Showing posts from November, 2014

The Bottom Line on Global Warming

Scientists and policymakers have generally settled on 2°C as the amount of global temperature increase, over pre-industrial levels, the climate can take without creating truly dangerous upheavals. Because the effect of carbon in the atmosphere is cumulative, staying below that threshold requires a hard limit on the amount of carbon the world emits between now and 2100. We’ve already blown through a bit over half of that “carbon budget.” Last week’s World Energy Outlook 2014 from the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that, on our current course, we’ll chew through the rest by 2040. The bottom line is we cease all CO2 emissions by 2040, which won't happen.  So 2 degrees Celsius is not going to happen.
While IEA projects that renewables will grow aggressively between now and 2040, overtaking coal as the globe’s leading source of electricity, and that coal and oil use will effectively plateau by that point, fossil fuel use — and thus carbon emissions …

global warming hysteria

My friend believes that my thoughts on global warming, for example, are pure hysteria.

When I was in college, scientists began to point out a serious problem with population growth, that food resources might be outpaced by the world's population.  The people bring this to the public's attention were called hysterical.  Some scientists sprung into action, and we had the green revolution which without exaggeration saved the lives of billions of people.

During that time I followed Science Magazine as my way of being a scientist.  In 1979 I started reading about a strange kind of cancer, Kaposi Sarcoma in gay men.  After several articles over months, I began to realize that gay men needed to pay attention to this.  The science was clear, something very bad was going to happen.  Something had to happen fast. But gay men continued their usual social activities, including public baths.  They didn't believe in the science.  Two years later the cause, a virus, was discovered, and …

Republicans and the Keystone Pipeline

The Keystone Pipeline is an environmental disaster.  Besides what is being done to Canadian land to dig up the tar sands oil, if the result is to burn that oil somewhere is to exacerbate global warming.  But that aside, why are American Republicans so ardent about approving the pipeline?  What is that pipeline going to do for Americans?  Very little.  Something like 50 permanent jobs.  And that's it.  Everything else is a loss.  Several thousand miles of pipeline that could burst and destroy land and pollute water.  So why are Republicans making such an issue about it?

Senator Cruz of Texas stated that this was about American oil dependence, but that isn't true.  It's Canadian oil, how does this make us independent?  This has to make us wonder about Senator Cruz' mental agility.

Here is my theory.  Republicans often blame liberals for their world patriotism, and that is true. Liberals think about all people in the world and want what's best for everyone, American …

The Morality of Inaction of Global Warming

The IPCC, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is essentially a conservative organization because it is composed of country representatives with disparate interests with regard to climate change.  Nevertheless, they have just come out with a report describing inaction on greenhouse gases as immoral.  With inaction the consequences, they state, are irreversible and catastrophic.  What makes it immoral is that the costs of preventing this outcome is so very small relative to the consequences, a point I've made in a previous post

The Republicans have taken over control of the U.S. Senate.  This means Senator Inhofe of Oklahoma will be the new Chair of the Committee on Environment and Public Works.  He has already stated that any action on global warming would be immoral:

His favorite Bible verse, Genesis 8:22 is: “As long as the earth endures, seed time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.” About that, he said to a radio interview…