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Global Warming: Resonable renewable technologies.

PostPosted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 6:43 pm
by pm2.5mary
The New York Times
November 3, 2006
Avoiding Calamity on the Cheap
"...$416 million, according to the Energy Department — was spent last year on climate-friendly, renewable technologies like wind, solar power, cellulosic ethanol and hydrogen..."

A much-anticipated study on climate change ordered up by Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain has attempted to calculate the economic costs of global warming. Though necessarily conjectural, the study warns that if we continue on our current course, atmospheric temperatures could rise four degrees or so in this century, producing a hugely disruptive mix of rising sea levels and withering droughts.

This in turn would drain the world economy of trillions of dollars, with social and economic costs on a scale “similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century.”

The study, led by Sir Nicholas Stern, former chief economist of the World Bank, says that the only way to avoid that dismal outcome is to slash worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide by investing hundreds of billions of dollars in cleaner technologies. The report has been criticized for overestimating the consequences of warming and underestimating the costs of mitigation. Still, its basic point seems unassailable: failure to act now will exact much greater penalties later on.

Developing and deploying the necessary technologies will require a collective global effort. But the world’s leading producer of greenhouse gases, the United States, is doing scandalously little. A detailed examination by The Times’s Andrew Revkin pointed out that Washington spends only $3 billion a year for all energy research and development. Of this, only a fraction — $[i]416 million, according to the Energy Department — was spent last year on climate-friendly, renewable technologies like wind, solar power, cellulosic ethanol and hydrogen.
By contrast, Washington spends $28 billion on medical research and $75 billion on military research.

The administration claims that it is in fact doing more, especially if various tax incentives for cleaner fuels like ethanol are included in the mix. Even so, in an age when people are worried not only about warming but also about the country’s growing dependence on imported oil, the federal effort on alternative energy sources is pathetically small.

The Bush administration’s lack of commitment to research might not be quite so lamentable if it had been prodding the private sector into investing in cleaner energy. Private capital is not likely to emerge in big enough quantities unless a significant cost is attached to carbon emissions — either in the form of a carbon tax or a mandatory cap on emissions. But the administration has refused to ask Congress to impose either.

Since the dawn of the industrial revolution, the atmosphere has served as a free dumping ground for carbon gases. If people and industries are made to pay heavily for the privilege, they will inevitably be driven to develop cleaner fuels, cars and factories. Most of the industrialized world has accepted the need for either carbon taxes or strict regulation, and Europe has already imposed a cap on emissions from its cars and factories.

Mr. Bush and many in Congress remain steadfastly opposed — still convinced, it appears, that calamity can be avoided on the cheap.

Copyright 2006 The New York Times Company

Babalu you talk in and walk in smoke.

PostPosted: Sun May 13, 2007 4:41 pm
by pm2.5mary
Hey! You are on the wrong forum! Why don't you start one?

You feel you have something to offer, but you have said it over and over.
We leave up a bit of it to give you space, but you are wearing it out.

We know that the wood smoke kills people and we know the marketing gibberish behind the quote.
Clean efficient wood burning devices
100% renewable
Safe for man and the environment

Soot ( as in wood smoke) causes climate change. It 'kills' the rain as the black clouds heat up. Wood burning emits greenhouse gases and very simply there is no safe level of soot. I am working on a lot of science and monitoring papers. So I am busy and don't appreciate your endless insistence over and over again on the purity and nobility of your pursuit.

Soot and global warming

PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2007 6:33 am
by JackPine
There is a theory that the particulate matter from combustion of fossil fuels, as well as biomass, contributes to global dimming. This helps to counteract the effects of greenhouse has global warming. The bad part is that this may indicate the earth is more sensitive to greenhouse gas global warming than previously thought.

Here are some links:

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 1:46 pm
by Stephen_B
Even though I read the study about black particulate matter "killing" rain, posted here on BI, I have to say that from what I see, it's just one study. I've been reading quite a bit on climate change and the whole matter of dimming, aerosols, particulate matter, etc. and the impact on global climate is less understood than that of CO2. I want to see more before my mind is made up and I say that as a person who is firmly committed to lessening my CO2 contribution because I am well convinced that we shouldn't be taking any more chances with that pollutant. But aerosols, well, I've seen proposals from atmospheric scientists actually proposing to increase aerosols and particulates to intentionally dim the atmosphere. I'm not sold on that idea either, but it does tell me that the question of aerosols increasing global temperatures and rainfall is not the closed book that BI makes it out to be, at least yet.

Just because one doesn't like wood smoke doesn't mean we get to use a single study to declare the case against aerosols as being climate warmers to be settled and closed. There's a whole bunch of other studies that suggests otherwise.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 2:12 pm
by Wilberforce
There was a proposal a few years back about the intentional release of sulfuric acid
particles into the upper stratosphere, in order to combat the effects of warming.

Please help me on this - I don't know the study - but my comment on this is:
I think it makes about as much sense as blowing up atomic bombs up there,
in order to accomplish this goal. In other words, hare-brained.

Why don't they just mount a giant fan up in space to cool us off? ( air up there)

On wood smoke: we don't have to worry about that getting up to the stratosphere,
as it tends to sink, and hug the ground, thus harming everyone in it's path. It's sort
of a poisonous juggernaut, creeping along, lying in wait for it's prey.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 6:25 pm
by Stephen_B
I've seen the same "proposals", but where exactly, I don't now recall.

You didn't miss seems crazy to me too.

We have to slow way down on the burning, at least the dirty, copious burning. Humanity got where it is because we "discovered" fire and that in turn gave us amazing power to control temperatures and reform all manner of materials into metals, tools, cook. and create medicines and many other things. On the other hand, our numbers are so great now and we burn so much stuff, not just wood, and when we burn it, only some of us, sometimes, make an effort to burn less, and/or burn cleaner.

I recall my trip to the Olympic Penninsula of Washington State 3 years ago. On the private forest lands surrounding Olympic National Forest, for many miles and thousands of acres, I saw the clear cuts, but what was especially amazing were the hundreds of burn piles of slash, dozens actively burning any day of my September trip there, clogging up the air for miles and Now don't get me wrong, I work at a residential school in suburban Boston that is blessed with a 160 acre campus, most of it wooded, and we cut a bit of firewood. I'd like to cut some lumber for school shop projects too. Personally, despite my best efforts at insulation, fancy insulating shades, putting up with a coolish house, maximizing solar gain, I burn some in a masonry heater for my house from this forest, but I leave the slash to compost on the forest floor. Why they felt the need in WA to burn all the slash too, I don't know. Wow, the air quality was horrendous for MANY square miles on that trip. That kind of burning is going to do us in. In our forest back here you can barely see where we took a tree, and when I light my heater, there's no smoke, but yes, there is some odor for about 15 minutes of startup... Hey, I'm working on it. I've since sworn off jet travel for recreation by the way, and have since cut my driving to about 2000 miles a year. I bike and walk to work now mainly too. The power mower became a scythe along with a push reel mower last year. Lawn size is down because I keep a fair garden at my house and a plain large one at the residential school too. Less food travel means less fossil fuel burned. I am trying hard at this relocalization thing. But have I cut out all gasoline use, all natural gas use, all fuel wood use? No. We frankly could use a solar water heater booster here to help cut the nat. gas. It's still a work in progress.

I know I've just kind of popped into the Burning Issues forum today. Maybe I'm ranting a bit. I stayed home with a cold today, so I have some time on my hands. :D One thing I know is that in all of what we know of existence, only the surface of this earth is fit for us to breathe. Thus, we had better take care of it and that means burning the bare minimum, burning less, doing as much as we can to find other sources of energy, but especially just plain changing how we live, even if it means living what some would consider a more simple or primative life. I've visited the Bay Area where Burning Issues seems to be based. As much as I advocate burning some wood in a clean appliance, when other heat sources have already been tapped as much as possible, and only in appropriate neighborhoods, honestly I'm not sure I can see why anybody would burn wood in the Bay Area. From what I've seen in SF, especially, a well insulated house (and I'm applying Snowbelt insulation standards here, not SF standards) ought to be able to retain enough heat from people and cooking, etc. to remain bearable without much if any, added space heat, once people give up on the idea of short sleeve indoor weather all year round.

Anyhow... no, you didn't miss anything. Intentionally injecting sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere.... that's what causes acid rain....and now we might be creating a situation where we want to do it intentionally? Geeze.

Stephen B.
suburban/exurban MA

PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2008 7:13 pm
by Wilberforce
I think that the argument they were using was that "volcanoes spit out sulfuric acid,"
as if to say why not do that ourselves. The problem is that when we try to solve one
problem (global* warming) we may just create three new ones!

So-called 'global' warming may actually be specifically 'polar' warming. I have a theory
which I had formulated ten years ago, while studying chemical thermodynamics in college.
You being an environmental scientist, please tell me if I'm on-track here.

As you know, plant photosynthesis is extremely endothermic. Much of the sun's energy
is consumed, having some local cooling effect (ever walk into a forest on a very hot day?
the coolness is not only due to the shade from the trees)

Atmospheric CO2 increases, as well as warming, may be mitigated in the low latitude
forested areas of the planet by (possible) accelerated plant photosynthesis. But the effect
of warming at high latitudes, (as well as high altitudes, and temperate zone winters,) are not
constrained, due in part (or all) to the effect of the lack of this heat-absorbing process in
those places.

That is, how many plants are there in Antartica? Zero. Hence warming effect. Temperatures
are localized, unlike the evenly-distributed atmospheric CO2. And this is actually the worst
place to have the warming: where the planet's ice is located.

There are also the oceans to consider: do they absorb CO2? Answer: not all that much,
since CO2 is a nonpolar gas and has very low water solubility. (consider the open bottle
of sodapop which spontaneously goes 'flat')

In summary, 'global' warming seems to be happening in the polar regions, mostly.
Should we rename this entire thing 'polar' warming? It seems that the tropics have not
been affected much by temperature changes, at least not as much as polar areas.
If this is the case, we may be in greater trouble than we thought.

Safe Renewables

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:23 pm
by Ernest Grolimund
Want safe wood to energy? Try pyrolysis to gas or oil or try a gasification wood boiler like those proposed for coal power plants.

How about free energy? It's streaming through your south windows waiting to be tapped with Jeffersonian indoor window shutters made of rigid insulation. Or try 7 layers of bubble plastic with some good looking covers. The savings from heat loss would be 25%. The savings from energy gain would probably be about 25% off the top of my head. Every home can be made a passive solar home to some degree with insulation of windows, below the first floor insulation and adding 1/4 " radiant insulation under vinyl siding.

I Just read the revised NY Atty Gen report on OWB's. Natural gas is $1.90/mmbtu vs $ 9/mmbtu for wood you buy. New England should install gas pipes in streets like Pittsburgh and switch to gas.

I worked for a professor who built a wind turbine to heat a superinsulated building. Bush Sr. built a turbine at Kennebunkport. Bush Jr. uses a heat pump to leverage electrical energy for more economy. Add more insulation and electricity becomes affordable. A whole state could use wind energy to heat houses with more insulation and heat pumps.

An Eden Pure elec. radiant heater is said to save 50% on heating bills when used with zone heating. Ie, shut bedroom doors and heat one room.

With wood being three times as bad for global warming than oil it is a sin to burn wood. It will destroy the planet. NASA says the particles cause clouds and more solar absorbtion and increased reflection of infared from the Earth. A Harvard prof. says air toxics in wood smoke do the same. Take into account the poor efficiency of old equipment and it is even crazier. An old fireplace is 10% efficient on average. Crazy. It can kill because it puts out 30 mcg pm2.5 and the the ambient pm is 28 mcg in an inversion. The total is 60 mcg in a calm wind inversion from both adding together.

Plug in hybrids will be a tremendous improvement and they are coming because electric cars are the cheapest form of transportation acc to Popular Mechanics. Surprise. Why can't we do the same with more insulation in old houses? I think it is time to rip off the siding and add 2" of rigid foam isulation and put the siding back. Superinsulate and then the energy savings will be like free energy for as long as the house or building stands, like an annuity. God will like it too. Create your own heaven. How much is that worth? How much to go to St Pauls third heaven instead of the usual first? Prove you care about the planet or suffer the consequences. It's not fire and brimstone but it is pretty close.

I used to fear nukes. I Fear wood smoke more . Wood smoke causes certain global warming even if it is carbon nuetral. The new nukes are far safer with gravity cooling systems that are almost foolproof. I'd rather take my chances with that than coal or wood.

Few know this but NASA says the oxygen content of the air is 50% less than 200 years ago. There isn't enough air then to burn wood as well as 200 years ago and so smoldering is more pronounced. Add tight houses and the combustion is worse. Wood heaters report this and say it is critical to have a double lined pipe that supplies outside air.

Wood is old fashioned, obsolete and dangerous as an energy source. It is time to use 21st century technology. I second Curt Freemans engineering opinion on wood heat. It stinks.

Global Warming

PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2008 11:54 am
by Ernest Grolimund
Another word for pm or particulates is soot. It is black carbon like the black on charcoal. It is flat, with no sheen or reflectivity. This means it is close to being what science terms an ideal black body, a near perfect absorber with low emittance of infared energy under normal circumstances. This means that theoretically any solar energy hitting pm in the atmosphere will be absorbed. Any infared energy from the earth hitting it will be absrbed. This will cause heating of the atmosphere and then the earth but the atmosphere will absorb the heat before it gets transferred to the earth. This is the theory behind NASA's actual finding that pm causes global warming, 3 times more than from CO2. Harvard professors concur along with other universities. That is enough for me. I know that the black body theory is right because I read about it in college in a book on solar energy. I heard that parsons black paint was a near perfect black body and recommended it to a professor who used it in an active solar collector that became the most efficient solar collector in the world when it came out, the Dixon solar collector. Too bad it was overpriced because of all the copper tubes. When you get NASA and Harvard professors agreeing that pm causes global warming and wood burning causes global warming, you can accept it. It does not get much better than that. Those who talk about global dimming are the ones who are wrong and they must be shown to be wrong by those who know. Non scientists do not know who is right, so the madness continues. People like Bush say the scientists are not right and they do great harm. Bush is a scientific idiot though he may be an acknowlrdged political genius. He is very handsome and articulate and well connected but science is not his area of expertise. And if Gore is recommending REPP that recommends wood burning in boilers we have to stand up to that and say no as well. It may be carbon nuetral but it is bad for global warming. Want an authority quote? How about the EPA. Allison Simcox of the EPA said woodburning is bad for global warming and the state of Maine is wrong for saying wood burning is good for global warming because it reduces the carbon footprint.

How could this happen? How could the EPA and Maine DEP differ? How about understanding that the Maine DEP's Air Bureau is run by 3 woodburners? How about understanding that the Governor of Maine is a businessman who has staffed the DEP with non scientists and has made a movie maker one of the top Commissioners? Nobody dares talk about true science there beause they are afraid they wiil be fired and the top scientific mind is a mining engineer with little or no training in air pollution. Caveat emptor. Don't buy into their false theories and false authoritarianism.

What are my credentials? They are not the best either, but I do have an engineering degree and the Coast Guard said my IQ was in the genius category which tends to prove I am well educated in science. The first project I worked on as an intern was an experimental wind turbine that is in the Smithsonian and I made two important contributions to that project. One was the recommendation to use parsons black paint as a selective absorber. The second was to back a lowly enginerring student who warned of the danger of an explosion from the batteries and a fire. This has proven to be a common problem in many turbines but not in the one we worked on because we saw the problem and fixed it. So. I feel qualified to speak out against wood burning as a energy source and to point to the true experts in the EPA, NASA and Harvard. Besides, I tasted extreme wood smoke in an inversion from many sources up close and personal, and I know from personal experience that is very dangerous.

Pm and dimming

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 1:40 pm
by Ernest Grolimund
There is wide knowledge in the general community that volcanoes like Kracatoa have caused very low temperatures because sunlight was blocked. This leads to the thought that soot will block sunlight and cause cooling. But these are two different phenomena from my point of view. Volcanoes could be throwing up non organic dirt and dust and pumice which is cooled lava. Sure it can block solar energy and cause cooling. It is not a blackbody though. The pm could absorb and then re emit energy out to space. It could also reflect energy out to space. Carbon black however absorbs and does not re emit and the energy is transformed into kinetic brownian heat of translation, rotation and vibration. That could explain the difference. Volcanic pm cools but carbon burning pm warms.

PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:17 pm
by Wilberforce
Also there is much volcanic ash. A thick layer of black soot in the upper atmosphere
would probably block sunlight (cooling effect) but a sparse, even distribution of black
soot might tend to do the opposite: that is, absorb sunlight and actually heat up the
neighboring gas molecues. New research suggests that this may be the case.
(We are trying to get this new study posted soon...)

G Warming

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:01 pm
by Ernest Grolimund
Thanks woody. I would be interested in reading that. Personally, I think the thick layer could obviously block sunlight from hitting the earth but the question in my mind is whether it is reflected or re- emitted out to space or absorbed and held in with low emittance. The nature and content of the ash is key too. I suspect it is different than mainly carbon black ash but I am only theorizing. The EPA and NASA have the experimental data but I suspect their theory is a little weak. But I am glad to hear that there is some more science backing up my theory. My credentials as a scientist are too weak to be quoted but I will be glad if it caught your imagination enough to be remembered in the back of your mind as you search the literature. I am so glad you caught something as I have a strong idea anyhow that this subject may hold the key to convincing honest people that woodburning is not good for warming. I suspect that the large and strong wood burning lobby will continue to use the carbon nuetral argument as propaganda and people like Pres. Bush and Gov. Baldacci will be misled.

G Warming

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 4:19 pm
by Ernest Grolimund
I am afraid I may be guilty of doing the same thing that I accused Bush of doing. Forming an opinion and trying to be persuasive without being an expert. I reviewed the dimming theory that others posted and see that good scientists have found something there that is a factor. The whole thing is something so complicated that we may never be able to fully explain it. I realize now that I don't have the whole picture, just bits and pieces. But I know that the EPA says that woodburning is bad for global warming and I accept that.

Edit: 11-06-08. Allison Simcox of the Boston EPA office says that the EPA has no position on woodburning and global warming. She says that I must have misquoted her when she was speaking her own personal views. I am so tired of the source problem that I feel like quitting the discussion. Information is so hard to get that you call people to get it and then they back off on the quote. I'm learning lessons, like getting everything in writing and using formal bibliographical source quotes though it takes time.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 7:51 pm
by Wilberforce
"The whole thing is something so complicated that we may never be able to fully explain it."

Funny that you would tie in politics into this. Certain American politicians (won't mention any
names here) seem to blunder into things that they don't understand, cannot fix, nor change,
and have no business getting involved in anyway. (now, just who could that be?)

Global Warming

PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 6:27 am
by Ernest Grolimund
Clinton? Bush? Everyone? Politicians have to get involved. I just dislike it when they listen to and act on theories proposed by oil companies and wood boiler companies that are not held by the majority of scientists. It is Ok to espouse theories here as it spurs thinking and honest debate. If I offended anyones party, I apologize. I try to be independant but lean toward democrats right now. I have to give Bushes credit. They finally recognize global warming and both parties are trying to do something. That is good work from both parties and gives me hope. My daughter is choking on the smoke so I want everything done faster but things are changing fast. Regulations for 2 cycle engines to eliminate pm and the development of electric hybrids are coming. My activism in Maine is doing something even if I can't move things along as fast as I want because of boiler lobbyists. I am one voice against 30 but I am doing something to keep them from some gross violations of law. It is squeaky wheels like us that get the oil.