Open Thread And Cartoon Of The Week

A cyber-penny for your thoughts.


By Mike Smith
From the Cartoonist Group.

63 Responses to Open Thread And Cartoon Of The Week

  1. Tom King says:

    I know there is enough oil in the ground to fry the planet if we burned it all. And this explains why some environmentalists ignore the peak oil situation. After all, we need to stop using oil before it runs out.

    However, while the far end of peak oil should be ignored (because we won’t be using that oil anyway), the near side of it deserves attention since it will arrive concurrently with the world’s embrace of emissions quotas. My suspicion is that peak oil will be a non issue by 2030 since there will be enough renewable energy on line to pick up the slack. But prior to 2030, there will be a systematic painful adjustment process.

  2. climatehawk1 says:

    Thanks for the excellent and informative posts on the recent heat wave. I note from the Capital Climate graphics that this is the third month of the last eight (including August 2011 and January) in which new daily high records around the U.S. have been far more prevalent than new lows (ratios exceeding 20:1), although March is not yet over.

    Citizens’ Climate Lobby is pushing the Save Our Climate Act, H.R. 3242, which would establish an escalating tax on carbon, with the proceeds being returned to all Americans as an annual dividend payment. If you are concerned about global warming, one of the most effective things you can do is urge your Congressperson to cosponsor H.R. 3242. Another good thing to do, of course, is join CCL.

  3. Mark Shapiro says:

    At Digsby’s blog, David Atkins highlights an excellent post by David Roberts at Grist. Roberts compares and contrasts the conventional wisdom in the Press that the debt is a huge problem, while global warming is still “debatable”.

  4. fj says:

    While nuclear and electric cars are red herrings and urgent build outs at wartime speed should target extreme efficiency and existing methods and apparatus . . .

    Tech titan Bill Gates says the world needs zero carbon emissions by 2050 to avoid planetary catastrophe

  5. Spike says:

    A good article by the Met Office scientist Vicki Pope in the UK press, with some head exploding comments as per usual

  6. Raul M. says:

    EPA SunWise is a good resource for those who go
    I was surprised to see the probable UV index for an island off the coast of Florida having a 12 reading at noontime meaning sun damage to unprotected skin in under ten minutes of exposure.
    Skin may tan but eyeballs not so much.
    The UV map also shows areas in the central Gulf of
    pollution with an index in the extreme range.
    Lots of science and effort goes into the new contact
    lenses that protect from UV radiation.
    I like mine clear, they are cheeper than the ones with correction.
    Good luck if ing you think your eyeballs suntan well.

  7. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Could you describe the level of a carbon tax that you see as effective in cutting US fossil fuel use by say 33% ?
    The reason I ask is that global oil prices have risen from around $25/barrel to around $115/barrel since the late ’90s – i.e. more than 450% – and oil usage has merely grown at a reduced rate.

    This poses two further questions:

    1/. How would a sufficiently stringent tax – say at least another 100% – be legislated, and if that could be achieved, how could it avoid being dumped by the next administration ?
    2/. For the period it operated, what would prevent any fossil fuel displaced in the US being simply bought and burnt elsewhere ?

    I suggest that the Byrd-Hagel resolution, intended to affect US treaty obligations, actually operates within the US – that nothing significant will be done until there is a binding commitment to action globally . In this light, staunch efforts for a US carbon tax are not only impractical, they are also a distraction of effort from the primary goal of shifting US climate policy to actively support the negotiation of the requisite equitable and efficient global climate treaty.

    It’s about deciding which has to go first – the cart or the horse ?



  8. Tom King says:

    Because there aren’t clear numbers, its hard to know if oil production is still growing or whether it peaked 5 years ago. Denmark has decided to move to 35% renewable energy by 2020, so we are obviously in the changeover period. In my opinion a carbon price simply speeds up the process. If is it set too high, however, it feeds the conservatives’ disinformation campaign. It would make more sense to go with a low carbon price and then use each climate disaster as cover. IE – as each disaster unfolds use it as an excuse to raise the carbon price.

  9. Tim says:

    If Bill Gates really believes what he is saying, it is very much in his power to “raise the IQ” of the American people to bring about the changes he (and we) know are needed.

    SPEND SOME OF YOUR MONEY, Bill! The thing “suppressing the IQ American people” with respect to climate change is a well-financed propaganda campaign by the merchants of doubt. If Gates doesn’t see that, then his IQ isn’t all that much higher the the rest of the American public. I think he Know that, but he doesn’t follow it iss logical conclusion. A well-financed campaign to utterly and finally discredit the denier propagandists is needed. If Gates alone could afford that campaign, but if he could bring in other “tech giants”, the propaganda battle would be over within a couple of years.

  10. Tim says:

    I really need to acquire the patience to proofread my posts! How embarrassing.

  11. catman306 says:

    Two ideas to reduce fossil fuel consumption:

    I’ve noticed that drivers of business vehicles, cars, light trucks and 18 wheelers, often have a ‘heavy foot’, drive hard, and waste fuel in the process. Someone else (the business) is paying for the fuel and for extra wear and tear on vehicle that driving hard must cause. How about a national program that pays company drivers when they improve their miles per gallon consumption and gives the business a tax reduction if their employees are improving their mileage numbers? Paying company drivers and businesses to burn less fuel could help reduce our national carbon footprint, as much as improving manufacturer’s mileage figures will. Businesses already know how many gallons of fuel they are purchasing for each of their vehicles. All that is required is an odometer reading to go with the fuel purchase.

    It’s now known that white roofs considerably reduce air conditioning loads in homes and commercial real estate. Why not a Federal mandate to quickly phase out the manufacture of black and dark colored roofing materials ? When the roof needs replacing, replace it with white roofing material. This too will considerably shrink our national carbon footprint, and probably reduce peak demands for electricity during the hotter months, which will reduce the need for extra generation plants.

  12. prokaryotes says:

    Looking for authors for my new clean car project..

    The Tesla Test

  13. Leif says:

    Instead of using all the carbon tax to return to the people, I would start with paying off weather disasters first and return the rest. I would go one step further. Ration a certain amount of fossil/person at a low price, the rest to cover all social services. Allow resale of all rationed fossil and green energy at what ever the market will bare. You will see all green energy, Solar and wind included, explode in a good way right before your eyes. Want to burn 50gal/hr in your bimbo yacht at $20/gal, go for it. You will be paying for military, war, street cleaning, health care, the whole shebang!

  14. prokaryotes says:


    Up until a couple months ago, the plug-in tax rebates were only available for low speed battery vehicles. But the latest IRS bulletin titled “New Qualified Plug-in Electric Drive Motor Vehicle Credit” (based on Section 30D) makes money available for production cars, such as the Nissan Leaf, Tesla, etc. What’s even better is that the buyer can rely on the manufacturer certification that a credit is available and how large that credit will be. There is a nasty gotcha involved, namely that the money is intended to accelerate the adoption of EV technology, it’s not a permanent subsidy. So after the manufacturer sells 200,000 battery powered cars of a given model, the tax credit begins to phase out over the course of the next twelve months. DUring the first six months of the phase-out, the credit is reduced by 50% and during the last six months of the phase out, the credit is reduced by 75%.

    As far as I can tell from the bulletin, the program commenced Jan 1/2010, and is limited to the first 200,000 of each “model”. No date of expiry mentioned.

  15. Raul M. says:

    Alex Smith has several new podcasts with interviews.
    One with Dr. Archer about the Arctic changes and Dr.
    Archer does admit that a thorough index of the available methane of the Arctic is important to the discussion. More on the denial bregade(s).
    Watched the video THE CORE and learned of the
    Obvious terror element of “natural” disasters and of how high level individuals could control public and political knowledge of impending disaster.
    Though the vidio artists claim intellectual property rights, there are levels of intellect not included in the course of decisions and no explanations gives to some aspects of the decisions.
    One actor does line about his speed of thought, though.
    The ending of the video has little to show that the general public was impacted to the level that the earlier scenes had indicated.
    Sort of like the hypnotist conting to ten and the audience just waking up.
    Similarly the examples of the denial campaign on Ecoshock relate concerted efforts to have the public in the dark of knowledge.

  16. prokaryotes says:

    For automakers, 2012 looks like it will be better than expected — at least in the U.S.

    U.S. consumers are on pace to buy about 1.4 million new cars and trucks in March, or about 6% more than in the same month last year. That would put the industry on pace to sell 14.1 million for the year, which is higher than most industry analysts expected at the start of 2012, when they were predicting sales of less than 14 million.

  17. prokaryotes says:

    Happens to everybody at some time :)

  18. prokaryotes says:

    Kudos, for Bill gates to change from earlier R&D to deploy deploy…

  19. John Tucker says:

    “While nuclear and electric cars are red herrings”

    can you explain that comment. Or at least justify it.

  20. John Tucker says:

    Also technically red herring is not an appropriate term here.

    “A Red Herring is a fallacy in which an irrelevant topic is presented in order to divert attention from the original issue. The basic idea is to “win” an argument by leading attention away from the argument and to another topic. This sort of “reasoning” has the following form:

    Topic A is under discussion.
    Topic B is introduced under the guise of being relevant to topic A (when topic B is actually not relevant to topic A).
    Topic A is abandoned. ”

    ( )

    Lets see if we can at the very least provide reasonable courses of action based on what is in fact doable now by supporting our decisions with current knowledge and a logical basis.

  21. sarah says:

    The carbon tax can be reframed as a dividend paid to the owners (everyone) of a common resource (air):

    <a href=";

  22. prokaryotes says:

    That’s why you always should use different passwords..

  23. climatehawk1 says:

    Folks, the above are great questions and comments, but with respect, they miss the point: until HR 3242 or some similar vehicle for legislation has a serious showing of support, nothing at all will happen. If you have a different preferred climate change bill, fine, urge your Congressperson to support that (and please post about it here. Otherwise, please urge him/her to cosponsor HR 3242. Currently, it has 11 sponsors out of 435 members of the House of Representatives. Please, have no worries, it is not going to pass Congress without the points you are raising and many, many others being debated at length. What is critical for anything to even receive serious consideration is a showing of support.

  24. climatehawk1 says:

    Yes, that’s nice. Unfortunately, he is still full of crap with respect to wind and solar. We should be installing this stuff as fast as we can, right now. Utility system operators already have to cope with large variations in demand during the day and from season to season. They do it by increasing and decreasing the output of flexible sources of generation (primarily hydro and natural gas). We simply don’t need to wait for large amounts of storage to be added–in the near term, we can add large amounts of variable generation and use as much of it as possible by building more transmission.

  25. climatehawk1 says:

    Sorry, I should add full disclosure: I am currently a consultant to the American Wind Energy Association.

  26. climatehawk1 says:

    Excellent, I’m glad our lawmakers are being prudent and making sure we do not build too much of a product that we should be converting to as quickly as possible. And getting back to our conversation above on wind and solar, every plug-in auto that is added to the grid is … storage that reduces the need for concern about installing wind and solar generation ASAP.

  27. Peter says:

    Just changed my e mail and password at john Cooks SkSci- this is really pathetic. It could be just kids- or something more sinister.

  28. catman306 says:

    I have to share the title of a Cliff Mass Weather Blog (Pacific Northwest) posting:

    It’s a Miracle: Normal Weather Returns

  29. fj says:

    Yes nuclear and electric cars are red herrings for dealing with the climate change crisis.

    We should eliminating emissions at wartime speed and restoring the environment. Even thinking about nuclear energy and e-cars are a waste of time when there’s much better stuff to do here-and-now ready for broad deployment.

    Spending money, valuable resources along with lots of time is worse than doing nothing.

  30. Sasparilla says:

    Here’s a great story regarding plug-in vehicles and California.

    California just signed an agreement with NRG to install over 10,000 charging stations (including 200 fast chargers – Level 3) in the state over the next 4 years.

    The story is great:

    Gov. Brown did this by renegotiating the settlement of a past lawsuit (regarding the Enron staged winter power brownouts so many years ago) and he gets:

    We get lots of EV chargers installed.
    Jerry Brown doesn’t have to get it approved through the legislature.
    The power company settles an old lawsuit and ends up creating more demand for their product.
    It creates jobs for installing these chargers.
    Doesn’t cost the taxpayers a thing.

    Rock on Gov. Moonbeam.

  31. John Tucker says:

    Nuclear power is the only proven, high capicity factor means of base-load power generation to reduce greenhouse gasses.

    Say it a few times to your self for full effect. Or not it doesn’t change the fact of the matter.

    Electric cars are the only technology that can nearly eliminate use emissions from the transportation sector. Its new rapidly advancing technology worth pursuing.

  32. John Tucker says:

    A AP story kinda bashing electric cars and nuclear power is getting reposted all over.

    Electric cars risk losing green sheen in Japan ( )

    A quote: “electric cars are now at risk of being tainted by their association with nuclear.”

    Ok reviewing – Still no casualties from radiation and minimal effects expected by radiation health experts.

    Im sorry people were displaced.

    But here is my take – after 30 years of their de facto support of coal the ANTI NUCLEAR MOVEMENT HAS BEEN RESPONSIBLE FOR MORE SPECIES LOSS AND HUMAN PREMATURE DEATHS than any pro industry organization.

    Now they are by default pushing oil and NG as well.

    And they are pushing the largest extinction event in all of human history.

  33. Oggy Bleacher says:

    “Extreme Ice” feature on Nova was enlightening. I recommend it. Gives you a chance to renew your PBS membership so they can stop accepting money from oil companies.
    Also, a PBS feature on the history of Niagra Falls. Over half of the water is diverted to the hydroelectric plant powering Buffalo…thanks to Tesla, the inventor of AC power.

  34. David B. Benson says:

    Also electric trains, trolleys, subways and even buses. Personal transporter is so 20th century…

  35. John Tucker says:

    While experimentation and new technology is wonderful everything has a carbon price.

    We cant afford really big mistakes.

  36. fj says:

    High-density energy sources have been providing high-cost, quick and dirty solutions for so many years most people have a difficult time believing that quick and clean solutions based on good designs are impossible.

    As Amory Lovins says, something is not impossible if it already exists; and these solutions exist here and now.

  37. Anna Haynes says:

    Here’s CCL’s page on the Save Our Climate Act:

  38. Spike says:

    UK Conservative Party caught soliciting donations for access to Prime Minister.

    In the footage, he is heard to say: “Two hundred grand to 250 is premier league … what you would get is, when we talk about your donations the first thing we want to do is get you at the Cameron/Osborne dinners.

    “You do really pick up a lot of information and when you see the prime minister, you’re seeing David Cameron, not the prime minister. But within that room everything is confidential – you can ask him practically any question you want.

    “If you’re unhappy about something, we will listen to you and put it into the policy committee at No 10 – we feed all feedback to the policy committee.”

  39. Raul M. says:

    Do the methane bubbles freeze in the Arctic Ice during winter? Is there a flush of methane going to surface during the ice melt separate from any additional clathrate melting? Does it use up a detectable amount of the hydroxyl radical at ice melt season?
    Did Dr. Archer mean that there has been enough hydroxyl depletion that the average time span of methane has increased to 10 years going from published peer reviewed materials or that it is new calculations?
    So many questions about the icy waters up north.
    Is the new guest mat of Arctic ice collapse moved up to 2015?

  40. Raul M. says:

    GPS for finding an office in a large Gov. Building or complex of buildings?
    Gps for finding an office in a large multistory in a large city?
    Certainly there are gps sys. for auto travel. But once the car is parked how about Gps for foot travel and navigation in a large building or complex of buildings?

  41. fj says:

    New York to Beijing in two hours without leaving the ground?

  42. John Tucker says:

    We don’t have time to “reinvent fire” – nor do we have infinite area or rare earths at our disposal.

    Lovins is also incorrect radiation hazards and on cost estimates as well as the concept of base-load power.

  43. fj says:

    Uh, there’s something like 6,000 times the amount of solar energy that hits earth every day than required to power civilization and with energy produced at point of use greatly reduces a huge amount of transmission losses, etc.

    And, you’re not going to want to move the well over one-half billion Chinese cyclists to electric cars which would take up the equivalent space currently used to grow rice there, etc., & by-the-way have to produce that much more energy just to power these new vehicles; not to mention the terrific build out emissions to move to this extremely wasteful and destructive way of getting around, where the 1.3 million killed/50 million gravely injured annually in road accidents have been declared a global health crises by the World Health Organization and Bloomberg Philanthropies; price of progress and all that sort of rot . . .

    And, it will take much more time and cost many times more to deploy nuclear than the reinventing fire Lovins refers to, much of which is common sense design practice and use of existing technologies.

    And, Germany being the most successful country going solar and sustainable, something like 20% in the last decade (as reported on this blog and elsewhere) is rapidly phasing out nuclear and as reported on this blog is selling energy to France at a lower rate, etc., etc., etc.

  44. John Tucker says:

    You know thats really interesting but so far we have not been able to replace 1/10 of one percent of generated power with solar power.

  45. John Tucker says:

    also it takes about, what 20 pounds of grains to make 1 gallon of ethanol. Thats a lot of food.

  46. John Tucker says:

    BTW All of Germany’s solar replaces about one half the output of the Fukushima complex.

  47. John Tucker says:

    I doubt its “just kids” seriously.

  48. John Tucker says:

    I should have expected as much:

    Greenpeace: Electric Cars Are a Bust – 13th of September 2010

    In an interview which was published in German publication Stern, Wolfgang Lohbeck says electric vehicles are a failure. Now, Lohbeck was not very specific about the reasons which led him to believe this, but he mentioned that EVs are a failure because of the lack of subsidies and the slow implementation of a required infrastructure.

    ( )

    Germany now has over 900 NG fueling stations.

    And indeed the EV’s have advanced rapidly and rather spectacularly despite Greenpeace opinion. ( )

    Could it be the extra electricity needed conflicted with their real objective to shutter nuclear power. Climate change be damned?

    I think so.

    So whats next – openly pushing NG? or oil.

    They did it de facto with coal. Lets see who jumps on boad.

  49. This tainting the electric car with anti-nuclear coal is pure horse sh*t. And with regards to nuclear, if I as an American taxpayer am helping assuming 80% of the risk of the industry I think it would be only fair that I would receive my share of 80% of the profits. Nuclear is an immature technology as illustrated by the fact that the cost curve is still increasing. It is not real. It is a wishful scam.

  50. John Tucker says:

    What ???

    The dichotomy is fossil fuel/hybrid or electric power.

    A reactor makes low carbon electricity – cars don’t run on nuclear power.

    30 years ago the real dichotomy was nuclear or coal. Greenpeace picked coal by default.

    Now the real dichotomy is, for base load fossil fuel or nuclear.

    Nuclear and Renewables are a false dichotomy as they are intermittent and continuous sources.

  51. John Tucker says:

    BTW david here are the EIA numbers – please provide your source:

    ( )

  52. John Tucker says:

    Jr on Mar 11, 2012 you alluded to a report citing the need to add about 156 nuclear plants A YEAR (3 per week) to curb GW on its own. (something no one I know of suggests)

    Average output is what, 1 GW.

    Which means you feel we need to be adding 156 GW of nuclear power to “fix” climate change.

    So working backwards – .80 capacity factor (new nuclwlear is around 90 percent) of 156 GW is 124.8 GW per year.

    So at best wind is around 40 percent and solar is around 20 percent capacity factor.

    So 124.8 /.4 = 320 GW wind.

    Or 642 GW solar would be needed to be added per year if one or the other was to be made steady enough to “fix” climate change.


  53. John Tucker says:


    320 GW of wind or 642 GW solar would be needed to be added per year if one or the other was to be made steady enough through additional technology to “fix” climate change.

    In 2010 total wind installed was 38.3 GW and 13 GW solar.

    Why dont people advocating those singular solutions and eliminating nuclear know what it involves?

  54. David B. Benson says:

    John Tucker — I suspect that advocates fail to understand what is actually required to have a reliable, on demand, low carbon electricity grid.

    In my attempts to understand what is required, baring massive new hydro, I conclude there is almost no role for wind generation; the balancing agent (backup) requirements simply add too great an expense. However, customer provided solar PV appears to be sensible [once the cost of installed panels is sufficiently low] up to around 30% of total nameplate power. After that, once again the reserve requirement drives up the costs.

  55. David B. Benson says:

    I need to clarify.

    I’ve only looked into the problems associated with on shore wind turbines, not the off shore units. So I don’t yet know what the advantages and difficulties associated with the latter might be.

  56. John Tucker says:

    I guess that the possible lower carbon footprint of solar and wind would reduce those numbers a bit, if it was guaranteed American or European made to match footprint studies. But also the storage technology would then take the total carbon footprint to or well beyond nuclear power’s.

    I didn’t know Hydro is only 50 percent capacity factor and limited in expandability – So that still is problematic.

    Of course a diverse mix seems to be best.

  57. Raul M. says:

    Dr. Hanson of NASA has a explanation of a fee system
    that would move Americans to a more reality based
    method of sustainability, conceivably future generations
    would be counted in the equation.

  58. Albert says:

    What’s missing here are three more frames with the header, “What will be the impact of rising gas prices?” The frames have the same images, with this text:

    I’ll drive more
    I’ll pass the savings on to my customers so I can compete
    I’ll get a bigger bonus

  59. Albert says:

    I was sure I had typed, “What will be the impact of falling gas prices?” Oops.

  60. John E. says:

    GPS doesn’t work in buildings, since the units need to be able to “see” the satellites. Talking GPS units for foot travel already exist, and for off map locations (like buildings in a complex, or the location of a park bench) new locations and routes can be added on the fly. Developed for the blind, the Trekker Breeze is a good example.