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danp

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White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« on: April 26, 2013, 07:05:36 PM »
Commenter Boa5att posted this tantalizing tidbit on the main blog:

http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/wa/16886947/professor-joins-fight-to-save-arctic/

"[T]he meeting has been organised by a US brains trust on the Arctic that includes NASA's chief scientist, the director of the US National Science Foundation, representatives from the US Department of Homeland Security and the Pentagon. Joining them ... will be [Univ. of WA] Professor Carlos Duarte, who is one of 10 researchers from around the world called on to help protect the Arctic.

[Duarte] said melting of the ice was accelerating faster than any of the models could predict and the prospect of an Arctic Ocean free of ice had been brought forward to 2015, compared with a prediction in 2007 that at least one-third of the normal extent of sea ice would remain in summer in 2100."

To me the combination of top level political attendees and at least one scientist at the edge of public aggressiveness among his colleagues (2015!) is promising.  I hope some sense of alarm filters up into the executive branch and they add some synergistic messaging to their upcoming decision to ban all fossil fuel exploration in US-controlled Arctic water.   I know, at least let me dream.

Vergent

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2013, 08:16:10 PM »
Anyone touting a 2015 date does so armed with Wipneus's exponential extrapolation. Congratulations Wipneus, you made it to the white house!

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2013, 09:02:06 PM »
This is a good start, however, I'm concerned that the policy makers will just want another study or review that will take a year.

I also wish that there were more scientist, such as Dr. Jennifer Francis, invited to this meeting!
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danp

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2013, 10:21:37 PM »
Yeah, you can't tell from the outside what's getting through to people.  I don't know that (given the diverse participants) they're expecting a "study" to be the result, but whatever the intentions policy paralysis is the default without a lot more sustained leadership than we've seen.

The only scientist mentioned in the article is Dr. Duarte, but they did say they were inviting 10 experts, and there's no reason Dr. Francis couldn't be one of them.  If nothing else she's from a lot nearer by than Perth :) 

Duarte seems to have an impressive record himself and after watching a bit of a presentation of his on youtube I can see that he has a direct, "this is happening RIGHT NOW" tone that I hope carries through to somebody, or at least frees up the other scientists a little.

Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2013, 10:55:23 PM »
The Pentagon will be there.  That means that climate science will be there.

President Obama has been unable to move climate legislation due to resistance in Congress, but he is the Commander in Chief.  Our military, under his command,  has not held back when it comes to renewable energy and preparing to get us off of fossil fuels.

PBO has had to work around Congress.  He spent a very large portion of the stimulus money on renewable energy.  He negotiated a very large increase in fuel efficiency with vehicle manufacturers.  He's used the EPA to close down our most inefficient coal plants.

When we get the message to Congress that we want more done about climate change PBO will be very happy to sign and administer that legislation.

The American people need to take responsibility for the senators and representatives they send to Congress.


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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2013, 10:57:44 PM »
Duarte is a heavyweight Arctic expert and active in more fields than Francis. He can connect the dots and speaks plain English if needed. Checkout out this lecture, it is worth the time.

I think, Obama has a huge Arctic problem. During his term the ice is projected to melt out the first time, US will take chairmanship of the Arctic Council in 2015, China goes ahead in terms of ice breakers, Russia is expected to claim half of the basin while UNCLOS still to ratify and the 20 federal agencies dealing with Arctic issues don't know what the 19 other do.

Neither economically, environmentally nor politically the US have nowhere a lead in the Arctic, that's not what I expect from president 'Yes, we can!'. However, I anticipate bold moves very soon.

Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2013, 11:14:30 PM »
In 2011 renewable energy subsidies increased by 186 percent from $5.1 billion to $14.7 billion over the previous year.

Of the $14.7 billion in fiscal year 2010, $6.2 billion (65 percent of the increase) came from how the Obama administration chose to distribute the stimulus package.  Additional subsidies were created by additional capacity coming on line and taking advantage of existing subsidy programs.

Wind led the various renewables with a more than 10-fold increase in subsidy from $476 million to $4,986 million.

Solar subsidies increased by more than 6-fold from $179 million to $1,134 million.

Subsidies for biofuels increased by 66 percent, from $4 billion to $6.6 billion.

Conservation and end-use subsidies more than tripled from $4 billion to $14.8 billion. Conservation subsidies increased almost 18-fold from $369 million to $6,597 million.

End-use subsidies more than doubled from $3,618 million to $8,241 million.

http://www.eia.gov/analysis/requests/subsidy/pdf/subsidy.pdf

Artful Dodger

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #7 on: April 27, 2013, 07:22:41 AM »
I know, at least let me dream.
Hi danp,

Nothing really new here, just made the News.

Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) — Arctic Research Plan

This is another in a regular series of meetings sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF):

Quote
The Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) is charged with developing five-year plans for Federally sponsored research in the Arctic region. For 2013 to 2017, the IARPC, which consists of representatives from 14 Federal agencies, departments, and offices, has identified seven research areas that will inform national policy and benefit significantly from close interagency coordination. They are:
  • Sea ice and marine ecosystems;
  • Terrestrial ice and ecosystems;
  • Atmospheric studies of surface heat, energy, and mass balances;
  • Observing systems;
  • Regional climate models;
  • Adaptation tools for sustaining communities; and
  • Human health.
Cheers!
Lodger

Jim Hunt

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #8 on: April 27, 2013, 05:51:45 PM »
Nothing really new here, just made the News.

True enough, but that didn't stop me quoting The Western Australian in my latest blog article!

http://econnexus.org/abrupt-climate-change-in-the-arctic-why-should-we-care/

You will note that UWA were flagging up Prof. Duarte's attendance at this meeting in early March. Apart from hosting such gatherings the US Government also provide a handy Arctic news service, which you can sign up for here:

http://www.arctic.gov/arctic_update_archive/index_general.html

Of particular local interest might this bulletin from August 10th last year.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2013, 10:22:12 PM by Jim Hunt »
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Apocalypse4Real

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #9 on: May 02, 2013, 04:40:42 PM »
The meeting got coverage in today's Guardian.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/earth-insight/2013/may/02/white-house-arctic-ice-death-spiral

Seems like AMEG may have a voice in - or in reaction to the meeting.

The White House is not missing anything in this conversation, they have a good idea of what is coming.

Thanks Lodger for the link.

A4R

ritter

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #10 on: May 02, 2013, 06:27:30 PM »
The White House is not missing anything in this conversation, they have a good idea of what is coming.

And still nothing will be done. Indeed, nothing can be done at this point to stop the death spiral. The feedbacks have kicked in. Now it's time to figure out how to deal with food shortages and migrations.

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2013, 11:23:36 PM »
Quote
And still nothing will be done.

That implies that nothing has been done.  Since we know that several things have been done we know the implication to be incorrect.

And that leads me to suspect that even more will be done....

ivica

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2013, 04:22:48 AM »
Quote
And still nothing will be done.

That implies that nothing has been done.  Since we know that several things have been done we know the implication to be incorrect.

And that leads me to suspect that even more will be done....
(Sorry, couldn't resist...)

Off-topic, H2G2 quote:
"You know," said Arthur thoughtfully, "all this explains a lot of things. All my life I've had this strange unaccountable feeling that something was going on in the world, something big, even sinister, and no one would tell me what it was."
"No," said the old man, "that's just perfectly normal paranoia. Everyone in the Universe has that."

Artful Dodger

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2013, 07:14:24 AM »
I see this as more 'busy-looking' action. The scale of the problem is immense (the amount of extra heat Earth is absorbing is like 1 Hiroshima bomb every 4 seconds). Since the WH will not take on multinational fossil fuel interests, they hold meetings instead.

I object to the comparison that Dr Carlos Duarte makes about the Arctic: "This situation has the momentum of a runaway train." That laughably understates the problem. It's more like a runaway Supertanker. And the only means we have to prevent it crashing into the Grain Terminal is to move the ocean.

So let's just keep talking, since clean energy will remain a myth as long as fossils rule Wall St. Oh, and stay away from the docks...
Cheers!
Lodger

ritter

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2013, 05:50:58 PM »
Quote
And still nothing will be done.

That implies that nothing has been done.  Since we know that several things have been done we know the implication to be incorrect.

And that leads me to suspect that even more will be done....

I really wish I shared your optimism, Bob. And I sincerely hope you are correct. However, I will not place any money on that bet.  :)

Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2013, 07:15:07 PM »
Since the WH will not take on multinational fossil fuel interests, they hold meetings instead.

The President has used the power of the EPA to close around 100 coal plants.  He's made it pretty much impossible to build a new coal plant.  He's doubled vehicle efficiency standards.  He used $6.2 billion of the stimulus money to further subsidize renewable energy.

Is that not "taking on fossil fuel interests"? 

If not, what would you suggest? 

Do remember, the power of the US president is limited.  A president cannot write legislation nor establish the national budget.  A president cannot decree that everyone quit driving and ride a bike.



Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #16 on: May 03, 2013, 08:08:52 PM »
Something else the WH has managed to do...

"An analysis from the US Department of Energy (DOE), “Economic Impact of Recovery Act Investment in the Smart Grid,” reports smart grid projects funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) created nearly $7 billion total economic output, nearly 50,000 jobs, and over $1 billion in government tax revenue.

DOE’s analysis covers $1.48 billion in ARRA investments from the Smart Grid Investment Grants (SGIG) and Smart Grid Demonstration Program (SGDP) programs, as well as $1.48 billion in associated matching investments made by grant recipients in the private sector between August 2009 and March 2012."

http://cleantechnica.com/2013/05/03/doe-smart-grid-funds-created-6-8-billion-economic-boost-47000-jobs/#p6B27lwYSXVwPrQt.99

Getting the smart grid into place means that we can cut grid losses and incorporate more renewables. 

Artful Dodger

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2013, 08:57:39 PM »
The President has used the power of the EPA to close around 100 coal plants.  He's made it pretty much impossible to build a new coal plant.  He's doubled vehicle efficiency standards.  He used $6.2 billion of the stimulus money to further subsidize renewable energy.

Is that not "taking on fossil fuel interests"?

If not, what would you suggest?

Hi Bob,

Cheap shale gas is responsible for closing existing coal plants. Those companies would never have agree to do so unless the economics were in their favour. The Administration can take political credit if they like, however coal plant closures would have happened anyway. BTW, methane emissions from cheap fracked NG are probably worse for the climate than the coal, so dubious progress here. Have you noticed how cheaper American coal has spurred new coal plant construction in Europe? Please show how any U.S. policy has reduced net coal combustion.

Oh, and here's some bad luck: E.P.A. Will Delay Rule Limiting Carbon Emissions at New Power Plants from the NY Times on April 13, 2013. No progress at all, then.

The new CAFE standards do not start for a more than a dozen years. Then it will be 10 more years before newer vehicles form the majority of the fleet. That's 2035. But these standards do not limit carbon. If the size of the fleet increases, emissions may in fact be higher in 2035, and all this assumes no subsequent Administration succeeds in cancelling or delaying the new standards.

This is not "taking on fossil fuel interests". This is a tepid, lying morality, pandering to special interests as we sleep walk over the climate cliff. But 2017 isn't Obama's concern, right? Or anyone's? The only groups I see with a 50 to 200 year plan are all tarsands corporations.

What would I do? I'd cancel the 'all-of-the-above' policy immediately, and put a price on carbon. I would cancel all Corporate welfare and close offshore tax havens. I would cancel the deferred interest exemption on Wall Street salaries, and put a sales tax on stocks. I would place severe limits on corporate political spending and push a Constitutional amendment banning corporate personhood. I would tax all foreign goods as if they were domestic, ending the advantage of lax foreign pollution and labour laws.

And just because I'm on a role, I'd declare the NRA a terrorist organization. :)

Thanks, this was fun. We now return you to your regularly scheduled biosphere collapse.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2013, 09:07:47 PM by Artful Dodger »
Cheers!
Lodger

Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #18 on: May 05, 2013, 09:19:10 PM »
Yes, there was a setback with the EPA regulations.  These delayed regulations would apply to yet-to-be-built coal plants and since the cost of a new coal plant would be so high they are largely irrelevant.  Existing dirty plants will still be closed as scheduled under different, existing regulations which deal with air quality and not CO2 emissions.

The new CAFE standards have already started.  After 2011 passenger cars will be required to achieve 5% annual improvements, and light trucks 3.5% annual improvements.  Prior to the new agreement light trucks (including SUVs) did not have mileage requirements.  The agreement tops out in 2025 with fleet averages reaching 54.4 MPG.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Average_Fuel_Economy#Agreed_standards_by_model_year.2C_2011-2025

"This is a tepid, lying morality, pandering to special interests as we sleep walk over the climate cliff."

It is, if one misrepresents the facts.

"What would I do? I'd cancel the 'all-of-the-above' policy immediately, and put a price on carbon. I would cancel all Corporate welfare and close offshore tax havens...."

Well, you wouldn't.  Because the President of the United States does not have the power to do all those things.   Congress writes tax laws.  To do what you say you would do would require that you be some sort of monarch and we've pretty much decided that we don't care for that sort of government in the US.

Jim Hunt

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #19 on: May 08, 2013, 07:07:42 PM »
According to The Alaska Dispatch:

Quote
In an email to Alaska Dispatch, Duarte clarified that while he was in Washington, D.C., recently and did attend a regular research meeting, it didn't involve “government, high-level U.S. government officers or any sort of alarming news.”
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

TerryM

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #20 on: May 08, 2013, 07:47:34 PM »
According to The Alaska Dispatch:

Quote
In an email to Alaska Dispatch, Duarte clarified that while he was in Washington, D.C., recently and did attend a regular research meeting, it didn't involve “government, high-level U.S. government officers or any sort of alarming news.”



What's your take on what did or did not take place? Was there a meeting where all were sworn to secrecy or did the media just get it wrong?


Ever since the silence following S&S's ESAS expedition I've had the uneasy feeling that the powers that be might be playing things very close to the vest, fearing the reaction if the results were disseminated. Canada is doing an outstanding job of closing recording stations and silencing anyone who might be have evidence of global warming. Is it too much of a stretch to think that Russia & the USofA might be acting in a similar manner?


Terry

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #21 on: May 08, 2013, 07:49:28 PM »
Was the news perhaps pushed by AMEG?
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Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2013, 10:14:28 PM »
Quote
I really wish I shared your optimism, Bob.

This continues to eat at me.  Let me address it.

I am, in general, an optimistic person as opposed to being a pessimist.  But I'm not blindly optimistic.  I see bad things in our future, some of which we will not be able to avoid.

I see myself as more of a realistic problem solver who tends to not give up looking for solutions.

IMO our current situation is as if we are all in a burning building and many of us are standing in place and screaming "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!".

People like me are looking for a safe exit and I think there is one.

I sincerely think we have a route away from fossil fuels and even further global warming.  I'm trying to point other people to that way out.

Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #23 on: May 08, 2013, 10:26:02 PM »
And let me add some more on "the White House" and our current president.

Obviously President Obama hasn't done "enough".  We're still burning fossil fuels and CO2 levels haven't dropped below 350 ppm.  No carbon has been put back into sequestration.

But that does not mean that PBO has done nothing as some report.  If we look at what he has done there is a record of achievements.  He's clearly done some work on the problem. 

But people should realize that he has many problems to solve and many in Congress and at the state level are working to see that he fails at everything he does.  Additionally, as I've pointed out, the President of the United States has limited power.  The President does not have dictatorial power.

Now it's understandable that some are frustrated with the amount of progress that has been made.  But should that frustration be aimed at the person who is doing some good stuff or at the people who are blocking him from doing more?

If you want to help your team win do you support or attack your team members?  I'm afraid that there are too many of us throwing beer bottles at our team's ball carrier rather than at the other team's deep safety.

CraigsIsland

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #24 on: May 08, 2013, 11:49:30 PM »
According to The Alaska Dispatch:

Quote
In an email to Alaska Dispatch, Duarte clarified that while he was in Washington, D.C., recently and did attend a regular research meeting, it didn't involve “government, high-level U.S. government officers or any sort of alarming news.”



What's your take on what did or did not take place? Was there a meeting where all were sworn to secrecy or did the media just get it wrong?


Ever since the silence following S&S's ESAS expedition I've had the uneasy feeling that the powers that be might be playing things very close to the vest, fearing the reaction if the results were disseminated. Canada is doing an outstanding job of closing recording stations and silencing anyone who might be have evidence of global warming. Is it too much of a stretch to think that Russia & the USofA might be acting in a similar manner?


Terry

http://www.earthtimes.org/climate/ice-free-arctic-politics/2341/
Quote
"DoD is the US department of Defence, quoting alarmist statements such as, "significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to greater competition for more limited and critical life-sustaining resources like food and water." Obviously, military minds think first about instability and conflict, rather than enabling help for disadvantaged people. "

I think this meeting was to convince higher ups in government that the arctic will deteriorate a lot quicker than anticipated. Strategy for keeping it hush-hush would be two-fold: 1. Work behind the scenes internationally to strike deals to preserve economic stability worldwide (i.e. moratorium on shipping/drilling/sharing of scientific data to project and propose carbon emission standards) while searching for agreement on reducing or eliminating carbon emissions somehow. 2. Domestic agenda might take a little longer to shape. In part because house of reps is not democratic controlled (mid-terms are after upcoming melt season) which, politically (unfortunately) makes more sense to introduce new legislation at curbing or eliminating carbon emissions. Of course, the President could sign executive orders on a "large" (no matter how its done - get it done) magnitude but those would probably have domestic economic and political drawbacks that hurt the democratic party significantly. there's a number of tools in the shed, it's up to the president and brave people to use them.

Then again, President may not want to put attention on the issue simply because of the political backwash that goes along with it. I don't think putting an urgency to the issue - like addressing the nation like you would for a war statement- would help right now. It tie some politicos hands behind the scenes.

I remain somewhat optimistic overall that we can "survive" if we somehow stop digging up carbon. I really think it must be a sudden stop of emitting carbon rather than a petering out like we have. It's far too dangerous to go on that track.

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #25 on: May 09, 2013, 10:39:14 AM »
What's your take on what did or did not take place? Was there a meeting where all were sworn to secrecy or did the media just get it wrong?
We would be idiots if we thought all circles of government (or nexuses of corporate power) were less well informed than we are.

Jim Hunt

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #26 on: May 09, 2013, 01:13:48 PM »
Hi Terry,

What's your take on what did or did not take place? Was there a meeting where all were sworn to secrecy or did the media just get it wrong?

There was a meeting, which Prof. Duarte describes on his Twitter feed as:

Quote
Brainstorming on the future of the Arctic marine ecosystem at the White House, Washington DC

so it's not exactly "top secret".  In this instance I'm inclined to the view that the media have spun things out of proportion.

Whilst trying to dig up more detailed information I stumbled across this:

Quote
Washington D.C. APR 25, 2013 – The Subcommittee on Environment today held a hearing to provide Members an overview of the most important scientific, technical and economic factors that should guide climate-related decision-making.

Witnesses:
Dr. Judith Curry, Dr. William Chameides, Dr. Bjørn Lomborg

which doesn't exactly fill one with great confidence! Here's Bill's intro:



To answer your more general point, Julia Slingo's recent "U turn" definitely included the word "urgent". I suspect the powers that be know more than they're admitting in public, but my error bars are large!
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #27 on: May 09, 2013, 02:38:21 PM »
Quote
Washington D.C. APR 25, 2013 – The Subcommittee on Environment...
 

Sadly, the chair of the Subcommittee on Environment is Rep. Chris Stewart (R-Utah).  The Washington Post blog did some fact checking about a recent opinion piece of his and posted this -

"Cherry-picking one survey to discredit a survey of scientists on climate change"http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/cherry-picking-one-survey-to-discredit-a-survey-of-scientists-on-climate-change/2013/05/07/e69607d2-b77b-11e2-92f3-f291801936b8_blog.html
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 02:53:05 PM by Donna »

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #28 on: May 09, 2013, 05:44:21 PM »
I really think it must be a sudden stop of emitting carbon rather than a petering out like we have. It's far too dangerous to go on that track.
Imagine the difficulty of explaining to the public (treated like mushrooms that we are) the sudden rise in the rate of warming shortly after cutting out all emissions.

Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #29 on: May 09, 2013, 07:05:35 PM »

We would be idiots if we thought all circles of government (or nexuses of corporate power) were less well informed than we are.

Worth repeating...

ritter

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #30 on: May 09, 2013, 09:00:38 PM »
Quote
I really wish I shared your optimism, Bob.

This continues to eat at me.  Let me address it.

I am, in general, an optimistic person as opposed to being a pessimist.  But I'm not blindly optimistic.  I see bad things in our future, some of which we will not be able to avoid.

I see myself as more of a realistic problem solver who tends to not give up looking for solutions.

IMO our current situation is as if we are all in a burning building and many of us are standing in place and screaming "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!".

People like me are looking for a safe exit and I think there is one.

I sincerely think we have a route away from fossil fuels and even further global warming.  I'm trying to point other people to that way out.

Did not mean to get under your skin, Bob.  :)

People like you are very necessary and I know your eyes are wide open. Where you and I diverge is that I don't think there is an acceptable government solution. One may have existed had we followed Carter's path back in the 70s, but it is now too late. The age of consequences is upon us and I don't think there is enough time to overcome the governmental inertia. I am more focused on an individual, family and small community level of how to get through the coming lean times. We are not all going to die. Some will find a door. But most won't. I'd rather find the door but don't see a way that 7 billion people will orderly line up and pass through it.

Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #31 on: May 09, 2013, 09:49:21 PM »
First, let me repeat.  I am not convinced that we are moving fast enough to avoid something very bad later on.  We might be ramping up to that speed or we might have missed our opportunity.  (I put the probability of the latter fairly low.)
--

I don't see government inertia as the issue.  There is certainly a need for all the world's governments to keep assisting, but it seems to me that we have moved on to the point where business and the financial industry takes the lead.

Renewables have become competitive with fossil fuels.  Utility companies understand this.  Their customers are starting to understand that.

Here's a tidbit I saw today...

 
Quote
“The business case for wind is very compelling,” said Paul Gaynor, CEO of developer First Wind. He said wind power is now saving consumers large sums in Massachusetts and Connecticut—to the tune of $1 billion and $800 million, respectively.

Oklahoma has embraced wind energy because of the “realization that they have this great wind resource, and the price is very attractive,” said Kevin Walsh, managing director for renewable energy at GE Energy Financial Services.

http://www.evwind.es/2013/05/08/wind-powers-benefits-keep-getting-better/32475

In the last year we've seen the governors of quite conservative states lobbying for continued federal support for the wind industry.  We've seen anti-renewable energy legislation proposed by pro-fossil fuel interests defeated.  It's the money being made.

Governments need to help.  They need to lower permitting costs and assist with projects like large scale transmission.  But they are no longer the main drivers behind renewable installation.
--

As for an immediate crash in which billions die.  I simply don't buy it.  I put that at a very low probability.  Very low.

Quote
Here's what Joe Romn posted a couple of days ago...

"Every climate scientist I’ve ever spoken to thinks we can still avert the worst impacts of climate change. It is an absurd myth that either the media or scientists constantly repeat the “it’s too late” message — a myth debunked here and here."

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2013/05/01/1931491/ny-times-criticizes-itself-for-touting-myth-that-it-is-too-late-to-avoid-climate-catastrophe/

("Here and here" are links in the article.)

Joe is someone who expends a great deal of energy educating people about the dangers of climate change. If anything I would guess he would come down on the "overly concerned" side as opposed to the "less concerned" side. If he is saying that it's not too late I take that as likely.

That is not to say that we haven't already sentenced ourselves to a less livable climate than we would have otherwise had. Just that we have time to keep forces beyond our control from taking over and driving things into a very nasty state.

People will die.  Possibly millions of people will die.  We will have to relocate lots of people because where they now live will become untenable.  But this will unfold over time, over many years.  And as the problem becomes more obvious we may get better at adjusting.  Look at what we've achieved in terms of communication and transportation since the great famine of China in 1959-61 which killed 15-43 million.

The US or European economies crashing and sending us all scampering into the woods to feed ourselves?  Highly unlikely.  Very highly unlikely.
--

Again, I am not saying that we will escape without pain.  It appears that we are already getting smacked.  I'm just saying that the sort of "7 billion will die" stuff is way over the top. 

If we work harder to cut our fossil fuel use.

 

 

CraigsIsland

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #32 on: May 10, 2013, 08:14:09 PM »

Artful Dodger

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #33 on: May 13, 2013, 07:58:36 PM »
Today marks one month past the deadline on which the U.S. Administration was supposed to issue rules to regulate carbon pollution from new power plants, as ordered by the Supreme Court. [LA Times]

No progress here. Jellyfish all over the world are swimming with a new swagger.
Cheers!
Lodger

Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #34 on: May 14, 2013, 01:42:44 AM »
Quote
Acting EPA administrator Bob Perciasepe said that standards for existing power plants “will be on the table during this fiscal year” and that the agency was looking at “working with states on existing sources, but we’re not there yet.”

http://dailycaller.com/2013/04/21/states-enviros-threaten-lawsuit-to-force-epa-to-issue-new-emissions-rules/#ixzz2TDegRwqH

jonthed

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #35 on: May 14, 2013, 04:07:34 AM »
I just want to respond to Bob Wallace about the unlikeliness of a serious crash that would cause billions of deaths.

I agree with you and join you in your burning building, looking for a safe way out to be found. However, I also fear that the buildings integrity is in jeopardy and the whole building could collapse on us at any moment.

With that I mean there are things set in motion, or perhaps soon to be set in motion, that could drown all efforts being made to transition to a more sustainable future. My main concern here is the "methane gun" in the form of the melting permafrost and the under sea clathrates. (There are other potential candidates, such as the effects of the loss of arctic summer ice, and the greenland icesheet whose ice could be lost far quicker than expected). A large increase of methane in the atmosphere could alter global average temperatures hugely on a short time scale. Even if the methane is not long lived, if there is enough to significantly contribute to warming, we could see some major changes to regional weather patterns all over the globe. This could easily lead to several years of failed global harvests, and starvation, food riots and societal collapse in the worst affected countries (least able to afford to import crazy-priced food). Food price crises have already been linked to civil unrest and regional conflict.

The methane gun could also wreck already strained water resources. Again, just a few years of altered rainfall and increased temperatures could lead to many regions without enough water.

If we have a decade of crop failure with no sign of respite as the permafrost and clathrates just keep melting, and whole regions with insufficient water, I can easily see a world in chaos, where hundreds of millions could die.

And the likeliness of this is determined solely by the likeliness of a serious methane problem that is already out of our control. Unfortunately I don't see it as highly unlikely. It could start ramping up any time in the next 20 years and still have the same devastating effects, even if we continue our transition and technological improvements.

Of course I still believe we need to be working as fast as we can to transition to a sustainable existence, and actually the efforts being made and the developments in technologies are starting to make me more optimistic that we *will* deal with this situation despite the forces acting against us. Renewables and energy storage will supplant fossil fuels, utility companies will abandon fossil fuels and governments will find it easier to support the shift. Divestment efforts and government shifts, not to mention the viability of renewables will make fossil fuel investments more and more risky, and the transition will pick up speed.

We'll be out of the burning building soon enough at this rate. So long as it doesn't fall on our heads in the meantime.

(ps - Things we've *already* broken whose full effects and rate of change are unknown:
 - The Arctic
 - the Jet Stream
 - The Greenland Ice Sheet
 - The permafrost
 - The undersea frozen clathrates )

Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #36 on: May 14, 2013, 07:28:52 AM »
Climate scientists are very aware of the methane issue.  And they have not waved the warning flag.

We will likely see the Arctic Ocean essentially ice free for a few/several days before 2020.  This will likely cause our weather to get "wilder", but not "end of the world" wild.  Count on more heat waves, droughts, floods, heavy snowfalls and stronger hurricanes (probably fewer but stronger).

The Greenland Ice Sheet will take a long, long time to melt.  Sea level rise could be giving us some coastal problems by the end of the century but not a "New York Goes Under!!" level.

Melting (and burning) permafrost is an accelerator.  It adds carbon into the atmosphere.  But it is not melting at a rate that would cause runaway warming.

We will most likely have more crop failures than usual.  Not every year, not in all places at once, but enough that food prices will likely rise faster than other components of our economy.  That's why I suggest people make sure their budgets allow for higher food spending.  That, I think, will be the largest impact on developed countries.

We're in the burning building.  The quicker we move to the exit, the less pain we will suffer.  That does not mean that we will get out without some burns and smoke inhalation problems.  Some of us will get toasted.  The choice we face now is how hard are we willing to work in order to minimize the pain?






anonymous

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NATIONAL STRATEGY FOR THE ARCTIC REGION
« Reply #37 on: May 14, 2013, 08:07:08 AM »
The strategy paper has been put online: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/nat_arctic_strategy.pdf

It starts like this: We in the lower forty-eight and Hawaii join Alaska’s residents in recognizing one simple truth that the Arctic is an amazing place.

Maybe it is my before coffee mood, but the rest summarizes as exploiting resources is good, but don't touch the methane, because it is bad for the climate.

Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #38 on: May 14, 2013, 04:00:59 PM »
Here's a section of the paper that I would like to address.

Quote
The region holds sizable proved and potential oil and natural gas resources that will likely continue to provide valuable supplies to meet U.S. energy needs.

Continuing to responsibly develop Arctic oil and gas resources aligns with the
United States “all of the above” approach to developing new domestic energy sources, including renewables, expanding oil and gas production, and increasing efficiency and conservation efforts to reduce our reliance on imported oil and strengthen our nation’s energy security.

Within the context of this broader energy security strategy, including our economic, environmental and climate policy objectives, we are committed to working with stakeholders, industry, and other Arctic states to explore the energy resource base, develop and implement best practices, and share experiences to enable the environmentally responsible production of oil and natural gas as well as renewable energy.

And here's a blunt piece of reality.  Let the Prime Minister of England, Germany's Chancellor, France's President, or any other national leader declare that drivers will not be able to obtain fuel for their cars and watch how quickly their butts meet the sidewalk as they are tossed from office.

The President of the United States has to keep the oil flowing in order to stay in office.  Does the world want another George Bush?  There's a few waiting in the wings.

Drivers in the US and every other country in the world is not going to quit burning oil until they get an acceptable alternative.  People will simply not give up their cars.

The best an environmentally aware leader can do is to minimize use.  Improve public transportation and vehicle efficiency.  And assist the development of clean alternatives to oil. 

If people need, I can again list what PBO has done to increase vehicle efficiency and assist the development of clean energy and electric vehicles.


Apocalypse4Real

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #39 on: May 14, 2013, 06:14:28 PM »
Bob,

Briefly, the US Gov is not as unaware nor inactive as you seem to have concluded.

They are aware and meetings are happening. Policy is being made on a national and global basis that recognises the Arctic derived climate risks and the planning in response is ongoing, complex and multifaceted.

Go back to Duarte's April 30 twitpick and learn about where he is standing - the link is in Jim Hunt's May 9 comment.

A4R

Jim Hunt

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #40 on: May 14, 2013, 07:33:41 PM »
A bit more news, from the Met Office rather than the Prime Minister of England. I finally got an official response to my questions about Julia Slingo's ITV interview. In brief:

Quote
This type of meeting is fairly routine, as leading scientists from different institutions regularly meet to discuss issues as part of the normal collaborative approach to scientific research.
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one - Albert Einstein

Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #41 on: May 14, 2013, 09:13:19 PM »
Quote
Bob,

Briefly, the US Gov is not as unaware nor inactive as you seem to have concluded.

Is there another Bob in the house?  That "Briefly, ...." must be meant for someone other than me.

Apocalypse4Real

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #42 on: May 15, 2013, 04:15:31 AM »
Bob Wallace,

I meant the one and only. I am updating something for you tomorrow on one of my webpages.

It will be longer, chronological and tell a fuller story behind the White House meeting, and what has happened after.

A4R

Apocalypse4Real

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #43 on: May 16, 2013, 05:35:11 AM »
Remarks of US Sec of State Kerry at Arctic Council, May 15, 2013, seem to make it clear the US is aware of the issues in the Arctic, and is working with other nations to do something about it.

Remarks at the Arctic Council Ministerial Session
Remarks
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Kiruna City Hall
Kiruna, Sweden
May 15, 2013

Thank you very much, Minister Bildt, and thank you for hosting this important event. I’m pleased to be joined at the table by our senior Arctic official Julia Gourley and I’m pleased also to have Senator from Alaska, Senator Lisa Murkowski, a good friend of mine from the Senate, who cares about these issues enormously.

It’s an honor to be here in Kiruna, and I begin by saying that there are many areas where the eight Arctic states’ interests overlap significantly. And despite our different sizes and our different cultures, and many of the varied interests that we’ve heard today from permanent participants, we share many values and priorities. But there is nothing that should unite us quite like our concern for both the promise and the challenges of the northern-most reaches of the earth.
What makes this organization so important is that the consequences of our nations’ decisions don’t stop at the 66th parallel. And that’s especially true today, when the threat of climate change is as ominous as ever, its effects are as tangible as ever, and the courage – literally, the courage – that we summon in the coming months and years is as crucial as ever. This is one of the most obvious shared challenges on the face of the planet today. I don't think there’s any one of us here who hasn’t visibly noticed with our own eyes or experienced the changes in fragile ecosystems.

When I was a senator, I worked with the late Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska in order to end driftnet fishing on the high seas. And more than once I rewrote America’s fisheries laws, the Magnuson-Stevens Act, to try to protect our fisheries. But the truth is that today fisheries all across the planet are challenged with too much money chasing too few fish. Today, as Secretary of State, I come here keenly aware that the long list of challenges – acidification, pollution, ice melt, rising sea levels, disappearing species, and indiscriminate development practices – all of these carry even more challenges downstream, so to speak, to each of our economies, to our national security, and to international stability.

So Carl, I applaud the Arctic Council, which addresses these challenges, and your exemplary leadership of the last two years in tenure. And I’m pleased to look forward to Canada’s leadership.
I’m pleased that President Obama, just a few days ago, released the U.S. National Strategy for the Arctic Region, reaffirming that a secure and well-managed Arctic marked by international cooperation and conflict – an absence of conflict – is a key policy priority of the United States. And we look forward to filling out the details of that with all of you over the course of the next few years.

I also look forward to joining my fellow ministers in signing the oil agreement that we will reach today. That’s an important framework for cooperation in the event of an emergency. And as the United States was reminded painfully in the Gulf of Mexico three years ago, we need strong partnerships and shared operational guidelines before a disaster occurs in order to make sure that we’re able to respond. So we need to prevent crises from happening in the first place, and that frankly brings me back to climate change.

Just last week in one of the major newspapers in the United States, the New York Times, it was reported that the atmospheric levels of CO2 exceeded 400 parts per million for an entire 24-hour period for the first time in recorded history. That is the highest level of CO2 in three or four million years. Temperatures we know in the Arctic are increasing more than twice as fast as global averages, and they are endangering habitats and they are endangering ways of life.

Last September, the extent of sea ice covering the Arctic reached a record low, threatening marine mammal life and the indigenous and local communities that depend on them. As many of you – or all of you – know, warming also erodes the natural barrier of ice that shields Alaska’s coast from hostile waters, and that causes homes to fall into the sea, it causes pollution. And the thawing of the permafrost, which is increasingly releasing methane, which is 20 times more damaging than CO2 – that has led to the first Arctic wildfires in thousands of years.

So the scientific research in each of our countries is more imperative than ever in order to protect the atmosphere, the global economy, the food chain, and the air we breathe. And we need to do more – all of us – urgently. The businesses investing in the region are obviously crucial to bringing new industries, jobs, and people to the Arctic to promote, but we need to make sure that we are promoting that growth in responsible ways. And we’ve heard from our friends and the permanent participators today about the urgency of that.

So I want to confirm that in all of these efforts, and so many more that we look forward to discussing in the next years, the United States is committed to being a productive and engaged partner. And we look forward to the Canadian chairmanship that begins today. We’re also planning ahead for the U.S. chairmanship from 2015 to ’17. And I greatly respect the hundreds of generations of tradition, culture, and expertise that has been built by the indigenous communities who have called this extraordinary place home for thousands of years. They shape this council’s work and they guide our decision-making, and they should.

America became an Arctic nation only about 150 years ago, when another Secretary of State, William Seward, had the vision to purchase Alaska, dramatically changing, not only our map but our choices, our landscape, our resources, and our identity as a nation. So we’re proud to join you today in the important work of protecting and preserving our shared Arctic, not just for the nations that touch it, but for the way that what happens here, for the stewardship that we have responsibility to execute, for the way that it touches every single person around the world and our way of life.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2013/05/209403.htm

Bob Wallace

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #44 on: May 16, 2013, 06:13:50 AM »
AR4, I have never concluded that the current US administration is unaware or inactive of climate change and the melting Arctic.

I am aware that many, including me, wish that more had been done.  But I've got a pretty good idea what has been done and it far more than the "nothing" that some claim.

TerryM

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #45 on: May 16, 2013, 07:21:29 PM »
A4R


As a Canadian I fear that Canadian leadership over the next 2 years will be seen as obstructionist. Our present government is firmly in the pocket of the FF producers & will do whatever it can to further their interests. Follow that with 2 years under American leadership & the only thing I see happening is an emphasis on extractive pursuits with whatever regulations that are now in place being relaxed.


Terry

CraigsIsland

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Re: White house meeting on Arctic ice loss
« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2013, 10:12:47 PM »
A4R


As a Canadian I fear that Canadian leadership over the next 2 years will be seen as obstructionist. Our present government is firmly in the pocket of the FF producers & will do whatever it can to further their interests. Follow that with 2 years under American leadership & the only thing I see happening is an emphasis on extractive pursuits with whatever regulations that are now in place being relaxed.


Terry

I too fear Canadiens will be known as this. Case in point: rejecting EU a seat in the Arctic Council. Hopefully our countries can draw down the incentive of development in extracting resources or transport through the Arctic.