Using the Dead to Fight AGW

by John Goetz

In what seems to be a script straight from a Monty Python classic, the good folks of Santa Coloma de Gramenet in Spain seem to have found a rather novel use for the dead: as a tool in the fight against global warming.

From the TimesOnline
November 28, 2008
by Graham Keeley in Barcelona

Spanish graveyard new front in the fight against global warming

Solar panels are installed in cemetery

Solar panel in Santa Coloma

Solar panel in Santa Coloma

A graveyard in Spain has become an unlikely front in the fight against global warming, with hundreds of black panels placed on top of mausoleums providing year-round power for homes.

The 462 panels produce 124,374 kilowatts of electricity, enough to supply 60 homes for a year in Santa Coloma de Gramenet, near Barcelona. The exorbitant price of land in the densely populated satellite city inspired a solar energy company to propose using one of the last remaining available plots of land – the cemetery.

Conste-Live Energy and the local council spent three years persuading relatives of those interred and near-by residents that the unusual proposal would benefit the living without demeaning the dead. “The best tribute we can pay to our ancestors is to generate clean energy for new generations,” Esteve Serret, a company director, said.

The panels cost €720,000 (£612,500) to install and each year will keep about 62 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, Mr Serret said.

“This is not much, but it will do something to help combat global warming,” said Bartomeu Muñoz, the Mayor of Santa Coloma. The glinting blue-grey panels are fixed on top of mausoleums, which in Spain hold five layers of coffins.

The panels, which face south to soak up maximum sunshine, were turned on last week after three years of planning. Santa Coloma is so densely populated that all 124,000 inhabitants live within a 4sq km area. Putting solar panels on coffins was a tough sell, said Antoni Fogué, a city councillor. “Let’s say we heard things like, ‘They’re crazy. Who do they think they are? What a lack of respect’,” he said.

City hall and cemetery officials waged a public awareness campaign to explain the worthiness of the project and the painstaking care with which it would be carried out.

Eventually they won over doubters, Mr Fogué said. The panels were erected at a low angle to be as unobtrusive as possible. “There has not been any problem because people who go to the cemetery see nothing has changed,” Mr Fogué said. “This installation is compatible with respect for the deceased and for the families of the deceased.”

The cemetery holds the remains of 57,000 people. The solar panels cover less than 5 per cent of the total area. Community leaders hope to erect more panels and triple output. Santa Coloma has four solar parks, but the cemetery is the biggest and the first to attach panels to graves.

When I read this I suddenly recalled the infamous “Bring out yer dead” scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail:

The Dead Collector: Bring out yer dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Here’s one.
The Dead Collector: That’ll be ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I’m not dead.
The Dead Collector: What?
Large Man with Dead Body: Nothing. There’s your ninepence.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I’m not dead.
The Dead Collector: ‘Ere, he says he’s not dead.
Large Man with Dead Body: Yes he is.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I’m not.
The Dead Collector: He isn’t.
Large Man with Dead Body: Well, he will be soon, he’s very ill.
The Dead Body That Claims It Isn’t: I’m getting better.
Large Man with Dead Body: No you’re not, you’ll be stone dead in a moment.
The Dead Collector: Well, I can’t take him like that. It’s against regulations.

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85 thoughts on “Using the Dead to Fight AGW

  1. Good post, John.

    The panels cost €720,000 (£612,500) to install and each year will keep about 62 tonnes of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, Mr Serret said.

    That’s 62 tons less plant food for the planet, Mr. Serret. Thanks for that, goron.

  2. They have an interesting approach to cemeteries, actually mausoleums, in Spain. I was told that due to the limited real estate available, and the lack of family interest beyond a generation or so, that the crypts are rented for a specific length of time. I no longer recall exactly how long that is, 40 years, maybe, but then the remains are removed, and a new occupant moved in. I’ve also forgotten the disposition of the previous occupant, but I’m guessing cremation. There seems to be a lot of superstitious dread of the places by even educated people, leading to the lack of family interest. We, unfortunately, had to clear some power-line noise in a cemetery, and it took a while to get a full line crew who was willing to work in there.

  3. They should atleast be able to fit some solar panels on to the tops of apartments- won’t be enough for electricity but it should be enough for obtaining hot water from solar. I remember coming into Adana airport in Turkey and looking down and seeing apartment tops literally covered with solar panels, pretty much every building. For some reason solar is the cheapest way to go in Adana.

    Going by these figures here and coverting to AUS dollars, it’s just under 1.5 mil to supply 60 homes with full power from solar, which works out at just under 25k per household, about the cost of a new car? Maybe the actual Australian figure is lower because of government rebates, but it still seems very expensive. And I imagine it would take a long time to make that money back through power generation, if ever.

    Anyway too much speculation from me so I’ll bow out now.

  4. They are called columbarium and are common in Spain and Portugal. Their popularity has little to do with the price of land as Spain is sparsely populated by European standards.

  5. This is a macabre symbol where the fanatic AGW eco-socialism could lead to.
    Culling people and life stocks to prevent dangerous global warming.

    It also shows the lunacy of solar applications in terms of efficiency versus costs.

    http://green-agenda.com

    A cooling earth (fact) and the perfect explanation by Joseph D’Aleo pointing at the PDO as a natural cause for our colder climate (scientific proof), see http://www.icecap.us takes the wind out of the sails of the AGW doctrine that makes man made CO2 emissions responsible for warming (?).

    Further scientific research that undermines the AGW doctrine in regard to the CO2 is provided by Norm Kalmanovitch who has challenged Hansen:
    He explains why all the IPCC climate models in regard to CO2 must be declared INVALID.
    This article can also be found at http://www.icecap.us

    Nov 25, 2008
    Hansen Mars Challenge – Why Zero Warming Likely from Further CO2 Increases

    By Norm Kalmanovitch

    Even though the computer models have never yielded a single result that matches observations, any criticism of the models is met with some sort of complex justification that is beyond the comprehension of the general public so it is readily accepted by the masses and those questioning the validity of the models are vilified by the promoters of the AGW agenda as skeptics and deniers who are in the pockets of big oil.

    The sole support for AGW is the climate models, and the sole support for the climate models with respect to CO2 is the forcing parameter. There is no actual physical rational for the forcing parameter, because it was simply contrived from the assumption that observed warming of 0.6C was due entirely to a 100ppmv increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration. There was never any verification of this parameter either by theory or observation. There is no justification for this parameter based on the physical properties of CO2, because the molecular configuration of the CO2 molecule precludes any significant effect from CO2 beyond a concentration of 300ppmv, and the current concentration is 386ppmv.

    There is no justification for this parameter based on observation because the observed notch in the spectrum created by CO2 is virtually identical for both the Earth and Mars, and Mars has over 9 times the physical concentration of CO2 in its atmosphere than the Earth has in its atmosphere. Even the reference temperature value for the parameter is faulty because the maximum temperature increase possibly attributable to human CO2 emissions is 0.1C per century; not the 0.6C that is used in the forcing parameter.

    There is only a single vibration mode of CO2 that resonates within the thermal spectrum radiated by the Earth (and Mars). This bend vibration resonates with a band of energy centred on a wavelength of 14.77microns (wavenumber 677cm-1) and the width of this band is quite narrow as depicted on the spectra from Earth and Mars.

    It only takes a minute amount of CO2 to fully “capture” the energy at the resonant wavelength, and additional CO2 progressively captures energy that is further and further from the peak wavelength. At the 280ppmv CO2 preindustrial level used as reference in the forcing parameter, about 95% of the energy bandwidth that could possibly be captured by CO2 has already been captured. There is only 5% of this limited energy available within the confines of this potential “capture” band left to be captured. The greenhouse effect from CO2 is generally stated as 3C, so an additional 100ppmv above the 280ppmv level is only capable of generating a maximum 5% increase or 0.15C. Furthermore if this 0.15C increase has used up the full 5% of the remaining possible energy as the concentration reached 380ppmv, there is zero warming possible from further increases in CO2.

    Unless all these points can adequately be addressed, the climate models based on this forcing parameter must be declared invalid, and all work based on these models as a reference for global warming mitigation must also be declared invalid.

  6. Assuming a 10 year useful life on the panels the 720K Euro price and the 189 people-breathing-years of CO2, the cost is 380 Euro’s to offset each persons breath per year.

    Is that about 500 U.S. dollars per year to negate my CO2 breath?

    That’s tough to swallow.

  7. George M

    The tradition of cemeteries in Greece is even worse, again due to real estate values and the growth of cities. If you have no family grave, for which you pay each time you use it a certain amount, you can rent a grave for three years, after which there are supposed to be only bones. These are exhumed and put in a small box kept in a bone repository stacked. After many years of this the wood is eaten by mites and the bones start becoming a pile. All this because the orthodox church does not allow cremation ( the dead have to find their bones when they are raised).

    As for family graves, after some years of the non activity sometimes the council takes it over and sells it to a new family, except if the family were famous or the cemetery closed for use.

    Even in villages the same rules still exist. People gathered in villages because of invaders and robbers, and cemeteries were within villages protecting them from desecration. Tradition is hard to change, though many progressive village counties are making changes so people from the cities go back to their original roots to get buried.

    I think such a proposal in Greece would raise a revolution, particularly from the church.

  8. I don’t see any cemetary in Santa Coloma on Google Earth, but I do see an industrial looking warehouse district covering about 43 acres less than a mile away from the center of the city. If they absolutely have to instal solar panals why not target the roof tops of these new industrial areas that do not have any sacred or cultural meaning for the people of Spain? Why is it that these global warmists always have to stick their thumb in people’s eye?

  9. Bruce (19:47:56) :

    Did you know that 62 tonnes of CO2 is about the amount of CO2 exhaled by 189 people in one year?

    Isn’t 189 people about the number of people killed in the recent attack by the terrorists in India?

    Isn’t this what the environmentalists want, fewer people?

  10. Mike C (20:11:54) :
    If the grave yard installed solar panels over my granny’s grave I probably wouldn’t complain

    Nor do the graveyard occupants.

    As said occupants aren’t exhaling CO2 anymore, they should be in line to sell some carbon credits in addition to the kilowatts. After they’ve paid off the panels, perhaps they’ll install cable and broadband. With dual purpose panels, they could have hot water, too.

    Of course, in the spirit of Don Quixote, I’d have thought they’d be putting up windmills instead of panels.

  11. This is all a lie. The panels don’t produce enough electricity to run 60 households. They produce a few kilowatts of power for around 6 hours a day.

    What do the houses run on the rest of the time? – the coal fired power station that is running anyway cos they can’t turn it off just for 6 hours!

    Until they develop a cost effective battery system solar is a joke. FYI I lived with solar as my only source of electric power for 5 years.

  12. “an unlikely front in the fight against global warming,”

    I am sick of the phrase “fight against global warming”. I challenge these people to prove that there has BEEN any “global warming” over the past 10 years. As far as I can tell by all the data I have seen, there *is* no global warming over the past 10 years to fight.

    Once we get to a point where we are reasonably certain that temperatures are warmer than they were in the medieval warm period, they might start to get my attention but we haven’t even got to that point yet since the little ice age.

    If someone can show me that CO2 was the cause of the MWP and the LIA, they might be able to convince me that CO2 is the cause of current warming but so far there is no evidence that this is the case. All I see is a picture of CO2 rising and a bunch of people waiving their arms and shouting that it is burning up the Earth without a shred of evidence that CO2 is the cause.

    World grain prices have pretty much tracked climate since the middle ages. Are we to say that grain prices cause the climate to change?

    I am just tired of the buzz phrases without any scientific evidence to back it up.

    And when I read stuff like this:

    The government has also suggested a possible review of the science behind climate change, a move that has outraged environmental groups, who say New Zealand’s reputation will be damaged if the concept of global warming is questioned.

    I just go apoplectic. “Environmentalists” don’t want a review of the science because they are afraid their “reputation” will be damaged if the concept of “global warming” is questioned. So it isn’t really about the science, it isn’t really about if the warming exists or not, now it is really about protecting their “reputation”.

    Give me a break.

  13. “The 462 panels produce 124,374 kilowatts of electricity”. I guess 124MW is a lot of power from 462 solar panels. 270kW per panel is a lot. I suppose this is the usual confusion in the minds of people who write this sort of trash. They don’t know the difference between power and energy. I presume they mean 124,374 kWh/year of energy. That’s an average power (if my maths is right) of 14kW. That sounds about right. In other words, not a lot of for all that money.

  14. I have really very little objection to the project. Putting up solar panels is one of the least objectionable – if very expensive – method of “fighting Global Warming”. At least it helps the solar panel market. Putting them over a cemetery is somewhat macabre, but it is up to the relatives and descendants of the departed to accept, or object. My own way of “fighting Global warming” is trying to convince my liberal friends that the danger of serious harm caused by the “ravages of Global Warming” is non-existent, or at least non-sensical. Getting into too much scientific discussion makes them tune out, so I decided to take a different tack. I prepared the following line – at least mentally – and will appreciate your comment of its effectiveness.

    ” I was born 75 years ago. In that year the average US temperature was practically the same as today ( There are no really good global temperature data for 1933, but the the US temperature is a good proxy ). In the intervening 75 years the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration went up between 25 and 30%. The global temperatures in the intervening 75 years went up by about one degree Fahrenheit ( 1934 and 1998 ) and went down by about one degree Fahrenheit ( 1975 ). ”

    The safest bet for the next 75 years that it will be somewhat similar to the past 75 years ( 25 to 30% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration and a temperature fluctuation of +/- 1 degree Fahrenheit. Too bad that I will not be around in 2083 to say that I told you so”

  15. Jack Simmons:) Well done Spain!

    It’s very early on Sunday morning, but can someone please do the sums & tell me how much global warming is caused by the combination of the decaying “carbon-based” life forms, coupled with a the CO2 expelled by those working to install the graves, manufacuring the photovoltaic cells, + the GHG’s produced by the manufacture of these pvc’s, according to a recent post on WUWT, etc. Is there not a net gain in CO2 emissions?

    Are we not in danger of creating excessive inefficiency in contrast to the advantage gained, if any?

  16. ‘The 462 panels produce 124,374 kilowatts of electricity, enough to supply 60 homes for a year’
    If really kilowatt is meant, these are 124 megawatts or a power station one 1/8 of the output of a big nuclear power station. Such a station would supply electricity for tens of thousand homes. Too much for a graveyard.
    If kilowatt hours is meant, approximately 15 kilowatt is the average power supplied (1year roughly 10000 hours). Then each of the 60 homes gets 1/4 kilowatt on average.
    My home requires of order 2 kilowatt, but down in the south, where it is warmer, and you cannot afford air conditioning anyway, where you put all your food or beverages in the basement, so that you do not need any refrigerator, do not have any electric stove, just go to the next tavern for most eatings, wash your clothes in the cold mode, do not look too much TV, do not have any PC to roam around in the internet, just a few electric lights, ….
    then 1/4 kilowatt is sufficient electricity supply for a home.

  17. A little over 10,000 quid per household install costs. Lunacy!

    Janama, forget the magic new battery technology. You wont see it in your lifetime or your grand children’s lifetime.

    Solar, Magic batteries, wind power – you cant get around the laws of physics. Unfortunately the average punter has no idea of mathematics or science or grand scale economics.

    Try sitting down and try explain to the average person that batteries do not create energy – just store part of the energy that’s put into them.

  18. @ Jack Simmons (22:10:08) :

    You commented in your last line; “Isn’t this what the environmentalists want, fewer people?”

    You’re close. I’ve noticed that many of the most fervent green alarmists seem to want fewer OTHER people. It seemingly never occurs to them that they could display the courage of their convictions and take themselves out. To them, it would be a tragic loss to the world if they died, but everyone else… good for mother earth.

    Lead by example, eh?

  19. Tom,

    Maybe you can use it and tell us the results.

    My opinion is that people who have no scientific understanding and have put their faith on the sayings of Al Gore or Hansen are not acting logically to be moved by logic. It is rather like being converted to a religion or sect. Their ego then is involved, and people do not like to lose face, seem inconsistent etc. etc.

    I think we can only sway people who are real scientists of some sort and who have just not been looking critically at the claims, trusting on the integrity of the claimants. Once you demonstrate to them the real facts, they can change.

    The rest, we have to wait for a real cold winter to make them see the light :).

  20. George M (19:58:36) :

    They have an interesting approach to cemeteries, actually mausoleums, in Spain. I was told that due to the limited real estate available, and the lack of family interest beyond a generation or so, that the crypts are rented for a specific length of time. I no longer recall exactly how long that is, 40 years, maybe, but then the remains are removed, and a new occupant moved in. I’ve also forgotten the disposition of the previous occupant, but I’m guessing cremation. There seems to be a lot of superstitious dread of the places by even educated people, leading to the lack of family interest. We, unfortunately, had to clear some power-line noise in a cemetery, and it took a while to get a full line crew who was willing to work in there.

    Yeah, people will believe some really goofy things.

  21. Jack Simmons (22:10:08) :

    Bruce:

    Did you know that 62 tonnes of CO2 is about the amount of CO2 exhaled by 189 people in one year?

    Isn’t 189 people about the number of people killed in the recent attack by the terrorists in India?

    Do you think the Indian terrorist organization can apply to the U.N. for the same number of carbon credits that the graveyard solar panels are entitled to?

  22. There is no limit to the depravity and reach of the AGW/CC snake oil salesmen. What are these folks actually buying (and paying through the nose for) though? It is freedom from guilt, which AGW religion happily provides, and the need for people to feel useful, I suppose, and doing something that will benefit the earth, and future generations. They’ve been had, and don’t even realize it. I wouldn’t want to be around when they do.

  23. Smokey (05:04:11) :

    Do you think the Indian terrorist organization can apply to the U.N. for the same number of carbon credits that the graveyard solar panels are entitled to?

    Perhaps at their sentencing? Wouldn’t a murderer anywhere in the world be entitled to some consideration? This really has some potential for a creative defense attorney.

    After all, we have someone suing the world court on behalf of future generations.

  24. but can someone please do the sums

    No.

    But you are correct. I call it the Magical Electric Car Syndrome.

    Hardly a day goes by without the media lauding the latest ‘enviromentally friendly’ vehicle. Today I heard about a car than ‘runs on hydrogen and only produces water as waste’.

    That the hydrogen, never mind the car, should magically appear from nowhere is taken for granted by the people who talk this nonsense, because their bread, milk and vegetables similarly magically appear from nowhere.

  25. This story was posted at the St. Petersburg Times a few days ago, to which I posted the following:

    “I just realized that here is another way to calculate the price of carbon.
    “They cost about $900,000 to install and each year will keep about 62 tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere…”
    If you live in the US, the average carbon emission is 0.08 kg/kwh for electricity. With 125,000 kWh/year generated, that comes to 10.2 tons of carbon per year, or about 38 tons of CO2.
    So, for a system with a 25 year life, that comes to about $3500/ton of avoided carbon emissions!!!

    Tell you what. I am prepared to offer you carbon credits at the bargain price of $1500 per ton. But wait, there’s more! If you act now, I’ll triple the offer. That’s three tons of carbon offsets for the price of one! And I’ll throw in a set of steak knives…

    Yet we constantly hear that carbon taxes of $25/ton will make a difference…
    This is really quite an illuminating story.”

    “If the 125,000 kWh/yr is correct, then that comes to just over 10,000 kwh/month. At 1000 kWh/month as an average home use of electricity (which I think is actually low, but it seems to be a common choice), that only supports 10 homes, not 60 as claimed in the article.

    Assuming 264 panels at 200W/panel gives 53kW installed panel capacity for $900K, or about $17/Watt peak. That’s pretty gold-plated pricing compared with an average of $9/W installed. Also, those panels in FL would generate about 264 kWh/day, or about 96,400 kWhr per year. Pretty close to the claimed 125,000 kWhr per year.

    Now, assuming a 25 year life for the panels, and a 6% rate for a $900K loan over 25 years, leads to a payment of $5800 per month. With 10,000 kWh/month of output, that comes to 58 cents per kWhr. Those are pricey electrons!”

    I have estimated that, to replace all of my household electricity use, I will need to install 64 panels at 200W each, here in sunny Florida. I agree with Werner Weber’s comment above that 2kW is closer to the average household electricity needs, assuming other sources of energy (NG, fuel oil) are not available.

    In today’s St Petersburg Times, there is a story on renewable energy captioned “Sun, wind energy potential high, but so is price.” Even with this headline, the story glosses over the real pricing of solar PV compared with the new nuclear reactors being planned for Levie County.

    http://www.tampabay.com/news/business/energy/article919803.ece

    By the way, are people aware of the four nuclear reactors (at 1100 MW each) being planned for Texas right now? That’s the equivalent of four Pickens windfarms, or twelve Pickens windfarms if the windfarms are relied on for baseload generation.

  26. Bruce:

    Did you know that 62 tonnes of CO2 is about the amount of CO2 exhaled by 189 people in one year?

    It’s a cemetery. The dead don’t breathe ;-)

  27. President-elect Barack Obama proposes economic suicide for US
    By Christopher Booker

    If the holder of the most powerful office in the world proposed a policy guaranteed to inflict untold damage on his own country and many others, on the basis of claims so demonstrably fallacious that they amount to a string of self-deluding lies, we might well be concerned. The relevance of this is not to President Bush, as some might imagine, but to a recent policy statement by President-elect Obama.

    Mr Obama begins by saying that “the science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear”. “Sea levels,” he claims, “are rising, coastlines are shrinking, we’ve seen record drought, spreading famine and storms that are growing stronger with each passing hurricane season.”

    If this sounds like an elaborate economic suicide note, for what is still the earth’s richest nation, it is still not enough for many environmentalists. Positively foaming at the mouth in The Guardian last week, George Monbiot claimed that the plight of the planet is now so grave that even “sensible programmes of the kind Obama proposes are now irrelevant”. The only way to avert the “collapse of human civilisation”, according to the Great Moonbat, would be “the complete decarbonisation of the global economy soon after 2050″.

    For 300 years science helped to turn Western civilisation into the richest and most comfortable the world has ever seen. Now it seems we have suddenly been plunged into a new age of superstition, where scientific evidence no longer counts for anything. The fact that America will soon be ruled by a man wholly under the spell of this post-scientific hysteria may leave us in wondering despair.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/main.jhtml?xml=/opinion/2008/11/30/do3010.xml

  28. I don’t have an issue with them creating electricity on the backs of dead people, its us live ones I fear taking the beating.

    TOM SMITH ON TALK OF A GREEN NEW DEAL: “Or is it the New Green Deal? Whatever it is, I think it is remarkable and my bet is it is going to be a big fiasco. I think all of the VC money going into it, and I think it is a lot, is spurred on more by the hope of government subsidies in one form or another than by real economics. It strikes me as a strange sort of mania. It looks like we are pouring a lot of money we don’t have into technologies that very well may not work to solve a problem we are not sure we have.”

  29. It’s sort of a all-virtual new deal – using money you don’t have on technologies that won’t work to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.

  30. Hi Everybody,
    Thanks for everyone’s patience in the thread on glaciers advancing as an indicator of GC.

    Can anyone help me out with why this data doesn’t continue to reinforce the acceleration of GW???

    It would seem that the collapse of massive ice shelfs is not a good sign that things are cooling wouldn’t it?

    Thank you!
    Will

    New rifts form on Antarctic ice shelf

    * Scientists have identified new rifts on an Antarctic ice shelf
    * The Wilkins Ice Shelf is connected to two Antarctic islands
    * Scientists first spotted rifts in the ice shelf in late February

    (CNN) — Scientists have identified new rifts on an Antarctic ice shelf that could lead to it breaking away from the Antarctic Peninsula, the European Space Agency said.

    The Wilkins Ice Shelf, a large sheet of floating ice south of South America, is connected to two Antarctic islands by a strip of ice. That ice “bridge” has lost about 2,000 square kilometers (about 772 square miles) this year, the ESA said.

    A satellite image captured November 26 shows new rifts on the ice shelf that make it dangerously close to breaking away from the strip of ice — and the islands to which it’s connected, the ESA said.

    Scientists first spotted rifts in the ice shelf in late February, and they noticed further deterioration the following week. The period marks the end of the South Pole summer and is the time when such events are most likely, said Ted Scambos, a glaciologist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado in Boulder.

    Before the new rifts were spotted this week, the last cracks were noticed July 21.

    “These new rifts, which have joined previously existing rifts on the ice shelf, threaten to break up the chunk of ice located beneath the 21 July date, which would cause the bridge to lose its stabilization and collapse,” said Angelika Humbert, a scientist from Germany’s Muenster University who spotted the cracks with Matthias Braun of the University of Bonn.

    Wilkins is the size of the state of Connecticut or about half the area of Scotland. It is the largest ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula yet to be threatened.

    If the ice shelf breaks away from the peninsula, it will not cause a rise in sea level, because it is already floating, scientists say.

    Scambos said the ice shelf is not on the path of the increasingly popular tourist ships that travel from South America to Antarctica. But some plants and animals may have to adapt to the collapse.

    The ice shelf had been stable for most of the past century before it began retreating in the 1990s.

    Several ice shelves — Prince Gustav Channel, Larsen Inlet, Larsen A, Larsen B, Wordie, Muller and Jones — have collapsed in the past three decades, the British Antarctic Survey said.

    Scientists say the western Antarctic peninsula — the piece of the continent that stretches toward South America — has warmed more than any other place on Earth over the past 50 years, rising by 0.9 degrees Fahrenheit each decade.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/11/29/antarctic.ice.shelf.collapse/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

  31. I just paid my electric bill. I live in Massachusetts, about 45mi West of Boston.
    My KWH usage for the month of November was 1,751kwh, monthly bill of $306.

    I live in a 3200sqft house w/hot tub. My heat is oil/wood pellets, so no electric heat. With no hottub and half the space, which is reasonable, I bet my usage would be down to 1,000kwh/mo.

    JimB

  32. This seems to me to be a non-issue. Farmers and ranchers use solar panels all the time to power lots of things when electrical wire access is not available. I have solar lights on the back porch and in my shop plus solar sourced fencing around the paddocks. A friend of mine has a beautiful cabin on a mountain top that is powered by propane and solar panels. That was not by choice. It was necessary. My use of solar and propane is not by choice. I don’t have electrical wiring to the barn and the attached paddocks. If I did I would still be looking at my bottom line to see which would be less costly. Sending electricity to every little thing is a waste of my income when a solar panel will do the job nicely.

  33. tty (08:28:43) :

    “It’s sort of a all-virtual new deal – using money you don’t have on technologies that won’t work to solve a problem that doesn’t exist.”

    Ding ding ding ding

    I believe we have a winner!

  34. The United Nations, Gore, Kerry, the Clinton’s, Obama, George Soros (MoveOn), Hollywood, Ophra and many others are convinced of the fact that our planet can only be rescued if human productivity, consumption and population growth is cut. The key to obtain this target is to cut the use of carbon energy. The fastest way to cut carbon energy use and gain control over the process of population reduction is to scare people into the AGW hoax that makes CO2 responsible for dangerous global warming.

    This is not a religion.
    This is a well planned assault on humanity and if we do not fight it we end up living in an eco communist society with no rights and no life.

    This is an eco terrorist attack on our world and the US President elect is in on it.
    Any doctrine based on lies must be resisted before ot is to late.
    Resist the corrupt UN, the corrupt EC, the lying politicians and the fruitcake environmentalists.

    This is an enemy operating from within our societies.

    Monday in POLAND the faith of Europe will be on the line!
    Will the Poles and the Irish resist the consensus?

    http://green-agenda.com

  35. Will Small:

    About every 100,000 years or so the West Antarctic Ice Sheet slides off the land and into the sea. At this point nobody knows why but it seems to be natural and cyclical.

    I also noticed this:

    Finally advancing from 1998 to 1999, but still publishing in the journal Science, Conway et al. (1999) examined previously reported research, while conducting some of their own, dealing with the retreat of the WAIS since its maximum glacial extent some 20,000 years ago. In doing so, they determined that the ice sheet’s grounding line remained near its maximum extent until about 10,000 years ago, whereupon it began to retreat at a rate of about 120 meters per year. This work also indicated that at the end of the 20th century it was retreating at about the same rate, which suggests that if it continues to behave as it has in the past, complete deglaciation of the WAIS will occur in about 7000 years. The researchers thus concluded that the modern-day grounding-line retreat of the WAIS is part of an ongoing recession that has been underway since the early to mid-Holocene; and that “it is not a consequence of anthropogenic warming or recent sea level rise.” Consequently, climate alarmists who claim that CO2-induced global warming is responsible for every inch of WAIS retreat, as well as every iceberg that breaks free of the ice sheet, are not justified in making such claims.

  36. The panels look to be less than 2 meters on a side. You might get 150 w/m^2, so 400 W/panel, 180 KW output. For less than 8 hours per day. 60 homes could run off that, assuming you sell power to the utility during the day and buy it back at night. A million bucks works out to a bit over $2k/panel, or about $5 per watt. The numbers in the story still don’t add up. Based on the 124,000 kw(h), probably far less output, and more cost per watt. Since solar on this side of the pond costs around $10/w (before subsidy), I suspect those 60 homes don’t get a lot of power. A million bucks for 60 homes seems like a whole lot, even worse with some maintenance and probably not lasting 25 years.

    Looks like another example of tax dollars at work (making suppliers of solar panels wealthy) and giving bureaucrats bragging rights.

  37. Oopps maybe it was less often than 100K years. This paper also makes reference to possible “catastrophic” collapse of the ice sheet several times in the last million years.

    It seems to have something to do with the till under the sheet becoming saturated with water and becoming a lubricant that allows the entire ice shelf to slide off. Apparently it has happened several times in the past, is likely to happen again in the future and has not been caused by human activity.

  38. Phillip Bratby (05:58:26)
    Phil: Yes, I missed your comment. My only excuse is, it was before breakfast. Among the first things I do in the morning is to look up WUWT for news.
    Sorry, Werner

  39. Will Small:

    Rather than frighten yourself with highly questionable ‘facts’, please Read Pierre Gosselin’s informative link @09:19:09 above. And note that the consensus following it is about 90% in agreement with the article.

    When you read something like [as you quoted]: “Before the new rifts were spotted this week, the last cracks were noticed July 21,” do you actually conclude that the only possible answer is that global warming is causing the rifts?

    Is it not possible that since these rifts were first ‘spotted’, as your article states, that they have been there all along, but simply un-noticed? The article appears to be deliberately vague.

    Is it not possible that other factors, such as stress from the weight of added ice, has caused these rifts to form?

    Is it your belief that this is something new, and that rifts have not happened before the first SUV appeared?

    Skepticism is not denial. Skepticism is questioning.

    You, on the other hand, seem to accept unquestioningly the belief that global warming causes these cracks in the ice.

    Does it not seem odd to you that the variation of a fraction of a degree [in declining global temperatures] would cause these rifts to form in only a matter of weeks — when the ambient temperature is many degrees below freezing, and when the local temperature varies much more than a fraction of a degree between seasons, and even from day to day?

    Do you actually believe that an extremely tiny variation in the Earth’s temperature is the reason that these rifts appeared in the ice?

    Try to think for yourself, Will. Please. Blind faith belongs in a church.

  40. “I’ve noticed that many of the most fervent green alarmists seem to want fewer OTHER people. ”

    In my opinion the same folks also want higher taxes … on OTHER people.

  41. Large scale use of solar seems not to be a good deal economically. Neither does large scale nuclear plants. Why the emphasis on bigger is better? Individual application of solar works. Small nuclear plants that keep a sub or ship going is better. Keep things small and out of the way. My solar panels are at point of use and work very well for me. We should be comparing electricty, including installation of wiring from electrical panel to point of use, vs solar panel costs and wiring in point of use applications. In remote rural areas, solar panels are by far the most economical.

  42. Will Smith, I would like to point out to you that an ice sheet will calf as much or more if it is thickening and expanding. Please open your mind to other possible explanations instead of just one. Shave with Occam’s razor, if you will. :^)

  43. Re: September 2008 CERN Cloud Analysis. Can anyone explain the findings of this September 2008 CERN Cloud analysis to a layman and what correlation, if any, it finds regarding cosmic radiation causing clouds? I know why the experiment is being done, but this initial analysis is way over my head. I don’t see that this report has been mentioned before on WUWT. If it is important, maybe it should be.

    http://cdsweb.cern.ch/record/1131824/files/CERN-AB-2008-062.pdf

  44. Pamela Gray- “In remote rural areas, solar panels are by far the most economical.”
    Indeed not. A small wind turbine is less expensive. A diesel or propane generator is by far the most economical, especially for cabins, etc that see seasonal use.

  45. I’m not sure I’m too concerned about the “fight against global warming” but I am concerned about energy independence as a country and movement away from fossil fuels that are primarily concentrated in the unstable parts of the world. Solar panels to offset my own energy use seem like a good start. To that end I’ve become interested in an organization called One Block Off the Grid. 1BOG forms local cooperatives that share information and buying power to make residential solar installations affordable. http://1bog.org/

  46. Will Small (09:15:38)

    I am not an expert on the climate of the Antarctic Peninsula where the dramatic climate change is alleged to be taking place and threatening the Wilkins Ice Shelf but I have a few comments on your post that might offer a different perspective on the issue:

    Why is it deemed unusual for floating ice shelves to develop rifts? The claim of stability for most of the last century does not impress if one views it on an appropriately longer time scale. Ice shelves have been retreating more or less since the last ice age and may continue to retreat naturally without man’s intervention until the next ice age.

    Calling ice shelves “massive” is relative. Massive compared to what? You stated the ice bridge lost 772 square miles which is equivalent to less than 28 miles square. In Canada where I live, this small potatoes. Even the entire Wilkens shelf, stated to be the size Connecticut , is still small by global standards.

    If the climate in the Antarctic Peninsula is warming, it is a local phenomena. The temperature on the Antarctic continent has been dropping, the ice cap growing and the sea ice around Antarctica was at a record level since 1979, so how does this fit in with AGW?

    The Antarctic Peninsula divides two oceans and obviously has a maritime climate sensitive to variations ocean currents and climate phenomena. Ask yourself how multi-decadal oscillations in ocean temperatures such as the ENSO and NAO could effect climate in such an exposed location.

    Your posts make us skeptics think and try to formulate our thinking. For this I thank you. On the other hand, you put us in the impossible position of trying to prove that some selected natural phenomena are not indicative of AGW. In other words, despite the primitive and flawed science that the AGW hypothesis is based on, AGW adherents assume that they have the high ground (morally, if not scientifically) and attempt to transfer the burden of proof onto the skeptics. When one considers the astronomical cost of tilting at the windmill of AGW, the burden of proof should be thrown right back to the AGW proponents with a demand for better science and less political spin.

  47. Sure, we’re “wasting” a few dollars, here, and there; but, we’re funding some good research that Will, almost certainly, come in handy down the road. It’s kind of the way things are done in a Capitalist system. Kinda “messy,” but in the long run, effective.

    Kinda. :)

  48. It would seem that the collapse of massive ice shelfs is not a good sign that things are cooling wouldn’t it?

    Will Small, A glacier is a process that transports ice from where it doesn’t melt to where it does melt. This is true of all glaciers at all times. It was true at the height of the last Ice Age when glaciers advanced over what are now London and New York.

    Ice sheets are merely glaciers that extent over the ocean. The break up is merely part of the melting process and would occur even if the Earth’s climate were rapidly cooling.

    This is not a personal attack on you, but this illustrates how the AGW proponents trade on people’s ignorance.

    Now if you had evidence that the rate of icesheet breakup was accelerating that would indeed be evidence of warming. Although, warming over centuries. But I know you don’t have that evidence because nobody does. We don’t have records going back anything like far enough to determine a trend.

  49. Too clarify, as crosspatch points out, we do have proxy measurements of ice extent and hence rate of breakup. What we don’t have is sufficient direct measurements of ice extent and breakup to determine a trend.

  50. From Will Small’s article:

    If the ice shelf breaks away from the peninsula, it will not cause a rise in sea level, because it is already floating, scientists say.

    So the issue here is that the ice shelf, which is the end of the glacier floating on the ocean, may eventually detach from the rest of the glacier?

    How is that evidence of global warming?

    Please be specific.

  51. I do not think they are using the dead to fight AGW…., but to make some pretty good money out of the local and state funding to promote “alternative” green energies. Catalans are well known to smell money… even in the cemeteries.

  52. crosspatch, the study you link to above, seems to say in layman’s terms – the mud beneath the glacier becomes more slippery as the pressure from the weight of ice increases.

    Assuming this is true, it would cause a cycle of ice accumulation followed by rapid advance, which in turn would cause accelerated melt and breakup due more ice being pushed further into the ‘melt zone’.

    BTW, ‘rapid’ in this context probably means decades.

    So even if we had accurate records of ice extent and breakup going back a century, they wouldn’t tell us anything useful without knowing where we were in the above cycle, which is likely many 10’s of thousands of years long.

  53. Philip_B (06:22:09)

    “That the hydrogen, never mind the car, should magically appear from nowhere is taken for granted by the people who talk this nonsense, because their bread, milk and vegetables similarly magically appear from nowhere.”

    That’s what I have been saying about this new generation.
    they have no idea about what it takes to plant the seeds
    and pull the food to keep up what we have. and these peps will
    be the first one to cry foul when there is no food to eat.
    No electric power = no fuel, no planting, no harvest, no eating.

    They, these who are complaining can not see all/any of the steps in a complex system. This is why CAGW WORKS for them. we say here “can not see past there hand in front of there face” !!!

    ohh mye!!!!!!

  54. Robert Austin (12:32:04) :
    “Your posts make us skeptics think and try to formulate our thinking. For this I thank you. On the other hand, you put us in the impossible position of trying to prove that some selected natural phenomena are not indicative of AGW. In other words, despite the primitive and flawed science that the AGW hypothesis is based on, AGW adherents assume that they have the high ground (morally, if not scientifically) and attempt to transfer the burden of proof onto the skeptics. When one considers the astronomical cost of tilting at the windmill of AGW, the burden of proof should be thrown right back to the AGW proponents with a demand for better science and less political spin.”

    Robert – yes, that’s sorta what I was after. To try and have skeptics re-evaluate their thinking. Exactly.

    Remember, I only brought this up as a counter point to the post:
    “Glaciers in Norway, Alaska, growing again”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2008/11/27/glaciers-in-norway-alaska-growing-again/

    where so many comments pointed out this must mean GC. I realize we’re in a circle here but if an advancing glacier means GC and a breaking ice shelf means GW, what’s what?

    Is it possible that advancing and retreating glaciers mean both GW & GC, therefore these 2 observations mean nothing whatsoever?

    I know some of you find me terribly annoying, but if this is Occam’s Razor than so be it.

  55. Australia squibs on climate promise

    THE Rudd Government has reneged on a commitment to present its 2020 target to cut greenhouse gases to UN climate talks that start today. The back-pedalling comes amid wrangling in cabinet over how far to go with curbing emissions

    Snip

    “It is the case that we said we would release the targets in December and we had indicated before Poznan,” she said. But she said it was important to postpone the announcement until she released the final version of the Government’s carbon pollution reduction scheme on December 15 – after she returned from Poland.

    Until late last week Senator Wong repeatedly said the range of emissions cuts for the 2020 target would be set before she went to Poznan. “The intention is to announce, as I have said, our midterm target range prior to the Poznan negotiations. And that’s the terms, the timetable, the Government’s working on,” she said on October 2.

    Snip

    The chief executive of the environment group WWF, Greg Bourne, said Senator Wong would “be laughed out of Poznan” if she announced at the UN talks that Australia’s 2020 target was between 5 and 15 per cent. Asked if she was avoiding making the announcement in Poland because of the international criticism, Senator Wong said: “I am not going to comment on a hypothetical.”

    I would have though that AGW was ‘hypothetical’ or am I mistaken and the word should be hypocritical or even hysterical :-)

  56. “I’m not sure I’m too concerned about the “fight against global warming” but I am concerned about energy independence as a country and movement away from fossil fuels that are primarily concentrated in the unstable parts of the world”

    I don’t believe this is true, based on what I’ve read. The Wyoming/Colorado oil shale deposits represent more oil than we’d use from Saudi Arabia for the next 100yrs. The number 1 country that we import oil from is Canada, which I consider to be fairly stable.

    Add to that ANWR, which has no where near as much to do with preservation as Denali National Partk does, and we would easily have BEEN independent by now if the efforts to drill/recover in these locations hadn’t been frozen by our own government.

    JimB

  57. Kum Dollison (13:19:25) :

    Sure, we’re “wasting” a few dollars, here, and there; but, we’re funding some good research that Will, almost certainly, come in handy down the road. It’s kind of the way things are done in a Capitalist system. Kinda “messy,” but in the long run, effective.

    Kinda. :)

    Kum,
    I disagree. The last statistic on research funding that I was, and apologies, I forget where, was that we spend more money on C02 research than we do on either AIDS or Cancer research.

    That’s just a single example of what this political sham has accomplished.

    And as for debating science with Will…it’s a lot like playing the carnival game Whack-A-Mole. Every faulty belief or “fact” that gets knocked down never gets met with a “Oh…I see. Guess I was wrong on that one. Thanks.”. As is the case with most religious zealots, they just throw the next thing on the preprinted list or the next thing brought forward by MSM and say “But you’re wrong. What about THIS thing???”

    The difference between AGWers and blind squirrels is that blind squirrels really DO find a nut once in awhile.

    JimB

  58. Will Small and others: Your post included “The [Wilkins] ice shelf had been stable for most of the past century before it began retreating in the 1990s.”

    Southern Ocean SST and Antarctic LST as a whole have been dropping since the 1980s, so they are not a factor. But how would the interaction between ENSO events and the Antarctic Dipole factor into this?

  59. - Will, I am glad that you question the GC viewpoint. I would like to point out that you have a voice here, whereas most have us have tried to voice our opinion on blogs like RC and Desmog, to no avail. I personally enjoy the discourse, some of the best entertainment and edification around. I will openly admit that I may be wrong, if you will do the same. Then we can have a open discussion of our viewpoints. -Danny Bloom, I have had the chance to vent 30 years of frustration, and I thank you. It was a bit of a shotgun blast, but there it is. Regarding your “polar cities idea”, I think it is a narrow viewpoint. Think bigger and more beneficial to all mankind. For example, the space elevator, IMHO, is the answer to humanities woes. Build 3 along the equator ( for safety and redundancy). We can go nuclear and dispose of the byproducts by flinging them into the sun (A nuclear furnace anyway). The towers are self sustaining from a consumption standpoint ( after construct of course), as the down elevator powers all other energy needs of the system. Mining would eventually been done off world, and water could be accessed from asteroids. It also eliminates the need for earth launched vehicles, which consume huge amounts of energy and pollute a great deal as well. To me, the future is very bright, because, if you know your history, we haven’t been that comfortable for very long. Our Grandparents probably remember before there was toilet paper !! The space elevator is technically not far from feasibility right now. Who knows, we may create a future that would allow for polar cities to be built, not out of desperation, but for those of us who happen to love the winter. I lived off “the grid” for 3 years in North Western Ontario. It was difficult preparing for winter, but the winters themselves were spectacular. Abundance of wildlife, no mosquitos or black flies.I am sad because you seem to have such a bleak vision of mankind’s future. The monies spent (wasted IMO) on AGW and Co2, could have gone a long way to the betterment of mankind. Hydrogen is dangerous, electric vehicles’ batteries are caustic and harmful to the environment (in the extreme). Wind has transmission and storage problems ( although I heard the idea of energy storage in the form of compressed air, even though air compression technology is still rather inefficient). So you see, just because I don’t believe what Dr. Hansen is telling us, does not mean that the future and sustainability does not concern me. I am working for the betterment of all, everyday. My vision of a healthy happy world is possible. We are still in our infancy. Don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. -Sorry Anthony, I don’t believe I could have gone further off topic !!!

  60. @crosspatch (10:25:48) :

    Think tsunami! how big would that be if the whole ice shelf slid into the sea at once… Now that’s alarming…

    WRT the cementary – save both space and CO2! Cremate the bodies and bury the CO2 instead… (Damn the cost – turn it to dry ice and refridgerate the ground – use the solar panels to power the refridgerators).

  61. @Will Small – new post by me on atlantic-hurricane-season-sets-records wrt to your request for “what would convince you…”.

  62. GC. I realize we’re in a circle here but if an advancing glacier means GC and a breaking ice shelf means GW, what’s what?

    I noted in the earlier thread that the glaciers that are advancing are ‘short response’, which means they are known to respond quickly to climate change – less than 10 years. These are small glaciers. The Antarctic ice shelves are very large glaciers and respond very slowly to climate change – centuries to millenia.

    Small, fast response glaciers tell what has happened to the climate over the last decade or so. Very large glaciers tell us what has happened to the climate over the last few centuries to millenia.

    There is no contradiction or circle.

    I’ll assume, at least for now, you genuinely want to know the answer and are not trolling.

  63. Did it ever occur to anyone that we are NOT using our oil resources because we want to use up everyone else’s first? And the world knows this, and the pressure has to be enormous what with all the debt this country is in.

  64. Robert Bateman,

    If that is indeed the reason for putting ANWR, etc., off limits, then let’s have a national debate about whether that is really in our best interest.

    What would you rather have, a dollar in your pocket today, or wait in order to have two dollars put in your pocket twenty years from now?

    Gimme the dollar today. The future will take care of itself.

  65. Gary Janosz:
    I’m not sure I’m too concerned about the “fight against global warming” but I am concerned about energy independence as a country and movement away from fossil fuels that are primarily concentrated in the unstable parts of the world. Solar panels to offset my own energy use seem like a good start. To that end I’ve become interested in an organization called One Block Off the Grid. 1BOG forms local cooperatives that share information and buying power to make residential solar installations affordable. http://1bog.org/

    Affordable for whom? Passing 30% of the cost on to taxpayers, which will be possible beginning next year means we will all paying for that power. Of course energy independence is important, but there is no getting around the fact that solar is both expensive and unreliable. There are sources of oil offshore, and in Alaska that are currently untapped. We have plenty of coal, the cheapest way of producing power hands down, and we need to seriously re-think our decades-long moratorium on nuclear power.

  66. David Ball (19:02:03) :
    We can go nuclear and dispose of the byproducts by flinging them into the sun

    Just a quick note:
    It would be cheaper and easier to “fling” the byproducts into deep space (outside the solar system) rather than to fling them toward the sun. Tricky orbital mechanics…

  67. Smokey: Forget the dollar, I would rather keep my house warm today. And have trucks deliver food to the grocery store. Without oil, that might be a problem. In twenty years we might have a better battery or more efficient solar cell. It would be nice to live to see it.

    My 30 year-old TV finally quit. I can postpone buying another one. Can’t say the same when the pantry is empty.

    When I freeze or starve, perhaps President Obama will put a solar panel on my grave…

  68. Pamela Gray ,

    Try running your washing machine, electric fire, tumbler drier, electric kettle, electric iron on solar panels. When you install them on the roof, who will clean them.

  69. Will Small,

    If you take a 200 year old window pane out of a 200 year old window frame you will find that the glass is thicker at the bottom.

  70. “Try running your washing machine, electric fire, tumbler drier, electric kettle, electric iron on solar panels.”

    At night, after a week of rain and fog.

  71. Good responses to my space elevator post. This is the type of critical thinking I need to hone the ideas. Open minds solve the toughest issues. Thanks to those who replied,….

  72. My solar panels are tiny. No more than the size of a standard sheet of paper. Using solar panels for one porch light, electrical fencing, etc, is more economical than putting in a little wind turbine for each of those items or running wire out to them from the propane generator. I think you are confusing scale here. My scale is tiny. Propane runs appliances. Panels run little stuff around the place. I would not use my propane to zap the fence when I can use a point of use little solar panel. Basically, we have no difference of opinion here. I would not rely on a panel to run my oven. No one would. Not even greenies. Besides, my wood cook stove would do a better job. If I ever get my cabin built, I will be using wood, propane, solar, and possibly wind turbine if the location is windy enough. For farmers and ranchers, solar panels are an every day part of the operation. It isn’t a green thing. It isn’t a preference thing. It’s a kiss thing. It’s just simple and easy to install a single small panel at point of use. We don’t like complicated things out here.

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