Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Global Warming Not Simple

The whole global warming thing is certainly "real" but the data and assessments and solutions are not that simple. My perspective, from a Biblical standpoint, forces me to consider God's promise to us in Genesis that He would never flood the earth again. My position as a Christian is that God is still in control and we are not always going to understand everything we see with our finite minds.

My neighbor, Ken Bushell, sent an article from the U.S. Weather Bureau of November 2, 1922 which read:

"The Arctic ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot, according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from Consul Ifft, at Bergen , Norway . Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers, he declared, all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard-of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met with as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts, which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds."

Ken offered some great thoughts and assessments from a non-Christian perspective that are certainly been worth pondering. With permission from Ken, I share them with you here:

My current book on global warming is called "The Discovery of Global Warming" by Spencer R. Weart. It is very readable and interesting, you can borrow it when I'm done if you wish, I am about 1/2 way through. He has a large website which he says is his main scientific work, the book being a short summary since the website has 5 times the amount of information, and the book is just over 200 pages. I have not read through the site yet, just checked that it is indeed there. You can take a look of course to see if it interests you.

My feelings on global warming are:

It is real - plenty of evidence such as disappearance of glaciers

Partly caused by the world coming out of the last ice age of 10,000 years ago

Probably influenced in the past 40 years by mankind.

China is now a larger contributor to greenhouse gases than the US (which was the worst) and it has only just got started on its development and energy use. Opens up a new coal fired power station every 2 weeks on average.

India is catching up China and could soon be a greater producer of greenhouse gases than the US. Has similar build of new coal fired power stations.

Global temperatures not likely to be reduced measurably the relatively minor things being currently proposed by all countries (so far).

If the US stopped producing ALL man-produced CO2, it would not make a measurable difference. Changing our light bulbs and driving Prius's is not going to hack it! Of course we can get much better, more efficient, less wasteful, have smaller homes etc. which is all good but it is nowhere near enough to offset China and India, or the additional power needs of the US for the future population growth. Also these changes are long term.

The main energy source in this country is electrical power and we use a lot of it and will need more in the future. More efficient sources are needed than coal, one of these is natural gas, ultimately we need a radical new source. Second source is home heating, again most efficiently supplied by gas.

Natural gas is cleaner and is now much more plentiful than oil (and getting close to coal) in the US due to new drilling and extraction methods and ought to be our main source of energy until some better solution is found such as solar or nuclear fusion - or ??????

The trillions of $$$ that will be spent on trying to offset global warming could be much better spent on things such as clean water resources and health for the underdeveloped areas in the world.

Of course new power supplies must and will be developed before the world gets really short of oil (it will not run out, just get too expensive) The gas (petrol) engine came along to rescue London from sinking in horse manure from the horse-drawn vehicles in the 1980s.

Wind energy is OK but only for small locations and is not the saviour for the whole country (or world). It is a tiny contributor and now the transient power it provides it hard to feed into the national grids. (Just read that only 30% of available wind energy can be used).

I feel in my bones that solar might be our saviour if the problem of storage can be overcome to provide power during the night. There is enough sun energy coming to the earth for everyone, if only it can be harnessed efficiently.

Interestingly, I read that the melting of the arctic and Antarctic ice could cool the oceans to the point where another ice age is triggered, so the ultimate problem could be an ice age, which I think would be worse than global warming!!

By the way, one large business jet tank of fuel would power my Lexus for 12,000 miles a year for 100 years. So if I buy a Prius, could you detect the difference in the world? I haven't worked out what amount of fuel is used for the typical race car/NASCAR meet, but I suspect it is much more than the example above. What a very weird world it is.

Another alternative view about global warming.

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1 comment:

Johnson said...

Aneutronic fusion is cleaner and can be a simple solution for the Global Warming.

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