The need to develop Thorium based Nuclear Energy as the major electric energy supply. 1. A million years supply at today’s consumption levels.

We live in challenging times with enormous environmental challenges. It takes a lot of energy to clean up the mess we have generated over the ages. It would be a shame to use up our remaining coal, oil and gas to produce the electricity needed to clean up. Oil coal and gas will eventually be depleted and we need to save some for our great grandchildren so they can enjoy flying like we have become accustomed to. Like the famous conservationist Sarah Palin once said: “for when it’s gone, it’s gone.”

The need to develop a Thorium based molten salt fast breeder nuclear reactor to develop our energy needs for the future can not be overstated. Lest anyone should be threatened by the words fast breeder, it simply means it uses fast neutrons instead of thermal neutrons, and breeder means it produces more fissible material than it consumes, in the case of Thorium the ratio is about 1.05.

 There is enough Thorium around to last for a million years at today’s worldwide electricity generation levels. Uranium is in short supply. The consumption exceeds production, and the worldwide major importer of Uranium is the U.S. (The fact that we sold 20% of  our uranium ore to the Russians did not help)

There are of course the sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar, hydroelectric, biomass, geothermal, tidal and wave energy, and they should be pursued where economically and environmentally appropriate. These are a separate but important subjects.

The Philadelphia Soft drinks tax, a disaster, a Limerick.

The City of Philadelphia has levied an 1.5 cents per ounce of soft drinks.

So, if you buy one gallon of sweetened ice tea for 1.72 (on special) you end up paying 1.92 in tax, for a total of of 3.64, a 112 percent tax.

philly-beverage-taxpng-63dc7e14e957b452

The soda tax levied in Philly

all soft drinks are taxed willy nilly.

Aspartame is taxed too

sugar drinks, shame on you.

The tax that lacks facts, Philly silly.

Nearly one third of Philadelphians  receive food stamps (SNAP).

According to a new study released by the Food and Nutrition Service, the federal agency responsible for running the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), soft drinks are the #1 expenditure for people on food stamps (# 2 for the general population).

Great job, Philadelphia! Tax the people on food stamps! It would have been better to make soft drinks not eligible for food stamps!  (They would have to settle for 70% or more non carbonated fruit juices!)

commodities_ranking-sc-1

So, what was the result of the beverage tax!

Wonders never cease. People stopped buying their soda in the city (and almost undoubtedly a lot of other shopping list items) and decided to shop where prices were lower. The study they reference also goes on to note that there was no corresponding increase in sales of bottled water or healthier beverage options. And as for the revenue question? They don’t even delve into that, but you can do the math easily enough. The tax on soda increased by 17%, but the sales fell by 51%. The only people left paying the soda tax were those without transportation alternatives, such as people on SNAP. The rest took the more economic option, shop elsewhere.

The results were devastating. Many ShopRite stores closed within Philadelphia boundaries, and many mom and pop stores finally gave up, leaving the most needy with even fewer shopping alternatives.

The Democrats solution to this problem would normally be to launch an all out effort to tax all soft drinks nationwide equally, but instead Philadelphia may throw in the towel and give up with the damage to the city’s economy already done.

My response to the Green New Deal.

The Green New Deal has been proposed.

Co-sponsors Rep. Alexandra Ocasio Cortez (NY) and Sen. Ed Markley (Mass)

Presidential candidates supporting the bill: Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen Corey Booker, Sen Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen Elizabeth Warren and many more to come.

My comments are in italics. This warrants a thorough evaluation

116TH CONGRESS 1ST SESSION H. RES. ll

Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal.

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES Ms. OCASIO-CORTEZ submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on

RESOLUTION

Recognizing the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal. Whereas the October 2018 report entitled ‘‘Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC’’ by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the November 2018 Fourth National Climate Assessment report found that—

(1) human activity is the dominant cause of observed climate change over the past century;

The IPCC document is more of a political than a scientific document. It presumes that the dominant factor in climate change is the rise in CO2, while the most important greenhouse gas is water vapor and the many forms it takes. It assumes that with rising CO2 the temperature will rise which will evaporate more water and these greenhouse gases would add up to a larger temperature rise than with CO2 rising alone. That would be true unless something else changes. The assumption that they are additive is only true if they are of the same magnitude which is the case in the polar regions in the winter and in the upper atmosphere near the thermopause. In fact there is a strong temperature stabilizer in the ecosystem. It is called clouds. A one percent difference in the average cloud cover has more influence on temperature than the CO2 rise since the beginning of industrialization. At the equator the average temperature stays constant regardless of the CO2 concentration. Where is the proof? It is in the absence of the so called hot-spot in the troposphere:

 

 

 

 

 

How well do the models do?

That is why the IPCC assessment is a political, not a scientific document. No true scientist would accept a model if contradicted by physical evidence.

(2) a changing climate is causing sea levels to rise and an increase in wildfires, severe storms, droughts, and other extreme weather events that threaten human life, healthy communities, and critical infrastructure;

The sea level rise has hit a temporary plateau and is not rising at a faster pace than before CO2 started to rise,

https://lenbilen.files.wordpress.com/2017/08/sea-level-nasa-1993-present.jpg

as to wildfires, see (3) (C). Droughts are not increasing

Image result for worldwide droughts

tornadoes are decreasing,

Image result for u.s tornadoes

so are hurricanes.

Image result for hurricane statistics

 

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(3) global warming at or above 2 degrees Celsius beyond pre-industrialized levels will cause—

(A) mass migration from the regions most affected by climate change;

This is a problem in the 10-40 latitude where most people live. Some countries like Mexico and Iran are using up their ground water at an alarming rate, and it will only get worse. But climate change is not the cause of it. Overuse of water is.

(B) more than $500,000,000,000 in lost annual economic output in the United States by the year 2100;

That will only happen if we implement the plan and become a socialist country like Venezuela. 500 billion dollars in an economy of what is now around 20 trillion dollars a year is a lot of money.

(C) wildfires that, by 2050, will annually burn at least twice as much forest area in the western United States than was typically burned by wildfires in the years preceding 2019;

Image result for wildfire statistics

Smokey the bear policies worked well in the 1950’s through 1990 but recent environmental policies hindering cleaning of underbrush are slowly reversing earlier trends.

(D) a loss of more than 99 percent of all coral reefs on Earth;

Temperature is only a minor cause of the coral reef stresses. Overfishing, destructive fishing, water pollution from raw sewage and other dumping is a larger problem.

(E) more than 350,000,000 more people to be exposed globally to deadly heat stress by 2050; and

The tropics has found its temperature and nearly all temperature rise is confined to the polar regions, partly due to increased snowfall. When it snows it is not as cold as when the sky is clear in the (Ant)arctics. But it is still below freezing, so the snow accumulates.

(F) a risk of damage to $1,000,000,000,000 of public infrastructure and coastal real estate in the United States; and

Related image

While nominal losses are up, as a percentage of GDP they are going down.

(4) global temperatures must be kept below 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrialized levels to avoid the most severe impacts of a changing climate, which will require—

(A) global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030; and

China is already producing 50% more CO2 than the U.S and is on track to further triple its output by 2030. This was the agreement President Obama hailed as a breakthrough

(B) net-zero emissions by 2050; Whereas, because the United States has historically been responsible for a disproportionate amount of greenhouse gas emissions, having emitted 20 percent of global green-house gas emissions through 2014, and has a high technological capacity, the United States must take a leading role in reducing emissions through economic transformation;

While not accepting the Tokyo protocol, U.S. was the only country in recent years to adhere to its goal of reducing CO2 emissions.

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Whereas the United States is currently experiencing several related crises, with— (1) life expectancy declining while basic needs, such as clean air, clean water, healthy food, and adequate health care, housing, transportation, and education, are inaccessible to a significant portion of the United States population;

Don’t forget the opioid crisis, the new killing fields.

(2) a 4-decade trend of economic stagnation, de-industrialization, and antilabor policies that has led to—

(A) hourly wages overall stagnating since the 1970s despite increased worker productivity;

True, but the last two years real salaries have stared rising again

(B) the third-worst level of socioeconomic mobility in the developed world before the Great Recession;

Since? Yes it decreased under Clinton, stayed level under Bush and declined drastically under Obama, but is now rising again, especially for women, for Blacks and for Hispanics.

(C) the erosion of the earning and bargaining power of workers in the United States; and

True, Union power is decreasing except for public service unions.

(D) inadequate resources for public sector workers to confront the challenges of climate change at local, State, and Federal levels; and

(3) the greatest income inequality since the 1920s, with—

(A) the top 1 percent of earners accruing 91 percent of gains in the first few years of economic recovery after the Great Recession;

Which recession are we referring to? 1929? 2009?

(B) a large racial wealth divide amounting to a difference of 20 times more wealth between the average White family and the average Black family; and

You are using the wrong average. An example: The average wealth of an Amazon employee is $1800 more if one is to include Jeff Bezos than if not.

(C) a gender earnings gap that results in women earning approximately 80 percent as much as men, at the median;

This time the median is used, and it has to do more with career choices than not. It is worthy of attention though.

Whereas climate change, pollution, and environmental destruction have exacerbated systemic racial, regional,

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social, environmental, and economic injustices (referred to in this preamble as ‘‘systemic injustices’’) by disproportionately affecting indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-in-come workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this preamble as ‘‘frontline and vulnerable communities’’);

Yes, but the goal of Agenda 21 is to depopulate rural areas and to force people to migrate into cities

Whereas, climate change constitutes a direct threat to the national security of the United States—

(1) by impacting the economic, environmental, and social stability of countries and communities around the world; and

Maybe unstable and uncivilized governments have something to do with that

(2) by acting as a threat multiplier;

?

Whereas the Federal Government-led mobilizations during World War II and the New Deal created the greatest middle class that the United States has ever seen, but many members of frontline and vulnerable communities were excluded from many of the economic and societal benefits of those mobilizations; and

Whereas the House of Representatives recognizes that a new national, social, industrial, and economic mobilization on a scale not seen since World War II and the New Deal is a historic opportunity—

(1) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs in the United States;

? Give an example how.

(2) to provide unprecedented levels of prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States; and

? Give an example how.

(3) to counteract systemic injustices: Now, therefore, be it

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Resolved, That it is the sense of the House of Representatives that—

(1) it is the duty of the Federal Government to create a Green New Deal—

(A) to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition for all communities and workers;

What is net-zero? If you emit, you emit.

(B) to create millions of good, high-wage jobs and ensure prosperity and economic security for all people of the United States;

The Federal Government does not create jobs. They may enable or hinder job creation.

(C) to invest in the infrastructure and industry of the United States to sustainably meet the challenges of the 21st century;

This is a good goal.

(D) to secure for all people of the United States for generations to come—

(i) clean air and water;

No argument there. CO2 however is not a pollutant. It is the life-giving gas, without which no plant life would be possible.

(ii) climate and community resiliency;

Increasing CO2 helps climate resiliency by greening the earth.

https://lenbilen.files.wordpress.com/2016/11/increase.png?w=660

(iii) healthy food;

Increasing CO2 helps increasing food supply. This is good for both people and animals. As a side benefit photosynthesis is more efficient and uses less water as CO2 increases.

(iv) access to nature; and

I love nature. I would never put i earphones as I take a nature walk or run.

(v) a sustainable environment; and

We must work towards a sustainable environment. The best way is to let CO2 rise until we develop a better energy policy until a new nuclear power effort using Thorium or eventually Fusion power.

(E) to promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous communities, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural

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communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth (referred to in this resolution as ‘‘frontline and vulnerable communities’’);

(2) the goals described in subparagraphs (A) through (E) of paragraph (1) (referred to in this resolution as the ‘‘Green New Deal goals’’) should be accomplished through a 10-year national mobilization (referred to in this resolution as the ‘‘Green New Deal mobilization’’) that will require the following goals and projects—

(A) building resiliency against climate change-related disasters, such as extreme weather, including by leveraging funding and providing investments for community-defined projects and strategies;

See above

(B) repairing and upgrading the infrastructure in the United States, including—

(i) by eliminating pollution and greenhouse gas emissions as much as techno-logically feasible;

Pollution, yes; CO2 is not a pollutant.

(ii) by guaranteeing universal access to clean water;

This is the number one problem in many countries, as well as in the U.S. southwest. Lake Mead is slowly being drained.

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(iii) by reducing the risks posed by flooding and other climate impacts; and

Rain will be increasing, but interestingly enough major floods will decrease. Good news all around.

(iv) by ensuring that any infrastructure bill considered by Congress addresses climate change;

This will slow down development. When I came to America many years ago Congress finally got around to promoting George Washington to a 5 star General.

(C) meeting 100 percent of the power demand in the United States through clean, renewable, and zero-emission energy sources, including—

(i) by dramatically expanding and upgrading existing renewable power sources; and

It is a tall order to replace fossil fuels. 85% of the world’s energy consumption is still based on fossil fuels.

(ii) by deploying new capacity;

Thorium based nuclear power is the best alternative.

(D) building or upgrading to energy-efficient, distributed, and ‘‘smart’’ power grids, and working to ensure affordable access to electricity;

The problem with the grid is that energy produced is not where energy is consumed. Maxwell’s equations are what they are, so transmission losses are a fact of life. In addition solar and wind power are not continuous sources so they still need the same replacement generation capacity to do the job. In addition the present grid is vulnerable to terrorism.

(E) upgrading all existing buildings in the United States and building new buildings to achieve maximal energy efficiency, water efficiency, safety, affordability, comfort, and durability, including through electrification;

All existing buildings? Dream on.

(F) spurring massive growth in clean manufacturing in the United States and removing pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from

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manufacturing and industry as much as is technologically feasible, including by expanding renewable energy manufacturing and investing in existing manufacturing and industry;

(G) working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible, including—

(i) by supporting family farming;

cowbackpacks

This is a cow recycling methane gas. Methane gas can be used to heat stoves as is done in North Korea since the mid 1800’s. A futurist’s dream.

 

 

(ii) by investing in sustainable farming and land use practices that increase soil health; and

The Chesapeake bay Commission and the Susquehanna River Basin Commission are doing a valiant effort to restore the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. This is a regional effort, tailor made for the intricate ecology and special challenges facing the bay. Even the Amish have adopted environmentally safe farming practices.

(iii) by building a more sustainable food system that ensures universal access to healthy food;

Again this is best accomplished at a regional and local level by education and individual initiatives. The heavy handed Federal Government tend to think that national polices will solve the problem

(H) overhauling transportation systems in the United States to eliminate pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector as much as is technologically feasible, including through investment in—

(i) zero-emission vehicle infrastructure and manufacturing;

A promising development is hybrid trucks. They charge the batteries instead of using the jake breaks, and provide a much better acceleration out of a stop sign or a traffic light. Then in loading areas they use only the batteries.

(ii) clean, affordable, and accessible public transportation; and

Some cities are better suited for public transportation than others. State College, PA has an excellent public transportation system, but Houston and Los Angeles among others are a nightmare.

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(iii) high-speed rail;

It is expensive and nowhere near as efficient as people think.

(I) mitigating and managing the long-term adverse health, economic, and other effects of pollution and climate change, including by providing funding for community-defined projects and strategies;

What are community-defined projects and strategies?

(J) removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere and reducing pollution, including by restoring natural ecosystems through proven low-tech solutions that increase soil carbon storage, such as preservation and afforestation;

Increasing CO2 makes afforestation possible in otherwise too arid areas since more CO2 means less water to do the photosynthesis.

(K) restoring and protecting threatened, endangered, and fragile ecosystems through locally appropriate and science-based projects that enhance biodiversity and support climate resiliency;

This part I love, let’s go for it.

(L) cleaning up existing hazardous waste and abandoned sites to promote economic development and sustainability;

The one has very little to do with the other. Cleaning up hazardous sites is already law.

(M) identifying other emission and pollution sources and creating solutions to eliminate them; and

Yes I remember when Argon was proposed to be regulated. Federal Government at its best.

(N) promoting the international exchange of technology, expertise, products, funding, and services, with the aim of making the United

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States the international leader on climate action, and to help other countries achieve a Green New Deal;

China, Russia, Australia and even India are far ahead of us in Thorium Nuclear Power Development. Our Patent law is in the Constitution.

(3) a Green New Deal must be developed through transparent and inclusive consultation, collaboration, and partnership with frontline and vulnerable communities, labor unions, worker cooperatives, civil society groups, academia, and businesses; and

Why labor unions? What are frontline communities? Do they mean border states communities overrun by drug smugglers and sex traffickers?

(4) to achieve the Green New Deal goals and mobilization, a Green New Deal will require the following goals and projects—

(A) providing and leveraging, in a way that ensures that the public receives appropriate ownership stakes and returns on investment, adequate capital (including through community grants, public banks, and other public financing), technical expertise, supporting policies, and other forms of assistance to communities, organizations, Federal, State, and local government agencies, and businesses working on the Green New Deal mobilization;

Who is the public? Do they mean politicians and government bureaucrats?

(B) ensuring that the Federal Government takes into account the complete environmental

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and social costs and impacts of emissions through—

  • existing laws;
  • new policies and programs; and
  • ensuring that frontline and vulnerable communities shall not be adversely affected;

Emissions: Pollution, yes, CO2, the more the better up to 1000 ppm.

(C) providing resources, training, and high-quality education, including higher education, to all people of the United States, with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities, so those communities may be full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization;

Better still, do a partnership with business for a better and more complete trade school education without union interference.

(D) making public investments in the research and development of new clean and renewable energy technologies and industries;

A Manhattan project to leapfrog the world in Thorium based Nuclear power would be nice.

(E) directing investments to spur economic development, deepen and diversify industry in local and regional economies, and build wealth and community ownership, while prioritizing high-quality job creation and economic, social, and environmental benefits in frontline and vulnerable communities that may otherwise strug-

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gle with the transition away from greenhouse gas intensive industries;

A very inefficient way.

Private enterprise is better and faster.

(F) ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes that are inclusive of and led by frontline and vulnerable communities and workers to plan, implement, and administer the Green New Deal mobilization at the local level;

Sounds like an expensive boondoggle for the benefit of lobbyists and politicians.

(G) ensuring that the Green New Deal mobilization creates high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages, hires local workers, offers training and advancement opportunities, and guarantees wage and benefit parity for workers affected by the transition;

What does the unions have to do with that?

(H) guaranteeing a job with a family-sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States;

What does guaranteeing  a job in a changing world mean? Shall we still guarantee the job of a railroad brakeman or a flight engineer? In a changing world retraining is to prefer such as mandatory retraining for the unemployed.

(I) strengthening and protecting the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment;

Likewise let the employers organize to facilitate lockouts. (This is done in Sweden).

(J) strengthening and enforcing labor, workplace health and safety, antidiscrimination, and wage and hour standards across all employers, industries, and sectors;

Wage and hour standards is a recipe for stagnation.

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(K) enacting and enforcing trade rules, procurement standards, and border adjustments with strong labor and environmental protections—

What is a border adjustment?

(i) to stop the transfer of jobs and pollution overseas; and

Exactly how are you going to accomplish that?

(ii) to grow domestic manufacturing in the United States;

This is one of Trump’s main goals.

(L) ensuring that public lands, waters, and oceans are protected and that eminent domain is not abused;

Eminent domain is in the constitution and must not be abused.

(M) obtaining the free, prior, and informed consent of indigenous people for all decisions that affect indigenous people and their traditional territories, honoring all treaties and agreements with indigenous people, and protecting and enforcing the sovereignty and land rights of indigenous people;

Isn’t this already law?

(N) ensuring a commercial environment where every businessperson is free from unfair competition and domination by domestic or international monopolies; and

You mean no more trade with China?

(O) providing all people of the United States with—

(i) high-quality health care;

What do you mean with provide? Free? Does people include illegal aliens?

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(ii) affordable, safe, and adequate housing;

Good luck with that.

(iii}economic security; and

Nothing is as elusive as economic security. Just look at  Zimbabwe and now Nicaragua.

(iv) access to clean water, clean air, healthy and affordable food, and nature.

Free access?

The national day of prayer in Boalsburg. Power and prayer restored.

Today is national day of prayer. All over the country, and in places overseas people, in small groups, usually around a flagpole, but here in Boalsburg at the Military Museum, gather to pray.

Normally we are joined by our Congressman, Glenn Thompson, but he was otherwise occupied by trying to pass a new and better healthcare bill, so he sent his assurances some members of Congress met today early to pray, as they did daily when the nation was founded.

On Monday, at 6:35 P.M. a squall line came by our quaint little village. The down-burst did, as so often happens in historical villages with old trees, take down a few trees, which luckily did not do much harm to the buildings. The trees had been for the most part been well pruned, except a few maple trees that had just done this year’s growth and were at their most vulnerable, so a few secondary power lines went down. The major problem was four poles in a row along the major road snapped, even though no falling trees were involved. How can that happen? These were wooden poles, showing their age, badly overloaded with one high voltage line on top, one intermediate voltage in the middle, telephone and cable lines galore below, placed too far apart so the power lines resonated and swayed harder and harder until the lines snapped. We lost power for one day, most lost power for two days, and power is not yet restored to all customers.

This is when it hit me during the morning hour of prayer for the nation:

We are like the four power poles, overloaded, showing signs of age, getting brittle and lacking maintenance and stabilizing supports. When a down-burst comes, we too can snap if we are not anchored properly with multiple supports.

Our nation’s power grid is vulnerable not only from an EMP (ElectroMagnetic Pulse from either the sun or a nuclear blast) but also from hurricanes, tornadoes, down-bursts, terror attacks, overloading and lack of maintenance.

Likewise, spiritually we are like the overloaded power grid. We are vulnerable to attack from all sides, and without proper maintenance of daily prayer we too are in danger of losing power.

A Climate Realist’s (not so) short Answers to Hard Questions About Climate Change. Question 14 (of 16) How does agriculture affect climate change?

NOV. 28, 2015 gave his answers to 16 questions in the N.Y. Times regarding Climate Change. This Climate realist added his answer.

 Answers to Question 1: How much is the planet heating up?

Answers to Question 2. How much trouble are we in?

Answers to Question 3. Is there anything I can do?

Answers to Question 4. What’s the optimistic scenario?

Answers to Question 5. Will reducing meat in my diet help the climate?

Answers to Question 6. What’s the worst-case scenario?

Answers to Question 7. Will a tech breakthrough help us?

Answers to Question 8. How much will the seas rise?

Answers to Question 9. Are the predictions reliable?

Answers to Question 10. Why do people question climate change?

Answers to Question 11. Is crazy weather tied to climate change?

Answers to Question 12. Will anyone benefit from global warming?

Answers to Question 13. Is there any reason for hope?

 

Justin Gillis answer to Question 14. How does agriculture affect climate change?

It’s a big contributor, but there are signs of progress.

The environmental pressures from global agriculture are indeed enormous.

The demand for food is rising, in large part because of population growth and rising incomes that give millions of once-low income people the means to eat richer diets. Global demand for beef and for animal feed, for instance, has led farmers to cut down huge chunks of the Amazon rain forest.

Efforts are being made to tackle the problems. The biggest success has arguably been in Brazil, which adopted tough oversight and managed to cut deforestation in the Amazon by 80 percent in a decade. But the gains there are fragile, and severe problems continue in other parts of the world, such as aggressive forest clearing in Indonesia.

Scores of companies and organizations, including major manufacturers of consumer products, signed a declaration in New York in 2014 pledging to cut deforestation in half by 2020, and to cut it out completely by 2030. The companies that signed the pact are now struggling to figure out how to deliver on that promise.

Many forest experts at the Paris climate talks in late 2015 considered the pledge as ambitious, but possible. And they said it was crucial that consumers keep up the pressure on companies from whom they buy products, from soap to ice cream.

My answer to Question 14. How does agriculture affect climate change?

Whenever a forest is cut down and the earth gets tilled the local microclimate changes, and not for the better. The earth warms about 0.8 degrees C, the evapotranspiration is drastically reduced, the ground dries up having lost its protective shade. That is why it is an insane idea to cut down the rainforests of Borneo to produce biofuel.

Thanks to increasing CO2 levels agriculture is in much better shape than before.

CO2, the life-giving gas, not “Carbon Pollution”. A Limerick – and explanation.

What then is this “Carbon Pollution”?

A sinister, evil collusion?

CO2, it is clean,

Makes for growth, makes it green,

A transfer of wealth, a solution.

CO2 concentration has increased from about 280 ppm in pre-industrial times to 405 ppm today, and is increasing at a rate of 2 ppm per year. We are way past the point of no return, 350 ppm which would lead to a temperature catastrophe. (1) But instead, something rather interesting is occurring. The earth is getting greener! (2) This 40 % increase in CO2 the last 250 years has led to a more than 30 % increase in agricultural production all by itself without adding fertilizer or using higher yielding seeds. (3) Thanks to this we can now feed an additional two billion people on earth without starvation. The news are so good, that the per capita food production is increasing, even as the population is increasing. (4)

Look at it this way. The value of basic agricultural products is more than 1.5 trillion dollars worldwide. 30% of that is due to increased CO2. That means that the CO2 emitted is worth 450 billion dollars, spread out over all farmers and ranchers worldwide. This wealth transfer is occurring right now, and knows no national boundary. It is a gift from the developed countries to the rest of the world. Who could be against that?

It turns out that this wealth transfer occurs without global governance. The leaders of the world will not have their say in who gets the wealth transfer, the U.N. bureaucrats will not get their cut, and politicians cannot get a campaign issue since it  occurs without their involvement.

So to recapture the initiative they renamed this life-giving gas “Carbon pollution” and managed somehow to get the Supreme Court to agree with the notion that CO2 is a pollutant.

How can that be? They argued that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, which is true. It is second only to water vapor. It is responsible for about 9 degree Celsius rise in global temperature, and if CO2 increases, so does the greenhouse effect and the temperature increases. This in turn leads to more water vapor in the air, and water vapor is the strongest greenhouse gas, so there is a risk of reaching a “tipping point” when we could experience a thermal runaway of the planet. All of this is true, so U.N. and many governments around the world have sponsored studies to model  climate change, over a hundred models have been constructed, and they all come up with rather gloomy forecasts. The research is so intense that over 3 billion dollars of government monies are spent yearly on climate change research.

All models show a similar pattern, a fairly steep and more or less linear rise in temperature as CO2 increases. There is only one major thing wrong with them. They do not agree with what is happening to the global temperature. We have now had 224 months (Sep 2015) without any global warming, in fact, the trend is down. (5)

What is wrong with the models? They all assume a passive earth, where there is no negative feedback to the changing environment. It turns out, the earth has a “governor”, and it can be expressed in one word, albedo, which means “whiteness” or how much of the incoming sunlight that gets reflected back into space.

The major albedo changers are the amount of ice around the poles and clouds, but even land use changes such as forests cut down and replaced by agriculture and urbanization.

When there is snow or ice on the ground, more sunlight gets reflected and it gets colder still. Urban heat islands are warmer than the surroundings, airports are warmer than its surroundings. Interestingly, that is where we are placing our new weather stations. (This is great for pilots that have to evaluate take-off and landing conditions, but is less than ideal for climate research. But then again, climate research has moved from the realm of physical science to political science, where different rules do apply.)

The most important albedo changers of the earth are clouds. Without them no land based life would be possible since clouds serve both as rainmakers and temperature stabilizers. If there were no clouds the equilibrium temperature at the equator would be around 140 degrees F.

Over the oceans, in the so called “doldrums” where there are no trade winds, the mornings start with a warm-up, and when the conditions are right a shower or thunderstorm occurs. The ambient temperature is usually between 84 and 88 degrees when this happens. As CO2 concentrations increase thunderstorms occur a few minutes earlier and last a little bit longer, but they are no more severe and as a result the average temperature stays the same. (5)

In desert areas of the world this temperature regulator doesn’t work well, so deserts will receive the full force of temperature increase which is 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit per doubling of CO2 levels.

In the temperate region the temperature increase will be somewhere in between. Dry days will be warmer, cloudy and rainy days will have the same temperature as before, since the regulator starts to function.

The polar region is a special case. None of the models have done a good job at modeling the clouds at the poles, especially the South Pole. (6) They will warm up more than 2 degrees F, how much is a question. In the South average temperatures will rise from – 70 degrees F in the interior all the way to maybe – 63 degrees F, and come closer to freezing in the summer at the northern edges. There may be added snowfall that will expand the ice sheet. The Antarctic ice sheet has set new records since record keeping began, and is at the moment bottoming out at 30% more ice than the 30 year average. (7)

The North Pole region is even more complicated since it is partially land, partially ocean. The oceanic ice cap has been shrinking  at a fairly constant rate the last 30 years, but last year it broke the trend and grew back to break the trend line. The winter snow cap has remained at about the same level year to year with a slightly positive trend line, this year being no exception.  So, why is the snow cover growing slightly, but ice cover shrinking? The common explanation has been global warming, but the ice cover kept shrinking even as the temperature increase leveled off. There are two possible explanations: Warming oceans and changes in pollution. The North Atlantic Oscillation has been mostly positive (warmer) since 1970 and has only recently turned negative, so that is certainly part of the cause of the shrinking of the icecap, but another candidate is even more likely: Carbon Pollution. With that I do not mean CO2, but good old soot, spewing out from the smokestacks of  power plants in China. 45% of all coal burned is burned in China, often low grade lignite with no scrubbers. The air in Beijing is toxic to humans more days than not. Some of that soot finds its way to the arctic and settles on the ice, changing its albedo, and the sun has a chance to melt the ice more efficiently. This occurs mostly in the months of August and September when the Sun is at a low angle anyway, so the changing of the albedo has very little effect on temperature. The net result of all this is that the temperature in the North Pole region will rise about 3 degrees Fahrenheit for a doubling of the CO2. This will have a very minor effect on the Greenland ice cap since they are nearly always way below freezing anyway (-28 degree C average). The largest effect will happen in August and September in the years when all new snow has melted and the soot from years past is exposed. This happened two years ago with a sudden drop in albedo for the Greenland ice. It will also lead to an increase in the precipitation in the form of snow, so the net result is the glaciers may start growing again if the amount of soot can be reduced.

The conclusion is: The temperature regulator of the earth is working quite well, and the increase in temperature at the poles is welcome as it lessens the temperature gradient between the tropics and the polar regions, which in turn reduces the severity of storms, since they are mostly generated by temperature differences and the different density of warm, humid and dry, cold air. (8) The Polar Bears will do quite well, their numbers have more than doubled in the last 50 years.

(1). This is a message from 1010global.org. Their aim was to reduce carbon emissions by 10% in 2010.

https://lenbilen.com/2014/02/22/a-religious-message-from-1010global-org-and-a-limerick/

(2). The earth is getting greener!  https://lenbilen.com/2013/03/19/co2-the-solution-to-climate-change/

(3).

greenearthhigh_resolution1

(4).

chart11-2

(5). Reality versus climate models.CMIP5-73-models-vs-obs-20N-20S-MT-5-yr-means1(6) Projected cloud cover for various climate models versus reality.Cloudmodels

(7)

seaice.recent.antarctic46

(8).

uah-lower-troposphere-temperature

Thabout_face_bookere is a new book out:

About Face! Why the World Needs More Carbon Dioxide is easy reading from two scientists and an economist. About Face! is the product of two scientists and an economist. The scientists are Madhav Khandekar in Canada and Cliff Ollier in Australia, plus economist Arthur Middleton Hughes in the USA.

It will change your understanding of climate science and explain how we can save millions of lives and billions of dollars per year.

Available on Amazon here

Al Gore’s new movie bodes for a cold winter, a Limerick.

The Sundance Film Festival will be held January 19 – 29 in Park City, Utah with a new climate change movie from Al Gore yet to be named — and the timing could not be better, it coincides with the Presidential inauguration. Whenever there is a meeting on climate change, In Copenhagen, jn Cancoun, Washington, D.C or wherever, it seems to be unusually cold. This film festival has an environmental theme, so the Polar Vortex is here to last.

Bur fear not: Here is Al Gore in front of a radar image of a rare Southern Hemisphere hurricane:

gorehurricaneAl Gore was the champion of hype

Catastrophe fear was his gripe

“CO2, it is bad

we’ll all die, we’ve been had.”

The Grinch, not the Santa Claus type.

ol-winter-nrd-600Meanwhile, up near the North Pole it is unusually warm. Why? Because it is snowing much more than normal. Look at this week’s map and chart of Greenland. The snow accumulation is nearly twice normal since the start of the season.

smb_combine_sm_acc_en

The Polar Vortex is now firmly established over Siberia and North America. Burr, it’s cold outside.

gfs-025deg_nh-sat1_t2_anom