What's the best way promote reducing CO2 causing combustion?

Why, start a fire, of course! Surely, only lunatics would use fire as a tool to promote the idea of reducing combustion to bring CO2 levels down to 350ppm. And yet, here we have it. From earth350.org where they write:

Australia Ignites For Climate Action…

If you haven’t yet seen the incredible photos out of Australia for 350 EARTH, you’re missing out.

First up is this gorgeous aerial, with the snaking highway behind it:

The design–which incorporates a windmill as a sign of clean energy alternatives–was made by Keith Chidzey.

The next photo is of a similar design, engulfed in flames.

The piece, which was photographed by acclaimed photographer Peter Solness, was designed to call attention to the issues of drought and wildfire in Australia.

While prolonged drought and bushfires a continuing crises in Australia, the problems (and their solutions) have never before been depicted so evocatively.  Enormous thanks to Keith, Peter, and everyone else who helped create this beautiful piece.


Umm, the drought is over in Australia in case you 350.org folks haven’t noticed.

And I can’t help noticing how the second photo from above, doesn’t look that much different than this one:


Above: The "Burning Man" event in Nevada. Image: Wikimedia

I suppose it makes some sort of sense, as both events do tend to attract the same sort of firebugs filthy eco hippies artists people.

From the Wikipedia entry they say that for the 2010 event,  “BLM issues 293 citations and 8 arrests.” BLM is the Bureau of Land Management.

I wonder if the earth350.org kooks got burn permits? I wonder if they restored the land to its previous state before torching it?

h/t to Ecotretas


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Ridiculae, for sure.

R. de Haan

They’re idiots all right.

Look at the fires throughout the world, every day … And see where they all aare for the most part. Satellites know … Fire Mapper — http://firefly.geog.umd.edu/firemap/
Most of the fire are agricultural or land clearing operations in thrid world countries. Charcoal production figure big in the totals. I wonder why no one tracks this destruction daily.


“Surely, only lunatics would use fire as a tool to promote the idea of reducing combustion to bring CO2 levels down to 350ppm.”
I wouldn’t trust those brainiacs with a rollerskate key. Things would undoubtedly go south in ways I could never imagine if they ever got their hands on one.


Lewis and Clark reported acres and acres of NATURALLY-BURNING coal fields in North Dakota when they paddled by going upstream in 1803.
Over one hundred years later, those same underground NATURAL fires are still burning in the shallow coal fields underneath South Dakota, North Dakota, Montana. More fires are burning in China. Tundra fires have smoldered for hundreds of years in Siberia.
And all of that energy is wasted.
(There are an admitted number of human-incurred underground fires – primarily in abandoned mines and other near-surface coal layers that were started by trash fires and surface forest fires. But none compare to those natural fires above.)
We are made guilty by the forest fires, by brush fires, and by “so-called clear-cutting. But every kilogram of carbon in forests and brush worldwide has grown back AFTER fires that had previously cleared every acre of forested land. Further, every dead tree now “decaying naturally” emits the same mass of CO2 (just a bit slower) that burning emits. Forest fires are a natural requirement of forests.
We should never “encourage” them nor ignore them. But the enviro’s pretty campaigns best serve the enviro’s only (as usual) and seldom address the real problems. But they do make their enviro sponsors feel better.


tarpon says:
December 1, 2010 at 4:19 pm
Allow the poor economical energy worldwide, and the poor you decry for making charcoal would only need it for their hamburgers. On football weekends.
But, until then, are you going to deny them permission to burn wood also? Are you going to kill them with your policies?

I’m switching from electrical heating to a wood fire this winter because electricity is now too expensive.

John S.

Well, at least they didn’t explode skeptical children.

I wonder if they restored the land to its previous state AFTER torching it?


It gets better: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/energy-smart/sydney-to-go-it-alone-as-power-producer-20101201-18gr8.html
The Lord Mayor Goofball of Sydney, Clover Moore, has decided that she will fight those noxious, carbon emitting coal-fired power stations with natural gas burning power stations.

racookpe1978 says:
“And all of that energy is wasted.”
Naaah – it’s helping to keep us warm. And, incidentally, preventing the next Ice Age.

Douglas DC

The poor need development for better efficiency,cleaner environment, and proeper use of resources, if it take a village Nuke reactor so be it, but the holier than thou watermelons, who go to bed at night fearing healthy, happy, prosperous, dark skinned people are at the helm of NGO’s like 350, 1010, etc.
Hanging all the kelptocrats would be a good start…

In Australia no one is ever keen to declare the end of a drought, especially if drought status is linked with farm subsidies. But wow the story down under is the most marvellous La Nina (IOD) wet. North (Darwin), East and South-East it has been a remarkably wet spring and also fairly cool…just read the stories http://www.weatherzone.com.au/news/


Some of the groups hyping 350 initially made the mistake of holding rallies and other types of events which would only look remotely impressive if you had lots of people involved. The slide shows on The Guardian website for a couple of years therefore included an awful lot of carefully cropped pictures of about a dozen people sadly huddling together in each location .
One of the rare wide shots one year was in, I think, a Scandinavian city square. True it had dozens, if not a hundred or more, people in the picture, but closer inspection revealed that most of them were passers-by wondering what the hell was going on.
Sensibly, more of these groups now restrict themselves to gestures which can, as in this case, produce a superficially impressive picture without blowing the gaff that they have virtually no supporters.


Did they have to perform an environmental impact study?
Just like the Hollywood types that tell us CO2 is bad, and then go film a movie with fires and explosions, cars being driven into lakes and so on.

Keith Bates

In this allegedly drought-ravaged part of the world, we are currently enjoying above average rainfall and below-average temperatures. Farmers are facing destruction of crops due to too much rain.
Australia has always been a land of droughts and flooding rains. They come in cycles.

How much desert life was killed by this?

Ron Cram

Neil’s comment raises a question for me… seriously. I know natural gas is clean burning, but clean coal is supposed to be clean also. Is natural gas cleaner than clean coal? Seriously. I don’t know. Obviously, both will result in atmospheric CO2, but that isn’t really the question. I am wondering about real pollutants. Does anyone have any numbers?

Roy Martin

Just to emphasize the natural variability of the climate in the Broken Hill area (NSW, Australia) where they lit the fires, have a look at this ‘dry arid’ area right now:-

Neil says:
December 1, 2010 at 4:44 pm
Uh, not so fast – they don’t seem to be advocating pie in the sky solar or wind solutions built from unobtanium here – the plan appears to be to move towards a more decentralized approach, based upon natural gas, so it may not be totally bonkers.
Over-centralization and reliance on single point of failure generation and distribution schemes is one of the major issues not usually discussed with regards to power infrastructure 1.0 (and the modernization of same). Smaller, more distributed generation capabilities would likely be an improvement. Instead of wide swaths of an area losing power during an outage period, it would be more localized. Plus, ‘gas’ can be obtained from other sources than pumping naturally occurring pockets deep underground, plus if burns without many of the really noxious by-products involved with coal, which require extensive and expensive solutions to reduce to tolerable levels.
This one bears a bit of watching, instead of reflexive rock throwing.

Frank K.

Yeah…next thing you know, these eco-nuts will show us how to reduce our consumption by…I don’t know… having wild PARTIES in CANCUN, Mexico, or something……..Oh wait…


I’d like to recommend we start a global event where we all buy 5kgs of coal and burn it in order to bring attention to CO2 release.

John from CA

350 is 10 degrees shy, maybe if they put 350 and 10:10 together. Nah, they’d just blow something up, set it on fire, or drop it from a plane.
Peter Spencer must be pleased.


Afraid my first thought, seeing picture #2, was not of the Burning Man, but of a much older custom. However, on inspection, I see nobody wearing sheets.


Neil – actually, natural gas is considerably cleaner burning than coal, while the CO2 factor is pretty much a wash it emits a whole lot less of all the other nasty stuff.
A power plant that burns gas is also much easier to maintain, the plant engineers love it – it comes in through a pipe, it goes into the firebox and it burns. No pulverizers, no conveyor belts, no trucks, no train cars, no bits of mine debris screwing up the works.
The only problem from the Oz perspective is they’ve got lots of coal and bugger-all natural gas, so far as I know, so it’d all have to be imported. Maybe I’m wrong.


We are struggling with bush fires in Western Australia at the moment… we had a very warm November, but December is off to a cool start. Currently there is a blaze to the south of Perth causing issues:
The travesty is that many of these bush fires are started by arsonists.
It should be noted however that the DEC (Department of Environment and Conservation) actually performs prescribed burns on a regular basis to reduce fuel loads in the Jarrah State Forest to the east and southeast of Perth. That way we have light burns from which the vegetation recovers quickly as opposed to uncontrolled heavy burns if loads build up too much… very sensible policy IMO. When you over-preserve the bush and fuel loads build up, the subsequent heavy burns decimate the area for years. Recovery is retarded under those circumstances.
There is some very interesting research on smoke germination BTW. A very tiny proportion (we are talking parts per billion) of chemicals in smoke drastically improve germination of many Australian species. Look up “karrikinolides” and have fun reading. Ironically it is because of research sponsored by companies mining the State Forest that we know as much as we do about such things as karrikinolildes and phytophotera (dieback). Without the mining companies presence there would only be a fraction of the research funding and corresponding understanding of our environment.

racookpe1978 says: …
All what follows is restricted by the IMF, which would rather give money to these country’s dictators than help the poor in these thrid world countries.
If the eco-nuts would allow these poor countries to build coal fired power plants, they wouldn’t need charcoal, clear cutting and forest destruction to stay alive. The farm techniques are some of the most destructive you can use. I don’t deny the poor doing what it takes. Just the fact that no one seems to care what is happening to the rest of the world. Like clear cutting the rain forest to grow palm oil trees for oil substitution
If these very same eco-nuts would allow nuclear power plants, we would all be better off.
And while we are at it, why not allow them to build DDT factories. Malaria has killed over 40 million African children under five in the decaes it was banned for a hoax.
There is lots of good that can be done, by simply allowing poor countries to use modern technology, like electricity. Not rationing of energy for developed countries.


It is an example of how to look really stupid.


Calm down a little folks as we don’t know what they were burning. In the ‘natural’ cycle burning a tree releases CO2 into the atmosphere which is then taken up in the growing of other trees. It’s supposed to be the burning of long locked away carbon in coal and oil that is the problem.
If they used recycled paper/wood it wouldn’t matter. If they used plastic material or such it would.

Rod Grant

JEM says:
December 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm
JEM, we do have lots of gas (We sell it as LPG, LNG…) We use some and ship the rest to Asia. I don’t know what the price of the exported stuff is, but I remember that when the exports started the price was a lot lower (by ship) than the domestic use price (piped)


Its probably just me.. but the second photo spells SEX.
(I’ll get me coat)

Christopher Hanley

‘…the drought is over in Australia…’
The extended drought, which was cited as the most potent indication of CAGW and which was predicted by alarmists to continue indefinitely (because that would cause the most widespread alarm and despondency) is most certainly over (except for the SW).
To appreciate just how ‘over’ it is, click through the anomalies (1961-1990) menu:

John Graham

JEM says:
December 1, 2010 at 6:22 pm
Actually Aus has large amounts of natural gas in Bass Strait and the north of Western Aus. It also has large amounts of coal seam gas in Qld and northern NSW. Not much about Sydney or the east coast.


If the fire created some charcoal, it did sequester some carbon. It can take quite a while for charcoal to break down, and it’s likely to break down into black soil rather than all going to the atmosphere.

Personally, what I found odd with the Australian art, compared to the other 350.org art; was it was the only one which actually went out of its way to physically ‘imprint’ its message on the actual land – using earth movers none the less. I would have thought pilling up stones would have been more in keeping (although a very real risk of finding something that would give you nasty bite doing that).
I had an email exchange with the artist concerned, the art was done on ‘degraded’ bush land, and the surrounding area has been seeded to regenerate – so it will eventually disappear. Although given the recent rains there is good chance its already gone.
What was interesting is that his response was cc’ed in with the ceo of 350.org and some collector/art friends – none of them (the artist included) challenged what I said regarding Indonesia and the degradation occurring there in the name of fighting climate change through supposed Co2 reduction.


Regarding distributed gas fired generation search on “blugen”. I’ve nothing to do with the company but I’ve looked at the product and it seems sound, unlike a lot of these things.
Regarding Australia’s weather patterns remember we’re the same size as the cont 48. WA is still desperately short of rainfall, but the Brisbane river was up 6 m (20 ft) down the road from my place for a week while they dumped excess water from the dams recently (after they were only 20% not long ago). Rumour is another dump sooner rather than later. It’s raining more days than not this summer.
Regarding controlled burns I was fighting fires in 93 in sydney. We lost all the outlying buildings and 4 cars at work and 7 houses at the bottom of my street. Firestorms are scary and regular burns do no harm to the enviroment, certainly not as much as the intense firestorms did. Took many years to recover and a lot of nutrients were lost.
It never ceases to amaze me that greenies, most of whom live in the inner city, not only feel they have a right to dictate to country people how they should live but view it as an obligation. It never seems to occur to them that people who go out of their way to live close to nature didn’t do it to lay waste to everything around them, and that all our decades of observation might have yielded a valid view of conservation different from theirs.
The key to understanding of course is that enviromentalism isn’t about saving the enviroment, that’s the excuse. They are really about self gratification. Sigh.

Patrick Davis

See? I told you, Australia is no longer teh lucky country, it’s no too full of idiots.

Roy Martin

At leest we no how to spal proper like.


BTW if you want to see exactly what we face in Australia – see The Rise of the Green Left: Inside the Worldwide Ecosocialist Movement and their yahoo group .

Graham Dick

“the drought is over in Australia”
Yes indeed. They come and they go. As Dorothea MacKellar famously penned about 1904, ours is a land of “droughts and flooding rains” (though the first bit is hushed up in alarmist circles these days!). Lovely poem, it is, about a wonderful country.
Here’s another epic that says it all: “Said Hanrahan” by John O’Brien composed in 1921. It’s a great read too.
Droughts? Here’s our mighty Murray River in their time.
And to-day? Look at our “arid outback”!


It takes all kinds to burn a man. Not everyone at that event is a “filthy eco hippie” though they have tamed it down from back in the days of the drive-by shooting range where you could shoot targets from your car window as you drive by.
Hippies tend not to build stuff like this and live to tell about it:

Layne Blanchard

We could do our own demonstration…. that is, if we cared.
Maybe a Giant “GORE LIED” or “WUWT RULES” or “CLIMATEGATE” visible from space.

Rational Debate

Totally aside from every other aspect, I have to say that Burning Man image is spectacular!
& heck if I know why, but it automatically made me think of the really moving 2004 movie, Man on Fire, starring Denzel Washinton.

Brian H

A counter-org would be nice: 530.org! 530 ppm by 2050! To help all the nice crops and conifers! Warming is good for you! Subsidize CO2! Coal is King, Wind Blows! Oil Excels, Solar Sucks!
It’ll be lotsa fun. 😀

Geoff Sherrington

This is old hat. Commercial airliners from Perth to Adelaide reach the Bight about the Archipeligo of the Recherche. Just before there, in the early 1980s, a farmer had scraped some letters with a bulldozer. Can’t recall what the word was, could be wrong, but have a memory of “SHELL”.

James Bull

The Aboriginal people of Aus used to set fire to the leaf litter to keep the ground clear for hunting and some of the gum trees can only shed seed after fires. So fire has been a part of the environment for longer than we’ve been building houses in the woods. In LA they planted gum and pine trees around the houses built on the Hollywood hills both of which are very resinous and drop lots of leaf litter just what you need around your house.

Rational Debate

re post by; Ron Cram says: December 1, 2010 at 5:36 pm

Neil’s comment raises a question for me… seriously. I know natural gas is clean burning, but clean coal is supposed to be clean also. Is natural gas cleaner than clean coal? Seriously. I don’t know. Obviously, both will result in atmospheric CO2, but that isn’t really the question. I am wondering about real pollutants. Does anyone have any numbers?

Ron, ‘clean coal’ doesn’t exist yet. At this point, or at least as of very very recently, it was still theoretical or at least nowhere near commercial yet. Now, don’t get me wrong – in 1st world nations (or at least the USA, but I think pretty much all of them) years ago all sorts of things were changed or added to coal fired plants that did a tremendous job of reducing the gaseous and particulate releases – using low sulfur coal, scrubbers, etc.
These sorts of things aren’t what is meant by ‘clean coal,’ however, which refers primarily (completely?) to methods to capture and sequester coal plant CO2 emissions.

Geoff Sherrington

JC says:
December 1, 2010 at 7:20 pm
Its probably just me.. but the second photo spells SEX.
There was an ink blot psychologist here who showed a pateient a randon series of blots. The patient replied that each one was about SEX. The shrink accused the patient of being obsessed and needinmg help. The patient angrily replied, “Not me, mate. It’s you. You are the who keeps drawing the dirty pictures”.

Rational Debate

re post by; Wind Rider says: December 1, 2010 at 5:38 pm

–clipped–….Over-centralization and reliance on single point of failure generation and distribution schemes is one of the major issues not usually discussed with regards to power infrastructure 1.0 (and the modernization of same). Smaller, more distributed generation capabilities would likely be an improvement. Instead of wide swaths of an area losing power during an outage period, it would be more localized.

Wind Rider, I don’t know about other nations, although I’d suspect it’s similar, but in the US widespread power outages aren’t because of generation single point failure or distribution schemes. The problem is one of unbalanced power loads. When you have one area go down (often a blown transformer or something like that), you can wind up with either too much or too little load on other parts of the distribution grid. When that happens, areas shut down automatically to prevent further damage to the system. If you get an overload in particular, and shutdowns don’t occur as they should or a smidge too slowly, you wind up blowing out other transformers or equipment and get a cascading failure.
Going with smaller, disconnected systems as you mention would probably wind up being worse, not better. Why? Because sure, then you avoid the rare cascade failures, but the entire area goes down goes down instead. With a larger grid, you have many different sources online, and many different pathways the electricity can follow – so you get a lot fewer failures and they’re typically limited to much smaller areas also. If a plant goes down or comes off grid unexpectedly – or for planned maintenance, a large grid can absorb the change and make up for the difference. Because you’ve got a grid, electricity can probably be routed into many areas that would otherwise be without power – often times people haven’t got a clue that a plant went down or a transformer blew, because the grid can distribute and make up the load from other sources.
The smaller your grid, the less it will be able to absorb over or under loading – and the more likely the whole thing blows or shuts itself down to keep from equipment damage. Also, the more likely you have to provide far more total generation capacity – back up in case a plant goes down. Large grid, and other plants can take up the load if needed, so you don’t have to maintain nearly as much redundant backup producing ability (e.g., fewer plants can safely cover more people). Electricity isn’t directional down the wires – it goes whichever way it is drawn, so balancing the load is the key.
This means effectively the bigger and more interconnected the grid the better, safer, cheaper, and more reliable the entire system is – provided of course that fail safes are put in to allow quick shutdown/disconnect from troubled areas – which is how modern systems are designed.