The Locomotive Will Rust in the Shed

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 6:54 PM GMT on July 11, 2008

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Back in April I was driving across the country and mentioned the controversy over a coal power plant in Kansas. ( Climate in America). As fate would have it, this summer I have met Johannes Feddema who is a professor at the University of Kansas, and yes, a member of KEEP. KEEP? -- Kansas Energy and Environmental Policy Advisory Group. Johan wrote this blog - and the next one. So thanks from me, and be good to him. Here's a previous entry of mine on Texas Coal

The coal conundrum: should we or should we not build more coal power plants?

Part I: Coal and climate
Johannes Feddema

"Coal is everything to us. Without coal, our factories will become idle, our foundries and workshops be still as the grave; the locomotive will rust in the shed, and the rail be buried in the weeds. Our streets will be dark, our houses uninhabitable. Our rivers will forget the paddlewheel, and we shall again be separated by days from France, by months from the United States." ~ London Times English, editorial (1866).

As a Kansan who has closely followed the discussion of energy development and the saga of the Holcomb power plant over the last few years, I wish we would try a little harder to remove our blinders when it comes to solving our energy and climate conundrum. Some days I feel that we have not really progressed much in our thinking about energy and energy resources, well represented in the quote above, which holds the view that a particular energy resource is the one and only answer to our problem..

In a number of states, proposals for new coal fired power plants are being discussed, argued about, tabled and rejected or built. The proposed Holcomb coal fired powered plant in Kansas is perhaps the most contentious of all, and its development could have political implications for future power development strategies across the entire nation and the world. -- For more details on the Holcomb plant see The Kansas Coal Controversy, and at the Dole Institute - click on the picture of Rod Bremby 2/3 of the way down the page to see a video of the factors (.wmv) that went into the KDHE decision to deny a permit for the proposed plants.

Coal power plants have undeniable impacts on our well being, both good and bad. Electricity and all the other benefits from petroleum products have greatly benefited our societal development and well being, but they come at a great cost. Most of us now know that coal power plants produce a large amount of Carbon dioxide and other air pollutants that affect both climate and air quality in significant ways. Coal power plants in particular will produce some of the most significant environmental costs of energy production as we move forward (Analysis from greenmarkets.com).

Most often when we discuss these plants we only consider one side or the other. painting a stark black and white picture of the economic benefits or environmental costs . In addition, we, more often than not, do not evaluate the integrated impacts of these plants in a holistic way because we don’t really know how to.

In following the debate about these plants I have been struck by how little consideration has been given to factoring the environmental cost of these plants. Partly this is because of difficulties in measuring such costs. For example, how do you go about assessing the health impacts of an individual coal power plant? How far reaching are these impacts? How can we factor in the costs of potential climate change? As I watch all the signs of a changing climate, such as the possibility of an ice free pole for the first time in recorded human history. Is this event linked to other observed weather events (e.g. the present tornado season being not far from my mind in Lawrence KS) that seem to signal that perhaps we are entering uncharted climate territories? While I am not advocating that one tornado season indicates climate change (see Jeff Masters on 2008 tornadoes), the possible link between a reduced equator-pole energy gradient and more organized and stronger local weather systems keeps nagging at me (as is projected in GCM simulations).

So why are the coal power plant decisions so critical now? Think about the resources and commitment we make when we decide to build a new power plant today. When we build a new plant we are typically making a 50 year or longer commitment to maintain, fuel and operate such a plant. In today’s economy it can be argued that the instability of coal prices alone make such a plant a risky business, since the fuel costs could make a plant obsolete long before its project life cycle. These concerns and the uncertainty associated with CO2 emissions policy all contributed to a number of coal power plant projects being withdrawn for financial and environmental reasons (see LA Times). Yet, developers know that in the end society will pick up the tab should things go wrong; just as we have with the expense of nuclear fuel disposal.

Long term planning processes are even more critical for nuclear plants where there has been little consideration of whether there will even be sufficient fuel to operate all the operating and proposed nuclear plants around the world in 50 years’ time. Uranium is a limited global resource and projected to last “several decades” for “existing plants” (see from Euronuclear). It seems that societies are used to thinking about our energy resources in this large scale infrastructure way and have a difficult time conceiving alternative options or even the benefits of more distributed systems. The status quo and special interests suggest that we continue what we are doing, while the rest of us have a hard time conceiving of alternate paths.

I have to question what is causing this disconnect between our legislative discussions and our scientific knowledge. Is it that we as scientists are not adequately presenting our information to the public and legislature? Is it that our esoteric language just does not come across to the public and legislature (e.g. the meaning of theory in science vs. public discussion)? Or could it be that our political system is so entrenched with special interests and political infighting that it cannot see any but the path it is on and is unwilling listen to the warning signs and to consider alternative paths? How can we get beyond these problems to ensure a healthy fruitful discussion about our energy future?





Figure 1. Taken from The Holcomb Station Expansion Project. A photo simulation of the proposed Holcomb coal power plant.

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312. streamtracker
2:04 PM GMT on July 19, 2008
#307, Good question. One way to deal with that is to remove the affects of ENSO (El Nino/La Nina) from the temperature data set and see how temps change minus that affect.

Here's what that looks like. And as you can see the temps rise irregardless of ENSO.



(Source)
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
311. streamtracker
1:58 PM GMT on July 19, 2008
#308
The graph is directly from the peer-reviewed paper referenced in the comment. Your attempt to attack the credibility of it is a way of misdirecting from the main message of the paper. The paper compares 17 years of observational data with model projections. In short the models underestimate change and do not exaggerate trends.

So the largest difference in temperatures in that time frame 56.768 deg F(1976) and 58.147 deg F (1998) is 1.379 deg F.

And the models, that have preformed well so far, predict that it will get warmer than that.

You also have this weird view of temp increase. You tend to confound the relevance of daily local changes (1.3 F) that are imperceptible with global changes in the earth's energy budget that have major affects on the earth's biological and geophysical systems.

Your focus on short-term trends is also very misleading.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
310. sebastianjer
3:46 AM GMT on July 19, 2008
Re 284

You are correct Salvadore. nothing is impossible. I'll rephrase, for all practical purposes Al Gore's proposal is impossible.

JER
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 1030 Comments: 11197
309. sullivanweather
1:14 AM GMT on July 19, 2008
As long as they don't ban meat I'll be fine...

Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
308. sebastianjer
1:08 AM GMT on July 19, 2008
Re 306

Nice graphs, why does the temp graph look so much more ominous than reality, not that I'm saying that your graphs are not reality just the presentation



larger View

Here are those actual temperatures 1975-2007(HadCrut) in degrees Fahrenheit.

56.910
56.768
57.211
57.094
57.283
57.328
57.398
57.229
57.508
57.166
57.133
57.261
57.520
57.513
57.396
57.645
57.565
57.326
57.387
57.504
57.686
57.448
57.825
58.147
57.744
57.699
57.931
58.019
58.037
57.999
58.055
57.960
57.913

So the largest difference in temperatures in that time frame 56.768 deg F(1976) and 58.147 deg F (1998) is 1.379 deg F. Which not so impressive to me, may be to some. Then again there are other things in the world which affect our climate other than the dastardly CO2



Larger view

source

Here is the sea level graph since 1994



Please note we are talking millimeters here, so the total rise in sea level, is just slightly over 2 inches in the past 14 years. The real question is are either of these trends accelerating? The C02 graph certainly seems to be, but if you look at the temperature and sea level, that does not appear to be the case. In fact the trend seems to be decelerating. The hypothesis of AGW maintains that over a period of time temperatures should continue to rise as should sea levels, we shall see.

JER
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 1030 Comments: 11197
307. SWFLgazer
10:49 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Correct me if I'm wrong, please. A blogger, I believe it was Michael, was kind of attributing the recent cooling, or slowing in warming, to more frequent La Nina conditions. If that is correct, could the warming be attributed to the more and longer El Ninos in the '90's?
Member Since: August 14, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 448
306. streamtracker
7:46 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Squashing AGW Myths

The models are not reliable.

One common talking point from those that doubt climate change science is that the climate system is too complex and the models therefore can not make reliable projections.

Here's an important paper that debunks that common myth.

Recent Climate Observations Compared to Projections
Stefan Rahmstorf et al. Science 4 May 2007: Vol. 316. no. 5825, p. 709

We present recent observed climate trends for carbon dioxide concentration, global mean air temperature, and global sea level, and we compare these trends to previous model projections as summarized in the 2001 assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC scenarios and projections start in the year 1990, which is also the base year of the Kyoto protocol, in which almost all industrialized nations accepted a binding commitment to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. The data available for the period since 1990 raise concerns that the climate system, in particular sea level, may be responding more quickly to climate change than our current generation of models indicates.


Here's the key graph from the paper. Note that models consistently underestimate the rate of change. CO2 levels, global temperatures, and sea level have been increasing at rates that are either greater than the model predictions or near the upper estimates of the models.





Dotted lines are model projections and solid lines are real world observations.

As you can see the problem is not that the models exaggerate long term trends, but rather they consistently underestimate trends.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
305. quasigeostropic
7:36 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Scale analysis allows one to see the relative magnitudes of certain processes and whether or not a process can have a large enough influence on another process....For example, for synoptic scale systems the horizontal scale of motion is much bigger than the vertical scale, thus one would generally say that "vertical motions are typically negligible in synoptic scale processes"...On the mesoscale(ie:thunderstorms) the vertical dimensions of motion cannot be neglected since vertical dimensions of motion in thunderstorms frequently surpass the horizontal scales of motion.

Another example involves weather and climate. Weather is short term. Climate involves long term averages.

See link for another description:

Scale analysis:"An analysis method usually using the nondimensional equations to determine which terms are dominant for a particular phenomenon or situation so that the smaller terms can be neglected, resulting in a simplified set of equations."

For example, the quasigeostrophic equations were derived by a scale analysis.Link
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
304. streamtracker
7:20 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
As climate scientists have long known, CO2 is not the only anthropogenic GHG. Tropospheric ozone contributes to GW and estimates of its forcing range from 0.25 to 0.65 W m2. A recent observational study provides some constraints on that range.

Satellite measurements of the clear-sky greenhouse effect from tropospheric ozone

Helen M. Worden et al. Nature Geoscience 1, 305 - 308 (2008)

Radiative forcing from anthropogenic ozone in the troposphere is an important factor in climate change1, with an average value of 0.35 W m- 2 according to the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change1 (IPCC). IPCC model results range from 0.25 to 0.65 W m- 2, owing to uncertainties in the estimates of pre-industrial concentrations of tropospheric ozone1, 2, 3, and in the present spatial and temporal distributions of tropospheric ozone4, 5, 6, 7, 8, which are much more variable than those of longer-lived greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Here, we analyse spectrally resolved measurements of infrared radiance from the Tropospheric Emission Spectrometer9 on board the NASA Aura satellite, as well as corresponding estimates of atmospheric ozone and water vapour, to obtain the reduction in clear-sky outgoing long-wave radiation due to ozone in the upper troposphere over the oceans. Accounting for sea surface temperature, we calculate an average reduction in clear-sky outgoing long-wave radiation for the year 2006 of 0.48plusminus0.14 W m- 2 between 45° S and 45° N. This estimate of the clear-sky greenhouse effect from tropospheric ozone provides a critical observational constraint for ozone radiative forcing used in climate model predictions.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
302. quasigeostropic
5:53 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Lemat, you have WUG email. Thanks for the articles and support!=)
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
300. quasigeostropic
5:35 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
I find that many dont understand scale analysis very well......The anti-AGW crowd and AGW crowd make the same fallacies sometimes...
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
299. quasigeostropic
5:32 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Re:297

Of all the commentary that I made, you pick out a mere 1% of it to comment on.....Is that the priority for you?
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
298. sullivanweather
5:28 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Now I know why STL uses the ignore feature...
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
295. quasigeostropic
5:22 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Re:293

I guess you agree with this report to because it is convenient. In order to make such a bold assertation one must be able to separate the "man made" and natural components of hail production processes.....But what have I already told you? You cannot compare small scale processes with large scale climate....THE SCALES DO NOT MATCH...Hail production happens on a very small scale within a thunderstorm....It is utterly insane to think that you can go around and say "these hailstorms" were brought on by man.....Where's the proof? There is none...

What if hurricanes for example, were found to be "more man made" than hailstorms? You cannot make such incompatible scale analysis, and you certainly dont have proof that certain phenomenon are man-made..........For a CLIMATE argument you could say "climate change is resulting in more extreme weather worldwide, and that will continue to happen in the future"....But you cannot resolve such tiny processes like hail, that sort of stuff is still under much research.
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
294. streamtracker
5:20 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Some folks trying to understand the magnitude and geographical distribution of CO2 dynamics of feedback mechanisms.

Yoshikawa, C., M. Kawamiya, T. Kato, Y. Yamanaka, and T. Matsuno (2008), Geographical distribution of the feedback between future climate change and the carbon cycle, J. Geophys. Res., 113

We examined climate-carbon cycle feedback by performing a global warming experiment using MIROC-based coupled climate-carbon cycle model. The model showed that by the end of the 21st century, warming leads to a further increase in carbon dioxide (CO2) level of 123 ppm by volume (ppmv). This positive feedback can mostly be attributed to land-based soil-carbon dynamics. On a regional scale, Siberia experienced intense positive feedback, because the acceleration of microbial respiration due to warming causes a decrease in the soil carbon level. Amazonia also had positive feedback resulting from accelerated microbial respiration. On the other hand, some regions, such as western and central North America and South Australia, experienced negative feedback, because enhanced litterfall surpassed the increased respiration in soil carbon. The oceanic contribution to the feedback was much weaker than the land contribution on global scale, but the positive feedback in the northern North Atlantic was as strong as those in Amazonia and Siberia in our model. In the northern North Atlantic, the weakening of winter mixing caused a reduction of CO2 absorption at the surface. Moreover, weakening of the formation of North Atlantic Deep Water caused reduced CO2 subduction to the deep water. Understanding such regional-scale differences may help to explain disparities in coupled climate-carbon cycle model results.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
293. streamtracker
5:14 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
More and more evidence of trends in extreme weather linked to AGW.

Cao, Z. (2008),
Severe hail frequency over Ontario, Canada: Recent trend and variability, Geophys. Res. Lett., 35

Over the last two decades, there is an ever-increasing frequency of severe hail events occurred in Ontario, Canada. This upward trend is robust as verified through the MK test with consideration of removing a lag one autoregressive process. It is shown through the composite analysis that the severe hail frequency is closely linked with the atmospheric convective instability and precipitable water. It is also demonstrated that the high-hail-event years are associated with warmer air temperature than the low-hail-event years, indicating that the severe hail events occur more frequently in the warming climate.

Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
291. sullivanweather
5:06 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Shouting and posting entire books...

Jeeze, can we stretch out the blog anymore? Or can we just post the important parts?

Please, nobody quote that comment...lol
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
290. quasigeostropic
5:01 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Steamtracker, again, you fail to address the issues(about the report), tell us why the report is bogus and silly. That's been your tactic from day one. According to that list you brought up you would fit nicely with #s 1,2,3,4,7,8....using "majority rules" or "consensus" by your standards that makes you a conspiracy theorist.

Good one steamtracker...

I'd say lots of those "symptoms" on your list would fit quite nicely with "inflated ego" or a host of other problems....But, you agree with it because it's convenient.
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
289. streamtracker
5:00 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
#288 Sully,

Yeah I get really annoyed when people resort to shouting.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
288. streamtracker
4:59 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Science reports on a link between western Antarctic warming, incidence of ice scouring, and the potential affects on marine benthic organisms.

Ice Scour Disturbance in Antarctic Waters

Dan A. Smale et al. Science 18 July 2008:
Vol. 321. no. 5887, p. 371

The West Antarctic Peninsula is one of the fastest warming regions on Earth, and, as a consequence, most maritime glaciers and ice shelves in the region have significantly retreated over the past few decades. We collected a multiyear data set on ice scouring frequency from Antarctica by using unique experimental markers and scuba diving surveys. We show that the annual intensity of ice scouring is negatively correlated with the duration of the winter fast ice season. Because fast ice extent and duration is currently in decline in the region after recent rapid warming, it is likely that marine benthic communities are set for even more scouring in the near future.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
287. sullivanweather
4:57 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Hmmm...

Looks like the blog was swallowed up by some bold print.
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
286. streamtracker
4:54 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
One of the scientific issues discussed here has been the ability of organisms to disperse to areas that are within their climate envelope. This usually involves animal's dispersing northward to move into cooler climates as their current range warms.

Since some percentage of organisms will not be capable of tracking rapid climate change, there has been interest in assisted colonization; moving organisms to regions that have favorable climates.

The current issue of Science has a policy paper on the subject.

Assisted Colonization and Rapid Climate Change. O. Hoegh-Guldberg et al. Science 18 July 2008:
Vol. 321. no. 5887, pp. 345 - 346

Rapid climatic change has already caused changes to the distributions of many plants and animals, leading to severe range contractions and the extinction of some species (1, 2). The geographic ranges of many species are moving toward the poles or to higher altitudes in response to shifts in the habitats to which these species have adapted over relatively longer periods (1-4). It already appears that some species are unable to disperse or adapt fast enough to keep up with the high rates of climate change (5, 6). These organisms face increased extinction risk, and, as a result, whole ecosystems, such as cloud forests and coral reefs, may cease to function in their current form (7-9).

Current conservation practices may not be enough to avert species losses in the face of mid- to upper-level climate projections (>3°C) (10), because the extensive clearing and destruction of natural habitats by humans disrupts processes that underpin species dispersal and establishment. Therefore, resource managers and policy-makers must contemplate moving species to sites where they do not currently occur or have not been known to occur in recent history. This strategy flies in the face of conventional conservation approaches. The world is littered with examples where moving species beyond their current range into natural and agricultural landscapes has had negative impacts. Understandably, notions of deliberately moving species are regarded with suspicion. Our contrary view is that an increased understanding of the habitat requirements and distributions of some species allows us to identify low-risk situations where the benefits of such "assisted colonization'" can be realized and adverse outcomes minimized.




Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
285. streamtracker
4:44 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
#282 LeMat,

More references to those that want to do something about AGW as being political extremists. Weak argument based on fear.

The two posts you linked to are so riddled with factual and logical errors that they are laughable. Don't have time today to dig into them. I'd rather spend my time checking out the latest scientific research in my field and the field of climate change than responding to your pieces by false experts.

fas·cism /ˈfæʃɪzəm/ Pronunciation[fash-iz-uhm]
–noun 1.

(sometimes initial capital letter) a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.


Conspiracy Theorist

10 characteristics of conspiracy theorists
A useful guide by Donna Ferentes

1. Arrogance.

2. Relentlessness.

3. Inability to answer questions.

4. Fondness for certain stock phrases.

5. Inability to employ or understand Occam's Razor.

6. Inability to tell good evidence from bad.

7. Inability to withdraw.

8. Leaping to conclusions.

9. Using previous conspiracies as evidence to support their claims.

10. It's always a conspiracy.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
281. quasigeostropic
2:51 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Oh, so I see. We dont like the comments of Lemat so you AGW-pundits will flag his post faster than it came up! How ridiculous does WUG have to get? Was that post obscene? Was it because you have deep hatred towards skeptics? This is an unfair debate and WUG is guilty of allowing for it. Shame on you all....It just makes our points stronger of how intolerant you are....look up fascism in the dictionary why dont you.....
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
280. quasigeostropic
2:35 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Thank you Lemat for that report....Now it's up to the AGW-crowd to comment on the report and make observations on why or why not they believe parts of it.....I'm sure they'll have problems with a majority of it.

Al Gore doesn't even understand the difference between climate and weather. Using short term events(hurricanes) to explain a long term event(climate)....Totally misses it. See last part of post 268.
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
278. quasigeostropic
2:19 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
And our industrialization is due to the fact that the world needs to advance in order to CONTINUE to cope with sustaining resources and natural disasters.....I dont think many get it....


What do you think of my post 268? Is that reasonable? Are you willing to go to war over these trace gases if it came down to it?
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
277. counters
2:09 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
I've mentioned before that I'm in the process of starting up a personal blog where I can comment on certain aspects of AGW. I've made my first major post there today about the APS meme going around the skeptic circles; I was going to sleuth the story a bit but it turned out I didn't have to go much further than the APS main page!

I'd love comments or feedback on either my approach to the topic or my writing style; you can check out my post here. Thanks!
Member Since: February 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 166
276. counters
1:15 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Quasi:

The point is that the world's population is rapidly increasing, making the disasters SEEM more intense.

The funny thing is that this isn't what we're seeing. We see quite the opposite as technology and communications have improved to the point where we can quickly identify threats and instruct people on how to respond. Deaths due to severe weather events have gone down dramatically in recent decades.

The point is, whether AGW is happening or not, the climate is going to change.....Is that too hard to comprehend

No, you see, you're the one who doesn't get it. Climate does not spontaneously change. Climate changes over the course of millenia as influenced by Milankovitch cycles; even the dramatic rise in temperatures after ice ages occur over several millenia.

Human civilization has evolved during a period of time where the climate has remained remarkably stable. There haven't been dramatic ice ages since the dawn of Mesopotamia; there haven't been super-volcanic eruptions which blot out the sun for years. Sure, there have been disasters related to the climate in history - famine, disease, and many other terrible things have happened.

AGW in the modern era is different. Modern human industrialization has resulted in - relatively speaking - massive quantities of gases being pumped into the atmosphere. In other words, we have been destabilizing the atmospheric system by adding to a system which was apparently in an equilibrium. It just so happens that one of the gases we've been pumping into that system can affect the system's overall radiation balance, which has certain side effects or feedbacks which further amplify or mitigate the original change.

This has nothing to do with past climate change which occurred over a geological time scale of thousands of years. The evidence thus far and our projections based on the evidence illustrates that a climatic shift - the type that should be occurring over the course of ten thousand years - could occur in as little as 100.

A change of 2C/century is much more tangible than A change of 2C/millenium, which is why this inane argument that "climate has changed before" is completely bunk.
Member Since: February 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 166
275. counters
1:03 PM GMT on July 18, 2008
Quasi:

You often side swipe the issue by making these baseless observations that dont bring any insight to the discussion. Why dont you actually EXPLAIN to us why JER is wrong

"Red baiting" is a rhetorical strategy. Jer's analysis of the power industry resulted in an assertion that it would morph into a socialist construct. "Socialist" is a word with loaded baggage; although it isn't communism and is a legitimate, effective economic and governmental system, it has a negative connotation in the United States. No facts need to be brought up, nothing needs to be "proven." All it takes is an elementary knowledge of American political history to note what the point of Jer's sentence was. Some people would likely agree with Jer's reasoning, but favor that outcome as opposed to others - it's a perspective thing, not a factual thing.
Member Since: February 4, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 166
274. quasigeostropic
5:05 AM GMT on July 18, 2008
Historical climate and weather patterns are no longer an adequate guide to the future. Planning for providing water, energy, transportation, and other services has assumed the future would be like the past; this is no longer justifiable. Long-lived infrastructure, from power plants to roads and buildings, must be designed and built taking climate change into account. Long term planning will have to continually incorporate the latest information, as climate will be ever changing, requiring adaptation strategies to constantly evolve.

What does that mean? That the severity of climate related disasters in the past weren't as bad as what they will be in the future? The point is that the world's population is rapidly increasing, making the disasters SEEM more intense. It's simple statistics. More people=better chances that a natural disaster will affect someone....As the density of the population increases, so do the risks...Climate change is INEVITABLE....But the central debate is whether humans are causing it. The science is not settled. NEVER has been. NEVER will be.

Let me ask you all this question. Are you willing to go to WAR with another country(China, Russia, India,etc) over a trace gas? Because if they do not agree with AGW-legislation then we know what happens from there...Ever thought of that? So, after judging the pro's and con's of drastically doing something about climate change or not doing anything about it, you think the pros outweigh the cons? Do you think China is going to willingly curb it's economy for something like this?

The point is, whether AGW is happening or not, the climate is going to change.....Is that too hard to comprehend?

Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
273. quasigeostropic
4:52 AM GMT on July 18, 2008
Our vulnerability to climate change has been increased by some of our decisions. Population and development patterns have put more people in places that are vulnerable to climate change impacts. U.S. population has grown rapidly in cities on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, which are vulnerable to extreme heat, sea-level rise, hurricanes, and storm surge. There has been very rapid population growth in arid western states where water is projected to become increasingly scarce in a warming world.

There will always be natural disasters. There will always be people that die due to them. Why dont we educated people about better safeguard strategies that happen when a disaster does hit. Why doesn't the world do more to help 3rd world countries if we're so concerned over natural disasters of "global proportions"....

BTW, I am responding to post#262...so before the AGW-crowd accuses me of red-herrings you probably shouldn't post reports with things of the nature I've responded to.
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
272. quasigeostropic
4:46 AM GMT on July 18, 2008
Observed changes in the United States include temperature increases, sea-level rise, increased heavy downpours, rapidly retreating glaciers, regional droughts, substantial changes in sensitive wildlife, earlier snowmelt, and altered timing and amount of river flows. Impacts of these changes are apparent in many facets of society including health, water, food, energy, and quality of life.

How many times has this happened in history? Countless number of animals have died off in the past, with new ones diversifying our earth. Climate changes happen continually. Rainstorms are heavy. So what? River flows have constantly changed due to natural wear, and human intervention in order to cultivate their lands and water their crops. You'd think with such events, the way that AGW proponents paint it, would have ended civilization/wildlife long time ago(especially when we weren't as advanced). Man was not as fortunate as he is today with technological advances. Nature is losing their habitats. So they have in the past. If you would think for a moment, you'd realize that there are CONTINUAL animal wars going on that alter animal habitats....Army ants can virtually DESTROY life along facets of the rainforests. There are many other factors that can cause animal extinction like disease, warfare, etc...Who is more important? Humans or polar bears? Quality of life and facets of society are so incredibly complex and always been changing throughout history? What's the dire emergency???
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
271. quasigeostropic
4:24 AM GMT on July 18, 2008
And that is red baiting.

Your best when you stick to the facts.


The same tactics which you continue to use makes you lose credibility. You often side swipe the issue by making these baseless observations that dont bring any insight to the discussion. Why dont you actually EXPLAIN to us why JER is wrong. When people like Larry make such statements you and other AGW supporters sneer at him. But when you do it, it must be ok, because it was convenient...

JER makes some of the most sensible, reasonable posts here on WUG, especially since he's worked in the oil industry himself. And you think it's fun to degrade him with your condescending pompous replies. Even when he posts well respected scientists on here you sneer at them like you are a hundred times better than their opinion. Shame on you and shame on others who do the same thing.
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
270. streamtracker
4:14 AM GMT on July 18, 2008
Jer,

I know you may not care about the coal miner in West Virginia but I imagine his kids like to eat too.

That was a low rhetorical technique. You don't know nothing about how I feel.

This basically would require an integration of not only all power sources but probably the nationalization of all power companies, can you say hello socialism.

And that is red baiting.

Your best when you stick to the facts.
Member Since: October 24, 2005 Posts: 12 Comments: 1731
269. cyclonebuster
1:59 AM GMT on July 18, 2008
"The danger is INCREASING because more people on earth=better chance that they will see a natural disaster."

More like:
The danger is INCREASING because more people are using more fuel producing more greenhouse gasses.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
268. quasigeostropic
1:53 AM GMT on July 18, 2008
Extreme weather and climate are having increasing impacts on society. The United States has experienced increases in heat waves, wildfires, heavy downpours, and in some regions, droughts, all of which are disrupting our lives. Extreme events affect every aspect of society and nature including human health, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, and water resources. Atlantic hurricane intensity has increased in recent decades and additional future increases are projected.


Do you think there has been harsh climate in the past? Ever? Like described above? Give me a break. Natural disasters have happened ever since the beginning. The danger is INCREASING because more people on earth=better chance that they will see a natural disaster.

That last comment is pure hype. They dont know whether hurricanes will get stronger or weaker because of a warmer planet. Hurricane forecasts are short term projections and you cannot use a climate model to base such an assertion(scale resolutions for each phenomena are not properly compared)....Saying "natural disasters will increase because of climate change" is much more reasonable because that encompasses a bigger envelop of weather events(more proper for a "climatic" label)
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
267. cyclonebuster
1:51 AM GMT on July 18, 2008
Have to revert back to the ole steam engine hey sulli.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
266. sebastianjer
1:51 AM GMT on July 18, 2008
Re 244



Tracker I just did a blog on this issue. It is simply not possible. With a full blown effort we might be able to reduce our fossil fuel sourced electric power by 30% or so by then, but even that is pushing it.

Electricity can not be stored for our future use. This means that solar and wind will have to have back up. Even integrating solar and wind together can only reduce the variable by about 50%. That is based on current studies and models :), which are done by people who want to make it happen quick. That would assume that we already had the wind and solar generating systems in place to integrate. If we did we would still have to have a back up from some constant generating source such as nuclear, hydro, biofuel or geothermal if you are not going to use fossil fuels.

Since neither solar or wind or both combined are capable of generating 100% of our electrical needs, then those other sources would have to able to fill in for not only the difference between our needs, but also the back up to solar and wind during their down times which are basically unpredictable and variable.

All of this would have to be tied together on a national grid in order to utilize the various components in tandem with each other. Let's say the sun sets over a giant solar complex in Arizona, that power would have to be replaced by hydro power from the Northwest which is constantly being used already. Even that would be relatively simple compared to a calm wind day combined with a cloudy one in the middle of summer.

This basically would require an integration of not only all power sources but probably the nationalization of all power companies, can you say hello socialism. What if Florida Power and Light, a private company does not want to spend billions of dollars in the next ten years shutting down their coal powered plants and converting them to, what? solar? I guess we just take em over and let the US Government run them.

I believe it will happen but we are looking at least thirty more like fifty years down the road before all the resources and technologies can come on line.

This is not a moon shot or a Manhattan Project, the comparison is not applicable. Those were a concentrated effort at a single engineering goal in a focused area of pursuit. They could be managed by a relatively small group of managers overseeing teams of specialist working towards a very narrow objective. This is a project that is continental in scale with thousands of various components in so thousands of locations. Not to mention that these components are owned by individuals, corporations and stockholders who by law must approve this diddling with their property. Last I checked we still lived in the United States not the Soviet Union. This does not even take into account the devastation of certain industries. I know you may not care about the coal miner in West Virginia but I imagine his kids like to eat too.

In closing, because the more I think about the absurdity of the suggestion the more aggravated I get, it's a fairy tale idea and thank god he was not elected president if that is his grasp of reality.

JER
Member Since: August 26, 2005 Posts: 1030 Comments: 11197
265. sullivanweather
1:49 AM GMT on July 18, 2008
Gasoline will probably be 10-12 bucks a gallon in 10 years. But I'm sure you'll be able to get liquified coal at the bargain basement price of 8 bucks a gallon.
Member Since: March 8, 2007 Posts: 273 Comments: 12612
264. quasigeostropic
1:44 AM GMT on July 18, 2008
Tell that to the AGW crowd then CB.....Because I have a right to be suspicious of ulterior motives...
Member Since: November 20, 2007 Posts: 21 Comments: 192
263. cyclonebuster
1:44 AM GMT on July 18, 2008
"Really, we should have listened the last time we had an energy crunch in the 70s and should have pretty much gone all-renewables by now... hopefully we still have enough time to actually do that this time..."

I think greed is really going to get us this time.
Member Since: January 2, 2006 Posts: 127 Comments: 20401
262. streamtracker
1:43 AM GMT on July 18, 2008
The EPA has released a draft for comment of a report entitled:

Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States

Here are the highlights from the report:

Once considered a problem mainly for the future, climate change is now upon us. People are at the heart of this problem: we are causing it, and we are being affected by it. The rapid onset of many aspects of climate change highlights the urgency of confronting this challenge without further delay. The choices that we make now will influence current and future emissions of heat-trapping gases, and can help to reduce future warming. Likewise, our decisions on whether and how to adapt to the degree of warming that is already inevitable can help us reduce the impacts of future warming.

1. Human-induced climate change and its impacts are apparent now throughout the United States. Global warming is unequivocal and is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases and other pollutants. Observed changes in the United States include temperature increases, sea-level rise, increased heavy downpours, rapidly retreating glaciers, regional droughts, substantial changes in sensitive wildlife, earlier snowmelt, and altered timing and amount of river flows. Impacts of these changes are apparent in many facets of society including health, water, food, energy, and quality of life.

2. Many climatic changes are occurring faster than projected even a few years ago. Global emissions of heat-trapping gases are now increasing even more rapidly than the highest emissions scenario scientists have been analyzing. Arctic sea ice and the large ice sheets on Greenland and parts of Antarctica are melting faster than expected.

3. The degree to which future climate will change, and the scope and magnitude of the impacts, depend on choices made now. Another 1°F of warming in the next few decades (on top of the observed 1.5°F rise) is already locked in due to past emissions. The amount of warming we will experience beyond the next few decades depends upon choices about emissions made now and in the near future. Lower emissions of heat-trapping gases will result in less climate change and related impacts.

4. Extreme weather and climate are having increasing impacts on society. The United States has experienced increases in heat waves, wildfires, heavy downpours, and in some regions, droughts, all of which are disrupting our lives. Extreme events affect every aspect of society and nature including human health, energy, transportation, agriculture, ecosystems, and water resources. Atlantic hurricane intensity has increased in recent decades and additional future increases are projected.

5. Sea-level rise and storm surges place many U.S. coastal regions at increasing risk. The low-lying East Coast and Gulf Coast of the United States are vulnerable to combined effects of sea-level rise, storm surges, and hurricanes. Alaska’s coast is vulnerable to the effects of sea-ice retreat, thawing of coastal permafrost, and rising sea level, all of which are caused by warming, and combine to increase coastal erosion. Sea-level rise threatens the long-term viability of island communities by exacerbating the impacts of coastal storms, flooding infrastructure and ecosystems, and contaminating freshwater supplies with seawater.

6. Assuring an adequate and clean water supply will be an increasing challenge in many parts of the United States. Most of the West’s surface water comes from snowpack, which is declining as more precipitation falls as rain and snowpack melts earlier, leaving less water available for summer when it is needed most. Growing populations and changing precipitation patterns will increase competition among urban, industrial, agricultural, and natural ecosystem water needs in regions where overall water supply declines.

7. Interactions among climate-related and other stresses will present complex challenges to society.
Simultaneous and back-to-back extreme weather events can amplify impacts, challenging our response capabilities. Climate change can combine with other stresses including pollution, invasive species, and the overuse of resources to create impacts larger than any of these alone. Trade-offs will be necessary. For example, increasing water scarcity in some regions will force hard choices about the allocation of water for growing food, producing electricity, providing for urban uses, and protecting ecosystems.

8. Our vulnerability to climate change has been increased by some of our decisions. Population and development patterns have put more people in places that are vulnerable to climate change impacts. U.S. population has grown rapidly in cities on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, which are vulnerable to extreme heat, sea-level rise, hurricanes, and storm surge. There has been very rapid population growth in arid western states where water is projected to become increasingly scarce in a warming world.

9. Historical climate and weather patterns are no longer an adequate guide to the future. Planning for providing water, energy, transportation, and other services has assumed the future would be like the past; this is no longer justifiable. Long-lived infrastructure, from power plants to roads and buildings, must be designed and built taking climate change into account. Long term planning will have to continually incorporate the latest information, as climate will be ever changing, requiring adaptation strategies to constantly evolve.

10. Responses to climate change entail reducing emissions to limit future warming and adapting to the changes that are unavoidable. Large cuts in emissions would be required to limit warming to the low end of the range of scenarios, making successful adaptation more likely. There are limits to adaptation. For example, the financial and technical challenges of defending coasts against sea-level rise under high emissions scenarios would probably result in the inundation and abandonment of many areas. Applying the best scientific information can help avoid unintended consequences of our responses to climate change.
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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.