Archive for the 'global warming' Category

Global Warming Solved !

Posted by mikedaum on June 27th, 2007


Turns out while all of us have been sitting on our hands and fretting about climate change, somebody’s actually gone out and found a solution. That’s right, the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association has been working overtime on this problem and has come up with a groundbreaking plan. It seems that everything is going to be alright if we just BUY MORE CARS. That’s right. It’s the old cars which pollute…the new ones are squeaky clean! So if you love the planet, you need a shiny new car.

On the CVMA website you can read “Driving for Clean Air”, where you’ll learn that “a vehicle produced today is 12 times cleaner than one produced in 1993, and 37 times cleaner than one produced in 1983”. A look under the hood (sorry) shows, however, that what is being compared are not emissions, but the legal emissions standards….which of course are more lax for cars which have been on the road for 14 and 24 years than for new cars.

The website also features plan details under the heading “An Auto Green Plan”. The bold strategy laid out here features:

  • New Green Technologies

    (hybrids, fuel cells, government grants for R&D

  • Cleaner Fuel Choices For Canadians

    (mainly ethanol — shores up the Western support I suppose)

  • Getting old polluting vehicles off the road

    (sweet, sweet profit)

  • Greening the Government Fleets

    (delicious new public sector contracts)

  • Changing Our Own Driving Behaviour

    (This one is really the best one. I can’t really do it justice, so I beg you to go read it yourself. Suffice it to say that less driving is not part of the plan. Think “accelerate more slowly” and “maintain correct tire pressure”)

As the CVMA says: “Believe or not, we can reduce emissions with every new car.”

Study says New Orleans still at risk

Posted by mikedaum on June 21st, 2007


The Army Corps of Engineers have just released a study on flooding risks in NOLA due to hypothetical hurricanes.  As it is summarized in the New York Times, the study shows that the risk today is basically equivalent to the pre-Katrina risk — though some areas had improved while others had deteriorated.

The article and study make for interesting perusal, but I have to say I’m a bit dubious.  Firstly, though the jury is still out, the concept of a “1 in 100 year storm” &c may be a rapidly moving target due to global warming, making a Katrina-strength storm much more likely in the future than it was in the past.  The science isn’t there for us to know how climate change will effect hurricanes, but I’m afraid that by the time we have a conclusive model it will be far too late.  This is especially relevant as much of the improvement in flood protection seems targeted at the 1-in-100 storms, leaving the 1-in-400 flood risks more or less unchanged.

I’m also skeptical about the accuracy of this elevation-based flood modeling, which more or less assumes that water will be spread over the city in nice even layers.  If we learned anything from Katrina, it was that things fail in unpredictable, uneven ways.

My only hope then from this study is that because the insurers will certainly pay attention to it, it has the potential to affect rebuilding patterns.  To date it seems that so many balls have been dropped, and so many opportunities have been missed, that it’s hard to hope that anything sensible will emerge.  Nonetheless, money talks, and if insurers stop funding development in the flood zones there will be some pressure to do the right thing, which is to build sustainable communities on the natural high ground.

Climate denier lies with charts

Posted by mikedaum on June 14th, 2007

Faulty climate curve

RealClimate has a beautiful explication of the above curve, which was presented by climate change denier E.G. Beck. The intention of the curve is to show that the current rise in global mean temperature is explainable as part of a naturally occurring sequence of cycles having a period of approximately 1500 years ( the Dansgaard-Oeschger cycles). From the picture, it seems that we should be currently near the peak of the most recent cycle. But if one tries to extrapolate from the leftmost cycle, one finds the peak should not occur until the year 2700 or so. The curve is smooth and beautiful…seems a good fit. So what gives?

But wait — let’s have a look at the key at the bottom. Seems there’s been a break inserted between 400AD and 1200AD, deleting 400 years from the record! So is there a corresponding discontinuity in the wiggly temperature curve? No way. He simply shrunk the x-axis down in order to make his data fit. Lovely.

At what point can we move on from this ludicrous debate and start trying to live in a way which isn’t destroying our home?