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  1. #1581  
    To follow up on the biofuels posts, here is some additional information I found in Nature Reports:
    Quote Originally Posted by Nature Reports Climate Change 12 December 2007

    The backlash against biofuels
    Last month Jean Ziegler, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food, called biofuels a "crime against humanity" and asked for a five-year moratorium on the practice of using food crops for fuel1.

    It was only the latest voice in what seems to be turning into a backlash against biofuels. In September, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development issued a sceptical assessment of biofuels, warning that they could cause more problems than they solve.

    Even the celebrated primatologist Jane Goodall got involved in September, warning that the demand for more biofuels is causing rainforests to be cut down to grow more sugar cane and oil palms.

    For decades, biofuels seemed to promise a clean, sustainable, environmentally friendly way to produce fuel, one that would promote energy independence and at the same time reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But even as governments and corporations are finally throwing their weight behind biofuel production, a small but vocal chorus of critics claims that biofuels are at best a waste of effort and at worst outright damaging. Some critics even question whether biofuels will lower greenhouse gas emissions or actually increase them.
    "People are getting smarter. People are beginning to see that the damage ensuing from producing agrofuels by far outweighs any possible benefits," says Tad W. Patzek, a professor of geoengineering at the University of California, Berkeley, and a prominent biofuels sceptic.
    Full News Article
    Original UN Report (warning pdf)
  2. #1582  
    and more legal developments on global warming....

    In response to requests by the Supreme Court and President Bush, the EPA staff, according to papers released yesterday, concluded that greenhouse gases are indeed a threat under the Clean Air Act requiring federal regulations. The agency, contradicting its chief, has also concluded that a California tailpipe law was justified. So it may be that all the legal hurdles for federal regulation of greenhouse gas emissions have been reached and all that can be done to fight it is to stall, which seems to be what the White House and Bush's appointee in the EPA Stephen Johnston, are doing right now.

    Quote Originally Posted by LA Times: 24 January 2008
    EPA staff finds emissions threat

    WASHINGTON -- -- The Environmental Protection Agency's staff concluded last month that greenhouse gases pose a threat to the nation's welfare, which would require federal regulations to rein in emissions from vehicles, factories, power plants and other industrial polluters under the Clean Air Act, sources in the agency told The Times.

    The conclusion, known as an "endangerment" finding, has been sent to the White House for review, and comes as the agency is under a Supreme Court order to examine risks from greenhouse gases. The agency also faces a lawsuit from at least 16 state governments over their attempts to regulate vehicle gas emissions.

    EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, who had promised to propose regulations of vehicle emissions by the end of last year, has been summoned to testify before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee today to answer questions about why he refused to allow California to enact its own law, despite clear signals from his staff that the state's request was justified.

    California had "compelling and extraordinary conditions" to justify its own tailpipe law, according to excerpts of EPA staff documents released Wednesday. That statement contradicts what Johnson said in December, when he concluded that California's request did not meet the "compelling and extraordinary" criteria laid out in the Clean Air Act. California is allowed to implement its own air regulations under the act so long as the EPA grants a waiver, as it has in more than 40 previous cases. Other states then can follow the California standards.
    Full article
  3. #1583  
    Finally another interesting study, published this week in the journal Nature, which helps us to begin to understand the extremely complex association between agricultural practices and greenhouse gases, by studying the Mississippi river basin. Here is the news article and the original report

    Figure from the article:
    Even with similar soil types and well-buffered (mineral-rich) bedrock material, water and CO2 fluxes through soils in cropland (a) and non-agricultural ecosystems (b) can be very different. For the same precipitation rate, certain agricultural conditions (including drainage systems, crop type and tillage practice) result in a greater fraction of annual water flows occurring as groundwater run-off and a lower fraction occurring as evapotranspiration. The increase in groundwater run-off results in larger export to rivers of bicarbonate (HCO3-) derived from the consumption of atmospheric CO2 during chemical weathering, as demonstrated by Raymond and colleagues' 100-year Mississippi time series. Agricultural practices such as lime application might also increase the concentration of bicarbonate in soils and groundwater.
  4. #1584  
    Another recent scientific report suggesting that arctic melting is occurring at a faster rate than predicted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Nature Reports 24 January 2008
    Arctic Meltdown
    Arctic sea ice is retreating at an accelerating pace, with scientists describing the decline from July to September 2007 as "precipitous". At the end of the 2007 summer melt, the area of ice cover was 38 percent less than the average since 1978. The decline had averaged 3 percent per decade from 1978 to 1996, but more than tripled to 11 percent from 1996 to 2007.

    The Arctic could be ice-free in summer within a few decades, the researchers say....FULL ARTICLE
  5. #1585  
    Planet Earth ... the Second Edition is geared more toward the activist environmentalists in the crowd.

    I think this thread is due for a shard of humor already.... SWEET LORD!!

    now fair warning... there IS a bit of harsh, uncouth language herein...

    but a few laughs as well.

    Last edited by logmein; 01/30/2008 at 09:00 PM.
  6. #1586  
    Quote Originally Posted by logmein View Post
    I think this thread is due for a shard of humor already..
    I agree
  7. #1587  
  8. #1588  
    Quote Originally Posted by logmein View Post

    This would be so much more hysterical if ....

    it wasn't so true (and maybe this clip isn't -- but I see it all the time, most every day).
  9. #1589  
    Quote Originally Posted by sblanter View Post
    I see it all the time, most every day
    I see it so often also on the opposite side of the political spectrum. Penn and Teller's main point here is a good one: that followers who do what someone tells them without considering the evidence themselves are dangerous to us all. Thats why we should learn about the science of global warming ourselves, not from biased sources like Rush Limbaugh or the daily kos but from reputable and peer reviewed science journals. Thats the purpose of my many posts is to encourage people to learn for themselves. Learning is empowering. So is voting.
  10. #1590  
    Quote Originally Posted by cellmatrix View Post
    Thats the purpose of my many posts is to encourage people to learn for themselves. Learning is empowering.
    Very much agree!

    Though I think we do have a serious problem with people not doing the former (research/learning) before doing the latter (the voting part).
  11. #1591  
    I dont think we have to worry about too many people consulting Rush or the Daily Kos for their global warming updates.
    Last edited by logmein; 02/06/2008 at 12:01 AM.
  12. #1592  
    Quote Originally Posted by logmein View Post
    I dont think we have to worry about too many people consulting Rush or the Daily Kos for their global warming updates.
    Or very many other sources.
  13. #1593  
    I find arrogance and presumption to be every bit as dangerous and disingenuous as some find those who they THINK "blindly follow political pundits".

    Awfully narrow minded, but for the most part.... just plain stupid.
  14. #1594  
    Pointing out liberals as blind followers:
    Quote Originally Posted by logmein View Post
    Pointing out that it happens on both sides:
    Quote Originally Posted by logmein View Post
    Awfully narrow minded, but for the most part.... just plain stupid.
    You're such a bastion of impartiality.

    But, I guess its time to come to the realization that, with McCain as the likely GOP candidate, global warming is going to finally get the serious attention it deserves, regardless of whether there is a republican or democrat in the white house.
  15. #1595  
    Now that Romney has given up, its a good time to highlight the views of each of the three remaining viable candidates on global warming:

    John McCain
    Science 4 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 26 - 27
    "Republican Senator John McCain doesn't have any scientific training or expertise. But he trusts the experts. They've told him that global warming is the most urgent issue facing the world, and that makes climate change one of the three issues that he's emphasizing in his presidential campaign."

    Barack Obama
    Science 4 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 28 - 29
    Democratic Senator Barack Obama has accused the Bush Administration of ignoring or distorting data to shape its decisions on science-related issues, promising that his policies would be based on "evidence and facts."
    Science 4 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5859, pp. 28 - 29 (Full text link)
    Obama has made global warming an important part of his campaign. He supports a market-based carbon-trading system to cut carbon emissions to 80% below 1990 levels by 2050"

    Hillary Clinton
    Science 4 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5859, p. 23
    Senator Hillary Clinton's speech on the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik was the most detailed examination of science policy that any presidential candidate has offered to date. That's not surprising given the extensive network of former advisers to her husband that the Democratic front-runner has tapped.
    Science 4 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5859, p. 23 Full text link
    Hillary Clinton: "new challenges include reducing the country's dependence on foreign oil, responding to climate change, and reversing what Clinton calls the Bush Administration's "assault on science." To address the first two, Clinton has proposed a $50 billion research and deployment fund for green energy that she'd pay for by increasing federal taxes and royalties on oil companies. She would also establish a national energy council to oversee federal climate and greentech research and deployment programs. Both steps, she says, would help achieve the goal of an 80% reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2050 and use tax credits, regulations, and carbon caps to create "5 million new jobs in clean energy over the next decade."
  16. #1596  
    Looking more into McCain's positions, they really strike me as quite progressive. For example:

    1) McCain is opposed to drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife preserve, calling it disgraceful and disgusting.

    2) McCain, as President, would transform the United States Environmental Protection Agency into new Cabinet Departments

    3) McCain is for a nationwide roll-out of California's new low carbon fuel standard

    4) McCain is for federal funding of stem cell research.

    5) McCain favors federal limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

    While I still wont be voting for him since I disagree with him about the Iraq war, if any of you on the far right decide to vote for McCain this fall and help him act decisively on global warming, preserve arctic wildlife, strengthen the EPA, help our environment, and fight disease through stem cell research, let me thank you in advance.
  17. #1597  
    This is an interesting article --- just a reminder that there is no consensus in the scientific community.

    We are all still learning.
    Palm since Palm Professional --- Treo 650 (2 yrs), iPhone since 6/29/07
  18. #1598  
    Thanks for the article. I tend not to rely on investment magazines for science information, but if you can find any peer reviewed scientific articles which support the claims in the article I would be most interested to see them. In the meanwhile, there are some recent science articles in from two of the most reputable and respected climate science journals, Nature and Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences that I am happy to share with you which directly address the respective contributions of solar radiation and greenhouse gases on climate. Again, thanks Briguy for your interest in this subject.
  19. #1599  
    Here is one article, (just the abstract septimus , not the whole article!) which analyzes solar, human induced and other changes in the climate over the past 20 years. I anotated the conclusion in bold.

    Joos, F. and R. Spahni (2008). "Rates of change in natural and anthropogenic radiative forcing over the past 20,000 years." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 105(5): 1425-30.
    The rate of change of climate codetermines the global warming impacts on natural and socioeconomic systems and their capabilities to adapt. Establishing past rates of climate change from temperature proxy data remains difficult given their limited spatiotemporal resolution. In contrast, past greenhouse gas radiative forcing, causing climate to change, is well known from ice cores. We compare rates of change of anthropogenic forcing with rates of natural greenhouse gas forcing since the Last Glacial Maximum and of solar and volcanic forcing of the last millennium. The smoothing of atmospheric variations by the enclosure process of air into ice is computed with a firn diffusion and enclosure model. The 20th century increase in CO(2) and its radiative forcing occurred more than an order of magnitude faster than any sustained change during the past 22,000 years. The average rate of increase in the radiative forcing not just from CO(2) but from the combination of CO(2), CH(4), and N(2)O is larger during the Industrial Era than during any comparable period of at least the past 16,000 years. In addition, the decadal-to-century scale rate of change in anthropogenic forcing is unusually high in the context of the natural forcing variations (solar and volcanoes) of the past millennium. Our analysis implies that global climate change, which is anthropogenic in origin, is progressing at a speed that is unprecedented at least during the last 22,000 years.
  20. #1600  
    Here is another article (abstract only again) which also compares both solar and human contributions to climate again conclusions in bold.

    Ammann, C. M., F. Joos, et al. (2007). "Solar influence on climate during the past millennium: results from transient simulations with the NCAR Climate System Model." Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 104(10): 3713-8.
    The potential role of solar variations in modulating recent climate has been debated for many decades and recent papers suggest that solar forcing may be less than previously believed. Because solar variability before the satellite period must be scaled from proxy data, large uncertainty exists about phase and magnitude of the forcing. We used a coupled climate system model to determine whether proxy-based irradiance series are capable of inducing climatic variations that resemble variations found in climate reconstructions, and if part of the previously estimated large range of past solar irradiance changes could be excluded. Transient simulations, covering the published range of solar irradiance estimates, were integrated from 850 AD to the present. Solar forcing as well as volcanic and anthropogenic forcing are detectable in the model results despite internal variability. The resulting climates are generally consistent with temperature reconstructions. Smaller, rather than larger, long-term trends in solar irradiance appear more plausible and produced modeled climates in better agreement with the range of Northern Hemisphere temperature proxy records both with respect to phase and magnitude. Despite the direct response of the model to solar forcing, even large solar irradiance change combined with realistic volcanic forcing over past centuries could not explain the late 20th century warming without inclusion of greenhouse gas forcing. Although solar and volcanic effects appear to dominate most of the slow climate variations within the past thousand years, the impacts of greenhouse gases have dominated since the second half of the last century.

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