Organizing and Growing Individual Efforts: What Can I Do? (3)

By: Dr. Ricky Rood , 2:33 AM GMT on April 10, 2013

Organizing and Growing Individual Efforts: What Can I Do? (3)

This is the continuation of a series in response to the question, “What can I do about climate change?” I thank Doug Glancy who helped me out last week with a blog Smoking, Marriage and Climate, which discussed the role of peer pressure and social networking to organize and develop a growing movement. These are ideas I will come back to later in the series.

In the first entry of the series, I set up the discussion with the definition of mitigation and adaptation. In this blog, I will focus on what individuals can do to mitigate climate change. That is, what can individuals do to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases?

The easy answer is to be more efficient. I included a complicated graph in the first blog that provided a foundation for thinking about efficiency. The message of that blog is that insulation improvements in building, fuel efficiency in transportation, elimination of standby losses, and more efficient lighting, air conditioning and water heating not only reduce emissions in a significant way but in a very short time they save money. “Standby losses” refers to computers that are left in a state of reduced power rather than being turned off. Chargers and adapters that are left plugged in when they are not being used also contribute to standby losses. According to Energy Star the average U.S. household spends about $100 per year on standby energy.

More efficient use of energy means less money spent buying energy. Over time, the savings in energy will pay for the upfront cost, for example, of installing better insulation or a more efficient water heater. Earlier, I wrote about personal barriers to taking action. Happily, federal and local governments and corporations have taken steps to reduce upfront costs, which many people cite as the reason they don’t spend on more efficient buildings and appliances. In other cases, there are local regulations and coding requirements that demand improving efficiency. A place, therefore, that an individual can contribute is to advocate and to support policies and corporations that advance more efficient use of energy. This helps to provide an environment that encourages better use of resources.

Individuals can and do make choices about fuel-efficient cars, public transportation, appliances and light bulbs. If your concern, however, is climate change, then you make these decisions and then don’t see immediate benefit to the climate. In fact, mostly we hear that carbon dioxide emissions continue to go up and that the planet is warming and changing in profound ways. Therefore, it is easy to become discouraged that an individual does not have a lot of impact. Turning this problem around, however, provides a different framing. Our individual behavior in the consumption of energy has, collectively, led to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere: it has made the problem. Therefore, we have ample evidence that the collective behavior of individuals can have global consequences. This suggests that individuals should look at ways to promote the emergence of groups of people to enhance adoption of more energy-efficient buying and behavior.

Many individuals have the opportunity to contribute to the emergence of societal groups because they are part of organizations ranging from community associations to civic organizations – the list is long. As a member or leader of local organizations, you have opportunity to have a more direct impact. Students of mine have worked in efforts to improve insulation in entire neighborhoods and in the development of recycling and composting programs. Working in small organizations is also a place where people can take advantage of our natural competitive instincts and peer pressure to incorporate the power of social behavior.

A local activity that especially appeals to me is to get involved in local government and schools boards. This can either be as a citizen speaking at the meetings, volunteering, seeking appointments to committees or even getting elected. Activities range from working to assure excellent science education to asking for and developing weather and climate preparedness plans. Thinking about weather and climate in planning (adaptation) is a good way to make mitigation seem real.

Finally, individuals are often not individual in the resources they influence and control. People own businesses and work in management in companies. These are places where there is often strong attention to reducing cost; hence, efforts to reduce cost through efficiency are likely to be well received. Good businesses are often thinking long term – energy costs, appeal to customers who might be environmentally interested, emerging technology, protection of property, buildings and resources; therefore, business might see advantage in taking up initiatives that are beneficial to climate change. Businesses are places where individual influences have impacts that are far greater than that of a single person (UPS and Sustainability).

Here, I have provided a list of possibilities where the influence of an individual can reach beyond that of a single person. However, referring back to an earlier entry, I would argue that rather than a list of things that one can do, it is at least as important to state what to do and then provide the skills on how to do it. I need some help on skills of how to get things done, people with experience - perhaps the next guest blogger.

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Some Resources

Here are a couple of the better web sites I have found with the basic information of what individuals can do. Please send me more.

EPA: What You Can Do

Union of Concerned Scientists: What You Can Do About Climate Change

Links to the Series

Setting Up the Discussion Deciding to do something, definition of mitigation and adaptation, and a cost-benefit anchored framework for thinking about mitigation

Smoking, Marriage and Climate Behavioral changes and peer pressure

Organizing and Growing Individual Efforts A little detail on efficiency and thinking about how individuals can have more impact than just that of a single person

The Complete List Eight categories of things we can do to reduce greenhouse gases

We Are What We Eat Food and agriculture and greenhouse gas emissions

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Quoting NRAamy:
That's your response to a serious question?

Ok.....
Sorry, I thought that was just a rhetorical question.

Of course the answer is no, humans didn't cause the last ice age. But so what? That doesn't mean humans can't cause changes in climate.

"Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant force changing the climate.

Natural climate change in the past proves that climate is sensitive to an energy imbalance. If the planet accumulates heat, global temperatures will go up. Currently, CO2 is imposing an energy imbalance due to the enhanced greenhouse effect. Past climate change actually provides evidence for our climate's sensitivity to CO2."

That was from the climate change pages on the Weatherunderground blog (upper right hand corner). For more information on human responsibility, here's an article from Skeptical Science: 10 Indicators of a Human Fingerprint on Climate Change
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2761
Ever notice those who want others opinions banned are the insecure. Those folks are the weak minded, closed minded and simple minded who can not deal with anything questioning their beliefs. This goes for all things in life. I truly feel pity for these folks, I really do.
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That's your response to a serious question?

Ok.....
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Quoting NRAamy:
I didn't say I don't believe in climate change.....it is changing....but man is not causing it.....did man cause the last ice age, 10,000 years ago?
Not even worth refuting.

Have a good life.
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2761
Quoting cyclonebuster:


Now truth is nonsense.. What kind of nonsense is that?
Dammit, CB, don't misquote me and don't misinterpret what I say! I have never considered you a troll, and I'm not talking about your tunnel postings.
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2761
Wolverine the problem is that as long as the disaster is more than a few years away many people just won't care.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 27 Comments: 13588
Quoting spathy:

Use "it" up!

And then its over!
No more!
Earth cleanses itself!
If we are so close to running out of fossil fuel then why delay?
Be done with it!
Why the warmists concern over it?
You would think they would be relieved.


Sorry to keep excerpting from your posts, but this is the point I want to reply to. You missed what I said. If we burn up all the fossil fuel that's in the ground now -- all the oil, coal, natural gas, shale gas, tar sands, and whatever else there is -- the world will be TOO HOT for humans to survive. Yes, the earth will cleanse itself, but there won't be many (if any) of our kind around to see it.

Where's Keeper when we need him to post the 6degrees video?

But frankly I'm beginning to wonder if it won't be just as well.
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2761
"How much are you kicking in?"

Earlier, I asked why people like Bill Gates and Al Gore aren't funding New technologies..... but that makes me a troll I guess...
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I didn't say I don't believe in climate change.....it is changing....but man is not causing it.....did man cause the last ice age, 10,000 years ago?
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Quoting NRAamy:
Thank you, cb.....

And.... I am not a troll...

I simply don't believe in manmade global warming.... and I support the tunnels theory..

THAT makes m a troll? By disagreeing? Then half of the people on this blog are trolls.
You know, a few weeks ago, I would have asked you (straight question because I was genuinely interested) why you don't "believe" in manmade global warming. But at this point, I've given up trying to have that conversation. No one has ever brought any scientifically based information to this blog to contradict the science; most people who "don't believe" haven't even read the basic science. If you can do better than that, more power to you.

And BTW I agree with BaltimoreBrian: disagreeing with CC/AGW doesn't make you a troll.

Carry on.
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2761
Understanding Climate Change is Simple. Want To Stop Temperature Increases? Halt Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

"A new article published in Science shows just how effective the opponents of solutions to human-caused climate change have been at sewing confusion. According to Climate Central,


Damon Matthews of Concordia University in Montreal and Susan Solomon of MIT, make the case that policymakers, the media, and to some extent the public have misunderstood the implications of two key concepts — the “irreversibility” of climate change, and the amount of global warming already in the pipeline due to historical greenhouse gas emissions.

The confusion comes from misunderstanding and misrepresentations of a study produced in 2010 by the National Research Council. This study noted that human civilizations will be stuck with the impacts of CO2 already put into the atmosphere for the next 1,000 years. What this means is that once we emit the carbon, it will keep doing its work to impact the climate for at least the next ten centuries. What this means is that current and past emissions result in irreversible impact.

Unfortunately, this statement has been misunderstood. Lawmakers, the media and members of the public have used this statement to make the logically false claim that human caused climate change is unstoppable and, therefore, nothing can be done about it. They have used this argument to support expanding greenhouse gas emissions at exactly the time they should be cut. These false claims and bad policies push us further down a path toward increasing damage and danger. And it appears that even the authors of these bad policies don’t have an inkling what they’re pushing for." ...





"... Though it is impossible to reverse the mild but still serious amount of warming already caused by past human greenhouse gas emissions, it is entirely possible to stop future warming. And in understanding this we also understand that:

1. The sooner we stop emissions, the less the world warms.

2. The sooner we stop emissions, the less in the way of dangerous climate change we will have to endure.

3. The sooner we stop emissions, the lower the risk that climate tipping points will be reached and the globe will contribute is own powerful warming mechanisms to the human warming brew.

4. If we don’t stop emissions, things will just keep getting worse and worse.

For these reasons, it should be imperative that we work as hard as we can to stop human greenhouse gas emissions as fast as we can. This is no longer just a matter of practicality and common sense. It is a matter of morality. For the sooner we stop greenhouse gas emissions, the more harm we prevent."
Member Since: June 27, 2012 Posts: 0 Comments: 4588
Quoting BaltimoreBrian:
FLwolverine I wouldn't write off this blog yet. Some people do post constructive links. I think the key is ignoring the trolls. Like that new troll combo NRAamy who I think was mrsperfect and whatever other handles she has.

Kinda odd that moderator got onto cyclonebuster about his tunnel posts but lets the new troll be much more disruptive and says nothing.
Lovely optimism, Brian, but just look at the posts since you wrote this!

And CB - I'm not interested in banning truth. I'm interested in having a discussion that isn't constantly being interrupted by nonsense and misrepresentations.
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2761
Disbelieving in global warming doesn't make you a troll. Posting under multiple handles and behaving badly does. The handle that started posting yesterday evening on here is a good example of troll behavior.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 27 Comments: 13588
Thank you, cb.....

And.... I am not a troll...

I simply don't believe in manmade global warming.... and I support the tunnels theory..

THAT makes m a troll? By disagreeing? Then half of the people on this blog are trolls.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
FLwolverine I wouldn't write off this blog yet. Some people do post constructive links. I think the key is ignoring the trolls. Like that new troll combo NRAamy who I think was mrsperfect and whatever other handles she has.

Kinda odd that moderator got onto cyclonebuster about his tunnel posts but lets the new troll be much more disruptive and says nothing.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 27 Comments: 13588
Quoting spathy:
I just had an odd thought.
If we agree that fossil fuel use is causing (by itself) global warming,and we must expend great amounts of Tax money to force new tech before "we" are ready to convert,in order to avoid a catastrophe,then why is there so much worry(from the warmists) about "peak oil"?

Shouldnt they just say ok use up the dirty crud and get on with it. At that point the "big" energy sector will have to expend their own money to create the newest best tech as to keep their fat pockets lined with green.
Thus the CO2 output quickly declines and Ma Earth starts the healing process and the Big Energy companies paid for it!

Over simplified,I know. But I was trying to keep it short.
...snip...
Because, dear spathy, as you can determine from just a little research, burning up all the carbon that's currently in the ground will result in - oh, I don't know, maybe a 6C increase in global temperatures. Something far beyond our poor power to endure. I'll find a link for you (if someone doesn't post one before that) and add it to this message.
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2761
Since Thursday's night's troll-fest did not result in any bans - or even any cautionary posts from the mods - I figure Dr Rood's blog is a hopeless case. I came here to learn about and discuss climate change. I didn't come here to play "Troll of the Week" or "Gotcha" or "Whack a Troll" -- I'm tired of that. I may very well be mocked for this post -- I'm tired of that too.

But since I've learned so much from the members posting on this blog, I've been hesitant to leave altogether. On the other hand, a lot of the people who used to post haven't done so in awhile - perhaps the trolls have driven them away.

So I'm making a modest proposal: let's move the real discussion to a different venue. I've written more about this on my blog. Please click on my name to read about it and please tell me what you think.

TIA
Member Since: January 6, 2013 Posts: 3 Comments: 2761
Breaking waves from large powerful hurricanes release great energy. Seismometers have detected their impact from thousands of miles away for many decades. It's a well documented fact regardless if some internet persona buys it or not.

Link 1

Link 2
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 27 Comments: 13588
"It shook the ground as far away as the West Coast"....

???????

Were they eating magic brownies when they came up with this? Sorry, but I'm not biting......
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I have read that the 1938 New England hurricane was detected by seismometers as far away as Alaska.
Member Since: August 9, 2011 Posts: 27 Comments: 13588
Superstorm Sandy Shook the Earth

ScienceMag.org

When Superstorm Sandy struck the United States on 30 October, it didn't just devastate the Eastern Seaboard, it shook the ground as far away as the West Coast, producing tiny vibrations in Earth's crust that were picked up by seismometers there. Scientists can use this activity to track the path of the storm. Now, they say that analyzing past records of these vibrations may help them discern whether climate change has influenced the amount of storminess over the world's oceans in recent decades.
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 1110
World’s largest OTEC power plant planned for China

gizmag.com

Lockheed Martin has been getting its feet wet in the renewable energy game for some time. In the 1970s it helped build the world’s first successful floating Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) system that generated net power, and in 2009 it was awarded a contract to develop an OTEC pilot plant in Hawaii. That project has apparently been canceled but the company has now shifted its OTEC sights westward by teaming up with Hong Kong-based Reignwood Group to co-develop a pilot plant that will be built off the coast of southern China.

OTEC uses the natural difference in temperatures between the cool deep water and warm surface water to produce electricity. There are different cycle types of OTEC systems, but the prototype plant is likely to be a closed-cycle system. This sees warm surface seawater pumped through a heat exchanger to vaporize a fluid with a low boiling point, such as ammonia. This expanding vapor is used to drive a turbine to generate electricity with cold seawater then used to condense the vapor so it can be recycled through the system.
A closed-cycle OTEC system

Tropical regions are considered the only viable locations for OTEC plants due to the greater temperature differential between the shallow and deep water. Unlike wind and solar power, OTEC can produce electricity around the clock, 365 days a year to supply base load power. OTEC plants also produce cold water as a by-product that can be used for air conditioning and refrigeration at locations near the plant.
Member Since: September 18, 2005 Posts: 33 Comments: 1110
Quoting ScottLincoln:


Hardly a "take-down" - another person trying to replicate the results finding a way that the original analysis may miss something and showing us that the original assumptions may need a closer look.
Sir you can call it anything you want if it makes you feel better but we all know what it is. If your results can not be produced time in and time out then your method is unreliable. It should not be used to make any determination. What I would call a take down.
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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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