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Archive for April 2020

 

 

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UNITED NATIONS, APRIL 20 2020.  LINK TO SOURCE DOCUMENT [LINK]

NUMNUT VOCABULARY EXAMPLES:  collaborative leadership, anchored in mutilateralism, political will, ambition, profound opportunity.

  1. To combat the COVID-19 pandemic and the existential threat of climate disruption, the only credible response is brave, visionary and collaborative leadership anchored in mutilateralism.
  2. COVID19 exposed the fragility of our societies to global shocks such as the climate crisis. As we recover, we must build a better future for all. Together, we can protect our planet, improve health, reduce inequality & re-energize struggling economies. And against the backdrop of threatened lives, crippled businesses and damaged economies, our Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are under threat. The highest cost is the cost of doing nothing underscoring the need to urgently strengthen resilience and cut greenhouse gas emissions to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels and mitigate climate change.
  3. But we still lack the necessary political will and ambition on mitigation, adaptation, and finance. On mitigation, all countries must commit to carbon neutrality by 2050. And developing countries – least responsible for climate change but most vulnerable to its impacts – need resilience-building support. This requires adequate financing, beginning with a promised $100 billion dollars a year for mitigation and adaptation efforts.
  4. In planning the coronavirus pandemic recovery, there is a profound opportunity to steer the world on a path that tackles climate change, protects the environment, reverses biodiversity loss and ensures the long-term health and security of humankind. By making the transition to low-carbon, climate-resilient growth, we can create a world that is clean, green, safe, just and more prosperous for all. There are six different climate actions that countries can take to shape the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
  5. Like the coronavirus, greenhouse gases also respect no boundaries. Isolation is a trap in which no country can succeed alone. We already have a common framework for action – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.
  6. 121 countries have already committed to carbon neutrality by 2050. I ask all countries to prepare enhanced national climate action plans, or Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Ww need six actions for a climate positive recovery from the corona virus pandemic. They are
  7. 1. Deliver new jobs and businesses with a transition to a green economy while accelerating decarbonization of all aspects of the economy. 2. Use taxation to create green jobs and inclusive growth when rescuing businesses. 3. Shift economies from grey to green, with using public financing that makes societies more resilient. 4. Invest public funds in the future, to projects that help the environment and the climate. 5. Consider risks and opportunities for your own economy, as the global financial system works to shape policy and infrastructure. 6. Work together as an international community to combat COVID-19 and climate change.
  8. I encourage the European Union to continue showing global leadership by presenting, by the end of the year, a Nationally Determined Contribution in line with its commitment to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050.
  9. The key to tackling the climate crisis is the big emitters. The world’s 20 leading economies collectively account for more than 80 per cent of global emissions and over 85 per cent of the global economy. All of them must commit to carbon neutrality by 2050. Without the contribution of the big emitters, all our efforts risk to be doomed.
  10. Let us use the pandemic recovery to provide a foundation for a safe, healthy, inclusive and more resilient world for all people.

 

 

 

TRANSLATION

(1)  Hello, this is your unelected and unaccountable planetary leader speaking. I take care of all the little people all over the planet and make sure that the elected and accountable leaders of all those cute little nation states that I am responsible for are doing a good job and running their countries the way I want them run for the sake of the planet.

(2)  Sadly, these elected and accountable national leaders care only about their political power and only about the welfare of their stupid little countries and they don’t think about the planet at all because they are too busy thinking about their national welfare and their economy and all those money hungry capitalists that they need to keep  the economy strong. Nobody cares about the planet or the climate. 

(3)  Since 2016, I have been telling these good for nothing national leaders and their money hungry capitalists that I am the leader of the planet and they must pay attention to what I want them to do for the sake of the planet and the climate. I have been telling them that they must take climate action to save the planet from climate change but they haven’t been paying attention to me, their unelected and unaccountable planetary leader and caretaker of nature. They are too proud of their power and wealth and their industrial economy and all those airliners and cars and computers and such and the money being raked in by those money hungry capitalists so they can pay me and all my fellow unaccountable UN bureaucrats our enormous salaries (plus expenses and benefits you won’t believe). 

(4)  So I had to bide my time until the planet could create an opportunity for me to save the planet from these uncaring elected and accountable governments. And by the year 2020 the planet had created just such an opportunity for me to save the planet. It sent a Biblical plague upon the uncaring national leaders, the uncaring capitalists, and the climate deniers throughout the length and breadth of the planet. The plague killed their capitalism that had stood in the way and showed them what a planetary crisis looks like and what it feels like so that they would pay more attention to the climate disruption that lies ahead for us if they don’t take climate action the way I had told them to do. 

(5) The plague scared them and for the first time they began to comprehend what a planetary emergency like the climate disruption looks like and feels like and what it would do to their oh so beloved industrial economy and capitalism wealth. The plague had also created just the kind of emission reduction and pollution reduction that we have been demanding all these years. These things finally gave me, their planetary leader, an opportunity to save the planet from climate disruption. And so the plague will be lifted and climate action will be taken and the climate disruption will not be allowed to happen and most of all, the planet will be saved. 

 

POSTSCRIPT: COVID-19 HAS ENVIRONMENTAL DOWNSIDES TOO

Every year, hundreds of millions of trees are planted across British Columbia — and 2020 was going to be a record-setting season. Plans were in motion to plant 310 million trees, roughly 60 million more than usual. BUT . . . as with so many other activities, COVID-19 has upended this program and created an ecological disaster.   SOURCE: [LINK]

IMAGES FROM THE VIDEO [LINK] 

bandicam 2020-04-24 16-14-35-713

bandicam 2020-04-26 11-07-18-047

bandicam 2020-04-26 06-48-25-156

bandicam 2020-04-26 12-08-02-175

 

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THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF A YOUTUBE VIDEO [LINK] ON THE VIABILITY OF RENEWABLES TO REPLACE FOSSIL FUELS. IT IS PRESENTED IN TWO PARTS. PART-1  IS A SUMMARY AND CRITICAL REVIEW IN LIGHT OF A RELATED POST ON THE SAME TOPIC. PART-2 IS A TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO. 

 

 

PART-1: SUMMARY AND CRITICAL COMMENTARY

An evaluation of the renewable option in climate action is presented for the wind, solar, biofuel, and biomass options. The assessment is made not strictly in terms of cost and effectiveness but also in an overall context of environmentalism in which all impacts of human activity on nature are considered. Yet another extraneous variable in the evaluation is the involvement of powerful and wealthy capitalists in financing the operation and whether they were thus enriched with the assumption that projects that enrich capitalists are therefore not effective by definition or suspicious in other ways.

The evaluation finds that renewables are not a viable option and rejects the use of wind, solar, biofuel, and biomass as tools of climate action. In the case of biofuel and biomass, the destruction of trees and forests, either for harvesting trees (as in biomass projects) or for clearing land (as in biofuel projects) is cited from an environmentalism point of view as an unacceptable level of the destruction of nature just to keep humans supplied with an unreasonable amount of energy in view of what nature can withstand. An additional objection to these options is cited as the undesirable involvement of super rich capitalists if it is known that they financed and profited from the project.

For wind and solar, their downsides are found not only in terms of their environmental impact and involvement of capitalists but also in terms of their significant flaws described in a related post [LINK] . These are that they need a very large expanse of land that often needs to be cleared of trees and wildlife. The other serious concern with respect to wind and solar is that their power generation is intermittent and the amount of power they generate is variable. For these reasons these power generation devices are not reliable and must be backed up by fossil fueled power plants. Other considerations include useful life, regular maintenance, and fossil fuel consumption. Solar panels and wind turbines have a useful life of 10 to 20 years. They must therefore be regularly disposed of and replaced. Their disposal has environmental impact implications because of the enormous amount of material involved and the environmental impact of their replacement has cost and environmental considerations because of the very large quantities rare earths and metals needed from mines in Africa in an activity with serious health and environmental issues. It is also mentioned that thermal concentrated solar power plants consume natural gas and are often abandoned after a few years. In all cases, they are backed up by coal or natural gas plants.

The environmentalism expressed in the video is assumed to be an impact of human activity at the planetary level. The very first utterance of the video is “Have you ever wondered what would happen if a single species took over an entire planet?“. Although this kind of thinking is common among environmentalists, there is no real evidence that we have an impact at the planetary level, much less that we have taken over an entire planet. Here are some details on this issue. [LINK] . Yet another consideration in this regard is that an argument that begins with the assumption that humans, the industrial economy, and capitalism are bad, and perhaps even evil, cannot lead to a positive assessment of human civilization in the 21st century and therefore all negative conclusions therefrom are products of circular reasoning. The evil found is the evil that had been inserted. Also, that electric cars are charged from the grid that delivers fossil fueled electricity overlooks the need to start moving to electric cars in anticipation of a green grid.

The flaws in the analysis notwithstanding; for example the evaluation not from a climate science perspective but from an eco wacko environmentalism and anti-capitalism perspective, and failing to make the distinction between old carbon in fossil fuels and the current account of the carbon cycle; the work still makes a useful contribution in the evaluation of the climate action procedures proposed by climate science. An important contribution of the video is that it finds widespread cheating and lying in the renewable business that exposes an ugly side of the climate movement. This finding implies that climate science claims about their proposed climate action plans are not credible. 

A related post [LINK]  presents similar arguments to reject wind and solar renewables as a viable power generation technology. The analysis emphasizes the very large extent of real estate needed and the serious matter of intermittency with continued need for backup fossil fuel power anyway. Both of these studies find the inadequacy of battery capacity in the extreme such that the only real solution to intermittency is full scale fossil fuel backup power.  In the Gibbs/Moore video we find “When I looked up how much battery storage there is, it was less than 1/10th of 1% of what’s needed.” and in the related video we find a similar assessment in the image below.

bandicam 2020-04-05 20-11-37-495

The analysis in the related post also rejects conventional nuclear power because of waste disposal issues and the possibility of weaponization of the uranium and proposes a novel traveling-wave nuclear reactor (TWR) that runs on depleted uranium. The video presented here may provide further incentive for this power generation technology. Ironically, an anti capitalism analysis of renewable Green Energy may be what makes some very wealthy capitalists even wealthier because it makes a case in support of their TerraPower climate action plan.

 

POSTSCRIPT TO THE SUMMARY

Climate scientists have objected loudly to this video and have called for its removal for what they see as an unjustified attack on their renewable energy climate action plans from a purely environmentalism perspective [LINK] . These objections raise even more serious issues about climate science than prior claims of skepticsClimate scientists had voluntarily appealed to environmentalists for support claiming to be environmental agents that will save the planet from the industrial economy of humans. What we see in the video is that this claim is not accurate. This collision between climate science and environmentalism reveals that climate scientists lied about their science in both directions by telling climate deniers that their science is bathed in the holy waters of environmentalism and now, blaming real environmentalists for holding them to that claim. These contradictions and conflicts further weaken the reliability and legitimacy of the climate movement. A more rational response might have been that “yes, we are of course aware of these issues in the renewable option and we are working on it and have made substantial advancements that are not included in the video”. Or simply that “we are aware of these problems with renewables and we have the solutions to those problems and some of those advancements are not included in the video. They are as follows: …..”. BUT NO SUCH SCIENTIFIC RESPONSE FROM CLIMATE SCIENCE IS FOUND. What we find instead is a childish name calling shouting match.

 

A REVIEW OF THE FILM ON AUSTRALIAN TV

 

 

PART-2: TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO 

 

PLANET OF THE HUMANS [LINK]

Have you ever wondered what would happen if a single species took over an entire planet? Maybe they’re cute, maybe they’re clever. But with lack of self-restraint. What if they go too far? What if they go way way way way way too far? How would they know when it’s their time to go?

Flashback to 1958: “Due to our release from factories and automobiles every year of more than 6 billion tons of carbon dioxide, our atmosphere seems to be getting warmer. This bad??? Well, it’s been calculated that a few degrees rise in the earth’s temperature will melt the polar ice caps – and if this happens, an inland sea will fill a good portion of the Mississippi valley. For the weather, we are not only dealing with forces of a far greater variety than even what the atomic physicists encountered, but with life itself”.

That was 1958. We’ve known about the dangers of climate change for 6 decades. Back then there was so much air pollution it could actually block out the sun. There was so much water pollution, rivers caught on fire. Forget throwing plastic bottles into the water, we tossed our cars in there. We also knew that someday we’d run out of oil. “For millions of Americans this may be the worst weekend they’ve ever faced for finding the gasoline to give them the automobile freedom they take as their due”.

I never doubted that humans would find a better way and I wanted to be part of it. A scientist sounded the alarm when the modern environmental movement was born – Rachel Carson, 1963 says “Unless we do bring these chemicals under better control we are certainly headed for disaster”.

Students all across the country organized the first Earth Day. Dennis Hayes speaks: “At that point in time it was very fashionable to talk about the environment but as of today we find very little concrete work b being done”

As for me, you might say I was an early environmentalist. When I was 9 years old, a bulldozer began knocking down the trees near my home. I retaliated by putting sand in his gas tank. When I grew up I became a tree hugger and moved to the wilds of Northern Michigan to build a sustainable homestead and commune with nature. I wired my cabin for solar panels and heated it with wood instead of fossil fuels. I wrote about sustainable living and environmental issues for the Mother Earth News and several other news outlets (His name is Jeff Gibbs). I travelled the country documenting the invasive species, eco system collapse, and species threatened with extinction.

I covered protests against destroying mountains for coal and was once even confronted by the BP police. Through all of this I kept wondering, “why are we still addicted to fossil fuels? So I decided to begin following the Green Energy Movement. What better place to check out how a Green Energy Revolution is coming along than a solar festival in the green mountain state of Vermont. The festival was powered by 100% solar energy. I was having fun and got a chance to ask about getting solar panels installed. But then, a little rain began to fall. My cameraman noticed some commotion behind the stage. They were installing biodiesel generators in case the solar panels lost their power source because of the rain. The man explained that the festival runs on solar energy primarily but they do need to bring some of this backup energy source just in case. We just want to make sure we have enough power, we’re not here to kill our fancy toys that we have lighting the stage. But the biofuel generator wasn’t enough so they wound up plugging into the electrical grid that we all use. That was disappointing. Maybe next time things will go better. Luckily for us, hope was on the way.

{Barack Obama speech}: “It’s been a long time coming but tonight, change has come to America”. Green activists across the country cheered when newly elected President Barack Obama rolled out a trillion dollar stimulus package with nearly $100 billion for Green Energy. Green was finally wrapping up and everyone wanted to be part of it. President Obama brought in environmental activist Rand Jones from the Apollo Alliance with ready projects.

Rand Jones speaks: “They’ve got to put up tens of thousands of windfarms, they’ve got to put up millions of solar panels”.

Former Vice President Al Gore, who a few years earlier had released an Oscar winning film “An Inconvenient Truth”, shared his ideal with President Obama. Obama speaks: “We have the opportunity now to create jobs all across this country in all 50 states, to re-power America’.

Al Gore had already encouraged billionaire airline owner Sir Richard Branson to invest big time in Green Energy. CNN: “Branson said he is spending future profits from his Airline to the tune of perhaps $ billion to fight global warming. CNN question for Branson: “Is Al Gore a prophet?”, Answer: “How do you spell profit?” Laughter.

Investors came forward. Investor Vinod Khosla, known as the father of the clean-tech revolution, has poured over a $1billion of his own money into some 50 energy start-ups. Major banks were eager to get involved. Goldman Sachs man speaks: “By 2020 renewables will require an investment steam of $395 billion per year on an annual basis.

Robert F Kennedy Jr, who serves on the boards of major environmental organizations, and was leading the Green Energy investment group, speaks: “We build wind farms, solar farms, why should ????. It’s free energy forever.

The Sierra Club received $50 million from billionaire and former New York city mayor Michael Bloomberg. Their mission: fight coal and promote clean energy. Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director speaks: “With the mayor’s gift, here’s what will happen. We will have a large and aggressive presence in 46 states”. Bloomberg speaks: “It is time for America to find a new energy path. One that takes up beyond coal.

Then Bill McKibben, one of the nation’s leading environmentalists and author of a breakthrough book called “The End of Nature”, formed an organization called 350.org with the mission of igniting a global climate movement. Bill McKibben shows his “350” tie and says that 350 is the most important number in the world, and the Green Energy Revolution was underway.  (note: the number represents the highest level of atmospheric CO2 the earth can tolerate).

Michigan has been hit hard by the great recession and hundreds of millions of dollars in Green Stimulus money was arriving. Now, to do their part for the new Green Economy, General Motors introduced a new line of electric vehicles. When the Chevy Volt was released I attended the press conference.

General Motors: “So these electric vehicles are ready for public consumption and we’re ready with the infrasrucure, with the rates, with the communications”

Another speaker: “I am extremely grateful to be here today and in fact this is a chance for me to say “thank you” formally. The Chevy Volt is upstairs. We’ll get a chance to look at it.

The recharge plug-in is demonstrated. Speaker explains: “The battery in this design is T-shaped right down the center and across the back seat area. Everybody thought we killed the electric vehicle but no, we didn’t.

Question: What is the energy source that re-charges these batteries?

Answer: The answer is that the energy comes from the Lansing city power supply grid. Not sure if it is coal, no wait, they’re heavy on natural gas, aren’t they? It is charging from our grid which is about 95% coal.

Question: How long do you think it will be before they are recharged from solar and wind power?

Answer: To suggest that all of the power used for these cars will be generated from wind and solar in the very near future will not be correct. In fact, the charging plan for these cars is an overnight procedure so there is no role for solar in that setup.

Second GM person: I don’t think coal is bad. It’s got lovely BTUs. High energy concentration. The issue is not whether to burn coal but how to burn it cleanly. Do you see natural gas getting bashed?

First GM person: We will be getting power based on natural gas very shortly. In that mix, we intend to use biofuels if we can.

Second GM person: Environmental groups are extremely supportive (of our electric car).

First GM person: We did install the world’s largest solar array at my company the board of water and light. It’s just down the street a few miles if you want to take a look at it. What outfit are you with?

Answer: I’m with New World Media. We are doing a segment on the renewable renewable energy.

I decided to take him up on his offer to visit his football field size solar array right down the street.

David Gard Michigan Environmental Council: What we’re trying to do with this kind of an array is get a sense of what they’ve already done as an indication of what we can do to push the envelope even further.

Jan Nelson, Lansing Board of Water and Light: We took a hard look at wind and determined that, you know around here there isn’t any good wind coming through all the time. That’s what we like about solar. You will get the power when you most needed it. {He passes around a solar panel} They are pliable – solar panels that bend – and they’re made in Michigan, that’s another good thing, although the efficiency of these panels is just under 8%. If you happen to be NASA and if you happen to have a Rover running around Mars, they have very efficient panels. But we can’t afford those at about a million dollars a square inch.

Question: How many homes would this array provide electricity for?

Answer: The standard answer to that question we tell everybody is that we are providing enough to meet peak requirements for existing homes. However, for most people who look at it a little bit closer, we generate about 63 or 64 kw-hours a year. Our average customer uses about 6,000 kw-hours a year and 64,000 over 6,000 is a little over ten. We can meet the energy requirements for ten homes over a year.

Question: Will that be an incentive to put more solar on?

Answer: Well, if you wanted to make all of the energy required for the city of Lansing over a year, it would require a solar array that was 3 miles by 5 miles. We’re not going to do that.

Narrator: My friend from the Sierra Club wanted him to be more positive (about the practicability of solar) but he was not interested. As a consequence of the big push for green energy, wind farms were rising around the nation, including near my home in Northern Michigan.

New interviewee: We’ve been doing coal and nuclear for years and we’ve been trying to get more into the renewable side. These are the largest in Michigan, 482-foot wind turbine poles . . .

Narrator: How many yards of concrete?

Answer: 800 yards of concrete in the base. Right around 180 tons of steel.

Narrator: What are the blades made of?

Answer: That’s all fiberglass and balsam. They’re about 36,000 pounds per blade. The tower weighs 800,000 pounds. Then the cell is 220,000 pounds, and the hub and rotor assembly is another 160,000 pounds. Pretty substantial. {total=1.2 million}.

Narrator: They were impressive machines. But is it possible for machines made by an industrial civilization to save us from industrial civilization?

Now in Lowell Mountain Vermont with Bill McKibben:

Narrator: In environmental leader Bill McKibben’s home state of Vermont, the Green Mountain State, a site was being cleared for the installation of wind turbines. A group of citizens were concerned about how the construction would affect the mountain they loved. I joined them for a tour.

Speaker: It’s going to be 21 turbines in this project. The estimate was maybe there would be 3 full time jobs. But the goal is to make Vermont a leader in climate change. I appreciate looking to the sky in the hopes that we can do that, but more importantly I’m looking at the ground thinking this is not the kind of legacy I want to leave for my kids. When I was a kid we’d go hiking in these woods, we’d be able to drink the water coming down the hill here – and now you have to question that.

Question: (lifespan of wind turbines) And how long is this power plant supposed to last?

Answer: About 20 something years.

Speaker: That’s a nanosecond in the time scale of energy.

Narrator: Is anybody concerned whether this mountain top is renewable for wind instead of coal? (reference: “coal mining destroys mountains”).

Speaker: Yah, and we’ve even had people say, if you can do mountain top removal in West Virginia and Kentucky for coal then it’s time that the rest of the country share in the mountain top removal too.

Speaker2: The thing is that you’ve got to have a fossil fueled power plant backing it up and idling 100% of the time because if you cycle up or cycle down as demand on the wind comes through, then you actually generate a bigger carbon footprint than if you just ran it straight.

Question: Do you ever encounter “that’s not true, we’re going to have a smart grid” ?

Answer: That doesn’t make any difference, you’ve still got to have it idling because, let’s just say the wind stopped right now, just stopped for an hour, you’ve got to have that power.

Question: What do you do?

Answer: I’m an environmental health and safety consultant. I usually work with businesses to help them do things but I’d never work with ??scum?? like that (pointing to the mountain top site for the wind project).

Speaker: Not being judgmental and not playing god, but we’ve got to deal with population growth and sustainable resources, we’ve all got to cut back. The energy from this project  going supposedly to heat a water park. That means that we can find unique and different ways to waste energy.

Speaker2: This is not a Vermont company. Green Mountain Power will be bought out by Gaz Metro and Gaz Metro is owned by Enbridge which is a big resource company in Canada which is exploiting the tar sands and wants to build the XL pipeline . . .  and still we don’t know the whole story.

Speaker3: Anything renewable is good. That’s what I hear people say.

At the Alberta Tar Sands Syncrude plant:

Narrator: I am in a strange position I’m against our addiction to fossil fuels and have long been a fan of Green Energy. But everywhere where I encountered green energy, it wasn’t what it seems.

Speaker points to battery under the hood of a fuel cell hydrogen car: “This is a perpetual energy battery.

Narrator: And where do you get the hydrogen from?

Answer: Hydrogen can be sourced from any hydrocarbon material. So you can get it from natural gas. You can get it from any petroleum oil based products.

The sign says “Zoo eyes elephant poo as energy source”.

Narrator: I read about a zoo that was said to be powered by elephant manure. But it turns out the elephants did not produce enough manure to heat the elephant bar.

Zoo-keeper: We don’t make enough and what we do have often couldn’t even do that. We would need a lot more. More elephants? Yup. More elephants, more manure.

Picture of ethanol fired power plant.

Narrator: Ethanol plants also seem to have a secret ingredient.

Speaker: This is the most productive farmland in the world and we’re not far from the biggest coal mine in the world. And so we can bring the two together in the ethanol fired power plant.

Narrator: So ethanol was reliant on two things. A giant fossil fuel based industrial agricultural system to produce corn and even more fossil fuels in the form of coal. All of this in the attempt to replace fossil fuels. It was enough to make my head explode.  I was getting the uneasy feeling that Green Energy was not going to save us. And I wasn’t the only one.

Richard Heinberg, author of “The End of Growth”: I encountered 25 different energy options so one would think that surely among all those options there are enough energy sources that could keep us living basically the way we are in perpetuity; but that’s not the reality. Currently we’re getting . . .  in some cases no energy from these potential options.

UNIVERSITY OF OREGON: Richard York of the University of Oregon published a study in the journal Nature in which he posed the question “Do alternative energy sources displace fossil fuels?”.

Richard York: What we implicitly assume often is that the substitute pushes out that for which it is a substitute. But we find that nations that add non-fossil energy sources do not achieve a particular suppression of fossil fuels.

Narrator: That’s pretty mind blowing. You’ve got billions of dollars being spent and green energy isn’t even replacing fossil fuels?

Answer: They don’t even know that that’s a question.

Nina Jablonski: Penn State University (there is no technological solution):  The stories that we’re in right now is “OK we’re in ecological hot water but there are technological fixes so that if we’re just creative enough, if we’re just ingenious enough, and if we just work had enough, we will triumph. Seeking technological fixes one after another is simply going to lead us to another level of catastrophe sooner rather than later.

Speaker: We want to believe that these things are going to be available for us so if we get a little worried and somebody comes up with a new thingy and promises that this will do it for us, we want to believe.

Narrator: Because we’re a little worried are we desperate enough to accept any idea that sounds alternative or green? Are we avoiding looking too closely because we don’t want to know the answer.

Narrator: Ozzie Zehner is a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley and Northwestern University was asking some of the same questions.

Ozzie Zehner: I had thought that solar and wind were a very good solution. It wasn’t even that long ago. One of the most dangerous things right now is the illusion that alternative technologies like wind and solar are somehow different from fossil fuels. What I hear a lot of times is that solar cells are made out of sand. In fact they are made out of a number of ingredients including mined quartz. You can’t use sand because it has too many impurities so you start with very high quality quartz and a very high quality coal. And then you put the two together in an electric arc furnace and you melt them. That produces silicon metal and carbon dioxide. The CO2 is vented to the atmosphere.

Narrator: So therefore, the use of solar does not replace coal or any fossil fuels and does not eliminate CO2 emissions from fossil fuels. But environmental groups continue to tell a different story.

Michael Brune, Sierra Club: We have already seen more than 25% of the US coal  ????  has either retired or is on a schedule to retire.

Section Narrator: Coal plants were closing but as Ozzie explained, well-meaning people are being misled.

Reid Gardner Power Plant, Nevada claims that they will go ahead and shut down the coal fired power plant and go with renewables. One of he largest solar plants will happen in an adjacent site in the desert.

Section Narrator:  In fact what they are doing is replacing the coal fired power plant with two natural gas powered power plants and natural gas is a fossil fuel.

Speaker: It’s Nevada’s biggest co-gen natural gas plant. This is one of the facilities that is replacing he coal plant that is being shut down. This is the Thumb-Peak generator facility, the second natural gas plant that will replace the coal plant.

The story in the media is: Instead of power generated by coal fired power plants, this solar farm will now avoid about 2.1 million pounds of carbon pollution.

Section Narrator: But then they are building a larger natural gas plant.

Speaker: This is a 650 megawatt natural gas plant – that’s 4 times more megawatts than the coal plant it replaces. And they are doing the same thing in North Carolina which was the subject of the “Years of Living Dangerously” series.

YEARS OF LIVING DANGEROUSLY: Ashville NC, Duke Energy

Duke Energy operates a coal plant just outside of Ashville but it’s the biggest source of climate solution in western North Carolina. And we are getting ready to retire that plant and replace it with clean energy.

Section Narrator: But what they don’t tell you is that they are also building a larger natural gas facility.

Duke Energy Rep: We’ll be retiring the 2-unit 376 megawatt coal plant. We will invest 750 million dollars to build a state of the art natural gas plant.

Section Narrator: When Mike Brune stands up and talks about clean energy he is talking about solar cells and wind turbines.

Michael Brune: It’s the new world. 100% clean energy.

Section Narrator: But when Michael Bloomberg talks about clean energy he is talking about natural gas.

Michael Bloomberg “Beyond Coal”: Create clean energy – solar, wind, and natural gas.

Section Narrator: The Sierra Club’s “Beyond Coal” campaign 2010-2010 actually coincides with the largest expansion of fossil fueled production that we’ve ever pulled off – most of that being natural gas.

Original Narrator: Ozzie’s assertion that renewables were not replacing fossil fuels, if true, would upend all of our assumptions about Green Energy and what was going to save us. What would happen if I asked the same question to an industry insider – like where do solar panels come from? Answer: Well, you have to start with a mine.

Or, what’s preventing us from running on 100% solar and wind? Answer: Intermittency is one of the major challenges – the sun’s everywhere except when it’s not there. A lot of developers were flocking to California wanting to connect their solar farms and wind farms to the grid. The utilities turned to me and my team to look at what the impact on their grid would be.

Narrator: When we add solar cells or wind turbines to a grid do we get to shut off a coal plant? *

Answer: That is certainly the goal, but the problem is that renewables are intermittent. All of a sudden a cloud cover can drastically decrease your solar generation – and if you don’t have something else there to pick up that load then you’re going to have power outages.

New interview:

Narrator: So we don’t get to turn off the fossil fuel generator when the sun is shining and the wind is blowing?

Phillip Moeller, Federal Energy Regulatory Comissioner: Well it’s not that easy. We need to be able to back up that power to keep the system steady at all times so that it doesn’t collapse. Most likely that’s done through fast acting gas plants but also what we call the baseload plants, either nuclear or coal that ae on all the time but maybe can be dialed down during the day and dialed up when demand starts rising.

Narrator: Does it affect the efficiency to run fossil fueled power plants on and off?

Answer: Yes. They don’t like to be dialed up and down. That’s wear and tear for them.

The electrical engineer lady again: Turn them on turn them off, it’s energy lost, kind of like turning your car on and off. You have to maintain a baseload of some kind.

Narrator: What’s the solution, then?

Answer: Without storage, you can’t count on it. If you can store the energy that’s created from intermittent sources like solar and wind, you can reduce your need for a baseload.

Narrator: So will adding storage like batteries increase the carbon footprint?

Answer: Yes. Absolutely. In a big way. As to more energy storage gets on the grid it has mass scale implications.

Narrator: When I looked up how much battery storage there is, it was less than 1/10th of 1% of what’s needed.

In a couple of years, they begin to degrade and they need to be replaced a few years later.

Graphic: Global energy production = 546E6 Giga BTU, global battery capacity=51 Giga BTU

I learned that the solar panels don’t last forever either.

Speaker: Some solar panels are built to last only 10 years. I don’t know that it is THE solution.

Narrator: And so to overcome these profound limitations of solar and wind that are rarely discussed in the media, a new generation of technology was rising in the California desert described as THE FUTURE US SOLAR POWER.

Joseph Desmond: What we’re using is a field of mirrors to focus sunlight on to a tower. This power plant, at 377 megawatts, will be the largest of its kind in the world. Speech at the Ivanpah Power Plant site in the Mojave Desert: This will become the biggest solar plant in the world. Some people say if you look out on the desert you see miles and miles of emptiness. I see miles and miles of a gold mine.

Narrator: But this next generation solar technology also has a fossil fuel secret.

Speaker: This solar facility burns natural gas pretty much every morning in order to get it started up.

Narrator: How long do they have to burn it for?

Answer: Hours usually. This is the incoming natural gas pipeline for the facility. This plant does not work without natural gas. They have to file for an acid rain permit and permits for nitrous oxide emissions, they have to apply for a carbon offset permit. They are producing carbon dioxide here so they have to offset that. The whole thing is built using fossil fueled infrastructure from the concrete to the steel to the mirrors, to the backing on the mirrors. The sun is renewable, but the solar arrays are not. It takes an incredible amount of energy to mind and process the material used in the construction and operation of this renewable energy facility. This means that they use more fossil fuels to build and operate this renewable energy plant than you would need to provide power from a natural gas plant. They would be better off just burning the fossil fuels than having to go through this renewable energy charade.

Narrator: That Green Energy has nothing to do with fossil fuels is apparently is apparently a story only meant for you and me. Here is Robert F. Kennedy Jr speaking to oil and gas industry insiders. “It’s a combination solar-gas plant. The turbine that we just take from a gas plant, suspend it from a big scaffolding tower surrounded by giant mirrors. The plants that we’re building, the wind plants and the solar plants, are gas plants.

Narrator: What kind of game are we playing, I mean …

Speaker: Well, we are basically being fed a lie. For instance, you’ll hear that Germany is running on wind and solar. Speaker in first video: 35% right now, second video: 50% of their power.

Bill McKibben: There were days this past summer when the Germans were generating 80% of their power from the sun.

Speaker: But Germany is still Europe’s largest consumer of coal.

German speakers translated, “But if the most coal is extracted from this region, then this region must also be the largest source of CO2.

Speaker: Only a small fraction of their energy actually comes from wind and solar.

Graphic: German energy consumption: Solar 1.5%, Wind 3.1%. In fact Germany just built a large terminal to import natural gas from the United States.

Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, when he announced his gigafactory battery plant he said it would power itself with wind and solar energy.

Elon Musk: It’s a combination of geothermal, wind, and solar. It will produce all the energy that it needs.

Speaker: But in fact he has a line connected to the same grid that we’re all connected to.

Image: Gigafactory substation.

Speaker: Electric cars, wind turbines, and solar panels use rare earths. The rare earth mine is right up the street from here. {Image: Mountain Pass Rare Earth Mine}. In mining these deep deposits, about 90% of what they dig up our of the ground contains uranium, thorium, and low levels of other radionuclide. So they have radioactive waste that must be disposed of somehow. So they turn it into a paste and spread it over the desert floor.

Narrator: It’s good for the desert, right? {laughter}

Speaker: Electric car bodies are made with Aluminum that takes 8 times as much energy to manufacture  than steel.

{Image: Lithium Ion batteries contain 10X more graphite than Lithium} and they use Lithium, which also relies on toxic mining, and more graphite which is a rare form of carbon. Tesla wanted to open several new graphite mines after Tesla announced the gigafactory.

Apple Claims to be 100% Renewable:

Apple Voice: “We never stop thinking about what’s best for the planet. We now run Apple on 100% renewable energy in all of our facilities worldwide. (loud cheers from the audience).

Narrator*: And they did cut down a forest to put in solar panels near their North Carolina plant but they didn’t disconnect from the grid – and they can’t!

Susan Goldenberg, The Guardian:  Energy hungry companies like Apple can never go entirely off the grid. Thomas Williams, Duke Energy: They’re still hooked up to our grid. Google Officially Hits 100% Renewable Target, General Motors Texas facility now 100% powered by wind. Chicago set to become first major US city to be powered by 100% renewable electricity. EON switches all UK customers to 100% renewable power. Malibu City facilities move to 100% renewable energy.

Narrator*: Despite all the claims, I haven’t found a single entity running on solar and wind alone.

Narrator*: It turns out that you don’t just need fossil fuels to run a place like the giant Ivanpah concentrated solar thermal plant in the Mojave Desert. You need the devil himself – or in this case, themselves. {PHOTO OF THE KOCH BROTHERS DAVID AND CHARLES. All of the mirrors that you see in Ivanpah are made by the Koch Brothers in their Guardian Glass Industry, the company that they control. Then there is Koch Carbon LLC and Koch Glitsch. Koch Carbon manufactures much of the material that goes into solar facilities like Ivanpah. This includes the cement, the concrete, and steel; and Koch Glitsch builds the plants that manufacture polysilicon for solar cells. The Koch Brothers have their own line of solar cell products called Solar Molex. In every step of the process of solar energy, the Koch Brothers are there.

Narrator: But they are the evil ???

Narrator*: The funny part is that when you criticize solar plants like this you’re accused of working for the Koch Brothers. The idiocy in all of this. Solar plants like Ivanpah rely on the most toxic and industrial processes that we’ve ever created. (note: the solar industry is a creation of the industrial economy that we hate)

HOW SOLAR CELLS, WIND TURBINES, AND ELECTRIC CARS ARE MADE: High speed video of images shows mountain top explosions, mining machinery in action, poor black Africans and little black children with innocent and lovable faces working in mines under awful conditions, high temperature fires of blast furnaces, a large rare earth mining operation with mountains of black dirt, waste disposal from their processing plants, a giant coal mining operation, blast furnaces in steel manufacturing, giant mining machinery in a Nickel mine, underground explosions in mining operations, emissions of sulfur hexafluoride – a powerful greenhouse gas with label that says it is 23,000 times more potent than CO2, mine workers laboring under extremely polluted and toxic conditions, the use of explosives and heavy fossil fueled machinery in a copper mine, a large mining landscape that shows how the area has been dug up deep into the earth and dramatically altered, explosions in an open air concrete manufacturing plant and the reminder that concrete manufacture is the third leading source of CO2 emissions, a Lithium mine that has laid waste to a large area, heavy machinery in extremely dusty and smoky conditions, mining and transporting mined material, the mining and manufacture of tin, the mining and manufacturing of Phosphorus Oxychloride and Gallium Arsenide used in the manufacture of solar cells. This sequence continues with a laundry list of objectionable that includes Indium, Ammonium Fluoride, Cadmium, Lead, Ethylene Vinyl Acetate, Molybdenum, Neodymium, Praseodymium, Dysprosium, Chlorine, Hydrofluoric Acid, Petroleum, with images of ugly factories and mines and wasteland they had created with a detailed look at the Tesla Plant where electric cars are made. The ugliness and huge scale of these operations are highlighted. The sequence captures the horror of the industrial economy in the context of the 1960s Hippie revolt against pollution and unlimited and unregulated industrial growth; and bringing it all to bear on the enormous industrial scale of what goes into the building of solar and wind energy installations.

Speaker: The (faux) image of a solar facility, in particular this technology, is that it is environmentally benign (picture of deer wandering around the site is followed by huge, noisy, and destructive industrial machinery and vehicles removing plant growth from the site).

Narrator: I too had once thought that deserts could be sacrifice zones. {Images of the beauty of deserts}. I was wrong. Deserts are not dead. They are in fact, full of ancient life. (images of desert life including the Joshua tree, yucca, cactus, and desert palms.) In the desert, the Joshua Tree stands waiting. Waiting for the giant ground swan??? and the mammoth that shall never return. The Joshua tree depended on the giant mammals to reach up high and eat their seeds and thus disperse the Joshua Tree. But now, stranded in time and space, the Joshua Tree awaits to be sacrificed in the name of progress.

Speaker: Joshua Trees are torn down to make way for solar projects. A visit to the Mojave Desert: They’re not your usual tree. More like something from fiction but these Joshuas are causing quite an uproar. Local: They’re killing them off, killing them real quick, and now they’re grinding them up getting rid of ???. (images of machinery on the desert felling and grinding up Joshua trees to make way for a solar facility.

Narrator: Not far from Ivanpah Solar, Daggett, California was home to several generations of solar arrays including some of the first on the planet (images of solar arrays in Daggett). Ozzie and I took a trip to see where it all began. (images of decrepit homes in the desert in Daggett, CA).

Ozzie: This is one of the sunniest places on the planet, really. It’s the center of the solar industry. They’ve been building and dismantling and building arrays here for about 40 years. (since 1980),

Narrator: Then we happened to run into the mayor of Daggett. “And those solar plants out there, my husband back in 1983 1984 they were working out there building that solar plant. Everybody here worked. Question: How’d that hold up? Are those jobs still here? Answer: No. The jobs went bye bye. They have their normal people that run the plant, the operators stuff like that. Where that energy is going I don’t know. Question: Were you originally optimistic that the solar would bring more jobs in the development of people?  Answer: A lot of things come into town. They come and go. They go really fast.

Narrator: Then Ozzie and I discovered that the giant solar arrays have been razed to the ground. (images of a vast area of desert that used to be a solar array). Comment: OMG!

Narrator: It suddenly dawned on me what we were looking at – the solar dead zone! Look at the blowing sand! There are sand dunes forming in this area. Wow! (Image: flashback to Ivanpah). So after all that mining and all the fossil fuels, the toxins, the environmental destruction, this is what happens next. Only a few years after it was built, things at Ivanpah began to fall apart. The desert is littered with broken mirrors. (image of dead wind turbine in an abandoned wind facility). Yet these giant solar and wind installations may last only a few decades. Then tear it down and start all over again. If there is enough planet left. It was becoming clear that what we have been calling Green Renewable Energy and the Industrial civilization are the one and the same. Desperate measures, not to save the planet but to save our way of life. These are desperate measures rather than face the reality that humans are experiencing the planet’s limits all at once.

Steven Running, Ecologist, University of Montana (SREUM): Every different perspective I look at, and imagine well, we could do more of this or go to a larger area and use more of that, well, turns out there isn’t more.

Image: Global marine fish production peaked in 1996 at 95 million tons and has been steadily declining since.

SREUM: I looked at marine fish production and that peaked twenty years ago. More and more of that is from fish farming.

Image: Total land under agriculture peaked in the year 2000 and has been generally declining since.

Image: Dried out agricultural land with no groundwater.

SREUM: The current acres of actively farmed land, that has peaked also. The rivers are already being used for irrigation to the limits that they can sustain. The Colorado River doesn’t get to the ocean anymore. And then you start looking at groundwater. The Southern Great Plains. I think they can almost predict when they will run out of groundwater within a decade or two.

SREUM: Human vulnerability at the global scale that any one of them maybe we could compartmentalize but we’re seeing them propagating across topic after topic in society and the earth system, and I don’t think the people in charge are near nervous enough.

Narrator: So each of them take climate change seriously. Every expert I talked to wanted to bring my attention to the same underlying problem.

SREUM?: There are too many human beings using too much too fast.

Steven Churchill: Anthropologist: As a global community, we really have to start dealing with the issue of population.

Speakerx: Population growth continues to be, not the elephant in the room but a herd of elephants in the room.

Narrator: A single species has come to dominate an entire planet.

SREUM: … should be smart enough to voluntarily limit its own presence.

Narrator: Is there any precedence for that in nature?

SREUM: Wow! (great question).

Speakerx: We have to have our abilities to consume ??we need end??? Because we are not good at reining them in if there are seemingly unrestrained resources.

Speaker: Species hit the population wall a lot and then they crash. That’s a common story in biology. If it happens to us, in a way, it’s the natural order of things. And I don’t think we’ll find a way out of this one. I don’t!

Narrator: As a scientist, what do we do as a conclusion?

Speaker; Well, because right now a large percentage of that number is supported by industrial agriculture which is heavily subsidized by oil and it’s not sustainable. And there’s no going back. Without seeing some sort of major die off in population there is no turning back.

Narrator: What’s the thing that nobody every asked you and you want to say?

SREUM: Nobody’s ever asked me if I’m scared. And I am. I actually am scared. I actually lose sleep over all of this.

Narrator: It took the modern humans tens of thousands of years to reach a population of 700 million. And then we tapped into millions of years of stored energy known as fossil fuels. Our human population exploded. It increased by 10 times in a mere 200 years. Our consumption has also exploded, on average ten times per person. And many times more in the Western world. If you put the two together, the result is a total human impact that is 100 times greater than only 200 years ago. And that is the most terrifying realization I have ever had. We humans are poised for a fall from an unimaginable height. Not because of just one thing, not climate change alone, but all the human caused changes the planet is suffering from. So why are bankers, industrialists, and environmental leaders only focus on the narrow focus of green technology? Is it the profit motive? And why for most of my life have I fallen for the notion that Green Energy will save us?  Clearly, to answer this question, I needed professional help.

Speaker: I’ll just be up front with you about my dilemma. You can be my uh something called social psychologist. The right has religion, and they have a belief in infinite fossil fuels. Our side says, we’re going to have solar panels, we’re going to have wind power.  As soon as I heard you talk about our denial of death I felt a flash of insight. Could that be it? Could it just be that we can’t face our own mortality? Could we have a religion that we’re unaware of?

Sheldon Solomon: Absolutely! I think you hit the proverbial nail on the head – what differentiates people from all other forms of life is that we are not only here but that we know that we’re here. If you know that you’re here you recognize even dimly that you’ll not be here someday. And on top of that we don’t like the word “animals”. So we don’t like the fact that we’re going to die someday and we don’t like that if you walk outside you get hit by a fucking meteor. What human beings did back in yesteryear is too ??? of ourselves in culturally constructed belief systems. You can call them cultures you can call them world views, schemes of things, whatever you call them, every human community has that. Every culture has an account of the origin of the universe. Every culture has a prescription for how you’re supposed to behave while you’re here, and every culture offers a hope of immortality either literally or symbolically. Then the question is what happens when you bump into people who don’t share those beliefs. Whether you know it or not and whether you like it or not that is undermining the confidence with which you subscribe to your own beliefs; and exposing you to the anxiety that those beliefs were constructed to eradicate in the first place. If we’re to make progress, whatever that word means, or even to persist as a form of life we’ll need to radically overhaul our basic conception of who and what we are and what it is that we value. Because the people that you referred to earlier both on the left and the right that think we are going to be able to discover more oil or solar panel ourselves into the future where life will look pretty much like it does now, only cleaner and better either with more oil or cleaner or both. I think that’s just frankly delusional.

Speaker: What I am hearing is that if I haven’t come to grips with my own anxiety about death and life and I am presented with a reminder of that, I am highly likely to make some tragic decisions for the community.

Sheldon Solomon; Yes. The only solution is principle. As Albert Camus put it. He said that there is only one liberty. Just come to terms with death. Thereafter anything is possible. I find that downright inspiring.

That’s where our environmental leaders would weld their comfortable illusions. How tragic a decision were they capable of making? ….

Narrator: I was about to find out.

McNeil Biomass Power Plant, Burlington, Vermont. Image: piles of felled trees that serve as fuel for the biomass power plant.

Speaker; Biomass power plants burn whole trees, as you can see by this pile that’s stacked right outside of the facility, these are trees.

Narrator: It turns out that the biggest source of green energy in Vermont is something called biomass. It means burning trees to create electricity.

Josh Schlossberg: This is definitely not the way. As the first step we can look at our lifestyle on how we can reduce our energy consumption. The environmental impacts of the facility on the surrounding forest incudes the effect of metals and thermal radiation on the grass and the trees.

Plant security person with flashlight: You’re in forbidden territory here.

Josh: Are we?

Security guy: May I ask both of you to come up to our office … conversation skipped.

Josh: You’ve got everything here. You have the number one polluter in the state that that people claim makes magical fairy drops from the smoke stack. The reality is that what you have is a facility that burns 400,000 tons a year of trees. Now this facility burns 30 cords of wood per hour.

Narrator: That’s a hell of a lot of wood.

Josh: And on top of that it actually burns natural gas as well.

Narrator: And to think that you need ten of these to replace one coal fired power plant. It’s just not going to work.

Josh: It takes a great deal of fossil fuels to cut down all these trees and to truck them in to use the big machinery to dump the woodchips. So the idea that this is not anything to do with fossil fuels doesn’t make any sense. It couldn’t happen without fossil fuels.

Narrator: How did the environmental groups get sucked into this?

Josh: The main factor is delusion. A lot of these environmental groups have been saying that all we have to do is to switch power from the fossil fuel economy over to solar panels and windmills and we can continue our normal industrial lifestyle. In fact, some of the environmental groups have for years been touting facilities like this saying that #1 it’s carbon neutral. That this will actually help us fend off climate change because there are no CO2 emissions. But in fact it emits over 400,000 tons a year of carbon dioxide. But they say, “oh but they will grow back”. They will grow back over a period of decades or centuries. IF WE CUT EVERY TREE IN THE UNITED STATES WE CAN POWER THE COUNTRY FOR A YEAR.

Le Anse, Michigan.

Narrator: I discovered biomass plants were not always really biomass plants.

Catherine Andrews: This is actually a solid waste incinerator that is posing as a biomass plant. The impact in this community is severe. The plant is right next to the Head-Start school for pre-school kids. Then there is Green Hill Manor, an assisted living community for seniors. And there is also a Catholic elementary school right next door.

Narrator: How do you know they are polluting. Can you see it?

Catherine Andrews: We can see it. The snow at the elementary school at the pre-school is covered with black soot. We just had it analyzed and it shows that the soot came from burning of tire chips. They have to add tire derived fuel to raise the temperature of the fire because anybody who tried to burn green wood or wet wood know that it doesn’t burn very well.

Narrator: This biomass plant has yet another surprise.

Catherine Andrews: They admit that they burn 20.1 tons per hour of hardwood used for railroad ties. Besides that, they are allowed to burn 500 pounds per hour of PCP treated railroad ties. These are shipped in from Canada. It’s not green, it’s not renewable, it’s not carbon neutral. It is not anything that they claim it to be. Yet, they got $11.5 million grant because of its classification as renewable energy. The plant’s owner told us that they were having trouble getting enough wood chips and he even asked us if we had any scrap wood.

Narrator: Were not talking about some old industrial site. We are next to one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Catherine Andrews: We are next to Lake Superior and right next to Kiwana Bay. Our lake! A very sacred place.

A horse drawn carriage and many bicyclists at a Michigan State University climate change rally.in Lansing, Michigan. SIGN: 100% CLEAN

Narrator: Michigan State University students inspired by 350.org are holding a rally for the clean energy future they’ve been promised.

Student speaker: Imagine when I found out that it is the largest coal plant in the nation. The goal is to get the whole world moving beyond fossil fuels.

Narrator: As it turned out Michigan State had a form of green energy in mind that the students did not support.

Adam Liter, student: The university contracted with an energy contracting company and they put together like a modeling tool, first for the 3 or 4 months the steering committee was using this modeling tool it didn’t contain wind or solar… The permit that is currently being considered by the state is a permit for 24,000 tons of biomass per year. To do that they need 4 boilers. Unfortunately, the steering committee considers biomass renewable at the moment which we are not happy with.

Narrator: Adam told me they were planning on substituting coal burning with biomass burning. Michigan State wasn’t the only university to go green with biomass.

University of North Carolina Chapel Hill campus speech: I am happy to announce that the University of North Carolina will be going beyond coal in the next decade. Now as we begin to wean ourselves from coal, we re about to try another alternative energy source, biomass.

Narrator: And who is here to help the University of North Carolina from burning coal to burning trees?

Bruce Nilles, Director Sierra Club Beyond Coal.: It’s a great pleasure to be here today. To celebrate the remarkable step the university is taking.

Image: Tree harvesting machines cutting and slicing trees for biomass plants.

Narrator: A remarkable step indeed. So the Sierra Club is here to do their part in getting out of bed with coal companies and get into bed with logging companies? Where did the idea of colleges going green by burning trees come from anyway? It came from a little college called Middlebury in the heart of Vermont.

Image: Middlebury College campus event: Welcome to the celebration of the opening of Middlebury’s new biomass gasification system. Now it’s my great pleasure to introduce this afternoon’s speaker Bill McKibben.

Bill McKibben: What powers a learning community? And as of this afternoon, the easy answer to that is woodchips. It’s incredibly beautiful. To stand over there and to see that big bunker full of woodchips. You can put any kind of wood in, oak, willow, whatever you want. Pretty much anything that burns if you can chip it down to the right size. There are very few similar cases anywhere in this country of that kind of change over that scale. And it shows that it could happen and that it should happen and in fact it must happen everywhere.

Narrator: That must happen everywhere. And now it’s time for a nature break. (image of two men walking through a cleared section of a forest). Enjoying our sustainably managed Michigan forests.

Walking man: You walk through here and there is virtually nothing growing. A little bit of grass occasionally

Narrator: And it seems that biomass plants indeed were suddenly everywhere. Like this one in Cadillac, Michigan. (A rough barren hillside with trucks driving downhill). In Detroit, an incinerator that burned garbage ws considered green. Image: A sign says “Detroit Renewable Power”.

“Causing a Stink” Presenter: The Detroit Incinerator is known to emit horrible smells and pollutants that neighbors say make them feel sick and put their health at risk.

Sign: Detroit incinerator exceeds pollution limits but is rarely fined by the state. Speaker: It’s a stink. It’s a horrendous stink.

Sign says: MASCOMA: Narrator: A proposed biofuel plant for the upper peninsula of Michigan which consumes trees from tens of thousands of square miles.

Pat Egan local Timberland owner. In order to create 40 million gallons of ethanol, they will have to use up over a million tons of green wood. We pointed out that they were going to use more natural gas than they are going to be creating ethanol. If you continue to do this you will be fertilizing the park.

Narrator: Fertilizing parks. Made from natural gas. Then came a ballot proposal backed by Bill McKibben and by every major environmental group requiring Michigan to get 25% of its electricity from renewable sources by the year 2025.

Voice: This year Michigan voters have a choice; keep burning dirty coal and oil or move to clean renewable energy like wind and solar. Vote yes on Proposal 3.

Narrator: Surprisingly, Proposal 23, also known as 25×25 was the brainchild of an organization billed as 100% biofuels and biomass.

Read Smith: The law in America’s farms, ranches, and forest lands can be active participants in contributing to America’s energy future.

Image: Map of the USA with green markers for locations of biofuel and biomass plants blanket the nation.

Narrator: These are the biomass and biofuel plants across the US. How did this happen? And it wasn’t just the USA. It was all around the world. Woodchips which is just a euphemism for trees are being exported to Europe from America, British Columbia, Brazil, and Indonesia. Wherever they can get them from. Biomass, especially when you include biofuel, is by far the largest portion of green energy around the world at about 70% of the green energy market even in Germany thought to be a solar miracle. So maybe I was missing something. Maybe I had it all wrong.

Image: A huge street protest against fossil fuels.

Narrator: I decided to ask people protesting fossil fuels what they thought about biomass and biofuels as green energy. Sign says: “No to dirty energy. Stop the climate crisis”. The protesters were opposed to biomass and biofuels as a green replacement for fossil fuels. But what about environmental leaders like McKibben? At times they have promoted biomass but at other times they are against biomass. {Image: Sierra Club deeply concerned about wood to energy for native forests}. And a statement signed by 75 environmentalists that burning forests for energy will destroy one of our best defenses against climate change. And yet, there are loopholes in the language supporting biomass. The NRDC says you must use only the right kind of biomass. The Dogwood Platform says that only small scale use of wood waste and residues should be used. But the Sierra Club flat out says “biomass can be sustainable”. Which side are they really on?

An anti fracking protest in Harrisburg Pennsylvania:

Speaker: We’re here to tell a story about what the forests of this state mean to us.

Narrator: Does your organization have a stand on the biomass issue? Answer: I am not sure I would say I would support it as much as we can wrap our heads around it. We’ve almost made a peace with the timber industry.

Second interview: What is your group’s stand on the use of forests for biomass? Answer: Biomass is renewable and biomass is sustainable.

Third interview: answer: And I’m with clean water action. We don’t really have a stand on it. If the director of the Sierra Club were here she’d be able to talk your ear off about it.

Fourth answer: (The Director): I am the Director for the Sierra Club in Pennsylvania

Narrator: Does the Sierra Club support or not support biomass? Answer: I am not totally prepared to talk about our policy on biomass. Today our position is … ??

A 350.org member: Narrator: So you’re with 350? Answer: I am. Question: What’s your position on biomass? Answer: I can’t really speak for 350. Do you personally have an opinion? No. I don’t have an opinion on that.

Interview with Van Jones: He does not have a position on that.

Bill McKibben is at the protest and he is asked; Answer: He doesn’t know.

Narrator: I found only one environmental leader willing to reject biomass and biofuels (Vandana Shiva, a lady from India). Answer: The old oil economy is trying to maintain itself. Now there’s another raw material. The only reason corn and soy have been planted for biofuel in this country. The subsidies make it profitable. I think the big crisis of our time is that our minds are being manipulated to give power to illusions. They’re shifting American growth not in terms of how life is enriched but in terms of how life is destroyed.

Narrator: Her honesty was refreshing but as for the rest of them, I wondered “what are they hiding and why are they hiding it? Is it their ignorance? Or is it something else? What if they themselves had become misguided? What if they had made some kind of deal that they shouldn’t have made and are leading us all off the cliff?

Narrator: It’s long past time for me to come to grips with the other elephant in the living room – the profit motive. The only reason we’ve been force fed this story climate change + renewables = we’re saved, is that billionaires, bankers, and corporations profit from it. And the reason we’re not talking about over-population, consumption, and the suicide of economic growth, is that would be bad for business. Especially the cancerous form of capitalism that rules the world. And now hiding under a cover of green.

Michael Bloomberg Speech: to announce a new investment of $30 million in the beyond coal campaign. We have more. I am glad to say that more than a dozen additional funders have committed to match that $30 million.

Narrator: And who were these new partners? One of them was Jeremy Grantham, a billionaire and the world’s leading timber investment adviser. They were not investing in trees to turn them into nature preserves. Which might answer another riddle. {image: Sierra Club tax return}. Why is this name redacted in the Sierra Club tax return? The redacted name is Jeremy Grantham. Would they be embarrassed to take $3million from a man who made a living selling the forests of the world?

Bloomberg, bringing a timber investment billionaire to the party was no coincidence. Bloomberg sponsored a UN climate session to discuss wrapping up biomass and biofuel projects around the world. Billionaires were in love with the idea of turning what was left of nature into green profits.

Remember when Al Gore had gotten Richard Branson to invest billions into saving the planet?

Image: flying airliner, Voice: Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Atlantic, powered a Boeing 747 from London to Amsterdam on a coconut oil mixture to highlight the potential of this amazing oil, a clean energy biofuel. Image: coconuts.

Narrator: Branson has actually invested in biofuels. He was attempting to replace the jet fuel that damages the planet with biofuels that require the consumption of the living planet. And it was “GAME ON” for the airline industry.

Image: A meeting in Missoula: Voice: Dozens of researchers from all over the Northwest gathered in Missoula, Montana in the past few days to explore the idea of converting the idea of converting the region’s massive reserves of wood into jet fuel. Specially with the demand for aircraft fuel expected to grow by a billion gallons in the Northwest alone.

Image: A bio jet fuel manufacture facility. Voice: United Airlines will buy a $30 million stake in a biofuel company called Green Bio Energy. The airline used 3.9 billion gallons of fuel last year.

Image: Vinod Khosla: Narrator: What technology was Silicon Valley billionaire Vinod Khosla hoping to profit from?

Vinod Khosla: Image: biofuel plant with woodchips on conveyer belts: Nature takes a million years to produce our crude oil. KiOR can produce it in seconds.

Voice: The (KiOR) company took over this old paper mill where logs are picked up by a giant claw, dropped into a shredder, and pulverized into wood chips.

Image: Lesley Stahl: holds up a jar of biofuel that looks like water and say “Clean gasoline”!

Vinod Khosla: Clean Green Gasoline! Lesley Stahl: There must be a down side. Vinod Khosla: There is no downside.

Narrator: The bank that crashed the economy and ruined millions of lives but left their tentacles on the levers of power os Goldman Sachs. And what is THEIR favorite form of Green Energy?

Man from Goldman Sachs: David Blood: One of the very interesting markets that we deal with is Brazil. It is unlike any other market in that today, alternative energy isn’t really alternative energy, it’s part of the fabric in the energy market. Brazil began to utilize its vast resources of sugarcane to produce ethanol. Image: Highway packed with cars.

Narrator: There was a man from Goldman Sachs who was particularly in love with turning forests into profits.

Image: David Blood, Senior Partner, Generation Investment Management, Chair of New Forests Pty Ltd.

Video of meeting: David Blood: Has everybody got enough coffee? You might want to get some more.

Narrator: Meet David Blood, former CEO of asset management for Goldman Sachs. How much money did Mr Blood believe should be invested in Green Energy?

David Blood: A natural alignment for something in the order of $40 to $50 trillion of capital.

Narrator: $40 to $50 trillion. And who was going to help the man from Goldman Sachs to raise that astronomical amount of money?

Bill McKibben: It’s entirely dependent on what kind of political will we can muster and if we do not get this done very fast, then we’re not going to get it done.

Narrator: And so Bill McKibben went forth to generate the political will for trillions of dollars in Green investments.

Video#1: EAARTH – BILL MCKIBBEN. Speaker: Our next guest has been called our leading environmentalist.

Interviewer to Bill McKibben: You are in fact the grand poohbah of the environmental movement

Video#2: My guest tonight is on a global crusade

Bill McKibben: We must commit to divesting from fossil fuels. We can’t justify investing our money in companies that are essentially running genesis backwards.

Interviewer: So when you divest from fossil fuels and invest in Green funds, what are you investing in?

Image: United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Shareholder report from Green Century Funds.

Narrator: I took a deep dive into the United States Securities and Exchange Commission filings to find out.

Image: GREEN CENTURY FUND <—> 350.ORG

Narrator: For instance, in the Green Century Fund recommended by 350.org and Bill McKibben, I found less than 1% solar and wind and more than 99% of things like mining, oil and gas infrastructure companies including tar sands, McDonalds – a company driving meat consumption across the planet, Archer Daniels Midland – one of the world’s largest producers of biofuel, Coca Cola – the largest creator of plastic pollution on earth, logging and paper companies – including one that brags about biomass burning, and banks – lots of banks – including Black Rock, Inc – the largest financer of de-forestation on earth.

Anti Black Rock protester speaks: The business they are engaged in is actually destroying our life support system

Image: Protesters holding up a sign that says: “YOU’RE BURNING OUR FUTURE”.

Narrator: The Sierra Club also partners with the Green Fund in a venture called “Aspiration”. The Aspiration Fund holds shares in dozens of companies profiting from the destruction of the planet including Chevron, ExxonMobil, Chesapeake Energy, the Russian gas giant Gazprom, and in perhaps the most bizarre twist of all, the Sierra Club Green Fund’s biggest holding is in Viva, the world’s largest consumer of forest that produces woodchips to be incinerate in Green Energy biomass plants. Of course, one investment option is a Green Fund run by Bill McKibben’s buddy David Blood. And who is the chairman of this fund?

Al Gore and David Blood partnered to form a company called “Generation Investment Management”.

Image: Form shows Al Gore signature on Limited Liability Partnership form.

Within this fund, Blood and Gore designated a special investment category targeting $650 million in biomass and biofuel investments. The form shows that the date of this partnership, 21 July 2004, pre-dates the Gore film “Inconvenient Truth”. {scenes from the movie} Was that movie just about climate change? Or was it something else?

Chesapeake Energy Spokesperson: In order to maximize the production potential of the well, the shale formation will be hydraulically fractured”, Gazprom spokesperson: Gazprom has the world’s largest gas reserve, 36 trillion cubic meters.

Al Gore’s “Gold Bar” speech: On one side we have gold bars Mmmm Mmmm. Mmmm! Don’t they look good! I’d just like to have some of those gold bars. On the other side of the scale is the entire planet.

Narrator: And when it came time for Al Gore to choose between “the entire planet” and getting him some of them gold bars, what choice did he make?

In his speech to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Al Gore lobbied Congress on behalf of the sugarcane ethanol industry while pretending to care for the rainforest.

Senator Dodd: “Any comment on the Brazilian effort here with the issue of possibly expanding into the Amazon River Basin with further deforestation to produce more ethanol out of sugarcane is a worry. Probably you’re not as concerned about that.

Al Gore answers: No, no, I am. (I simply forgot). What’s been going on there is very troubling and with your permission I’ll show you a very quick example of it over a period of 25 years. It is important to note that the exploitation of the sugarcane growing areas in Brazil does not have to inevitable have the knock on consequence of causing disruption in the Amazon.

Image: Low flying helicopters over Amazonia scares little native children. Amazonia natives: “We are human beings. All we want is to survive

Video: men with guns in the Amazon: Voice: The invasion of sugar cane of the cultures in the region clashes with the indigenous people’s rights to their land. These are images of a last ditch attempt by the warani-kaiowa to resist eviction.

Video: A fire in the Amazon burning off the tops of the sugarcane plants to facilitate the harvest. Voice: Sugarcane fields are burning. They are set alight before the harvest to eliminate the leaves and tops of the sugarcane plants which makes cutting more efficient. Environmentalists claim that the seemingly endless sugarcane fields cause air and water pollution on an epic scale and along with deforestation, the threat it poses to the environment is becoming clear. {video; Indigenous thatched roof shacks on fire while  and indigenous man stands and watches the shacks burn down} Once the indigenous families were expelled, the landowners set their homes on fire.

Narrator: Is there anything too terrible to qualify as green energy?

Video: Richard Branson: Thank you very much sir and thanks to the US Navy for inviting me to speak with you today. The navy’s work to help those in the ???? industry is invaluable. Voice: The US Navy has a special message this year. It is time to turn green. Joining the vessels is what the US Navy calls its great green fleet of warships powered from fuel from renewable sources like algae, grass, and animal fat.

Narrator: Animal fat!

Video of “animal fat rendering plant” where live cattle, horses, lamb, and goats are tossed into a machine that grinds them up for the fat extraction furnace.

Video on “Alternative Fuels”: The next time you fill up at your neighborhood gas station you might find yourself pumping a little alligator into your tank. That’s right, UL Lafayette research has developed alligator fat as a renewable source for biofuel.

Narrator: And one we run through the animals, what’s next?

Image: GE Alstom Nuclear Systems, Your technology partner for nuclear power plants.

Narrator: GE, who brings you nuclear energy AND wind turbines, is ready with a plan.

Image: ECOMAGINATION: Speaker: I believe that liquid fuels are eventually going to have to be made from sustainable raw materials. We believe that seaweed is one of the most attractive opportunities.

Video: Underwater scene of tall leafy seaweeds with seaweed ecosystem of seahorses and shoals of fish.

You might ask yourself how could men destroy what remains of nature to enrich themselves? Well, that’s why they are billionaires and you’re not. THE TAKEOVER OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL MOVEMENT BY CAPITALISM IS NOW COMPLETE. Environmentalists are no longer resisting them with a profit motivebut collaborating with them.

Image: “The Nature Conservancy Protecting Nature, Preserving Life

Narrator: The Nature Conservancy is now the logging conservancy.

Michael Carr, Executive Director  JPMorgan Chase & Co: We will capture the most important pieces biologically and there will be another large block sold to timber vested groups.

Narrator: The Union of Concerned Scientists has become the Union of Concerned Salesmen. Having taken millions, not for science, but to create markets for electric cars. The Sierra Club sells electric cars and solar panels right from their website.

Sierra club salesman: The best thing about Sungevity is that they make it easy for you. All you have to do is to say “yes”.

Narrator: The New York Times partners with ExxonMobil to promote biofuels. Treehugger.com, which claims to be the largest single source of environmental news, was founded and funded by Georgian Pacific, a logging company – and in fact their offices are across the street from each other in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia Pacific is owned by our friends the Koch Brothers who are possibly the largest beneficiaries of green energy subsidies in the United States. Yes, the merger of environmentalism and capitalism is now complete. But maybe it’s always been complete.

Climate Challenge. Karyn Strickler: How is 350.org funded?

Bill McKibben: Well, not very well.

Karyn Strickler: Ha Ha. Who are your funders?

Bill McKibben: To the degree that we have any money at all, it comes from a few foundations.

Karyn Strickler: Which ones?

Bill McKibben: There is a foundation in Sweden called the Rasmussen Foundation. I think they’re our biggest funder.

You don’t get money from Pew or Rockefeller or any of those big funding sources?

Rockefeller Brothers gave us some money right when we were starting out. That’s been useful too.

But they no longer fund you?

I don’t know. I don’t have funders sitting in front of me.

Really?

Rockefellers has been one of the, a great ally in this fight.

 

Al Gore Interview:

Interviewer: You just built your TV network through Al Jazeera,

Right

And that government is basically nuts and butter and oil for you.

Yes, mainly in oil.

Your take on that about $100 million pre tax from a country that bases its wealth on fossil fuels. Isn’t there a bit of hypocrisy in that?

Well, I get the criticism. I just disagree with it. I’m proud of the transaction.

You couldn’t find for your business a more sustainable choice?

What is not sustainable about it?

Because it is backed by fossil fuel money.

I get it I get it …

Narrator: And so, if you’ve got yourself an environmental movement, as environmental movement, as environmental leaders why not buy the holy day itself.

Image: Huge earth day crowd. Voice: Happy Earth Da, Rock and roll music and dance,

Speech: Dennis Hayes, Founder of Earth Day. Now we are facing the greatest sets of issues that we’ve seen in my lifetime. It’s time now for a new generation to jump up on the stage and create a habitable country, a habitable planet, that we can all enjoy. Are you that generation? (yes). I need to thank Building Energy which provided so much solar power that we could power the entire event with solar energy.

Narrator: But when I went backstage to see what was really going on.

A speaker: They ain’t running the whole thing on that, Jack, I can tell you that. A toaster is 1200 watts. Those solar panels there could run a toaster but not much more.

Narrator: I found the installer. Are they running the festival on these solar panels?

Answer: The concert is run by a diesel generator.

An image of the planet earth from space.

Narrator: Now I know this all might seem overwhelming. It’s the kind of thing we don’t normally try and think about, but by not thinking about it, it stands a good chance of doing us in. I truly believe that the path to change comes from awareness, but awareness alone can’t begin to create the transformation. There is a way out of this. We humans must accept that infinite growth on a finite planet is suicide. We must accept that our human presence is far beyond sustainability – and all that that implies. We must take control of our environmental movement and our future from the billionaires and their permanent war on planet earth. They are not our friends. Less must be the new more. And instead of climate change, we must at long last accept that it’s not the carbon dioxide molecule that is destroying this planet. It’s us. It’s not one thing but everything we humans are doing. A human caused apocalypse. If we get ourselves under control, all things are possible, and If we don’t, (video: men felling timber. The trees fall and bounce helplessly in death)

Image: the emptiness of a clear cut forest with haunting music – – – and then an orang utan on a lone tree – – – more haunting music. Image: A forest burnt down to the ground by man perhaps to plant palm oil in Indonesia – – – more haunting music. More forest creatures and orang utans in desperate and pitiful conditions now that their forest is gone. More haunting music.

 

tipping-1

 

[LINK TO THE HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE]

 

THIS POST IS A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THE WAY THE STATISTICAL PROPERTY OF VARIANCE IS INTERPRETED IN CLIMATE SCIENCE. 

 

 

  1. Climate science is corrupted by activism. As an example, consider how the activism needs of researchers corrupt the interpretation of the statistical property of variance. In statistics, as in information theory, high variance implies uncertainty and therefore low information content. Uncertainty means our information lies somewhere between knowing and not knowing such that the higher the variance the less we know.
  2. In this context high variance is undesirable because it degrades the information we can derive from the data. However, high variance also yields large confidence intervals that invite the confirmation bias of the researcher to interpret the portion of the interval that supports prior beliefs and activism needs. Thus, high variance can be interpreted not as uncertain information but as certainty of the danger of how extreme it could be. This anomalous understanding of variance is the norm in climate science where the word “could” is used and understood as certainty in the context of the precautionary principle.
  3. This interpretation of uncertainty takes on the incredible power of information when the precautionary principle is invoked. The precautionary principle says in effect that if there is any chance at all that this could happen it must be treated as a certainty and it is the norm in certain risk assessment models as well as in superstition. The role of the precautionary principle in superstition and confirmation bias is explored in a related post [LINK] .
  4. In climate science, the precautionary principle is subsumed in most cases in terms of a risk assessment assumption that the alternative to the appropriate level of  climate action is the destruction of the planet. This assumption leads to a perverse interpretation of uncertainty in climate science such that uncertainty becomes transformed into certainty of extreme values. The climate science position that the less they know the greater the risk of harm by climate change follows from this assessment.
  5. This principle is pervasive in climate science such that it follows that the the truth of AGW climate change theory and it’s catastrophic impacts and consequences implicitly becomes the null hypothesis and the null hypothesis of the truth of climate catastrophe can be rejected only if convincing evidence can be provided by climate deniers against it. This methodology is claimed to be science although it is exactly the opposite of science.
  6. It works exactly the other way around in science where the null hypothesis is the absence of the effects predicted by theory and it is necessary for empirical tests to provide convincing evidence against it so that the null can be rejected. It is only then that we can accept the alternate hypothesis that the proposed catastrophic AGW climate change theory is correct.
  7. An uncertainty problem that has been difficult and contentious for climate science is that of climate sensitivity (ECS), a proposed relationship between the logarithm of atmospheric CO2 concentration and surface temperature at the appropriate time scale that sits at the foundation of AGW theory. A large range of values for the ECS parameter and the appropriate time scale in the observational data is found in the literature as described. in a related post [LINK] . Such a large range of observed values means that both high warming at low CO2 & low warming at high CO2 are possible and that therefore the ECS is not a useful concept.
  8. But in climate science the high end of the range is what matters because it provides the condition that should be taken into account in terms of the precautionary principle. The ECS uncertainty issue is a high profile example of a parameter which contains little useful information because of uncertainty but is treated as certainty of high values.
  9. It is this faux understanding of variance in climate science that leads to the oft repeated pattern in which first a climate “tipping point” is declared, meaning that we have run out of time to act on climate and that therefore the planet is about to be destroyed. The declaration is quickly followed by its retraction once climate scientists realize that they have removed all motivation for climate action. The retraction is invoked with the statement that “there is still time” if we act quickly and decisively to limit or eliminate our use of fossil fuels. The pattern likely derives from the failure of climate science to understand the concept of variance in statistics.
  10. The climate science view of uncertainty facilitates confirmation bias because the interpretation of the uncertain information can become biased by the beliefs, biases, and activism priorities of the researcher.

 

BRIEFLY, UNCERTAINTY DOES NOT MEAN OH! LOOK HOW HIGH IT COULD BE. IT MEANS WE DON’T REALLY KNOW. THE LESS WE KNOW THE HIGHER IT COULD BE AND IN PERFECT IGNORANCE IT COULD BE AS HIGH AS INFINITY BECAUSE THE ANSWER IS NOT CONSTRAINED BY INFORMATION. 

 

 

RELATED WORKS

CIRCULAR REASONING IN CLIMATE SCIENCE: [LINK] 

CLIMATE SCIENCE CORRUPTED BY ACTIVISM: [LINK]

CONFIRMATION BIAS IN CLIMATE SCIENCE [LINK]

 

[LINK TO THE HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE]

RELATED POSTS: [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK]

 

THIS POST PRESENTS INTERVIEWS BY ASTROPHYSICIST NEIL deGRASSE TYSON  WITH CLIMATE SCIENTISTS KATHARYNE HAYHOE AND GAVIN SCHMIDT THAT SEEK TO FIND A CONNECTION BETWEEN AGW CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC. THE TITLE OF THE VIDEO IS “THE CORONA VIRUS AND ITS SIMILARITY TO CLIMATE CHANGE”. THE YOUTUBE VIDEO OF THESE INTERVIEWS APPEARS ABOVE AND THEIR TRANSCRIPTS APPEAR BELOW ALONG WITH A CRITICAL COMMENTARY. 

 

 

 

PART-1: CRITICAL COMMENTARY

IN THE FIELD OF CLIMATE ACTIVISM IT IS GENERALLY BELIEVED THAT THE CORONA-VIRUS PANDEMIC SERVES AS A FORCED TRIAL VERSION OF CLIMATE ACTION AND THAT IT PROVES THE EFFECTIVENESS OF CLIMATE ACTION CLAIMED BY CLIMATE ACTIVISTS. IT IS FURTHER BELIEVED THAT THE CLIMATE ACTION EFFECT OF THE CORONA VIRUS WHEN VIEWED IN TERMS OF THE TRAGIC EFFECTS OF THE VIRUS ON HUMAN WELL-BEING AND HUMAN CIVILIZATION, SHOWS THAT THOUGH CLIMATE ACTION MAY IMPOSE HARDSHIPS ON US, IT SHOULD STILL BE PURSUED BECAUSE THE GREATER GOOD OF THE RESULTS, AS FOR EXAMPLE “SAVING THE PLANET”, WOULD GREATLY EXCEED THE PRICE THAT WE PAY. IN THIS CONTEXT, THE 911 AIRLINE SHUTDOWN OF 2001 IS OFTEN CITED AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE UNINTENDED PLANETARY CONSEQUENCES OF AN UNRELATED HUMAN TRAGEDY [LINK] . IN THESE TWO INTERVIEWS, THE INTERVIEWER SUBSUMES THESE RELATIONSHIPS IN THE INTERVIEWS WITH TWO CLIMATE SCIENTISTS. THE INTERVIEWS ARE INTENDED AS A WAY OF CONFIRMING, STRENGTHENING, AND PERHAPS EXTENDING THE SCOPE OF THIS VIEW. HOWEVER, THE RESULTS IN THE TWO INTERVIEWS TURNED OUT TO BE DRAMATICALLY DIFFERENT.

GAVIN

IN THE FIRST INTERVIEW, GAVIN SCHMIDT CONCEDED THE POLLUTION ABATEMENT EFFECT OF THE PANDEMIC BUT AVOIDED GOING BEYOND THAT TO THE CLIMATE ACTION ISSUE. WHEN PRESSED HE POINTED OUT THAT THE INSIGNIFICANT REDUCTION IN CO2 EMISSIONS OF 3% TO 5% AND ITS BRIEF TIME SCALE DO NOT PROVIDE SUFFICIENT EVIDENCE THAT THE PANDEMIC HAS HAD A MEANINGFUL AND MEASURABLE CLIMATE IMPACT. WHEN PRESSED ON THE CLIMATE TO COVID TO CLIMATE-ACTION CONNECTION, GAVIN DID NOT OBJECT BUT HE DID NOT PARTICIPATE. AND WHEN ASKED BY TYSON TO CONFIRM THAT FOSSIL FUEL POLLUTION MAKES PEOPLE MORE SUSCEPTIBLE TO THE CORONA VIRUS, GAVIN REPLIED THAT HE HAD SEEN THATIN THE PRE-PRINTS“, A POLITE WAY OF SAYING THAT IT’S A PRODUCT OF THE FLOOD OF SPECULATIVE RESEARCH ON THE CORONA VIRUS AND THEREFORE NOT CREDIBLE.

 

 

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THE RESULTS WERE VERY DIFFERENT IN THE SECOND INTERVIEW WITH KATHARYN HAYHOE WHICH BEGINS WITH “THE SIMILARITIES ABOUT PEOPLE’S ATTITUDES TOWARDS CLIMATE CHANGE AND TOWARDS THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC DESCRIBED AS: “A HUNDRED YEARS OF SCIENCE TELLS US THAT DIGGING UP AND BURNING COAL, GAS, AND OIL IS WRAPPING AN EXTRA BLANKET AROUND THE PLANET AND CAUSING IT TO WARM AND WHAT WE SEE IS THAT WHETHER PEOPLE AGREE WITH THESE SCIENTIFIC FACTS OR THE RISKS POSED BY THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC DEPENDS ON NOT HOW  SMART THEY ARE, NOT HOW MUCH SCIENCE THEY KNOW, AND NOT HOW EDUCATED THEY ARE, BUT ON HOW FAR TO THE RIGHT THEY ARE IN THE POLITICAL SPECTRUM. THE UNDERLYING CAUSE IS THE FEAR THAT THE WORLD IS CHANGING AND THAT THESE CHANGES MAY CHANGE THE SOCIAL HIERARCHY. PEOPLE IN POWER DON’T WANT CHANGE SO THEY DENY IT. THIS IS WHERE SCIENCE DENIAL COMES FROM AND IT APPLIES EQUALLY TO THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC AND CLIMATE CHANGE. THE AVERSION TO THE PRESCRIBED SOLUTION BY SCIENTISTS IS CLOAKED IN THE LANGUAGE OF SCIENCE AND RELIGION OR IN THE GUISE OF PREVENTING TOTALITARIAN GOVERNMENT. THESE DEFENSIVE MECHANISMS ARE NEEDED BECAUSE THEY DON’T WANT TO BE SEEN AS THE BAD GUY THAT PREVENTS THE CLIMATE ACTION AND THE PREVENTIVE MEASURES NEEDED TO FEND OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC THAT ARE KNOWN TO HURT THE POOR THE MOST.

THIS INTERVIEW PLEASED THE INTERVIEWERS HAVING FOUND SUPPORT FOR THEIR HYPOTHESIS OF A CORRESPONDENCE BETWEEN THE THE CLIMATE CHANGE AND CORONA VIRUS CATASTROPHES AND A CORRESPONDENCE IN THE SCIENCE DENIAL PATTERNS SEEN IN CLIMATE DENIAL AND CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC DENIAL.

As a footnote, we add here the attempt by the United Nations to use the corona virus pandemic to sell its climate change agenda on Earth Day April 22 2020 where Antonio Guterres says:  “On this International Mother Earth Day, all eyes are on the COVID-19 pandemic – the biggest test the world has faced since the Second  World War. The context of the speech is contained in the banner under which he gave his speech: CLIMATE EMERGENCY NEEDS CLIMATE ACTION TO PREVENT CLIMATE DISRUPTION. It is noted in related posts that the reason we have a climate emergency is that the UN needs a climate emergency for its own ambition [LINK] [LINK] .

THE REAL PURPOSE OF THIS VIDEO APPEARS TO BE TO USE THE ALL TOO REAL HORRORS OF THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC THAT IS NOW UPON AS A TOOL TO SELL THE HORRORS OF CLIMATE CHANGE AND THEREBY TO PUSH FOR ACTIVISM AGAINST FOSSIL FUELS DESCRIBED AS THE “CLIMATE ACTION” NEEDED TO AVOID THE HORRORS OF CLIMATE CHANGE THAT SHOULD  NOW BE UNDERSTOOD IN TERMS OF THE VERY REAL HORRORS OF THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC. THIS IS HOW LOW  CLIMATE SCIENCE AND THE UN HAVE GONE IN THEIR DESPERATION TO SELL THEIR CLIMATE ACTION AGENDA. 

guterres

 

 

 

 

PART-2: TRANSCRIPT OF THE TWO INTERVIEWS IN SEARCH OF A CONNECTION BETWEEN THE CORONA VIRUS PANDEMIC AND AGW CLIMATE CHANGE

(1)  INTERVIEW#1: GAVIN SCHMIDT:

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ND Tyson: What has been the impact of the pandemic on AGW and what has been the impact of AGW on the pandemic? But before that what can you tell us about CO2 emissions, the big driver in our atmosphere for how much heat energy we retain. How does that relate to the Corona virus?
Gavin Schmidt: One of the things that we do as part of our economy and part of the energy that we generate and the electricity that we use is that we burn fossil fuels. When we burn the fossil fuels it produces carbon dioxide. That carbon dioxide goes into the atmosphere where it acts as a really really important greenhouse gas and that’s causing the warming. The cumulative amount of carbon emissions that we’ve had since the industrial revolution 150 years ago has warmed the planet by about 2F over that time period and the warming that we’re seeing now, decade by decade by decade, is so much, is entirely due to our activities. But it’s not just carbon dioxide. It’s also the pollutants that we’re putting into the air that you can touch and see and feel – soot, smog, all of these things impact the climate.

ND Tyson: Just to be clear, if CO2 were purple, we would be much more plugged in to its role as a pollutant in the atmosphere.
Gavin Schmidt: Well yes, so we’ve increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by about 40% over that period. So that’s really quite a substantial amount. And we can see the other pollutants and right now if you’re in a city where there is a lockdown, you’re actually not seeing them. The air has been cleaner now, this month, than perhaps it has been in many many decades. And that’s true in China, it’s true in Northern Italy, it’s true on the East Coast, and it’s true in parts of California.

ND Tyson: Because????
Gavin Schmidt: Because we’ve stopped driving around so much, the amount of transportation that’s going on, the amount of internal combustion engines that are being turned on has gone way way down. And those are producers of things like nitrous oxide, NOx, NO2 which are components of smog that leads to high ozone levels which are very unhealthy ….
ND Tyson: Quick question, what does NOx refer to?
Gavin Schmidt: NOx is a whole range of nitrous oxides that are NO2, NO4, NO6, N2O5, and more complex …
ND Tyson: So is your variable x telling you how many oxygen atoms are attached?
Gavin Schmidt: Right. Exactly. So there is this one class of nitrous oxides that are very reactive and both ozone precursors and unhealthy in and of themselves because they come out of internal combustion engines. Those have been going way way down.
Third Man: Gavin, this problem is solved. I don’t know why we’re even having this show, it sounds to me like we’re all good. (Smiles all around).
Gavin Schmidt: This is the thing. We know that these pollutants and we know that carbon dioxide comes from our industrial and our agricultural activities We’ve known this for centuries. If the answer was as simple as let’s just stop doing everything that we’re doing, then you’re right, we would have solved this problem. And right now we’re doing half of that. We’re half stopping lot of the things that are producing some of these pollutants but I know how much fun you’re having right now but I don’t know that this is a final and permanent solution.
ND Tyson: Tell me about air travel as well, as a contributer just as driving is?
Gavin Schmidt: Right. And so air travel is about 3% of global carbon emissions. Obviously air travel has gone way way down in the last couple of months but it gives you a sense of how difficult the carbon dioxide problem is. It’s that even if we stop flying, that’s only 3%. If we stop driving cars, that’s another 5% to 10% because we haven’t stopped the trucks, we haven’t stopped the trains, and we haven’t stopped the shipping. And so the total emissions of carbon dioxide we’re expecting as a change due to the corona virus is perhaps only about 5% to 10% of global emissions.
ND Tyson: Plus the farming footprint hasn’t changed for carbon dioxide, correct?

Gavin Schmidt: Correct. And the electricity. We’re still generating electricity, we’re using it to power our internet …. interrupted by NDT.
ND Tyson: Not all of which carbon foot printed.
Third man: Particularly coal, right? You still have a bunch of countries that are burning coal. Recently in America you know, we had to BRING IT BACK! so you know
Gavin Schmidt: We haven’t brought coal back. Coal is having its lunch eaten for it in the market place, so coal in the US and in most of Western Europe and Japan is on its last legs. But there are still a lot of coal fired power stations being built, being used, in China in India, Eastern Europe, and the like.
ND Tyson: If the air quality is a little better is it too early to know whether the cleaner air is actually saving the lives of people who might have otherwise been on the brink due to respiratory issues?
Gavin Schmidt: So that’s a great great point. We know that heavy amounts of particulates, small particles in the air, are very very deleterious to people’s health and they kill hundreds of thousands of people prematurely every year in China and similarly in India and in other parts of the world. And so reducing those pollutants is a health gain but how many lives we’re saving and how many lives we’re not cutting short in a month of clean air or two months of clean air, that’s a little bit trickier because most of the problems are associated with persistent exposure. So if we cut it down and kept it cut down then I think we’d be saving many many thousands of lives maybe even hundreds of thousands of lives and we should be working towards that ….
ND Tyson interrupts: But something we’re still in the early stages of I think, medically my understanding is that you’re right, a couple of months of clean air, what’s that relative to years and years exposure and so if you did have this respiratory susceptibility to pollution, early evidence has been showing that you are more susceptible to the corona virus and its effects. Have you read about that? Gavin Schmidt: I’ve only read about it and again I’ve only seen these pre-prints that have been popping up to suggest that there is of heavy pollution making your susceptibility to the corona virus worse ….
ND Tyson interrupts: Some people don’t know what a pre-print is.
Gavin Schmidt: Science works much faster than our ability to publish it. So the scientists who are working at the cutting edge of he corona virus, both the epidemiology and the biology and the impacts are producing science at a very very rapid rate and they are just throwing up their papers onto what are called pre-print servers where you can look and every day there are hundreds of papers; where you can get a really cutting edge view of what people are doing. Now the problem with pre-prints is that you don’t know if it’s right and it hasn’t been checked, it hasn’t been peer reviewed so there’s some stuff up there that is obviously not going to be correct and that can be more confusing than useful ….
ND Tyson interrupts with a joke: There was one that said that space aliens brought the corona virus. That’s a pre-print. Hahaha. So tell me about one of the things that you and your entire institution, as director of the Goddard Institute of Space Studies relies on in climate modeling. Modeling in general – which is quite a daunting task when the models you create … intended to represent reality where you have many many variables and you have to sort of get a handle on all those variables. Is there any connectivity between modeling climate and modeling the spread of the corona virus? (Third man interjects: And which modeling works best for you, is it swimwear or evening wear?
Gavin Schmidt: So let’s be clear, models are absolutely fundamental to the scientific enterprise. If you want to make a prediction for something that’s going to happen to be able to test your theories, you have to be able to quantify that. You quantify that by using a model. Now, there are different kinds of models. I think that a lot of the conversation on the corona virus and the epidemiological models that are being used is that people don’t really understand why and how there are different kinds of models. And so there are some models where you get a bunch of data and basically you fit a line through it or you fit a curve through it and you predict what’s gonna happen.
ND Tyson interrupts: To be clear, you want to predict not only what will happen in the future but the intensity of what will happen in the future….
Gavin Schmidt: So if you’re on an exponential growth path you don’t want to make a linear extrapolation from that, you want to make an exponential extrapolation. But that only goes so far. And so what happens when you introduce some public policy and really, the system has shifted, so you need to model that a little bit differently. So the whole idea is to be able to make predictions so we can be prepared or more prepared than we currently are. So there’s models where you’re basically fitting a line. And there are models that are more sophisticated where you are actually trying to track how a virus goes from one another to another in what kind of circumstances, and some of that modeling is very very very complex. Some if it, you have agents who are infecting each other and you’re trying to aggregate that to the national or the global numbers. That’s very very complicated. The fitting a straight line stuff is very simple But it turns out that you often get a good sense of where things are going with the simpler models but if you actually want to make a future prediction you need to do that more complex model. And with respect to the climate, it’s the same kind of thing. You can look at the temperatures over time and you can put a straight line through it and think that that’s a prediction, It’s not terrible but it isn’t going to tell you what’s gonna happen the next time there is a volcano or the next time there’s an El Nino or the next time we do something about ….
ND Tyson interrupts: What you’re saying is that you can’t predict when you have unpredictable things, can’t predict with precision or accuracy when you have unpredictable forces jumping in to mess up your model.
Gavin Schmidt: Well, it’s hard to know exactly where things are going to go because the answers from your model are hopefully gonna impact public policy, people are gonna make different decisions based on what they think is going to happen, right? So the lockdowns we’ve seen, those are in response to models that said that if you don’t do that, it’s gonna go up exponentially and so they said we don’t want that so let’s change things and now that’s a new element that’s going to give a different answer. So it’s not that the models changed right? But he scenarios have changed …
Third Man interrupts: With that in mind, I’m not a scientist, I’m just listening to this, I wanna know, what have you gotten right that I can rely on looking into the future, so can you give us an example of what models you have that said that’s the deal “we got it right” or even more importantly, “we were way to conservative”.
Gavin Schmidt: Right, going back to my field where I know more, so in climate we started seriously looking at the carbon dioxide problem in the 1960s, and people made predictions then that well, by the end of the century we’ll have warmed up by about 1C and we did. But it wasn’t just that it was going to get warmer it was quite precise. Then they said ok, but up in the stratosphere which is the part of the atmosphere above the weather, they said something weird is going to happen there, it’s going to get colder, and it turns out that that happened as well. Then they said, well, the water vapor is going to go up, and well, that happened too. And all of these things we predicted, the increase of heat in the ocean, we predicted that, and predicted the rate of warming that was observed ….
ND Tyson interrupts Gavin: But Chuck ….
Third Man interrupts ND Tyson: But what have you got wrong so that nobody gives a shit that you got all this stuff right?
ND Tyson interrupts Third Man: Right, that’s a separate social issue that has to be solved.
Gavin Schmidt: So what is the issue? The issue is the one that we see.
ND Tyson interrupts: You said that the temperature will go up by 1C and 1C equals 1.8F about 2F
Gavin Schmidt: And yes, that’s how much we warmed.
ND Tyson: So let me just ask want to bring this segment to a fast close, ‘cause we have more of the show on continuing the topic with yet another guest, so just to be clear, the fact that there is a virus this pandemic is not itself of interest to you, a climate scientist, what’s of interest to you is the effect that the pandemic has had on our consumption of fossil fuels and how that then affects your climate model.
Gavin Schmidt: Well I’m pretty interested in what’s happening with the virus just as a basic human being, I am not purely a climate scientist
ND Tyson interrupts: Good to know that you are a human being, thank you.
Gavin Schmidt: Well yes, wearing my climate scientist hat I’m very interested in how this is impacting air quality, radiation, temperatures going forward, carbon dioxide going forward. We’re diving into that.
ND Tyson: In much the same way after September 11, (2001), we had weeks of no traffic, no air traffic, so I remember reading the astronautic house for no one could see contrails crisscrossing the country and the world over that period of time. It is an interesting unintended experiment that we subject ourselves to {This is a reference to the airline shutdown following the 9/11 terrorist attacks that led to a reduction of jet contrails and a claimed increase in the diurnal temperature range across the US https://www.int-res.com/articles/cr2004/26/c026p001.pdf }
Gavin Schmidt: That’s a great example that you brought up there because in that period it was, …, the air traffic was only down for a few weeks and that wasn’t really enough to kind of pull out the signal that was from the contrails, what they do to the climate, from .. kind of disentangle that from just weather. This situation that we have here is going to be longer and more long lasting and I think we will in fact get an answer to that same question.
ND Tyson: The corona virus pandemic will help your models become more accurate.
Gavin Schmidt: Yes, it’s a pretty high price to pay for a few improvements in the model but what you say is true.

 

(1)  INTERVIEW#2: CLIMATE SCIENTIST & ASTROPHYSIICIST KATHARYN HAYHOE:

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ND Tyson:  So, Katharyn, you are the director of the Texas Tech Climate Center; and in that capacity you also serve as professor at Texas Tech. In what Department are you?

Katharyn Hayhoe:  Well, I have had an eerie career. My undergraduate degree is in astrophysics, my masters and phd are in atmospheric science. I am currently in the political science department at Texas Tech because climate change is the most political science there is. (laughter). And here’s the story. I was planning to continue to graduate school after physics. I was studying galaxy clusters around quasars … and I took a class around climate science to finish my undergraduate degree – and it completely swamped me because I had no idea that climate change was the very same physics that I’ve been studying. It’s fluid mechanics and orbital dynamics and so on. It is the same physics. And I had no idea that climate change was a threat multiplier. And it was taking all of the issues we already cope with today making them worse and so in my naivete as a student I thought I will do everything I can to help with the climate change now, and it’s so urgent, surely we’ll fix it – and then I’ll go back to astrophysics.

ND Tyson: Ahhhh! Stupid! So we didn’t fix the climate problem. So the need for you was more urgent than ever in this world. So you never came back on.

Katharyn Hayhoe: That’s what it felt like. I wanted to come back on. I am still waiting to come back on.

ND Tyson: So I will get pig headed about that. I just live closer to CBS and NBC and ABC than you do in Lubbock, Texas.

Katharyn Hayhoe: Exactly! That’s why you’re on there talking astrophysics, which we need because it’s the same science. People need to understand that the physics is the physics no matter whether we’re here on earth or on the other side of the universe. And it explains both our planet and how it operates as well as how the universe operates.

ND Tyson: So tell me now why are we talking  to you about the Corona Virus.  

Katharyn Hayhoe: We are really concerned right now obviously about the impact of this pandemic on our world. But the reason why we are concerned is because it affects our health, our welfare, and the economy of our families, our loved ones, our communities, our cities, our countries – AND THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT CLIMATE CHANGE AFFECTS TOO, JUST OVER A LONGER TIME SCALE. (Translation: if the corona virus scares you, now you know what climate change will be like if we don’t take climate action. So if the corona virus scares you, so should climate change. Be afraid, be very afraid).

ND Tyson: So, the corona virus is a microcosm of climate change. It’s a disaster reel playing out in fast motion.

Katharyn Hayhoe: Yes! That’s exactly what this is. It is playing out in a matter of days what climate change plays out in years. to decades. In terms of the corona virus time scale, climate change is now in the second week of March. And for how far we’ve already progressed, and how great and how imminent the risk is that we take today.

ND Tyson: So tell me about Echo Systems. And the spread of the corona virus, or the existence of the corona virus in the first place, any virus, especially specie jumping viruses, how is that all interconnected?

Katharyn Hayhoe: So, corona virus came to humans through a process called gnossis where it jumped from an animal to humans. It is where a virus that already exists in an animal population jumps over to humans; and we have no immunity to it and so we are incredibly vulnerable. So, the fact that it jumps over to humans is primarily due to the fact that animals like pangolins were being sold in wildlife food markets. But we know that, first of all as human expansion shrinks wildlife areas in ???? ecosystems, humans are coming into more and more contact with animal populations that have nowhere to go. And climate change is changing where different types of vegetation grow, where different animal species live, increasing the possibility of drought that wipe out food supply, that’s also making animals more desperate and more likely to engage with humans in its search for food which puts us additionally at risk for getting more of these diseases, making that jump from animals over to humans.

ND Tyson:  So the corona virus is just one example of what will continue to happen going forward, as humans displace ecosystems?

Katharyn Hayhoe: YES.

ND Tyson: So corona virus could be the new normal.

Katharyn Hayhoe: We have already seen a few of these. This is not the first time. We’ve seen SARS, we’ve seen swine flue, in fact we saw the Spanish Pandemic back over a hundred years ago. It’s one of the reasons why my last name is Hayhoe.

ND Tyson: So Katharyn, tell me about what role governments … will governments learn something from the corona virus that they can then apply to staving off climate change? (with laughter from the Third Man).

Katharyn Hayhoe: Let me just say, one would hope that. And one would hope that one of the basic lessons they will learn is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is not rocket science! (forgive me for saying that). It is just the understanding that a stitch in time saves nine.  (The point here by Hayhoe is that climate action early on will be easier and more effective than climate adaptation or belated climate action). (What we can learn from the Corona pandemic is that) Preparing for and preventing future risk is a lot safer and more affordable than waiting for the (climate change) tsunami to roll over your head and then trying to survive it.

Third Man: You talk about the fact that food insecurity is a big deal right now because of the corona virus, and food insecurity with respect to climate is when things get really real. If people can’t eat, that’s when the proverbial shit hits the fan.

Katharyn Hayhoe: Yes. I will tell you that going all the way back to when I decided that I had to do my bachelor’s in climate change instead of astrophysics, what stabbed me in the heart, what made me really change my mind on what to do with my life, was whn I found out that the poorest people in the world were the ones most affected by a change in climate. And we are seeing that play our here today. Let me give you a couple of examples. First of all I was talking with colleagues who live around the world and they were saying that people who live in poor countries, the middle class people are sitting in their air conditioned homes with the groceries they ordered online and poor people can’t go our to get jobs to support their family and they would be arrested if they did go our because of the quarantine because they can’t even feed their families. Here, in the United States, we are seeing that African-American populations are being disproportionately affected by this disease. We don’t know for sure but I suspect it’s what we’re seeing around the world. People who already live in areas with very poor air quality, which is primarily due to burning fossil fuels, it is what causes climate change, those people are much more vulnerable. A study they did on SARS 15 years ago shows that if you caught SARS and you lived in an area with very dirty air, you were twice as likely to die from it that if you lived in a place with clean air. So we know that that is the case in the ??? today. And then there’s the issue of ?feed for the different feed security?. The more well-off and affluent we are the better insulated we are, at least for the fist few months, from the impacts of pandemics, from climate change, from disasters, it is always the poorest and the most vulnerable who suffer first.

ND Tyson: So you’re in the department of political science, so you, these are people who, who presumably care what you say but you’re coming to them from an entire scientific foundation of an understanding of the past present and future of nature and our intersection with it; so what kind of an audience do you get? (an intellectual rant?).

Katharyn Hayhoe: I would say that political scientists I have spoken with are more worried about this than climate scientists are, if you can imagine! Because they know that one of the fist things to go as disasters build up in the world, one of the first things to go is the democratic system.

ND Tyson & Third Man: Oh! That is ugly. That is scary. You mean it becomes more totalitarian?

Katharyn Hayhoe: People are willing to cede more control to a leader in a climate disaster.

ND Tyson: We’re back, Star Talk, It’s the Coronaverse. We’re keeping our distances. Question for Katharyn Hayhoe: What similarities do you see about people’s attitudes towards towards climate change, plus or minus, and attitudes towards the Covid19 corona virus?

Katharyn Hayhoe: Absolutely! So for a long time we’ve known here in the US an sadly increasingly in other countries around the world – Canada, UK, Australia, and more, that the number one ???? on whether we agree on over a hundred years of science that tells us that digging up and burning coal, gas, and oil, is wrapping and extra blanket around the planet. It’s causing it to warm. The number one predictor of whether we agree with these facts is not how smart we are, it’s not how much science we know, it’s not how educated  we are, it is simply where we fall in the political spectrum. And today, we see that the farther to the right you are in the political spectrum in the United States, the more likely we are to dismiss the risks posed by the corona virus pandemic as well.

ND Tyson: So, uh, why? is the one cause the other or does the other cause the other? I mean ….

Katharyn Hayhoe: They are both symptoms. I think the underlying cause is fear. It’s the fear that the world is just changing too quickly, that people who have been sort of at the top of the heap for a long time are feeling like they are being shoved to the back of the line. And anything that talks about change, whether it”s immigration, whether it’s government solutions for clean energy, I mean we’ve been using coal since the middle ages, what’s wrong with it? Anything that is new is seen as a threat to the established ….

ND Tyson interrupts: Wait wait wait wait. So when you say fear you don’t mean fear of the consequences of climate change or the virus, you mean a fear of a change in their socio-political status.

Katharyn Hayhoe: Absolutely.

ND Tyson: So you will resist … So why don’t you … OK … Let me just as you, If I don’t want my status to change, why don’t I just declare, “I don’t want to make these changes”? I see the science, I agree with the science, I don’t want to change policy based on it. Why don’t they just do that?

Katharyn Hayhoe:  That would be the honest thing to do. And there are people who actually do do that, but for a lot of people the self defense mechanism kicks in. 99.9% of the climate denial I see is actually a solution aversion, but the solution aversion will arrive cloaked in either a sciency or a religousy sounding smokescreen. In other words “it’s just the natural cycle, it’s the sun, God is in control. But when you dig down, anywhere from 30 seconds to a minute, on their own initiative people will say, “well I don’t want to fix this problem because it means government control, I won’t be able to drive my truck, I won’t be able to do my job, China’s going to take over the world. But psychology comes into play because if I say “It’s a real problem, and it will hurt the poorest people in the world, but I don’t want to fix it”, that makes me the bad guy. And none of us want to be the bad guy. We want to be the good person, so we throw up this defense mechanism to explain why we are good and smart in rejecting this problem.

GREENLAND

GREENLAND ALARMISM HEADLINES: 1. Drone images show Greenland Ice Sheet becoming more unstable as it fractures, 2. Greenland is melting far faster than it has before, 3. Melting of Greenland ice is fastest in 350 years, 4. Greenland’s rapid melt will mean more flooding, 5. Greenland is approaching the threshold of an irreversible melt, 6. Greenland Ice Sheet melting seven times faster than in the 1990s, 7. Dozens of lakes discovered deep inside Greenland Ice Sheet, 8. Greenland Ice Sheet is melting at an accelerated rate, 9. Record heat threatens Greenland Ice Sheet, 10. As Greenland melts something strange is happening to the ice sheet. 

 

[LINK TO THE HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE]

 

IN THIS POST A CORRELATION ANALYSIS OF TIME SERIES OF SURFACE MELT AND MASS BALANCE DATA FOR THE GREENLAND ICE SHEET IN THE PERIOD 1992-2019 AGAINST THE CORRESPONDING UAH LOWER TROPOSPHERE TEMPERATURE DATA FOR THE NORTH POLAR REGION IS USED TO TEST THE HYPOTHESIS THAT OBSERVED SURFACE MELT AND MASS BALANCE DATA ARE CORRELATED WITH ATMOSPHERIC TEMPERATURE. THE ANALYSIS SHOWS STRONG, STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT CORRELATIONS. WE FIND THAT GREENLAND SURFACE MELT AND MASS BALANCE DYNAMICS ARE RELATED TO UAH LOWER TROPOSPHERIC TEMPERATURE AT AN ANNUAL TIME SCALE. 

 

(1)  TEST#1: IS ANNUAL SURFACE MELT AREA RESPONSIVE TO UAH LOWER TROPOSPHERE TEMPERATURE ? SURFACE MELT DATA IN MILLIONS OF SQUARE KILOMETERS PROVIDED BY NSIDC, NORTH POLAR LOWER TROPOSPHERE TEMPERATURE PROVIDED BY UAH.

SURFACE-MELT-1SURFACE-MELT-2SURFACE-MELT-3SURFACE-MELT-4

THE FIRST CHART SHOWS THE SURFACE MELT DATA IN MILLIONS OF SQUARE KILOMETERS FOR EACH YEAR FROM 1999 TO 2019 IN RED AND THE DETRENDED SERIES IN BLUE. THE COMPARISON OF THE TWO CURVES DOES NOT INDICATE THAT THERE IS MUCH OF A TREND IN THE SURFACE MELT AREA SERIES AND THAT IS CONFIRMED BY THE LOW VALUES FOR TREND AND R-SQUARED SHOWN ON THE CHART. EVEN SO, CLIMATE SCIENTISTS LIKE TO HUNT AND PECK TO FIND SCARY VALUES OR UNPRECEDENTED VALUES TO PAINT A PICTURE OF THE END OF THE WORLD. THE SECOND CHART SHOWS THE UAH LOWER TROPOSPHERE TEMPERATURE ABOVE THE NORTH POLAR REGION IN RED AND ITS DETRENDED SERIES IN BLUE. AS IN THE SURFACE MELT DATA, THERE IS NOT MUCH OF A TREND IN THE TEMPERATURE EITHER. THESE ARE THE AVERAGE VALUES OF JUNE, JULY, AND AUGUST TEMPERATURES, THE THREE MONTHS WHEN SURFACE MELT IS OBSERVED. THE THIRD AND FOURTH CHARTS SHOW CORRELATIONS BETWEEN SURFACE MELT AREA AND TEMPERATURE IN THE SOURCE DATA AND IN THE THE DETRENDED SERIES. A STRONG STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT DETRENDED CORRELATION  IS FOUND BETWEEN GREENLAND SURFACE MELT AREA OF DETCORR=0.5776. THIS RESULT INDICATES THAT SURFACE MELT AREA ON THE GREENLAND ICE SHEET IS RESPONSIVE TO MEAN LOWER TROPOSPHERE TEMPERATURE FOR JUNE, JULY, AND AUGUST AT AN ANNUAL TIME SCALE.

 

(2)  TEST#2: IS THE ANNUAL ICE LOSS, INDICATED BY THE GREENLAND ICE SHEET MASS BALANCE, RESPONSIVE TO UAH LOWER TROPOSPHERE TEMPERATURE ? MASS BALANCE DATA ARE PROVIDED BY THE IMBIE TEAM IN THE DATA SECTION OF THEIR PAPER IN NATURE [LINK] . NORTH POLAR LOWER TROPOSPHERE TEMPERATURE PROVIDED BY UAH . HERE THE TIME SPAN IS 1992-2019.

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THE FIRST FOUR CHARTS: DISPLAY THE DATA AND THEIR DETRENDED SERIES 1992-2019. THESE ARE THE JJA (JUNE-JULY-AUGUST) TEMPERATURE AND THE IMBIE GREENLAND ICE SHEET MASS BALANCE 1992-2019. THE THIRD AND FOURTH CHARTS PRESENT GRAPHICAL DISPLAYS OF THE CORRELATION AND THE DETRENDED CORRELATION BETWEEN JJA TEMPERATURE AND THE IMBIE MASS BALANCE. IF THE MASS BALANCE IS RESPONSIVE TO JJA TEMPERATURE, WE WOULD EXPECT A NEGATIVE CORRELATION SINCE HIGHER TEMPERATURES WOULD YIELD MORE MELT AND LOWER MASS BALANCE (NEGATIVE NUMBERS WITH HIGHER ABSOLUTE VALUES). THE RESULTS SHOW A STRONG AND STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT DETRENDED CORRELATION OF CORR=-0.477 AND IT INDICATES THAT THE GREENLAND ICE MELT IS RESPONSIVE TO ATMOSPHERIC TEMPERATURE ABOVE THE ARCTIC AT AN ANNUAL TIME SCALE.

(3)  CONCLUSION:  THE RESULT PROVIDES EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE THAT THE GREENLAND ICE SHEET SURFACE MELT AND MASS BALANCE ARE RESPONSIVE TO THE WARMING OF THE LOWER TROPOSPHERE ABOVE THE NORTH POLAR REGION. THIS FINDING RELATES ICE SHEET MELT TO GLOBAL WARMING. YET, WHAT WE SEE IN CLIMATE SCIENCE IS NOT THE IMPASSIONED AND OBJECTIVE ANALYSIS TO RELATE ICE MELT TO WARMING BUT AN EXTREME SINGLE MINDED FOCUS ON FINDING ALARMING EVENTS IN THE DATA TO CREATE A SENSE OF FEAR. FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE PRESENTATION OF THE SURFACE MELT DATA, THE FOCUS IS ON HOW HIGH THE SURFACE MELT WAS IN 2019 AND THAT THE 2019 MELT WAS “THE 7TH HIGHEST SINCE 1978”. IN THE CASE OF MASS BALANCE, THERE WE ALSO FIND THE SINGLE MINDED FOCUS ON FINDING SOMETHING IN THE DATA TO FEAR. IT IS THUS THAT THE IMBIE TEAM HAD CONCLUDED FROM THEIR OTHERWISE IMPRESSIVE STUDY THAT WHAT THEY FOUND AFTER ALL THAT WORK WAS THAT THE 2018 MASS BALANCE SHOWED SUCH A HUGE ICE LOSS RELATIVE TO THE 1990S THAT PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN LOW LYING COASTAL LANDS SHOULD BE AFRAID OF SEA LEVEL RISE [LINK] .

IT DOES NOT APPEAR THAT THE REAL AGENDA IN CLIMATE SCIENCE IS CLIMATE SCIENCE. THE REAL AGENDA IS MORE LIKELY TO BE THE ACTIVISM THAT INTENDS TO CREATE THE LEVEL OF FEAR NEEDED TO IMPOSE A “CLIMATE ACTION” PLAN THAT IS SUPPOSED TO ATTENUATE THE RATE OF WARMING IF WE DON’T USE  FOSSIL FUELS. IT IS NOTED, HOWEVER, THAT NO EVIDENCE HAS BEEN PRESENTED AND WE SHOW IN RELATED POSTS THAT NONE EXISTS TO RELATE WARMING TO FOSSIL FUEL EMISSIONS [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK]. 

WE KNOW OF NO SCIENCE OTHER THAN CLIMATE SCIENCE THAT WORKS IN THIS WAY AND NO SCIENCE OTHER THAN CLIMATE SCIENCE  THAT USES THE WORD “SCIENCE” TO CLAIM LEGITIMACY SUCH THAT THE CORRECTNESS OF THEIR WORK MUST NOT BE QUESTIONED; AN APPEAL TO AUTHORITY FALLACY.

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COPERNICUS

 

Northern Hemisphere ozone column minimum in Dobson Units 1980-2020 CAMS2

 

[LINK TO THE HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE]

RELATED POSTS ON OZONE HOLES: [LINK] [LINK] [LINK] [LINK]  

THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF ALARMING REPORTS IN THE MEDIA THAT THE LARGEST OZONE HOLE EVER RECORDED HAS OPENED UP OVER THE NORTH POLE. IT IS PRESENTED IN THREE PARTS. PART-1 IS THE 2020 ARCTIC OZONE HOLE REPORT ON THE COPERNICUS WEBSITE. PART-2 IS ITS CRITICAL EVALUATION. 

ABSTRACT

OZONE HOLES ARE LOCALIZED AND EVANESCENT DECLINES IN POLAR OZONE LEVELS. THESE EVENTS HAVE NO INTERPRETATION IN TERMS OF THE CHEMICAL THEORY OF OZONE DEPLETION DESCRIBED BY ROWLAND AND MOLINA THAT FORMS THE BASIS OF THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL. NEITHER THE COPERNICUS ARCTIC POLAR OZONE HOLE OF 2020 NOR THE FARMAN ETAL ANTARCTIC POLAR OZONE HOLE OF 1985 SERVE AS EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE CHEMICAL THEORY OF ANTHROPOGENIC OZONE DEPLETION. THE FARMAN ETAL 1985 PAPER IS DISCUSSED IN A RELATED POST [LINK]

 

 

PART-1: THE COPERNICUS REPORT ON THE ARCTIC OZONE HOLE [LINK] 

CAMS tracks a record-breaking Arctic ozone hole: DATE: 6th April 2020:  Ozone columns over large parts of the Arctic have reached record-breaking low values this year, and the ozone layer over the Arctic is severely depleted at altitudes of around 18 km. The last time similarly strong chemical ozone depletion was observed over the Arctic was during spring 2011, and ozone depletion in 2020 seems on course to be even stronger. The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS*) has been closely following the rather unusual ozone hole that has formed over the Arctic this spring. Total column ozone in Dobson Units from CAMS on 29 March 2020 showing values below 250 DU over large parts of the Arctic. While we are used to ozone holes developing over the Antarctic every year during the Austral spring, the conditions needed for such strong ozone depletion are not normally found in the Northern Hemisphere.

The Antarctic ozone hole is mainly caused by human-made chemicals including chlorine and bromine that migrate into the stratosphere – a layer of the atmosphere around 10–50 kilometres above sea level. These chemicals accumulate inside the strong polar vortex that develops over the Antarctic every winter where they remain chemically inactive in the darkness. Temperatures in the vortex can fall to below -78 degrees Celsius and polar stratospheric clouds (PSCs) can form, which play an important part in chemical reactions involving the human-made chemicals that lead to ozone depletion once sunlight returns to the area. This depletion has been causing an ozone hole to form annually over the last 35 years, but the 2019 Antarctic ozone hole was actually one of the smallest we have seen during that time.

The Arctic stratosphere is usually less isolated than its Antarctic counterpart because the presence of nearby land masses and mountain ranges disturbs the weather patterns more than in the Southern Hemisphere. This explains why the polar vortex in the Northern Hemisphere is usually weaker and more perturbed than in the Southern Hemisphere, and temperatures do not fall so low. However, in 2020 the Arctic polar vortex has been exceptionally strong and long lived. Furthermore, temperatures in the Arctic stratosphere were low enough for several months at the start of 2020 to allow the formation of PSCs, resulting in large ozone losses over the Arctic. 

TEMPERATURE-GRAPH

Minimum temperatures north of 60⁰N in the stratosphere at an altitude where the pressure measures 50 hPa 1980-2020 are shown. Data are from CAMS (2003–2020) and C3S (1980–2002). The two years shown for each decade are those with the highest column minimum and lowest column minimum, illustrating that minimum stratospheric temperatures at 50 hPa during winter and spring 2020 (black line) were below the temperature threshold for PSC formation (-78 degrees Celsius) for several months. Ozone depletion over the Arctic in 2020 has been so severe that most of the ozone in the layer between 80 and 50 hPa (an altitude of around 18 km) has been depleted. Shown below is the ozone profile chart in two panels – the left panel and the right panel.

ozone-profile

The left panel is a comparison of ozone profiles (in millipascals) from CAMS (red) and ground based ozonesonde instruments (black) on 26 March 2020. The right panel shows mean ozone profiles from the two sources averaged over the years 2003–2019. The shaded area denotes +/- 1 standard deviation. Our forecasts suggest that temperatures have now started to increase and observations from the Microwave Limb Sounder instrument on NASA’s Aura satellite show that the stock of active chlorine is exhausted so that ozone depletion will slow down and eventually stop. Once the polar vortex breaks down, ozone-depleted air will mix with ozone-rich air from lower latitudes.

ABOUT CAMS:  CAMS monitors the ozone layer by combining information from its detailed numerical models of the atmosphere with satellite and ground-based (in situ) observations through a process called data assimilation. Currently, CAMS uses ozone satellite observations from the SBUV-2, OMI, MLS, GOME-2 and Sentinel-5P/TROPOMI instruments. CAMS is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Commission.

nimbus7

 

 

 

PART-2: CRITICAL EVALUATION OF THESE CLAIMS

(1) STRATOSPHERIC OZONE CHEMISTRY:  The ultraviolet spectrum in incident solar radiation comes in three frequency bands. The high energy band (200-240 nanometers in wavelength) and the medium energy band (240-300 nanometers in wavelength) are harmful to living matter and are absorbed in the ozone layer while the low energy band (300-480 nanometers in wavelength) reaches the earth’s surface and causes tanning.Ozone plays a role in the absorption of harmful UV radiation. It is both created and destroyed in the absorption process. The high-energy band UV is absorbed by oxygen molecules. The energy absorbed causes the oxygen molecule to break apart into extremely reactive oxygen atoms. A subsequent chance collision of these particles with other oxygen molecules causes the formation of ozone. The ozone thus formed then absorbs the medium-energy UV band and disintegrates back into oxygen.The UV absorption process is a cyclical one that begins and ends with oxygen. Ozone is a transient intermediate product of this process. The reason that there is any ozone accumulation at all in the stratosphere is that, of the three reactions, the second is the slowest. Sunset finds the stratosphere with an excess of single oxygen atoms still looking for a date with an oxygen molecule. Overnight, with no radiation to destroy their product, these particles build up an inventory of ozone whose destruction will begin anew at sunrise.There is therefore, a diurnal cycle in the ozone content of the stratosphere whose amplitude, incidentally, is of the same order of magnitude as reported ozone depletion that caused Montreal Protocol to be invoked. A longer but irregular cyclical pattern in stratospheric ozone coincides with the sunspot cycle. The period is approximately eleven years. It has been as long as 17 and as short as 8 years. High-energy band UV increases by 6 to 10% during periods of high sunspot activity but the medium-energy UV emission is largely unaffected. Therefore, high sunspot activity favors ozone accumulation and low sunspot activity is coincident with ozone depletion. A somewhat similar pattern exists in the case of polar ozone holes. The UV induced reactions described above occur only over the tropics where sunlight is direct. Stratospheric zone is formed ONLY over the equator and not over the poles. Stratospheric ozone is found in a layer of the stratosphere described as the ozone layer as shown in the chart below provided by NOAA [LINK] where we find that stratospheric ozone is found mostly between altitudes of 20km to 25km. Ozone concentration in the ozone layer falls gradually above 25km and sharply below 20km. All references to ozone in this context is a reference to stratospheric ozone and not to pollution and air quality issues haveing to do with lower tropospheric ozone.

(2) OZONE DISTRIBUTION: Equatorial ozone is distributed to the poles by the Brewer-Dobson Circulation (BDC), a stratospheric air circulation pattern. The shape and position of the BDC changes seasonally and also shifts over a longer time cycle. Therefore, the efficiency of the BDC in transporting ozone to the greater latitudes changes seasonally and also over longer time cycles. {Brewer, A. W. “Evidence for a world circulation provided by the measurements of helium and water vapor distribution in the stratosphere.” Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society 75.326 (1949): 351-363}. When the distribution of ozone is not efficient, localized “ozone depletion” appears to occur in the extreme latitudes in the form of what has come to be called an ozone hole. These holes come and go in natural cyclical changes and are not the creation of chemical ozone depletion. Climate scientists say that the warming trend has weakened the Brewer Dobson circulation . This connection between climate and ozone appears to indicate that global warming can create more frequent and larger ozone holes. Butchart, N., et al. “Simulations of anthropogenic change in the strength of the Brewer–Dobson circulation.” Climate Dynamics 27.7-8 (2006): 727-741. However, the effect of global warming or of changing atmospheric composition on the Brewer Dobson Circulation remains controversial. Garcia, Rolando R., and William J. Randel. “Acceleration of the Brewer–Dobson circulation due to increases in greenhouse gases.” Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences 65.8 (2008): 2731-2739. RELATED POST ON THE BDC[LINK] .

(3) THE ROWLAND MOLINA THEORY OF OZONE DEPLETION: The case against CFCs is that they are long lived such that once they get into the atmosphere they can hang around there for a centuries such that diffusion can eventually get them to the stratosphere. Once there, they absorb high-energy band UV and form unstable and reactive chlorine atoms. The chlorine atom particles then participate as catalytic agents to convert ozone back to oxygen. In other words they mediate the reaction between atomic oxygen particles and ozone. It is alleged that the destruction of ozone by this mechanism exposes the surface of the earth to dangerous levels of medium-band UV because there is not enough ozone in the stratosphere to absorb them. Although these reactions can be carried out in the chemistry lab, there are certain rate constraints that complicate the simplistic assumptions in the Rowland -Molina theory of anthropogenic ozone depletion.

(4) RATE CONSTRAINTS IN STRATOSPHERIC OZONE CHEMISTRY: The air up in the stratosphere is rather sparse, containing less than one percent of the molecular density of air at sea level. It is not easy for a molecular particle in random thermal motion to find another particle to react with. Photo-chemical reactions occur instantaneously while those that require a collision of two particles take much longer. This difference in the reaction rate is the reason that ozone accumulates overnight and why there is an inventory of ozone in the ozone layer. The atomic oxygen particles that react with oxygen molecules to form ozone could in theory react with an ozone molecule instead and cause its destruction or it could react with another atomic oxygen particle and form oxygen instead of ever forming any ozone. Some of the oxygen atoms do behave in this manner but these reactions proceed too slowly to be important to the chemistry of the stratosphere. The reason is that the stratospheric chemicals in question exist in minute quantities. One in a million particles is an ozone molecule or an atomic oxygen particle and one in a billion is CFC or chlorine generated from CFC. The accidental collision between chlorine atoms and ozone molecules or between chlorine atoms and oxygen atoms are rarer than those between two oxygen atoms or that between an oxygen atom and an ozone molecule. Therefore the latter collisions are more important to ozone depletion than those mediated by chlorine. Considering that more than 200,000 out of a million molecular particles in the stratosphere are oxygen molecules it is far more likely that charged oxygen atoms will collide with oxygen molecules rather than with each other or with ozone. Therefore ozone rather than oxygen is formed. Ozone formation is a rate phenomenon. Since chlorine atoms are a thousand times rarer in the stratosphere than atomic oxygen particles, it is not likely that chlorine’s mediation in short circuiting ozone generation will occur sufficiently fast to be important. Nature already contains an ozone destruction mechanism that is more efficient than the CFC mechanism but ozone forms anyway. However, the argument can be made that overnight after sunset, as charged oxygen atoms are used up the charged chlorine atoms take on a greater role in ozone destruction and also when these chemicals are distributed to the greater latitudes where sunlight is less direct and too weak to be ionizers of oxygen, the only ozone destruction chemistry left is that of charged chlorine atoms colliding with ozone. This overnight chemistry is the basis of the Rowland-Molina theory of anthropogenic ozone depletion.

(5) LATITUDINALLY WEIGHTED MEAN GLOBAL TOTAL COLUMN OZONE: The relative importance of these overnight and greater latitude reactions in making changes to latitudinally weighted mean global ozone can be checked by examining its overall long term trends as well as its trend profiles. These data are summarized in a related post [LINK] . The data do not show the ozone depletion inferred from the South Pole ozone hole found by Farman etal 1985 and described in the Montreal Protocol. The reason for that is that the Farman etal 1985 paper, the sole empirical evidence that served as the basis for the Montreal Protocol, is flawed. The problems with Farman etal 1985 are described in a related post [LINK] and summarized below.

(6) SCIENCE GONE WRONG: FARMAN ETAL 1985 & THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL: The overall structure of changes in total column ozone in time and across latitudes shows that the data from the two stations in Antarctica prior to 1995 are unique and specific to that time and place. They cannot be generalized into a global pattern of ozone depletion. The findings imply that declining levels of total column ozone in Antarctica during the months of October and November prior to 1995 do not serve as empirical evidence that can be taken as validation of the Rowland-Molina theory of chemical ozone depletion. The chemical theory implies that ozone depletion must be assessed across a greater range of latitudes and over a much longer period of time than what is found in Farman etal 1985 which serves as the only empirical basis for the ozone depletion hypothesis that led to the Montreal Protocol and the ascendance of the UN as a global environmental authority.

(7) IMPLICATIONS FOR THE INTERPRETATION OF COPERNICUS OZONE DATA FOR THE NORTH POLAR REGION AS OZONE DEPLETION: Copernicus data for total column ozone in the North Polar region show that stratospheric ozone levels measured as total column ozone at an elevation of 18km had fallen to an unusually low value of 250 Dobson Units (DU) in March 2020. They concluded that the observed low value of ozone at that altitude was an ozone hole created by chemical ozone depletion as described in the Montreal Protocol in terms of the Rowland-Molina chemical theory of ozone depletion. As for where these destructive chemicals came from, they decided that it had to have been brought there from the lower latitudes by the polar vortex air circulation due to changes to the circulation system caused by anthropogenic global warming. The implication is that the observed ozone hole over the Arctic was therefore human caused.

An ozone level of 250 DU is indeed an unusually low level for stratospheric total column ozone in the North Polar region in March as seen in the table below where 5-year moving averages for total column ozone above Barrow, Alaska at 71-North latitude, show values above 400DU for the 45-year period 1971 to 2015. However, it should be noted that the station data from Barrow are inclusive of the higher values of ozone concentration at the greater altitudes, higher than 18km, seen in the chart below the Barrow data table. The chart indicates that ozone levels below 18km are on the low end of the vertical distribution. It should also be considered that the traditional definition of an ozone hole in terms of the Montreal Protocol and since Farman 2tal 1985 refers to ozone levels less than 220 Dobson Units, meaning that 250 DU is, technically, not really an ozone hole.

00ozone51bandicam 2020-04-15 10-01-38-151

(8) THE MEASUREMENT OF ROWLAND-MOLINA CHEMICAL OZONE DEPLETION AS  DESCRIBED IN THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL:  RELATED POST: [LINK] . The more serious issue in the Copernicus ozone study is that the theory of chemical ozone depletion in the Montreal Protocol refers to long term trends in latitudinally weighted mean global total column ozone over long time spans. In that context, a depletion detected in a single latitudinal zone has no interpretation particularly so when that latitudinal zone is an extreme polar latitude with very little weight in the latitudinal weighting. Also, the depletion should be found over a long time span for all calendar months. In that context, ozone holes are not evidence of ozone depletion in accordance with the chemical theory of ozone depletion described in the Montreal Protocol. Localized and brief changes in total column ozone should be understood in terms of the ozone distribution anomalies of the Brewer-Dobson circulation. The assessment of chemical ozone depletion in terms of ozone holes by Farman etal in 1985 suffers from the same methodological issue as described in a related post [LINK] .

 

SUMMARY

OZONE HOLES ARE LOCALIZED EVANESCENT DECLINES IN POLAR OZONE LEVELS. THESE EVENTS HAVE NO INTERPRETATION IN TERMS OF THE CHEMICAL THEORY OF OZONE DEPLETION  DESCRIBED BY ROWLAND AND MOLINA THAT FORMS THE BASIS OF THE MONTREAL PROTOCOL. NEITHER THE COPERNICUS ARCTIC POLAR OZONE HOLE OF 2020 NOR THE FARMAN ETAL ANTARCTIC POLAR OZONE HOLE OF 1985 SERVE AS EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FOR THE CHEMICAL THEORY OF ANTHROPOGENIC OZONE DEPLETION.  THE FARMAN ETAL 1985 PAPER IS DISCUSSED IN A RELATED POST [LINK]

 

 

REFERENCES

  1. BAS. (2016). Ozone data. Retrieved 2016, from AS: https://legacy.bas.ac.uk/met/jds/ozone/index.html
  2. Butchart, N. (2014). The Brewer-Dobson circulation. Reviews of Geophysics , 52:2.
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  4. Dunkerton, T. (1978). On the mean meridional mass motions of the stratosphere and mesosphere. Journal of Atmospheric Science , 35: 2325-2333.
  5. Farman, J. (1985). Large losses of total ozone in Antarctica reveal seasonal ClOx/NOx interaction. Nature, 315.207-210.
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  8. Kozubek, M. (2012). Change of Brewer -Dobson circulation and its impact on total ozone in the middle and high latitude stratosphere. Retrieved 2015, from Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/258620941_Change_of_Brewer_Dobson_circulation_and_its_impact_on_total_ozone_in_the_middle_and_high_latitude_stratosphere
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    ftp://aftp.cmdl.noaa.gov/data/ozwv/Dobson/
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    L., S. Solomon, W. Randel, J.-F. Lamarque, P. Hess, J. Gille, E.-W. Chiou, and M. P. McCormick, 1997:Hemispheric asymmetries and seasonal variations ofJournal of Geophysical Research , 102, 28 7–28 184.
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[LINK TO THE HOME PAGE OF THIS SITE]

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THIS POST IS A STUDY OF THE ATTRIBUTION OF OBSERVED LUNAR WARMING TO HUMAN ACTIVITY AND OF ITS IMPLICATIONS FOR FEAR OF HUMAN ACTIVITY AND THE INTERPRETATION OF THE THE THEORY OF ANTHROPOGENIC GLOBAL WARMING IN THOSE TERMS. WITH THANKS TO ZOE PHIN AT  PHZOE.COM [LINK] 

LW-1

 

PART-1: WHAT THE SOURCE DOCUMENT SAYS 

The various articles in the popular press and on the internet on the subject of anthropogenic lunar warming cite the same research paper but with somewhat different interpretations. The source document is the research paper by Nagihara etal published in 2018. The citation, abstract, and link to the full text of the paper appear below. It says that the when inserting the temperature sensors into the moon, the astronauts had caused darker underlying regolith up to the surface. (The word regolith implies mostly loose rocks and pebbles and not the kind of soil we have on earth.) The darker material that was brought to the surface then absorbed more solar energy and made that spot warmer meaning that this was a localized warming and not a warming of the whole of the moon. A possible flaw in this conclusion is that the dark matter would be lightened by sunshine and the intense heat of insolation when the sun shines. The other complication in tracking and identifying localized moon warming is that the the localized spot in question goes through an intense 56-day temperature cycle from +100C when the sun shines to -173C when it is dark. The bigger confusion in this issue is the way the findings were reported in the popular press with some interpreting the localized warming as a warming of the whole of the lunar surface. A third complication, pointed out by Zoe Phin, is that the role of significant heat sources in the moon’s core and mantle have not been considered in the interpretation of long term changes in surface and subsurface temperature.

Nagihara, S., et al. “Examination of the Long‐Term Subsurface Warming Observed at the Apollo 15 and 17 Sites Utilizing the Newly Restored Heat Flow Experiment Data From 1975 to 1977.” Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets 123.5 (2018): 1125-1139ABSTRACT:  The Apollo heat flow experiment (HFE) was conducted at landing sites 15 and 17. On Apollo 15, surface and subsurface temperatures were monitored from July 1971 to January 1977. On Apollo 17, monitoring took place from December 1972 to September 1977. The investigators involved in the HFE examined and archived only data from the time of deployment to December 1974. The present authors recovered and restored major portions of the previously unarchived HFE data from January 1975 through September 1977. The HFE investigators noted that temperature of the regolith well below the reach of insolation cycles (~1 m) rose gradually through December 1974 at both sites. The restored data showed that the subsurface warming continued until the end of observations in 1977. Simultaneously, the thermal gradient decreased, because the warming was more pronounced at shallower depths. The present study has examined potential causes for the warming. Recently acquired images of the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera over the two landing sites show that the regolith on the paths of the astronauts turned darker, lowering the albedo. We suggest that, as a result of the astronauts’ activities, solar heat intake by the regolith increased slightly on average, and that resulted in the observed warming. Simple analytical heat conduction models with constant regolith thermal properties can show that an abrupt increase in surface temperature of 1.6 to 3.5 K at the time of probe deployment best duplicates the magnitude and the timing of the observed subsurface warmings at both Apollo sites. [FULL TEXT] .

 

PART-2: WHAT THE THE POPULAR PRESS SAYS

(1) THE SPACE.COM ARTICLE JUNE 14, 2018. AN EXAMPLE OF A FAIRLY ACCURATE REPORT OF THE NAGIHARA FINDINGS: “Astronauts caused the mysterious warming detected by the Apollo moon missions in the 1970s, a new study suggests. When astronauts walked or drove their moon rover near buried heat-flow probes, the activity disturbed and displaced surface soil, exposing the darker dirt below. This newly unearthed material absorbed more sunlight, causing the soil to heat up, according to the study. The new results not only help solve a decades-old mystery but also provide a lesson for the architects of future missions to Earth’s nearest neighbors, study team members said. In the process of installing the instruments, you may actually end up disturbing the surface thermal environment of the place where you want to make some measurements. That kind of consideration certainly goes into the designing of the next generation of instruments that will be someday deployed on the moon. Astronauts deployed the heat-flow probes during the Apollo 15 and Apollo 17 missions, in 1971 and 1972. The goal was to determine how much heat moves from the lunar interior to the surface, which in turn would yield insights about the moon’s structure and composition. The probes operated through 1977, beaming data home to NASA. Apollo 17 was the last crewed lunar mission; nobody has set foot on the moon since then. JSC preserved these data on magnetic tapes, some of which which were later archived. The rest have apparently been lost. The measurements made through 1974 showed a slight uptick in temperatures in the lunar near-surface over the previous few years. This trend puzzled researchers at the time. In their research, Nagihara etal unearthed hundreds of weekly logs that recorded heat-probe observations that extended the data record several additional years and showed subsurface warming at the heat-probe sites with the temperature rise greater closer to the surface suggesting that the warming started at the surface and worked its way down. The warming was a localized phenomenon. Astronaut activity had darkened the soil in these areas, which absorbed more solar energy and warmed the soil. The surface temperature rise  was 1.6C to 3.5C . Source(Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, April 25 2018).

(2)  THE LIVESCIENCE ARTICLE, JUNE 13, 2018: AN EXAMPLE OF AN ALARMISM REPORT IN WHICH THE LOCALIZED SURFACE WARMING REPORTED BY NAGIHARA, IS REPORTED AS A WARMING OF THE ENTIRE LUNAR SURFACELost’ NASA Tapes Show Humans Sort of Caused Global Warming on the Moon Too. June 13, 2018Apollo astronauts may be responsible for the moon’s mysterious temperature spike in the ’70s, a new study suggests. There is a decades-old mystery at NASA: Why did the moon’s temperature suddenly rise 2C right after the first astronauts planted their flags there? When scientists first encountered this puzzle in the early 1970s, they knew that lunar regolith could give astronauts a fever; was it possible that astronauts were giving the moon a fever right back? Seiichi Nagihara, a planetary scientist at Texas Tech University, suspected that the key to explaining this mysterious lunar heat wave lurked in temperature readings recorded by Apollo astronauts between 1971 and 1977. The only problem was that hundreds of the reels of magnetic tape holding those records went missing nearly 40 years ago, thanks to an archival blunder. Now, after a grueling eight-year search, Nagihara and his colleagues have tracked down and restored more than 400 reels of those lost NASA tapes. In a new study published April 25 in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, the researchers used these tapes to propose a logical hypothesis to explain the temperature increase: The astronauts, later nicknamed the “dusty dozen,” may have been way too dusty for their own good. You can actually see the astronauts’ tracks, where they walked and we can see where they scuffed dirt up  and what it leaves behind is a darker path. The 12 Apollo astronauts who walked on the moon between 1969 and 1972 kicked aside so much dust that they revealed huge regions of darker, more heat-absorbing soil that may not have seen the light of day in billions of years. Over just six years, this newly exposed soil absorbed enough solar radiation to raise the temperature of the entire moon’s surface by 2C. In other words, the astronauts walking on the moon changed the structure of the regolith. The dark patches of soil uncovered by the Apollo astronauts are clearly visible in overhead photographs. Astronauts first planted temperature probes on the moon’s surface during the Apollo 15 and 17 missions, in 1971 and 1972. While these probes transmitted data back to the NASA ,only the first three years of recordings were ever archived. For their new study, Nagihara etal found 440 of  the missing tapes.  The logs included temperature readings taken from the Apollo probes between 1973 and 1977, meaning the researchers could fill in some of the gaps left by the other missing tapes. Climate change on the moon. The researchers discovered that probes planted near the moon’s surface recorded a greater and faster temperature jump than the probes planted deeper down found. This indicated that the temperature spike was beginning at the surface and not within the moon itself. Photos showed that areas near the Apollo landing sites were crisscrossed with dark streaks where the astronauts had walked or driven about the moon’s surface, apparently kicking a lot of ancient dust aside. In fact, the mere act of installing the temperature probes may have thrown off those probes’ measurements by altering the surface environment around the instruments — and significantly increasing the surface’s temperature.

 

 

PART 3: CRITICAL COMMENTARY

(1)  The researchers found that point locations where temperature probes were inserted had warmed and attributed the warming to the insertion of the probes arguing that the insertion must have brought up darker regolith from under and the darker material absorbed more sunshine. Without additional information or computations this evidence in itself does not prove causation. We know that these temperature probe locations had warmed but we don’t know the temperature of non-probe locations in the vicinity of the the probe locations to show that these temperatures are higher than they would have been without the probe. Also, no computation of the differential solar energy absorption by the two different regolith colors is available for a heat balance to determine whether the temperature differential is consistent with the heat balance. Therefore, the attribution of the warming to human activity in the form of inserting temperature probes is one of convenience and a creation of confirmation bias. 

(2)  Even if we accept that the temperature probe insertion had caused the warming, the generic extension of this cause and effect relationship to the impact of human activity is not possible. Human activity on the moon involved much more than inserting a few temperature probes. It involved for example, the landing of a space craft and exploration on foot by the astronauts. The interpretation of the insertion of temperature probes in a generic way as “human activity” appears to be derived from a yearning in research of our times to blame humans or to predict harmful effects of human activity.

(3)  And even if we accept the finding that temperature probe insertion causes the insertion point to warm, the further extension of that finding by the popular press into a warming of the entire surface of the moon should have been corrected by the authors. They did not do that and in fact one of the authors of the research paper was closely involved with the authors of the LiveScience paper but failed to correct their interpretation, apparently in cahoots with LiveScience in their rendering of the inconsequential findings in terms anthropogenic lunar warming.