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All IPCC definitions taken from Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Working Group I Contribution to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Annex I, Glossary, pp. 941-954. Cambridge University Press.

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Comments 64451 to 64500:

  1. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    LJ>

    In that specific comment, Tom clearly indicated he was talking about a "real-world" box that would not be perfectly reflective. In that case "decay" would be the light escaping the box. I have not contradicted a single thing Tom said, you just aren't reading what's being written.
  2. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    e 660

    I asked a question...What is light decay?

    You are not contradicting Tom,suit yourself.
  3. What would a CO2-free atmosphere look like?
    The CO2 came from unabated volcanic activity and tectonic forces over millions of years.

    Snowball Earth
    by Paul F. Hoffman and Daniel P. Schrag, Scientific American, January 2000
  4. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    les655

    "Ryan, well, no actually. Not for that weird selective filter thing. Still, given the arbitrary was bits of physics are being thrown around this thread; have it your way, what the hell! "

    I agree sloppy physics, lot fundamental violations. The weird filtering was Tom's not mine.

    Are you familiar with Kirchhoff's black body cavity theorisation/experiment?
  5. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    LJ>

    Everything you said in post 658 is false. I will not detail the problems because they are all simple reading comprehension errors. If you're not going to make any effort to read and comprehend the point that is being made then you are not here for intelligent discussion; there's no point in talking to you.
  6. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    e656
    pbjamm657

    Make the aperture diameter 2x photon diameter, and shazam you have a flashlight powered photon laser.
  7. michael sweet at 05:17 AM on 19 March 2011
    Those who contribute the least greenhouse gases will be most impacted by climate change
    Gilles:
    You said "use of FF increases the wealth" of countries. I have provided a specific counter example and all you can say is it is because France uses nuclear? Tell me something I don't already know. You make my point: other energy sources can be used to support a modern economy. Your claim that FF use is proportional to success in a modern economy is proved incorrect. When 2010 numbers come out it will show that Spain got 16% of their electricity from wind and they continue to rapidly install turbines. No problem with increasing coal and oil prices there! Please provide references to your extraordinary claims.
  8. Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas
    Neglected to mention that in the Boucher article, they note that there is some significant counteracting cooling as well that occurs due to the irrigation/evaporation cooling the area irrigated (not to mention land albedo changes from vegetation etc...)
  9. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    e654

    "So his assumption with that statement was that in reality you cannot have perfectly reflecting walls. Now stop trying to nitpick and give his example some real thought."

    The perfectly reflective wall was Tom constraint not mine. Violating the 1st law in order to illustrate radiative forcing is not nitpicking, rather it's very fundamental. To say emissivity >0 leads to "light decay" is a convenient concept...does the photon slow down until comes to rest at the bottom of the box? What is light decay?

    Tom said:
    "The answer has to be in terms of photon numbers, not energy because the wavelength of the photons has not been specified. If we specify that all photons have the same wavelength, then the multipliers for photons in the answers above can be used for energy."

    you say:
    "To convert wavelength into energy per photon, use the equation h*c/wavelength. You can type this directly into google like so "h * c / 11364 nm". Once you have that number is just a matter of multiplying it by the number of photons, try it yourself."

    You seem to be at odds with Tom. Your suppositions concludes, regardless of wavelength the accumulated ENERGY within the box is twice the input...as detailed by @646
  10. Water vapor is the most powerful greenhouse gas
    In different water vapor threads I have seen comments that continually added water vapor(i.e. fossil fuel combustion/irrigation) might act as an anthropogenic forcing of climate change.

    This makes sense to me (continual addition of vapor overcoming the short residence time) so I looked around and found a couple of places this was addressed: one is a grad student at UCBoulder's website and I'm not sure how good his numbers are but the explanation and detail is very easy to understand, and he concludes that water vapor from combustion is a trivial addition.

    The other is an article (Boucher 2004), again I'm not qualified to say how "good" the article is, but they estimate that irrigation *does* add to global radiative forcing by up 0.03 to 0.1 W/m2, again a trivial amount compared to C02 or total water vapor forcing.

    If the mods/author thinks these links look "up to snuff", they might be a useful addition to add to the article for people looking at this aspect of the argument and wondering about "directly anthropogenic" water vapor.
  11. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    L.J Ryan@651
    "So the accumulated "boxed" light would radiate 1W for a 100 hrs, once the second aperture is opened?"

    Wouldn't that depend on the size of the aperture? On the photon level wouldn't the "flow rate" out of the aperture change as less light remained in the box? Fewer photons would be available to hit the target/sec. I imagine it would be a bright and rapidly fading light once the hole was opened. Since this is all imaginary...
  12. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    LJ@651 >So the accumulated "boxed" light would radiate 1W for a 100 hrs, once the second aperture is opened?

    The wattage of the aperture would be entirely determined by the the size of the hole, the size of the box, and the amount of energy in the box. As the energy escapes from the box the wattage of the aperture decreases.

    It has no relationship to the original wattage of the flashlight. That value is determined by the flashlight's ability to convert chemical energy into radiant energy. In this example all the energy is already radiant. The box doesn't "remember" the wattage of the original light source.
  13. Those who contribute the least greenhouse gases will be most impacted by climate change
    Gilles: "Where is the problem ?" The problem is not that there are correlations with wealth and fossil fuel use, just that *you state that fossil fuels increase wealth* and don't support your statements of causation with any facts. As I asked before, do you believe correlation is causation?
  14. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    653 damorbel: again, we are in complete agreement in not completely understanding the bits where I quote you. Still, to do what you require follow the advice of others here and read the full papers rather then looking at the pretty pictures.

    652 Ryan, well, no actually. Not for that weird selective filter thing. Still, given the arbitrary was bits of physics are being thrown around this thread; have it your way, what the hell!
  15. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    LJ@651
    >Sounds like a violation of the 1st law...remember perfectly reflective walls. Sounds as if you don't believe your own answer.

    The full context of that comment was:
    "... in practise you would not have perfectly reflecting walls,"

    So his assumption with that statement was that in reality you cannot have perfectly reflecting walls. Now stop trying to nitpick and give his example some real thought.

    >ok lets assign three wavelengths and redo @646

    As Tom pointed out this would just be a multiplier i.e. energy per photon X number of photons. To convert wavelength into energy per photon, use the equation h*c/wavelength. You can type this directly into google like so "h * c / 11364 nm". Once you have that number is just a matter of multiplying it by the number of photons, try it yourself.

    Re: question 1a)
    The aperture he is referring to is the open hole where the lid used to be. There is no aperture in Tom's original example.

    Re: question 2a)
    The lid still holds the same properties it did in the original example, i.e. it transmits 50% and reflects 50%.
  16. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    Re #649 les, you wrote:-

    "damorbel 648 - fine. We agree on so much including, it would seem, that the diagram is not "completely deficient in temperature information". "

    I think there is a definite problem there. I'm afraid I do not understand just what is it that makes you say:-

    " the diagram is not "completely deficient in temperature information". ?

    and:-

    "It clearly does "present ... useful information for any discussion on climate change "

    I'm not sure what you mean here. I am of course thinking of 'useful information' in the sense of scientific information, suitable for putting in reports called 'the Scientific Basis', the name of the sections of IPCC reports using this diagram.

    Trenberth's diagrams are among the few (perhaps only) in IPCC reports showing directional energy effects from greenhouse gases, I cite them because, without temperature, any figures showing energy emissions from the atmosphere, the Earth's surface or anything else have no scientific basis.
  17. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    les 638

    No not Maxwells Demon, but rather Kirchhoff's black body theorisation.
  18. Maximum and minimum monthly records in global temperature databases
    @ #53 Anderson -- that's a very interesting paper with a method of analysis I've not seen before.

    The concept of doing record-breaking analysis while moving back in time is one of those "why didn't I think of that!" ideas.

    The rather startling conclusion about decreasing variability of monthly average temperatures does not fit with the consensus thinking about the effects of global warming. More concretely, the paper finds about a 0.2C decrease over 106 years in the standard deviation GHCN monthly temperatures,which have a starting deviation of about 1.8C. A non-trivial observation that doesn't seem to have gotten the appropriate amount of attention.

    Although the method does require detrending of the data, the detection of variability trends seems very robust to the detrending method chosen. I forsee this method being used to analyze other parameters where variability is of great interest, such as precipitation.

    I note that the paper took the GHCN monthly record as it stands, and there is no discussion of whether the observed 10% decrease in variability in the GHCN monthly temperature record is due to a true reduction in variability of temperatures or whether the observed decrease is merely an artifact of changes in measurement and record keeping.
  19. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    Tom Curtis@647

    "accumulated energy would be 360 kilojoules"
    So the accumulated "boxed" light would radiate 1W for a 100 hrs, once the second aperture is opened?


    "the light would decay to zero very quickly"
    Sounds like a violation of the 1st law...remember perfectly reflective walls. Sounds as if you don't believe your own answer.


    "The answer has to be in terms of photon numbers, not energy because the wavelength of the photons has not been specified. If we specify that all photons have the same wavelength, then the multipliers for photons in the answers above can be used for energy."

    ok lets assign three wavelengths and redo @646

    1. 11364 nm
    2. 10062 nm
    3. 2898 nm


    @637 questions
    1) Consider the box as described, but without any lid. In this case all the light will reflect of the wall of the box and exit through the aperture where the lid was.
    Is that correct?
    1a)I not sure I understand your question...if the lid included the aperture wouldn't it also be removed with the lid...?

    2) Now consider the case in which we place the lid on the box, but at an angle so that all light reflected of the lid will leave the box through some other aperture. In this case, the amount of light leaving the box through the lid will be half of that which enters, while the amount that is reflected by the lid and leaves through the other aperture will also be half of that which enters the box.
    Is that correct?
    2a)Again, I'm not sure I understand your question. Is the box partially open? How open?
  20. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    damorbel @ 643,

    I'm well aware of the title of the thread. However, my original comment was about Trenberth's diagram and what you said about it. For what Trenberth is demonstrating temperature is neither necessary or relevant in that diagram. I have no problem understanding the diagram myself.

    Trenberth has a presentation in which that diagram is described here on pages 13 & 14. Other diagrams with "temperature" are described in the presentation as well, in their appropriate place.

    If you still have a problem with the diagram, then perhaps you should contact him personally and take the matter up with him at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).. I'm sure he is open to new ideas and wants to be sure his diagrams convey the proper information and documentation.
    Moderator Response: [Muoncounter] damorbel has been given this suggestion a number of times to little if any effect. Instead, we have more pointless repetition of the same tedious argument, which we may surmise is damorbel's actual intent.
  21. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    damorbel 648 - fine. We agree on so much including, it would seem, that the diagram is not "completely deficient in temperature information".
    Why don't people say what is apparent without exaggeration? The diagram doesn't explicitly mention temperatures and piles of other information. Indeed it's a cartoon. It clearly does "present ... useful information for any discussion on climate change (anthropogenic global warming - AGW) ".

    Why the hysteria, then? Same with LJRyan, giles et al. If you guys where half the scientist scientists you'd have be to participate in tgis discussing, you'd be far more easy with the shorthand notations, use of approximations, anstract models,partial perspectives and all the other tool we use on a daily basis to understand things.

    Take a chill pill.
  22. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    Re #644 les you write:-

    "... all of which are temperature dependent."

    Too true, I couldn't agree with you more. So do you not think, to make a useful contribution to a discussion on temperature change, the temperatures should be mentioned?

    Also, the emitting materials do not all have the same emissivity; Trenberth should have inserted the emissivity that applies.
  23. Maximum and minimum monthly records in global temperature databases
    Record-breaking events can also inform trends in variability. Those interested in this topic may find the following paper interesting.

    Anderson, Amalia, Alexander Kostinski, 2010: Reversible Record Breaking and Variability: Temperature Distributions across the Globe. J. Appl. Meteor. Climatol., 49, 1681–1691.
    doi: 10.1175/2010JAMC2407.1
  24. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    LJRyan @645, in an ideal fully mirrored box, the accumulated energy would be 360 kilojoules. Of course, in practise you would not have perfectly reflecting walls, and given the high speed of light, and consequent very large number of reflections in a short period, the light would decay to zero very quickly. Likewise, again because of the high speed, the light would escape the aperture before you could close it. But practical difficulties do not prevent us from exploring theoretical possibilities in ideal cases.

    @646, let the time interval be the time it takes a photon to travel from the lid to the back wall. Then

    1) the accumulated photons at equilibrium is 4 times the number of photons that enter the light box at each time interval (see 640); and

    2) at equilibrium the number of photons reflected in each time interval is 3 times the number that enter the light box in each time interval. Of those, 2 times that number are reflected of the back wall, and a number of photons equal to the number that enter are reflected of the lid. This ignores reflections of the side walls which are irrelevant to the overall issue.

    The answer has to be in terms of photon numbers, not energy because the wavelength of the photons has not been specified. If we specify that all photons have the same wavelength, then the multipliers for photons in the answers above can be used for energy.

    Now, can you answer my questions @637
  25. Sea level rise: coming to a place near you
    I wold like to see Lima, the capital of Peru, in the list.

    Where I live is safe (100 meters above sea level) but other areas of the city are not so lucky. I would like to see where and how extensive those areas are.
    Moderator Response: [DB] Unless you live in the vicinity of Callao, at no other point does the tool show even a 6-meter rise penetrating more than 2 pixels (2 kilometers) inland (to perhaps La Merina Ave/St/Rd). Wikimapia (the linked viewer) uses a much denser dataset than the mapping visualization tool.
  26. Kooiti Masuda at 02:10 AM on 19 March 2011
    Sea level rise: coming to a place near you
    (Re: K T #11)
    It seems to me that the potential inundation map of Singapore is factually wrong. The terrain is really low, but it is unlikely that more than half of area is less than 1 m above sea level.

    I have not examined appropriate reference books yet, but by a quick Google search, I find an academic geographic paper by R.D. Hill (1980) Singapore - An Asian City State. Though subscription is needed to read the whole text, I can read its first page which contains "Tab 1. Singapore Island: Areas of various elevations (%)" with "Source: Wong 1969", and the percentage of "0 - 15 m" is 63.7. So, 36.3 % of the area has elevation higher than 15 m.

    It seems that the national data of Singapore were mis-interpreted, probably during the editing of the global elevation data set, before the global data set was incorporated in the analysis by the Univ. Arizona team.
  27. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    e@642

    You asked:

    "The amount reflected tells us how many times photons have bounced off the walls, while the accumulated energy tells us how many photons are in the box. Do you see the distinction? "

    Using Tom Curtis 615, what is the value of each at equilibrium i.e.

    1. accumulated energy

    2. reflected energy..if you can quantify it
  28. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    Tom Curtis@637

    You are avoiding questions posed @636.

    If your box was fully enclosed such that all surfaces are reflective save two small aperture. One aperture to receive light the second to radiate light. Close the output while receiving 1W at the input. The light source occludes the reflected light from "leaking" out the input.

    The energy "accumulated" within the box after 100 hrs is what, 360kj?

    If the first aperture is then closed, does the box now contain 360kj of light? Asked otherwise, can the "accumulated" energy in the box be captured?
  29. The True Cost of Coal Power
    Erk. Mods, feel free to move my off-topic reply to the relevant thread, or delete it... [blush]

    Back on topic, pricing the externalities of coal is the big issue of the day. Brown coal produces ~0.8t of CO2 per MWh, so at $25/t CO2, that's only raising the price to $120/MWh.

    Still, that's enough to make it more expensive per MWh than everything except offshore wind, Solar PV, and Solar Thermal, going by your costs.

    I've seen costs for existing Solar thermal around the $170-$290 per MWh range, so that's almost competitive now, too. A bit more engineering to reduce the cost per MWh, and bob's your uncle!

    The big problem, as CBDunkerson points out, is that with fossil fuel plants you only pay part of the cost now, with most of it coming in fuel costs over 30 years, whereas most of the renewables have more like 80% of the costs up-front.
  30. Arkadiusz Semczyszak at 01:25 AM on 19 March 2011
    Those who contribute the least greenhouse gases will be most impacted by climate change
    Certainly the climate is warming since 1960. In countries with low CO2 emissions (on the maps above) have come primarily to a decline in food production.

    On this page, is briefly described the global food market.:
    “Food production more than doubled (an increase of over 160%) from 1961 to 2003. Over this period, production of cereals—the major energy component of human diets—has increased almost two and a half times, beef and sheep production increased by 40%, pork production by nearly 60%, and poultry production doubled.”
    For example, in Africa - which is most affected by global warming (tropical and subtropical zone of the World) - the production of food is strongly associated with the climate - but not from global warming - rather, the phases of the AMO - the warm phase -growing (as currently) - in the cold phase - drops ...
  31. The True Cost of Coal Power
    andthorne @ 4: No, it's not methane. Yet.

    Yes, methane is part of the problem, and needs to be dealt with. If the methane in the hydrates & permafrost comes out, we're all in big trouble. But right now, methane isn't increasing much, while CO2 is.

    Regarding your comments on water - not every part of the world is blessed with the combination of rainfall and geography that Qebec has. Some areas are even running short of the stuff to drink. Also, storage for hydro is not cheap, takes up a lot of room, and the most suitable sites may already have towns or cities or other important infrastructure in them.

    It may be part of the solution, but it's not the only solution.
  32. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    643 damorbel - "Trenberth's ... is completely deficient in temperature information"

    Someone might correct me; but, seems to me, the diagram includes "surface radiation", "back radiation" from GHGs, "Emitted by Atmosphere" ... all of which are temperature dependent.
  33. The Skeptical Chymist at 01:05 AM on 19 March 2011
    Sea level rise predictions are exaggerated
    Harry, if you check Rob's graph (comment 5) you will see that the rate since the 90's (when satellite measurements of sea level become available) is around 3mm/year. So the indications are that the rate of sea level rise has increased from the 20th century average of 1.6mm/year.

    Some of the world experts on sea level rise are Australian scientists at CSIRO, they have good webpage with some good information on SLR here.
  34. Sea level rise predictions are exaggerated
    The difference between the two graphs is actually due to the 'Inverse Barometer' being applied or not.
  35. Sea level rise predictions are exaggerated
    Harry Seaward, have a look at the graph immediately above, in Rob Painting's post, and you will see the current rate shown.
    However, looking at the graph today, the rate has gone up to 3.1mm/yr.
    (If, like me, you get a mainly blank page at that link, just scroll down)
  36. The Skeptical Chymist at 00:54 AM on 19 March 2011
    Sea level rise: coming to a place near you
    Thanks for the reply Dan.
    No doubt a number of countries have produced high resolution maps of land that could be lost to sea level rise. Perhaps links to some of these would be a good addition to the excellent resources on this site, as well as being useful for those of us outside the USA.
  37. Harry Seaward at 00:41 AM on 19 March 2011
    Sea level rise predictions are exaggerated
    Sea level rise has historically been at 2mm/year. Has that changed?
  38. The Skeptical Chymist at 00:34 AM on 19 March 2011
    Sea level rise: coming to a place near you
    Thanks for the interesting post Dan, these sorts of interactive tools are really useful.

    That said, it looks like care is needed when applying it outside the USA where it has a "horizontal resolution of 1 km" compared to a much more accurate "30m" with the US. 1km is probably fine for large low lying areas but not much good for coastal cities based around low hills (Brisbane, Australia is a good example).
    Comparison the Brisbane prediction to data from much higher resolution maps from the Oz govt linked to by Bern (comment 10), shows good agreement for some areas; i.e.: with 1.1m SLR and a high tide Brisbane airport will either need a sea wall or sea planes. But low agreement in other areas; i.e.: some coastal suburbs suggested to be mostly underwater, will be still above water, though not unscathed by 1.1m SLR.

    So yes a useful tool but requires care outside the US.
    Moderator Response: [DB] Agreed. Brisbane was included as it was both topical (Queensland flooding) and where our SkS founder (John) lives. Mapped impacts also do not reflect ongoing adaptation efforts, such as in the Netherlands.
  39. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    Re #580 RickG You wrote
    "The diagram is not about temperature. Its about incoming solar radiation expressed in W/m^2 and how it is distributed throughout the Earth's climate system, which is the proper unit of measure for that particular type of energy (Incoming Solar Radiation)."

    The thread is about 2nd Law of Thermodynamics which states the direction energy is transferred WRT temperature.

    Trenberth's diagram is all about energy transfer (W/m^2) without any reference to temperature anywhere, thus it says absolutely nothing about atmospheric thermodynamics or the possibility of CO2 having any influence on climate in any way.

    You write further:-
    "Why would Ternberth or anyone for that matter want to use 12 year old data when more up to date data is available? And again, the diagram is about the distribution of energy, not temperature."

    The age of the data has no relevance, Trenberth's diagram does not present any useful information for any discussion on climate change (anthropogenic global warming - AGW) because it is completely deficient in temperature information, the driving parameter in the 2nd law of thermodynamics.
  40. TimTheToolMan at 00:28 AM on 19 March 2011
    What would a CO2-free atmosphere look like?
    And then there's the issue of where the CO2 is coming from.

    The best case (lowest ice albedo @ 55%) requires 66,000 ppm CO2 to escape snowball earth. We're at 390ppm right now and we've burned about half our oil and quite a lot of coal too. Sure, there's plenty of coal left, but enough to get to 66,000ppm CO2?

    How about the worst case (highest ice albedo @ 65%) which is closer to 660,000ppm CO2?!

    Maybe the numbers add up and I'd be interested to see his paper to see what he says about that.
  41. 2nd law of thermodynamics contradicts greenhouse theory
    LJ >After all, the claim is reflected light (B from Tom Curtis's diagram) is twice the input.

    Why the discrepancy?


    Amount reflected off a surface is not the same as accumulated energy in the box. If a single photon "bounces" back and forth from one wall to another, then you are going to count multiple reflections even though the energy content is still a single photon.

    The amount reflected tells us how many times photons have bounced off the walls, while the accumulated energy tells us how many photons are in the box. Do you see the distinction?
  42. Those who contribute the least greenhouse gases will be most impacted by climate change
    28 Gilles: "the great majorities of people were poor peasants surviving with fluctuating crops and regularly decimated by famines, droughts, epidemics, and wars."

    Gilles, get a grip. The advances or otherwise of todays situation are clear to everyone. Many of which, we all know are due to plentiful energy supplies as well as a wide range of technical advances (as I point out above, many of which use power from oil etc.). None of which contradicts the fact that economic growth has happened at other times, in other places.

    But your 'defense' is poor... poorer than the peasants to which you allude. The point was that there have been many incidents of great wealth, technical advance, etc. before oil became ubiquitous. That is 100% clear. Those societies has some problems, ours has others. adding a 'yes but' doesn't change that.

    Instead of spouting the above rubbish, you could have pointed to some hard facts like the massive improvement in life expectancy across the world and given a link like this. But no, you just make it up as you go along...
  43. TimTheToolMan at 00:05 AM on 19 March 2011
    What would a CO2-free atmosphere look like?
    Is figure 2 really taken from Pierrehumbert's accepted paper?

    That graph makes no sense to me. Our global mean temperature is around 288K and according to the graph that puts us correctly in the partially ice-covered state (only just) at about 130 ppm CO2 and thats not right.

    Looking the other way, 390ppm CO2 puts us on the curve at 292K (too hot) and into the ice-free state (the polar bears and penguins might have something to say about that)
  44. The True Cost of Coal Power
    Yes we do need to sit down and evaluate this intelligently instead of allowing ourselves to be marketed by the producers of any given fuel source. That said:

    ( - Paragraph in All-Caps deleted - )

    The source of the increase is methane gas.

    There is methane pouring into our seas from leaky oil wells and exploding methane hydrates, and there are tremendous amounts of land emissions.

    Before this site publishes another word on greenhouses gases you need to do the math.

    Given methane has risen in the atmosphere 140-155 percent depending who you read, and CO 2 has increased only 26% and methane's ultimate oxidant is CO 2, how much of the extra CO 2 in our atmosphere is methane oxidant. One scientist way back in 1972 said that methane produced 25 times the amount of carbon dioxide as cars, and methane has risen astronomically since then.

    Do you want to market a fuel or do you want to save earth. Make up your mind! And by the way the answer is and always has been WATER! Canadian energy companies are moving in that direction, so is Russia by inking a deal with Hydro Quebec to develope Russian water sources.

    The new development that Emera in Canada is putting together is utilizing two waterfall in labrador to produce a ton of mega watts daily. How about checking out the American Niagara Falls. Remember Tesla. The answer is water, macro and micro water power, in our streams, rivers waterfalls real and maufactuired, in our tides and waves. It is the lady, all the rest are tigers. Until I hear the word water out of this site, you are marketing, not trying to save Earth.

    Andrea Silverthorne
    Moderator Response: [DB] Please limit the use of all-caps to perhaps a word or two (Comments Policy). Please also furnish links to sources (preferably peer-reviewed studies) that support your above contentions. Remember also the topic of this thread, as much of your comment, as it currently stands, is off-topic here. Thanks!
  45. Those who contribute the least greenhouse gases will be most impacted by climate change
    Marcus : the energy intensity in the 50's was not very different from the current one. It means that the "extreme wealth" of France or Great Britain is just the current one scaled by the energy consumption. Are you living here ? do you have parents or grand parents able to tell you how exactly they lived then? I have. In the 50's, they just escaped from the WWII, before the green revolution. France was still essentially an agricultural country, many people lived in farms with no electricity, no telephone, no car, no fridge, no TV of course. The great changes occured between the 50's and the 70's, with a considerable mutation in the society. Probably the energy consumption per capita peaked around 70's, before conservation measures following the oil shocks improved it. So i am not saying that all improvement is impossible. I say that the current way of life is not possible with a minimal amount of FF, well above the world current average.

    Concerning your figures : energy is measured in TWh or Gtoe, not GW - you must mix up with peak power capacity.

    M. Sweet : I know France - i'm French actually. The low CO2 production is obtained through the use of 80 % nuclear power (and a general better use in Europe than in US, due to their history and more concentrated cities and smaller distances between them). But note that if the whole electricity should be produced by nuke worldwide , it would exhaust the known uranium reserves in 10 years or so - not to speak of minor inconvenience of nuclear plants we can see currently. And despite this high level of decarbonated electricity, the FF consumption in France is by no means negligible - we still drive, heat our houses, and cook with oil and natural gas.


    Heating is interesting for instance : due to the high nuclear electric production , people were encouraged to adopt electrical heating (which is a heresy if electricity is produced by FF). The problem is that heating in winters produce spikes in the consumption in the evening, where everything is cold and dark outside. Often few wind , too. And nuclear plants cannot respond fast enough to adapt the production to these spikes - so we use .. thermal plants. Sigh , the total yield of producing electricity from FF for heating is much worse that the direct use of these fuels...

    Les : "
    Not to mention, for example, China - which was far more wealthy than Europe upto the 1800s, the Abbasid dynasty in the middle ages... ahhh Rome, the British Empire etc. etc.

    It is really, really important that people see the FF based age as just one age amongst many - not the first nor is there any good reason to believe it's the last."

    I agree with that - it's only that all these "wealths" were all of the order of that of the poorest countries in the current world, and in all these civilizations, without any exception, the great majorities of people were poor peasants surviving with fluctuating crops and regularly decimated by famines, droughts, epidemics, and wars. Check YOUR history.
  46. Those who contribute the least greenhouse gases will be most impacted by climate change
    27 adelady: Well, to twist an old phrase, We are born with some choices already made, some choices we can make, and some choices are thrust upon us.

    Oil is a fabulous product. It's one of those products (like e.g. MS Windows) which feeds into a vast number of markets from a point of supply which is relatively narrow and not very competitive (some are born with oil, some find oil, most don't have any). The result is a self catalysing market, the more it's used, the more ubiquitous it becomes, the more uses there are for it etc.

    You are right about the "fuels" point, of course, but that's one place there may new problems. The rest of the petrochemical industry depends (as an economic externality) on oil being extracted and refined to subsidize their raw materials. Once the use of oil in fuels collapses (I had the word tipping point, but that) these other industries will become much expensive. If we're really unlucky, that'll happen after all the easy to reach stuff is extracted, exacerbating the situation.

    Given the inevitability of F-Fuel use going down sharply over the next years - the rest of the petrochemical industry should be campaigning like crazy to preserve the hight quality, easy to extract sources!

    bit off topic. sorry.
  47. The True Cost of Coal Power
    Another thing which always seems odd to me when considering cost comparisons between fossil fuels and alternatives is that they ignore the fact that fossil fuel prices will inevitably keep rising over time.

    For instance, to determine the 'cost' of electricity from a solar power plant you essentially calculate the construction cost, add in a small cost for ongoing maintenance, assume a lifespan of about 30 years and then divided the power to be generated over that timespan by the calculated cost. Cost estimates for coal plants are calculated very similarly, but there is one very large additional cost... you have to factor in the coal itself. Yet when doing so comparisons invariably seem to use the current cost of coal extended over the lifespan of the plant. Which is simply unrealistic. If one instead assumes that coal prices continue rising at the rate they have been and then uses an average price over the plant's lifetime then wind and solar power are already cheaper than coal power... even without considering the externalities described in the article above. They'd start out being more expensive, but by the end of the plant's lifespan rising fuel costs would more than offset the difference.

    That said, there are now a few places in the world (e.g. Hawaii, parts of Italy, Southern California) where solar power has dropped below even current fossil fuel costs (again without considering externalities). As solar prices continue to drop that'll be true of larger and larger areas. Most estimates put global average solar cost dropping below fossil fuel costs during this decade... again even assuming that fossil fuel costs were to magically stop rising. Factor in the inevitability of fossil fuel prices rising as supplies decline and the externialities and it seems inconceivable that people are still pushing fossil fuels.
  48. Harry Seaward at 23:38 PM on 18 March 2011
    And so castles made of sand fall in the sea, eventually
    Sea level has been rising steadily at 2mm/year historically. Has there been a verifiable increase in that rate recently?
    Moderator Response: [DB] This thread is about the impacts of SLR. For an answer to your question, please see the sea-level-rise-predictions thread where that is discussed. Pertinent for thought is comment number 6. Thanks!
  49. Arkadiusz Semczyszak at 23:38 PM on 18 March 2011
    Examining the impacts of ocean acidification
    What scientific "foundation" has the claim: ” The implications of all of this are disturbing ...” ?

    Ocean acidification, Gattuso, 2010.:
    “Surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.25 to 8.14 between 1751 and 2004 and may reach 7.85 in 2100.”
    “Although changes in the carbonate chemistry are well known, the biological and biogeochemical consequences are much less well constrained for several reasons. First, very few processes and organisms have been investigated so far (research in this area only began in the late 1990s). Second, most experiments were carried out in the short-term (hours to weeks), effectively neglecting potential acclimation and adaptation by organisms. Third, the interaction between pCO 2 and other parameters poised to change, such as temperature , concentration of nutrients and light, are essentially UNKNOWN."
    “It is not anticipated that oceanic primary production will be directly affected by these changes in carbonate chemistry because most primary producers use carbon concentrating mechanisms that rely on CO 2. Note, however, that primary production of some species is likely to be stimulated.”
    “Note, however, that some calcifiers either do not show any response to increasing pCO 2 or exhibit a bell-shaped response curve with an optimum rate of calcification at pCO 2 values close to current ones and rates that decrease at pCO 2 values below and above the current values.”
    (...)
  50. Those who contribute the least greenhouse gases will be most impacted by climate change
    les "... people see the FF based age as just one age amongst many - not the first nor is there any good reason to believe it's the last."

    Even more importantly, the FF era was a choice. When I was a toddler in the late 40s in a rural area, our neighbours used 'windlights'. Ordinary windmills ran lighting and recharged car batteries to allow lighting when the wind died down. Large wind power generators were around in the much earlier part of the 20thC in the USA.

    We "chose" to develop power generation by combustion of fossil materials rather than develop existing engineering capacities in other ways.

    The other thing we should do is stop calling them fossil "fuels". They're valuable carbon resources and the very worst thing we could possibly do with them is incinerate them. Now that we've seen the marvels of carbon fibre technology, we can only dream of what further marvels can be performed with these materials.

    We always have choices. We should choose more wisely.

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