Thursday, May 17, 2007

Weather, Water, Energy 5-17-07

  • Start with some promising news for a change. David Roberts at Grist highlights some analysis that indicates that the rate of growth of solar, if maintained, will make it the dominant energy source in a generation, and goes on to explain why. (They're already getting the idea even in the sun-challenged Pacific Northwest.) And here you'll read about "flying wind generators," which sound Harry Potterish but are real, might work, and be cool.
  • Meanwhile, from our "leaders" in DC: "The Senate, after one of its first full debates on global warming, on Tuesday defeated a proposal requiring the Army Corps of Engineers to consider the impact of climate change in designing water resources projects. . . . The proposal would have directed the Army Corps, in drawing up future projects, to use the best available climate science to account for climate change on storms and floods." What's that, you ask? Why, yes, Jim Inhofe (OK-REPUB) was the leader of the charge to defeat this. There goes that "positive" stuff. And the head of the National Hurricane Center says the Busheviks are shafting the agency of operations funds while they PR themselves around. Imagine that.
  • While the Senate fiddles, a report that the Southern Ocean has just about reached its satiation point in CO2 absorption. Wonder if that got built into the climate models. So they might be even more conservative than they've seemed to this point??
  • Among people who see reality: "Top scientific bodies called Wednesday on world leaders gathering at a G8 summit next month to tackle the twin issues of energy security and climate change. 'The problem is not yet insoluble, but becomes more difficult with each passing day,' said the 13 national science academies of the Group of Eight industrialised nations and five developing countries in a joint statement." Mayors of some of the planet's largest cities are at least trying to fight back against the warming, glomming onto Bill Clinton's latest "carbon offset" variation. Better than nothing, even if it is an offset.
  • Joseph Romm at Climate Progress is still doing his good work, especially a takedown of idiot Richard Lindzen.
  • In Australia, they may be attaching their hopes to "wave energy" which could also get them moving even more into water desalinization, which they need big time right now.
  • Repubs are starting to tizzy about the Russian lead into the energy resources of the Arctic Circle. Not that it's irrelevant, but finding more oil up there isn't exactly what should be front-burner right now. Of course, being Repubs, they'll play it for all the fear they can squeeze out of it and to divert us from important things, like they always do.
  • What's the likely impact of all the dust, soot, and aerosols being belched out of Asia right now? Well, we don't really know, so a team of US, China, Japanese, and S Korean scientists are going to spend the next couple of months studying. I'm sure they'll all agree on the final report once their political overseers have vetted it, too.
  • Finally, déjà vu all over again. Great article here on the tactics used by ozone hole deniers starting 30 years ago (h/t Only in It for the Gold). Exactly the same rhetorical strategies being pulled now on global warming (see "Lindzen" above). The sad part about this article is that it was obvious the repeat was going on 20 years ago as the first warming research hit the news. I know because I did a book review for a journal on Stephen Schneider’s first global warming book and made the same point there. The fact that the same people who were wrong about the ozone hole were the ones condemning the warming research and using the same arguments to do so actually was one of the first reasons why I bought into global warming as a strong possibility of being true. Had we understood and acted strategically on this two decades ago, we could be at the point where we were only arguing about solar or propelled wind. Historians with their “the present is too new and open to interpretation to talk about” BS have so ruined this country’s ability to think intelligently about things like this. In any case, this article lays it all out and, if you only have time for one thing to read today, this should be it. Won’t take long but it will stay with you.
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