Sunday June 18, 2006

An inconvenient splotch

Ok, it’s the trailer for Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth [Crazy Flash site warning]. Well, Conductor Songuacassal noticed something peculiar about this clip. There’s a section (about three quarters through the video) where they show the effects of rising sea levels on various parts of the world, including Florida. You’ve heard it all before, and of course it means that your condo is going to be worth much less then it is now. But so Conductor Songuacassal watched that part of the clip very closely, and he caught something strange. It seems that as the rest of South Florida sinks underwater, a little almond-shaped blob conspicuously stays above sea level in the video. Here are the two stills:

Global warming sealines

See it? Well, Conductor Songuacassal doesn’t like Al Gore, and he suspects some weird deliberate motive for the blob:

This “used to be next President” now wants us to believe that Miami will conveniently become an island? . . . This inconvenient truth is more like a inconvenient grudge that Gore seems unable to shake.

Having recently seen a A Climate of Fear, I’m a little skeptical of this view. Still, the little blob seems improbable . . . is there some sort of hill there that we don’t know about? And just where is that spot, anyway? Well, I spent some time staring at Google Maps and the two stills, and I honestly am not sure. It looks like west Broward to me, but I can’t say for sure.

Then I find this map. It shows a more detailed view of Florida’s coastline after a 3-meter increase in sea level. For my money, I see a little almond-shaped blob just under the ‘e’ in ‘Fort Lauderdale’ that remains dry. It seems to correspond in position to the blob in Gore’s video, though I’m not sure the sizes match. But video is funny that way, with shapes sometimes blooming a little (plus, we’re dealing with a timeline).

Still, I’m not aware of a higher-elevation area in west Broward, or anywhere close to the weird little dry blob. Anyone know what’s going on here? I’m sure it’s nothing, right?

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  1. Steve    Mon Jun 19, 09:51 AM #  

    It’s the landfill off the turnpike near Pompano! Mount Trashmore! The only part of the county not going down to Davey Jones’ locker is a giant pile of refuse!! Hoo-hah!

  2. gansibele    Mon Jun 19, 10:39 AM #  

    Yep, it has to be Trashmore. I just drove by it on my way up to Atlanta. It’s quite large btw, not as large to be the “island” in the documentary, but maybe large enough for the other map. Mmmmm, maybe I should buy a plot on top of it? I’m sure I can find plenty developers to build condos there and plenty politicians to look the other way while we build on top of a huge methane bubble.

    BTW, Wired magazine a couple months ago had an article (nonpartisan for the sceptics, geeks are only interested in geekdom) with some nice computer simulated images of NYC , Washington, etc, after the oceans rise. Gore is far from being the only one. In fact, seems to me the global warming deniers are waaaaay in the minority.

  3. Rebecca Carter    Mon Jun 19, 11:01 AM #  

    I’m curious if anyone else (besides me) has seen the movie? Thoughts?

  4. DGM    Mon Jun 19, 11:13 AM #  

    I downloaded an add-on to google earth that simulated sea level rises. That blob is the gables and east kendall. Some parts of downtown and brickell would also survive catastrophic flooding.

  5. Manola BBB    Mon Jun 19, 12:38 PM #  

    Nope guys, that’s Colin Farrell’s you know what! Better we had Global Whoring than this situation. I’m buying a canoe, just in case.

  6. conductor    Mon Jun 19, 12:59 PM #  


    That post was actually made by my blog partner, songuacassal. FYI that’s 4 different types of Cuban music: Son, Guaguanco, Casino, and Salsa.

    George recently posted a rebuttal to “an inconvenient truth” it’s a link to a radio interview with a REAL climatologist. Click here

    It’s interesting that Gansible uses the word denier. Implying that those of us that believe human behavior has a lot less to do with climate changes are somehow on the same level as holocaust deniers.

    Let me ask any reasonable person this question. Has not the climate on earth changed drastically over the last 4.5 billion years of the earth’s existence (well before primates roamed the planet)? If it wasn’t for global warming would the earth not still be locked in an ice age?

  7. Rebecca Carter    Mon Jun 19, 01:40 PM #  

    Conductor, if you see the movie you will see the actual numbers and stats, and what we are experiencing now is not normal in any sense of the word.

  8. conductor    Mon Jun 19, 02:31 PM #  

    Ok, Rebecca now that you’ve mad your pitch for the movie, listen to the interview I linked.

  9. gansibele    Tue Jun 20, 10:50 AM #  

    Conductor, don’t be silly. Denier is just a word. Has nothing to do with the Holocaust or demonizing anybody. I’ll say “global warming sceptic” if it sounds better.

    Of course the climate has changed over billions of years. What global warming says (roughly) is that the rate has accelerated and is now measured in decades instead of milleniums.

    Let me ask you another reasonable question: The internal combustion engine is about 100 years old, that’s about how long we have been burning fossil fuels. And their use has been increasing ever since: more cars, more factories, etc. You don’t think we have polluted the planet a lot more in the past century that the Summerians, Egiptians, Greeks Romans, etc did over a couple milleniums? And if it has been measured that ice caps are melting faster, the ozone layer is being depleted and oceans are getting warmer within our lifetime as opposed to over thousands of years as it was before, you don’t think there’s a correlation?

  10. conductor    Tue Jun 20, 06:55 PM #  

    Why was it that until the 1970’s they were predicting another ice age? Did you know that the earth has been hotter in past climatological cycles than it is now?

  11. alesh    Tue Jun 20, 07:27 PM #  

    OK, conductor, I went and listened to the interview. Tim Ball is a smart and interesting guy (unlike the interviewer, who’s a complete jackass), and he makes a lot of good points. Specifically, it’s absolutely true that the history includes wild fluctuations in temperature that make the current one or two degree increase look insignificant.

    Unfortunately, he also says lots of really stupid shit. For example, he repeats over and over how he’s called a “global warming denier,” and always always follows it with “and with all the Holocaust connotations of that.” I notice you repeated the quote above. Well, that’s a cynical distraction tactic: there wouldn’t BE any connotations if he didn’t keep harping on them.

    I also liked the fact that he claims to be one of the few REAL climatologists, and possessor of unique knowledge to discuss these issues, and then spends the MAJORITY of the interview talking about international energy policy, international economics, and national/international politics. And his depth of knowledge on those issues I think belies his political motivations.

    Also note that he’s talking about hiring an ECONOMIST for “,” the better to be able to convince politicians… so much for it being about the science, eh?

    But does a climatologist have the best background to investigate the notion that global warming is being contributed to significantly (which is the key claim, contrary to his accusations of waffling)? Of course not; climate is only one factor in that question; much more important is the study of emission levels.

    As for his contentions that the scientific community is not unanimous about GW, please give me a break and don’t pretend you buy into that… this is kind of like those two “scientists” who are running around claiming that “intelligent design” has more scientific backing then evolution.

    I was actually chuckling when they talked about scientific censorship, because “Climate of Fear” is ALL ABOUT THAT, and has some of the leading scientists in the world, some of whom performed studies COMMISSIONED by the BUSH ADMINISTRATION, talking about how the Administration CENSORED their reports by (1) not releasing them if possible, (2) changing the findings/wording to downplay global warming and/or the human effects thereon and (3) downplaying the significance of reports they couldn’t control.

    The best part is that they have the VERY GUY who designed that three-pronged strategy back in 2000 saying that the science was inconclusive back then but it certainly IS conclusive now and that he no longer advocates that policy. Ouch!

    OK two more points… The “ice age” thing they (and you) are throwing around certainly has been published about, and it’s a real danger. BUT on a completely different scale of time; it’ll happen one day, and it’ll be major, but it’s irrelevant to today’s discussion of GW.

    Last, about the fact that a two-degree increase in temperature is minor compared to what’s happened historically on the earth. True. But also true that the world currently supports >5 billion people, who are reliant on stability of weather patterns and ocean levels. Weather changes in the past were accompanied by massive dying off of the entire world’s population of animals. And I think that that’s all that Gore claims in the movie – that if this continues, there will be millions of people who will be displaced and/or killed. If you’re cool with that, great.

    OK, I listened to it. So I say fair is fair and you come see AIT with me.

  12. gansibele    Wed Jun 21, 01:01 AM #  

    LOL Alesh, if you can get him to go tickets are on me.

    Well Alesh just took care of this, but my simple answers: 1) Why was it that until the 1970’s they were predicting another ice age? Because they didn’t know jackshit. 36 years of science don’t pass in vain. 2) Did you know that the earth has been hotter in past climatological cycles than it is now? Yeah, and did you know that most animal life either died or changed considerably?

    BTW Miami just got 1000 degrees hotter… Miami Heat! Sorry, couldn’t resist.

  13. conductor    Wed Jun 21, 04:42 PM #  

    Alesh, I’ll repeat that the original post on Cuban-American Pundits was not authored by me. Not that I disagree with it, but I’m a stickler for accuracy.

    I repeated the fact about holocaust denier because I agree with it. These are the name calling tactics that the left enjoys using against people that they disagree with. If I had a dime for every time Bush was called a Nazi…

    Back to the subject of climate change…
    Want more from another experts experts that is “skeptical” about human input into climate change?

    Then read this PBS Interview with Dr. S. Fred Singer.


    Some excerpts:

    Take an example. Take the UN Science Advisory Group, the IPCC. In their report—which is a very good report, by the way…which is close to 600 pages without an index, so no one really reads it except dedicated people like me—there’s a five-page summary of the report that everyone reads, including politicians and the media. And if you look through the summary, you will find no mention of the fact that the weather satellite observations of the last twenty years show no global warming. In fact, a slight cooling. In fact, you will not even find satellites mentioned in the summary.

    Let me say something about this idea of scientific consensus. Well, you really shouldn’t go by numbers. I think it’s significant to straighten out misconceptions. One misconception is that 2,500 IPCC scientists agree that global warming is coming, and it’s going to be two degrees Centigrade by the year 2100. That’s just not so. In the first place, if you count the names in the IPCC report, it’s less than 2,000. If you count the number of climate scientists, it’s about 100. If you then ask how many of them agree, the answer is: You can’t tell because there was never a poll taken. These scientists actually worked on the report. They agree with the report, obviously, in particular with the chapter that they wrote. They do not necessarily agree with the summary, because the summary was written by a different group, a handful of government scientists who had a particular point of view, and they extracted from the report those facts that tended to support their point of view.

    Well, the question is what you mean by “doing” something. I’m not a great believer in buying insurance if the risks are small and the premiums are high. Nobody in his right mind would do that. But this is the case here. We’re being asked to buy an insurance policy against a risk that is very small, if at all, and pay a very heavy premium. We’re being asked to reduce energy use, not just by a few percent but, according to the Kyoto Protocol, by about 35 percent within ten years. That means giving up one-third of all energy use, using one-third less electricity, throwing out one-third of all cars perhaps. It would be a huge dislocation of our economy, and it would hit people very hard, particularly people who can least afford it.

    For what? All the Kyoto Protocol would do is to slightly reduce the current rate of increase of carbon dioxide. And in fact, the UN Science Advisory Group has published their results. And they clearly show that the Kyoto Protocol would reduce, if it went into effect and were punctiliously observed by all of the countries that have to observe it—by the year 2050, about 50 years from now, it would reduce the calculated temperature increase by .05 degrees Centigrade. That amount is not even measurable. So this is what you are being asked to buy.

    If we look at the historic record, let’s say, the last 3,000 years, we see that during the cold periods, people really suffered. During the Little Ice Age, from around 1400 to 1800 or 1850, things were really cold in Europe, and we have records of this. Harvests failed. Food became scarce. People starved. There was much disease. It was a miserable period.

    Before that, we had what’s called the medieval climate optimum -notice the word “optimum” used by climatologists here. The climate was warmer around the year 1100. The Vikings were able to settle Greenland, actually grow crops in Greenland, and life was good in Europe. Cathedrals were being built. There was plenty of food, plenty of surplus. So I think the historic record clearly shows that a warmer period is better for human beings than a colder period. And I would be much more afraid of adapting to a coming ice age than adapting to a coming warmer period.

  14. mkh    Wed Jun 21, 05:41 PM #  

    “I repeated the fact about holocaust denier because I agree with it. These are the name calling tactics that the left enjoys using against people that they disagree with. If I had a dime for every time Bush was called a Nazi…”

    I agree insofar as words do mean things, and denier is a loaded word. However, it is disingenuous at best to pretend this is a tactic used solely by the left; if magically deprived of weasel-words both Bush and Rove would be struck dumb on the spot, and Fox News would be dead air.

    If you are going to complain about the use of this term, at least have the courage to ‘fess up to your own team using the same tactics. (And judging from the state of the government, using them with greater skill.)

  15. conductor    Wed Jun 21, 10:10 PM #  

    Look they’ve conducted studies on how many times the words “right-wing republicans” are used vs. “left-wing Democrats.” It’s a joke.

    But none of that has anything to do with Climate Change.

  16. alesh    Wed Jun 21, 11:32 PM #  

    I’ll bet those studies were done by right-wing republicans.

    Seriously, though; I believe them, but “right-wing republicans” has a much better ring to it; doesn’t that account for it’s higher prevalence in the literature?

    btw, sorry if i keep saying shit that makes it sound like i still think you wrote the thing. I’ve made corrections in my post.

    Honestly, I’m not qualified to get into the global warming debate with anyone.

    Blame the asshole intelligent design people – one scientist vs. the entire rest of the scientific community, and the science-ignorant right-wing republicans make it sound like a legitimate scientific debate. So the fact that they can make global warming sound like a legitimate scientific debate is NOT IMPRESSIVE. The fact is that it’s settled stuff.

    And when guys like Dr. Ball or Dr. Singer stick up for the other side, just enough of their rage and politics is visible between their comments to easily confirm my belief that the actual scientific debate is well settled.

    A legitimate point is the “would the US’s signing of the Kyoto treaty make and damned difference” debate. But I think that the US taking responsibility for 5% population 25% consumption on the global stage would be a good step forward. And probably good for the economy.

  17. gansibele    Thu Jun 22, 12:25 AM #  

    “If I had a dime for every time Bush was called a Nazi…”

    I’ll put that putative fortune of yours against the one I’ll make if I had a dime every time conservatives have called, oh let’s say Hillary, a commie or a lesbo or both. Wait, make that Ann Coulter alone, and I think I’m still ahead.

    So no jodas. You guys invented, patented and franchised the name calling.

    “So I think the historic record clearly shows that a warmer period is better for human beings than a colder period. And I would be much more afraid of adapting to a coming ice age than adapting to a coming warmer period.”

    OK, so now you are saying that global warming is a reality and it’s a good thing? Which is which? And let’s say it’s better to adapt to a “warmer period” which I’ll concede in principle- having catastrophic floods in coastal areas would not have worse economic consequences than that 35% energy reduction you are deploring?

    You are fond of saying “it’s big shit sandwich and we’ll have to take a bite”. The question to me is how big a bite? Do we do something while we can or should we just wait and see how far up the mountains we’ll have to move?

  18. Val Prieto    Thu Jun 22, 10:02 AM #  

    I certainly dont know enough about the Global Warming issue to offer any reasonable debate, nor have I seen Gore’s documentary, but one thing is pretty clear to me:

    Apparently we have to stop or dramatically curtail the burning of fossil fuels so the sky doesnt fall down.

    Im all for it. Now, can someone please tell me how we’re supposed to do that without a complete destruction of economies?

    I suppose everyone here has a car, right? Are you willing to stop using it? Are you willing to get up a few hours earlier everyday to take public transportation or ride a bike to work and be on time?

    And what about plastics? Are you willing to give up on bottled water and drink only tap water? Plastic’s made from petroleum isnt it?

    And how many people here from Miami are willing to live without A/C? At home and in the car which you arent supposed to be using?

    Let’s think about that for a second.

    Just one day in the life of a Miami global warming conscious person:

    You wake up in a pool of sweat as you just slept without air conditioning. It was a hot night and the heat and sweat made for a bad night’s sleep. So you get up and take a cold shower as you are saving energy and not running your water heater all night.

    the cold shower isnt enough to wake you up and you need coffee, but in order to make it you need to run the stove which consumes alot of energy as well. Youre global warming conscious so you decided to use the stove only once a day, so you turn it on, make coffee and then make your dinner as well in order to conserve energy.

    You no longer have a car since you trashed it so you need to depend on either mass transit or pedal power. Lets say you ride your bike to work, which happens to be, say, 5 miles away. Five miles on a bike in Miami sure does cause a sweat and by the time you get to your office you are soaking in sweat and flush with heat. But the A/C in the office isnt running either. So its hot, youre hot and since you just rode 5 miles on a bike to work you are thirsty as well. But you no longer buy bottled water as plastic is a petroleum product and you are trying to conserve fossil fuels. And tap water has all those nasty chemicals and such. Sure, you can have a soda or something, but that will just make you more thirsty in the long run. Your only recourse then if you need the safe drinking water is to boil some tap water but then you would have to use energy to boil the water in the first place. you would have a water filter, but those things are made out of plastic as well and they use carbon, another fossil fuel you are trying to conserve.

    I could go on and on and I know the above is ridiculous and exagerated, but let’s have some reasonable solutions proposed and leave the “sky is falling” chicken little approach out of this.

    I mean, seriously, who here is willing to live without A/C in Miami? I certainly aint.

  19. gansibele    Thu Jun 22, 12:20 PM #  

    I would love to take public transportation (and this comes from a car fanatic). I take it in every city I go where it’s available. It gets you wherever you are going faster than being stuck in gridlock all the time. It takes me an hour in the morning to travel 11 miles, which is ridiculous. Ask any Londoner.

    I already drink tap water from a reverse osmosis system. And buying a thermos is no big deal.

    I lived with no AC all my life in Cuba and in Belize, so no big deal there. You get used to it. BTW, if it’s that important, you can set up solar panels on your roof. Too expensive? Well, keep up energy prices and see if enough people aren’t going to demand them and see if good old capitalism isn’t going to develop more affordable technologies. BTW, prices on solar panels are half of what they were 5 years ago. I know because I’ve priced them twice and seriously considering installing them.

    The good part about all this is that it’s coming, like it or not. The street/highway infrastructure in Miami for example, can’t support the number of cars we have and the rate we are adding new ones. Public transportation is the only way to go.

  20. Rebecca Carter    Thu Jun 22, 12:26 PM #  

    It’s not about living without or all of us becoming hippies…it’s about changing the way things are made. It is absolutely possible to create products that are not filled with toxins, to have water coming out of a factory cleaner than it went it, and to save money and make huge profits along the way. If anything, I believe the greening of society is an economy booster. Books and concepts such as Cradle to Cradle explain all of this, in such a way that I can’t believe it hasn’t been more widely adopted overnight.

    Just some ideas on Val’s comments above. Super windows exist that keep a home at a comfortable temperature without heat or A/C when the outside temps are close to freezing all the way up to 115 degrees F. Public transit is great, but if you want to use a car, consider biodiesel to bring you to low or zero emissions. Use a reusable bottle for your water, made from eco-friendly products. Or maybe they need to invent a more environmentally friendly bottle (Cradle to Cradle says why not have it in a quickly bio-degradable bottle that could be thrown on the ground…and have it made of a material that would actually help the soil or plant a seed?). We need options to get off of the grid here in Florida and use solar and other forms of natural energy…we are the sunshine state afterall. Many homes in other parts of the country produce enough electricity to run their home and surplus enough to sell back to the power company. Big office buildings should have green roofs to insulate and drink up the CO2. This coupled with other solutions, the buildings could produce all of the energy they need.

    It’s not about losing 100 years of technology and advancements, but finally opening our eyes to see that we now have the ability and the awareness to allow us to do things the right way. We can create energy without oil, we can live in a zero-waste environment…the possiblities are endless. And it doesn’t mean we have to suffer or even stop shopping.

  21. KH    Thu Jun 22, 01:42 PM #  

    I grew up in Miami without A/C. If new houses were built with a consideration for cross-ventilation, or were built with attic fans, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. An attic fan, in case anyone doesn’t know what I’m talking about, is an enormous fan in the ceiling, in between the living space and the attic space. When turned on, it sucks a huge volume of air out of the living space (and consequently air from outside into the living space), and it can get so cold at night (even in a Florida summer) that you need a blanket. Granted, I don’t know how much energy an attic fan uses vs A/C, but an attic fan is not usually on all day, and it doesn’t use freon.

    I also commuted by bicycle (and rail and bus) for 16 years, including while living in Miami. I have a kid now, so we have one car. But I’ll tell you, the populace would be a lot more fit if it would bike and walk a little more.

    Life without A/C is more quiet and peaceful, life spent commuting by bike brings better health, both mentally and physically. An energy-wanton life is not just bad for the environment and the earth, it’s bad for human mental health (in so many ways, too many to get into here!).

    [About the sweat business—a change of clothes for work is the way to go. Alternately, when my mom was young, men like her dad routinely wore Bermuda-short suits for business; why not now?]

    It’s not an all-or-nothing behavior change equation. Imagine if even the Right Wing Republicans (I’m going to try to use that phrase now—I’ve never used it before) would do a just a little bit more to reduce energy—if everyone takes just a few steps to conserve it adds up to much more than you think.

    I’m kind of surprised the RWR aren’t into conservation; it’s inherently conservative. It makes me suspect that their position is more about the energy industry making a buck.

    So, yeah. Green buildings, solar power, recycled products, all of Rebecca’s suggestions—a little more effort and a little less complaining about losing the luxuries of life. Better than losing life, don’t you think?

    [And about the economy—aside from potential economic destruction from flooding due to ignoring global warming, if you don’t think there’s money to be made off of being green, then you’re not paying attention.]

    Jeez. Sorry for writing so much. Guess I got worked up.

  22. KH    Thu Jun 22, 02:36 PM #  

    Hey. I just realized I pulled that number 16 out of thin air. The actual number is 10. I spent ten years commuting by bike, rail and train. I may have traded my math skills in when I got the car. ;)

  23. Val Prieto    Thu Jun 22, 03:28 PM #  

    Ok guys. Your points are all valid ones. But first, I am not willing to give up my A/C. If you guys are bold enough to do that, more power to ya. I lived two weeks post Wilma without it and will never live without it again. Sorry.

    As for solar panels. Gansibele, have you tried to get those panel’s installation approved through the building department? Good luck with that.

    As for the other suggestions, theyre all fine and dandy. But unless those all become economically feasible, I hardly think we could expect the majority, even a slight majority, to be able to afford them.

  24. Rebecca Carter    Thu Jun 22, 05:10 PM #  

    I guess my point is that if enough of us (including gov’t and business) decide that it’s important, it would be amazing how fast the changes could be made. I heard a stat recently, that I haven’t confirmed, that since Seattle decided to go along with Kyoto, they achieved 60% of their goals in two years, with the orginal deadline of 2012. This world, and especially this country, has the ability to move very fast to accomplish goals…when they want to.

    The question I’ve had ever since seeing An Inconvenient Truth, is why this is a political issue. I see huge money in “green”, so I don’t buy that it’s bad for business. Why do so many people spend time arguing about climate change and other environmental issues? Why can’t we just work together to improve the situation? Does it all come down to issues like campaign donations?

    By the way, I think KH’s idea of wearing climate appropriate clothes to work is great. And let’s not keep these buildings so cold that we need sweaters in June!

  25. gansibele    Thu Jun 22, 07:19 PM #  

    Not only are solar panels approved for use in Miami-Dade, I understand the county will give you a tax incentive for using them, thanks to Kathy Sorenson. You should know that.

  26. alesh    Thu Jun 22, 07:54 PM #  


    Thanks for getting into the discussion. I’m the farthest thing you’ll ever see from a climate expert, too. But there’s one thing I want to make very clear: I’m sure as hell not giving up my AC or my car (or, knock on wood, the AC in my car).

    I don’t think it’s coming down to that, though. And personally, I do think that environmentalists tend to overstate problems (though their intentions are good, I believe), especially in consideration of the fact that our planet is very good at recovering from our damage, once we change our behavior. Acid rain, polluted water, and smog are but three problems that were pretty big in the 80/90’s, and are doing much better today.

    Why? Because human beings recognized they were doing harm to their planet, and changed accordingly. It didn’t destroy anyone’s economy, and it didn’t require exorbitant sacrifices. The same can happen for our carbon emissions.

    What IS required is incremental changes along a few different avenues. And it can happen at a number of different levels. Check my list:

    1. a few people switch to public transportation
    2. a few others use public transportation SOME of the time
    3. a few more drive less, combine their trips, etc.
    4. a few carpool
    5. a few get rid of their SUV’s and get regular cars
    6. a few get rid of their cars and buy Hybrids
    7. car emission technology improves
    8. the government passes stricter emission standards (at this point I get a little fucking pissed off, because Hummers don’t fall into the consumer vehicle regulations because they’re too BIG, so they essentially have unregulated emissions)
    9. the government encourages long-term investment in biodisel and hydrogen energy

    Nothing on that list imposes anything harsh on anyone, and taken together those steps will make a BIG difference in auto emissions. It requires a combination of government intervention and personal responsibility. The latter is where Gore’s movie comes in.

    Similar changes can be applied in other areas of emissions (for example, I think we need more nuclear power plants, but nevermind that).

    C’mon… from your comment it’s obvious you know a lot of this stuff. You admit yourself that you’re presenting a drastic scenario… but a much milder, and voluntary, scenario could make a HUGE difference. It has before.

    (ps bottled water is bad for a million reasons, bigups tap water)

    KH~ Don’t apoligize for writing ‘too much’! (and why is it that your writing is better when you’re a little pissed off?) Your example is valuable. But I’m with Val on this one – you’re not ever, ever, EVER getting me to give up the AC. I’m sweaty by nature (slavic blood, you know). When my job is 5 blocks from my apt I’ll walk or bike. Otherwise, I’m firing up my car (a modest little hatchback, I might add).

    I also wanted to drop in a note about the Kyoto Protocol, since one of the claims going around is that even if the US adopted it, it wouldn’t make any difference:

    The us is 5% of the world’s population, and uses 25% of the world’s energy. We live in opulence relative to most people living today, and esp. to most of history. If Kyoto is nothing more then a symbol, we should embrace it anyway, just to show the world we only give a shit about ourselves. Invading Iraq was allegedly about doing some good; why not sign Kyoto? Who knows how far the goodwill ripple effects would go from something like that (actually, at this point nevermind good will; it would counteract some of the mounting animosity we’re experiencing from the other 95%)?

  27. Val Prieto    Fri Jun 23, 09:14 AM #  


    I dont know how much you deal with the building department, but I do so on a daily basis. And while any given home building product may have MDPC Approval, it doesnt automatically mean that all will be well when you try to permit their installation. Trust me on this, it’s a domino effect that most times leads to time consuming and costly situations. My point is that while the solar panels are available, and even if you do get a tax incentive for having them installed, the Florida Building code, specifically here in Miami, is a bitch. You might end up having to take remedial action with your roofing, the roof structure, the solar panel structural elements, the solar panels themselves, etc…

    I suppose you could install them ala Hialeah, without a permit, but chances are come the first Hurriacane you’ll be looking for new ones.

    All Im saying is that it’s costly.


    Bingo. You hit the nail on the head. I truly believe that many many more people would jump on the bandwagon if they were presented with a sane and reasonable argument for it instead of the cats and dogs living together, fire and brimstone, we are all DOOMED! DOOMED I SAY!! approach.

    The scare tactics just dont cut it, IMHO.

  28. Rebecca Carter    Fri Jun 23, 09:44 AM #  

    Sarasota and some other local governments have a “green fast-track” program…if you are requesting permits/doing paperwork for a building that will be green, it gets through the process in 2-3 days instead of weeks on end. I think it’s a great idea, and one that Miami should look into.

    By the way, in the movie they show how mpg in US cars are so ridiculously low compared to other parts of the world…the technology exists today and we’re not using it.

  29. Steve Klotz    Fri Jun 23, 10:21 AM #  

    The GW debate is over. The residual flat-earthers out there continue to rattle the bars of their cages, but unless you’re in the mood for a chuckle, just ignore them. It’s only about money, as always. Remember, the tobacco industry deployed scientists to argue for the harmlessness of their products for decades. And GM’s engineers swore it was impossible to make a 20mpg automobile Americans would accept. Prescient, yes?

    There are a zillion ways to reduce dependence on fuel that generates dangerous greenhouse gasses. Visit the websites of any environmental organization on earth and you’ll find them, from your own individual, personal consumption to macroeconmic policies of entire nations. Tedious reading.

    There are political considerations, of course: after all, it’s trillions of dollars here. Internationally, progress has been plodding, altho the Green Party gains influence in western Europe, and in smaller American communities (disclosure: I’m a card-carrying Green in Broward County, one of 300).

    It begins with attitudes, which is why those with a financial stake in the status quo squeal so loudly, so often, point figures, pull faces, and call names. A few more natural disasters should stop the crap. Just today there’s another story out about a study that links GW and nasty hurricanes.

    Meanwhile, I’m going to the beach before it comes to me!

  30. gansibele    Fri Jun 23, 10:34 AM #  

    Thanks for your concern Val. In the city where I live, as long as a product is Dade county approved, they do the inspections quickly and give you minimum hassle. It’s also one of the most progressive city administrations in the county and they would love to see more people install the panels. So I’m set. The sky won’t be falling.

    Alesh you don’t have to give up your AC – but wouldn’t you want to have a more efficient one or cross ventilation or windows that insulate your house better? Nobody is saying you have to do it, just like nobody says you have to buy a hybrid instead of a Hummer. Yes, enviros overstate things (just like many other advocates); like you, I think nuclear power it’s a much better way to go and the enviros who oppose it are mistaken. But many times it takes strong advocacy to make people take action. From example: the reason we have ULEV engines today is because California has had the stringest emissions standards for decades and automakers didn’t want to give up the biggest market in the country, so they were forced to develop the technology. This didn’t bankrupt Honda or Toyota or Subaru. Instead, the companies in trouble are GM and Ford, the ones who decided to ride the SUV vawe and now don’t have the R&D to compete. They could do that because federal standards apply to all the manufacture’s lineup (if you want to keep making gas-guzzling Suburbans, all you have to do is make enough 4 cylinder Aveos to compensate, even if you lose money on every one). The reason Ford sells cars that are much more fuel efficient in Europe than here is because European governments impose a much bigger gas-guzzler tax and gas cost twice as much because of taxes, so people just won’t buy an Explorer V8.

  31. conductor    Fri Jun 23, 10:42 PM #  

    None of this even comes close to answering the question about how much human behavior contributes to global warming or global cooling (depending on which crisis scenario from which decade the doomsayers are/were selling).

    Scientists all agree that temperatures on earth have varied greatly (even in just the last 1000 years, forget about the the last 10,000 or million years). So to what degree do human activities influence these changes?

    I think it’s a litte egotistical to expect earth conditions should remain static in perpetuity just so humans can inhabit the planet. The earth was around (and changing) well before human roamed it and it will probably be around long after we’re gone.

    Gansibele, I don’t have to tell you that we don’t need global warming to have a catastrophic flood. Ask the people that bore the brunt of the tsunami.

    No scientist can tell you that if all human activity ceased tomorrow that global temperatures would stop rising. Any that does, is a liar. If global warming didn’t exist without Humans the vast land masses of the earth would still be covered with ice.

    If anyone is bending science to make politics it’s the liberals.

    As far the U.S. and its consumption vs. Kyoto let me ask this question.

    So we are supposed to limit our consumption and emissions while we excuse developing countries (where the population is booming by the way) from any of the same restrictions, so they can become richer and become polluting consumers in their own right?

    Sounds like more of a wealth redistribution scheme than an environmental treaty to me.

  32. Rebecca Carter    Fri Jun 30, 04:21 PM #  

    By the way, just wanted to provide a link. The people over at DeSmogBlog not the only people that I found that have issues with Tim Ball (the expert on the podcast mentioned above), but they are among the most vocal. They even made a Tim Ball category.