NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby schapel » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:42 pm UTC

SDK wrote:How does the government benefit from carbon trading?

Whenever they talk about carbon trading, they're not talking about new t*xes. Watch my lips carefully -- talking about new t*xes is a sure way not to get re-elected.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby SDK » Mon Nov 09, 2015 7:51 pm UTC

Ok, sure, because they'll be receiving fines from those businesses going over the cap. Just seems a strange thing for tomandlu to hate on when we'll surely need innovative solutions following his "actual, in-your-face crisis".
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Frenetic Pony » Tue Nov 10, 2015 1:53 am UTC

tomandlu wrote:I'm somewhat cynical about global warming - not whether it's happening or not (one look at the temp. graphs ought to settle that question), but whether we are capable of doing anything about it prior to an actual, in-your-face crisis. I tend to think the best thing that science can do is prepare for the time when it's taken seriously - what measures could potentially and drastically reduce CO2 after the event, rather than slow its current production now. Carbon trading has to the biggest scam going, but somehow the politicians try to sell it to us with a straight face.


Literally all we have to do is move non carbon energy sources (or rather minimal carbon energy sources) toward being cheaper than carbon sources. Everything else takes care of itself after that. Of course most traditional economists, with their love of ignoring psychological economics to the point of dismissing empirical evidence as "just a survey" think "cap and trade systems!" and other crap are the answer, because their simplistic mathematical models that ignore real world data says that should be best. Cap and trade btw has never actually worked and has probably stifled investment in emission reducing technology.

Spend a hundred billion dollars (or maybe just a hundred million to be honest), make batteries (for storing wind/solar) and fusion work at economical prices below coal and oil, and you see carbon emissions almost vanish within 2 decades. HOW you spend that money to get that is a lot more tricky. Obviously large government funded fusion projects have proven, predictably, almost worthless with their multi billion dollar cost overruns to hit their goals a decade+ after their initial goals.

But X Prize like competitions have proven quite effective, hell we'll have self driving cars in less than a decade thanks to DARPA's prize competitions. Maybe just break the "large" problems into their component parts as much as possible and then offer prizes for advancements into each component part. Imagine a $50 million prize for a much better battery cathode. Suddenly all that nervousness investors have over new battery tech has an immediate and achievable payoff.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby tomandlu » Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:02 am UTC

SDK wrote:How does the government benefit from carbon trading?


It allows them to stay within their commitments without impacting the life-styles of their voters.

Even if it worked as 'intended', it's a curious approach - a sort of ecological equivalent of 'indulgences', but the first world buying emission rights from third world turns out to be a recipe for fraud and corruption. Who'd a thunk it?
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Nov 10, 2015 9:39 pm UTC

Frenetic Pony wrote:
tomandlu wrote:I'm somewhat cynical about global warming - not whether it's happening or not (one look at the temp. graphs ought to settle that question), but whether we are capable of doing anything about it prior to an actual, in-your-face crisis. I tend to think the best thing that science can do is prepare for the time when it's taken seriously - what measures could potentially and drastically reduce CO2 after the event, rather than slow its current production now. Carbon trading has to the biggest scam going, but somehow the politicians try to sell it to us with a straight face.


Literally all we have to do is move non carbon energy sources (or rather minimal carbon energy sources) toward being cheaper than carbon sources. Everything else takes care of itself after that. Of course most traditional economists, with their love of ignoring psychological economics to the point of dismissing empirical evidence as "just a survey" think "cap and trade systems!" and other crap are the answer, because their simplistic mathematical models that ignore real world data says that should be best. Cap and trade btw has never actually worked and has probably stifled investment in emission reducing technology.


Cap and trade isn't inherently an issue. The issue is getting the program accepted in a way that makes meaningful sense.

For instance, I recall reading reports that soda bottlers were getting carbon credits in some cases due to the fact that they are using carbon. This is..technically true, but it's a very short term sink. People will then drink the soda, and the fizz is released. So, actual benefit in terms of carbon is pretty minimal, since the sink is only as large as the current stockpile of unopened soda, which is mostly pretty static, and would exist in any case.

There's a lot of complexity in the details of precisely how the program is set up. Artifical economies can be made, but the details are of critical importance, and unfortuantely, there is a great deal of money to be made for certain parties in getting the details wrong.

Spend a hundred billion dollars (or maybe just a hundred million to be honest), make batteries (for storing wind/solar) and fusion work at economical prices below coal and oil, and you see carbon emissions almost vanish within 2 decades. HOW you spend that money to get that is a lot more tricky. Obviously large government funded fusion projects have proven, predictably, almost worthless with their multi billion dollar cost overruns to hit their goals a decade+ after their initial goals.


Alternative energy projects have been embraced in many cases. IER reports that US spending on this is approximately $39 billion per year for the past five years(http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/a ... ses-india/)

Despite spending far in excess of what you suggest, I think "carbon emissions almost vanish within 2 decades" is implausibly optimistic.

But X Prize like competitions have proven quite effective, hell we'll have self driving cars in less than a decade thanks to DARPA's prize competitions. Maybe just break the "large" problems into their component parts as much as possible and then offer prizes for advancements into each component part. Imagine a $50 million prize for a much better battery cathode. Suddenly all that nervousness investors have over new battery tech has an immediate and achievable payoff.


Competitions are lovely. But if the prize is too small, or the problem too hard, the prize just goes unclaimed as the competition is ignored and/or those who try fail. There are a number of such examples already out there.

Better battery tech isn't the sort of thing with a terrible payoff. If you can make batteries better and/or cheaper, there is an immediate, large market. It's stable, and it has buckets of money to shovel your way. It isn't a good comparison to space travel. The incentives are already there, and people are constantly working on this. Progress is being made, it's just slow, because, well, it's a fairly mature technology. The low hanging fruit has been long harvested.

Stuff like fusion, yeah. Don't hold your breath waiting for that to fix everything.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Nov 10, 2015 10:49 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Progress is being made, it's just slow, because, well, it's a fairly mature technology. The low hanging fruit has been long harvested.
You're not wrong, but I feel you may be deliberately ignoring the reality of the oil industries vested interest in keeping the worlds energy market hooked on hydrocarbons. Including obfuscating climate change data.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Nov 10, 2015 11:11 pm UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:Progress is being made, it's just slow, because, well, it's a fairly mature technology. The low hanging fruit has been long harvested.
You're not wrong, but I feel you may be deliberately ignoring the reality of the oil industries vested interest in keeping the worlds energy market hooked on hydrocarbons. Including obfuscating climate change data.


Both these things are true, and I don't see that one contradicts the other.

Obfuscating or not, there's little *actual* doubt among people who do research now. And, frankly, hasn't been for a bit, now. And incentives for better batteries have been around for a good long while, and many of them for reasons unconnected to climate change. Thinner cell phones, for instance.

So, it seems difficult to ascribe the state of battery technology at large to some conspiracy of oil barons. Removing all the incentives for battery improvement would be wildly beyond their grasp.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Frenetic Pony » Sun Nov 15, 2015 11:49 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Cap and trade isn't inherently an issue. The issue is getting the program accepted in a way that makes meaningful sense.

For instance, I recall reading reports that soda bottlers were getting carbon credits in some cases due to the fact that they are using carbon. This is..technically true, but it's a very short term sink. People will then drink the soda, and the fizz is released. So, actual benefit in terms of carbon is pretty minimal, since the sink is only as large as the current stockpile of unopened soda, which is mostly pretty static, and would exist in any case.

There's a lot of complexity in the details of precisely how the program is set up. Artifical economies can be made, but the details are of critical importance, and unfortuantely, there is a great deal of money to be made for certain parties in getting the details wrong.

Alternative energy projects have been embraced in many cases. IER reports that US spending on this is approximately $39 billion per year for the past five years(http://instituteforenergyresearch.org/a ... ses-india/)

Despite spending far in excess of what you suggest, I think "carbon emissions almost vanish within 2 decades" is implausibly optimistic.

But X Prize like competitions have proven quite effective, hell we'll have self driving cars in less than a decade thanks to DARPA's prize competitions. Maybe just break the "large" problems into their component parts as much as possible and then offer prizes for advancements into each component part. Imagine a $50 million prize for a much better battery cathode. Suddenly all that nervousness investors have over new battery tech has an immediate and achievable payoff.


Competitions are lovely. But if the prize is too small, or the problem too hard, the prize just goes unclaimed as the competition is ignored and/or those who try fail. There are a number of such examples already out there.

Better battery tech isn't the sort of thing with a terrible payoff. If you can make batteries better and/or cheaper, there is an immediate, large market. It's stable, and it has buckets of money to shovel your way. It isn't a good comparison to space travel. The incentives are already there, and people are constantly working on this. Progress is being made, it's just slow, because, well, it's a fairly mature technology. The low hanging fruit has been long harvested.

Stuff like fusion, yeah. Don't hold your breath waiting for that to fix everything.


Image

That's the classic "stupid people! Why can't you just behave like my model says you should!" logic. Cap and trade is inherently flawed because it doesn't work in the real world, and that's the entire point. Theoretical models don't matter if they don't produce the results you want.

Heck the entire point of economics since Alex Smith's garbled and rambling Wealth of Nations has been to show how the real world works, and at some point people like Karl Marx got overly clever and decided economics should show the world how it SHOULD work, rather than how it does.

The point should be to use market forces that already exist, which is to say people tend to be short sighted (low time horizon) dim (the less steps the reward takes to get the better) and greedy. So the most immediate way to exploit all of these to reduce carbon emissions is to give them a low time horizon, and simple to understand reward that they can claim individually. Which is to say, that if extremely low carbon producing energy sources can be used to undercut carbon producing energy sources while turning a profit, then people will immediately jump on that opportunity and take care of reducing carbon emissions to zero in and of themselves.

The second you start suggesting more complicated plans, or ones with longer time horizons, or Zues forbid start ignoring the tragedy of the commons is the second you start relying on people being the mythical Homo-economus* rather than the Homo-sapiens we actually have to deal with.

*I know it's economicus but economus delivers the same idea in shorter form.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Copper Bezel » Mon Nov 16, 2015 1:40 am UTC

Frenetic Pony wrote:The point should be to use market forces that already exist, which is to say people tend to be short sighted (low time horizon) dim (the less steps the reward takes to get the better) and greedy.

And governed primarily by habit and cultural inertia. Homo economicus doesn't account for that, either, and it's the dominant force, if not chiefly relevant to the point you're making.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Tyndmyr » Mon Nov 16, 2015 9:32 pm UTC

Frenetic Pony wrote:That's the classic "stupid people! Why can't you just behave like my model says you should!" logic. Cap and trade is inherently flawed because it doesn't work in the real world, and that's the entire point. Theoretical models don't matter if they don't produce the results you want.

Heck the entire point of economics since Alex Smith's garbled and rambling Wealth of Nations has been to show how the real world works, and at some point people like Karl Marx got overly clever and decided economics should show the world how it SHOULD work, rather than how it does.


My point is that the model that is adopted is not very much like the model that is theorized about.

So, the predictive results of the one for the other should not be taken very seriously.

The point should be to use market forces that already exist, which is to say people tend to be short sighted (low time horizon) dim (the less steps the reward takes to get the better) and greedy. So the most immediate way to exploit all of these to reduce carbon emissions is to give them a low time horizon, and simple to understand reward that they can claim individually. Which is to say, that if extremely low carbon producing energy sources can be used to undercut carbon producing energy sources while turning a profit, then people will immediately jump on that opportunity and take care of reducing carbon emissions to zero in and of themselves.


So, this reward, as you would have it, where does it come from?

Note that we have such a thing for solar, and have had it for a while(it actually expires fairly soon), in the US, and while the solar industry ain't doing too badly, it ain't much compared to conventional fuels, and certainly isn't displacing them.

Fairly large amounts have been spent on such rewards, and results have been...modest at best. How much is enough, and what tradeoffs and results do you expect? Note that cap and trade, as theorized, mostly is just the same thing, but with the high-carbon users paying the reward, so it ends up being both carrot and stick.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby tomandlu » Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:10 am UTC

A worldwide ban on urban travel would save around 13% of annual energy consumption and would encourage/force investment in public transport, which can use alternative energy sources.

For renewables, we need better storage if such sources are to be a reliable part of energy security. An energy source that can drop to 0% at the whim of the weather is almost useless without efficient storage.

Nuclear has to be a core (sic) component - even some former opponents in the green movement have accepted that.

A punitive, progressive tax on homes and business's energy consumption, which will highly incentivise creating and maintaining energy-efficient buildings. Note that this tax must be applied to the owner, not the occupier.

(The good news is that all of these have a carrot as well as a stick).

Oil *will* be exploited - if the oil can be extracted for a net gain (profit > cost), then it will be. Any strategy that ignores this must be considered flawed. At best, extraction might be slowed.
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Nov 17, 2015 4:59 pm UTC

tomandlu wrote:A worldwide ban on urban travel would save around 13% of annual energy consumption and would encourage/force investment in public transport, which can use alternative energy sources.


There are...logistical and political difficulties in instituting ANYTHING worldwide. This would also provide an incentive for people to opt to live rurally instead. This could result in people commuting MORE, not less.

For renewables, we need better storage if such sources are to be a reliable part of energy security. An energy source that can drop to 0% at the whim of the weather is almost useless without efficient storage.

Nuclear has to be a core (sic) component - even some former opponents in the green movement have accepted that.


Yeah, nuclear makes a really, really good base load in a way that most renewables do not. If you want to actually ever seriously displace coal and what not, you kind of have to embrace nukes.

Oil *will* be exploited - if the oil can be extracted for a net gain (profit > cost), then it will be. Any strategy that ignores this must be considered flawed. At best, extraction might be slowed.


This, yes. I view the pipeline objections as ridiculous. It's getting drilled either way. We're just squabbling over pipes vs trains for hauling it to be burned. It's not like not using it is even on the table.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby elasto » Wed Nov 18, 2015 7:20 am UTC

The Earth’s climate will enter a new “permanent reality” from next year when concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are likely to pass a historic milestone, the head of the UN’s weather agency has warned.

The record concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere were up 43% since pre-industrial times, said the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), prompting its secretary general Michel Jarraud to say immediate action was needed to cut CO2 emissions.

Concentrations of CO2 stood at a global annual average of 397.7ppm in 2014, up from about 278ppm in 1750, and the UN said the global annual average is likely to pass the symbolic 400ppm milestone in 2016. Scientists say that the ‘safe’ level of CO2 to avoid dangerous global warming is more like 350ppm.

...

The WMO also warned that the rising Earth surface temperature caused by these record CO2 concentrations created a vicious circle when it comes to water vapour. Higher temperatures lead to more atmospheric water vapour, which in turn traps even more heat.

Jarraud said that each year he announced new records for CO2 concentrations and that to keep temperatures within manageable levels, CO2 emissions from factories, cars and power plants needed to be cut now. “The laws of physics are non-negotiable,” he said.


The Met Office’s data from January to September 2015 already shows global average temperatures have risen by 1C for the first time compared to pre-industrial times. The rise is due to the “unequivocal” influence of increasing carbon emissions combined with the El Niño climate phenomenon currently under way. The Met Office expects the full-year temperature for 2015 to remain above 1C. It was below 0.9C in 2014, marking a sharp rise in climate terms.

...

Climate change is clear in the Central England Temperature record, which is the longest in the world and stretches back to 1772, said Ed Hawkins, a climate scientist at the University of Reading. “We can see the fingerprint of global warming in our own backyard. Central England has warmed 20% more than the global average [as land warms faster than oceans] and we expect that to continue.”

Belcher said 4C of warming would be much more harmful than simply doubling the impacts expected with 2C. He said the European heatwave of 2003, which led to 70,000 deaths, would be “a rather mild summer” in a 4C world.

The Met Office report also showed that the world’s “carbon budget” – the maximum CO2 that can be emitted over time to keep below 2C – was already two-thirds used up by the end of 2014. But only one-third of the sea-level rise expected from 2C of warming – 60cm by 2100 – has so far occurred, because of the time it takes for large ice sheets to melt.

Prof Andrew Shepherd, at the University of Leeds, said a recent Nasa study indicating that ice mass grew in Antarctica from 2003-2008 was contradicted by 57 other studies and had just a 5-10% chance of being a correct prediction.


Human societies will soon start to experience adverse effects from manmade climate change, a prominent economist has warned.

Prof Richard Tol predicts the downsides of warming will outweigh the advantages with a global warming of 1.1C - which has nearly been reached already.

Prof Tol is regarded by many campaigners as a climate "sceptic". He has previously highlighted the positive effects of CO2 in fertilising crops and forests. His work is widely cited by climate contrarians.

"Most people would argue that slight warming is probably beneficial for human welfare on net, if you measure it in dollars, but more pronounced warming is probably a net negative," Prof Tol told the BBC Radio 4 series Changing Climate.

Asked whether societies were at the point where the benefits start to be outweighed by consequences, he replied: "Yes. In academic circles, this is actually an uncontroversial finding."

...

Richard Tol from Sussex University believes discussion over the impacts of a 2C temperature rise is largely irrelevant as the world is likely to warm by between 3-5C, because politicians at the forthcoming Paris climate summit won't be willing or able to make the scale of cuts needed to keep temperature rises under 2C. He says a rise of 4C would be undesirable but manageable for Europe and all nations rich enough to cope with the costs of adaptation. The best way of combating climate change, he told BBC News, was to maximise economic growth.

Tim Lenton, professor of Earth systems science from Exeter University, told us this was a highly optimistic prognosis under a 4C rise. "The land surface of central Europe would be quite a lot more than 4C warmer on average, changing potentially the pattern of seasonality over Europe. "We would have lost the summer Arctic sea-ice, [and] would have sea-ice cover radically thinned in winters. We're seeing already that appears to have some connection to changes in the pattern of weather and weather extremes and the changes in the distribution of rivers and river flows. We might then speculate about how intense Mediterranean drying might drive... movements of people. It would be a very different Europe."

Johan Rockstrom, director of the Resilience Centre at Stockholm University, warns that the further we go above 2C, the more we risk triggering irreversible effects. "What takes us to 6C is not carbon emissions, it is biosphere response. Will we be able to maintain the natural carbon sinks in the permafrost, in the rainforests, in the boreal forests, in the wetlands and in the coastal regions? Because that's where the big stores are. We emit nine gigatons of carbon per year from our burning of fossil fuels, but there's a 100 gigatons lying just under the Siberia tundra. You have many-fold larger stores of carbon in the topsoil of tropical soils, or under the ice in the Arctic. If we don't manage the living ecosystems well enough they could start biting us from behind."


http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-34800829
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/ ... of-warming

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Neil_Boekend » Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:44 am UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:Yeah, nuclear makes a really, really good base load in a way that most renewables do not. If you want to actually ever seriously displace coal and what not, you kind of have to embrace nukes.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby thoughtfully » Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:36 am UTC

Yeah, gotta love those alpha emitters. So cuddly (and occasionally warm)! But do not take internally :)
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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Tyndmyr » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:15 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
The Earth’s climate will enter a new “permanent reality” from next year when concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere are likely to pass a historic milestone, the head of the UN’s weather agency has warned.

The record concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere were up 43% since pre-industrial times, said the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), prompting its secretary general Michel Jarraud to say immediate action was needed to cut CO2 emissions.

Concentrations of CO2 stood at a global annual average of 397.7ppm in 2014, up from about 278ppm in 1750, and the UN said the global annual average is likely to pass the symbolic 400ppm milestone in 2016. Scientists say that the ‘safe’ level of CO2 to avoid dangerous global warming is more like 350ppm.


Hitting the "milestones" is kind of like leaving the solar system at this point.

Always another "end of an era" mark.

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Re: NASA reports net gain of Antarctic ice

Postby Copper Bezel » Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:34 am UTC

Yeah. I read the phrase "for the first time" and kept reading looking for a qualitative change that it could be referring to. I didn't find one.
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