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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR HUMANITY'S MOST IMPORTANT PROBLEMS: #5 Global Warming

A section in the right column provides my sentiment about global warming.  I wrote that years ago and should update it, as, apparently, 2014 was either the third or warmest ever year since 1891.  In any case, ten of the hottest years have come since 1998.  I hesitate using these type of graphs, but, here is a summary:
One other way of looking at the above is that the temperature of our atmosphere has remained stable since 1998.  You will get this a lot from people like U.S. Senator James Inhofe.

And, can you believe this?  Senator Inhofe was UNANIMOUSLY approved to become chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee.  Who is he?  He wrote The Greatest Hoax:  How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future, published on 7 February 2012.  He blames Hollywood liberals, specifically Barbra Streisand, Leonardo DiCaprio and John Travolta, and extreme environmentalists, like Al Gore, George Soros and Michael Moore, for the scam.  Replied Streisand:

This would be hilarious if it weren’t so frightening. I thank Sen Inhofe for singling me out as a voice against the perils of climate change

For the record, Senator Inhofe, an 80-year old Republican from Oklahoma, is not a climate skeptic...he is a climate warming denier.  He says climate change is the work of God, not man.  He prides himself by saying the footwear he sometimes wears is ostrich, for he has a reputation to maintain.  The Washington Free Beacon (conservative web site) is touting Inhofe for President in 2016.  You thought our U.S. Congress was negligent in not ratifying the Kyoto Protocol?  You ain't seen nothing yet.  The fact that this nonsense can occur in our most distinguished deliberative body is akin to insanity.

Okay, so what about some simple solutions?  Clearly, forgot Congress for the next four to twelve years.  Obama's EPA ploy is high on Inhofe's agenda.  They will neutralize each other, so nothing much will, in fact, happen.  

My first definitely apocryphal simple solution is to do nothing.  The U.S. has done well without signing that carbon dioxide reduction treaty, for even though our population has increased by 25% since 1990, our carbon dioxide emissions seem to now be dropping back to 1990 levels:

Is this because our industries and populace are concerned and sacrificed to lower fossil fuel use?  Well, not really, for coal was replaced by cheaper and cleaner (half of coal CO2 release, but still dirty), fracked natural gas.  If oil prices remain below $50/barrel for decades, fracking and most of the renewables will not be competitive, so look, again, for more coal, and an uptick in carbon emissions.

Well that certainly wasn't a constructive simple solution.  However, as gasoline prices have dropped 39%, from $3.70/gallon in April of last year to $2.14/gallon  (go to HOW MUCH DOES GASOLINE COST in the right column), why not have Congress just add a $1/gallon tax on gas?  Then use this sum to support global research remediation research and provide incentives to wean our country away from fossil fuels.  Stupid me, Senator Inhofe will not let that happen, for sure, as he is, further, particularly hot for the Keystone Pipeline...which is now non-competitive at current prices of oil.  First, it will cost $8 billion to install the pipe, and the cost of producing Canadian tar sand oil is at least $70/barrel.  However, the Republican Congress will pass this bill, for they can use Democrat Obama's veto for later derision when oil zooms back up pass $100/bbl.

Five years ago I published in The Huffington Post:


In short, I said simply to avoid the term "tax" and use "credit,"  for people would not actually be paying a tax, industry would be so burdened, and pass on the extra cost to consumers...which, of course, is the same thing.  Anyway, a 5 cents/pound carbon dioxide credit on petroleum would translate to $1/gallon more at the pump, and coal-fired electricity would increase by 10 cents/kWh.  Why bother to say what to do with these revenues, for the Republican Congress will not subscribe to this proposal, never.

I seem to always be criticizing Republicans, but, for good reason.  Read my HuffPo of 5 May 2011:


Since then, most Republican attitudes about this potential calamity has solidified in opposition to such legislation.  Politifact found that only eight out of 278 Republicans in our Congress had NOT (yet) expressed skepticism about climate change. 

Here is a Pew Research poll:


Finally, compare the above to the wishes of the general public surveyed by Yale University:
  • 77% say the U.S. should use more renewable energy
  • By a 2 to 1 margin, respondents said that America should take action to reduce our fossil fuel use.
  • Only one-third agreed with the Republican Party's position on climate change.  Of course, those were just about all Republicans.
  • A large majority said their elected representatives are unresponsive to their views about climate change.
So what regularly happens?  The public keeps re-electing lawmakers who don't listen to them.  SO BLAME THE PEOPLE FOR THEIR GENERAL IDIOCY!

Finally, there is the matter of geoengineering.  And, yes, there is another HuffPo from almost seven years ago:


More than five years ago I provided some background on the above, and here is a quote from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth:

Seed funds were provided by the University of Hawaii and the Environmental Protection Agency, and we hosted in Hawaii the First Greenhouse Warming Remediation Workshop in March of 1989. The group prepared a $3 million proposal for Year One, which hopefully was to begin in 1991. I went to see Robert Corell of the National Science Foundation, who had been a close colleague of mine when he was at the University of New Hampshire. As an ocean engineer, he was recently named to head the interagency committee on global climate change, a scientific organization. He was mentioned in the quest for the Blue Revolution. Corell’s frank recommendation was to forget remediation at this scale for ten years until the atmospheric and marine scientists had a better handle on the science. 

Provided were some possible geoengineering solutions:
You can add a paper I co-wrote 18 years ago on the potential of OTEC for the mitigation of climate change.  As many are sensitive to the dangers from geoengineering, that posting above went on to say:

Before anyone gets too irrational, let me underscore that no one, not even the most extreme supporter, is even suggesting that anything of any magnitude be initiated today. It wouldn't hurt, though, to set aside a small amount, perhaps 1% of the global change budget, to comprehensively study the more reasonable suggestions, especially reviewing the environmental implications, so that if that one in a hundred chance that a perfect global heating storm (as, perchance, depicted in The Venus Syndrome chapter of SIMPLE SOLUTIONS for Planet Earth) actually happens, we will have a few rational emergency options worthy of consideration.

For completeness, I'm compelled to add, and if you've made it this far, don't fall asleep:
  • From the Natural Resources Defense Council:  each of us should do our little bit, from driving green cars to using mass transport to converting to compact fluorescent bulbs.
  • Our Environmental Protection Agency urges citizens to be conscientious in your home, office, on the road and at school.
  • Greenpeace identifies the problem as fossil fuels, and provides what you can do to reconvert to green.
  • Here is a list of 50 simple things to stop global warming.
  • Scientific American has ten good solutions worth your read.
  • But all the above just does not inspire, so you can, of course, stop breathing.  If everyone follows this piece of advice, global warming will be cured, immediately.  However, that is not a solution, for Humanity always prevails over Planet Earth.

    • Won a Nobel Prize in 2007.
    • Has met maybe too much.
    • Released their 4th assessment in 2007 involving 2,500 experts from 130 countries.
    • Last year released their 5th assessment, which is so complicated that I'm not sure what it said.  
    • The next Climate Summit, known as COP21 (Conference of the Parties, and the 21 means they have met 21 times so far), will be held in Paris from November 30-December 15 this year.  
    • Unless several million people succumb this coming summer from extreme heat, I can predict that nothing much, again, will happen, and there will be many more COP gatherings.
Of course, all the above are absolutely necessary to arrive at a solution, someday.  Humanity prevailed over much of air pollution (although China will suffer for a couple more decades and Japan/Korea will unfortunately catch the secondary effects) and the ozone depletion scare.  While there is that fear of reaching a tipping point where all hell will break loose, chances are some measure of sanity will ultimately prevail, almost surely spurred by mega-deaths.  So, in anticipation of that "hopeful" scenario, here are two simple solutions to prevent catastrophic global climate warming:

#1  Set aside 10% of all global warming research funds for determining possible geoengineering solutions.  My sense is that society will only react when the worse will be happening and we thus will need some immediately workable remedies.  That was my scenario for THE VENUS SYNDROME.

#2  Find a mega-billionaire to fund the Pacific International Ocean Station, leading to 100 1000 MW grazing platforms.  Each will be:
  • Financially  profitable, producing renewable energy, biofuels, hydrogen, next generation fisheries, and the cornucopia of natural marine products.
  • As positioning will be near the equator, hurricanes can be prevented.
  • The support of next generation biomass plantations and other activities will be such that carbon dioxide will be absorbed from the atmosphere.
  • A city in itself, and clusters could form marine nations.  Someday, not advocating this, but a thousand countries in the United Nations, 80% in the ocean.
  • The next economic frontier is not outer space but the seas around us.  Not only can economic development occur in harmony with the marine environment, but global climate change can be remediated.
#2 is the Blue Revolution, which was simple solution #6, and I can only dream about where Planet Earth would be today were the $150 billion spent on the International Space Station went instead to the Blue Revolution.  Just scroll down to the posting of Friday (9January2015).

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Tropical Cyclone Bansi has formed at 150 MPH in the Indian Ocean and is expected to reach Category 5 strength:


The current projection is the eye bypassing east of Mauritius.

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