The greatest existential threat to human civilization, barring nuclear holocaust, is not worth preventing, according to alternative facts.
Not everyone in the administration is on board.

Meantime, another nexus of terror soon to be weeded out…

MIT Technology Review:

While promising to put up a high concrete wall along the Mexican border, Donald Trump said it would cost between $8 billion and $12 billion. Fat chance.

That becomes apparent after you look at what’s already on the border. After initially proposing to wall off all 2,000 miles, Trump said the wall could run along roughly half of the border, with mountains and other natural barriers blocking immigrants from crossing elsewhere. And on the portion where Trump envisions a wall, there are already 653 miles of fencing—some designed to stop cars, some to stop pedestrians, depending on the likeliest mode of crossing in each section. Building those fences has cost $2.3 billion since 2006.

If you wanted a wall instead of a fence—and if it truly were, as Trump has promised, 35 to 65 feet of concrete reinforced with steel—then the costs would mount extremely fast. Imagine a 1,000-mile wall, at a height of about 50 feet, the middle of the range that Trump has thrown out. Then suppose the wall extended 15 feet underground—a little more than is structurally necessary for a foundation, but enough to deter some tunnelers. You wouldn’t really build a long wall at a constant thickness, but let’s assume that on average, it’s one foot thick—enough to make a 50-foot wall stable and hard to cut through, a concern that Trump and his supporters have raised with the existing border fence.

Read the rest of this entry »

Relevant here, of course, because its all about the oil.

methaneplane

Purdue researchers flew an airborne chemistry laboratory over natural gas-fueled power plants and refineries to measure greenhouse gases. They found that although these facilities are much better for the environment than coal or oil-fueled plants, the actual amount of pollutants produced is as much as 42 times higher than estimates by the Environmental Protection Agency. Credit: Purdue University photo

Phys.org:

Power plants that burn natural gas produce significantly less pollutants and greenhouse gases than coal-burning plants, according to current estimates of how much methane escapes from such power plants, as well as from oil refineries, and estimates could be off by a wide margin, a new Purdue University study finds.

For the past decade,  has been replacing coal as a fuel for electric . It’s become relatively inexpensive, and it’s much less damaging to the environment if – and it’s an important “if” – it doesn’t leak out of the system before it is burned to make power.

That’s because although burning natural gas is much cleaner than coal or oil,  (which is mostly what natural gas consists of) has the potential to be even more damaging over the short term than coal or oil if it isn’t handled properly, says Paul Shepson, Purdue’s Jonathan Amy Distinguished Professor of Analytical and Atmospheric Chemistry.

“Methane is a 34 times more  than is carbon dioxide,” he says. “It’s a better fuel all around as long as you don’t spill it. But it doesn’t take much  to ruin your whole day if you care about climate change.”

The breaking point for natural gas leakage is about 3 percent. If more than that leaks, the fuel has a bigger climate effect than burning coal.

“The good news from our study is that while emissions are greater than anticipated, natural gas-burning power plants are still cleaner, relative to burning coal” Shepson says. Shepson said this pilot study found that the amount of methane escaping from the plants was only 0.3 percent on average.

Even taking into account previous estimates of methane leakage in the supply chain of 1.7 percent, the total methane emissions are still below the 3 percent threshold, the study found.

The study also found that methane emission rates were significantly higher than two sets of estimates reported by the Environmental Protection Agency; the EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Inventory of Emissions and Sinks estimated that total methane emissions from all U.S. refineries and natural  was negligible in 2014.

Read the rest of this entry »

At a meeting of TV Meteorologists last year in Austin, I was approached by Greg Fishel, of WRAL in Raleigh, who let me know that climate crocks videos were part of the process when he woke up.

I’ve heard from other TV mets, but also scientists, citizens, teachers who use these vids in their classes, even Capitol Hill staffers. These videos get used, and change minds.

Something to think about as we wind up for the summer field season. I’ll be laying out our plans in coming weeks – but if you wish to contribute again, you can click the button at the right. If you are looking for tax breaks, go to the Dark Snow Project page, and earmark your donation for Peter Sinclair 2017.

supportdarksnow

Snowstorm. Proof there can’t be any global warming. We’ll be looking for Senator Jim Inhofe to bring another snowball into the Senate.

As I posted yesterday, public concern about environment and climate has never been higher- just as the flying monkeys of the Putin/Trump administration are setting about to turn back the clock to the 1930s.
It’s similar to the rising popularity of ObamaCare, coming just as the Republican congress sets about to dismantle it. There may be some fundamental contradictions here.

There is still some question as to whether the monsters unleashed by Trump’s election can really do everything they have promised their wealthy donor, but it won’t be from lack of trying.

It all comes down to whether people have the will to resist.
flyingmonk2

Washington Post:

For more than a decade, Sen. James M. Inhofe has raged against the scientific consensus that humans are fueling climate change, calling it “the greatest hoax” ever perpetrated on Americans. The Oklahoma Republican has blasted the Environmental Protection Agency as an “activist organization” that has unfairly burdened everyone from farmers to fossil-fuel companies.

Now the man critics once dismissed as a political outlier has an unprecedented opportunity to shape the nation’s energy and ­environmental policies. And he has helped populate the upper ranks of the agency he has derided with several of his closest confidants.

At least half a dozen former aides to Inhofe — and counting — have been hired into top positions at the EPA and the White House. The chief of staff and deputy chief of staff to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, a fellow Oklahoman and longtime friend of Inhofe, spent years working for the senator. Pruitt’s senior advisers on air, climate and legal issues are Inhofe alumni. In addition, two former Inhofe aides have become top domestic and international energy and environmental advisers to President Trump.

“It gives me a level of comfort to know that we have a bureaucracy that’s actually going to be serving instead of ruling,” Inhofe said in an interview this week, describing his former staffers as qualified professionals who will protect the environment. “They are going to be very realistic. They’re going to do it in a way that will not be punitive. The previous administration was almost looking for ways to punish people.”

New York Times:

President Trump will travel to Detroit on Wednesday to announce a rollback of stringent fuel economy standards for cars and trucks that were put in place by the Obama administration — a welcome message to American automakers but one that could slow the push for a new generation of efficient vehicles.

The fuel-economy rules, aimed at cutting heat-trapping carbon dioxide, were one of the two main pillars of President Barack Obama’s climate change legacy. Put forth in 2012, they would have required automakers to nearly double the average fuel economy of new cars and trucks to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025, forcing automakers to speed development of highly fuel-efficient vehicles, including hybrid and electric cars.

The rules have been widely praised by environmentalists and energy economists for reducing the nation’s dependence on foreign oil and its greenhouse pollution. If put fully into effect, the fuel efficiency standards would have cut oil consumption by about 12 billion barrels and reduced carbon dioxide pollution by about six billion tons over the lifetime of all the cars affected by the regulations.

Read the rest of this entry »

gallup0317

Two Thirds of Americans now worry “a great deal”, or “a fair amount” about climate change – just in time for Vladimir Putin’s wrecking crew to begin dismantling (so they think) of our tools for dealing with it.

Gallup:

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Record percentages of Americans are concerned about global warming, believe it is occurring, consider it a serious threat and say it is caused by human activity. All of these perceptions are up significantly from 2015.

Forty-five percent of Americans now say they worry “a great deal” about global warming, up from 37% a year ago and well above the recent low point of 25% in 2011. The previous high was 41%, recorded in 2007. Another 21% currently say they worry “a fair amount” about global warming, while 18% worry “only a little” and 16% worry “not at all.”

Pollster Ed Maibach of George Mason University had a similar analysis in December.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Year of Polar Ice

March 13, 2017

From the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. (EUMETSAT)

This visualisation shows the polar ice concentration of the northern and southern hemispheres throughout 2016, as seen by the DMSP and Metop satellites