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Gore lies about lying (or maybe he just lies some more)

I haven’t made a post on this site in quite some time. I had to break my silence though on the recent news coming from former US Vice President Al Gore. First let me quote his statement (this is from Reuters):

“It is not a good policy to have these massive subsidies for (U.S.) first generation ethanol,” said Gore, speaking at a green energy business conference in Athens sponsored by Marfin Popular Bank.

“First generation ethanol I think was a mistake. The energy conversion ratios are at best very small.

“It’s hard once such a program is put in place to deal with the lobbies that keep it going.”

He explained his own support for the original program on his presidential ambitions.

Less feedback forcing than previously guessed at

Most of the long-term climate models show feedback from an increase of carbon dioxide that ultimately creates more carbon dioxide. The theory is that as CO2 increases, the temperature increases. As the temperature increases, it forces more CO2 to be released from CO2 sinks or it causes less CO2 to be absorbed. This extra CO2 causes a dramatic increase in temperature – which releases more CO2. Many of the models that predicted the end of world had this increase in CO2 and temperature. It really wasn’t the CO2 from man that was the problem, it was the tipping point that was reached by man’s CO2.

Is global warming a hoax?

Doug Craig over at recently published an article covering the abbreviated history of research regarding greenhouse gases and the history of our scientific understanding of them. He naturally skipped those researchers and scientists that discuss the cooling affect of aerosols.

Mr. Craig’s article is pretty typical of the problem in this debate for both sides. His article is filled with references to “hoax” in this discussion. Hoax is a word that is often referenced by some that doubt global warming predictions (or more precisely, the efforts to reverse the influence). In this case, Mr. Craig is making fun of it with the natural assumption that he thinks such people are fools for thinking it is a “hoax.”

Al Gore may concur that that science is not settled!

This is absolutely unbelievable. It now appears that Mr. Al Gore, former Vice President of the United States and Nobel prize winner for his theories on global warming, may be stepping back from some of his strong beliefs.

Over the years I have been among those who focused most of all on CO2, and I think thats still justified, Gore told Newsweek . But a comprehensive plan to solve the climate crisis has to widen the focus to encompass strategies for all of the greenhouse culprits identified in the Nasa study.

New Priorities For Our Energy Future

Boone Pickens and Ted Turner are well respected businessmen (the former a big  investor and the latter a media mogul and founder of CNN). Both have a history of speaking their mind on public issues and both have a history of making huge sums of money.

While I certainly do not begrudge this gentlemen the right to speak their mind, I wonder if this message (that may be good for America) also is good for their business interests. Mr. Pickens is renown in the energy sector and a large scale switch to natural gas would likely help his wallet. Mr. Turner is a very large landowner in the western States and my gut is that he has found large deposits of natural gas under some of his holdings.

All that being said, I tend to agree with the core of their opinion. The United States should concentrate more on natural gas. It would most likely help the environment and it would help to lessen the choke hold that foreign interests have on our economy.

The following parts of their opinion appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

Renewable energy and clean-burning natural gas are the basis of a new strategy the world needs to create a cleaner and more secure future. And the global transformation to a clean-energy economy may be the greatest economic opportunity of the 21st century. According to the authoritative Potential Gas Committee (administered by the Colorado School of Mines), the U.S. sits on top of massive reservoirs of natural gasan estimated 2,000 trillion cubic feetthat contain more energy than all the oil in Saudi Arabia.

Harnessing this large supplyplus developing wind, solar and biofuel energy sourcesis essential to achieve three strategic national priorities:

Energy security: The internal combustion engine makes us dependent on oil that’s concentrated in a handful of countries in some of the world’s most volatile regions. In June, we imported 374 million barrels of oil, nearly two-thirds of what we used, at a cost of $24.7 billion. With 70% of imported oil going into cars and trucks, our transportation system is perilously at risk to shaky oil markets and even shakier regimes.

Economic security: Last year more than $155 billion was invested in clean energy technologies such as wind and solar, and China and India plan to invest hundreds of billions in renewable energy sources. The annual market for clean energy may escalate in the next decade to between $1 trillion and $2 trillion. The race is on.

Climate security: Likewise, the clock is ticking on potentially devastating climate changes. We already are witnessing the disintegration of polar ice, melting glaciers, rising sea levels and altered weather patterns. But if we act now, we can prevent catastrophic human and economic impacts.

Are the glaciers our fault?

I am often asked if the reduction of the size of glaciers is the fault of global warming. My standard answer is that I don’t know as the evidence is far from conclusive.

A case in point is a graph from the USGS fact sheet:

Two conclusions are fairly obvious from the above graph.  First, the size of glacier recession has been occurring almost since the time when we started measuring the size back in the late 50s.  The second is that the reduction seemed to increase rather rapidly in the late 80s and early 90s. If we draw a straight line to average the reduction from 1960 to 1975, we will see a totally different rate as compared to the line that averages 1980 to 2005.

Scientists and Engineers are upset

If you read this site often, you will know that I am an engineer by training (even though I don’t currently practice). I tend to respect this profession a great deal as being fairly straight-forward and hard working. As a group, they also tend to be a pretty smart bunch.

One of the major trade rags in engineering is C&EN (Chemical and Engineering News). It is edited by Mr. Rudy Baum. If you aren’t in that trade, you would probably never pick up an issue so you may not be familiar with it. I haven’t read the publication in a long time but was recently made aware of a bit of controversy by Climate Depot. While the readers of C&EN are likely not climatologists, the science of CO2 and its affect on the atmosphere is very steeped in chemistry which their target market knows a bit about.

Could we be wrong about global warming?

There is an article in the USAToday (that is based on an article in Nature Geoscience) that is getting a lot of web traffic lately.

While few people would call me a global warming alarmists, I do think it is important to have relatively balanced perspective on all of this.  In fact, that is the essence of this blog.

Most reputable scientists without an agenda (which likely excludes anyone associated with Al Gore) had concluded long ago that it wasn’t the CO2 concentrations that would deliver the doom and gloom of the alarmists.  Rather, the concern was a feedback loop that would be accelerated by a fairly rapid expansion of carbon dioxide.  One theory is that this CO2 increase would cause temperatures to increase slightly which causes an increase in H2O in the atmosphere which further increases the temperature in an escalating fashion.

Climatologist slams for ‘erroneously communicating the reality of the how climate system is actually behaving’ – Rebuts Myths On Sea Level, Oceans and Arctic Ice

I have talked about many times in the past. In general, the gentlemen over there are pretty smart but they do tend to be one-sided in their analysis. They consistently take the side of “global warming is caused by humans” and they don’t treat others with much respect.

I started questioning their partisanship when they lashed out at the UK judge that said that “An Inconvenient Truth” was not 100% factual. They didn’t like me calling them out on that.  They then spiked some of my comments on their site when degraded scientific discussion to a challenge of who has a bigger wallet.

Good news for green power in Ohio

Regular readers know that I think that nuclear power is one of the very few ways we can provide the power we need without taking the chance that global warming is caused by carbon dioxide.  If you believe in anthropogenic global warming and don’t believe the human race should live like the Amish, then you really don’t have a choice but to endorse nuclear power.

Contrary to my custom, I will be recreating the complete story here.

Strickland details plans for nuclear plant
Business First of Columbus – by Matt Burns

A third nuclear power station proposed for Ohio likely wont start operating for years, but government officials and energy industry executives are saying it is time to start considering its construction and Piketon is the place for it.