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Archive for Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Writer: Action needed to combat climate change

September 14, 2010

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With one PowerPoint slide after another, journalist Elizabeth Kolbert laid out the pending disaster that is climate change.

• The 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998.

• The Arctic ice cap has shrunk far faster than expected. New models show that by 2030, the ice cap will disappear during the summer months.

• If the Greenland ice sheets were to melt, sea levels around the world would increase by 20 feet.

• The recent flooding in Pakistan, forest fires in Russia and dead spruce trees throughout the American West from growing beetle populations are all in keeping with signs of a warming world.

“There really is just no excuse any more. To continue on the path that we are on even as the Arctic ice caps start to melt away, the Greenland ice sheet starts to melt, forests die off ... this is just not the way that a society that believes in rational and moral action should behave,” Kolbert said.

On Monday night, Kolbert spoke to a roomful of people at Kansas University’s Woodruff Auditorium. Kolbert, staff writer for The New Yorker and author of “Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change,” was the first speaker in the Humanities Lecture Series hosted by the Hall Center for the Humanities.

After presenting the evidence and the consequences of climate change, Kolbert posed a simple question to the audience: “What exactly are we waiting for?”

The United States, she noted, is responsible for a third of the cumulative carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“Until privileged Americans start taking real action, I don’t see anyone else on our planet taking action,” Kolbert said. “And to be frank, I don’t really see why they should do so.”

Because carbon emissions linger in the atmosphere for hundreds and even thousands of years, Kolbert said, the longer the world waits to reduce carbon emissions, the more radical the changes have to be.

“It’s like a bathtub; eventually you have to turn the water off,” she said. “We really need to bring emissions down very soon, basically by the end of this decade.”

Kolbert, who flew from Massachusetts to Kansas for the day to give the talk, said that she shouldn’t be held up as an example of what to do to curb carbon emissions. But when asked by an audience member, she divulged that she uses solar energy in her home, tries not to drive, uses a hybrid vehicle and has sealed up her house.

“What I have done is not sufficient. It is not going to get us there,” she said. “My message is we do need a very big systematic change.”

In a red state, Kolbert said, one of the best things Kansans could do is lobby legislators for change.

“If one Kansas congressman felt the heat over climate change, it would make a difference,” she said.

Comments

Flap Doodle 4 years, 3 months ago

Al Gore needs another mansion! Give generously!

independant1 4 years, 3 months ago

I get half my science news from The New Yorker. The other half is equally split between LJW and UDK.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

You might add the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Journal of Science, Science News, Scientific American, American Physical Society, New Scientist, Journal of the American Meteorological Society, the Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology--all of whom clearly agree with the scientific consensus that human activity has greatly increased the release of greenhouse gases, and this has resulted in climate disruption and global warming. This is a truncated list of course--the list is much longer.

Mike Ford 4 years, 3 months ago

dummies always attack science. heck the clowns are still fighting galileo, gravity, the scopes trial, all of it. ever tried reasoning with a brick wall?

windex 4 years, 3 months ago

Dn't call me a dummmy. I can look out side my window and I can tell that the earth is flat. You can see it with you're own eyes! Have you even looked?

BigPrune 4 years, 3 months ago

Only "open minded" people can see this con for what it is. The priviliged writer should've stayed home and done her lecture online.

drake 4 years, 3 months ago

"Kolbert, who flew from Massachusetts to Kansas for the day to give the talk, said that she shouldn’t be held up as an example of what to do to curb carbon emissions."

Do as I say, not as I do.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

If this is true, have you ever thought that he is using climate change as a way to get our attention so that we change the way we do things, i.e. keep us from destroying the rest of his creation?

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

If you can find no conclusive evidence for global warming it is because you are not looking, you don't want to look, and there is no point in carrying on a conversation about it. Even Newt Gingrich believes that it exists, for God's sake.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

“Consensus” ≠ “conclusive evidence”

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

consensus of the scientific community based on the empirical data comes about as close to conclusive evidence as science gets.

gphawk89 4 years, 3 months ago

If this consensus is derived from the opinions of a group of scientists or organizations who DO believe in global warming, while the opinions of scientists or organizations who do NOT believe in global warming are ignored, does that still count as conclusive evidence?

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

The consensus is found in both the professionals as individuals and in all major climatological organizations. The polls I've seen have pointed to a 97 or 98 percent agreement of professionals who have credentials in the field. You would be hard pressed to find more unanimity in any other scientific endeavor.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

"The consensus is found in both the professionals as individuals and in all major climatological organizations. The polls I've seen have pointed to a 97 or 98 percent agreement of professionals who have credentials in the field. You would be hard pressed to find more unanimity in any other scientific endeavor."

You would be hard pressed to find another "scientific endeavor" whose entire existence and whose members livelihood doesn't depend on the the claims they make.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

Do you have a better method from which to glean truth from fiction? Talk show hosts?

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

"Empirical data?"

Seriously?

Computer modeling doesn't qualify as "empirical data", DC.

mbulicz 4 years, 3 months ago

Given that you're the data expert, from which source of empirical data do you derive your conclusion?

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

Computer models plug in data collected from real sources: satellite remote sensing, weather stations from all over the planet including those notorious "heat island" influenced sites such as the oceans, antarctica, etc. To make a long story short, here's a link to the raw data: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/data-sources/

And don't bore me with the tired theoretical argument that the data is "tainted." The data has been found to be fundamentally sound by more than a few reviews, and while there are gaps, various unanswered questions, etc. these are all being further refined, which will make the case for global warming even stronger, not weaker.

mbulicz 4 years, 3 months ago

I should have clarified - I was asking notajayhawk for data.

Note the resounding cricket noises as he can't produce any evidence to his claim.

mbulicz 4 years, 3 months ago

Statistical alpha makes "conclusive" inherently impossible.

uncleandyt 4 years, 3 months ago

Did the radio give you any of the names of the "plenty of honest scientists" ? Please don't hide your important facts from us sheeple. We don't want to be sheeple. Give us some hints as to how we can begin to think for ourselves.

George Lippencott 4 years, 3 months ago

I love these articles. Can anyone tell me in concrete terms how they think we should live in order to address this challenge. Doing the things implied by the speaker is clearly not enough according to many including the speaker. What is enough? Is there any possibility of going there?

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

George, What makes me think that you'll listen to the answer this time any more than you have in the past? We've been down this path before, if you recall.

Despite this, I'll trot out some of the answers I've trotted out before: 1) Live a lot more like your grandparents did: entertain yourselves, meet your neighbors, take walks, find ways to do your leisure activities without burning lots of energy; 2) Stopping any and all coal fired plants. 50% of CO2 emissions come from energy production, and we just can't afford to go down that path any longer--everyone is saying that. How, do you say we can do that? Get serious about energy efficiency investments is the first part of the answer: a penny saved is a penny earned. New energy costs a whole lot more per kilowat hour than saving that kwh using energy saving measures. 3) Once you do that, any additional new energy can be generated using carbon neutral renewable sources of energy. The better we get at this, the more we can replace aging coal fired plants with renewables as well. Will it cost more? Actually, the most expensive option is carbon sequestered coal fired plants. 4) Increase CAFE standards for automobiles to make them more efficient, too. That's a lot cheaper than fighting oil wars overseas.

I could go on, but, as you can see, it's not hard to visualize a pragmatic approach, George.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

1) What was the population of this planet when our grandparents were entertaining themselves?

2) My grandfather worked in a brass mill. Do we need more of those? I mean, a proportional increase for the current population? Will that help?

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

My mom didn't grow up with electricity in the house initially, and when they got it, it was for light, period. The radio was battery powered with a car battery that you charged at the gas station. I'm not saying that we need to live that way, nor should we, but on the other hand, it would not take the skin off anyone's noses to cut residential energy use 20%.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

You forgot the part of the equation having to do with population growth, DC. Um - what would it accomplish for everyone to cut their energy use by one-fifth when that "everyone" is now twice as many people?

But hey, feel free to turn off your computer at any time.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

Do you have an equation on how to get rid of half of the population? I agree that population is an issue that is front and center, but you can't expect the planet to support an increasing per capita energy lifestyle even if we manage to reduce the numbers. The goal here is to do both if we want a legacy where humans can live up to their full potential.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

"Do you have an equation on how to get rid of half of the population? "

No. Which was kinda' the point. We are not going back to your grandfather's times.

"if we want a legacy where humans can live up to their full potential"

What makes you think we share the same opinion as to the definition of "full potential"? Not to mention, why is yours better than mine, and what gives you the right to impose yours?

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

What gives your lifestyle the right to obliterate the future potential of all who live after you and why should we settle for turning up the headphones as the canoe we are in heads toward the waterfall?

The US uses almost twice the energy per capita as anyone else in the world. That makes us the most capable nation to lead the way as far as saving energy, and the country with the most to gain if we do it. Can you imagine if you had twice as much money in your pocket as you do now? Even if it costs you a little to double it?

gphawk89 4 years, 3 months ago

Actually, the US is somewhere around #8 or #9 on the energy-per-capita list. Granted, most of the nations that consume more than us per-capita are small and have cold climates. And I believe China just passed us up in the overall energy consumption category.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

China's per capita energy consumption is also about one fourth of the USA.'s

kenos 4 years, 3 months ago

We're living in a 1984 scenerio, with significant facts going down memory holes, like the fact that Arctic ice has increased during the winter maximum periods. Did this make it into any headlines? Very few people control mainstream media, and they're acting on a specific agenda that has no regard for facts or for our freedom. The agenda includes devaluing human life, reducing human population and giving us austerity. Climate change is their vehicle to bring about these changes. Is the climate changing? I thought it always did.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

What are you talking about???

Nobody said that the ice doesn't increase in the winter, and if you bothered to actually look at the data, you'd have seen that the winter maximum has been well below average, too. Don't believe me? Look for yourself:

http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/

Stop being paranoid about reality.

mbulicz 4 years, 3 months ago

Can you please give me a list of primary sources and articles which backs up this claim? Or is this something you just saw on TV one day?

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

If you're talking to me, I check the link I provided kenos. I have no idea where keno is getting his "facts."

mbulicz 4 years, 3 months ago

I was talking to kenos, who still has yet to do anything to bolster his claim.

bearded_gnome 4 years, 3 months ago

“Until privileged Americans start taking real action, I don’t see anyone else on our planet taking action,” Kolbert said. “And to be frank, I don’t really see why they should do so.”

--- ah, the real agenda leaks out: punish ourselves. amerika is baad, eeevil. and fake global warming supported by fake glacier studies, fake tree ring studies, and jacked data (see the e-mails), among other problems, global warming is just the latest weapon for the leftist loons to atack capitalism and personal freedom.

read the article and Dougcounty's comments, first you get that electricity will be far more expensive. Mr. Obama admitted this during the campaign that his "Cap and Trade" and other dangerous schemes would raise costs for electricity and energy in general.
raising costs of energy hurts everyone, especially the poor/fixed incom people whom the leftists claim to care about. indeed as the poster above named Kenos noted, it is about devaluing human life! many of these people call humans on the earth a "virus."
James Lee who attacked the Discovery Channel's HQ felt this way, along with radical crazy evolutionary views.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

Do you think electricity will stay as cheap as it is now if we DON'T do these things? Dream on.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 3 months ago

Attack the messenger all you want, stick your head in sand. It still doesn't change reality, BG.

We can adapt now, while it'll be relatively painless, or we can do it later, when it's going hurt a whole lot, and likely cause death and suffering for billions-- possibly including you, but more likely your descendants. But you'd rather party party like there's no tomorrow-- and there very well may not be.

kernal 4 years, 3 months ago

gnome, what's with you? The data is there, I'm not going to pay for your cruise to Alaska or Antartica so you can see for yourself.
This whole thing reminds me of Aesop's fable about the grasshopper and the ant. Gnome, I suggest you consult with the ant.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 3 months ago

"Liberals are full of self hate."

Where did this "self-hate/self-loathing" meme originate? All the wackobloggers have picked up on it, and very few of them have actual thoughts, much less original thoughts.

uncleandyt 4 years, 3 months ago

Liberals are not full of self hate. You believe what your highest rated media/"not-part-of the-media" has washed into your brain. Read what you write, then take out everything that parrots the teachings of Rush Limbaugh. Nothing remains.

whynaut 4 years, 3 months ago

"Liberals are full of hate," wrote the man who never has anything nice to say.

I get the impression you're not very fun to be around.

Flap Doodle 4 years, 3 months ago

Remember, brownouts are a good way to enforce energy conservation. Isn't that right, merrill?

Chris Golledge 4 years, 3 months ago

I wouldn't mind having a discussion, debate, or even an argument on the matter, but I'm waiting for the deniers to bring something to the table.

Basic facts are that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, more of it leads to more warming and more acidic (or less alkaline if you prefer that term - it means the same thing) oceans, and the changes, and the rate of change, will be bad for the environment on which we depend.

Crying about energy costs isn't going to change the fact that changes in rain and temperature patterns will lower agricultural productivity. Delusions about a global conspiracy will not change the fact that foraminifera loose their ability to create shells below a certain pH, and, under business as usual, large portions of the ocean will reach that pH by about 2050. Foraminifera are part of the base for an ocean food chain. So, what we have, amongst other problems, is a scenario of less ability to produce food in a background of an increasing population. I don't know what that will lead to, but I don't believe it will be good.

Tax fossil fuel carbon at the source and return the money as a dividend or tax rebate. It's the only way to achieve what needs to be done: Shift energy production away from fossil fuels, and reward those that use less energy. Watching you guys cry about energy costs is like watching a homeowner haggle about the cost of putting out the fire in his house.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

"Basic facts are that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, more of it leads to more warming and more acidic (or less alkaline if you prefer that term - it means the same thing) oceans"

Really, no kiddin', thanks, I didn't know that.

Basic facts are that CO2 exists in the atmosphere, we all breathe the atmosphere, and breathing CO2 in sufficient concentration will kill you. Yet somehow we're not dead.

Basic facts are that morphine and the other members of the opiate family depress your breathing, and in sufficient quantities will stop it altogether. Yet somehow the Vicodin the doctor prescribed for my back pain a few months ago didn't kill me.

Radiation is very bad for you, it can cause various cancers, mutations, and death. Yet the radium in my watch dial hasn't killed me. Neither did the x-ray I got last year.

Yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas. That's not the issue, is it? The issue is whether it's at a significant enough level that the system can't absorb it. The fact that the temperature is rising is not evidence that CO2 has exceeded that concentration or that we are responsible for the climate shift. The climate underwent bigger shifts than this when there were no humans and the only way fossil fuels got burned is if they were struck by lightning while out grazing.

What 'facts' are you looking for? The null hypothesis can not be proven, it can only be disproven. You're the one asking for the change. You're the one asking people to change their lifestyle and undergo the monumental expense of reducing CO2 emissions. The burden of proof is on you. And your scientists haven't done that yet. Computer models and the consensus of opinion of a group of scientists whose livelihood depends on their theories being right do not constitute either fact or proof.

Chris Golledge 4 years, 3 months ago

Please go study some thermodynamics. Or just apply the facts in front of your face in a logical manner.

"The issue is whether it's at a significant enough level that the system can't absorb it."

If the system can readily absorb all the CO2 that we are putting adding to the mix, why is the level increasing?

"The climate underwent bigger shifts than this when there were no humans and the only way fossil fuels got burned is if they were struck by lightning while out grazing."

I suppose you are saying that the only way to affect the climate is to burn fossil fuels. No one else is saying that. If you are not saying that, then there are other ways. And if you admit there are other ways, your argument that anthropegenic CO2 is not the cause today because it wasn't the cause before is completely illogical.

If you knew the first thing about thermodynamics, you'd know that more of a greenhouse gas leads to a warmer planet. You admit there is more CO2, and you admit it is getting warmer. If you did just a little research, you'd know that nothing else has changed enough to account for the warming that is evident. Yet, you persist in the belief that the increase in CO2 is not the cause of the current warming.

Who told you the expense would be monumental? It wasn't somebody funded by the same fossil fuel companies that stand to get driven out of business if we get serious about reducing carbon output, was it? I don't think you have any idea how much money they pour into lobbyists, direct political contributions, and groups seeking to keep climate change in question.

"The burden of proof is on you. " Sorry, there are no guarantees in life. There are just good odds and bad odds. Right now the odds are about 95% that continuing business as usual will lead to catastrophe.

Chris Golledge 4 years, 3 months ago

Tax rebate to the general population that is.

Let's pick an argument:

Anthony Watts performed a valuable service when he pointed out that a large number of weather stations (he calls them climate monitoring stations, but they were made to monitor weather) are not sited or built as they should be. He even got a study published on this (not sure if the publisher uses peer review or not). Great, much rejoicing was had amongst the deniers. However, what happens if you actually analyse the data from "good" and "bad" sites? You get more of a warming trend from the "good" sites than you do the "bad." I read Watts' article; there was no mention of this in there.

uncleandyt 4 years, 3 months ago

Twice the cost means twice the income for the companies, right? This is no time to be anti-Capitalist, we're at war !!

Chris Golledge 4 years, 3 months ago

Kooter, So, what are you trying to say? That, in your estimate, there isn't enough water to put out the fire; so, we might as well let the house burn?

Chris Golledge 4 years, 3 months ago

Sounds to me like you are saying you have no idea what we're talking about, but you'd like to voice your dislike for the President.

Jim Phillips 4 years, 3 months ago

So just what or whom do you all blame for all of the other cyclic climate changes that occurred before man left his "carbon footprint" on the universe? T-Rex flatulence?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 3 months ago

What's your point? There have been many climatic shifts over the eons. But humans weren't around then, so it's irrelevant to our survival.

But there are 7 billion of us right now, and a major shift in climatic conditions will potentially kill billions of us. The dinosaurs are safe-- they're already extinct.

Jim Phillips 4 years, 3 months ago

"What's your point? There have been many climatic shifts over the eons. But humans weren't around then..."

Um, that is my point.

What do supporters of climate change and supporters of Obama have in common? They both prove PT Barnum was right.

uncleandyt 4 years, 3 months ago

I blame myself. What are we talking about? Darn-it, I forgot. Rightwing humor is so bonkers and zany that I have trouble not guffawing until my sides cramp up and I realize how fooled I might be.

Chris Golledge 4 years, 3 months ago

Guardian, Well, let's see...

Milankovitch cycles occur over tens of thousands of years. The last time I looked, the earth had not shifted it's axis of rotation, the shape of it's orbit, or other effects, over the last several decades. The Polaris is still the North Star.

There haven't been any impact events large enough to cause more than a hiccup on the climate for some time.

The Siberian Traps or Yellowstone mega-volcanoes have not started erupting.

There is some continental plate subduction going on, but that hasn't changed much in the last several decades. When India collided with Asia, that was a climate changing event, but it took place over millions of years.

The sun has been pretty steady since we've been able to take good measurements of it. That includes the period when most of the recent warming has been taking place.

All of these things and more are capable of altering the earth's climate, but the biggest change happening now is that humans are transferring several gigatons of underground carbon into the atmosphere every year.

Jim Phillips 4 years, 3 months ago

Should all of that be accurate, then why is it you all can't make up your collective minds as to whether we are experiencing global cooling (1970s), global warming (1990s), or just outright climate change (2010); but I guess that encompasses both theories so you can choose whichever is beneficial for the moment.

You might find this site of interest. http://nov55.com/oceans.html

Chris Golledge 4 years, 3 months ago

The old cooling in the 70s bit, eh? Care to name your primary sources? Not media outlets, original research papers.

I don't know why you get hung up on the terms 'global warming' or 'climate change'; they just have slightly different connotations that are more or less appropriate depending on the context.

Chris Golledge 4 years, 3 months ago

BTW, you should think just a little bit about the stuff you read. The first sentence from your link is

"Oceans have been rising an average of 4 ft per century over the past 10,000 years."

Really? That would be 400 ft over 100 centuries, or about 64 ft since Venice was founded. That seems doubtful to me; let's see if there are any other references. Ah, here is one (took about 30 seconds to find):

Post-Glacial Sea Level.png

Post-Glacial Sea Level.png

Looks to me that the bit about 4ft/century is somewhat misleading.

Truthspeaker 4 years, 3 months ago

Listen, it's absolute fact that temperatures the planet has warmed 0.5C since the 1970's.

Of course, that planet is Mars.

Wait a second...that's roughly the same amount the Earth has increased since the 1970s.

That can only mean one thing: We horrible humans are somehow causing global warming on Mars. I hope Obama punishes us for that, as well. There's nothing better than the country being forced to self-flagellate as our form of worshiping his ideas.

uncleandyt 4 years, 3 months ago

tee,hee Thanks for setting things right. Sounds like you've done some research.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 3 months ago

I bet you get pissed at your dentist for "punishing" you when s/he tells you you should floss, too.

Chris Golledge 4 years, 3 months ago

You know, a lot of skeptics question how well we know the earth is warming because there aren't very many thermometers in some parts of the world, the Arctic and Antarctica, for example.

So, how many thermometers do we have on Mars?

More on Mars:

http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php #19

So, what is your theory, that Obama causes CO2 to absorb infrared around 15 microns? http://webbook.nist.gov/cgi/cbook.cgi?ID=C124389&Units=SI&Type=IR-SPEC&Index=1#IR-SPEC

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 3 months ago

The answers to your questions are readily available, if you care to find them. And they'll come from the thousands of scientists who are studying this problem, and almost none of them are the "skeptics" you refer to.

Or you could just remain true to your ideology and your ignorance.

independant1 4 years, 3 months ago

While student at KU 60's-70's, alarmist settled science = fossil fuels would exhaust before '89 but no matter since there would not be room on earth to stand due to population bomb unless the pollution driven new ice age induced food wars successfully reduced population 50%.

newmedia 4 years, 3 months ago

More fossil fuel is now required to power the coal fired Chevy Volt. Rock On!

George Lippencott 4 years, 3 months ago

Doug County, I think we are not communicating very well. I asked for an end state. You provide a few steps. I might argue that many of us are already doing some of those such as driving less. I am not sure exactly how walks fit into the equation unless you are suggesting that people with serious arthritis walk a couple of miles to get their groceries or for that matter to catch a bus.

As far as renewable energy, I would argue that we can not do what you suggest without severe hardship to many people and horrible impacts to our economy as we would end up short of power. In the long run perhaps it is achievable if we build new energy efficient facilities (we are) and allow adequate time for current homeowners to slowly retrofit their homes (we are not). Redirecting all discretionary income to retrofitting homes will have broad consequences all over the economy.

I might observe that the totality of the suggestions from the true believers are a very costly effort and some suggestions are cost prohibitive. Maybe you have no problem living without A/C and cars coupled with abandoning more than half our housing stock and rethinking where we live and how we work but I think that whole smear may be a bridge too far to be focused in the short term. That doesn’t mean I disagree with the notion of climate change. It means I have seen no comprehensive and honest program to halt and or reverse the climate vector.

You see I have listened to you and find many of your suggestions somewhat impractical, inequitable or already being implemented – slower than you want.

That’s why I believe all you true believers owe me (and the rest of us) an end state. My own calculations to get back to where we were when the hokey puck took of (adjusted for the increased emissions from the rest of the world) suggests a very wrenching and politically impossible adjustment if it is to be done quickly.

In the long run the most practical solution is to start to reduce our population. That means moving away from public programs that incentivize population growth and encouraging people to limit family size. Perhaps a tax on more than one kid and rewards for those that have none. We should also move in a systemic way to make changes in how we operate but at a pace that can be accommodated wthout destroying our economy.

So, I suggest you get off your high horse and find practical economically possible and equitable sets of solutions that will actually address the problem comprehensively. Otherwise the sacrifice what you offer entails is not worth an inadequate outcome. The naïveté of your proposals is undermining any serious comprehensive start on solving the problem

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 3 months ago

"The naïveté of your proposals is undermining any serious comprehensive start on solving the problem"

The naïveté is yours if you think we have any choice but to find solutions. Some of them may very well be inconvenient and require some lifestyle adjustments, but they won't be disastrous, which will be the result if you and people like continue to just throw up your hands and say "it's too harrrrd!!"

As far as the specific "end state" goes, do the research yourself. There's plenty of information on the web on what that may look like. You won't find it gift-wrapped for you on a forum like this. And your failure to find it here doesn't mean that your skepticism is in any way supported or justified.

George Lippencott 4 years, 3 months ago

Neat Bozo and Doug County you can do better

You want change but want me to determine where we should go??? Typical of those that see this problem simplistically.

end state= a carbon level that avoids the worst of climate change and a plan to get to it. Simple.

A few windmills will not solve the problem. Never said I was against them. We are already paying a bunch in our utility rates to support them. I am not sure we can afford to go faster. I do not believe that in the short run they are the answer and in the long run we need something to back them up when the wind is not there.

True Believe = someone who is in a hurry to change massively our way of life without any idea where they are going and what constitutes success. If we can not produce a plan that solves the problem than maybe our resources are better spent mitigating the consequences.

You treat my posts as a standard attack on climate change as opposed to an honest and sincere demand for a real plan with real discussion about what must be done to actually change the likely outcome and how it will affect all of us. The pabulum I keep hearing is insulting and counterproductive to actually solving the problem

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

George you are already starting to shift your stance from where you started, something I will call you on every time you do it. Now you are talking about demanding that I describe an "end state" where no such statement existed in your first post. I have no idea what an "end state" would look like because they don't exist. Reality and our participation in it has always been dynamic and a moving target, and it will always be that way. So what sustainable living will look like will change with the conditions, which I can guarantee are going to continue to change.

The only way I know how to get anywhere is to start where you are at this moment. Sorry that you are so impatient, but if you have another idea about how to get somewhere differently, I suspect you are the dreamer, not me. Does it mean that everyone has to start in the same place? Of course no.

Then there's your technique of taking everything and applying it to everyone. Walking is a not a bad idea, but applying it to everyone on the planet, arthritics and all, is ridiculous and clearly not what I meant.

Take renewable energy and energy conservation. You say it would cause great hardship and be inadequate. Pretty broadsweeping statement--where has this happened? Last time I talked to ranchers in central Kansas, they'd love to stick one on their land and get a check in the mail to help subsidize that ever-difficult profession called making a living off the land. Last time I checked, manufacturing, installing and maintaining wind power and transmission lines created a heck of a lot more stable jobs than a coal fired plant ever did, and the price per kwh is much cheaper than nukes, carbon sequestered coal fired plants or even new gas fired plants. And Ben's old adage that a penny saved is a penny earned describes perfectly the rationale behind energy conservation measures to retrofit our homes, businesses, schools, etc. to make them more energy efficient. Creates a lot more jobs, too. It's not redirecting discretionary income, it's saving our skins before it costs us way more than we can imagine in the form of huge water shortages, rising sea levels, relocating cities, etc. Don't believe it? Check out the military's perspective on the future and see if they are discounting it.

By the way, why is it that you feel the need to call others by labels, like "true believers.? Or should I say: why is it that PEOPLE LIKE YOU feel the need? Naw....sounds pretty stupid, don't you think?

And if you want to undertake some kind of population control program rather than retool so each individual uses less energy per person, then more power to you on that. If you think I'm naive in my preference, then I think you're beyond-the-pale Quixotic.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 3 months ago

Good post, DougCounty. I admire your patience in explaining this position better than I did.

notajayhawk 4 years, 3 months ago

So - how about we all move to the other side of the world?

:-)

booyalab 4 years, 3 months ago

I care about the environment. I don't own a car, I enjoy nature, and I save on energy.

However, man-made global warming is a huge scam and the green movement is essentially a religion and a cover for socialism.

booyalab 4 years, 3 months ago

I want to elaborate on my last post, because it might seem contradictory. I care about the environment as it relates to humans, so I don't litter, pick wildflowers and I walk to work. All so I can help other people enjoy the outdoors. But I don't shove it in people's faces with snotty green slogans and "save the earth" crap. And I'm never going to endorse environmentalist policies because they hurt and sometimes kill poor people.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

Sounds like a pretty big chip on your shoulder; last I checked those nasty environmental policies saved that wildflower of yours, cleaned up the air you breathe and the made safer that water you drink.

May I suggest you get some real information on global climate change and see if you can get past that chip. A good place to start might be www.climateandenergy.org If that doesn't do it, thanks for not littering and spread those wildflower seeds around some. We have that much common ground, that's for sure.

booyalab 4 years, 3 months ago

The difference between me and most environmentalists is in priorities. I wouldn't give up my freedom, or anyone else's, to save a wildflower. That is assuming those policies work, which I don't. But they don't have to work. They just have to buy votes.

UfoPilot 4 years, 3 months ago

I like it warmer... Global warming is the best thing ever...

George Lippencott 4 years, 3 months ago

Neat Bozo and Doug County you can do better

You want change but want me to determine where we should go??? Typical of those that see this problem simplistically.

end state= a carbon level that avoids the worst of climate change and a plan to get to it. Simple.

A few windmills will not solve the problem. Never said I was against them. We are already paying a bunch in our utility rates to support them. I am not sure we can afford to go faster. I do not believe that in the short run they are the answer and in the long run we need something to back them up when the wind is not there.

True Believe = someone who is in a hurry to change massively our way of life without any idea where they are going and what constitutes success. If we can not produce a plan that solves the problem than maybe our resources are better spent mitigating the consequences.

You treat my posts as a standard attack on climate change as opposed to an honest and sincere demand for a real plan with real discussion about what must be done to actually change the likely outcome and how it will affect all of us. The pabulum I keep hearing is insulting and counterproductive to actually solving the problem.

I must admit I really do not know where you are coming from as I intrepret your comments in part conflicting. Do we all do smart things to ease the demand - of course. Do we impose specific solutions that impact people differently with no sense of how or why the sacrifice demanded solves the problem - no way!

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

OK, George, since you want me to do all your work for you, here are a few websites I suggest that you study to get a better idea where many, many people are coming from on this topic.

http://www.rmi.org/rmi/Reinventing+Fire+Solutions+Journal+Fall+2009 This site does a good job of envisioning how we really can switch from fossil fuels and nukes to energy efficiency and renewables.

www.worldwildlife.org/climate/WWFBinaryitem11334.pdf This website does a nice overview with a slightly different approach but with a similar outcome.

http://cmi.princeton.edu/wedges/ The idea of carbon wedges has caught on in quite a few circles and gives the opportunity to play out several different kind of scenarios, something I think you'd like.

'nuff for now--let me know what you think, and I can shoot some more your way if you want.

George Lippencott 4 years, 3 months ago

Just exactly why is it my job to figure out where you want to go? The burden is on those that want the change to show how the change accomplishes the desired outcome. If the desired outcome is to reverse climate change and restore the situation, exactly what needs to be done in totality and how does doing it accomplish the desired outcome. If we did everything in those URLs what would we achieve? Does converting to a non-carbon based economy actually accomplish the goal or is the goal the conversion in itself? I am unwilling to experiment with ever increasing sacrifice only to find that we never had a chance to reverse the change.

As to your URLs - I am aware of many scenarios on how to convert from a carbon based economy to something else. All that I have seen are simplistic and unrealistic - morally righteous – but achievable – if achievable – with gut wrenching pain. The goal is fine but the process is lacking in detail and avoids un-pleasantries like how we pay for all of it and how we work the change so that we do not end up with the burden imposed and inequitable or so prejudicial it leads to a revolt. It is great to have notions of where you think we should go but the notion needs to include the process by which we get there – lacking in so much of true believer demands. In short, most appear to be the work of academics devoid of real life experience or understanding. “We have the concept – the details are left to the student". BFO!!!

I agree with the broad goal. I demand a lot more detail as to what that goals means in terms of carbon outcomes, how we implement it to include funding, timing, sharing and more to include international responsibilities. It just torques me to see the Europeans claiming the moral high ground with little actual accomplishment other than a lot of money spent.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

Look, all of these ARE destinations, in case you bothered to read any of them. They are all variations on how to realistically reduce the carbon emissions of humanity back to acceptable levels. Why are any of these three scenarios "lacking in detail....simplistic and unrealistic?" Since you are apparently too lazy to read these quite specific scenarios, I guess our conversation is over. There are plenty of specifics in all 3 of these, and if you can't see that, then it's a case of leading a horse to water as far as I can see.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 3 months ago

In other words, if you were an alcoholic who just got the news that if you didn't quit drinking, you'd die, your response would be that you wouldn't stop drinking unless you got proof that you didn't already have an incurable case of cirrhosis of the liver. And if 100% proof wasn't forthcoming, you'd just continue drinking yourself to death.

Sorry, but I seriously doubt that anyone can spoonfeed you away from your intellectual sloth.

Chris Golledge 4 years, 3 months ago

George, The car we are all riding in is headed toward a brick wall somewhere out there in the fog. You are asking that we give definitive answers on the results of letting our foot off the gas, turning off the ignition, and/or applying the breaks, before you agree to do any of those. Just because definitive answers are not available doesn't mean mean we should keep our foot on the gas. Let's start with aiming to reduce carbon emissions; that would be like taking our foot off the gas.

Face facts George, not making a decision to do something is a decision to maintain business as usual. BAU is itself an experiment with unknown results.

Want to start somewhere, start with a carbon tax. That will force the internalization of some of the costs associated with fossil fuels that have been externalized up through the present. Implement it gradually to ease the pain, and give the money back to the general population. Let the market sort out the solution from there.

George Lippencott 4 years, 3 months ago

cg22165 (anonymous) says…

Argument by extreme? Taking my foot off the accelerator is a long cry from converting to a non-carbon based economy by the day after tomorrow. If you actually read my posts, you will note that I am not against going somewhere - I just want a better understanding of the trade offs of doing that - to include the timing and costs

Reducing our dependency on, for example, coal by 50% - if that is a goal - can be done over a generation with judicious decisions and minor dislocation to the economy. We can retrain people, convert equipment, and address the myriad of other consequence without undue impact. Doing it by 2012 might just cause a massive depression.

And yes, I do believe before we do anyhing extreme we need to have better answers as to what those actions will actually accomplish against an end state goal. To restate the obvious - if the goal is to go back to a level of emissions about equal to those in the sixties we need to cut our emissions by a factor of three or so - not 10%., If that is not practical then we need to focus on mitigation rather than remission.

You see, I am a worse luddite than the Republicans. I want substance behind the proposals advanced to solve the problem. I accept a problem. I see no reason to have my life cut short (in the extreme) because we are in a hurry to solve something we cannot solve without reducing population significantly. Frankly, I think it is ludicrous to assume that what we need to do can be done with a tweak here and a tweak there. There are just too many of us to sustain at any reasonable level of civilization.

I wonder if the Dinosaurs were aware of their own end??

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

You're not a luddite, George, you are lazy and I'm calling you on it. You were given very specific plans, full of steps and they included in-depth discussions of trade-offs, timing and costs. Rather than discussing these specifics, you just complain about the lack of specifics when they are right under your nose.

So here's your assignment, and if you choose not to follow it, then that's fine--just say that your bluff has been called and you choose to walk away.

If you had bothered to read through the first page of the reinventing fire website, you would have known that the next link was an in-depth discussion of strategies. Since you didn't, here is the link: http://www.rmi.org/rmi/Reinventing+Fire+The+Strategy

Now, George, what do they say the 4 barriers to developing a zero carbon electrical generation network for our country? Do you agree with those points? What do you think about their proposed strategies to address these? They are very specific, George, so you'll have to read and think about it.

Next, What are the 5 barriers to cutting carbon emissions in the transportation sector? What do you think about what they say about how these can be overcome?

What about the barriers in the Industrial Sector? The Institutional Support Sector? Please be as specific in your discussion about these as they are in theirs.

Now go to the next link via the World Wildlife Foundation and do the same in-depth critique of their in-depth analysis.

After considering that, check out the Carbon Wedges website. It gives you plenty of trade-off options. Which of their trade-offs would you choose?

The ball is in your court--again, George.

George Lippencott 4 years, 3 months ago

Well I went there. The articles are short. They are conceptual. They are long term. They have no financial data that I could find either to implement or to address impacts of implementing. There was no tie to any outcome as to reversing climate change - I guess the asumption is doing what is proposed will solve the problem. What did I miss?

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

You're a moving target, George. Your first shift was wanting an "end state." Then you wanted more specifics. The reinventing fire site has both: a discussion of what kind of mixes of energy production and energy efficiencies should look like in a low carbon economy, and also a very specific discussion of barriers that are preventing us from moving to that destination.

The other two articles are also descriptions of low carbon futures, as close to "end states" that you requested as can be. Now you are complaining about the fact that they are "long term." Before you were complaining about how my examples were just short steps and not adequate to get there.

These all had specific strategies and analyses of the situation, which I asked you your opinion about, and apparently you have none. Why is that? Don't you think pinpointing barriers and how to get around them is relevant to your questions about financing? Don't you think those questions must be addressed as part of the outcome?

I'm getting the distinct impression that you will not be satisfied with anything that I can put up for discussion. Your comments are not providing me with any serious points to discuss with you because no matter what I put up, you refuse to engage in a significant manner.

Prove me wrong.

jaywalker 4 years, 3 months ago

" The 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 1998."

Got just that far in the article. The headline already had me grinning. "Action needed to combat climate change"? Please. Definitely action is needed to ADJUST to climate change', but thinking there's a way to alter such an event in any significant manner is pure folly.
And the key phrase in the quoted sentence is, "on record". How far does that go back? 120 years?

George Lippencott 4 years, 3 months ago

Good Morning Doug County. Clearly, you are into climate change.

Yes, the URLs provided have something close to an end state at least in the sense of certain possible changes taken to fruition. Good thinking but in many cases hardly new. Most of the ideas – dare I say all - are broadly touted. That said I commend them for attempting to put a number of these initiative together. Tell me, is this a funding proposal for RMI?

That said my definition of an end state included how the societal change affected climate change and what is required to actually stop and reverse climate change. My end state also included costs to get there. To me that includes costs to implement and costs to the economy and the rest of us to adjust to whatever it is. As a society, we could certainly do many of the things proposed. At the end of the day would doing that solve the problem, reduce it by 50%? Simply avoid it getting worse? I think the climate change community owes it to the rest of us to answer such questions.

Suggest you go reread my posts I think I have covered all of the above somewhere in there. Now, I realize why you may think I am a bobbing target as each exchange puts more on the table because a question was asked or clarification provided. In defense of both of us, it is hard to address something this complex in 3000 word increments.

I am not sure further exchanges are going to shed more light rather than more heat. I want an end state defined so I may determine if it is worth going there. If not, we have a lot of mitigation to do.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 4 years, 3 months ago

Why aren't also asking for the cost of doing nothing, which is essentially what you are proposing to do?

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

Well, I'm glad you at least looked at one of the three scenarios for creating a pathway to a low carbon future, although I think you would get a much better understanding of some of the dynamics you are asking for if you really took the time to actually read these documents front to back.

Bozo has an excellent point that you've managed to forget about: what is the cost of doing nothing? I challenge you to do your own research on that one and report back as to what the military, the economists, the insurance companies and the planners are saying about this--it's not a very pretty picture at all, and I have no doubt that it will be much more costly on any scale you choose to use.

A critical thing to understand is that the longer we wait to mount massive changes in our energy consumption patterns, the more difficult it becomes, so that the sacrifices we make today will quickly look trivial to the costs of waiting. Most accounts I have read say that we have 10 years maximum to make a major commitment to changing the way we produce energy before the consequences become insurmountable. And this is on the optimistic side--there are many well respected authorities who say that climatological and policy estimates undershoot the severity of the problem and it's already too late to avoid major disruptions.

I don't particularly agree with some of the strategies in the following report, but I think you might find it instructive: http://climate-l.org/news/iea-releases-report-on-energy-technology-for-decision-makers/?referrer=climate-l.org-daily-feed

The EIA came out with a report this past July that states that CO2 emissions must peak by 2020 if we have any chance of meeting the 50% reduction in 2005 emission levels, which, by conservative estimates will still result in a net increase in global temps of 2.4 degrees, which is huge by climatological standards and will result in major climatic disruptions. Cost to meet this middle of the road but still difficult goal? 46 trillion dollars spent between 2010 and 2050. The good news is that it will also result in 112 trillion dollars of energy savings due primarily to improved energy efficiency and renewables. In other words, this is a bootstrap project where you spend money to save energy and use the savings to fund renewables and more energy efficiency projects.

George Lippencott 4 years, 3 months ago

If you read my posts, I do not propose to do nothing. If we are unable to convince ourselves that what is proposed in the form of remission will accomplish that goal then we move to mediation - accommodation of the affect of climate change. We have as a community accommodated more profound change successfully in the past.

That said, I am not convinced that we cannot take actions to correct the climate change problem but I believe that the advocates have been very lazy in not providing the detail I suggest we need. That detail will identify priorities and marginal efforts.

Asking me and everyone else to play 52 pick-up with our lives on your less than fleshed out solutions is a bit arrogant. I am prepared to make shared sacrifices if the community pushing a broad socially disrupting agenda will get off their duff and do what all the rest of us do every day - make priority decisions and acknowledge the utility of the different proposed approaches.

Regaling me with dooms day scenarios when you have not really shown how your proposals will avoid them ...

Flap Doodle 4 years, 3 months ago

Somebody's behind the times, the phrase of the day is now Climate Disruption. Climate Change has joined Global Warming in the discarded talking point bin.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

Well George, You claim that you are prepared to do your part if folks interested in the challenges of climate change would "make priority decisions and acknowledge the utility of the proposed approaches. Can you be more specific? Give me some examples.

And don't go on a general tirade that the rest of your latest post is full off. You will end up reinforcing your reputation as not being a serious participant in discussions on this site if you continue to do so yet again.

George Lippencott 4 years, 3 months ago

Well Doug County, am I to assume you are serious or that you are well acquainted with debating techniques?

I have written all I am going to write. Give me one URL that

Quantifies the cost to implement the proposal Quantifies the cost to the society to change our lives as a result (job dislocations and the like) Quantifies how much carbon will be reduced Quantifies what percentage of what needs to be reduced to reverse climate whatever is reduced by the proposal.

I will not stand quiet while you all throw a lot of incomplete and in some case Pollyannaish proposals about and demand we implement them because the consequence will be dire or so you say. Horror of horrors Doug County and his friends will banish me for heresy for simply asking for a complete thought. No place I ever worked would let me get away with such ill documented balderdash!

I hope what you offer is not what is expected of a proposal at KU?

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

I have already given you 4 URLs that address each of your questions, George, although I really don't understand exactly what your fourth point means as it is very poorly worded.

I am versed in debate, and I recognize when someone is unwilling to put the time in to do the research. If you had bothered to open the executive summary of the IEA publication, you would have found the answers to your questions, easily, I might add. In fact I quoted the answers to two of your questions in my post above that describes the summary.

The WWF report that I provided you a link to answers each of your questions in quite a bit of detail as well.

The RMI report describes the strategy without giving you an exact cost primarily because they are describing a scalable methodology that can be applied to a business, a state, a country, or a household. Since you clearly did not read or retain this strategy, it is as follows: 1) remove the barriers to change that are preventing substantial gains in energy efficiency in the electrical generation, transportation, building and institutional sectors. 2) implement those changes which will significantly reduce waste and improve energy efficiency while creating jobs at the same time. 3) take the savings from step two and invest it in true renewables. Between steps 2 and 3, you not only eliminate the need for building expensive nuclear/carbon sequestered coal plants to provide for new energy demands, you also create a low/no carbon substitute you can use when old power plants/cars/buildings/etc. are phased out. If taken to its fullest potential, you end up stopping increased carbon emissions, followed by actual decreases in the carbon emissions and meet the projected goals.

Finally, in the last link I provided you that you apparently did not read/retain, the wedges concept provides you with a conceptually handy way to play out different options in order to reach the goal of eliminating the excess atmospheric carbon. So technically there is no way to calculate the expense since there are so many options, but many studies have taken this methodology and spun out scenarios that answer all of your questions.

Too bad you won't play the game, George; there were many potentially interesting scenarios to discuss, but you just won't read the material.

One last point: did Eisenhower have all of the answers to his satisfaction before he launched D-Day? Of course not. He couldn't have. Similarly, you are asking for answers about how much we will spend on technologies that don't even exist yet, and yet, like Eisenhower, we realize that the alternatives are completely unacceptable and dallying around with even more studies just will make it harder to accomplish because the hole keeps on getting deeper.

George Lippencott 4 years, 3 months ago

Baloney! None of them do what I asked.

Apparently you are an idelogue and blind to the defficiencies of what you propose. Proper scientific method is much more in line with what I ask of you then that which you provide. BT.

Ken Lassman 4 years, 3 months ago

I refuse to do your homework, George. You may fancy yourself as a Tom Sawyer and me as Jim, but the only whitewashing is in your posts.

For anyone else interested in the answers to George's questions, you'll easily find them in the links I have conveniently provided. And if you would like to discuss any of the points, I'd be happy to do so with anyone who takes the time to actually read over the material and think.

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