A second attempt with Blogger. (Now No Longer in Beta) Note: The contents of these pages are my own personal views and in no way represent the views of the agencies for which I volunteer or the countries in which they are based. Peace.

Now with Carbon Free Plutonium

Inquiring minds, like Tom Yulsman, want to know whether nuclear power is as low risk as some people are making it out to be.

Tom, Tom, Tom, just flip the Switch, Man, and Fuggettaboutit 

Posted via email from jcwinnie's posterous

A Better Effort at Building a Low- Carbon Economy.

San Francisco Treehugger Jaymi Heimbuch reports that a carbon footprint analysis of the projects proposed within the economic recovery package, commissioned by Greenpeace, shows that "the stimulus would cut a minimum of 61 million tons of CO2 every year. That is equal to the greenhouse gases from electricity use in 7.9 million American homes or taking over 13 million cars off the road."
An even bigger impact could be made in the Transportation sector.

ICF International – a leader in climate and energy consulting for governments and major companies – conducted the analysis, looking at those parts of the package where measurable greenhouse emissions was possible. Parts of the package where measuring the carbon footprint was impossible were left out. This means about $24 billion of the $51.9 billion detailed in the energy portion of the stimulus package could be quanitified. The findings are something greenies can smile about. This portion of the package equates to eliminating about 61.5 million metric tons of annual CO2 emissions.


“The fact that the federal government could spend so much money and actually help slow global warming means we’ve really turned the page as a country,” said Kert Davies, Greenpeace’s Research Director. “This is a real sign that we’re starting to move beyond the era of fossil fuels.”


The report shows findings such as $2.5 billion spent on energy efficiency upgrades to homes could reduce carbon emissions by 7.3 million metric tons and save $1.25 billion in annual utility costs. Also, a $6.9 billion investment in assisting state and local governments in boosting energy efficiency could mean a $3 billion savings every single year and cut carbon emissions by over 20 million tons per year.

Highlights from the ICF analysis:
  • Energy Effciency Housing Retrofts generate $1.25 billion in savings on a stimulus nvestment of $2.5 billion and save 87.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide over the life of the programs’ energy effciency improvements.
  • Home Weatherization spending of $6.2 billion investment could reduce carbon dioxide emissions by at least 8 million metric tons annually and 131 million metric tons over the lifetime of the insulation improvements.
  • Helping consumers install forescent light bulbs would provide immediate payback in terms of carbon and energy savings.

Green Recovery: A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy
Prepared by the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, under commission by the Center for American Progress and released by a coalition of labor and environmental groups, Green Recovery focuses upon a short-term green stimulus package would create two million jobs nationwide over two years.
After looking at what ICF found, Greenpeace recommends:
  1. Since the job-creation potential of clean energy is virtually limitless, Congress should increase funding for these projects still further. Investments in energy efficiency create 4.4 times the number of jobs as the same investment in nuclear energy and 2.6 times the number of jobs as coal.
  2. Make the renewable energy tax credits recession-proof. Today, some clean energy companies aren’t earning enough profits to pay taxes and claim the credit. Congress should make the tax credit fully refundable.
  3. Eliminate the wasteful and environmentally damaging loan guarantees for nuclear power and liquid coal, which generate far fewer economic and jobs benefits than clean energy.

If funds that Congress has allocated for new highway construction instead went toward highway repair and more development of public transit, then the $30 billion allotted for transportation would contribute more to mitigation of GHG emissions. This is unlikely to happen because of various political influences. Nevertheless, thinking ahead to a new climate bill, such an analysis provides ammunition for the greeniew-weenies to take pot shots at the pricetages on various Congress critters.

Posted via email from jcwinnie's posterous

As the bad news keeps on coming, to include predictive indicators, "Obama stresses urgency of stimulus plan"

BAUAAE == Business As Usual And Above All Else

Posted via email from jcwinnie's posterous

A Snappy Zinger from Fareed

The last plenary session at the WEF last night featured the heads of state of the UK, South Korea, South Africa and Mexico. Fareed Zakaria moderated and gave the panel a zinger of a question.
He asked South Korean Prime Minister Han the following:
Back in 1998, during the Asian crisis, the IMF and other western powers forced a set of prescriptions on Korea which were bitter indeed:
1. Do not rescue failing institutions
2. Do not lower interest rates to near zero
3. Do not spend significant sums to stimulate the economy.
Now that the West is hit with this crisis they are implementing the inverse policies - why?

Posted via email from jcwinnie's posterous

Civil Disobedience at Congressional Power Plant

A national coalition of more than 40 environmental, public health, labor, social justice, faith-based and other advocacy groups today announce plans to engage in civil disobedience at the Capitol Power Plant in Washington D.C. on the afternoon of March 2, 2009. The Capitol Climate Action (CCA), the largest mass mobilization on global warming in the country’s history, reflects the growing public demand for bold action to address the climate and energy crises.

Posted via email from jcwinnie's posterous

The nomination of Eric H. Holder Jr. was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.
(Photo: AFP / Getty Images)

The nomination of Eric H. Holder Jr. finally was approved.  He will be the first African-American attorney general.

It seemed that members of the Senate were O.K. with an Attorney General who would fail to uphold the rule of law and an Attorney General that countenanced torture by a "democracy", but they expressed concern about Holder's position on gun control.

Pros at Pretending

In preface to the article, "A Dismal Climate Forecast from NOAA," the editor of the West Coast Climate Equity blog says, "there have been several hundred articles printed on this subject in the last two days, sources such as the New York Times, ABC News Australia, and the Globe and Mail, plus countless blogs. Our elected officials can’t pretend they haven’t heard this news."

Well, of course they can. This is a free country... for now. Besides, these are "pros at pretending".

NOAA Forecast: “1000 years of wandering in the desert”

From Johnny Rook Climaticide Blog | January 27, 2009

Original story from NOAA published January 26, 2009:

A new study from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has some startling news: some of the effects of global warming are irreversible. Even if we suddenly stopped all CO2 emissions today certain effects that we are already feeling will still be with our descendants a thousand years from now. If we continue to increase our emissions of CO2 the number of irreversible effects will be that much greater.

It is often assumed that if we halt CO2 emissions within the next few years that the world will return to it’s pre-Climaticide state within a century or two. That is not the case according to a report to be published this week [as of 4pm PST the paper does not show up on the PNAS web site] in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Susan Solomon of the Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado.

Examples of global warming effects that will still be felt a 1000 years after CO2 emissions are stopped, include changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level.

According to the NOAA press release:

The study examines the consequences of allowing CO2 to build up to several different peak levels beyond present-day concentrations of 385 parts per million and then completely halting the emissions after the peak. The authors found that the scientific evidence is strong enough to quantify some irreversible climate impacts, including rainfall changes in certain key regions, and global sea level rise.

The scientists emphasize that increases in CO2 that occur in this century “lock in” sea level rise that would slowly follow in the next 1,000 years. Considering just the expansion of warming ocean waters—without melting glaciers and polar ice sheets—the authors find that the irreversible global average sea level rise by the year 3000 would be at least 1.3–3.2 feet (0.4–1.0 meter) if CO2 peaks at 600 parts per million, and double that amount if CO2 peaks at 1,000 parts per million.

“Additional contributions to sea level rise from the melting of glaciers and polar ice sheets are too uncertain to quantify in the same way,” said Solomon. “They could be even larger but we just don’t have the same level of knowledge about those terms. We presented the minimum sea level rise that we can expect from well-understood physics, and we were surprised that it was so large.”

I cannot emphasize too much that Solomon is describing a minimum, conservative, non-real world, best-case scenario. For example, the sea level rise that Solomon and her colleagues describe is only the result of thermal expansion. It does not include sea-level rise from the melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets or Alpine glaciers, which, should they occur, will, because of various feedbacks (reduced albedo, increased and methane release from permafrost melting, as well as other related marine issues not directly related to sea level rise such as ocean acidification) take place much more rapidly and raise the sea level much more dramatically, potentially over decades and by 100’s of feet not the the 3 feet that Solomon is talking about.

What Solomon is saying is that even if we stabilize atmospheric CO2 at 600 ppm by the year 3000, the oceans will have risen 3 feet. If we stabilize at 1000 ppm they will have risen by 6 feet.

One might be inclined to respond to this by saying, “So, what? A six foot sea-level rise over a thousand years. Surely, humanity can adapt to that. And surely it could.

Far more worrisome is what Solomon writes about drought:

If CO2 is allowed to peak at 450-600 parts per million, the results would include persistent decreases in dry-season rainfall that are comparable to the 1930s North American Dust Bowl in zones including southern Europe, northern Africa, southwestern North America, southern Africa and western Australia.

The study notes that decreases in rainfall that last not just for a few decades but over centuries are expected to have a range of impacts that differ by region. Such regional impacts include decreasing human water supplies, increased fire frequency, ecosystem change and expanded deserts. Dry-season wheat and maize agriculture in regions of rain-fed farming, such as Africa, would also be affected.

In other words, if CO2 is allowed to peak at the 450-600 ppm, instead of the 350 ppm that James Hansen (PDF) and Al Gore are insisting upon, (but which many climate scientists don’t believe is possible to achieve–see Joe Romm’s series on this question) we will have inevitably, irreversibly locked ourselves into a 1000-year long 1930’s style dustbowl over a very large part of the earth’s surface. And, remember, that that is the most optimistic scenario. That’s right the most optimistic scenario is one in which large parts of the earth’s surface are a desert completely unsuited to agriculture or human occupation for at least a millennium.

Note: Bill McKibben of is also calling for reducing CO2 to 350 ppm or less.

You can watch Solomon comment Irreversible Warming in the video below:

Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, said [of Solomon's study that] it’s an important message for the wider public to grasp. “This aspect is one that is poorly appreciated by policymakers and the general public: Many aspects of the changes that are slowly coming are not really or practically reversible,” he said.

It’s not hard to imagine how the denialists/delayers will respond to this research. They will focus on the long time period that Solomon and her colleagues consider and will conclude that nothing needs to be done currently, despite the fact that Solomon herself is calling for urgent action.

Note: See the article from the ABC (America) blog The World Newser published January 26, 2009 : Obama Takes on Global Warming (But Here is the Rest of the Story You’re Not Hearing)

As an example here is the reaction of Roger Pielke Jr. one of the most prominent delayers.

Roger Pielke Jr., a climate policy specialist at the University of Colorado, said the study would not likely “change the nature of the debate” about cutting emissions, at least in the short term.

“Decisions are going to be made about mitigation based on short-term costs and benefits of those actions,” he said. “In the very long term, if things turn out to be as bad as projected … then we’ll have technologies to do that.”

The same old denialist/delayer arguments: “It’s too expensive to do anything now, but later we will have miraculous technology that will make all this go away and save us. So, no need to worry.”

Kevin Trenberth, a climatologist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research responded to Pielke Jr. in the following terms:

“The policy relevance is clear: We need to act sooner, even if there is some doubt about exactly what will happen,” he said. “By the time the public and policymakers really realize the changes are here, it is far too late to do anything about it. In fact, as the authors point out, it is already too late for some effects.”

A. Siegel had an interesting post on the NOAA report over at Daily Kos entitled A few decades of prevention vs 1000 years of Hell … I usually agree with Adam on global warming issues, but I have some doubts about his position on this one because I don’t see how we can pull off the prevention part. I am myself a supporter of the 350 ppm target but I have yet to see anyone provide a convincing description of how such a goal can be achieved taking into account both the technical and political (domestic and international) issues. I think that we will be lucky to stabilize CO2 emissions at 450 parts per million, which means, if Solomon and her team are correct, we are doomed to an inevitable worldwide dustbowl, as our best long-range outcome. Far more likely is that things will be much worse because as I pointed out above, Solomon’s forecast is a best-case one, in which most of the terrible things that can happen (and some of which, I believe, are likely to happen) are left out. What we are more likely to get, in my opinion is if I may tinker with Adam’s title a bit “A few decades of prevention AND 1000 years of hell…”

By all means, let us do all that we can, because however bad things turn out to be, they will inevitably be worse if we fail to do everything within our power to contain this monster we have unleashed. But we all need to be realistic enough to know that he battle is no longer between the world that we knew and the one that we have created. Rather, it is between the one we have created and a far worse one that we will create if we do not give our all and as urgently as possible.

Supporting video links from West Coast Climate Equity:

  • John Holdren

    On Global Climate Disruption

 July 04 2008

  • Barack Obama

    Economic Recovery Plan

    Highlights - January 8, 2009

  • Carbon Tax Briefing

    Washington, DC 12/9/08

  • Al Gore at Poznan

    Passionate Plea to Reduce CO2 to 350 ppm

    12 December 2008

  • Barack Obama

    Weekly Address: Economic Solutions

    December 6, 2008

  • Barack Obama

    November 18, 2008

    Ringing remarks at governors climate summit

  • Al Gore

    'Now Is The Time To Prevent A Much Worse Catastrophe'

    ClimateBrad Sept 25 2008

  • Al Gore

    Carbon Companies Guilty of Stock Fraud

    ClimateBrad Sept 25 2008

  • Al Gore

    Clean Coal's Like Healthy Cigarettes

    ClimateBrad Sept 25 2008

  • Al Gore

    100 % of Our Electricity from Carbon-Free Sources

    ClimateBrad Sept 25 2008

  • Al Gore, TED Talks

    New thinking on the climate crisis

    TED Talks

  • The Big Ask

, Friends of the Earth

  • Leo's Film

    Powerful Animation about Climate Tipping Points

    Wake Up, Freak Out - Then Get a Grip

  • Spinning Global Warming

    An Organized Effort to Cast Doubt on Climate Change

  • Psychologist Dan Gilbert

    Part 1

    The Psychology of Global Warming

  • Psychologist Dan Gilbert

    Part 2

    The Psychology of Global Warming

  • James Hansen

    Interview with

    20 Years of Climate Concerns

  • Hansen: Climate Crime?

    James Hansen Speaks Out

    Not facing up to climate crisis a crime?

Er, Mr. President, the Horse has left the Barn

President Obama Weekly Address (Jan 31 2009): ".. even as they petition for taxpayers assistance, wall street firms shamefully paid out $20 billion in bonuses ... the Amercian people will not excuse or tolerate such arrogance and greed .."

Posted via email from jcwinnie's posterous

Geoffrey Styles posts, "We want our stimulus dollars to boost the flagging economy as effectively as possible, without making other problems worse in the future." Oh, so that is why there is $4.6 billion for coal, eh?

Posted via email from jcwinnie's posterous

Environmental Stressors and Addiction

Bruce Alexander is best known - though deserves to be much better known - for the 'Rat Park' experiments he conducted in 1981. As an addiction psychologist, much of the data with which he worked was drawn from laboratory trials with rats and monkeys: the 'addictiveness' of drugs such as opiates and cocaine was established by observing how frequently caged animals would push levers to obtain doses. But Alexander's observations of addicts at the clinic where he worked in Vancouver suggested powerfully to him that the root cause of addiction was not so much the pharmacology of these particular drugs as the environmental stressors with which his addicts were trying to cope.

To test his hunch he designed Rat Park, an alternative laboratory environment constructed around the need of the subjects rather than the experimenters. A colony of rats, who are naturally gregarious, were allowed to roam together in a large vivarium enriched with wheels, balls and other playthings, on a deep bed of aromatic cedar shavings and with plenty of space for breeding and private interactions. Pleasant woodland vistas were even painted on the surrounding walls. In this situation, the rats' responses to drugs such as opiates were transformed. They no longer showed interest in pressing levers for rewards of morphine: even if forcibly addicted, they would suffer withdrawals rather than maintaining their dependence. Even a sugar solution could not tempt them to the morphine water (though they would choose this if naloxone was added to block the opiate effects). It seemed that the standard experiments were measuring not the addictiveness of opiates but the cruelty of the stresses inflicted on lab rats caged in solitary confinement, shaved, catheterised and with probes inserted into their median forebrain bundles.

Source: 3quarksdaily

Posted via email from jcwinnie's posterous

© 2006 Blackbird | Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.
Learn how to make money online | First Aid and Health Information at Medical Health