Is the Rise in Global Temperatures Slowing Down?

An Economist article asks whether the flattening of the rise in world temperatures in the past decade, while carbon dioxide emissions were increasing, shows that the predicted rise of 4 to 6oC in this century is off base.

Response: No, unfortunately.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions do not heat the earth immediately. We are told that there is a 15-year time lag between their release and when temperatures begin to rise. So the leveling of world temperatures in the past decade makes perfect sense. In 1988 the economy contracted and for the next decade GDP was lower and so were CO2 emissions.

With CO2 emissions rising by 4 parts per million per year in the 2000s, it makes sense to expect a marked increase in  extreme weather by the mid 2020s and beyond.

Investors who wish to direct their energy portfolio into solar, wind, geothermal, grid, algae, batteries and other green technology, would be advised to lobby for a carbon tax to allow promising green upstarts to compete successfully against the aging fossil fuel industry.

http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21574461-climate-may-be-heating-up-less-response-greenhouse-gas-emissions

http://climate.nasa.gov/key_indicators#globalTemp

http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

Investing for profit or people

How can investors make money in the time of climate change? That  was the topic of an MSN interview last October with Sarbjit Nahal,  an analyst with Merrill Lynch Global Research.

He recognized that extreme weather is the new economic reality, the “new operating environment” now for corporations and investors. There will be “increasing pressure on food security, water security and energy security, Demand across the three is set to increase by 30 to 50% over the next 20 years.”

Advisors are likely to promote investments in water, water management, water treatment, second generation biofuels from non-food crops, agricultural inputs like equipment, drought resistant seeds, fertilizer and crops.

Is this ghoulish, making money on the scarcity of the basic necessities of life, or is it responsible,- loaning savings to provide for basic needs?

Depends on how it is done.

Corporations can build facilities to desalinate seawater and recycle wastewater and increase supplies responsibly.  Or  they can take control of public water resources, charge people for water that they had used free for generations, and make money for a few shareholders, but leave many people in deeper poverty.  Agriculture can use quantities of fossil fuels and chemicals, squander water supplies, and allow soil loss, or it can reduce plowing and chemicals and preserve water and soil with alternative methods.

As we consider the challenge, providing food and water for 9 billion people in a warming world, it is clear that reducing carbon emissions should be part of every investment decision.

Tax Our Carbon, Please, Say Most Americans

Two thirds (67%) of Americans would rather Congress tax carbon pollution from oil, coal and natural gas industries instead of cutting spending on education, Social Security, Medicare and environmental protection, according to a recent Melman Group poll. 70% of voters would support a carbon tax if the revenue were used to help solve budget problems and give tax credits to individuals and households.  72% would support it, if the revenue were used to fund clean energy jobs and programs that help deal with the effects of climate change.

Let’s send thanks to Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell for supporting S.7, the Extreme Weather Prevention and Resilience Act and ask them and our    Representatives in Congress to make passage of a carbon tax a top priority.

Climate warming emissions from oil, coal and natural gas contributed to over $100 billion in extreme weather damages to America last year. A tax on carbon will make fossil fuel companies responsible for some of these damages and allow clean renewable energy industries to revive our economy and protect our environment.

U.S. Voters Favor Carbon Tax http://bit.ly/Z6wkii

We should stop Chinese Investment in Canadian Oil Sands

Canada approved Cnooc Ltd’s $15.1 billion takeover bid for oil -sands from operator Nexen Inc.  Shareholders have approved the deal, but it still needs approval from the U.S. and British governments because of assets that Nexen holds in those countries. WSJ Dec 8, 2012

Response:

What are the climate implications of $15 billion more invested in oil development? One gallon of gasoline, when burned, adds 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) to the air. How many gallons does $15 billion buy? Any science lab can demonstrate that CO2 warms air. See video demonstration. If you’re not sure whether the warming is affecting the world, see this video of melting glaciers , and  go see the new movie ‘Chasing Ice.’

It takes the CO2 a couple decades to warm the air and ocean, so the 10% increase in severity of storms (witness Sandy), the droughts, fires, floods and the fact that there are now twice as many record high temperature events than record cold temperature events, all these are the result of burning fossil fuels 20 years ago. What we burn today will cause a quantum worse weather extremes, over the coming years,  before most people pay off their mortgages.

IEA is not a group of tree huggers. According to IEA deputy executive director Richard Jones,  “Under current policies, we estimate that energy use and CO2 emissions would increase by a third by 2020 and almost double by 2050. This would likely send global temperatures at least 6 degrees Celsius [10.8 degrees Fahrenheit] higher. Such an outcome would confront future generations with significant economic, environmental and energy security hardships — a legacy that I know none of us wants to leave behind.”

We should oppose this investment in Canadian oil sands. Our government should encourage additional investment in American produced clean energy. We can compete, drive down the cost of energy, and revitalize our economy.

We make choices in energy policy. For a century American government chose to encourage the use of fossil fuels. We  bought it, paid for highways and airports, defended access to it with the blood of our brave troops, and subsidized it to encourage more development. It was not wrong for most of that time; but now it is wrong to continue. Times change. We cannot afford to increase the risk of more $60 billion storms. We cannot afford rising costs of fossil fuel dredged from the ocean floor and squeezed from sand. The manufacture of clean energy technology is an affordable, competitive proposition, which will stop the destabilization of the climate.  It is the choice we need to make.

Wake-up call duly noted. Now what?

Extreme climate predictions most accurate, report finds, according to a Seattle Times/Washington Post article “ The world could be in for an increase of some 8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, resulting in drastically higher seas, disappearing coastlines and more severe droughts, floods and other destructive weather.  Such an increase would substantially overshoot what the world’s leaders have identified as the threshold for triggering catastrophic consequences.”

Response

Ok, so, what do we do? Personally, live a lower carbon lifestyle – dance more, drive less, plant more, purchase less, insulate your home, wear sweaters, vacation near home, skype your distant friends & family, and lobby for policy solutions.. Locally, get institutions to invest in green energy instead of fossil fuels, (see 350.org) and install energy saving technology, tell your friends and neighbors what you are doing and invite them to informational events. Nationally, lobby for a carbon tax and rebate (see Citizens Climate Lobby), for an end to subsidies for fossil fuels, against oil pipelines and natural gas fracking, and for increased government incentives for investment in solar, wind, water, geothermal, wave, and tidal energy, efficiency technology, smart grid, electric vehicles and batteries.
A green energy economy is possible. The Jacobson and Delucchi plan,, explains how investment in solar, wind, water, geothermal, wave, and tidal energy, combined with energy reducing technology, smart grid, electric vehicles and batteries can supply most our needs. They suggest replacing all new energy with these by 2030, and replacing pre-existing energy by 2050, resulting in consumer costs similar to what we are spending today.
The energy from burning oil, coal and natural gas allowed us to build a civilization, with research facilities, and communication devices that allow us to make a transition to safe, affordable clean energy. Those who are afraid that sustainability will not help the economy are misinformed. It is precisely to save our loading docks, airports, highway system, computer capabilities, and the health of people who run this infrastructure that we need to stop investing money in last century’s fossil fuel energy and build American energy industries that will free us from the monopoly of fossil fuels and also save our mountains, trees, agriculture, water supplies and shorelines.
https://greenismoney.wordpress.com

Reduce storm risks with green energy

“Northeastern lawmakers are preparing to push Congress to approve extra spending to pay for repairing the damage wrought by Sandy” according to WSJ article

Response:

As our democracy plans its budget we should consult our most experienced and knowledgeable experts to provide for our security. For over thirty years, scientists have predicted that burning oil, coal and natural gas would raise world temperatures, increase evaporation, and cause weather to become more severe. Now NASA is pointing out the evidence.

It takes a couple decades after we burn coal, oil and gas, for the carbon dioxide (CO2) they emit to raise the world’s temperature. So the emissions of today will cause weather disruption that gets worse and worse over the next 20 years, even if we stop burning fossil fuels today. The damages are likely to be far more that what it would have cost us to create a new green energy economy according to World Bank economist Stern.

It is not too late to make a difference, however. We can reduce the catastrophic nature of climate change by starting to direct all new energy investments now into solar, wind, geothermal, wave, new grids, electric battery and energy saving technology.

Politicians who want to plan for improving the recovery of citizens from future hurricanes should stop subsidizing fossil fuels, give tax credits for investment in green energy, make public buildings and vehicles energy efficient, and fund smart grids to connect new solar and wind installations and keep lights on during storms.

Costs of global warming

An article in the WSJ describes how ‘Much of Sandy’s Flood Damage to be Covered by Cash-Strapped Federal Program’

Response

In 1980, when the science of climate change moved from theory to reality, people said, ‘Well, we’ll have to do something.’ In 1990, the threat still seemed quite distant, the predicted melting of ice caps, floods, storm surges, sea level rise, droughts and forest fires. By 2000, the temperature of the Earth was rising faster than predicted, the Arctic was melting away, and changes in sea currents and tundra methane indicated that ‘tipping points,’ changes in natural functions of the Earth with potential for widespread destruction of basic life systems, might be starting. Many nations, US states, and municipal governments began to shift to more efficient use of energy and increasing use of green technology like wind, wave and solar power. However, the US Congress failed to act.

Billions in damage claims from this storm will be born by taxpayers, more costs will never be recovered, and many lives were lost.

Data shows that the frequency of heavy downpours (defined as the top 1 percent of rainfall events) has increased by almost 20 percent on average in the U.S, as a result of climate change over the past 50 years. Severe weather events will increase for several   decades, even after we stop burning fossil fuels.  It takes decades after release of excess CO2 for it to raise the temperature of the huge Earth. So the planet’s temperature will keep rising for at least another 20 years, and then stay high for  centuries.

It is time to deal with the problem.

The corporations selling the oil, coal and natural gas, the fossil fuels that emit the carbon dioxide (CO2) that is the main cause of this imbalance in the climate, have failed to coordinate an appropriate response. Responsible corporate behavior would be to shift their investments and production into geothermal, wind, solar, battery, algae fuel, smart grids, efficiency technology, and other products that could replace the burning of the fossil fuels. With a few insignificant exceptions, they have not done this.

Isn’t it time for the federal government to protect us from increasing damages from overheating the climate. A tax on carbon that increases every year would give the petroleum industry a measured incentive to shift to production of green technology.

We do not have to keep burning fossil fuels. We can reduce US energy use by 20% just with regulations requiring buildings to be more energy efficient.   Wind and solar electricity are already cost competitive in many places and smart grids can handle different and new energy sources. Worldwide demand for solar technology is surging. America has the engineering and entrepreneurial expertise to create a new industrial base of green energy that can out-compete fossil fuel, revitalize our economy and protect our shores.