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Planet Earth Under Threat

Climate Change - Solutions

  • Julian Hector
  • 8 Jan 07, 09:32 AM

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Tonights programme, 21.02 GMT LW and FM BBC Radio 4 - or streamed on the Radio 4 webiste and there after. Tonights show is about conservation.

Here, something from David King, British Government Chief Scientific Advisor.

The edition of tonights PEuT is about conservation - the message very much we have to act now. The most significant factor being the effects of climatre change don't act alone: habitat destruction, loss of biodiversity and introduction of alien species....and the impacts of climate change.

So what is to be done:

We have a lovely story from England about the formation of thye Great Fen, involving amongst other NGO's the National Trust.

As well as being in East Anglia, Gabrielle also reports from Madagascar looking at how conservation can help animals and plants migrate as the climate changes. Howard is in California seeing how corridors can be made in the sea in the same way -difficult as you will hear.

But balancing the needs of people and wildlife is a massive challenge..and new look conservation tries to make the two work together. But there is a conflict between fortress conservation and putting us into the habitat. And the issue of who ios telling who. The western world has the science and the finance and they do much of the calling - does this matter?

This programme doesn't explore what our personal responsibilities are...it's about the protecting what's left, now - And the issues there in. Next week we look much more closely at our own responsibility.

Update:

Listen again to programme 7: Conservation

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 12:24 PM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Until people of your mindset come up with a plan which doesn't trade a looming global ecological catastrophe for an immediate global economic one, nothing of substance will happen. The USA will never buy a plan like Kyoto which is not only unfair but ineffective and would destroy America's economy and the rest of the world's with it. This is not just the position of President Bush as many Europeans would like to believe it is, the US Senate voted back when Kyoto was being discussed in a Sense of the Senate vote 95-0 against Kyoto. Now, stop playing politics, send all the politicians home, and assemble the worlds best scientists and economists to work out an emergency strategy or all you will get is more and more complaining as the polar ice caps and glaciers continue to melt and the world's temperature continues to rise. Endless America bashing is a useless and pointless sport even if it makes Europeans feel good. All it does is make American's angrier and more recalcitrant. And by the way Europe, get your own house in order first, you're missing your Kyoto targets by a mile. Why? For the very same reasons the Americans wouldn't sign up to it. Hypocrites.

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So can perhaps we can't 'afford' to save the planet?

It's a lot easier to answer "Which came first?" about The Economy and The Environment than it is for chickens and eggs.
xx
ed

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  • 3.
  • At 02:08 PM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

What the world has needed for a long time is a replacement for burning fossil fuel to generate most of its power. It also needs to control its population and stop burning down its tropical rainforests. As more and more people populate the earth and they expect to share in the fruits of technology, they will each generate carbon dioxide meaning that under the theory of many ecologists we in the more industrialized nations which are not growing our populations will have to each generate less and less. This is not a tenable solution to global warming because even if it were tried, it is not sustainable. What's more, the nation which generates the most per capita CO2, the US also generates among the highest per capita GDP which drives the rest of the world's economies and the most per capita food surplus which keeps vast populations from starving. Were the US to substantially cut its CO2 emissions, it would in order to accomplish this have to reduce its GDP, its consumption of goods exported from other nations, and its agricultural output as well, all with dire consequences. The governator of California can announce all the pie in the sky emission reduction targets he wants but when the price for meeting them starts to hit Californians in their pocketbooks, they will shift into reverse and gun the economic engine as hard as they can. I lived in California myself for five years and I have no doubt of it. Besides, sacrificing California's economy cannot save the world. Neither can CO2 credits where industrialized nations buy exemption from reductions of their own output by shifting it to the non industrialized nations for money. The technological revolution will not happen by itself. If the best technology Europe can produce are spacecrafts which crash into Mars and superjumbo passenger planes which can't be built, then they were very foolish to antoganize a nation which has demonstrated time and again that when it sets a technological goal, it has a fighting chance of achieving it. What do you do for an encore Europe, wait and hope that a change in adminsitration in the US will save the world? Don't count on it.

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Marc,

You're right to note population control as a necessary step, along with reducing fossil fuel consumption and stopping destroying the forests, but you still take it as granted that energy consumption (from some as yet to be determined source) must continue to (or will inevitably) increase.

Junkie behaviour (behavior to y'all)!

The dream of the Global Economy depends upon cheap transport of goods and people - a dream that is unachievable in the longterm for all but a select few, as Henry Thoreau and many others have often noted.

The Age of Scurrying is coming to an end. Relax, slow down, eat local food, share with your neighbours (neighbors), walk to work.... and you'll probably live longer and be a burden to your children.

xx
ed
Monday January 08, 2007 at 14:41:15 GMT

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  • 5.
  • At 02:52 PM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Ed Inglehart #4
Junkie behavior?
If you want to live in the 18th century, fine. Shut the main disconnects of gas and electricity to your house, sell your car, and live in an unlit cave heated only by burning logs. If enough people think like you do, then none of us will have a problem and people like me can go on their merry way living in the 21st century. BTW, the average lifespan was around 30 year old. Is your time up yet?

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Personal Responsability is the key.

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Mark (sorry about the earlier misspelling)

Try reading some of the Illich discussion on the disutiility and illusional nature of increasing energy use before responding with the knee-jerk "back to the 18th century" sort of remark.

"The widespread belief that clean and abundant
energy is the panacea for social ills is
due to a political fallacy, according to
which equity and energy consumption can be
indefinitely correlated, "
...
"Even if nonpolluting power were feasible and abundant, the use of
energy on a massive scale acts on society like a drug that is physically
harmless but psychically enslaving. A community can choose between
Methadone and ``cold turkey''---between maintaining its addiction to
alien energy and kicking it in painful cramps---but no society can have
a population that is hooked on progressively larger numbers of energy
slaves and whose members are also autonomously active. "
-- Ivan Illich, 1978

You're obviously a twenty percenter.
xx
ed

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  • 8.
  • At 03:55 PM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

I really detest these trite simpleminded analogies and metaphors. Energy is not a drug, it is the main means by which we all enrich and prolong our physical lives. It gives us freedom to make choices unopen to people who lived and live without it. Some people don't like the idea that large numbers of people have many choices in life and elect to do things with them that they wouldn't do themselves. They feel those choices should be reserved for a select elite. The only way our technological society is going away is if we become extinct. Luddites can rant and rave all they want, there is no going back to the 18th century. Are you adicted too? You'll find out next time you have an otherwise life threatening infection and your doctor gives you a shot of penicillin or tells you that you need an operation to stay alive.

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Speaking of "trite and simple-minded"
"O wad some Powr the giftie gie us,"
xx
ed

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Whilst listening to this programme I was thinking all the time "Why 'conservation'?". Why not expansion of ecological niches, why not a proper roll-out of building people into the ecology? Why this niggling, defeatist agenda which always portrays humans and other animals as conflictive?

I have already tried before, as well, to get views on air concerning the way the presenters of this and other BBC programme set totally the wrong example in ostentatiously travelling the world to make vastly resource-intensive documentaries themselves, instead of using the programmes as examples of best practice, joining up with media experts in these other countries virtually.

You need to visibly practise what you preach, if you want to make people understand and believe in what you are saying - and stop acting like a natural elite to whom the rules do not apply.

Meanwhile projects like the one I have been attempting to set up in Leeds are comprehensively ignored - but are likely to be the way forward - the intelligent enmeshment of man, particularly urban man and woman, in the environment, both socially and ecologically.

I have rapidly scanned some of the above comments - I view them as being mostly nonsense - showing how much further we have to go, simply in terms of generalised understanding, before we do learn to live enmeshed with our environments. What I can say is that it is more agreeable, and I beieve human beings feel generally happier and have more of their faculties employed when they do live in contact with their local social and natural environments.

And the technologies now being developed, ever more mobile, are also ever more fitted to a low environmental imprint meshing of nature and humankind. The main problem is handling human conflict, of the stupid adversarialist kind which tends to dominate in our culture. Handling it - not trying to cut off from it in little boxes.

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  • 11.
  • At 09:52 PM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • John E Clark BSc MBA FIRSE wrote:

Given the importance of the absorption of the sun's ultra-violet rays by the vast areas of dark ocean, is there a future for developing a molecular scale layer to spread on the oceans, 'tuned' to reflect this frequency range?
(I have also passed this idea to Richard Betts of the Hadley centre)

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  • 12.
  • At 11:09 PM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • Chris Freeman wrote:

Ed'
I've enjoyed your contributions (which have certainly given a transatlantic cousin the space to flaunt his arrogance),but would find it helpful in following up the most apposite of your quotes if their source was included. I've not heard of Ivan Illich since the late 70's but feel that his trenchant critiques in this area (i.e. Energy & Equity and Tools for conviviality) are still valid and deserve greater expression in the overall debate.
Also, Sarah,nice to hear from you. As someone long concerned with the manner in which our species has conducted itself on our planet, I've found that my personal sense of outrage and impotence on the global level is somewhat assuaged by holding myself to account at the micro level. Hope this helps.
Kind wishes, Chris.

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  • 13.
  • At 11:45 PM on 08 Jan 2007,
  • John Cooknell wrote:

Answer to John E Clark Bsc MBA FIRSE

If you read the NOAA web site report you will find the temperature of the oceans at all levels is already going down.

Collosal amounts of energy on a mind boggling scale are being lost to outer space, but nobody quite understands the mechanism, who knows it might work the other way with energy arriving from outer space ( perhaps the sun !)http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2006/s2704.htm

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  • 14.
  • At 01:07 AM on 09 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Chris Freeman #12
When you can't argue against the bitter truth with facts, it is always useful to resort to calling its anouncer arrogant. It's one step above the silence of acquiescence, even if it's only a very small step. Speaking of arrogant, I can hardly think of any place on earth more arrogant despite its sordid history than Europe. How about a small reminder or two. A little over three years ago, British aerospace engineers were bragging that their Beagle II would get to Mars at one eighth the cost NASA expended. Wherever the Beagle has landed, it hasn't bothered to phone home to its master. On the other hand, shortly after the dog that won't hunt disappeared into the forest, two probes, Pride and Opportunity drove onto the Martian surface and well beyond anyone's expectations, they are still sending back photos today. The recent "Postcards from Mars" was mailed with a US stamp on it. Six and a half years ago, smug European economists said that Europe would not be affected by the looming economic recession in the US. By historic standards, that was a brief and shallow recession. Europe still hadn't recovered from it years after it was a faded memory in the US. Europe has been full of bad advice for America. Good thing for us it can't vote in US elections. America is not about to give up its sovereignty. Auf Wiedersehen Angela Merckel, your visit last week was so brief.

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Chris (12),

Thanks for your comments. Virtually all my quotes are accompanied by links to the source. This blog shows them in blue type on a blue background, so they aren't all that obvious. Look above for Ivan's name and Thoreau's. Both are links, as are 'junkie behaviour', 'walk to work', and 'twenty percenter'.

I shall perhaps try and be a little less subtle in the future.

Julian's (10) name is also a link to his project.

Vaya con Gaia
ed
09/01/2007 at 01:45:59 GMT

Vaya con Gaia is also a link which leads to a link to Garrett Hardin.

peruse

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Mark,

"The only way our technological society is going away is if we become extinct."

Don't tempt Ma Nature. And if I can spell your name right, perhaps you can return the favour.
Houb Salaam
ed
09/01/2007 at 02:12:17 GMT

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  • 17.
  • At 02:25 AM on 09 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Ed Iglehart #7,15

I've never heard of Ivan Illich but I am familiar with Ivan Awfulitch :>)

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  • 18.
  • At 11:52 AM on 09 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Ed Iglehart 15
"If I can spell your name right, perhaps you can return the favour."

In your postings, you have not resorted to the trivial, you have restricted yourself to the irrelevant. Sorry, I forget for a moment that this is a British blog, I inadvertently used the American spelling.

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ENVIRONMENT:
Oil Companies Express Alarm, Concern About Global Warming following precipitous drop in demand for home heating oil.

Last night I had a dream
and another
xx
ed

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  • 20.
  • At 01:35 PM on 09 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Ed Iglehart #19

I had a dream too, I dreamt that European environmentalists began to act rationally by actually deciding it would be better to cooperate with Americans in developing new practical energy technologies (besides the nonsense of fusion) than continuing to bash them over Kyoto. But then I woke up, read your words, and I got back to realy.

Oil companies have nothing to worry about. We Americans will take the money we saved on home heating fuel this winter and buy monster SUVs with it. I've already got an order in for one with a custom made fifteen liter engine that can tow a house.

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Regarding Environmentalism, or any other 'movement' - some wise thoughts:

The movements which deal with single issues or single solutions are bound to fail because they cannot control effects while leaving causes in place.

xx
ed
Tuesday January 09, 2007 at 14:54:50 GMT

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Ed - do you think Mark, like Clarkson could be another of those suspected green spooks? I'm not sure though, because he seems to be attempting to fuel some sort of pond rift. I hope not as I spent my formative years in Washington. You're from NY aren't you?

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  • 23.
  • At 03:42 PM on 09 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Ed Iglehart #21

The cause of global warming according to environmentalists is human activitity. Therefore according to your logic, in order to solve the problem, we have to stop that activity and getting rid of humans is as good a place as any to start. Your ideas in posting #4 would be a step in that direction.

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Bob,

US passport, ethnoculturally a Virginian, with spells in Fla, NYC and Ontario spent more than half my life in Scotland.

Mark, I wasn't aware I'd posted any ideas on how to get rid of humans. A big job indeed, considering that on the morning after the Tsunami swept 200,000 away, the new day dawned on even more people than the day before.

The suggestions I made might go some way toward reducing the impact each of us makes, e.g. eating local food, walking to work, trading with neighbours rather than seeking sweatshop imports, etc., but even getting population to stop growing is a gigantic task, and I've got no ideas.

The problem is doubly exponentiated by the fact that the percapita consumption of resources increases as well. It's often argued that as wealth increases, population growth slows, but wealth increase invariably results in increased percapita consumption, while only slowing population growth. Not a very effective aid to sustainability.

Vaya con Gaia
ed
09/01/2007 at 16:40:37 GMT

P.S. two years ago, the daily growth rate was 204,000; now it's 212,000, (both figures net of deaths).

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  • 25.
  • At 05:51 PM on 09 Jan 2007,
  • CobblyWorlds wrote:

Hello Mark,

Please forgive me for correcting you, but it is not 'environmentalists' who claim that the recent warming is very likely due to human CO2 emissions.

It is scientists.


Hello John Cooknell,

I see you are raising the issue of Lyman et al, which I discussed with you sometime ago.

The way you use their results implies that you now have reason to think that the 2003-2005 cooling is unlike the previous (and larger) episodes of cooling. Whereas those events did not cease the ongoing increase in ocean heat content(OHC), you implicitly refer to Lyman suggesting it means we need not be concerned with the increase in OHC.

I'd be interested in your reasoning.


On the issue at hand:
I see no attainable option for addressing global warming, other impacts have varied causes and some can be dealt with. But against the background of the ongoing exponential warming trend such local solutions will likely fail against the wider impact of anthropogenic global warming.

We are wedded to fossil fuels as the cheapest form of energy, and for the reasons Ed Iglehart alludes to we are very likely to continue to increase emissions. Peak Oil (and gas) will not reduce emissions; there is plenty of coal. And coal not only produces more CO2 per joule, but also produces more CO2 when converted to synthetic liquid fuels using techniques such as Fischer-Tropsch. US Senators Bunning and Obana are currently promoting synthetic fuel technology on the basis of energy security: http://bunning.senate.gov/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressReleases.View&PressRelease_id=1444 I suspect that this provides an indicator of likely response to Peak Oil.

So far I have found the suggestions of "fixes" (like increasing albedo) to be too much akin to the old lady who swallowed a fly to be considered. We cannot know if the outcomes of such proposals would be worse than the process of climate change itself.

Welcome to the Anthropocene folks!

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Hi Cobblers!

I can't resist the opportunity to correct both your goodself and Mark:

Mark:"The cause of global warming according to environmentalists is human activitity.[sic]"

Neither environmentalists nor scientists attribute GW entirely to Humans, merely that we are part of the problem - probably a very major part, I reckon.

"....But there is no glory in the threat of climate change. The story it tells us is of yeast in a barrel, feeding and farting until they are poisoned by their own waste. It is too squalid an ending for our anthropocentric conceit to accept." -- George Monbiot.

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And, have you seen how we get coal?

I'd hoped for better from Obama.
xx
ed
Tuesday January 09, 2007 at 18:20:27 GMT

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Mark - To a large extent - you put your finger on it. All of our human ingenuity has gone into getting rid of humans - I think you'll find that we are already pretty good at that. Many would argue that the way things are going - especially across the "axis of evil", along with lack of intelligence on what is happening in former Soviet states that mass population reductions from that quarter is a distinct probability.

Where concentrated effort is needed is on how to control population growth - before it is done for us. I think reference to the Optimum Population Trust is a good starting point.

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  • 29.
  • At 07:23 PM on 09 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

How typical. Environmentalists/Scientists.

Cobbly/Worlds, some environmentalists are scientists, and some scientists are environmentalists. Some scientists have no professional expertise in areas related to the environment and only a passing interest in it. What difference do these semantics make?

GW is not attributable entirely to humans/GW is attibutable partly or mostly to humans.

Ed Iglehart, what does any of this have to do with the price of tea in China?

Sometime when I listen to BBC or discuss anything on their HYS or Blog sites, I feel like I live on another planet, not merely another continent. For example, there was an entire half hour critique of the 10 years of Tony Blair's administration with 4 British journalists and not once did any of them mention the economic success of Britain in sharp contrast to every other major economy in Europe, they were so eager to bash him. That's another issue but it is typical of how it seems to me that whenever anything of substance gets discussed, the 800 pound gorilla in the center of the room gets ignored like it was invisible. And in this case, that 800 pound gorialla is the fact that assuming it isn't already too late, the combination of how many we are, what we do that we will not and cannot give up, and that we will not and cannot compromise ourselves indefinitely for an endlessly increasing number of others is making human life on earth less and less viable unless we do something very different soon. We either have to find a better way to do it and control the number of people around or none of us will be around much longer. I've already lived much of my life and have no children or grandchildren to feel guilty over having cheated out of the lifetime of experience at living I've had so I have far less emotionally at stake than many others do. If people actually want to do something about it rather than just sit around talking and complaining then they will all have to work together or it won't happen. And people who are constantly being accused for the entire problem because the won't voluntarily agree to cut their own throats for the greater good are not about to sit around and listen to what anyone else has to say. America will find ways to cope with global warming. Will Europe?

BTW, we are technically in a 2 million year temporary warming period during an ice age which has lasted 28 million years. One concern of some scientists is that global warming could rapidly precipitate a return to more typical ice age conditions all over the world. One low probability model proposes a scenario which has it that the gulf stream could become so weak that northern Europe including the British Isles could find itself burried under a glacier...and it could happen in as short a time frame as ten years. I'd consider buying land in the Sahara, it could one day become among the few habitable places on earth for humans remaining.

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Mark,

Forgive me if I'm being a bit thick (I am still an American, after all), but isn't that very 800 pound gorilla the topic under discussion, and for which you challenge my statements that we must reduce consumption?

Or are you saying we should just keep burning whatever we can to keep up our profligate lifestyles and let the rest go down the tubes? What the Hell, there's nothin' we can do about it, so we might as well fiddle while Rome burns?
Houb Salaam
ed
09/01/2007 at 19:59:13 GMT
btw, Cobbly, I like the fly-swallowing simile.

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  • 31.
  • At 09:14 PM on 09 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

I thought I made it clear in my first posting what needed to be done. Alternative energy sources on a massive not a marginal scale (meaning both diversion of major research and production), effective population control and reduction, and and end to burning down the rain forests. This should receive immediate attention from the best scientists and economists the world has. It should not be just their number one priority, it should be their only priority and they should not quit until they agree to a viable and fair plan. If this is driven by politicians, nothing will get done. Conservation has only a minor role to play. Without these other actions, conservation will be a futile effort. And when I say fair, I mean completely fair, everyone in the world will have to suffer pain and sacrifice if we are going to get through this alive. Is it already too late? Nobody knows but if it isn't, it seems from what scientists are saying it won't be a whole lot longer until it is.

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Mark,

Then except for the junkie-like rush to find anything which might feed our insatiable energy addiction, we're in agreement.

I'm reminded, not for the first time, that We can't Eat GNP, and the fallacies identified by an eminent scientist who also has a grasp of the Dismal Science:

1. "Marie Antoinette Economics", (the assumption of substitutability)
2. "Custer's Folly", (the technological cavalry will save us from ecological disaster), and
3. "False Complacency from Partial Success" (or "Not Beating the Wife As Much As Before")

xx
ed
Tuesday January 09, 2007 at 22:14:50 GMT

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  • 33.
  • At 02:41 AM on 10 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Ed Iglehart #32
So far not one thing you said made any sense to me. Energy is a tool, we are not addicted to energy any more than we are addicted to saws, drills, hammers, or shoes for that matter. It is the way we control our environment. The more we expend, the more things we control and the greater our control over them. It is fitting that the nation which is by far the largest producer of wealth in the world should expend by far the most energy.

I don't know what it means when you say you can't eat GDP. GDP is a measure of economic wealth produced. In our high GDP society, it means you can eat anything you want, any time, anywhere in complete comfort no matter what the weather is outside. Go to a place where GDP is low and compare and you will see what the difference in GDP means.

America produces four and a third times as much GDP as the second largest economy China, with less than a quarter of the number of people but only 1 1/2 times the CO2 output. The average American is between 10 and 20 times as effecient as the average Chinese at producing wealth as measured by unit of GDP output per unit of CO2 generated, but the stupidity of Kyoto is that it would have imposed restrictions on America immediately while China would skate by for many years as it brings on one new fossil fuel fired power plant a week. China is one of America's largest trade competitors and has a huge trade surplus of well over 100 billion dollars a year with the US. It is the European mentality to punish success and reward failure. That is why most of their economies are failing. The US Senate's unanimous 95-0 vote against Kyoto was America's representatives' way of telling Europe's environmentalists to go to hell and there isn't a damned thing they can do about it except scream. We no longer even hear them, they've been completely tuned out. And that is the crux of the problem.

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Mark,

If we're not addicted to Energy, why do we keep needing larger doses? Why does even the suggestion of doing with less stimulate such a vigorous denial?

"It is the way we control our environment. The more we expend, the more things we control and the greater our control over them."

So, why are things getting out of control? Were they ever 'in control'? Certainly not human control, and somehow I wouldn't fancy that, were it possible.

If you don't understand what I mean by providing a link, try following the link.

GDP counts as positive ALL economic activity, so the Tsunami was a bonanza, with all the need for medical services, demolition/rebuilding, better even than a multicar pile-up!

America (and her imitators - us) manage the wonderful achievements you list by consuming 80% of the unsustainable annual resource harvest for the benefit of 20% of the world's people. Is that a situation worthy of pride or shame?

xx
ed

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  • 35.
  • At 12:13 PM on 10 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Today, the EU will come out with another of its worthless megadocuments which will be widely hailed, few people will read much of it, and which will in the end amount to nothing. Europeans have demonstrated time and again when it comes to plans, they are all talk and no action...unless it's about killing each other in which case they have demonstrated themselves most efficient in the not so distant past. The biggest farce is Carbon tax credits. They buy their way out of CO2 emissions reductions shifting the burden to poor countries which can't possibly meet their goals, and then they let them off the hook because to do otherwise would be to punish people who barely survive as it is. Europe is great at letting people off the hook, anyone remember the Growth and Stability Pact in the Maastrict treaty, who insisted upon it, what the fines were supposed to be, who violated it consistantly, and who didn't pay even one Euro for it? America doesn't call France and Germany the Axis of Weasel for nothing. And when it comes to hoopla over what big plans Europe is going to impliment, they have a good track record of boast and bluster there too. Anyone rememeber what Tony Blair said about making Europe the best place in the world to do business when Britain assumed the presidency of the EU? Now it's clearly the worst. Meanwhile BBC bashed the US for the umpteen thousandth time for not signing up to Kyoto again today. If you live in America and didn't tune in BBC, you probably weren't aware of it. Most of America tunes Europe out.

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I forgot to mention. War is a real earner for GDP. Probably kept us out of recession the last five years.
Houb Salaam
ed
10/01/2007 at 14:19:08 GMT

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  • 37.
  • At 02:29 PM on 10 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Ed Iglehart #34
Everyone in the world wants a car, not a bicycle. An automobile brings freedom. You can go where you want, when you want, you don't have to wait for buses or trains, you don't have to walk back and forth to bus stops, depots, and trains stations sometimes in snow, bitter cold, pouring rain, dark night, you just walk out to to the street or your driveway, get in and go. Everyone wants to live in a comfortable home. They don't like freezing in the winter or baking in the summer. In may parts of the United States, due to distances which must be traveled and the harshness of climate, cars, heating systems, and air conditioning are a matter of survival, both personal financal survival and physical survival. If I didn't have a car, I couldn't shop or go to a job and there is no conceivable system of public transportaton which would be an adequate substitute considering the rural area where I live. People also enjoy using their cars for recreation whether it's visiting friends or sightseeing, they like enriching their lives with them. People like and need to fly on airplanes, some for their jobs because they have to, some for recreation because they want to. Many if not most people like to eat meat at least several times a week. It takes much more energy to produce meat than grains. It takes a lot of energy to move food from the vast plains and from California in America to where a lot of people live on the east coast and in the south. All of the people in the world want these things and much more such as appliances. They see them on TV, in the stores, in the homes of their friends and neighbors too and they want them. China will become the world's largest market for automobiles. Over a billion people will want them who don't now have access to them. Who are you to tell them they can't have them or that Americans should travel the vast distances they need to cover, restricted to small underpowered econobox cars which are fine in little Europe? Who is anyone to deny other people what they themselves enjoy. The only answer is to have fewer people and to find ways to give them what they want and need with technologies which don't destroy the environment. That is exactly what is not happening now and no amount of conservation can compensate for it. That is a losing strategy and if it isn't abandoned as a primary instrument to try to reverse global warming, the effort will fail.

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  • 38.
  • At 02:53 PM on 10 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Doesn't anyone else see the irony and hypocricy of Europe as it makes bold promises to reduce carbon emissions in one breath and then worries about delivery of oil and gas from Russia in the next? Who do they think they're kidding?

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Ah, the car, the chalice of individual freedom and independence! The alarming thing about the fuel tax revolt two years ago was the emergence of a perception that individual global mobility is some sort of inalienable birthright. That truly is a new thing under the sun.

It's another sad indication of the addictive nature of the affliction. Carried to its logical end, each person is entitled to an individual spacesuit with full climate control, stereo sound, telecommunications links, food & fuel ports, etc. Total independence (from other folk, neighbours) and total dependence (upon the providers of hookups and supplies and a source of money to pay for it all)

If we think feeding nine billion is going to be problematic, try supplying nine billion individual mobility units. Maybe they can do without housing or clean air....

And in aid of what? So we can rush around from place to place without ever having enough time to actually be anywhere, and the faster and further we scurry, the more we need to ignore the places we are passing through - the fewer the better (for them and us!)

Never mind, we can go on an ecotour for a really cheap price, see some fine, biodiverse place before the common herd spoils it,......
http://home.btconnect.com/tipiglen/hypermobility.html
http://www.gatheredimages.com/pages/BIFF/plane.html
Vaya con Gaia
ed
10/01/2007 at 15:05:46 GMT

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  • 40.
  • At 03:58 PM on 10 Jan 2007,
  • CobblyWorlds wrote:

Hello Ed and Mark,

Perhaps I should have been more precise.

The warming of the last 30 years is almost entirely due to human activity. Prior to that there is a solar contribution.

The last 30 years trend - GISS: http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2_lrg.gif It can be fitted quite nicely to a shallow exponential with a constant offset -1.04 + e^(0.0124*year/1970), that's not a scientific finding, just my idle doodling.

During the last 30 years there has been no change in neutron counts. Neutron counts are indicative of the Cosmic Ray Flux, when cosmic rays hit the earths upper atmosphere they precipitate a neutron cascade. This is shown to affect cloud cover, hence it could theoretically affect albedo, hence global average temperature.

There has also been no trend in Total Solar Irradiance as shown by Frohlich's PMOD data set of last year. People like Christopher Monckton continue to use Willson/Mordinov's ACRIM dataset which shows a trend, but that's been superseded by Frohlich's PMOD dataset.

Modelling attribution studies such as Meehl et al attribute virtually all of the increase in global average temperature since 1970 to human activity. e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Climate_Change_Attribution.png (Meehl et al use Hoyt Schatten which is based on ACRIM, not PMOD, hence the increase in solar since 1970 shown on that graph (an artefact of the ACRIM processing))

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  • 41.
  • At 04:34 PM on 10 Jan 2007,
  • john cooknell wrote:

Hello Cobbly,

I didn't imply anything did I, just stated a fact. That the temperature of the oceans is going down at all levels.

I cannot understand how Ocean Heat Content goes down, not a decrease in the rate of rise, but a decrease! when it is proposed that disasterous human induced global warming is taking place.

I think that there is at least a good possibility that as the heat from the sun is not a constant, and the heat lost to outer space is not a constant, that any change in the Energy in our climate system is more likely to be due to these massive forces, than any human activity.

If we want to find out why climate change on our planet occurs, we maybe ought to spend a bit more time and effort looking at where the energy comes from and goes too. But it is the current fashion to think human beings are responsible for climate change and if you and others find comfort in this, then so be it!

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Might it just be all that melting ice? After all, every gram of ice which melts absorbs 80 calories...
xx
ed

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  • 43.
  • At 06:05 PM on 10 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Ed Iglehart #39
So not only are you a Luddite, but you reveal yourself to be a tyrnnical one as well making pronouncements about who can and can't have cars and what kind of cars. I am hardly surprised, you kind usually are. With enough people like you advocating "envirnnmental responsibility" it's small wonder most of the people in the world don't pay any attention to it, or just pay lip service if they say they are concerned. It's a one hundred percent certain prescription for no effective action.

john cooknell #41
If the average ocean temperature is dropping, I don't think anyone knows why just yet. Perhaps it's a result of the meltoff of polar and glacial ice at a rapid rate. Whatever it is, there is also the possiblity of sudden global cooling, so much so that a very sudden return to ice age conditions could occur. This was once feared more likely than global warming.

CobblyWorlds #40
About 35 years ago long before scientists worried about greenhouse gases, there was a theory that global warming would occur in the northern hemisphere as the result of the drying up of the Aral Sea which was once the fourth largest body of inland fresh water in the world. It has dried up because hydroelectrica dams built by Stalin with the help of American engineers in the 1930s blocked the feeder rivers which maintained it. The vast Aral Sea cooled air through evaporation as it passed over it. Nobody today remembers this theory and the few climate experts I've spoken to about it have dismissed it out of hand. Any thoughts about it or knowledge of it?

If the darker oceans and CO2 buildup aren't enough to worry about, the melting of permafrost over large areas of Siberia is releasing enormous amounts of methane trapped under the ice. Methane is far more effective at trapping heat than even CO2 is.

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Mark,

I just love it when you get angry! Your typing goes all hurried and sloppy. Your attributions are only right one in three:

I can be accurately described as a Luddite, in that I question whether any new thing is better (for all) than that which it replaces. More on this here.

Nowhere did I say who can or can't nor what kind.

Salaam, etc.
ed
Wednesday January 10, 2007 at 18:41:34 GMT

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  • 45.
  • At 08:42 PM on 10 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

Ed Iglehart #44
Angry, why should I be angry? I accept the world for what it is, I don't expect to change it, I merely try to survive in it the best I can. If my typing gets sloppy, it's just that I neglected to go back and correct the misspellings and typographical errors, they're always there.

If I'm anything, it's disappointed that the people who say they care the most are so utterly ineffective, not because of their motivation but because of their inexperience in actually ever doing anything or understanding what it means to get a large number of people of diverse interests to work together. (That's one of the things I do for a living.) For me personally, so far global warming has been a blessing. I don't like the extreme cold or hot weather. And in the last few years where I live, the summers have been relatively mild, while this year, the winter has been remarkably warm. If it could stay this way, I probably wouldn't give a damn what happens to the rest of the world, that's their problem, not mine.

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  • 46.
  • At 11:02 PM on 10 Jan 2007,
  • john cooknell wrote:

Mark,

Thanks for your thoughts, my thoughts were addressed to Cobbly in a hope he might be able to explain why the oceans are getting colder.

It is not anything to do with melting ice it appears to be an increase in the energy that is lost to outer space by the Planet, or conversely a decrease in energy gained from outer space. This energy loss is so large that none of the planetary climate or physical systems could contain this much energy. The whole effect of human existence on the planet is negligible compared to this energy loss, it is on a planetary scale.

This Ocean Heat Content data produced by NOAA is a large part of the basis of all the Climate Change Models, the ocean contains 75% of the human induced Global Warming energy, and the oceans have 1000 times the heat capacity of the atmosphere. To a large extent, this data is what all the climate predictions are about, but none of the climate prediction models allows for or anticipated a cooling ocean.

The 0.6 degrees increase in temperature in the last 100 years so widely reported also comes from this data.

Nobody knows why the largest scale climate change event we are witnessing, the cooling of the oceans, is happening, and relatively little effort is being given to fnd out why.

As human beings we are arrogant enough to think that changes that occur on the planet are due to our activities. We know climate change things have always occurred before we existed, just for one moment we should let ourselves believe it might actually be nothing to do with us!

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It's funny because both Ed and Mark basically agree with each other - although not always at face value. The difference is their approach - Ed being fundamental and Mark pragmatic.
The trouble is, is that on the one hand I ain't going to immediately stop driving my car, although on the other I do want us to stop pumping oil. Isn't that the horns of the thing?
Clearly attitudes are not going to change overnight - unless in the meantime the decision is taken out of our hands. However, I thought the objective was to seek a means to accelerate the change from our current global 'energy junkie / reproductive mindset'. Mark described energy as, "the main means by which we all enrich and prolong our physical lives" - which seems a bit close to the definition of a drug to me. Ed points out the strategic solution for viable survival, Mark questions the outcome and the method. Both seek a way forward.
In my own opinion, I have to keep coming back to Cobbly's 800lb gorilla. And at the risk of repetition - to the need for a focus on the real common enemy, that is AGW. The issue has to be tackled on a global scale. We are witnessing the results of regional activity - it only ends in the sort of bickering that Mark illustrates. It must, as Roberto says be down to personal responsibility - but this needs to be reinforced by some form of global policy.

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  • 48.
  • At 05:27 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • Mark wrote:

john cooknell #46
The surface temperature of the earth is the result of the balance of solar radiation absorbed, heat radiated into space, and internal heat reaching the surface. The earth's solid crust of course is only about 70 miles thick in most places, the overwhelming bulk of the earth's mass, over 99% being so hot it is plastic or molten. In some ways human beings have no control over large changes in these balances, a sudden shift for any reason would alter the surface conditions so radically one way or the other, that the survival human life would become impossible. Human beings can usually influence their climate only marginally. Therefore the GHG emissions can have only a subtle but real effect at most. This is what is of concern of course, upsetting this delicate balance which in geological time frames of eons is never really constant for very long.

This is the first I've heard of cooling of the world's oceans. Mostly we hear that the melting polar ice caps are causing the earth to get darker and absorb more solar radiation. Scientists do have the means to effect rapid global cooling lasting only for a short term of a few years. When Krakatoa exploded, it wasn't long before the entire world was plunged into what was described as a mini ice age. This was ascribed to ash sent into the stratosphere blocking sunlight from reaching the surface. The problem with using say a nuclear device to trigger a volcano is that the effect is not particularly predictable or controllable and the underlying problem would not be addressed by it, but it might buy more time if things get really desperate.

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  • 49.
  • At 08:35 PM on 11 Jan 2007,
  • CobblyWorlds wrote:

Hello John,

You seem to imply that this cooling is a problem for the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).

My point is quite simply that such coolings have happened before and as I have pointed out, the Lyman et al paper (in which this cooling was first revealed) refers to simlair earlier cooling episodes. So I do not see how this is a problem for the theory of AGW, because despite the past cooling episodes, the global warming has increase. And on the gross scale the increase in the heat content of the oceans has been well tracked by the models.

I have to strongly disagree that nobody is trying to find out why. For any junior researcher finding out and showing that they can explain this cooling is career making stuff!


Mark,

Lyman's paper is here.
http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/people/lyman/Pdf/heat_2006.pdf
RealClimate discuss here:
http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/08/ocean-heat-content-latest-numbers/

There's an interesting (though technical) discussion on why this cooling has happened here.
http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/2006/12/06/new-paper-on-north-atlantic-ocean-heat-content-changes/
(I may have posted this previously in my discussion with John.) I tend to Steve Bloom's opinion, that deep mixing is involved. Although radiation into space may well have a role. I did a back of envelope calculation on whether the loss of Antarctic ice cap could be a significant factor. I got energy figures that were way too low (from memory over the order of a factor of 1000).

Message 21 has an interesting link to a paper about a science cruise that found:

"Information gathered by the NABOS program, as well as from other international programs, has shown that, during the last decade, the movement of warm water into the Arctic Ocean has increased."


The Aral Sea is an ongoing local disaster, of which the Soviet Command Econmy was a mast. Nope, never heard of that theory, I don't see how it could directly change global climate.But there's a UN Env Programme precis of regional climate change as a result of the 80% loss of volume here.http://enrin.grida.no/aral/aralsea/english/arsea/arsea.htm

"High evaporation (up to 1700 mm per year) is marked while air moisture is reduced by 10%. Air temperature during winters has fallen*, and summer temperatures have increased by 2-3 degrees C, including observations of 49 degrees C."

The fall of air temperatures in winter is interesting. Perhaps a local reduction in greenhouse effect by reduced humidity (Water Vapour is the most powerful greenhouse gas). Changes in this region could conceivably have knock on effects.


Global Methane emissions are estimated to be rising.
http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/meth/methane.gif
YET
The rate of Atmospheric concentrations seems to be levelling though.
http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/atm_meth/csiro/csiro_gaslabch4.html
This one's another chance for a junior researcher.

Ooops, there I go again. I'll stop rambling now. ;)

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  • 50.
  • At 05:48 PM on 12 Jan 2007,
  • john cooknell wrote:

Cobbly,

Genuine thanks for the detail reply, I like the real climate stuff, and the comments on their blog.

Mr Lyman et.al. must have the constitution of an elephant to put up with the inevitable load of garbage that they are going to be faced with, how dare they come out with results that don't conform with the accepted consensus!

Which gets me back to my human behaviour point, I would have thought a basic scientific conclusion of finding results like these would be to think that as an enormous amount of energy seems to have left the planet by a mechanism we don't know anything about, it also might have arrived by the reverse of this unknown process.

But as this process, whatever it is, cannot be anything to do with human beings, it doesn't fit the current consensus, so we will ignore it , not even offer the obvious conclusion because we dare not upset the current consensus.

A consensus is exactly that, any facts that don't fit are ignored, attacked, discredited etc. etc. Human beings are dreadful at condemning anything that doesn't quite fit with the accepted view, and science is as bad as any other area of human activity. In this case the climate change thing really goes to the core of what we are as human beings, every human civilisation has believed that its actions effect the climate, and every human civilisation has felt it neccessary to offer sacrifice to appease the planet gods, we are no different.

Perhaps this unknown mechanism is the one that has been the cause of the many climate changes that have happened in the past without any possible human influence, something caused them, and it wasn't us !

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  • 51.
  • At 04:55 AM on 08 Feb 2007,
  • zankaon wrote:

An experiment of nature on the effect of intense global warming has already occurred in the Eocene 38-55 million yrs. ago.(1) There were no massive extinctions comparative to that of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) period defining the Mezozoic/Cenazocic eras at 65Myrs. At the Paleocene-Eocene divide, paleo-stratigraphic results show that there was deep water benthic foraminifera mass extinction associated with the increased temperature and hence dysoxic (less oxygenated) waters.(1) But most of the marine and terrestrial extinctions occurred with the cooling at the end of the Eocene, and into the Oligocene epoch.(1) The consequences of the present warming are unknown in regards to extinctions. However nature already has conducted one experiment in regards to intense global warming, with seeming not overwhelming catastrophic results.

1. Hallam Tony, Catastrophes and Lesser Calamities Oxford Univ Press, 2004, and references therein.

Other favorite sources consulted.
2. Raup David M., Extinction: Bad Genes or bad Luck?, W.W. Norton, 1991, and references therein.
3. Stanley Steven M., Extinction, Scientific American Books, 1987, and references therein

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