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Heads in the Hot Sand at Copenhagen

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It seems very fashionable at the moment to cast doubt on the science associated with climate change, even to argue that there is some global conspiracy amongst the thousands of scientists working with the data to mislead us, to coerce us into changing our lifestyle, and to excessively govern our actions. Such an action is of course seen as a violation of our rights, and we are encouraged to become indignant and hostile to it.

Of course, everyone acknowledges that there is something going on with the weather, that the polar ice caps are losing some of their ice, that the sea is warming up, and that the carbon dioxide level is increasing in the atmosphere. Many also concede that weather systems seem to be becoming rather more unstable and accept that there has been an increase in the number of serious hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, droughts, and violent storms. And yes, it's true that habitats are disappearing leaving some species on the verge of extinction.

But, the argument goes, it's just a natural process, something that happens to the world in cycles, and we'll just need to ride it out and everything will be fine again. For every piece of research or data that shows the seriousness of the problem, there appears to be someone else willing to say that the science is either wrong or insufficient. The idea of doubt in the data is a very powerful mechanism for getting people not to believe any of it.

But let's think about that doubt for a moment. Science is of course full of doubt: if there weren't doubt, science would just stop. Scientists are driven by doubt, by wanting to understand things fully, and in the case of climate change, no scientists would be satisfied that they had all the data they wanted. But doubt doesn't at all imply that the data is inadequate to inform a decision. We can have sufficient data to be sure of the right thing to do, long before we have sufficient data to say we fully understand the problem.

Think about going to the doctor. How would it be if the doctor said he wouldn't treat you until he was 100% certain of what was wrong with you. He would embark on a long series of exhaustive tests, and each time he had the slightest doubt, he would insist on doing more. He would discover that there were certain cycles that occurred in the human body and explain away symptoms as nothing to worry about, just a natural consequence of being human. As the symptoms accumulated though, he would find it difficult to explain everything, but being resourceful he would come up with more and more theories to test out. Meanwhile, you are still ill, and getting worse, but that's OK because you are now providing more and more symptoms for the doctor to analyse. Of course he would only be really sure of his results at the autopsy.

Fortunately, medicine doesn't work like that and neither does climate science. Doubt and skepticism about the results are really important drivers of the scientific process, but so are responsibility and the willingness to draw conclusions. We cannot dismiss the accumulated evidence of climate change caused by global warming, and now most people, even politicians, accept that it is reality.

So what about the causes? Well there have been argument, discussion, debate and challenges among the climate scientists for more than a decade, with theories counterposed and evidence attacked and defended. That's the way science works. It simply isn't the case that the scientists all came to the same conclusion and agreed to promote it. There was an enormous struggle among scientists over years and years offering different theories and recommendations.  That's what drove the research.

There were theories and rows about the Milankovich cycles, about solar activity, about which, if any, carbon sinks were important, about the changes in the Gulf Stream, about patterns of El Niño and La Niña, about alternative greenhouse gases, about the accuracy of the climate record, from tree rings to ice cores, about the heating currents in surface waters, about methane and water vapour, about medieval warm periods, about changes in agriculture and industry, and more and more and more.

For each and every issue, each alternative theory, each objection, there were studies and data collection, tests and retests, using statistical models, computer models, direct observation, and analysis of historical records. An enormous collection of data all over the world, so much in the public domain that it would be inconceivable for anyone to have either the time or the power to coordinate a conspiracy. The datasets are public, the debate is public, the politics are public.

No one who has considered the evidence can doubt that carbon dioxide build-up is the major cause of the problem. Nor can they doubt that human activity is at its source. And yet somehow, we still have folk who insist it's a conspiracy, that there are people trying to force some form of government on them, so they go on the attack. They label the science "junk science," claiming that the presence of doubt is enough to justify rejection of the evidence.

At least one UK broadsheet newspaper carried absurd articles from people who believe that the communists from Eastern Europe infiltrated the green organizations and that they are conspiring to introduce a communist world government. Anywhere else, such an opinion would elicit laughter and derision, but by playing on the notion of doubt, sensible rational discussion is subverted. Such paranoia should be dismissed as the ludicrous distraction it really is.

Copenhagen failed the world by not reaching an agreement. It wasn't a triumph for Obama, but a defeat for everyone. Even their notional target of a rise in global temperatures of 2 degrees was not acceptable to the leaders of the big industrial nations. Even if that target is reached, it will mean hurricanes, floods, drought, starvation and disease for millions on the planet. The politicians were well aware of that but didn't want to upset their voters and their power backers. They need to persuade the people who put them there not to throw them out for saying things they don't want to hear.

That means challenging people's understanding of what democracy is really about. We don't elect representatives to do what we want, to pursue our own interests against others. We elect them to represent us, to take decisions on our behalf because we trust their judgment. We expect them to be more informed about issues than we can be ourselves, to act with courage and honesty in facing difficult issues. We want them to weigh the evidence, often accepting that we ourselves won't have access to all of it. We expect them to go against our wishes when it is important to do so for the greater good.

Unfortunately, the politicians know only too well that if someone tells their voters that they have to use less fuel, to cut down on their consumption, to limit what they do, the chances are that they will be kicked out of office. So fickle is public opinion, that even politicians who manipulate it so effectively, cannot really trust it and that's why so many of them buried their heads in the hot sand at Copenhagen.  So, climate change will get worse and the political consequences will lead to more conflict.  Over the next decade we can expect wars over water, mass climate migrations, disintegrating economies, unstable world markets, and a polarization of countries based on their climate interests, perhaps even climate-inspired terrorism.  Perhaps there will be more disasters in the advanced economies, more floods and hurricanes.  And then, when there really is no political alternative, the politicians will reluctantly get back around the table and try to deliver too little too late.

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About Bob Lloyd

  • pablo

    “No one who has considered the evidence can doubt that carbon dioxide build-up is the major cause of the problem. Nor can they doubt that human activity is at its source.”

    Talk about falsehoods, what a bunch of crap. Literally thousands of scientists doubt that carbon dioxide is the cause of global warming, now called climate change by the propagandists.

    In point of fact increased co2 levels in the atmosphere have never preceded global warming in the past, in fact just the opposite is true.

    The conspiracy that you deny is so in your face that you are the one who is in denial Mr. Lloyd.

  • In point of fact increased co2 levels in the atmosphere have never preceded global warming in the past, in fact just the opposite is true.

    Which should tell you that something unprecedented is up, shouldn’t it, Pablo?

  • Priyank Chandra

    Pablo: So true. There is no global warming. No climate change.

    As Jon Stewart once said : “The rising sea levels are because of God’s tears.”

    Hopefully the people on those small islands can evolve gills within a few decades. (unless evolution is a hoax too)

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Pablo –

    If a high CO2 content has never preceded global warming…then what about Venus? Its atmosphere consists mainly of CO2 and a small amount of nitrogen.

    And if you still don’t think anything’s wrong with a high CO2 content in the atmosphere, how about oceanic acidification? When water absorbs CO2, it forms carbonic acid. This is a very slow process, granted, but when the CO2 level of the air raises, the seawater turns more acidic, and the acidification is now proceeding more rapidly than earlier climate change models predicted, according to this article in the Washington Times…oh, we all know that the Washington Times is such a far left-wing extremist rag, but you might learn something from it anyway.

    Or you could peruse this article from England’s Royal Society – but oh, silly me, if someone from England says something it must be false.

    And then there’s this article from Arstechnica, but I’m sure you know they’re just a part of the vast left-wing conspiracy too.

    And while the ocean becomes progressively more acidic, perhaps you can tell us what we’re all going to do when the oceanic ecosystem collapses? Hint: it doesn’t just stop with “don’t eat any more seafood”.

    And one last thing, Pablo – you know all those scientists who are ‘crying wolf’ about climate change? They HOPE they’re wrong – they really do. They WANT to be wrong…but that’s just not what their data is showing them, and they – like me – believe in letting the facts determine what they believe, rather than in hiding their heads in the sand like the climate-change deniers are doing.

  • pablo


    I never said not implied that there is not climate change, climate change is a given, nor did I imply that there has not been global warming.

    Dread, yes there is something up, its called Chicken Little, and it was invented by the Club of Rome, Maurice Strong, and the Rothschilds.


    I never give any credence to any article written in a newspaper owned by reverend Moon, that would be crazy. The fact that your last sentence in your little tirade ends with “climate-change” deniers says it all. First off I do not know of any scientists or laymen that are “questioning” whether co2 causing global warming as denying that there is climate change occuring, as it has been occuring for ages.

    The fact that you choose to use that derogatory terminology “deniers” with obvious connotations to holocaust denial, speaks volumes about your hysteria.

  • pablo


    Perhaps Mars and Pluto are heating up because of high concentrations of co2 too!

  • Pablo,

    Mars and Pluto are not Earth, and the reasons why they may or may not be heating up have nothing to do with why Earth is.

  • All you climate change freaks out there. Have you ever heard of rushing the job? Climate change is being used by the control freaks in the CFR etc., because it is a convenient tool TO EXERCISE CONTROL OVER YOUR LIVES! Don’t any of you get this at all?

    The nature of control needed to deal with a real threat to the climate would be dictatorial. If you don’t believe me, pick up a science fiction novel written around 35 years ago called “Heat” which does describe the kind of dictatorial control needed.

    The problem here is that the control freaks can’t wait. So, they fudge the numbers, and shovel the shit and manipulate the media, and try to hustle a treaty that would indeed be dictatorial down your throats.

    There is major degradation to the environment, and it has been caused by the same capitalists who are now trying to screw you all over. But that is not the issue. The issue is that the proof is just not all in because of things like global dimming which hides a lot of the symptoms by cutting sunlight. And these control freaks have another agenda going of imposing some kind of dictatorship by x date – so they want to rush the job.

    They made the commercial, they but never watched – “We shall serve no wine before its time.” They are looking to serve unripened grapes and want to call it wine.

    And suckers like y’all buy into the bullshit. What fools you are!

  • Ruvy, your theory might make a tiny bit more sense if the heads of state had actually ‘agreed’ to a stronger deal at Copenhagen that would have given them that sort of control…

  • your theory might make a tiny bit more sense if the heads of state had actually ‘agreed’ to a stronger deal at Copenhagen that would have given them that sort of control…

    They tried, DD, they tried. The implications evolving from a successful treaty would have led to this dictatorial control by local jurisdictions. But they failed. There is no honor among thieves and that was the big lesson to be drawn from Copenhagen. There are no heads in the sand, except those of the fools who buy this bullshit lock, stock and scandal – like the author – and you, Priyank and Glenn Contrarion.

    If these guys can’t cut a deal on climate control, they’ll cast about for something else – like “smart cards” embedded in your skin to allow the government to trace where you go, while allowing you the “convenience” of buying, selling and having your medical records read easily.

    All these things described are means of control, and the unfortunate thing is that they are not science fiction. They are being developed as I type this comment.

    Even the “security” at airports (talked about in a different article) is a primitive form of this control. But it is truly primitive and reactive, and does not really give a control-minded regime the power it needs; all it really does is discriminate against non-whites in American airports.

    Which is why Priyank wrote that article. That is how all this affects him.

  • Priyank Chandra

    Being a non-American who lives half the world away, in a quiet city in India, I certainly do feel indignation at any attempt of the American government to control me.

    Thanks Ruvy for the heads up.

  • [In point of fact increased co2 levels in the atmosphere have never preceded global warming in the past, in fact just the opposite is true.]

    Pablo, that’s just untrue. At around 65 million years ago, there was a very abrupt increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (thousands of ppm) that led to a very rapid rise in temperature. Then again at 55 million years ago, the surface temperature of the earth rose by 5-10 degress – the evidence was from the Ocean Drilling Program cores from the Shatsky Rise (32N 158E) and it corresponded to a rapid increase in carbon dioxide in the sea. Around 3000 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide had been injected into the atmosphere. We even know the source of the carbon: the north and central atlantic, and a region off the coast of Norway.

    But you’re right that the role of carbon is complex. It gets absorbed by animals who use carbonates for skeletons, it forms carbonates which sediment, it gets soaked up by plankton that are in turn affected by sea temperatures. Sediments produce fixed carbon in the form of coal and oil. Living organisms acts to fix carbon and remove it from the atmosphere, as well as contributing to it by respiration. And the changes are of course not instantaneous – they took place over decades. And when there is a complex cycle, you can’t expect to say simply A (on its own) caused B. But you can with certainty say that an increase in the atmospheric carbon dioxide always caused a tendency for increased temperature.

    During various periods of cooling, counteracting tendencies came into play too. For example, an increase in the ice pack reflects more of the sun’s energy back from the surface accelerating a reduction in overall temperature. An increase in carbon fixing reduces carbon dioxide reducing the greenhouse effect causing cooling. It’s a dynamic system which is why we have to use detailed climate models to take into account the size of all these effects.

    That’s been done. The carbon cycle is fairly complex and it’s too simplistic to simply say that CO2 is not the problem. Whichever way you cut the data, the overwhelmingly important factor is CO2. The objections that are now being raised by the deniers have already been anticipated by climate scientists who have investigated the size of these factors and the effects they have on climate. The data is there to show which ones are more and which ones are less important.

    By the way, Venus is an excellent and extreme example of what happens in the greenhouse effect. When it lost its water, there was nowhere for the atmospheric CO2 to go and it now forms 96% of the atmosphere leading to a surface temperature of around 460 degrees.

  • Reads above like Ruvy has read Michael Crichton.

  • pablo

    Bob Lloyd:

    The primary reason that Venus is so hot has to do with how close it is to the sun, so the last sentence of your diatribe is disingenuous at best. I have never argued that co2 in enough concentrations will not act with a greenhouse effect, however that is not the case currently.

    As I am obviously not a scientist I can should you desire quote numerous climate scientists who say that co2 levels increase after warming and not before it.

    I stand with Ruvy on this issue, and I will be the first to say, unlike all of you human caused global warming freaks to say that I may be wrong. Again the fact that you use the word deniers as a cute disparaging colloquialism does not help your case.

    The fact is that the human cause global warming community has done everything in its power to stifle open debate on this issue, up to and including the fraudulent criminal activities revealed in Climategate.

    Yes there is a conspiracy afoot to track your every carbon footprint via rfid tags, and it is not to save the planet. It is to enslave you, the fact that you cannot see this obvious tyranny only leads me to believe that perhaps you need enslavement, as you are so quick to lick the boots of your master.


    Your comment in 9 speaks for itself, and does not even warrant a response, except to say the following; the sun is the primary cause of warmth in our solar system, not co2, and the primary cause of hot air is coming from your own ignorance which I see on this issue in spades.

    When someone such as Gore speaks lies on a continual basis concerning this issue, and positions himself to reap billions he does your cause no favor. When he says that there is consensus on this issue that too is a lie, if he were even a bit honest, which he is not he would maybe try to say that there is a majority, which even that I would debate.

  • Clavos


    Mars and Pluto are not Earth, and the reasons why they may or may not be heating up have nothing to do with why Earth is.

    Good point, Doc, but should have been directed to Glenn, he’s the one who initiated the non sequitur, in #6.

  • Clavos

    Apologies to Glenn (and Doc) — #15 should have referred to Paulie (and was itself a non sequitur).

    In the words of the late Gilda Radner:

    “Never mind!”

  • Scientists are driven by doubt,

    Bob, if that were actually the case in the climate debate then it would have a lot more support. But as has been made clear recently the scientists advocating global warming are driven by politics and fanaticism rather than doubt or scientific inquiry.


  • Clavos

    Just how much anthropogenic CO2 is IN the atmosphere, anyway???

  • [Bob, if that were actually the case in the climate debate then it would have a lot more support. But as has been made clear recently the scientists advocating global warming are driven by politics and fanaticism rather than doubt or scientific inquiry.]
    That’s sad prejudice Dave. Scientists do doubt their own data and check it and challenge each others. Even if they did have a political agenda, the data has to speak for itself. Any colleague would take apart unfounded conclusions.

    And can you really seriously conceive of a conspiracy to promote a universally unwelcome climate prediction, involving collusion between thousands of scientists, all apparently walking into the arms of increasing government power?

    It’s as daft as the one about global warming being a conspiracy to sell low-energy lightbulbs. Whatever happened to that one?

  • Clav, while water vapour is indeed the most dominant greenhouse gas, its effects are exacerbated by adding CO2 to the atmosphere. This is pretty basic chemistry, actually. But the page you linked to seems to discount any potential interaction at all between the two gases.

  • Clavos

    Even if it didn’t, Doc, the percentage indicated, if true, is very low.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Bob –

    You’re absolutely right – and it’s something I’ve pointed out before several times on different subjects…but the Rabid Right is convinced beyond question that this is all some sort of vast left-wing conspiracy.

    And Dave’s no exception. He’s a very intelligent man, but is all too eager to have another cup of the grape Kool-Aid. In a recent column, he claimed that the Democrats in Congress and the White House are deliberately sabotaging the American economy. He’d answer for himself, but if his conspiracy-meter is as pegged as it was a couple weeks ago, then right now he’s probably looking out the window, waiting for the hordes of Democrat-controlled black helicopters coming to take him away, ha-ha, they’re coming to take him away!

    And for Dave – that’s about as close to an insult as I’ve ever posted about a private citizen here or on any other forum or blog. I hope that instead of taking it as an insult, that you’ll perhaps wonder if maybe, just maybe your grand conspiracy theory is a bit too far on the wacko side of the common-sense-o-meter.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Clavos –

    Of course it’s too low to matter, huh? So I’m all ears to hear you explain the (geologically-speaking) VERY sudden rise in the pH of the oceans….

  • [The primary reason that Venus is so hot has to do with how close it is to the sun, so the last sentence of your diatribe is disingenuous at best.]
    Pablo, NASA and four other astrophysics sources I checked confirm that by far the greater proportion of the heating effect on the surface of Venus is down to the carbon dioxide fuelled greenhouse effect. So in the absence of better data from yourself, we really ought to accept that.

  • [So I’m all ears to hear you explain the (geologically-speaking) VERY sudden rise in the pH of the oceans….]
    I think you mean a drop in pH corresponding to a rise in acidity. The deniers have trouble explaining this but it’s quite easy.

    As CO2 dissolves in water it forms carbonic acid which lowers the pH. Normally this is counteracted by marine life such as foraminifera which take up carbon and uses it in the form of carbonates for shells, lowering the concentration and tending to restore the pH. In acid seas, the foraminifera dies off and cannot fix the carbon. Normally, when the foraminifera dies, it sinks taking the carbonate with it to sediment, thus removing it from the sea-atmosphere cycle. Once the seas become acidic, this mitigating factor in the carbon cycle is lost making the problem accelerate.

    And another point re Venus, Pablo, is that if the heating of Venus was mainly due to the proximity to the sun, you wouldn’t have the hottest part of the atmosphere (the troposhere) closest to the surface, just like earth. It’s the greenhouse effect which gives rise to this phenomenon just as it does here on earth. Check it out.

  • [the sun is the primary cause of warmth in our solar system, not co2]
    Pablo, that point of view gets repeated a lot but it’s incomplete. Certainly the energy comes from the sun but because of the reflectivity of the planet (called its albedo) a great deal of that energy would be lost to space rather than warming the planet. It’s the presence of the greenhouse gases, and particularly CO2, that allows the reflected energy to be trapped in the atmosphere.

    The visible light passes through the greenhouse gases on the way in without being absorbed, but the infrared, the radiated heat going back up into the atmosphere, is absorbed and is therefore trapped. That heating of the atmosphere is what keeps our earth temperature warm enough for life to exist – but crucially, also provides the engine for global warming. It’s a delicate balance.

    But it’s quite incorrect to assume that the system only needs the direct heat from the sun. It also needs the balanced mechanism for trapping the heat in the atmosphere – we’re breaking that balance and causing the global warming by pumping the CO2 into the atmosphere.

  • Cannonshop

    #26 Bob, don’t forget geological heating-thanks to massaging by the presence of a large moon and our proximity to the sun (a fairly massive object), the core gets kneaded and stirred (and there’s some evidence it’s also radioactive as hell-more heat!) A not-insignificant portion of our planet’s surface is warm enough to be habitable because we’ve got a hot liquid core-and I don’t think that atmospheric CO2 has much to do with that.

    Also, for the fans of Venus, two words:

    Sulphur, Dioxide.

    The venusian atmosphere has a lot of it, there’s also pressure level differences (the russian probes measured atmospheric density somewhere on the order of the ocean bottom. You’ll be crushed before you burn up on Venus, even with the high sulfuric acid content of the atmo.)

    Pablo: It’s worthless, man, you’re not dealing with science here, you’re dealing with SIN- the world is going to burn because we’re all sinners and we must repent and stop burning things and building things and using technology because technology is evil and the true path is the noble savage (except for the Elite, who are there to tell us all how terrible and awful we are for wanting to have freedom, and to go where we will, and not freeze to death in the winter by the thousands,or starve because large-scale farming is EEEEVIL..)

    In short, Pablo, you’re arguing with Luddites who think food comes off the back of a truck, that they can power a civilization with pinwheels and good intentinos, and that they can “Save de Erf” by imposing their will, and their newly minted ‘morality’ on the rest of us.

    You’re right about it not being science-based, it’s Power-Based for the people calling the shots, but for the rank-and-file followers, it’s a RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE-they get to feel morally superior to someone again after renouncing ‘conventional morality’.

  • Cannonshop

    Extending the rant a little bit…

    The Earth doesn’t need us to save it. Even if it did, we don’t have the ability.

    It would be simpler in terms of something feasable to deflect a dinosaur killer inside the range of the moon’s orbit, than to control what the Climate does, or doesn’t do. (for those who sat and laughed at Bruce Willis’ movie’s bad science, we can’t stop a dinosaur killer. Not even by sending Bruce Willis and some nukes-we lack the capability-however, that’s simply mechanics-with sufficient lead time and effort, we COULD have that capability-it’s just Newtonian physics after all…)

    We can’t fix it, because if the claims of it being cumulative are true, then you have to go back to the start-generally speaking it takes more work to un-fuck something complicated, than to fuck it up in the first place. Something that’s been getting fucked up since, oh…we’ll call it the first large-scale civilizaton that burned wood for fuel and engaged in deforestation to farm?

    Or should we just go to the point the human population broke five hundered million?

    If it’s happening, you can’t stop it-you can only adapt to what’s coming-and gutting your technology base while crashing your economy is NOT going to give you the tools to adapt.

  • the core gets kneaded and stirred (and there’s some evidence it’s also radioactive as hell-more heat!)

    Well, there’s a straw I haven’t seen grasped at too often, Cannon…

    The theory that the Earth’s core is some sort of nuclear reactor and is generating the heat which causes atmospheric warming seems to have originated with an (alleged) Australian university lecturer named Tom Chalko – who actually goes further, and claims that the planet will presently explode because the core reactor is in meltdown.

    When I found that piece I thought it had to be a wind-up, especially considering the date he’d posted it; but then I investigated further.

    Not wishing to poison the well, but Dr (if that is indeed his real title!) Chalko has published a few other things on the web which can only lead one to the conclusion that he is, to put it mildly, a few magma chambers short of a hot spot.

    His wacky ideas aside, there are a number of obvious objections to the notion that internal heating influences climate: not least of which is that the Earth’s core, while indeed very hot, is shielded from us by several thousand miles of rock.

    The rest of your comment, Cannon, is unfortunately just the sort of irrational rant you accuse the other side of (you know, the one that says AGW opponents are motivated by not wanting the excesses of unfettered capitalism to have been the cause of the disaster)…

  • And in response to your #28, I thought it was fairly generally agreed that even if there was a ‘fix’, it’s already too late for that.

    The idea is to mitigate, not to reverse. Of course we’re going to have to adapt – but continuing the way we’ve been going doesn’t look much like adaptation to me…

  • Cannonshop

    #30- Adaptation IS mitigation, Doc. If you’re treating a bullet-wound, let’s say, you don’t give the victim a nice haircut first, or put neosporin on the scraped knee. You deal with the bullet-wound. Kyoto is like treating a scratch on a gunshot victim-the problem isn’t going away, even if you take every car off the road and make everyone pay 50% of their income on electric heat in the winter (from brownout windfarms.)

    Beyond the question of whether it’s happening or who’s responsible, the ONLY way to mitigate it with the global population expansion we’re having (and will CONTINUE to have), is to build our way out-the prescribed ‘remedies’ and handwringing “Sinnerz iz dEstroyin’ da Wurld!!” isn’t going to do that.

    Countries serious about reducing CO2 emissions should be building nuclear power plants as fast as they can (Generation 3 designs or later, not TMI or Tchernobly meltdown-specials with graphite buffers that ignite when they get hot), building Hydro (because unlike wind-farms, Hydro actually works ALL the time, and the maintenance scale’s small enough you don’t burn lots of hydrocarbons going from generator to generator with the lube truck), BUILDING Tidal power, BUILDING geothermal plants (instead of shutting them down), and driving the per-hour cost of Electricity down to the point where you can feasably heat homes on a broad scale for less than Natural Gas or coal plants, without crippling your industrial economy (the economy you need to actually adapt to the changes-poor people pollute more than people who aren’t poor-that’s just a fact.)

    Once your municipal power’s under-cost, you start retiring old systems (like Coal Plants), and replacing them. when all of THAT is done, you might have enough excess to make existing-tech electric transports viable for people who don’t live in human-hive cities. Once existing tech is viable as a competitor…well… it’s like how E-Mail (once the province of networked corporations and the government) has replaced Snail-Mail. The tech will tend to get smaller and more robust with use.

    The other thing is to stop encouraging polluters-that means stop importing goods from countries that either have no environmental regs, or don’t enforce them due to corruption. There’s a list, it actually matches rather well with the majority of the United Nations member-states…


    Got somewhere flat? Roof, maybe, deck? yard? Plant the everloving shit out of it. Find out which plant species have the best carbon-sinking and plant those suckers everywhere that isn’t being used for something else-’cause, y’know, plants consume CO2 and produce Oxygen… Maybe figure out some way to GM crop species so that they sink more carbon into digestable sugars, push nitrogen into the soil, etc. etc.

    THAT’s just using existing technologies, Doc. It doesn’t require trillions in development and decades of lead-time, like trying to build a reliable solar panel that generates a megawatt and fits on your car does, but at least HALF of what I just listed out will get whoever puts it forward bound up in court and dealing with “Environmentalist” protestors, the other half runs you afoul of your Neighbourhood nannie’s association-the ones that want your yard green and the grass no longer than two inches, and NONE of it puts money into corrupt dictators or nanny-state profiteer’s pockets.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    C-shop –

    I agree wholeheartedly that we should be building nuke plants as fast as we can. I might be a far-left liberal, but I also know that modern nuclear power is FAR safer and cleaner than coal.

    BUT there’s NO good reason to stick to a national policy of ‘drill, baby, drill’. If we were to open up ANWAR and they got ALL the oil out of there, it would supply all of America’s needs…for less than five hundred days.

    And please also bear in mind which political party was SO dead-set against improved CAFE and mileage standards for auto manufacturers….

  • Cannonshop

    Oh, a couple more ideas to ponder:

    Stop Dumping Shit in the Ocean. (well…shit might be okay, but antifreeze, used motor oil, transmission fluid, hydraulic fluid, unused polymers and industrial wastes aren’t. Algae eat shit, they produce oxygen and consume CO2…)

    I once saw the Rainbow Warrior coming into harbour-leaving a Rainbow trail behind it from leaky fuel bunkers.

    If you’re going to be an Activist, live the lifestyle you advocate, demonstrate with your ACTIONS.

  • Cannonshop

    #32: why did GM have to be bought out, Glenn? it wasn’t government standards that made people unwilling to shell out for gaz-guzzlers that leak oil. why was Harley in recievership until the nineties? it wasn’t regulations on motorcycles that made riders pick Honda over Harley through the sixties, seventies AND eighties.

    The case for “green” on the consumer level’s been made-people admire the Prius even though the government doesn’t make everyone buy a Hybrid. Fleet and Commercial outfits want fuel efficient vehicles that suit their needs, hence Toyota beating the crap out of Dodge and Ford in the light truck market.

    As for “Drill Baby Drill”, the U.S. used to be a net producer and exporter of petroleum-now we’re a net Importer, and as a direct result, we’re constantly tied up dealing with the Middle East and it’s many madmen. If we have a cushion in the short-term against manipulation by said madmen, we are more secure than having NO cushion. Because of Watermelon Luddites, we’re stuck with the economy Granddad had (Fossil fuels), getting out from under that requires interim solutions. (First, you drive the price down until the Cartels aren’t making money, then you negotiate.)

    Other thing being, you wouldn’t be able to drain the ANWR reserve in 500 days even with unrestricted drilling-the systems just aren’t that efficient. More than likely, if the site’s that poor, you’ll get a few fifty-barrel operators who go broke shortly afterward, and it ends up where it was before. (assuming an EPA that uses the Superfund for more than filing super-lawsuits…_)

  • Cannon, I pretty much agree with everything you’ve said in the last few comments. I’m just mystified by your insistence that Kyoto and Copenhagen were all about hand-wringing and blame-flinging. That’s a strawman if ever I read one.

    And the ANWR drillin’ just sounds like more trouble than it’s worth, even if it would provide some sort of cushion.

  • Is Cannon suggesting than none of those who had participated in those two summits had good intentions? That’s like suggesting that corruption rules and that honor is an exception.

  • JamesB

    In some ways the pitiful results achieved by the politicians in Copenhagen should create some common ground between the climate change lobbyists and the sceptics. Whatever the merits of the science behind conventional global warming orthodoxy, there is no chance whatsoever that the world’s governments are going to unite to do anything meaningful about it. Say you ruled the world and believed absolutely in the global warming viewpoint – you would immediately stop building coal-fired power stations and exploring for oil for a start. Nothing like this is ever going to happen – mankind will be go on exploiting hydrocarbon resources at full tilt until they run out. If you accept that a global deal to cut carbon emissions is pie in the smoggy sky then you can calm down and start to look at what can be done country by country in terms of research, mitigation and green technology.

  • Cannonshop

    Doc, it’s not about what’s there or isn’t there, it’s about getting the opening into the news that OPEC watches-remember Reagan’s “Star Wars” programme? the one that even the scientists working on it didn’t think would actually work, but worked on because they knew the Russians would react as if it just might? They spent their economy into a hole they couldn’t recover from, fretting over something that was a long-shot at best.

    Same kind of game. Threaten to uncap what the Oil Execs claim is a huge hole of petroleum, and they’re going to react-so is the market-because with the THREAT of a big domestic oil supply, the guys who set the price are going to suddenly feel their lever on the Great Satan isn’t all that long-they lose the confidence in their threat of Embargoes, see?

    Even if it doesn’t produce much, the threat is enough that the speculators who drive the market won’t support high per-barrel pricing on crude from the M.E., which, if it had gone through, would’ve put George in a foul odour with the Sheiks, and maybe broken some of their power over the rest of the world.

    It’s not about Having the gun, it’s about making the opportunistic Criminal THINK you MIGHT have it and shoot him if he attacks you.

    It’s not about the Drilling, it’s about making noises like maybe you can, and WILL. The world economy is still driven by that black stuff out of the ground, any replacement’s got to be built by man, ’cause there isn’t an easy source that does what Petroleum does in terms of energy, chemical feedstocks, lubricant applications, etc. etc.

    (Personally, I’d rather save the oil for lubricants and feedstocks, but without a room-temperature, normal pressure replacement at near the same cost, we’re stuck with it until we can actually produce a way around the need.)

    #37 Country-by-country produces more useful solutions than top-down dictation anyhow.