Monday, January 14, 2019

Explain to me how the Green New Deal is a bad thing?

The Green New Deal has been getting a lot of press lately. It's not your fault if you think this is something new. In fact, it has been around for years. I've heard it proposed numerous times over the years and Wikipedia states the term traces back to a 2007 article in the New York Times and the New York Times Magazine. But, since the Democrats took back the House of Representatives in the 2018 election, with help from the anti-science platform of Trump and the Republicans, it has gained a new spotlight in the public forum. In particular, the idea of a Green New Deal was a mainstay of the upset campaign of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York.

This has now become the new boogey-man for the anti-science, climate-change deniers. They have embraced the fossil fuel industry, taken their money, and sold the well-being of the public and the environment, so of course they're going to be opposed to anything that might challenge that industry's profits. But, that's the strange thing. Somehow, they are spinning this thing as an evil plot by socialists, who they claim are anti-American and anti-economy. Well, I've been engaged in my own New Green Deal this past fall and I can say this is something the Republicans should be proclaiming and taking credit for. Let me show you what I mean.

First. I installed solar panels on my house. I now have enough panels to supply 100% of my electric needs over the course of a year. My local utility doesn't pay me for excess electricity I might generate, but does give me credit. That means some months I'm banking billing credits as I send more electricity to the grid when I'm generating than what I take from the grid at night. Other months I'm taking more than I generate and will use those credits. My net electric usage since the panels went online at the beginning of October is I've banked nearly a full month's worth of electricity usage. I'll use that up in the summer months.

To pay for these panels, I took out a home improvement loan. The monthly payment on the loan is almost exactly my average electric bill over the last three years. That makes this program revenue neutral. Basically, it didn't cost me a thing to go solar. When electric costs go up, my costs will remain the same. And, I added a carport in the loan. That means I got a free carport out this.

Second. I bought a Tesla Model 3. Since it's electric, I charge it at home off my solar panels. I keep detailed records of my home finances and my automobile expenses averaged over $4000 over the last three years on gas, maintenance and repair (over $2000 per year on gasoline alone). That means I'm putting about $350 per month in my pocket that I can spend on other things. And, since it's a savings, this money is tax free. I've already paid taxes on it.

Third. I installed new, high-grade efficiency windows in my house. I had very old windows that were leaky and troublesome. They were the single-pane, circa-1940s type with the counterweights and ripples in the glass from the manufacturing process. The screens were shot and some wouldn't open while some wouldn't close all the way. I had them all replaced (17 of them!) with very modern, high-efficiency windows. As a result, I had to lower my thermostat by three degrees after installation because the house was getting too hot. Plus, they're quieter. The house is much more comfortable as a result.

Bonus. I've been engaged in a project to repaint the exterior of the house. During this effort, I'm finding a lot of bad caulking and rotted wood that I spent a lot of time repairing and replacing over last spring and summer. Even last summer before the new windows were installed, I could tell a difference in the comfort of the house.

Summary and Benefits. I bought solar panels from an American company (creating American jobs), had them installed by a local company (creating jobs in my community), saved money on my electric bill that I can now spend on other things and got a free carport because of it. I bought an American-made car (creating American jobs) and put thousands of dollars a year into my pocket. I bought American-made efficiency windows (again, creating American jobs) and am saving on my heating bill (and, I'm sure, my AC bill come summer) while improving the comfort of my home.

So, I went green, created American and local jobs, and improved my financial situation and comfort.

Explain to me how this is a bad thing. Please.







Sunday, December 9, 2018

Tim Ball Exemplifies Stupidity

Tim Ball, the fraud who claims to have been a climatology professor (he never was), wrote an article recently with a laughably appropriate title: Extreme Wildfires Caused By Extreme Stupidity, not Global Warming. Tim Ball is the shining example of stupidity in the anti-science, flat-earther society. This is a guy who the courts decided can't be sued for libel.  The court's reasoning was that Ball is so lacking in credibility no reasonable person would believe him. Really! You can't make this stuff up.  And yet, Ball insists on putting his stupidity on public display.

Ball, amazingly, states,
Rising temperatures and increasing COboth act to increase soil moisture and so reduce the potential of fires. When temperatures rise, evaporation increases, causing more precipitation which increases soil moisture and so lessens fire risk.  
I have to wonder if he ever reads the nonsense he writes. This guy just said increased evaporation increases soil moisture. Like I said, you can't make this stuff up. He's right about the stupidity part - and it sits squarely on his shoulders.

Let's put the record straight. When evaporation occurs liquid moisture escapes as a vapor and rises into the atmosphere. Once there, it is subject to the currents and other dynamics of the atmosphere. Moisture rarely falls back to the same area it evaporated from - it gets blown downwind. Even if it does fall back, the best it can do is to break even. That's right. In the extremely improbable scenario proposed by Ball where moisture evaporates and then falls back as rain, there is no net gain in moisture!

In other words, Ball's claims are physically impossible!

According to Ball, the next time you hang the laundry on a clothesline to dry, it will actually get wetter!

Once again, the deniers show just how much the hate - and fail to understand - simple science.

Oh, by the way, Tom Harris, the paid shill of the fossil fuel industry who has also lost all credibility, was a coauthor on this piece. Turns out, Harris can't find anyone with more credibility than Ball to work with. What a low point.


In the first

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Guest Post: The Vicious Cycle of Climate Change and Agriculuture

The below is a post submitted to me by Alan Oakman:

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The Vicious Cycle of Climate Change and Agriculture



2016 was a tragic year. The death of the Cincinnati Zoo gorilla Harambe and the Orlando gay club shooting were indeed unfortunate events. But it was the devastating Louisiana floods of 2016 that opened our eyes to the imminent dangers of climate change. Considered to be one of the worst disasters in American history, the Louisiana floods not only led to property destruction but also caused the Louisiana agriculture industry to face losses worth $277 million.

The adverse effects of climate change on crop produce and agriculture was apparent to me. And the more I researched about it, the more I got convinced that we are stuck in the vicious cycle of climate change and agriculture. Before I explain my statement, let’s quickly see how climate change is affecting the agricultural industry.

Climate Change’s Wrath on Agriculture

Sunlight, abundance of water, soil nutrients, normal local weather and optimum temperatures for vegetation growth are the most basic requirements for producing high yield crops. But every time an extreme natural disaster, like a drought or a flood, strikes, it directly affects the crop produce. These extreme environmental conditions have become common occurrences in the last few years, and climate change is to be blamed for it. The following graphical representation shows the steep drop of corn yields in the U.S. during extreme weather conditions in the past 5 decades.
 


Image Credit: https://cityofphiladelphia.github.io/climatechangeisreal/sites/production/files/2016-08/uscornyields-large.jpg
 Every time a drought or a flood ruins a crop produce, it creates a phenomenon called food shock, where the poor yields of grains, wheat and other crops are sold at exorbitant prices, making the majority of the population fight for it. Back in 2010, Russia faced the worst drought in 40 years, ruining the majority of its crop produce. This led to a huge decline in the export of wheat that caused unrest and violence in African countries as people fought over food.    
Apart from the direct ill effects of extreme weather conditions on agriculture, even an increase in temperature and a rise in CO2 levels may create a positive or negative impact on crop produce. Higher temperatures are considered to be good for faster growth of crops but it in turn decreases its yield. With 2016 named as the hottest year, rise in temperatures across the world is making crops grow faster without giving enough time for seeds to grow and mature completely. This reduces crop yields. Also, increase in CO2 levels may positively affect crop produce but it may also lead to growth of weed plants and fungi that can severely restrict the yield and can cause health hazards. Till date, there have been numerous instances of higher temperatures and increased CO2 concentration causing negative effects on crop yield.
Not just crops, climate change has had a negative impact on animal husbandry and fishing industries as well. Scientific research on global warming highlight that extreme weather conditions and increased temperatures affect the health of livestock as it leads to an outbreak of a plethora of diseases. Climate change affects the produce of fodder and green pastures on which the farm animals feed.
How Agriculture Causes Climate Change
While the impact of climate change on agriculture can be witnessed clearly, it might surprise many that human activities in farming and animal husbandry in turn contributes to climate change. Industrial farming, which is widely prevalent in almost all developed countries, is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. In order to produce high yields of crops while tackling unpredictable weather conditions, there has been increased use of fertilizers and pesticides that release greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, etc., in the atmosphere. Farming industries are highly dependent on tractors and other equipments that run on fuel. They utilize electricity for irrigation as well as drying and cooling of crops. They also utilize a lot of natural resources in packaging and shipping of the crops to different parts of the world. All these agricultural activities that we consider necessary to mitigate the threat of climate change to our food produce is in turn contributing heavily to climate change.
According to statistics, industrial farming is responsible for almost 20-25% of U.S.’s carbon footprint. Thus, a vicious cycle has been created where climate change negatively impacts agriculture, and industrial farming, in an attempt to negate the effects of global warming on crop produce, is contributing more towards climate change.
The Solution: Organic Farming
While we can’t curb all agricultural activities, a few changes in the way we do farming will help in breaking this vicious cycle of climate change and agriculture. By adopting green farming or organic farming, we can use natural fertilizers like compost, green manure, etc., that are organic and don’t contribute to the emission of greenhouse gases. Techniques like crop rotation and companion planting helps in increasing soil nutrients that will lead to an increase in crop yield. Organic farming is growing in popularity and might be the road forward to tackle the effects of climate change on agriculture without contributing more to climate change.       

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The End of Climate Change Denying


I found Etched in stone, an article written by Peter Dykstra to be a rather salient article, hitting on several issues I've observed in recent years. Stating, "Rigid beliefs die hard, or not at all," Dykstra sets out discussing how there are people who hold beliefs that are not rational and they will hold firm to those beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. He specifically mentions Vietnam vets who are convinced comrades are still being held prisoner in Vietnam; beliefs concerning Obama's birth certificate and religious beliefs; and beliefs concerning vaccines. I can add a number of others that I have encountered in my work, in my classes, among my friends, and even in my family - beliefs such as the Moon landings were faked; 9/11 was a government conspiracy; chemicals are being sprayed into the atmosphere by jet airliners to change the climate; any number of conspiracies surrounding Hillary Clinton that are too numerous to list here; there's a face on Mars; evolution science isn't valid; and the list goes on.

Oh, yeah. Climate change isn't real.

The science concerning anthropogenic climate change (AGW) is conclusive and settled. Over 99% of published climate scientists agree that manmade climate change is real. The data is monumental. And, yet, there are those who cannot be convinced otherwise. For the most part, this isn't important. As Dykstra pointed out, climate change denialism is rapidly fading away and the adherents are increasingly isolated fringe elements.

This is the first point I took from his article. No matter how much science is presented, these individuals will stick to their hardened beliefs. Years from now, when even the Republicans finally admit the science is real, there will still be a cadre of tinhats firmly holding onto their claims that AGW isn't real. There is nothing that can be done about that and I try my best to never discuss it with these people. They are not rational and no amount of science or logic will ever persuade them they are wrong. In fact, it is not possible to even persuade them there's a possibility they might be wrong. So, why bother?

However, mainstream denialism is dying out. This is a second point from Dykstra's article that I have personally observed. The paid shills of the fossil fuel industry are having an increasingly difficult time getting their ridiculous claims printed in the mainstream media. This is partly because the vast majority of the public has realized they only produce sophist arguments for the purpose of deception. The vast majority of the public now acknowledges AGW is real and this percentage is increasing. Few people are interested in listening to the anti-science crowd tell them how climate change isn't real when all the while there are more frequent and severe heat waves, wildfires, floods, winter storms, rising oceans, hurricanes, etc. They can see with their own eyes that climate change is real. Therefore, anyone telling them it isn't has no credibility in their eyes. You can see this by the comments people make on the few articles that still appear. There are the deniers, frequently Russian trolls, but their claims are so shrill and off topic that no thinking person pays them any attention. And, that's it. There are no longer any civil, rational, logical arguments presented in the comments section supporting the claim that the science isn't real. If their claims are valid, it should be easy for them to present valid arguments. So, why don't they?

I suppose we could chalk all of this up as a victory, but I can't. The reason is that these people won. They delayed any action on climate change so long that we are now stuck with the new reality. Politicians, bought and paid for by the fossil fuel industry, have succeeded in stopping any action to address the issue. Now, the issue is here to stay. They fought hard to ensure their billionaire buddies continued to make obscene profits at the expense of everyone else, and they succeeded.

And, this is the last point I want to discuss. Any effort to stop global warming is doomed to failure. I look at the data and repeatedly see a shift in the late-2000s. Sometime between 2005 and 2010, the data consistently shows an inflection point. The data has a lower rate of change before that point than after. To me, this says the tipping point has already been crossed. I've discussed it in private with others and I'm not the only one saying it.

But, even if I'm wrong and, as many scientists claim, there is still time to address global warming before we cross the tipping point, it doesn't matter. This would only be important if we were addressing our emissions at a sufficiently rapid rate, which we're not. Emissions are dropping around the world, but we're still pumping the atmosphere with greenhouse gases in amounts too large for the planet to deal with. Some of these gases will remain in the air for centuries. That means, even if we have time to avoid the tipping point, we are failing to use our remaining time wisely. The amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is still growing and it's growing at a rate that guarantees we will see a more hostile future. There is nothing that can be done about it.

Does this mean we're locked into a catastrophic future? No, at least not as a race. For many people, it will be catastrophic. The people suffering through Hurricane Florence right now might call it a catastrophe, but the rest of the world will continue and, as a race, we will increase our numbers by 200,000 people today. We'll do that again tomorrow. A new major city every week.

So, the race will not end. But, it isn't going to be as comfortable, either.




Saturday, August 11, 2018

Guest Post: Manipulated by the Referees!


Submitted by Peter Johnson:
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MANIPULATED BY THE REFEREES!

In response to comments I made on the following website:


I disputed the claims of another commenter who used the name Bodhisattva 1, and who used a photo of the Dalia Lama next to this screenname, but, I have had some of my best posts removed. In one of those posts, I disputed the commenter’s claims that climate scientists have failed to prove that virtually any climate warming at all has happened in the last 40 years—a claim that taken on face value, is completely absurd! So, I used the following link to provide some info about Roy Spencer which contradicts his claims to have never accepted money from any source for his support of climate change deniers (or as he prefers) from skeptics.



“Spencer is a registered speaker at the Heartland Institute's “America First Energy Conference” (AFEC 2018) in New Orleans, Louisiana. [100]
“The purpose of this event is to promote and expand energy freedom in the United States, as outlined in President Donald Trump’s bold America First Energy Plan, a proposal first released during the 2016 presidential campaign. The president’s plan marks a decisive change in direction from the Obama administration’s 'war on fossil fuels' and focus on the theory of catastrophic man-caused climate change,” the conference description reads. [101]


And about Spencer’s supposed lack of ties to anti global warming special interest groups--take a look at this link:



“A research scientist with the University of Alabama at Huntsville's Earth System Science Center (ESSC), Roy Spencer is a climate contrarian with solid academic credentials. And his website bio notes that he "has never been asked by any oil company to perform any kind of service. Not even Exxon-Mobil."

“But Spencer doesn't disclose his leadership roles in climate skeptic groups financed by Exxon and other key players in what's been dubbed the "climate denial machine": the network of companies, think tanks and foundations that have sought to deny and downplay the scientific consensus that global warming is real and is caused in large part by human activity.”


The bottom line is, even if he (willingly) accepts funding from special interests without being directed by them, he is still accepting money from those who would likely expect his research to mirror their own claims.

And from the following links I provided evidence that the Dalai Lama actually acknowledges human caused climate change, and urges us to take actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions:



“Yesterday, the Dalai Lama released a video urging world leaders to take strong action at the UN climate talks starting on November 30 in Paris. The Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader is one of growing number of religious leaders, including Pope Francis and Patriarch Bartholomew, to call for immediate climate action.”


And here are some of his comments reported in the following link from The Guardian;



“Logically, human beings have the responsibility to reduce these problems and finally eliminate these problems because we created them,” he said.
Like Pope Francis’s plea for younger generations to take more action in his environmental encyclical, the Dalai Lama also appealed to the young to “take a more active role in protecting this planet, including the Tibetan plateau.” We can only pray that world leaders will actually listen to these hopeful young voices, though.”


Why the Dali Lama needs to hide behind the screen name of Bodhisattva 1, I’ll never know. And as the quote above indicates, he rejects man’s role in causing (dangerous) global warming. Here is a link to another Guardian article:



“Perhaps the darlings of the denialist community are two researchers out of Alabama (John Christy and Roy Spencer). They rose to public attention in the mid-1990s when they reportedly showed that the atmosphere was not warming and was actually cooling. It turns out they had made some pretty significant errors and when other researchers identified those errors, the new results showed a warming.”

“To provide perspective, we know the Earth is warming because we can measure it. Most of the heat (93%) goes into the oceans and we have sensors measuring ocean temperatures that show this. We also know about warming because we have thermometers and other sensors all over the planet measuring “the temperature at the surface or in the first few meters of air at the surface. Those temperatures are rising too. We are also seeing ice melting and sea level rising around the planet.”


So, the evidence is clear. What Christy and Spencer focus on is the temperatures measured far above the Earth’s surface in the troposphere and the stratosphere. Generally, over the past few decades these two scientists have claimed the troposphere temperatures are not rising very rapidly. This argument has been picked up to deny the reality of human caused climate change – but it has been found to be wrong.” Take for example statements made in regard to his studies science worthiness;



“The editor-in-chief of Remote Sensing, Wolfgang Wagner, later resigned over publication of Spencer and Braswell (2011),[23] stating, "From a purely formal point of view, there were no errors with the review process. [...] the problem I see with the paper by Spencer and Braswell is not that it declared a minority view ...but that it essentially ignored the scientific arguments of its opponents. This latter point was missed in the review process, explaining why I perceive this paper to be fundamentally flawed and therefore wrongly accepted by the journal."[24] Wagner added he, "would also like to personally protest against how the authors and like-minded climate skeptics have much exaggerated the paper's conclusions in public statements".[23][24]


Andrew Dessler later published a paper opposing the claims of Spencer and Braswell (2011) in Geophysical Research Letters.[25] He stated, among other things:
“First, [they] analyzed 14 models, but they plotted only six models and the particular observational data set that provided maximum support for their hypothesis. Plotting all of the models and all of the data provide a much different conclusion.”
 
Here is approximately what I said in the last paragraph of my comment, and which has also mysteriously vanished;


“How do you sleep at night? First you slander the Dalai Lama by calling him Bodhisattva 1 and misrepresenting what he actually says about man’s role in global warming. Then you failed to mention all of the associations (Spencer) has with big oil companies and special interests even though you tacitly rely on claims that Spencer has never been asked to do anything for such companies. The bottom line is that whether Spencer is asked by big oil companies to do bogus research or not, voluntarily, or by way of bribes, he has willingly provided inaccurate and dishonest information to the big oil and think tanks which support them! But, those who really want to communicate the truth don’t need to depend on lies to bolster their positions—shame on you!”


May I also point out that, since the screen name of this commenter is Bodhisattva 1, and includes a photo of the Dali Lama, that this commenter is only avoiding charges of slander by way of calling him or herself, Bodhisattva 1, and thus  did not overtly claim that  he or she represents the specific opinions held by the leader of the Tibetan Buddhist faith—however the purpose for his or her using that screen name is clear! I posted some of the things he or she said near the end of this comment.

Although this comment was not available via the printout of individual posts made on the Katherine Hayhoe thread, I was able to go back to my primary forum notifications which were received via email and make copies of them:

And, although his or her screenname would not copy, the following statements including the graph, were posted by the commenter using the name Bodhisattva 1 on the same website when discussing the views of Katherine Hayhoe.

“Exactly why the word "skeptic" does not apply to those who are full of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change Alarmism. They refuse to see over 20 years of data... in fact now going on 40 years... that show that the gloom and doom predictions of their ilk are false. Here's one small part of the proof:”



Personally, I think the black line indicates the exact opposite of what Bodhisattva 1 claims. In fact, even when disregarding actual amounts of increase, almost all the charted lines on it, are indicative of rising or increasing global temperature averages.

Thanks, Pete,

In closing I would also like to note that on many supposedly liberal forums such as Media Matters, I have consciously tried to avoid obscenities and nasty comments towards others. But, if one simply glances down the list of comments made on any controversial website, one will see so many obscene and childish comments tossed at one commenter by another, that one will be tempted to laugh.

So yes! When site moderators refuse to publish my comments---at least until after they have been banished indefinitely to my disqus page—even though nothing in them breaks the rules---how can these moderators honestly say that someone who flings around mentions of the F word, and whose entire response consists of one ad hominem insult after another, is leaving more polite and reasonable comments than mine?

I find that, on many websites, on which one would think my rebuttals would be welcomed, even the moderators on those left leaning sites are censoring comments made by liberals and/or left-wing commenters? —what for I don’t know? —even if such comments are written respectfully and without the use of obscenities or insults, they are still not permitted? —Why? Anyone’s guess is as good as mine?

Peter W. Johnson
Superior WI.