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Scientists doubt climate change

The Washington Times – December 21, 2007

This story has been floating around the media for some time and I suppose it is time that I discuss it as well. It wouldn’t be such a big deal except that Mr. Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and Nobel prize winner, declared the debate over and that there was a consensus among scientists. Of course, the first thing that happens with that kind of grandiose statement is the nay-sayers raise their hands REAL HIGH!

That is part of what makes this discussion so interesting (and so frustrating). Seemingly intelligent people with such strong and diverse opinions that are arguing so strenuously. As with most bi-polar discussions, the truth likely lies somewhere in the middle.

Global warming may reduce hurricanes hitting U.S.

Reuters – January 23. 2008

What in the world is going on here?!?!?! Do we understand so little about our climate and environment that we can’t even figure out for sure if hurricanes are going to be less frequent or more frequent with global warming? I repeat my call for more effort to truly understand our climate before we spend trillions of dollars to try and change the environment – a sum that will likely cause the death of thousands of people.

This also flies directly into the face of former Vice President Al Gore and his film “An Inconvenient Truth” perhaps Mr. Gore should consider giving back his Nobel since one of his strongest statements and most concerning images in the movie was the certainty that hurricanes would increase and cause more catastrophes such as New Orleans.

Man-Made Global Warming: 10 Questions (PART 2 OF 2)

Human – December 20, 2007

This is the second of 2 discussions on a list of 10 questions that Mr. Pat Sajak of “Wheel of Fortune” fame published recently.  In my previous post, I discussed the first 5 of the 10 questions.  This is the continuation of this series and covers 6-10.

6. Are there potential benefits to global warming?

That really isn’t the issue to the individuals that are affected. Yes, certain people may find themselves at an advantage with warmer temperatures but if you are one of those that is disadvantaged that doesn’t give much consolation.  Once again, this is where averages really don’t matter as much as the individual or local situation.

Man-Made Global Warming: 10 Questions (PART 1 OF 2)

Human – December 20, 2007

I am not sure what gives Pat Sajak authority on the global warming issue but I shouldn’t throw stones since I am just a lowly blogger.  If you ask 100 people in the US, probably 5 will know Mr. Sajak and none will know me.  Of course the 5 that know him will likely say that he is Vanna White’s sidekick!

Pat had the guts to ask 10 questions about global warming. I will reproduce those questions here and then answer them to the best of my ability. These are the first 5 questions.  I will dig into 6-10 tomorrow.

1. What is the perfect temperature?

Climate change causes shift in American bird ranges – January 16, 2008

Birds are an extremely good indicator of the effects of man and climate on nature. Due to their ability to travel significant distances, they can accommodate and adapt to changing influences on their lives. Other animals that are bound by feet or fin are much less able to move. Even this free movement though is limited by instinct of returning to the same place for breeding or raising young.

This study is good to read because it appears to be rather wide ranging. It also tries to find true causality between human destruction of habitat and change of climate. Of course this study doesn’t try to get into the primary cause of climate change but rather its possible effects.

Global Warming May Reduce Carbon Sink Capacity In Northern Forests

ScienceDaily – January 3, 2008

The prediction of what will happen as carbon dioxide increases in our atmosphere is based on many complicated assumptions. One of those assumptions is that the northern forests will continue to capture (or sink) CO2 in the same manner as before. We now have evidence that increasing temperatures reduces this sinking process meaning the models may be flawed and CO2 will accumulate at a faster rate.

According to the study, the warmth of spring and autumn play a significant role in the amount of carbon that is released and captured. In the spring, the fast growth of the forests sinks a great deal of carbon, this is accelerated with the warmer climate. However, the warmer autumn means that the decomposition rates stay higher during a time when the greenery is not growing quickly and thus is a net source of carbon.

Toyota Will Offer a Plug-In Hybrid by 2010

The New York Times – January 14, 2008

Toyota is not going to be out-done by GM.  Yesterday, I discussed that GM is spending a lot of effort and money to develop alternative fuels and alternative propulsion options. This article shows that Toyota is not going to stand still in that important competitive battle.

Toyota will offer the first plug-in hybrid in 2010. Plug-in hybrids are important because it is far more efficient to produce electricity at an industrial power utility plant than it is to burn gasoline in your car in the form of a “traditional” hybrid vehicle.

GM to partner with biofuels start-up Coskata – January 13, 2008

I am very intrigued with biofuel as an alternative source of liquid fuel to propel our trucks and automobiles down the road. This source combined with plug-in electric technology seems like a very effective method of breaking our addiction to liquid fossil fuel.

GM has been on this site a lot lately (here, here, and here). It is obvious that they are trying very hard to show themselves as a “green” company. I wonder if it is really working.

General Motors announced this weekend at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit that it would partner with Coskata Inc., an Illinois-based renewable energy start-up company that plans to produce ethanol from agricultural, municipal, and industrial waste byproducts.

Escalating Ice Loss Found in Antarctica

Washington Post – January 14, 2008

Changes to the ice mass on Antarctica could be the tipping point for a wide range of calamities caused by global warming. This news of escalating ice loss is very disconcerting. We need to monitor this situation closely to understand if it is within the realm of variability or if this is significant on-going trend.

I don’t typically jump on to the sky is falling bandwagon. However, significant changes in this ice mass or so concerning that caution is called for. Even if the root cause of global warming is not man but rather it is nature, the events of Antarctica are extremely noteworthy and anything that we can do to reverse this trend is likely to be worthwhile.

Duke in solar-development talks with BMW

Charlotte Business Journal – December 20, 2007

It will not be easy to break the US economy reliance on fossil fuels to generate energy. Regardless of goals and caps that are discussed at a political level, the reality is that the economy needs fuel to thrive and sustain itself.

Duke Energy is trying to diversify its portfolio of energy production. As one of the largest producers of electricity in the US, it is also one of the largest users of fossil fuels. Staying on the cutting edge of alternative fuels is critical for a company like this and their experiences are important for the nation and the world at large.