Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Global Warming Alarmists Wrong Again


Contrary to last year’s hysteric proclamations that arctic sea ice would completely vanish this summer it has instead increased to an extent not seen since 2004.

Antarctic sea ice extent has been slowly increasing since 1979 (pay attention JAD)

Data courtesy of The National Snow and Ice Data Center

As for CO-2, a little can go a long way. I dare you to actually find proof that increasing the total mass of the atmosphere that consists of CO2 by 1/4 of a percent will actually go anywhere. http://patriotprodigy.blogspot.com/2007/10/truth-about-global-warming-part-1.html F2XL
Ulrich Lobsiger/Anthony Watts cite: “…this year, there was an exceptional amount of ice -”expedition leader Prof. Gerhard Kattner From August 7-08 press release on work done from MV Polarstern in the northern Greenland Sea (between Svalbard and NE Greenland): from Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI): http://idw-online.de/pages/de/news273425 (Sounds like Goldilocks found the temperature just right - for ice.) DLH
Duvenoy stated:"The quanity of fossil fuels is finite, I think we agree. I think we can also agree that it would be wise to find reliable replacements before the final, tag end of it becomes so expensive that no one can afford to haul dead batteries to the salvage yard." I don't think that anyone could argue with that conclusion. However, as I understand the sentiment in this blog, why force science to agree with such notions, based on faulty interpretations of the meager evidence for the human cause of global warming? It seems more like a practical and a moral conclusion to me. One thing that we can all agree on from whatever faith perspective we derive our actions, is that keeping the earth clean and preserving our natural resources is a good thing. It has practical value for our long-term future survival. With more technology comes more consumption. In our technologically advanced societies in the 21st century we have an obligation more so than at any other time in human history to be concerned with these issues. That obligation for most people would seem to stem from a moral understanding of the consequences of failing to do so - not from falsely applied "scientific" mumbo-jumbo. Besides, if the "greenies" were consistent in their concern with the scientific findings, they should now be warning us of an impending ice age, based on the new evidence. I also find it disengenuous that many radical environmentalists still insist on limiting nuclear energy as an alternative to our reliance on fossil fuels. Since we all as humans have a present day fascination with preserving our environment, we most assuredly will find a viable solution to the problem of nuclear waste. CannuckianYankee
Jehu It seems like the alarmists are actually wishing things get worse, doesn’t it? Yes. Especially Al Gore. He gleefully seizes upon any bit of odd weather news. Spring floods, lightning strikes, you name it. The 2008 ice melt failure must be a tuff one for the alarmists. Luckily for them there is always another disaster to anticipate. Apparently there is a chance for an above average hurricane season. That should put some wind in their sails. http://wattsupwiththat.wordpress.com/ Jehu
Since we’re still ominvores the theory that our big brains come from meat eating raises the question of why the obligate carnivores don’t have bigger brains than us. Of course the whole idea of brains from eating meat is premised on the idea RM + NS = Human Intelligence. Which I don't buy either. Re; Improved batteries will be produced. The best batteries right now is the NanoSafe battery made from lithium-titanate nanoparticles. It is made by a company called Altairnano. It powers the Lightning GT which recharges in 10 minutes, produces 700 hp, and has a range of 250 miles. Energy prices aren’t going down unless there’s some big breakthrough technology and you can’t schedule breakthroughs. There have been some good ones lately. First Solar manufactures solar panels at an efficiency of $1.14 per watt. This makes the lifetime cost of solar energy competitive with coal. A recent development at MIT has made hydrogen creation very cheap, opening up an efficient way to store wind and solar energy for use at night or when there is no wind. Also, in the not-quite-there-yet but very promising category is the prospect of fuel from oil producing algae and Craig Venter's fourth generation biofuels. Jehu
Duvenoy But these scrap prices are directly related to the costs of fuel for shipping as well as smelting. I'm aware of that. Just about everything is has a large cost component dependent on the going price of energy. Energy prices aren't going down unless there's some big breakthrough technology and you can't schedule breakthroughs. The cheap energy (light sweet easy-to-recover crude) is all recovered. At some point in the not too distant future it's going to take more energy to recover and refine a barrel of oil than you get from a barrel oil. Sometime before that point is the end of the fossil fuel era. What's your point? re; meat eating produced big brains No one has needed to eat raw vegetation since fire and clay pottery were developed. Since we're still ominvores the theory that our big brains come from meat eating raises the question of why the obligate carnivores don't have bigger brains than us. I'm not buying it. Re; Improved batteries will be produced. I happen to have been an R&D engineer at the first company to ship laptops with lithium-ion batteries a little over ten years ago. If there was anything better on the horizon you'd see them in laptops first. Lead/acid batteries are only used in cars today because every alternative is either unacceptable in recharge time, maximum current output, or hideously more expensive. We'd have used hermetically sealed lead-acid absorbed glass mat (AGM) in laptops if we could have but the energy storage density just isn't near good enough. I'll believe in the cheap non-toxic recyclable wonder battery that replaces lead/acid for electric vehicles when I see them. Until then you can't bank on them anymore than you can bank on cheap photovoltaics or fusion power. In the meantime if you buy an electric vehicle plan on buying a lot of lead acid batteries. I own a dozen working ones now in various vehicles and watercraft and have to replace 3-4 of them each year. re; the buildup in the atmosphere can exceed what existing plants can use I doubt that. Plants, depending on the species and with diminishing returns, can use 5x the atmospheric concentration today before more does no good at all. Conversely, the greenhouse capability of CO2 tapers off rapidly with increasing concentration - the first several parts per million accounts for most of the greenhouse effect then anything additional adds only fractionally. Another little known fact about plants and CO2 is they utilize water more efficiently in higher CO2 concentrations. Personally I think our biggest concern should be the fresh water supply for agriculture rather global warming or energy supply. The latter two are more easily dealth with. We're up shite creek without a paddle when we don't have enough fresh water to grow crops to feed 6+ billion people. A warmer planet will get the water cycle moving faster and help in that regard and higher CO2 levels will make plants more efficient in water usage. In case you're referring to plants absorbing excess CO2 that's not really a factor. The carbon taken up by plants is released back into the atmosphere in rather short order (except perhaps for wood products which might remain unburnt/unrotted in furniture and dwellings for up to a century or so). It's called the carbon cycle. Permanent sequestration would have be artificial. DaveScot
"Nutrition obtained from farm-grown meat is hideously less efficient to produce compared to us directly consuming the feedstocks which otherwise go into the farm animals." Lentils or barbeque ribs... hmm.... Gods iPod
Duvenoy (15), you say,
Y’know, there is a school of thought that considers that meat-eating is what gave our ancestors large brains and small stomachs. Meat is much easier to digest than most raw vegetation.
Sounds to me like a just-so story. There is very little evidence for the effect of meat on the brain, but what little there is does not offer very much encouragement for your thesis. Try this article for starters: http://content.karger.com/ProdukteDB/produkte.asp?Doi=110296 Paul Giem
Dave, I think the combustion engine is the most efficient and hydrogen or HHO is the best fuel. You highlighted Dennis Klein of Clearwater, Florida a few months ago. A contractor friend of mine installed an electrolyzer in his V8, 4 door, long bed Chevy truck that normally gets 12 mpg. He claims to have doubled his mileage by pumping HHO created on demand into his engine air intake. He also added some sensors to override the computer and lean the fuel. If all the cars in Los Angeles were pumping water exhaust into the air, L.A. could eventually be transformed from desert to rain forest. Since water is THE major greenhouse gas in our atmosphere, I suspect the greenies will try to shut this down too. bb
Granville I initially thought it was you (should have known better in the first place but, you know, greenies are EVERYWHERE) and realized my mistake a few seconds after hitting the submission button. DaveScot
Dave, The quote you attribute to me was actually from Duvenoy, and I was criticizing it...though perhaps you understood this. Granville Sewell
Duvenoy (sorry for initially replying to Granville) re; living a little cleaner and glad for electric vehicles Sure. I strongly support the Clean Air Act of 1963 that started the ball rolling for reducing the soot that was turning everything outdoors in our cities black from the fallout and also called for the reduction of other particulate and aerosol emissions such as the sulfates that were causing acid rain. The problem comes in when people start demanding that CO2 be considered a pollutant. It isn't. The level of it in the atmosphere can increase by an order of magnitude and it won't make anyone sick, won't make the air smell bad, won't cause ozone action days, or any of the things that dirty air causes. CO2 is plant food and they can efficiently utilize far more than the atmosphere contains today. Whether by evolution or by design plants (which I'll remind you are the primary producers in the food chain) are most productive in warm wet climates with lots of CO2 in the air. The earth for most of its history was warmer, wetter, and had more CO2 in the air than today. You could call that their natural environment and what we have today is a relatively cold dry earth due to the temporal proximity to the last ice age. We could do more good for the environment, and reduce our wasteful ways, by turning into vegetarians than we can by any other single means. Nutrition obtained from farm-grown meat is hideously less efficient to produce compared to us directly consuming the feedstocks which otherwise go into the farm animals. Plus all the saturated fats in meat make us all unhealthier. If there's a grand opening for government mandates and subsidies to change society for the better it would be those designed to wean us off our hedonistis desire for the taste of flesh and blood. Heck, even according the bible God designed us to be vegetarians. Look it up in Genesis. We were given fruits and seeds to eat as meat and the rest of the animal kingdom was given the leaves so that the lion ate straw like an ox. Why should returning to the diet God intended us to eat be such a hard sell in this country? Hedonism, plain and simple is the reason. Taking away steak from a man's dinner table is like taking meat from a dog - every bit as viciously defended. Cutting our consumption of foreign fossil fuels isn't necessarily a good thing either. I'd rather use up the supply of fossil fuels in the Middle East first and save ours for last. The U.S. has 25% of the coal in the world which is enough energy to keep our industrial capacity going for hundreds of years at the present rate. Imagine us being in the position to sell coal at a really dear price because it's the only game in town. I don't think the Arab royal families are stupid enough or short-sighted enough to let us do that to them but we can certainly give it the old college try. Electric and hybrid vehicle production is a matter I'd leave up to market demand. With the cost of fuel escalating if they're truly a more cost effective solution the market will naturally demand them. In reality it is a myth that these vehicles solve any problems. All it does is move the emission sources to a centralized location and otherwise shift the pattern of natrual resource consumption. Hybrid vehicles are more costly to produce and more cost inevitably translates to more resources required whether it be human labor or raw materials. The additional labor and raw materials mean that more energy is required in the manufacture. The resources rewquired for a man-week of labor is a constant. Whether a week's labor produces one car or twenty the resources consumed stays constant. Batteries are difficult and expensive to recycle and they wear out quickly so the electric or hybrid goes on demanding more resources all its life while the less expensive gasoline or diesel vehicle does not have that heavy additional burden over its service life. There's no such thing as a free lunch, just things that are passed off as a free lunch so that someone can sell you something that goes with it. So for hybrid vehicles the efficiency gains during its life is cancelled by the extra demands in manufacturing and maintenance. For pure electric vehicles the energy to run them has to be produced somewhere so instead of tailpipe emissions we get smokestack emissions from electric generating plants which in the U.S. are predominantly coal burners. Plus the silly pure electrics need far more battery capacity than hybrid electrics. Batteries are a huge problem. You can't just throw the things out and let the lead or even worse heavy metals from other battery technologies leach into the water supply. Then there's the copper supply. It takes a lot of energy to mine the ore, smelt it, and produce the hundreds of pounds of copper in the drive motor windings of electric vehicles. The price of copper, in case you hadn't noticed, has tripled in the last 5 years. What's going to happen to the price when demand increases exponentially to produce hundreds of millions of electric motors for automobiles? Adding insult to injury our power distribution grid can't handle the demands of many electric vehicles. So that means even more copper is needed to beef up the supply grid. Plus we have the additional burden of needing to make electric vehicles as light as possible to get acceptable performance out of them. That means using aluminum instead of steel. Aluminum production requires far more energy input than does steel. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Ironically it was the same environmentalist whackos who are now bemoaning all the fossil fuel dependence who obstructed the construction of nuclear power plants which, if they'd not been obstructed 40 years ago, would have made us far, far less dependent on fossil fuels today. So when you hear one of these short-sighted emotional examples of illogic calling for one thing, the best course of action is usually the polar opposite. DaveScot
My sense is that The Greens are a convergence of neopagan nature worshippers and the angry socialist left, both of whose instincts require the dismantling of American exceptionalism. The USA has represented (historically, at least) everything these folks despise---respect for the Bible and its patriarchal God, liberty for the individual, responsibility for bettering the world, and, as Calvin Coolidge said, “The business of America is business.” And then as America is perceived to be the place where Darwinian materialism is threatened---well, you can just imagine the ire, the snooty disdain of alien elites and the deep embarrassment of our homegrown wannabes. But Granville Sewell is right---conservation is a conservative cause, responsible stewardship of the environment is biblical, cleanliness is next to godliness. The dimunition of America, however, is not the solution. Nor is some new totaliarianism. Nor is reducing America's "carbon footprint". Rather let the carbon make the desert bloom. And let freedom ring and let the truth prevail. Rude
But even if global climate change is a crock, wouldn’t you prefer to live a little cleaner? Me, I’m pleased to note that, after years of short-sighted semi-compentence, the auto industry is getting serious about electric & hybrid vehicles, and alternative enegry sorces are being developed that would cut our dependance on fossil fuels. How exactly, is this a bad thing? ------------------ Duvenoy, you have captured the essence of modern liberalism here: it's ok to slant the news, or tell outright falsehoods, if it will get people to do "the right thing". I am not an expert in climatology, but whenever I see people who are determined to convince everyone there is only one side to an issue, when there are obviously two sides, I am very suspicious. Granville Sewell
Looking at my last comment I realized why we spend so much time discussing global warming on this site. Substitute “Darwinist” for “greenie” in the comment, and it is equally true. BarryA
DaveScot asks why global warming alarmists are giddy over bad news. There is a simple explanation. Environmentalism is a religious more than a scientific phenomenon. Environmentalists feel satisfaction when they believe their faith commitments are supported by the data and anxiety when they are not. Belief is the operative word here. Greenies’ desire to feel good about their religious choices is one reason they are willing to stretch the data so much. For example, the much touted connection between increased hurricane activity and global warming DaveScot mentioned is almost certainly false. But the greenies snarfed it up because it made them feel good about their religious commitments. When confirmation of one’s world view and faith choices are more important than the pursuit of truth, credulity tends to increase, and one finds himself leaping at any data – even false data – that supports one’s faith. BarryA
And I still say if things are all that dire we should start popping off nuclear weapons until we a get a little nuclear winter rolling. Global Warming + Nuclear Winter will result in Global Just Right. This would cause no more in undesireable side effect than a barely detectable rise in cancer rates. Since the IPCC says the bad effects of global warming won't outweigh the good effects until 2050 we have time to plan ahead. I say we throw all the money heaped on global warming remediation onto cancer research instead. That way by 2050 we'll have cured cancer and there won't be any adverse side effects from detonating scores of nuclear weapons to halt global warming. And if I'm right that global warming turns out to not be a problem by 2050 we won't need to use the nukes but we still have a cure for cancer! That's what we in the business of knowing what the hell we're doing instead of running off half-cocked in a panic call a "win-win" situation. DaveScot
Duvenoy I'm not certain I'd call 10% over thirty years a "dramatic decline". In fact, since we have no detailed history of arctic sea ice extent going back farther than 1979 this might actually be a normal decline or an abnormally small decline. We do know that before the Little Ice Age (~900 years ago) a northern passage existed where icebreakers weren't required. Greenland was green and being farmed then too. I wonder where the CO2 came from that melted the arctic sea ice 1000 years ago and what global warming remediation efforts were performed to restore Greenland to its frozen state? I ask because we should make sure we don't repeat THAT mistake - the Little Ice Age was no laughing matter for those who had to live (or more aptly, die) with it. It would be awful if we over-corrected and inadvertantly caused another ice age through our efforts to reverse global warming. DaveScot
Jehu It seems like the alarmists are actually wishing things get worse, doesn't it? I mean, if their concern is real, shouldn't they be celebrating the fact that there hasn't been any additional global warming in the past 10 years? Shouldn't they be like really glad that arctic sea ice extent this year was 15% greater than last year? Instead it seems they celebrate when something bad happens. They get all giddy dancing around saying "I told you so" like in the 2005 hurricane season when Rita and Katrina hit the south coast. But when in the next few years Atlantic hurricanes were far below average in strength and number they're all quiet and sullen about it. Is it my imagination or are these fine folks who're so concerned about global warming just concerned about being right and thereby gaining the political clout to start barking out orders for hideously expensive remediation? It seems like they're just more interested in being important powerful people on a mission to save the earth instead of a bunch of vapid sheep leading unimportant, obscure lives that no one takes time to notice. Someone should write a book about the psychology behind this global warming brouhaha. DaveScot
Well, hey, there are still six weeks left to the melting season and the global warming enthusiasts are still holding out hope for a little late summer alarmism. See here: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/index.html "still too soon to tell" Jehu

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