What may be coming in climate

 

Adaptation. Credit: blog.usejournal.com

“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

—The Fellowship of the Ring, J.R.R. Tolkein

We have reached a critical point in the climate change saga.  The global temperature is now one degree Celsius higher than the pre-industrial average, and the latent effect of fossil fuel emissions already in the atmosphere is enough to warm the planet another half degree.  This means that we will reach the critical 1.5-degree threshold that portends severe and irreversible climate change even without another iota of emissions.

Add to this the fact that there are no indications that the world is prepared to cut fossil fuel emissions (they are actually going to continue to increase), and it is understandable that those who concern themselves with this subject are beginning to doubt our ability to avoid a full-blown crisis.  This doubt has caused some to begin to turn their thoughts towards adapting to what increasingly seems to be the inevitable.

The dictionary defines “adapt” as follows: “to bring one thing into correspondence with another.”  In other words, to establish a stable relationship in which tensions are reconciled and a tranquil status quo can be established.  Such a modus vivendi is possible, however, only if there is a stable state to which we can adapt.

Unfortunately, it will take the planet hundreds or thousands of years to return to thermodynamic equilibrium, depending on how hard we force the climate with our carbon dioxide emissions.  During this time the climate will undergo continuous change, and this means that we will not be able to adapt to it.  Instead we will be continuously fighting a rear-guard action, as it were, both preparing for and reacting to ever-worsening conditions.

This will be the new normal, and it will increasingly challenge the ability of individuals and societies to survive.  There will be no détente with the forces of nature that we have unleashed.  We cannot adapt; we can only extemporize. We will continuously prepare, repair, and relocate.

Let me hasten to add that I am not endorsing a fatalistic do-nothing policy.  Of course we need to do our best to prepare for the oncoming crisis.  I am merely pointing out that it is misleading to call this “adapting” because mankind will never again be at peace with the climate.  That was the Holocene.  We are now in the Anthropocene.

Let’s say that you are the mayor of Miami.  The sea level is rising.  You want to build a sea wall, but how high do you build it?  Do you build it for the sea level in 2040, in 2060, in 2100, or beyond?  Whatever height you choose, the sea will eventually rise to crest it.

And, how do you react when saltwater begins to permeate the sandy ground that underlays south Florida and begins to invade the freshwater aquifers that provide Miami and other cities in the area with drinking water?  You cannot build a wall to contain it.  All you can do is pipe water in from farther inland (if it is available) or move.  You can call this adaptation if you like, but it seems more like capitulation.  We will be doing a lot of capitulating as we defer to mother nature’s increasing hostility.

Now let’s say you are the mayor of Dharan, Saudi Arabia, one of the hottest cities in the world.  In a recent heat wave, the city recorded a wet-bulb temperature of 92 degrees Fahrenheit.  The wet-bulb temperature is taken with a thermometer wrapped in a wet cloth with air blowing over it.  It gives the equivalent dry-bulb temperature at 100% humidity.  Weather reports give dry bulb temperatures, but the wet bulb temperature is more important when measuring human tolerance to heat and humidity.  When the wet-bulb temperature reaches 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the body can no longer cool itself because it cannot perspire.  Humans can only survive for about six hours at this temperature.

As the world continues to warm, heat waves in Dharan will increase in frequency and wet-bulb temperatures will get closer and closer to 95 degrees.  Eventually they will begin to exceed it on a regular basis and living in Dharan will become like living in hell.  As mayor, how to you adapt to this?

You will need to run air conditioners a lot more.  Dharan is home to Aramco, the Saudi Arabian national oil company, so the city should have ample oil to produce electricity to power its air conditioners.  But this increases carbon dioxide emissions, which compounds the fundamental problem.  Some other things you will also need to do:  increase the city budget for energy use, provide for energy assistance to the poor, restrict the use of vehicles to curtail emissions, and issue a climate curfew to restrict outdoor activity during the hottest times of the day.

The growing health hazards of living in such a hot climate and the deteriorating quality of life will eventually force residents to relocate to cooler climes.  There will be nothing you can do as mayor to stop it.  By the end of the century, climate scientists expect that much of the Middle East will be uninhabitable. This will put tens of millions of climate refugees on the road headed north with frightful social, economic, and geopolitical consequences.

Over the next three decades, droughts, floods, and heat waves will reduce global agricultural production by ten to twenty percent while at the same time we will add another two billion souls to the human family.  How do we adjust to this?  We can ration food up to a point, but what happens when there is simply not enough food to go around?  We can’t adapt to this, and many will die.  The poorest among us will be the first, but no one will be spared if the planet continues to warm.

I don’t think that most people have a clear idea of how dramatically conditions will change and how long that change will go on.  What we can try to do is coexist with the change, survive the change, struggle to cope with the change, and generally just keep our heads above water (metaphorically and literally).  What we cannot do is adapt to the change.

Sisyphus was the life of the party.  He was always kidding around and never showed the gods on Mt Olympus much deference.  He also liked to play tricks on them, thinking that he was smarter than the lot of them.  Zeus became irritated at this arrogance and condemned Sisyphus to endlessly rolling a boulder up a steep hill, only to lose control of it near the top.  The boulder rolled back down the hill and Sisyphus had to start the whole process over again and again.  Zeus wanted to remind Sisyphus who was boss.

Somewhere along the way we lost our sense of place and purpose in the world – ideas that gave depth and meaning and purpose to our lives.  Without them, we are at sea.  The disorientation is intolerable, so either we settled for an indolent aimlessness, or we sought substitutes:  fame, money, power, influence, friendships, entertainment, recreation, hobbies, and other pastimes and purposes to fill the emptiness inside.  But these are inadequate substitutes because they don’t contain or represent a deeper meaning or purpose for us.  They are only what they are.  So, we pursued them to excess in a futile effort to fill the unyielding inner emptiness, and in the process, began to destroy the world we live in and depend upon.  But having lost our connectedness to nature, we had become either blind to or indifferent to the damage we were inflicting.

Comes now Mother Nature, like Zeus, to punish us for our arrogance, our irresponsible waywardness, and our callous disregard for her.  She comes to condemn us to endlessly adjusting to a harsh and unstable climate – our version of the Sisyphean fate.  But our punishment, unlike that of Sisyphus, will not be eternal.  Either we will survive the catastrophe that we created, and the torment will end, or we will not survive and will join the 99.9% of all other species that have ever existed and which have become extinct.

Whether we survive this punishment is a question we cannot answer.  What we can say is that, the sooner we get started on serious efforts to curtail fossil fuel emissions, the more we improve our chances.


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The Atmosphere has a Stomach Ache from Too Much Gas

The atmosphere has a stomach ache from too much gas.

 

 

 

The atmosphere has a stomach ache from too much gas. The excessive gas causes global warming, and it is known as Carbon dioxide or CO2.

Can the atmosphere get rid of the CO2 to slow down global warming? Here’s the simple problem. CO2 has been stored in the ground for centuries. When we mine the earth for our energy and burn it, we let the CO2 loose into the atmosphere. That causes global warming. Our problem is how to recapture it and put it back into the ground.  We can try to convert it with our trees and seawater to its original balance in the atmosphere. But there is too much. Some say that the earth will end up like Mars, a lifeless planet with an atmosphere made up of 95 percent CO2.

We can copy the action of trees and seawater.  To do this, engineers are involved in clever ways to help get rid of CO2.  It is called CO2 capture where we store it and return it to the earth where it can no longer be in the atmosphere.

The Paris accord on climate change set the goal of keeping the planet’s warming below two degrees Celsius increase. To do that CO2 has to be kept from the atmosphere so that the warming will slow down. Pumping it into seawater has drawbacks. One idea is to plant more trees. Trees naturally absorb CO2. Unfortunately, to be successful so much land would have to be planted to trees that the land available for food production would decrease.

So we are faced with the dilemma of cutting our production of CO2 or finding ways to trap it.  Either we slow down our energy dependent culture or we face the increasing cost of destruction of civilization by global warming storms. The increased costs of repairing living areas from the destruction of massive storms caused by out of control global warming must be offset. The standard cost benefit is obvious as we count the high costs of modern hurricanes. By increasing the investment in CO2 capture, we can benefit by slowing the destruction by global warming which offsets the cost of capture. As the increase in global warming comes in the future, CO2 capture and its cost will become even more necessary and justified.

One idea is improving concrete manufacturing.  About five percent of human caused CO2 emissions are caused by making concrete. In MIT Technology Review, the plan to reduce CO2 is explained. In energy plants, flue gases are used with salt water to make sludge of cement. It is the same process that makes seashells and ocean reefs in nature. This sludge or cement is used in the mix of concrete used in construction thus converting the CO2 into storage and out of the atmosphere.   We’ll drive on highway concrete made partly from CO2.

 

 

At Arizona State University, Klaus Lackner has come up with an ingenious solution to capture CO2 from the air so it can be locked away underground, back to where it was for eons before we released it. The technology follows what we already know about carbon scrubbers, equipment already used to remove CO2 from industrial smokestacks.  Lachner’s machine looks like a large container size box. Lackner is sure he can design much smaller devices, perhaps units that can be placed in a person’s backyard to scrub the air.

Here’s how it works. An absorbent plastic sheet called an ion exchange membrane, which is used in water purification, traps the CO2.  A liquid solution then rinses off the CO2 and electricity releases pure CO2 from that liquid.  The captured gas can then be used for various purposes or stored underground. It is kept from returning to the atmosphere. .

Lackner has another idea. Since trees are nature’s major collector of CO2 in the process of converting the gas, he is also developing artificial trees that work much better than natural trees.  Each tree, in using his inventions, will store more than a thousand times as much CO2 as a regular tree. Imagine having one of his futuristic and beautiful plastic and metal devices in your garden.

According to the World Bank each American is responsible for 17 tons of CO2 a year or 93 pounds a day of which a great deal is due to our automobile driving. Could we be moving towards a backyard where we keep our own CO2 machine or  towards carrying a private artificial tree in a knapsack on our back? We might then capture and store our personal collection of CO2,  perhaps giving it to national disposal plants?  I imagine we’d stagger a little walking down the street with as much as 93 pounds a day collected in our backpack.

 

 Washington Post  (https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/02/26/weve-reached-the-point-where-we-need-these-bizarre-technologies-to-stop-climate-change/?utm_term=.95535b0fbca7)

MIT Technology Review  (https://www.technologyreview.com/s/410499/a-concrete-fix-to-global-warming/)

 

Carbon dioxide is an inconvenient product of easier living

 “Carbon Dioxide is an inconvenient product of easy living”

 

In John Sandford’s new thriller, Saturn Run, the famous mystery writer tells of a future voyage to Saturn where an American team learns of the future from aliens. One of the most fascinating fictional disclosures is the universe is filled with great starships, They carry whole cultures in search of new planets to replace their home planets destroyed by global warming from carbon dioxide (CO2).  http://www.amazon.com/Saturn-Run-John-Sandford-ebook/dp/B00USMCJX6/

 

 On the other hand, we may have the same problem here on Earth. Our planet produces and absorbs CO2 in a balance through oceans and plant life. In this balance much of that CO2 becomes stored in the Earth in carbon fossils. In simple terms, when we burn fossil fuels we release that stored CO2 and cause an imbalance. This imbalance contributes to the increase in the CO2 that blankets the earth and our climate gets “global warming.” Essentially, we use energy from fossil fuels to make life more convenient, yet the result is higher unabsorbed CO2 causing a warming planet. This is pretty much the theory that governments are working on to fight global warming by cutting back on burning fossil fuels.

 

 

What can an individual do about the problem of too much CO2 on our planet? Let’s try to get a handle on the size of the problem.

 

In 2011 according to the World Bank statistics for countries on the planet, the United States contributed per capita about 17 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere in our use of fossil fuels. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC/

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a partial answer for citizens. It is called the Household Emission Calculator. It lists the assumptions and references for categories of CO2 emissions. The calculator allows you to analyze your CO2 contributions in pounds of CO2 and perhaps cut back on them. http://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/ .

 

Here are some of the EPA categories and instructions on how to calculate your own household contribution. You can learn how much you can save if, for example, you lower the house room temperature only one degree.

 

Category one: Household vehicles. There are two calculations: One uses the EPA statistics drawn from fuel economy. The other is higher and uses the full fuel lifecycle including extraction, processing and transportation of fuel.

21,100 pounds is average per year per household.

 

Category two: Electricity which averages about 14920 pounds per year assuming 957 kWh month.

 

Category three: Natural Gas, which, if you use it, averages about 8,049 pounds per year assuming 5,583 cubic feet.

 

Category four: Fuel Oil, which, if that is your choice, averages about 16,779 pounds per year, assuming 62 gallons /month.

 

Category five: Propane, which if you use it, averages about 5,679 pounds, assuming 38 gallons /month.

 

Category six: Waste Disposal. According to the EPA if we can reduce packaging and non-packaging paper products, recycle construction debris and improve composting and recycling we could substantially cut CO2 emissions. Perhaps we could cut our household contribution to this CO2 total if we send our newspaper, glass, plastic, metal and magazine trash to the most efficient recycling which is the cause of the CO2.

 

Think about the real cost of our inconvenient product of easy living. It’s a debt we can’t repay. However, we can cut down the increasing debt. For example, if we walk more and drive less we can make a difference in producing CO2. Perish the thought, but we could turn off the car air conditioner and drive with the windows down. We can all imagine steps we can take. Remember, if the planet gets too sick, there is really no good cure or pill we can give it. We don’t want our grandchildren to have to migrate to a new planet on one of those starships that Sandford writes about in his novel.

            

 

 

 

clean coal and groundwater effects

Clean coal and groundwater

 http://content.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1870599,00.html                

also #Thomas Hollyday Books, #SOLAR SIPPER at Amazon.com water cover 91315

The Sixth extinction can we prevent it

Prevent 6th world mass extinction  msn.com/en-us/news/technology see also http://www.amazon.com/Solar-Sipper/b/ref=bl_dp_s_web_10790805011?ie=UTF8&node=10790805011&field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=Solar+Sipper    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_5_11/156-5130182-9036153?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=thomas+hollyday+books&sprefix=thomas+holl%2Cstripbooks%2C137

Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming

“Restoring Ecosystems to Reverse Global Warming bio4climate.org  see also http://www.amazon.com/Solar-Sipper/b/ref=bl_dp_s_web_10790805011?ie=UTF8&node=10790805011&field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=Solar+Sipper    https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_5_11/156-5130182-9036153?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=thomas+hollyday+books&sprefix=thomas+holl%2Cstripbooks%2C137

Mother nature speaks

“Mother nature is speaking to us” 2015 annual report from conservation.org   see also http://www.amazon.com/Solar-Sipper/b/ref=bl_dp_s_web_10790805011?ie=UTF8&node=10790805011&field-lbr_brands_browse-bin=Solar+Sipper

 

CO2 problems for us in our residence

“Carbon Dioxide is an inconvenient product of easy living”

 

In John Sandford’s new thriller, Saturn Run, the famous mystery writer tells of a future voyage to Saturn where an American team learns of the future from aliens. One of the most fascinating fictional disclosures is the universe is filled with great starships, They carry whole cultures in search of new planets to replace their home planets destroyed by global warming from carbon dioxide (CO2).  http://www.amazon.com/Saturn-Run-John-Sandford-ebook/dp/B00USMCJX6/

 

 On the other hand, we may have the same problem here on Earth. Our planet produces and absorbs CO2 in a balance through oceans and plant life. In this balance much of that CO2 becomes stored in the Earth in carbon fossils. In simple terms, when we burn fossil fuels we release that stored CO2 and cause an imbalance. This imbalance contributes to the increase in the CO2 that blankets the earth and our climate gets “global warming.” Essentially, we use energy from fossil fuels to make life more convenient, yet the result is higher unabsorbed CO2 causing a warming planet. This is pretty much the theory that governments are working on to fight global warming by cutting back on burning fossil fuels.

 

 

What can an individual do about the problem of too much CO2 on our planet? Let’s try to get a handle on the size of the problem.

 

In 2011 according to the World Bank statistics for countries on the planet, the United States contributed per capita about 17 tons of CO2 to the atmosphere in our use of fossil fuels. http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/EN.ATM.CO2E.PC/

 

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has a partial answer for citizens. It is called the Household Emission Calculator. It lists the assumptions and references for categories of CO2 emissions. The calculator allows you to analyze your CO2 contributions in pounds of CO2 and perhaps cut back on them. http://www3.epa.gov/carbon-footprint-calculator/ .

 

Here are some of the EPA categories and instructions on how to calculate your own household contribution. You can learn how much you can save if, for example, you lower the house room temperature only one degree.

 

Category one: Household vehicles. There are two calculations: One uses the EPA statistics drawn from fuel economy. The other is higher and uses the full fuel lifecycle including extraction, processing and transportation of fuel.

21,100 pounds is average per year per household.

 

Category two: Electricity which averages about 14920 pounds per year assuming 957 kWh month.

 

Category three: Natural Gas, which, if you use it, averages about 8,049 pounds per year assuming 5,583 cubic feet.

 

Category four: Fuel Oil, which, if that is your choice, averages about 16,779 pounds per year, assuming 62 gallons /month.

 

Category five: Propane, which if you use it, averages about 5,679 pounds, assuming 38 gallons /month.

 

Category six: Waste Disposal. According to the EPA if we can reduce packaging and non-packaging paper products, recycle construction debris and improve composting and recycling we could substantially cut CO2 emissions. Perhaps we could cut our household contribution to this CO2 total if we send our newspaper, glass, plastic, metal and magazine trash to the most efficient recycling which is the cause of the CO2.

 

Think about the real cost of our inconvenient product of easy living. It’s a debt we can’t repay. However, we can cut down the increasing debt. For example, if we walk more and drive less we can make a difference in producing CO2. Perish the thought, but we could turn off the car air conditioner and drive with the windows down. We can all imagine steps we can take. Remember, if the planet gets too sick, there is really no good cure or pill we can give it. We don’t want our grandchildren to have to migrate to a new planet on one of those starships that Sandford writes about in his novel.

            

Tom Hollyday