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Climate Science: Revolution is Here


#1

Climate Science: Revolution is Here

Paul Rogers

Heatwaves of more than 50⁰C in Iraq and India in recent weeks are yet further indications that climate disruption is a present-day reality, not something for the future that the world can respond to at leisure.


#2

Blessings to Paul Rogers for insisting that alongside technological change to address atmospheric carbon, we must also end the neoliberal "free market" economy, and we must end war.


#3

It should be noted that for years we have had the technology to make buildings far more energy efficient which means less energy needs to be generated but implementation has been slow. Political and financial barriers remain major obstacles to addressing climate change. What happens in China and India will probably be the main determinants of how high the global temperature eventually increases. We have now reached levels where positive feedback mechanisms such as emissions from thawed permafrost and methane hydrates could come into play in a big way. Needless to say, the Republican Party which is dominated by climate change deniers is in good position to dash any realistic hopes of addressing climate change. These technologies sound promising but they need to be put into the overall context to assess their potential value.


#4

Certainly "cause for just a little celebration", but I'd like to see a more critical view of wind power as regards noise, wildlife harm, etc.

I don't claim to be an expert in this area, but I've seen too many examples of overlooking contradictions in the promotion of what advocates deem an unalloyed good.

In the end, their proclaimed objective suffers from that lack of objectivity. Honest appraisals engender trust, and with it essential popular support.


#5

Ronny Raygun's first act as POTUS in 1981 was to have the White House rooftop photovoltaic array (installed during the Carter Administration) removed. The array was already paid for and the reduced electricity costs it afforded more than offset the cost of minimal maintenance. This was Raygun's first increase in unprecedented Federal spending that over the subsequent 8 years would result in a record number of government employees per capita and a budget deficit bigger than the combined deficits of ALL of Raygun's 39 predecessors combined.

Those Raygun records were the result of reducing domestic programs, many of which had previously reduced energy consumption, AND an expended military that consumed exponentially more energy than it previously did.

Until today's politicians on both sides of the aisle stop their serial praise of Raygun and his "revolution", and start acknowledging the environmental damage his two terms directly and indirectly caused, it will be hard to take any of them seriously when they propose environmental "solutions".


#6

It will not take so much time for the world leaders to accept the irresistible new technology of clean energy that is presented in a webpage that this site says that I can not indicate the link. But if you google "Ahura's Gardoon", you will find the webpage that am not allowed to leave it here for your consideration.

It is a multi mission "Wind Turbine/Electric Wings/Power Storage" device. In fact, it is a unique flying vehicle that will harvest higher altitude wind energy while it is not in service. When they connect together they will create a distributed power plant and/or storage. It is the only common practical solution to energy and its related challenges including climate change.


#7

Could there be a relationship between earth's altering magnetic field, sinkholes appearing everywhere and global warming?

Sinkholes The Groundbreaking Truth

Magnetism Confirmed to Control the Flow of Heat

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/magnetism-confirmed-to-control-the-flow-of-heat/


#8

"split water into its constituents of hydrogen and oxygen, then utilise
micro-organisms that can combine the hydrogen with carbon from carbon
dioxide to produce a range of hydrocarbons which can be stored for
producing energy when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow."

Now for a really stupid question. Why not simply use the hydrogen as fuel? Granted that the calorific value of hydrogen is less than hydrogen plus carbon, but why not burn hydrogen as fuel? After all burning hydro-carbons as fuel releases CO2, even if the CO2 was that sequestered by the algae. C-H compounds are more useful as potential starting members for useful plastic materials, so if we can persuade algae to help us make plastics we can use them to sequester CO2. Just think; coral reefs could be replaced by plastic ones hosting living algae; just a bit of genetic engineering required........................Monsanto, where are you when you are needed (ouch, that brick hurt!).


#9

Potemkin Agreement
The 1.5°C agreement was reached in Paris because more than 100 countries wanted it, being mostly poor and threatened by imminent climate disaster, and understanding we really do need to keep warming under 1.5° at the most. Since they were mostly poor countries, they had no power to both get that agreement AND get any measures to actually reach it. The US above all wanted an agreement—any agreement—so long as it didn’t force any changes whatever in who or what continued to amass power and money. It didn’t want the fuss those 100 countries and hundreds of millions of activists worldwide would continue to raise in the absence of agreement. It wanted just enough in an agreement to make it seem something was happening without that something being enough to change anything. So it agreed to a goal of 2, a mention of 1.5 and in exchange, extorted those countries into agreeing to measures that couldn’t possibly keep the temperature to under 2, let alone 1.5. In fact, 4.5°C is looking like an outside chance with the measures and timetable agreed on in Paris.

The technology to save civlization has existed for a while now, but it’s become increasingly clear over the last several decades that we had almost no chance of holding to any survivable temperature anyway, because of the psychopathy of the wealthy, the right wing, and the corporations that are their tools in controlling the US.

The unwitting/unwilling public is gradually being ratcheted into awareness of ecological reality, but at the speed it’s happening, by the time the public even knows what we should have done, it will be too late to do it. Political chaos, war, collapsing infrastructure and the lag between emissions and effect—the pipeline—will destroy what remote possiblity exists, very soon.

We need to make energy, forestry and agricultural changes massively and immediately to have a hope of surviving. Although there are technological changes happening, and they’re helping, most of the supposed changes in technology Rogers is talking about are just changes in price. The practical combination of hocketed technologies that is the modern renewables industry has existed at commercially viable prices for at least 10 years now—considerably longer when the subsidies and externalities the rich and powerful have built into the system to preserve the status quo are left out. And the physical capability to do what’s needed has been there for much longer—if we were willing.

The main thing price drops do is change the willingness of a society in denial to make needed changes—but still too slowly to matter unless power structures are upended or abolished completely. That’s what we need to talk about, not more superficial improvements in already superb technologies.


#10

George_III wrote:

'"split water into its constituents of hydrogen and oxygen, then utilise micro-organisms that can combine the hydrogen with carbon from carbon dioxide to produce a range of hydrocarbons which can be stored for producing energy when the sun doesn’t shine and the wind doesn’t blow."

'Now for a really stupid question. Why not simply use the hydrogen as fuel? Granted that the calorific value of hydrogen is less than hydrogen plus carbon, but why not burn hydrogen as fuel?...'

Either that or produce electricity in a fuel cell. Actually, the fuel value of hydrogen is greater than that of any other non-nuclear fuel at 121 megajoules/kilogram. Next in line is the hydrocarbon methane, the principal component of natural gas, at 53 MJ/kg. Gasoline (petrol on your side of the pond) comes in at 46 MJ/kg, anthracite coal at 24 MJ/kg, and methanol (wood alcohol) at 20 MJ/kg. Dry firewood makes a poor showing at 16 MJ/kg.


#11

Way off base. The US was the driving force behind the climate agreement. The biggest problem was getting China and India on board. Obama and Kerry did a great job convincing China to join in. These two biggest polluters are now working closely together on fighting climate change. Getting India to join in was more difficult but progress has been made, The goal is to stay under 2C. Staying under 1.5C is an aspiration. To stay under 1.5C emissions would have be reduced about twice as quickly to stay under 1.5C and so far the pledges that were made would only keep us under 3.5C and that does not include positive feedbacks which could increase the temperature another degree or two. So, we are far from where we should be but thanks in particular to the United States we at least may be starting to make progress. If Clinton wins the presidency she will certainly try to keep moving forward on this. She already played a role in 2009 in getting what turned out to be the foundation for the Paris agreement. There will be many meetings in the future to improve the agreement. I think it doesn't help to keep believing in this conspiracy theory that the US government is controlled by corporations. All the evidence suggests otherwise. The US government is in control of itself. Obama has led the way to the historic agreement in Paris. Sorry that his actions do not fit nicely into your conspiracy theory but that is the reality.


#12

And just how do you propose to end capitalism and war? Marx thought capitalism would fall by violent revolution of the proletariate. This happened in Russia and China, but those countries are hardly Marxist today. The American socialist Eugene Debs thought capitalism could be overthrown via the ballot box and Debs ran for president a number of times. Have you noticed elections overthrowing capitalism anywhere in the world?

When in the history of human civilization have there been no wars? In the Stanley Kubrick classic "2001: a Space Odyssey," the first thing our ancestors learned to do after being enlightened by the monolith was to use a bone to beat the crap out of another hominid band for control of the water hole. Once agriculture was invented, status was determined by the amount of land owned. So, people fought to take land from the weaker individuals. The end result was the formation of empires that existed because of military might (see the history of Rome).

It is highly likely that we evolved to fight wars, and although some humans have decided it is better to turn the other cheek, the great majority of humans do not turn the other cheek.


#13

Perhaps the biggest difference between Hillary and The Donald is that Hillary doesn't reject science and agrees with President Obama that climate change is the greatest existential threat faced by the world today. The Donald thinks the science supporting anthropogenic global warming is hoax. The Donald is no different than the medieval Roman Catholic Church that persecuted Galileo for rejecting the dogma of the Church that the sun moves in the sky because the earth is the center of the universe.


#14

Micro organisms? Did you sleep through biology. All green plants use the sun's energy to split water into oxygen (a waste product for the plant) and hydrogen which is then used to reduce carbon dioxide to hydrocarbons.


#15

Have you heard of demographic transition? When a country industrializes and emancipate women, birth rates go down (Russia and Japan actually have negative birth rates today). Third-world countries have very high birth rates and the only way to deal with this is to make sure they become industrialized, meaning they will have to burn fossil fuels. So, there is a big problem. We want to get down to zero population growth, but the only way to do this is to burn fossil fuels so that all those poor nations with high birth rates can go through demographic transition.


#16

Yes, Reagan spent like a drunken sailor to fund an arms race with the old Soviet Union. Because he cut taxes, the US borrowed the money and our debt increased by 300% (Republicans criticize Obama for increasing the debt by 100%).

But the worst thing Reagan did was to introduce the country to supply-side economics: cut taxes on the wealthy to simulate the economy. The result was a massive transfer of wealth from the 99% to the 1%. In 1980, the 1% controlled 25% of the wealth in the country. Because of supply-side economics, the 1% now controls 50% of the wealth in the country. As that leftist, Warren Buffett, says: "It is class warfare and my class is winning." Marx must be rolling over in his grave.


#17

People living near airports suffer noise. People living near wind farms will also have to suffer noise because of the greater good of producing electricity without producing carbon dioxide.

We already kill a lot of wildlife by disrupting the environment (what do you think happens to the ecosystem when virgin prairie is used to plant a single crop species?).


#19

Marx and Debs shared more ideas than they differed. But we shouldn't confuse what people say they are with what they really are. As Lenin accepted in rare moments of truth, what Russia had was state capitalism.

But both Marx and Debs, as you correctly say, met with little success and it would be an interesting debate to discuss why they failed.
One thing they did agree upon that fundamental social change could not be delivered to people from on high. No leaders could bring revolution to the people.
"At the founding of the International, we expressly formulated the battle cry: The emancipation of the working class must be the work of the working class itself."- Marx
"I am not a Labor Leader; I do not want you to follow me or anyone else; if you are looking for a Moses to lead you out of this capitalist wilderness, you will stay right where you are" - Debs
That task was for the people themselves, and so the failure is one of the people to understand and undertake the necessary change to advance their interests - not the Party, not the Politicians.

I don't think we can usefully compare tribal conflicts among hunter-gatherers with modern war between nation states. It is a very speculative hypothesis to say we evolved for war, unless. of course, social cooperation was also a pre-requisite part of evolution for preparing for and conducting war.

We certainly cannot just decide to end wars while the present causes remain. What we can do, though, is decide to establish a society in which war is inconceivable. But when you talk of agriculture/land ownership being a reason for war, you are beginning to express Marxian ideas that the mode of production and the classes they create begin to be the motor of history.


#20

"most renewable-energy sources ... are intermittent, whereas demand is constant"

I beg to differ: Demand is NOT constant, and it can be managed to boot. Moreover demand management, in combination with relatively low-tech thermal energy storage systems, will be less expensive than batteries for at least some time to come. Some fast-responding electrical energy storage is needed today to help stabilize the grid, but large quantities will not be needed until very high renewables penetration (>80%) has been achieved. Hopefully by that time batteries will be a lot cheaper (and cleaner too, I might add), particularly since they will be needed to electrify transportation.


#21

Exhibit One