Kickstarter for Climate Crocks’ expedition

Peter Sinclair has been invited to join a research team to Mt. Baker to document the glaciers on this active volcano. His further appeal for funding is here:

Unlike well-funded, professional climate deniers, I don’t have the Heartland Institute, The Koch Brothers, Oil, Fossil Fuel, and Tobacco Companies paying my way. If this is going to happen, I have to rely on my viewers to jump in and help out, as many have in the past.

Therefore, from now until midnight, Friday, July 13th, I’m running a fundraiser on kickstarter.com, a crowd sourcing site with a good track record, and inviting any and all friends of Climate Crocks – if you’ve ever thought about what you could do to help communicate the science on the issue of the millennium, here’s one of the most direct and efficient opportunities you could have.

Worthy cause, if you ask me. Denialists are way better funded than the scientists and others who actually know how dire the situation is becoming. The Kickstarter is right here.

Inhofe staffer asks oil company “partners” for better coordination against Obama

Via Climate Progress, a staffer of the Senate’s own climate arch-denialist exhorts their “partners” to fight harder against the White House’s EPA regulations:

In an April 23 e-mail acquired by National Journal, a staffer for Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) called on the industry to utilize their partnership to coordinate attacks on the White House:

Senate Republicans, who led a successful fight this spring against Obama’s proposal to repeal billions of dollars in tax subsidies enjoyed by major oil companies, felt betrayed by the industry’s collaboration with the White House on fracking regulations. The e-mail to top oil and gas lobbyists made that unhappiness clear, and it suggested that the industry was being duped.

“Moving forward, we—your partners—would kindly ask for better coordination and communication from you to prevent the Obama administration from pulling similar stunts in the future,” wrote Inhofe aide David Banks in the 800-word e-mail to two dozen lobbyists.

Some lobbyists apparently “cringed” at the wording. But coordinated attacks on behalf of Big Oil interests are nothing new, even if lawmakers don’t usually use such frank language. A host of EPA pollution regulations have faced congressional opposition, including Inhofe’s resolution to prevent new limits on mercury pollution in power plants. Inhofe, a well-known climate denier, is also one of the top recipients of oil and gas contributions with well over $1 million for his career.

Because protecting the environment from hyper-capitalist externalization of losses — to the point where the people who pay those losses are the human race — is a “stunt”. Because, you know, fuck all those human beings.

Guess what I think about this.

Solar advertisement: Vork hates dolphin babies!

Good idea on the part of SunRun — pay you to install solar panels with no down payment on your part, and you pay them back for the energy your panels generate. But we’re left with a framing problem. Now that generating power using solar panels is actually cheaper overall than fossil fuel based power generation, the company has to fix the image that solar’s just for hippies.

Now I don’t have a lot of problem with focusing on the cost, but I’m not a big fan of throwing hippies under the bus yet again. I can’t think of a better way to fix the messaging without doing exactly that, though.

It’s cool to see Jeff Lewis from The Guild in something more mainstream though!

Hat tip Climate Crocks.

Network climate change coverage dropped 80% from 2009-2011

Funny, I guess something must have happened to fix the planet so that we might “stay the course” while I wasn’t looking! Suddenly, despite the big “ClimateGate” manufactroversy which should theoretically have driven all sorts of crazy TV coverage, the networks have all but gone silent on the topic.

Since 2009, when the U.S. House of Representatives passed a climate bill and a major climate conference took place in Copenhagen, the amount of climate coverage on both the Sunday shows (Fox News Sunday, NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’ Face the Nation, and ABC’s This Week) and the nightly news (NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, and ABC World News) has declined tremendously. This drop comes despite a series of newsworthy stories related to climate change in 2010 and 2011, including a debate over comprehensive climate and energy legislation in the U.S. Senate, a series of record-breaking extreme weather events, notable developments in climate science, the rise of so-called “climate skeptics” in the House of Representatives, and a deal struck at the most recent UN climate summit in Durban, South Africa.

Apparently Donald Trump got way more coverage. And yet, despite his best efforts, he’s very unlikely to cause economic and humanitarian calamity in the near future.

Worse yet, on those shows, 50% of the guests are politicians (two to one for the Republicans, naturally), 45% media personalities, and 5% “other” which I assume might include actual climate scientists. So almost everyone discussing anthropogenic global warming on the news, during what little coverage the topic gets, actually knows what the hell they’re talking about.

What I’ve learned from MediaMatters’ analysis, hosted on ThinkProgress, is that people no longer care about climate change, even though it’s definitely still happening, and it’s definitely humankind’s fault. Apparently the smokescreen machine put up by the fossil fuel industry and the Party of No Responsibility For Our Actions has succeeded in obfuscating the truth of the climate crisis. I can only hope the pendulum will swing again and people will realize that the longer we wait to take action, the more painful the switch off fossils will be.

Blimp-lofted wind turbines: huge return on investment

This awesome-looking prototype of blimp-lofted wind turbine can apparently achieve significant energy return on costs by being tethered high above the usual 300ft ceiling presented by ordinary tower-based turbines, delivering power for up to 65% cheaper than conventionally-built wind turbines that produce the same power. And that 65% figure assumes a height of 1000ft — Altaeros was aiming for a working ceiling of 2000ft!

My chief concern is the use of helium, which we’re kinda running terribly short on, owing to the ridiculously short-sighted US Congress in 1996. Their setting the price artificially low, and their vow to sell off the helium reserve by 2015, coupled with terrible misuse of helium for party balloons (since the stuff’s so damned cheap, it’s actually more expensive to recycle it!), could spell disaster for us. We have no ready source for it except for the natural decay of minerals or as a byproduct of the extraction of natural gas. And our use of helium is increasing rapidly, since we use a good deal of it for medical and radiation detection purposes.

If we can solve the helium problem, I’ll take a million of these, kplzthx. We might just solve the energy problem yet!

Hat tip to Climate Crocks.

Richard Alley on the Expense of Clean Energy

Professor Richard Alley explains why switching to clean energy — that which does not output CO2 — is pretty much an infrastructure problem, one which we’ve already solved once.

The technology we have to produce energy that does not rely on the burning of fossil fuels already exist, though they’re expensive. The main problems are those of cost-effectiveness and how much time we actually have before the issues become too great to overcome, and whether we’ll spend the necessary money to change our infrastructure before the damage we’re bringing on ourselves will cost way, way more than the cost for making the jump.

So the real question is not whether to do it, it’s a question of when. When will we stop putting short term profits over long term viability? When will we buckle down and solve the infrastructure problem that’s destroying our planet’s climate, in a way that will cost many more lives than did the emptying of chamber pots onto the streets?

Global warming does not improve plant productivity

There’s a very short window where plants improve with more CO2, where they scrub more of it from the atmosphere than usual. This window is apparently overwhelmed in a hurry with the levels we’re seeing, though, resulting in crop die-outs which are exacerbated by warming-influenced droughts.

This would, in a perfect world, shut up those science denialists who admit global warming is happening, but think plants are going to fix it all for us. Considering we’re waging an all-out war on plants to begin with, I fail to see how these people honestly think there’s not a problem. It’s either short-sightedness or wishful thinking that leads people to believe this particular line of anti-AGW bunkum.

Monckton and Watts cut and run from debate with Potholer54

Welp, this one’s dead in the water. Color me completely unsurprised. Apparently Anthony Watts is done with the Peter Hadfield / Christopher Monckton debate, all because Climate Crocks interviewed Potholer. Evidently offering evidence for assertions is “hateful” in Watts’ eyes.

Faced with real, checkable, online debate, where he would have to name his sources, put it in writing, and provide links for readers to fact check him (hmmm..sort of the way I do it in this video series) His CowardlyLion-ness decided to, well, run.

The host of the discussion, Pseudo-Science enthusiast Anthony Watts, told his faithful last weekend that, after I released a video of a Skype interview with Potholer discussing the situation, he would no longer provide a platform for discussion, since Potholer was “colluding” with that “hateful greenman”.

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