Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Justin Bieber pees in bucket


      Yes, that little  scamp couldn't wait in line for the men's room.  And its pissing people off, including the folk in the custodian's union. .  
     Speaking of pissing people off, have you seen James Hansen's latest study?

The world is currently on course to exploit all its remaining fossil fuel resources, a prospect that would produce a "different, practically uninhabitable planet" by triggering a "low-end runaway greenhouse effect." This is the conclusion of a new scientific paper by Prof James Hansen, the former head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the world's best known climate scientist.
The paper due to be published later this month by Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A (Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A) focuses less on modelling than on empirical data about correlations between temperature, sea level and CO2 going back up to 66 million years.
Given that efforts to exploit available fossil fuels continue to accelerate, the paper's principal finding - that "conceivable levels of human-made climate forcing could yield the low-end runaway greenhouse effect" based on inducing "out-of-control amplifying feedbacks such as ice sheet disintegration and melting of methane hydrates" - is deeply worrying.
The paper projects that global average temperatures under such a scenario could eventually reach as high as between 16C and 25C over a number of centuries. Such temperatures "would eliminate grain production in almost all agricultural regions in the world", "diminish the stratospheric ozone layer", and "make much of the planet uninhabitable by humans."

Here is where someone could make a remark, which would be in poor tatse, about the  peeing in , and kicking of , buckets. But I will refrain.  

What is required , of course is to turn off the coal plants, but, unfortuantely we seem to be headed the other way.  Now that the price of nat gas has begun to rise, we see instead, more coal burning here in the US. see e.g.

Despite Dangers, U.S. Increases Dependence on Coal for Electricity

Conservatives opposed to President Barack Obama’s plan to have the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulate carbon emissions for power plants because the market for fossil fuels is already encouraging a switch from coal to natural gas will have to find a new argument, according to a recent report from theDepartment of Energy.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported last week that U.S. power plants in the past year have actually increased their use of coal while decreasing their use of natural gas, reversing a recent trend from gas to coal. Specifically, coal’s share of domestic power generation in the first quarter of 2013 averaged 39.5%, up 4.1% from 35.4% last year. The share for natural gas dropped 3.7%, from 29.5% to 25.8%. The agency also predicts that coal use will continue to grow, with 40.1% of electricity generated by coal through 2014, while natural gas use will fall to 27.3%.

Given the fact that power plants are the largest source of greenhouse gases, one unavoidable result of the shift is more greenhouse gas emissions. EIA projects that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels will grow by 2.4% this year and by 0.6% in 2014, after falling about 3.9% in 2012. Obama had ordered EPA to develop rules by 2014 to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants even before issuance of the EIA report.

The reason for the shift, according to EIA, is simply that the price of gas rose while that of coal dropped. Many utility companies have technology allowing them to switch between coal and natural gas, and do so depending on which option is cheaper.

And thus exposing a key problem with relying on market activity to achieve social goals: in setting prices markets account only for those costs that are borne individually, but entirely ignore costs that are borne socially. In the case of electric utilities, the price of coal accounts for the costs associated with its extraction, processing and transportation, but excludes the cost of global warming it causes.

As James Bradbury of the World Resources Institute, told The Los Angeles Times, “Markets on their own may go in your direction for a period of time, but to ensure that we get reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in a significant, sustained way, you’re going to need government intervention.”

-Matt Bewig


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