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Thursday, November 29, 2012


From the Met Office above, and National Climate Data Center below:

20 warmest years on record (°C anomaly from 1901–2000 mean)

Both of the above are global averages.  The record keeping goes back to 1880, and the only alien to make the hottest dozen was 1998.

These headlines keep appearing:

Study Finds Surprising Arctic Methane Emission Source

Sea Level Rise Accelerating Faster Than Initial Projections

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Has Jumped by 20% since 2000 

Global warming is 'causing more hurricanes'

Hottest Year On Record In The U.S. Might Still Be 2012

With those headlines, the continuing drought, Hurricane Sandy, and the second term of Barack Obama, you would think that finally, finally, the necessary and monumental changes will come from  decision-makers.  I wouldn't be so optimistic, for corporate and government leaders, when it comes to any monumental financial issue, are like reasoning with a young child or cat.  Compelling logic does not work.

The United Nations continues to try, with their 18th attempt, now ongoing in Doha, Qatar,  the country with the highest carbon emissions/capita.  Many wonder about the sanity to pave the way to a new Kyoto Protocol here,  but two years ago in the Huffington Post I published:
This is a country with perhaps (there are innumerable efforts to rank countries) the highest GDP/capita, at $143,000.  The USA, incidentally, ranks #9 at $47,000.  Qatar is a constitutional monarchy, where Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the ruling Emir, is a mostly benevolent dictator.  Thus, he can determine visionary courses of action if so inspired.  I was paid to go there in 2010 to help advise the Emir on their future in energy.  HuffPo provided my personal recommendations, written almost in desperation, for the advisory group just wanted to continue to meet to build credibility.  The solution was clear to me, the timing I said was now and the way to do it was to immediately convince the Emir.

Coincidentally, Tom Burnett referred me to an article by Michael Klare reviewed by (no relation to the other Tom), with the admonition (by Tom B.) to largely ignore it (this article) because the bottom line was not pessimistic enough.  Klare, a professor of peace and world security at Hampshire College, recently published The Race for What's Left:  The Global Scramble for the World's Last Resources.  A book review by The  New Republic indicated that the publication possessed an apocalyptic sense of urgency.

This theme comes at time when three polarizing issues are beginning to command the headlines:

1.  The Keystone Pipeline, where the energy returned on energy invested is very low (3, versus coal at 80, oil 35, wind 18, photovoltaics 7, ethanol from  corn 1.3).

3.  Brazil's development of their 50 billion barrel Lula (formerly known as Tupi, and is the western world's biggest discovery in 30 years) reservoir.  The problem is that, while the Deepwater Horizon debacle in the Gulf of Mexico was only one mile from the surface, the Brazilian Adventure will start four miles deep (6600 feet of ocean and 16,000 feet of rock) from the source.  And, get this, the UPPER estimate of the petroleum recoverable is sufficient to supply world demand for THREE  MONTHS!

4.  The plan of HawaiiGas to import liquified natural gas.  HG is a subsidiary of Macquarie Infrastructue Company, which began in Australia as a subsidiary of a London financial organization.  If you clicked on that article, you would have noted the following:

  The state is aiming to achieve 70 percent clean energy by 2030.

In a campus presentation yesterday by a Hawaiian Electric Company representative, our conclusion was that this goal was ONLY for electricity, which is 33% of our consumption.  Jet fuel by itself is 34%.  Then there is ground transport.  That 70% by 2030 is very misleading, for there is absolutely no way that we can reach 70% of total energy use in 18 years!  Well, maybe one way:  if oil suddenly jumps to $200/barrel (it is $88/bbl today), that is the equivalent of $4.76/gallon, and it might be possible to produce biofuel substitutes in the range of $4/gallon in a decade.  Not impossible, but certainly optimistic.  Then, it won't matter, anyway, for the world will be in depression, and Hawaii will be the first to go, for our entire economy is dominated by tourism.  It's already too late for the hydrogen-powered air travel.

The overriding theme of this article (Klare photo to left) and book (he does not mention Hawaii, although the link to HawaiiGas is clear) is to cast doubt about the wisdom of willy nilly maximization of fossil fuel development.  The problem is global heating:

1.  The International Energy Agency (primarily an oil organization) predicts a 6.5 F rise in temperature by 2100, while the World Bank says 7.2 F might be possible.

2.  There is the danger of a runaway effect leading to the Venus Syndrome, exacerbated by marine methane hydrates being released into the atmosphere.  Methane is 25 times worse for the Greenhouse Effect than carbon dioxide.

I had at least a half a dozen to list, but by now you surely got the message.  I need to head for my hand doctor's office to determine the future of my thumb (and it is a real challenge to use a keyboard with this handicap), so I might later complete this posting.  (Okay, just returned.  Think I'll post a short article tomorrow on "The Future of My Thumb.")

However, let me end with these statistics from Forecast and Facts:  27% of TV meteorologists call global warming a "scam," while over half deny that humans are the cause.

So late in the season, but there is a 55 MPH tropical storm, Bopha, way west of the Philippines.  Current projections show a strengthening to Category 3 status and a track directly to Manila.

Landfall has been predicted for December 4 at 114 MPH.


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