Biofuels and climate chage

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paul.fr

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Biofuels and climate chage
« on: 12/03/2007 10:21:52 »
There are not too many scients that disagree with the facts for climate change. Contary to popular, Non-US based, opinions one of the leaders in technology and laws to combat climate change is The US!

Even presiden Bush, is now coming "in from the cold". One thing i do have a personal problem with is the push towards bio-fuels, for many reasons.

One being that great amounts of food based crops will be used, when countries can hardly afford to grow the food for the populous to eat.

Which counter are you in, why me why now?
« Last Edit: 12/03/2007 18:00:40 by another_someone »

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Offline why me why now

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Re: Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #1 on: 12/03/2007 10:32:24 »
There are not too many scients that disagree with the facts for climate change. Contary to popular, Non-US based, opinions one of the leaders in technology and laws to combat climate change is The US!

Even presiden Bush, is now coming "in from the cold". One thing i do have a personal problem with is the push towards bio-fuels, for many reasons.

One being that great amounts of food based crops will be used, when countries can hardly afford to grow the food for the populous to eat.

Which counter are you in, why me why now?

i'm in the uk..london actually...

Funnily enough, only this morning on radio 4 (very straight faced BBC news-type radio channel), the leader of the conservative opposition party was defending his environment minister john redwood who apparently has put up a blog saying that climate change shouldn't taken too seriously - i'll see if i can find a link..

But anyhow - you gt the idea - this is the next potential government...Crazy stuff

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paul.fr

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Re: Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #2 on: 12/03/2007 10:34:28 »
You may find this interesting:

The Coalition's "25x'25" alliance has adopted a vision that, "by 2025, America's farms, forests, and ranches will provide 25 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States, while continuing to produce safe, abundant, and a?ordable food, feed and ?ber."
The Coalition says the 25x'25 vision is one of many recent calls for the United States to expand its reliance on renewable energy.

In his 2006 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush stated goals for increasing the use of biomass fuels in transportation and curbing oil imports. Without waiting for federal action, 20 states and the District of Columbia, meanwhile, have set targets for increasing the use of renewable electricity technologies with renewable energy portfolios that require a percentage of a state's power to be generated by renewables.

Significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion also can be achieved by meeting the 25x'25 goal, the study found – amounting to one billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2025, or 15 percent of projected U.S. emissions.

For more info, check out http://www.25x25.org/index.php

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Offline why me why now

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Re: Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #3 on: 12/03/2007 10:48:02 »
You may find this interesting:

The Coalition's "25x'25" alliance has adopted a vision that, "by 2025, America's farms, forests, and ranches will provide 25 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States, while continuing to produce safe, abundant, and a?ordable food, feed and ?ber."
The Coalition says the 25x'25 vision is one of many recent calls for the United States to expand its reliance on renewable energy.

In his 2006 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush stated goals for increasing the use of biomass fuels in transportation and curbing oil imports. Without waiting for federal action, 20 states and the District of Columbia, meanwhile, have set targets for increasing the use of renewable electricity technologies with renewable energy portfolios that require a percentage of a state's power to be generated by renewables.

Significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion also can be achieved by meeting the 25x'25 goal, the study found – amounting to one billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2025, or 15 percent of projected U.S. emissions.

For more info, check out http://www.25x25.org/index.php

that is interesting - thanks..

However i'm sure if i spend 10 minutes looking, i will find lots of writing decrying all that stuff...

It's most frustrating. I;m sure that's why so many people don;t care about this stuff...we just don;t know what to believe anymore

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paul.fr

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Re: Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #4 on: 12/03/2007 11:00:03 »

that is interesting - thanks..

However I'm sure if i spend 10 minutes looking, i will find lots of writing decrying all that stuff...

It's most frustrating. I;m sure that's why so many people don;t care about this stuff...we just don;t know what to believe anymore

I suppose it's a matter of belief and like you say people being "bothered", maybe start a new topic and see what others have to say.

You really need someone who is more eloquent with their words than i am to answer you questions.

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Offline why me why now

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Re: Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #5 on: 12/03/2007 11:02:47 »

that is interesting - thanks..

However I'm sure if i spend 10 minutes looking, i will find lots of writing decrying all that stuff...

It's most frustrating. I;m sure that's why so many people don;t care about this stuff...we just don;t know what to believe anymore

I suppose it's a matter of belief and like you say people being "bothered", maybe start a new topic and see what others have to say.

You really need someone who is more eloquent with their words than i am to answer you questions.

your words are great paul - i hope you don;t think i was implying otherwise  :)

out of interest - what do you believe? and what is it that gives you conviction, if anything?

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paul.fr

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Re: Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #6 on: 12/03/2007 11:29:09 »

your words are great paul - i hope you don;t think i was implying otherwise  :)

out of interest - what do you believe? and what is it that gives you conviction, if anything?

Not in the slightest, although i do tend to reply too quickly and my point gets lost in the poor construction. My beliefs! well the short answer is that we all need to do something, there are those who either don't because it's too much trouble to go to and those that can't be bothered, these are the majority. There are those that do what they can and then there are the zealots.

As for the present and future governments of the UK, i think they just see the enviromental issue as a way of raising revenue. Do you believe the proposed green tax on air flights will be used for green energy or funding science? or used to shore up the holes in the govenments spending plans?

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Offline why me why now

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Re: Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #7 on: 12/03/2007 11:33:45 »

your words are great paul - i hope you don;t think i was implying otherwise  :)

out of interest - what do you believe? and what is it that gives you conviction, if anything?

Not in the slightest, although i do tend to reply too quickly and my point gets lost in the poor construction. My beliefs! well the short answer is that we all need to do something, there are those who either don't because it's too much trouble to go to and those that can't be bothered, these are the majority. There are those that do what they can and then there are the zealots.

As for the present and future governments of the UK, i think they just see the enviromental issue as a way of raising revenue. Do you believe the proposed green tax on air flights will be used for green energy or funding science? or used to shore up the holes in the govenments spending plans?

Indeed - i se what you;re getting at..

Although perhaps i disagree about people's motives for being inactive. I think it's in people's nature not to do anything until they are faced with an undeniable reality...The threat of terrorism / 911 is probably a good example of this.

I think the confusion of information about the environment, combined with a lack of serious physical symptoms *on people's doorsteps* makes folk pretty ambivalent about the whole thing.

I think people are waiting for the wake up call they normally expect when 'things get serious'. they trust in science and politics to provide this, and currently both are failing to deliver imo

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another_someone

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Re: Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #8 on: 12/03/2007 12:36:32 »
You may find this interesting:

The Coalition's "25x'25" alliance has adopted a vision that, "by 2025, America's farms, forests, and ranches will provide 25 percent of the total energy consumed in the United States, while continuing to produce safe, abundant, and a?ordable food, feed and ?ber."
The Coalition says the 25x'25 vision is one of many recent calls for the United States to expand its reliance on renewable energy.

In his 2006 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush stated goals for increasing the use of biomass fuels in transportation and curbing oil imports. Without waiting for federal action, 20 states and the District of Columbia, meanwhile, have set targets for increasing the use of renewable electricity technologies with renewable energy portfolios that require a percentage of a state's power to be generated by renewables.

Significant reductions in carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuel combustion also can be achieved by meeting the 25x'25 goal, the study found – amounting to one billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2025, or 15 percent of projected U.S. emissions.

For more info, check out http://www.25x25.org/index.php

But is this, in a direct sense, about the Environment, or about US dependence of foreign sourced raw materials (i.e. they don't want to be dependent upon imported oil)?

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another_someone

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Re: Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #9 on: 12/03/2007 12:54:00 »
There are not too many scients that disagree with the facts for climate change.

What facts for climate change?

That the climate is changing?  It always has changed (just compare the climate of the 17th century with the climate of the 10th century, and you can see an argument for climate change, but it is a natural process).

One thing i do have a personal problem with is the push towards bio-fuels, for many reasons.

One being that great amounts of food based crops will be used, when countries can hardly afford to grow the food for the populous to eat.

This certainly is true for some countries, but is not directly true of the US and Europe, which at present seem to be closing down its farming sector as uneconomic, or dumping cheap food onto the third world, so undermining third world farmers (although this is happening less now, and we are now beginning to import foods from the third world).

The greater arguments are more about land usage, and the energy used in farming and processing the biofuels.

Funnily enough, only this morning on radio 4 (very straight faced BBC news-type radio channel), the leader of the conservative opposition party was defending his environment minister john redwood who apparently has put up a blog saying that climate change shouldn't taken too seriously - i'll see if i can find a link..

I happen to agree with this.  Ofcourse, in a strict sense, we should always plan for the future, including planning for future environments (despite the fact that we have historically got our predictions of future environments more often wrong than right), but I don't think it is practical to suggest that we can deliberately manipulate the global environment in the way the Environmentalists claim, and I suspect we are doing ourselves a lot of harm in wasting resources in attempting an unachievable objective.

That having been said, it is clear that the political inertia for Environmentalism is now unstoppable, even if it does turn out to be a complete fiasco.

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Offline why me why now

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Re: Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #10 on: 12/03/2007 13:02:57 »
OK - found the redwood blog.

Bear in mind this is someone who would have considerable power if his party win the next election:

http://www.johnredwoodsdiary.com/?p=144


 The global warming “swindle”

It was good to see a group of scientists go over the top and ask some of the questions that should be asked about global warming theory in yesterday’s documentary. Things are not entirely as the “consensus” supposes. A recent news item has told us visits to Mars by space probes detect “global” warming there, but have not yet discovered the 4 x 4 s causing it, leading people to ask if the sun is currently hotting up affecting all of the solar system. We do need to know more about cloud formation, water vapour, sun flares and spots and volcanic activity to be sure what is causing the phase of warming that started in 1975 after 35 years of cooling.

 I have always thought we should remain sceptical about all scientific theories, for that is the way that science advances by constantly submitting theories to test. Meanwhile we are living in a period when things are warming up, so we should manage any unhelpful consequences of that and welcome the good effects it will have. We do need to increase the water supply in the drier south of the UK and make sure we have enough water stored in case we have longer drier periods, and we do need to improve sea defences in case there is going to be a combination of small rises in sea level and higher storm and tidal surges. We will benefit from the better weather for tourism, agriculture and outdoor sports. Fewer people will die of the cold and from snow and ice in the winter.

 It also makes sense to work away at cutting the amount of energy we burn, and at reducing the amount of waste gas that our systems push out. Oil and gas is getting scarcer and dearer, and comes mainly from troubled parts of the world. We should reduce our dependence on it. The UK should try to lead in green technology, showing how we can maintain a good lifestyle, whilst burning less hydrocarbon, and burning what we need more efficiently.

So let’s be greener and cleaner, but let’s stop pretending mankind is in control of the natural world, or understands everything that lies behind changes in average temperatures.

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Offline why me why now

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Re: Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #11 on: 12/03/2007 13:04:52 »
<parenthesis>

mid you, this is the guy who made a total goon of himself when he was supposed to sing the welsh national anthem at a conference..so i'm not sure how seriously to take him

lols

http://youtube.com/watch?v=RIwBvjoLyZc

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paul.fr

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Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #12 on: 12/03/2007 21:02:27 »
<parenthesis>

mid you, this is the guy who made a total goon of himself when he was supposed to sing the welsh national anthem at a conference..so i'm not sure how seriously to take him

lols

http://youtube.com/watch?v=RIwBvjoLyZc

You mean Mr Spock! bored chemist, redwood was known as spock wasn't he?

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another_someone

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Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #13 on: 12/03/2007 22:47:01 »
<parenthesis>

mid you, this is the guy who made a total goon of himself when he was supposed to sing the welsh national anthem at a conference..so i'm not sure how seriously to take him

lols

http://youtube.com/watch?v=RIwBvjoLyZc

I suspect if you got me up on stage to sing anything at all you probably would not find me doing much better.

How seriously you can take any politician, of any creed, is another matter; but judging him by the fact he feels uncomfortable singing in public is scarcely a valid judgement to make (and I don't claim to be a particular fan of Redwood's, but I do feel sorry for the predicament of a non-singer faced with that scenario).

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paul.fr

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Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #14 on: 13/03/2007 00:33:21 »
Quote from: another_someone link=topic=6823.msg70893#msg70893
How seriously you can take any politician, of any creed, is another matter; but judging him by the fact he feels uncomfortable singing in public is scarcely a valid judgement to make (and I don't claim to be a particular fan of Redwood's, but I do feel sorry for the predicament of a non-singer faced with that scenario).

Being unable to sing was not the point. at the time Redwood was the Welsh Secretary, his inability to speak Welsh or even sing the Welsh anthem did nothing to endear him to the fine welsh people.

His poor attempt at miming the anthem, was another nail in his political coffin.

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paul.fr

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Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #15 on: 13/03/2007 01:13:07 »

What facts for climate change?

That the climate is changing?  It always has changed (just compare the climate of the 17th century with the climate of the 10th century, and you can see an argument for climate change, but it is a natural process).

Yes, i know the climate has always been changing. Although i do not understand your point.
Are you saying that the climate has always changed and that it is just the natural process? and that mankind has not contributed to it?

Prior to the industrial revolutionthe atmosphere is estimated to have contained 260 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Today it is 380 and it's estimated to rise to 550 by the middle of this centuary. is that just a natural process?


This certainly is true for some countries, but is not directly true of the US and Europe, which at present seem to be closing down its farming sector as uneconomic, or dumping cheap food onto the third world, so undermining third world farmers (although this is happening less now, and we are now beginning to import foods from the third world).

The greater arguments are more about land usage, and the energy used in farming and processing the biofuels.

Wheather the push to more "green" technologies and fuel is driven by the dependancy of governments on foreign oil or a genuine "concern for the enviroment" is a good argument, but does that matter?

Would the world be more secure if we were not dependant on oil imports from the middle east and russia?

would the planet be healthier if we reduced our dependancy on fossil fuels?

wheather you believe we can make a change or not, or even if the science is robust enough. we would all be better off without if the answer to those two questions were "yes". That's just my opinion.

Ipreviously said that:

"great amounts of food based crops will be used, when countries can hardly afford to grow the food for the populous to eat."

Ethanol for one, is mainly produced (in the US) by corn.
Ethanol is a very heavy energy user, from the fertalising, planting,
harvesting and transport costs.

The great plain states, such as noth and south dekota, have recently suffered major drought. They are a main grower of corn, half of their annual corn growth goes to the production of ethanol. with the reduced crops, this leaves less corn for food stuffs and it is possible that the US will eventually have to heavilly import corn....other countries rely on the exoprt of corn from the US...what happens to them and the market cost of corn?

In the US, the present and planned ethanol distilleries would need the entire corn harvest of iowa to operate them.

I am no left wing, sandle wearing "green" but see a need for change. If anyone is interested listen to speaches given by or the writings of professor dan ort...visit www.earth-policy.org

well that's the end of my mini speach, no minds will be changed by it and i will not get the girl....but hey...

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another_someone

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Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #16 on: 13/03/2007 02:06:28 »
Yes, i know the climate has always been changing. Although i do not understand your point.
Are you saying that the climate has always changed and that it is just the natural process? and that mankind has not contributed to it?

Prior to the industrial revolutionthe atmosphere is estimated to have contained 260 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Today it is 380 and it's estimated to rise to 550 by the middle of this centuary. is that just a natural process?

Don't you just love estimates.  Give me facts every time.

That aside, in past geological times (and I am not talking about the days when most of the atmosphere was CO2), CO2 levels have been up to 2000 ppm.  We simply do not know what drives the changes, and whether CO2 levels really are a cause of global warming, or a consequence of it (some geological evidence suggests the latter, although people are quick to point out that we lack precision in those records, but those people are just as willing to work with contemporary estimates as if they were known facts).

Wheather the push to more "green" technologies and fuel is driven by the dependency of governments on foreign oil or a genuine "concern for the environment" is a good argument, but does that matter?

Yes, the difference does matter, because we need to know by what means we judge success of the policies we make.  If we judge success by whether there is a future decline, or at least stabilisation, of global temperatures, or whether we judge success by a reduction in strategic economic dependencies.

There are also going to be some measures that will help one objective but not the other, but even where the same measure would help both objectives, if we use the wrong measure of success, then we may regard as success or failure that which in fact is the converse the some other measure.

One particular area where the two objectives diverge is in the use of coal as a fuel and chemical feedstock.  Despite the fact that we have effectively shut down our coal mining industry as being uncompetitive at the current exchange rates against foreign imports, and particularly against oil and gas; nonetheless we do have potentially massive coal reserves that are still unused, and lying in the ground.  Using these would reduce our dependency on imports, but would not reduce carbon consumption.


Would the world be more secure if we were not dependant on oil imports from the middle east and Russia?

This is an interesting and complex issue.

International trade is viewed as a global stabilising force because it creates interdependencies between nations that demand that each nation take seriously the concerns of its trading partners.  What is a problem is where you have hight asymmetric trading relationsips (e.g. a supplier that is in a monopoly position).

The very strong dependency that Europe presently has on Russian gas is a bad thing, but conversely, if Russia had nothing to sell us, that too would be a bad thing.

And Iran is claiming it is looking to the day when it will no longer be exporting oil to the rest of the world.  The strategies it is looking at to make itself less dependent upon oil is itself causing controversy.


would the planet be healthier if we reduced our dependency on fossil fuels?

Why so?

Again, how do you measure that dependency?  Most people just look at tonnage used, and focus on the massive use of carbon as a fuel, but ignore the major strategic (and continually increasingly so) dependency on oil as a chemical feedstock for a very wide range of industries and products.  Each year, even as there is pressure to reduce carbon tonnage through reduced carbon fuel usage, we continue to develop new uses and increasing dependencies for polymers, and other products, derived from oil.

If you are really concerned about the nation strategic independence from oil, then should we not be looking as much as reducing the range of uses of oil as reducing the tonnage usage.

And, as I pointed out - there are other fossil fuels besides oil, and some (such as coal) would not need to be imported, while others (like uranium) are not carbon based, but would require imports.

Ethanol for one, is mainly produced (in the US) by corn.
Ethanol is a very heavy energy user, from the fertalising, planting,
harvesting and transport costs.

I do not disagree with these reservations - I merely said that I don't believe the notion that the world has a shortage of food (or that it will have a shortage of food) is true (at least insofar as food shortages are not caused by lack of food growing capacity, but they are rather more caused by the politics and economics of food distribution).

One aspect of this where you might have partially been valid is not that there would in any direct sense have been a shortage of food, but rather that the market price of feedstock for fuel might have been higher than the present market price for food, and thus effectively pushing up the global price of wheat, or whatever agricultural product was used for energy production.

I am no left wing, sandle wearing "green" but see a need for change.

I don't believe that every political debate can be simply classed as left or right, and in any case, a mature debate about the issues involved should be able to reach beyond sticking labels on people.
« Last Edit: 13/03/2007 02:20:27 by another_someone »

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paul.fr

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Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #17 on: 13/03/2007 11:05:17 »
oh my, where do i start? well it's almost bed time so i will try and answer what i can, if only i could enlarge the "quote" reply box!



Don't you just love estimates.  Give me facts every time.

That aside, in past geological times (and I am not talking about the days when most of the atmosphere was CO2), CO2 levels have been up to 2000 ppm.  We simply do not know what drives the changes, and whether CO2 levels really are a cause of global warming, or a consequence of it (some geological evidence suggests the latter, although people are quick to point out that we lack precision in those records, but those people are just as willing to work with contemporary estimates as if they were known facts).

But a lot of the climate change "evidence" is estimates based on current forcasts and computer models. The "...willing to work with contemporary estimates as if they were known facts" are just that, known facts on current projections, predictions and models.

we have the records to show that the climate is changing more due to the use of fossil fuels. Have you read The naked Scientists, Helen Hendry's piece? http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/helencolumn2.htm

Have you read what Dr Eric Wolff from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) has to say. If memory serves me right, does Kat Arneys sister not work for or at least have something to do with the British Antarctic Survey?

when was the last time  CO2 levels wree up to 2000 ppm?

Carbon dioxide levels are substantially higher now than at any time in the last 800,000 years, the latest study of ice drilled out of Antarctica confirms. The in-depth analysis of air bubbles trapped in a 3.2km-long core of frozen snow shows current greenhouse gas concentrations are unprecedented.

The East Antarctic core is the longest, deepest ice column yet extracted. Project scientists say its contents indicate humans could be bringing about dangerous climate changes.

Dr Eric Wolff from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

"My point would be that there's nothing in the ice core that gives us any cause for comfort,"
"There's nothing that suggests that the Earth will take care of the increase in carbon dioxide. The ice core suggests that the increase in carbon dioxide will definitely give us a climate change that will be dangerous,"



Yes, the difference does matter, because we need to know by what means we judge success of the policies we make.  If we judge success by whether there is a future decline, or at least stabilisation, of global temperatures, or whether we judge success by a reduction in strategic economic dependencies.

There are also going to be some measures that will help one objective but not the other, but even where the same measure would help both objectives, if we use the wrong measure of success, then we may regard as success or failure that which in fact is the converse the some other measure.

One particular area where the two objectives diverge is in the use of coal as a fuel and chemical feedstock.  Despite the fact that we have effectively shut down our coal mining industry as being uncompetitive at the current exchange rates against foreign imports, and particularly against oil and gas; nonetheless we do have potentially massive coal reserves that are still unused, and lying in the ground.  Using these would reduce our dependency on imports, but would not reduce carbon consumption.

Again, does it matter? if we have the success and it's down to enviromental issus or global trade. If we curb, halt or even decrease the amount or crabon dioxide we release in to the atmosphere and that has a positive effect or global temperatures. We still win, and ofcourse at this present moment it will be down to trade and economic measures. Any politician that says otherwise is plainly telling lies. but we all win.

reduced greenhouse gas emissions, less dependancy on imported fuel which could/will result in more jobs to make the bio-fuels, work the refineries, build the wind turbines......the economy wins, the government take in more tax revenue, greater employment and less emissions, so again does it matter why we do it, if the results are favourable to both sides?


The very strong dependency that Europe presently has on Russian gas is a bad thing, but conversely, if Russia had nothing to sell us, that too would be a bad thing.

ok, i don't undersatand how this would be a bad thing.

And Iran is claiming it is looking to the day when it will no longer be exporting oil to the rest of the world.  The strategies it is looking at to make itself less dependent upon oil is itself causing controversy.

But that is a totaly different matter, iran is using it's oil as a barganing tool so that they will be allowed to build nuclear reactors.



Again, how do you measure that dependency?  Most people just look at tonnage used, and focus on the massive use of carbon as a fuel, but ignore the major strategic (and continually increasingly so) dependency on oil as a chemical feedstock for a very wide range of industries and products.  Each year, even as there is pressure to reduce carbon tonnage through reduced carbon fuel usage, we continue to develop new uses and increasing dependencies for polymers, and other products, derived from oil.

If you are really concerned about the nation strategic independence from oil, then should we not be looking as much as reducing the range of uses of oil as reducing the tonnage usage.

You are quite right, we are too dependant.

And, as I pointed out - there are other fossil fuels besides oil, and some (such as coal) would not need to be imported, while others (like uranium) are not carbon based, but would require imports.

But the uk coal field is almost non-existant, is there the will or the money to re-open the numers of collieries needed? That is another problem.
Yes we closed them down to make way for cheap imports, we are now seeing that we may have acted with too much haste, but i don't think a future government (especially a tory one) will go back to uk coal.


I do not disagree with these reservations.
Can i have that in writing  [;)], i jest.

I merely said that I don't believe the notion that the world has a shortage of food (or that it will have a shortage of food) is true (at least insofar as food shortages are not caused by lack of food growing capacity, but they are rather more caused by the politics and economics of food distribution).

One aspect of this where you might have partially been valid is not that there would in any direct sense have been a shortage of food, but rather that the market price of feedstock for fuel might have been higher than the present market price for food, and thus effectively pushing up the global price of wheat, or whatever agricultural product was used for energy production.

This all depends on what we use to make bio-fuels, as i have previously stated corn based ethanol i believe to be a bad idea and will lead to shortages for consumption.
already ethanol producers are offering  more for the corn than farmers are getting from companies that want it for food. simple economics the farmer sells to the person willing to pay the most.

In Brazil nearly three-quarters of new cars can burn either ethanol or gasoline, the ethanol is made from sugar beat. this has resulted in the price of global sugar going up as most of the sugar produced in brazil is used to make ethanol.

so ethanol from food stuffs is already having an effect, willow would be a better producer of ethanol. making more and not reducing the food stock.

I don't believe that every political debate can be simply classed as left or right, and in any case, a mature debate about the issues involved should be able to reach beyond sticking labels on people.

i never intended to make light of the debate. i was just pointing out that some people assume you are a left wing greenie if you follow the debate and have an opinion.

as a card carrying conservative, i could not be any further removed from that steriotype.


if i may ask one thing, can we keep replys to a minimum or spread them over two or more replys it would help me get to bed earlier.......i can not remember the last time i spent so much time on one reply.

thanks in advance   [:D]

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another_someone

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Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #18 on: 13/03/2007 16:22:03 »
if i may ask one thing, can we keep replys to a minimum or spread them over two or more replys it would help me get to bed earlier.......i can not remember the last time i spent so much time on one reply.

thanks in advance   [:D]
I have presently typed this up as a single response, but I shall endeavour now to break it down to a number of smaller messages for you.

Breaking down the message will certainly help push up the message counters, but I actually think it will make the whole thing a lot more unmanageable, as there will be an exponential explosion in the number of messages in the thread, and it will be very difficult to trace back through all the messages, and work out which message responds to which, or which message has not been responded to at all.

Nonetheless, I'll give it a go, and wait for you to squirm at the explosion of little message [:)]

*

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #19 on: 13/03/2007 16:23:01 »
oh my, where do i start? well it's almost bed time so i will try and answer what i can, if only i could enlarge the "quote" reply box!
If you are only looking at the small window at the bottom of the thread page, then you will find that if you click on the 'Preview' button, you will have a slightly larger window available for you to type in.

As it happens, when messages get to this length, I find it easier to copy and paste it to a word processor, and when the reply is completed, the copy and paste back to the browser in order to upload to the forum.

Incidentally, if you are only just on your way to bed at 11 in the morning, then either you are on shift work, or you are in a worse state than I am [:)]

*

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #20 on: 13/03/2007 16:23:51 »
But a lot of the climate change "evidence" is estimates based on current forcasts and computer models. The "...willing to work with contemporary estimates as if they were known facts" are just that, known facts on current projections, predictions and models.
Computer models are only as good as the assumptions used to build them.

All of science is about modelling.  This is fine, but a model is not valid until the predictions made by that model are verified against actual observations.  You can make endless models based upon past trends, and assumptions about future events, and each of them different – it is only when you actually compare each of those models against future observations that you can tell which model has some credence, and which is fairy tale land.  To date, none of the climate models have been able to be verified against observations, thus any or all of them may represent no more than a trip through fairy tale land.

*

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #21 on: 13/03/2007 16:24:22 »
we have the records to show that the climate is changing more due to the use of fossil fuels. Have you read The naked Scientists, Helen Hendry's piece? http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/helencolumn2.htm
Not yet – maybe when I've finished composing my response to you.

*

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #22 on: 13/03/2007 16:25:15 »
when was the last time  CO2 levels wree up to 2000 ppm?
About 60 to 55 million years ago.

The point is not when this took place, but that it is something that can happen naturally, and that is is something that is not a one way process (i.e. CO2 levels can go up, but they can also come down, as the subsequently did).

This has been discussed in previous threads, and you may wish to go over:

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=4011.msg31932#msg31932

and

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=4011.msg31987#msg31987

Carbon dioxide levels are substantially higher now than at any time in the last 800,000 years, the latest study of ice drilled out of Antarctica confirms. The in-depth analysis of air bubbles trapped in a 3.2km-long core of frozen snow shows current greenhouse gas concentrations are unprecedented.

The East Antarctic core is the longest, deepest ice column yet extracted. Project scientists say its contents indicate humans could be bringing about dangerous climate changes.

Dr Eric Wolff from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

"My point would be that there's nothing in the ice core that gives us any cause for comfort,"
"There's nothing that suggests that the Earth will take care of the increase in carbon dioxide. The ice core suggests that the increase in carbon dioxide will definitely give us a climate change that will be dangerous,"

On the contrary, if we look well beyond 800,000 years, we find every evidence that natural fluctuations in the Earth's CO2 extend over a far wider range than we are seeing today, and come back down as well as going up.

*

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #23 on: 13/03/2007 16:26:04 »
Yes, the difference does matter, because we need to know by what means we judge success of the policies we make.  If we judge success by whether there is a future decline, or at least stabilisation, of global temperatures, or whether we judge success by a reduction in strategic economic dependencies.

There are also going to be some measures that will help one objective but not the other, but even where the same measure would help both objectives, if we use the wrong measure of success, then we may regard as success or failure that which in fact is the converse the some other measure.

One particular area where the two objectives diverge is in the use of coal as a fuel and chemical feedstock.  Despite the fact that we have effectively shut down our coal mining industry as being uncompetitive at the current exchange rates against foreign imports, and particularly against oil and gas; nonetheless we do have potentially massive coal reserves that are still unused, and lying in the ground.  Using these would reduce our dependency on imports, but would not reduce carbon consumption.

Again, does it matter? if we have the success and it's down to enviromental issus or global trade. If we curb, halt or even decrease the amount or crabon dioxide we release in to the atmosphere and that has a positive effect or global temperatures. We still win, and ofcourse at this present moment it will be down to trade and economic measures. Any politician that says otherwise is plainly telling lies. but we all win.

reduced greenhouse gas emissions, less dependancy on imported fuel which could/will result in more jobs to make the bio-fuels, work the refineries, build the wind turbines......the economy wins, the government take in more tax revenue, greater employment and less emissions, so again does it matter why we do it, if the results are favourable to both sides?
But you are missing both the points I was making.

Firstly, not all actions will satisfy both criteria (the use of domestic coal being one example, but with a bot of thought, I could imagine many others).

If only one of the criteria are met, then do we regard the the policy as a failure or a success – that rather depends upon whether the criteria we judge is the same as the criteria by which success has been achieved.

*

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #24 on: 14/03/2007 19:14:32 »
OK, since it seems we have lost posts for the last 24 hours, I shall repost my reply (which, as it happens, I still have in my word processor).  I shall not split the reply down this time.

Paul, I am afraid we have lost your reply to my response, so I will have to await your reposting of that response before I can comment upon it (I know, that was an hour and a half of your work this morning – blame Dave – although I know he feels awkward enough about having lost the data).

oh my, where do i start? well it's almost bed time so i will try and answer what i can, if only i could enlarge the "quote" reply box!
If you are only looking at the small window at the bottom of the thread page, then you will find that if you click on the 'Preview' button, you will have a slightly larger window available for you to type in.

As it happens, when messages get to this length, I find it easier to copy and paste it to a word processor, and when the reply is completed, the copy and paste back to the browser in order to upload to the forum.

Incidentally, if you are only just on your way to bed at 11 in the morning, then either you are on shift work, or you are in a worse state than I am [:)]

But a lot of the climate change "evidence" is estimates based on current forcasts and computer models. The "...willing to work with contemporary estimates as if they were known facts" are just that, known facts on current projections, predictions and models.
Computer models are only as good as the assumptions used to build them.

All of science is about modelling.  This is fine, but a model is not valid until the predictions made by that model are verified against actual observations.  You can make endless models based upon past trends, and assumptions about future events, and each of them different – it is only when you actually compare each of those models against future observations that you can tell which model has some credence, and which is fairy tale land.  To date, none of the climate models have been able to be verified against observations, thus any or all of them may represent no more than a trip through fairy tale land.

we have the records to show that the climate is changing more due to the use of fossil fuels. Have you read The naked Scientists, Helen Hendry's piece? http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/helencolumn2.htm
Not yet – maybe when I've finished composing my response to you.

when was the last time  CO2 levels wree up to 2000 ppm?
About 60 to 55 million years ago.

The point is not when this took place, but that it is something that can happen naturally, and that is is something that is not a one way process (i.e. CO2 levels can go up, but they can also come down, as the subsequently did).

This has been discussed in previous threads, and you may wish to go over:

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=4011.msg31932#msg31932

and

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=4011.msg31987#msg31987

Carbon dioxide levels are substantially higher now than at any time in the last 800,000 years, the latest study of ice drilled out of Antarctica confirms. The in-depth analysis of air bubbles trapped in a 3.2km-long core of frozen snow shows current greenhouse gas concentrations are unprecedented.

The East Antarctic core is the longest, deepest ice column yet extracted. Project scientists say its contents indicate humans could be bringing about dangerous climate changes.

Dr Eric Wolff from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS).

"My point would be that there's nothing in the ice core that gives us any cause for comfort,"
"There's nothing that suggests that the Earth will take care of the increase in carbon dioxide. The ice core suggests that the increase in carbon dioxide will definitely give us a climate change that will be dangerous,"

On the contrary, if we look well beyond 800,000 years, we find every evidence that natural fluctuations in the Earth's CO2 extend over a far wider range than we are seeing today, and come back down as well as going up.

Yes, the difference does matter, because we need to know by what means we judge success of the policies we make.  If we judge success by whether there is a future decline, or at least stabilisation, of global temperatures, or whether we judge success by a reduction in strategic economic dependencies.

There are also going to be some measures that will help one objective but not the other, but even where the same measure would help both objectives, if we use the wrong measure of success, then we may regard as success or failure that which in fact is the converse the some other measure.

One particular area where the two objectives diverge is in the use of coal as a fuel and chemical feedstock.  Despite the fact that we have effectively shut down our coal mining industry as being uncompetitive at the current exchange rates against foreign imports, and particularly against oil and gas; nonetheless we do have potentially massive coal reserves that are still unused, and lying in the ground.  Using these would reduce our dependency on imports, but would not reduce carbon consumption.

Again, does it matter? if we have the success and it's down to enviromental issus or global trade. If we curb, halt or even decrease the amount or crabon dioxide we release in to the atmosphere and that has a positive effect or global temperatures. We still win, and ofcourse at this present moment it will be down to trade and economic measures. Any politician that says otherwise is plainly telling lies. but we all win.

reduced greenhouse gas emissions, less dependancy on imported fuel which could/will result in more jobs to make the bio-fuels, work the refineries, build the wind turbines......the economy wins, the government take in more tax revenue, greater employment and less emissions, so again does it matter why we do it, if the results are favourable to both sides?
But you are missing both the points I was making.

Firstly, not all actions will satisfy both criteria (the use of domestic coal being one example, but with a bot of thought, I could imagine many others).

If only one of the criteria are met, then do we regard the the policy as a failure or a success – that rather depends upon whether the criteria we judge is the same as the criteria by which success has been achieved.

The very strong dependency that Europe presently has on Russian gas is a bad thing, but conversely, if Russia had nothing to sell us, that too would be a bad thing.

ok, i don't undersatand how this would be a bad thing.
So you think that a policy where Russia is bankrupted, or where each nation (Russia, the UK, France, etc.) is so self sufficient in all things that international trade becomes a thing of the past, is a good thing?

One of the premisses of the creation of the EU was that it should bind the nations of Europe so tightly together in trade that it would be impossible for any nation to go to war against another without also crippling its own self interest.  I do realise that there are many who object (not without reason) is some of the social interference from Brussels, but few, even amongst the die-hard eurosceptics would argue against the premise of open trade across Europe.
And Iran is claiming it is looking to the day when it will no longer be exporting oil to the rest of the world.  The strategies it is looking at to make itself less dependent upon oil is itself causing controversy.

But that is a totaly different matter, iran is using it's oil as a barganing tool so that they will be allowed to build nuclear reactors.
That is not the official Iranian line.  You may choose to disbelieve the official line from Tehran, but I was talking about what the official line was.

The Iranians themselves are arguing that they are looking forward to the day when their oil runs out (or at least no longer can be relied upon as a primary source of energy and wealth), and so are anticipating that day by investing in nuclear power, and the research that goes with that.  This seems totally consistent with the argument you are using with regard to what the whole world should be doing.

This, by the way, is not only an issue in Iran.  The Ukraine, despite the Chernobyl accident, cannot rid itself of nuclear power, and the present hikes in Russian gas prices shows exactly why this is so.

But the uk coal field is almost non-existant,
No, this is untrue (or probably more likely just sloppy in the way you have expressed it).

The UK coal fields are anything but non-existent – what is now almost non-existent is the capaicity to make use of those coal fields.
is there the will or the money to re-open the numers of collieries needed? That is another problem.
Yes we closed them down to make way for cheap imports, we are now seeing that we may have acted with too much haste, but i don't think a future government (especially a tory one) will go back to uk coal.
It is always easier to destroy a mature industry than to rebuild it once it is destroyed – with this I agree.

The problem is that new industries grow in a regulatory vacuum, and expand to fill that vacuum.  As they grow, regulation and national management take over, so that small upstarts cannot any longer enter the field, and only mature industries can then survive in that regulatory and economic environment.  If you then destroy the mature industries, you cannot restart the process without recreating the vacuum that allowed it to grow in the first place, which clearly is not politically viable.

In the 18th or 19th centuries, if a landowner thought he could mine coal on his land, he just started digging.  Now, if someone thought of opening up a coal mine outside my local town, the regulatory hoops he would have to jump through to get it going would be so forbidding as to make it impractical (and this is before he has dug one square metre of soil).

i never intended to make light of the debate. i was just pointing out that some people assume you are a left wing greenie if you follow the debate and have an opinion.

as a card carrying conservative, i could not be any further removed from that steriotype.
And the point I was making is that I don't like stereotypes; and in any case, I do not argue with people, I debate the issues – who the person is who espouses one point of view or another does not concern me.
« Last Edit: 14/03/2007 20:11:13 by another_someone »

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another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #25 on: 14/03/2007 19:44:33 »
we have the records to show that the climate is changing more due to the use of fossil fuels. Have you read The naked Scientists, Helen Hendry's piece? http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/helencolumn2.htm
Not yet – maybe when I've finished composing my response to you.

OK, I've read her piece now, but I'm not sure of the significance of it.

It makes calaims about how much human kind will be damaged by global warming (mostly extrapolating on a global scale what she saw in Napal), but it does not even claim (although it make silently assume) that the global warming she is concerned about is og anthropogenic origin.

Interestingly, it seems to be becoming almost fashionable now to attack the claims for anthropogenic global warming.  The following are not science based, but are an interesting indication of the change of the political climate:

http://www.lse.co.uk/ShowStory.asp?story=CZ434669U&news_headline=global_warming_is_lies_claims_documentary
Quote
Global Warming Is Lies' Claims Documentary
Sunday, 4th March 2007, 11:04

Accepted theories about man causing global warming are "lies" claims a controversial new TV documentary.

'The Great Global Warming Swindle' - backed by eminent scientists - is set to rock the accepted consensus that climate change is being driven by humans.

The programme, to be screened on Channel 4 on Thursday March 8, will see a series of respected scientists attack the "propaganda" that they claim is killing the world's poor.

Even the co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, is shown, claiming African countries should be encouraged to burn more CO2.

Nobody in the documentary defends the greenhouse effect theory, as it claims that climate change is natural, has been occurring for years, and ice falling from glaciers is just the spring break-up and as normal as leaves falling in autumn.

A source at Channel 4 said: "It is essentially a polemic and we are expecting it to cause trouble, but this is the controversial programming that Channel 4 is renowned for."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/science/13gore.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Quote
Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.”

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another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #26 on: 14/03/2007 19:46:38 »
we have the records to show that the climate is changing more due to the use of fossil fuels. Have you read The naked Scientists, Helen Hendry's piece? http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/helencolumn2.htm
Not yet – maybe when I've finished composing my response to you.

OK, I've read her piece now, but I'm not sure of the significance of it.

It makes calaims about how much human kind will be damaged by global warming (mostly extrapolating on a global scale what she saw in Napal), but it does not even claim (although it make silently assume) that the global warming she is concerned about is og anthropogenic origin.

Interestingly, it seems to be becoming almost fashionable now to attack the claims for anthropogenic global warming.  The following are not science based, but are an interesting indication of the change of the political climate:

http://www.lse.co.uk/ShowStory.asp?story=CZ434669U&news_headline=global_warming_is_lies_claims_documentary
Quote
Global Warming Is Lies' Claims Documentary
Sunday, 4th March 2007, 11:04

Accepted theories about man causing global warming are "lies" claims a controversial new TV documentary.

'The Great Global Warming Swindle' - backed by eminent scientists - is set to rock the accepted consensus that climate change is being driven by humans.

The programme, to be screened on Channel 4 on Thursday March 8, will see a series of respected scientists attack the "propaganda" that they claim is killing the world's poor.

Even the co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, is shown, claiming African countries should be encouraged to burn more CO2.

Nobody in the documentary defends the greenhouse effect theory, as it claims that climate change is natural, has been occurring for years, and ice falling from glaciers is just the spring break-up and as normal as leaves falling in autumn.

A source at Channel 4 said: "It is essentially a polemic and we are expecting it to cause trouble, but this is the controversial programming that Channel 4 is renowned for."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/science/13gore.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Quote
Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.”

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another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #27 on: 14/03/2007 19:47:32 »
we have the records to show that the climate is changing more due to the use of fossil fuels. Have you read The naked Scientists, Helen Hendry's piece? http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/helencolumn2.htm
Not yet – maybe when I've finished composing my response to you.

OK, I've read her piece now, but I'm not sure of the significance of it.

It makes calaims about how much human kind will be damaged by global warming (mostly extrapolating on a global scale what she saw in Napal), but it does not even claim (although it make silently assume) that the global warming she is concerned about is og anthropogenic origin.

Interestingly, it seems to be becoming almost fashionable now to attack the claims for anthropogenic global warming.  The following are not science based, but are an interesting indication of the change of the political climate:

http://www.lse.co.uk/ShowStory.asp?story=CZ434669U&news_headline=global_warming_is_lies_claims_documentary
Quote
Global Warming Is Lies' Claims Documentary
Sunday, 4th March 2007, 11:04

Accepted theories about man causing global warming are "lies" claims a controversial new TV documentary.

'The Great Global Warming Swindle' - backed by eminent scientists - is set to rock the accepted consensus that climate change is being driven by humans.

The programme, to be screened on Channel 4 on Thursday March 8, will see a series of respected scientists attack the "propaganda" that they claim is killing the world's poor.

Even the co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, is shown, claiming African countries should be encouraged to burn more CO2.

Nobody in the documentary defends the greenhouse effect theory, as it claims that climate change is natural, has been occurring for years, and ice falling from glaciers is just the spring break-up and as normal as leaves falling in autumn.

A source at Channel 4 said: "It is essentially a polemic and we are expecting it to cause trouble, but this is the controversial programming that Channel 4 is renowned for."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/science/13gore.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Quote
Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.”

*

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #28 on: 14/03/2007 19:50:15 »
Test entry

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paul.fr

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #29 on: 14/03/2007 20:13:13 »
"Paul, I am afraid we have lost your reply to my response, so I will have to await your reposting of that response before I can comment upon it (I know, that was an hour and a half of your work this morning – blame Dave – although I know he feels awkward enough about having lost the data)."

hi George,

nooooooooo, you will not believe this but i was thinking of saving my reply also but as  i wrote it on the pc at work i thought it best not to.

hindsight is such a good thing...i will try again later to post a reply. It would seem that all data over quite a few hours was lost!

but the site does have a nicer feel and look about it, i was sort of hoping you may have saved my reply from this morning/last night..

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another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #30 on: 14/03/2007 20:17:32 »
Not as bad as I thought - I have a copy of your post, but will need to reformat it - I can send it to you as a copy of what was on the screen if you wish to reformat it.

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paul.fr

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #31 on: 14/03/2007 20:20:43 »
Not as bad as I thought - I have a copy of your post, but will need to reformat it - I can send it to you as a copy of what was on the screen if you wish to reformat it.

you are a star, George.
If it's not too much trouble could you pm or email it to me and i will format and repost later tonight.

*

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #32 on: 14/03/2007 20:22:31 »
we have the records to show that the climate is changing more due to the use of fossil fuels. Have you read The naked Scientists, Helen Hendry's piece? http://www.thenakedscientists.com/HTML/articles/article/helencolumn2.htm
Not yet – maybe when I've finished composing my response to you.

OK, I've read her piece now, but I'm not sure of the significance of it.

It makes calaims about how much human kind will be damaged by global warming (mostly extrapolating on a global scale what she saw in Napal), but it does not even claim (although it make silently assume) that the global warming she is concerned about is og anthropogenic origin.

Interestingly, it seems to be becoming almost fashionable now to attack the claims for anthropogenic global warming.  The following are not science based, but are an interesting indication of the change of the political climate:

http://www.lse.co.uk/ShowStory.asp?story=CZ434669U&news_headline=global_warming_is_lies_claims_documentary
Quote
Global Warming Is Lies' Claims Documentary
Sunday, 4th March 2007, 11:04

Accepted theories about man causing global warming are "lies" claims a controversial new TV documentary.

'The Great Global Warming Swindle' - backed by eminent scientists - is set to rock the accepted consensus that climate change is being driven by humans.

The programme, to be screened on Channel 4 on Thursday March 8, will see a series of respected scientists attack the "propaganda" that they claim is killing the world's poor.

Even the co-founder of Greenpeace, Patrick Moore, is shown, claiming African countries should be encouraged to burn more CO2.

Nobody in the documentary defends the greenhouse effect theory, as it claims that climate change is natural, has been occurring for years, and ice falling from glaciers is just the spring break-up and as normal as leaves falling in autumn.

A source at Channel 4 said: "It is essentially a polemic and we are expecting it to cause trouble, but this is the controversial programming that Channel 4 is renowned for."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/03/13/science/13gore.html?_r=2&oref=slogin&oref=slogin
Quote
Hollywood has a thing for Al Gore and his three-alarm film on global warming, “An Inconvenient Truth,” which won an Academy Award for best documentary. So do many environmentalists, who praise him as a visionary, and many scientists, who laud him for raising public awareness of climate change.

But part of his scientific audience is uneasy. In talks, articles and blog entries that have appeared since his film and accompanying book came out last year, these scientists argue that some of Mr. Gore’s central points are exaggerated and erroneous. They are alarmed, some say, at what they call his alarmism.

“I don’t want to pick on Al Gore,” Don J. Easterbrook, an emeritus professor of geology at Western Washington University, told hundreds of experts at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America. “But there are a lot of inaccuracies in the statements we are seeing, and we have to temper that with real data.”

Mr. Gore, in an e-mail exchange about the critics, said his work made “the most important and salient points” about climate change, if not “some nuances and distinctions” scientists might want. “The degree of scientific consensus on global warming has never been stronger,” he said, adding, “I am trying to communicate the essence of it in the lay language that I understand.”

*

another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #33 on: 14/03/2007 20:31:01 »
Not as bad as I thought - I have a copy of your post, but will need to reformat it - I can send it to you as a copy of what was on the screen if you wish to reformat it.

you are a star, George.
If it's not too much trouble could you pm or email it to me and i will format and repost later tonight.

You should have an email on its way to you.


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paul.fr

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Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #34 on: 14/03/2007 21:55:53 »
Many thank to George for sending the post i made last night. Below is the post i made as is...or as was.  [:)]


squirm...i have always thought it polite to always reply to any question, letter ,text message....but the next time someone asks me for opinion i am seriously considering throwing the keyboard out the window

yes it's shift work, and i think you are right about the small replies. They look more daunting than one long one...I am however going to try and keep this reply as short as possible.

Computer models are only as good as the assumptions used to build them.


i think we agree on this, but possibly for different reasons. I know they are not an exact science, but they are the best we have at this time.


On the contrary, if we look well beyond 800,000 years, we find every evidence that natural fluctuations in the Earth's CO2 extend over a far wider range than we are seeing today, and come back down as well as going up.

Again we sort of agree on this, i said previously that i knew the climate has always been changing. I just think that our burning and use of fossil fuels has had a significant impact on the natural process - a speeding up of the process, if you like.



But you are missing both the points I was making.

Firstly, not all actions will satisfy both criteria (the use of domestic coal being one example, but with a bot of thought, I could imagine many others).

If only one of the criteria are met, then do we regard the the policy as a failure or a success – that rather depends upon whether the criteria we judge is the same as the criteria by which success has been achieved.



I think i understand your points, but if the outcome is a reduction in overall emissions then whatever the reasons for the change be them environmental or economical both side win. I have reservations that any policies the government of the time implements will always be economical, no matter how they spin the environmental angle it will primarily be revenue and cost based. I'm my opinion the criteria for change will be what can we afford to do
. sure it should be what can we afford not to do, but that is a fantasy.


So you think that a policy where Russia is bankrupted, or where each nation (Russia, the UK, France, etc.) is so self sufficient in all things that international trade becomes a thing of the past, is a good thing?

No, i just did not understand what you meant by "if Russia had nothing to sell us, that too would be a bad thing." If the EU was truly an open trade platform i would agree, but it's policies are dominated by the French and German positions, and increasingly Russians. Our position has been weakened by the present government, under a conservative government we would stand more chance of being an equal partner. Whilst Cameron has the right idea of how to deal with Europe, i fear he is not strong enough to do this and we are still suffering from the legacy of Mrs T.



That is not the official Iranian line.  You may choose to disbelieve the official line from Tehran, but I was talking about what the official line was.

My apologies. but, i do disbelieve the official Iranian line for the reason i previously stated.
The Iranians themselves are arguing that they are looking forward to the day when their oil runs out (or at least no longer can be relied upon as a primary source of energy and wealth), and so are anticipating that day by investing in nuclear power, and the research that goes with that.  This seems totally consistent with the argument you are using with regard to what the whole world should be doing.

This they are, and yes it does seem consistant to my position. However, like i said previously i do not believe the Iranians want nuclear power for the official reason they give. Should they proceed and acquire the technology and means to produce nuclear power and ultimately weapons this is another kettle of fish which will destabilise the region further, and the possibility or Israel being drawn in to conflict either on their own or with "coalition" support is pretty scary.

The UK coal fields are anything but non-existent – what is now almost non-existent is the capaicity to make use of those coal fields.

Living in the middle of the yorkshire coal field i have seem many mines closed, many have just had their shafts capped and some are mothballed. Strangely enough plans are now underway to reopen the colliery in my village and build a coal fired power station on the pit top. This may bring some economic benefit to the local community, but i would much rather see a nuclear power station down the bottom of my street than the colliery reopening. I think this would have a bigger economic impact, be greener and from a selfish point of view be cleaner not just environmentally but locally.

OK, i think that's all. I am enjoying this debate with you George, but note the person how asked the question origionally has left it well alone....i am posting this whilst at work in the hope that i may be able to go to bed in the morning!

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another_someone

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Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #35 on: 15/03/2007 18:43:09 »
Computer models are only as good as the assumptions used to build them.
i think we agree on this, but possibly for different reasons. I know they are not an exact science, but they are the best we have at this time.

It may be the best we have, but is it good enough to be the basis for policy.

As an analogy, if you were to walk blindfolded into a room containing a terrorist and a dozen hostages, and a gun in your hand, the best you could do is to shoot blind; but a better option would be to hold your fire until you knew where the target was.

In the absence of good knowledge, sometimes the best policy is to wait and do nothing, while preparing yourself for all the possible eventualities (which may turn out to be the exact contrary to what you believe is the best policy today).

I just think that our burning and use of fossil fuels has had a significant impact on the natural process - a speeding up of the process, if you like.

You may think that, but is there real evidence for it?

Unless you can run a comparative study without human intervention, or demonstrate that you have taken into account all non-human sources of change in your analysis, you cannot regard that as anything but blind speculation.

It has been traditional to think of nature as something like an massive and slow process, but increasingly it is becoming apparent that natural processes that we once thought of as taking thousands or millions of year (because in the past we could not read the records with such fine granularity as to discern the true speed of change) can in fact happen over very much shorter periods of time.


I think i understand your points, but if the outcome is a reduction in overall emissions then whatever the reasons for the change be them environmental or economical both side win. I have reservations that any policies the government of the time implements will always be economical, no matter how they spin the environmental angle it will primarily be revenue and cost based. I'm my opinion the criteria for change will be what can we afford to do
. sure it should be what can we afford not to do, but that is a fantasy.

Not really – it is about getting elected more than it is about money.  OK, there is the argument that the electorate vote with their pockets, and so there is substantial overlap between the economic argument and the democratic one; but economics aside, it also depends upon column inches in the newspapers, and at present the Environmental agenda provides those column inches.

There is a secondary economic argument in favour of environmentalism in that it creates a backdoor protectionism.  Environmental legislation inevitably adds bureaucracy to the the running of business; but despite the fact that all companies complain about  bureaucracy, the reality is that large and established companies can absorb  bureaucracy (which is more of a fixed overhead than it is part of the cost of production), while smaller companies are the ones particularly badly hurt by  bureaucracy, which means that the cost for a new company to enter into an established field in competition to an established larger company becomes more onereous.


That is not the official Iranian line.  You may choose to disbelieve the official line from Tehran, but I was talking about what the official line was.

My apologies. but, i do disbelieve the official Iranian line for the reason i previously stated.
The Iranians themselves are arguing that they are looking forward to the day when their oil runs out (or at least no longer can be relied upon as a primary source of energy and wealth), and so are anticipating that day by investing in nuclear power, and the research that goes with that.  This seems totally consistent with the argument you are using with regard to what the whole world should be doing.

This they are, and yes it does seem consistant to my position. However, like i said previously i do not believe the Iranians want nuclear power for the official reason they give. Should they proceed and acquire the technology and means to produce nuclear power and ultimately weapons this is another kettle of fish which will destabilise the region further, and the possibility or Israel being drawn in to conflict either on their own or with "coalition" support is pretty scary.

But was not your earlier argument that it does not matter what the motive for an action if it achieves the desired result.

If you desire people to move away from an oil based economy, and preferring a nuclear based economy, what are you expecting the Iranians to do – stay with an oil based economy?

Living in the middle of the yorkshire coal field i have seem many mines closed, many have just had their shafts capped and some are mothballed. Strangely enough plans are now underway to reopen the colliery in my village and build a coal fired power station on the pit top. This may bring some economic benefit to the local community, but i would much rather see a nuclear power station down the bottom of my street than the colliery reopening. I think this would have a bigger economic impact, be greener and from a selfish point of view be cleaner not just environmentally but locally.

Not sure that nuclear would have a greater local economic impact – generally, mining has been more labour intensive than nuclear.  Nationally, I would agree that nuclear will generate more power, and from that perspective will have a greater national economic impact.

The pollution issue is complex, and depends on the timeframe you are using, and how you balance one pollutant against another.

My own preference is, as I have stated in the past, to maximise diversity, thus maintaining maximum flexibility whatever the future brings, while limiting our exposure to any single risk factor (although it does increase the likelihood that we will at least get things partly wrong, it also maximises the possibility that we will at least get it partly right).  In that light, and given the degree to which the coal industry has collapsed, I am in favour of increasing the levels of coal production, but alongside increases in nuclear power as well.

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paul.fr

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Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #36 on: 16/03/2007 05:57:50 »
George, I will reply on monday....i have my daughter for a long weekend. Have a nice weekend yourself, and we will continue next week.

Paul

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paul.fr

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Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #37 on: 16/03/2007 10:32:35 »
Morning George, Well i found a little time to reply before i head off for the weekend. So here is a quick reply, (with some trepidation) i look forward to your reply. Paul




It may be the best we have, but is it good enough to be the basis for policy.

As an analogy, if you were to walk blindfolded into a room containing a terrorist and a dozen hostages, and a gun in your hand, the best you could do is to
shoot blind; but a better option would be to hold your fire until you knew where the target was.

In the absence of good knowledge, sometimes the best policy is to wait and do nothing, while preparing yourself for all the possible eventualities
 (which may turn out to be the exact contrary to what you believe is the best policy today).


According to that analogy, if we were to hold fire until we knew where the terrorist was he would have shot us before we made our decision to fire. Accordingly, if we wait and do nothing then it's already too late when we decide to act.
What we need to do, is analise the data that we already have - a robust peer review - and take steps based on a worst case ceranrio.

What do we know at this present time?

Carbon dioxide levels are substantially higher now than at any time in the last 800,000 years (in that time we know that the earth has gone through roughly 8 ice ages) Although this may not be new in relation to the history of the planet, it is entirely new in modern human history.
As i said before Prior to the industrial revolution the atmosphere is estimated to have contained 260 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Today it is 380 and it's estimated to rise to 550 by the middle of this centuary. So, carbon dioxide levels are higher now than in the last 8 ice ages!

There ahave been many glacial periods during the last few million years, recently at 100,000-year frequencies. The Earth is now in an interglacial period, the last retreat ending about 10,000 years ago. the typical interglacial period lasts 12,000 years

The World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), based in Switzerland, continuously studies a set of 30 mountain glaciers in different parts of the world. It is not quite a representative sample of all mountain glaciers, but does give a reliable indication of global trends.

The latest survey, just released, shows accelerating decline. During 2005, this sample of 30 glaciers became, on average, 60-70cm thinner. This figure is 1.6 times more than the average annual loss during the 1990s, and three times faster than in the 1980s.
 
The IPCC's 2001 report (i'm having trouble finding a more recent report) projects that sea level could rise between 4 and 35 inches (10 to 89cm) by century's end. Worldwide some 100 million people live within 3 feet (1 meter) of mean sea level. Over 150 km2 of London lies below high tide level.

Do we sit back and say, well it may not be due to incresed carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere? Or act to reduce our emissions?


Not really – it is about getting elected more than it is about money.  OK, there is the argument that the electorate vote with their pockets,
 and so there is substantial overlap between the economic argument and the democratic one; but economics aside, it also depends upon column inches
 in the newspapers, and at present the Environmental agenda provides those column inches.

Granted it is more about getting elected, and creating column inches but that's what politicians and the media are about. Do many journalists know the science? Or does it just make good front page news to keep the editor happy and increase sales?

Is you local politician realy concerned about the issues or just using sound bite politics to get elected?

Ofcourse they are, this is where an informed debate comes in. Apart from voting with their pockets, a lot of people vote by way of tradition...my father voted labour...so did his and i follow suit. this may not be the norm in all areas of the UK but i can assure you that is the way it is in the mining communities of yorkshire.

oh how i love it when the local labour councillors amd MP show up at my door, so much so that they now do not call! they just don't want to be challenged on their policies



But was not your earlier argument that it does not matter what the motive for an action if it achieves the desired result.

If you desire people to move away from an oil based economy, and preferring a nuclear based economy, what are you expecting the Iranians to
do – stay with an oil based economy?


Sorry George but i can not take you seriously on this. Yes my point was to move away from an oil based economy, but are you seriously advocating allowing the like of Iran nuclear capabilities?

There are more options avaliable, by all means we should help the Iranians and impoverished nations move away from their oil based economies but not with nuclear technology.

we have solar, bio-fuels (yes i argue about bio-fuels but only corn based - robbing the world of potential food is not an answer), wind, tidal even human waste can be used to make bio-fuels!


Not sure that nuclear would have a greater local economic impact – generally, mining has been more labour intensive than nuclear.  Nationally,
I would agree that nuclear will generate more power, and from that perspective will have a greater national economic impact.

The pollution issue is complex, and depends on the timeframe you are using, and how you balance one pollutant against another.

My own preference is, as I have stated in the past, to maximise diversity, thus maintaining maximum flexibility whatever the future brings, while
limiting our exposure to any single risk factor (although it does increase the likelihood that we will at least get things partly wrong, it also
maximises the possibility that we will at least get it partly right).  In that light, and given the degree to which the coal industry has collapsed,
I am in favour of increasing the levels of coal production, but alongside increases in nuclear power as well.



Yes mining has generally been more labour intensive, but modern technologies have cut the amount of human resources in the mining industry. The selby coalfield were heavilly automated and manpower greatly reduced. In modern mining there is nowhere near the employment levels as there were in the 80's or 90's.

With more investment in clean coal technologies ,then an increase in mining, although not an ideal option, would be an option none the less.

Like i said above, we need greater diversity in the way we produce fuel and electricity. We have the technology and possibly the political will to take these steps. Now if the politicians  don't see that having a "green" agenda will get them more votes, then for sure the will and money will dry up.

Why not take advantage of the current political climate and make those changes? Let's say we are wrong about climate change, and carbond dioxide is not a major factor! Will we have lost anything? Will we have created greater economic wealth? helped impoverished countries with new technology? created a whole new industry? and stopped raping the earth of it's natural resources?

Will we not all be winners?

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another_someone

  • Guest
Biofuels and climate chage
« Reply #38 on: 17/03/2007 07:36:44 »
It may be the best we have, but is it good enough to be the basis for policy.

As an analogy, if you were to walk blindfolded into a room containing a terrorist and a dozen hostages, and a gun in your hand, the best you could do is to
shoot blind; but a better option would be to hold your fire until you knew where the target was.

In the absence of good knowledge, sometimes the best policy is to wait and do nothing, while preparing yourself for all the possible eventualities
 (which may turn out to be the exact contrary to what you believe is the best policy today).

According to that analogy, if we were to hold fire until we knew where the terrorist was he would have shot us before we made our decision to fire. Accordingly, if we wait and do nothing then it's already too late when we decide to act.

Remind me never to ask you to rescue me from anything.

Let us look at the options you would have upon entering the room:

You know the terrorist already has a number of hostages, therefore you know he is not automatically shooting people on sight, and what we don't want to do is provoke him into starting a shoot-out before we are ready.  Thus, while you are right insofar as it is hypothetically possible that as you are taken into the room (note that I said you blindfolded) he might shoot you, but it is not consistent with his past activity.

If you do shoot, and don't hit him (you cannot see him, he can see you), then you can rest assured that he will return fire, and kill you.

There are twelve hostages in the room, and one terrorist.  If you start shooting, the greatest likelihood is that you will hit nothing at all, and just draw fire upon yourself, but there is still a twelve times greater probability that you will hit one of the hostages than that you will hit the terrorist – so not only will you be committing suicide by starting a shoot-out, you may well be taking one of the hostages down with you in the cross fire.

So, if after that, you still believe that premature action is the preferential choice to make (shoot first and ask questions later), all I can say is I do not wish to be around you when you get a gun in your hand (you would be a greater threat to your allies than the enemy)..

What we need to do, is analise the data that we already have - a robust peer review - and take steps based on a worst case ceranrio.

What data, and what worst case scenario.

Do we simply look at the CO2 data in isolation, and ignore everything else (we may as well correlate the length of women's hemline with the weather and ignore all other parameters), or do we try and correlate the billions of different parameters that might possibly have an influence upon the weather (even if we cannot say yet what that influence might be)?

There have been numerous attempts to correlate all sorts of things with all sorts of other things – just go to any astrologer, and they will try and show the correlation between the time and place of your birth, and the locations of the planets at that time, and the various future events in your life.  It is even conceivable that some slight correlations might exits in such matters, for all sorts of reasons, but I would be loathed to make accurate predictions upon your future wealth, romantic outcomes, or whatever else simply based upon such assumed correlation (I certainly am not about to change my decision making processes based upon such a presumed correlation – that fact that at a particulr moment in time when something fortunate or unfortunate may have happened to me at the same time that a particular planet happened to be in a certain location in the sky does not mean that the same fortunate/unfortunate thing would not also have happened even if the planet had not been in that location in the sky).

It is always possible to discern a short term correlation between any two arbitrary variables, but that is not enough to suggest any causal link, let alone in which direction the causal link happens to be.

In the past, when something bad happened (e.g. a volcano erupted), the local priests would say that men had angered the Gods, and they must somehow appease the Gods, so they would offer human sacrifices to the Gods, and the volcanic eruption would subside, and they could say “see, if we offer human sacrifices to the Gods, they will forgive us and make the volcano stop”.  The fact that the volcanic eruption would have run its course, and would have come to some end no matter whether human sacrifices were offered or not is something that did not occur to them – why should it – they always offered the sacrifices, and the volcanoes always stopped – the system worked, and the correlation was consistently proven.  But, as I have said over and over, correlation does not prove causal link (and it certainly does not prove the direction of the causal link – since one can here discern a causal link between human sacrifice and volcanic eruptions, but the causal link was the other way around – it simply reflected the fact that humans were giving sacrifices in response to the volcano, but the volcano was not being influenced by the human sacrifices).

What about risk factors that have nothing to do with weather?  Do we allow the farming or manufacturing sectors or the health service to collapse because the only concern we have is over climate change, a change over which in the end we may have far less influence over than we have in sustaining a proper food supply, health service, and overall quality of life for us all (both in the relatively affluent West, and in the countries that are trying to climb the ladder to affluence in our wake).

The problem with worst case scenarios is that one has to balance all of the myriad of different worst case scenarios.  There is a worst case scenario that says the Earth may get hit by a large asteroid tomorrow, and in the light of such a worst case scenario, all the debates about CO2 emission seem rather irrelevant.

There are also realities that we have to face that say there are some scenarios we simply cannot do anything about.  We all (maybe more so in the more affluent parts of the world) spend a lot of effort trying to avoid death, and yet we must also recognise that as hard as we try, the most we can do is delay the inevitable, we cannot ultimately avoid it.  In that light, one also has to ask how high a price are you even willing to pay to avoid death (if someone gave you a choice of saving your own life at the cost of killing a million other people, would that be a trade you would take?  Then there are people who actually would regard quality of life to be more important than quantity of life, and may even desire their own death if they were in serious pain – that is what we do to animals who are suffering – sometimes the worst case scenario is not even the worst, sometimes there is something worse yet).


What do we know at this present time?

Carbon dioxide levels are substantially higher now than at any time in the last 800,000 years (in that time we know that the earth has gone through roughly 8 ice ages) Although this may not be new in relation to the history of the planet, it is entirely new in modern human history.

The term 'ice age' is a relative term, and many would argue we are still in the middle of an ice age (one definition of an ice age is a period of time when ice exists anywhere on the planet, which it clearly does at present, but by no means is common throughout Earth's history).

But, as I said (and there is still some controversy even about the claims that CO2 levels are at their highest for 800,000 years, since other datasets and other proxy measurements give very different answers – which dataset and which proxy one has more faith in then becomes an issue) even if this fact is true, correlation and cause are different things.


As i said before Prior to the industrial revolution the atmosphere is estimated to have contained 260 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Today it is 380 and it's estimated to rise to 550 by the middle of this centuary. So, carbon dioxide levels are higher now than in the last 8 ice ages!

But sunspot levels were also lower before the industrial revolution.  So are we conveniently ignoring them, and only looking at CO[sub2[/sub] levels as the only variable that matters?

The World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), based in Switzerland, continuously studies a set of 30 mountain glaciers in different parts of the world. It is not quite a representative sample of all mountain glaciers, but does give a reliable indication of global trends.

The latest survey, just released, shows accelerating decline. During 2005, this sample of 30 glaciers became, on average, 60-70cm thinner. This figure is 1.6 times more than the average annual loss during the 1990s, and three times faster than in the 1980s.

Two decades is not a long time in terms of weather.

But that being said, there are two other factors one has to take into account.

Firstly, and very significantly (at least in my opinion) is the impact of the skiing industry on the Swiss Alps (particularly the denuding of tree cover to make way for skiers).

The second factor that may be an issue are levels of soot in the atmosphere.  I remember that back in the 1980's I was holidaying in Scandinavia, and we were on a guided walk over a glacier in Norway, and thee were noticeable levels of oily soot on the surface of the glacier, which the guide suggested (that since there were no industries near by, nor much road traffic – not many roads) was precipitated from overflying aircraft.  I cannot say if his analysis was correct, but whatever the cause, the soot would have reduced the albedo of the ice, and would have thus accelerated its melting.  I can't say if a similar problem exists in the Swiss Alps (I do not recollect such high levels of soot accumulating on the Alps, but that was probably because there is naturally a higher turnover of snow and ice, so there is less time to see such large levels to accumulate, but it may still have a lesser effect upon that environment).
 
The IPCC's 2001 report (i'm having trouble finding a more recent report) projects that sea level could rise between 4 and 35 inches (10 to 89cm) by century's end. Worldwide some 100 million people live within 3 feet (1 meter) of mean sea level. Over 150 km2 of London lies below high tide level.

Do we sit back and say, well it may not be due to incresed carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere? Or act to reduce our emissions?

Firstly, these are speculative projections, not proven fact.

What is fact is that the entire east coast of England is subsiding into the sea (as the west coast, particularly the north-west, rises out of the sea).  As far as we have had records, we have been losing villages and settlements along our eastern coast as they slide into the waters of the North Sea.

What does this Government do – it focusses on CO2 emissions, that have nothing to do with the problem, while reducing expenditure on coastal sea defences that might protect some of these settlements.  True, we have installed a barrier in the Thames to protect London, being the seat of Government, but as for the rest of the east cost, it can go and drown itself.

We are panicking over shadows, while ignoring the more tangible issues.

Ofcourse they are, this is where an informed debate comes in.

Indeed, but to have informed debate you need both good quality information and a public that is capable of judging that information.  Judgement means not panicking and not coming to rash conclusions, but making careful consideration, and having patience to delay action until the time is right (to use the old cliché one sees in all those old moves that try and glorify the days of empire, hold your fire until you see the whites of their eyes, and make sure every shot counts).

In that respect, none of the debate on global warming (from either side) has really done the public any real service.

Apart from voting with their pockets, a lot of people vote by way of tradition...my father voted labour...so did his and i follow suit. this may not be the norm in all areas of the UK but i can assure you that is the way it is in the mining communities of yorkshire.

This is the major problem with party based democracy, and is what leads to the creation of safe seats, which basically mean these people have excluded themselves from the democratic process (the politicians know they have these people's votes, no matter what they do, and so they don't need to really do anything to earn these people's votes).


But was not your earlier argument that it does not matter what the motive for an action if it achieves the desired result.

If you desire people to move away from an oil based economy, and preferring a nuclear based economy, what are you expecting the Iranians to
do – stay with an oil based economy?

Sorry George but i can not take you seriously on this. Yes my point was to move away from an oil based economy, but are you seriously advocating allowing the like of Iran nuclear capabilities?

There are more options avaliable, by all means we should help the Iranians and impoverished nations move away from their oil based economies but not with nuclear technology.

we have solar, bio-fuels (yes i argue about bio-fuels but only corn based - robbing the world of potential food is not an answer), wind, tidal even human waste can be used to make bio-fuels!

These are hypothetical solutions – none of them have been proven on any significant scale.  Nuclear has been proven.

The only real technology that can be considered as an alternative is hydo power, but this is not equally available for all countries, and has proved to have generated much environmental opposition of its own.

Certainly, if the USA (or even the UK or the EU) had stepped forward and suggested that it would sponsor some alternative, and plausible, energy producing venture in Iran, rather than merely arguing from the negative, it may have seemed more plausible in its own position.

What I find particularly difficult to swallow is that we preach that countries such as Iran should not follow a nuclear path, and yet we refuse to practice what we preach.  I can see arguments on both sides, but I cannot see that to argue one case for ourselves, and another for other nations, can be considered anything but hypocrisy.

The reality is that I don't believe that the genie can be put back in the bottle, the technologies for nuclear power and weapons are now well established, and the notion that we can denuclearise the world is naïve, but then so is the notion that we can have a two tier world, those who are allowed to use nuclear, and those who are not.


Like i said above, we need greater diversity in the way we produce fuel and electricity. We have the technology and possibly the political will to take these steps. Now if the politicians  don't see that having a "green" agenda will get them more votes, then for sure the will and money will dry up.

Why not take advantage of the current political climate and make those changes? Let's say we are wrong about climate change, and carbond dioxide is not a major factor! Will we have lost anything? Will we have created greater economic wealth? helped impoverished countries with new technology? created a whole new industry? and stopped raping the earth of it's natural resources?

Will we not all be winners?


Firstly, the notion of raping the Earth of its natural resources is an old idea, and used to be applied to all mining, not just the extraction of fuel (e.g. mining for metal ores).  Ofcourse, in its own way, the same argument could be used about farming, or in fact any utilisation of natural resources.

The reality is the nuclear is also based upon mined fuel, but uranium rather than carbon.  Is mining for uranium any less 'raping the Earth' than mining for carbon?  Even the large scale use of solar energy will means we need to dig up a lot of sand to provide the silicon for those photocells, to say nothing of the vast swathes of land that will have to have the suns rays blocked from reaching the soil beneath so that we can collect the energy of the sub with our photocells.  Just look at the level of opposition that happens with regard to the siting of wind farms, and imagine that no matter what land intensive means we have of generating energy, they will all have similar opposition.

Human waste used to be used extensively for energy creation, as well as being used for fertiliser (the nightly collection of night soil was a common feature of past European towns).  It was generally considered less sanitary than more modern waste disposal methods, being more prone to spread diseases.  Besides which, the burning of dung (which is very common in the poorer parts of the world) also generates many noxious fumes (some of these could be mitigated if done at a higher temperature, but do we actually have enough dung and human faeces to actually do this on such a large scale?).

In terms of household waste incineration as a means of energy production – that is an idea that I do support, but it is not a panacea, and will not make up for the loss of the alternatives.

We will not be winners at all if we simply destroy our carbon based industry, and find we are left with a vacuum in its place.  We will not be winners at all if in investing in lots of white elephant projects, we have spent all our capital, and achieved nothing but impoverishment.

I have nothing against a careful step by step development of new technologies.  The problem is that the present political climate seems to be about deliberately destroying what we have, and hoping against hope that the vacuum we create will be filled with something good rather than something worse than we had before.

I am not against developing better alternative sources of energy, but I am against the deliberate destruction of the infrastructure that we have.  If the new sources are proven to be so great, then they will prove themselves capable of naturally replacing what we have today, but simply to destroy what we have out of a blind hope that anything that replaces will be better seems to me to be criminally naïve.

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Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #39 on: 17/03/2007 11:50:10 »
Global warming is, it seems, a fact. There is more CO2 in the air than there used to be. At least some of that increase is due to industry.
What is less clear is that there is a causal relation between these data. Historic records show that it has been warmer in the past and also that it has been colder in the past. We survived and so did the polar bears. These changes took place long before mankind was making any difference to CO2 levels.
There are a lot of people whose jobs rely on funding of research into greenhouse gas emmisions. It would be odd if they didn't write "more work is required in this field" at the end of every paper they wrote.

Whether or not burning oil and gas contributes to global warming it would be prudent to reduce our consumption simply because these are finite resources.
The argument that even if there is no link between CO2 and global warming we should negotiate international treaties to reduce CO2 production fails to take account of the damage that such treaties may do to standards of living in the developing world. Those last 2 statements are not contradictory. Here in the Western world we have access to technology that can reduce our dependence of fossil fuels. That technology and infrastructure simply isn't present in the developing world. Whatever your stance on nuclear power, it's fair to say that the rich West is better placed to build reactors than the developing world.
BTW
John Redwood was known as Mr Spock, but only by people who were being nice to him.
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another_someone

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« Reply #40 on: 17/03/2007 19:58:21 »
Global warming is, it seems, a fact. There is more CO2 in the air than there used to be. At least some of that increase is due to industry.
What is less clear is that there is a causal relation between these data.

No, it is not clear there is a causal relationship, much less, if such a relationship exists, in which direction the causal relation might be.

Statistical correlation does not indicate the direction of a causal link, and a coincidence of two events does not amount to statistical correlation.

That having been said, it has been shown that in the geological past there does seem to be a greater statistical correlation between CO2 and temperature, but the initial indications are that this is the reverse of the causal link suggested by the doom sayers.

Whether or not burning oil and gas contributes to global warming it would be prudent to reduce our consumption simply because these are finite resources.

This does not necessarily follow.

What is prudent is that we continue to develop alternative technologies that do not depend on mineral oil and gas, but this is different from saying that we should reduce the usage of oil and gas at present.  The reason I suggest that it does not make sense to reduce consumption of oil and gas at present is because these are mature industries that benefit from economies of scale, and trying to scale back these industries will probably have the effect of undermining these economies of scale, and possibly causing the industries to crash (just as the coal industries in Europe crashed long before we actually ran out of coal in Europe).

The argument that even if there is no link between CO2 and global warming we should negotiate international treaties to reduce CO2 production fails to take account of the damage that such treaties may do to standards of living in the developing world. Those last 2 statements are not contradictory. Here in the Western world we have access to technology that can reduce our dependence of fossil fuels. That technology and infrastructure simply isn't present in the developing world. Whatever your stance on nuclear power, it's fair to say that the rich West is better placed to build reactors than the developing world.

If your argument is in support of positive investment in nuclear (and other alternative) technologies, then I have no argument with it.  If you are trying to suggest that we should take measures to make people's lives a misery by imposing onerous taxation and complex bureaucracy upon their present lifestyles, then that is admission that we presently have no better alternative that we have, and the only choice we have is to make people's lives so miserable that the impoverished options we offer them seem like a godsend compared to the economic and bureaucratic nightmare we create for them.

When we have developed genuine alternatives to the existing fuel sources that present a positive  step forward, then there should be no need to apply punitive legislation to persuade people it is a good choice to switch.

The fact is that while any resource, including (but not limited to) mineral oil, is finite; all the evidence is that there is no immediate emergency requirement to substitute for it, and so no need for emergency measures, merely reason to prudent investment.  Oil is unlikely to run out in my life time (in fact, I suspect that like coal, we will have switched away from oil before it actually runs out).  It may well be that within the life time of the next generation, we will have required to switch to alternative fuels, but that is still a reasonable time in which to do so in an orderly way without imposing panic measures today.

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Offline Mjhavok

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« Reply #41 on: 20/03/2007 03:00:06 »
What about Americas answer to global warming. SPACE MIRRORS. Seriously.
Steven
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In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.

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another_someone

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« Reply #42 on: 20/03/2007 03:45:22 »
Space mirrors are going have to be extremely massive to have any significant impact, and then will also become a navigational problem for spacecraft - do you really want something the size of a continent floating up there in space, even if you could get it up in the first place?

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Offline Mjhavok

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« Reply #43 on: 20/03/2007 03:48:07 »
Space mirrors are going have to be extremely massive to have any significant impact, and then will also become a navigational problem for spacecraft - do you really want something the size of a continent floating up there in space, even if you could get it up in the first place?

I said that as a joke. I was amazed it was an actual idea.
Steven
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In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.