Friday, February 08, 2008

Big Climate Post

Several interesting articles popped up in the various feeds and trackers I use, so rather than make a separate post for each one, I'm just going to do one of my infrequent mega-posts.

First up is a new study that confirms the findings of dozens of other studies: If you take into account all the CO2 produced, burning ethanol produces more CO2 than burning the equivalent amount of gasoline. This has been known practically since the scheme of blending alcohol into our gasoline was cooked up back in the early 1980's. The entire ethanol "industry" from the corn field to the gas pump is nothing but a fraud that involves the transfer of millions of dollars every year from taxpayers to the farming and energy sectors. Ethanol is a complete failure economically and environmentally. Enough already.

One issue I have with the article is lumping all biofuels in with ethanol made from food crops. If the focus was shifted from making ethanol from corn or soybeans to making ethanol or methanol from saw dust, tree bark, lawn clippings, switch grass, etc., or even light crude from turkey guts, we wouldn't be having this conversation. But we have to save the family farm, and what better way than by running up world food prices by burning crops in our cars.

Next is a somewhat humorous article about Georgia trying to move the state border in order to gain access to more water. Georgia has been hammered by drought and population growth resulting in massive water shortages. No one is taking this border-moving nonsense seriously. At least not yet. But massive, centuries-long droughts have occurred before and will happen again. Watch for water wars in the next couple decades.

The next two article are closely related. One is written by a real scientist working on the IPCC blasting the extremism in an up-coming National Geographic special. Understand that this is a guy that finds a six-degree shift "plausible." What he finds ridiculous is the projected effects. One point that he makes is key to understanding just what it is we are talking about:
It’s 90 degrees from Pole to Equator, and the hottest and coldest places on Earth, Ethiopia’s Danakil Depression and the Antarctic Plateau, are 83 Degrees Celsius apart.
In other words, if you stay at the same altitude, a difference of one degree Celsius is the same as driving south one degree of latitude, or about 69 miles.
If one degree is nature’s answer to Lynas’ question, the flora and fauna of Newark, New Jersey has about a century to adopt to the climate of Newark, Delaware. If the answer is three, make that Newport, Rhode Island, and Newport News, Virginia. If, defying statistical gravity we see the six degree Celsius shift that is the focus of the Special Effects industry 22nd century shockumentaries will compare footage of Birmingham, Alabama today with Birmingham, Michigan tomorrow. Don’t expect a lot of Oscars, because the summers Alabama’s biotreme already endure are about as hot as even nature stoked on CO2 will be able to deliver—the sun is not going to get hotter on our account.
That last sentence is a good lead-in to the final article that discusses a fact little-known and never-discussed in the Al Gore camp called the Maunder Minimum. Every few centuries, the sun cools off. We are due, and there is some evidence that we may be moving into one. The last time this happened in the late 17th century, humanity was blessed by "massive crop failures, famine and death in Northern Europe." Sounds like a fun time. The article's conclusion:
"Solar activity has overpowered any effect that CO2 has had before, and it most likely will again," Patterson says. "If we were to have even a medium-sized solar minimum, we could be looking at a lot more bad effects than 'global warming' would have had."


A Hoover Institution Study a few years back examined historical data and came to a similar conclusion.

"The effects of solar activity and volcanoes are impossible to miss. Temperatures fluctuated exactly as expected, and the pattern was so clear that, statistically, the odds of the correlation existing by chance were one in 100," according to Hoover fellow Bruce Berkowitz.

The study says that "try as we might, we simply could not find any relationship between industrial activity, energy consumption and changes in global temperatures."

The study concludes that if you shut down all the world's power plants and factories, "there would not be much effect on temperatures."

Why do I have the odd suspicion that neither of these studies will be mentioned as a counterpoint to the National Geographic Channel's hysteria-fest?

No comments: