Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

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reikiman
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Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

I don't know about the rest of y'all but I'm into electric vehicles because of two reasons: a) peak oil, 2) climate change. Oh and c) because it's such a blast riding electric.

Another thing which ties those together is the Transition Movement. I'm involved a little with the movement. There's a book which covers it very well: The Transition Handbook: From Oil Dependency to Local Resilience (Transition Guides)

The main thing is to recognize the threats of peak oil & climate change. Peak Oil is a theory whose pattern has occurred in oil field after oil field around the world. Eventually an oil field gets to a point where it's harder and harder to pump out the oil, it gets more expensive, and eventually it becomes expensive enough to where the oil companies stop extracting from the field. The world passed it's oil peak a year or so ago and from here on out oil is only going to be more and more expensive. There may be short term ups and downs as supply hiccups happen, but the long term pattern is upward.

Climate change is more well known.. Our activities are building up green house gasses and we're gonna roast. That kinda thing.

Our society is completely dependent on oil, especially in the U.S. where the lack of wisdom of our forefathers left us without good mass transit systems and saddled with a highway system which is likely soon to be useless due to a lack of oil to drive the vehicles we use on those roads.

In the U.S. especially supplies of food and other necessities is done using just in time inventory systems shipped over long distance. Any hiccup in delivering these supplies will quickly turn into shortages in stores ..etc..

Those are the kind of threats that are likely and which the Transition movement is about addressing. But it's not a doom and gloom thing, it's about positively focusing on solutions and especially developing local resources so our local towns can survive.

The reason I'm going into this is I was just interviewed in one of the local newspapers about peak oil and the Transition movement. It's a pretty good article, does much better than I just did in explaining it.

http://www.metroactive.com/metro/06.24.09/cover-0925.html

I've put some further resources here: http://www.7gen.com/website-categories/transition-towns

The transition towns movement is centered here: http://transitiontowns.org/

Mik
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

For a fairly complete "How to" have a look into Bill Mollisons Permaculture Concept.

Another important aspect of the problem is the loss of genetic variety in our food souces, addressed by organisations like Seed Savers.

Mycelium Running is also essential reading in my opinion.

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

PracticalRAM
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

We have also to consider whether the electrical grid can actually cope should a large number of us convert to electric cars. Currently the answer is definitely not! We would also need to build an infrastructure of charging points (a bit like the old parking meters).
The major way to be a 'transitioner' is to reduce energy usage - no matter whether from fossil fuels, nuclear, green supplies by building local resilience where ever possible.

MikeB
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

We have also to consider whether the electrical grid can actually cope should a large number of us convert to electric cars. Currently the answer is definitely not!

The electrical grid is more than sufficient for the task as long as we charge at night, using timers. We have both sufficient power generation capacity and sufficient transmission capacity for a hundred million cars, as long as we are measuring off-peak usage.

However, we should still pursue grid and generation improvements. I'm just saying that we don't need to delay electric vehicles while we do so.

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

safe
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

I'm into electric vehicles because of two reasons: a) peak oil, 2) climate change. Oh and c) because it's such a blast riding electric.

//i358.photobucket.com/albums/oo21/snoopy48_1960/untitled-2.jpg?t=1236312962)

There are really three terms to consider:

Global Warming (has been going on for 20,000 years)

Climate Change (sort of the first derivative)

Climate Cycle (the actual path we are on)

...the chart shows the "Climate Cycle" and we are clearly at the point where rapid "Climate Change" will occur and it might include some short period of "Global Warming" but it will be followed by an "Ice Age" which will take 80,000 years to fully develop, however we could see serious cooling in as little as 20,000 years. In the process CO2 is expected to "lag" cooling by 30,000 years or more as it did in the last cycle. We expect the polar ice to melt, the oceans to become less salty and the currents to slow which will alter the weather patterns around the globe.

The term "Global Warming" like with a "hockey stick" is considered by science to be an "obsolete" idea. No one expects "straight line" Global Warming these days.

Just want to make sure everyone is on the same page here... the earth is about to "cycle" not go "straight" in one direction.

Are there still "straight liners" around?

Is the climate like a cycle or hockey stick?

MikeB
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Good grief, safe, what a load of nonsense. Your post is both misleading and flat out wrong, and looks suspiciously like oil company propaganda.

Now I don't know about you, but I'm not precisely concerned with the climate pattern over the next 30,000 years. But the changes that may happen in the next 100 years are much more important to me. Your chart is massively misleading, because all of human history is contained within the very last pixel or two. Clearly, you can't even tell if we're currently in a long-term warming or cooling trend, based on that chart. So let's throw out your chart and look at one where human history is at least visible over more than 2 pixels.

The only thing obsolete about the hockey stick is the deniers who keep claiming it's dead. It's been reproduced by half a dozen scientific organizations, using different raw data sets, and all producing essentially the same conclusions. This is the graph that is important to us here, showing temperature reconstruction over the last 2 thousand years:

Notice that we're in the middle of a nice gradual cooling trend, appears to be dropping by about 0.02 degrees C per century. This is because of the cyclical resonances in the Earth's orbit that produce ice ages, called Milankovitch cycles. (There are other causes of ice ages, but things like continental drift aren't exactly cyclical) The current Milankovitch cycle places us about 6,000 years into a 23,000 year cooling trend.

But notice the end of the graph, where instead of cooling 0.02 degrees C per century, it suddenly goes to warming 0.8 degrees C in a single century? Clearly, something much stronger has suddenly taken effect, and that much stronger thing is named the Industrial Age. We've got a temperature rise that is 2 orders of magnitude faster than anything we've seen in tens of thousands of years.

But the real problem isn't 0.8 degrees C of temperature rise in a century, it's the prediction that what's coming in the current century is more like 2-8 degrees C. 8 degrees C would be the entire height of the chart you show, but that change wouldn't be taking place over 20,000 years, it would hit us in a little over 100. That's a magnitude and rate of change that is massively unprecedented. Animals and plants can't adapt to changes that hit that fast, the likely result is mass extinction and ecological collapse. And ecological collapse should be considered a synonym for agricultural collapse.

Nobody is predicting straight line temperature changes, and nobody is trying to make predictions 20,000 years in advance. But given the forces that are active today, we're guaranteed to warm 2 degrees C by the end of this century. If human industrial activity stays on it's current level, the predictions start to cross 3 or 4 degrees C. But that's not when it gets bad, that's just when the trouble starts. Somewhere around 3 degrees C, we expect strong feedbacks to start making things much worse.

Warming air and water causes arctic ice to melt. Arctic ice is white, and used to reflect sunlight back into space. Without that ice, the earth absorbs more heat, and warms further. This causes more ice to melt, causing further warming. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Warming arctic permafrost starts to thaw and emit Methane. Methane is a stronger greenhouse gas than CO2, so we get more warming. More warming causes more permafrost to melt, causing more warming. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Warming oceans are not able to hold as much dissolved gasses, like CO2. So once we cross a certain temperature, the oceans start to release CO2 back into the atmosphere, causing more warming. More warming causes CO2 levels to rise further, causing more warming. Lather, rinse, repeat.

And water vapor is a far stronger greenhouse gas than CO2. But there's no shortage of surface water, globally, so the amount of water vapor in the air is controlled entirely by average temperature. As things get warmer, more water evaporates from the oceans, and the water vapor traps more heat. Globally, average humidity has risen about 4 percent due to recent warming. That leads to more greenhouse effect, causing more warming, causing more greenhouse effect.

There's a good bit of uncertainty as to when and how fast these feedbacks will hit, but all 4 of these are already clearly active, and others exist. What we don't see are any negative feedbacks, forces that slow down the warming as things get hotter. We probably won't ever get to the conditions on Venus, but there are two very likely curves in our near future: we either control the human impact on the planet shortly and keep the warming below about 2 degrees, or the feedbacks get strongly activated and we won't be able to stop it until it's at the upper end of the predicted range.

Your chart is, in fact, a clear indication that the CO2 and Methane feedback effects are real. Ice Ages tend to get started due to causes that are unrelated to CO2, but then warmer temperatures force CO2 and Methane levels higher, creating more warming. I think you got the lag number wrong, I recall a number that significantly smaller, but the basic mechanism is clearly demonstrated. Of course, you managed to find exactly the wrong message in that analysis. Any external forcing at all will trigger a rise in CO2 and Methane levels that magnifies the initial effect, even if that external forcing is direct increases of atmospheric CO2 levels from industrial sources.

So, sure, there are long term climate cycles, but they aren't much of a threat to us. Global Warming refers pretty specifically to a very very fast change, one taking place in decades rather than tens of thousands of years, and is almost entirely caused (so far) by human industrial activity. And the hockey stick isn't dead, it's still a very strong indication that what's happening now is unusual.

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

safe
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

So, sure, there are long term climate cycles, but they aren't much of a threat to us.

//www.wrd.org/engineering/images/sea-level-change.jpg)

Let's consider where we agree...

We know that Global Warming has been taking place now for 20,000 years since the last Ice Age bottom. (when mankind still lived in caves and played with a flute)

We know from past Climate Cycles that when CO2 and Methane spike that polar ice caps melted in the past cycles and increased ocean levels and we expect that to occur again and are in fact seeing evidence of melting ice.

We "suspect" that in this cycle we are near it's conclusion with respect to heating because we see the Ice Caps melting and that alters the ocean currents which sets the stage for the next downward trend. H20 capture in the polar regions takes about 80,000 years (snow) before the cooling reverses to heating again so it will take that long to reach the next Ice age.

---------------------------

So the only area of "debate" is the "tip of the cycle" and how rapidly the "tipping point" takes place or if there are any signs that the tip will be stalled or altered in any way. Periods of time that are measured in hundreds of years are just a blip on the radar for the long Climate Cycle.

My point is that there is no evidence in the "bigger picture" of the long Climate Cycle that there is data that falls outside predicted patterns.

We agree that lot's of crazy stuff is going to happen... again... because these cycles tend to behave this way every time. It's "normal" (historically) for the tip of the cycle transition to be unpredictable.

----------------------------

The only way a perpetual heating "hockey stick" pattern would emerge is if CO2 levels were dramatically higher than they are at present. Something like 300 million years ago there was a time when CO2 was about three times higher and that seemed to have an effect. However, due to plate techtonics the continents were in different locations back then so the ocean currents may have been blocked thus preventing the circulation. (altering the pattern)

As far as I'm concerned there is no evidence for data points that fall outside the long cycle. None. For the last few million years things have been relatively predictiable with data falling within a range of high and low.

------------------------------

Is it a forest (Climate Cycle) or a tree (Global Warming) that we should be focused on? Big picture or short term?

In the Big Picture it's a cycle.

In the here and now it's transitional Climate Change.

------------------------------

Question:

What if we went to great lengths to prevent Methane and CO2 from increasing in order to prevent continued temperature rise only to discover that the "tipping point" was already passed and we were on a cooling trend?

Then mankind would feel really dumb...

(and you know the tipping point is near if not already passed)

Mik
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Safe, your arguments are internally inconsistent. You do not even agree with yourself!

I have absolutely no doubts that arguing with you is a waste of time, except for busting the nonsense you are spreading so that less well informed people are not fooled by your misinformation.

Thank you MikeB for taking the time to respond so so clearly and diligently, a pleasure to read your replies!

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

safe
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Honesty and sincerity are the only things necessary to have an open debate.

One example of how easy it is to skew the debate in favor of a desired agenda is to cherry pick the data to fit whatever you want it to show.

//www.globalclimatescam.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/hockey-stick-chart.gif)

...as you can see if you filter things just right you can come up with what appears to be a "hockey stick" pattern, but all you need to do is present the data in it's original form and that pattern dissolves.

The Scientific Method is the process of identifying flawed logic and getting it exposed. Here we have a case where the flaw was the cherry picking.

The Climate Cycle data is open to all to see and know about. That's all that matters... that the facts are allowed to be shown for what they are without bias.

Let the facts speak for themselves...

Mik
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

...
...

...as you can see if you filter things just right you can come up with what appears to be a "hockey stick" pattern, but all you need to do is zoom out slightly and that pattern dissolves.

...
...

What I can see is that these graphs are not showing the same data. It is not a matter of filtering, as you claim.

Again, your argument lacks internal consistency!

Where do you find all this propaganda material? Or are these more comic strips out of your own production?

This information may be used entirely at your own risk.

There is always a way if there is no other way!

safe
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

//joannenova.com.au/globalwarming/skeptics-handbook-ii/web-pics/synthesis-report-summary-tar-hockey-stick-web.gif)

At best we can say that the original data was "sloppy" and when the revisions came out that were more precise things became more clear.

Apparently the original "hockey stick" was made by taking something like tree rings which are not as reliable as some of the newer testing and analysis techniques.

This is common knowledge these days... that the data has been updated, so don't pretend it's new.

//www.numberwatch.co.uk/bathtub.gif)

//www.undeceivingourselves.com/I-ipcc02.gif)

//2.bp.blogspot.com/_eJoZrIkBkzI/TGik0x9sFFI/AAAAAAAABm8/5zR5kLUIUVY/s1600/Picture+10.png)

...the data is available.

My main point though is that these short term fluctuations are not really as significant as the longer Climate Cycle that goes for about every 100,000 years.

We will get a peak, a tipping point and then a fall to colder temperatures, but it's hard to predict on a human scale of a lifetime precisely when the warming stops and the cooling begins.

safe
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Truth on Common Ground

America is a land that allows individual freedom and the ability to worship whatever ideas they choose. If somone wants to believe that "Going Green" will save the planet I think that they have the right to believe such things.

However, the science appears to offer a perspective on the Climate Cycle that says that the vain efforts of man to control his world will likely fail because the long term cycle of warming and cooling is something we do not have the power over.

The "common ground" for the "Going Green" religious types and the pragmatic energy independance types is the electric vehicle or natural gas powered vehicles.

We can all agree that the vulnerability to foreign oil is a bad thing... whether the climate is involved in the discussion is a religious / ideological decision.

We share "common ground" that foriegn oil is an addiction.

safe
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Analyzing a Single Climate Cycle

//nicl-smo.unh.edu/icwg/1998/images/fig2.jpeg)

This is an interesting chart because it tracks all the significant components of the most recent 100,000 year cycle (plus a little extra). The labels are reversed from the last one (age goes backwards from left to right) so be sure to realize that.

CO2 "lag" can be seen in the first 30,000 years of the last cooling trend. You can visually see how temperature drops FASTER than the CO2 does. Those that feel a sort of religious attachment to the concept that CO2 and temperature are supposed to be related will have some troubles explaining why this could happen. (and it happened in previous cycles too, so it's not an aberration)

--------------------------

The thing I think people are missing is the significance of water currents in the oceans. The true driving force of the cycle appears to be water... good old H2O... because the oceans represent a significant influence on weather.

Anyway... for those with an open mind with a desire for the truth you can make your own decisions.

--------------------------

Electric vehicles can still be "cool" even if the climate argument is weak. We still need to get off foreign oil.

safe
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

//www.drroyspencer.com/library/pics/Roy.jpg)

Who are these people that hold that Climate behaves like a Cycle?

Here's an example:

Roy W. Spencer received his Ph.D. in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981. Before becoming a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2001, he was a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, where he and Dr. John Christy received NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites. Dr. Spencer’s work with NASA continues as the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite. He has provided congressional testimony several times on the subject of global warming.

Dr. Spencer’s research has been entirely supported by U.S. government agencies: NASA, NOAA, and DOE. He has never been asked by any oil company to perform any kind of service. Not even Exxon-Mobil.

-----------------------

Is this guy really motivated to create wild and irresponsible propaganda? Or is he acting based on his own conscience to speak out about what he knows?

http://www.drroyspencer.com/about/

MikeB
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

CO2 "lag" can be seen in the first 30,000 years of the last cooling trend. You can visually see how temperature drops FASTER than the CO2 does. Those that feel a sort of religious attachment to the concept that CO2 and temperature are supposed to be related will have some troubles explaining why this could happen. (and it happened in previous cycles too, so it's not an aberration)

Yep, Mik is right, arguing with you is an utter waste of time. You don't understand a damn thing about what you are posting, you are just repeating standard oil company propaganda. I provided you with exactly the explanation that you think is troubling, and you didn't even see it.

Here's a hint: you are now denying basic thermodynamics. You are officially in the crackpot realm, since you no longer live in the same physical universe that we are in.

The basic facts are ultra simple, and have been known for over a century: CO2 (and other gasses) can provide a greenhouse effect, altering the rate of flow of radiant heat. This is a basic fact of physics, and can easily be confirmed in a laboratory experiment. You build a box and fill it with various different atmospheric gasses in different concentrations, shine sunlight through, and measure the radiation absorbed and transmitted. It's been done, and only a lunatic would debate it's validity.

The second fact is simple thermodynamics: the Earth's overall temperature is driven almost entirely by the balance of thermal energy arriving from the sun and thermal energy radiating into space. There's quite a bit of thermal inertia, and a little bit of heat coming out of the core, but that's the basics.

In order for us to believe your claim that CO2 is unrelated to global temperatures, one of those two facts must not be true. So, you either deny thermodynamics, or you deny reality. Which path are you taking?

The third fact is equally beyond debate: human industrial activity is significantly increasing the concentrations of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. All you need to know to verify this is a measure of how much coal and oil we burn each year, and the numbers there are huge.

Your temperature lag is rock solid proof of feedback effects. You just won the argument against yourself. CO2 levels drop because the ocean temperatures are falling, allowing it to absorb more CO2. That reduces the greenhouse effect, lowering temperatures further. The fact that the initial cooling force was something other than CO2 is not only completely irrelevant, it's a deliberate red herring that demonstrates how dishonest your argument is.

The thing I think people are missing is the significance of water currents in the oceans. The true driving force of the cycle appears to be water... good old H2O... because the oceans represent a significant influence on weather.

Did you even read my reply? No wonder debating with you is a waste of time. Let me repeat myself for clarity: Water Vapor is a Stronger Greenhouse Gas than CO2. However, the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is determined almost entirely by average temperature (think about relative humidity). So if an external force increases the average temperature (perhaps by adding a greenhouse gas other than water vapor), the amount of water vapor increases and temperatures increase. This is called a positive feedback, and it's why small unnatural changes can have an effect much larger than long term natural changes. It's also why the speed of temperature change is not perfectly correlated with any specific gas concentration, since there are multiple feedback effects operating together.

The other thing to remember is that the validity of Global Warming has absolutely no dependence on the hockey stick graph. Global warming is a direct consequence of easily measured physics, described above. The reason that historical temperatures are examined is to refine the computation of climate sensitivity, the amount of global warming that will occur given a specific rise in greenhouse gas concentrations. You can argue about which historical graph is more accurate until you are blue in the face, but you're really just wasting your time, and ours.

There are clearly other forces at work on the long term climate, and historical analysis is a good way to measure the relationship between the strength of those forces and the resulting climate shift. But that doesn't change the basic truth of today: the strongest force in operation right now, by orders of magnitude, is human industrial activity. All the other forces have been examined, and none are having an effect that can measure up to our pollution. The existence of natural forces for climate change can't possibly magically nullify the effect of our own, much stronger, influence.

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Roy W. Spencer received his Ph.D. in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981.
Is this guy really motivated to create wild and irresponsible propaganda? Or is he acting based on his own conscience to speak out about what he knows?

Another dishonest red herring. I don't give a damn who he is, the only thing that matters is what research he publishes in peer-reviewed scientific journals, and how well the evidence backs up his argument. While it's difficult for most laymen to evaluate the evidence, we can certainly evaluate how his publications are treated by other experts in his field. Oh wait, he's a meteorologist, not a climatologist, so he's not actually an expert in the relevant field!

If you want to argue by scientist proxy, there are essentially only two pieces of information you need: the number of published research articles that dispute or support the current consensus, and the number of scientific experts who have read those research articles and have formed a conclusion based on the evidence. In both cases, you've already lost badly.

http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

That hypothesis was tested by analyzing 928 abstracts, published in refereed scientific journals between 1993 and 2003, and listed in the ISI database with the keywords "climate change" (9).

The 928 papers were divided into six categories: explicit endorsement of the consensus position, evaluation of impacts, mitigation proposals, methods, paleoclimate analysis, and rejection of the consensus position. Of all the papers, 75% fell into the first three categories, either explicitly or implicitly accepting the consensus view; 25% dealt with methods or paleoclimate, taking no position on current anthropogenic climate change. Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position.

(bold added)

So, Roy Spencer may disagree with everyone else, but it doesn't look like he's published any good research to back up his disagreement. And in a scientific argument, if you haven't published results, your opinion is not even worth talking about.

http://news.mongabay.com/2009/0122-climate.html

A new poll among 3,146 earth scientists found that 90 percent believe global warming is real, while 82 percent agree that human activity been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures.

The survey, conducted among researchers listed in the American Geological Institute's Directory of Geoscience Departments*, "found that climatologists who are active in research showed the strongest consensus on the causes of global warming, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role". The biggest doubters were petroleum geologists (47 percent) and meteorologists (64 percent).

(bold added)

Sure, there are always going to be crackpots and contrarians with PhDs. But when the overwhelming majority of experts all come to the same conclusion based on the available evidence, you'd be a fool to bet against them.

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Is this guy really motivated to create wild and irresponsible propaganda?

In a word, yes. Here's another Dr. Spencer quote so we know who we are dealing with:

Twenty years ago, as a PhD scientist, I intensely studied the evolution versus intelligent design controversy for about two years. And finally, despite my previous acceptance of evolutionary theory as 'fact,' I came to the realization that intelligent design, as a theory of origins, is no more religious, and no less scientific, than evolutionism...

Clearly this is a man that lets ideology trump evidence and reason. I believe there are a few intelligent climate scientists who have reasonable objections with the way the current data and models are interpreted. Dr. Spencer is not one of them.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

safe
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Sir Isaac Newton believed in religious concepts like god and the spirit world that had he not kept quite might have colored his other work negatively.

You are attempting "charactor assasination" on poor old Dr. Spencer.

Enough said...

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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

911

This being 911 we ought to remind ourselves of the reason that we got into electric vehicles in the first place which was to make ourselves independent from the middle east.

The whole "save the planet" idea didn't come about until later when the left wing socialists started to get into it as a way to gain control over the planets resources.

The original concept was really very patriotic... very pro-American.

(people need to remember that there once was something positive in the electric vehicle concept)

Americans now are basically sick of everything that they see happening and "Going Green" is not held in high regard nor are many of the ideas that have materialized in the Obama presidency. What's happening politically is that the public is basically unwilling to go along with it anymore.

I think this is a negative and it's because we've lost the original (valid) concept of independence. The fact that people tend to associate "Going Green", "Global Warming" and "Socialism" (healthcare, business bashing, increased size of government, etc) tends to make people reject the ideas outright and want to throw the people out.

--------------------------

My point about this is that you can't expect people to believe in something that the science is not strongly supporting when the very people involved are perceived as opportunists.

The best thing would be to TONE DOWN the climate angle (which might not be valid) and focus more on the independence angle. (which we know for a fact to be true)

--------------------------

Predicting the climate is in effect much like religion because you end up projecting out into the future based on assumptions that you presently hold. If one person believes that CO2 is the primary driver of the climate then they have a "religious" (since it's unproven) feel for where things might go. If on the other hand you see the history and expect cycles to repeat then you have a "religious" (since it's unproven) feel for the cycle to repeat itself.

In the end it's either the "cycle" or the "hockey stick".

The truth will come in less than a thousand years, but for now we don't know for sure and I'm betting on the concept of the "climate cycle".

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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Sir Isaac Newton believed in religious concepts like god and the spirit world that had he not kept quiet might have colored his other work negatively.

And let me add to this that if you read what Heisenberg felt he understood about the spirit world you could probably slam him too.

Even Einstein held some religious ideas.

Not all great thinkers are limited to 3D.

---------------------

Ultimately the decision about "cycle" or "hockey stick" comes down to one of choosing the data that you see as matching your world view. It's ultimately a reflection of your knowledge and experiences. It also comes down to who you perceive as being honest verses those that appear dishonest. The climate scandals of late hurt the legitimacy of the "hockey stick" crowd and so most people are now alerted to the idea that fraud does happen.

We will likely not know the answer to the climate cycle or hockey shtick question in our lifetimes...

davew
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Sir Isaac Newton believed in religious concepts like god and the spirit world that had he not kept quite might have colored his other work negatively.

You are attempting "charactor assasination" on poor old Dr. Spencer.

I was worried that someone would think this. It is emphatically not what I meant. Many people of faith have been excellent scientists. Belief in a god or gods is no disqualification in science. Belief in intelligent design, however, does disqualify someone as a scientist. Intelligent design, boiled down, concludes that anything in biology that cannot be explained by current science has been done by the Christian god.IDers spend their time attempting to poke holes in current scientific theories of biology in the misguided belief that this strengthens their position. It doesn't, and it can't. Proving that Newton was wrong about gravity doesn't prove Einstein or anyone else right. Each theory has to be proved or disproved on it's own merits. Right now I know of about six theories of gravity most of which assume both Einstein and Newton were at least partially wrong, but none of them conclude "Newton was wrong therefore God did it." The only thing that would let ID go from a hypothesis to a theory is if it was testable and falsifiable. It is neither. How can you prove God didn't do it? It's not even a really valid hypothesis in the scientific sense.

I can understand why the public gets confused into thinking that evolution and ID are competing scientific theories, but for someone who claims to be a scientist to not understand this is unforgivable. Either he doesn't understand what science is or he is letting a belief system trump his reason. Either way his opinion on any matter of science is highly suspect. This is not character assassination. It is demonstrating that he is very bad at his job.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Before the ranting goes too much further from reality, it might be a good idea to study electric vehicle HOSTORY, not blogs or market trends. Electric vehicles have been around much further back than 9-11-2001. Homebuilders had resurrected the concept of the electric car in the 1960's, using surplus aircraft generators for motors bolted to bellhousings of manual tramsmissions. In the 1970's, at least two electric cars were commercially available. To say that today's wave of electric vehicles is a kneejerk reaction to the terrorism of 9-11 is rediculous.

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This being 911 we ought to remind ourselves of the reason that we got into electric vehicles in the first place which was to make ourselves independent from the middle east.

I'm not sure how generally true this is and it certainly isn't true for me. I've always believed that combustion engines are foul things and the sooner we are rid of them the better. I lived through leaded gasoline, the Arab oil embargo, and the first stirrings of global climate change science. More recent happenings add more fuel to the fire, but haven't changed any of my attitudes.

The best thing would be to TONE DOWN the climate angle (which might not be valid) and focus more on the independence angle. (which we know for a fact to be true)

This would lead to the conclusion that trading off foreign oil for domestic coal is a good thing and indeed would solve one problem and perhaps two. This is a matter of opinion, of course, but an opinion I would strenuously disagree with.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Either he doesn't understand what science is or he is letting a belief system trump his reason. Either way his opinion on any matter of science is highly suspect. This is not character assassination. It is demonstrating that he is very bad at his job.

The Scientific Method involves the projection of an idea onto a set of data. If the data fits the theory then it's said to be "true" or "mostly true" or "as true as we can get for now".

I'm not all that familiar with christian theories about ID, but some I've heard focus on the idea that rather than randomness in behaviors leading to "evolution" of the species that "intelligent thoughts" tend to drive evolution FASTER than randomness. (now again I could be wrong because I'm no ID expert)

That idea I find fascinating... it means that rather than everything progressing as sort of robot like behaviorists would suggest that instead the more "spiritually wise" man tends to prosper faster than the crude man. He who studies wisdom tends to do better than those that follow their animal urges. The Founding Fathers centered their entire political philosophy around the fact that the "savage mob" was not something that can be made into anything of value, that without wisdom no democractic system would survive. The bible was their main source of pattern comprehension with regards to man's behavior.

The bible is after all primarily designed as a warning for people about what humans have historically done. Patterns of human thought express spiritual ideas and the bad spiritual ideas tend to produce bad results. (like bad economies)

------------------------

How this might be relevant to climate theories is that someone that is by nature spiritually naive (behaviorist types) would then tend to produce theories that match those naive tendencies.

A wiser person in general might see the alternatives because they are operating at a higher mental state.

The behaviorist might imagine himself the more pure "rationalist" but all it's really doing is showing how shallow that person is internally. Reason is after all where we "end up" in the rationalization process, the real power in thought comes in the pre-rationalizing stage when we use more interconnections in our brain. (this train of thought could go on for pages and pages)

-------------------------

What is clear is that the "Climate Cycle" has been a pretty reliable pattern of climate history. For at least the last several cycles of 100,000 years things have bobbed up and down predictably.

The "Hockey Shtick" theory is actually something with no past to point to. We've never seen any time in the past where the natural "Climate Cycle" didn't kick in on cue and start to cool things off.

So what does a wise man choose?

Does he stick with history and known climate behaviors that involve predictable cycles?

Or does he go with a theory that has no track record?

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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

What is clear is that the "Climate Cycle" has been a pretty reliable pattern of climate history. For at least the last several cycles of 100,000 years things have bobbed up and down predictably.

The "Hockey Shtick" theory is actually something with no past to point to. We've never seen any time in the past where the natural "Climate Cycle" didn't kick in on cue and start to cool things off.

So what does a wise man choose?

Does he stick with history and known climate behaviors that involve predictable cycles?

Or does he go with a theory that has no track record?

You still just don't understand it, do you?

Both the long term climate cycle and the hockey stick are simultaneously true. They are both accurate measurements of long term climate trends. Neither one is a 'theory', both are actually observed fact.

But what you are trying to argue, and failing, is that the existence of long term climate cycles implies that humans are not impacting the world's climate. And that argument is a fundamental violation of basic principles of thermodynamics. It can't possibly be a valid argument in the current universe. But your argument doesn't even make sense on it's own.

What I think you fail to understand, by looking at the charts, is that the scale on the bottom of the chart is very important. Just as an experiment, take your 400,000 year cycle chart and expand the width to the exact same scale as my 2,000 year hockey stick chart. Line it up so that there is a tick mark every century. Guess what you'll see? The lines on your chart now look almost perfectly flat. That's because the climate cycle produces changes that are so imperceptibly slow that they are completely invisible on the single century scale. So, as I already explained, the long term climate cycle is 6,000 years into a 23,000 year cooling trend, and that long term cycle is just barely visible on the hockey stick graph. On the larger climate cycle scale, it would eventually be clearly visible as a sharp drop in the graph. But you can't actually claim that a 0.02 degree per century change is the same thing as a 8 degree per century change, and that's what you are trying to do. Frankly, that's just bullshit.

It's not about worldview or perceptions. It's about careful understanding of the facts, something that you don't seem to be doing. You're rejecting hard data, and denying basic physics, in order to hold your view.

-----
davew, thanks for that little bit of research on the good Dr. Spencer. Intelligent Design is nothing but Christian Creationism with a new name painted on, as was clearly demonstrated in a court of law. (The critical piece of evidence was an ID textbook in various draft editions, showing how 'creator' had been edited out and replaced with 'designer') It's not science, it's explicitly anti-science. Any scientist who fails to realize this is clearly incompetent as a scientist, and can safely be dismissed as a crackpot who lets his ideology blind him to the scientific issues.

And you are also right about our priorities. If our goal is simply to get rid of mideast oil, then coal is a very important part of our energy future. If climate change is as dangerous as the current predictions imply, then coal will be the bullet that kills our civilization. Since electric vehicles are in a large part powered by coal, this is a critical distinction for us to think about.

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

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The Scientific Method involves the projection of an idea onto a set of data. If the data fits the theory then it's said to be "true" or "mostly true" or "as true as we can get for now".

This is not the scientific method, and this might the the fundamental source of our disagreement. The scientific method start with an idea, an hypothesis. (Notice the really pedantic "an" before the "h" word? Oh, yeah. That's the way I roll! :-)

"I believe an apple is attracted to the earth in the same way the earth is attracted to the sun."

To change the hypothesis you need to set up experiments to prove your idea true and critically experiments that would show your idea is not true.

"If my idea is right I should be able to measure the attraction two apples for each other."

Then you gather data, then you see if the data fits the prediction, then you refine your idea, and lather, rinse repeat. Lastly, and perhaps most critically of all, you publish your results and see if other scientists can reproduce them. In a sense modern science is a popularity contest because few theories will be universally rejected or universally accepted. The theory of plate tectonics won because it made testable predictions that came true enough times that the vast majority of scientists accepted it. There are those who still don't and some of them have PhD's in Geology. Largely these people are religiously motivated (like Dr. Spencer), are well outside the mainstream of scientific thought (like Dr. Spencer), and quoting them weakens your argument (like Dr. Spencer).


The Founding Fathers centered their entire political philosophy around the fact that the "savage mob" was not something that can be made into anything of value, that without wisdom no democractic system would survive. The bible was their main source of pattern comprehension with regards to man's behavior.

While it is true these men were somewhat elitist, the bible part is a fable. Most of the founding fathers were not Christians. They were Deists. There is a huge difference. This is why you'll see the word "God" used occasionally in the Declaration of Independence, but no reference to Jesus or the bible or anything else overtly Christian.

The bible is after all primarily designed as a warning for people about what humans have historically done. Patterns of human thought express spiritual ideas and the bad spiritual ideas tend to produce bad results.

I sense an impasse. You don't seem to have a really good grasp of what science is or how it works. You do seem to place a lot of stock in spirituality. This is fine, but if I'm talking science and you are talking religion then we aren't going to hear each other.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

//www.factpile.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/spock.vs.data.jpg)

Portrayals of Pure Reason

I have always enjoyed the concepts portrayed in the Star Trek series. The charactors of Spock and Data represent what you might get if someone lacked any spiritual or human sense and tried to live their life with nothing but pure logic. In Spocks case he fears himself and uses logic to repress this underlying impulses. For Data, he's simply a glorified robot and has no deeper sense to draw upon, but manages to try to understand.

When I'm talking about the "pure rationalist" verses someone who understands humanity with it's tendencies towards corruption I'm covering the same ground.

I have two BS Science degrees, so I understand the culture. There are a lot of "tech nerds" that try to live a life of pure reason while they are getting their underpants pulled over their heads. (joke) I know from recent experiences in my own life that in the "real world" this sort of nerdy approach to life usually doesn't work because the social and political world has a lot of animal spirits in it that undermine pure logic.

---------------------------

Again getting back to the climate cycle vs hockey shtick question...

It really takes a "nerd" to be willing to think that something magical can happen because they think they are onto some "special formula" (CO2 or whatever) that will completely reverse trends.

Most of the time the wiser person will look at a situation and say:

"What happened in the past? What cycle will we expect to repeat? How is the future likely to repeat the past?"

--------------------

Up until recently when information began to spread more quickly the bible ("the books") were the accumulated history of human culture. For a long time that's about all the information about the past that humans had to draw upon. What has happened is we live now in a time when there is so much information (much of it self destructive) that people are willing to be suckers for just about any scam.

"Going Green" was latched onto as a scam by people that wanted to control the worlds resources. To anyone that isn't a total nerd or dork this is an obvious POWER GRAB. Spock or Data might not "sense" what's going on, but any reasonable person will.

--------------------------

As someone that has been into electric vehicles since 2006 it saddens me to see the ugly political side to it. There once was a decent and respectable reason to get off oil and that was for independence. For people that "found green religion" and believe in the shtick they should just lay off of the climate angle and fall back onto the independence angle. Again, everyone agrees about independence from foreign powers, but saying the earth is incapable of absorbing CO2 runs the risk of alienating the entire electric vehicle concept.

safe
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

While it is true these men were somewhat elitist, the bible part is a fable. Most of the founding fathers were not Christians. They were Deists. There is a huge difference. This is why you'll see the word "God" used occasionally in the Declaration of Independence, but no reference to Jesus or the bible or anything else overtly Christian.

They were Christians, but of different creeds. The goal was to extract the patterns of the bible without getting caught into the minutia of the creeds.

Thomas Jefferson even created a synthesized bible that extracted all references to anything that might get in the way of the patterns.

The bible is essentially the pattern of human behavior.

Detractors ALWAYS find a way to dig into the minutia as a way to try to "charactor assassinate" the book. If you stick to the Founding Fathers pattern then you have to recognize that they assumed that people would be bad and would try to gain power. "Going Green" is a power grab, so from a Founding Fathers perspective it would pop out to them as a scam.

I've never met an intelligent person that said the bible lacked wisdom...

(not a person I would respect anyway)

There's an old saying:

"Follow the money"

...when there is money involved you can almost always find motive for behavior.

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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Thomas Jefferson even created a synthesized bible that extracted all references to anything that might get in the way of the patterns.

Clearly you don't understand Deism either. Wikipedia has an excellent summary. In brief they believe in the concept of a god, but not a paternalistic, interventionist god. They don't believe in heaven or hell and therefore don't believe in the concept of salvation through Jesus or otherwise. I was thinking more Madison, Adams, and Franklin, but Jefferson was likely a Deist too. A quick google will show you that a lot of debate on the subject. The fact there there is no quote from Jefferson in all his copious writings that settles the issue of his exact belief system says a lot. Also the fact that he set about editing the bible shows that he believed more in the reasoning ability of man than the inerrant word of god.


They were Christians, but of different creeds. The goal was to extract the patterns of the bible without getting caught into the minutia of the creeds.

The first amendment to the constitution establishes the freedom of religion. Find that in the bible and I'll agree with you. Freedom of speech is contradicted by the 2nd commandment (or 3rd depending on how you count.) You can only really establish a case for "all men are created equal" with the bible if you are willing to ignore the entire old testament. The foundation of our country is you can believe whatever you like and, within certain limits, do whatever you like. The first principle of the bible is believe in God and follow all his rules or go to hell forever. I am mystified by people who think these two can be reconciled or that in drafting a constitution based on biblical principles the authors somehow overlooked the most important one.

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

Again getting back to the climate cycle vs hockey shtick question...

It really takes a "nerd" to be willing to think that something magical can happen because they think they are onto some "special formula" (CO2 or whatever) that will completely reverse trends.

Nerd as a pejorative? I've happily been a nerd for nearly five decades now. You'll have to do better. :-)

I think we are at risk of drowning in generalities. Let's try some specifics. What is it you do or do not accept:

- Human produced CO2 can change the climate
- Human produced methane can change the climate
- Human produced soot can change the climate
- There is a cause and effect relationship between rising CO2 levels and rising water vapor in the atmosphere
- Something that has a natural cycle can be preempted through human activity
- The climate changes over the last 100 years are unprecedented
- The warming periods in the past took tens of thousands of years to occur
- The majority of scientific opinion should be given greater respect than the minority opinion

"we must be the change we wish to see in the world"

MikeB
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Re: Peak Oil, Climate Change, and the Transition towns movement

It really takes a "nerd" to be willing to think that something magical can happen because they think they are onto some "special formula" (CO2 or whatever) that will completely reverse trends.

So, are you going to sit there and deny clearly demonstrable physics? Really? Are you actually claiming that carbon dioxide gas does not absorb longwave infrared radiation? Say it, I want to hear you make that claim. How about methane, does it interact with infrared radiation either? I want to know what your opinion is.

Or are you claiming that the balance of energy arriving and departing the Earth has no impact on it's average temperature? Is that your claim? Yes or No, it's a very simple question. Does thermodynamics apply to this planet? That's all I'm asking here.

Or are you not aware of how much energy we get from the sun on a daily basis, and think the planet's warmth comes from somewhere magical? Seriously, this is important, what is the source of the majority of the heat on this planet?

"What happened in the past? What cycle will we expect to repeat? How is the future likely to repeat the past?"

Looking only at the past while ignoring the conditions of the present is the abandonment of all reason. Are you really claiming that human's influence on this planet existed for it's entire 4.5 billion year history? Are you claiming that 300 million years of climate cycle records include everything humans can possibly do? Tell me, exactly how long have humans been able to affect the atmosphere in any significant fashion?

Are you explicitly denying that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere are rising rapidly over the last century, or that adding 8 Gigatons of carbon per year to the atmosphere won't increase those concentrations in the years to come? Do you think the CO2 in your car's exhaust doesn't exist? Or that it magically falls on the ground while you drive around?

Really, I want an answer as to just how far your insanity goes. Exactly which piece of reality has escaped you?

My electric vehicle: CuMoCo C130 scooter.

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