Climate News Roundup

Memos Show Pressure on EPA Chief – Associated Press; Internal memos apparently show inner-agency pressure on EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to either grant the California tailpipe waiver or resign. Still, EPA spokespeople stand in defense of Johnson, so the past memos may not have much weight. The memos are resurfacing as part of an investigation by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) into the EPA’s decision. See also the LA Times and Reuters.

Gas Prices Soar, Posing a Threat to Family Budget
New York Times. “The effect of high oil prices today could be the difference between having a recession and not having a recession,” said Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard economist. [JR: Thank you very much, President George “no energy strategy and no Iraq reconstronstruction strategy” Bush.]

Noah’s Ark For Crop Seeds Opens In Arctic Norway – Reuters. Norwegians have started a vault of seeds for food crops – “100 million seeds from more than 100 countries have been sent for safekeeping at the $10 million facility which holds 268,000 seed samples, each from a different farm or field.” The vaults can survive even the worst-case global warming scenario. [JR: If only the same were true for most species on this planet….]

China’s Olympic Water Province Faces Severe Drought – PlanetArk. Will the athletes go thirsty?! Probably not, but the flux of people to Beijing this summer will put loads of stress on the already short water resources…

7 Responses to Climate News Roundup

  1. David B. Benson says:

    Gas prices soar? Well, if so, a good thing.

    Last times gas prices really did soar, people bought smaller automobiles.

    Who knows? Maybe this time will take up bicycles and ridding the bus…

  2. Zen says:

    “The vaults can survive even the worst-case global warming scenario.”

    Uhh… the backup for the climate control is the permafrost the building is built into. I would say a “worst-case global warming scenario” would include much or most of that permafrost thawing out.

  3. Lisa G. says:

    Is there a single plausible scenario whereby an environmental Holocaust [or a global thermonuclear war] survivor could conceivably benefit from the contents of the “Doomsday Vault?”

  4. Jim Bullis says:

    There is a remarkable chart at

    that should appeal to a physicist, as it does to an electronics engineer, since it represents the important factors in a way that is comprehensible. That thing called radiative forcing can also be called a spectral transmission response. In this context, it seems like radiative forcing is a forced definition that is less than useful.

    But there is a lot more to be discovered here. First is the Bullis effect, a tentative name until someone else agrees with me and shows they said it first, and that is that methane and nitrous oxide are mostly without effect due to the fact that water vapor obscures their effect. Bullis has thus eliminated a large amount of co2_eq and is standing in line for carbon trading payments. Silly though this sounds, there is an important point, and that is that global warming mitigation should not waste great resources dealing with this so-called radiative forcing component.

    The co2 issue is much more important. The critical fact shown here is that the co2 impact is almost entirely saturated (flat top on the co2 component). Physicists know this means that adding further co2 to the atmosphere will not make much difference.

    Now look at the IPCC report

    on page 69, Figure TS.26, where it shows that if “greenhouse gases — are held constant” the multi-models mean projections show only a slight rise in temperature out to 2025. (the orange line) However, the future projections by the models where there is additional co2 in the atmosphere result in emphatic increases in temperature. So these models must not be taking account of where the “radiative forcing” bands are located in the spectrum, relative to each other.

    According to Gavin at RealClimate, the radiative forcing values are separate from sensitivity factors. So if sensitivity factors are properly applied in the models, why do they not show any reaction to the saturation condition.

    I have as much concern as anyone about global warming, but I also believe that if we get the solution wrong, there will not be another chance to get it right.

    The first action is to verify and validate the first chart that I referenced. Then it should be determined why the models do not recognize the saturation effect, even though they seem to consider every other effect imaginable.

    Perhaps this is all just a minor “kerfuffle” as they say at Climate Change, but I thougt you might be interested.

  5. Joe says:

    Who would have guessed that an electronics engineer would find an elementary mistake that all of the top climate scientists in the world missed? Answer — uhh, nobody? There is no saturation, as you would know if you read Realclimate.

  6. Jim Bullis says:

    Since my previous, I continued to look for validation of the first chart. It seems that the premise is indeed wrong, and that the idea of saturated absorption as there suggested is not a sufficient concept.

  7. Jim Bullis says:

    I can see that Realclimate could keep me busy for some time, and I am certainly impressed with the depth of their understanding. For now, I will continue to believe that reducing co2 would be a very good thing.

    So it seems there should be no difficulty getting enthusiastic support for a car that needs a tenth as much energy to go 80 mph. And a distributed electricity cogeneration system using equipment in such cars that gets two to three times as much electric energy out of a BTU of natural gas.

    The cost of all this could be much less than zero, since it would eliminate the need to replace many of the current electric power generating plants.