Sunspots, Geoengineering & Climate Change

Global Temperatures Chart 2500 BC to 2040 AD – Revolutionary Politics 6/9/09

Mystery Ingredient Cleaning Earth’s Atmosphere – National Geographic 6/3/09

The discovery of an unknown substance that scrubs away pollutants has shaken up decades-long assumptions about how our atmosphere gets clean.

Sun Stealing Earth’s Atmosphere – National Geographic 5/28/09

NASA Documents the Evaporation of the Aral Sea (2000-2009) – Treehugger 5/20/09

Climate projection roulette wheel – Metafilter 5/20/09

MIT has completed the most comprehensive computer climate model to date to project how much warming will occur in the 21st century. The biggest unknown is not nature, but human actions to address the problem. To illustrate the results of 400 simulations they use a roulette wheel display – which wheel is spun and where the ball stops no one knows.  The simulation uses the MIT Integrated Global Systems Model.

Space missions to visit the sun – Telegraph, UK 4/26/09

Two space probes are to be sent to explore the Sun, in an attempt to get closer to the centre of the star than any previous mission.

The spacecraft will travel more than 70 million miles to one of the least hospitable regions of our solar system, where temperatures are hot enough to melt metal and intense radiation along with chaotic magnetic fields can tear manmade structures apart.

Scientists hope the missions will help them answer a long list of questions that still exist about the sun, including why its outer atmosphere is hotter than its surface, and what causes solar wind, sun spots and flares.

First Official Climate Change Refugees Evacuate Their Island Homes for Good – Treehugger 5/8/09

Can US urban food deserts bloom? – Raw Story 5/27/09

‘Silent’ Sun renews activity – Refreshing News 5/7/09

After lying dormant for a few months, the Sun is once again witnessing revival of Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) activities since May 5, which will help in determining the beginning of a new 11-year-solar cycle.

On May 5, the Sun produced an impressive coronal mass ejection (CME) and a burst of radio emissions, signalling the passage of a shock wave through its outer atmosphere, an alert from NASA said today.

New York, Boston “Directly in Path” of Sea Level Rise – National Geographic 5/27/09

How Will Climate Change Affect Where You Live?  – Alternet 6/16/09

The missing sunspots: Is this the big chill? – Independent, UK 4/26/09

Our Sun is the primary force of the Earth’s climate system, driving atmospheric and oceanic circulation patterns. It lies behind every aspect of the Earth’s climate and is, of course, a key component of the greenhouse effect. But there is another factor to be considered. When the Sun has gone quiet like this before, it coincided with the earth cooling slightly and there is speculation that a similar thing could happen now. If so, it could alter all our predictions of climate change, and show that our understanding of climate change might not be anywhere near as good as we thought.

The climate engineers – Guardian, UK 4/28/09

Geoengineering – via Metafilter 5/2/09

Geoengineering and the New Climate Denialism.  “[S]ometimes the politics around an issue become so twisted that it’s necessary to address the politics before we can have a real discussion about the problems and how to solve them. That’s the case with geoengineering.”

Scientists debate ‘shading’ Earth – Raw Story 6/16/09

Experts weigh risks of seeding atmosphere to counteract warming.

Obama administration considers climate engineering – Reporter News 4/8/09

The president’s new science adviser said today that global warming is so dire, the Obama administration is discussing radical technologies to cool Earth’s air.

John Holdren told The Associated Press in his first interview since being confirmed last month that the idea of geoengineering the climate is being discussed. One such extreme option includes shooting pollution particles into the upper atmosphere to reflect the sun’s rays. 

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“If we regard the fulfilment of our purpose as contingent upon any circumstances, past, present or future, we are not making use of first cause, we have descended to the level of secondary causation, which is the region of doubts, fears and limitations, all of which we are impressing upon the universal subjective mind, with the inevitable result that it will build up corresponding external conditions.”
Thomas Troward,
Edinburgh Lectures on Mental Science 1904

I am quoting Troward because the current political climate of junk science zeitgeist is madness, or at least crazy making. History tells us that prosperity has always advanced as inflation permitted. A steady increase in the money supply leads to higher prices and wages to measure them, and more people able to participate. Adjusted for inflation, copper, iron, oil, and gas, e.g., are not much more expensive than they were in the early 20th century, and we have more supply available and more people have electricity and transportation. There are no shortages of resources; only the cautionary principle keeps resources from being elevated to economic reserves. The bleak Dickensian world has gotten a great deal smaller as the ‘American Dream’ expanded to Asia. The environmental impact also, adjusted for inflation, is less and society has generally progressed, as is reflected in human lifespan in the west.
A common web of fear links misguided environmentalism, peak oil and AGW. Environmental lobby groups (ELGs) since their inception have had a stronger inflationary effect than historical supply and demand pull and push. Witness the oil sands, for example, uneconomic in the early going but reaching ore grade by gradual steps and external (secondary) jumps, ratcheting upward to economic viability. In recent years, a number of ELGs have come to question the cost in CO2 and open pit mining. I will come back to that later.

Gradual inflation has allowed the development of oil sands and similar projects, and will lead to logical scientific and technical development of kerogen shale as it has already permitted the developments in unconventional shale oil and gas. Furthermore, there are vast areas untouched on continental shelves and in arctic Canada. How much hydrocarbon lies under the shelf off Bangladesh? I do not know, but I am willing to bet there is some. The Alaskan NWR could be drilled today from a platform of 2,000 acres.

Our situation in 2009, however, is that secondary causation (fear of the future) has disrupted the steady growth of prosperity. For instance, after 30 years of mining the oil sands footprint covers 0.072% (72 /100,000) of the total land area of Alberta and could ultimately reach 3,000 km2 (0.45%) without equilibrium reclamation (No reclamation has ever been approved by Alberta, so you see where that puts the companies; Syncrude has reclaimed over 23% but is vulnerable to not having that approved by bureaucrats in the thrall of ELGs). With reclamation, the proportion will shrink from 0.072% to zero. The annual CO2 contribution, moreover, is 4% of Canada’s 2% of the global 2% or 6 ppb (0.0016% of 380 ppm) , a di minimis figure considering the CO2 seawater equilibrium of 50; all will dissolve in the cooling oceans. That estimate is vanishingly small in the context that CO2 may not even be a greenhouse gas, and that water vapour moderates climate modulated by cosmic radiation. As I look out my Toronto window at the current downpour of rain, I realise I am in the Great Lakes cloud chamber and have been watching scenes like this for the past three years of the sunspot cycle. The sun, not CO2, drives the weather and the climate. Government in the thrall of ELGs is attempting the modify behaviour, based upon a deeply flawed secondary causation argument that resources and ingenuity are finite, and that CO2 is pollution. All this arises from fear; history shows that, in fact, prosperity is the best birth control. Without fear or doubt, peak hydrocarbon is 1,000 years away.

Comment by Francis Manns

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