Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

January 14, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

GLOBAL WARMING....I don't know if this represents wishful thinking on the part of Tony Blair or a genuine change of heart from George Bush, but the Guardian says that Bush is about to get religion on global warming:

George Bush is preparing to make a historic shift in his position on global warming when he makes his State of the Union speech later this month, say senior Downing Street officials.

....Bush and Blair held private talks on climate change before Christmas, and there is a feeling that the US President will now agree a cap on emissions in the US, meaning that, for the first time, American industry and consumers would be expected to start conserving energy and curbing pollution.

Color me massively skeptical. Remember how last year we were addicted to oil? Remember the sweeping changes Bush proposed to deal with that? Me neither.

Still, it's an interesting tidbit and I thought I'd pass it along.

Kevin Drum 1:17 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (200)

Bookmark and Share
 
Comments

I'll reserve judgement as well.

Bush is purely political. Period.

If true, I would view it slightly differently:
Bush is about to get religion on his legacy

That being the case, when I see some action out of him, free of strings and free of additional tax dollars to oil companies (to encourage behavior that they should be held to in the first place)....then and only then will I back him in his actions.

It will be real easy to tell whether his actions represent a token gesture to be spun into positives for his legacy or real and effective action on the issue.

You've done way way waaaay too much to inhibit progress on the enviornmental front. Time is up Bush, do something or get the f**k out of the way.

Posted by: Simp on January 14, 2007 at 1:30 AM | PERMALINK

Glad McCain's massively for a policy change in this direction. It gives the GOP all that much less cover to continue the status quo -- and that's a good thing for the country.

Although, dammit, I *still* wish Gore would be drafted by the Dems to harness the pent up desire for change in a grassroots crusade ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

Say and do are are not the same thing. When your appoval ratings are in danger of slipping into the twenties, you look for any wind to get into your sails. It's probably all bullshit.

Posted by: Phlip on January 14, 2007 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

I'll take a wild guess and say Bush will stick to his template he's used on issues he's hostile to or doesn't really care about. In the SOTU he'll say a bunch of lines that makes it seem like he's taking bold, decisive, and drastic action to solve climate change, but in reality he will do little to nothing.

Posted by: Killjoy on January 14, 2007 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Anybody who trusts The Guardian is a fool.

Google "The Guardian Lies" - 1.3 million hits. One of the first hits is an interesting article by Alan Dershowitz about a story in The Guardian.

Posted by: Frequency Kenneth on January 14, 2007 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone who trusts Frequency Kenneth on media criticism is an even bigger fool :)

oBo

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 1:45 AM | PERMALINK

Given Bush's startling ineptitude and the GOP's basic corruptibility, I'd really rather not have this administration trying to come up with any large scale response. Remember Medicare Part D? Remember No Child Left Behind? It would be something along those lines.

Georgie boy, don't be doing us no favors.

If Dubya really wants to do something in this area, how about firing most of his EPA industry-friendly appointments? How about eliminating all those subtle rule changes to weaken environmental enforcement? If he really wants to help here, that'd be the place to start, not with some grand implausible program a la the Mars mission.

Posted by: jimBOB on January 14, 2007 at 1:46 AM | PERMALINK

killjoy said: I'll take a wild guess and say Bush will stick to his template he's used on issues he's hostile to or doesn't really care about. In the SOTU he'll say a bunch of lines that makes it seem like he's taking bold, decisive, and drastic action to solve climate change, but in reality he will do little to nothing.

You're exactly right. I'm still waiting for the mission to Mars, the moon, and the hydrogen powered cars he talked about in years past.

Posted by: bigcat on January 14, 2007 at 1:47 AM | PERMALINK

I'm just glad to see the terms of the debate changing ... I expect *nothing* from Bush himself -- but this will give holoc-- er, global warming deniers that much less *cough, choke* breathing space.

And that, overall, is a good thing.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 1:50 AM | PERMALINK

Let me guess.

Switchgrass ethanol and hydrogen fuel cells? Millions of dollars more for alternative energy research?

As alternative energy vehicles stand up, fossil fuel vehicles will stand down?

Paying oil companies for the CO2 injections they already conduct to enhance oil recovery in depleted reservoirs?

"conservation is a personal virtue" bumper stickers?

Posted by: sock-puppet on January 14, 2007 at 1:51 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, he could vigorously frame it in terms of national security and propose some national goals ... but I doubt we're gonna see many prime-time piggies flying out of his butt, either ...

This is one issue that the Moustache of Understanding (I *love* that name) is *dead right* about.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 1:56 AM | PERMALINK

The Guardian did mess up an interview last year with Noam Chomsky. Their edits made it appear as if Noam denied certain historical genocides.

To their credit they apologized and retracted the article.

Posted by: B on January 14, 2007 at 2:00 AM | PERMALINK

The Guardian?

It's the Washington Times of the UK

Posted by: maccabee on January 14, 2007 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

maccabee:

Where do you get *that* from? The Guardian is owned by a large charitable trust.

It also has a fairly strong reputation as a voice of the center-left.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 2:41 AM | PERMALINK

Who knows, the dude might follow through on this one. Weirder shit has gone down.

Posted by: Patrick Smith on January 14, 2007 at 3:16 AM | PERMALINK

Add to the Bush change of heart, the recent meetings of Exxon-Mobil with environmentalists and their reported disavowal of global warming skeptics. I'd say the conversion of neither Bush nor Exxon-Mobil is voluntary, but the practical acknowledgement that the world has moved beyond them. After all, Frank Luntz, Pat Robertson, millions of evangelical Christian environmentalists, and multiple corporations who have finally figured out that the coming change wasn't going to be good on their bottom line make it hard for Bush to hold on to the fantasy that we can wait until every study and scientist 100 years from now agree that human causes of global warming are indisputable.

Posted by: Mary on January 14, 2007 at 3:48 AM | PERMALINK

You can bet that if we didn't have such warm weather in the Eastern US last month and early this month that there would be a lot less interest in this. Never mind that global warming is about considerably longer trends than any particular season's weather, and about planetary, not local, temperatures. It's politics -- the warm weather has gotten people talking about GW who wouldn't know a greenhouse gas if it bubbled out of their drink.

Posted by: idlemind on January 14, 2007 at 4:19 AM | PERMALINK

Color me massively skeptical.

Results 1 - 10 of about 117 from washingtonmonthly.com for color-me -comment.on

This construction was too precious the first time. Move on, writer.

Posted by: Allen K. on January 14, 2007 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK

If you want a clue as to what to what to expect from SOTU, have a look at how Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard, handled his own greenhouse about-turn speech recently. Grudging recognition that climate may be shifting, and a few vague measures that basically amount to 'more of the same'- a committe or two, more research, and assistance to the big end of town. No changes to energy markets to shift consumer behaviour, efficiency measures or mandated renewables targets. As John Howard seems to have got away with this approach, it's likely to set a model for GWB.

And gee, don't some people hate the Guardian- wouldn't be because its predictions on Iraq have proven correct, would it?

Posted by: number6 on January 14, 2007 at 4:35 AM | PERMALINK

Start with an assumption that GWB is fundamentally a stooge for Texas oil interests. Then, crank in the knowledge that oil interests are acknowledging global warming. It follows that GWB--a man who has never figured things out for himself-- will finally acknowledge that global warming is happening.

He'll advocate a conservative, free market approach to global warming. Perhaps a voluntary "cap on emissions," making the tax cuts permanent and attacking Iran.

Posted by: PTate in FR on January 14, 2007 at 4:40 AM | PERMALINK

Let me guess.

Switchgrass ethanol and hydrogen fuel cells? Millions of dollars more for alternative energy research?

As alternative energy vehicles stand up, fossil fuel vehicles will stand down?

Paying oil companies for the fuyinji injections they already conduct to fuyinji recovery in depleted reservoirs?

"conservation is a personal virtue" bumper stickers?

Posted by: alexj on January 14, 2007 at 5:41 AM | PERMALINK

Frequency Kenneth, i did Google "The Guardian Lies" as you suggested, and I came up with nearly a million hits that had more to do with the crap movie "The Guardian" than with the newspaper of the same name. In fact, I couldn't see one relevant post that wasn't written by a wingnut with an axe to grind. All the best.

Posted by: billy on January 14, 2007 at 7:07 AM | PERMALINK

Please. 'Global Warming' is out. This simplistic tag fails to adequately describe the scope and magnitude of the consequences we're facing.

The accepted usage among the scientific community is 'Global Climate Change' - whether preceded by 'Catastrophic' or not.

Re the absurd folly of corn-based ethanol:

World May Be Facing Highest Grain Prices in History
Lester R. Brown

www.earthpolicy.org/Updates/2007/Update63.htm

[snip]
'If the EPI estimate is at all close to the mark, the emerging competition between cars and people for grain will likely drive world grain prices to levels never seen before.'
[snip]
'In addition, easily 200 ethanol plants were in the planning stage at the end of 2006. If these translate into construction starts between January 1 and June 30, 2007, at the same rate that plants did during the final six months of 2006, then an additional 3 billion gallons of capacity requiring 27 million more tons of grain will likely come online by September 1, 2008, the start of the 2008 harvest year. This raises the corn needed for distilleries to 139 million tons, half the 2008 harvest projected by USDA. This would yield nearly 15 billion gallons of ethanol, satisfying 6 percent of U.S. auto fuel needs. (And this estimate does not include any plants started after June 30, 2007, that would be finished in time to draw on the 2008 harvest.)

This unprecedented diversion of the world's leading grain crop to the production of fuel will affect food prices everywhere. As the world corn price rises, so too do those of wheat and rice, both because of consumer substitution among grains and because the crops compete for land. Both corn and wheat futures were already trading at 10-year highs in late 2006.

The U.S. corn crop, accounting for 40 percent of the global harvest and supplying 70 percent of the world's corn exports, looms large in the world food economy. Annual U.S. corn exports of some 55 million tons account for nearly one fourth of world grain exports. The corn harvest of Iowa alone, which edges out Illinois as the leading producer, exceeds the entire grain harvest of Canada. Substantially reducing this export flow would send shock waves throughout the world economy.'
[snip]
'With corn supplies tightening fast, rising prices will affect not only products made directly from corn, such as breakfast cereals, but also those produced using corn, including milk, eggs, cheese, butter, poultry, pork, beef, yogurt, and ice cream.'
[snip]
'They also argue that the U.S. distillery demand for corn can be met by expanding land in corn, mostly at the expense of soybeans, and by raising yields. While it is true that the corn crop can be expanded, there is no precedent for growth on the scale needed. And this soaring demand for corn comes when world grain production has fallen below consumption in six of the last seven years, dropping grain stocks to their lowest level in 34 years.

From an agricultural vantage point, the automotive demand for fuel is insatiable. The grain it takes to fill a 25-gallon tank with ethanol just once will feed one person for a whole year. Converting the entire U.S. grain harvest to ethanol would satisfy only 16 percent of U.S. auto fuel needs.

The competition for grain between the world's 800 million motorists who want to maintain their mobility and its 2 billion poorest people who are simply trying to survive is emerging as an epic issue. Soaring food prices could lead to urban food riots in scores of lower-income countries that rely on grain imports, such as Indonesia, Egypt, Algeria, Nigeria, and Mexico. The resulting political instability could in turn disrupt global economic progress, directly affecting all countries.'
[snip]

author is Lester R. Brown is President of the Earth Policy Institute

Posted by: MsNThrope on January 14, 2007 at 8:13 AM | PERMALINK

MsNThrope:

I *knew* there was a reason I always broke out in assymmetric shudders whenever rdw when off on another of his ethanol tears ...

Cellulosic ethanol from switchgrass of *gasp* industrial hemp is really the only way to go.

BTW, on the subject of your moniker, have you ever read Florence King's With Charity Towards None, her amusing survey of misanthropy and misanthropes?

Great takes on Dian Fossey (she of the gorillas), Ayn Rand, Ty Cobb, Irving Berlin, Celine and Ambrose Bierce, among others ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK

of *gasp* = or *gasp*

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 8:34 AM | PERMALINK

The future (if indeed there is an industrial future) belongs to not burning bioproducts- not wood, charcoal, coal, oil, natural gas, ethanol or anything else. It belongs to renewables and to improved capacities in things like fusion power. All the rest is just getting us to a post-carbon civilization. If the market decides the time to switch as opposed to reason we could well drive over the cliff.

Posted by: bellumregio on January 14, 2007 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

You suppose that Bush will acknowledge the earth is not flat soon, as well?

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 14, 2007 at 8:58 AM | PERMALINK

Ah, Kevin.

Still voicing that "global warming" canard, eh. So what do you think? US should join Kyo-NO? Europe and Japan can't even meet their Kyoto obligations. Its a pipe dream.

Now you want to economically hamstring the US with huge socialistic command controls to ration gasoline? You guys are nuts.

The fact is that there is a lot of uncertainty about global warming. The climate has changed throughout the earth's history. Were there dinosaurs emitting CO2 back in the day? Plus, it was even warmer during the Middel Ages.

Global Warming is likely a huge boondoggle. Climatologists have discovered it's a cash cow, and are pushing this onto all the media outlets to up their grant monies and fame.

America needs cheap oil to continue its high standard of living. No wonder you want to take that away.

Posted by: egbert on January 14, 2007 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

"Remember how last year we were addicted to oil?Remember the sweeping changes Bush proposed to deal with that? Me neither." - Kevin

Let me remind you of a few:
$10 billion spent on reasearch including $250 million on bioenergy.

$3400 tax credit on the purchase of a hybrid vehicle

A 10 cent per gallon tax credit on ethanol fuel use which resulted in a 1.6 billion gallon increase in ethanol fuel

100 Etahnol refineries now operating with 40 more coming on line between 2007 and 2008

900 stations now selling E85.

Just FYI

Posted by: Jay on January 14, 2007 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

egbert the brain damaged kitten:

"Middel Ages ... "

*snickering helplessly*

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

Jay:

Read MsNThrope's (duly sourced) post above.

Ethanol from corn isn't remotely the answer ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

I am confused. The environment is evil I hate clean air, but Bush might be supporting it. Must support everything the jackass proposes. I am entering a time-space loop or something. My head hurts. But I should make a statement on this...


AL---"No Comment!"

Posted by: Al's Brain on January 14, 2007 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

"Ethanol from corn isn't remotely the answer ..." - rmck1


Did I say it was THE answer?
I merely pointed out some real progress made in the last year to address our reliance on oil that Kevin was unable to find.

Revamping our economy to be more dependent on renewable energy sources will take decades, this is just one years progress, and it takes someone completely partisan to not acknowledge that fact.

Posted by: Jay on January 14, 2007 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

Jay:

Did you read what MsNThrope posted?

Ethanol from corn is *counterproductive*.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

I don't expect Bush to do much to fight global warming. But if he commits to caps in his SOTU, I also don't expect him to stop congressional action on the matter either. He may water it down--I expect him to, in fact--but he won't stop something from getting in place. And I think getting things started now is more important than waiting a few years for the perfect plan, which isn't going to be perfect then, either.

Posted by: allen claxton on January 14, 2007 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK

allen claxton:

I essentially agree. I think the symbolic value of Bush dropping his insistence that the jury's out and we have to continue to study it (the position which egbert's post serves as an apt caracature of) is extremely important in itself.

It just strips away that much cover from energy-state GOP legislators ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

Jay -

Where are you getting that figure of $10B for energy research?

I know Bush proposed to increase that budget to about $7B for 2007, but that would be getting back up to where it was 25 years ago. Not all that figure is geared toward fighting Global Warming.

Also, many states had hybrid tax breaks in place before last year.

I think your list is a lot less impressive than you're trying to make it sound. We need to get much more aggressive on this issue.

Posted by: forsythe on January 14, 2007 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

The big news this week was that Exxon was going to stop funding all the anti global warming groups that were really nothing but a front for Exxon.

They have given up. All the money is drying up for the fake scientists, so there will be less of a media interest in contacting Exxon backed "scientists" for balance.

Posted by: trifecta on January 14, 2007 at 9:50 AM | PERMALINK

Ethanol does decrease CO and hydrocarbon emissions significantly and therefore improves air quality in urban areas. It's also one of the few automobile fuels that allows us to forget about global environmental problems when properly imbibed.

In comparison to other oxidant additives (like MTBE) it is not easily recognized as an anthropogenic contaminant in surface water and groundwater. This increases the effective life of gasoline storage tanks before replacement.

Posted by: B on January 14, 2007 at 9:51 AM | PERMALINK

that should be "safely forget"

Posted by: B on January 14, 2007 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

As far as symbolic gestures go, I'd be thrilled if all the presidential as-large-as-possible SUVs went to the crusher. We drive too damn much, in cars that are too damn large. I think it's interesting that we have turned walking and cycling into things to do for exercise, but not for transportation.

On the other hand, Bush is not exactly the poster child for safe cycling; he's had what, 2, or 3 publicized scrapes in six years? (Or am I counting the Segway mishap as a bicycle wreck?)

Posted by: dr2chase on January 14, 2007 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

B:

Don't get me wrong; I have no problem with ethanol as a fuel *per se*. The best thing about the current ag-state ethanol subsidies is that it will at least force our car manufactures to start offering flex-fuel vehicles, and that needs to happen pronto. I have little problem with Brazil's sugar cane ethanol program.

But the problem with corn is that 1) it's a monoculture which therefore requres irrigation and lots of petroleum-based fertilizer and pesticides to grow, and 2) that it's a food crop, the widespread use of which in fuel is going to drive up world grain prices.

We need some crash programs to efficiently harvest switchgrass, which is a weed-like grass which grows virtually anywhere with little cultivation required. Industrial hemp is also an ideal cellulosic crop for ethanol production.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

He can say whatever's politically helpful to him now, having already essentially accomplished his real goal, which was to make sure nothing significant happened on the issue during his eight years in office. Keep talking, keep researching, keep doing nothing...

That's the whole idea of Luntz's "climate change" framing and the deniers' tobacco-company-style "there's no proof" FUD. They know they can't avoid the issue forever, but they can delay as long as possible, while the profits keep rolling in for a few more quarters, a few more years... and by then, it'll probably be someone else's problem anyhow.

Maybe, just maybe, we are now reaching that next stage, where Philip Morris finally admits that cigarette smoking causes cancer... (Meanwhile, they can let the Democrats fight amongst themselves. OK, you guys believe in global warming so much, YOU take on Detroit and John Dingell, and call me when you're done...)

Of course, the delay makes it a much bigger problem, and much harder to solve. But when have Bush & Co. ever cared about that?

Posted by: Bill Camarda on January 14, 2007 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

Another sign that Bush is losing it. I wonder if he'll find a text in Revelation to justify his new stand.

Posted by: John Emerson on January 14, 2007 at 10:06 AM | PERMALINK

Not all energy state senators are Republicans. The two Dems from Montana, for instance, are pushing hard for coal burning technology that would sequester the CO2. One way to do this is to mix the gas with water and pump it into the underground layers formerly permeated with oil and natural gas, now depleted.

In effect, this creates underground soda pop bottles. You cap the bottles, if necessary, with ground freezing techniques. It turns out to be remarkably inexpensive to keep deep layers frozen once they solidify.

By far the cheapest way to sequester a lot of CO2, however, is to encourage the Chinese and the Mongolians to keep kicking up a lot of dust with their agriculture and livestock. Dust contains iron, which falls out over oceans and greatly fertilizes algae, the bottom rung of the food chain, to mix metaphors. The only problem is that the Southern hemisphere oceans are the ones really starved for iron but Australia and South Africa are practically the only nations down there kicking up any dust.

Beyond that, Bush may be "getting religion" on the man-caused global warming thing so late in the day because he mainly wants to cut petroleum imports and cushion the day when the Middle East blows totally to hell. Unilateral American cuts in consumption, even the most severe, are unlikely to slow very much the global growth in demand for petroleum.

And beyond that, not all the world's climatologists, especially in Russia and China, believe the "man-caused" warming dogma in the first place. The analogy is fitting to the dramatic cuts in production and release of CFC's, which were touted as the sole cause of Antarctica's famous ozone hole. The level of CFC's found in the upper atmosphere has plummeted dramatically in recent years.

But the ozone hole is still with us, acting about like it always did since we first started paying attention to it in the 1970's. Likely cause--the hole had nothing to do with CFC's in the first place, despite all the fine theory. CFC's may genuinely be a threat to ozone, but the hole we were looking at may not have been an effect of CFC's as much as other factors, like cooler stratospheric temperatures, which were also being measured until the dogmatists started fiddling with the data because they didn't like what it showed.

Climates normally vary, a lot. The claimed global temperature rises of the last century are not at all out of the pattern of other periods of "global warming" that have taken place for unknown reasons for thousands of times.

While here in Seattle in 2006 Al Gore promised us that global warming would soon bring us heat and drought. What we have been getting is record rain and near-record cold. Go figure.

Posted by: mike cook on January 14, 2007 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

Mike Cook:

Lovely morning to you. Ever so nice to hear a self-professed defender of Intelligent Design lecture us all about all those nasty scientific "dogmatists" out there ...

Takes one to know one, I guess :)

Other than that, interesting stuff about iron in dust which serves to fertilize ocean algae. Didn't know that ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Damn, this Allan Holdsworth CD is beautiful ... The Sixteen Men of Tain, from last year. Every record he makes just keeps getting a little more profound and poignant.

The title refers to North English scotch making.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

he's going according to his script

all these sudden mea culpas will ameliorate the long term impression that he acted against the best advice of others

Posted by: maccabee on January 14, 2007 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

he's had what, 2, or 3 publicized scrapes in six years?

Just to prove I have nothing better to do, I count 5 scrapes, 3 of them bicycle related.

January 2002-pretzel
June 2003-segway
May 2004-bicycle, steep incline at ranch
July 2004-bicycle, flips over handlebars on bicycle ride with AP reporter at ranch
July 2005-bicycle, collides with police at G8 while trying to wave

But these are just the ones where he injured his face or had an accident with a reporter present.

In 2006 Cheney shot a friend in the face and a mishap prone Presidential trip to Hawaii included 2 motorcycle accidents in the motorcade, 1 dead police officer, three injured police officers, and an aid hospitalized from injuries sustained in a mugging.

Posted by: B on January 14, 2007 at 10:39 AM | PERMALINK

"Ever so nice to hear a self-professed defender of Intelligent Design lecture us all about all those nasty scientific "dogmatists" out there ...

Takes one to know one, I guess :)" - rmck1

You'll notice Mike that they are unable to refute your assertions (ie: climatologists of Russia and China and the global demand for petroleum) so they take personal shots. It's the Democratic way.

Have we yet to hear the apologies from this group extended towards the Duke LaCrosse players?


Posted by: Jay on January 14, 2007 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

B:

Book 'em Danno -- Christ on a crutch.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 10:42 AM | PERMALINK

Jay:

Who here has said Word One about the Duke Lacrosse players?

Sheesh, you should move to the southern hemisphere. Maybe all that dust you're kicking up would help the depleted ocean algae.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Bob, I found a blurb in Science Daily from 2003. Biologists from the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research have demonstrated that desert dust promotes the growth of algae.

They published in a psychology journal. Make of that what you will. I would not deign to comment in specifics on a scientific study without hard-copy of the original study and peer review findings; and margin notes.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 10:45 AM | PERMALINK

Bob,

The comment above on ethanol included some deadpan humor. I agree that we can't simply grow our way out of our problems if we insist on dragging 250 million 2 ton chunks of steel around everywhere we go.

Posted by: B on January 14, 2007 at 10:50 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't think it sounded quite right to be tickled about algae growth in our overfished oceans, and I was right. Iron-rich desert dust leads to algae blooms and fish kills.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 10:51 AM | PERMALINK

that's the journal of phycology (study of algae).

Posted by: B on January 14, 2007 at 10:56 AM | PERMALINK

(*blushing and going to make coffee*)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Globe:

Well, algae is a chlorophyllic (right word ?) organism, so it *will* sequester atmospheric CO2, at the expense of fish or no ...

Which only goes to show ya once again -- the environment is an interdependent system.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 11:01 AM | PERMALINK

It doesn't really matter what Bush "thinks" on the issue. He can no more take effective action on carbon emissions than Nouri al-Maliki can crack down on Shiite militias. The people who put him and keep him in power don't want it. Any Bush initiative towards a carbon tax or emissions trading would make it no more than two doors down the hall before being dirempted into a study group on potential legislation seconded to an independent commission staffed largely by oil-industry appointees, eventually resulting in a recommendation for a voluntary program to encourage schoolchildren to plant more trees.

Posted by: brooksfoe on January 14, 2007 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

brooksfoe:

The way you put that made me laff ...

Although the essence of what you're saying is about as funny as malignant melanoma.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Well, then we have to get into the difference between biologic carbon and geologic carbon, and I have already demonstrated that four hours sleep and no coffee, with eyelids that feel like sandpaper do not render me fit to get into it.

I'm flipping back and forth from the online classroom so I'm otherwise occupied, but I have made a mental note about pursuing this further at another time.

But before popping out again: Cattle production is an environmental nightmare. Cow waste kills streams, it takes a thousand gallons + of potable water to produce one pound of meat. Cattle erode topsoil and create silt runoff into waterways. Advocating more livestock production is insanity.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

Those climate scientists and their rock-star lives. Carted from one palatial conference to another in limosines and private jets. Rubbing their hands together, thinking "Man, this is better than selling dope." All their Nobel bling around their neck, beautiful RA's in skimpy camp short wiggling their butts in time to the music. Ah, fame and respect is wonderful, no wonder why BUSHchump wants to get aboard.

Posted by: Neal on January 14, 2007 at 11:10 AM | PERMALINK

Neal:

"Nobel bling ... skimpy camp shorts ... "

Man, if I had a cuppa cawfee, it'd be all *over* the monitor right now.

What a fucking hysterical riff on eggplant the brain damaged kitty's post :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK


jay: It's the Democratic way.


"We need somebody to put rat poisoning in Justice Stevens' creme brulee." --Conservative commentator Ann Coulter

Posted by: mr. irony on January 14, 2007 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK


mike cook: near-record cold.


Last year was the warmest in the continental U-S in the past 112-years, according to the government's National Climatic Data Center. - Wash. Post 1/10/07

Posted by: mr. irony on January 14, 2007 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

I can't take anyone serious who points to a season in a region and says "See? You guys are wrong!"

It just begins from a point of such abject ignorance I can't dumb-it down enough to reach them.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

It was 72 here last week -- the highest temperature ever recorded for that day in January in this neck of the words. Or *any* day in January, no doubt.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 11:30 AM | PERMALINK

Not that that's prima facie proof of global warming or anything, but just sayin' ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 11:32 AM | PERMALINK

bg,rs: It just begins from a point of such abject ignorance I can't dumb-it down enough to reach them.

true dat..

"...It is in the religion of ignorance that tyranny begins..." - Benjamin Franklin

Posted by: mr. irony on January 14, 2007 at 11:33 AM | PERMALINK

neck of the words ... cute Freudian typo. I guess on a blog, that would be true, wherever you reside in physical space :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

Can't refute any of my points, so you just issue adhoms.

Mike Cook had a very instructive post above, and NO ONE addressed his points.

Nice echo chainber you got around here.

Posted by: egbert on January 14, 2007 at 11:38 AM | PERMALINK

This is bullshit. Bush is only going to say some words that he thinks will help his legacy. Next thing you know, he will be calling himself the "Green President."

Posted by: Goof Beyou on January 14, 2007 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

egbert:

There's nothing to say. First of all Mike -- silly as he can be sometimes -- has a science education and doesn't reject global warming out of hand the way you do.

Secondly, *Bush* is, as Mike says, "getting religion" on the issue. He's going to talk about it in the SOTU. That means no more "global warming needs more study" talk. You know -- all the crap in your ridiculous post, the president himself is going to refute.

Third, if you don't wish your posts to have us in hysterics, try a modicum of proofreading.

You can do better than "Middel Ages," for crying out loud. That was almost as good as "dignaty" the other day :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

We could much more easily and efficiently grow hemp for biodiesel than we could corn for gasahol, but political interests are in the way. Hemp is cheaper to grow, low maintainence, etc. Check out http://www.hempcar.org/. I rode in the Hemp Car a few years ago, and it ran very well.

Posted by: Neil Bates on January 14, 2007 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

egbert:

"Echo chainber???"

*rolling eyes, snickering s'more*

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Algae are photoautotrophs and do convert atmospheric CO2 and/or disolved HCO3- into organic carbon. This is the first step in carbon sequestration (the organic carbon still has to find it's way into the deep ocean and into sediments before being converted back into CO2.

In moderation, a flux of nutrients is also a good thing for fish. However, under eutrophic conditions algal blooms can overload the system with organic matter resulting in enough microbial decay to cause oxygen depletion. In addition, blooms of particular algae can load the water with toxic secondary products (i.e. the vertebrate nerve toxins of dinoflagellates) that wipe out the fish before oxygen is depleted.

Algal response to nutrient inputs depend upon the environmental setting. Generally, dead zones related to oxygen depletion lie along continental margins where windshear-related upwelling and nutrient laden rivers have the largest effect. Toxic algal blooms are tied to the ecology of specific species of dinoflaggelates and haptophytes and are more localized along continental margins.

The first paper Globe referenced focused on cold oligotrophic high latitude settings where increased algal productivity has minimal negative impacts on fish and people. Research on ocean fertilization for the purpose of carbon sequestration generally focuses on regions which currently have very low algal productivity. I think the newer research shows that such on operation would be fairly complex and could not achieve the amazing results researchers once thought.

BTW, if you want to keep track of global warming you should be looking at record high minimum temperatures and a decreasing diurnal temperature range. This is where the largest changes have occurred in the developing instrumental record. Greenhouse gases inhibit radiant cooling at night and should make cloud free nights significantly warmer if you live long enough.

Posted by: B on January 14, 2007 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

egbert is the trailer park version of al...


without the wheels..

Posted by: mr. irony on January 14, 2007 at 11:48 AM | PERMALINK

Global - You are not advocating that I forego that giant New York Strip that my wife is thawing for dinner tonight are you? I may need some of that glue that was being discussed last night...

Posted by: bmaz on January 14, 2007 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Unpleasant facts:

1) Our current economic system is based on 'structural over-consumption'.

2) Due to 'legacy' genetic programming and the domination of religous systems we are also in a state of 'structural over-population'.

Any increased effeciencies in 'small-scope' issues like CO2 emissions are ultimately doomed unless numbers 1 and 2 are addressed.

3) Due to the 'structural' nature of problems 1 and 2, they cannot be addressed.

The result is that the 'big issues' will only be addressed by catastrophic events... likely to come in the fairly near future.
Bummer, that.

Posted by: Buford on January 14, 2007 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

I'm not a vegetarian, but I do embrace the "slow food" philosophy.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Color me massively skeptical

Me too, but the only good thing about ideologues is that their “beliefs” rest upon sand, thus there is always the possibility that they will suddenly shift abruptly toward a more sensible approach.

I agree with those commenters above who note that Bush is not likely to shift dramatically (Phlip, yes, it’s probably all politics) but if he becomes less of an impediment, that will be something. We need so badly to start doing more right now.

I recently purchased a copy of An Inconvenient Truth to pass around to people who would at least be willing to watch it. The movie is not perfect, of course, but it does attempt to focus on science. I applaud every such effort.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 14, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

It's part of our trip to Mars. Remember that? Bush wants to combat global warming on Mars.

Posted by: craigie on January 14, 2007 at 12:09 PM | PERMALINK

B:

Thanks for answering my question; that was quite informative.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK


craigie: Bush wants to combat global warming on Mars.


i thought that's where the wmd's were?

Posted by: mr. irony on January 14, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

I rode in the Hemp Car a few years ago, and it ran very well.

Paah, the Hemp Car is old technology! Cheech & Chong had one in "Up in Smoke" back in the '70s.

As for Bush--What do they say, Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me 400 times, I'm a fucking idiot.

Posted by: Freder Frederson on January 14, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

Red Girl--
Your comments concerning cattle production are on the mark if you accept the idea that beef must be produced using the industrial feedlot business plan presently in use. On the other hand, if beef production went backwards and a more organic business plan is followed, the environmental damage is much less. This would mean fattening cattle on grass, reducing chemical inputs into the 'finishing process' for beef cattle, and higher prices for beef. On the plus side, it would mean that more beef would be produced locally by real family farmers instead of agri-business and consumers would be able to eat a steak without wondering how much damage that T-bone had done to the environment. This holds true for much of our nation's current food production plan: we are conditioned to believe that the corporations that now control agricultural production have the consumer's best interest at heart. Truth is that they live on government subsidities which squeeze small local producers out of the market. We're left with frankenfoods, an ongoing demise of family farms, and over twenty billion in subsidities to corporate agriculture. I think you've mentioned buffalo burgers in previous posts--not a bad idea really--buffalo don't take kindly to being stuffed into feedlots. Maybe what we need are some cows with the same independant spirit...closing those industrial feedlots would be step one in reducing pollution caused by agriculture.

Posted by: sparky on January 14, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Yesterday, poor Mike Cook, the rdw of the Northwest, was lamenting that he was out of work. However, his efforts with the Federal Way School Board, in his area south of Seattle, must have paid off. They have suspended any showing of "Inconvienent Truth" in any school within their district on the grounds that it would be "too controversial".

Good work for ignorance, Mike C. Still surprised that you received even one vote in your district - Must have had all the school board votes rolled into one.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 14, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

sparky - Thanks for your post on the relative methods of cattle production and you are right. Here in Phoenix, there are several stores that sell certified free range beef. My guess is that this is the case in most locales. This type of husbandry effectively returns the cattle production cycle to normal evolutionary food chain status. Not completely of course, due to the fact that the herd density will, by necessity, result in some overgrazing; but this can be substantially overcome by advanced and intelligent ground planting. The added bonus is that the meat is far superior. The downside is the significantly higher cost; but that is appropriate as a regulation on a finite resource. I would not want to speak for Global, or the others here, but my guess is that this model may more comport with her point of view. It makes the purchase more difficult, due to limited purchase point stores and at a higher cost, but if everybody bought only free range beef, and demanded that their local stores sell the same, a lot of progress could be made. The poulous has the power, we have to exercise it.

Posted by: bmaz on January 14, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

I'm skeptical we'll see real change as well. BUT, Bush needs a massive shift in the conversation; he's needs to take some of the focus off Iraq. If he did make this his signature issue, that would be motivation. "lookie over there. A bright shiny object!"

Posted by: CKT on January 14, 2007 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

"Poulous" should read "populous" in last post. Got to get new glasses, lasik or some kind of eye relief...

Posted by: bmaz on January 14, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Freder Frederson: I know, it is fun to make fun of a hemp-powered car, but: in serious terms, it works very well and the whole project would be great for the environment.

Posted by: Neil Bates on January 14, 2007 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Hasn't Bush proposed some sort of alternative fuel measure in *every* SOTU? Swatting at the flies of global warming ain't gonna cut it Mr. Bush. Call me a skeptic but he's just playing dress-up, He's a War President, He's a Space (off to Mars bitches!) President, He's an Environment President, etc.

Posted by: Fred F. on January 14, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

Hemp powered cars - Not to mention idling on Lover's Lane" while inhaling the exhaust.


And to all of you Archer-Midland-Daniels folk, your checks will be electronically transferred.

Posted by: stupid git on January 14, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

Fighting global warming involves both building a broad based political coalition involving hunters as well as providing answers that will solve the problem without damaging the economy, such as giving tax credits to gas stations to place E85 ethanol pumps and to states and cities to build nuclear power plants. An international treaty may work to bring down global emissions, but the flaws of the Kyoto Treaty, such as its failure to include any emissions cuts from China, the number two polluter of the globe, must be addressed.

Posted by: brian on January 14, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

At the mere mention of the Kyoto Treaty, a Klaxon horn has sounded somewhere in Chester County, PA - Schaife has alerted their operative on Drexel Hill to provide his obfuscatory commentary once again - Dimwit, rises from his Bed of Ignorance and stumbles and bumbles towards the keyboard - Don't forget Eurabia and Clinton, woot.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 14, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

I'm guessing my car could run pretty strong on Colombian Gold or some decent Thai stick, but it would probably forget where it was going and have to stop frequently because of the munchies...

Posted by: Joe Bob Briggs on January 14, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Paul! You go turn three circles and say "netoow eb enog" on each revolution. The last thing we need on a serious discussion thread is his spamming the thread with his feedback loop and telling us global climate shift is actually desirable because his heating bill is low this winter and supply side will save us anyway.

Isn't he getting dangerously close to "charlie" territory?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

By that I mean, I just prefer the threads readable, that's all.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

BGRS,

That banning of "An Inconvienent Truth" by the Federal Way School Board was in the Seattle papers. The Times and the P/I. Wouldn't want the kiddos to learn anything at school, when they can receive all they need to know from MTV at home. This sounds like one of those Pat Robertson school boards. Remember after his run for President, he decided to use Ralph Reed and build a grass roots by going after the take over of school boards?

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 14, 2007 at 2:01 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert,

Global Warming is likely a huge boondoggle. Climatologists have discovered it's a cash cow, and are pushing this onto all the media outlets to up their grant monies and fame.

So tell me Eggs, how many actual climatologists have you spoken with on the issue? Being married to one, I can tell, without reservation, these people take the issue very seriously.

Go out, talk to a few (its pretty easy via email and lots of them love to engage in conversation in the topic) then get back to us.

Until then, quit proudly displaying your absolute ignorance on the issue. It is quite clear you have no fucking clue what you are talking about.

Posted by: Simp on January 14, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Notwithstanding the stupidity of asking the Chinese and Mongolians to kick up dust to feed the algae - That dust is bringing increased levels of Mercury to the Pacific Northwest. Our cities rely on snowfall in the winter to provide runoff for our reservoirs. We really need more Mercury in our snow and rainfalls.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on January 14, 2007 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

sorry, hit post too soon.

The climate has changed throughout the earth's history. Were there dinosaurs emitting CO2 back in the day? Plus, it was even warmer during the Middel Ages.

Why, oh why would anyone display their absolute, complete and willful ignorance on an issue so proudly?

Seriously bro, its time to get educated feel free to drop me a line, I'll be happy to point you in the right direction.

For now, start atRealClimate.org

If you think that climate research is the way to fame and fortune, our family would be more than happy to swap salaries with yours any day of the week. :)

Posted by: Simp on January 14, 2007 at 2:21 PM | PERMALINK

Forgive me for ignoring Mike Cook's post above. I only got as far as his livestock dust kicking theory of asian sandstorms. I do have a few comments on his later statements.

The analogy is fitting to the dramatic cuts in production and release of CFC's, which were touted as the sole cause of Antarctica's famous ozone hole. The level of CFC's found in the upper atmosphere has plummeted dramatically in recent years.

Effective equivalent chlorine in the atmosphere has "plummeted" about 7% since it began dropping in 1994. Some compounds with short half lives (trichloroethane) have dropped dramatically. Others like CFC-12, CCl4, and CBrClF2 have remained fairly constant or have continued to increase slowly. Replacement refrigerants (HCFC's) have increased significantly. They have a short half life but they still carry Cl to the stratosphere.

But the ozone hole is still with us, acting about like it always did since we first started paying attention to it in the 1970's. Likely cause--the hole had nothing to do with CFC's in the first place, despite all the fine theory. CFC's may genuinely be a threat to ozone, but the hole we were looking at may not have been an effect of CFC's as much as other factors, like cooler stratospheric temperatures, which were also being measured until the dogmatists started fiddling with the data because they didn't like what it showed.

Ozone depletion has actually largely stabilized (compared to rapid drops in the 1970's and 1980's) and is expected to slowly gain ground through the end of this century. A drop in the 1990's is attributed to the introduction of 30 million tons of aerosols into the stratosphere by Mount Pinatubo. These particles provide sites for the surface catalyzed destruction of ozone at high latitudes. Yes, stratospheric cooling (predicted to increase due to the action of greenhouse gases) could increase ozone depletion.

The causes of ozone depletion are not controversial. We are just still in a period of generally low ozone due to anthropogenic chemical production. Stratospheric weather patterns will result in variable ozone depletion from each winter to the next and the system will be quite susceptible to volcanic injections of aerosols for the next 50 to 100 years. A Tambora sized eruption during this period could cause a lot of problems.

Posted by: B on January 14, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

The earth is a series of interrelated ecosystems and of course there are subtle shifts over time. True, cycles of cooling and warming have occured in the past. The difference is the rate of change as it is currently being experienced and the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. It is unprecedented. And we have the ice core samples to prove it.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 2:30 PM | PERMALINK

Feh.

Posted by: angryspittle on January 14, 2007 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

Paul, the dust is actually pretty clean and comes from the gobi desert (the only role livestock play is eating too many plants and exposing soil/causing desertification). It's the primary source of phosphate for the older soils on Hawaii.

The mercury starts it's journey in a gas state and comes from chinese industry.

Both provide Oregon with nice sunsets but I think they might not peak during the same time of year.

Posted by: B on January 14, 2007 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

GW will admit its a problem just before he leaves office; after he and Dicko have filled there trust funds the past 8 years, better to leave their 'made no sacrifice in Iraq' children tax-free. Wouldn't want them to have to pay for any of the occupation...

Posted by: Brian on January 14, 2007 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

egbert wrote:
> The fact is that there is a lot of uncertainty
> about global warming. The climate has changed
> throughout the earth's history. Were there
> dinosaurs emitting CO2 back in the day? Plus, it > was even warmer during the Middel Ages.

In fact, climatologists have painstakingly calculated the "forces" that control climate. They are detailed in the IPCC Third Assessment Report, v1 ch6 (http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/212.htm).

These calculations show that anthropogenic greenhouse gas forcing is the largest factor driving today's climate.

Egbert, are there calculations here with which you disagree? If so, please present your disagreements, and please provide your own calculations and numerical results for all of the climate forcings.

I'm sure you are able to do this, since you seem so sure that climate science is "uncertain."

Posted by: Kevin on January 14, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

---will now agree a cap on emissions in the US

Oh yeah, the "cap policy", whereby companies trade in order to keep right on with global warming emissions.

The cap policy is a Repug deal for big oil that is EXACTLY like all the other deals for Big Pharma, Big Oil and the Bush’s stupid Social Security privatization schemes.

In other words the "cap policy" is a crap policy SO WHY WOULDN'T BUSH WANT THE CAP POLICY? ExxonMobil came up with cap policy, why wouldn't Bush just love it.

AND Kevin Drums knows this, WHY wouldn't Bush okay the Kevin? The cap policy is just another corporate giveaway just like every other policy that comes out of Repug/GOP government. Its not designed to help anyone out but BIG OIL.

Don't play stupid with us Kevin.

The cap policy is not intended to help global warming -NOPE, just another bunch of BS, and its why Bush seem concerned with Polar Bears, PLEAZZZE, only you know he's not really concerned at all with Polar Bears. Bush only talks out of his ass, everyone knows that.

Bush has shit to sell and Kevin wants to buy it.

Posted by: Cheryl on January 14, 2007 at 2:54 PM | PERMALINK

James E.Hansen, top NASA scientist, who has been with NASA since 1967, said that the Bush administration tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture in 12/05 calling for prompt reductions in greenhouse gases linked to global warming and cited clear-cut dangers from delay in curbing carbon dioxide.
He said he was warned of "dire consequences" of such statements after giving a speech at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco 12/6/05, and after releasing data showing 2005 as the warmest year in a century.

P.S. I found an impressive looking home page for the Bush administration environmental record at cooperativeresearch.org

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 14, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

Fact: All of the sound scientific data points to anthropogenic climate change. Not one singe peer-reviewed article casting doubt. Not One.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

after releasing data showing 2005 as the warmest year in a century.

Ha! I caught you guys at it again. The other day you said 2006 was the warmest year on record. And a while back you said it was 1998. Next year you'll say it was 2007.

Can't keep your story straight. Flip floppity, flip flop flap.

Posted by: sock-puppet on January 14, 2007 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

I should have known Globe would be on one of her favourite hobbyhorses : Secular Animist take note.
The faux BSE scare has taken range fed beef from north of the border off the market. I think of Alberta as Texas North : the numbers of cattle destroyed and farms/ranches likewise has been incredible.
While the corn subsidy is a known train wreck ( do you have any idea how much ethanol Brazil could supply from cane ? ) there are other things to consider.
http://www.ev1.org/ posts a note on Chevron's purchase of battery tech that would make electric vehicles much more practical ( it's more than halfway down the page ). That patent cost Toyota a bunch in U.S. courts which found them in violation : and halted their production of electric vehicles.
http://ergosphere's January post deals with the corn debacle. Much more interesting is the Nov 25 post which outlines a system to wean the U.S. away from oil.

Posted by: opit on January 14, 2007 at 3:11 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry. That's http://ergosphere.blogspot.com/

Posted by: opit on January 14, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Oh god - don't get me started on corn...What an environmental nightmare that crop is. It depletes soil and requires chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides that cause waterway killing runoff. It has a shallow root system so it is detrimental to top soil. It is energy intensive to plant, pamper along and harvest.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

sock puppet: It was back in December, '05 and January, 06 that the acclaimed scientist reported 2005 as warmest in a century. You just blow by the facts, right? There is new information in January, 07. You didn't catch me at all.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 14, 2007 at 3:18 PM | PERMALINK

1998 was the warmest on record. Until a subsequent year broke the record. And so on and so forth. Duh.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

What I meant to say is corn is one of the largest-footprint crops.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

You guys know your arguing with a sock-puppet, right?

Posted by: sock-puppet on January 14, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

Book recommendation on this subject: The Upside of Down by Thomas Homer-Dixon.

Posted by: coldhotel on January 14, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Another book recommendation: Ice by Mariana Gosnell.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

...Bush is about to get religion on global warming..

I took little_grape to DC over the holidays. Kinda hard to Dubya to deny temperatures are rising when the trees on the White House lawn are beginning to bud.

Posted by: grape_crush on January 14, 2007 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

from 4/06 by Juliet Eilperin: Employees working for the Nat'l Oceanic Atmosphere Admin.
along with a US Geological Survey Scientist working with a NOAA lab,
said in interviews over the past year that Bush administration officials have chastised them
for speaking on policy questions, removed references to global warming from their reports,
news releases, and conference web sites, investigated news leaks and sometimes urged them
to stop speaking to the media altogether.
Research scientists say they are required to clear all media requests--something they did not have to do before 2004.

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 14, 2007 at 3:55 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, you'll all be laughing when Bush makes his next SOTU from Mars, bitches.

Posted by: jpe on January 14, 2007 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

If I thought there was a prayer of exiling the little moron to Corsi - er Elba - er Mars - that's it - Mars - I would volunteer my time to work on the mission.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK

Can you imagine what Pauling or Asimov would have to say about the stifling of science if either of them was still alive?

Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night. --Isaac Asimov

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 4:27 PM | PERMALINK

Frank Lautenberg, dem. sen. of NJ--retired now, I believe, said in Nov. 06 he was informed that the inspector generals for the Commerce Department and NASA had begun "coordinated, sweeping investigations of the Bush administration censorship
and suppression of federal research into global warming."

So that's two federal agencies looking into attempts to block government scientists from freely speaking and censoring/altering their research!

P.S. Bushgreenwatch.org seems like a good watchdog site

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 14, 2007 at 4:44 PM | PERMALINK

Well, I didn't close the tag properly (probably typed a ".") but the link works. Sorry for shouting in red.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 5:04 PM | PERMALINK

I'm probably the only person here who reads the papers from World Resources Institute, but they are doing a lot of solid work in alternative energy. Check them out.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK

First - serious - us there currently an efficient method to produce ethanol from cellulose? I thought there was still some inventing to be done before we could do that.

Second - a snarky observation - it is pretty funny that global warming deniers first quoted industry scientists, then non-industry scientists, and now they are reduced to refering to Chinese and Russian scientists.

What will be their final refuge - scientists on Mars? Wait, I know what it will be - the Bible. Yeh, that'll straighten those scientists out.

Posted by: Tripp on January 14, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

I hope Kevin is alright. They could have frost tonight in Irvine and the citrus crop in the central valley will likely take a big hit.

I hear there was a run on pee-pads and cat litter in the stores around LA. No one wants to lose a dog or cat to the weather.

Posted by: sock-puppet on January 14, 2007 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Right-wingers want to senselessly debate whether global climate change is a naturally occuring cycle or whether it is caused by human activities and they miss the point entirely. We are talking about pollution - is it good or bad? Desirable or not desirable?

The point is not whether the pollution we are dumping into the air is warming or cooling the earth - it is whether it is killing us or not. And the answer is that it most definitely is.

In fact, air pollution kills three million people per year!

Instead of a war on terror, Bush shoudl declare a war on air pollution. It kills a lot more people than al-Qaeda ever will.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 14, 2007 at 5:54 PM | PERMALINK

Actually the warming is significant in it's own right because of the warming effect it has on the oceans and the accelerated melting of the ice sheets. The Greenland ice sheet has water running beneath it at ground level. Alpine glaciers are retreating at such a rate that in a couple of years there will be no Snows of Kilamanjaro. I'm not gaga for polar bears, but when the top predator is in trouble, it's a canary in the coalmine for humans.

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. --Albert Einstein

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK

M.A.R.S

MARS

MARS B****ES

Posted by: dchappelle on January 14, 2007 at 6:09 PM | PERMALINK

That is how much faith I put in SOTU speeches and promises...

Posted by: dchappelle on January 14, 2007 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

This is all guesswork on my part, but my hunch is that Bush and Cheney would never say "Uncle" and actually endorse any of Al Gore's proposals.

That ain't gonna happen. Here's what's happening.

In 1975, in his State Of The Union speech, Gerald Ford proposed building hundreds of new nuclear power plants.

Rove has decided that it's time to bring back Ford's energy plan.

Back then, Ford's plan was prompted largely by the OPEC oil embargo of 1973-1974.

This time, the White House will claim that they're all about fixing global warming.

This isn't about global warming. This is about the nuclear power industry.

Posted by: nobody on January 14, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

It occurred to me a few days ago, and nobody here has yet mentioned it, that the logical next step after admitting the human activity can change the global climate, is to start a program to change the climate in ways that are alleged to be favorable (to someone). Just watch.

And you trolls, what's the deal? Are you guys being stupid on purpose? Yeah, yeah, I know that we're supposed to not go all ad hominem, but y'all do understand that the way CO2 works, the interesting question is not "is global warming happening" but rather "how is that we don't see the warming that the obvious simple model predicts"? And duh, yes, we know it is because it is complex, but complex is not good, because complex is mysterious, unpredictable, and not necessarily our friend. You know what "greenhouse gas" means, right (transparent to visible, opaque/reflects heat)? We know that we freeze to death without some greenhouse gasses, we know that "enough" greenhouse gasses will cook us like Venus, the interesting question is how things will react in the middle when we turn them up a little, or a lot. I think it is a total hoot, that you guys will sign up for simplistic bullshit like the Laffer Curve, but global climate change, that's too complex and uncertain. And natural selection, that's just a theory, but Social Darwinism, bring it on.

And intelligent design, which apparently flew out of your ass with a batch of flying monkeys, is worth teaching in schools, despite a total lack of testable hypotheses or supporting data or description of its mechanism.

Worst of all, when you CAN find an actual scientific result, even that manages to turn to shit when you touch it. I had heard about iron helping algae capture CO2, but not the fish kills. If I were superstitious, I'd think that the dead-fish-downside magically appeared when you read the study and quoted it to us.

I CAN say nice things to sincerely stupid people, but you guys are insincerely, aggressively, persistently stupid. When that holds, "ad hominem" is merely "accurate description".

Posted by: dr2chase on January 14, 2007 at 6:12 PM | PERMALINK

It occurred to me a few days ago, and nobody here has yet mentioned it, that the logical next step after admitting the human activity can change the global climate, is to start a program to change the climate in ways that are alleged to be favorable (to someone). Just watch.

In other words, one of their cronies has figured out how to make a buck off it.

The popular notion of an antithesis between appearance and reality has exercised a very powerful influence on scientific and philosophical thought. --Ernst Mach

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

Anybody have any info on what it take to process cellulosic material into ethanol? Is this a known technology, and if not, what exactly do we need to develop?

I sure as hell would rather convert hemp to ethanol than to biodiesel, for both particulates and vehicle replacement / retrofitting.

And nobody's correct: The SOTU will be about nuclear power.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 6:32 PM | PERMALINK

Globe:

Well, in fairness to scientific and philosophical thought, the antithesis between appearance and reality is actually a counterintuitive notion.

The naive view is that there's a continuity between them.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Forget cellulose. Hydrogen is a much better answer. Cellulose has a big footprint in the best case scenario.

Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe. --Frank Zappa

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 6:38 PM | PERMALINK

Take it up with Ernst Mach, Bob. It's his quote.:)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 6:40 PM | PERMALINK

Globe:

But hydrogen isn't an energy source, just an energy delivery system. There's a huge footprint in the energy required to electrolyze water and compress the gas.

Although don't get me wrong, I think much can be done to use solar, wind, hydroelectric and/or geothermal to process H2 as an automotive fuel. But getting the energy from non-renewables would completely miss the point.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 6:43 PM | PERMALINK

Globe:

Mach was writing at a time when phenomenology was all the rage :)

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 6:45 PM | PERMALINK

But Hydrogen is all but infinite.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

Globe:

Yes, but bound in compounds, not in molecular form. And as we all know, that binding energy in compounds can be a real bitch to unravel ...

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 14, 2007 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

oh god we're domed. he's gona' fix it like he fixed irack.

Posted by: mestizo on January 14, 2007 at 6:54 PM | PERMALINK

Bob, For now. Today's envelope-pushing science is just the technology we will take for granted tomorrow.

I believe that if we research the hydrogen technologies, they can be refined to a level of efficiency that biomass won't be able to rival.

Besides, all energy is tied up in chemical bonds, including your lunch.

No endeavor that is worthwhile is simple in prospect; if it is right, it will be simple in retrospect. --Edward Teller

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 6:57 PM | PERMALINK

Global warming could actually be a boon to humanity.

A warmer, wetter world with more CO2 would improve crop yields. Imagine having two harvests per year instead of two.

THe poor of the world stand to benefit the most. No wonder you liberal elitists can't stand global warming.

Posted by: egbert on January 14, 2007 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

The bonds are where the energy is located. If you are going to get energy from the nuclei of the atoms of a pure element, there's only one way. Fission.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

Run along now and learn the difference betweent he geologic and the biologic carbon cycles. They are quite different. The biologic is holdign it's own. The geologic is what's fucking everything up.

Moron.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 7:06 PM | PERMALINK

That "run along" was for egbert.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 7:07 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine having no harvests per year because of desertification. Imagine the loss of the fertile flood plains to rising water levels?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

fusion? You just quoted Teller.

Hydrogen could be an energy source if we figured out how to harness fusion, but it would likely be pretty nasty for the environment. Tritium is hard to contain and doesn't mix well with people.

Posted by: sock-puppet on January 14, 2007 at 7:28 PM | PERMALINK

No, I'm not talking about fusion, although I can see where one would make that assumption when Teller is quoted.

I am more interested in hydrogen energy from water.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 7:55 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks for the yuck by way of the Zappa quote, Globe.

I think Kevin has it about right on Bush..

Color me massively skeptical. Remember how last year we were addicted to oil? Remember the sweeping changes Bush proposed to deal with that? Me neither.

Bush will do nothing about global warming unless, as Globe astutely observed, his cronies have figured out a way to make a buck off it....and that doesn't necessarily mean it will solve anything. Bush solve anything? Don't make me laugh.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on January 14, 2007 at 7:58 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, Red State: You, and Simp, et al, seem to know a lot about the alt. energy issue. I am hoping for some serious input about the hemp biodiesel idea, much as I enjoyed the jokes.

Posted by: Neil Bates on January 14, 2007 at 7:59 PM | PERMALINK

Hemp biodiesel I can get behind, I guess. The entire plant is usable. The fibers can be used to make cloth, paper, building materials when blended with epoxies. It will grow anywhere, and can't be eradicated. Just ask the DEA. There is a lot of promise there, I just don't know much more beyond headline knowledge, so I will refrain from bloviating about a subject I'm not well versed on.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

Author Gail Sheehy described a time in 2000 when she traveled with candidate George W. Bush.
He evaded her questions on the environment, deflecting them with jokes or jumping to another topic.
Sheehy said she later asked Bush's campaign chairman Donald Evans how Bush, as president, would balance the oil, gas, and petrochemical industries
with the concerns about environmental policy.
There was a long pause, she said, and Evans eventually spouted, we'll have a policy on the environment and energy. It's been worked on.
He made a point of emphasizing that as governor, Bush took "enormous constructive steps to reduce pollution." Ha.
The next day, Sheehy said, Bush's rep Karen Hughes told her "the governor will not be able to participate in your profile..."

From The Accidental Candidate, gailsheehy.com, as you get the blue and white selection page, scroll down and click 'accidental candidate' for some insightful reading

Posted by: consider wisely always on January 14, 2007 at 8:08 PM | PERMALINK

Heres why global climate change is not universally accepted. Americans are friggin’ stupid!

Name a country that starts with “U”……

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 14, 2007 at 8:17 PM | PERMALINK

Ah! The Chasers! I love those guys! Have you seen them take on the Fred Phelps clan? the folks who picket funerals? The preacher and his family who think some people should be denied proper burials?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

San Diego just missed the field goal. Time for shrub to melt down on 60 Minutes.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 8:28 PM | PERMALINK

Tom Brady: winner.

Posted by: Pat on January 14, 2007 at 8:52 PM | PERMALINK

This unprecedented diversion of the world's leading grain crop to the production of fuel will affect food prices everywhere. As the world corn price rises, so too do those of wheat and rice, both because of consumer substitution among grains and because the crops compete for land. Both corn and wheat futures were already trading at 10-year highs in late 2006.

Not corn, not switchgrass, but a mixture of 14 native plants will optimize fuel production. This was in the most recent, or else next most recent, issue of Science. Grain prices will still rise, but tax subsidies will probably be reduced. As grain prices rise, less efficient producers will be able to supply the difference, removing (pothentially) one of the adverse international side effects of US and EU agricultural subsidies.

Posted by: MatthewRMarler on January 14, 2007 at 9:29 PM | PERMALINK

Global:

I haven't seen the one about the Phelps clan. But I'm sure those knuckle-draggers couldn't name a country that starts with a "U" either [HINT: We live in one...]

I posted the link to illustrate why we get presidents like George W. Bush in America. The majority of Americans are friggin' stupid and have no grasp of what is going on in the world. Watch the link I posted - It is about 10 minutes in length. Most of the people in it are Bush supporters. They say so! I'd say most of the people who post here - both on the left and right - are far better informed than the average American. Until we can educate people, we get the sort of leadership we deserve...

TCD

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 14, 2007 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK
...THe poor of the world stand to benefit the most. ... eggbutt at 7:03 PM
Here is the Woods Hole Research Center's projections for global climate change.

Sea levels:

...Sea level rise increases the vulnerability of coastal populations to flooding and causes land to be lost to erosion. There are currently 46 million people around the world who are at risk due to flooding from storm surges. With a 50 cm sea level rise (approx. one and ½ feet), that number will increase to 92 million. Raise sea level 1 meter (about 3 feet) and the number of vulnerable people becomes 118 million. A 1 meter increase in sea level will be enough to flood 1% of Egypt, 6% of the Netherlands, 17.5% of Bangladesh...

Health Effects:

...here will likely be an increase in the geographical range of vector-borne (e.g. mosquito carried) diseases such as malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and encephalitis. Currently, 45% of the world's population is within the zone of potential malaria transmission. With predicted temperature increases, there will likely be an additional 50 to 80 million cases of malaria worldwide, bringing the percentage of the world's people within the susceptible zone to 60%.
It is also likely that increasing temperatures will result in a decline in air quality due to increases in the abundance of air pollutants, pollen, and mold spores. An increase in the number of cases of respiratory disease, asthma, and allergies is likely to follow. The change in the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events (e.g. floods and droughts) combined with warmer atmospheric temperatures, will probably result in a host of adverse health effects, among them, exposure to contaminated water supplies and death from diseases....

There is nothing here that can be considered good for the "world's poor" or the world's population for that matter.
Last December, Blair came to visit Bush and talk policy. Climate change is an issue for Blair. I can see him asking for some action by Bush and Bush blowing him off by glib agreements. Blair is Charley Brown and Bush, Lucy. The only time one can believe Bush is when it comes to war mongering.

Posted by: Mike on January 14, 2007 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

When you said name a country that starts with "U" my consternation came in trying to decide between Uraguay and Uganda. I left the United Kingdom, United States and United Arab Emirates off the list.

No I have to watch it. You have my interest piqued.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, you'll all be laughing when Bush makes his next SOTU from Mars, bitches.

I will pay extra taxes to make that happen. Honestly.

Posted by: craigie on January 14, 2007 at 9:54 PM | PERMALINK

I watched 'Who Killed the electric Car' last night. For those who haven't seen it, it's worth the time. It appears that we were on our way to developing vehicles that would reduce pollution and end our dependance on oil. Unfortunately, the auto industry and their allies in the oil industry killed the program. As one poster noted earlier, Chevron now controls the patent for the battery necessary to make electric cars practical for most drivers. For those who like conspiracy theories, there's plenty of fodder here.

Posted by: sparky on January 14, 2007 at 9:56 PM | PERMALINK

I am more interested in hydrogen energy from water.

There's no free lunch; it takes energy to crack water into H and O, and that energy has to come from something. I must confess to being totally puzzled at the enthusiasm some people have for hydrogen. Modern cars are very clean, if they can only be run with a fuel that uses recycled carbon rather than mined carbon. And, further, if we drove less, and drove smaller cars, and enhanced insulation requirements in building codes, we could make a start with our existing infrastructure.

Building codes are important; I compared the amount of gas I burn in my Honda with the amount of oil I burn in my furnace, and the furnace looks like the bigger pig. We put an addition on our house, and the new construction is much better insulated and airtight than the older construction, and is kept nicely warm with an itty-bitty wood stove (and it could have been better -- I thought code was 6-inch exterior walls, else I would asked for that specifically). This is another reason why I wonder about hydrogen -- how does that help home heat?

One possibility is cogeneration; rather than burn fuel for its heat, instead use it to run an engine, and use what would be waste heat as building heat instead. If you size it and run it only for heat, then (assuming that system generates energy as cheaply as you can buy it from the power company, and can sell or store the excess) then it is "free heat".

But I'd be stunned to hear anything like "smaller cars", "drive less", "better insulation in building codes", "cogeneration", or "mandatory power by-back" from this president. And truthfully, it is a mystery, because some of these things make us more resilient in the face of disaster and attack -- cogeneration lets people get their electricity when the grid fails, better insulation makes it easier to ride out power failures (easier to keep people and pipes warm), and bicycles are much more flexible than cars.

I am most amazed at how our fat, car-dependent nation fails to make adequate use of bicycles (but that is a lengthy rant, as if this weren't already).

Posted by: dr2chase on January 14, 2007 at 10:00 PM | PERMALINK

I will pay extra taxes to make that happen. Honestly.

Craigie - see my post of 4:23

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 10:01 PM | PERMALINK

dr2chase;

We ahve a country house that is built into a clay hillside and powered by three windmills. The windows are Argon-gas insulated, the heat is radiant electric floors and the hot water is heated on demand from a tankless electric model.

I bought a hybrid Escape a year ago next week and it has 3200 miles on it. My Cannondale and the city buses, on the other hand, both took me more miles than that last year.

Reducing my footprint is an ongoing quest for me. But I was a peak oil crank before anyone knew what a peak-oil crank was. (It's all the fault of my father and the Arab oil Embargo. I've been obsessed ever since.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

Craigie - see my post of 4:23

I noticed that after I posted my comment. Great minds and all that!

Posted by: craigie on January 14, 2007 at 10:22 PM | PERMALINK

Great minds and all that!

We are delightfully twisted, aren't we? It's probably a good thing we were never classmates.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 10:44 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever I mention Bush's Mars mission to my husband, he just asks "When he's leaving, anyway?"

Every time.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 10:46 PM | PERMALINK

TCD - That Chasers download was humiliating.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka Global Citizen) on January 14, 2007 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Charlie Brown:

"This time I'm going to kick that football all the way to the moon!"

Posted by: Rick Taylor on January 15, 2007 at 12:46 AM | PERMALINK

dr2chase & Blue Girl

If you are not connected to the natural gas mains network, you might want to look into Ground Source Heat Pump technology. (Geoexchange in American parlance).

http://www.geoexchange.org/

http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/infosource/pub/home/Heating_and_Cooling_with_a_Heat_Pump_Section4.cfm

The pickup in efficiency is extraordinary (see US Energy Star ratings for more on effiency measures-- Coefficient of Performance (COP) and SEER (air con efficiency). The downsides are the cost of installation (trench or borehole) and the cost of electricity. In many states, you can choose a 'green' electricity tariff, which would mean you were heating and cooling your house in a carbon-free (ish) manner.

Alternatively, you can use an air source heat pump technology, which doesn't work as well in very cold weather, and is overall less efficient (popular in the US South East).

On transport, I think any practical way of making hydrogen would, in fact, be better used to make carbon-free electricity. Either we make hydrogen from fossil fuels (the current way all hydrogen is made) or we make it from electrolysis using wind and photovoltaic solar. However that same electricity could be more efficiently used displacing CO2 emissions from coal fired power stations.

http://www.princeton.edu/~cmi/research/Vancouver04/Kreutz%20-%20Williams%20GHGT-7%20poster%20(final%207-12-04).pdf

See also Chapter 36 of the following book (16MB file)

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/internat/pdf/avoid-dangercc.pdf

What we need to do in transport is switch to a fleet of plug in, diesel-electric hybrid vehicles. Achievable mpg at that point is over 70mpg and could be as high as 100mpg (Peugeot-Citroen has a diesel HEV which can do 70mpg).

Posted by: Valuethinker on January 15, 2007 at 4:26 AM | PERMALINK

dr2chase & Blue Girl

If you are not connected to the natural gas mains network, you might want to look into Ground Source Heat Pump technology. (Geoexchange in American parlance).

http://www.geoexchange.org/

http://oee.nrcan.gc.ca/publications/infosource/pub/home/Heating_and_Cooling_with_a_Heat_Pump_Section4.cfm

The pickup in efficiency is extraordinary (see US Energy Star ratings for more on effiency measures-- Coefficient of Performance (COP) and SEER (air con efficiency). The downsides are the cost of installation (trench or borehole) and the cost of electricity. In many states, you can choose a 'green' electricity tariff, which would mean you were heating and cooling your house in a carbon-free (ish) manner.

Alternatively, you can use an air source heat pump technology, which doesn't work as well in very cold weather, and is overall less efficient (popular in the US South East).

Posted by: Valuethinker on January 15, 2007 at 4:33 AM | PERMALINK

re Hydrogen economy

On transport, I think any practical way of making hydrogen would, in fact, be better used to make carbon-free electricity. Either we make hydrogen from fossil fuels (the current way all hydrogen is made) or we make it from electrolysis using wind and photovoltaic solar. However that same electricity could be more efficiently used displacing CO2 emissions from coal fired power stations.

http://www.princeton.edu/~cmi/research/Vancouver04/Kreutz%20-%20Williams%20GHGT-7%20poster%20(final%207-12-04).pdf

See also Chapter 36 of the following book (16MB file)

http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/climatechange/internat/pdf/avoid-dangercc.pdf

What we need to do in transport is switch to a fleet of plug in, diesel-electric hybrid vehicles. Achievable mpg at that point is over 70mpg and could be as high as 100mpg (Peugeot-Citroen has a diesel HEV which can do 70mpg).

Posted by: Valuethinker on January 15, 2007 at 4:34 AM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl

You should also be aware how much the US president has focused on hydrogen technology.

The reality is this is a stalling tactic. There will be no mass produced hydrogen cars before 2020, if not longer.

Diesel and hybrid technologies exist *today*.

This is a typical Bush stalling tactic: talk about a very long term 'vision' goal, and ignore what can be done *now* about the environmental problem.

Posted by: Valuethinker on January 15, 2007 at 4:38 AM | PERMALINK

Bush may cave in but I intend to hold out at least another ten years on the critical question of whether the current global warming is really caused by human activity. Science as it is done in the real world relies on consensus, which is the way a herd of buffalo can be persuaded to stampede off a cliff.

Truly, the global climate has always been either warming or cooling. It has never been stable for very long. What concerns me is how dogmatic and impatient the "educated" classes are anymore. They come out of school equipped with a complete kit of axioms and adages, particularly the self-inflating notion that God is dead so humans must be responsible for everything. Since they among humans are the only enlightened group, they ought to control everything.

It's also funny what people fear nowadays. They mock any belief at all that WMD's are out there and have the potential to pop up and destroy our cities, but are scared absolutely to death about lead in paint, asbestos, CFC's, and PCB's, all of which in my mind fell in the category of extremely useful substances whose manageable dangers should have been managed. The absolute bans reveal a strong streak of dogmatic thinking and runaway pressure group politics.

Pressure groups tend to make their own weather. I will never back down from my contention that green political action organizations and celebrity rallying groups are every bit as intellectually dishonest, rationally challenged, and self-interested as any industry scientific group that ever, ever existed, and maybe even more so.

Posted by: mike cook on January 15, 2007 at 6:01 AM | PERMALINK

They come out of school equipped with a complete kit of axioms and adages, particularly the self-inflating notion that God is dead so humans must be responsible for everything.

You really don't understand that whole atheism thing, do you?

Posted by: Warbo on January 15, 2007 at 6:47 AM | PERMALINK

Globe:

I dunno, Globe, you're the chemist so you prolly would. But if the energy we access in our daily life (excluding fission and fusion) is the stored energy in chemical bonds -- why is it that the most efficient combustion, which releases the most energy, comes when molecular hydrogen and oxygen are ignited by a spark, which produces a fairly strongly-bonded compound, water, as a byproduct?

I mean, I can get a feel for all that energy bound up in nitrogen bonds, etc. But a pure hydrogen combustion (which powers the Space Shuttle) seems like it would violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Not only releasing a tremendous amount of energy -- but creating an end-product with a higher level of organization (water) in the process ... What am I missing here?

I need to go do me some research. The other day, inspired by the Large Hadron Collider which will come online in a few short months, I spent about two and a half hours in wikipedia (I know I know -- it's still good for the uncontroversial basics) reading up on the Standard Model, so I can keep my fermions straight from my bosons ... I need to do this for the chemistry of hydrogen, I think ...

Like so many of you, I adore the idea of hydrogen. It's the only combustable material that doesn't produce a slew of nasty byproducts. And certainly, the theoretical way to go for vehicles is hydrogen fuel cells and high-efficiency motors. There's something called the Carnot cycle which sets iron limits on the efficiency of internal combustion engines (something around 50% max); you'd get much more energy yield out of a fuel cell vehicle. But fuel cells require a rare element for the catalyst (platinum, I believe) which renders them problematic for large-scale mass production.

This is why I like the idea of an alternative fuel source that, with a little modification, can run gasoline engines. Biodiesel is great, but I have a problem with diesel generally; it's a less efficient lower-temperature combustion with a big particulate issue. I like spark plugs :) That's why I'd rather convert industrial hemp into ethanol than biodiesel, and why I'm not averse to developing a tank/injector system to use gaseous hydrogen (or a liquid hydride which can be catalyzed onboard) in gasoline engines.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 15, 2007 at 8:04 AM | PERMALINK

Truly, the global climate has always been either warming or cooling. It has never been stable for very long.

Yes, but. CO2 is a greenhouse gas. We know it warms us. (Working from Wikipedia numbers) we're up 40% over baseline, 15% since 1960. The default assumption, if you increase a greenhouse gas, is that we will get warmer, in the same sense that the default assumption, if you increase your diet to 3000 kcal/day, is that you will eventually get fat. It's not always true and there are other factors (exercise, illness), but we understand the basic mechanism. And furthermore, we see warming. We definitely see melting glaciers. The Mauna Loa CO2 measurements were the first compelling data for me -- not that the CO2 is rising, but that spring (measured by the yearly decrease in CO2 levels as plants became green after winter) was coming earlier. Because of how this is measured, this data is a good indicator of world-wide trends, unlike this sort of frozen-in-Seattle-shorts-in-Boston stuff that we've been getting this winter. It is most likely that it was this article, over 10 years ago: http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/pdfs/data/1996/150-02/15002-07.pdf .

So, given this not-too-surprising coincidence between predicted warming, and observed warming, and our inability to run a proper experiment with controls, and the likely possibility of unpleasant consequences, it would be prudent to behave as if it were the case. And also, to measure/simulate like crazy, because we could be in the middle of a world-wide decades-long climate adjustment, without a clear picture of where it will end up. Yes, you can suppose other causes for the warming, but supposing is not proving. The "global warming crowd" has accumulated an increasingly large pile of data linking CO2 to climate change.

And you will not find any climate scientist (except for professional obfuscators whose salary ultimately depends on increased atmospheric CO2 -- I am sure there's a handful) who will disagree that this is a complex problem. The Sun's output does vary, other gasses do have effects, and I saw it recently reported that particulates (smoke, soot, dust) have actually dimmed solar radiation at the surface, and that things could get worse without any further CO2 change, depending on how other pollution changes.

And, further, if you were to ask me my non-expert opinion on whether we should have some increased CO2 in the atmosphere (ignoring the incredible economic costs of getting all the way back to baseline) I'd have to say yes. I live just down the road from the intersection of Agassiz and Moraine, and (looking at watch) we're about due for another ice age, if you believe historical timetables. So a little is probably a good thing (for us). And this, combined with learning about the particulates and surface solar dimming, and that article on iron and ocean CO2 uptake, is what made me think that it won't be long before some Rocket Surgeon in this administration or one like it, will come up with the idea of intentional climate modification.

What concerns me is how dogmatic and impatient the "educated" classes are anymore.

You must be kidding. Well over ten years ago, when we bought the house that we live in now, I remember checking the elevation and being happy that we are high "enough". My being convinced that this is a problem has been a long time coming, though I am a prudent person who tries to efficiently hedge his bets. Read what I wrote above -- plenty of caveats, and not-sures -- but the data keeps coming, and most of it supports the global warming/climate change from-human-CO2 thesis. So sure, now I might sound impatient, but that's because it's become clear that we've got to do something (because the chances of a bad outcome, combined with the badness of the outcome, are large).

In particular, we must act because China and India have every intention of being as developed as they can be, and if someone doesn't do the work of developing clean technology and making it affordable, and if we don't set an example (why should a less-wealthy country make ANY economic sacrifice that we are unwilling to make ourselves?) we are going to find out what happens when we really crank up the CO2. What is most infuriating to me is that much of this is not technology; it is simply marketing, or not marketing, of consumption. Everyone likes to be warm, but most of us really don't need the giant cars that we drive now. We really could stand to do a good deal more walking. We could relax dress codes (or install showers) in various places, to make it easier to bike/walk to work without feeling abnormally sweaty and disheveled when you get there -- and if you did get this regular exercise, you'd be warmer most of the time, and could turn down the heat (and the extra calories you need to generate that heat -- try to get them from fruits, and nuts. Better for you, and more efficient in their production, than meat).

Posted by: dr2chase on January 15, 2007 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

'How deeply and sadly we are in denial regarding the consequences of the abrupt climate changes we are witnessing. The life-giving biosphere is in tatters and near collapse because of you and me and everyone. We are witnessing the logical conclusion of deforesting 80 percent of the world's natural ecosystems while working on the rest, breeding and increasing in numbers recklessly, using fossil fuel energy wastefully, and believing our lifestyles and consumption are independent of the Earth.' - Dr. Glen Barry/ climateark.org.

Posted by: MsNThrope on January 15, 2007 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK

'With populations growing, and weather anomalies increasing, grain surpluses worldwide are now at their lowest point in decades. All the major grain-growing regions have suffered either significant drought (US, Australia, Ukraine, China, Argentina) or flooding (East Africa, India) in recent years.' - James Howard Kunstler

Posted by: MsNThrope on January 15, 2007 at 10:17 AM | PERMALINK

Bob asks: BTW, on the subject of your moniker, have you ever read Florence King's With Charity Towards None, her amusing survey of misanthropy and misanthropes?

No, I hadn't heard of it. But thanks for calling it to my attention, although the very limited resources of my local public library (all Stephen King all the time) make it unlikely that I'll be able to find it.

Posted by: MsNThrope on January 15, 2007 at 10:23 AM | PERMALINK

I dunno, Globe, you're the chemist so you prolly would. But if the energy we access in our daily life (excluding fission and fusion) is the stored energy in chemical bonds -- why is it that the most efficient combustion, which releases the most energy, comes when molecular hydrogen and oxygen are ignited by a spark, which produces a fairly strongly-bonded compound, water, as a byproduct?
I mean, I can get a feel for all that energy bound up in nitrogen bonds, etc. But a pure hydrogen combustion (which powers the Space Shuttle) seems like it would violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics: Not only releasing a tremendous amount of energy -- but creating an end-product with a higher level of organization (water) in the process

Good questions.
Basically: hydrogen burning in oxygen does indeed create water - forming two bonds per water molecule. But it's the bonds forming, not the bonds breaking, that releases energy. Think of them like little magnets stuck together - you have to put energy into them to force them apart, but they will come together of their own accord, emitting energy (eg. noise) when they do so. The stronger the bond, the more energy is needed to break it - and the more energy is released in its formation.
In fact, hydrogen/fluorine would be an energetically better fuel, but there are certain drawbacks to showering Florida with hydrofluoric acid rather than water :-)

On the organisation point: you're forgetting that the Shuttle engine also puts out a huge amount of heat, and hot things are less orderly than cool ones. So overall disorder increases.

Posted by: ajay on January 15, 2007 at 10:34 AM | PERMALINK

ajay:

Oh sheesh, duh. That's so intuitive I'm ashamed of myself for not realizing it. The energy invested in creating hydrogen is returned when hydrogen returns to a more stable state in a compound like water (or hydroflouric acid). Simple conservation of energy.

And heat -- once it redistributes itself out the combustion chamber and nozzle -- leads to a higher entropic state.

Sheesh, the things you sleep through in highschool physics ...

Thanks.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on January 15, 2007 at 11:25 AM | PERMALINK

I CAN say nice things to sincerely stupid people, but you guys are insincerely, aggressively, persistently stupid. When that holds, "ad hominem" is merely "accurate description".

Or as I like to say, "Just because it's an ad hominen doesn't mean you're not a moron."

Posted by: Thumb on January 15, 2007 at 11:41 AM | PERMALINK

How about Lucky?

Ain't supersitious..;

Posted by: godoggo on January 15, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1,

Actually it is worse than a simple energy exchange. Because of inevitable ineficiencies it will take more energy to convert H20 to H2 than you will ever get back 'burning' it.

And Mike Cook, try to get a sense of timescale please. Sure climates change, but usually over a looong time scale. What we are seeing in the last 100 years is incredibly fast on a geological scale.

Oh, I forgot, you think the world was created about 14000 years ago. No sense talking to you about geological occurences.

Posted by: Tripp on January 15, 2007 at 1:30 PM | PERMALINK

Does anyone remember or know about "Hyfuel" or "Hy-fuel", a Nitrogen-hydrogen-oxygen (?) compound reported in the 80s, that burned to make only N2 and water vapor IIRC? They wouldn't tell me what it was when I called the number found in Omni magazine, but most suspect (as I did then) that it was hydrazine, hydroxylamine, or perhaps: H2N-NH-OH or even HN=NH etc. See http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1666513/posts about tech. and its possible suppression (those Freepers do at least pitch in against some wrong things from time to time.)

Posted by: Neil B. on January 15, 2007 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

BTW check out http://peswiki.com/index.php/Main_Page as a great resource.

Posted by: Neil B. on January 15, 2007 at 1:49 PM | PERMALINK

I CAN say nice things to sincerely stupid people, but you guys are insincerely, aggressively, persistently stupid.

Feelin’ your pain, bro.

Posted by: little ole jim from red country on January 15, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

President Ford, January 15, 1975
http://www.ford.utexas.edu/LIBRARY/speeches/750028.htm

The state of the Union is not good: ...This year's Federal deficit will be about $30 billion; ...The national debt will rise to over $500 billion. ...We depend on others for essential energy.

...Within the next 10 years, my program envisions: 200 major nuclear powerplants...

Posted by: sysprog on January 15, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

My world was created about 4 plus billion years ago. My time scale is just fine, as relatively abrupt climate changes (over a few decades)are not unheard of, and if 100 known former bank robbers live in your town and the bank is robbed, does that prove that the one who lives nearest the bank did it? Does that prove that any of them did it?

Developing new air "pollution" technology is fine and it seems to me that a huge propaganda machine has been geared up to urge that. I would love to buy a new plug-in GM electric car tomorrow. The problem with the doctrinaire left is that they don't like nuclear power, they don't like coal power, they don't like hydro power. All they really like are solar power and bird-whackers, which no matter how you disguise it are such expensive solutions that they will considerably exacerbate class war and social inequity problems everywhere in the world.

I believe that cheap gasolene and cheaper kilowatts have been the most democratizing, egalitarian forces on the planet. When people do not have to gather firewood every day, or carry their drinking water in jugs on their heads (most American drinking water now comes home from the supermarket in vehicles) gather firewood to keep warm and cook the food so that you don't die of bacteria, and you don't have to walk more than an hour out in the elements to get to work, then the living standard of us working clods is elevated, and all without being so regimented that we have to pack into mass transit trains every day like a bunch of Japanese.

I rode the bus into Seattle every day for ten years. It really, really sucked. I hated it. The train is better, but doesn't begin to compare with the freedom, comfort, and flexibility of my own vehicle.

Posted by: mike cook on January 17, 2007 at 7:02 AM | PERMALINK

Mike Cook: The bank robbers analogy is flawed, because we can rate causes on likely contribution based on their interactive power (like trapping IR from the ground, noticed by Svante Arrhenius (1859-1927) way back in 1896):
"On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground", Philosophical Magazine 41, 237-276 (1896)[1].

As for your other points, you have a point, so consider how much easier continuing the cheap gas etc. would be if we suppress population growth or even decrease population.

Posted by: Neil B. on January 17, 2007 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

Read Jonathan Rowe remembrance and articles
Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for Free News & Updates

Advertise in WM



buy from Amazon and
support the Monthly