global warming

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Re: global warming

Post by Tony Farg » Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:46 pm

The really worrying thing about that story is that the element of doubt will allow room for denial by those inclined to deny. Can we afford to gamble? I don't think so. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose if we act as though global warming is happening and deal with our profligate energy/co2 use, even if we are wrong.
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Re: global warming

Post by spiritus » Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:06 am

Ditto.
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Re: global warming

Post by Berale » Fri Mar 21, 2008 12:55 am

Wow, what a hot potato you've got going here, James!

I think we've got a few different issues here. One is the question: is global warming true or not? to which, not being a scientist, and not having the time to read all the stuff that's available, I don't feel I have an answer. It seems that the majority view currently is that it is true, but we all know that millions of people (yes, even scientists) can be wrong. So as far as I'm concerned the jury's out. It may be true. It may not be true. Dunno. Personally I have chosen to assume that it is true - I do recycle, for instance.

But here's a separate issue:
You quote Christine Stewart, Canada's former environmental minister: "Climate change provides the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world. No matter if the science is all phony, there is still collateral environmental benefits to global warming policies."
And Stephen Schneider, lead UN IPCC report author(also one of the authors of the original reports that started the global cooling scare of the Seventies): "To capture the public imagination, we have to offer up some scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and little mention of any doubts one might have. Each of us has to decide the right balance between being effective and being honest." (My emphases)
This sort of thinking worries me. Assuming that global warming is true, is panicking about the planet really grounds enough for lying to people?

I have, as I said, chosen to assume that global warming is a real issue, and I do what I feel I realistically can to minimise the damage - e.g. recycling all sorts of things that my local council enables me to, taking reusable bags with me when I go shopping instead of accumulating a mountain of plastic bags - but at the same time I worry about what is happening to us, human beings, whilst we worry about the state of the planet. I worry about how religion-like this issue has become, how people feel self-righteous because they recycle, or judge others because they drive a gas-guzzler. I worry about what's going to happen to the economy of Kenya, for example, if all of us in the West are going to become "green goodies" and buy only produce that hasn't been flown. And call me paranoid, but I worry about someone coming to the decision that actually the planet would be so much better off without us, and decide to exterminate human beings. And then you come and feed me this scary quote from Dave Foreman, founder of Earth First: "Phasing out the human race will solve every problem on Earth, social and environmental." So I feel there's more than just global warming to worry about.
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Re: global warming

Post by Tony Farg » Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:04 am

Yes there is. I commend to your reading list "The Transition Handbook" (from oil dependency to local resilience) by Rob Hopkins published by http://www.greenbooks.co.uk. ISBN 978--1-900322-18-8.
It is a book that I cannot bear to read for more than 10 or 15 pages at a time...and I must say that whilst one might expect a book with such a title to be boring tub-thumping green nutter fodder, it is actually well balanced, well researched, and well documented academically, and it scares the pants off me.
Do read it, and you will see that there is indeed much more than global warming to worry about, and the combination is going to devastate our society unless (or perhaps even if) we start to expect to live differently.
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Re: global warming

Post by hsargent » Fri Mar 21, 2008 2:45 pm

The real atrocity is that a loud minority frightened the US from developing nuclear power production 20 years ago. Today France is 95 % nuclear. We could have been there. That would have had a major impact on America's current contribution to atmospheric CO2 whether or not there is global warming. We could have been 20 years ahead with electric cars from non-carbon based energy sources and/or Hydrogen powered cars with a non-carbon based energy source.

Wind and solar are a drop in the bucket. I have traveled in West Texas and the horizon is cluttered with windmills BUT only about 10% are running because power can not be practically distributed great distances. But the politicians and illogically subsidized this alternate power source.

An then there is the current corn-based fuel craze. The government has to subsidize that and now meat, eggs, milk are leaping up in price because of the shift in the cattle feed market. Also Brazilians are burning of forest to have more farming land to meet the American need for the crops that the US expanded corn fields have displaced.

You can also worry that with ethanol added to gasoline, the vapor pressure regulated by the government is allowed to be 2 psi greater. Therefore there is a greater exposure to the benzene vapors (known to cause cancer) in the gasoline are you fill you tanks at self-service stations. Industry is not allowed to vent benzene in their processed but the government has been forced to allow the venting when filling our cars!

Thus another example of the impact of a loud minority and too many lawyers can screw up the American economy 20 years after expressing their rights!
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Re: global warming

Post by PhilHunt » Fri Mar 21, 2008 6:11 pm

hsargent wrote:The real atrocity is that a loud minority frightened the US from developing nuclear power production 20 years ago. Today France is 95 % nuclear. We could have been there.
I worked teaching English in a decommisioned nuclear power station in Italy for 2 years. It was enlightening.
Italy closed all it's nuclear power plants soon after the accident at Chernobyl in 1986. Most of the media coverage of the accident stessed the dangers of this type of power production and under the weight of public opinion, politicians were forced to close down all the nuclear power stations in Italy. Something which not alot of people realise though is that the newspaper coverage and much of the literature on the subject of Chernobyl and its effects was funded directly and indirectly by the major producers of power from fossil fuels.
I will leave you to reach your own conclusions from that.

What happened in Chernobyl was not the result of the instability of nuclear power but the chain of command in Russia. This was explained to me very well by the Director of Operations at the nuclear plant in Italy. What happened was that orders came from Russian high command to push the plant over safety limits to produce more power. If such an order were made in a European country it would not be carried out as there as very strict autonomos controls which prevent such a thing, but, in countries such as Russia at the time, such an order was carried through despite the warning. This led to an unstoppable chain reaction and inevitable melt-down. If anything should be learnt from this it's that having nuclear power in certain countries with dictator style regimes such as North Korea is dangerous.
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Re: global warming

Post by dalehileman » Sat Mar 22, 2008 1:17 am

hs: While I realize that in the short run nuclear has been shown to be better than coal, the problem of accumulating waste will eventually change all that. In just a few generations those of us who survive will be born with twelve fingers and will glow in the dark
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Re: global warming

Post by hsargent » Sat Mar 22, 2008 2:10 am

dalehileman wrote:hs: While I realize that in the short run nuclear has been shown to be better than coal, the problem of accumulating waste will eventually change all that. In just a few generations those of us who survive will be born with twelve fingers and will glow in the dark
The amount of waste from nuclear is trivial compared to the tons of solids and gases from a coal plant. One pound of nuclear fuel provides the energy of 1 million gallons of gasoline. And the nuclear waste can be processed to create more fuel for the fusion process with another decrease of the volume of the waste.

Again the falsehoods of nuclear waste have been spread. The underground storage in Utah is a safe solution if considered rationally.
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Re: global warming

Post by gdwdwrkr » Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:15 pm

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Re: global warming

Post by russcable » Tue Apr 01, 2008 11:19 pm

hsargent wrote:The underground storage in Utah is a safe solution if considered rationally.
I don't know much about the Utah storage facility. However, I grew up in a town (and my parents still live there) that has a near-by facility for the disposal of transuranic waste... mostly contaminated medical equipment etc - not spent fuel.
Because people aren't particularly rational, it took 25 years between the time the government decided to do it and the first discarded latex glove was interred (the materials are embedded in solid cylinders of glass in lead and steel containers). There were many years of pubic hearings and votes, not only locally and state-wide, but in states and localities along the routes from the collection centers. Special higher-than-normal-safety-standard bypasses were built in several places so the trains and trucks would not pass through populated areas. In about 60 years, the dump will be full, but they plan to "actively monitor" it for another 100 years, followed by a 10,000 year regulatory period (100 centuries).
If a large portion of your town's economy is now due to a waste dump - it could make you a little irrational. ;-)
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Re: global warming

Post by Bobinwales » Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:21 am

Burning coal and oil is damaging to the global warming. Wind turbines are ugly and knock birds out of the air. Everyone is scared rigid about nuclear power. Tidal generation is detrimental to wild-life. Solar panels! – I remember an Irishman saying that it was a mystery to him why the Celts worshiped the Sun because they never saw the bloody thing.

Therefore only areas near waterfalls will be allowed electricity. The rest of us will have exercise bikes that are fitted with dynamos installed into our homes. One hour’s pedalling would equate to about thirty minutes of dish-washer, or one TV dinner in the microwave.
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Re: global warming

Post by gdwdwrkr » Wed Apr 02, 2008 4:13 pm

Waters' and winds' inherent fluid-dynamic energy may be captured by something like this, but it would most likely lead to global cooling.
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Re: global warming

Post by hsargent » Thu Apr 03, 2008 2:17 pm

We can dream about new technologies. The only known technology that could economically impact the energy equation is nuclear. Even at that, we are 15 years away if all the current projects are successful in the America. The sequence would be adequate electrical power to provide more alternatives to fuel our transportation mechanism.

I imagine it is still true. A few years ago the largest residential fuel was wood! People spent their entire day walking to get wood for the night's meal. Thus we have desertification continuing. That has a major impact on the global temperature profile and I don't know of any answer to that issue!
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Re: global warming

Post by dalehileman » Thu Apr 03, 2008 3:32 pm

hs: Yes but coal fallout is temporary whereas nuclear waste is lethal for 250,000 years and meantime is susceptible to dispersion by accident, terrorism, and natural disaster
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