Wednesday, March 25, 2015

No SUVs on Mars, and no warming either

After reading recently that pits in the Mars polar CO2 ice caps were determined to be cyclical and not evidence of Martian climate change, I thought I'd do a cleanup post.

Time was that denialists relied on rather thinly-sourced evidence of potential warming on Mars to say it's proved, proved I tell you, that the warming that Earth has not even experienced came from the Sun. You saw and heard stuff like this:

I could've sworn that the SUV reference came from Michael Crichton originally, but digging around didn't confirm it.  Inhoffe was into it, though. Here's the 'scientific' source of the claim:

Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of space research at St. Petersburg's Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, says the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun. 
"The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars," he said.

So much for that.

To be sure, we don't necessarily know what's happening on Mars, we haven't studied it as long and as closely as Earth. Solar irradiance is well studied though and not the cause of the warming we're seeing on EArth. 

Pesticide drinks for thee but not for me

Patrick Moore, the climate denialist who falsely claims to have helped found Greenpeace (UPDATE: facts are unclear, see David Lewis' comments. Either the pre-2008 documents were wrong or someone did dubious editing at Greenpeace) most recently offered his expertise to deny any health risks associated with glyphosate. Embedding the video didn't work, so here's the link to it, and key dialog below:

Moore:  you can drink a whole quart of it [glyphosate] and it won't hurt you. 
Interviewer:  You want to drink some? We have some here. 
Moore:  I'd be happy to, actually. Not, not really, but... 
Interviewer:  Not really? 
Moore: I know it wouldn't hurt me. 
Interviewer:  If you say so I have some glyphosate... 
Moore:  I'm not stupid. 
Interviewer:  So it's dangerous, right? 
Moore:  People try to commit suicide with it and fail fairly regularly. 
Interviewer:  Let's tell the truth, it's dangerous. 
Moore:  It's not dangerous to humans, no it's not. 
Interviewer:  So you are ready to drink one glass of glyphosate? 
Moore:  No I'm not an idiot. 

Shortly afterwards, Moore cuts off the interview and walks away.

Funny but also sad that an old man like that is so ready to lie. Drinking glyphosate is something that's okay for other people, but he's not stupid enough to actually believe the things he's saying.

I wonder if he continues to use the "you can drink it" line in contexts where he can't be challenged with a glass.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ringberg 2015: Andy Dessler ECS > 2K

Andy Dessler posted his Ringberg 2015 talk on climate sensitivity.


Eli is famous for finding simple solutions to complex problems, although also aware that while every complex problem has a simple solution it is often wrong.  Be that as it may, the recent post about indoor air pollution pointed out that the problem, and it is a big one, is not the cooking stove, but the exhaust, better put the lack of it, because it is real hard to ween anyone away from their accustomed way of fooding and because of that, introduction of fancy dancy cooking stoves has not worked.  Worse, although many are burning shit (dried shit, but shit none the less) or dead plants, and these are not ideal fuels, they are cheap fuels and there is no hope of weaning the poor away from them as long as they are poor.

Now the moral of the tale here is that Eli is perturbed, nay angry, that the following simple solution occurred to the bunny when egged on by Tom Fuller.  Angry?  Well it means that Eli can no longer think of Tom as useless, but here it is.   Tom ended a comment with

Your argument about the ventilation being the problem rather than the cooking is true, but really reminds me of what a SF comedian used to say--'Guns don't kill people. It's those darn bullets.' 
To which Eli replied off the tip of his ears
For venting, even a small fan run off solar electricity in the wall near the cooker could make a significant contribution.
But this is not such a bad solution, because moving the effluvia out of the house, while it would not completely solve the problem, would certainly minimize it and save much health and lives.  So, of course, there is always the google and the google found a solution, a small exhaust fan with an integrated solar cell panel that could easily be put into just about any house or hovel.  Turns out, and on reflection, no surprise, that such things are made for RVs.  Still probably too expensive, this one is $25.67, but in large quantities, maybe not made so well, it looks like it could make a difference.

Put a simple screen filter on it and it would be even better.  The fan units are designed to be mounted on RV roofs, on top of plumbing vents and come with a one year guarantee.  Just the sort of thing that people could donate to organizations like Heifer International or Oxfam or the Gates Foundation could buy by the millions.

Monday, March 23, 2015

On Cooking Steak

Since Rabett Run appears to be working on the culinary side, and the first steak has been thrown out opening the barbecue season in the Northern Hemisphere Eli thought he would share a useful trick.

The problem with cooking steaks or roasts is to get a nice crusty outside while leaving the center, well, unshoeleathered, or the inverse, with the center nice and the shade of red you like while the outside is pasty brown.

What the Bunny is about to betray is one of those utterly revolting secrets that works on the thickest steaks and roasts without the expense and time necessary for using a sous vide.

Build the hottest fire you can, or turn the broiler up to nuclear or heat the frying pan red hot  THEN toss the steak into the microwave for a minute to three or so minutes.  Season the steak with salt and pepper and a little olive oil.  The time for microwaving depends on how red you want the center, from blu to rare to medium rare.  That takes a bit of trial and error and the degree of doneness should be a bit less than you want to eat because of what follows. Another benefit is that even for thick cuts, the meat is evenly done inside.  A little more olive oil, maybe even butter and salt and pepper at this point is a good thing.

You then toss the steak onto the fire, into the oven, into the pan, in front of the blowtorch, into the pit of hell, whatever and crust the outside.  This procedure shortens the cooking time by separating cooking the inside and the outside.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

On Cooking

This started out to be a very very very very snarky take on why Bjorn Lomborg, Roger Jr. and assorted others are just dangerous when they go on about how coal electrification is needed to eliminate indoor pollution in Africa and Asia, but indoor pollution from cooking and heating using biomass or coal is a huge problem, killing many each year, and among many there is a dangerous naivety.

Further, this problem is no secret, and there is a considerable literature, easily found, but allow Eli a few moments to lay it out.

The first point is that the issue is not fuel, but ventilation.  Many bunnies have, or have prior experience with wood stoves and the older amongst us with coal stoves.  While there are issues with external air pollution, a good chimney moves the problem out of the house.  Of course, if your house is a hut or less, a good chimney is well beyond the cost of your house.

The second point is that the poor will always use the cheapest fuel, that is why they are called the poor, so substituting a more expensive fuel such as LPG or natural gas and certainly not fossil fuel generated electricity simply does not work.   It has been tried.  Further, in poor places, an entire infrastructure has been developed to provide biomass fuel of all types, if you forbid burning of biomass, many people who were making a bare living providing the fuel no longer have an income.

The third point is that a better, more efficient stove has value, the value is in lower pollution because the burning is more efficient, less fuel needed, e.g. less deforestation, etc., but the problem, of course is that better stoves are more expensive and unfamiliar.  There have been successes, but these involved subsidies for the stoves, creating local industries to manufacture the stoves, and careful attention that the stoves were not far removed from what people were used to cooking on so that there was no culture shock. Improved cookstoves designed in a laboratory for maximum efficiency and minimum pollution without consideration of convenience and how people cook simply are rejected even when handed out for nothing. Solar cookers run headlong into this problem.

OK?  Eli will turn the snark machine on again, but do go do some reading.  Here is a review article.

Majic Words

From Forecast the Facts a bit of interplay about FEMA's new rules on disaster planning in view of climate change.  Government employees in Rick Scott's Florida have a problem

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Arguing From Both Sides of Their Wallets

Bleating about the poors from the receiving end of one percenter funding is a sure marker that the debate is going badly for them.  They only pretend to care when they profit from the pretend.

Consider the response when bunnies point out that the first big losers from climate change are going to be the South Asians and the Africans:  Ain't happening, not our problem is what Eli hears from the Willard Tony crowd. The good Bishop blesses the happening. The Luckwarmers snipe from the sidelines, more into the game than the reality.  But reactionaries know that those seeking to limit damage from climate change and environmental degradation have a concern for others and the Earth which is why they try it on in an attempt to slow down progress

Allow Eli to step back to yesteryear, in some sense to yesterdays, or the days before, when Rabett Run pointed out the amoral use of the "hurting the poors" argument in the Spectator, which he found in a jeremiad by Fred Singer.  Singer, of course, is quite the amoral contortionist, but he outdoes himself, when on one page he berates those concerned with the ozone depletion for harming the poors

The bitter irony, not mentioned in the article is that even if the CFC-ozone theory were correct in all respects, darker skinned people living in the tropics would get none of the alleged benefits of "protecting" the ozone layer.  The depletion of ozone is calculated to occur mainly at middle and high latitudes, and skin cancers are confined almost exclusively to fair-skinned people.  What then is the incentive for tropical nations to phase out CFCs?  And if they don't go along, will it be worthwhile for the developed countries to impose high costs on their citizens for a negligible return, in the absence of full international participation
forgetting (even then Fred was very old and very deviously delusional and very well paid to write such stuff) that a page back he had accused the developing countries of extorting the developed world
Of course, the key to the CFC content of the atmosphere is eventually in the hands of the developing countries that make up the bulk of the world's population.  These countries have asked for side payments, properly referred to as bribes, in order to accede to the Protocol. . . . 
To the developing countries the Protocol is simply a means to advance their concept of "international equity" which began nearly 25 years ago with the New International Economic Order.  "China and India threatened to increase their uses of CFCs, thereby breaking the Montreal Protocol if the fund were not approved.  Harris then recounts how the United States finally gave in to blackmail by "the major international donors joined with the developing states and the World Bank"
Substitute Agenda 21 for the New International Economic Order, coal for CFCs and the same nonsense can be found in every James Inhofe wanna be speak.  It really gets quite old.  Fred, of course, is not one to miss a trick, and after accusing the developing world of extorting payments, goes on to moan about how loss of CFC's would hurt the people of the developing nations, which, of course, assumes no benefit from those "bribes".

This is really quite spectacular, first S. Fred argues that the developing nations want financial help for adopting the Montreal Protocols and phasing out CFCs, and this is greedy of them.  Then he argues that the developing nations and their people would not be hurt by ozone depletion so they should not adopt the Montreal Protocols.  A new high for convenient cognitive dissonance.

Eli inquires:  Has Bjorn Lomborg hired Fred Singer as chief ghost writer?

Friday, March 20, 2015

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

A Rashomon update on climate betting

So 2015 is coming in hot, .75C in January and .79C above base period in February, and nothing indicating that March is cooling. The rest of the year can be slightly colder than 2014 and still end up a record, the first time since 1998 that we had record years back-to-back.

While short term data on climate isn't especially meaningful, I have a particular interest in this - in addition to the minor issue of human and environmental welfare, I've got $9,000 riding on it. David Evans and I made a series of bets in 2007, and 2015 is the first year that starts counting against the baseline. David has the details here, but to sum up it's comparing 5-year averages, and we're betting both on temps warming either somewhat less than IPCC projected for the next few decades or much less (David acknowledges some warming is possible). I need temps to increase .13C/decade over the 2005-2009 baseline to win one bet and not lose/void the other one, and .18C/decade to win both.

The Rashomon aspect comes from whether the bet looks like good news or bad news depending on your focus. I'm winning the first two months of the five year period from 2015 to 2019, which is good for me but not all that definitive. Prior to 2015, comparing years that didn't count, I was losing the bets, and prior to 2014 I was losing them badly.

One way to view it:  if you focus just on the stats and forget all your priors about the science, and if you ignore the stats for the many years preceding the baseline period, then I think you'd rather be in David's shoes than mine, despite my little head start. If 2015 stays warm at the end of this year then you might feel differently, even retaining this constrained viewpoint.

I think it's a reasonable perspective, but too constrained. If you look at a longer period and consider reasonable scientific priors about what you expect to happen, then I think I still have good bets. There's also what I said in 2007 that I "at worst lose one bet, win most of them, and void the rest." I also said I had the best chance of losing the early 10-year bets as opposed to the longer 15 and 20 year bets. Not so different from my expectation.

The other interesting bet to look at is James Annan's, where he's over halfway through the determining period for his bet. He's coy about it but he's trouncing his betting partners who thought temps would actually decline compared to 1998-2003.

A perspective I think would be interesting to hear from is the two men he's betting with. While their economic interest would be to wait and hope for a miraculous change, they have other reputational interests. Rather than continuing to be wrong this year and for the next two years and then finally paying up, I'd end the period of being wrong now if I were them, write James a check, and start being right.

The Future for Popcorn Is Bright

Some time ago, back at the beginning of time, Eli pointed out that the Obama administration was offering Republicans in Congress a choice between the lady and the tyger on passing laws regulating CO2 emissions, and of course, as everyone knows, the Republicans chose the tiger. 

About a week ago, Mitch McConnell told Republican governors to blow off the EPA and not bother to file a state plan to limit carbon dioxide emissions.

Today, the Federal Emergency Management Administration named the price

 Starting next year, the agency will approve disaster preparedness funds only for states whose governors approve hazard mitigation plans that address climate change.
and as the song goes,
There's hurricanes in Florida and Texas needs rain.
Takes money to plan for that.
If you don't want it, don't complain
This takes effect in March of 2016, before the next general election in the US.  The thing that Mitch and his friends don't appreciate is that Obama does not get mad, ask Osama.  Oh wait. . .

Planning Your Winter Ski and Skate Party

The winter is over, none too soon for some, and ho-hum for others.  Naturally when something is over, the Rabett household turns to planning for the next.  Where shall we have our ski and skate party next winter, Ms. Rabett inquires in that start saving for the expedition voice of hers.  Ms. Rabett is quite fond of travel which she regards as the only up side, besides plumbing, of Eli's vocation.

What about visiting your sister in the far north of New England Eli replies in the fond hope of perhaps coming in under budget.  Too much snow she says and besides it is cold.  Well, the Rabett points out, we hear that that is not too much of a problem in Sweden.  Eli's friend RayP writes that Vasaloppet week is on life support with the 15,800 cross country skiers hot on the trail of  King Gustave Vasa dependent on artificial snow being trucked in, and it is getting too warm to make the snow.
Last year the race was nearly canceled because key parts of the track were too boggy to allow passage of the equipment used to deliver snow and maintain the track. The race was rescued only at the last minute through rescued only by artificial snow.
I was not one of those 15,800 lucky ones to get a bib and doubt if I could have finished the race if I did, but I did ski a considerable portion of the track back in February. 
It was a vacation—a quaint idea that still exists in Europe—and I was prompted to think of what the future holds for the course just as the temperature crept past the upper range of my “universal” silver  ski wax and I started sliding backward down the hills. By the time I was heading home, things were pushing the 12-degree C top range of the KR70 Aqua klister ski wax. (Any warmer than that and you’re not skiing, your waterskiing.)
Sounds good she said, Swedes are rich, they can afford the snow, but wait, I hear that Canada is the place to go.  Well, maybe Eli said, it's so warm there these winters (places in Eastern Canada may demur) that they took the outdoor skating rink off the fiver.  Future Canadians will say of the long winters that they lived in the school, the church and the indoor rink.  Outdoor rinks are disappearing earlier and earlier and in some cases never appearing.  Where will you skate young Wayne Gretsky is the question on all frozen lips? But the backyard rink ain't one of the places given current trends unless granddad is some sort of mining investor with big pockets for the cooler and a blog.

Simon Donner knows, and he is not happy.

in an understated Canadian sort of way.  Andy Skuce on Skeptical Science has a more complete discussion with a link to a Globe and Mail article on bill redesign with leaked documents.  In the discussion is a statement from the design consultants that anything with snow would be risky because global warming.  So they got the robot arm on the space station.

Well, Ms. Rabett said, there is always Alaska.  Bad news Eli said, Alaska is so warm that the Iditerod has to move considerably north to find enough snow and you can practically go out in shorts most populated places this January (Rabetts are tough beasts but maybe not that tough).

We could go to California said the apple of Eli's eye.  Well, if you want to broil in LA with nothing to drink that would be a good place.

The South Sea, the Antipodes, Ms. Rabett offered.  Big cyclones downered Eli

Ms. Rabett played here last card?  Well where can we go, Antarctica?  Stay away from the coast said Eli