk of more worldwide rioting would follow.

But the reality is that such predictions are now all but impossible to make. In a world well-warmed by climate change, unpredictable, extreme weather events like the drought that has consumed 60% of the United States and the record heat that has killed its cattle are now the norm. Just two years ago, heat waves in Russia crippled its grain yield and dealt a devastating blow to global food markets — the true, unheralded father of the Arab Spring was global warming, some say.

And it’s only going to get worse and worse and worse. Because of climate change-exacerbated disasters like these, “the average price of staple foods such as maize could more than double in the next 20 years compared with 2010 trend prices,” a new report from Oxfam reveals. That report details how the poor will be even more vulnerable to climate change-induced food price shocks than previously thought. After all, we’ve “loaded the climate dice,” as NASA’s James Hansen likes to say, and the chances of such disasters rolling out are greater than ever.

Original Article here
Member Since: July 15, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 218
239. pintada
6:35 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Great minds think alike.

"[W]e believe those consequences are manageable... It's an engineering problem and it has engineering solutions."
- Rex Tillerson, CEO ExxonMobil

"Climate change very slow but real. So far all cures worse than disease."
- Rupert Murdoch, CEO FoxNews

"Great, CO2 in the US and Europe may have peaked. We might be turning the corner."
- Bob "Denial Lite" Wallace


Great minds indeed.
Member Since: July 15, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 218
238. BobWallace
6:28 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Natural gas is not only under cutting the price of coal, but, also, the price of renewable energy sources. What effect do you think this will have on a further push towards renewable sources?

Our wind and solar industries are not huge, but they are established and will continue to look for ways to cut costs. Having natural gas come on with cheaper prices forces them to work harder and that should bring prices down quicker.

Right now the median price of wind and natural gas are equal - $0.05/kWh.

Ten years from now the EIA projects the cost of natural gas to be $0.05/kWh and the cost of wind to be $0.03/kWh.

Click on LCOE - look at Historical and Projections

Solar operates on a different plane as it competes at the retail level. There is no other electricity source that a person or business can install and produce their own power. Solar doesn't need to match the wholesale price of natural gas, it simply needs to beat the retail price of electricity at the meter.

And, don't forget, solar and wind are global. Cheap natural gas is present in limited parts of the world. Even if natural gas were to stall wind and solar in the US other parts of the world would continue pursuing cheap wind and solar.

eta: The futures market expects the cost of NG to rise as we burn through our temporary supply glut.

The current price of NG will not pay for a new well, most of the drilling rigs have left the building along with Elvis. It will take a significant increase in NG prices to bring them back for an encore....
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237. Some1Has2BtheRookie
6:08 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Deleted
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236. Some1Has2BtheRookie
5:48 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
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235. SteveDa1
5:38 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Even I--who undoubtedly knows the climate is changing at a rapid rate--sometimes start to feel like "the impacts cannot possibly turn out as bad as predicted". But then: What if they will be? And, honestly, it's hard to think too long about it because I get obviously nervous and desperate.

I think we can agree that many are going through life blissfully ignorant, not even giving a second-thought about much of anything. How can anyone, living this way, be expected to accept the greatest global threat to the human race in history?

It's easy to imagine how anyone will shrug it off or start conspiring that scientists are evil, wish to control the world, rob us of our free-thinking, and are creating the biggest hoax in history for whatever reasons their paranoid minds are able to conceive.

Even if it was constantly on the news would people take it as seriously as it should? Or would it just continue to feed their ignorant and paranoid fantasies?

What about big oil? Are they really willfully putting the populace at risk by making themselves richer? Or are they just unable to accept such a fate, firmly believing that it'll surely not be as bad as scientists say?--a belief aided by their over-the-top egos and greedy attitudes. Imagine how massive their egos are what with all the money they have. They probably think they know better than those "no-good scientists".

Politicians are humans too. Are they even able to fully accept global warming's future dangerous impacts on the world before it's "too-late" and very obvious? Do they go: If I don't see it, I can't fully believe it! Then: Okay, so what if I don't believe it, (that is, if they are even perfectly honest with themselves) I can still help to make this world a cleaner, greener place.

But that, however, doesn't necessitate any sense of urgency--which is definitely required. They can now bolster their confidence knowing that they are doing something good for the environment thereby also giving hope to the highly optimistic. Meanwhile, environmentalists can go: At least they're doing something. And they are. But, let's be honest; at a snail's pace. And this pace will continue as long as the impacts of global warming are not fully accepted.

PS: I started writing this with only 223 comments on the blog, so it may seem slightly out-of-place.
Member Since: October 17, 2006 Posts: 60 Comments: 1297
234. BobWallace
5:34 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I am not speaking for Nea when I say that it is far too soon to call it a peak. I am relieved that the past few years have not shown a continued rise in our CO2 emissions, but it is still far too soon that say that we have peaked. ... Even a lull brings some comfort. Just do not become too complacent with what may only a lull.


The opposite of complacency is in order.

1) We have technology to generate all the energy we need from renewable sources.

2) The cost of power from those sources has fallen to cheap/affordable.

3) We seem to have peaked our CO2 emissions. We are moving in the correct direction.

We have the tools. We are starting to see progress.

We need to do far more, but this should give us hope and it's much easier to word when you see the end goal as achievable than when you believe your efforts to be in vain.
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
233. BobWallace
5:30 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
A 2,000 acre forests fire that is only 10% contained usually burns itself out before we come close to putting it out ourselves.

That is factually incorrect.

10% containment generally means that we now have resources on line and a strategy in place to draw a circle around the fire and stop its spread.

Forest fires burn themselves out within the containment circle.

If you lived in fire territory you'd recognize that hearing that a fire is 10% contained is great news. There's no worse news than of a fire that goes on for day after day with no containment.
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232. Some1Has2BtheRookie
5:29 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Deleted
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231. BobWallace
5:26 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Bob, I do not discredit the fact there has been some progress made. All I am pointing out is that too little progress has been made to date. There was no concerted effort to move from coal to natural gas. The only reason that coal is being used less than before is for the simple fact that fracking has made natural gas much cheaper to use than coal. What happens if this situation reverses again? Also, fracking creates its own problems that could prove to be worse than the use of coal. The areas of where fracking are being performed are areas of large aquifers, most assuredly in the mid west regions. Cleaner air is of little use if we do not have clean water. Water, the only requirement for life that we know of.

About everyone (except for the occasional denier) on this site thinks we are on our way to cooking ourselves.

Consider the choice if that is the case. Do we mess up some of water supply with fracking chemicals and cut our CO2 levels enough to save our butts or do we keep our water uncontaminated and cook ourselves?

Seems to me that we would choose the lesser of the evils. After all, we can filter water and supply ourselves from non-contaminated water.

----

Now. Please. Listen carefully. Please.

Bob Wallace is not advocating the use of natural gas.

Bob Wallace is attempting to engage in rational discussion and recognizes that sometimes we are faced with choosing the lessor of two evils.

-----

Now, back to our discussion.

The main reason that we are switching from coal to natural gas is because the EPA (under the guidance of President Obama) told the worst of our coal plants to clean up or shut down.

Given that choice utilities decided that it was cheaper to switch to natural gas than to upgrade existing coal plants.

I suspect a couple of other things played into that decision.

1) We have burned through our highest quality coal east of the Mississippi. Fuel costs are going to be higher over time if coal has to be shipped from the West. And it would be even harder to clean the smokestack if lower quality coal is burned. (You've got to burn more coal to get an equal output.)

2) Utility managers are very aware how cheap wind generation has become and how fast the price of solar is becoming. Faced with the need to supply the grid with the electricity it wants and when it wants it they need a partner for cheap wind and solar.

There is no cheap storage on line yet. The cheapest storage, pump-up hydro, takes years to implement. We've got promising grid scale batteries in development, but you can't buy any at this time.

Switching to natural gas would likely make sense to me were I a grid operator.

1) Can shut down coal quickly because NG plants are quick to build. Get to dodge very large fines.

2) NG is cheap right now, can pay for the new plants over a few years and then used them for in-fill and backup. Some sort of robust source is going to be needed for heat waves and low wind conditions.


Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
230. Neapolitan
5:24 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting BobWallace:


Can you find it in yourself to say "Great, CO2 in the US and Europe may have peaked. We might be turning the corner." without dumping brown sticky stuff over the fact and covering up progress?

No. Because I refuse to lie, Bob; I don't believe we have turned a corner. A sluggish economy and a switch to a different fossil fuel isn't nearly enough of the kind of progress we need; at best, it's just a delay. I won't downplay the severity of the issue.

(To use Rookie's forest fire metaphor: I can't in good conscience get all happy about a firehose that's been turned on a blaze that's grown from 2,000 acres to 50,000 acres overnight, especially when many people are running ahead of the blaze spraying gasoline all over the trees. Containment of the climate change blaze isn't at 5%, or 3%, or even 1%; it's at 0% containment, and there's nothing but many square miles of tinder-dry wood ahead. It would really help if everyone in charge of firefighting policy would admit that there actually is a fire and that it's out of control.)
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229. Some1Has2BtheRookie
5:24 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Deleted
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228. BobWallace
5:06 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I am afraid that we will soon be looking at 1 year ice coverage over the entire Arctic Ocean. We may soon rejoice when we see any brief periods of 2-3 year ice afterwards. Yet, we would probably realize that any such "recovery" would be short lived and certainly not expected it to last.


I think most people who follow the Arctic ice now consider the ice dead. We're just sitting by the bedside waiting for the beep-beep-beep sound to stop and be replaced by a long, steady tone.

My current estimate (worth little, BTW) is that the first summer melt-out will be in 2014 or 2015 and the first full year without appreciable ice in the Arctic Ocean could be as soon as ten years later.

I suspect that between 2015 and 2025 Northern Hemisphere weather is going to get some intense shocks when we no longer have a bunch of "stored cold" to moderate our climate.
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
227. BobWallace
5:01 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting Neapolitan:
You've again apparently missed statements that I made in plain black and white:

"...CO2 emissions in this country are at a 20-year low..."

"...U.S. emissions have dropped--and that's definitely a step in the right direction"

I'm sorry if that's not enough "celebration" for you, but I'm afraid that's all I can muster at the moment. :-\ Yes, thanks for the most part to switching to a dirty fossil fuel that's not quite as insanely filthy as coal, our nation's CO2 emissions have risen from just 4.3 billion tonnes to 5.2 billion tonnes in the past 20 years. But since China's emissions have gone from 1.5 billion tonnes to 7.7 billion tonnes in that same time span--and are on a pace to shoot up to 10 billion tonnes by 2013--I'm finding it a bit difficult to break out the pom-poms just yet.You've stated that CO2 emissions have fallen due to our current dwindling reliance on coal. That's true--but, as the USEIA says, we've replaced that coal for the most part not with clean energy alternatives, but with dirty natural gas. Still a fossil fuel. Still a net creator of greenhouse gases. Still an environmentally destructive product. (And bad for the water table, to boot.)For the third or fourth time this week: I'm not saying we're doomed, so for you to attribute that statement to me is dishonest. I hope that's not intentionally so.


Can you find it in yourself to say "Great, CO2 in the US and Europe may have peaked. We might be turning the corner." without dumping brown sticky stuff over the fact and covering up progress?

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226. Some1Has2BtheRookie
4:58 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
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225. Some1Has2BtheRookie
4:51 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
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224. Neapolitan
4:39 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting BobWallace:
So Jim, you find yourself unable to celebrate a slight bit of progress and need to dump a collection dark, dull objects out to distract?
You've again apparently missed statements that I made in plain black and white:

"...CO2 emissions in this country are at a 20-year low..."

"...U.S. emissions have dropped--and that's definitely a step in the right direction"

I'm sorry if that's not enough "celebration" for you, but I'm afraid that's all I can muster at the moment. :-\ Yes, thanks for the most part to switching to a dirty fossil fuel that's not quite as insanely filthy as coal, our nation's CO2 emissions have risen from just 4.3 billion tonnes to 5.2 billion tonnes in the past 20 years. But since China's emissions have gone from 1.5 billion tonnes to 7.7 billion tonnes in that same time span--and are on a pace to shoot up to 10 billion tonnes by 2013--I'm finding it a bit difficult to break out the pom-poms just yet.
Quoting BobWallace:
Look, dammit, CO2 levels in the US hit a peak a few years back and have fallen. They have fallen for a number of reasons - less coal, more renewables, more efficient vehicles. Can we not give ourselves a pat on the back for our progress. Must we pour cold water on it?
You've stated that CO2 emissions have fallen due to our current dwindling reliance on coal. That's true--but, as the USEIA says, we've replaced that coal for the most part not with clean energy alternatives, but with dirty natural gas. Still a fossil fuel. Still a net creator of greenhouse gases. Still an environmentally destructive product. (And bad for the water table, to boot.)
Quoting BobWallace:
The US seems to be on a downward trend. As does the EU27. Doesn't it make sense to point out what is working in an attempt to speed the course changes rather than pour on the "We're doomed!!!"?
For the third or fourth time this week: I'm not saying we're doomed, so for you to attribute that statement to me is dishonest. I hope that's not intentionally so.
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223. BobWallace
4:15 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
I'm finding this pretty amazing. We're in the middle of September when the Arctic sea ice melt should be ending yet the Central Basin, the most protected part of the ice, continues to melt/transport out.

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222. BobWallace
4:12 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
And this, Bob, is why any recent downward trend in the U. S. CO2 emissions would equate to trying to put out a 2,000 acre forest fire by using a single 1-1/2" fire hose.

When we fight forest fires we don't talk about the size of the hoses, we talk about containment.

10% containment is far from having the fire under control, but it tells us that progress has begun.

If the US and the EU27 have started bringing down their CO2 levels, even slowly, containment has begun.

Getting a fire even a tiny bit contained should be celebrated. It gives firefighters hope and with hope comes stronger efforts to fight harder and extend the containment.
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221. BobWallace
4:00 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
So Jim, you find yourself unable to celebrate a slight bit of progress and need to dump a collection dark, dull objects out to distract?

And, yes, I am aiming this comment directly at you.

Look, dammit, CO2 levels in the US hit a peak a few years back and have fallen. They have fallen for a number of reasons - less coal, more renewables, more efficient vehicles. Can we not give ourselves a pat on the back for our progress. Must we pour cold water on it?

The US seems to be on a downward trend. As does the EU27. That ship in your cartoon seems to have begun to reverse course. Doesn't it make sense to point out what is working in an attempt to speed the course changes rather than pour on the "We're doomed!!!"?
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220. Some1Has2BtheRookie
2:49 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
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219. Neapolitan
1:13 PM GMT on September 11, 2012
David Horsey at the Seattle Post-Intelligencer nails it. Again:

Horsey"
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218. greentortuloni
11:25 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting 1911maker:
Make climate change a health issue and people pay attention.
Link

My personnel experience from talking to people supports Neo and his pessimistic view. Lots of people now are willing to "admit" the climate is changing, but it is natural. No way is it man made. To admit that means they might have to take responsibility. Note, we are talking about humans. Acting responsible and being human most of the time are not compatible.

Also, the risk of bad things happening from climate change..........How many people buy lottery tickets. If they can not do the math on a simple thing like the lottery, how are they going to do the science of climate change. And just like the lottery, they "will win". They just know they will.



I've been having depressing conversations with my relatively open minded family lately. The gist of which is exactly Nea's point: "If it was a real problem, it would be in the news."

They are not stupid and they take in several news sources each day, inc. newspapers, TV, radio, and magazines. GW simply is about the same distance away as war with China.
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217. Neapolitan
10:27 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
I tend to agree with the U.S. Energy Information Agency that, while CO2 emissions in this country are at a 20-year low for a variety of reasons--ramped-up conservation efforts, the struggling economy, greater use of renewable/alternative energy--the drop-off is due primarily to low-priced natural gas. And if so, that's a Faustian bargain at best. While NG burns cleaner than coal, that word "cleaner" is a relative term. After all, NG is still a huge producer of CO2; methane leaks from NG wells can cause sharp rises in that particualrly nasty GHG; and, while there's more of it, NG isn't any more renewable than are coal and oil. And that's not even taking the perils and obvious damage caused by fracking into consideration. Also, part of NG's "cleaner" benefits is that it produces far fewer aerosols--and coal's aerosols have actually helped to keep global temperatures down a bit, but now that particular governor has been greatly diminished, at least in the U.S.

It's also important to remember a few other things. First, while U.S. emissions have dropped--and that's definitely a step in the right direction--our per capita rate is still way above those in the rest of the world. And second, global emissions rose 3% last year even as those in the U.S. and Europe dropped, and that trend shows absolutely no signs of abating. (It's like a guy bragging that he's "healthier" now that he's cut down from four packs of cigarettes a day to "just" 3-and-a-half packs, while at the same time he's begun eating five bacon-wrapped triple cheeseburgers a day.)

Bottom line: there is a stupendously massive amount of work that needs to be done just to convince all the major players to stabilize global emissions of GHGs. Then once that's done, there's an even more stupendous, more massive amount of work that will need to be done to remove or somehow offset the extant GHGs that will be hanging around for many decades.

CO2

(The CDIAC is the "Carbon Dioxode Information Analysis Center")

I'll say it again: we're not doomed. Yet. But we are in deep, deep trouble...
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216. BobWallace
5:25 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Ah! I did not catch that pintada said it was due to a falling GDP. I will have to back and reread.


I'll help you out. Comment #185.

If you are honest, you will see that GDP is inexorably linked to the CO2 discharge rate and vice versa. Since you have the data in a spreadsheet, you can do any statistics you want. Show me that our CO2 discharge amount is not at least 95% dependent on GDP.

Here's GDP for 2005 to 2010. Clearly GDP increases.

2005 12,623.0
2006 13,377.2
2007 14,028.7
2008 14,369.1
2009 13,939.0
2010 14,526.5

Here are CO2 emissions. Clearly they decrease.

2005 6,029
2006 5,929
2007 6,017
2008 5,839
2009 5,425
2010 5,634

Post 2005 GDP and CO2 head in opposite directions.





Then in comment # 206.

The chart shows an economic downturn in 2008. If you put a ruler on your screen and extend the GDP trend to the present you will see that GDP would be ~$16 trillion if the downturn didn't happen. Doing the same thing for CO2 discharges makes your "peak" go poof. The very small increase in renewables would make the trend go flatter, but if the economic downturn did not happen, there would be no "peak".

Let me point out here that the CO2 peak was in 2005. CO2 stayed basically flat for 2006 and 2007, falling slightly. The economy crashed in 2008.

You should dump the bar chart and use lines. If you do, you can plot CO2 production by economic sector to show that electricity generation is the source of the "peak".

The figure in Comment #210 disproves this assertion. Electricity generation rises slightly while CO2 emissions move downward.

Our economy is growing in terms of GDP and we are generating more electricity and at the same time CO2 emissions are dropping.

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215. Some1Has2BtheRookie
3:38 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
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214. BobWallace
3:17 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Yes, pintada. I do believe that Bob is being honorable. I believe that we all are doing honorable work here.

The chart, from post #190, is very much open to interpretation. Bob interprets the chart as our being able to have a continued rising GDP and still keep our CO2 levels down. I believe that this comes from his optimism and not from any attempt to deceive us.

I interpret the chart more along the lines that I believe that you do, pintada. I will carry the interpretation even further and state that what I see is our multinational corporations doing very well, even during our economic struggles. Even so, the U. S. workers are fairing far less better and this is reflected by a lower U. S. consumption in fossil fuels. I believe that this has allowed for a "peak" in our CO2 emissions. We have far too few renewable energy sources in place to alone account for the fairly recent drop in our CO2 emissions. Wall street is doing well. Main street is still struggling.

Now, is Bob being dishonorable in his interpretation of the chart? Are we? No, since the chart is wide open to interpretation we are allowed to interpret it in our way. As an optimist, as a pessimist or as a realist. We have two different entities that are being charted over a 22 year period. We are trying to see if there is any connection between these two entities plotted over the same time period. This is impossible to determine since there are far too many variables to make a direct comparison between the two. All we have is two entities plotted over the same time period for a period of 22 years. We must interpret the rest ourselves to try to draw any conclusions from this, but no actual conclusion can be reached from this. Except for the one that we each make on our own. ... I would like to see a third entity charted during the same period as well. How many of our "dirty" industries been outsourced to other nations during this same period? After all, global CO2 levels are still rising. Is China dirtier now because China is doing more of our dirty work? India? Pakistan? Taiwan?


Now, wait a minute. I reported that CO2 emissions had reached a peak in 2005 and have fallen since.

Pintada claimed that falling emissions were due to falling GDP. The graph and raw data clearly show that while CO2 has fallen since 2005, GDP has risen.

Additionally Pintada claimed that we were generating less electricity which was causing the CO2 drop. I gave you that data in post #210. Electricity generation has risen, CO2 has fallen.

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213. Some1Has2BtheRookie
2:57 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
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212. 1911maker
2:28 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
Make climate change a health issue and people pay attention.
Link

My personnel experience from talking to people supports Neo and his pessimistic view. Lots of people now are willing to "admit" the climate is changing, but it is natural. No way is it man made. To admit that means they might have to take responsibility. Note, we are talking about humans. Acting responsible and being human most of the time are not compatible.

Also, the risk of bad things happening from climate change..........How many people buy lottery tickets. If they can not do the math on a simple thing like the lottery, how are they going to do the science of climate change. And just like the lottery, they "will win". They just know they will.

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211. BobWallace
1:51 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting pintada:
I will offer three future scenarios for your amusement.

1. Obama is reelected. If he is, the treasury will do QE3. That is the Treasury will print money and use it to buy bonds. If QE3 works, Americans will go out and buy houses that they do not need and cheap chinese crap, and the GDP will go up. When GDP goes up, it will naturally pull CO2 discharges up, and your "peak" will go poof.

2. Romney is elected. If he is, he will implement the Ryan budget. The Ryan budget is perhaps the stupidest fiscal plan that has been proposed since 1937. If substantial parts of it are implemented, the economy will go into a deep recession. GDP will fall, CO2 discharges will drop, and your "peak" will become a peak for all the wrong reasons.

3. Finally, the preferable and sadly, impossible scenario. Obama is reelected and the congress suddenly becomes rational. The Treasury is directed to print a pile of money and all the money is spent on renewables, and energy infrastructure (power lines, energy storage, EV charging stations, etc.). The GDP goes up and your "peak" becomes a real peak! A peak from which we could derive hope and pride in the US.


And I will give you my three possible outcomes.

1. President Obama is reelected but Republicans control one or both houses in Congress.

Almost certainly Senate Republicans will not have a veto proof majority so they will not be able to pass real crap as they would like. The US will fumble along as it has done the last two years and very slowly recover from the recession.

2. President Obama is reelected and Democrats gain control of both houses of Congress. Either in 2012 or 2014.

We will get some real job programs. Economic programs will get passed which will be aimed at giving more opportunities to the middle class and working poor. Educational opportunities will be expanded. All Americans will receive their full civil rights. And we'll start making some major dents in CO2 emissions.

3. Mitt Romney is elected president.

Actually I have no idea what would happen. Mitt might start a war with Iran on Monday, surrender to Iran on Tuesday and then deny he did either on Wednesday.

His whirling dervish position on health insurance for those with pre-existing conditions over the last couple of days has been a tour de force even for the Spin Master....

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210. BobWallace
1:37 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
If you do, you can plot CO2 production by economic sector to show that electricity generation is the source of the "peak".



Let's look at this claim...



To make it easier to compare I used percent change from 1990 values.

I included 2011 data. It is not "final" EIA data but preliminary numbers and they might be adjusted in the final reports due out later this year.

As you can see, except for 2009, electricity generation has been higher each year past 2005. CO2 peaked in 2005 and has fallen.

We are generating roughly the same amount of electricity post 2005 while CO2 emissions have declined.

--

For the first quarter 2012 US CO2 emissions fell to the level of 1992 first quarter emission.
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209. RevElvis
1:17 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
Complex Systems Theorists Say We Are Now One Year Away From Global Riots.

motherboard.vice.com

Abstract (PDF)

What's the number one reason we riot? The plausible, justifiable motivations of trampled-upon humanfolk to fight back are many it's poverty, oppression, disenfranchisement, etc - but the big one is more primal than any of the above. It's hunger, plain and simple. If there's a single factor that reliably sparks social unrest, it's food becoming too scarce or too expensive. So argues a group of complex systems theorists in Cambridge, and it makes sense.

In a 2011 paper, researchers at the Complex Systems Institute unveiled a model that accurately explained why the waves of unrest that swept the world in 2008 and 2011 crashed when they did. The number one determinant was soaring food prices. Their model identified a precise threshold for global food prices that, if breached, would lead to worldwide unrest.
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208. BobWallace
12:19 AM GMT on September 11, 2012
Quoting pintada:
First, I want to share that i spent the day processing corn. We cut it off the cob, vacuum pack it and then freeze it. Great feeling!

Rookie in post 189 pointed out that he thinks BobWallace is an honorable person (if i am interpreting his post correctly). Ok Rookie, lets look at that "peak".

The remainder of this post refers back to post 190 by BobWallace:

Thank you, Bob! There is the chart i requested, in all its glory including that lovely "peak". Yes, "peak" not peak. The quotes will become clear as i proceed.

First some constructive criticism of the chart itself:
1. The y axis are not well labeled. I assume GDP is the numbers on the left, but, i'm not sure. Its easy to put $ on the left and tons on the right.
2. Change the scale of the CO2 discharges so that it takes up more vertical space. The "peak" will become easier to see.
3. You should dump the bar chart and use lines. If you do, you can plot CO2 production by economic sector to show that electricity generation is the source of the "peak".

The chart shows an economic downturn in 2008. If you put a ruler on your screen and extend the GDP trend to the present you will see that GDP would be ~$16 trillion if the downturn didn't happen. Doing the same thing for CO2 discharges makes your "peak" go poof. The very small increase in renewables would make the trend go flatter, but if the economic downturn did not happen, there would be no "peak". This is my main point. I admit that your "peak" exists. And I admit that it is in part caused by the use of renewables and natural gas. Now, if you man up and admit that without the current economic problems there would be no "peak" we are communicating.

We should be on the same page up until the present. I will offer three future scenarios for your amusement.

1. Obama is reelected. If he is, the treasury will do QE3. That is the Treasury will print money and use it to buy bonds. If QE3 works, Americans will go out and buy houses that they do not need and cheap chinese crap, and the GDP will go up. When GDP goes up, it will naturally pull CO2 discharges up, and your "peak" will go poof.

2. Romney is elected. If he is, he will implement the Ryan budget. The Ryan budget is perhaps the stupidest fiscal plan that has been proposed since 1937. If substantial parts of it are implemented, the economy will go into a deep recession. GDP will fall, CO2 discharges will drop, and your "peak" will become a peak for all the wrong reasons.

3. Finally, the preferable and sadly, impossible scenario. Obama is reelected and the congress suddenly becomes rational. The Treasury is directed to print a pile of money and all the money is spent on renewables, and energy infrastructure (power lines, energy storage, EV charging stations, etc.). The GDP goes up and your "peak" becomes a real peak! A peak from which we could derive hope and pride in the US.


Here is the raw data. You plot as you like.


Second column is GDP-US $ Billion Nominal.
Third column is CO2-US Million Tonnes.

1990 5800.5 5022
1991 5992.1 4976
1992 6342.3 5083
1993 6667.4 5203
1994 7085.2 5290
1995 7414.7 5342
1996 7838.5 5526
1997 8332.4 5595
1998 8793.5 5627
1999 9353.5 5695
2000 9951.5 5886
2001 10286.2 5797
2002 10642.3 5849
2003 11142.2 5909
2004 11853.3 6010
2005 12623 6029
2006 13377.2 5929
2007 14028.7 6017
2008 14369.1 5839
2009 13939 5425
2010 14526.5 5634

If you look at the data, every single year post 2005 shows higher GDP and lowwe CO2. For the two years pre-recession GDP rises and CO2 stays almost level.

Peak occurs in 2005. That is the highest CO2 emissions for the time period listed.

Google charts do not let you label the right axis.

I gave you the units in the line keys - "GDP-US $ Billion Nominal" and "CO2-US Million Tonnes"

"Now, if you man up and admit that without the current economic problems there would be no "peak" we are communicating."

This, I will not do. The data that I have unearthed to date does not support your claim.

Something post 2005 is different. Things became different prior to the economic crash.

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207. Neapolitan
11:09 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
To perhaps bolster my claim that climate change awareness is decidedly not adequate:
A number of the world's professional climate scientists are perplexed by -- and in some cases furious with -- American news directors.

"Malpractice!" is typical of the charges this reporter has heard highly respected climate experts level -- privately, off the record -- at my professional colleagues over the past few years.

Complaints include what seems to the scientists a willful omission of overwhelming evidence the new droughts and floods are worsened by man made global warming, and unquestioning repetition, gullible at best, of transparent anti-science propaganda credibly reported to be funded by fossil fuel interests and anti-regulation allies.

As scientific reports about the speedy advance and devastating impacts of man made global warming have grown steadily more alarming, surveys have shown most mainstream American news organizations covering it less and less over the past two years.

Even during this hot summer, when inescapable bad news about the warming climate from around the United States and the world has forced its way into main stream media coverage, it has usually been reported only in a reactive and literal event-coverage sort of way.

There's been little of the persistent probing analysis and regular coverage scientists say is urgently needed for a grave planet-wide crisis -- reporting of the kind surveys show there was much more of in mainstream coverage up until two years ago.
(Source: Bill Blakemore, ABC News)

It's an excellent and informative read by a veteran journalist; I'd suggest it to anyone trying to find the truth. Blakemore conjectures--and he's not alone in doing so--that much denialism, both of the overt profit-motivated Koch Brothers kind and the far more subtle this-can't-possibly-really-be-happening-to-us variety, is motivated by the sheer enormity of the issue. It is, after all, the largest problem modern man has faced; it's no wonder that, humans being humans and all, some of us simply say, "Well, hold on; this can't be as bad as everyone says. We can fix this."
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13292
206. pintada
10:41 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
First, I want to share that i spent the day processing corn. We cut it off the cob, vacuum pack it and then freeze it. Great feeling!

Rookie in post 189 pointed out that he thinks BobWallace is an honorable person (if i am interpreting his post correctly). Ok Rookie, lets look at that "peak".

The remainder of this post refers back to post 190 by BobWallace:

Thank you, Bob! There is the chart i requested, in all its glory including that lovely "peak". Yes, "peak" not peak. The quotes will become clear as i proceed.

First some constructive criticism of the chart itself:
1. The y axis are not well labeled. I assume GDP is the numbers on the left, but, i'm not sure. Its easy to put $ on the left and tons on the right.
2. Change the scale of the CO2 discharges so that it takes up more vertical space. The "peak" will become easier to see.
3. You should dump the bar chart and use lines. If you do, you can plot CO2 production by economic sector to show that electricity generation is the source of the "peak".

The chart shows an economic downturn in 2008. If you put a ruler on your screen and extend the GDP trend to the present you will see that GDP would be ~$16 trillion if the downturn didn't happen. Doing the same thing for CO2 discharges makes your "peak" go poof. The very small increase in renewables would make the trend go flatter, but if the economic downturn did not happen, there would be no "peak". This is my main point. I admit that your "peak" exists. And I admit that it is in part caused by the use of renewables and natural gas. Now, if you man up and admit that without the current economic problems there would be no "peak" we are communicating.

We should be on the same page up until the present. I will offer three future scenarios for your amusement.

1. Obama is reelected. If he is, the treasury will do QE3. That is the Treasury will print money and use it to buy bonds. If QE3 works, Americans will go out and buy houses that they do not need and cheap chinese crap, and the GDP will go up. When GDP goes up, it will naturally pull CO2 discharges up, and your "peak" will go poof.

2. Romney is elected. If he is, he will implement the Ryan budget. The Ryan budget is perhaps the stupidest fiscal plan that has been proposed since 1937. If substantial parts of it are implemented, the economy will go into a deep recession. GDP will fall, CO2 discharges will drop, and your "peak" will become a peak for all the wrong reasons.

3. Finally, the preferable and sadly, impossible scenario. Obama is reelected and the congress suddenly becomes rational. The Treasury is directed to print a pile of money and all the money is spent on renewables, and energy infrastructure (power lines, energy storage, EV charging stations, etc.). The GDP goes up and your "peak" becomes a real peak! A peak from which we could derive hope and pride in the US.
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205. SteveDa1
8:24 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
It's funny because I don't perceive myself as an optimist or a pessimist. Some days I feel total despair for the human race, on others I'm quite looking forward to the future. What makes me most hopeful is with the melting of the polar ice-cap and the rise in sea levels, I know science will gain much more respect. I can't, however, settle on one state of mind. Who can tell for sure what the future holds, right? Evidence points to worldly catastrophes (if you think about today's politics) but evidence also points to a bright future (if you think about the science). So essentially, I like Neapolitan's methodical posts as much as I like Bob's optimistic posts...

Just thought I'd join in...
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204. BobWallace
7:15 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
Quoting Neapolitan:
Okay, this is where I have step off this particular merry-go-round, for you and I are going in circles, and I can see that you've become agitated enough at me that you're beginning to hurl unnecessary insults my way. As I said the other day, you and I will just have to agree to disagree. You're quite obviously more optimistic about our situation than am I, as I am more pessimistic about it than you. I don't intend to even try to change your mind on this matter, and you're not likely to change mine. C'est la vie...

I did think, however, that I had made it clear in an earlier comment--and others before it--that I'm all about far more than "doing nothing more than talking about doom". But if accusing me of that makes you feel better, by all means go right ahead; you'll be joining a long list of those who don't like what I have to say, or how I say it. ;-)

You are also certainly free to express your opinion that "it's time for those most concerned about climate change to start doing something about it". And I'll agree with that, though I'd add to that my own opinion: it's also time for those most concerned about climate change to stop acting as if the problem isn't as bad as it is. Anything less than the full truth of the disaster we're facing only feeds the fossil fuelists and their baseless fantasies of eternal oil and coal profits with zero consequences to the planet or those living on it. (I'd also note--again--that chronicling and publicizing the changing climate is doing something about it.)

And with that, peace out! ;-)


You've chosen to take my comments personally. I did not aim them at you, but posted them in an attempt to get the "community" to engage in a bit of self-reflection.

Peace out yourself. And look for solutions.
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203. Neapolitan
6:53 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
Quoting BobWallace:


If you do nothing more than talk about doom you may be a doomer.

IMO it's time for those most concerned about climate change to start doing something about it.

Part of doing something is recognizing what works and when we are making progress. If we ignore the positive then we risk spinning into the void of defeat.
Okay, this is where I have step off this particular merry-go-round, for you and I are going in circles, and I can see that you've become agitated enough at me that you're beginning to hurl unnecessary insults my way. As I said the other day, you and I will just have to agree to disagree. You're quite obviously more optimistic about our situation than am I, as I am more pessimistic about it than you. I don't intend to even try to change your mind on this matter, and you're not likely to change mine. C'est la vie...

I did think, however, that I had made it clear in an earlier comment--and others before it--that I'm all about far more than "doing nothing more than talking about doom". But if accusing me of that makes you feel better, by all means go right ahead; you'll be joining a long list of those who don't like what I have to say, or how I say it. ;-)

You are also certainly free to express your opinion that "it's time for those most concerned about climate change to start doing something about it". And I'll agree with that, though I'd add to that my own opinion: it's also time for those most concerned about climate change to stop acting as if the problem isn't as bad as it is. Anything less than the full truth of the disaster we're facing only feeds the fossil fuelists and their baseless fantasies of eternal oil and coal profits with zero consequences to the planet or those living on it. (I'd also note--again--that chronicling and publicizing the changing climate is doing something about it.)

And with that, peace out! ;-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13292
202. Some1Has2BtheRookie
6:00 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
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Member Since: August 24, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 4728
201. BobWallace
5:19 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWR) just signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with California utility Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) for delivery of the 100-megawatt (AC) Henrietta Solar Project in Kings County, Calif. The project could create up to 200 jobs during construction and send $72.7 million into the local economy.

....

For a twenty-year PPA with production beginning in 2016, the MPR is $0.104 per kilowatt-hour.


Link

This is great news. Solar poised to break a dime per kWh. Affordable solar and cheap wind help close down coal plants.
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
200. BobWallace
3:56 PM GMT on September 10, 2012
U.S. solar achieved its second-best quarter in history, having installed 742 megawatts of solar power, and the best quarter on record for the utility market segment. Utility installations hit 477 megawatts in the second quarter, with eight states posting utility installations of 10 megawatts or greater: California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Illinois, North Carolina, New Mexico, and New Jersey. In total, the U.S. now has 5,700 megawatts of installed solar capacity, enough to power more than 940,000 households.

“The U.S. solar industry is rapidly growing and creating jobs across America despite the slow economic recovery,” said Rhone Resch, president and CEO of SEIA. “More solar was installed in the U.S. this quarter than in all of 2009, led for the first time by record-setting utility-scale projects. With costs continuing to come down, solar is affordable today for more homes, businesses, utilities, and the military. Smart, consistent, long-term policy is driving the innovation and investment that’s making solar a larger share of our overall energy mix.”




Link
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344
199. BobWallace
3:40 PM GMT on September 10, 2012


If you do nothing more than talk about doom you may be a doomer.

IMO it's time for those most concerned about climate change to start doing something about it.

Part of doing something is recognizing what works and when we are making progress. If we ignore the positive then we risk spinning into the void of defeat.
Member Since: February 22, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 1344

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About RickyRood

I'm a professor at U Michigan and lead a course on climate change problem solving. These articles often come from and contribute to the course.

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