When I was a kid, we lived next to a pasture with a winrow of straight-up tamaracks. We would climb them to the skinniest part until they swung out and over in a big arc towards the ground. Great fun.
I bought a timber sale in Oregon that was beetle-killed. They said that it happens about every 25 years.
We are currently in the Pleistocene Ice Age during one of the brief inter-glacial periods that normally run for 11,000 years. Our period, referred to as the Holocene has gone on for about 13,000 years. The ice always returns. NASA has weighed in on the subject.
The perturbations of the sun will get more extreme as we reach the more active part of the 200 years cycle. It is more variable than the shorter 11 years cycle.
Willam here is my two cents on burning fossil fuel. We pump billions if gallons of liquid carbon out from deep in the earth which hasn’t been in the atmosphere since some point in time before recorded history begain. Then we burn it and add this carbon and who know what else into the atmosphere. This has to be doing something to the environment. I get that the earth is a big place but there is no way you can pump out the volume of liquid we do every year turn it into gas and release it into the air without mucking something up.
While the findings did not dispute the effects of carbon dioxide on global warming, they found aerosols - also given off by burning fossil fuels - actually cool the local environment, at least temporarily.emphasized text
That is the third paragraph of the first quoted reference.
As to the Forbes article it is 4 years old is in the opinion section of someone who covers public policy not science. I’ll leave out that Forbes can be counted on to voice the opinion of business as usual for the fossil fuel industry.
My take is it is real, it’s well underway, it’s accelerating, and the best time to do something about it was 25 years ago. Those who profit from the status quo have spent fortunes slowing down science ,casting doubt on the obvious, and sabotaging a coherent response to the point where we are now screwed. They will continue having success because nobody wants to really change. Sometime in the next 20 to 50 years it will all come apart and we will start throwing all sorts of geoengineering schemes to try to hold on to what we have. They don’t call me doomer Dave for no reason.
Basically what they are saying is that because of the temporary localized cooling, they have significantly underestimated the effect of greenhouse gases.
so instead of it being estimated at +1F it is now +3F.
Its allso important to know thal all the carbon contained in the earth in form of coal and oil was once in the athmosphere. In this rich CO2 enviroment plants thrived, dyed down but havent had time to be processed in a way they do now. New plants growing on top of old dead ones, and so on, essentialy makeing layrs of coal. Similar with oil. What the world looked then is hard to say, just wanted to point out this fact becouse l see so many people say that never in the history of the earth did we had such high CO2 concentrations in the air as do we now.
That ignores that this is fossil carbon brought into play, stored over many tens of millions of years. Much of the earth’s carbon is recycled through tectonics and volcanism, but levels have been lower than now throughout well over 95% of the history of life on earth. To release vast amounts that would otherwise be released over millions of years while it was re-absorbed in steady state is disaster.
What I see happening is definite warming, roughly 2 climate zones here over 30 years, the further north you go the more pronounced it seems to be. For example, yesterday it was raining, here we never see rain in January and February, almost never in December and March. Until last year. We have just set a record for the warmest period in January in 140 years of records, nearly 3 days above zero C. The only similar case was in 2002.
What we are rivaling is the precursor conditions to the Permian die off. The atmospheric CO2 levels we have created over a couple of centuries of fossil fuel burning have put us well beyond any normal safe level. We may be on the threshold of liberating methane hydrates in a relentless feedback loop, and certainly are embarking on the release of immense permafrost stored carbon, which is potentially more than double present atmospheric CO2. Let alone that our culture is dipping into looking at coal to liquid fuel and tar sands upgrading schemes on threatening scales.
I had heard somewhere that absent our alteration of atmospheric CO2, we should be gradually entering into a new ice age now, permanent snow fields would be developing in Labrador and northern Canada, mountain glaciers would be expanding. The one link above states an official ice age onset in 2,000 years. But obviously our influence on the global environment overshadow such subtle effects for now.
Easter Island. Probably the most perfect example of how environmental catastrophe is achieved. As Jared Diamond described in his book. We shouldn’t be deceived that this was a catastrophe of primitive people, their situation was probably more evident than ours, although we have science, proof of geological precedents, global historic weather data, precise satellite surface temperature readings and ocean temperature data. They could look around and appreciate the catastrophic implications.
But short term economic and social needs always trump greater planning. And there’s always a class of leaders, priests, politicians, whoever the society admires, rewards, to tell people that whatever they are doing is righteous and without consequences. Tribes didn’t make songs and legends about the man who got by adequately. Their heroes were men who could kill whales and mammoth beyond anyone’s realistic needs. Plains indians believed that for every buffalo killed, the Creator caused another to spring out of the ground far away. So running 1,000 over a buffalo jump to just eat the tongues was inconsequential, good practice. Restraint and caution are never popular advice when people want more of a good thing.
Today, though we have greater proof and warning than any population has ever had, I fear we are executing a global disaster.
Garry us modern American white “white men” as the Indians would have called us sure did prove that one wrong.
Great post I was thinking millions of years with the CO2 locked up in the earth but I didn’t want to get into a screaming match with the creationist. I also would add that not all the carbon we are freeing was in the atmosphere at the same time. I think this is something which is often over looked. Coal turns into oil over centuries with tons of pressure added. So by using these different types of fossil fuels we are using atmospheric carbon from different points in time in the history of the planet.
You are completely correct with the fact that people with invested intrest in the status quo will fight to protect their investment.
I had a passing interest in the “global warming → Climate change” debate back when Gore came out with his movie. Seemed believable. Since then, the other side of the argument has had an opportunity to put forth many believable counterpoints as well. At this point it was more or less a stalemate in my mind.
This year, my government recently levied a carbon tax on essentially everything. They are putting the money into general revenues, and will spend “some” of the proceeds on as yet undefined “eco-friendly” projects. No word on actually helping the planet at this point in time.
These days, I’m believing what little truth that may have existed in this whole debate has been effectively buried under 5 miles of competing self interests which now, at least in Canada; include the Government’s as well.
From here on in, I will be expecting any notion that the ice isn’t melting to be vehemently shot down by our leadership up here.
This action now colours everything I read about Climate Change. Unfortunate perhaps, but the most certain thing I can say about climate change theory at this point is that some folks, and government in general; are cashing in big time from it.
Among the years of debate nowhere have I seen any workable idea implemented widely with any success at all. Quite frankly, I expect 40 years from now, Global Warming concerns will have gone the way of “Global Cooling” concerns of the 70’s, and “Hole in the Ozone” concerns of the 80’s, and no one will quite remember what a carbon tax is for, although they’ll undoubtedly still be paying it.
It goes far beyond just the FF business. Everything that has been taught in business economics for the last 50 year is being tossed out the window as well. This includes world economic estimates which for 3rd world and developing countries without accurate reporting, are literally based in part on imports of FFs which are more accurately recorded from where they are shipped.
All commodities prices have costs included in their price that reflect FF prices for things like transportation, or mining/harvesting, fertilizer, etc.
Then we only have so many years of data, and no economical alternatives existed. So you can say CO2 is bad, but there is no way to move off it economically. “Fossil fuels are the cheapest”, that statement was a mantra of the Republicans for decades, and that is no longer true in all cases. Wind Energy in some places is down to 2c/kwh. In fact it is so cheap in Wyoming, they actually don’t let them sell it in Wyoming, and they are going to sell it in California instead, which they are also trying to tax to make coal more competitively priced. They did something similar with solar in Montana, as well because solar is cheaper then the lowest cost they could come up with for coal.
I hope it does go the same way as the ozone issues. We stopped using the chemicals that caused the problem and the environment healed over the hole. I read a NASA article about that last summer it was sited as one of the examples of how environmental regulations have helped.
The hole is still there, scientists now understand that it opens and closes seasonally. It is smaller though, and they are expecting it to be healed over by 2050 - 2080.
That’s a 63-93 year projection after the Montreal Protocol of 1987 where CFC usage reductions were agreed upon.
If I’m still around in 2050, I’ll look it up and see if it’s healed over. Until the day that it’s fixed, there’s still a hole up there.
I can tell you one thing, if some scientist comes along in 2050 and says there’s still a hole up there but it should be fixed up by 2100 - I’m not buying it, and would be returning anything I did buy back in the 80’s.
A lot of what I hear about climate earth stuff is like this. You have to read reporting of scientific revelations carefully, and if you do, you will see no one is committing to anything, despite the news coverage dolling out the implications casually as fact.
It is still there but was discovered in the 80s and rapidly growing through the 90s from 2006 to now it has stablized. I was mistaken to say it had completely healed. But we started using the chemicals that caused it in the 1930 so given 50 years of pollution it will logically take a while for it to clear up after you stop.
My take on the sudden interest in carbon emissions and green energy is that the powers that be have information about the future of fossil fuel and our civilization’s prognosis that they don’t want to panic the public with.
I came across this book some time ago, he lays out a very solid analysis of the future of petroleum and natural gas. (And the alternative “green” energies, which are actually not feasible solutions - to power UK transportation with wind power would require foresting the British isle with turbines and tripling the electrical grid. Just for transportation power. And wind turbines take energy to build and maintain, and how much lithium do we have on the planet?.. ) A rare individual who was objective and smart enough to find the right people and follow up the right lines of questioning. Although it was published in 2007, the projections remain accurate. North sea oil peaked in 1999, and is dropping at over 10% per year. By 2020 production will be a half million barrels, down from the peak around 2.9 million. All European production is falling similarly. Russian production peaked in the 1980’s. The Saudis don’t seem to have excess production capacity, or the reserves they claim. DARPA has quietly embarked on fuel economy projects for ships and all war machinery, and apparently there are provisions for coal to liquids production for military use. Truth of world consumption and production are actually hard to establish.
Peak world production was estimated by a range of reputable experts interviewed for the book as falling between 2005 and 2020. In 2007 and 2008 it seems we saw a shortfall of supply and an unprecedented rise in price. Then the global economy crashed. Now we appear to be in what forecasters called an undulating peak, in which economic stagnation moderates consumption. But in time production will not meet demand.
For governments this poses a severe problem, as there is no viable alternative to fossil fuels. Wood gas is the closest there is. Without fossil energy the earth is over populated by at least double, our centralized urban social and industrial organization can’t exist. Our farming system relies on far more fossil fuel calories input than the output.
So do you tell people, or quietly prepare while diverting their attention? Plus, these are the very organizations that represent the best interests of their corporate bosses, everything has to generate a profit, and leave them in a winning position at the end of the day.
There are viable alternatives to some fossil fuel use. Not all, but what we have done is closed the gap. For instance ethanol as a gasoline equivalent was 130/barrel. Ethanol dropped into the 70/barrel equivalent range so ethanol was the cheapest. Then the “glut” started happening and the price of oil tanked to below that number. It is pretty much across the board. Even if FFs are cheaper. It isn’t necessarily cheaper to build a FF plant.
I wouldn’t worry too much about lithium. Two reasons first I suspect it can be recycled it is still contained in the physical battery when the battery stops holding a charge. Second I think for stationary storage other technology like the salt water battery will win out in time. Lithium ion batteries don’t have a very high cycle life so their value is in portable systems where weight is critical.
As to alternative energy in 14.5 seconds the sun delivers as much energy to the earth as humanity used in a day.
That is a fun fact I have seen several times. So there is more then enough alternative energy from that great big yellow ball in the sky we just need to get better at harvesting it to meet our needs.
The short answer to future power is that there isn’t a short answer. It has to be a network of locally correct power choices based on your local resources and environmental conditions. Where I am there is no good chance for wind power but solar is a good choice.
The chart below takes some time to figure out but it shows how each region of the USA could provide it’s power needs from renewable energy. It will take rebuilding of our power system but the energy needs can be met without ff. http://www.rmi.org/RFGraph-US_renewable_energy_potential
They will continue to use less lithium and move to silicon or sulfer.
The Britain is actually testing battery storage right now. They have a really small grid compared to the US and it makes it really hard to regulate renewables which is -part- of the reason why they are lagging behind supporting renewables.
I have retyped this four times now and I decided not to discuss what I think and instead how I feel about things.
Here is an excerpt from a speech that sums up everything I have to say about the human condition as I see it today it is not much different than what it was written. ( from the 1940 film The Great Dictator by Chaplin)
" In this world there is room for everyone, and the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful, but we have lost the way. Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical; our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. "
If we can get a handle on what is going wrong with humanity then the world will take care of itself.
I hope this discussion does not get political.
I want no part of that…