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Old 07-29-2012, 05:50 PM   #21
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Frankly, I think we have reached the point of no return. I don't see the collective will to remedy our problems in dealing with a warming world.
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Old 07-30-2012, 03:23 PM   #22
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Frankly, I think we have reached the point of no return. I don't see the collective will to remedy our problems in dealing with a warming world.
I don't think you see much 'collective will' because there isn't a whole lot of 'collective knowledge and assurance' about what exactly we should do, and how much affect it will have. Throw the 'Tragedy of the Commons' on top that, and it isn't too surprising.


I don't know if the IPCC has updated it's reports, but the last time I tried to dig through them, they seemed to say that even if we took very drastic measures today, cutting fossil fuel use to near zero, the range of unknowns about the effects is so large - we might not even know if it helped or not, even after the fact. IOW, some of their best case predictions for 'do nothing', overlapped with their worst case predictions for 'change everything drastically, now!'.

I'm not so sure waiting is such a bad thing. We hopefully keep learning more, and there may be solutions down the road that are much better and affordable than any solutions today. If anything, I do think we should focus on conservation. I think that is the low hanging fruit. It seems to me that conserving 10% of our energy is far easier, and probably an economic plus than 'investing' in generating 10% of our energy from 'green' sources. Every green source has some environmental impact, but a Mega-Watt-hour not used is a Mega-watt-hour that doesn't need to be generated. I don't see how we can get greener than that.

OK, some energy conservation takes some offsetting energy (adding insulation, etc) - but there is a lot that can be had for free, if we set our minds to it. My electricity use is in the lower quintile of our neighborhood (according to a utility report I got). We aren't living like the Amish, none of my appliances are expensive 'low energy' types, yet we are at ~ 1/2 the energy usage of the average here - if that is a reasonable bell-curve, there are some using 4x what we do! I can't imagine where it goes (pool pumps? pool heaters? A/C & heat on at ridiculous levels?).

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Old 07-30-2012, 03:30 PM   #23
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That article does not address what I described. I agree there is no apparent climate correlation with sunspot count, but instead there is correlation with sunspot cycle duration.

This (.doc file) illustrates: http://gacc.nifc.gov/sacc/predictive...%20weather.doc
The sunspot cycle does affect energy gained from the sun but it's an 11 year cycle. How does that explain the temperature rise over the past 50 years (see OP link)? Or the past decade, for that matter.

The current cycle ends in 2020, which means we're not at a peak yet. This indicates that we could see even higher temperatures until ~2015. Don't buy midwest farmland yet!
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Old 07-30-2012, 03:33 PM   #24
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For some thoughts on the the hot weather most of you have been experiencing, from somebody who actually understands the science behind weather and climate...

Cliff Mass Weather Blog

Read the July 29 entry.
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Old 07-30-2012, 08:55 PM   #25
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For some thoughts on the the hot weather most of you have been experiencing, from somebody who actually understands the science behind weather and climate...

Cliff Mass Weather Blog

Read the July 29 entry.
Thanks for that link. While I'm not knowledgeable enough to know for sure, that sure impresses me as being informative and unbiased, and I do think I have a very sensitive BS detector.


I see that donheff clarified that he isn't associating this recent weather with climate change, that it just got him thinking about. It had the same effect on me, running my AC more this year than probably the past 5 years combined, and it isn't even August yet - but then again, last year was exceptionally cool here. So it does draw your attention to it.

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Old 07-31-2012, 07:29 AM   #26
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Thanks for that link. While I'm not knowledgeable enough to know for sure, that sure impresses me as being informative and unbiased, and I do think I have a very sensitive BS detector.

Yes, he impressed me too. I agree that both extremes of the GCC debate are problematic. I occasionally cite the drumbeat of studies piling up and up in support of GCC because it irritates the heck out of me that a lot of people seem to me to be science (reality) deniers for political reasons (and in other cases, like evolution, for religious reasons). But beating my drum often makes it appear that I am in the "sky is falling, stop drilling now" crowd when I am really a tech fan-boy and believe we can invent our way out of the problem by the end of the century. From a policy perspective I am at a bit of a loss, however. I worry that the deniers will stifle funding that will support R&D that can help us avoid the worst of GCC impacts. On the other hand, the sky is falling crowd can push some extreme restrictions. I lean a bit in that direction despite the fact that I don't agree with the motivation since it often pushes in the direction of speeding up alternative energy developments that could more quickly lead to energy independence which is a national security imperative. But I recognize that the same emphasis can potentially slow sensible efforts concerning fossil fuels and nuclear. I guess I am in the schizophrenic pro-green, pro-nuke, pro-GMO, pro-stem-cell... lobby).
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Old 07-31-2012, 08:55 AM   #27
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Yes, he impressed me too. I agree that both extremes of the GCC debate are problematic. I occasionally cite the drumbeat of studies piling up and up in support of GCC because it irritates the heck out of me that a lot of people seem to me to be science (reality) deniers for political reasons ...
for technology lovers, here is the best temperature data available: Latest Global Temps Roy Spencer, Ph. D.

At this point, the "science" is unknowable (and therefore the reality), but you wouldn't know that by reading the material from the IPCC and the paleo-climate blogs. This field is more political science than physical science.

Also, whether or not man-made global warming is a factor, it doesn't preclude searching for alternative energy sources. There are several promising energy storage and energy generation techniques in the pipeline.
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:22 AM   #28
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for technology lovers, here is the best temperature data available: Latest Global Temps Roy Spencer, Ph. D.

At this point, the "science" is unknowable (and therefore the reality), but you wouldn't know that by reading the material from the IPCC and the paleo-climate blogs. This field is more political science than physical science.

Also, whether or not man-made global warming is a factor, it doesn't preclude searching for alternative energy sources. There are several promising energy storage and energy generation techniques in the pipeline.
I am not sure why you would call a single source, the "best".
For those interested in a discussion on that lower atmosphere data :
UAH Misrepresentation Anniversary, Part 1 - Overconfidence

As for the science being 'unknowable', that is a very odd statement.
People use the scientific method to try to explain the universe around us. It continually seeks to test theories which either strengthens them, points out areas for improvement, or replaces them.

97% of climatologists agree on the fundamentals of climate change. That is mor agreement than you will get in many disciplines
Is there a scientific consensus on global warming?
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Old 07-31-2012, 11:26 AM   #29
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...I occasionally cite the drumbeat of studies piling up and up in support of GCC because it irritates the heck out of me that a lot of people seem to me to be science (reality) deniers for political reasons (and in other cases, like evolution, for religious reasons). But beating my drum often makes it appear that I am in the "sky is falling, stop drilling now" crowd when I am really a tech fan-boy and believe we can invent our way out of the problem by the end of the century. From a policy perspective I am at a bit of a loss, however. I worry that the deniers will stifle funding that will support R&D that can help us avoid the worst of GCC impacts. On the other hand, the sky is falling crowd can push some extreme restrictions...
+1!
I lean a little bit more on the urgency side as I feel, like most problems, it will cost more the longer we wait.
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:01 PM   #30
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+1!
I lean a little bit more on the urgency side as I feel, like most problems, it will cost more the longer we wait.
But the 'solution' often comes from unpredictable and unrelated sources.

Whales were saved from extinction by the discovery of petroleum oil which could be pumped right out of the ground! No hunting, and only minimal processing required.

Horses, dead on the street and their manure was a major problem facing cities in the early 1900's. No one envisioned the automobile would make the horse obsolete in a few decades (and work horses were almost driven to extinction by lack of demand - the opposite of whales!).

I don't think anything could have sped up the discovery/commercialization of oil or autos. Like many technologies, their development coincides with other events. It probably would have caused all sorts of pain and economic problems to just stop using whale oil, or stop using horses, before these other solutions appeared.

Are you ready to stop using petrol and electricity from the grid? Maybe you could do it with your EV and enough solar panels, but very few people could afford that.

I just skimmed your link, but I'm not sure a 'consensus' means all that much if it is being measured by the number of articles published one way or the other. It could be researchers chasing grant money? There was only one guy publishing papers that attributed stomach ulcers to bacteria, he was ridiculed by the vast majority, and he turned out to be right.

I'm not a 'denier' myself, but I do think the whole issue is very complex, and we shouldn't assume we know too much. I do think there is a lot we do not understand.

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Old 07-31-2012, 12:04 PM   #31
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Thanks for that link. While I'm not knowledgeable enough to know for sure, that sure impresses me as being informative and unbiased, and I do think I have a very sensitive BS detector.


I see that donheff clarified that he isn't associating this recent weather with climate change, that it just got him thinking about. It had the same effect on me, running my AC more this year than probably the past 5 years combined, and it isn't even August yet - but then again, last year was exceptionally cool here. So it does draw your attention to it.

-ERD50
I guess there was bad global warming in 1988 too, because thst summer was much like this one for the whole US. One big drought every 24 years and that's global warming? I don't think so..........
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Old 07-31-2012, 12:24 PM   #32
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:00 PM   #33
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But the 'solution' often comes from unpredictable and unrelated sources.
I agree and I believe it is almost a certainty that some radical technologies will emerge in the coming decades in both the energy and carbon cleaning arenas.
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Are you ready to stop using petrol and electricity from the grid? Maybe you could do it with your EV and enough solar panels, but very few people could afford that.
Not me. But I am willing to spend some of our your money subsidizing alternative energy to spur development in wind, solar, etc., to speed up their trip down the cost curve, and some grants for SO2 studies and other R&D efforts.
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:11 PM   #34
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Energy is almost 10% of US GDP. Do we need to subsidize research in a segment where there is already so much opportunity for gain?
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:25 PM   #35
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I am not sure why you would call a single source, the "best".
For those interested in a discussion on that lower atmosphere data :
UAH Misrepresentation Anniversary, Part 1 - Overconfidence

As for the science being 'unknowable', that is a very odd statement.
People use the scientific method to try to explain the universe around us. It continually seeks to test theories which either strengthens them, points out areas for improvement, or replaces them...

97% of climatologists agree on the fundamentals of climate change. That is mor agreement than you will get in many disciplines
...
When you are taking the temperature of the earth, a data source that takes millions of accurate data points from all areas of the globe is good. It turns out there is no better system in place at this time. Interpreting that data is another matter. Unfortunately, your referenced article is a political hack piece.

Yes science being 'unknowable' is an odd statement. Science is what it is. You either can demonstrate something or not. The genesis of the statement is from the referenced post where "science" was equivalenced with "reality". Since we don't have the science to describe what is going on, we don't know the reality. I was trying to use the posters terminology, and it got a little fuzzy.

concerning 97% of (paleo)climatologists agree... Perhaps, but it *is* a fairly small group. Even if it wasn't, agreeing about something doesn't make it right. Science is not a democracy.
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:37 PM   #36
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I agree and I believe it is almost a certainty that some radical technologies will emerge in the coming decades in both the energy and carbon cleaning arenas.
Not me. But I am willing to spend some of our your money subsidizing alternative energy to spur development in wind, solar, etc., to speed up their trip down the cost curve, and some grants for SO2 studies and other R&D efforts.
I might see the need for subsidizing basic research, but as MichaelB points out below, there should be plenty of private money chasing the more near term ideas. I think better results come from entrepreneurs spending their own money, than from any group who is spending someone else's money. I don't want them picking winners/losers, let the market decide.

What if those in power in the big cities in early 1900's decided we should throw a bunch of money at redesigning cities to deal with horses - that might have pulled money away from automobile development? There are consequences to everything. Or if we had invested money into whale breeding programs, or whale farms? Would that have 'solved' the problem, or just stymied progress in other areas?

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Energy is almost 10% of US GDP. Do we need to subsidize research in a segment where there is already so much opportunity for gain?
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Old 07-31-2012, 01:54 PM   #37
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(...spend) money subsidizing alternative energy to spur development in wind, solar, etc., to speed up their trip down the cost curve, ...
A little more on this statement... I've said it before, but I don't think subsidies speed up development or the cost curve at all. In fact, I think they do the opposite.

A subsidy is put in place to make a product that can't compete in the market 'artificially' attractive. So if a company can sell a sub-optimal product at a profit, their incentive to improve that product has been reduced. You are essentially subsidizing inefficiency. No Thanks.

Look at recent tech successes, they didn't become a better value because they got popular - they got popular because they became a better value. At one time, solar panels could only make sense for very specialized applications like space and military. Offering them to the average person with a subsidy to make them 'affordable' would not have changed that. Technology progresses at a certain pace, many things need to come together to lower the price of solar PV. As tech progressed, solar made sense for a few more niche areas, and that kept moving in steps. The other thing subsidies do is effectively shut the market to what might be better alternatives, another stifling effect.



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When you are taking the temperature of the earth, a data source that takes millions of accurate data points from all areas of the globe is good. It turns out there is no better system in place at this time. ...
Even that isn't simple. What temperature is important? Surface temp? Atmosphere? Ocean, land? What about deep ocean?

I know from personal experience that the water temp at the beach of Lake Michigan can be more of a function of recent wind and currents than the temperature over the past month. Certain conditions bring up the cold bottom water, other conditions keep the top warm water stratified. Air/land temperature could be negatively correlated at times.

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Old 07-31-2012, 02:07 PM   #38
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Subsidies are also to encourage efforts that might not otherwise take place and are in the public good. For example, developing vaccines. There is no doubt that improvements in energy efficiency and development of alternate sources meet this criteria. It's just not clear a subsidy is needed to make that happen. As ERD points out, it also changes the dynamics of the marketplace without assuring the impact is always positive.
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Old 07-31-2012, 03:39 PM   #39
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There isn't going to be much private money spent on low carbon/anti-warming technology without government involvement because of the tragedy of the commons issues you mention.

The market's solution to global warming is to pump as much CO2 into the atmosphere as fast as possible.

If the government doesn't create a financial downside for using CO2, there is not going to be a lot of interest in counteracting technologies, because there is not going to be any financial upside to using them.

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I might see the need for subsidizing basic research, but as MichaelB points out below, there should be plenty of private money chasing the more near term ideas. I think better results come from entrepreneurs spending their own money, than from any group who is spending someone else's money. I don't want them picking winners/losers, let the market decide.
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Old 07-31-2012, 03:44 PM   #40
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On a personal note - I like the part where I moved to high ground after Katrina - and higher than Missouri where the levees broke.

Got my 'new' more energy efficient A/C set on 75 and my bills seem to be much cheaper than the old one I replaced.

heh heh heh -
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