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Obama’s “coal bill”
Posted: 14 November 2009 02:40 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Just heard in the news that President Obama wants to reduce US coal production (and consumption) with 20% within 10 years, and he intends to take this proposal to the Copenhagen climate summit next month.

Main argument for opposition (in West Virginia, the coal state) against this proposal is: We don’t have an alternative for coal for our energy production.

Any comments??

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Posted: 06 December 2009 06:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Just to play Devil’s advocate, there is a lot (and I mean a LOT) of money “sitting on the fence”, waiting to see whether it should be invested in coal or other technologies. Coal is (currently) the cheapest, most profitable way to generate power. If the government steps in to change that, more money will flow into the alternatives.

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Posted: 07 December 2009 12:08 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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webtaz99 - 06 December 2009 11:52 PM

Just to play Devil’s advocate, there is a lot (and I mean a LOT) of money “sitting on the fence”, waiting to see whether it should be invested in coal or other technologies. Coal is (currently) the cheapest, most profitable way to generate power. If the government steps in to change that, more money will flow into the alternatives.

That argument works for rich nations only. For those who can only just afford the cheapest energy available the alternative is no energy at all. That, for many, is what alternative energy means.

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Posted: 10 December 2009 07:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Phil’s Dad - 07 December 2009 05:08 AM
webtaz99 - 06 December 2009 11:52 PM

Just to play Devil’s advocate, there is a lot (and I mean a LOT) of money “sitting on the fence”, waiting to see whether it should be invested in coal or other technologies. Coal is (currently) the cheapest, most profitable way to generate power. If the government steps in to change that, more money will flow into the alternatives.

That argument works for rich nations only. For those who can only just afford the cheapest energy available the alternative is no energy at all. That, for many, is what alternative energy means.

The government can’t “change that” except by subsidizing or taxing particular technologies. The underlying real cost remains the same, determined by physics and economics fundamentals. All “the government” can do is distort or conceal that.

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Posted: 10 December 2009 08:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Brian H - 11 December 2009 12:20 AM

The government can’t “change that” except by subsidizing or taxing particular technologies. The underlying real cost remains the same, determined by physics and economics fundamentals. All “the government” can do is distort or conceal that.

That’s right; and if a nation that can only just afford the fuel with the lowest fundamental economic cost is told by the international big boys that it can’t use it, then they are either being told “You can’t have energy” or “you can but only if you get into more debt (to us)”.

That’s why the possibility of small scale distributed 10c energy is so important.

(..and then there are those who can’t even afford the cheapest option right now. I do wonder if people who say we should significantly cut down on energy use ever take a long hard look at countries that are already where they say we should be in that respect)

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Posted: 11 December 2009 02:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Well, you know my take on all that, PD.  We should be using much MORE energy, supplied by FF.  But I worry that we will short-change the atmosphere of CO2. It needs as much as it can get.  If it were possible, we should pump up levels to 1,000 ppm; agriculture and gardening would be SO much easier.  Have to mow the lawn a lot more often, tho’.  cool grin

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Posted: 11 December 2009 07:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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And you know my take on that, PD, from the New Genration thread.  Governments around the world are locked into treaties mandating deuterium-based fusion research, while the other side of their mouths are praying for a white knight to save them from the environmental and budget problems….

Anybody know a good candidate? After all, 2010 and 2012 are big election years in the US.

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Posted: 04 April 2010 05:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Brian H - 11 December 2009 07:23 AM

Well, you know my take on all that, PD.  We should be using much MORE energy, supplied by FF.  But I worry that we will short-change the atmosphere of CO2. It needs as much as it can get.  If it were possible, we should pump up levels to 1,000 ppm; agriculture and gardening would be SO much easier.  Have to mow the lawn a lot more often, tho’.  cool grin

So if i understand you, Brian, you want sea ice to disappear, and the tundra’s methane to be released? it looks like it’s headed that way, no matter what humans do. The Milankovitch cycle is indicating continued warming in the northern hemisphere for the next ~2650 years. The risks now are: ocean acidification (since the ocean can hold about a hundred times the concentration of CO2 as the air), and large-scale shifts in gulf stream and jet-stream, which cause rapid changes to local ecosystems.

What’s your take on this stuff, http://www.johannhari.com/2010/01/25/ignore-james-hansens-climate-predictions-at-your-peril ?

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Posted: 04 April 2010 10:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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vansig - 04 April 2010 09:22 PM
Brian H - 11 December 2009 07:23 AM

Well, you know my take on all that, PD.  We should be using much MORE energy, supplied by FF.  But I worry that we will short-change the atmosphere of CO2. It needs as much as it can get.  If it were possible, we should pump up levels to 1,000 ppm; agriculture and gardening would be SO much easier.  Have to mow the lawn a lot more often, tho’.  cool grin

So if i understand you, Brian, you want sea ice to disappear, and the tundra’s methane to be released? it looks like it’s headed that way, no matter what humans do. The Milankovitch cycle is indicating continued warming in the northern hemisphere for the next ~2650 years. The risks now are: ocean acidification (since the ocean can hold about a hundred times the concentration of CO2 as the air), and large-scale shifts in gulf stream and jet-stream, which cause rapid changes to local ecosystems.

What’s your take on this stuff, http://www.johannhari.com/2010/01/25/ignore-james-hansens-climate-predictions-at-your-peril ?

Hansen is a prostitute for GW; he ceased being a scientist decades ago. His ex-supervisor regrets not firing him when he began doing advocacy on the job at NASA in the ‘80s instead of research. 

The sea ice and acidification and methane scares are all hooey.
—Arctic sea ice in the last 2 years is increasing vs the previous 5. The previous reduction is now acknowledged to have been the result of a counter-cyclical wind pattern that happens every few centuries for unknown reasons, which rapidly drives the ice out past Baffin Island, etc.  Antarctica is net-net gaining ice, in the east where it always builds up. Many thousands of years later it falls off the continent in West Antarctica. So any current surge of break-offs there are the result of extra large ice buildup and flows that occurred millennia ago.  Nothing to do with us, or even with sea temperatures. 
—The slight predicted reduction in the alkaline balance of the oceans (not “acidification”!) is a small fraction of the range experienced by ocean organisms throughout paleohistory, while they were evolving - including many types of coral. 
—To melt enough of the world’s glaciers and icecaps to significantly affect ocean levels would take centuries or millennia even at the upper levels of the phony temperature model “scenarios”.  Worldwide, glacier retreat/advance is not far off the historical average; it’s been going on (documented) for at least 2 or 3 centuries.  Nothing to do with us. 
—Tundra and other methane releases have been going on for millennia, and then reversing.  When do you think all the plant matter that made up the peat and methane etc. up there grew?  Methane, in any case, has a very brief lifespan in the atmosphere, somewhere between 9 and 14 years.  There would be a spike, but since H2O is even more potent, and far more abundant, and operates (contrary to the thoroughly unphysical and disproven and arbitrary and nearly insane assertions of the Warmists) as a negative-feedback governor on the system, there would be no serious “heat wave”.
—The Gulf Stream “switch” prediction has been quietly withdrawn, because it’s not happening. Facts are so inconvenient. The actual past shift of the GS occurred when a sudden huge surge of cold water trapped inland in North America from the melting of the Ice Age super-glaciers found an outlet to the Atlantic. There is some dispute about whether it went eastward, or up through the Arctic.  In any case, nothing to do with warming/desalination as postulated by the Warmists.

—Finally, MUCH warmer periods in history have been boom times for humanity, with expansion of population, culture, wealth, and nutrition. Vice versa for cooling periods.  So—pray for warming!

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Posted: 05 April 2010 06:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Brian H - 05 April 2010 02:41 AM

The sea ice and acidification and methane scares are all hooey.
[...]
—The slight predicted reduction in the alkaline balance of the oceans (not “acidification”!) is a small fraction of the range experienced by ocean organisms throughout paleohistory, while they were evolving - including many types of coral. 
[...]
—Finally, MUCH warmer periods in history have been boom times for humanity, with expansion of population, culture, wealth, and nutrition. Vice versa for cooling periods.  So—pray for warming!

Well, recent trends in both northern and southern sea ice can be found at
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/n_plot_hires.png
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/s_plot_hires.png

These are consistent with the ~21,600-year Milankovitch cycle, which alternates longer-or-shorter winters versus summers for northern and southern hemispheres…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Precession_and_seasons.jpg

Re ocean acidification: calcium carbonate is the main buffer of pH in the ocean. I found a chart of
calcium carbonate solubility as a function of CO2 partial pressure, at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_carbonate#Solubility

P(CO2) atm     pH   solubility [Ca2+] (mol/L)
3.5 × 10^-4   8.27   4.70×10^-4
  10^-3       7.96   6.62×10^-4

If i’m reading that right, then at 1000ppm CO2 in atmosphere, ~40% more CaCO3 will dissolve, which (some insist), drives shellfish and corals into crisis and degrades the ocean’s CO2 absorption capability. Decreasing the pH from 8 to 7 increases the maximum Ca2+ concentration by a factor 100.

There is a tipping point in there, somewhere, that could be good for some plants, but may be associated with past mass extinctions. The scenario is: CO2 spike triggers massive algae bloom, which carpets the sea floor, destroying ecosystems; then absorbs huge amounts of CO2, and drives Earth into an ice-age. I’m not trying to scare anyone, i would just like to understand these complex, nonlinear feedback mechanisms better.

http://www.physorg.com/news189066777.html
http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/caco3.html
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_7_162/ai_91040540/

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Posted: 05 April 2010 10:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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vansig - 05 April 2010 10:30 PM
Brian H - 05 April 2010 02:41 AM

The sea ice and acidification and methane scares are all hooey.
[...]
—The slight predicted reduction in the alkaline balance of the oceans (not “acidification”!) is a small fraction of the range experienced by ocean organisms throughout paleohistory, while they were evolving - including many types of coral. 
[...]
—Finally, MUCH warmer periods in history have been boom times for humanity, with expansion of population, culture, wealth, and nutrition. Vice versa for cooling periods.  So—pray for warming!

Well, recent trends in both northern and southern sea ice can be found at
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/n_plot_hires.png
http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/images/s_plot_hires.png

These are consistent with the ~21,600-year Milankovitch cycle, which alternates longer-or-shorter winters versus summers for northern and southern hemispheres…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Precession_and_seasons.jpg

Re ocean acidification: calcium carbonate is the main buffer of pH in the ocean. I found a chart of
calcium carbonate solubility as a function of CO2 partial pressure, at
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calcium_carbonate#Solubility

P(CO2) atm     pH   solubility [Ca2+] (mol/L)
3.5 × 10^-4   8.27   4.70×10^-4
  10^-3       7.96   6.62×10^-4

If i’m reading that right, then at 1000ppm CO2 in atmosphere, ~40% more CaCO3 will dissolve, which (some insist), drives shellfish and corals into crisis and degrades the ocean’s CO2 absorption capability. Decreasing the pH from 8 to 7 increases the maximum Ca2+ concentration by a factor 100.

There is a tipping point in there, somewhere, that could be good for some plants, but may be associated with past mass extinctions. The scenario is: CO2 spike triggers massive algae bloom, which carpets the sea floor, destroying ecosystems; then absorbs huge amounts of CO2, and drives Earth into an ice-age. I’m not trying to scare anyone, i would just like to understand these complex, nonlinear feedback mechanisms better.

http://www.physorg.com/news189066777.html
http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/caco3.html
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_7_162/ai_91040540/

The “tipping point” rhetoric is pretty much nonsense. There have been wide excursions (many times anything we could possibly cause, even with maximum effort to do so) of temp and CO2 in the last few hundred million years without any positive feedback runaways. This is because the postulated mechanisms are actually “unphysical” (meaning contrary to scientific law) in part, and in part because if such mechanisms existed we wouldn’t be here to worry about them (the ‘anthropic principle’). 

The one actual climate danger is the implementation (at ruinous cost, naturally) of some hare-brained geo-forming project which actually works and we discover that you must be VERY careful what you ask for, lest you get it!

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Posted: 05 April 2010 11:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Speaking of what you get,

Number Watch, wondered just how many and went to the trouble of documenting them.

It has kept on its Web site a near-comprehensive set of links to a long list of things attributed by either scientific research or the media to global warming.
...
Actual links to stories that make the claims listed below can be found at http://www.numberwatch.co.uk/warmlist.htm .
...

The list:

Acne, agricultural land increase, Afghan poppies destroyed, aged deaths, poppies more potent, Africa devastated, Africa in conflict, African aid threatened, African summer frost, aggressive weeds, Air France crash, air pressure changes, airport farewells virtual, airport malaria, Agulhas current, Alaskan towns slowly destroyed, al-Qaida and Taliban being helped, allergy increase, allergy season longer, alligators in the Thames, Alps melting, Amazon a desert, American Dream end, amphibians breeding earlier (or not), anaphylactic reactions to bee stings, ancient forests dramatically changed, animals head for the hills, animals shrink, Antarctic grass flourishes, Antarctic ice grows, Antarctic ice shrinks, Antarctic sea life at risk, anxiety treatment, algal blooms, archaeological sites threatened, Arctic bogs melt, Arctic in bloom, Arctic ice free, Arctic ice melt faster, Arctic lakes disappear, Arctic tundra lost, Arctic warming (not), a rose by any other name smells of nothing, asteroid strike risk, asthma, Atlantic less salty, Atlantic more salty, atmospheric circulation modified, attack of the killer jellyfish, avalanches reduced, avalanches increased, Baghdad snow, Bahrain under water, bananas grow, barbarization, bats decline, beer and bread prices to soar, beer better, beer worse, beetle infestation, bet for $10,000, big melt faster, billion-dollar research projects, billion homeless, billions face risk, billions of deaths, bird distributions change, bird loss accelerating, bird strikes, bird visitors drop, birds confused, birds decline (Wales), birds driven north, birds face longer migrations, birds return early, birds shrink (Australia), birds shrink (U.S.), bittern boom ends, blackbirds stop singing, blackbirds threatened, Black Hawk down, blizzards, blood contaminated, blue mussels return, borders redrawn, bluetongue, brain-eating amoebae, brains shrink, bridge collapse (Minneapolis), Britain one big city, Britain Siberian, Britain’s bananas, British monsoon, brothels struggle, brown Ireland, bubonic plague, Buddhist temple threatened, building collapse, building season extension, bushfires, butterflies move north,butterflies reeling, carbon crimes, camel deaths, cancer deaths in England, cannibalism, caterpillar biomass shift, cave paintings threatened, childhood insomnia, Cholera, circumcision in decline, cirrus disappearance, civil unrest, cloud increase, coast beauty spots lost, cockroach migration, cod go south, coffee threatened, coffee berry borer, coffee berry disease, cold climate creatures survive, cold spells (Australia), cold wave (India), cold weather (world), computer models, conferences, conflict, conflict with Russia, consumers foot the bill, coral bleaching, coral fish suffer, coral reefs dying, coral reefs grow,coral reefs shrink, coral reefs twilight, cost of trillions, cougar attacks, crabgrass menace, cradle of civilization threatened, creatures move uphill, crime increase, crocodile sex, crops devastated, crumbling roads, buildings and sewage systems, curriculum change, cyclones (Australia), danger to kid’s health, Dartford Warbler plague, deadly virus outbreaks, death rate increase (U.S.), deaths to reach 6 million, Dengue hemorrhagic fever, depression, desert advance, desert retreat, destruction of the environment, dig sites threatened, disasters, diseases move north, dog disease, dozen deadly diseases — or not, drought, ducks and geese decline, dust bowl in the corn belt, earlier pollen season, Earth axis tilt, Earth biodiversity crisis, Earth dying, Earth even hotter, Earth light dimming, Earth lopsided, Earth melting, Earth morbid fever, Earth on fast track, Earth past point of no return, Earth slowing down, Earth spins faster, Earth to explode, Earth upside down, earthquakes, earthquakes redux, El Nino intensification, end of the world as we know it, erosion, emerging infections, encephalitis, English villages lost, equality threatened, Europe simultaneously baking and freezing, eutrophication, evolution accelerating, expansion of university climate groups, extinctions (human, civilization, koalas, logic, Inuit, smallest butterfly, cod, penguins, pikas, polar bears, possums, walrus, tigers, toads,turtles, plants, ladybirds, rhinoceros, salmon, trout, wild flowers, woodlice, a million species, half of all animal and plant species, mountain species, not polar bears, barrier reef, leaches, salamanders, tropical insects) experts muzzled, extreme changes to California, fading fall foliage, fainting, famine, farmers benefit, farmers go under, farm output boost, farming soil decline, fashion disaster, fever, figurehead sacked, fir cone bonanza, fires fanned in Nepal, fish bigger, fish catches drop, fish downsize, fish deaf, fish get lost, fish head north, fish shrinking, fish stocks at risk, fish stocks decline, five million illnesses, flesh eating disease, flies on Everest, flood patterns change, (cont)

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Posted: 05 April 2010 11:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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(cont)

floods, floods of beaches and cities, flood of migrants, flood preparation for crisis, flora dispersed, Florida economic decline, flowers in peril, fog increase in San Francisco, fog decrease in San Francisco, food poisoning, food prices rise, food prices soar, food security threat, football team migration, forest decline, forest expansion, foundations threatened, frog with extra heads, frosts, frostbite, frost damage increased, fungi fruitful, fungi invasion, games change, Garden of Eden wilts, geese decline in Hampshire, genetic changes, genetic diversity decline, gene pools slashed, geysers imperiled, giant icebergs (Australia), giant oysters invade, giant pythons invade, giant squid migrate, gingerbread houses collapse, glacial earthquakes, glacial retreat, glacier grows (California), glaciers on Snowden, glacier wrapped, global cooling, glowing clouds, golf course to drown, golf Masters wrecked, grain output drop (China), grandstanding, grasslands wetter, gravity shift, Great Barrier Reef 95% dead, Great Lakes drop, great tits cope, greening of the North, Grey whales lose weight, Gulf Stream failure, habitat loss, haggis threatened, Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, harvest increase, harvest shrinkage, hay fever epidemic, health affected, health of children harmed, health risks (even more) heart disease, heart attacks and strokes (Australia), heat waves, hedgehogs bald, hibernation affected, hibernation ends too soon, hibernation ends too late, homeless 50 million, hornets, human development faces unprecedented reversal, human fertility reduced, human health risk, human race oblivion, hurricanes, hurricane reduction, hurricanes fewer, hurricanes more intense, hurricanes not, hydropower problems, hyperthermia deaths, ice age, ice sheet growth, ice sheet shrinkage, icebergs, illness and death, inclement weather, India drowning, infrastructure failure (Canada), indigestion, industry threatened, infectious diseases, inflation in China, insect explosion, insect invasion, insurance premium rises, Inuit displacement, Inuit poisoned, Inuit suing, invasion of alien worms, invasion of Antarctic aliens, invasion of Asian carp, invasion of cats, invasion of crabgrass, invasion of herons, invasion of jellyfish, invasion of king crabs, invasion of midges,invasion of slugs, island disappears, islands sinking, Italy robbed of pasta, itchier poison ivy, jellyfish explosion, jet stream drifts north, jets fall from sky, Kew Gardens taxed, kidney stones, killer cornflakes, killing us, kitten boom, koalas under threat, krill decline, lake and stream productivity decline, lake empties, lake shrinking and growing, landslides, landslides of ice at 140 mph, large trees decline, lawsuits increase,lawsuit successful, lawyers’ income increased, lawyers want more, legionnaires’ surge, lives lost, lives saved, Loch Ness monster dead, locust plagues suppressed, lush growth in rain forests, Lyme disease, Malaria, malnutrition, mammoth dung melt, mango harvest fails, Maple production advanced, Maple syrup shortage, marine diseases, marine food chain decimated, Meaching (end of the world), Meat eating to stop, Mediterranean rises, megacryometeors, Melanoma, Melanoma decline, mental illness, methane emissions from plants, methane burps, methane runaway, melting permafrost, Middle Kingdom convulses, migration, migratory birds huge losses, microbes to decompose soil carbon more rapidly, minorities hit, monkeys at risk, monkeys on the move, Mont Blanc grows, monuments imperiled, moose dying, more bad air days, more research needed, mortality increased, mosquitoes adapting, mountain (Everest) shrinking, mountaineers fears, mountains break up, mountains green and flowering, mountains taller, mortality lower, murder rate increase, musk ox decline, Myanmar cyclone, narwhals at risk, National Parks damaged, National security implications, native wildlife overwhelmed, natural disasters quadruple, new islands, next ice age, NFL threatened, Nile delta damaged, noctilucent clouds, no effect in India, Northwest Passage opened, nuclear plants bloom, oaks dying, oaks move north, oblivion, ocean acidification, ocean acidification faster, ocean dead spots, ocean dead zones unleashed, ocean deserts expand, ocean waves speed up, Olympic Games to end, opera house to be destroyed, outdoor hockey threatened, oxygen depletion zones, ozone repair slowed, ozone rise, penguin chicks frozen, penguin chicks smaller, penguins replaced by jellyfish, personal carbon rationing,pest outbreaks, pests increase,phenology shifts, pines decline, pirate population decrease, plankton blooms, plankton wiped out, plants lose protein, plants march north, plants move uphill, polar bears aggressive, polar bears cannibalistic, polar bears deaf, polar bears drowning, polar tours scrapped, popcorn rise, porpoise astray, profits collapse, psychiatric illness, puffin decline, pushes poor women into prostitution, rabid bats, radars taken out, railroad tracks deformed, rainfall increase, rape wave, refugees, reindeer endangered, reindeer larger, release of ancient frozen viruses, resorts disappear, rice threatened, rice yields crash, rift on Capitol Hill, rioting and nuclear war, river flow impacted, rivers raised, road accidents, roads wear out, robins rampant, rocky peaks crack apart, roof of the world a desert, rooftop bars, Ross river disease, ruins ruined, Russia under pressure, salinity reduction, salinity increase, Salmonella, salmon stronger, satellites accelerate, school closures, sea level rise, sea level rise faster, seals mating more, seismic activity, sewer bills rise, severe thunderstorms, sex change, sexual promiscuity, shark attacks, sharks booming, sharks moving north, sheep change color, sheep shrink, shop closures, short-nosed dogs endangered, shrimp sex problems, shrinking ponds, shrinking sheep, shrinking shrine, Sidney Opera House wiped out, ski resorts threatened, slow death, smaller brains, smelt down, smog,

(cont)

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Posted: 05 April 2010 11:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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(cont)

snowfall increase, snowfall heavy, snow thicker, soaring food prices, societal collapse, soil change, songbirds change eating habits, sour grapes, space problem, spectacular orchids, spiders getting bigger, spiders invade Scotland, squid larger, squid population explosion, squid tamed, squirrels reproduce earlier, stingray invasion, storms wetter, stratospheric cooling, street crime to increase,subsidence, suicide, swordfish in the Baltic, Tabasco tragedy, taxes, tectonic plate movement, terrorists (India), thatched cottages at risk, threat to peace, ticks move northward (Sweden), tides rise, tigers eat people, tomatoes rot, tornado outbreak, tourism increase, toxic seaweed, trade barriers, trade winds weakened, traffic jams, transportation threatened, tree foliage increase (U.K.), tree growth slowed, tree growth faster, trees in trouble, trees less colorful, trees more colorful, trees lush, trees on Antarctica, treelines change, tropics expansion, tropopause raised, truffle shortage, truffles down, turtles crash, turtle feminized, turtles lay earlier, UFO sightings, U.K. coastal impact, U.K. Katrina, Vampire moths, Venice flooded, violin decline, volcanic eruptions, walrus pups orphaned, walrus stampede, wars over water, wars sparked, wars threaten billions, wasps, water bills double, water scarcity (20% of increase), wave of natural disasters, waves bigger, weather out of its mind, weather patterns awry, weather patterns last longer, Western aid cancelled out, West Nile fever, whale beachings, whales lose weight, whales move north, whales wiped out, wheat yields crushed in Australia, wildfires,wind shift, wind reduced, winds stronger, winds weaker, wine — Australian baked, wine — harm to Australian industry, wine industry damage (California), wine industry disaster (U.S.), wine — more English, wine — England too hot, wine — German boon, wine — no more French, wine passé (Napa), wine — Scotland best, wine stronger, winters in Britain colder, winter in Britain dead, witchcraft executions, wolverine decline, wolves eat more moose, wolves eat less, workers laid off, World at war, World War 4, World bankruptcy, World in crisis, World in flames, Yellow fever, zebra mussel threat, zoonotic diseases.

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Posted: 15 April 2010 03:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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I’m not seeing acid rain in the list Brian H, though, who knows,  they could’ve snuck it in there somewhere. True the earth has experienced wide excursions of temperature and greenhouse gasses in the distant past. But we’re interested in the effects of rapid change happening now, when modern human civilization has developed huge cities along the coasts. A rapid rise of ocean levels could be devastating. If it can be at least diminished we should be responsible and try to limit the sources of warming that are contributing to the accelerated rate of change. Not to mention the other damaging effects of fossil fuel burning as highlighted by Vansig’s posts. I would add acid rain to the list along with mass extinctions…..A new, safer energy source can limit the damages by minimizing the CO2 and CH4 output.

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Posted: 16 April 2010 01:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Brian H - 06 April 2010 02:53 AM
vansig - 05 April 2010 10:30 PM

There is a tipping point in there, somewhere, that could be good for some plants, but may be associated with past mass extinctions. The scenario is: CO2 spike triggers massive algae bloom, which carpets the sea floor, destroying ecosystems; then absorbs huge amounts of CO2, and drives Earth into an ice-age. I’m not trying to scare anyone, i would just like to understand these complex, nonlinear feedback mechanisms better.

http://www.physorg.com/news189066777.html
http://www.thekrib.com/Plants/CO2/caco3.html
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_7_162/ai_91040540/

The “tipping point” rhetoric is pretty much nonsense. There have been wide excursions (many times anything we could possibly cause, even with maximum effort to do so) of temp and CO2 in the last few hundred million years without any positive feedback runaways. This is because the postulated mechanisms are actually “unphysical” (meaning contrary to scientific law) in part, and in part because if such mechanisms existed we wouldn’t be here to worry about them (the ‘anthropic principle’). 

The one actual climate danger is the implementation (at ruinous cost, naturally) of some hare-brained geo-forming project which actually works and we discover that you must be VERY careful what you ask for, lest you get it!

the scenario above isn’t a positive feedback runaway. it’s a negative feedback catastrophe. and there is evidence that it has occurred in the past.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/a/algal_bloom.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algal_bloom
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Late_Devonian_extinction

there are algae markers in every mass extinction period
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s…ryId=114081479

the anthropic principle doesn’t work, here, because not-all species become extinct during these events.

i actually favour the following particular hair-brained geo-forming project:
-> restore the Sahara desert to its former, lush savanna, by desalination and irrigation projects that use fusion energy.

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