Game Over for the Climate
By JAMES HANSEN
Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is the top climate scientist in the U.S. His article echos an American Geophysical Union conference paper he gave 3 years ago (read esp p. 24): columbia.edu/~jeh1/2008/AGUBjerknes_20081217.pdf
In the NYT article he’s referring to something Obama said about how Canada will be exploiting the Candian tar sands “regardless of what we do,” which according to Hansen would spell extreme disaster long term for humanity, and even a lot of serious problems short-term. He also makes suggestions for something better than a Cap&Trade scheme.
This is important, since JPII told us in 1990, that it’s everyone’s responsibility to mitigate global warming, and BXVI has been repeatedly telling us this.
I know. It’s sounding like a broken (climate) record, but I have a thread, “What can we do to mitigate AGW?” and the “non-warmers” (they don’t like me using “denialist”) started taking it over as a place to reject that AGW is happening, so I started this thread, and told them they could come over here instead to rake “warmers” over the coals and smash climate scientists like Hansen to smitherines.
The other “Is there AGW?” threads on CAF have either cooled down more than the climate during a la niña or solar minima, or have been closed, so I thought this would heat things up for them – like throwing out some raw meat to the lions, so over on the “AGW mitigation” thread we could get back thinking up solutions like turning off computers not in use.
My joke was referring not to just your effort to counter AGW but I was thinking about threads like the ones on on abortion, masturbation, homosexual marriages, contraception, participating to invalid marriages, COTT vs CITH, EF vs. OF, liturgical abuses etc. That is why I said that the number of posts would go down by 98%.
Give us some relative numbers: how much CO2 is generated by burning enough natural gas to produce (e.g.) 1KW of electricity and how much CO2 is generated to produce that same amount of energy using coal? I can believe that most CO2 comes from coal plants but that is likely to be simply because there are a whole lot more of them.
(Comparing emissions of natural gas to coal) The average emissions rates in the United States from natural gas-fired generation are: 1135 lbs/MWh of carbon dioxide, 0.1 lbs/MWh of sulfur dioxide, and 1.7 lbs/MWh of nitrogen oxides.1 Compared to the average air emissions from coal-fired generation, natural gas produces half as much carbon dioxide, less than a third as much nitrogen oxides, and one percent as much sulfur oxides at the power plant.2 In addition, the process of extraction, treatment, and transport of the natural gas to the power plant generates additional emissions. epa.gov/cleanenergy/energy-and-you/affect/natural-gas.html
You’re right. And that is Hansen’s really big concern – coal – in the countries you mention. He’s been arrested several times protesting mountaintop removal. He just thinks tar sands and oil shale (here in America) would be sort of the final nail in the coffin on life. But coal is the biggy.
*]“Today the ecological crisis has assumed such proportions as to be the responsibility of everyone…The…‘greenhouse effect’ has now reached crisis proportions…” --Pope John Paul II, “Peace With All Creation,” 1990, vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/messages/peace/documents/hf_jp-ii_mes_19891208_xxiii-world-day-for-peace_en.html
*]If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation… Man’s inhumanity to man has given rise to numerous threats to peace…Yet no less troubling are the threats arising from the neglect – if not downright misuse – of the earth and the natural goods that God has given us…Can we remain indifferent before the problems associated with such realities as climate change… attention also needs to be paid to the world-wide problem of water and to the global water cycle system, which is of prime importance for life on earth and whose stability could be seriously jeopardized by climate change” – Pope Benedict XVI, “If You Want to Cultivate Peace, Protect Creation,” 2010, vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/messages/peace/documents/hf_ben-xvi_mes_20091208_xliii-world-day-peace_en.html
*]“We believe our response to global climate change should be a sign of our respect for God’s creation” & “Even though energy resources literally fuel our economy…we need to ask about ways we can conserve energy, prevent pollution, and live more simply” & “…our response to the challenge of climate change must be rooted in the virtue of prudence…[M]ost experts agree that something significant is happening to the atmosphere. Human behavior and activity are…contributing to a warming of the earth’s climate… Consequently, it seems prudent…to take steps now to mitigate possible negative effects in the future.” --U.S. Bishops, 2001, “Global Climate Change: A Plea for Dialogue, Prudence, and the Common Good,” U.S. Conf. of Catholic Bishops, usccb.org/sdwp/international/globalclimate.shtml
*]”We must therefore encourage and support the ‘ecological conversion’ which in recent decades has made humanity more sensitive to the catastrophe to which it has been heading. Man is no longer the Creator’s ‘steward’, but an autonomous despot, who is finally beginning to understand that he must stop at the edge of the abyss.” --Pope John Paul II, “God Made Man The Steward of Creation” 2001, vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/alpha/data/aud20010117en.html
The Sun isn’t expanding yet. That won’t happen until much later in its lifetime. Only when it runs out of hydrogen will it expand into a red giant.
Currently the Sun “burns” hydrogen in a thermonuclear reaction which produces helium. So, at base, themonuclear energy is the source of all our energy on earth. We can produce nuclear fusion artificially, but only in hydrogen bombs. Until there’s a good way to contain the reaction, it’s not much good to us. (The Sun contains it by the force of gravity.)
Nuclear generating plants in use now simply use nuclear fission–not fusion–to produce heat, to make steam to turn a turbine. Nuclear plants are essentially steam generators. Pretty primitive. Nuclear fusion would be a more powerful force if it could be contained.