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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

let there be snow.

by now i hope we've all seen al gore's global warming movie. if you haven't do yourself a favor and rent it soon. i like to kid that al gore invented global warming around the time he invented the internet, but in reality he has a message that needs to be heard.

pmk attended a meeting about it in park city last night. to read his thoughts on the subject go here.


pmk said...

Thanks, Sarah. It's a message that needs to be saturated everywhere.

Bryan said...

I agree global warming is happening. I'm not (yet) conviced we are the cause though.

But then, I'm just one person. My vote won't count. I can't make a difference. Sigh...

ryan said...

It's teh Cows!! teh Cows are the cause!!

mikey said...

Dear Ms. Bellum and Mr. k:

There exisits a persuasive body of evidence that the climate is on a warming trend. This may be at least partly the result of human civilization's emission of carbon dioxide "greenhouse gas."

I predict that when "peak oil" hits, some time in the next 10-20 years, we will see another Coal Age [sic]. People will demand their cheap energy and screw the consequences. Look at what China is doing today. For those of you not paying attention, that will mean an order of magnitude more CO2 in the air.

If we're lucky and smart, we'll skip the Coal Age and go straight to a nuclear age. What does Al Gore say about nukes? I haven't read his book.

Mikey's ski condo is located at 2850 feet of elevation in the North Cascades. It won't take much of a warming trend to render skiing obsolete at that location.

But wait, this morning the WA DOT reported a snowpack of over 90 inches.

I think I'll go skiing on Friday, and maybe Saturday and Sunday too.



Scott the Stray said...

Mikey said:

"There exisits a persuasive body of evidence that the climate is on a warming trend. This may be at least partly the result of human civilization's emission of carbon dioxide "greenhouse gas."

A little perspective from the U where I am studying Atmospheric Science and where there are 2 GCM's (Global Circulation Models) running; The debate over whether or not we are causing this current warming trend is over. It is accepted as scietific fact by everyone in the field that I know (not everyone in the filed obviously). There is not a persuasive body of evidence, there are reams of actual scientific research to show this to be the case. If the research has been conducted to refute this I haven't seen it.

Your other points about China and nuclear options are well made. If we would only spend more money on safe disposal methods, I think nuclear options are very viable, certainly extremly clean.

I'm glad you have enough snow to ski on . The West has faired well this year but here in the East we have experienced one of the warmest Decemders on record, partly due to El Nino effects, partly due to the global warming signal. Just my opinion.

mikey said...

The debate over whether or not we are causing this current warming trend is over. It is accepted as scietific fact by everyone in the field

Dear Mr. Stray--

This statement has been the mantra of global warming proponents for fifteen years. I won't dispute it, but I will point out a couple of serious problems with this position:

1) there are problems with the historical data set. When modeling extremely complex systems, the data needs to be precise and accurate. In the case of the hsitorical temperature data, almost everything more than twenty years old comes from sources which cannot pinpoint dates, times and locations. In other words, we have only a few years' worth of reliable data to model. Extrapolation from a small data set can lead to large errors. Be careful.

2) even if all of mankind's industrial efforts in the last 150 years have contributed to the climate's warming trend, could we reverse it even if we tried? And would the climate be warming WITHOUT our carbon gas emissions? Will it cool without reducing emissions? We simply can't say. The best computer models in the world are necessarily subjective, i.e., modeling from inside the system. There is no objective measurement of climate change (see point #1).

Third, and somewhat off-topic, is the sad fact we live in a relativistic age. There are no objective truths any more. For every scrupulously-trained scientist, there are at least a couple religionist wingnuts saying the bible didn't predict global warming, so it can't be real.

I was trained as a scientist and did my graduate research on Mt. Baker WA, collecting and analyzing the carbon content of glacier ice samples recovered from deep crevasses. We showed (with only moderate correlation) a gradual rise in the carbon content of glacier ice over that last 150 years or so. This was 1983, long before Al Gorre had ever invented the internets.

As for nukes, I spent way too much of my career on the Hanford and INEL reservations. I was just this week in Richland, chatting with some Bechtel dudes. From what I can see, the waste vitrification (glassification) technology is ready to go. Vitrified waste is totally chemically inert and thus pretty safe to store. (No more leaking tanks like the Hanford 100 and 200 areas.) I also liked the BWIP idea (basalt waste isolation) but that program died a political death. I was never closely involved with BWIP, so I don't know the details.

To sum up, I don't disagree with you and Mr. Gore. I just don't see humankind changing their ways. When it comes to The Environment [sic], for the last 150 years we have closely followed exactly one ideal: I want mine NOW and piss on our children's heads, bless their little souls.

Comments welcome.


pmk said...


I got to ask: you seem to spend a *lot* of time questioning whether or not carbon gases are responsible for Global Warming (see your point #2), but what *is* the harm in reducing carbon gasses?

- Lower airborne related desease?
- Less money paid at the pump?
- Lower gas/power bills?
- Less smog?
- Less dependence on a oil from a hostile region?

Even *if* carbon gasses don't contribute to Global Warming (highly doubtful), just these its alone are worth reducing emissions.

mikey said...

>>>>what *is* the harm in reducing carbon gasses?

Dear Mr. K--

The economic cost to human society would be absolutely enormous.

Refer to my previous comment on "peak oil" and the coming Coal Age. We humans are greedy and selfish and we will burn cheap coal (like the Chinese do today, far and away the largest single source of human carbon emissions) because we want to drive fat-ass cars to our McMansions and starter castles fifty miles out in the boondocks.

(Note: Mikey drive a compact truck with a 4 cylinder engine and works from home.)

While I and some others refer to this mindset as "pissing on our children's heads," there are millions, perhaps billions who blithely rejoin that "God will
provide." Al Gore and his ilk are heretical blasphemers that would cackle with glee if gasoline cost (the socially accounted for price of) $8/gallon.

As the inimitable Mr. Frank Zappa said, "It's not getting any smarter out there."


pmk said...


You sure have bought into the neo-cons mentality that reducing carbonn gas is bad fro the economy. Nowhere, has anyone *ever* come up with hard scientific, peer reviewed studies that indicate this. If anything, it actually fosters inovation and keeps our technological edge.

mikey said...

Dear Mr. K--

I'm really not sure what a "neo-con" is, except that "liberals" seem to hate them. Personally, as a moderate, I try to ignore partisan politics.

I have some familiarily with energy issues. The econony runs on energy. The economy runs "better" (grows faster) on cheap energy. Hence, Middle Eastern wars (blood for oil). Hence Chinese coal burning (Wal-Mart). I consider myself a pragmatist; I don't see any of this changing any time soon.

Vote nuke!