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Man-made We're screwed

"What we found is that temperatures increased in the last hundred years as much as they had cooled in the last six or seven thousand," he said. "In other words, the rate of change is much greater than anything we've seen in the whole Holocene," referring to the current geologic time period, which began around 11,500 years ago.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2013/03/were-screwed-11-00...

Plenty of science, but I am not going to rehash the whole list. If you understand that the "proofs and disproofs" being offered are essentially rehashed computer sims subject to overt and unconscious programmer bias, that's all that matters. Real world data is not so easy to fudge, and is in flat contradiction to the (risible) 'averaged' model projections, which are individually wildly and randomly wrong.

You note I have refrained from pathetic ad hominem argumentation like that above, though it would be easy to use. Basically, the core Circle of 'climatologists' are Jackasses of All Sciences, Masters of None, and dodge and duck all efforts to make their data and procedures open and replicable. Nincompoops all.

@ rlarno

If the electricity needed to produce and charge batteries is generated through burning of fossil fuels, of course EVs are gonna emmit a lot of CO2. That is why energy production must turn to renewable sources. For this today uneconomical change, due to low prices on fossil fuels and still expensive green tech, tax payers money must be used. But most conservative repulicans do not get this and says Obama is giving money to his "mates".

@Roadster

Indeed, not only energy production needs to turn to renewables, construction and transportation also needs to improve. Which is also what is happening. I live close to the Antwerp harbour and one of the biggest solar PV installations is right 'next door'. Its owned by a huge transportation company. They now have a fully electrical fleet of forklifts (automated or manual) and hardly need any oil for their operation.

So give it some time and driving an ICE might be regarded like smoking: just plain stupid and bad for your health.

I won't comment on how the US media and politics work. We (in the EU) have our own issues ;-)

"Plenty of science, but I am not going to rehash the whole list."

Link to one study... Just one; One published and peer reviewed paper that refutes one of the following.

1) CO2 causes NET warming
2) CO2 levels are rising
3) Human activity is causing CO2 levels to rise.

Seriously, I would really love to believe that I wasn't the monster I think I was before I got the fossil fuel monkey "mostly" off my back. I'm still too lazy to grow my own food.

The seminal AGW papers have been thoroughly demolished, show to be statistical junk and dependent on faked and fudged data (despite all efforts to hide it, or provide only edited summaries). The whole field is build on quicksand, and the sucking has begun.

We all know you think the field is Bunk Brian... Link to the science that says AGW is bunk. Facts, that's what science is about...

"thoroughly demolished,"

Where?

"Real world data"

Where?

Suffice to say, even on the dirtiest grid in the nation (Denver, I think) driving a Tesla will produce less pollution than a similar sedan. And even in Denver you are shifting your 'fuel dollars' to AMERICAN coal miners from TERRORISTS and DICTATORS that want to KILL us!

Drive a Tesla, it will make the world a better place, for a lot of reasons!

If you live in Denver, you can always add solar panels, they will not help as much if you drive a ICE car.

I think it's become abundantly clear that Brian H's motivation in this debate has less to do with environmental science and more to do with politics. His reasoning is full of contradictions and empty claims, but I think he deserves a good round of applause for effort and determination. If we overlook his logic (or lack thereof), I think we could say he makes a good devil's advocate. Maybe he's afraid of big government, if so I can't say I blame him. But if he'll admit to that much, then the debate can shift from whether (climate change is real or risky) to what (we can do to improve the world while minimize our annoying addiction to fossil fuels). I've long hated the fact that I am addicted to oil or any fossil fuel. For a long time, the only conclusion I could reach was that living a hand to mouth existence as a homesteader, cut off from the world and its problems, was the solution to my dilemma. Now I'm sure that not only can the whole world become virtually oil free, but it can be done while reaching for the stars... literally. It requires intelligence and imagination, it's complicated but can be figured out. What I will never figure out is why are we still handing out generous subsidies to the oil industry, to this day? At least I keep hearing that.

Here in Ottawa, Canada, last year we had a heat wave in March and this year we just got a snow storm, today in fact. Both are pretty exceptional and at least the heat wave broke records. Last summer broke a whole bunch of heat records, too. Whatever abstract arguments can be devised for or against the notion of man-made climate change, you don't need to be ultra-perceptive to suspect that something is brewing... opening your eyes and accepting some basic facts will do.

Tesla proved that green transport can include more than a bicycle. The electricity industry is one tough problem but it is being worked on. What isn't getting enough attention is how can we reverse the growing air-conditioning addiction? Earth-sheltered homes are a promising start, but there are many obstacles: lack of completely perfect demos (need a model S equivalent!), large capital cost and long life of buildings makes change slow, chicken and egg situation regarding public acceptance although green roofs are gaining visibility, and lots of city by-laws in the way! Maybe I better re-purpose myself to solving that tough challenge and become an earth-sheltered house project developer... but even if I succeed, that leaves another problem: urban sprawl (which might get worse if EVs make travel cheaper). Sorry for thinking out loud if I annoy you.

Seriously, I've long dreamed (among many other things as you may know by now) of building the perfect house of log frame and straw-bale, earth-sheltered with a huge greenhouse that would capture enough heat to render fire in the wood stove optional. Hopefully it would be very affordable, except for lots of hard labour... but people need jobs anyways, especially nice simple close-to-nature-and-making-stuff kind of jobs. Keeping the folk busy would also combat mental illness, which is another epidemic in the western world.

Well I'll stop at that, but I've been starting to think, lately, that maybe I need to test my house ideas sooner than later. If Tesla could show the world what a great car should be like, maybe someone could show the world what a great house should be like, and maybe I could try. I'd have to start small.

TeslaRocks, I think it has become abundantly clear that Brian H loves Tesla, and is very smart. If he sometimes talks above your head that is not his problem.

I like the idea of you building the perfect house. We really need people building green, and not squeeze every nickle out of the buyer. Good luck

@Mel

Ideological banter isn't above anyones head. TeslaRocks analysis was spot on. Brian Hs AGW denial is based on politics not science. Come to think of it... I've yet to meet anyone whose AGW denial wasn't based almost entirely on ideological ground.

Kind of like I've never meet anyone that insisted the earth is <6000 years old that wasn't a religious nut-job.

Seriously, I think Brian has a lot of information and criticisms that he should collect and write a digital book with links and especially as many citations as he can muster. Highlight his supporting citations if they have been scientifically published and peer reviewed. This seems to be the biggest complaint, that Brian's citations and ideas lack publication.

Brian in his book could recommend scientific studies and papers. He can sell his book on Amazon, iBooks etc, and send copies to parties he'd like to suggest to do studies and papers. The scientific method can stand debate, and is healthier in integrity for it. Brian's complaints seem to center a lot on methodology , data collection, etc. There's plenty of entities with money to fund such studies, but bad logic won't hold up in a published paper versus trying to influence public opinion with general discussion.

Personally I think "False Dilemma" fallacy, scarcity of creative solutioning, and lack of compromise is what's preventing good public policy from being developed that could be both Eco-green & Econo-green (as in wealth generating) as well as get us off foreign oil and have health cost savings and benefits.

Let's be a little sensible here. Because of human activity there is more atmospheric CO2 and CO2 is a known greenhouse gas. However, I do like the spirit of Brian's arguments. It is healthy to question the consensus. When I was a kid we'd be playing ball on the street as the trucks passed us by spraying DDT- the consensus back then was that DDT was a wonder chemical.
This idea that by driving an EV one is having a positive effect on the global environment is bogus. It is a big help for your local air quality, but not on a global environmental level. Most of the electricity charging the vehicle is coming from coal or nat gas. If one is in N Illinois where electricity is primarily generated from nuclear power then there is a clear benefit to greenhouse gas emissions, but the environmental benefits of nuclear power generation is a whole different discussion.
If you really want to discuss greenhouse gases then why not pay a little more attention to CH4? It is a much more dangerous greenhouse gas than CO2. The livestock industry is more responsible for detrimental greenhouse gas emissions than any other industry. I really enjoy red meat so I am definitely a hypocrite to be still eating it- albeit much less than previously in my diet.
I commute 200mi per week. 100mi in a Leaf and 100mi on a bike. It sucks riding a bike in cold weather, but it saves a lot of money and it definitely helps the environment. I was planning on trading in my Leaf for a Model S but am not so sure anymore. Tesla seems like a car for wealthy people who want to believe that they are saving the planet by buying a luxury wehicle.

OK... here's the thing... It is healthy to question the consensus on climate change if you're a climate researcher examining ice cores as your full time job. This questioning is performed by forming a hypothesis that makes a prediction that is testable and falsifiable. You then test your hypothesis and release your findings for peer review.

The "not ok" way to question the consensus... the way the get yourself labeled as "crazy" or "a crank" is to call 97% of published research by actual scientists "BS", post cherry picked graphs that fit your narrative then go on a political rant before retreating under your bridge to sulk.

The scientific method isn't perfect. It has been wrong in the past it WILL be wrong in the future and it might be wrong about climate change. It's all a game of numbers, the best science can do is tell you where the odds are. If you had a pair of dice and had to bet everything on one roll would you bet on 2 or 7? That's a crude representation since there IS a real answer but by it's nature science is NEVER 100%. There IS a concentration of CO2 that WILL render this planet uninhabitable. Is it 400? 450? 500? When pressed the scientific community has said 350 ppm is a safe long-term number to ensure no significant consequences.

http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/TargetCO2_20080407.pdf

We're now @ ~397ppm and climbing; The clock is ticking and the "crazy cranks" aren't making things easier.

"...let's say there's a 99% chance that CO2 is no problem and a 1% chance we're going to cook the planet; I don't think we want to take that 1%..." - Elon Musk

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NO0DRa5gLoI

@nwdiver: "Link to one study...that refutes one of the following.

1) CO2 causes NET warming
2) CO2 levels are rising
3) Human activity is causing CO2 levels to rise."

I wouldn't dispute any of the above. The real questions are:

1) In simple models of greenhouse gases, an increase of CO2 will cause earth mean temperature to increase. But there are many interrelated factors that cause earth mean temperature to fluctuate. Will CO2 increase ACTUALLY increase mean earth temperature or is there s negative feedback loop occurring or are there other factors which might decrease earth mean temperature causing overall temperature to stay level or decrease? Certainly if you look at 20th and now 21st century CO2 levels versus temperature, the last 20 years or so, CO2 and temperature are NOT positively correlated, so something else is going on.

2) Assuming there will continue to be a positive correlation and the last 20 years is some anomaly, will the temperature rise be something manageable like .7 degrees C over 200 years? Or, as FLAWED COMPUTER MODEL SUGGEST, there is a positive feedback loop and a tipping point is built into the earth's climate system and once a certain level of CO2 is reached, the climate runs away and we are all cooked? The reason I say the climate models are flawed is because they are by definition - no computer model can 100% accurately model the earth's climate as the earth's climate is too complex for modeling. Anyone who listens to weather predictions a few days out can attest to that. So all we have are climate scientist's model that predict disaster and those models are just a theory. Also we do have evidence in the past from ice cores and other data that the earth used to have A LOT more CO2 in it than it does now, and the earth managed to survive then with a diverse biosphere and in particular without runaway thermal feedback loops.

It is this second point that is the real sticking point. Small potential rises in earth's mean temperature are not a cause for alarm and will only have the effect of making more northern lands available for agriculture (while making more southern lands hotter). But climate scientists (at least the ones that grab headlines and get grant funding) like to paint doomsday scenarios where the earth will reach a tipping point and truly catastrophic temperature rises will occur. EVEN WHEN there is actually historical evidence against this occurring.

Again, how do electric cars have any impact on greenhouse emissions on a global level? I drive one because it eliminates emissions locally and because it eliminates the transporting of crude oil across the oceans to a degree. That is the environmental benefit. Also, the fact that my source of electricity is generated by nuclear power ensures that my vehicle does have an impact on greenhouse gas emission.
The vast majority of EV's will be powered by fossil fuels. If the wealthy purchasers of Tesla cars really want to impact the planet, then take one less vacation per year, eat a lot less red meat, move to a location where you can commute to work on a bicycle, live in a smaller home.
I just don't believe that policies like electric vehicles and ethanol really impact greenhouse gas levels.
EV's are fun to drive and they have some environmental benefits, but nowhere near as many as advertised.

@chicago.ev - there are a few more environmental benefits than what you stated. First, recognize that EVs are more energy efficient. An ICE engine only converts 30% of gasoline's energy into movement, rest into heat. Electric motors are 80% efficient. Second, electricity generation at the utility is less polluting than burning it in a car, even with transmission line losses. Third, a lot of our fossil fuel electricity generation is via natural gas, so that's a lot less polluting than gasoline. Fourth, if a lot of EVs start being used, utilities will find their capacity factor going up a lot since there will be a lot more energy draw from midnight to 6am, by far the lightest usage time. This helps two ways, first it allows more use from the distribution infrastructure, and second, it will encourage more nuclear electricity generation since nuclear plants are great for steady baseline energy load, and the if the energy demand becomes more even, nuclear will become more economical. And then you do have what you mentioned, less local urban pollution which is a biggie if you live in a large city.

@shop.
those are some good points. there is also the negative aspects of mining etc required for battery production. if you take the energy conversion from the feedstock through the utility to the generation of electricity and through the grid for distribution to the home, you do lose quite a bit of thie efficiency. you certainly have that in the gasoline engine as well from extraction, refining,transport etc. of the fuel. I would assume that in general the EV does offer a much better impact overall and so your points are well taken. I still feel that eliminating a lot of the transport of fuel is one of the best reasons for having an EV. That said I would think that most environmentally conscious people would agree with my statement that changing ones consumptive behavior and locating close to the workplace are the more effective ways to impact the environment. I just have visions of big executives and politicians driving up to a private jet in their Tesla and feeling good about their impact on the environment.

@Shop

I'm happy that you agree in an area where the scientific debate has ended. From the articles I have read there is still some debate on the climate sensitivity of the planet as would be expected since it's not a simple yes/no question. The study I linked to above discusses this in great detail.

Don't make the common mistake of confusing weather with climate. I'll let NASA explain that one...
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/noaa-n/climate/climate_weather.html

You're correct that the climate models aren't perfect but every year they get better. The more we learn and the more simulations we run the higher the probability that the aggregate result is correct. European computer models accurately predicted the landfall of Sandy in New Jersey a full week before landfall. Just a few years ago 3 day notice would have been cutting-edge.

There is a near-zero chance our Fossil Fuel addiction will have no negative impacts. Best case we'll have at least a 1.5' rise in sea level by 2100.
http://ssi.ucsd.edu/scc/images/Jevrejeva%20SLR%202500%20GlobPlanCh%2012.pdf

A gradual rise in sea level is just the most certain effect. Far more catastrophic and more difficult to predict is the effect of climate change on weather patterns. Farmlands will become deserts and deserts will become farmlands. Humans can't migrate like they did thousands of years ago... we're kind of stuck within our national borders. Here's an amusing summary...
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2Jxs7lR8ZI

Bottom Line... Are we 100% certain of the effects? No, and we never will be. Why take the chance if we don't have to?

@mwdiver93: "Bottom Line... Are we 100% certain of the effects? No, and we never will be. Why take the chance if we don't have to?"

Because the proposed and actual "solutions" to potential global warming have real costs. Costs as in people dying.

Just to take a concrete example, the $7500 federal tax rebate and California $2500 EV incentive reduces the ability for these governments to pay for all sorts of programs for the needy - from lunch subsidies, to medical care to social programs. Now on an economy wide basis, when you take money from one pot whose net effect will be to save lives in the year the money is used (social programs for the needy), and spend it on something else that may, 100 years down the road mitigate coastal flooding (EV tax breaks), that isn't a good tradeoff in my opinion.

You also have the economic argument that if increase the cost of everyone's energy from $0.04 per Kwh to $0.10 a Kwh, that money that people are now spending on increased energy costs has to be taken away from somewhere. For a rich person, that means a shorter vacation. For a poor person that might mean the difference between getting that flu shot or skipping it and then dying from influenza.

And then you have the whole, are you making any difference anyways argument. The US has actually managed to live up to the Kyoto accords greenhouse gas reduction target. AFAIK, it is the only major industrial economy to have done so. Yet CO2 levels continue to climb. Why? China. India. No matter what we do here, unless those two economies get on board, nothing we do will help. And in those economies, the cost of energy is even more sensitive to the number of people dying each year. Double the cost of energy in China now, and millions of extra people will be dead within one year.

So, the bottom line is that there is no free lunch. Yes, we can have a light environmental footprint, but the cost in human lives is very real today while the benefits are unproven and far off in the future.

"I just have visions of big executives and politicians driving up to a private jet in their Tesla and feeling good about their impact on the environment."

A rather biased vision, may I say a little self-righteous?

How many Tesla owners do the other "green" things you mentioned?
How many have changed their consumption patterns (or didn't need to)?
How many have installed solar panels to charge their cars and houses?
How many live close enough to work to commute in a ranged electric car?

I don't know a single Tesla owner who thinks electric cars are a panacea.
Teslas are great cars and a blast to drive. They help the environment a little, certainly
more than the comparable ICE vehicles. And supporting Tesla may help drive us toward more
green usage in the future.

@shop
You talk as if it's all a zero sum game. "take money from one pot " Give a $7500 tax break and there's not enough money for social programs? Can't do both?

Reasonable economic decisions in the richest country on earth can allow us to do both. It's a huge pot.
Maybe we could save enough for that by not attacking Iraq for a third time. ;)

China is polluting, so nothing we do will help? Illogical.
--They're polluting anyway, so we might as well, too?
--That thief is robbing banks anyway, so we might as well, too.

No sense in putting sand bags on the levies, they won't stop the rain.

There's no free lunch. So, dont take your sandwich out of a poor person's mouth so you can afford to give $5 to a charity. Bet you can do both. Bet the US can, too.

The evidence for human contribution is solid, but even if it weren't, I respond to the assertion that periods of warming and cooling happen all the time throughout Earth prehistory with the following: so do mass extinctions! And, we're in one, right now. And, it's pretty obvious that we humans are not helping.

@Jane W
I would say that there are many Tesla owners that are helping in many ways to create a better environment, but it is a luxury car. As such it currently is targeted to an upper-class buyer, and in general those of us in the upper-class tend to consume a lot more of everything, including energy. Nearly 20% of the human generated greenhouse gas effect comes from the livestock industry- so be different Tesla and offer a luxury car without leather! Not going to happen. The $7500 rebate for EV makes a huge impact on the purchase price of a Leaf, which I currently drive. It makes little impact on a $70,000 car--$62,400 is still a very expensive car which only the wealthiest of Americans can afford. So along with SHOP, I ask, why give this tax credit to the wealthiest Americans? We don't need it. It's similar to our renewable fuels program. The vast majority of American grain farmers are millionaires many times over due to this program and the cost of food globally has doubled in the last 7 years, putting the most vulnerable on our planet in terrible straights. Government policy at work.

No solution to fight climate change is going to be perfect. It's impossible to predict how removing the $7500 tax credit would hurt Tesla sales.

I reject the notion that fighting climate change must necessarily cost anything. It should be viewed in terms of an investment. To be sure there are solutions on the table which ARE costs... One example which is an investment is Solar PV. The cost has fallen so dramatically in recent years that even in solar poor areas like Seattle a system will return the cost of installation in <10 years before subsidies.

The target of any solution must be the people who can afford to modify their bahavior but choose not to. The vast majority of people I work with make $100k+ & have homes that can easily accomodate solar but don't for one very good reason... THERE'RE LAZY!!(Not speculation... we spoke) Like everything else in the universe they seek the path of least resistance; Why tie up ~$10,000 when you can just pay the local utility to keep burning coal? Plus, it takes time and effort to pick up the phone and find an installer. Sure, they'll get that money back in <4 years but what's solar going to do for them today?

Just spit-balling here but what if my county passed an ordinance that your electric bill is tied to the value of your home. <$100,000 house = $0.10/kWh; $400,000 house = $0.40/kWh. I would wager that my lazy co-workers would have solar on their homes shortly after their first electric bill. No extra Pain for the poor. No shorter vacations for the rich... Hell, they'll probably take MORE vacations since they'll be better off financially than they were before! Just some extra motivation to do what's right and cleaner air.

JaneW;
your first comment is good, but then you lose the plot. Fact is, even draconian human emissions cuts would have only a fraction of a degree impact beginning in a century or so. Since there is a 1:1 connection between CO2 cuts and recession to date, that's hardly worth the candle.

The point about China is that it is not going to play, and its impact is dominant and growing fast. They aren't going to be shamed or inspired by our (your) noble example. The UK's and Australia's pols, e.g., seem to imagine that will happen. They are demonstrably deluded. It would be unwise to emulate them.

Slap Chinese imports with a carbon tariff.

"The vast majority of American grain farmers are millionaires"

Ummm ... Average net cash farm income (NCFI) is forecast at $76,000 for all farm businesses for 2013.
---------------------
"The point about China is that it is not going to play, and its impact is dominant and growing fast. They aren't going to be shamed or inspired by our (your) noble example. "

Obvious. We all know that.
Still not an excuse for doing nothing ourselves. It is separate from them. We have our own
work to do. And, done right, it can be a good business. We will continue to find ways to make more money while making things better -- very American.

Nonsense. Pixie dust dreams. Punitive emission suppression causes considerable hardship, and has no demonstrable benefit. Imagining cheap substitutes is like the EPA mandates for a percentage of cellulose-derived ethanol in all gas, which no one has succeeded in getting out of the labs, or indeed ethanol in general, which adds more (fossil-fueled) emissions at source to the combustion total on use (equal or more), or its mandates to do CCS (Clean Carbon Sequestration), which no one has succeeded in doing at less than ruinous expense, etc. Human laws which attempt to override physics and economics laws have horrible unintended consequences. Food to Fuel agriculture mandates doubled grain prices, twice, to the world's poorest and killed uncounted millions. An FAO official called it a "Crime Against Humanity", the UN's #1 offense under international law. The AGW fakesters continue blithely on.

Most Believers like you are simply suckers to fast-talkers' hand-waving. But they know better, and are beyond dangerous. As one of the progressives' spokemen (Big Dog) said, "Politics is blood sport." They're playing for all the marbles.

"Punitive emission suppression causes considerable hardship, and has no demonstrable benefit."

Funny... they said the same thing about curbing sulfur emissions... until it worked!

http://www.epa.gov/capandtrade/documents/ctresults.pdf

"All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."


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