Open Thread And Climate Cartoon Of The Week

Opine away!

By Chris Britt via Slate


34 Responses to Open Thread And Climate Cartoon Of The Week

  1. Will Fox says:

    Tesla Motors launches revolutionary Supercharger enabling free long distance driving

    The Model S electric car is drivable anywhere in the USA on pure sunlight, for free.

  2. Joan Savage says:

    That looks promising, and I like the bit about,”This can replenish three hours of driving at 60 mph in about half an hour, which is the convenience inflection point for travelers at a highway rest stop.”

    But I have to challenge your claim that it would do “anywhere in the USA.” The Tesla Supercharger sites are all south of the 40th parallel. In contrast, Seattle, Chicago, New York, and Anchorage don’t have that much insolation year round. The rest stop could turn into a winter stop in Point Barrow, AK.

    Still, it’s progress.

  3. Andy says:

    Germany could meet its goal of getting rid of its nuclear power and could bail out Spain’s economy by constructing billions of dollars worth of solar and wind energy projects in that sun/wind rich country.

  4. Leif says:

    See what the Green Awakening Economy can do for you if allowed/encouraged to flourish.
    Green Power is profits/power to the people, not the polluters!

  5. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    The following appeared on Common Dreams Wednesday past, and elsewhere. I didn’t see it here, though it seems relevant:

    The following is a comment I posted at the link. Your comments, opinions, ideas, or insults welcomed.
    And if the losses (and by losses I mean “excess losses”) by mid/late 21st century are measured in the billions of our species plus massive losses in other species, wouldn’t that imply runaway climate change has taken hold? And wouldn’t humanity reach a point of psychological depression due to the grief from all the losses, and the dread of knowing that worse is just over the horizon, be in competition with the innate instinct for survival? I bring this up because it is one of the least understood aspects of what we (specifically my grand-kids) would be facing. Is this not on the list of known unknowns?

  6. Joan Savage says:

    Will, I got to thinking about what the Supercharger might be able to do with storage, and found another article that says,

    “In the next two years Tesla says it will create a Supercharger corridor cutting across the country, including a stretch between central Ontario and western Quebec.”

    Read more:

    Other sources?

  7. I am giving presentations to high schools and colleges- here is the letter I the students may sign and send:
    I am in 11th grade and I am writing to you because I am worried about climate change. Please, President Obama: 1) Say It: Go on record with a declaration that the developing climate situation is an EMERGENCY that we need to address now. 2) Cap It: Use the power of your presidency to push hard for an effective mechanism to cap carbon. 3) Pass It: Use the power of your presidency to push hard to pass a ‘Green Apollo’ Program.

    President Obama, it is your voice that must lead. This is not a matter of expedience- it is a matter of necessity. Your National Academy of Science is telling you this. The Pentagon is telling you this. Perhaps you have seen the projected drought maps for the U.S. for 2030-2039 and beyond. I do not want to grow up in a world of dust bowls, wildfires and flooding. To avoid this, the enormously challenging task of capping and substantially reducing carbon emissions must begin now.

    I know that there are many politicians that do not want to do what the climate scientists tell us we have to do. I know that it will not be an easy thing to do. But you are our president. You can, at any time, at least say it: “Climate Change is an EMERGENCY that we need to address now.” I and your daughters and young people everywhere are ill served by anything less.

    In 1961, John F. Kennedy said that we choose to put a man on the moon, “not because it is easy, but because it is hard, because that goal will serve to energize and measure the best of our energies and skills.” It seemed impossible at the time but we did put an astronaut on the moon just as President Kennedy promised.

    President Obama, I call upon you to step up and lead our nation and our world in this time of perilous challenge and enormous opportunity. It does not matter that it is hard. It does not matter that it is not politically practical. The only things that matter are that it is the right thing to do and that time is running short. Please: Say It, Cap It, Pass It.

  8. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Following one of the UK’s wettest years in memory, with four months the wettest ever recorded (since 1690) the Guardian recently published discussion of the prognosis with a couple of key points.

    First, it’s no longer right to think of just some dwellings being at risk of flooding; the intensity of modern rains is now such that all are at risk because the downpours are far greater than drains were built to clear, so surface flooding occurs pretty much anywhere, destroying crops, livelihoods and property.

    Second, the incidence of extreme rains is observed to be increasing at the rate of doubling per decade, which means we’re looking at a four-fold rise in twenty years, eight-fold in thirty years, and so on. As one official remarked,
    “We have to find ways of telling the public without scaring the living daylights out of them.”

    Anyone who thinks European populations, or businesses, will tolerate this intensifying impact has another think coming. It is a definitive proof of climate destabilization, and the recognition is growing that while an equitable and efficient emissions control treaty is essential ASAP (regardless of US foot-dragging) it is equally plain that even radical emissions control will not control climate destabilization. 38 years of stringent treaty operation to 2050 plus 30 years of timelag, resulting in at least five times the present warming in 2080, does nothing remotely useful for the present predicament.

    The emerging recognition is that geo-engineering will have to be applied, albeit under stringent UN-mandated scientific supervision of its objectives, research, trials and deployment, in addition to treaty-based emission controls. Nothing less offers any prospect whatsoever of maintaining food production, let alone housing and livelyhoods.

    The aspect that has yet to get the discussion it needs is that given that the use of Geo-E is patently inevitable, the sooner it is applied effectively the better our chances. With Joe here on CP having included in his ‘wedges’ mitigation portfolio both Carbon Recovery (in the form of afforestation) and Albedo Restoration (in the form of roof-whitening), roll on more leading websites starting to dump the fatuous taboo and demand Geo-E as an urgent operational complement to the requisite emissions control treaty.



  9. Paul Magnus says:

    Economist had a great cartoon on the elections….

    Presidential Debates in Breif

    It was updated to be more realistic…

  10. Biomapper says:

    Regarding Iran’s goal of pursuing a nuclear technology program. Iran claims that they intend to use nuclear technologies for electric generation. Israel, the US and many others dispute this. Given that Iran is rich in sun and poor in water, CSP would appear to be a far better electric generatuin source than nuclear for Iran. So why don’t concerned nations come up with a technical assisstance package to kickstart a baseload CSP program/deployment in Iran. Best outcome, Iran abandons nuclear program and utility scale solar is deployed in another corner of the world. Worst outcome, Iran admits, in essence, that they are pursuing nuclear technologies for a weapons program.

  11. DRT says:

    An Excellent Letter. I hope many get sent. Thanks.

  12. Merrelyn Emery says:

    I understand your argument Lewis and if you mean afforestation and painting rocks white, I’ll agree. If, however, the idea extends to seeding oceans or atmosphere, it fills me with dread. As an old Aussie, I have watched massive destruction ensue from our EVERY attempt at biological engineering. As a systems researcher, I know a small change in one part (e.g. CO2) can trigger a rapid system change. I now have no faith that our mainstream science has the requisite tools to anticipate the consequences of such geo-E, ME

  13. Paul Klinkman says:

    Years ago I knew a guy who manufactured a new kind of rowing machine. He seemed moderately exhausted much of the time that I knew him. He wanted to be friendly. I guess I didn’t validate what he did. He drifted away.

    Denial is when the environmental movement says that we’re forging ahead with the climate change inventions that we need. A very few of “we” are forging ahead. The rest of the environmental movement is fixated on a different problem, corporate corruption of government. Under the simplistic rule of lumping everyone together without looking at individuals, any climate change inventor by definition must be first driven to distraction by all of her/his business, and second, a profit-driven corporate entity. That means by rule that the inventor might someday betray the rest of the environmental movement, so you don’t under any circumstances want to have much to do with such a person.

    So how does the world get out of its climate mess? The answer, over and over again inside the conservative middle of the environmental movement, is to look exclusively at existing technology and to assume that anything new is too improbable, too out there, to be believed. This from the same people who expected the Arctic Ocean’s ice to last one century!

  14. Paul Klinkman says:

    “Paint rocks white” is ok as a loose analogy.

    In frost-free areas on earth, paint parking lots white. Paint breakdown lanes white. Paint all roads white. In California they already paint roofs white. In Alaska and elsewhere, find ways to safely enhance snowfall so that the snow lasts a couple of weeks longer at the end of spring, and create early, heavier snowfalls at the beginning of snow season to paint the tundra white while the sun shines on it.

    Paint as much of the Arctic Ocean as possible ice-white in an environmentally friendly way. Simply transfer heat efficiently out of the Arctic Ocean in winter. This method preserves the relatively anaerobic environment under the ice, which is what all of the local flora and fauna expect. I have considered and eliminated a class of similar thermal transfer inventions that unfortunately created an aerobic environment under the ice.

  15. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Geo-engineering will, I believe, be the coup de grace for our species. For a start there will be no agreement on how to carry it out, so the usual top dog bullies will simply go ahead, unilaterally, as ever. Indeed it will probably end up being used as a weapon in the coming wars of geo-political chaos. The way to go is to undertaken small scale, local and ubiquitous measures, certainly including mass reforestation, biochar production, improved agricultural practises and whatever science develops to decarbonise the atmosphere. Grand scale geo-engineering will appeal to the techno-supremacists on the Right, and, inevitably, throw up more ‘unknown unknowns’ to bedevil us. Of course the pitiless and inhumane capitalist system, that demands unceasing growth to further enrich the insatiable global parasitic elite, while immiserating billions, will have to cease to exist and be replaced, first by a ‘steady-state’ economic system, then by a gradual reduction of our population and impact on the planet’s biospheres. Any attempt to use capitalism or the ‘magick of the Market’ to solve our problems will be a terminal mistake.

  16. Paul Klinkman says:

    Here’s what I know about storage. The old standby is called pumped hydro. See Wikipedia. Pumped hydro loses about 30% of the energy that it stores, but at least it stores and releases electricity. The second standby is a supply of renewable (photosynthesis) carbon that can be burned for power when needed. Other alternatives should be prototyped and committee-reviewed.

    Fully responsible climate hawks should be looking ahead to solving perhaps 90% storage of the power that we’re going to need, and 10% doing without in nonessential areas. If you prefer 80%/20% that’s equally ok, as long as you put your plan in writing and then committee-review it.

  17. David B. Benson says:

    Globally, expect about a quadratic increase in precipitation with the dT temperature increase.

  18. David B. Benson says:

    Iran is enriching uranium to use in research reactors to make medically useful isotopes. Their one nuclear power plant uses enriched uranium from Russia.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    More to geo-engineering as weapon of war, we have the US Air Force AF 2025 Final Report from the Air University of the US Air Force,
    ‘Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally…it could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog and storms on earth or to modify space weather,…and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of technologies which can provide substantial increase in US, or degraded capability in an adversary, to achieve global awareness, reach and power’.
    You can see just where this is, and will be, going.

  20. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Thankyou Merrelyn, Paul, Mulga and David for your responses.

    I have to say that I welcome the news of the need for Geo-E to resolve AGW about as much as I would hearing that german national socialism once again threatens the peace. Such problems should not be allowed to survive infancy in my view.

    Yet we now face the predicament of a warming that is uncontrollable by any other means than Geo-E – Without it, under our best case of an early stringent emissions control treaty, we’re looking at around 4.4C (+/-0.6C) realized by 2080, plus all of the warming from the interactions of the mega-feedbacks in the intervening 68 years.

    By these numbers a faith in the efficacy of emissions control alone (let alone the much-hyped free-market techno-salvation) is plainly a very dead end, since we should not merely face certain global collapse, but a heavily armed global collapse, with many states desperate to externalize their problems. And the risks of a fast spiral of turbulence and conflict are not remote – I’d guess we’re now within 5 to 15 years of global crop failure, at which point a coherent global response gets much much harder.

    I have more concerns about Geo-E than most – for instance I wouldn’t support Mulga’s micro-unilateral approach to forestry nor Merellyn’s to roof-painting – on the simple grounds that if a technique can be effective it can also be counter-productive or downright harmful, and needs both collective decision and scientific evaluation and governance. – For example, clearing farm and forest land for monoculture GMO forestry, and the unresearched imbalance effects of a fashion in wealthy nations for white-painting everything they can reach, while poor nations struggle to buy food not paint, could end up doing a lot more harm than good.

    With regard to Albedo Restoration, there’s a lot of criteria for a serious supervision body to consider in evaluating the objectives, research, trials and deployment of each option, but four points stand out.

    What exotic materials are distributed ?
    How quickly could they be removed if necessary ?
    Do they pose pollution threats ?
    What are the opportunity cost of their distribution ?

    Two options illustrate the impact of these criteria:
    Edward Keller’s sulphate aerosols – would take two years to rain out, would entail massive pollution, and, being global in scope, would preclude both testing at a minor scale and the evaluation of any other option while in use.

    By contrast, cloud brightening – using a sea water mist, would rain out within about nine days, and can be locally or regionally targetted for best effect over the oceans and the arctic – which also allows for other options’ evaluation.

    Mulga’s concern over techniques’ possible militarization is already history – e.g. the routing seeding of rainclouds over Vietnam to raise the carpet-bombers’ efficiency is simple shameful fact. But this detracts neither from the critical need for Geo-E nor from its potential efficacy. Yet I’d differ with the assumption that ‘the usual bullies would prevail and act unilaterally’. Not only is the dominant power now struggling with a rival, but every state knows that no single power can be allowed to control Geo-E, for it could grant effectively absolute power over all nations. Permanently. Better to prevent that unilateralism at all costs than to have to go to war to put an end to its operation.

    Governance under the UN is the only viable structure by which the indispensible Geo-E option might be applied collectively. Moreover, given the clear potential for abuse as a let-out for fossil pollution (and ongoing ocean acidification) I don’t see the UN member states mandating its supervision as less than the complement of a stringent emissions treaty, or as less than both Albedo Restoration and Carbon Recovery combined, since such outcomes would be directly against most nations’ interests.

    Given that we are facing an otherwise genocidal scale of famine casualties, let alone an existential threat to the civilization, if there is no other effective option available then Geo-E has to be applied. If there were some other preferable option, I’ll say again that I’d be really very glad to hear of it.

    But short of that, I think we need to face up to the responsibility of helping to get the necessary preparations in place as a campaign of international civil co-operation. That is what the times demand of us.



  21. You’ve got this one figured out, Mulga. Atmospheric geoengineering is a disaster waiting to happen, as opposed to climate change, which is a disaster that’s already happening.

  22. Spike says:

    I see Spain has had extreme rainfall ending a summer of drought and fire.

    The rain has finally put an end to one of the hottest and driest summers on record in Spain which saw average temperatures over 1.5 degrees centigrade higher than average. But rainfall is 37 percent lower than average over the last 12 months.

    That has created ideal conditions for the spread of wildfires. About 170,000 hectares of countryside have been destroyed by over 4,000 fires this summer.

    Add to that the financial piracy, the dysfunctional economics of unfettered free market capitalism, the slashing of public services resulting, and increasingly oppressive policing and we see the future dystopia approaching.

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Yes, Spain is getting the full system collapse broadside. And, as we saw in the brutal police attack on demonstrators there, with police provocateurs caught on film yelling ‘I’m a colleague’ as they were being thumped, Rightwing regimes like that of Rajoy (and his party, who are the direct descendants of, and visceral apologists for, Franco) are just salivating at the prospect of cracking heads and giving the serfs a crash course in pain, and market fascism. Bad times are here, already, for tens of millions, and it will only spread.

  24. Gregory Purcell says:

    I am a big fan of electric cars, but they face a big problem in the north… winter. Electric heaters notoriously drain a lot of electricity.

  25. Dennis Tomlinson says:

    Excellent post Lewis. I believe that if it were left to posters on we’d quickly agree upon and initiate a best course of action to combat climate change. To the larger point of including the rest of humanity in the negotiations, I’m reminded of the evening when Richard Nixon (author of the Madman Theory) went on TV to discuss nuclear issues with the public. During his talk he actually said something like, If there is an all out nuclear exchange between the US and the Soviet Union his goal would be to ensure that if there were any survivors they’d be Americans [Sorry, couldn’t find the exact quote]. I have to admit that, though the names have changed and the concerns might be a bit different, those old jingoistic attitudes haven’t changed much. Beware the scheming and conjuring of the bully.

  26. Lewis Cleverdon says:

    Philip – we may agree that climate destabilization is an ongoing disaster, but I wonder if there is some number of millions of your compatriots that you’re willing to see dying of famine before you’d demand the RD&D of effective Albedo Restoration to halt the warming ?

    I would point out that our best efforts at emission control alone cannot prevent warming progressing to cause a scale of serial famines beyond any such tolerance. As such, it is surely absolutely necessary to advance effective Albedo Restoration ASAP.



  27. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Thank you Lewis. I still live in (a very small) hope for a UN global agreement but it looks increasingly like the people will have to get organized, ME

  28. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I agree, Lewis, albedo restoration is essential. However I dread large-scale geo-engineering, like mucking about with the stratosphere, because there may well be unfortunate unseen consequences, and it will mask a rising level of emissions and temperatures, giving the greed monsters a chance to put off decarbonisation, and therefore will have to go on for extended periods. I like whitening roofs, roads etc, and other small scale, ubiquitous and quickly reversible measures. They would also involve mass participation at a local level, which I think is essential. And localised decarbonisation efforts, like tree planting in unprecedented numbers, and the production of biochar etc. However the albedo flip is a great big problem, and we’d better get cracking with something.

  29. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Don’t blame the people ME. Blame Them, the Masters. The people seem to be more and more aware of the disaster, but the owners of the planet do not want action to occur. Why, is the question that has exercised my imagination and paranoia for a while, and I more and more believe that the powers-that-be on the Right must want this disaster to happen, probably for population reduction purposes. After all we know that they have discussed population reduction in their cabals, the Bilderbergs, Trilateral Commissions etc, for decades. And, morally and ethically, they are plainly capable of such action.

  30. Raul M. says:

    mr. rodgers has a nice video on utube about biochar for the small farm. Though I must sagest checking the ph of the biochar product to ensure that it will be good for the garden.
    I don’t know what someone should think about using biochar for the garden except that it should be good for the garden. Also I heard of the suggestion of using biochar in container gardening with composts to enrich the soil.

  31. Merrelyn Emery says:

    I’m not blaming the people Mulga. They have been increasingly dispossed of their rights by the authoritarian systems of the elites but are well aware of the situation. I am suggesting that it is now that the peoples of the world must unite and restore equality, cooperation and climate sanity, ME

  32. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Fragmented and demoralized as well as dispossESed but there are still sparks, ME

  33. onearth says:

    I have read this blog for many months and this is the first time I have added to it. I read recently there are 12 climate tipping points. Is this accurate and what are they?..on another blog the moderator mentions that 5 have been “breached” or “reached”. Could this be so? Hansen mentions we have now entered the stage of amplifying feedbacks but not yet runaway greenhouse. Is this correct?..How would we know when or if we enter runaway greenhouse. If we do enter that what would it be like? Also at this point books on chimate are almost out of date by the time they are published. Could this site have monthly or bi yearly undates on what has been happening on the planet as well as the open threads?….Also I would love to know what we don’t know or have some idea where more research has to be done…For example, it seems the methane clathrate “problem” was known years ago but there was little research money devoted to it and even now there are areas of the planet where no one is measuring the methane releases…fracking wells, bogs, coastal methane besides in the North, etc…thanks for your answers…

  34. Aaron Lewis says:

    In the past, the IPCC reports have failed to say much that was useful for public policy, planning, or infrastructure design.

    AR5 seems certain to take this tradition to new heights. It still has difficulty admitting that there is a climate-related problem in the near future.

    We are seeing changes in atmospheric circulation that will dramatically affect global food production, raising food prices on a global scale. While North America and Europe can pay those prices (for a short time and thereby raise the global price) others can not. However, the people in NA & E absolutely depend on goods from places that can not afford high priced food.

    When the global price of food goes up significantly, then we will see a significant drop in the goods produced – on a global basis. That will actually hurt the NA and E economies more it hurts second and third world economies.

    Then, there is a feed back. When tractors in the US can not get required parts (made in China, from materials supplied from other countries), then the US production of food goes down because of food shortages in other parts of the world.

    A lot of people will starve, and famine is not a word used in AR5. AR5 simply does not get how small changes in atmospheric circulation will disrupt the industrial agriculture that supplies most of the world’s calories and protein. And this is despite half a dozen agricultural short falls in the last couple of years. Add in the rice crisis of 2008, and we have enough of a trend that even the IPCC should be able to see it.

    The IPCC pretends that it does not do “policy”. However, science is policy. Science decides when we act on the the basis of knowledge or ignorance. Science decides if we hide under the blankets from the bogeyman or turn on the light and see what that shadow in the corner of the bedroom really is. Well, the IPCC should turn on the lights and tell us what is in the corner of the room. It may be nothing, or it may be a viper, or it may just be a rat. The IPCC should be willing to turn on the lights and look. Instead they just say, “We are not expecting any bad critters in the house until 2060!” It is meant to be comforting, but after the sea ice melt of 2007, the IPCC does not have much credibility.

    Your loyal “Alarmist”