Archive for November 26th, 2009

A Carbon Treaty Is A Win-Win For Everybody.

November 26, 2009

 

(Even Wall Street, but nothing is ever perfect…)

Is Obama warming up?

***

I was preparing a robust document about American deranged policy in Afghanistan, when it was announced that, to quote the New York Times, three hours ago: "At the international climate summit meeting in Copenhagen next month, Mr. Obama will tell the delegates that the United States intends to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions “in the range of” 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020 and 83 percent by 2050…"

My approach to Obama is stick and carrot. At this point, it’s going to be carrot, since this sudden volte face about going to Copenhagen represents a laudable effort on his part to try to get out of the encroaching senility of American politics. The American policy relative to climate change has made even less sense than taking part in a civil war between depraved primitives in Afghanistan.

That U.S. policy, so far, is that of the ostrich, head firmly planted in the sand, but even an ostrich would not take that increasing heat.

Believing that burning 400 million years of carbon is a lethal situation ought to make economic sense, especially for American patriots. The USA has a gigantic scientific machine (still) at its disposal. By refusing to exert it on devising technological solutions to climate change, it has been forced it to stay stuck in bed, wasting its magnificent bode and eager mind. Instead, if the USA harnessed that gigantic scientific machine, and then hooked it up to legal constraints for improving technology, the USA would gain economic advantage. It is economics 101.

The main argument against the CARBON BUILD-UP is that, whatever the exact amount of the probability, the risk is too high. I called that the CO2 WAGER.

For a different perspective, here is a little vivifying memo for Obama, about the CARBON BUILD-UP. I was asked kindly by the blog "Learning From Dogs" to answer the following questions:

1. Is mankind having an effect on the atmosphere of this planet which will be harmful?

2. Is there any room for error in your answer to Q.1.?

3. CO2 levels in the atmosphere are higher than has ever been known by science.  Is that a correct statement?

4. Are the activities of mankind causing the increasing levels of acidification in the oceans of the planet?

5. Are the activities of mankind causing the rising sea levels of the planet’s oceans?

6. Is man-made global warming happening: yes; no; unclear?

7. Is there a rational argument for assuming global warming will threaten mankind’s existence on the planet?

***

 

Here are my answers:

1. Is mankind having an effect on the atmosphere of this planet which will be harmful?

Two degrees Celsius warming globally, planet wide, in the average, may mean twenty degrees Celsius warming at the poles, on current trends, extended linearly Thus Alaska would become  tropical. Amazingly, not only did it happen before, but it seems to be the Earth preferred climate.   Our present BIOSPHERE is not adapted to this though: crocodiles could swim to tropical Alaska, but where are all temperate and polar fauna and flora going to go?

2. Is there any room for error in your answer to Q.1.?

Not really: when the plane is going to hit the mountain, it does not matter whehter it is going a few degrees higher or a few degrees lower. The observed fact is that the poles are warming ten times faster than the rest of the planet.

Of course, when one tries to do refined science, one wants to mitigate raw data by a bit of theory. Thus, for example, more ice piles up in the dead center of Antarctica, because the air there, being a bit less frigid, can carry more water. Some people have argued that this effect would compensate by the melting at the edges of the icecaps. But actually the melting of the icecaps has accelerated from .45 mm per year to .75 mm per year in the last two years.

Indeed, aside from the piling up of more ice at the South Pole, from the warming, all other non linear effects induced by the warming ought to make the situation ever worse, quicker.

3. CO2 levels in the atmosphere are higher than has ever been known by science.  Is that a correct statement?

We use to know this for the last 800,000 years, by studying old air in ice cores.

Now new methods study various isotopes of various biological remains (for example Foraminifera fossils, and can be extended hundreds of millions of years.

It is correct that, for the last 15 million years, according to the latest (2009) research, CO2 concentration were limited to 300 parts per million volume (except for possible transient peaks; extreme volcanism can rise and lower CO2 quickly).

During the warmest geological eras CO2 was much higher, though. Those eras were much more extensive than the glaciated periods. and therein our tragedy: the planet as Homo has always known it was a glaciated planet. The climate has drastically cooled since shortly before the disappearance of the dinosaurs (See my TRAPPED IN SUPER TRAPS ). We are threatening turn back the heat of 100 million years ago, in 100 years.

4. Are the activities of mankind causing the increasing levels of acidification in the oceans of the planet?

Half of the increased, "anthropogenic" CO2, so far, has gone in the ocean, some reacting with water to make carbonic acid. The latest research suggests that plankton will start dissolving by 2100. A lot of CO2 was just dissolved, as in a carbonated soda, (e.g. Perrier), and may, and, most likely, will, come out if warmed up and shaken. This is now happening in the Antarctic ocean, which has been warming, while wind speed increased (hence more waves, and more shaking of the man-made Perrier… Actually Perrier is also man-made, just that way, by injecting more source CO2…)

5. Are the activities of mankind causing the rising sea levels of the planet’s oceans?

The ocean has been warming up, and thus it expands. The expansion is accelerating. There are evidence from diverse sources, including satellites, that the giant icecaps of Greenland and Antarctica are, overall, melting. Since some Antarctic temperatures have gone up 4.5 degree Celsius, if one ascribes that spectacular rise in temperature to man, as all the evidence points out to, then so it is.

6. Is man-made global warming happening: yes; no; unclear?

Some people have used disingenuous tricks with the temperature graphs, to pretend that the Earth has been cooling in the last decade. They typically start a straight line at a high point. A slowing down of the warming is arguable, short term, but it may be attributable to the coolest sun in a century, as I explained in SUN COOLING, STILL THE ICE WAS MELTING . If anything, it is to be feared that the warming will considerably accelerate in the next few years, as the sun becomes more normal.

There is also a subtle phenomenon at play, well known to physicists.

The warming is just a degree of freedom of the system in which increased energy is flowing, as the lowest part of the atmosphere warms. Warming can involve the oceans, or the ground itself. When one looks at the temperature gradient in the latter, by digging holes and measuring the temperature gradient, the signs of irresistible warming are blatant.

As the warming proceeds, something new happens: new dimensions open up, in which energy can flow. Thus, paradoxically, some effects that were blatant before can become less so, as the new sinks for the increasing energy open up. In particular, such effects could slow down the apparent warming, as they suck up the energy (this is how people cool by sweating: the heat energy is diverted towards evaporating water).

So looking only at a thermometer to gauge climate change is a mistake. So far, the temperature rise in the temperate and tropical areas has been tiny, but the effects in the polar areas, where the refrigerators and sun shades of the planet are, have been tremendous .If, and when those get demolished, all hell will break lose: the entire planet will become tropical, deserts will extend, continents will desiccate in the present tropics.

7. Is there a rational argument for assuming global warming will threaten mankind’s existence on the planet?

The problem is more global carbon than global warming per se. Global carbon threatens an imminent collapse of the food chain in the ocean. This has happened before, and was caused by volcanoes (which belch SO2 and CO2).

Mankind’s ongoing existence will then become a military problem, the revelation of a victor after most of humankind dies. Indeed, as the biosphere collapses, nuclear world war has a high probability of occurring.

The apparition of a victor is by no means certain. As the defeat of Britain and France in May-June 1940 showed, and the victory at Midway confirmed, one- time extraordinary events, not easily reproducible in war games, do happen in real war. So it is not clear that civilization will survive. For civilization to survive, the capacity to progress technologically has to be preserved, because we can’t go back, having destroyed the support system for the old technologies (and, if we destroy enough species, even a return to the Paleolithic will not insure the survival of the species, because there will be nothing to hunt).

In any case, if the Earth switches to its hot mode, it is clear that billions of people will die. Political leaders informed of this, and neglecting that forecast become accomplices of this incoming holocaust.

There is no choice. So Obama is right to go to Copenhagen, and he better come back with a drastic accord. Not only the planet, and mankind, but even the prosaic economic superiority of the USA will greatly profit. Short term.

Indeed the USA is not just the Saudi Arabia of poisonous coal, but also the Saudi Arabia of wind, and, even better, the Saudi Arabia of sun. God is probably American, so we may as well milk it.

Patrice Ayme


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SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism

SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ

Where The Eagles Fly . . . . Art Science Poetry Music & Ideas

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Artificial Turf At French Bilingual School Berkeley

Patterns of Meaning

Exploring the patterns of meaning that shape our world

Sean Carroll

in truth, only atoms and the void

West Hunter

Omnes vulnerant, ultima necat

GrrrGraphics on WordPress

www.grrrgraphics.com

Skulls in the Stars

The intersection of physics, optics, history and pulp fiction

Footnotes to Plato

because all (Western) philosophy consists of a series of footnotes to Plato

Patrice Ayme's Thoughts

Striving For Ever Better Thinking. Humanism Is Intelligence Unleashed. From Intelligence All Ways, Instincts & Values Flow, Even Happiness. History and Science Teach Us Not Just Humility, But Power, Smarts, And The Ways We Should Embrace. Naturam Primum Cognoscere Rerum

Learning from Dogs

Dogs are animals of integrity. We have much to learn from them.

ianmillerblog

Smile! You’re at the best WordPress.com site ever

Defense Issues

Military and general security

RobertLovesPi.net

Polyhedra, tessellations, and more.

How to Be a Stoic

an evolving guide to practical Stoicism for the 21st century

Donna Swarthout

Writer, Editor, Berliner

coelsblog

Defending Scientism