Reaction to President Obama’s Speech: A U.S. Climate Action Plan?

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 9:38 PM GMT on June 25, 2013

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Reaction to President Obama’s Speech: A U.S. Climate Action Plan?

Here are my reaction and initial analysis of President Obama’s Speech on Climate Change (June 25, 2013). Also below are the post I made before the speech and a previous 2012 blog on Obama’s policy actions on climate change. (Just for comparison 2009 Obama Speech on Climate Change)

The president pulled together many of the challenges of climate change into the most unified position statement on climate change I have seen on the national level. He invoked the Clean Air Act and its bipartisan history as well as relying on statements about the legacy that one generation leaves for the next. He pointed out environmental actions by Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush and John McCain. He even took climate change back to the Founding Fathers with a call for acting as caretakers of the future. (It’s like he has been sitting in on my class. Perhaps, he’s one of the people leaving comments on the blog? Come forth!)

A thread throughout the speech was carbon dioxide as a pollutant. Carbon dioxide was legally affirmed as a pollutant by the April 2, 2007, decision by the Supreme Court (at climatepolicy.org). This ruling provided a path to start dealing with climate change through regulatory means. Since the 2007 ruling, efforts to have the Environmental Protection Agency regulate carbon dioxide have waxed and waned. There have been pushes at times, always stymied by bipartisan concerns about damaging the recovering economy.

Obama made the point that the tension between the economy and the environment in general is not always a matter where it comes at the detriment of the economy. Again, he made numerous references to past policy and regulation decisions, for example, on acid rain, and pointed out that they did not lead to the demise of industry, commerce and the economy. Obama advocated the ability of American business to innovate and expose opportunity. Going further, he noted that a number of major businesses have declared climate change one of America’s greatest economic opportunities. This line of argument reveals the normally exploited environment-economy tradeoff as too simplistic, if not fundamentally spurious. Obama injected the welfare of our children into the environment-economic tradeoff.

With regard to concrete action, the most direct target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions was power plants. Power plants, notably coal-fired power plants, are the source of about 40 percent of current U.S. emissions. Many other power-plant pollutants are regulated, for example, mercury and sulfur. Power plants are relatively easy to target because they don’t move around like cars and trucks. Regulation of power plants is already occurring in some states and regions, and Obama framed this point as the federal government catching up.

Our move to natural gas was counted as a success and posed as a bridge between today’s coal and oil and future carbon-free energy sources. The need for an integrated energy policy was implied, with Obama noting that energy policy was greater than drilling for oil and and a single pipeline crossing the U.S. from Canada. Queuing up the Keystone Pipeline decision, Obama stated that the pipeline had to be in our national interest and cannot significantly enhance carbon pollution.

With regard to renewable energy, Obama emphasized wind energy. Wind energy is taking root in both politically liberal and conservative parts of the U.S. and through its local economic presence, gaining bipartisan support. He also emphasized the need to become players with Germany and China, both of which are investing heavily in renewables. This German and Chinese investment is my reason for speculating that if we don’t play in this field we will be left at economic and policy disadvantage by 2020. The president committed the government to having 20 percent of its energy from renewables. He pointed out the aggressive efforts of the Department of Defense to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to adapt to climate change.

With regard to what is happening now, Obama talked about how states are already responding to climate-related challenges and, therefore, are building responses to climate change. There is climate change that we cannot avoid, and globally, our emissions are on an upward trajectory. He specifically noted that Miami is trying to mitigate salt-water intrusion and that the Texas Water Development Board is developing strategies for dealing with extended and extreme drought. Obama also talked about rebuilding of the New York City coastline with smarter, more resilient infrastructure.

As the final leg in the proposed action plan, Obama committed to increasing the nation’s presence in international efforts to address climate change. He lauded the climate benefits of U.S.-China agreement to reduce hydrochlorofluorocarbons, alarmingly powerful greenhouse gases. He challenged the old argument that less developed countries would for some reason have to evolve through the same phases of energy use and pollution as the developed countries, calling for free trade in environmental technologies to leap past that historical polluting phase of development. He called for ambitious, inclusive and flexible approaches to addressing greenhouse gas emissions.

What was missing from the speech? We have to get a handle on agriculture and its role in climate change. It’s even more complex than greenhouse gas emissions – land-use, livestock, deforestation and emissions. And a more subtle issue, which will be relevant to Keystone Pipeline decision. If we sell our coal and facilitate the use of tar sands, are we exporting emissions? How will this national jobs issue play with the The President’s Climate Action Plan?

I expect that many will label the speech as too pragmatic, without the dramatic flare than the global warming might warrant. During the speech, one of my former students wrote me that it was amazing to hear a U.S. president talking about climate adaptation. In my earlier blog today, I wrote about language. My student’s amazement reflects the power of language. In 2007 adaptation was essentially a forbidden word in government circles; it had been for many years. I do not want to diminish or exaggerate the potential of this speech to bring climate change back into the political quagmire. The speech pulls together the climate change problem better than it has ever been pulled together at the national level, and these words of climate change, global warming, adaptation, mitigation, resilience, etc. have to be in our vocabulary if we are to take a responsible position on a sustainable future. What matters after a speech like this is follow up – the hard management that leads to real action and the initiation of policies and programs to make our response to climate change as unified as the problem is stated in Obama’s speech.


Published earlier on June 25, 2013:

Anticipating President Obama Speech: A U.S. Climate Action Plan?

Today President Obama is planning a major speech that will reintroduce climate change as a spoken-of issue into U.S. politics. There has been a lot of pre-speech publicity, for example Youtube and the speech will be broadcast live, currently scheduled at 1:55 PM Eastern. There has already been some information released including The President’s Climate Action Plan and a shorter Fact Sheet.

I will take The President’s Climate Action Plan as a logical outline for the speech. There are three major bullets in the outline:

Cut Carbon Pollution in America

Prepare the United States for the Impacts of Climate Change

Lead International Efforts to Combat Global Climate Change and Prepare for its Impacts

The outline covers mitigation, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and adaptation, anticipating and responding to the impacts of climate change. Looking more deeply into the plan, Obama is resetting some of the political battles that have proved and will be most contentious, for example, reduction of subsidies for fossil fuels (conservative support), and public sector financing of clean energy. This will queue up the issues of the Keystone Pipeline, which will remain a complex and difficult decision for the near future. The Keystone Pipeline will be viewed as a measure of the seriousness of administration’s commitment.

Before the speech, I expect its most important aspect will be reintroducing the language of climate change into the political process ( earlier blog on language barriers). To continue to avoid the words climate, climate change and adaptation is damaging to our country’s credibility, economic well-being, technological development, our environment and our future. If we do not take a leadership position, I suspect that by 2020 we will be put into a distinct policy disadvantage as emerging use of renewables in other large economies becomes both economical and influential in the development of trade policy. We are living in a world where the words climate and climate change are scrubbed from documents and they are the legislative targets in the disruptive and destructive ongoing political tribalism. Though a single speech will not end this tribalism, it will start to break down the language barriers, especially as the impacts of weather, climate, climate variability and climate change become more apparent to more and more people.

The last long piece I wrote on policy was just prior to the 2012 election. I reproduce some of this below in anticipation of examining the speech after it is delivered.

Excerpts from Election eve: Climate Science and the 2012 Election – Redux (2)

Originally posted November 4, 2012

Climate change was thrown prominently into the headlines, when Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York City endorsed President Obama, citing at the top of the list Hurricane Sandy and the need to address climate change. Though to my knowledge New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has not made any recent statements about climate change, his tour of the hurricane damage with President Obama has ignited a number of anti-climate change pieces and suggestions that the governor has strayed from the conservative mantra. Hurricane Sandy has put climate change into the headlines, and perhaps made it a small issue for the election, but it is not back as a substantive political issue.

If we look back over the past 4 years, then there are a couple of moments when climate change did appear overtly on the political agenda. Most prominently was in 2009 when the House or Representatives passed the Waxman-Markey, American Clean Energy and Security Act. (my blog at the time) The bill did not go very far in the political process. It was part of the run up to the 2009 United Nations Conference of the Parties (COP15) in Copenhagen. The other significant policy posturing prior to COP15 was U.S. EPA’s decision to regulate carbon dioxide. The threat of regulation is often a policy motivator in the U.S. Ultimately; however, any EPA action was burdened by strong bipartisan opposition to any action that would imperil the role of fossil fuels in the economic recovery.

After COP15 I felt that the U.S. had lost any leadership potential that it might have had on the global stage of climate policy. I also felt that we were squandering technological and economic advantage. I made a prediction prior to COP15: “I imagine that the machinations of legislation and lobbying will push climate change legislation close enough to the mid-term election that it will languish next to health care and Afghanistan and the economy. I think that there will be climate legislation, but I bet that it will be early in year 4 of the Obama administration, with its passage dependent on what Obama’s re-election looks like.”

So that prediction was wrong. What I did not anticipate was the sweeping change in the mid-term election that amplified the political attack on climate change, as well as an attack in general on the use of scientific information in policy and regulation. This attack on the use of knowledge in policy, which is complemented by assaults on very small parts of the U.S. federal budget in the name of budget cutting, only amplifies my concern that the U.S. is placing itself at technological, economic, and, now, research disadvantage. I would insert into the argument about, for instance, the bankruptcy of Solyndra, that our unstable policy on technological investment delayed U.S. development while foreign competitors built effective and market-friendly alternatives. We simply came to the game too late. The fragmented up-and-down nature of both energy and climate policy hurts us every day. For example, we are currently enamored of cheap natural gas and its potential to revitalize industry. This is a great local and short-term benefit. As far as climate policy, it does not serve as convincing reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, there are other environmental challenges with the acquisition of natural gas that will emerge rapidly in the next few years. Therefore, as far as energy policy, it is only short-term opportunism.

Despite the flurry of chatter of climate change as an issue that has followed Superstorm (nee Hurricane) Sandy, it is difficult to look across such a close election and see climate change emerging as a substantive issue on a national scale. To make progress on this issue requires support in the legislative branch. I expect that tribal partisanship will continue, and I hope that we spend our first quota of bipartisan behavior on stabilizing the federal budget, dealing with political-economic sequestration, and reconciling continuing resolutions. Thinking about voting, more than climate change in particular, the continued assault on science and the use of science-derived knowledge is, fundamentally, part of the threat to our thriving. This notion of American exceptionalism takes on the hollow boosterism of Dust Bowl towns, which looked knowledge in the eyes and denied its existence. The world is changing in ways that we do not control, and it will not be good if we are the ones reliant on burning stuff for our way of life.

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Quoting 283. outrocket:
Still has zilch to do with the validity of the science, the argument is moot. who is arguing? You? Nobody here is arguing the science we were discussing the politics,if you understand the science then the politics should be easy as deep as the science is.... If this was not a political issue and science only, why do both sides of the argument need people to lobby and raise money from the two political parties? Without politics neither side of the argument will ever prevail. So the most important aspect now for both sides is POLITICS ...like it or not.


It's not an issue of liking or not. It's an issue that when people start discussing the finer points of politics, they usually start acting like asses because that actual finer points of political discussion are lost on people. There is no argument occurring in politics on this issue, there is one side telling the truth and another side blatantly lying to the people of America and probably themselves.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 5367
Still has zilch to do with the validity of the science, the argument is moot. who is arguing? You? Nobody here is arguing the science we were discussing the politics,if you understand the science then the politics should be easy as deep as the science is.... If this was not a political issue and science only, why do both sides of the argument need people to lobby and raise money from the two political parties? Without politics neither side of the argument will ever prevail. So the most important aspect now for both sides is POLITICS ...like it or not.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 281. ILwthrfan:
I have a question? I did not know if anyone could help me out with a link to an article on the topic?

RTS Player a day or two ago brought up a rather interesting point about ice core drilling and it's accuracy at that given point in which it was taken, versus the rate of flow in which the ice flowed off the sheet over time scale of several thousands or hundreds of thousands of years.

If you take an ice core sample at point (x,y) and that core is to translate down to a time scale from young to old as you work your way down the core, how do they factor in the rate of ice flow that has occurred at that said point (x,y) over the same time scale?

RTS brought the point up that if the ice sheet flowed at an average (x) rate of feet per year over said time scale, how do they define all the ice they have sampled at the said point to have accumulated at that point over the time frame?

I would think that over a given time scale what ice had been accumulating at the summit of the Greenland, would eventually work it's way to the sea? Would this imply a limited time frame that ice can date back to?

Thanks.

Jared


I believe the ice core samples are layered, much like tree rings, and it's the layer count which gives the age, so flow rate would be irrelevant.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have a question? I did not know if anyone could help me out with a link to an article on the topic?

RTS Player a day or two ago brought up a rather interesting point about ice core drilling and it's accuracy at that given point in which it was taken, versus the rate of flow in which the ice flowed off the sheet over time scale of several thousands or hundreds of thousands of years.

If you take an ice core sample at point (x,y) and that core is to translate down to a time scale from young to old as you work your way down the core, how do they factor in the rate of ice flow that has occurred at that said point (x,y) over the same time scale?

RTS brought the point up that if the ice sheet flowed at an average (x) rate of feet per year over said time scale, how do they define all the ice they have sampled at the said point to have accumulated at that point over the time frame?

I would think that over a given time scale what ice had been accumulating at the summit of the Greenland, would eventually work it's way to the sea? Would this imply a limited time frame that ice can date back to?

Thanks.

Jared
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 274. outrocket:
If I really believed in AGW then the last thing I would want is a President wrapped up in scandal after scandal with dropping public opinion ratings to champion my cause...If he goes down then all he believes in goes down with him. That's a huge risk and will be the nail in the coffin politically for AGW forever.


No, that's untrue. We are a very selfish society. We don't believe in things until we experience them. When the effects of a warming world start becoming more and more frequent, visible, and causing big issues, the same people who denied so loudly will be screaming for help so loudly. See behavioral evidence: Sandy; West, TX; etc.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 5367
Quoting 276. outrocket:
NOT political?????Sorry but it is now. Science or not politicians are involved and when that happens even science becomes politics which is the reason now for most deniers of your science is it not?
Quoting 277. philhoey:


Not trying to be smart, but as soon as a politician get involved in science it goes to blazes like a freight train with brakes. All they see are votes and money.


Still has zilch to do with the validity of the science, the argument is moot.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 5367
An update on Earth’s energy balance in light of the
latest global observations


Climate change is governed by changes to the global energy balance. At the top of the atmosphere, this balance is monitored
globally by satellite sensors that provide measurements of energy flowing to and from Earth. By contrast, observations at the surface are limited mostly to land areas. As a result, the global balance of energy fluxes within the atmosphere or at Earth’s surface cannot be derived directly from measured fluxes, and is therefore uncertain. This lack of precise knowledge of surface energy fluxes profoundly affects our ability to understand how Earth’s climate responds to increasing concentrations
of greenhouse gases. In light of compilations of up-to-date surface and satellite data, the surface energy balance needs to be revised. Specifically, the longwave radiation received at the surface is estimated to be significantly larger, by between 10 and 17 Wm–2, than earlier model-based estimates. Moreover, the latest satellite observations of global precipitation indicate that
more precipitation is generated than previously thought. This additional precipitation is sustained by more energy leaving the surface by evaporation — that is, in the form of latent heat flux — and thereby offsets much of the increase in longwave flux to the surface.


Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4316
Quoting 275. SouthernIllinois:

Um last time I check the science behind AGW does not revolve around a political agenda or a political figure. The science itself is a sound and completely separate entity and is not influenced by what goes on with the White House or people's perception thereof. Furthermore the science behind AGW isn't affirmed by one's belief but rather one's ability to accept the science or not.

Natalie


Not trying to be smart, but as soon as a politician get involved in science it goes to blazes like a freight train with brakes. All they see are votes and money.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
NOT political?????Sorry but it is now. Science or not politicians are involved and when that happens even science becomes politics which is the reason now for most deniers of your science is it not?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
If I really believed in AGW then the last thing I would want is a President wrapped up in scandal after scandal with dropping public opinion ratings to champion my cause...If he goes down then all he believes in goes down with him. That's a huge risk and will be the nail in the coffin politically for AGW forever.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Methane Scrutiny in Obama Climate Plan May Cost Drillers
Bloomberg, by Mark Drajem - Jun 28, 2013 6:00 AM GMT 0200

Video: World's Largest Solar Boat: $19M With Endless Range
June 26 (Bloomberg) -- There was something unusual anchored in Manhattan's North Cove Marina last week, a giant catamaran covered in solar panels. PlanetSolar, the world's largest solar-powered boat, Is currently on a scientific expedition in the North Atlantic, powered solely by the sun. Bloomberg News found out about PlanetSolar, its legendary captain and how it's changing the future of nautical exploration.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 270. Birthmark:

But the universe is. Go figure.


Like this?




Have you seen the Starswithabang blog, Ethan has a bunch of interesting physics and even even better, fanatastic images.
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4316
Quoting 259. FLwolverine:
I'm not sure that repeated quotes from Wikipedia articles is "learning". Why do you suppose AG is doing that? Has he abandoned Dr Spencer as his authoritative source?

Oh, well, most of us have tried to have a discussion with AG at one time or another. He never actually engages in one. Perhaps you will have better luck.


There is an old saying that applies here:

"you can always tell a Stanford man, but you can't tell him much."
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4316
Bee crisis: UK government launches 'urgent' review
Defra pledges to introduce a national pollinator strategy after huge pressure for a bee action plan from scientists and public
Damian Carrington / guardian.co.uk, Friday 28 June 2013 11.19 BST

Quote from this article: "Poor weather last winter led to the death of a third of all honeybee colonies in England."
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 260. Patrap:
Walking side by side with death
The devil mocks their every step
The snow drives back the foot that's slow
The dogs of doom are howling more
They carry news that must get through
To build a dream for me and you
They choose the path that where no one goes
They hold no quarter,
They ask no quarter,
They hold no quarter,
They ask no quarter...they think about no quarter...With no quarter quarter



Published on Jun 21, 2013

Visit http://science.nasa.gov/ for breaking science news.

Arctic permafrost soils contain more accumulated carbon than all the human fossil-fuel emissions since 1850 combined. Warming Arctic permafrost, poised to release its own gases into the atmosphere, could be the "sleeping giant" of climate change.


Great Video Find Pat! An excellent example that communicates climate science in a way that shows the meaning of the story behind the science!
Member Since: February 2, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 904
Several locations in the Northwest Territories and northern Alberta will get--according to the forecasts--within 1 or 2 degrees Celsius of their all-time highs with the coming heat wave. That is, temperatures as high as the mid 90's.

Kamloops, BC is expected to reach 104F this tuesday. Their all-time record high is 105F set on July 31st, 1971.

High 90's and low 100's are expected all over the interior of BC next week...
Member Since: October 17, 2006 Posts: 60 Comments: 1311
Quoting 263. allahgore:
When water gets colder than 32 degrees Fahrenheit or zero degrees Celsius, it freezes into ice. As the water gets colder, the molecules of water lose their energy and move more slowly - that's what it means to be colder. When the molecules move more slowly, it is easier for them to hook on to each other by sharing electrons. When enough of the molecules hook on to each other, they form a pattern that looks like a bunch of hexagons, all locked in together, and that is ice. Because the molecules are all locked into place, ice is hard and stiff.

Ice crystals
Molecular structure of ice

When water freezes into ice, it takes up about 9 per cent more room than it did when it was water. That's because when the water molecules are locked together, they are farther apart from each other than when they are bouncing around loose as a liquid. It's as if you were standing in a crowd of people, and then you were standing in a crowd of people all holding hands with their elbows straight and their arms sticking straight out from their bodies. The people would be further apart than before.

Water with salt in it, like in the oceans, can freeze too, but it won't freeze until it gets much colder than fresh water ice. That's because the salt molecules arrange themselves around the water molecules like little fences and keep the water molecules from hooking together. But if it gets cold enough, about 28.5 degrees Fahrenheit or -2 Celsius, ocean water will freeze too.

Because it's cold in space, the water in space is mostly in the form of ice. Most of the water in the universe is probably in the form of ice. On Mars, and on the moons of Jupiter, there is also a lot of ice.

On Earth, the temperature is often just right to have liquid water, which is good because water is necessary for all life on Earth. But still a lot of the water on Earth is in the form of ice. At some times in the past, like during the Proterozoic period about two billion years ago, the whole Earth was probably covered in ice. The last major glacial period, when ice covered the Earth as far south as Krakow in Russia, and almost all of Canada, ended about 10,000 years ago, but another glacial period could start again anytime - we don't really know what makes them start. The glacial periods, when there is a lot of ice, are much longer than the warmer periods like the one we are in now.


And your point is?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 134 Comments: 20780
Quoting 263. allahgore:
When water gets colder than 32 degrees Fahrenheit or zero degrees Celsius, it freezes into ice. As the water gets colder, the molecules of water lose their energy and move more slowly - that's what it means to be colder. When the molecules move more slowly, it is easier for them to hook on to each other by sharing electrons. When enough of the molecules hook on to each other, they form a pattern that looks like a bunch of hexagons, all locked in together, and that is ice. Because the molecules are all locked into place, ice is hard and stiff.

Ice crystals
Molecular structure of ice

When water freezes into ice, it takes up about 9 per cent more room than it did when it was water. That's because when the water molecules are locked together, they are farther apart from each other than when they are bouncing around loose as a liquid. It's as if you were standing in a crowd of people, and then you were standing in a crowd of people all holding hands with their elbows straight and their arms sticking straight out from their bodies. The people would be further apart than before.

Water with salt in it, like in the oceans, can freeze too, but it won't freeze until it gets much colder than fresh water ice. That's because the salt molecules arrange themselves around the water molecules like little fences and keep the water molecules from hooking together. But if it gets cold enough, about 28.5 degrees Fahrenheit or -2 Celsius, ocean water will freeze too.

Because it's cold in space, the water in space is mostly in the form of ice. Most of the water in the universe is probably in the form of ice. On Mars, and on the moons of Jupiter, there is also a lot of ice.

On Earth, the temperature is often just right to have liquid water, which is good because water is necessary for all life on Earth. But still a lot of the water on Earth is in the form of ice. At some times in the past, like during the Proterozoic period about two billion years ago, the whole Earth was probably covered in ice. The last major glacial period, when ice covered the Earth as far south as Krakow in Russia, and almost all of Canada, ended about 10,000 years ago, but another glacial period could start again anytime - we don't really know what makes them start. The glacial periods, when there is a lot of ice, are much longer than the warmer periods like the one we are in now.

Very good!
"another glacial period could start again anytime - we don't really know what makes them start."
Geologists have some pretty good ideas about this based in physical evidence...layers of volcanic ash or asteroid debris scattered over large areas of the world and found in sediments.
Often a layer of planet wide dust fallout is used to identify the age of local sedimentary formations.
Geology is cool. So is chemistry.
Keep learning, keep sharing.
Member Since: February 2, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 904
Quoting 258. Some1Has2BtheRookie:


Will they let us nominate Tim DeChristopher as the Secretary of the Interior?! ... Does anyone have the number to Obama's hot line?

Was very happy to see you point out on Dr. Masters blog earlier that the quantum aspects of gravity have yet to be explained Some1Has2BtheRookie. You beat me to it!

The standard model is based upon conservation of energy...thermodynamics.
We have a very good confidence in conservation of energy based upon experiment from the quantum to cosmic scales.
Gravity at a quantum scale is a horse of a different color.
I respect Levi, and truly enjoy his website TropicalTidBits, because he educates.
What I learned from the discussions is that we each have ares of expertise...and when we stray into unfamiliar territories of knowledge we are liable to say silly things.
I trust the integrity of the scientific method and those who hold that ideology dear.
A consensus among scientists is meaningful.
Science is the closest we can come to knowing the truth about life, the universe, and everything.
We welcome rational skepticism and rational arguments of other scientists because the arguments are based upon repeatable observations.
We inform those skeptics who are not stubborn out of willful ignorance or unable to free their thinking from a dogmatic ideology based upon the supernatural.

For those who understand harmonics and amplification in real systems the impact of AGW is mind numbing and the urgency of educating the public is clear.

The challenge lies in trying to communicate climate change science with those who do not understand the scientific method, cannot think in the rational language of mathematics, and do not trust scientists that present explanations which are contrary to the teaching of ancient supernatural mythologies they hold sacred.

I learned from the AGU Chapman conference that for the lay public a picture of a lone polar bear on an ice flow or a dying coral reef coupled with a story is much more effective than a graph of the delta of ice volume or the delta of ocean ph.

Trolls provide an opportunity for honing our "emotional" communication skills with those not versed in science.
Member Since: February 2, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 904
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 437 Comments: 134774
Will they let us nominate Tim DeChristopher as the Secretary of the Interior?! ... Does anyone have the number to Obama's hot line?

Now there's a thought.

; )
Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 437 Comments: 134774
Walking side by side with death
The devil mocks their every step
The snow drives back the foot that's slow
The dogs of doom are howling more
They carry news that must get through
To build a dream for me and you
They choose the path that where no one goes
They hold no quarter,
They ask no quarter,
They hold no quarter,
They ask no quarter...they think about no quarter...With no quarter quarter



Published on Jun 21, 2013

Visit http://science.nasa.gov/ for breaking science news.

Arctic permafrost soils contain more accumulated carbon than all the human fossil-fuel emissions since 1850 combined. Warming Arctic permafrost, poised to release its own gases into the atmosphere, could be the "sleeping giant" of climate change.

Member Since: July 3, 2005 Posts: 437 Comments: 134774
Quoting 257. zampaz:

"The earth is warm because of the sun. That is pretty obvious." You are learning...
The Earth is above freezing because the Atmosphere traps enough infrared radiation to maintain liquid oceans. This is often referred to as the greenhouse effect, and without GHG's it has been estimated that the Earth's temperature would be 60F cooler. (don't have a source on that at the moment).
It is the heat capacity of our atmosphere that is changing rapidly. Radical changes in heat capacity in the atmosphere in either direction result in major impacts to not only climate but the biosphere as well.
Climate is the manifestation of thermodynamics, as the balance solar of energy input, planetary heat absorption, and energy re-radiating into space balance out.
Data shows the temperature increasing.
Data shows solar input within normal cyclic variability.
Every indication is that the heat capacity of the atmosphere is changing.
I'm not sure that repeated quotes from Wikipedia articles is "learning". Why do you suppose AG is doing that? Has he abandoned Dr Spencer as his authoritative source?

Oh, well, most of us have tried to have a discussion with AG at one time or another. He never actually engages in one. Perhaps you will have better luck.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 239. Xandra:
Tim DeChristopher was interviewed by David Letterman on 25 June 2013. His story is worth listening to.

David Letterman - Environmental Activist, Tim DeChristopher




Will they let us nominate Tim DeChristopher as the Secretary of the Interior?! ... Does anyone have the number to Obama's hot line?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 240. allahgore:
The earth is warm because of the sun. That is pretty obvious. But, more specifically, the sun lets off radiation waves that go through the atmosphere, some being absorbed by the ozone in the stratosphere, others absorbed by the dust and clouds in the air, some reflected back into the air, but most absorbed by the land and water on the earth's surface. The water lets off heat into the air through convection - the transfer of heat through fluids. The solid ground lets off inferred rays which also contributes to the warming of the air. That is how earth is warmed. :)

"The earth is warm because of the sun. That is pretty obvious." You are learning...
The Earth is above freezing because the Atmosphere traps enough infrared radiation to maintain liquid oceans. This is often referred to as the greenhouse effect, and without GHG's it has been estimated that the Earth's temperature would be 60F cooler. (don't have a source on that at the moment).
It is the heat capacity of our atmosphere that is changing rapidly. Radical changes in heat capacity in the atmosphere in either direction result in major impacts to not only climate but the biosphere as well.
Climate is the manifestation of thermodynamics, as the balance solar of energy input, planetary heat absorption, and energy re-radiating into space balance out.
Data shows the temperature increasing.
Data shows solar input within normal cyclic variability.
Every indication is that the heat capacity of the atmosphere is changing.
Member Since: February 2, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 904
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Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 134 Comments: 20780
Quoting 238. Naga5000:


He comes back from a ban and starts playing the same games again. He needs to be removed from this blog permanently. Repeated trolling should get you booted.

CB gave me the opportunity to learn how to use the ignore function.
Member Since: February 2, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 904
Obama State Dept. Leaving Citizens in the Dark About Exact Keystone XL Pipeline Route

Believe it or not, the precise route of TransCanada's Keystone XL tar sands pipeline remains shrouded in mystery.

Of course, both TransCanada and the U.S. State Department have revealed basic Keystone XL route maps. And those who follow the issue closely know the pipeline would carry Alberta's tar sands diluted bitumen or "dilbit" southward to Port Arthur, TX refineries and then be exported to the global market.

But the real path is still a secret: the actual route of KXL is still cloaked in secrecy. Case in point: the travails of Thomas Bachand, Founder and Director of the Keystone Mapping Project.

"I started out wanting to scout the route for a potential photography project. So I went looking for a map, and discovered there wasn’t one," Bachand explained in a Nov. 2012 interview with National Public Radio. "I went over to the State Department website, and found some great information, but then I discovered there wasn’t any route information."

His experience with TransCanada was even worse.

"TransCanada [also gave me] the runaround. Their excuse was that [releasing the information] was a national security risk, which is just a joke."

Due to lack of transparency on the part of President Barack Obama's State Department and TransCanada, what was once merely an ambitous photo-journalism project has morphed into a full-fledged muckraking effort - and a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request battle royale - that's now lasted about a year and a half for Bachand. The State Department still has yet to give him the goods.

"I was initially told that 8-12 months was a typical turn around time for a FOIA," Bachand explained to DeSmogBlog in an interview. "Keep in mind that many FOIA requests to the State Dept. require extensive searches through years of diplomatic cables. My request deals with a single project handled by a single department."

Why the long delay on such a seemingly straight-forward request?

"I have been told that the main obstacle to my FOIA request with the Dept. of State for the...Keystone XL is that the information is 'politically sensitive,'” Bachand explained of the situation in a June 26, 2012 blog post.

Missing the Forest for the Trees?
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4316
Quoting 239. Xandra:
Tim DeChristopher was interviewed by David Letterman on 25 June 2013. His story is worth listening to.

David Letterman - Environmental Activist, Tim DeChristopher



Thank you for sharing this Xandra.
I remember the BLM announcement that the lands were going up for auction.
I remember the aftermath of the auction, crowsourcing hadn't really organized yet, but people were trying to get money together to pay the bids Tim DeChristopher made.
Mr. DeChristopher's story was pulled from mainstream media quickly.
He sets an example of the penalties paid for those willing to resort to non-violent civil disobedience.
He was successful in that the the courts held that the land couldn't be auctioned but he had to pay a great personal price.
Has our country come to the point where some have to go to prison to bring attention to the exploitation of our public lands?
Fracking is only possible because the industry was exempted from environmental protections.
We live in interesting times.

Member Since: February 2, 2011 Posts: 3 Comments: 904
Quoting 251. allahgore:
Argon is a chemical element with symbol Ar and atomic number 18. It is in group 18 of the periodic table and is a noble gas. Argon is the third most common gas in the Earth's atmosphere, at 0.93% (9,300 ppm), making it approximately 23.8 times as abundant as next most common atmospheric gas, carbon dioxide.


And your point is?
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 134 Comments: 20780
Quoting 249. allahgore:
Nitrogen is a chemical element with symbol N and atomic number 7. Elemental nitrogen is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, and mostly inert diatomic gas at standard conditions, constituting 78.09% by volume of Earth's atmosphere.


And Nitrous Oxide is another GHG gas caused by man burning fossil fuels it also creates nitric acid in our atmosphere which causes acid rain..

Nitrous oxide gives rise to NO (nitric oxide) on reaction with oxygen atoms, and this NO in turn reacts with ozone. As a result, it is the main naturally occurring regulator of stratospheric ozone. It is also a major greenhouse gas and air pollutant. Considered over a 100-year period, it has 310 times more impact 'per unit weight' (Global warming potential) than carbon dioxide according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 134 Comments: 20780
Quoting 247. allahgore:
Carbon dioxide (chemical formula CO2) is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom. It is a gas at standard temperature and pressure and exists in Earth's atmosphere in this state, as a trace gas at a concentration of 0.039 per cent by volume.


It is also a man made gas created by man burning fossil fuels......
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 134 Comments: 20780
A recent article in Journal of Power Sources:

Cost-minimized combinations of wind power, solar power and electrochemical storage, powering the grid up to 99.9% of the time

1. Introduction
What would the electric system look like if based primarily on renewable energy sources whose output varies with weather and sunlight? Today's electric system strives to meet three requirements: very high reliability, low cost [1], and, increasingly since the 1970s, reduced environmental impacts. Due to the design constraints of both climate mitigation and fossil fuel depletion, the possibility of an electric system based primarily on renewable energy is drawing increased attention from analysts. Several studies (reviewed below) have shown that the solar resource, and the wind resource, are each alone sufficient to power all humankind's energy needs. Renewable energy will not be limited by resources; on the contrary, the below-cited resource studies show that a shift to renewable power will increase the energy available to humanity. But how reliable, and how costly, will be an electric system reliant on renewable energy? The common view is that a high fraction of renewable power generation would be costly, and would either often leave us in the dark or would require massive electrical storage.

Here we model the hourly fluctuations of a large regional grid, PJM Interconnection, in order to answer these questions. PJM is a large Transmission System Operator (TSO) in the eastern United States. It is located geographically in Fig. 1, and described in more detail in Appendix A. To obtain a multi-year run with constant system size we analyze calendar years 1999–2002, before its recent growth, when PJM managed 72 GW of generation, with an average load of 31.5 GWa[2].


To evaluate high market penetration of renewable generation under a strong constraint of always keeping the lights on, we match actual PJM load with meteorological drivers of dispersed wind and solar generation (Fig. 1) for each of the 35,040 h during those four years. We created a new model named the Regional Renewable Electricity Economic Optimization Model (RREEOM). Our model is constrained (required) to satisfy electrical load entirely from renewable generation and storage, and finds the least cost mix that meets that constraint. The model is computationally-constrained, so we did not include additional computing-intensive considerations, such as how much additional transmission is optimum, or reliability issues not related to renewable resource fluctuations.

Read more >>
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4316
Florida can be powered by OTEC almost all year
...No fossil fuel needed almost all year.....
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 134 Comments: 20780
Los Angeles can be powered by OTEC most of the year
...No fossil fuel needed most of the year.....
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 134 Comments: 20780
Sacramento can be powered by OTEC most of the year
...No fossil fuel needed most of the year.....
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 134 Comments: 20780
Las Vegas can be powered by OTEC most of the year
...No fossil fuel needed most of the year.....
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 134 Comments: 20780
Quoting 240. allahgore:
The earth is warm because of the sun. That is pretty obvious. But, more specifically, the sun lets off radiation waves that go through the atmosphere, some being absorbed by the ozone in the stratosphere, others absorbed by the dust and clouds in the air, some reflected back into the air, but most absorbed by the land and water on the earth's surface. The water lets off heat into the air through convection - the transfer of heat through fluids. The solid ground lets off inferred rays which also contributes to the warming of the air. That is how earth is warmed. :)


Look up fossil fuel GHG's and how they contribute to planet warming...
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 134 Comments: 20780
Tim DeChristopher was interviewed by David Letterman on 25 June 2013. His story is worth listening to.

David Letterman - Environmental Activist, Tim DeChristopher


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting 236. cyclonebuster:


Now look up sea ice volume..


He comes back from a ban and starts playing the same games again. He needs to be removed from this blog permanently. Repeated trolling should get you booted.
Member Since: June 1, 2010 Posts: 4 Comments: 5367
Research Shows that Monsanto's Big Claims for GMO Food Are Probably Wrong

It's going to be a tough row to hoe, from here on out for Monsanto.


Oops. The World Food Prize committee’s got a bit of egg on its face—genetically engineered egg. They just awarded the World Food Prize to three scientists, including one from Syngenta and one from Monsanto, who invented genetic engineering because, they say, the technology increases crop yields and decreases pesticide use. (Perhaps not coincidentally, Monsanto and Syngenta are major sponsors of the World Food Prize, along with a third biotech giant, Dupont Pioneer.)

Monsanto makes the same case on its website, saying, “Since the advent of biotechnology, there have been a number of claims from anti-biotechnology activists that genetically modified (GM) crops don’t increase yields. Some have claimed that GM crops actually have lower yields than non-GM crops… GM crops generally have higher yields due to both breeding and biotechnology.”

But that’s not actually the case. A new peer-reviewed study published in the International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability examined those claims and found that conventional plant breeding, not genetic engineering, is responsible for yield increases in major U.S. crops. Additionally, GM crops, also known as genetically engineered (GE) crops, can’t even take credit for reductions in pesticide use. The study’s lead author, Jack Heinemann, is not an anti-biotechnology activist, as Monsanto might want you to believe. “I'm a genetic engineer. But there is a different between being a genetic engineer and selling a product that is genetically engineered,” he states.



more at AlterNet.org
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 30 Comments: 1085
Quoting 235. allahgore:
Definition of sea-ice cover (extent and area)
•The area of sea-ice cover is often defined in two ways, i.e., sea-ice "extent" and sea-ice "area." These multiple definitions of sea-ice cover may sometimes confuse data users. The former is defined as the areal sum of sea ice covering the ocean (sea ice + open ocean), whereas the latter "area" definition counts only sea ice covering a fraction of the ocean (sea ice only).


Now look up sea ice volume..
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 134 Comments: 20780
Quoting 233. Some1Has2BtheRookie:


I just hope that it will prove to be all that they say it can be. *fingers crossed*


Me too, It's been a long time since p-chem 301, but I remember enough to want to see more information.
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4316

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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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