Climate Change Denial, Everywhere

Here follows an extract of a conversation I have had with members of the Claverton Energy Research Forum, which I have cut-and-paste into a more easy-to-read fashion below the fold :-

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/energy-discussion-group/browse_thread/thread/68f666ff4f69599b/59dfb3351bb432ec?q=abbess&lnk=ol&

http://groups.google.co.uk/group/energy-discussion-group/browse_thread/thread/68f666ff4f69599b/bfec36913d002b91?lnk=gst&q=abbess#bfec36913d002b91

As you can see, there are Climate Change sceptic-deniers everywhere, even in the most knowledgeable and respectable circles.

Countering Climate Change denial from so-called “sceptics” takes a lot of time and energy, and is a bump-in-the-road nuisance/irritation distraction from the main priority for human civilisation, which is how to stop being addicted to Fossil Fuels.

Continue reading Climate Change Denial, Everywhere

This Is Not A Riot

[ UPDATE FROM JOABBESS.COM : ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND, EDINBURGH, CLIMATE CAMP SITE HAS BEEN TAKEN. ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION FROM process@climatecamp.org.uk, Wed, Aug 18, 2010 at 9:59 PM : “Site taken! People needed NOW! At 9.15PM tonight Climate Camp took the site on RBS HQ. Get on site as fast as you can! Defence help urgently needed. Come to RBS Gogarburn Gardens, off Gogar Station Rd. More info later. x” ]

Al Gore has been telling all the young people, and well, all of us, really, to protest, in public, to make a downright law-unabiding nuisance of ourselves :-

http://thehill.com/blogs/e2-wire/677-e2-wire/114717-al-gore-calls-for-us-protests-on-climate-change-inaction

“Gore calls for major protests on government’s climate change inaction…In a post on his personal blog headlined “The Movement We Need”…”

Well, it won’t work to call people out onto the street. Most people are too busy credit-crunching, wage-slaving or favour-scraping to be able to commit to a short-term, potentially self-defeating public display of annoyance, frustration and shrill demands.

And if people do come out to the big protests, it won’t achieve much. News reports can be swept into the trash. Activists can be swept into holding facilities. Politicians can conveniently ignore anything that isn’t violent.

Drop the loud-hailers and home-made placards, I say, and do something more…focussed.

The Climate Camp want to target the Royal Bank of Scotland for financing Coal power plants and Tar Sands oil projects, which are very bad things to be doing, and smacks of huge corporate irresponsibility, considering the bank is largely owned by the British taxpayer, and I say, if you can’t make the camp (and I can’t for reasons which I shall not go into just now), do something about money in other ways instead.

What’s your money doing ? Which oppressive regimes in oil-rich countries is it supporting ? Which Fossil Fuel companies trashing your Environment do your bank support ? Why not switch your money to an ethical financial organisation ? Why don’t we all try to do this at the same time ? “Crowd-banking” could have an impact, you never know until you try.

Let’s pick, say, Monday 23rd August 2010. And let’s all spend our way out of Climageddon together on that day. Transfer your money to an ethical bank, or pledge to do so. Phone your bank and tell them you’re leaving for a sustainable bank.

Other actions possibly useful :-

1. Refuse to buy Fossil Fuels for a day.

2. Refuse to use any hot water for one day (most hot water is produced by burning Fossil Fuels). It’s summer in the Northern Hemisphere – come on – a cool shower won’t hurt you.

3. Don’t spend any money on anything that had Petroleum-based plastic or Natural Gas-based chemicals in its production – which would rule out 85% of non-food purchases, I reckon.

4. If you’re working for a company or an organisation who have anything to do with the Energy industry, make a point of asking your boss, or their boss, or the Chief Executive or something what the company/organisation intends to do about moving the whole business to Renewable Energy.

5. One short telephone call could have you moving from burning Coal for your home electricity to a Green Energy account.

This is not a riot – but it is an emergency, and the response should match the scale of the problem.

Our Climate – Not for Sale.

Bloody Oil from Felix Gonzales on Vimeo.

Judith Curry : Carbon Lockdown

Dr Judith Curry insists, quite correctly, that we should take uncertainties into account when deciding Climate Change policy.

Yet I think our respective positions probably strongly differ on which way we weight the uncertainties.

I strongly favour the Precautionary Principle, implemented Early, making it the “Early Precautionary Principle”.

One of the reasons I come down on this end of the spectrum of possible responses to uncertainties is that there are quite a spectrum of unknowns that form the pillars of those uncertainties.

After all, if we don’t know a term in an equation, how can we possibly calculate anything meaningful with any kind of confidence ?

How can anybody feel safe and secure not knowing for certain what the actual equilibrium Climate Sensitivity amounts to ? The response of the Earth’s Climate system to extra airborne Carbon Dioxide-forced temperature rise is a number that is becoming firmer, but there are error bars. Surely this points to conservatism in emissions ?

Moreover, we could be well advised to cut back on Fossil Fuel burning not just to protect the Climate, but to save the Economy. How can we pursue our normal everyday Carbon-emitting lives not knowing how much Fossil Fuel there is left in the ground that can be inexpensively mined ?

How can we know the order of magnitude of Fossil Fuels left to extract ? And how can we know what kind of impact this will have on the Climate ?

Continue reading Judith Curry : Carbon Lockdown

Unqualified Opinion (1) : Dan Gardner

There are several journalists out there who simply can’t cope with the real risks posed by dangerous Climate Change.

Following a rather reasonable, rational article by Louise Grey, Tom Chivers gave the “loaded dice” metaphor to straighten her up on language :-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/7937269/Pakistan-floods-Climate-change-experts-say-global-warming-could-be-the-cause.html

“Pakistan floods: Climate change experts say global warming could be the cause : The world weather crisis that is causing floods in Pakistan, wildfires in Russia and landslides in China is evidence that global warming predictions are correct, according to climate change experts. : By Louise Gray, Environment Correspondent : Published: 10 Aug 2010 : Almost 14 million people have been affected by the torrential rains in Pakistan, making it a more serious humanitarian disaster than the South Asian tsunami and recent earthquakes in Kashmir and Haiti combined. The disaster was driven by a ‘supercharged jet stream’ that has also caused floods in China and a prolonged heatwave in Russia. It comes after flash floods in France and Eastern Europe killed more than 30 people over the summer. Experts from the United Nations (UN) and universities around the world said the recent “extreme weather events” prove global warming is already happening. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, vice-president of the body set up by the UN to monitor global warming, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), said the ‘dramatic’ weather patterns are consistent with changes in the climate caused by mankind. “These are events which reproduce and intensify in a climate disturbed by greenhouse gas pollution,” he said. “Extreme events are one of the ways in which climatic changes become dramatically visible.”…”

Continue reading Unqualified Opinion (1) : Dan Gardner

Toxic Canada

One of the worst ideas that anybody has ever had is to pull heaps of toxic chemicals out of the ground and spread them over the surface of one of the few countries that will remain habitable after the onset of deep Climate Change.

If the Global Warming doesn’t get you, then the mercury from the Tars Sands tailing ponds sure will !

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/industry-news/energy-and-resources/oil-sands-toxins-growing-rapidly/article1667306/

“Oil sands toxins growing rapidly : Nathan VanderKlippe : Published on Monday, Aug. 09, 2010 : Canada’s oil sands mining operations produce vast and fast-growing quantities of deadly substances, including mercury, heavy metals and arsenic, new data released by Environment Canada shows. The information on pollutants sheds new light on the environmental toll exacted by Canada’s bid to extract oil from bitumen, showing in stark relief how many nasty substances are being laid on the northern Alberta landscape in the process – and how quickly those are growing. In the past four years, the volume of arsenic and lead produced and deposited in tailings ponds by the country’s bitumen mines – run by Syncrude Canada Ltd., Suncor Energy Inc., Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. and Royal Dutch Shell PLC – has increased by 26 per cent. Quantities of some other substances have increased at even faster rates. The companies also released huge amounts of pollutants into the air last year, including 70,658 tonnes of volatile organic compounds, which can damage the function of human organs and nervous systems, and 111,661 tonnes of sulphur dioxide, a key contributor to acid rain…The numbers “are just ridiculously huge,” said Justin Duncan, a staff lawyer with Ecojustice…”

Unconventional fossil fuels are just such a liability – using up precious freshwater resources and depositing toxic waste just about everywhere.

Shale Gas (or Gas Shale) operations are reported to be polluting underground water tables. Now, that’s a clever thing !

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/financialnews/D9HGMIPG0.htm

“EPA moves NY drilling hearing, expecting crowds : By MARY ESCH : ALBANY, N.Y. : In anticipation of as many as 8,000 people at a public hearing on natural gas drilling, the Environmental Protection Agency announced Monday that it was moving it from Binghamton University to a Syracuse convention center 65 miles north. The hearing is the fourth and last by the EPA around the country to get public comment on its study of hydraulic fracturing of natural gas wells. Critics say the technology, which blasts chemical-laced water into the earth, could poison water supplies. The industry says it’s been used safely for decades. The EPA said 300 people have signed up to speak at Thursday’s sessions and 1,200 are expected to attend…Advancements in horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, significantly increased yield from shale gas wells and led to the current natural gas boom, starting with the Barnett Shale in Texas. The technology has drawn intense scrutiny since the focus of gas drilling companies has shifted in recent years to the Marcellus Shale, a massive rock formation underlying New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia. Environmental groups, residents and civic leaders fear potential contamination of watersheds in the densely populated region if fracking isn’t more tightly regulated. Fracking was exempted from the Safe Drinking Water Act in 2005 after an earlier EPA study declared fracking wasn’t a threat to water supplies. That study has since been criticized as flawed. The new EPA study, to be completed in 2013, could lead to new federal regulations. However, the industry says state regulation is sufficient and has worked well…”