Global warming forecast ... from 1981

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Henry Vilas
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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:09 pm

Meade says buy American. That's why he drives a hummer.

Meade
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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby Meade » Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:19 pm

Bland wrote:That's right, Meade - if it ain't a perfect solution, it's no help at all and we might as well all just keep on doing what we've been doing.

No. It doesn't have to be a perfect solution. But it should be a solution - not just something that sounds good because someone calls it "green". Otherwise, you might as well just follow any old religious cult instead of reinventing the wheel and calling it green.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Apr 04, 2012 6:28 pm

Defeatist.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby snoqueen » Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:09 pm

As usual, we're all sitting here waiting with fascination to see what alternate solution Meade offers.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby Meade » Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:33 pm

Alternate solution?

I try never to buy organic food because plowing the earth releases tons of greenhouse gases. In fact, I never buy anything at all. I stay at home and burn as few calories as possible so I won't have to eat more than a few acorns per day and on holidays, a squirrel or rabbit I catch in the yard and eat raw. I never turn on my furnace or air conditioner. No lights. No TV. For music, I hum quietly to myself. It cheers me up and, hopefully, it doesn't cause noise pollution.

I stay away from programs such as Green Madison because I don't want to be lulled into believing I'm a good person when I know I'm not.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Apr 04, 2012 7:39 pm

Who's advocating for any of your straw men... besides you, that is?

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby ArturoBandini » Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:03 pm

doppel wrote:Now just get the 1.3 billion people in China to do the same and it still won't make any difference. But if it makes you feel good, knock yourself out.
I thought the same thing. The majority of any increases in CO2 emissions in the coming century will come from India, China, and other rapidly modernizing nations. Emissions from North American and western Europe are projected to plateau. People in those other nations deserve their shot at modernity, so as far as I'm concerned, burn away, people of China and India (just get your air pollution issues under control, jeez).

Sno, aside from concerns about carbon emissions and global warming, there are still a lot of good reasons to do energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades, so rock on with those green improvements. I'm not not a fan of the subsidies, though. I can tolerate public awareness programs and publicly-funded information services, but I can't support direct subsidies for energy services or products.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby pjbogart » Wed Apr 04, 2012 9:28 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:Sno, aside from concerns about carbon emissions and global warming, there are still a lot of good reasons to do energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades, so rock on with those green improvements. I'm not not a fan of the subsidies, though. I can tolerate public awareness programs and publicly-funded information services, but I can't support direct subsidies for energy services or products.


Aren't infrastructure improvements on a municipal or State level essentially the same as subsidies for people to retrofit their house with say, solar panels? I mean, if we were to spend a billion dollars on a brand spankin' new power plant but we discovered that for the same billion dollars we could provide tax credits to install solar panels on 25% of the houses in Madison and get an even better cost benefit, what difference would it make whether the money was coming in the form of direct investment vs. subsidy for private homeowners?

Is it that you at least theoretically own the power plant as a taxpayer whereas the solar panels are now the property of the homeowner? Aren't subsidies also public improvements if they benefit us all? Even if you don't opt to take advantage of the subsidy, don't you benefit when you pay your lower electricity bill?

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby doppel » Thu Apr 05, 2012 12:42 am

pjbogart wrote:Is it that you at least theoretically own the power plant as a taxpayer whereas the solar panels are now the property of the homeowner?


No, power plants are owned by corporations. Corporations are owned by shareholders. Cough up $44.17 and you, too, can own a share of MG&E. You'll get an annual dividend of $1.52 giving you a 3.46% return on your investment. Accumulate enough shares and you can smoke big cigars, wear spats and a top hat. You can hire someone to shine your monocle. Ain't capitalism great.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby kurt_w » Thu Apr 05, 2012 5:59 am

These are three completely different questions:

* Is anthropogenic global warming real?
* What could we do to mitigate global warming?
* What should we do to mitigate global warming?

In general, I don't think it's particularly useful to conflate those three questions. In my experience a fair number of people who don't want to have to do anything about global warming leap to the erroneous conclusion that if they accepted that it was real, they would have to do all kinds of unpleasant things, and then engage in the very human process of amending their beliefs about the world to correspond with their wishes.

Debating whether anthropogenic global warming is "real" is rather like debating whether plate tectonics is "real" or whether evolution is "real". It's been over a century since the fundamental concepts of AGW were first described. The reason that there's still a controversy about it in the popular imagination is the same reason there's still a controversy about evolution in the popular imagination: human beings are very good at engaging in wishful thinking, and in a case (like these) where reality conflicts with a person's religious, economic, or ideological preferences, it's not uncommon for people to decide that reality, rather than their own beliefs, has to give way.

In the case of anthropogenic global warming, for political reasons there's an entire industry focused on disseminating misinformation about it, so anyone who doesn't want to accept it will be able to find quite a bit of (specious) reasoning to justify that refusal. I don't think there's much that scientists can do about that, unfortunately, other than just continuing to make the case to both policymakers and the general public, and hope that in the end rationality wins out.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby kurt_w » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:18 am

So what about the other two questions? (What can be done, and what should be done?)

I'm actually much less interested in those. The question about what can be done is basically one for economists and engineers (and not the kind of engineering that I do). If you really want to know what can be done, I'd start with the work by Pacala and Socolow on "stabilization wedges". The original paper about this in Science is:

Pacala, S. and R. Socolow. 2004. Stabilization wedges: solving the climate problem for the next 50 years with current technologies. Science, 305(5686): 968-972. DOI: 10.1126/science.1100103.

The idea is that there's no one single step that taken on its own can reduce greenhouse gas emissions enough to stabilize the climate, but there are many "wedges" that we could pick and choose among, each of which would get us part way there. Here's the abstract from P&S 2004:

Humanity already possesses the fundamental scientific, technical, and industrial know-how to solve the carbon and climate problem for the next half-century. A portfolio of technologies now exists to meet the world's energy needs over the next 50 years and limit atmospheric CO2 to a trajectory that avoids a doubling of the preindustrial concentration. Every element in this portfolio has passed beyond the laboratory bench and demonstration project; many are already implemented somewhere at full industrial scale. Although no element is a credible candidate for doing the entire job (or even half the job) by itself, the portfolio as a whole is large enough that not every element has to be used.


In P&S 2004, they suggest that seven wedges would be needed to prevent a doubling of atmospheric CO2 equivalent. The longer we delayed in implementing these "wedges", the more would be required.

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby kurt_w » Thu Apr 05, 2012 6:46 am

Okay, so what should we do, if anything, to try to mitigate global warming?

This is a policy question, not a scientific question. So unlike "is global warming real?" there's no right answer. Science has a role to play in answering it, mainly by providing information about the likely impacts of climate change associated with doubling, tripling, or quadrupling atmospheric CO2 equivalent.

Arturo makes the excellent point that there are many mitigation strategies that are what economists call "no-regrets" methods: things we can do that would be worth doing anyway, for public-health or environmental or economic reasons, even in the absence of a climate change issue. For example, mining and burning coal has immense public health and environmental "externalities" -- costs imposed on society that aren't paid by the people selling or buying coal and coal-derived power. Reducing the use of coal will have many other benefits.

Beyond that, I do think there's value in reducing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases, and sooner rather than later (because the longer we wait, the more intractable the problem becomes). It's great for individuals to try to reduce their own carbon footprints, but that's not how the bulk of this problem is going to be solved. It has to be done at the level of policy, technologies, and industries, not what Dick Cheney sneeringly referred to as "personal virtue".

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby Meade » Thu Apr 05, 2012 8:30 am

kurt_w wrote:For example, mining and burning coal has immense public health and environmental "externalities" -- costs imposed on society that aren't paid by the people selling or buying coal and coal-derived power. Reducing the use of coal will have many other benefits.

In other words, all the anti-nuke activists of the past several decades need to hang their heads in shame. It is long but here is a partial list:

Al Gore
Amory Lovins
Joseph Romm
Lester Brown
Christopher Flavin
Steve Allen
Edward Asner
Norma Becker
Shelley Berkley
Daniel Berrigan
Philip Berrigan
Rosalie Bertell
Larry Bogart
Peter A. Bradford
Michael F. Brennan
Dale Bridenbaugh
David Brower
Gerald W. Brown
Jackson Browne
Helen Caldicott
Paxus Calta
Glenn Carroll
Paul K. Chappell
Myron Cherry
Guy Chichester
Tom Clements
William Sloane Coffin
David Comey
Barry Commoner
Norman Cousins
Frances Crowe
W. Sumner Davis
Carrie Barefoot Dickerson
Ralph DiGia
Paul M. Doty
Michael Douglas
Eric Epstein
Samuel Epstein
Jane Fonda
S. David Freeman
Noel Gayler
John Gofman
Jay M. Gould
Karl Grossman
Ed Grothus
Paul Gunter
John Hall
Corbin Harney
Howie Hawkins
Carl Hocevar
Richard Hubbard
John Isaacs
Mark Z. Jacobson
Carl J. Johnson
Stephen Kelly
David Krieger
Hans M. Kristensen
Dennis Kucinich
Sally Lilienthal
Sam Lovejoy
Rachel MacNair
Joanna Macy
Arjun Makhijani
Thomas Mancuso
Lenore Marshall
Gary Milhollin
Gregory Minor
Roger Molander
Carl Z. Morgan
Howard Morland
Macy Morse
Hermann Joseph Muller
Ralph Nader
Graham Nash
Holly Near
Sam Nunn
Grace Paley
Manuel Pino
William Perry
Robert Pollard
Eugene Rabinowitch
Bonnie Raitt
M.V. Ramana
Donna Reed
Jose Rodriguez (activist)
Anthony Roisman
Robert Ryan
Susan Sarandon
Martin Sheen
Peter Shumlin
Karen Silkwood
Mary P. Sinclair
Norman Solomon
Ernest Sternglass
Arthur R. Tamplin
Ellen Thomas
Louie Vitale
George Wald
Harvey Wasserman
Ann Wright

Know anyone else? Mayor Dave? Brett Hulsey? Any member of Greenpeace. Feel free to add to the list names of other people who should be held directly responsible for the past 50 years of coal burning because they blocked the development in this country of clean, non-global-warming nuclear energy.

kurt_w wrote:It has to be done at the level of policy, technologies, and industries, not what Dick Cheney sneeringly referred to as "personal virtue".

How about plagiarism? Are you actually much less interested in plagiarism?

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby kurt_w » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:14 am

ArturoBandini wrote:The majority of any increases in CO2 emissions in the coming century will come from India, China, and other rapidly modernizing nations. Emissions from North American and western Europe are projected to plateau. People in those other nations deserve their shot at modernity, so as far as I'm concerned, burn away, people of China and India (just get your air pollution issues under control, jeez).


That's a reasonable argument in some ways. On the other hand, it's not necessarily that easy. My impression is that the economic benefits from modernization in China and especially India are very unevenly distributed. At the same time, the rural poor are far more vulnerable to climate extremes (drought and flooding). It's worth considering the possibility that the net benefits of [climate change + economic growth] might be positive for urban populations in India, but negative for rural populations. Or maybe not. Who knows?

In any case, yes, it's not feasible to adopt a climate mitigation strategy that revolves around Westerners living a profligately high-carbon lifestyle while other countries are told to just lump it. That's not going to happen, and I think everyone realizes that.

But the alternative probably can't be "burn all the coal you want, China and India" either. We need to develop a 21st century civilization that's economically and technologically advanced without being dependent on digging up and burning massive quantities of concentrated carbon-based fuels that took hundreds of millions of years to form.

If we can't do that, then in a few hundred years (if not sooner) our civilization will collapse anyway, because we will have used up all the fossil fuels that are economically retrievable.

Since we have to make that transition anyway, why not make it while we still have a 1.75x or 2xCO2 atmosphere, rather than a 3x or 4xCO2 atmosphere?

A stitch in time saves nine, and all that...

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Re: Global warming forecast ... from 1981

Postby snoqueen » Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:16 am

Meade wrote:How about plagiarism? Are you actually much less interested in plagiarism?


Is it possible to plagiarize Wikipedia? (sure -- ask a high school teacher)

Then Meade just did it making that list:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-nucle ... ted_States

go to Contents, note the first four names, then click "other people" for the remainder.

Did you delete one or two? I didn't diff the files. Excuse me in advance.
Last edited by snoqueen on Thu Apr 05, 2012 9:44 am, edited 1 time in total.


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