What is the value of going green?

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What is the value of going green?

By Tim­o­thy Imholt, (extreme hat tip to Devon Crowe),

We hear about Global Warm­ing or Cli­mate Change so often it has become back­ground noise. Most of us just ignore it at this point. Let me give you two sci­en­tists bot­tom line on this, after we did a rea­son­ably in depth look at the lit­er­a­ture (and claims) that are being made by both sides of the discussion.

Here is the bot­tom line accord­ing to cur­rent com­puter mod­els (yes it is a MODEL): atmos­pheric CO2 is going to increase well beyond dou­ble the cur­rent val­ues. Doing your part to live “green” will not fix that (should we assume those mod­els are cor­rect and also assume noth­ing changes). Gar­gan­tuan invest­ments to curb those emis­sions will not pre­vent this from hap­pen­ing. The United States act­ing alone will be unable to con­trol what hap­pens. Period, end of dis­cus­sion. We need not dis­cuss what the cli­mate effect of that will be. That remains con­tro­ver­sial since pre­dic­tions are model-​based. The point of this blog entry how­ever is that a large CO2 increase is guar­an­teed, regard­less of how much invest­ment we make in green liv­ing here within our borders.

Many times we have watched as we are told that we have to “go green” to save life as we know it. Going green means many dif­fer­ent things to dif­fer­ent peo­ple, but in gen­eral it means con­serv­ing non-​renewable resources and min­i­miz­ing car­bon emis­sions as well as non-​recyclable products.

Cer­tainly there are ben­e­fits to con­ser­va­tion and clean energy, such as sav­ing money and extend­ing the time frame dur­ing which we can replace non-​renewable energy sources with sus­tain­able energy sources.

Assum­ing we believe the mod­els, always keep that in mind.

There are also extreme pro­pos­als cost­ing bil­lions to tril­lions of dol­lars in lost gross eco­nomic prod­uct as well as in the direct cost of retro­fitting energy pro­duc­ing plants. The ratio­nale behind these pro­pos­als is often that we only have a decade to fix the prob­lem before we are past the point of no return toward cre­at­ing an atmos­phere with 1,000 ppm CO2. But, we are already past the point of no return, and we have heard that decade num­ber at least twice.

The cli­mate mod­el­ing green argu­ment started circa 1990. Well before that green­house mod­els pre­dicted we only had about a decade to reduce car­bon emis­sions if we were going to avoid sig­nif­i­cant global warm­ing. The same thing was said after the decade had passed. Circa 2000 there was a larger set of sci­en­tists who agreed we had a decade to act. Circa 2010, it was still ten years. We have passed the point of no return twice already. It appears to be more of an ide­o­log­i­cal pref­er­ence for liv­ing green than a science-​based argu­ment that tells us to live increas­ingly green because we only have a decade to act.

Now an increas­ing num­ber of green advo­cates are start­ing to admit that we passed their dead­lines already. An exam­ple is: http://​www​.vox​.com/​2015​/​5​/​15​/​8612113​/​t​r​u​t​h​-​c​l​i​m​a​t​e​-​c​hange

The green goal has been creep­ing upward. In 2010 we were told the max­i­mum accept­able tem­per­a­ture increase was 2 degrees Cel­sius. But as the link above admits, the mod­els say we have passed that inevitabil­ity already:

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By now few peo­ple real­is­ti­cally believe that the United States will act deci­sively to alter the curve to below the red regions. In fact, the curve is a low-​ball esti­mate that does not account for the fact that China may, in all like­li­hood, grow to exceed the U.S in emis­sions dur­ing this cen­tury. As a result, some green sci­en­tist advo­cates appear to be keep­ing their assump­tions low to con­tinue extend­ing our 10-​year dead­line fur­ther into the future to con­tinue encour­ag­ing green behav­ior and mas­sive clean energy invest­ments. This is not sci­en­tif­i­cally objec­tive behavior.

It must be said that the error bars on model pre­dic­tions are large enough that there is con­sid­er­able uncer­tainly, not to men­tion over­lap in the regions, in all of these pre­dic­tions. How­ever, our point here is not the accu­racy of the pre­dic­tions, it is that green behav­ior can­not suc­ceed in avoid­ing the car­bon emis­sions growth:

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The most opti­mistic esti­mates of green behav­ior and invest­ment still project over 500 ppm atmos­pheric CO2, while above 900 ppm is per­haps more likely.

If the most pop­u­lar cli­mate mod­els among cli­ma­tol­o­gists are cor­rect, sea level will rise in this cen­tury from 3 feet to 10 feet, and global food pro­duc­tion will be adversely affected. If there is no human effect at all, as the most opti­mistic among us esti­mate, then it will not hap­pen, at least not from human-​driven causes. Nei­ther of those con­clu­sions is rel­e­vant to our point, since we reach the same con­clu­sion: Green behav­ior and invest­ment, in all like­li­hood, will not be effec­tive in improv­ing the future of our envi­ron­ment, based on these cur­rent mod­els put out by those telling us to change our behavior.

If the cli­mate mod­els are accu­rate, then we must pre­pare for the future of increased tem­per­a­tures, sea level increases, increased weather vari­abil­ity, and the implied droughts, famine, and flooding.

These are all rea­son­able con­clu­sions based on the papers and research avail­able. The rea­son we did this bit of research ini­tially was not just to write a blog (although that is fun). It was for another, more spe­cific purpose.

This moti­vates spec­u­la­tive solu­tions and fic­tion about what human­ity would do in that case, such as in Degrees Book 1: Sav­ing the Earth: http://​www​.ama​zon​.com/​D​e​g​r​e​e​s​-​B​o​o​k​-​S​a​v​i​n​g​-​T​h​e​-​E​a​r​t​h​-​e​b​o​o​k​/​d​p​/​B​00​U​R​1​Y​37​S​/​r​e​f​=​d​p​_​k​i​n​w​_​s​t​r​p​_​1/1772189921-​2300816

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The book accepts that green mea­sures are not a cure for the envi­ron­ment, and then explores how human­ity might react if the cli­mate dis­as­ter mod­els turned out to be correct.

It includes the fic­tional por­trayal of a tech­no­log­i­cally fea­si­ble way to affect the global tem­per­a­ture, and uses a fast-​paced action-​based story line to illus­trate the extreme dan­gers of human inter­ven­tion (even well inten­tioned) into the earth’s climate.

In no case is there sup­port for the claim that we can save the earth, at least dur­ing this cen­tury, by green mea­sures such as reduced emis­sions and con­ser­va­tion of resources. At the two extremes of opin­ion, either “green” is unnec­es­sary, or dis­as­ter is inevitable in any case. Those are the extremes. The answer, as it is in most cases in life, prob­a­bly is some­where in the mid­dle, only time will tell.

By Timothy Imholt, (extreme hat tip to Devon Crowe),

We hear about Global Warming or Climate Change so often it has become background noise. Most of us just ignore it at this point. Let me give you two scientists bottom line on this, after we did a reasonably in depth look at the literature (and claims) that are being made by both sides of the discussion.

Here is the bottom line according to current computer models (yes it is a MODEL): atmospheric CO2 is going to increase well beyond double the current values. Doing your part to live “green” will not fix that (should we assume those models are correct and also assume nothing changes). Gargantuan investments to curb those emissions will not prevent this from happening. The United States acting alone will be unable to control what happens. Period, end of discussion. We need not discuss what the climate effect of that will be. That remains controversial since predictions are model-based. The point of this blog entry however is that a large CO2 increase is guaranteed, regardless of how much investment we make in green living here within our borders.

Many times we have watched as we are told that we have to “go green” to save life as we know it. Going green means many different things to different people, but in general it means conserving non-renewable resources and minimizing carbon emissions as well as non-recyclable products.

Certainly there are benefits to conservation and clean energy, such as saving money and extending the time frame during which we can replace non-renewable energy sources with sustainable energy sources.

Assuming we believe the models, always keep that in mind.

There are also extreme proposals costing billions to trillions of dollars in lost gross economic product as well as in the direct cost of retrofitting energy producing plants. The rationale behind these proposals is often that we only have a decade to fix the problem before we are past the point of no return toward creating an atmosphere with 1,000 ppm CO2. But, we are already past the point of no return, and we have heard that decade number at least twice.

The climate modeling green argument started circa 1990. Well before that greenhouse models predicted we only had about a decade to reduce carbon emissions if we were going to avoid significant global warming. The same thing was said after the decade had passed. Circa 2000 there was a larger set of scientists who agreed we had a decade to act. Circa 2010, it was still ten years. We have passed the point of no return twice already. It appears to be more of an ideological preference for living green than a science-based argument that tells us to live increasingly green because we only have a decade to act.

Now an increasing number of green advocates are starting to admit that we passed their deadlines already. An example is: http://www.vox.com/2015/5/15/8612113/truth-climate-change

The green goal has been creeping upward. In 2010 we were told the maximum acceptable temperature increase was 2 degrees Celsius. But as the link above admits, the models say we have passed that inevitability already:

Untitled

By now few people realistically believe that the United States will act decisively to alter the curve to below the red regions. In fact, the curve is a low-ball estimate that does not account for the fact that China may, in all likelihood, grow to exceed the U.S in emissions during this century. As a result, some green scientist advocates appear to be keeping their assumptions low to continue extending our 10-year deadline further into the future to continue encouraging green behavior and massive clean energy investments. This is not scientifically objective behavior.

It must be said that the error bars on model predictions are large enough that there is considerable uncertainly, not to mention overlap in the regions, in all of these predictions. However, our point here is not the accuracy of the predictions, it is that green behavior cannot succeed in avoiding the carbon emissions growth:

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The most optimistic estimates of green behavior and investment still project over 500 ppm atmospheric CO2, while above 900 ppm is perhaps more likely.

If the most popular climate models among climatologists are correct, sea level will rise in this century from 3 feet to 10 feet, and global food production will be adversely affected. If there is no human effect at all, as the most optimistic among us estimate, then it will not happen, at least not from human-driven causes. Neither of those conclusions is relevant to our point, since we reach the same conclusion: Green behavior and investment, in all likelihood, will not be effective in improving the future of our environment, based on these current models put out by those telling us to change our behavior.

If the climate models are accurate, then we must prepare for the future of increased temperatures, sea level increases, increased weather variability, and the implied droughts, famine, and flooding.

These are all reasonable conclusions based on the papers and research available. The reason we did this bit of research initially was not just to write a blog (although that is fun). It was for another, more specific purpose.

This motivates speculative solutions and fiction about what humanity would do in that case, such as in Degrees Book 1: Saving the Earth: http://www.amazon.com/Degrees-Book-Saving-The-Earth-ebook/dp/B00UR1Y37S/ref=dp_kinw_strp_1/177-2189921-2300816

Untitled4

The book accepts that green measures are not a cure for the environment, and then explores how humanity might react if the climate disaster models turned out to be correct.

It includes the fictional portrayal of a technologically feasible way to affect the global temperature, and uses a fast-paced action-based story line to illustrate the extreme dangers of human intervention (even well intentioned) into the earth’s climate.

In no case is there support for the claim that we can save the earth, at least during this century, by green measures such as reduced emissions and conservation of resources. At the two extremes of opinion, either “green” is unnecessary, or disaster is inevitable in any case. Those are the extremes. The answer, as it is in most cases in life, probably is somewhere in the middle, only time will tell.