Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Vatican starts fighting climate change

The Catholic News Service is reporting that the Paul VI audience hall is going to be powered completely by solar power. Pier Carlo Cuscianna, the head of the Vatican's department of technical services, wrote in a May 23 article in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that safe guarding the environment was "one of the most important challenges of our century." From CNS:

The Italian engineer said appeals by Popes Benedict XVI and John Paul II to respect nature inspired him to help power the Vatican's energy needs with renewable resources.

He recalled how, in his 2007 World Day of Peace message, Pope Benedict warned of "the increasingly serious problem of energy supplies" that was leading to "an unprecedented race" for the earth's resources.

Cuscianna also found inspiration from Pope John Paul's 1990 peace message, dedicated in its entirety to the need to respect God's creation.

"We cannot continue to use the goods of the earth as we have in the past," the pope wrote, calling for "a new ecological awareness" that leads to "concrete programs and initiatives."

Catholic News Service, VATICAN LETTER May-25-2007 (730 words) Going green: Vatican expands mission to saving planet, not just souls, Carol Glatz and Alicia Ambrosio

Monday, May 28, 2007

"James Hansen is a bought-by-John-Kerry-Communist and his models were fabricated to support his statist schemes."
Part of the: Common Arguments by Skeptics and Deniers series
From Logical Science

A strong title to say the least but one I frequently see on comments of blogs and forums. Among think tanks the general tone of the accusations will be something like this:
Hansen, the director of the agency's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, received a $250,000 grant from the charitable foundation headed by former Democrat Presidential candidate John Kerry's wife, Teresa Heinz. Subsequent to the Heinz Foundation grant, Hansen publicly endorsed Democrat John Kerry for president in 2004, a political endorsement considered to be highly unusual for a NASA scientist.
So was there some kind of bribery going on? At the Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Annual Conference NASA's chief scientist and climate modeler James Hansen defended himself from accusations of corruption. This is what he said:
I'm not a democrat. I'm a registered independent, you can go to Pennsylvania and check if you like. And my endorsement, (laughing) as you call it (laughing), endorsement... of a... John Kerry was about as luke warm as you can get. If you check that I say my favorite, who I wanted to vote for, was John McCain. Partly because he put... uh. reform of... what is the word... campaign finance reform at the top of his agenda and he also put global warming very high on his agenda. And I criticized John Kerry for I felt he was politicizing the nuclear waste disposal problem. Which I think should be a bipartisan.... We should solve that problem. It's a technical problem that can be solved and we shouldn't be politicizing it. I had an opportunity to speak to the current administration and try to make the case that global warming is becoming very urgent. And they simply ignore the scientific evidence in my opinion. And I said I thought there was a better chance that they would deal with the problem than the Bush administration. And that's why I said I was going to vote for John Kerry. But I think the way you cast this is a total misrepresentation of my actual position with regard to politics. I'm not a democrat and I'm not political and I make my decisions on scientific basis.
Listen to his words and see for yourself: MP3 (1 minute, 53 seconds) A recording of the full SEJ conference can be found here. So it would appear that James Hansen doesn't even like John Kerry that much. His voting decision was more of an "anybody but Bush" move. On top of this the $250,000 Heinz award Hansen received was not a grant but an award handed out by an independent committee. There is another problem with the model-fabricating-communist argument. In 1988 his models correctly predicted global temperatures 20 years into the future.

Desmogblog, Inhofe Aid vs. SEJ: "It's Not About Science" 27 Oct 06
Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Annual Conference.
CyberAlert, The 2,230th CyberAlert. Tracking Liberal Media Bias Since 1996 12:30pm EDT, Friday July 14, 2006 (Vol. Eleven; No. 116)
Energy Conservation Myths

The University of Texas at Austin has a nice primer on home energy conservation myths. It's small but it looks like it will be growing over time.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Arnold Challenge!!!!!
Part of the: Common Arguments by Skeptics and Deniers series

Arnold Schwarzenegger recently said:
Well, as I said, that I believe the scientists. It is like when my child is sick and has a huge fever, and I go to 100 doctors, and 98 doctors says this child needs immediate medical care, and 2 say no, forget it, go home and just relax, I go with the 98. It's as simple as that.
Well lets see if the skeptics can meet even these standards. Arnold claims that the dissenting 2% can be ignored. Marc Morano claims that this list of 12 skeptics is just the "tip of the iceberg" and:
A more detailed and comprehensive sampling of scientists who have only recently spoken out against climate hysteria will be forthcoming in a soon to be released U.S. Senate report.
According to Eli Rabett there are roughly 20,000-ish climatologists that are members of the AGU. About 5,000 of those are Europeans taking part in a mostly American club. There are no stats on worldwide climatologists yet. But as Professor Eli also says: "if you ain't a member of the AGU you ain't no damn climate scientist in the US". Well applying Arnold's ignorable 2% to 20,000 AGU members means we can ignore, at a bare minimum, 400 climate change skeptics worldwide. So will Marc Morano be able to come meet Arnold's standards? With more than 388 missing AGU skeptics to locate and an exiguous amount of anti-consensus papers in peer review from 1993-2003, my guess is a big fat no.

Council on Foreign Relations Board Meeting, Thursday, 04/12/2007
Marc Morano – Marc_Morano@EPW.Senate.Gov - 9:14 PM ET Climate Momentum Shifting: Prominent Scientists Reverse Belief in Man-made Global Warming - Now Skeptics Growing Number of Scientists Convert to Skeptics After Reviewing New Research
Rabett Run, How many climate scientists are there mommy?, Friday, November 10, 2006
Science, BEYOND THE IVORY TOWER:The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change, Naomi Oreskes

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

An excellent introduction into boreholes

Plz check out Tamino's blog.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Smithsonian Picture Contest

A few interesting pictures can be found here
DeSmogBlog on the costs of fixing climate change....
Part of the: Common Arguments by Skeptics and Deniers series
One thing her analysis overlooks is that renewable energy will allow third world countries to develop and that could have tremendous impacts on worldwide economic growth. It will also increase the health of the general population which could save countless losses in man hours.
New G8 Statement on climate change

A new joint statement was released today:

The problem is not yet insoluble, but becomes more difficult with each passing day. A goal of confining global warming to an average of 2 centigrade degrees above pre-industrial levels would be very challenging, and even this amount of warming would be likely to have some severe impacts. . . .

We call on world leaders, especially those meeting at the G8 Summit in June 2007, to:
• Set standards and promote economic instruments for efficiency, and commit to promoting energy efficiency for buildings, devices, motors, transportation systems
and in the energy sector itself.
• Promote understanding of climate and energy issues and encourage necessary behavioural changes within our societies.
• Define and implement measures to reduce global deforestation.
• Strengthen economic and technological exchange with developing countries, in order to leapfrog to cleaner and more efficient modern technologies.
• Invest strongly in science and technology related to energy efficiency, zero-carbon energy resources and carbon-removing technologies.

It is signed by 13 countries

• Academia Brasileira de Ciéncias,Brazil
• Académie des Sciences, France
• Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei, Italy
• Russian Academy of Sciences, Russia
• National Academy of Sciences, United States of America
• Royal Society of Canada, Canada
• Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina, Germany
• Science Council of Japan, Japan
• Academy of Science of South Africa, South Africa
• Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
• Indian National Science Academy, India
• Academia Mexicana de Ciencias, Mexico
• Royal Society, United Kingdom

National Academy of Sciences: 2007 Joint science academies’ statement on growth and responsibility: sustainability, energy efficiency and climate protection

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Fun graph.......

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Nothing new just a closeup of CO2 and temps for the last 20K years.

backup image

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Made it on New Scientist!

Apparently Michael Le Page over at New Scientist is using this website as a source for his global warming articles. See the web links here. I must say I'm glad to see Coby Becks blog being referenced as well. He has certainly earned the recognition. The only other outside "web links" listed is and the IPCC.

source:, Climate change: A guide for the perplexed 17:00 16 May 2007 Michael Le Page

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Newt Gingrich says climate change is real

former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich may agree on little politically, but they agreed Tuesday on this: Global warming is no hoax.
Whether this is lip service or real it's good to see leaders of the GOP that were formally anti-ivory tower coming around.

WMUR, Climate Change Real, Kerry, Gingrich Say, Partisan Heavyweights Debate Climate Change Solutions

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Lithium Power Doubles..... and gets cheaper too!

The boys (and girls) at Argonne National Laboratory have come up with a composite lithium battery. This will allow the batteries to made out of cheaper (and less energy intensive) materials. It also more than doubles the capacity of the battery which means your cellphones and laptops can run twice as long between recharges. This now means that the Tesla (shown below) can out accelerate (0-60mph in 4 seconds) and out last (>500 mile range) many sports cars and high end sedans.

Battery tech still has a long ways to go (especially price wise) but it's great to know that performance wise electric cars can compete with the best of the gas powered vehicles.

source: New 'layered-layered' materials promise to improve rechargeable lithium batteries

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Astronomy Picture of the Day

Click on the image for a much larger picture. It's worth it.
Gas Mileage of Trucks Worsens
Ran into an interesting article on truck economy and after doing some quick calculations, it would appear each person saves the environment 3.4 tons of CO2 emissions per year by picking a two decade old 1985 Ford F150 (8.9 tons of carbon) over a much newer 1998 Ford F150 (12.3 tons of carbon). The truck owner also ends up losing $850 each and every year by driving a truck thats newer by 13 years. Over a ten year lifespan the older truck will save the owner $8,500 and 34 tons of carbon. The quoted text below is a cut and pasted article. The only edits I made were to provide direct links so one could fact check the articles claims with data direct from Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
04/21 (LWN) While there has been much talk in recent months and years about the importance of improving automobile gas mileage, statistics seem to indicate a largely opposite trend for most models of small trucks. Let's take a look at how the gas mileage of small trucks has changed over the years...

FORD: In 1985, the Ford F150 pickup truck with a six-cylinder engine was capable of getting 19-24MPG, and the smaller Ford Ranger was available in a 29-33MPG diesel version. By 1996, the six-cylinder F150's gas mileage had fallen to 15-19MPG, and the diesel Ford Ranger was no longer available. The current model year's F-150 receives only 16-21MPG.

DODGE: The 1989 Dodge Dakota (four cylinder) had gas mileage of 22-28MPG. This decreased to 20-25MPG by 1998, and there is no longer a four-cylinder model available for this model year. The current six-cylinder Dakota gets about 16-22MPG, less with four-wheel-drive.

CHEVY/GMC: In 1987, several small trucks with relatively high gas mileage were available from these brands, including the El Camino six-cylinder (18-23MPG), the four-wheel-drive T10 (22-25MPG), and the four-cylinder S10 (22-27MPG). At present, these models have been discontinued and GMC's most fuel-efficient truck appears to be the Canyon four-cylinder, at 20-26MPG.

TOYOTA: During the late '80s, almost all of Toyota's trucks had four-cylinder engines, and some had gas mileage as good as 23-27MPG. By 1998, more six-cylinder models had been introduced, but the most fuel-efficient Tacoma still received 22-27MPG, almost as high as it was in the past. This year's most efficient Tacoma has about the same mileage (23-28MPG), not much different than two decades ago. Still, the introduction of their eight-cylinder Tundra model can hardly be described as an improvement.

NISSAN: In 1986, the Japanese automaker Nissan's most fuel efficient truck was capable of 26-31MPG, and a 30-33MPG diesel version was available. In 1992, Nissan's most fuel-efficient truck achieved 23-27 miles per gallon. 1999's Nissan Frontier pickup had slightly lower mileage, at 22-26MPG. Today, the most fuel efficient Frontier receives 22-25MPG, indicating a slow but steady decrease over the years.

If American and Japanese automakers are truly serious about addressing the issues of global warming, oil depletion, and pollution, they should take measures to move their small trucks toward better fuel efficiency, rather than continuing their trend of poorer gas mileage as most of them have over the past twenty years.

Gas mileage statistics are from Most MPG statistics are for models with a manual transmission; automatic transmission models generally have the same or poorer mileage.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

"The Sun & Cosmic Rays are causing the warming!"
Part of the: Common Arguments by Skeptics and Deniers series

This article is too wide to fit on the blog so please follow THIS LINK to the main website. The side by side pictures should make it incredibly obvious to even a small child that the sun is not the problem. Unfortunately you will still hear this argument made by Ph.D. holding skeptics and deniers that are attacking the consensus.

To make the jump to the article, click HERE!