Monday, February 02, 2015

The Drug

Not just any drug, but "The Drug"! 

Fossil fuels are like a performance enhancing drug that we all know is very effective.  Fossil fuels allow one man to do the work of  1000.  However,  we also know that the drug is toxic at moderate doses (e.g., CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere of 400 ppmve)  and absolutely lethal at high doses.   We know that we are already suffering from the drug’s  toxicity, but we will not know what the lethal dose is until after we have taken that  lethal dose, and are suffering the long and lingering  painful death.

Our dealer drops the price of the drug, and we can afford to take more of it.  

Is  prudent to increase our dosage? 

Remember that at the highly toxic levels, less work will be done, not more.  It is just hard to get useful stuff done when there is  cold, dirty sea water up to your eyebrows.  Economists discount for future wealth, but it is real hard to do finance when when the infrastructure is underwater.

It does not matter if you use the fossil fuels, your friends use fossil fuels, or your enemies use fossil fuels, significant total usage will cost everyone.  And, large usage will kill all.

All of the economic estimates of the cost of global warming are based on climate models that do not include ice dynamics or carbon feedbacks.  Come-on boys, that is like a house-hold budget that does not include  rent or food.   For economists to use such incomplete climate models as a basis of cost destroys my confidence in economists.  For such climate models  and such economic models, to get published destroyed my confidence in the peer review system.  And, people wonder why I have gotten bitter and grumpy over the last decade.  

In 2012, things happened on Greenland that in 2007 everyone (IPCC) said would not happen for at least a thousand years.  So, we have been running the AGW  program for ~ 120 years and we have it a of thousand years ahead of schedule.  How is that possible?

Yes, an atmospheric concentration of CO2 at 400 ppv costs all.  Everything in the world is warmer, including the weather.  Warmer weather means there is heat in the system to drive more powerful storms.  AGW may not "cause" the storms, but it affects each and every storm.  

AGW has  been compared to a baseball player taking performance enhancing drugs and thereby being able to hit more home runs.  However, AGW changes all the rules.  Having open water in the Greenland sea is like doing away with the rules on bats  Loss of snow and ice cover is like letting the batter choose the kind of ball that will be pitched to him   Then, the batter could select a super ball ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Super_Ball ) and hit it out of the park any time his bat touched it.   More open water and less snow and ice cover mean that there will be more energy in the system.  Suddenly any kid in the country can hit their ball out of any baseball park in the country.

Oh, yes, AGW is a whole new ball game.  

So how bad is our addiction?  How many of our TV commercials are for cars, trucks, or leisure travel?  We still have not recognized the AGW problem as being more important than how we spend a few days of vacation.




2 comments:

buckfastbee said...

What do you think about biochar as a carbon sink?
I'm running some of my veggie garden beds with a homemade version of Terra Preta.

Aaron said...

No useful data. Tuns out, many components of biochar are water soluble. Do they stay in the soil or not? In water, they are fairly rapidly taken up into the food chain. What happens when those fractions of biochar are dissolved into the soil pore water?

The bottom line is that to make a difference, we need to put a mass of carbon into the ground larger than the mass of carbon that we take out of the ground. Now, it is more cost effective to switch to bio-fuels and just stop taking carbon out of the ground.

After we have STOPPED taking carbon out of the ground, then perhaps we can use biochar as carbon capture.

However, by then, we may have triggered carbon releases from tundra and clathrates that dwarf human releases. Biochar may not be enough to put the carbon from tundra and clathrates back in the box.