Archive for the ‘Kyoto’ Category

Global warming and the Sun

February 17, 2007

Hey Grit

I have been told in the past that I should change the UK newspaper that I use to do research on the Global Warming issue, so this week I did just that, moving up to the highly respected UK Sunday Times, a broadsheet paper that prides itself on the educational, intellectual and scientific approach to most issues, and what did I find? Nothing less than another article dealing with a cautionary message to those in the IPCC who remain dogmatic regarding their findings.

I have to say from the outset that the author of the article, Nigil Calder, is also the co-author of the book that illustrates the cosmic ray effect on Global Warming, that I mentioned in an earlier post. However, he is also a former editor of the very prestigious publication “New Scientist.” Therefore, one has to take notice of his views. There are a number of aspects of the article that deserve attention.

Mr Calder mentions the potential error of taking a “90% certainty” as a basis for accurate action, drawing an analogy with the scientifice comment made in 1958 when it was said to be 90% certain that we could control nuclear fusion, a comment that has subsequently proven to be totally wrong. However, as we know, having start on the route of developing nuclear power no-one knows how to stop the effects of it. A similar situation could develop with controlling global warming. If we do not understand fully the implications of the problem, how the heck can we be sure that remedial actions are controlable? 

Mr Calder also confirms that the IPCC are paying too little regard to the sun as a contributory cause of Global Warming and that, if this is not taken into account, the planned man-made adjustments may be too much, causing the reverse of the result sought, in other words, too much cooling. There is a level of CO2 that is necessary to maintain the equilibruium of the planet. If we reduce our emissions by too great a level and then find that cosmic activity does have a significant impact, we may find ourselves sometime in the future yelling “light the fires again!”

What does seem strange to me is, that whilst many are just dismissing this as just a “denialist” view, it is being treated seriously enough in scientific circles for a major research study to be undertaken. Does this not suggest that it is something that those intent on proving man-made global warming have failed to take into account sufficiently in their own researches? It is this lop-sided and unbalanced approach to scientific research that always bothers me.

Unlike the politicians on Global Warming, Mr Calder does not claim to have all the answers, but he reasonably suggests that the issues should be approached with caution. I repeat my previous comment that the problem with mainstream research is the direction given within the original hypothesis. If you say to someone “I want to find out how much global warming is due to man” the sub-conscious inclination is to prove that fact and, to some degree, this tends to blind them to the opposite viewpoint. To get an accurate and balanced view one needs to research the positive and negative at the same time, then compare the findings.

The have been too many instances in past research where findings have been stated as being absolute facts and solutions, only to find later that either they were not, or the remedy produced was more harmful than the original problem. I fear that we are in danger of taking this same route with global warming unless we proceed with care.

the Brit

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How long can you hold your breath?

February 9, 2007

Hi Brit,

I just read this, Congress eyes legislation to fight climate change, and immediately asked myself “how long can I hold my breath?”  After all, each of us expel the Evil Greenhouse Gas CO2 with each breath, and, now that Nanny Pelosi has the issue firmly clinched in her dentures, I expect that soon we will be faced with a Breath Tax, to encourage us to slow down our individual contributions to Global Warming.  By my quick, and not necessarily totally accurate, calculations, we in the US can offset her jet set life style if we each take 30 fewer breaths per day.  Of course, this increased interest in decreasing our breath rates will have at least one benefit, that being, getting some of the joggers off the road.

Although, considering that:

The White House said Snow was referring to figures from the International Energy Agency that from 2000 to 2004, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion grew by 1.7 percent, while in the European Union such emissions grew by 5 percent.  From: U.S. cuts emissions better than Europe: White House.

It would seem obvious to any rational person, thus excluding most Democrats I admit, that we are on the correct path to achieve the liberal agenda of reducing CO2 emissions without further Government meddling.  With liberals in control, of course, they will ignore the facts, raise taxes and piddle around in our lives until they manage to, not only, increase Greenhouse Gas Emissions, but, also, screw up our economy.  Typical.

the Grit

Global Warming – Branson to the rescue

February 9, 2007

We can rest easy in our beds tonight, knowing that the solution to global warming is in safe hands. One of our most popular entrepreneurs, Richard Branson, has come up the solution. His idea is to offer a $25 million dollar prize to the first scientist to come up with a solution to extract CO2 from the atmosphere.

There are of course three problems here. One is that, if the past is anything to go by, it will be difficult to get scientific agreement. Two, by the time such a project is completed it will be too late and three, how will the machine or whatever be able to distinguish between so-called man-made emissions and natural emissions?

However, not to miss the opportunity to accumulate some wealth, I have come up with a couple of ideas you might want to help me with Grit.

PROJECT ONE 

STEP ONE – Build one chimney in the middle of the Atlantic.  It needs to be 15 miles high and 100 feet in diameter and stand on pylons sunk into the earth.

STEP TWO – Build a second chimney at a spot 180 degrees around the earth from the first chimney with the same dimensions.

STEP THREE – two miles above the earth’s surface around each chimney attach a network of horizontal pipes, one for each country within that chimneys hemisphere. The lengths of these pipes will be to be custom made so that they extend to reach each individual country.

STEP FOUR – At the end of each pipe attach a multi head large extractor fan, rather like a shower head. These will be directed to all points of the compass so that there is even coverage.

JOB DONE. Caution. All of the extractor fans will need to be turned on simultaneously to avoid unbalancing the earth.

PROJECT TWO

Possibly a more simple solution. I am given to understand that man-made emissions can be collected in containers of some nature. Therefore why don’t we constuct a fleet of CO2 garbage shuttles capable of holding these containers and run a weekly CO2 disposal service. By this route we can dump the emissions somewhere in outer space and give the problem to another galaxy.

the Brit

PS: Where do we find the application forms for the $25 million? 

Global Warming 2007

February 4, 2007

Hi Grit

I believe our first post on the issue of Global Warming was getting on for three months ago. Since then I have participated a few times and read with interest all of the comments from both sides of the divide, along with studying all of the literature that people who have commented have posted have directed us towards. I hasten to add here that I am not a scientist, so there are aspects that I would not understand. However, I consider myself an intelligent person capable of assimilating sufficient data and making a reasoned judgement. Therefore, I feel that I have a reasonable understanding of the issues so far made available. A rider to this of course is that, in view of the enormous amount of data on the subject, both for and against, it is impossible for any one individual, scientists included, to be able to assimilate it all and I would be no exception to that rule.

I do not intend this post to become embroiled in detailed scientific argument, as that will produce just a series of scientific counter arguments from both sides. It is my intention to comment on the structure and management of the analysis and the way the global warming issue is being handled.

1.) IPCC REPORT
With the IPCC report being published this month (February 2007) and it being one of a series being produced this year, many are claiming that this puts beyond doubt all of the global warming issues, particularly with regard to this being a “man-made” phenomena. However, whilst I accept that global warming exists, there are several factors that I would take issue with, both in terms of the report itself and the general reaction.

My first point of concern here is the secret nature of parts of the process building up to the report issue. In letters to Governments and Organisations in December and October 2006, although having made these letters public, they have deleted text within them, which appears to be access to the draft report. This raises two issues. Firstly, as the report is intended to benefit all of mankind, why is there a need for withholding any information? Secondly, does one presuppose that, by virtue of some deletions there could be changes of significance that the IPCC would rather the public did not see? In my view, transparency in this above all issues facing mankind is of paramount importance. Anything less is unacceptable.

Terminology
(Un)Certainty – In a document issued in July 2005, the IPCC issued guidance notes regarding the ways the lead authors should address uncertainty. It could be construed that some of these guidance are of a leading nature as it is asking that all issues to be consistent with the approach determined in the document. Another issue related to this document, which I will come to later is Table 4 – Likelihood Scale (on page 4.)

Consensus – My understanding of the term consensus is that it is the agreement of the majority, after having mitigated the objections of the opposing views. I read somewhere that, in this report it was to be a consensus of 300. I believe this needs more clarification. Bearing in mind that the report was produced by over 2,500 scientists, plus 800 contributing authors, plus 450 lead authors, I have difficulty in equating the consensus of 300 with these figures and feel they need further explanation.

Confidence – The levels of confidence are divided into five sectors, as can be seen on page 3 (table 3) of the summary report. On the other hand, the likelihood scale is divided by seven. In my view, this inequality between the two scales is confusing. Surely, it would have been more rational to have equal divisions on the two scales.

2.) The Response
In a number of areas, the immediate response to the report has not been rational. The hype concentrated on the term moved from “likely” to “very likely.” As you say Grit, the latter term relates to 90% probability. However, this also does not accurately reflect the findings of the report.

On the summary for policymakers, page 3, there is a chart of human influence on trends. The chart lists seven areas of influence under three references. The term “very likely” only appears in two instances. In media and other responses, there is no reference to other aspects of this table. Whilst I do not blame the scientists for this, it does appear that the “powers that be” are guilty of misrepresentation in this instance. Again, this raises suspicions in the minds of the public and questions as to the agenda for the report.

Is it thought that the public is not intelligent enough to understand the full information or was the hype deliberately directed by politicians?

3.) Remedies
It is disappointing to learn that a detailed study on remedies will not be available from the IPCC until later in the year. If, as has been reported, we only have ten years to address this problem, I fail to see any conceivable reason why the research on remedies was not designed to produce results in the same timescale as this current report. Six months or more has been lost. The argument that the scale of the problem has only just been defined does not wash as this report follows on from one that was issued six years ago.

Of the remedies that are being put into action, there are some issues as well. Firstly, there is serious concern regarding the consequences on remedies and cooperation between agencies. The case of Basel in Switzerland as I reported earlier is a classic example. Looking to achieve global warming saving measures, people began drilling into the earth’s surface starting a chain tremor reaction that they cannot possibly control, potentially unleashing more harm than good. How many more projects are being mishandled in this way?

In addition, there is the problem that has been raised regarding the potential danger from energy saving light. Has anyone evaluated the potential future harm of following this route, if not, why not?

Only a few weeks I posed the question how do we know that remedies can be controlled. The above are two obvious examples of that not being the case.

Another contentious issue is nuclear energy. Scientists say that this will go a long way to addressing the global warming issue, and I agree that this is one of the most efficient ways of producing energy. However, it is almost impossible to use this option within a volatile world, where there are countries such as Iran and North Korea who could not be guaranteed to utilise this method for peaceful purposes. Similarly, accidents happen as we saw in Russia, and that can be equally damaging.

In the UK, the go ahead has been given to build two huge wind farms off the coast. All of the reporting on this has concentrated on the benefits, which is admirable. Nevertheless, little has been written about the downside of such action. The effect on the bird life needs to be identified, an area where naturalists have raised concerns. But what about the effect on tides and wave patterns?

Finally, in this section, I would like to ask why existing remedies, which require little cost, are not being used. For example, with the airline issue there is a “greener” fuel available, but is currently only being used in military aircraft. The emission levels are significantly lower than normal aircraft fuel and there is, as I understand it, no cost differential. I have heard that the argument against it is safety, which I find incredible. Are we saying that the lives of the military are of less value than other citizens? If not, take the step and change the fuel.

4.) The Carbon Footprint
Much is being made of the need to reduce the global footprint. However, there seems to be a great deal of double standards in this area. The media, the UK BBC organisation being a case in point, are saying that their contribution is by publishing the issues and that, in some way, this seems to exempt them from responding to the carbon footprint limitations. At the same time, the IPCC, governments and other NGO’s are spending millions of dollars transporting thousands of people to conferences and meetings all over the globe. Yet, these organisations are asking us, airlines, and other sectors to reduce our carbon footprint. Surely, one should lead by example. Whatever happened to the ability to achieve video and Internet conferencing?

There is a lot of pressure being placed upon airlines to cut their carbon footprint, yet unless I have missed it, no one has answered the question of why, in the 24 hours post 9/11 when most air travel was grounded, there was an increase in earth warming for that day. Has anyone analysed what effect reducing the carbon footprint, particularly in air travel, will have in this respect? In other words, has the downside of the equation been quantified?

In my view, one of the largest and most expensive carbon footprints is laid by governments nationally and globally. Yet, we see no clear picture of measures that these people are taking steps to address this. In the UK, politicians are asking us to reduce our carbon footprint, and even putting pressure on the Royal family to do so. All well and good, but what do we see the politicians doing? The answer is very little. Do not ask me to do something unless you are prepared to match it and lead by example Mr Government.

5.) Political
I have to admit that I was amazed at the token gestures made by some governments by calling for an hour without lights. This seems to me to have been counter-productive. Did anyone monitor the results of these actions? As I have said, I am no scientist, but from what little I know the resultant surge from it, with all electrical compliances being switched on again more than counteracts the benefits of the gesture in the first place. Has there been a study made of this and is it a responsible response? Surely, such theatricals should have been left until the position was well known by the public and they could have been advised about the cost.

In respect of the above, the political response is similar in many ways to the media reaction. It is uncontrolled, irrational and without serious thought as to how to present the issue in a way that will generate the right response. The political response between nations is also not harmonious, which does little to engender confidence.

6.) The media Circus
Unfortunately, the media circus has continued, even on the latest event. I watched a news programme in the UK, which was designed purely to entertain the public, rather than get the message across. In this programme, they spend the time passing a copy of the report through screens to reporters in different countries, such as Europe, Australia, India and the US. No attempt is made to explain the message properly.

In addition to the previously mentioned carbon footprint of this situation, I noticed also another problem. The report they were passing was a fake. They were wads of blank paper with just the title cover printed. It was obvious from the reporter’s comments that none of them had read any of the documents and it was just a publicity stunt to show how clever the network was.

Can this be the right approach to what is meant to be a serious matter? I seriously doubt it.

7.) The Cost
Another issue that really annoys me is cost, and here I am talking about the financial side. Every aspect of the global warming issue in terms of conservation and remedies always seems to be followed by additional cost to the individual. What happens to the resultant savings from change? Who gets those?

Leaving aside the dangers of energy efficient light bulbs discussed earlier, one of the main reasons their use is limited is the cost. In the UK, they are over 6 times the price of current bulbs. If politicians and scientists are serious about this issue, then use some of the billions of waste to reduce the cost of remedies to a competitive level. It is a short-term commitment. Then demand will grow and the effective change desired will be achieved with far more speed and fluency. Another example is public transport service. Raising prices and cutting services on what is considered a “greener” method of transport does not seem to me to be an approach that will increase its usage.

Every time someone mentions global warming, it seems to result in the public having to put their hands in their pockets. Is it any wonder that this meets with resistance?

8.) Kyoto Agreement
There have been arguments about the effectiveness of the Kyoto agreement, mainly centring on those countries that have not signed up to it. However, there are countries within the agreement that have not met their targets, such as Canada. Before the world goes off trying to find another agreement, we need to know how effective this one has been, and that information has not been publicly forthcoming.

How many countries met the targets set? What effect has it had on carbon emissions? How much worse would it have been were the agreement not in place? Surely, we are entitled to this information in the public arena. If it has not been effective, even with those countries that signed up, then it is the wrong answer or structure and we need to look for another resolution.

The other matter here is the developing countries, which has still not been properly addressed in my view. All this documentation seems to be indicating that the only way they can help is to deprive themselves of the advances in technology that the developed world has. Is this going to be acceptable to them? I cannot see this being the case. Therefore any agreement needs to take their situation into account, without placing an untenable burden on the developed world. 

9.) Nation, NGO Bashing and fairness
Why is it that every time there is an issue of global importance there is an automatic nation, NGO or business witch-hunt? This posturing does nothing to confirm the validity of the situation, in fact the opposite. The French attack on the US is a prime example. It is almost as if it is just a fight amongst politicians to see who can be top dog, rather than a serious issues that requires global accord. Besides, there are other countries that have taken the same stance as the US, so singling out the big boy on the block is not only unfair, it smacks of this will get me the biggest headline. Countries antagonising each other will lead only to one conclusion, namely that nothing constructive will be done.

Other sectors are also being bashed, in my view sometimes unfairly. Business is always a favourite. Whilst I accept that, in some cases their response is not good on some issues, they are generally responsive to consumer demands. In the case of global warming, it is fair to say that in many cases business is being far more positive in their actions than politicians are. For example, the supermarket industry in the UK is taking active reduction measures, whereas politicians are looking at costly offset programmes, which in the end are second best options.

Similarly, I object to some of the rhetoric and language that is used by the various lobbies on global warming, from both sides of the divide. To call someone a denialist or sceptics because they do not accept ones argument is as bad as calling someone an “eco-nut” for proposing the argument in the first place. Serious issues demand serious discussion and conversation and this requires patience. At present, the stance taken by some scientists and many politicians on the issue of global warming is too dictatorial, dismissive and impatient. All it does is make both sides more entrenched in their views, which is counter-productive.

The problem with a divide of this nature is that both sides lose. Both sides spend so much time attacking the other that they do not a) fully understand the argument of the other and b) do not gain from the potential valid points within the others cases, validity that could be of significance to their own studies.

I do not consider myself a denialist or a sceptic on this issue. However, I am also not going to be sat down and told this is the problem and anyone who disagrees is wrong. I need to understand the full facts supporting the issue, including analysis of assumptions; explanations of provable facts and honest acceptance and discussion on those that cannot be proven. I want risk assessment on all aspects of the issue, including remedies and I want acknowledgement of and discussion regarding opposing views.

As I said previously, one of the things that infuriate me about the current IPCC/Political situation is the piecemeal approach. In my years as a business consultant any report that I produced did not only identify and make conclusions about the problem, it was also required to provide recommendations that had been expertly evaluated. If it did not I was failing in my task. Governments and the scientific world have taken six years to prepare this report. I fail to see why, at the same time, and for publication at the same date, the remedial data could not have been produced.

the Brit

Global Warming in the Great White North

January 31, 2007

Hi Brit,

It would seem that we are not the only ones who doubt Global Warming and the politics swirling around it, Harper’s letter dismisses Kyoto as ‘socialist scheme’.  I think he summed up what was wrong with the Kyoto treaty very nicely.  For that matter, I’m not sure why Canadians would want to stop Global Warming.  Really, they could do with taking some of the chill off.

the Grit

Bat out of hell, bite me world!

January 29, 2007

Hi Brit,

I was in a bit of a nostalgic mood this afternoon, so I put “Bat Out of Hell” on and cranked it up.  Man, what perfect timing!  Global Warming, extremest Muslim terrorists, liberals, Jane Fonda, Britney’s beaver, Big Brother racism, Hillary Clinton, the United Nations, President Bush, AlGore, Iraq, Iran, nuclear bombs, blood in the streets, and the end of the world; screw it all!  So, take a few minutes, put the CD on, crank it up and sing along!

Bat Out Of Hell lyrics

The sirens are screaming and the fires are howling

Way down in the valley tonight
There’s a man in the shadows with a gun in his eye
And a blade shining oh so bright
There’s evil in the air and there’s thunder in the sky
And a killer’s on the bloodshot streets
And down in the tunnel where the deadly are rising
Oh I swear I saw a young boy
Down in the gutter
He was starting to foam in the heat
Oh Baby you’re the only thing in this whole world
that’s pure and good and right
And wherever you are and wherever you go
There’s always gonna be some light
But i gotta get out
I gotta break it out now
Before the final crack of dawn
So we gotta make the most of our one night together
When it’s over you know
We’ll both be so alone
Like a bat out of hell
I’ll be gone when the morning comes
When the night is over
Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone gone gone
Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone when the morning comes
But when the day is done
And the sun goes down
And the moonlight’s shining through

Then like a sinner before the gates of heaven

I’ll come crawling on back to you
I’m gonna hit the highway like a battering ram

On a silver black phantom bike

When the metal is hot and the engine is hungry

And we’re all about to see the light

Nothing ever grows in this rotten old hole

Everything is stunted and lost

And nothing really rocks

And nothing really rolls

And nothing’s ever worth the cost

And I know that I’m damned if I never get out

And maybe I’m damned if I do

But with every other beat I got left in my heart

You know I’d rather be damned with you

If I gotta be damned you know I wanna be damned

Dancing through the night with you

If I gotta be damned you know I wanna be damned

Gotta be damned you know I wanna be damned

If Gotta be damned you know I wanna be damned

Dancing through the night

Dancing through the night

Dancing through the night with you
Oh Baby you’re the only thing in this whole world

     that’s pure and good and right

And wherever you are and wherever you go

There’s always gonna be some light

But I gotta get out

I gotta break it out now

Before the final crack of dawn

So we gotta make the most of our one night together

When it’s over you know

We’ll both be so alone

Like a bat out of hell

I’ll be gone when the morning comes

When the night is over

Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone gone gone

Like a bat out of hell I’ll be gone when the morning comes

But when the day is done

And the sun goes down

And the moonlight’s shining through

Then like a sinner before the gates of heaven

I’ll come crawling on back to you

Then like a sinner before the gates of heaven

I’ll come crawling on back to you

I can see myself tearing up the road

Faster than any other boy has ever gone

And my skin is raw but my soul is ripe

And no one’s gonna stop me now

I gotta make my escape

But I can’t stop thinking of you

And I never see the sudden curve until it’s way too late

I never see the sudden curve till it’s way too late

Then I’m dying on the bottom of a pit in the blazing sun

Torn and twisted at the foot of a burning bike

And I think somebody somewhere is tolling a bell

And the last thing I see is my heart

Still beating

Breaking out of my body

And flying away

Like a bat out of hell

Then I’m dying at the bottom of a pit in the blazing sun

Torn and twisted at the foot of a burning bike

And I think somebody somewhere must be tolling a bell

And the last thing I see is my heart

Still beating

Still beating

Breaking out of my body and flying away

Like a bat out of hell

Thanks Jim; thanks Meat!  Still love it; still a fan.

the Grit

Blair and Kyoto

January 28, 2007

Hi Grit

I will come back to the issue of Global warming in the next few days, as soon as I have extricated myself from the mountain of paperwork, facts and counterfacts that was forthcoming after the last one. However, the situation regarding Mr Blair’s speech needs to be looked at in a number of ways.

Firstly, one has to remember that he is within six months or so of stepping down from the position as Prime Minister. Thus, technically, nothing that he says at present has any influence upon government policy, nor does it commit his successor to a policy. If I were the cynical type (as if?), I could promote the view that his current round of speeches on important issues is a clever promotional campaign to improve his value on the “statesmen” speech circuit.

Secondly, his praise of Ms Merkel and the German presidency of Europe rings a bit hollow when you consider it in the same context as mentioned in the above paragraph.

Thirdly, the Koyoto agreement we have already mentioned previously and to me, bearing in mind that the developing countries such as India and China will cry foul if their continued development is to be halted, I do not see a prospect of a new more radical formula being agreed in the near future.

Oh why not just a brief mention of Global warming. Our Prince Charles, who cancelled a skiing trip to reduce his “carbon footprint” resulting from emissions, has now been criticised for taking 13 people on an official trip to Canada. I have not seen anyone complaining about the “emission” cost of 30 political parties travelling from their domestic countries to Switzerland, have you?

Hope that explains the Blair position.

the Brit

Blair, a little help?

January 27, 2007

Hi Brit,

I found this, Blair sees hope of climate deal,  and am confused.  Figuring you may have better insight into Blair than I, a little help would be appreciated.  Particularly this part, “He also pledged to work with other world leaders towards a more “radical” and “comprehensive” successor to the Kyoto protocol.”  Should I be digging a bunker?

the Grit