Sunday, February 14, 2010

From RC

From “2009 temperatures by Jim Hansen”, Page 18:

Re: #851


I can say it simply and I have said it simply:

The game is over. We lost. What’s the new game?

Not a game, regardless of how you view or phrase it. And nobody's "lost" anything--Jim]

Re: #852


OK, how about this? We lost the war, and it’s because we never really fought it.

Now, what’s the next move?

And Jim: We are going past 450 ppm and you know it as well as you know your name.

[Response:"The difficulty with prediction is that it involves the future"--Niels Bohr.
"It ain't over 'till it's over"--Yogi Berra.

Re: #853


If you think China will allow a concerted economic policy to dictate to them how they grow their energy apparatus:

I strongly disagree, and I mean strongly.

And who has the political will for that?

And is the U.S. even committed to its own reductions? What has Obama promised, a 20% reduction in 2005 levels by 2020? Under any scenario we know of, will that accomplish anything useful?

I suspect you have more faith in things unseen than is warranted.

Re: #854

Bart! I appreciate the candor, I truly do.

With any luck we can start a trend.

And by the way I do not think it is impossible to solve AGW.

What I have said, most vehemently, is that the current solutions businessis a fraud, and that the people who meet for these climate summits are perpetuating a vicious lie, that a global agreement can be reached, can be implemented and can avoid calamitous warming. No, no and most definitely no.

Once we accept that plain reality, we can – at last – start looking for the much, much better ideas we will need to actually have a chance to solve it.

I loved your out-of-the-box brainstorming. We need so much more of it.

Re: #855


I appreciate that you are trying to come to grips with climate reality.

And I completely understand, I honestly do, why it is so difficult to accept my assertion that we will burn most of our oil (including shale and tar) and much of our coal.

On the other hand, you have to also understand inertia. I don’t know how old you are: I am 50. That affords a certain perspective that is generally unavailable to younger folks. You need to see a lot before you get a real sense of what is and isn’t likely to occur on mass scales.

And for sure there are many “older folk” (not that 50 is terribly old) who still do believe there will be a massive shift in human behavior before we burn through most of our oil and much of our coal.

They are simply and plainly wrong.

Just look at year-by-year numbers and you will see that they still go up and that the rate of growth is also still going up.

So, based on what logic would we assert that there will be a sudden reversal in that usage? Nothing that’s been tried til now has come close to accomplishing that.

We can and we should go right on investing in green technology, but the simple fact is that more people need more energy than these measures can, today, produce, so as energy needs increase, CO2 emissions, for the next couple of decades, will continue to increase.

Somewhere in there it will flatten. Ten years? Maybe. Nothing has happened as fast as we would like, so my hedge is that it’s more like 20. Now, we need to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. Trucks, jets, rockets, plastic…things that no alternative that we know of can replace their CO2 emissions. Getting green tech to the masses will be wickedly expensive. Most nations these days are running deficits. No significant tax policies have been passed in the U.S., for one, to encourage a private market shift.

Policy makers are either paralyzed or caught in a political system which grinds this issue to a halt.

That’s not subject to rapid change, either.

CFU, there is no avoiding the simple fact that we will emit enough CO2 to go past 450 ppm, and that also implies a massive dump of much more carbon into the world ocean, with its attendant knowns and unknowns and its ability to maintain the atmospheric equilibrium far into the future.

Just keep this simple process in mind:

a) Man at some point stops adding to atmospheric CO2 levels.
b) The world keeps warming.
c) A warming ocean gives up more of its CO2.

If we simply follow the science, we know, approximately, where we are and what we face.

Re: #856

Ray, this lazy man’s quickie from Wikipedia:

Optimistic estimations of peak production forecast the global decline will begin by 2020 or later…

So, we can easily maintain current rates of use and growth for the next decade. I expect that we will. And yes, as the level of available oil declines, refined oil will become more expensive. So at some point “market forces” will kick in. They always do.

It just won’t be in time.

And coal remains, for the U.S. and China, insanely cheap to produce compared to any alternative. That’s not changing real soon.

And as we warmers know, AGW did not cancel winter. It gets cold in our countries, and we will be burning coal to keep warm.

For a long, long time to come.

(We keep building new plants!)

ReL #857


I completely agree that most of what we’ve learned in the last four years paints an even scarier picture than what we thought was true.

Two observations:

1) It hasn’t made a bit of difference;

2) It does confirm that science is about uncertainty, which makes it harder to say “we know” and get away with it.

And I have to also underscore that many advocates of AGW are very quick to staple the latest observation or hypothesis to AGW theory, which is a sure way to get burned.

In a policy debate as sticky as this, overselling is a major crime.

Re: #861


That’s two inlines in a row. I’m excited! Can we have an actual debate on this sometime, somewhere? Give me a few weeks to get prepared?

We can state that the premise is: Atmospheric CO2 will surpass 450 ppm.

You can take the negative and I will take the positive.

I’m just an average guy. All I’ll bring with me are the actual observations of actual scientists and my own reading of human behavior, backed by statistics.

I am highly confident that I can make a strong case for the positive, using the words of people who I assume you hold in high regard, as do I.

[Response: I'm sure you can but why discuss it all when we're all doomed? Wouldn't it be easier and quicker just to kill ourselves, given that "we lost" and everything's hopeless and all...--Jim]

By the way:

I’m having trouble coming up with a “Jim” who contributes to this site.

If the “Jim” with whom I’m corresponding is Dr. Hansen, allow me to reveal that my knees have suddenly gone weak.

You are (if that’s who I’m speaking to) one of my all-time heroes.

And what I’d really like to ask you, as I’ve been posting here and elsewhere:

How do you reconcile your previous statements about the lifetime of atmospheric CO2 levels with your recent assertions that we can (a) avoid 40 ppm (in a real-world scenario) and (b) how we can preside over a decline to 350 ppm.

I would also suspect that you have little time for a “warmer versus warmer” debate, but one thing is true:

If we did have that debate, I would be relying heavily on your own words and observations.

And I know it would be mighty difficult to say “We’ve locked in enough momentum to destabilize the ice sheets, so now we need a new plan” after your many years advocating that we can and must avoid that.

Man, if that’s really you: I hope you would win that debate. I hope I’m wrong.

I just don’t think so, and my hyper-rational mind insists that I go with that.

Re: #866


I’m happy to defend myself from that assertion.

Feel free to name the time and place.

(You won’t find anything I’ve said to support the assertion that I am claiming anything like “everything’s hopeless.”)

[Response: Other than "it's over" and "we lost" and "we lost the war" and that international treaties will not help, and that we are lying to ourselves, and that our efforts are ineffective, and that we're making no progress, and that you have no confidence in various proposed plans of action--other than those you mean? You have an interesting concept of hope.--Jim]

Re: #867


There is nothing remotely rant-like about my comments, so please stop using ad-hom, inflammatory language.

And if you thin this is “not much traction” then you’ve missed previous exchanges of this kind. Trust me, this is MAMMOTH traction compared to past experiences.

Steve wrote: “What do you think the new game is?”

Steve, I’ve touched on that. Allow me to admit that for all my gusto, I try to be humble here and there as well.

You won’t see me rattling off a list of answers to that question. I have no confidence in any assertion that “This is what we must do now” or any such thing.

All I am advocating for, at this time, is honesty. Just admitting what the science is telling us, and what we can observe about human behavior (there is a history to that, as well as there being a history to climate change itself).

But some of the forward-looking suggestions I have made include:

1. Admitting that nations will act, and spend, in their own national interest.

2. Admitting that global treaties will not solve this problem.

3. Engaging in research to understand likely rates of change, especially to sea levels.

4. Engaging in robust policy discussions about how to spend the nation’s wealth in response to the above. What will be most important is to choose policies which have the potential to “grow the economy” while also addressing practical, likely scenarios over the next several decades.

None of the above can happen until we stop lying about where we are and the ineffectiveness of current efforts.


Re: #870


“You have a very unique concept of hope.”

Thanks. I take that as a sincere observation from which I do not shy away.

I’m happy to have that discussion as well.

I am doing what I can to position myself in favor of hope.

Re: #876


I agree that we need better medicine.

To do that we must start with a correct description of the problem.

Re: #878

There is actually a defensible answer to that, but that’s not what I was saying.

And before I elaborate on the rest of that post, please and this is my last request, keep your snark in your pocket. We can talk or you can flame, those are the choices.

Now: You said “go hog wild” by which I take it that you mean, go ahead, burn more and more carbon, go and have your fun while we incinerate the planet.

I paraphrase, with some color thrown in.

No, I advocate no such thing. I simply say to the people who are trying to tell us what to do: Please stop lying about our ability to avoid catastrophic sea level rise. Let us know the real facts so we can make intelligent policy choices.

I’ve been thinking about what some of those policy choices might be, and I have some, these are all on a national scale:

1. Commit to building many more dams to trap rainwater. The future planet will have less snow but more rain. Spread out over a continent, we should be able to trap enough water to flourish.

2. Create regulations for new building construction which mandate certain levels of energy efficiency. As a technology is demonstrated as cheap and effective, it becomes the minimum required standard for new construction.

3. Create regulations for efficiency levels for all appliances. Again: as a technology becomes cheap and effective, it becomes the minimum standard. We are close enough at this point to, for example, ban fluorescent light bulbs.

4. Encourage green growth, by which I mean trees and shrubbery, things which absorb a lot of heat and CO2, keeping the surrounding area cooler. As the planet warms, hot weather will get real hot, and shade will be important. We’re going to want mature trees, so we should start soon. I have no specific ideas for how to encourage this, but one example would be community planning boards insisting that new home developments and other parcels must preserve a certain amount of the trees present, or in cases where there are no trees, commit to planting a certain number.

5. Create policies which move people away from coastlines. Declare “no new or replacement construction” policies within certain distances from the shore line. If this is done correctly, migration can be smoother.

6. Of course, coastal cities are another story. A lot of study, planning, preparation and investment will be necessary to make sure that coastal cities can withstand sea level rise, which within 100 years could easily swamp them otherwise.

These ideas will help get the ball rolling on the subject of how nations might spend their climate change dollars.

Re: Item 1 above, my error. I meant “reservoirs”.

Mea culpa.

Item 3 above (having a good day, Walt?) I did of course mean, ban incandescent light bulbs.

Re: #889


Please direct me to the federal programs which are actively pursuing the above.

And if you do find them, then shame on them for burying these measures.

And by all means, Hank, feel free to contribute your own ideas.

Re: #890


By now you know I meant reservoirs.

Hanks seems to think we’re at full speed on all of these.

I’d like to see a vast network of interconnected clean, fresh water reservoirs and transfer systems which can send water from where it falls to where its needed, and can help overflow from one reservoir fill up another that’s falling low.

And no matter what anybody says, today as we speak most rainwater finds its way to the sea, as does most waste water.

We can do a lot more to be self-sufficient hydrologically by the time the rivers run dry.

Unless Hank wants to reveal the secret government program that’s already got that covered.

And we’ve banned incandescent bulbs?

ANOTHER thing I missed, evidently.

Re: #894


Of course I’m aware that we sporadically and disjointedly address each of these things.

My intent was to identify areas where a national commitment can help us prepare for the inevitable future of much higher sea levels, lower rivers, less snow, more rain and shifts in dry/wet regions.

There is no such national commitment today no matter what Hank says, and that is because there is no national commitment to even a “future world” mindset, other than a vague awareness that oil will one day run out.

I don’t know how a serious person can attempt to assert otherwise.

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