Study: worst climate threat machines still to be built

Main climate threat from CO2 sources yet to be built

This graph shows projected decline of carbon dioxide emissions in gigatons (billions of tons) from existing energy and transportation infrastructure (red wedge) over the next 50 years, compared to three emissions scenarios (dotted lines) from the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. High, middle, and low emissions projections correspond to the SRES A1G-FI, A2, and B1 scenarios, respectively. Credit: Steve Davis

From press release Stanford, CA— Scientists have warned that avoiding dangerous climate change this century will require steep cuts in carbon dioxide emissions. New energy-efficient or carbon-free technologies can help, but what about the power plants, cars, trucks, and other fossil-fuel-burning devices already in operation? Unless forced into early retirement, they will emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for decades to come. Will their emissions push carbon dioxide levels beyond prescribed limits, regardless of what we build next? Is there already too much inertia in the system to curb climate change?

Not just yet, say scientists Steven Davis and Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology. But to avoid the worst impacts we need to get busy building the next generation of clean energy technologies.

Davis and Caldeira, with colleague Damon Matthews of Concordia University in Montreal, calculated the amount of carbon dioxide expected to be released from existing energy infrastructure worldwide, and then used a global climate model to project its effect on the Earth’s atmosphere and climate.

“The problem of climate change has tremendous inertia,” says Davis. “Some of this inertia relates to the natural carbon cycle, but there is also inertia in the manmade infrastructure that emits CO2 and other greenhouse gases. We asked a hypothetical question: what if we never built another CO2-emitting device, but the ones already in existence lived out their normal lives?”

For a coal-fired power plant a “normal life” is about 40 years. For a late-model passenger vehicle in the United States it is about 17 years. After compiling data on lifetimes and emissions rates for the full range of fossil-fuel burning devices worldwide, the researchers found that that between the years 2010 to 2060 the total projected emissions would amount to about 500 billion tons of carbon dioxide added to the atmosphere. To gauge the impact, they turned to the climate model. The researchers found that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 would stabilize at less than 430 parts per million (ppm) and the increase of global mean temperatures since preindustrial time would be less than 1.3°C (2.3°F).

“The answer surprised us,” says Davis. “Going into this study, we thought that existing sources of CO2 emissions would be enough to push us beyond 450 ppm and 2°C warming.” In light of common benchmarks of 450 ppm and 2°C, these results indicate that the devices whose emissions will cause the worst impacts have yet to be built.

But the authors caution that while existing infrastructure is less of a threat to climate than they had expected, this does not minimize the threat of future emissions. “Because most of the threat from climate change will come from energy infrastructure we have yet to build, it is critically important that we build the right stuff now – that is, low carbon emission energy technologies,” says Caldeira. He adds that other factors besides devices that directly emit carbon dioxide might also contribute to the system’s inertia. “We have a gas station infrastructure but not a battery recharging infrastructure,” he says. “This makes it easier to sell new gasoline powered cars than new electric cars. Thus there are infrastructural commitments that go beyond our calculation of future CO2 emissions embodied in existing devices.”

“In our earlier work we found that every increment of carbon dioxide emission produces another increment of warming,” says Caldeira. “We cannot be complacent just because we haven’t yet reached a point of no return.”

The study is published in the September 10, 2010, issue of Science.

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NOTE: The study was not provided with the press release

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Supplementary graph:

Graph shows projected decline of carbon dioxide emissions in gigatons (billions of tons) from existing energy and transportation infrastructure (multicolored wedge) over the next 50 years, compared to three emissions scenarios (dotted lines) from the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Colors within the wedge indicate projected emissions by various countries and regions. Non energy emissions shown are global emissions projected under the SRES A2 scenario. High, middle, and low emissions projections correspond to the SRES A1G-FI, A2, and B1 scenarios, respectively.

PRDavisCaldeiraInfrastructurebreakoutFINFig8-23-10

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69 thoughts on “Study: worst climate threat machines still to be built

  1. Dear study authors:
    Please explain how your computer models show correlation between CO2 concentration and global temperature. Please refer to this document http://ff.org/centers/csspp/library/co2weekly/2005-08-18/dioxide.htm that clearly shows no correlation between CO2 and global temperature in the geologic past of this planet, even though CO2 levels have been several times higher than today.
    In other words, how is it that in the past there is no correlation between CO2 and temperature, yet you assert that there will be in the future?
    Thank you.

  2. “Ok ma, make sure you can keep a straight furrow! Giddyup!”
    Been reading Ken Follett’s “Pillars of the Earth” about the
    medieval building of the great cathedrals. Two things.
    One, a low carbon,low technology, civilization really sucks.
    Two the religious/political/scientific machinations of the day
    are eerily similar. What next how many carbon atoms can dance
    on the head of AlGore?…

  3. “compared to three emissions scenarios”
    ============================
    uh oh, where have we seen that before?
    These people are so out of the main stream, they have no idea how tired people are of all this doom and gloom. No wonder people have lost faith in science and scientists.
    You would think just once in a while, they would say “gee, the coral reefs are coming back nicely”, “we have more manatees than we thought”, “ok, we got a little too excited about that last pandemic”, or even “sorry, we really did not think that pill would do that”………………….

  4. Does the black bit at the bottom of the second graph represent the resparation of all non-plant life on Earth plus all of the geologically vented CO2 and all the CO2 released by the melting of whatever captured it?
    Seems a bit small.
    Isn’t non-plant reparation part of a energy releasing function, so should it have been included in the black bit?

  5. “We have a gas station infrastructure but not a battery recharging infrastructure,” he says. “This makes it easier to sell new gasoline powered cars than new electric cars.”
    Here all this time I was laboring under the delusion that the reason was that gasoline powered cars actually work and are practical and affordable whereas electric cars don’t and aren’t.

  6. “Not just yet, say scientists Steven Davis and Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology. But to avoid the worst impacts we need to get busy building the next generation of clean energy technologies.”
    ===============
    I see, we should invest our tax money in the latest bubble.
    It will defer our guilt, our money, and our future to the sacred guardians of the earth.
    Power and greed.
    History suggests, a bad outcome.

  7. There is just so much Carbon and Oxygen on Earth.
    Even if all the fossil fuels were burned, and released all the C02, Earth will still be in a state where it has been in the past wherein life flourished.
    This concept of ‘adding’ C02 and other greenhouse gases completely misses the mark.
    Recycling is what Earth does, and it does it through the biosphere.
    Once geology gets ahold of it and turns it to mineral stone, it’s locked up. Only volcanoes and lower life forms can unlock it.
    The plan to terraform Mars in the early 80’s got put on hold over possible indigineous life.
    That plan needs to be revisited. Some of our descendants may need to get off this planet, and if not, at least give the plants and microbes a chance.

  8. Oh, that’s not the half of it.
    Between 2050-2100, there’s a 63.45% chance, according to my model, that someone will build an army of AIs that will march on countries with automated deathmobiles, turning us into their slaves until we rise up and form a technology free agrarian society that heals the planet in 2200.
    By then the climate will start recovering from the impact of our mechanical overlords. But mostly our greed. Greed and deathmobiles.

  9. “ . . . these results indicate that the devices whose emissions will cause the worst impacts have yet to be built. ”
    I’ve asked this before, Can’t any of these folks write well enough that they can be understood?
    My first thought was that they expected someone or some corporation to introduce a highly polluting machine of some unknown sort. But that can’t be what they mean. They must mean all the new cars and trucks that will be built or the power plants that will churn out the electrons to power all the electric vehicles, or the new plants that will make the concrete, steel, and fiberglass for the wind towers. Or maybe all the new biomass burning including those using small wood stoves.
    The bottom line is they proved to themselves that there really isn’t anything to this catastrophic human caused global warming thing but they are willing to spend a bunch more of our money looking for something to get excited about.

  10. “In our earlier work we found that every increment of carbon dioxide emission produces another increment of warming,” says Caldeira.
    That sort of spin statement doesn’t inspire confidence in the science.!! Of course the “increment” as such can be based on different data and statistical size for the given amount of carbon dioxide emmission, and the increment of warming, its just a matter of stretching one (adjusting, homogenizing?) or compacting the other so it spins like they match. That one has a causal link to the other lies then, in mythical conscensus.
    Mind you I have no problem with the idea of making anything more efficient and emitting less. That is and has been a desirable objective, to clean up the air and environment, something that has been ongoing for years. (at least in Australia) Unfortunately those with short memory and green zeal, don’t give any credit at all for the capacity of Industry to keep continually upgrading for better efficiencies and environmental responsibility as new technology becomes available.
    Industry and commerce provides the economic wealth and government stability provides the partnership in the process, with incentive for industry to avail themselves of that new technology.
    Its a win, win situation, but for some reason the left of green, now want, everything yesterday to crush and wreck the economy of developed nations, a notion that gives no credit for what has been accomplished and one that will surely undermine capacity to achieve, build, invent, and in the end both nurture the planet and its inhabitants.
    Science needs to look hard at the advocacy nature of these papers as they tend to undermine those creative economies that have an established track record of improvement and innovation.
    This re-direction of science is counter productive with potential to create great harm to the world environment and the present capacity these stronger economies have to come to the aid of others, whether bereft by way of natural disaster, or chaotic economies.
    If they are relying on the UN as some super non indulgent, uncorrupted honest broker , they only have to look at the present poor track record of dishonesty, lies and outright, snouts in the trough chaos.

  11. Exactly where is the electricity to power up these electric cars going to come from, once there are charging stations? The carpet of windmills, 1 megawatt at a time, that is planned to cover the Great Plains, or that solar power plant in the Mojave Desert that environmental activists don’t want? Or are we going to do a 180 on our national policy against nuclear power? That is a 20 year proposition, if we start now. Electric cars or gasoline powered, we are going to see a significant carbon based infrastructure for a long time to come. Or we will sit home in the dark and be cold (or hot).

  12. “We have a gas station infrastructure but not a battery recharging infrastructure,”
    The nation actually has a massive mobile battery recharging infrastructure.
    Alternators, one in every car.

  13. Do to the economic structure we have created, ANY fantastically new technology WILL NOT put into production due to the profit factor of manufacturing many when technology available only needs a few.
    The understanding of motion totally incorrect to ACTUAL PHYSICAL EVIDENCE.

  14. First, their premise is dead wrong.
    Then they compound it by somehow NOT including the time frames to “build” a replacement power plant.
    Cement plants are replaced by ???? You have to heat up and burn that crushed rock somehow to make cement to make concrete to make the replacement power plants for the coal plants they are assuming are demolished and repalced with ????
    Steel production and oil refining and plastic production now using energy are replaced by ????
    Transportation (using oil products) is replaced with ??? (Sure, they mention – with a wave of the hand at electric cars – private, commuter-length drives over short distances NOT requiring heat or AC to be livable – but what powers trucks? Trains? Ships? Barges? … Oh, those are replaced by the (newly built) non-coal powered power plants. What powers the stuff to build the stuff to ship the stuff to build the new non-coal-powered power plants?)
    Coal powered plants (US and Europe) are a 4-6 year permitting process required by the same people who don’t even want to put solar panels in the (unpopulated, wasteland) deserts where nothing but sand grows. And that sand is growing a lot of nothing a long way away from people. Today, at fall 2010, that BEGINS new construction of these hypothetical/mythical power plants 2016 – and allows the FIRST new plants to come on line in early 2020. Their curves are already dropping considerably that 2020 date!
    Nuclear maybe? Figure 10 year permitting process and 4-6 year construction process. And remember to build those enrichment plants FIRST – well before you need the new fuel for the power plants. Our existing sources of ex-Soviet nuclear bomb mateial are just about out, and new mines, new enrichment facilities, and new processing plants are forbidden. By these same zealots for CAGW.

  15. rbateman says:
    September 10, 2010 at 5:42 pm

    …. The plan to terraform Mars in the early 80′s got put on hold over possible indignant [?] life.
    That plan needs to be revisited. Some of our descendants may need to get off this planet, and if not, at least give the plants and microbes a chance.

    —…—…
    Won’t work. They will probably just end up bringing some liberals with that first wave that starts exploring Mars. Can we somehow “breed out” the liberal class from the reproductive group?

  16. Of course its all just conjecture.
    All just a waste of time and funding.
    Education, as a business model.
    But, we do, and continue to prove we are the best there is.

  17. Dan
    “Dear study authors:
    Please explain how your computer models show correlation between CO2 concentration and global temperature. Please refer to this document http://ff.org/centers/csspp/library/co2weekly/2005-08-18/dioxide.htm that clearly shows no correlation between CO2 and global temperature in the geologic past of this planet”
    I don’t recall any dinosaurs being resposible for digging up and burning the carbon sinks in a “geological second”. Or did I miss something?
    CO2 forces climate warming when CO2 leads warming. In natural cycles CO2 “follows” warming as a result of the natural warming.
    What is happening right now is not natural. It’s being forced. By US. So I would not expect to see anything like it in the geological record. That doesn’t negate the science at all.
    You are comparing apples with golf balls.

  18. Batteries, energy intensive to mine the ores neccessary, energy intensive to manufacture, energy intensive to charge, energy intensive to recycle. Now never mind the pollution, batteries as a motive energy source suck,massive weight for miniscule output. There is a reason the electric car never was able to compete. And as for the article, computer modelling again, so thats the science in this sciency press release?

  19. I agree 100% with the study’s authors. We need to take the billions wasted on things like ‘Global Ecology’ research and ‘Climate Change’ research and put it towards fusion research instead.

  20. Total Paul Ehrlich crap: We’re ALL gonna die!
    It assumes – as Ehrlich and Malthus did – that our human ingenuity will fail to come up with any improvements.
    Here is something I am certain will happen:
    1. The major increases in technology – heavy and light – will be in Asia.
    2. The vast majority of pollution increases will be in Asia.
    3. Since necessity is a mother – which usually leads to invention – it will be in Asia where the future improvements in handling the negatives of Asian increases in, well, the negatives that come with higher standards of living.
    4. The BRIC countries will predominate for the next century. They have or have the best access to raw materials, and THEY are focusing on producing GOODS with which to improve the lives of their people. So THEY will have the motivation to solve the problems that come up.
    5. WILL a warming globe be something they can’t deal with? Not in the slightest.
    6. Will their actions make OUR side of the globe warmer, to some degree we can’t handle? That is a two-part question. First, OUR side of the globe (the U.S.) hasn’t shown any real warming – certainly not something that has so far caused us any grief. No one is boiling, no cities inundated by rising sea levels – and most of the U.S. has shown little or no warming. And that is with China and India and Russia growing by leaps and bounds. If those grow at the same “leaps and bounds” for the next 90 years, my money is that whatever warming happens HERE will be able to be dealt with by advances made THERE to solve their problems (IF they actually happen).
    So, basically, it is Paul Ehrlich Redux: A hyper-ventilating alarmist or two tells us the sky is falling. Whoop dee freaking doo. There WILL be advances that completely overwhelm any problems that may arise, so this is all Much Ado About Nothing. We have been here before. Nothing to see here. Move along…

  21. In order to create a green market you have to retire every existing car, infrastructure, plant, appliances etc… this way you people instead of spending the cash you generate with your work on whatever you’d like, you will be forced into spending it on their items. Green slavery and no time to think: you have also to manage your smart meters…

  22. The idea that we need to start building the right stuff now is wrong, if it ever becomes clear that we need different technology to save the world the time to build it is after it has been invented, not before. Right now there are no real good alternatives to fossil fuels, except nuclear. If we rush to replace fossil fuels with inferior technology all we will be doing is spending money on technology that will have to be replaced by superior technology in the future. Far better to use what works now until something better comes along.

  23. Andy Revkin had a rather anomalous article recently, which wished to attribute every ‘weather event’ to man but knew it couldn’t, but well still, probabilities – er, no read Pielke passim – etc.
    Anyway, I said my piece and it seemed the discussion had become quite reasonable. But the more I looked, the more I noticed a certain meme. Who are the ‘Koch brothers’ ?- I’ve never heard of them but they seem a new way to beet us over the head with a water melon!
    My last comment to Andy Revkin was just that:
    Could someone please tell me who these nefarious Koch brothers are and how they have the supposed baleful influence? It’s such a funny idea, if it wasn’t dangerously sad, that some still believe in, again, a ‘Protocol’.

  24. I cannot believe that with all the information available nowadays these morons can’t pull there heads out of the sand far enough to see reality. I’m moving to Mars…….
    VY 73

  25. NeilT says:
    September 10, 2010 at 6:22 pm
    What is happening right now is not natural. It’s being forced. By US. So I would not expect to see anything like it in the geological record. That doesn’t negate the science at all.
    =======================================================
    Neil, what negates the science is the simple fact that we don’t know enough to know what it is or is not doing.
    If the ‘science’ did know, it would not have been a travesty.
    It would have been predicted and explained.
    You know that CO2 levels have been “forced” much higher in the past.
    What forced them? Do you know?
    When CO2 were much higher and levels fell, why did the fall? Do you know?

  26. Heads up – there is something horribly slow about trying to type comments into the Tips and Notes section. I’m not having the same problem typing this.
    Sorry this is completely OT but I’ve been following the Greenland ice island that broke off a glacier about 1 month ago and was reported here. Well it finally made it’s way into the Nares Strait and broke apart. Unfortunately the much sexier AQUA and TERRA images are obsured by cloud ATM so the ASAR will have to do. Enjoy!
    06 Sept 2010
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/images/MODIS/Kennedy/201009061557.ASAR.jpg
    09 Sept 2010
    http://ocean.dmi.dk/arctic/images/MODIS/Kennedy/201009091604.ASAR.jpg

  27. TomRude, you say
    In order to create a green market you have to retire every existing car, infrastructure, plant, appliances etc… this way you people instead of spending the cash you generate with your work on whatever you’d like, you will be forced into spending it on their items. Green slavery and no time to think: you have also to manage your smart meters…
    No, it’s more nefarious than that, more subtle. You see these people don’t want to give up there good life, either. Hence, they don’t want to destroy wealth creation for now, just put a slow tracheal squeeze on it, ‘for our children’. In fact, they are just nihilists but don’t have the murderous courage of their hero Lenin. All social-democratic organizations want to destroy by stealth what Lenin, explicitly stated, what should be destroyed, ‘bourgeois capitalism’ ie what we call civilization (in their world, don’t have a pair of glasses!). We should all read our history. But I think Lenin’s inheritors think we don’t. We do and, sometimes, better than they do.
    Btw, I’m just old enough to remember what Lubos Mutol (spic) knows as tyranny!

  28. Funny how they always ignore the other 770 or so Gigatonnes of CO2 emitted each year by other sources in the carbon cycle when drawing up such graphs.
    Stack the above figures on top of that base line and it doesn’t look quite as scary does it?

  29. The biggest mistake the Catastrophic AGW pushers made, was, underestimating the intelligence/data access of the masses.

  30. Lewis: September 10, 2010 at 6:59 pm
    To my last knowledge the Koch brothers from Kansas own one of U.S.’s largest privately owned corporation, energy based, heard years ago it’s bigger than the former GM, maybe even GE. You ought to look up some more recent info on Koch Industries, Inc. Have influence, you bet.

  31. I reject the entire article.
    By 2012/13 nobody will talk about Anthropogenic CO2 induced Global Warming anymore because the doctrine will be dead. Hopefully we will be able to prevent the intended power grab cloaked by the AGW scam.
    New technologies will emerge and hopefully free competing markets and free people will decide which technologies will prevail instead of power hungry politicians, gold diggers and scare crows.

  32. Step 1 – do not strand $100 trillion in energy generation investment because of a supercomputer output.
    Step 2 – replace all the energy-hog supercomputers with CFL lightbulbs (especially the climate model ones).
    Step 3 – retirement parties for those that programmed these supercomputers.
    Step 4 – a second and third round of retirement parties.
    Step 5 – free golf memberships for those previously involved in programming supercomputers.
    Step 6 – reschedule November UN climate meetings from Cancun to Iqaluit.
    Step 7 – do away with “Environmental Science” departments in all non-engineering university programs.
    Step 8 – redefine “green” to mean “wasteful and illogical” in Oxford’s Dictionary.
    Step 9 – Al Gore chairs UN climate meetings in his new permanent location in Iqaluit.
    Step 10 – Develop template for Steps 11 through 121.

  33. You can only replace the old when there is a ginning economy. Solar panels and windmills won’t cut it and they may even destroy the chance to ever replace.
    I see now we desperatly need something better, like thorium (LFTR) reactors, and right now to span the next hundred years until maybe fusion can become a reality (it is terribly expensive research and may never happen). Solar collectors to heat homes and water, the biggest domestic energy uses of them all, that’s a good item too, just glass and something black inside + vacuum. To run the the refrigerators and air conditioners however, we need electricity. Add electric cars, we need even more.
    Is anybody getting real yet? Not really. It’s the rampant corruption that may bring us all down, environmentalists and politicians leading the parade off the cliff.

  34. Wayne, I hate to go trolling around google – I’d rather take someones word for it – are they that influential, do they (I’m joking now) have a bug in my brain? Isn’t it just infantile argument, attributing influence and motive, without addressing issue? My best bet, is to support the whole socialist gangbang because I’m temporarily out of pocket and am taking money from the state!

  35. Lewis and Tom Rude.
    Lets just hope that one of these twisted idealists isn’t the guy that sits at our smart meter supply switch and decides to play God during the big freeze. Hmmmnn too many monkeys (humans) to feed out there, lets get rid of………………………..!!
    yeah, watch those smart meters!! Technology of master control!!

  36. The nations of the world have murdered millions of people to gain control of these very resources. The League of Nations was used as a pretext for doing this in the 1920’s as the IPCC is being used for that same purpose now. What’s a little fraud and intimidation? After all, it’s publish or perish. Seems to me the best way to publish is to warn of immanent climate disaster. What would you do.
    I think the world owes Anthony Watts and Steven McIntyre a debt of gratitude. Nonetheless the agenda continues, unabated buy facts like the geological record.

  37. Step 11. Send Michael Mann ( and the rest of that gang of global grifters) down to Antarctica (for ten years) where they can do some real climate research.

  38. Ugh. Another one of these graphs. Hansen’s ‘scenario A’ pops to mind. But hey, is there a graph that overlays their temperature scenarios on top of these? Or is it too ridiculous to show it in that light?

  39. And this is a scientist Joe Romm was defending, as a guy that SuperFreakanomic misquoted/lied about. Wonder what he will have to say about this.

  40. “But to avoid the worst impacts we need to get busy building the next generation of clean energy technologies”
    I am very happy with that as long as there is no carbon TAX.

  41. Lewis: September 10, 2010 at 7:21 pm
    Got you now, i misread your comment. Let me guess, Revkins readers were less than pleased ☺.

  42. All of this doom and gloom regardless of the fact that we are cooling. So, who is it who’s into denial now?
    With the PDO in its cooling phase and the Sun doing a Dalton Minimum 2.0, this cooling is going to last for decades and be cooler than a simple PDO cooling phase. Of course, the cooling deniers will say that any cooling is temporary and warming will eventually resume, big time. They have absolutely no basis for these predictions, but they KNOW they will, they have faith.
    Warming will resume in 30 years or so. Otherwise, to prove these clowns wrong, the planet would have to continue cooling, into the next really big ice age. That’s probably the only thing that would shut them up.
    The development of truly useful and affordable replacement energy will take time. It is wrong to force its development by government stimulus and green investments as this strategy consistently puts money in the wrong places, in their great lack of wisdom, and has the effect of slowing development.
    Free enterprise will do its job. To think that we will continue doing the same things we are today for the next 100 years is foolish as we never done this before—why would be start now? We love to progress and do things better and more efficiently. As the alternatives become affordable, they will be exploited; that’s a given. We need to have faith in ourselves.

  43. A priori logic, questionable assumptions, unreliable numeric models and uncertain hypothesize do not equate to science. They equate to propaganda. The results of studies such as this one are not worth a pinch of coon shit.

  44. So, how many volcanos have been included in this ridiculous scenario, sub-sea, or otherwise? Predicting carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere is a nonsense, and to anticipate a specific increase utilising a spurious anthropogenic computer model is nothing short of bigoted idiocy.

  45. NeilT,
    Neil, PLEASE READ!
    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/173/3992/138
    Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols: Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate
    S. I. Rasool 1 and S. H. Schneider 1 1
    Institute for Space Studies, Goddard Space Flight Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, New York 10025
    Effects on the global temperature of large increases in carbon dioxide and aerosol densities in the atmosphere of Earth have been computed. It is found that, although the addition of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere does increase the surface temperature, the rate of temperature increase diminishes with increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. For aerosols, however, the net effect of increase in density is to reduce the surface temperature of Earth. Because of the exponential dependence of the backscattering, the rate of temperature decrease is augmented with increasing aerosol content. An increase by only a factor of 4 in global aerosol background concentration may be sufficient to reduce the surface temperature by as much as 3.5 ° K. If sustained over a period of several years, such a temperature decrease over the whole globe is believed to be sufficient to trigger an ice age.
    http://www.pnas.org/content/101/17/6341.full
    Evidence has been accumulating for decades that volcanic eruptions can perturb climate and possibly affect it on long timescales…
    http://www.volcano.si.edu/world/find_eruptions.cfm
    Type in the years around Pinatubo (1991) up to the present and tell me if you think the VEI volume has increased or not? Good place to start is 1980 or before.
    I think we have had enough volcanic forcing to perturb climate for about a little over a decade now. I just pray that the numerous big boys that are percolating presently don’t cause a very real catastrophic cooling disaster in the near future.
    Another good read…
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timetable_of_major_worldwide_volcanic_eruptions
    You appear pretty stubborn, but maybe someone will benefit from my time.

  46. Interesting study.
    Hmmm … how to describe it … try delusional.
    Just look at that supplementary graph with China’s CO2 emissions held steady for twenty years before decreasing. This is the planner’s delusion … give us the power to control things and here’s the rosy future we have in mind for you. China’s CO2 emissions will keep on increasing as they continue their rush to develop. In a generation they may reach a state of affluence sufficient to cause their population to press for environmental improvements by reducing not CO2 but the soot and smog they’ll be confronting. To a lesser degree this will also be happening in other developing countries (India and Brazil come to mind).

  47. Excerpt from: TomRude on September 10, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    …you have also to manage your smart meters…

    Ha! In Green Amerika the smart meters manage you!

  48. Here in resource-rich Oz, it’s frustrating to observe the pointless increase of energy costs and the petty restraints on CO2 emissions due to loopy green policymaking…
    …then to observe the massive emissions of CO2 (and particulates) from murderous “hot” burns in our bushland, due to – you guessed it! – loopy green policymaking.
    Greens are the true “mindless conservatives” of our era: brutal, inflexible, and consistently wrong about everything.

  49. Amount of CO2 in the atmosphere in comparison with the water vapour is negligible and it effect can be no more than negligible.
    To paraphrase:
    Never in the field of human scientific endeavour so many were misled (not to say deceived) by so few with so little.

  50. Not another grant grabbing alarmist claim. I suppose these scientists use IPCC levels of residence time for CO2 which have been shown to exaggerate by some hundred times the true level. With atmospheric CO2 levels being low, for plants, at the moment we need more to help feed the worlds people.

  51. Things are not as bad as we thought. So, to maintain the status quo, we must make changes so things will be worse than we thought.

  52. We already have quite a lot of energy efficient sources of locomotion at the beck and call of any who believe it to be vital. Sadly, I don’t see the warmers of this world either using it or advocating it. If Al Gore were to move around on his legs, a bicycle or an ass; if he refused to use any foreign artifact that was not imported on a sailing ship, if he were to sit in the dark of an evening without benefit of candle; if he were to limit his pronouncements to the manually written word or his own electrically unenhanced voice; if he refused to eat anything that was not raw, pickled or salted, if he shunned all income that flowed in part from carbon dioxide producing processes; then many of us would continue to question his beliefs, but we would admire him as a man.

  53. rbateman says:
    September 10, 2010 at 5:42 pm
    The plan to terraform Mars in the early 80′s got put on hold over possible indigineous life.
    That plan needs to be revisited. Some of our descendants may need to get off this planet, and if not, at least give the plants and microbes a chance.

    Consider Ray Bradbury’s “The Illustrated Man”. There is a short story in it called “The Other Foot” that is somehow relevant to your idea.

  54. Lewis says:
    September 10, 2010 at 6:59 pm
    “…Who are the ‘Koch brothers’ ?- I’ve never heard of them but they seem a new way to beet us over the head with a water melon!…”
    Here you go Lewis, this is a good read:-
    “…Kochs are “at the epicenter of the anti-Obama movement. But it’s not just about Obama. They would have done the same to Hillary Clinton. They did the same with Bill Clinton. They are out to destroy progressivism…”
    Newyorker article here:-
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/30/100830fa_fact_mayer?currentPage=2

  55. Andrew30 says:
    September 10, 2010 at 5:56 pm
    The nation actually has a massive mobile battery recharging infrastructure.
    Alternators, one in every car.
    Unfortunately claw pole alternators as commonly used in vehicles are very inefficient. Further more standard car batteries are not designed for frequent charge/discharge cycling. I know some of the latest vehicles have “smart” alternators, which boost output during braking to recycle otherwise wasted energy, but if you start making more use of features like this the batteries will need to be changed to deep cycle types, which are less suitable for engine starting. They would have to be larger (and heavier) to cope. And then you will have much greater variation in available voltage than is normal with conventional fixed regulators.
    Many new cars have engine stop/start features for city driving. This will further stress the electrical system, and I have yet to find out how such vehicles keep the occupants warm or cool, when the engine isn’t running. In congested cities this could be a substantial part of the time. Webasto type heaters would be a possibility for winter time, but there is no way you can run an aircon compressor on battery power…

  56. Nature produces 96.73% of all CO2 emissions, man only 3.27%. This is the Carbon Cycle.
    If you dial in the effects of CH4, N2O, H2O and CFCs, nature produces 99.72% of the greenhouse gas effect, man 0.28%.
    If man ceased to exist, the gge reduction would only be 1 part in 356.
    The IPCC is truly living in another world.

  57. “Study: worst climate threat machines still to be built”

    This press release ignores clean energy technology yet to be invented and efficiencies and discoveries yet to be made. Had we listened to the brightest alarmist minds of 1900 we would be panicked about horse manure in the streets of London in 2000. :o) How many people in 1800 forsaw photovoltaic cells, nuclear power stations, aeroplanes, Apollo 11 landing on the moon, nuclear fusion research, home computers, air-conditioners, etc. Left alone we will create things unthought of today and man’s co2 output is not a problem to solve.

  58. I think most people think people don’t control the climate.
    If the people are not too poor to invest, the best machines are still to be built.
    If we are too poor to invest, yes, the worst machines are still to be built or kept operating till they die, then us.

  59. For CO2 emissions to trend monotonically down to zero by 2045 will require a tyrannical world government starting today.
    Not too likely (I hope).

  60. Dr. Dave says: “We have a gas station infrastructure but not a battery recharging infrastructure,” he says. “This makes it easier to sell new gasoline powered cars than new electric cars.”
    Here all this time I was laboring under the delusion that the reason was that gasoline powered cars actually work and are practical and affordable whereas electric cars don’t and aren’t.

    It’s actually a bit of both. We could charge e-cars overnight in our garages with modest impact for a daily 20-30 mile commute to work. Night time demand is way below available supply and power delivery infrastructure. (Your stove / oven can suck down 50 Amps at 240 Vac pretty easy, more than enough to charge a car, so just not plugging in while cooking dinner lets your present infrastructure do the deed).
    Where it ‘falls apart’ is that this will result in MASSIVE increases in coal and natural gas burned. The nukes run full time, the coal takes long cycle modulation (like, day / night cycles) and the natural gas turbines pick up the rest.
    So until nuclear plants are built in large quantity, added e-cars will simply result in a lot more coal and natural gas burned. (Solar and wind are nearly none of the energy mix at present, and will stay so for a decade or two even with gigantic percentage increases. The lead times to build the factories to make the parts to make the devices assures that…)
    The other major problem is range. To make a run from SFO to LAX will be ONE nice large tank of gas, or it will be 3 to 4 recharge cycles for an e-car. So exactly where along I-5 are folks willing to sit for 2 hours at a time (assuming a stellar improvement in recharge times) for a total of 6 to 8 hours during that 7 hour ‘drive time’ trip? And will folks really want to double their ‘road time’ and add a stay at a hotel (and meals) to that trip?
    RACookPE1978 says: First, their premise is dead wrong.
    Then they compound it by somehow NOT including the time frames to “build” a replacement power plant.

    BINGO! Lead Time, Lead Time, Lead Time. I once got to buy a 750 kVA transformer. There was ONE available for the west coast of the USA. They were built in ONE facility, to order, with a ‘couple of years’ lead time. Now suddenly quadruple their demand and how long does it take to build the machine tools to make a new build location to make more of those transformers?
    Now multiply that by the dozens of specialized low volume parts used in large power plants. Be lucky to get the lead time down to 15 years if you started right now with a massive project.
    RACookPE1978 says: Can we somehow “breed out” the liberal class from the reproductive group?
    Well, it’s a bit complex, but is already happening. Folks who have a disposition to conservative religion end up in religions that promote a load of kids ( Catholics and Muslims come to mind, though there are others like Mormons too). While “liberal” ideals promote the notion of having few / no children. Those who are attracted to the liberal agenda tend to produce few children “for the planet”.
    While it will take a while (maximum response comes in about 10 generations of strong selection for a trait, and at 30 years / gen that’s 300 years. Given a ‘start date’ for socialism of about 1900 A.D. in any significant degree, we have until 2200 A.D. to see the results.) But the effect is real and it is happening. It’s one of the more interesting aspects of economic demographics.
    To counter this effect, such ideologies need a constant and strong recruitment process. Otherwise they tend to expire. Rather like several celibate communes over the years that have tended to expire with their members. (It’s a long list…)
    One of the things I find most funny about it is that the same folks who panic over Malthus and shout about doom! based on exponential population growth, are most prone to removing themselves from the gene pool via celibacy or via low child count, thus increasing the percentage of the population who are of the “baby a year plan” groups; and promoting the very thing they fear (on a population dynamics basis).
    One other minor point: The 17 year lifetime for cars. Note that Diesel trains, airplanes, and ships are even longer lifetimes. To have an impact in less than 20 years we would need to be replacing all that “fleet” early. It is the need to pass through “fleet change” that is lethal to the idea of an electric or hydrogen transportation infrastructure any time soon. To replace that fleet, we would need to be building them NOW, and we are not in any significant numbers. So, lets say it takes “only” a decade to get the production up. That’s 17 + 10 = 27 years MINIMUM to replace the fastest turnover part of the fleet. And the $Trillions it would take is even worse.
    So the notion that we are going to change the fuel we use is just nutty.
    The only sane plan is to keep the fuel type the same (it works fine) and get it from other sources. Make gasoline, Diesel, kerosene, etc. from things like coal, natural gas, trees and trash. (We can do this already, and it is being done near LAX. No R&D needed, just start building the plants). But that solution is “off the table” as far as the “warmers” are concerned.
    Just like the top down driven push to use MTBE failed catastrophically, so too will a top down e-car push fail.
    Eventually we’ll end up with plug-in hybrid electric cars (as they let you use gas to get to LA without sitting at charging stations for 8 hours, getting a hotel, and buying 3 meals for everyone in the car…) and using our coal and trash to make gasoline and Diesel. But I think it’s going to take a decade or so and a further economic collapse (yes, more from here) before folks “get it”.
    Until then, we’ll be buying our gas and Diesel from Saudi and increasingly from Mexico and Brazil. But at least the U.S. Government is providing money to them to drill for more oil:
    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2010/09/12/obama-funds-pemex-not-american-oil/

  61. We could charge e-cars overnight in our garages

    Assuming one has a garage, or access to an exterior plug. I’m 48, and bought my first home with a garage only 8 years ago.
    Someone would need to come up with a system for the vast majority of apartment dwellers to be able to charge their cars (assuming they don’t have adequate access to mass transit instead of driving). Apartment complex owners certainly aren’t going to pay for something like that. Employers might, but only for very large companies, I would think.

  62. Dear moderators, this seemingly disappeared when I posted it, so I thought the spam filter got it, but it has yet to be rescued so I will assume it was somehow lost.
    Re: Jeff Alberts on September 12, 2010 at 3:47 pm
    You got it. They make electric cars good for short commutes in a city. Where do you plug in when you park on the street? Also dedicated outlets outside your residence will be a nightmare, besides with things like New York City’s “alternate side of the street” parking plans. Will they reserve open parking spaces all day in case the driver needs it?
    At least it’s easier to answer as to who will pay for the additional infrastructure. You and me, pal, from our taxes and for “the public good.”

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