Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Why Global Warming Does Not Matter,

and its Solution

First off, let us get something out of the way, global warming is real. I am simply not interested in arguing on this point. The climate scientists that have denied climate change are a tiny fraction of the total number of scientists working in the field. Furthermore, most of these denialist are either working on the pay role of groups opposed to acknowledging man-made climate change (1) or were included in the claims against global warming against their will. (2) Logically, neither of these facts automatically discounts their opinion, but it does lower the probability that they are correct. In addition, many of the people who were included on the list of climate change skeptics were not experts themselves and not qualified to speak on the issue.  Even if one allows for the possibility the notion that thousands of scientists are lying about global warming is beyond paranoid, and not simply laughable if people were not serious about it.

     But, that does not necessarily mean there is not some other conspiracy or an attempt to use the crisis to gain power. It could very well be that their goal is to push a socialist agenda down the throats of people. In fact, I do not think there is a single instance in human history where crisis, manufactured or real, was not exploited by the ruling elites to get what all men with power really want - more power! In fact, many have been quite blunt about it, with Rahm Emanuel saying as much and phrasing it as a general maxim of politics. (3) So how the problem is exploited may matter, but global warming itself does not, for reasons that will become apparent.

     First, its is not as bad as you have been told.  In an Inconvenient Hype Al Gore predicted that global warming could cause sea level to rise 20 feet, showing the audience a picture that predicts the submergence of New York and other parts of America in order to frighten people. In reality the real amount is around four feet. (4, 5) While that is enough to displace people, it is not the desperate fear mongering result that would drive ticket sales. It is possible that the Greenland ice sheet could melt within our lifetimes, but not likely.  Furthermore, Gore shows an event with the death and displacement or millions. This is false, not to sound callous, but people can walk - they have legs. In the real world rising sea level would not kill hardly anyone. In addition, sea level has already risen at least 1.7 meters or about five feet in the last hundred years, with nobody noticing. (5) Human displacement might be tragic, but not as life-threatening as it is made out to be.

     Another thing, the far lefts solution to anthropogenic climate change would either kill millions or would be pointless. At a seminar I attended at Cal Tech on the subject of global warming, a very thorough briefing was given about the effects of climate change and what was required to slow it down. The gist of this is that it would be necessary to curb carbon production by 70% in order to substantially make a difference. The Kyoto protocol with its 5 % reduction is a joke and would cause no significant change in the worlds long-term effects. The environment also stores carbon for a substantial period of time, so much so that the world would take hundreds of years for temperatures to return to their present state. (6) Also, if we did reduce global CO2 output by 70 % (through a carbon tax or limit for example) it would cause millions of deaths. About 80 % of the world population is poor, living on $10.00 a day or less. (7) Without unemployment they would die as many of them subsist at a level just above starvation. No job, no money, no food, no survival for the worlds poor. The radical lefts solution for a carbon tax is a de facto racist program to exterminate millions of mostly poor Black Africans and Asians. So political solutions simply are not feasible.

     Last, global warming can be solved technologically. At least three practical technological solutions exist and they are; thorium based nuclear power, artificial photosynthesis and - the most promising; and algae based bio-fuels. Algae bio-fuels would take an area of about 469.12 square miles to provide for all of Americas transportation needs. (8) This is an area 39 % as big as the state of Rhode Island. This is much better than corn ethanol, which competes with food and would take 97 % of Americas land. (9) Current oil consumption for the U.S. is 19,497.95 x 1000 bbl per day. Canada has 176.8 billion barrels in the form of oil sands, and the Green River Formation has 252 years of oil alone. (10) Therefore, peak oil is a long way off for the world. We have 300 years of shale at present consumption, and a whole suite of technologies will keep gas low, such as hydraulic franking and horizontal drilling. Most of Americas pollution comes from automotive exhaust, so much so that its elimination with a carbon neutral technology like algae based fuels would solve our contribution to global warming. However, with algae being a new technology, its costs are high relative to the market, and this means that it is unlikely to get off the ground until it comes down in price.

     As a result it would need government support, much the way the internet was supported in the beginning of its existence. The good news is that the military is making heavy investments in algae based bio-fuels (11) and the cost is coming down steadily and significantly. As long as the next president (Romney?) does not sabotage progress (he will), it should come down to market rates in the near future. So ironically, the very mild position taken by the Obama administration may be just what the doctor ordered. Because of the potential human costs, it simply is not a good idea to try to solve global warming with purely political means such as a carbon cap, therefore the invention of a new technology that could be a drop in replacement and eventually compete with oil could be the solution everyone is waiting for. He may yet redeem his legacy.

(1) http://www.martlet.ca/martlet/article/uvic-prof-climate-change-deniers-payroll/
(2) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming_conspiracy_theory#Sample_claims_that_global_warming _is_a_global_conspiracy_and_hoax
(3) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvSP-HDcY0g
(4) http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/05/060524-global-warming_2.html
(5) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Current_sea_level_rise
(6) http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/big-idea/05/carbon-bath
(7) http://www.globalissues.org/article/26/poverty-facts-and-stats
(8) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Algae_fuel#Biodiesel
(9) http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:nMAqCm-rK1gJ:www.evsroll.com/Pros_and_Cons_of_Ethanol.html+&cd=1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
(10) http://www.eccos.us/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=10&Itemid=6
(11) http://www.dailytech.com/Military+Biofuel+Costs+Slashed+Thanks+to+Massive+Navy+Purchase/ article23454.htm

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