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zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
29 Sep 06 9:54
Recently I was talking to a group of engineers in Indonesia and someone said "we can't do that because, unlike the U.S., we have obligations to protect the environment".

That rocked me, and I asked what the heck he was talking about (we were in Jakarta and the air is so nasty that you can't see the next sky scraper).  His response was that since the U.S. didn't sign the Kyoto protocols we must just be raping and pillaging the environment.

A Canadian collegue pointed out that the U.S. has been a leader in controlling air emissions for decades and that our air-quality restrictions are far more stringent than the Indonesian restrictions.  This shocked the Indonesians.

What I'm wondering is how the international media has gotten to the point where its agenda is just taken on faith with no regard to facts?

Schipperus (Mechanical)
29 Sep 06 9:58
What I've always understood from the Dutch media is this:

The USA have not signed the Kyoto-agreement. This because the USA doesn't want their economy to be slowed down by environmental issues. They still work on it, mostly taking the  technical way, cleaning the used sources as much as possible. While other countries have statistics of the past and numbers to work to, the USA just has a 'best efford' policy.

electricpete (Electrical)
29 Sep 06 10:30
You might want to gather a few more facts before you close the book on your open-and-shut case that US is a global leader in controlling air emissions.

Which country has the highest CO2 emissions?  I'm pretty sure that would be the US by far.

How about highest CO2 emissions per Capita?  I'm not sure about that but I'm guessing US is right up there.

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Helpful Member!  corus (Mechanical)
29 Sep 06 10:35
International media obtained its information from GW Bush. He has made it perfectly clear where he stands and the reasons for it. In the UK it is reported that some states have gone it alone as to following the Kyoto agreement, but in general it is not USA policy.


epoisses (Chemical)
29 Sep 06 10:46
electricpete, I think you are correct -

Nevertheless I think the hypocrisy is on the Indonesian side in the above example, since
1. given the nasty air, Indonesia apparently has bigger fish (e.g. SO2) to catch than CO2
2. I wonder how a developing country like Indonesia can commit to reducing their greenhouse gases or emission trading and keep a straight face while their economy is skyrocketing.

see also...

Emission trading... with whom?
0707 (Petroleum)
29 Sep 06 11:00
Kyoto protocol was ratified by most of the countries with the exception of US and Australia.
Between the non-signer nations are Angola Afghanistan Turkey Taiwan Vatican city and other nations.
Kyoto protocol indications are being followed by most of the European countries. Like all political agreements Kyoto protocol is a badly lesser one.
Kyoto protocol is a good intention process to give money to non-developed countries so that the developed ones can by licences to pollute.  
Helpful Member!(5)  zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
29 Sep 06 11:38
I really didn't mean for this to become a U.S. bashing thread, but should have expected it.  The statistics are pretty consistent with the U.S. at around 24% of the world's CO2 emissions.  China is the next largest about 12%, but they are climbing rapidly.  None of the major signatory nations are doing all that well at maintaining emissions levels let alone reducing them.

Take a look at

Interesting that in the North America data the U.S. is flat since 1999 and Canada (a signatory) has increased from 117% of 1990 data to 126% in the period from 1999 to 2004.

Electricpete, the statistics that I've looked at this morning support the idea that any other country with the real per capita wealth that the U.S. enjoys would put a lot more junk into the air than the U.S. does.  We've had real limits on industrial emissions since the 1970's and this has been the driving force for many technologies that make a real difference to the total emissions across the world.

Helpful Member!(4)  SomeYahoo (Military)
29 Sep 06 12:03
My opinion: CO2 emissions per dollar of GDP is a far better measure.  See this link for some data:

In 2002 (most recent data availabe on the site):
Metric tons of CO2 per million year 1995 US dollars
China: 3135.4
India: 2135.0
US: 626.1

We pollute more because we make more.
electricpete (Electrical)
29 Sep 06 12:24
I agree with your comments zdas.  My point was it's not black and white.... there are two sides.

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toiap (Electrical)
29 Sep 06 12:49
Someyahoo - excellent point.  I felt this would be the case but did not want to state it unless I had the numbers to back it up.
Helpful Member!  moltenmetal (Chemical)
29 Sep 06 13:53
The vast majority of Canada's increases are due to vastly increased tarsands-based exports to, you guessed it, the United States.  To put it in SomeYahoo's parlance, "We (Canada) make more because WE (Canada AND the US) consume more!"

This prattling proves nothing other than that this is a global problem in need of a global solution.  Don't think Kyoto fits the bill?  What ELSE do you have to offer?  I'd prefer a flawed system of wealth transfers to the "do whatever you feel like" approach advocated by most people who dislike Kyoto.

Personally, I think a sliding scale carbon tax is a far better solution- the only way to reduce emissions is to hit consumers squarely in the pocketbook.  People conserve what they can't afford, and waste what they see as cheap!  China and India and other developing nations won't play along?  No problem- simply slap a tax on the products (and services) they want to export to your country, based on their energy inputs. Adjust the tax based on their energy input per unit export $$$ if you can't find a more accurate measure.  That would provide a little bit of motivation I'd imagine!
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
29 Sep 06 16:36
I saw that data in my search this morning, but I didn't (and still don't) understand why emissions per $ GDP is an important measure.  I'm just not seeing it.

Just because I agree with my government in thinking that Koyoto is a bad set of compromises that has approximately the same number of loopholes as any UN project doesn't mean that I (or my government for that matter) believes that doing nothing is a good answer.  We've discussed this in many threads many times and that really wasn't my reason for starting this thread.  My question is about the perception in various countries of the U.S. attitude toward the environment and how the media is spinning it.  I didn't mean to start a "U.S. is a bunch of dirty @#^#%@# that is just crapping on the planet" discussion.  I meant to start a "Stinking press has their own agenda discussion".  I guess the press has just been too successful at creating a world-wide attitude.

ajack1 (Automotive)
29 Sep 06 17:39
The USA is certainly portrayed in a negative way here in the UK with regard to environmental issues.

 I guess the hard part for all of us is to know what the truth really is. If you see two political parties in your own country tell you how good or bad anything is they are totally contradictory and both will back this up with facts and figures.

This is with something in our own countries that we probably have a reasonable knowledge about. When you look at a worldwide issue and often involving opinions as well as hard facts what do you believe?

I am sure as with political parties the media spin things to have us all believe what they want us to.
JAE (Structural)
29 Sep 06 18:50
What would be curious to me, is how the US compares with other countries in the amount of money spent in cleaning the environment, the amount spent on regulating cars, industry, etc., and the amount of money spent on research for cleaner machines and better fuels.  I may be ignorant, but its my perception that a very VERY large amount of money is spent by the US, and by US companies, in this arena.  Whether you compare this to total monies spent or money per GDP I bet its in the upper tier of countries...if not the top.  But I honestly don't have any facts or links to point would be interesting to compare the efforts.

Helpful Member!  SnTMan (Mechanical)
29 Sep 06 22:55
Not out to get flamed here or anything, but I've read that if fully implemented Kyoto was projected to reduce warming by something like maybe 0.1 C over a HUNDRED years at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars. Why bother?


quark (Mechanical)
30 Sep 06 3:08

Quote (moltenmetal):

People conserve what they can't afford, and waste what they see as cheap!  China and India and other developing nations won't play along?  No problem- simply slap a tax on the products (and services) they want to export to your country, based on their energy inputs

This may be far ahead in future and contrary to the present situation. The present trend indicates a boom in purchase of carbon credits by developed countries from India and China.

A good choice of spending money rather than putting it into cleaning business? God knows.

corus (Mechanical)
30 Sep 06 3:35
I'm not sure what zdas04 is referring to when they refer to the media, as they give no examples of such bad press coverage. As far as I'm aware the media quote the US government policies and facts corrrectly, and also give examples of where states, such as California are 'side-stepping' their federal government to follow the Kyoto protocol
Hats off to Arnie it seems.


Schipperus (Mechanical)
2 Oct 06 5:42
There are always two 'f'-words that are represented by the media:

Direct: F-acts, which can be right or wrong, or just partly present. Thereby releasing a kind of F-eeling at the readers part.

A story containing only facts can make people feel different than they would if having read another story containign the same facts.

In my opinion the press does make us feel like the USA are 'bad guys' in environmental issues. Maybe it's just to make us feel better, maybe it's something against the USA.

As for the real pollution, I'm not sure, but wasn't Kyoto about reducing by percentages?? This would mean a country can be more pollutive compared to the USA, but still realise promises made in the Kyoto contract, while the USA can not.

epoisses (Chemical)
2 Oct 06 7:50

VERY interesting data and a much more meaningful way to measure. This number appears to much better reflect what my nose tells me when visiting certain countries.

Even more interesting still is data from countries more comparable to the US.

US: 626.1
Australia: 694.7
Canada: 699.0
France: 207.9 (I guess thanks to abundant nuclear energy)
Germany: 318.8
UK: 399.2

And to get back to the example:
Indonesia: 1481.1

But some countries are even much worse:
Russian Federation: 3894.3

(all data are from 2002)

This would suggest that there is some room for improvement in energy efficieny in the US vs UK and some other countries, even if expressed per $ GBP. (I'm not trying to bash anyone!)
VeryPicky (Petroleum)
2 Oct 06 11:29
One warning before we all jump into happy conclusion. There still countries in this world where the economy is regulated by the politics of governing party. Those countries produce less GDP because their internal markets do not follow the normal, healthy free market economy. Prices are regulated for ALL products and therefore the GDP may be not what it seems.

Putting Human Factor Back in Engineering

corus (Mechanical)
2 Oct 06 13:45
I haven't reached a happy conclusion nor do I believe that taking the ratio of emmissions to GDP is a reasonable comparison and nor do I know of a country where the prices are fixed for ALL products.
The Kyoto agreement takes into account the fact that some countries are developing, whereas some are developed and hence should have the means by which to reduce emmissions. If anything, those with a high GDP should be in the lowest band and not gleefully comparing themselves to Indonesia as to how well they are doing, and I still haven't seen these reports of biased media reporting.


VisiGoth (Electrical)
2 Oct 06 14:55
The Dominican Republic has an amazing strength in environmental stewardship especially considering the large social issues.  Although pollution is still very bad.  Some countries are very good at this sort of thing, not just the USA.  (I just wanted to be able to say something positive in this thread)

Water vapor is still the largest green house gas.  CO2 just happens to be increasing.  It is notable because it is an in for taxing on a global basis.  I personally think it is a bad idea and takes away from real pollution issues.

People who warn us about global environmental issues should be heroes, not villains.  Even if we do not want to hear the news.  However, those that use a false environmental cry to get their way politically are horrible people (IMO) because they are misdirecting people who want to do good.
Helpful Member!(5)  CajunCenturion (Computer)
2 Oct 06 16:31
FUD sells.
Perception is 90% of reality.

Good Luck
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

epoisses (Chemical)
3 Oct 06 4:55

"The Kyoto agreement takes into account the fact that some countries are developing, whereas some are developed and hence should have the means by which to reduce emmissions. If anything, those with a high GDP should be in the lowest band and not gleefully comparing themselves to Indonesia as to how well they are doing"

-- the division by GDP is just meant to show countries like Indonesia that they shouldn't compare themselves to countries like the US as to how well they are doing! smile I don't think it would be reasonable to expect the US or any other developed country to have CO2 emissions per capita as low as a 3rd world country, or we should all agree to get rid of our cars and walk to work.
But of course you are right to state that the most developed countries should be in the lowest band, and apparently most of them are. Not sure why Russia seems to do so poorly.
corus (Mechanical)
3 Oct 06 7:22
I think of it as a man who pollutes the neighbouthood with a large bonfire and who compares himself with a poor man who lights a fire with only the wood what he can gather from the forest. The man with the bonfire says he uses that because he is rich and can afford it. He compares his wealth to the pollution he causes and says he is no worse than the poor man who can afford little wood. Poppycock, as we say in the UK.

Walking to work is good for you, by the way. If we get people out of their cars, or sharing their cars, or using public transport more, then it would help considerably.

I don't know why Russia would be so bad using the statistic of pollution per GDP, however if you compare the ratio of pollution with vodka drinking I think you'll find Russia does remarkabley well in comparison to other countries. Not that I'm Russia bashing blllttt


SomeYahoo (Military)
3 Oct 06 7:44
To use your example, the "rich" man created a sum of heat energy (GDP) that is much greater than the poor (3rd world) man.  His true output (GDP) is greater than the output of the other man.  What the CO2/GDP comparison shows is that the "rich" man's means of producing the heat creates less relative pollution than the less efficient, smaller scale, "poor" man.

It's not like we are just creating pollution because it makes us feel good, though a good bonfire on a crisp evening does make me feel good.
epoisses (Chemical)
3 Oct 06 8:04

I understand where you're coming from, but we have to keep in mind that most developing countries are not in a stable situation. Their economies are developing at light speed and if they don't take action on energy efficiency level very soon, they may end up far higher in terms of CO2 per GDP when their GDP approaches those of the lowest tier countries.

I do appreciate that nevertheless the comparison is not "fair" but there is no such thing as "fair" in the first place in a universe where some people are rich and fat and others are poor and hungry... Regardless of fair or unfair, if there is a problem due to CO2 we have to solve it cost efficiently i.e. by starting with the low hanging fruit (pardon my buzzwords) i.e. at the places where people use energy inefficiently... which can be expressed by dividing CO2 generated by the amount of "what is done with the fuel that is burnt" which is expressed as GDP, and which happens to also be a good indicator of wealth in a country. You can translate that to "being able to afford pollution" but that's not what was meant to be expressed with the indicator.

As much as I would wish a poor country a high GDP, I would not wish it high CO2 emissions. smile
arunmrao (Materials)
3 Oct 06 9:29
Top 20 polluting countries including India, China,US,etc are now meeting in Mexico to discuss ways and means of reducing the environmental damage. The general perception in the Asian and Arabic world is that US is the main polluter. (I run for cover).
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
4 Oct 06 1:30
That perception is exactly why I started this thread, where did that perception come from?

scotty7 (Aeronautics)
4 Oct 06 10:37
Well, with the US producing c. 25% of the global CO2 emissions, with c. 8% of the global population, you can see where they are coming from...
KENAT (Mechanical)
4 Oct 06 11:04


What I'm wondering is how the international media has gotten to the point where its agenda is just taken on faith with no regard to facts?

Um, zdas04 how is that so very different from US media?

It’s not a big leap.  The US is perceived as being materially wealthy.  Presumably to obtain all that wealth must have taken a lot of energy.  Transformation of energy to a useful form for human activities usually produces pollution.  Hence as one of the most wealthy nations, and probably the most populous of those nations the US must be damaging the environment far beyond other countries.

This is then reinforced by images of Americans driving large SUVs and failure to ratify the Kyoto Protocol.

I’m not saying they’re necessarily right but surely you can follow the logic?
VisiGoth (Electrical)
4 Oct 06 14:16
The first part of the error in how others are viewed is in the perception that C02 is bad.  In our area we are feeding the world on land that was once covered in a glacier.  The more glaciers we can melt, the more we can feed.  Melting the ice cap can produce lots of clean water that can be used for those without clean water.  The problem is getting it there, not in C0@ emissions or heat.  The next ice age is coming and there is nothing modern science can do about it.

We can however be better stewards of our resources and of our neighbors.  We should pollute far less (real pollution not this phony C02 thing).  The US should take better care of it's own forests and streams and dump less toxins into the air that is common to the entire Earth.  

Those are the real issues.  If the world perception is the USA should pollute less, especially since it can afford it, then I agree with that perception.  If the perception is that the US has evil intentions or just plain does not care, I disagree.

The USA could use it's coal and spend a lot of $ to make the pollution to some acceptable level and leave more oil for the poorer countries, but that is not happening.  Kyoto pressures are among the perceptions that pressure against helping the world out.  This protocol is actually a net bad thing for the world.  There is such good that can be done.  

I wish the hate energy being used to bash the USA and all others that are helping the world out were put to a useful purpose.


Helpful Member!  Krishnababa (Civil/Environmental)
4 Oct 06 16:15
Education is sorely needed regarding the human impacts to the world's environment.  Limiting CO2 emissions alone does not translate across the board to a cleaner world. I would like to see how the countries rank according to storm water, solid waste and reclaimed water management activities.  

But while we're at it, American (as in USA) media and observers on the ground alike report that the Asian (as in China and India) the rivers are worthless.  In some places, people find water collected in pools on the street as clean as the water, if any, coming through the pump.  As China and others ramp up consumption of plactic wrapped and pre-packaged goods, I do not see the piles of trash being moved to landfills, stored and compacted as quickly as the people are tossing them into the nearest ditch.  By the way, we all have a long way to go to include marginalized peoples and non-human organisms in our plans for the world's future.  

If CO2 emissions are that important to limit, there are a plenty of other worthwhile clean-up causes to promote.
VisiGoth (Electrical)
5 Oct 06 11:40
I agree with our point about our stewardship of not just the land, but of the animals.  It is our responsibility to take care of all of it.  If we live in a rich country then the burden should be more so.  It is not fair, but it is the right thing to do (IMO).  The decision to make is where to draw the line in forcing our neighbors and fellow country men at the point of a gun to "do what is right".  Does that change the decision?

I disagree on limiting CO2.  I think it is grasping at straws, but it is a start at delaying the inevitable ice age. Water vapor is a much larger issue than CO2, but water vapor taxing in order to justify a standing funded United Nations army is even more ridiculous than a carbon brokered army funding.

This issue should be pollution and world wide stewardship.  Not red herring funding of yet another army.


Krishnababa (Civil/Environmental)
5 Oct 06 20:33
On the spot, in terms of arguing that the USA is "raping and pillaging" the environment, its failure to ratify Kyoto is obviosuly the red herring.

zdas04, I would turn the tables on the engineer who holds up the Kyoto protocol and cite other examples that show raping and pillaging are already illegal in the USA.  Solid waste, water, cultural and biological are just as relevant as air pollution.  Limiting CO2 emissions is an important topic, but if the offending engineer can't discuss other environmental factors, from my point of view, the focus is inappropriate.
electricpete (Electrical)
5 Oct 06 23:19


The first part of the error in how others are viewed is in the perception that C02 is bad.  In our area we are feeding the world on land that was once covered in a glacier.  The more glaciers we can melt, the more we can feed.  Melting the ice cap can produce lots of clean water that can be used for those without clean water.  The problem is getting it there, not in C0@ emissions or heat.  The next ice age is coming and there is nothing modern science can do about it.

We can do something about the next ice age, we can accelerate it. You have outlined exactly how. Listen to the political spinners, ignore the scientists, melt massive quantities of ice dumping fresh water into the oceans, upset the north atlantic conveyor.  We'll never know how long it takes unless we try, so we'd better not slow down now.  The short term benefit will be displacement of millions of people from coastal areas. The long term benefit will be ice age.  Those things will all be well beyond our natural life spans, so let's go, let 'er rip.   Yipee!

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Helpful Member!(4)  tgmcg (Mechanical)
6 Oct 06 14:12
Sounds like most folks here believe that a rise in CO2 levels will lead to catastrophic global warming. Count me among the many skeptics on this subject, together with Dr. Richard Lindzen (the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT) and many others who've been silenced or pilloried by the media.

Michael Crichton's bestselling novel "State of Fear" presents a treasure trove of data (and an extensive bibliography) on the subject of global warming.  Worth a read by anyone looking for a presentation of an opposing viewpoint.  

Wouldn't suprise me if his book is nowhere to be found in some areas.
VisiGoth (Electrical)
9 Oct 06 11:52
The world has been changing since before man.  The deserts of North America were once filled with life giving water.  Early man, by necessity, had to adapt to the changing environment.  I do not think we have the technology to change the inevitable continuing global warming cycle nor the ensuing ice age.  We as engineers however, can talk constructively on how to enable man to move away from those coast lines, to move out of the deserts, and into the new inhabitable land.  I think (my opinion only, not a fact I have read) that the present warming will happen even with zero C02 from oil or coal.  The desire to help mankind is a good one.  If even conceptually CO2 reduction can help in slowing the coming heat, then it sounds good to try.  However, reducing pollution actually increases global warming.  I contend that the pollution is the more immediate and even the worse evil.  Global warming is good to some and bad to others.  It is going to happen.  It is only harmful to complain about others part in the warming.  It is better to do something about those people who are marginal and need help because of warming (even though it might be generations away).

The natives of the Greenland area invented deep sea whaling and adapted to the mini ice age conditions.  The immigrants from Europe attempted to use what they know and did not adapt, even though they did not have to invent, but only had to copy and learn from the native people.  Thinking that keeping people on the coastline is similar (IMO) to the European attitude.  The long term thinking of the Native American is to adapt our ways, not impose on others to change so that we do not have to change.

Kyoto is poor politics (IMO) and not good science.  There is so much good to do in the pollution of land and sea, I do not want to have good people derailed by bad politics.

Is there something about land sea pollution that we can agree on?


tgmcg (Mechanical)
9 Oct 06 21:21

I agree that there is more good to do in terms of land, sea and air pollution than can ever be done with CO2 concentrations. I would not call CO2 a pollutant.

CO2 is being used as a rationale by NGO's for creating a global government, and it is drawing resources away from more pressing issues.
electricpete (Electrical)
11 Oct 06 19:47
Visigoth - Those are good thoughtful comments.  Thanks for not slamming me after I got a little giddy with my comments.

For whatever reason, people experience different realities on the subject of the importance of CO2.  I believe my reality as documented quite well thorugh the course of several threads is that the large credible scientific organizations are telling us to take this very seriously.  There are some business interests and a handfull of crackpot academics on the other side that get equal time in the prime time media.

That's the way I see it, but after spending time and energy carefully documenting it for all to see here on the forums, I don't think I have affected the opinion of a single person. So I give up.  Let's live in our separate worlds which can cross on technical issues but will never agree on this issue. No hard feelings.

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tgmcg (Mechanical)
11 Oct 06 22:47

For many Global Warming "KoolAid Drinkers", there is no room for an opposing viewpoint unless the holder of the opposing viewpoint is also slandered as a crackpot or industry stooge. It is intellectually dishonest (and outright slanderous) to dismiss bona fide experts in the field, such as Prof. Lindzen (Climatologist @ MIT) as a crackpot.

Pardon me if we are not the least bit persuaded or intimidated by such "my way or the highway" bullying tactics.
corus (Mechanical)
15 Oct 06 7:42
I'd respect Prof. Lindzen's comments if he wasn't paid for by by OPEC and other interested parties. A conflict of interest I think the term is?


dfish67 (Mechanical)
15 Oct 06 11:05
It seems to me that there is not enough evidence to conclude that Global Warming (which is measured) is caused by anthropological activities.  It seems disingenuous to label those that disagree and are following the scientific method as crackpots.  The only way to conclusively say that humans are causing global warming is to completely ignore the scientific method.  Are there ANY peer reviewed scientific papers that conclude that current global warming is caused by anthropological activities?  (That is not a rhetorical question.)  
tgmcg (Mechanical)
15 Oct 06 13:02
Nobody has responded to the comment about Michael Crichton's "State of Fear", which contains a large amount of scientific data suggesting that Global Warming is much smaller than claimed by it's proponents.

It "should" be a given to reasonable people that the climate has never been static and is either trending up or down. Thirty years ago the same folks leading the jihad over global warming were saying we were headed for another ice age.

While corus has doubts about Prof Lindzen's objectivity based on something he's found on a conspiracy website, I too am skeptical of the proponents of the THEORY of catastrophic global warming because it's so stridently advocated by the far left who've been on the anti-oil, anti-capitalist bandwagon for the past 90 years.  Interesting how none of the proponents acknowledge it as simply a THEORY. Computer models are not data.

So long as we're playing "follow the money", It's more than curious how China was excluded from compliance with Kyoto. Far left US politics, Euro-socialist supporters, China...hmmm...any connection there? Nah! (g)
Helpful Member!  Tomfh (Structural)
15 Oct 06 22:29
Ah I see, it's all a commie conspiracy...
tgmcg (Mechanical)
15 Oct 06 23:33
My statements regarding Communist China being excluded from Kyoto, and the most vocal supporters of Kyoto are both factually correct. Add to that, China's worldwide quest for oil reserves (BTW...I totally support China's quest for energy resources from anywhere).

My THEORY that the above three facts might be connected is just that, a THEORY supported facts.....unlike "catastrophic" global warming, which is only supported by computer climate models (which are rubbish).

By all means, feel free to dispute the supporting facts for my THEORY.

Helpful Member!  owg (Chemical)
16 Oct 06 8:08
I have been suspicious of global warming for many years, but on balance I tend to believe that anthropological CO2 is causing global warming. I have read Michael Crichton's State of Fear, and the subsequent discussions on it. I conclude that is a compilation of selected data to make a point, and is in no way scientific. For example he publishes a few graphs of cities which are getting colder while ignoring the majority that are getting warmer. The global warming battle is taking shape on three fronts. 1. We should reduce CO2 emissions without destroying our economies (I am not a Kyoto fan). 2. We should take steps to mitigate the coming damage, e.g. re-write building codes as necessary. and 3. Push ahead with Geo-Engineering ideas to take control of global temperature on a 10 to 20 year time frame.


bridgebuster (Civil)
16 Oct 06 9:33
A recent story suggesting that cosmic rays might be responsible. I first saw this a few years ago on the Discovery Channel. It doesn't get much press because it's not politically correct or anti-US.,2933,220341,00.html

Any word on how the "enlightened" and "responsible" signers of the Kyoto treaty are doing? I read in the National Review some time ago that the Europeans can't meet their targets are are trying to find a way to wiggle out of the deal.
Dinosaur (Structural)
16 Oct 06 13:08
It is my opinion that Kyoto and Global Warming are only about politics.

Global warming is exceedingly far from being a proven theory, but the solution is clear to those who have already accepted it; "All wealthy consumers must be made to pay for and pursue corrective action immediately."

And this is being trumpeted by high profile politicos that fly 1000s of miles in their chartered jets (e.g. Al Gore) to spread the word.

It is shameful and embarrasing.
Helpful Member!  rnip (Mechanical)
16 Oct 06 14:49
I am shocked to see so many people who do not believe in Global Warming. There was something called the Industrial Revolution. This increased all the pollutions in the air dramatically. An example is the coal usage in the US during this time period. In 1800, the coal usage was around 10 million tonnes. By 1900, it was already 250 million tonnes, and now it's steady around 550 million tonnes, because of the other fuel sources. Think of the increase of CO2 just from coal.

VisiGoth : "The first part of the error in how others are viewed is in the perception that C02 is bad.  In our area we are feeding the world on land that was once covered in a glacier.  The more glaciers we can melt, the more we can feed."

I have to completely disagree with that. You are only thinking of land melting, but have you consider the land that will disappear because of this. Florida will definitely be one of the first place in the US to be covered by water if Global Warming continues, and L.A. won't be too far behind. You tell me if you still think glacier melting is good.

zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
16 Oct 06 15:46
"Belief" is a very personal thing that involves acceptance of a theory without facts or in the face of "facts" that disprove the theory.

The people in this thread are saying that they are not willing to accept a concept on faith that has as many dissenting "experts" as conforming "experts".  State of Fear was a novel, but it had at least one point that I am willing to accept on "faith"--computer models do not prove anything and all the "facts" about global warming are couched in terms of computer models.  I run pipeline models all the time and often get results very much at odds with measured data.  This shows me that accepting a model without a reality check is just stupid.

Your sarcastic reference to the industrial revolution was inappropriate.  No one here doubts the "fact" that local conditions can be negatively impacted by industry.  That has to do with local conditions, not global patterns.  The water vapor in the environment is many times more potent a "greenhouse gas" than CO2, but most of that comes from evaporation of the oceans and you just can't make any villans from evaporation.

SnTMan (Mechanical)
16 Oct 06 16:16
Maybe this has been asked and answered in other threads, but...

Is there any proof that increased CO2 levels cause warming, rather than warming causing increased CO2 levels?

Cause? Effect? Just association?


owg (Chemical)
16 Oct 06 17:29
SnTMan - I don't think the proof exists. There are explanations supporting both directions. Greenhouse CO2 could be making us warmer. More heat from the Sun could be heating up the earth and causing increased evolution of CO2.


VisiGoth (Electrical)
16 Oct 06 19:01

   Yes, I still think there are benefits from melting glaciers.  I also stated that melting hurts people.  My point is that it has been happening, and will happen.  I suggest that we should help those who will be hurt by the change.

Someday the oceans will be the deserts and visa versa.  Someday the sun will expand and consume the earth, or at least be so close that it is impractical to stay here.  After that the sun goes out.  So, we should learn to adapt and help those that are hurt by change.

Pointing to the fractional affect of CO2 on this change is not productive.  I posit that it is unproductive and takes away from good that can be done by taking those resources away from real programs. Carbon brokering has a politics side that is dangerous.
ivymike (Mechanical)
16 Oct 06 20:23
There are explanations supporting both directions. Greenhouse CO2 could be making us warmer. More heat from the Sun could be heating up the earth and causing increased evolution of CO2

Those scenarios aren't mutually exclusive, are they?
Helpful Member!  GregLocock (Automotive)
17 Oct 06 3:44
More like positive feedback, I'd have said.

I'll just re-inject some figures on the carbon cycle. This is somewhat separate from Global Warming, in fact it assumes (as Kyoto does) that high CO2 levels are detrimental, which not everyone agrees with.

Every year 210e9 tonnes of CO2 are created naturally and injected into, or move from elsewhere and are injected into, into the atmosphere.

Every year 210e9 (approximately) tonnes of CO2 are reabsorbed or broken down or otherwise extracted from the atmosphere, by natural processes.

These processes are more or less independent at least in the short term. That is, there is no direct mechanism that limits the reabsorption process to only cope with a set amount of CO2 per year. In chemistry the reaction rate is (first order) proportional to the concentration of the chemicals, therefore there is a perfectly sensible feedback loop that says that a new equilibrium will eventually be established at a higher level of CO2 if the amount of CO2 that is added to the cycle increases. That is, we'd expect the changes in CO2 flow to be more or less proportional to small changes in the atmospheric CO2 concentration.

Mankind adds an additional 7e9 tonnes of CO2 per year to the above cycle.

In other words, Kyoto people are postulating a system that can happily cope with a flow rate of 210 GT/y, but which apparently requires drastic reconfiguration to cope with 217 GT/y. Now, there certainly are systems that cannot cope with a 3.5% change in flow rates, but it would be a bit of a surprise if the Earth just happened to be on the cusp of instability just as we turned up.

Now there are two further issues. First, adding CO2 may tend to increase the global average temperature. Again, Kyoto assumes this is so, and it is a bad thing. This increase in temperature may affect the feedback loop. Simplistically, a hot summer encourages grass growth. When it dies it is burned or eaten by bacteria, releasing CO2. The same CO2 that it used to grow in the first place, in fact. So, the higher the temperature, the faster the flow rate. So in this simplistic example, we have another feedback loop, only this time the flow rate changes but the equilibrium level of CO2 is unchanged.

The other thing I haven't got the faintest idea about is time scale. A chemistry based solution says that the flow rate is proportional to concentration, but that is only after equilibrium has been reached. I have seen no particular discussion of lag, or damping, or time constants, all of which might contribute to some unhealthy peaks in response between two satisfactory equilibrium concentrations.


Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

moltenmetal (Chemical)
17 Oct 06 8:03
Greg:  the challenge with your reasoning is that you have to know the dynamics of your system to understand what will happen to your measured variable when you attempt to shift the equilibrium.  The magnitude of the basic flows is more or less irrelevant:  what matters is the dynamics of the change, and of the forward and reverse processes.  

We've created what amounts to, on the geological timescale a step change in atmospheric CO2 concentration.  That's measurable.  Input minus output equals accumulation:  another way of stating the same thing is that accumulation is proof that input is exceeding output.

On the geological timescale, life will adapt.  The question is:  will our climate be unduly and irreversibly affected by this change which we have brought about, over a timescale which compared with geological time is the mere blinking of an eye?

Humans have caused a step change in atmospheric CO2 concentrations- that's not something we can argue about, since it's been measured.  What is debated is whether we understand the climate well enough to know what that means in terms of global mean temperature, much less local effects.  And the answer to this, again, is that the mere THREAT that we might be causing irreversible, catastrophic climate change by our present fossil fuel addiction should be sufficient for us to do everything we can to curb this behaviour and get real about our energy sources and consumption rates.  In my view, even ignoring the potential harm associated with global warming, there are plenty of other demonstrable harms associated with our present rate of fossil fuel exploitation to warrant serious efforts to curb our current stupid, wasteful behaviour.
Helpful Member!(2)  jmw (Industrial)
17 Oct 06 9:41
Too many people believe in the "butterfly flapping its wings..." scenario without understanding when it applies and when it doesn't.
The evidence over the millenia is that the earth's climate is relatively stable and thus has a number of auto-matic checks and balances.

"realtively stable?" I think that "very stable" would be a better term.

Whatever the "average CO2 release" is and whatever the rate of removal, the rate of CO2 release cannot be uniform.
We link CO2 to industry yet man has been busy transforming the planet since he arrived. Agriculture and animal husbandry must have made a substantial change to the environment.

So when we consider Greg's argument, we realise that it is only wrong if 210e9 to 217e9 passes some magic ultimate limit on the ecosystems ability to absorb change.

Just think of all the effects to consider: planetary orbit, precession, angle of tip, solar activity, seismic activity, meteor impacts, plate tectonics, volcanoes, forest fires, lava flows,  the influence of the moon, spin, planet size etc.

If you think about it, there are plenty of precidents for various substantial species wipe outs but few can be attributed to anything as simple as CO2 increase. Most require some catastrophic event. Even so, life is still present on the planet.

Incidentally, the last mini-ice-age coincided with a prolonged period of minimal solar activity.... and this is data that is excluded from the models.....


CajunCenturion (Computer)
17 Oct 06 10:17
==> Humans have caused a step change in atmospheric CO2 concentrations- that's not something we can argue about, since it's been measured.
I think we can agree that there has been a measureable increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  However, to say that humans have caused it is open to discussion.

Speaking to the geologic timescale, currently, atmospheric CO2 are right around 400 ppm, At only one other time in the last 600 million years - The Carboniferous Period -  have CO2 levels been as low as they are today.  Right now, the earth is at one exteme of the carbon concentration scale - the low end.  Geologically, the earth's atmosphere is in a constant state of cyclical change and CO2 levels are no exception.  Given that, wouldn't it be natural to think that when the levels are on the low extreme, they would tend to cycle back to the middle?  To think that humans are reponsible for such change is suspect, and moreover, to think the we could, or should, try to stop such a process given our current knowledge level is, in my opinion, extremely dangerous.  Action out of ignorance, even with the best of intentions, usually results is making things worse.

That doesn't mean we should ignore the situation.  It means that we need to prudent and reasonable.  We must be very careful not to let FUD and political agenda drive an emotional response to a situation that we know very little about.

Nor does it mean that we can continue to be wasteful, far from it.  We all need to be better stewards of our environment and be conservative with our limited resources.

Good Luck
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

jmw (Industrial)
18 Oct 06 10:14
Well said CajunCenturion.
It is a sad reflection that anyone posting here or who in the wider world who expresses an unpopular doubt should always have to add a caveat:


"Nor does it mean that we can continue to be wasteful, far from it.  We all need to be better stewards of our environment and be conservative with our limited resources."
to try and avoid being labelled as polluters and destroyers.


moltenmetal (Chemical)
18 Oct 06 13:23
CajunCenturion:  excellent post.  Very well argued.

you said: "Action out of ignorance, even with the best of intentions, usually results is making things worse."

We agree.  However, replacing the word "action" with the word "inaction" or "inertia", your statement is no less true.  

Take the analogy of driving along a country road on a moonless night.  Suddenly you lose your headlights.  Swerving into the ditch to avoid an imagined pedestrian "just in case" is insane, but so is driving on in the assumption that the road ahead is as free of obstacles as it was when you lost the lights.  The only prudent option is to stop, let your eyes adjust to the new light level and then make an assessment whether or not it's safe to drive on at greatly reduced speed or simply to park the car and proceed on foot, or wait in the car until morning.  

The system we're talking about here is enormously complex.  And it's a system we all depend on for our very survival.  We owe it to ourselves and to future generations to understand it better, but it's likely that knowledge in the depth that we would need to make a truly informed decision will elude us permanently- too many butterflies flapping their wings for us to ever really "know"!  But we need not have certainty before taking restraining actions on our own behaviour- especially when that same behaviour is known, rather than merely suspected, to cause other harms.  I'd argue that this is definitely the case with fossil fuel consumption.  

We do this in other areas of engineering:  we mitigate causes of potential harm by design, and put the reverse onus on the designer:  proove to us that this cause of harm is a fiction or is demonstrably improbable, or else we will force you to take mitigating action to protect against the potential harm.  I still haven't heard a compelling argument to the contrary:  all I've heard is a re-statement of the uncertainty of the issue (which nobody can credibly argue with) and a reluctance to do stuff which will cost us money.
CajunCenturion (Computer)
18 Oct 06 13:51
==> and a reluctance to do stuff which will cost us money.
The reluctance is not to do stuff which will cost us money, but a reluctance to do stuff that only costs us money, such as Kyoto compliance.

Things are being done.  Considerable funds are being expended into research not only to learn more about the environment so that we can act smartly rather than hastily, but also into the development of alternative fuels.  For example, the US Air Force has been involved over the last five years, and at a cost of millions of dollars, in the development of a synthetic clean-buring aviation fuel refined from coal.  Syntroleum has already begun limited flight tests.

With respect to you analogy, we haven't lost our headlights.  And to put it in perspective, it's fair to saw that they aren't as bright as they were 100 years ago, but they're, on average, still brighter than they have been for past 600 million years.  It's hardly an emergency situation where we need to stop the car.  It's time to act responsibly and prudently.

Good Luck
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

ewh (Aerospace)
18 Oct 06 14:16
Doesn't that Syntroleum cost around $100/g (at the present time)?
VisiGoth (Electrical)
18 Oct 06 14:19
Cajun, I disagree that Kyoto compliance only costs money.  What about the grandmother in Italy who have to suffer through hot muggy summers without air-conditioning because of Kyoto brownouts?  There is human suffering that is wasted on a political duping of the world.  I think that is worse than sad.  Kyoto is bad science.  Just think what good could have been done if the same effort went into something real?
CajunCenturion (Computer)
18 Oct 06 14:28
I honestly don't know what it costs right now.  At this point, as far as I know, it's still in the R&D phase, at least with respect to aviation.  If that's true, I'm not sure how relavent today's cost would be with typical costs once it's in full production.  It's also very likely that aviation fuel costs would be somewhat higher than automobile fuel because of different quality standards.

What it does do, I hope, is address the sentiment that, "all I've heard is a re-statement of the uncertainty of the issue (which nobody can credibly argue with) and a reluctance to do stuff which will cost us money.".

Good Luck
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

ewh (Aerospace)
18 Oct 06 15:02
You are right there, Cajun.  I just happened upon an article recently about this fuel, and the current price in no way reflects the price it would sell at if mass produced.
owg (Chemical)
19 Oct 06 8:17
I would be willing to bet that the USAF interest in syntroleum is about having a secure fuel source than about cleaning the air or reducing greenhouse gases. The fuel is clean burning, not because it is made from coal, but because it is highly refined. But not as highly refined as the associated PR.


moltenmetal (Chemical)
19 Oct 06 10:00
Cajun:  we agree that there's no point in panic.  A twenty-plus year program to begin to reduce our emissions is hardly a panic action in my view.  Stupid, ill-considered actions often do have unintended, unpleasant consequences.

We can argue about the merits of various sorts of burden-sharing amongst the various emitters (a la Kyoto etc.), but one thing is clear:  any program associated with reducing greenhouse gas emissions which ignores the developing world is doomed to failure.  Merely dealing with our own emissions, even agressively, will be insufficient.  Since the US, China and Australia etc. are not signatories to Kyoto, and countries like my own (Canada) pay mere lip service to the treaty, Kyoto is by definition a failure anyway.

As to Fischer-Tropsch fuels from coal-source syngas:  we've been doing this since the '30s whenever there was a need for it.  Ultimately FT will be our source of liquid hydrocarbons, because you can use any carbonaceous material to make the source syngas- including biomass.  But while we still have lots of crude oil around, FT processes like Syntroleum's are just a means to make liquid fuels from coal, wasting a good part of the coal's energy in the process.  The USAF interest is related to US "security" needs, to keep the military functioning if the supply of foreign oil is shut off by terrorism or other means.  Yes, they're ultra-low in sulphur because they are synthesized by a sulphur-intolerant process rather than distilled from muck that we pump up out of the ground.  But in greenhouse gas emissions or fossil fuel use-efficiency terms, they're worse than merely burning the coal in the first place to satisfy a stationary energy need, displacing liquid hydrocarbons for portable power uses like USAF jets etc.
CajunCenturion (Computer)
19 Oct 06 11:44
==> Since the US, China and Australia etc. are not signatories to Kyoto, and countries like my own (Canada) pay mere lip service to the treaty, Kyoto is by definition a failure anyway.
I think you have the cause and effect backwards.  The treaty is not a failure because those countries didn't sign it, those countries didn't sign it because the treaty was totally ineffectual with respect to aiding the environment.

==> The USAF interest is related to US "security" needs, to keep the military functioning if the supply of foreign oil is shut off by terrorism or other means.
Sure that's part of it, as it damn well should be.  That's their job.  But they are also concerned about costs and environmental damage.  They're not mutually exclusive goals.  Further, as is often the case, military R&D flows into the civilian sector and this will be no exception.  A clean-burning aviation fuel is just as clean burning in military jets as it commercial airliners.

==> But in greenhouse gas emissions or fossil fuel use-efficiency terms, they're worse than merely burning the coal in the first place to satisfy a stationary energy need,
Given that aviation is not a stationary energy need, this statement is a complete mis-direction.  I will grant that it's a nice sound bite.  But the statement is out-of-context and on top of that, very misleading.  

The burning of CTL syntroleum produces considerably less greenhouse gases than the burning of conventional oil produced fuels, which is a very real and tangible benefit with respect to portable energy consumption.

That being said, and to be honest, on the flip side, the production of syntroleum does carry a definitely higher CO2 emmision profile then current refining processes.  However, since refining is done is confined locations, additional efforts are being made to capture those emissions and not allow them to enter the atmosphere.    The net effect is considerably less atmoshperic emissions.

With respect to the captured production emissions, they are in turn fed into biomass production process where the CO2 is combined with algea to produce a biofuel.

Yes, there is a lot more work to be done, but progress is being made on both sides.  I can certainly understand why people would like to dismiss these research efforts because the US DOD is so heavily involved.  Or the desire to overlook the total civilian benefit because there are definite military uses, but that doesn't change the fact that it is happening and is in my opinion, good for everyone.

You may despise the messenger, but that doesn't invalidate the message.

Further, in FY 2006, the US Department of Energy spent over 450 million dollars in other biomass research, in addition to R&D in geothermal technolgies, photovoltaics, some hydrogen based technologies, and other aspects of the total energy equation.

You can sit back and dismiss what is being done, and continue to believe, "all I've heard is a re-statement of the uncertainty of the issue (which nobody can credibly argue with) and a reluctance to do stuff which will cost us money.", but that's not a very accurate perception of reality.

Good Luck
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

moltenmetal (Chemical)
19 Oct 06 16:45
How do you figure that "burning CTL syntroleum produces considerably less greenhouse gases than the burning of conventional oil-derived fuels"?  I sincerely doubt that, since the fuels consist of the same basic molecules!  They differ only in source- one is naphtha derived from oil distillates and heavy oil cracking, the other is the same naphtha produced by cracking FT wax.  Minor differences in combustion efficiency at best can be expected- though the emissions of smog-causing compounds and sulphur particulates will of course be way down using the synfuel.  

But considering the refining operation, CO2 emissions per derived watt of power will be way up going the synfuel route- unless you sequester the CO2, which you could do if you simply BURNED the coal for energy!  So what have you gained, really, relative to simply converting an oil-fired electrical plant to a coal-fired one and re-directing the saved heating oil within the refinery back to the cracker to make avgas or diesel?  The latter is far more energy efficient, and produces emissions no less centralized than if you built the coal gasifier and FT plant!

Hey, I don't blame the USAF or the DOE etc. doing this research- bully for them.  As I said, it will ultimately be of benefit once we've burnt up all the good stuff.  If I were living in the US, I'd want my government to research whatever means they could find to get the foreign oil monkey off my back.  And I'm not shooting the messenger or worrying about the military focus- I'm just pointing out that the primary interest of this work isn't energy efficiency.  In my view, slapping a huge road tax on SUVs and other wasteful abuses of liquid fossil fuels would be of far more immediate benefit to the "national security" of the US than all these research projects combined.  

Ultimately, most of these "technological fixes" are fossil-fuel re-configuration exercises- dressing coal up in a low-cut number and some high heels to make it sexier etc.  They're re-arranging deck chairs on the Titanic, rather than tackling the real problem.  

Fossil fuels continue to be artificially cheap because we currently do not charge a "tipping fee" for dumping CO2 and smog contaminants into the atmosphere.  Until such time as there is such a tipping fee, there will be no financial incentive to do anything ELSE with these emissions, whether that be growing algae or even re-injecting the CO2 back into the subsurface to squeeze out a few more barrels of oil.  Without a payback, there's no investment likely and little progress possible aside from these few billions of your (income) tax dollars.  Provide a payback by means of a tax, and industry and the market will find a myriad of ways to solve the new economic equation for our mutual benefit.
COEngineeer (Structural)
20 Oct 06 13:51
Maybe you should tell them to start using unleaded gasoline.  I grew up there until I was about 18yo and move to the the US.  Indonesians litter everywhere even if there is a trash can 10 ft away.
Helpful Member!(4)  LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
21 Oct 06 11:22
I was going to stay out of this thread but a lot of thoughtful discussion is going on here.  First, I agree that Kyoto is effective as a wealth redistribution scheme, but not in addressing Anthropological Global Warming (AGW).  Just because it's effective, though, doesn't mean it's efficient (leaving as an entirely different subject addressing the costs vs. benefits of a global welfare state).  

Also remember Kyoto was developed as a scheme by the same people who brought us the Oil for Food scam.

It would be much cheaper and cost effective in my opinion for the U.S. to, for example, buy China scrubbers for its new coal plants.  They are bringing a new one online every week.  The black carbon from them is decreasing Arctic albedo and creating warming up there.  Also, increased CO2 (the base of the food chain, by the way) is causing flora to grow up out of the snow more.  In other parts of the world that's called "reclamation."

As far as CO2 "causing" global warming, we know that warming increases CO2 purging from the ocean (the warm coke effect) but we don't really know CO2 doesn't just increase convection (vs. temperature), which increases cloudiness (and rain).

I fully agree we should be addressing pollution, but CO2 is not pollution.  In terms of burning fossil fuels, pollution is a byproduct.  CO2 is the *product* of the exothermic reaction.  Considering that we are carbon based life forms, it can be said that by bringing fossil fuels to the surface and burning them we are returning carbon to the biosphere.  CO2 is the closest thing we have to Manna.

If you're thinking a warmer world is bad, consider how many people live on the 10% of the land closest to the equator vs. on the 10% of the land closest to the poles.  It's pretty obvious that warmer is not bad - colder is bad.
tgmcg (Mechanical)
21 Oct 06 15:30
From the above, we can probably conclude that there is, in fact, NO consensus on the matter of catastrophic global warming.

Crichton's novel "State of Fear" presents some of the most factual information I've seen in a single source on the subject, plus an extensive bibliography. In my opinion, he is not cherry-picking data to present a distorted view on behalf of Exxon, but rather is presenting a body of evidence that stands in stark contrast to the story being hyped (yes, hyped) in the media...a strong opposing argument that would not otherwise receive the light of day.

LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
5 Nov 06 6:13
jmw (Industrial)
5 Nov 06 9:22
Or this article:
in which:


The official case depends crucially on a series of assumptions whose truth has not been demonstrated,
some of which are not easily testable.
I believe point 10 is one that has been debated here.

Quote (Philip Muller):

“…hit me like a bombshell, and I suspect it is having the same effect on many others. Suddenly the hockey stick, the poster-child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact
of poor mathematics.”
Note the Antarctic temperature comments on page 19. This suggests that ice cores taken in the future to reveal what happened now would conclude that global temperatures had rapidly dropped in the latter half of the 20th cent.

Sadly, in a survey published by the Daily Telegraph, the media and the alarmists have done their job too well. Something like 80% of the UK population believe the abrupt climate change/global warming scenario. Interestingly enough  nearly half think that carbon tax will do no good and is just a money grab....


jmw (Industrial)
5 Nov 06 9:29
Sorry, forgot the original reference to an article in response to the Stern Report:


jmw (Industrial)
5 Nov 06 9:31
Oh yes, and in this article is the promise that next week:

Quote (Christpoher Monkton):

I'll show how the environmentalists' "precautionary principle" (get the state to interfere now, just in case) is killing people.


jmw (Industrial)
5 Nov 06 11:25
Searching the BBC website  using "Global Warming" as the search term, consider this quote which features high on the page (reactions to the Stern Report):

The scariest thing about the Stern report is that it may not be scary enough.

If we lose the Greenland ice sheet in the next few centuries, leading to a 7 metre rise in sea level - as well we might - then Stern's £3.68 trillion will be a drop in the ocean compared to the ultimate cost of climate change.

(Where does he get a 7 meter sea levelo rise from?)
But apart from just one comment all else quoted are arch global warming capmaigners who think they have, in the stern report, the last nail in the coffin of their oponents.


jmw (Industrial)
5 Nov 06 17:34
The Guradian website, on the otherhand, contains this quote:


"We've been told that it will cost too much to do something," said Ben Stewart of Greenpeace. "Stern gives us the evidence that it will cost too much not to do something. It really is a knockout blow."

"[Sceptics] have long exposed themselves as being scientifically illiterate. It is quite interesting that people on the extreme right are economically illiterate as well," he added. "They are inconsequential. The debate has moved on so far."

Does he mean me?

OK, enough from me for now...


Dinosaur (Structural)
6 Nov 06 10:37
Yea, you see if we disagree with them, we're just stupid.  Their argument is simply, those guys are stupid, so they don't get to participate in the debate.

And they call us economically illiterate?  Ask them to refute Walter Williams and then come talk to me.
SnTMan (Mechanical)
6 Nov 06 20:21

Perhaps the ultimate global warming sceptic, possibly Sceptic In Chief.


SnTMan (Mechanical)
19 Nov 06 17:34
Not to keep beating this horse, but this just plain scares me. Do these guys really think they've got a good enough handle on things to do this?


LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
19 Nov 06 17:58
Just shows you how wacked out some of these people are.  They don't even have a good understanding of what real clouds do, let alone doing something like that.
jmw (Industrial)
19 Nov 06 18:55
The idea of adding a pollutant back has been aired before but as I've commented elsewhere, we just spent the last dozen years taking the sulphur out of fuel simply because its a health hazard.

At the start of this excercise 33% of atmospheric sulphur was from fossil fuel burning and note that some power stations emitted sufficient sulphur oxides as to be be global warming neutral.

We are now down to just the remaining 3% from marine fuel having taken it out of land fuels.
That is a big change so if we have done anything, it is make the situation worse.

But hey, sulphur was an easy target, CO2 is not.

Incidentally, Al Gore had this to say about the computer models:


To be sure, not all of the finest workings of the climate system are yet fully understood to the finest grain.
Now just how good does he want us to believe the computer models are and do we believe him?

This was his rebutal to the Christopher Monkton article and is pretty much along the same lines as some other rebutals and if these are the best that can be managed, then I'm seriously worried that the AGW case is beginning to take in water, or at tleast, the attribution of all our worries about climate change. (In none of these have I found any real comment refuting the solar activity scenario....)

Even the arch AGW proponents, the dreaded BBC2 ran a program on climate change (OK so it was at 2 am) where the scientists were far more reticent about what they claimed for the models and, for the BBC, this program was far less gung ho than previous efforts.... does one detect a glimmer of doubt creeping in to their campaign?

Far more ironic is this comment of his:


To begin with, there is a reason why new scientific research is peer-reviewed and then published in journals such as Science, Nature, and the Geophysical Research Letters, rather than the broadsheets. The process is designed to ensure that trained scientists review the framing of the questions that are asked, the research and methodologies used to pursue the answers offered and even, in some cases, to monitor the funding of the laboratories — all in order to ensure that errors and biases are detected and corrected before reaching the public.

So was his filmic enterprise peer reviewed?
Besides, part of this debate has been that peer reviewing by the legitimate scientific journals has been sadly vulnerable to political correctness..... and not at all as AL would have us believe it is.


LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
19 Nov 06 19:17
Political correctness as well as fiscal "prudence".  If there's no problem there's no funding...
rb1957 (Aerospace)
20 Nov 06 16:23
but the problem is if someone creates an issue, and politicises it; then funding gets diverted to it, and away from more sensible (but less politically sensitive) spending.

to my mind climatology is the new religion, it relies on belief and faith and politics.  no-one can prove anything (other than yesterday was fine/sunny/rainy/whatever it was).  many have tied themselves emotionally, financially, socially to the cause.  quite naturally they can't abide others not complying with what they see to be rational.

i ask how much of the climate change is being driven by factors beyond our control, the sun for starters.  i believe the human factors are small in comparison; ie our actions may (that that's a big may) affect between 1% to 5% of the global warming and the ensuing environmental changes, but this means that 95% is continuing unabated.  the way we're going, storms will increase, the tides will probably rise, people will get flooded out (or develop ways to deal with the problem, like the Dutch), and we'll be able to say in good conscience "we tried".

i contend a more pragmatic approach is to accept that the climate is changing, as it always has been, and the best we can do is to try to anticipate the effects (increased storm activity, higher tides) and develop counters to them (perhaps more accurately defenses that allow us to co-exist with our climate).

but then that's only my own humble opinion.
jmw (Industrial)
20 Nov 06 18:35
I rather think that ateroid strikes are something we should really worry about but since there is nothing to tax, politicians probably don't give this the credence it deserves.

Of course, with ELE (Extinction Level Events) we know they can happen, they've happened before, and there is still enough junk out there that it will happen again... but though we could apply the term "Abrupt Climate Change" the problem is we can't work up any models that will pursudae the public that our doom is at hand unless we do something about it now.

Of course, we should be doing something about it now... map everything we can and make damn sure we understand the physics enough to predict when something might happen. The trouble is the big event could be in the next year or two (fine, from the politicians point of view) or in a thousand years or longer (not so fine). Oh yes, and of course, we can't be blamed for bringing it on ourselves through some act or other.

Any other things we should really worry about?


jmw (Industrial)
20 Nov 06 21:04
For those who were concerned about the politicisation of climate change, an appropriate article to read is this one:

This is by Mike Hulme, Professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia, and Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

from the same source (Tyndall Centre for climate change research;


We cannot predict with any great accuracy how, when or to what extent rapid, catastrophic, or runaway climate change will occur.
And, re the Al Gore quote in my previous post, this quote is apposite:


It is apparent that the vast uncertainties associated with climate modelling necessitate a wide range of possibilities, the extremities of which produce fertile
ground for sensational reporting.
Where does Al Gore get off criticising others for being disingenuous when this comment (from Tom Lowe) does not match with Al's "finest grain" interpretation?


0707 (Petroleum)
21 Nov 06 13:22

This is our ship all of us are the crew. It is our responsibility to keep it spinning.

Luis Marques

GregLocock (Automotive)
21 Nov 06 15:39
Oh well, we're doing something. 25 nukes, to keep the greenies happy.

Oh, they're not happy. Oh dear.


Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
21 Nov 06 20:45
There was a guy whose heart didn't beat for a brief period of time 70 times a minute.  A neighbor with very good intentions decided that this was a problem and cut the guy's chest open with a chain saw.  The neighbor never did figure out why the heart was pausing so often, but it wasn't pausing any more, problem fixed.

Sometimes doing nothing is a lot better than doing something stupid.  The problem is that in the heat of the moment it can be hard to tell what is stupid.

Tomfh (Structural)
22 Nov 06 4:26
Err, ok.

moltenmetal (Chemical)
22 Nov 06 7:37
zdas04:  you're presuming that reducing global emissions of carbon dioxide and methane are bad things in and of themselves.  How do you know that conserving fossil fuels will be equivalent to doing surgery on the economy with a chainsaw?  I predict the exact opposite.  I think weaning the planet off its fossil fuel addition will be the best thing we ever did for ourselves.  I think it will be a great boon to engineers in particular.  Any idiot can solve a problem by throwing materials and energy at it- but it takes an engineer to optimize materials and energy use.

Just like some can be accused of swallowing the human causes of global warming uncritically, the exact same thing can be said of those who predict that reduction in our fossil fuel dependence will result in economic catastrophe.

We're not over-reacting to weak stimuli in my opinion on this issue:  we're standing frozen like a deer in the headlights.
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
22 Nov 06 11:24
Conservative behavior is rarely a bad thing.  I find it awsome that engineering advances have reduced the amount of energy required to move a given mass of vehicle a given distance.  It means less energy consumed and less garbage in the air.  Both are really good things.  Reducing energy consumption is good because it requires less of a given entity's resources to pay for the energy.  Putting less garbage in the air means that the problems associated with garbage in the air are reduced.

Now look at "greenhouse gases".  The single largest mass of greenhouse gases is water vapor.  Most of that comes from evaporation of ocean water, it can't be reduced, managed, or legislated so there is no outcry.  The next biggest mass is non-anthropogenic gas (methane and CO2 from "natual" sources like termite mounds, ocean alge, and geologic seeps and volcanoes).  Can't legislate or villify that so we ignore it.  Finally there is the truly insignificant amount of anthropogneic gases.  Here we can find a villan so we have conferences, pHD's line up to write papers, people introduce legislation, and economies are stalled.

Meeting the Kyoto goals will have zero impact on climate, rate of change in glaciers (either positive or negative), or sea level.  This is all a horible hoax based on seriously flawed science that only includes the data which support its stupid conclusions.

Call doing nothing "deer in the headlights" if you will, I think we'll just have to disagree and our great great grandchildren can look back at objective data to see exactly how silly this whole discussion is.

I started this thread in September to try to get a new discussion on media "spin".  As I knew it would, it has started yet another polarized discusion on global warming.  The first long thread on this subject had a different cast of characters on the anti-Kyoto side, but the arguments were very similar.  My intention in starting this thread was to get a feeling about exactly how polarized we as an engineering community were.  It looks to me like the worldwide propaganda has proven to be amazingly successful and technical people have become very emotional about something with minimal and conflicting data.  None of us would build a bridge or a cog or a pipeline or a computer based on the quality of data that exists on this subject, but we are quite willing to wreck economies.  I think the propaganda and "spin" have been frighteningly successful.

LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
22 Nov 06 11:35
Here's something on spin:

"the more rational is overcome by the less rational, and the opinions that will prevail will be those which are held most ardently by those with the most passionate will"
electricpete (Electrical)
22 Nov 06 20:05


I think we'll just have to disagree and our great great grandchildren can look back at objective data to see exactly how silly this whole discussion is.
I agree.

Eng-tips forums: The best place on the web for engineering discussions.

Tomfh (Structural)
22 Nov 06 20:39

You keep referring to water vapor as though it is an independent entity. The level of water vapor is affected by the level of other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and humans are dramatically increasing the levels of those other gases.
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
22 Nov 06 23:24
How could it not be an independent entity.  At any temperature above freezing, some amount of water will evaporate from every coherent air/water interface on earth where the air is less than 100%RH.  The difference in evaporation rates for a 0.7C temperature rise (which is the biggest rise I've ever seen proposed) is essentially zero.  There are billions of tons of water in the atmosphere, some of it is in clouds and the rest is humidity.  All other contaminants are tiny by comparison.

Can you find three credible, peer-reviewed references to back your contention that "humans are dramatically increasing the levels of those other gases"?  I've looked, and I don't find Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, The BBC, or CNN to be credible.  The peer-reviewed journals tend to be much milder in their predictions.

This whole discussion is a perfect example of the utter tripe that passes for "science" in the popular media.  I'm just disappointed that so many engineers buy into it as whole cloth.

moltenmetal (Chemical)
23 Nov 06 8:47
zdas04:  You say that nobody would ever design a bridge or a cog or a pipeline or anything else on the basis of data as poor as what exists on the topic of global warming, but in fact we DO that every day.  To quote Dr. A.R. Dykes of the British Institution of Structural Engineers:

"Engineering is the art of modelling materials we do not wholly understand, into shapes we cannot precisely analyze, so as to withstand forces we cannot properly assess, in such a way that the public has no reason to suspect the extent of our ignorance."

Any contingencies which may cause catastrophic harm and cannot be eliminated as extremely improbable by the design team, we need to design mitigation measures to deal with.  Merely ignoring or disputing the contingencies in order to save cost is not an option.  

Again, you reiterate your ASSUMPTION that conserving fossil fuels and investing in renewable energy and other fossil fuel alternatives will wreck our economy.  You have no more causality to depend upon in that assertion than do those whose opinions you dismiss in relation to the causal relationship between human-induced greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.  Again, in my opinion, there are enough known harms arising from fossil fuel production, refining, distribution and consumption that we should be guarding this valuable and FINITE resource and doing all we can to minimize its consumption.  The mere probability of irreversible climate change being one of those harms is significant added motivation.  We should be conserving this resource for the benefit of future generations and for the benefit of our own as well- and yet we continue to do essentially nothing other than warm the atmosphere further with useless TALK.  Deer in the headlights- afraid to act!

I too am dismayed at how the engineering community has reacted on this issue.  What dismays me most is the willingness of a great many engineers to totally discredit the science behind this issue with at best a partial knowledge of the field.  This is hubris in the extreme, which does not befit our role as defenders of the public safety.  Review my posts and you'll see that I have never offered an opinion in regard to whether or not human-caused emissions lead to global warming because I KNOW I am not qualified to do so.  And I need not have demonstrated proof in my hands of a causal relationship between these two factors to know what action should be taken.
GregLocock (Automotive)
23 Nov 06 16:21
Aye, well some of us aren't interested in faith-based solutions.


Greg Locock

Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips.

zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
23 Nov 06 19:00
I don't get where I said that conservation would wreck economies.  I beleive very strongly (and have said several times in this thread) that both conservation and reducing pollution are good things.  My concern is that a knee jerk reaction to the threat of global warming will push us into stupid and wasteful decisions (like banning R-12 refrigerant) that don't conserve anything and hurt economies.  

The worldwide response to Kyoto has been replete with stupid behavior that has increased polution in one place while reducing it a lesser amount in another.  I saw one example of a company in the UK that claimed a huge CO2 reduction by closing a plant in the UK and shifting the pollution to a country with much lower Kyoto goals.  The emmissions in the third-world country were hidden through corporate-entity management.

I don't agree with you that as engineers we build things every day with the kind of data that global warming decisions are based on.  While we never know everything we always know something.  In this discussion people are demanding action when the data is clearly inadequate.  For every study claiming that glaciers are shrinking there is another study saying they're advancing.  For every voice crying that the oceans are rising there is another saying they're falling.

Any position that anyone takes on global warming is supported by quality sceintific data.  The opposing view has similar quality data.


David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering
Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips Fora.

The harder I work, the luckier I seem

moltenmetal (Chemical)
24 Nov 06 8:46
Quoting zdas04:

"None of us would build a bridge or a cog or a pipeline or a computer based on the quality of data that exists on this subject, but we are quite willing to wreck economies."

zdas04:  You are quite right:  you do not explicitly say that measures to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions will wreck our economies.  And you have stated clearly that you favour conservation in principle.

You do not favour "knee jerk" reactions to what you consider to be flaky data on the greenhouse gas ===> global warming connection.  You consider Kyoto to be a knee-jerk reaction.

You never state what you DO believe we should do on this file, from what I've read and re-read in your posts. You make only one statement:  "Doing nothing is better than doing something stupid."  Perhaps you believe we should do something to curb wasteful consumption, but you don't state what that is so I can't discuss it with you.

You claim that there is data of equal quality on both sides of this debate.  I dispute that, but there's absolutely no point in arguing this with you, as you will believe what you will.  I believe that you, like many others here, falsely equate the consensus of the scientific community actually studying these issues with a considerably smaller number of dissenting voices.  I don't claim to know for certain whether the dissenters in this case are like Count Rumsford and the scientific establishment are clinging to the caloric theory of heat, or vice versa- but I DO trust the scientific community to have a far better ability to sort that out than I do as a lone engineer with no education in climatology.  And as I've repeatedly said, I don't need to know for certain that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases lead with certainty to global warming.  The mere probability that this is the case is sufficient to justify taking action- serious action- against something which we already KNOW to have countless other harmful effects on human health, the global political and economic sphere, and innumerable ecological systems on our shared planet.

Unless you're going to suggest some other sensible course of action on this issue, I'm done arguing with you.
dcasto (Chemical)
29 Nov 06 23:19
Why is it that the liberals are pushing the Kyoto treaty because its a conservation measure to stop something we don't know for certain.

Syntroleum to reduce CO2, come on, carbon is carbon. Hydrogen economy, get real. Hybrid cars, only in hilly cities,not teaming electric motors with V6's to get more horsepower to feed an ego and get a tax break too.

WE should standing up as engineers and support using energy resources in the most effiecient ways.

Liquid fuels should be for transportation only.
 Methane is for domestic use only, not electricity.  
Electrity should come from coal and nuclear.
ALL the energy facilities should be located in the back yard of the end user.
jmw (Industrial)
30 Nov 06 0:27
you introduce a very valid point as regards local energy production.
Significant steps in this direction were taken with the debundling and de-nationalisation of the electricity supplier services and the introduction of third party access agreements.

It is increasingly the case that significant users of energy are able to auto-generate and become third party access  suppliers to the grid. This introduces significant efficiecncies.

Examples include paper mills, textile factories, refineries, chemical plants and so on.
They can now generate their own electricity more efficiently and are able to utilise the heat energy produced for steam generation. Surplus electricity is then available to the community.

CHP schemes raise the energy efficiency significantly. I forget the exact figures but it raises the eficieny of large diesel engines, for example, to something like 83% (some one will surely supply the right figures and I appologise if I am seriously in error).

Such power plants often now combine gas turbine and large diesel engines and can utilise gas or Heavy fuel oil as appropriate based on prevailing costs.

It is unfortunate that in countries like the UK where the privatisation of the electricity industry took place early on under the Thatcher government, that such schemes seem far less well exploited than seems to be the case in other countries who may have been later to debundle but more agressive in adopting CHP schemes, or so it seems to me adn I could be very wrong here.

E F SChumacher made the point in his book "Small is Beautiful"  that there are often significant efficiencies in designing for small scale local production than large scale centralised production and some have criticised the Fusion reactor program for having design objectives based on large scale poower plant rather than small scale local energy production. I am sure there are many other benefits of local energy production but perhaps they are not all realised if excess energy is still provided to a national grid rather than a local gris. This is a point that some other members may care to comment on.


SomptingGuy (Automotive)
30 Nov 06 5:00


It is unfortunate that in countries like the UK where the privatisation of the electricity industry took place early on under the Thatcher government, that such schemes seem far less well exploited than seems to be the case in other countries who may have been later to debundle but more agressive in adopting CHP schemes, or so it seems to me adn I could be very wrong here.

I seem to remember there was some kind of rule in the UK that electricity providers were required to generate electricity in the most efficient means possible.  This meant big power stations, effectively preventing CHP.
Dinosaur (Structural)
30 Nov 06 8:42
There are some facts that are overlooked in this debate that indicate the comparative consequences of changing the rules regarding power production and usage.  Large power plants, using fossil fuels, etc. are the choices the market has made to serve a need.  The one exception I see is the lack of nuclear power (overall) in the US.  This is an entirely artificial constraint on the power generation market.

For my part, I look forward to the day when solar power or geothermal power can be utilized to serve our needs.  However, if we had unlimited power, there would be much less need for engineers.
Helpful Member!  josephv (Mechanical)
5 Dec 06 14:01
zdas04 said

"What I'm wondering is how the international media has gotten to the point where its agenda is just taken on faith with no regard to facts?"

"It looks to me like the worldwide propaganda has proven to be amazingly successful and technical people have become very emotional about something with minimal and conflicting data. "

What makes you think this?

In fact, I see many international journals, tv stations, and newspapers simply not supporting Kyoto.

Also, propaganda is "the activity of spreading particular ideas, opinions etc according to an organized plan". I frankly, don't see an organized world wide plan at work here.

LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
5 Dec 06 14:29
josephv -

If you don't think there's an organized plan to blame it all on CO2, check these out.  First, there is a blog called desmogblog.  It's one of the most ad hominemistic (is that a word?) alarmist blogs around.  It is financed to the tune of $300k (how they're spending $300k on a blog is beyond me) by a guy named John Lefebvre, who founded NETeller.  NETeller is into carbon trading:,,748-2184360,00.html

Then, Al Gore stands to make a lot - check out - a company advising on carbon trading etc.  No problem, no paycheck.

Then, the granddaddy of them all, the IPCC, which was founded by the UN - of Oil for Food fame.  They skimmed millions off just one country's trading.  Just think how much they could skim on a worldwide plan.
josephv (Mechanical)
5 Dec 06 21:29


The sites you mentioned don’t exactly constitute "worldwide" propaganda. To say that these groups influence world policy and opinion would be quite an exaggeration. The reality is that the international media is not focused on environmental issues.

Many governments and companies all over the world were involved in the corruption that we saw in the oil for food program. I don’t think it’s fair to just blame the UN and to forget about the other parties involved. The IPCC is involved in a very different political situation and environment, to say that they will be involved in skimming is quite an assumption and has nothing to do with the facts.
LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
5 Dec 06 22:03
josephv -

I'm not saying a bunch of people got together and said "hey, let's create a potential climate catastrophe" but that individuals have seen ways to capitalize on the fear of that possibility, and pseudoscientists lining up at the global warming feedwagon are competing for the head of the research money line.  No crisis, no funding.
SomptingGuy (Automotive)
6 Dec 06 4:40


pseudoscientists lining up at the global warming feedwagon

What a great expression.  A star.
jmw (Industrial)
6 Dec 06 6:37
was that before or after privatisation?


SomptingGuy (Automotive)
6 Dec 06 6:55
I can't remember.  It was an anecdote from one of my thermo lecturers at Imperial College, so it must have been late 80's if that helps.
josephv (Mechanical)
6 Dec 06 14:46

Climatology, the study of climate belongs to the atmospheric sciences and it uses the scientific method.

Pseudoscience is quite different since it refers to practices that do not use the scientific method.

Now, calling members of the scientific community pseudo scientists, just because you may not agree with them is simply going to far. What makes you think that they aren’t using the scientific method? What facts could you use to back up these comments?
Helpful Member!  Zapster (Electrical)
9 Dec 06 1:56
Interesting link

Hot & Cold Media Spin Cycle:
A Challenge to Journalists who Cover Global Warming;%20Cold%20Media.pdf
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
9 Dec 06 9:34
That is exactly the information I was looking for.  Notice the specific references to peer-reviewed papers that say, "temperature is changing, just like it always has".  

I also like the references to the four conflicting climate scares in the media during the 20th century.

Thanks for finding that.


David Simpson, PE
MuleShoe Engineering
Please see FAQ731-376 for tips on how to make the best use of Eng-Tips Fora.

The harder I work, the luckier I seem

josephv (Mechanical)
11 Dec 06 14:31

Here is the other side of the story...

Nurturing Doubt about Climate Change is big business
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
11 Dec 06 16:41
“The other side of the story”????????????

The article linked by Zapster provided a white paper prepared by Senator Jim Inhoff of Oklahoma, chairman of the Senate Environment Committee and every one of Senator Inhoff’s points was backed by a link to a peer reviewed article.

Charles Montgomery’s “Mr. Cool” article was simply an ad homenum attack on


a coalition of oil-patch geologists, Tory insiders, anonymous donors and oil-industry PR professionals
Every point in the tirade was simply that anyone who took money from industry in general or the Oil industry in particular must be disregarded out of hand.  Mr. Montgomery doesn’t say who is funding the people who say that anthropogenic gases are sending us headlong toward a global catastrophe, but they couldn't possibly have an agenda.

What Tripe.

josephv (Mechanical)
11 Dec 06 20:48

Sorry to break the news to you, but Governor Schwarzenegger did not like Senator Inhofe's comments. Notice how careful the Senator is in his reply.

The California governor likens Inhofe's stance to 'Stone Age thinking'; Inhofe is careful in his reply.

zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
11 Dec 06 21:12
Again, so what.  There is simply nothing in the popular press that can be counted on as scientific data.  Inhofe doesn't slam the Governor of California for a personal attack.  Sounds like diplomacy meets politics--who cares?

LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
11 Dec 06 22:47
The bottom line in all this is that climate scientists don't have a clue about the feedbacks of convection and clouds (how many people, especially climate alarmists, even know what convection is???), and the response of flora to an increase in the base of the food chain.

To give a range of numbers of global warming over future decades is absolutely ludicrous - particularly in terms of "global temperature" for which we have a half dozen different historical numbers.  Which one is right, or is any one of them right???
josephv (Mechanical)
12 Dec 06 11:40

"climate scientists don't have a clue about the feedbacks of convection" .. this is simply not true, climate models account for convection.

Simply go to the American Physics Institute web page:
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
12 Dec 06 12:52
That was a very good reference.  I especially like the quote


As the 21st century began, experts continued to think of new subtleties in the physics of clouds which might significantly affect the models' predictions.(103) Struggling with the swarm of technical controversies, experts could not even say whether cloud feedbacks would tend to hold back global warming, or hasten it. ... There were also undeniable problems in the basic physical data that the models relied on, and uncertainties in the way the data were manipulated to fit things together. The models still needed special adjustments to get plausible ice ages. And when modelers tried to simulate the climate of the Cretaceous epoch — a super-greenhouse period a hundred millions years ago that had been far warmer than the present and with a CO2 level several times higher — the results were far from the climate pattern geologists reported.

This discussion reminds me of a Newsweek (I think) article I say in the 1970's.  Some legitimate scientist deterimed that the friction between the atmosphere and the edge of space (whatever that really means) was actually slowing the rotational velocity of the earth by a measurable amount (pico seconds per century or some such).  He presented his findings as a triumph of improvements in instrumentation to be able to detect the slowing.

The popular media got ahold of that and wrote articles that included artist renderings of the earth stopping and everyone flying off.

This discussion never got the leverage that Global Warming has gotten, but there was a lot of real fear that the earth would stop spinning and somehow that would throw everyone off (there was never a clarification about why removing a force that was trying to throw us off the earth would throw us off, but oh well).

This article was very specific that the author feels that computer models "prove" that man's actions are the primary cause of a global temperature increase, melting glaciers, sea level rising, huricanes, tsunamis, and tornados.  At the end of the day computer models can't prove anything.  Ever.  If you start with accurate measurements of all relevant parameters, then models can be helpful in understanding a range of possible outcomes.  

We are at a point where the scientific discussion is centering around what is the list of appropriate parameters to measure and what is the technique that researchers should use to conduct these measurements.

The discussion in the popular media is focused on solutions to a problem that we do not have a clear understanding of the relevant parameters, let alone conclusive measuremnts of those parameters.

I don't know if the global temperature is on an increasing or decreasing pattern (right now, at my house I'd say definately decreasing), I'll tell you in a hundred years what the trend was in 2006.  I do know that global temperature is a concept that is determined by a very large number of local variables, and local climates.  What I'm unwilling to take on faith is that mankind's puny introduction of certain gases is having a driving effect on the global system.  

jmw (Industrial)
12 Dec 06 15:57
I think Orson Welles would be highly amused by the "Global Warming" scare and how it is playing out..... he would be having a nice feeling of Deja Vu.

Incidentally, didn't the UN just scale back its emphasis on the antrhopogenic contribution to climate change? Now how can they do that if they were right in the first place.


josephv (Mechanical)
13 Dec 06 11:44
LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
13 Dec 06 21:51
The thing to remember about Realclimate is that without an apparent looming crisis, most of them would not have a job.  Also, it was created to defend the IPCC "Hockey Stick" that Michael Mann "created".

Although there is some indication they are admitting to a level of uncertainty, the site is moderated but seems to always post ad hominem attacks on views that don't "toe the party line"...
LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
14 Dec 06 22:08
The Realclimate links are trying to derail the conversation.  As I said, the website was developed to defend the false science behind the hockeystick.  The information on the site is prejudiced (generally).  

The problem is not with the closeness of the data to reality.  The problem is that it was not a valid study.  

It's called, in the question of does the end justify the means, the ultimate truth that the end includes the means.
josephv (Mechanical)
15 Dec 06 10:48

"The Wegman report has itself been criticized for a number of things:

... The result of fixing the alleged errors in the overall reconstruction does not change the general shape of the reconstruction. Similarly, studies that use completely different methodologies also yield very similar reconstructions ..."

LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
15 Dec 06 11:18
The climate pages of Wikipedia are run by William Connolley, whose job depends on alarmism of global warming.

Wikipedia is not without it's faults.
SomptingGuy (Automotive)
15 Dec 06 11:51
Back to "the feedwagon" then?
josephv (Mechanical)
15 Dec 06 13:28


Do you have any scientific arguments yourself? Or are you going to keep up with the Ignoratio Elenchi?

LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
15 Dec 06 17:10

Something for you to do this weekend:
jmw (Industrial)
15 Dec 06 19:16
I believe LCruiser deserves some aknowledgement [star] for his restraint in response to your last post.

We are none of us here climatolgists and thus can not offer you any new science.
But that is not to say that we are any of us in ignorance of the issues. Indeed, I think there are some here whose concern for information has lead them to research the issue in some detail and thus a charge of keeping up with the Ignoratio Elenchi is unwarranted. It may be that they are less credulous or, if you prefer, they have simply reached a different conclusion or found there is insufficient reliable data or science to reach a conclusion.

The argument, and it is an argument between climatologists as much as between any others, turns on how good or bad the data is and how it is being interpreted and used.

Perhaps you could direct your own comment at yourself if you feel it valid; do you have any new science to offer? and are you critical enough of the sources you quote?

For myself I must confess that I am sometimes too gullible, especially when I discover some "credible" source that supports my own views. Fortunately, here, others will quickly put me right and I hope I benefit from correction.


josephv (Mechanical)
18 Dec 06 9:56


Ignoratio Elenchi does not mean "ignorance of the issues"...

Ignoratio elenchi (also known as irrelevant conclusion) is the logical fallacy of presenting an argument that may in itself be valid, but which proves or supports a different proposition than the one it is purporting to prove or support.

I think that everyone of this site knows the issues quite well, but I noticed that a few have deliberately ignored my questions. Only they know why.

take care,

jmw (Industrial)
18 Dec 06 11:20
Ah, but according to Wikpedia, whom you have quoted as a source elsewhere:


"Ignoratio elenchi" can be roughly translated by ignorance of the issue
But I do otherwise take your point.


josephv (Mechanical)
18 Dec 06 12:07

As you know, ignorance is not necessarily a lack of knowledge. It can be deliberately ignoring/avoiding certain facts.

At any rate, I did not mean to offend, but wanted to point out that certain key facts have been avoided in this discussion.



LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
18 Dec 06 12:16
josephv -

Perhaps you would point out the facts that have been avoided, remembering that in quoting Realclimate you are quoting people who (most of them) required alarmism for their next check, and the self proclaimed dungeonmaster of Wikipedia's climate pages is one of those at that feedwagon (and at Realclimate as well).

So, what was it you wanted to say?

josephv (Mechanical)
18 Dec 06 13:18

I do respect your opinion, but wanted to point out that...

So far you (and to be fair, a few others) have made several unfounded allegations about the intentions of the scientific community. Instead of objecting to the scientific/technical points that they have made, you have chosen other routes.

Perhaps you could back up some of these allegations? And also, if there are any of the scientific/technical points in RealClimate that you disagree with, please do let me know.



LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
18 Dec 06 16:28
I made no allegations against "the scientific community" in general.  My position is that while the hockey stick of MBH98 was possibly just wrong, the coverup thereof is not "just wrong" and the Realclimate site was born to cover up that error.

As far as scientific facts, the dogma is that "changes in CO2 concentration cause changes in temperature, and the temperature record proves it".  If you look at the record closely, you will see that the change in CO2 lags behind the change in temperature.  The cause cannot lag the effect.  The fallback position is that "well, the change in CO2 causes further changes in temperature".  That is not observed in nature with feedbacks in place.

josephv (Mechanical)
19 Dec 06 21:06

Very good point, here is a quote:

"During the 1990s, further ice core measurements indicated that during past glacial periods, temperature changes had preceded CO2 changes by a few centuries."

There is an article from the American Physics Institute that describes this issue:

Some of the moderators in the real climate site are very direct in the way they present their arguments. However, many of the users that reply to the postings do not agree with these arguments and even challenge them openly. Also, the site has many links to articles that don't necessarily agree with the moderators. In my view, they are not exactly hiding information. The word cover-up might be a bit strong in this case.

Happy holidays
LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
19 Dec 06 21:15
On Realclimate covering up:

See if you can post something on Realclimate addressing the methodology of MBH98.  Not how close some cherry picked subsequent studies matched it, but the actual scientific methodology itself.
josephv (Mechanical)
19 Dec 06 21:30

Are you saying that they are breaking their code of ethics?

Perhaps you may want to report them?

If you really believe what you are saying, it might be a good idea.

LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
19 Dec 06 21:33
I see you're not interested in finding out.
LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
19 Dec 06 21:37
P.S. I already tried.  They censored my question.  Not a comment, a question.
josephv (Mechanical)
21 Dec 06 14:41

Ok, I now see where you are coming from.

They should have posted your question.

Considering that their comment policy says they welcome questions of a scientific nature:
GregLocock (Automotive)
21 Dec 06 16:43
So.... what was the question?


Greg Locock

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LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
21 Dec 06 16:53
Something to the effect of:

"I have heard that the MBH98 procedure usually produces a hockey stick shape when random numbers are put into it.  Is that true?"

Their position is that the procedure does not "automatically" produce a hockey stick - which is true.  From what I understand it's only 9 out of 10 times.  So, it's not "automatically" but it is "usually".

owg (Chemical)
22 Dec 06 9:10
Try putting "hockey stick graph" into Google. There are enough sticks to outfit the playoffs.


LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
22 Dec 06 9:42
True.  However, the original got its name as it suppresses the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age, which makes the current warming appear alarming.
owg (Chemical)
23 Dec 06 8:36
LCruiser - I was not defending the hockey stick, I was just surprised by that particular page from Google.


owg (Chemical)
11 Jan 07 8:17
I just sent this note off to CBC radio, the public service radio system in Canada.
"I enjoyed the global warming phone-in on Jan 10. However after asking us what we were prepared to give up for global warming, it was really annoying to hear that our leaders in Ottawa were planning to run a refrigeration truck to keep their ice statues from melting during the unusual spell of warm weather here in the great white north. I am prepared to give up their ice statues for global warming."
We still don't have a clue about changing behaviour to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
11 Jan 07 9:57
Good point owg.

And I am willing to give up Al Gore's jetting around the world drumming up business for his climate change frenzy feeding company, at

Also, check this out on the religion of environmentalism:
VisiGoth (Electrical)
15 Jan 07 14:05
My daughter (heavily influenced by her boyfrineds grandmother who likes anything that is anti-administration) wants me to watch the movie before I give her any criticism of it.  I have heard a lot of negatives, and only some mild positives from a climatology URL posted somewhere in this thread.

Could someone reply with only the good points or point to a web or article or review that gives something positive?  I want to find some common ground first.
LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
15 Jan 07 14:14
Here's a transcript:

Most of the things he says *could* be true.
epoisses (Chemical)
22 Jan 07 2:13
"Most of the things he says *could* be true."
Yes... that is what is so problematic about this whole discussion.

Yesterday I decided to jump in and ordered both Bjorn Lomborg's and Al Gore's books. I am trying to be as unbiased as I can and just read them and compare them. I know the two don't play in the same scientific league, but everything else I found on amazon sounded so d*mn alarmist and unscientific (after having read the first 2 chapters of "The end of oil" I am fed up with unscientific demagoguery) so I thought I might as well buy the most well-known unscientific book. Or who knows, maybe Gore will surprise me positively.

Anybody read any of these two books?
SnTMan (Mechanical)
22 Jan 07 8:45
epoisses, I have read "Skeptical Environmentalist" and thought it worthwhile. I maybe don't buy into everything in it but overall thought it made sense. I especially agree with Lomborg that we need to allocate resources where they will do more immediate practical good.


SomptingGuy (Automotive)
22 Jan 07 9:08
I read Lomborg's book too and would recommend it to anyone with an open mind.  He certainly did a lot of research for it rather than just skimming the odd newspaper.
LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
22 Jan 07 9:13
SnTMan -

I agree with your point about allocation.  We have better things to be spending our money on.  For that matter, since we don't know how bad (or even if) CO2's effect on climate change will be, the fact that it's the base of the food chain and  an increase grows more flora:

means that maybe, just maybe, we're barking up the wrong tree.

Here's a good paper on the science of "global warming":
SnTMan (Mechanical)
22 Jan 07 17:03
LCruiser, the paper in the second link was interesting. You will find a similar point of view at, a link I posted earlier in this thread. Worth checking out.


epoisses (Chemical)
23 Jan 07 4:57
When I read the different reactions to Lomborg's book at the time (in fact the book would have got even more attention had there not been 9/11), especially from Scientific American
it strikes me how weak the counterarguments are AND how violent and almost emotional the reactions. I can't help thinking of the pope vs Copernicus, and this fills me with great sympathy for the book and the author before having read a letter. But I want to stay objective at least for the moment...
GregLocock (Automotive)
23 Jan 07 5:38
I agree. While some of the arguments with Lomberg's work are valid, the overall way in which the Danish establishment, and Scientific American, behaved, destroyed much of the credibility of those arguments.

It ceratinly made me see SciAm in a new light.


Greg Locock

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jmw (Industrial)
23 Jan 07 10:07


"Never judge strength of foundation from size of building".
What a great quote from the Thomas Gold link.
On the numbers link I found the sub link most interesting since it concludes that athropogenic impact on climate change is around 0.117% from CO2 and 0.28% agregate of all anthropogenic effects.....
and which leads to this link:
 A star for the link to numberwatch...


jmw (Industrial)
23 Jan 07 11:53
The EU is apparently beginning to suffer from its own unilateralism...
Not only is it costing far more than was promised, we are yet to be convinced of the truth of the foundation argument.


epoisses (Chemical)
23 Jan 07 13:21
Yep the EU is plodding along without any support from the voters. They are occasionally disturbed by some contact with the real world (like the constitution voted away) but quickly back to business as usual, already talking about going beyond Kyoto...
The French news and serious (at least I thought) magazines like L'Express talk about global warming very often (some English coastal village being swept away by the north sea, item in the news the other day, interview with Al Gore in L'Express edition dedicated to global warming). Nobody though dares to explain the average Frenchmen what would have to be done to adhere to Kyoto guidelines and what it would cost them.
Anyway the more the EU will be diluted with countries with economies and CO2 emission rates in full growth (Poland, Czechia, Roumania, Bulgaria, Turkey....) the less diligently the Kyoto targets will be pursued.
SnTMan (Mechanical)
23 Jan 07 14:00
From JMW's link: "The ETS's malfunctioning is partly due to an inherent flaw that allowed member states to allocate more emission permits than European industrial plants actually needed. Although Europe's energy utilities receive carbon permits free of charge, they have passed on the market price to industry and private consumers. In consequence, Germany's energy costs rose by almost ?6-billion ($9.2-billion) in 2005, a price tag that is expected to double in the next couple of years. The cunning strategy ensured that power companies reaped billions in windfall profits. And yet without the massive sweetener, Brussels could not have gained the support of industry for this risky scheme."

The whole thing seems like what is called "rent seeking", how else to explain the "inherent flaw" in a system created with so much effort by all these highly intelligent people? Unfortunately, most of public policy these days seems to be conducted on the basis of "rent seeking", at least in the US. A recent example is the prescription drug "benefit".



jmw (Industrial)
24 Jan 07 19:09
Ah! the complexities of climate change.
A few links on and we find this link:
And if you take a look at the wine entries you discover that global warming is good for the Germans and the British but bad for the French and the Californians.
Meanwhile, I'm still trying to figure out if these studies about wind turbines mean good news or bad:


jmw (Industrial)
25 Jan 07 21:06
This spinning globe is a lovely way to present data:
Presented with none of the reservations made by the Hadley Centre Scientists themselves (see my links above)it shows temperature change from 1902 to 2090 (around a 4degC shift) and ends up with the globe a bright almost uniform red. Of course, if they wanted to go back and include the mini ice age and medievil warm period or include the more extreme of the IPCC predictions we'd need Infra Red and Ultra violet to disclose the full range of variations.
Good reading on this and other presentation gimmicks in the number watch site.


RDK (Civil/Environmental)
26 Jan 07 13:29
I think that the bottom line here is that we really do not have enough data to conclusively state one way or another what is happening. Few places have detailed climate records going back long enough and are verifiable and consistent to be of real value. Most of the world simply has no reliable climate records any further than a few years. We can impute the climate from ice cores or studying the fossil and sediment records or tree rings in old growth timber but this is not necessarily direct evidence and its interpretation is subjective.

I do believe that the odds are that human activities and pollution are responsible for global warming to be occurring, but that is more opinion than scientific fact. What is clear is that there are some climate changes ongoing; we just don’t know if this is a normal cycle or man made or enhanced changes.

There are two camps to this debate. One side is saying since we cannot prove conclusively that human activity is caucusing global warming that we should ignore it and carry on without regard for the consequences of our actions and the other side is saying that we are destroying the world. Neither position is productive to any rational debate on the issue.

Personally I believe that the environment is a lot like pushing a ball around in hilly ground. If we don’t push it over the top of a hill it will return to the previous equilibrium after we stop pushing. If we push it over the top of one hill then it will settle at a new equilibrium somewhere. Mankind is pushing the ball; far enough to have any lasting effect we just don’t know.

Unfortunately we don’t know where the top of the hill is or where the new equilibrium point is on the other side. It may be a better place than we are in now or it may be a worse place than we are now. The transition will however be a rocky ride.

Since we only have one world to gamble with I would take the conservative approach and cut back on emissions until there is proof that they are not the cause of the climate changes we are seeing.

Rick Kitson MBA P.Eng

Construction Project Management
From conception to completion

LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
26 Jan 07 13:38
I agree with your analogy - I state it as a balloon on a field of rocks, blown about by the wind.

However, your comparison of the two "camps" is incomplete.  There is a third camp which says that since it *may* be bad we should greatly increase research - however, if we cripple our economy we won't be able to afford that research.
CajunCenturion (Computer)
29 Jan 07 9:30
==> One side is saying since we cannot prove conclusively that human activity is caucusing global warming that we should ignore it and carry on without regard for the consequences of our actions
I'm not sure that's a very accurate assessment of that group.  I don't know of many who are saying to ignore it and carry on without regard to the consequences.  I think it's more like, "we cannot prove that human activity is causing global warning so we should not over-react and throw loads of money at what may not be a problem, nor waste billions of dollars on political agreements that are environmentally ineffective.  Let's be prudent and reasonable."

Good Luck
As a circle of light increases so does the circumference of darkness around it. - Albert Einstein

moltenmetal (Chemical)
30 Jan 07 8:38
LCruiser:  first zdas04, and now YOU with the "crippling the economy" comments!  You guys question the validity of the data and arguments linking climate change to human activity, yet you provide no evidence that addressing greenhouse gas emissions will cause some sort of economic cataclysm- you're willing to take that assertion more or less on faith!  

Reducing the amount of fossil fuels we waste will NOT cripple our economies.  I'm confident that a focus on improving energy efficiency in all that we do will have quite the opposite effect.  Not to mention it will be GREAT for engineers!
LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
30 Jan 07 9:46
moltenmetal -

Here's some proof - companies are afraid to build new coal plants, so prices for natural gas are going up.  It's now about the same as electricity for me to heat my home with my gas heater as with little portable electric heaters (by the joule).

The has obviously decreased my disposable income.  How much has that effect, nationwide, had on disposable income?  Probably $300 per year for me.

I'm all for developing alternate energies, but let's not lie about the reason why, and I would question your use of the term engineering (as in "great for engineers").  Science is suffering by all the smoke and mirrors on "global warming" - as science suffers, so does applied science (engineering).
epoisses (Chemical)
30 Jan 07 13:07
The cost of preventing climate change (IF it is occurring, IF we can prevent it, if.. smile) is described in Lomborg's book I'm reading. I'm halfway now and will report some highlights in a new thread. I am actually very impressed by his work, which is verifiable to a great extent and which reads very easily. It is certainly not demagoguery. He asks very legitimate questions about global warming, but also starvation, poverty, extinction of species. He provides LOTS of data and references.

Al Gore's book turns out to be mostly a picture book. Almost no data provided. I am disgusted. (I could not look inside it on Amazon UK). Anyway I'll get back to that one as well.
GregLocock (Automotive)
30 Jan 07 15:17
Estimate is that for Oz to reduce CO2 emissions by 30%, by 2030, will cost $75billion.

That's about $3billion per year, or, given that around 5 million people actually pay net tax, an additional $600 per effective tax payer, per year. The others pay tax but get back more than that.

So, yes, that looks like a substantial cost to me.


Greg Locock

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epoisses (Chemical)
31 Jan 07 8:08
Don't worry Greg you did not sign the protocol anyway! smile
Honestly though I think 600$/year is quite reasonable for a monumental achievement of 30% reduction. I wonder how they did the calc.
Helpful Member!  2dye4 (Military)
31 Jan 07 10:25
The cost of carbon redunctions.  
Have you figured the cost of using carbon at the levels we do today??
Allmost certainly the troubles in the middle east would not require our involvement if not for securing fuel supplies. Think about the huge money spent on maintaining and increasing our capacity to consume energy.

No I think it is obvious that a program that forced a reduction in usage of carbon fuel would eventually be a huge boon to our economy as we learned to be just as comfortable with less. Less polution,war,politics,construction.

jmw (Industrial)
31 Jan 07 14:36
There ain't no such animal as "less". There are, however, alternatives though usually none are better and many are worse.
Most especially that applies to war and politics (and taxes).
But I like the sentiment.


GregLocock (Automotive)
31 Jan 07 16:23
Oh, I should add that is capital cost. It will also double the cost of electricity, which will also increase the cost of other goods.

yeah, we didn't sign Kyoto. Our success at reducing emissions is identical with that of most signatories.


Greg Locock

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dcasto (Chemical)
31 Jan 07 18:28
Just announced today in the US, a consortium of power generators are going to restart their projects to build nuke plants, GO TEAM.
moltenmetal (Chemical)
1 Feb 07 14:13
LCruiser:  if electricity is cheaper than natural gas per joule delivered, your electricity consumption is subsidized- either in terms of the capital expenditure to build a nuclear plant or otherwise.  Your peaking electricity probably already comes from natural gas...

Reducing carbon emissions by 30% would reduce the amount of expenditure on fossil fuels by 30%- each and every year.  Bet the average person pays way more than $2000 per year in terms of the fossil fuel energy content in everything they consume every year- and the cost of THAT would be going down by 30%.  If the cost of reducing greenhouse gas emissions was only $600 per person, that's a break-even position!

Let's not forget about how much cheaper fossil fuels will become when their demand drops by 30%!  We can continue to use them where their properties make them the energy source of choice, such as for the transportation needs we can't meet with transit and rail etc..

The only way it will cost more is if we keep growing our consumption rates while switching to more expensive sources of energy.  If that's the only approach taken, then we agree- stuff will get more expensive.  The good news about that is that people conserve what they find to be expensive, and waste what they find to be cheap.  If what's making things more expensive is government taxation, we also have access to at least some of those taxes to spend on other things we value, like hospitals and schools etc.

If the real target is energy efficiency rather than switching to alternative sources of energy and continuing our "waste as normal", it's a straight "capital now for ongoing savings" proposition.  That will hardly wreck our economies- it will merely spur investment and increase the workload of people who build energy-efficient equipment.  Chief amongst those people are we engineers.

Your "wrecking the economy" argument is no more a slam dunk than the argument over the nature and causes of global warming.  You don't want to take the risk with the economy, and I don't want to take the risk with the world's climate.
2dye4 (Military)
1 Feb 07 14:30
Lets find a way to stop heating with electricity. This is enormously wasteful because we start with heat convert that to mechanical then electrical then transport and of course electrical to heat is 100% effecient.
How effecient is this in terms of BTUs burned at the station then delivered via electricity.
We should burn carbon fuel directly at the home or in small neighborhood heat plants.
GregLocock (Automotive)
1 Feb 07 16:07
I'd love to see a true efficiency comparison for heating via gas delivered via road-tanker, vs electricity.

For that matter, what is the direct efficiency of a gas fire? How much heat goes up the chimney? How much cold air is brought into the room to burn the gas? How much less efficient is it to heat the whole room rather than putting a fan heater near your chair?

"if electricity is cheaper than natural gas per joule delivered, your electricity consumption is subsidized- either in terms of the capital expenditure to build a nuclear plant or otherwise.  "

Sorry, that is incorrect . Here are some other explanations - taxes/profit taking on gas, or electricity generated via PV or hydro or wind, where the instantaneous cost might be zero.


Greg Locock

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jmw (Industrial)
2 Feb 07 6:35
Re the last few posts about domestic heating:
Of course, when we heat our houses we do heat all the air passing through them the structure and ourselves.
But our sensation of comfort is governed by skin temperature.
It was suggested we could use microwave heating with the microwaves tuned to heat just our skin surface. Far more efficient!
Of course, most people are familiar with microwave ovens and one supposes there would be a problem persuading people they won't end up like the TV dinner (or taste as bad).
How good an idea this was, I couldn't say.

Global dimming: not to be confused with the Global cooling or new ice age theory, this suggests that over a 30 year period the amount of the sun's energy reaching the earth's surface has dropped by around 10% (or was that 22% in Israel?). The data seems quite solid and the cause is attributed to pollution. It's effect is on cloud formation (wrong sized drops among other things) and it is said to have had a serious impact on the rainfall patterns, particularly the monsoons.

Now this is yet another bit of research which appears not to address solar activity variation. In fact the program (yes, Horizon in a less blatantly dumbed down version of its former self than is usually the case) assumed that solar activity was constant.

Apparently, during the 3 day lack of air activity in the US following 9/11, the lack of aircraft contrails resulted in an increase in temperature difference (between highest and lowest daily temperatures) of 1degC. and once air travel resumed, back down it went again.

Global Dimming in our Global Warming world?
What do they say this means?
That if global dimming can have such a profound affect and that if it has been masking global warming, just how much worse is global warming than they thought it was?

Which leaves us nowhere.

Global Dimming wasn't dismissed but it was aligned to the global warming theme by declaring that if Global dimming has as dramatic an effect  as this then global warming must be so much worse than they've been telling us; i.e. we are seeing of global warming is the net effect between global dimming and global warming.
Thus, it seems to me, if we eliminate pollution we'll all see the true effects of global warming. An irony? only if global warming is exclusively or predominantly due to anthropogenic causes.

Or did I miss something here?

I didn't miss the use of those same temperature sensors all over the planet being used to demonstrate global dimming, you know, the ones used to show global warming... heat island effects et al. but no bristle cone pines and no ice cores.
By the way, how does IPCC factor in the Global Dimming argument into its models?


GregLocock (Automotive)
2 Feb 07 7:18
There was a suggestion that the SO2 released by coal fired power stations increased the albedo of the Earth, hence compensating (by >100%) for their CO2 emissions.

Given that CO2 is fairly small contributor to the greenhouse effect, that doesn't seem unfeasible, and it sure is an inconvenient truth for the consensus boys.


Greg Locock

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controlnovice (Electrical)
2 Feb 07 9:58
There are other costs associated with 'saving the earth', other than the cost of gas vs electricity.

In the US, the government is pushing ethanol from corn.  So now, the price of corn has doubled in the last year (much of it subsidized).

So cattle farmers (just one example) have to pay double for their feed, if they can get it.  This increase in price is passed on to the butcher/dairy farmer, and this price increase is passed on to the consumer.

Another example:  In one of the Northern Europe countries, they had/have a huge push for, I believe, bio diesel generators.  So, with all of these new generators, they needed fuel.  A SE Asian country was providing the fuel base, I believe palm oil.  In order to provide enough palm oil for the demand, this SE Asian country started to clear cut and burn existing fields/forests/rain forests, etc, to get the land to grow more palms.  This, in effect, created more CO from the burning of the area than the N Europe country would have saved by burning the bio diesel (instead of standard dielsel) AND started a whole economy on deforestation.

The above stories are from a poor memory....

By creating a panic, something worse can, and is, happening.

This is normally the space where people post something insightful.

ewh (Aerospace)
2 Feb 07 10:56
I'm still curious as to why industrial hemp isn't even being seriously considered.  High cellulose content, high seed oil content, and little effort to grow (after all it is a "weed").  High quality rope and fabric are also products.  This doesn't have to be a drug quality plant, but can contain very little THC (street dealers will still have their market).
Why is this plant being kept in the shadows?pipe
FACS (Mechanical)
2 Feb 07 11:07
Good point on industrial hemp; it's been argued over and over, and no one gives a good answer.

Clothing, Oils, rope, energy source... god gives us a useful plant and we shun it.


epoisses (Chemical)
2 Feb 07 11:46
What you mentioned about SO2 is true according to the IPCC. Maybe not >100% since the contribution of SO2 on global warming has not been very well quantified yet (like CO2's!).

Global warming is becoming a BIG issue in France, now that there's the conference in Paris this week. Yesterday between 19:55 and 20:00 many people switched off all the lights as a gesture. I refused this nonsense and came to work by bike this morning. While pedaling I calculated that my car emits 300 times as much CO2 as my two light bulbs and my tv that were on yesterday evening. Not counting the fact that 80% of France's electricity comes from zero-CO2 emitting nuclear plants. But it's not politically correct to inform Joe Public to well because it spoils people's good intentions to change things sad
dcasto (Chemical)
2 Feb 07 19:18
There are protests in Mexico because of corn being exported to the US.  BIO SCHMIO!!  Get the weight off to save fuel and convert to nuke power.
SnTMan (Mechanical)
2 Feb 07 22:49
I just read a newspaper article about the latest announcements by the IPCC. I guess it doesn't matter what we do, we're toast (in the future).

"..unstoppable for centuries..", " matter how much humans control their pollution."

No need to worry any longer.


SnTMan (Mechanical)
3 Feb 07 14:17
Well, that's interesting. The online version is a little tamed from my print version. See the PDF.

It's that old memory hole again...
tgmcg (Mechanical)
3 Feb 07 15:16
Global Warming Hysteria....It's all about money and politics. The latest proclamation that the next 10 years are critical is transparently political. Hmmm...let's see....2 more years of Bush plus 8 years of Gore (or Hillary?) = 10. What an amazing coincidence!

They can't model what has happened or accurately predict what will happen, but they're certain about the next 10 years.

They're already lining up at the government trough. The socialists and their proxy, the environmental movement, want to play kingmaker again, as they always do. In return for which the money will flow once again.

Some interesting information about our would be world savior, Al Gore;


Inventors of a new process to convert campaign contributions into government contracts.


1989    Molten Metal Technology, Inc. (MMT) founded by William Haney. The company seeks to develop a process by which hazardous and nuclear wastes can be melted down and recycled into useful products. (The Village Voice, 4/1/97)

1993    MMT was one of 18 firms to obtain research grants to find ways to rid the nation of nuclear waste. The grant was $1.2 million. "Department of Energy (DOE) consultants warned that Haney’s process offered ‘no significant advantage’ to ‘justify its preferred development’ over rivals’." (Time, 6/9/97)

February 1993    Molten becomes a publicly-traded company. (Forbes, 1/22/96)

September 1993    MMT opens its Fall River, Mass. plant. Peter Knight arranged for Assistant Energy Secretary Thomas Grumbly to be a guest speaker at the plant’s opening. "Grumbly suggested that the firm could receive as much as $200 million in federal work, which sent the stock soaring." (Time, 6/9/97)

January 1994    The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory reports that Molten’s new process was probably inappropriate for the kind of waste at most nuclear weapons sites. (Time, 6/9/97)

March 1994    The General Accounting Office states that Molten’s technology was at least 13 years from full development. (Forbes, 1/22/96)

March 24, 1994    Molten contributes $15,000 to the Democrat National Committee (DNC). (Federal Election Commission [FEC] reports)
The same day, Molten receives a $9 million federal contract extension from the DOE. (Time, 6/9/97)

August 1994    MMT forms a limited partnership with Lockheed Martin Corporation, M4 Environmental L.P. (MMT press release, 10/23/95)

April 1995    Al Gore travels to the Molten plant in Fall River, Mass., calling Haney a "shining example of American ingenuity." (Time, 6/9/97)

June 14, 1995    Molten executives and employees contribute $10,000 to the Clinton/Gore ’96 campaign. (Time, 6/9/97)

The same day, Molten receives a $10 million federal contract extension from DOE. (Time, 6/9/97)

Late 1995    A technical peer-review panel says the DOE should cease funding Molten at the end of the fiscal year (November 1995). (Time, 6/9/97)

May 7, 1996    Molten contributes $10,000 to the DNC. (Time, 6/9/97)

May 10, 1996    Molten receives an $8 million contract extension from DOE. (Time, 6/9/97)

June 27, 1996    Lockheed Martin contributes $100,000 to the DNC. (Time, 6/9/97)

September 25, 1996    The Molten/Lockheed partnership receives a $27 million federal contract. (Time, 6/9/97)

October 1996    DOE announces it would grant Molten an $8 million research contract through March 1997, $12 million less than investors expected. Within a day, Molten’s stock sinks 49 percent in value. (Forbes, 4/21/97)

October 23, 1996    DOE issues statement expressing enthusiasm for Molten’s process. (MMT press release, 10/24/96)

December 1996    A DOE panel concludes that Molten’s technology poses environmental and safety risks and might not be cost-effective. (Time, 6/9/97)

February 12, 1997    San Diego-based law firm Milberg Weiss files class action suit in U.S. District Court (Mass.). (The Village Voice, 4/1/97) The stockholder’s class action suit charged that Haney and other company officials gave unrealistically rosy projections about Molten’s prospects to investors in 1995 and 1996. (Forbes, 4/21/97)

The Players

Peter Knight is "the hub of Gore’s political circle. He ran Gore’s House and Senate office for years, helped finance his campaigns and chaired the Clinton-Gore re-election effort in 1996. … From where he stood between Haney and Grumbly, Knight came up with a fruitful arrangement: he began lobbying the Gore appointee [Grumbly] on behalf of the businessman he was soliciting for Gore campaign cash." (Time, 6/9/97)

William Haney is a "former Gore campaign staffer," according to The Washington Times, 5/31/97, and a former fundraiser for Gore, according to Forbes, 1/22/96. Haney founded MMT in 1989 and sought to mine lucrative government contracts for environmental clean-up.

Thomas Grumbly is a "Gore protégé." (Time, 6/9/97) He "was staff director of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight of the House Science and Technology Committee from 1981 to 1982." (PR Newswire, 7/22/87) Until recently, he was the Clinton/Gore-appointed Assistant Energy Secretary in charge of the government’s nuclear waste clean-up program.

Eugene Berman, who was MMT’s Vice President of Governmental and External Affairs, has had a long relationship with Grumbly. They both worked together at Clean Sites Inc. "NONPROFIT Clean Sites Inc. appointed Thomas P. Grumbly president and Eugene Berman executive vice president. Clean Sites is a nonprofit organization that encourages the cleanup of hazardous waste sites." (The Washington Post, 8/17/87)

The Quid-Pro-Quo

All told, MMT, its employees and Lockheed Martin contributed just over $218,000 to Clinton/Gore and the Democrats and received over $60 million in government contracts over a four-year span. If the $218,000 were a business investment, and the $60 million worth of contracts the payoff, it would be the equivalent of a 27,423 percent return. The booming Dow Jones Industrial Average, by comparison, only grew by 69 percent between March 1994, when MMT made its first contribution, and December 1996.
MMT, its officers and employees contributed a total of over $118,000 to the Clinton/Gore campaign, the Democrat Party and other Democrat candidates for office between 1993 and 1996. (FEC reports)

"Knight arranged extraordinary access for a small contractor like Haney. He got him or his top executives into 10 meetings with Grumbly over two years. Haney and Grumbly dined together three times at such Washington haunts as Sam and Harry’s and the Prime Rib. Haney also accompanied Knight to a select dinner party at the Vice President’s residence." (Time, 6/9/97)
The DOE office which oversaw the awarding of government nuclear waste clean-up contracts, until recently headed by Grumbly, "has awarded Haney’s Molten Metal Technology $33 million to test its process on the poisoned remains of nuclear-weapons proving grounds – more money than 17 other companies have received collectively to do the same job." (Time, 6/9/97)
On three occasions, MMT’s quid fell within three days of the DOE’s quo. On March 24, 1994, MMT gave the DNC $15,000 and received a $9 million contract extension on the same day. On June 14, 1995, MMT executives gave Clinton/Gore ’96 $10,000 and received a $10 million extension the same day. On May 7, 1996, MMT gave $10,000 to the Democrat Party and got an $8 million extension three days later.

Haney formed a partnership with another lobbying client of Knight’s, the Lockheed Martin corporation. Lockheed’s $100,000 donation to the DNC on June 27, 1996 netted a $27 million contract on Sept. 25, 1996, to develop a clean-up plan for a site in Richland, Wash. (Time, 6/9/97)
2dye4 (Military)
3 Feb 07 21:46
Hey Just because there are some people trying to make a buck off of this does not mean it is a real problem. A problem like this with the work required to rectify or arrest it is going to bring the cretins from the woodwork at an enormous rate. All of them salivating for political or monetary gain.
However the presence of those pushing the issue for their own agenda does not mean a real problem doesn't exist.
This problem of climate change is going to be a litmus test of  our society ability to move beyond blatent self interest. The current trends in motion are the other way. Self suffeciency and social darwinism are the present path. You can see this issue gaining steam even in the intensity of this thread. People are picking sides. Every man for himself or a heavy handed government crackdown.
People the main issue really being debated is one of government. In an ever increasingly dense population higher regulation of behavior is necessary. I don't want any more big brother watching my every move but in some of the problems that society will be facing decisions will have to be made that cause allmost everyone some pain immediatly.
I am nearly 98% percent sure we will not pass this test in a significant way and there is some trouble ahead.
LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
4 Feb 07 1:13
There is indeed trouble ahead.  There always has been.  Crying that the sky is falling has not been the answer.  The answer, throughout history, is that warming has been good for civilization.  Cold has always been the biggest problem for Homo sapiens.  Increasing the base of the food chain may, just may, give us time to get a handle on our population explosion.  

We are more closely related to the lemming than we will admit.
tgmcg (Mechanical)
4 Feb 07 1:30
The whole global warming thing is a load of hogwash. When was the last time a pack of celebrities, the UN and Al Gore were right about anything????

The scientific case supporting their THEORY has been hopelessly contaminated by bad science, and outright misrepresentation (hockey sticks, conspiring to erase the Medieval warm period, etc.). Thus they turn to populist propaganda, demonizing "deniers", advocating pulling credentials from those who won't promote the party line, and falsely claiming the debate is over.

I'm sorry, but any cause that resorts to such sleazy totalitarian bullying tactics is TOTALLY full of it. They've done a better job at demolishing their own credibility than anyone on the other side of this argument.

I have a hard time undersanding how anyone who considers themselves an objective person of science can stand in 100% agreement with the Global Warming crowd. Yet they do...they just write off the lies and bullying tactics as another case of "the ends justifying the means". So much for open and honest debate.

If the truth were behind them, an honest person would welcome any opportunity to debate the facts in the open. People can smell BS a mile away and would decide for themselves which side to believe. But noooo, the global warming crowd knows they're standing on very shaky ground, which is why they run away from every challenge. Not once will you see them promoting an open debate. They are so arrogant that they want folks to think they can't be wrong.

How can you trust someone as arogant as that? How can WE trust anyone as arrogant as that? wanna talk about self-sufficiency, population growth, and all that, fine. So long as you respect my right to disagree with the whole lot of it and not try to browbeat me into accepting your worldview.
LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
4 Feb 07 1:48
The problem is not in convincing us.  We are preaching to the choir here.  The problem is only in convincing the typical voter.  They will vote reality out of existence, and more taxes into play, further increasing the gap between the rich and the poor.  They just don't know they're cutting their own throats.  We need to make our voices, and sanity, clear to the rest of the world.
tgmcg (Mechanical)
4 Feb 07 2:19
The MSM media has a big bullhorn. Perhaps their totalitarian and overreaching ways will be their own undoing.

Most of Europe is pretty much off the deep end. There's a ton of anti-Americanism, anti-Capitalism and anti-Big Oil emotions tied up in this. A real trifecta of leftist causes.

Kinda like Bird Flu in some ways...yet another hoax being foisted on us by the global government crowd. Anyone remember SARS? I guess if you root for a global pandemic every year, then one day you're bound to be correct. But it's hard to get excited about 1 or 2 possible cases of Bird Flu when something like 30,000 Americans die each year from the regular old flu....but we don't hear about that. Maybe it's just skeptical ol' me, but it seems like suddenly the media is filled with breathless prognostications of doom on all these "global" issues....only France and the UN can save us. ;)
jmw (Industrial)
4 Feb 07 8:31
Al Gore's film and book.... the film is on at the local cinema and I thought it would be worth a look but they were charging the full rate for it. I looked for a free download on the net and didn't find it..... his message is only for those prepared to pay for it....isn't his message important enough that he'd not want people to miss reading bit for the lack of a buck or two?
Perhaps if we can't afford the ticket we aren't important enough.
Yes, then there is that company of his (or that he is a director of) well placed to make money of of the global warming scam/scare.


owg (Chemical)
4 Feb 07 9:44
tgmcg - I think the IPCC quietly put the hockey stick away for another season. It was front and center in 2001 but has been shown to be fiction. Maybe in the details to be released, we will see some mention of it. However I think the reference to 1000 years has given us a big out.


electricpete (Electrical)
4 Feb 07 11:44

Eng-tips forums: The best place on the web for engineering discussions.

tgmcg (Mechanical)
4 Feb 07 15:24
There won't be a final word on the global climate change debate or causes thereof for several decades to come. It will...and should...remain an open debate with arguments pro and con. Science in general suffers badly when activists get involved and start promoting their agendas.

As some have said, an ethical scientist is supposed to focus his or her efforts on explaining why a hypothesis WRONG. Yet here we are with activists claiming unanimity among scientists.

There are cases of climatologists who started out supporting global warming, but then became skeptics. Are there any who started out as skeptics and became supporters?

As a mechanical engineer, I'm probably best served by leaving the science of this debate to professional climatologists. However, I am capable of judging for myself who can be trusted and who cannot by their totalitarian actions during the debate.

IMHO, it's pretty clear who cannot be trusted.
controlnovice (Electrical)
5 Feb 07 3:42
What is funny and scary in the same breath is that those claiming that there will be more fury from mother nature in the upcoming years do to global warming can use any new weather catastrophe to say, "look, we told you so!", even though weather has been causing these catastrophes for years.

Best example is the 2005 North American hurricanes.  Haven't seen any in 2006, but, hey, there's more to come!!

This is normally the space where people post something insightful.

LCruiser (Civil/Environmental)
5 Feb 07 8:12
Once again, Realclimate was borne to defend the MBH98 Hockey Stick.  It's not the result that's in question so much as the flawed science that went into it.  Defense of it puts one's credibility on the line.
2dye4 (Military)
5 Feb 07 10:54
Have a look in the behavior of the business community. These folks usually do their homework before risking their companies money. The claims of wild weather seem to be worrying the insurance industry. My friend with house of the Florida coast tells me that insurance companies are trying to bail out of covering these areas. Not just raise rates, they want to pick up and leave. Now if the fine actuaries at these companies are doing their job and analyse the situation and conclude as many do here that the whold thing is a farce why shouldn't the market just price in GW premium and therefore a profit boom to the insurance companies because this is all just a hoax. No it seems they are genuinely worried about providing coverage to these locations. They are walking away and leaving money on the table. Now why would they do that??
zdas04 (Mechanical) (OP)
5 Feb 07 11:04
I don't know of anyone who says that climate is not changing.  It always changes and it always has.  The intense disagreement is about the impact of man on the current changes.  Are our actions accelerating and intensifying the current change?  Can future actions decelerate and lessen the impact to the current change?  That is the heart of the discussion.

I started this thread to discuss the manipulation of public opinion by the popular media.  Now I believe that this manipulation has been so successful that emotions are so intense on this topic that it is impossible to have an intellectual discussion about it.

We have beat this horse to death.  Let's move on.

David (Staff)
5 Feb 07 12:18
zdas04, the originator of this thread, has requested the thread be closed.  Thank you for not posting in this thread.


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