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Re: GSBN:Re: GSBN Research to combat solar warming



 Hello all,

 I'm just catching up on e-mail that isn't of the "must deal with" variety after an intense couple of weeks of travel, meetings and work. I'll warn you that this is somewhat of a rant, but I'm compelled to add some thoughts and suggest a few resources related to the discussion about global warming as well as nuclear power.

 Before I jump in, I want to offer a short Thanksgiving offering to all of you. Here in the U.S. we have this peculiar holiday during which we are encouraged to be grateful for what we have. And, indeed, I am profoundly grateful for having so many extraordinary, generous, committed, funny, smart and caring people such as each of you in my life. It is a blessing beyond measure and I am filled with gratitude for all the gifts that flow from being in such a community. Thank you all for what you do and for who you are as you do it.

 And I want to thank you, John, for sharing Ian Plimer's article about global warming, not because I think it is accurate or agree with its author, but because I think it's crucial that we all begin to understand these issues at a much deeper level than we have in the past. You've provided an opportunity to delve into something that is extremely important.

 Perhaps I've been involved with these issues for too long to be a completely dispassionate observer, but I simply know too many people of deep integrity and intelligence who have been engaged in the science and work of understanding these issues for decades to have much patience or tolerance for the witting or unwitting distortions of fact that surface so often in these discussions or debates.

 Let me start by pointing out what I consider to be a common and troubling distortion of statistics in relation to the supposed progress in the U.S. over the past few decades. Professor Plimer states:

 "During the past 30 years, the US economy grew by 50 per cent, car
 numbers grew by 143 per cent, energy consumption grew by 45 per cent
 and air pollutants declined by 29 per cent, toxic emissions by 48.5
 per cent, sulphur dioxide levels by 65.3 per cent and airborne lead by
 97.3 per cent. Most European signatories to the Kyoto Protocol had
 greenhouse gas emissions increase since 2001, whereas in the US
 emissions fell by nearly 1per cent. Furthermore, carbon credits
 rewarded Russia, (east) Germany and Britain, which had technically and
 economically backward energy production in 1990."

 Let's be clear, the decline in air pollution, toxic emissions, etc. in the U.S. is due almost entirely to the moving of the vast majority of the dirtiest industrial processes from the U.S. to developing nations (China, Taiwan, South Korea, etc.) where the levels of pollution now exceed those of the worst periods in U.S. history. This makes it appear that we have figured out how to miraculously have this enormous economic growth and increase in production with no accompanying environmental impacts. We all live on the same small planet and if Plimer and others were using global instead of national statistics to examine what has actually happened they would see something remarkably different and more dangerous.

 But there is more to say here. It is absolutely not true that U.S. greenhouse gas emissions have declined since 2001. I don't know where Plimer is getting his facts but the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency among others show a persistent rise in GHG emissions in the U.S. including a 1.7% increase in 2004 alone. Further, small particulate air pollution has increased dramatically in the U.S. and water and air quality levels have been declining in recent years, not improving. Of course airborne lead has dropped - we outlawed leaded gasoline and replaced it with MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) which has led to widespread groundwater pollution. Nothing is said about the disastrous effects of the doubling of biologically available nitrogen in terrestrial ecosystems in the U.S. or the tripling of phosphorous and their associated impacts. One would believe from the above statement that all is well environmentally here in the U.S. which is just not true.

 Plimer says: " Does it matter if sea level rises a few metres or global
 temperatures rise a few degrees? No. Sea level changes by up to 400m,
 atmospheric temperatures by about 20C, carbon dioxide can vary from
 20 per cent to 0.03 per cent, and our dynamic planet just keeps evolving.
 Greenpeace, contrary to scientific data, implies a static planet. Even if
 the sea level rises by metres, it is probably cheaper to address this change
 than reconstruct the world's economies."

 Does it matter if temperatures rise a few degrees? No. NO?! Astounding. If you look at the evidence of the past several hundred thousand years, you see that what has happened in the recent past is unprecedented. It is still shocking to me to see such casual language used to describe anthropomorphic sea rise of 6 meters or more in the next century or two, mass extinctions, collapse of ocean and terrestrial ecosystems, and more addressed in economic terms. Again, the scientific community has a very different take on what this means. Perhaps it is because they don't see the world through an economic lens. The changes that are already taking place are profoundly serious yet don't seem to raise even an eyebrow for Plimer. Of course the planet keeps evolving. And of course life will continue. It just likely will not include our favorite dominant species - homo sapiens sapiens.

 I could write reams more about this. Suffice it to say that the facts I am accustomed to using come from credible non-industry funded sources of scientific study. Even the scientists operating under the suppression of the current U.S. administration are speaking out about the crises we are facing. It is simply not credible to deny the facts any longer, and not responsible to delay acting in direct ways to address this challenges. The very recent Stern Report from the UK focuses primarily on the economic impacts, but lays to rest questions of whether this is real and serious and even Tony Blair made a public statement that this was the most pressing challenge we now face, requiring our full attention. I believe that there are many well-meaning people questioning climate change but the scientific debate about climate change is over. The question is what we will do in response to it.

 Here are some websites I recommend -

 I've recently spent time with Ed Mazria, the founder of the Architecture 2030 and Challenge 2030 efforts - see
 www.architecture2030.org/home.html for more on this. He has convinced the American Institute of Architects and many others to sign on to an agressive agenda to deal with climate change and he bases his work and campaign on non-politicized sources of scientific information (as I also try to do).

 Beyond just climate change are a whole host of other impacts and affects that require our understanding and focus. I highly recommend this website: www.footprintnetwork.org if you are interested in seeing what is happening on and to the planet and why. The newly released Living Planet Report based on the Living Planet Index is sobering. The ecological footprint reports you can download there are equally impressive in their clarity about what we're faced with and what the sources of the problems are.

 And finally, on the subject of nuclear power, there is a good study on the net energy and climate benefits (little if any on both accounts) that makes quite clear that there is no excuse to go nuclear at:
 <a  target="_blank" href="http://www.mnforsustain.org/nukpwr_tyner_g_net_energy_from_nuclear_power.htm";>http://www.mnforsustain.org/nukpwr_tyner_g_net_energy_from_nuclear_power.htm</a>

 I have a close friend and colleague who is among the most rigorous researchers I know, who knows the organization that put out this report and told me that they do high quality work. If he trusts them, I trust them. I would love to see that report being much more widely circulated since the facts about the costs and lack of a clear energy benefit from nuclear power are compellingly weighted against such a dangerous strategy. In fact, I suggest you read it and send it on to anyone in a position to have influence in the debate.

 There is far too much more that I could write on these subjects. Suffice it to say that I continue to read and analyze the naysayers of global warming, peak oil and ecological crises and their information and compare it with the information coming from the scientific community and thus far I remain unconvinced that they are basing their opinions on unbiased factual analysis. We've invented a deeply flawed monetary and economic system that depends on laws and rules that humans have invented and that exist only in our minds through the agreements and beliefs we have made and hold. Those ideas have profound impacts in the geo-bio-physical world, but we can change our minds and our behavior, unlike the laws of physics, ecology, biology, etc. My sister-in-law has a magnet on her refrigerator that says "Gravity - it's not just a good idea, it's the law." We don't get to change those laws. We can change ours and hopefully we see through the illusion of our belief in money as the most important element in figuring out what the problems are, what must be done about them and how to do it.

 No one who knows much about economics considers it a true science. That is not the case for biology, ecology or climatology. I'll side with the overwhelming majority of leading scientists on the planet and choose to act on behalf of life rather than trust people who insist that doing the right thing costs too much and we can just grow our way out of these problems through the market-based ideology that got us here.

 With warmest regards on this Thanksgiving eve.

 David Eisenberg

 -----Original Message-----
 From: jacksflat@...
 To: GSBN@...
 Sent: Wed, 22 Nov 2006 7:57 PM
 Subject: GSBN:Re: GSBN Research to combat solar warming

  G ' day David

 Interesting information that you provided on global warming and at the
 moment our media are in a feeding frenzy re global warming and the
 politicians are jumping aboard the band wagon, elections upcoming next
 year! However our mob are looking at nuclear power stations, some 25
 or so to combat emissions and hence reduce green house warming. Even
 though we have an abundance of coal we also have a mass of uranium

 I have copied an article here from Profesor Ian Plimer a noted
 geologist down under. Ian came and spoke at our Rotary club very
 recently and he debunks in some manner that global warming is caused
 directly by mankind. He claims that there are 27 other reasons for
 the globe warming up. Mainly Mother Earth and the Sun.

 I will continue to look at straw bale building from a cost and comfort
 point of view with the bonus being the environment. However some
 straw bale homes here are costing a whole lot more than conventional
 buildings. Their on going benefits are still the same if designed
 well and save a motza on heating and cooling which is a good thing.
 The bad thing is they are costing far too much to build. Not enough
 qualified straw bale builders around for now.

 I am also told that China is building a new coal fired power station
 every week until 2012! Interesting but confusing times for us green
 builders.

 Kind regards
 John Glassford
 Huff 'n' Puff Constructions
 <a  target="_blank" href="http://www.glassford.com.au/";>http://www.glassford.com.au/</a>
 Mount Kilimanjaro Climb 28/8/07
 <a  target="_blank" href="http://www.coolamonrotary.com/kili/";>http://www.coolamonrotary.com/kili/</a>
 61 2 6927 6027

 Here is an article by Ian Plimer and I would appreciate your comments:

 Global warming a damp squib - Hot or cold

 The Australian

 by Ian Plimer

 January 05, 2006

 HEAT, bushfires. Just another Australian summer, some hotter, some
 wetter, some cooler, some drier. As per usual, the northern hemisphere
 freezes and the blame game is in overdrive. At the 2005 UN Climate
 Change Conference in Montreal, Greenpeace's Steven Guilbeault stated:
 "Global warming can mean colder, it can mean drier, it can mean
 wetter, that's what we're dealing with."

 It is that simple! If it's hot, it's global warming; if it's cold,
 it's global warming. Demonstrators in frigid temperatures in Montreal
 chanted: "It's hot in here! There's too much carbon in the
 atmosphere!" The same apocalyptic Guilbeault says: "Time is running
 out to deal with climate change. Ten years ago, we thought we had a
 lot of time, five years ago we thought we had a lot of time, but now
 science is telling us that we don't have a lot of time." Really.

 In 1992, Greenpeace's Henry Kendall gave us the Chicken Little quote,
 "Time is running out"; in 1994, The Irish Times tried to frighten the
 leprechauns with "Time running out for action on global warming,
 Greenpeace claims"; and in 1997 Chris Rose of Greenpeace maintained
 the religious mantra with "Time is running out for the climate". We've
 heard such failed catastrophist predictions before. The Club of Rome
 on resources, Paul Erlich on population, Y2K, and now Greenpeace on
 global warming.

 During the past 30 years, the US economy grew by 50 per cent, car
 numbers grew by 143 per cent, energy consumption grew by 45 per cent
 and air pollutants declined by 29 per cent, toxic emissions by 48.5
 per cent, sulphur dioxide levels by 65.3 per cent and airborne lead by
 97.3 per cent. Most European signatories to the Kyoto Protocol had
 greenhouse gas emissions increase since 2001, whereas in the US
 emissions fell by nearly 1per cent. Furthermore, carbon credits
 rewarded Russia, (east) Germany and Britain, which had technically and
 economically backward energy production in 1990.

 By the end of this century, the demographically doomed French,
 Italians and Spaniards may have too few environmentalists to fund
 Greenpeace's business. So what really does Greenpeace want? A
 habitable environment with no humans left to inhabit it? Destruction
 of the major economies for .07C change?

 Does it matter if sea level rises a few metres or global temperatures
 rise a few degrees? No. Sea level changes by up to 400m, atmospheric
 temperatures by about 20C, carbon dioxide can vary from 20 per cent to
 0.03 per cent, and our dynamic planet just keeps evolving. Greenpeace,
 contrary to scientific data, implies a static planet. Even if the sea
 level rises by metres, it is probably cheaper to address this change
 than reconstruct the world's economies.

 For about 80 per cent of the time since its formation, Earth has been
 a warm, wet, greenhouse planet with no icecaps. When Earth had
 icecaps, the climate was far more variable, disease depopulated human
 settlements and extinction rates of other complex organisms were
 higher. Thriving of life and economic strength occurs during warm
 times. Could Greenpeace please explain why there was a pre-Industrial
 Revolution global warming from AD900 to 1300? Why was the sea level
 higher 6000 years ago than it is at present? Which part of the 120m
 sea-level rise over the past 15,000 years is human-induced? To
 attribute a multicomponent, variable natural process such as climate
 change to human-induced carbon emissions is pseudo-science.

 There is no debate about climate change, only dogma and
 misinformation. For example, is there a link between hurricanes
 Katrina and Rita and global warming? Two hurricanes hit the US Gulf
 Coast six weeks apart in 1915, mimicking Katrina and Rita. If global
 warming caused recent storms, there should have been more hurricanes
 in the Pacific and Indian oceans since 1995. Instead, there has been a
 slight decrease at a time when China and India have increased
 greenhouse gas emissions. The impact of hurricanes might seem more
 severe because of the blanket instantaneous news coverage and because
 more people now live in hurricane-prone areas, hence there is more
 property damage and loss of life.

 Only a strong economy can produce the well fed who have the luxury of
 espousing with religious fervour their uncosted, impractical,
 impoverishing policies. By such policies, Greenpeace continues to
 exacerbate grinding poverty in the Third World. The planet's best
 friend is human resourcefulness with a supportive, strong economy and
 reduced release of toxins. The greenhouse gases - nitrous oxide,
 carbon dioxide and methane - have been recycled for billions of years
 without the intervention of human politics.

 Ian Plimer is a professor of geology at the University of Adelaide and
 former head of the school of earth sciences at the University of
 Melbourne.
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