Beyond the Cusp

April 22, 2018

Happy Earth Day Fair World

 

This is the day when Gaia the Earth Goddess is worshipped across the developed world and evil fossil fuels are blamed for every ill that the climate has produced since the invention of the first oil lamp powered by whale blubber. We need to remember that whale oil was also a fossil fuel. May we inform everybody of one result of changing our fuel source to the oil and coal buried in the ground was the restoration of the whale population which would have easily shrunk to none had we continued to try and run modernity on whale oil. We all know where that would have ended, whales hunted to extinction. We almost ended up there even with earth bound fossil fuels and later the oil and gas under our oceans and seas. But all of the advantages we have and the comfortable lives with heat when it is freezing outside, cool rooms when it is meltingly hot outside, and transport to and from the next Earth Day demonstration because five miles is too far to have to walk. We have attended Earth Day rallies and watched as some politician leaves the stage after making a sweepingly emotional speech whipping up the crowd and proceeds to get into a nice limousine which, if they are considered important enough of their self-image demands, is part of a five vehicle convoy just to guarantee they make it home to Bethesda or Georgetown or across the river near Crystal City where one can look across the river and see the Washington Mall (see image below). Back when Earth Day was founded, April 22, 1970, some of us here at BTC had the honor of attending an actual, first of it kind, Earth Day rally in downtown Washington D.C. where the politicians arrived in their vehicles as did most of the protesters including those brought in busses with manufactured formally printed Earth Day signs. We had a harder time finding parking anywhere close to the Mall in downtown Washington D.C. where parking was worse than on a holiday weekend. Imagine that there were more vehicles parked near to the Mall than usual because a large number of people drove to the first Earth Day rally in the nation’s capital. I presume that was likely true at many of the initial Earth Day rallies. That is not unusual at rallies where mostly suburban youth and adults drive to the rallies because walking actually would be problematic.

 

Crystal City, Virginia Looking Toward Washington DC

Crystal City, Virginia Looking Toward Washington DC

 

This Earth Day we will hear speeches about how the energy companies such as ExxonMobil have created threats to the planet and every animal beyond imagination. We are told that ecologist professors and researchers have performed computer simulations which show that the world will continue warming and the oceans will rise destroying many cities including most of lower Manhattan. Would anyone be interested in knowing what we were protesting and demanding that the government address. Well, it really would amaze many to know that what we feared in 1970 on Earth Day, which was some means of stemming the increasing ice in the Arctic and Antarctic as well as the Greenland glacier and most glaciers around the globe and the cooling which had been occurring making those making prediction fearing the coming Ice Age. That is the truth, in the 1970’s we feared for the Earth and our continued civilization when the imminent Ice Age would arrive. Imagine that if we were to hold a retro-rally and rally as we did in the first Earth Day, we would be carrying Global Cooling signs and would be talking about fearing the coming Ice Age and the oceans freezing over and becoming ice skating rinks within the next couple of hundred years. They had computers that were more primitive, but they still spit out models and predictions, which were still used to predict the future of global weather patterns and they predicted a coming Ice Age. We have included a graph prepared by Climatologists Cliff Harris and Meteorologist Randy Mann which uses researched data from ice cores and whatever else can be used to produce this history of Global Temperatures from 2500 B.C. through to predictions reaching to 2040 A.D. which will prove that predicting global trends is probably very similar to predicting the weather a month in advance.

 

Global Temperatures from 2500 B.C. through 2040 A.D.

Global Temperatures from 2500 B.C. through 2040 A.D.

 

Someone here at BTC majored in theoretical mathematics and knows a little about computers as he learned programming in the ALGOL computer language, which is not in use to the best of our knowledge, and we understand why. But the one thing we can tell you is when somebody makes a model for a computer to run and foretell the future, there is really little possibility that those setting up the system do not know initially what the results will be when the simulation is run. What is counterintuitive is that the more complex the model, the less likely that the programmers who set up the model do not know what will be the results when the program is run. This is why every model back in the 1970’s showed a coming and unavoidable Ice Age which did not cause the requisite mass hysteria desired, and now the new models all show Global Warming which has given the people working on climate change the exact level of hysteria to drive the protests and produce the grants required to pay their salaries. The dirty little secret which will seldom be talked about on the nightly news is that Climate Change has become a $1.5 trillion industry. There is quite a big amount of cash floating around to be spread to those making the predictions as long as their results match the needed predictions.

 

There are also ecological protests which actually produce bigger problems than they claim to solve. One of the troubling one is the demand that the government controlled forests must be allowed to become totally natural growth where no thinning and no clearance of shrub growth and no removal of dead trees or any form of clearing and then they complain that forest fires have become more severe and far more damaging and more difficult to contain and extinguish. Ask the actual firefighters who combat these fires and they will tell you the reason behind the increasing severity of these fires is the lack of clearing the forests from the tinder which causes the fires to spread faster and burn at much higher temperatures making their jobs more difficult. They will complain how they miss the days when the forest service was permitted and even tasked to clear the forest of dead wood and clear the undergrowth which often dries faster during low rain periods and act as tinder for spreading these fires. But the ecology movement are the ones who demand that the forest be left alone to develop through natural growth, as this was how fires were controlled before civilization destroyed the natural growth. What those who actually understand how the natural forest once worked are not bothering to tell everyone is that from time to time the entirety of an area, often hundreds of square miles, would catch fire and spread clearing the entirety of the area which would then need to go through the stages from grass field with flowers leading to bushes and eventually the trees return. With the undergrowth and dead trees, the same area will again burn to the ground at some point further in the future. This was the natural cycle but the natural cycle never had to deal with multi-million dollar homes and buildings or highways cutting through the forest where the flames and smoke would cause highway closures and all the inconvenience which go with such all because some believe that nature if left alone will work better than if humans interact even when the people work with the forest and lands to service them to keep forests healthy. This is just one example of how sometimes the naturalists and ecological authorities might actually get things wrong. Yellowstone Park allowed the wolves to be hunted to extinction because the ecological experts and naturalists believed that the wolves would kill all the deer and elk if permitted to remain in the park. They were wrong and once the wolves were returned the entire park and surrounding ecosystem changed improving greatly (video included below). Things in nature and climate interactions are far more complex and have a sophistication which is not only beyond our ability to fully understand and well beyond our ability to predict even with the greatest of our super-computers.

 

 

The Earth is something well beyond what we are actually doing to control pollution from any and every source. The world organizations are attempting to control the wrong nations while allowing some of the largest polluters to continue unregulated and outside control. The usual restrictions are placed on the nations of Europe, North America along with Japan, Australia and the other developed nations. Meanwhile nations such as India, China, Russia, Brazil and other developing nations which could benefit greatly from even the simplest advances being required such as scrubbers placed in coal firing plants and other simple technologies which would provide the greatest returns for the least investment. Sharing such technology would be more likely if there was a guarantee that such pollution reduction devices would be required and actually utilized. One example of bad pollution came during the Beijing Olympics where they all but closed down the entirety of the Beijing industry and other polluting items including vehicles were largely closed for more than a week before the games in order to allow the air to reach levels where breathing would not be harmful for the athletes. In Brazil preventing the farmers from clearing rain forest acreage by burning the trees and growth in order to increase farmland would help in two ways, less air pollution from preventing the burning, a lumber business which could gain while clearing the land and slower reduction of the rain forest saving the land simply through reducing the efficiency and speed the trees are destroyed. Requiring that vehicles be retired once they become a quarter of a century old unless special classic car licenses, which allow limited usage of those vehicles, would benefit the world as the newer vehicles have with modern pollution controls on their engines. This would need to be imposed on every major city worldwide as these areas suffer the most from vehicle induced air pollution. These are idea which would produce some of the greatest reductions in greenhouse gasses and in cleaning the world environment. Demanding that the United States reduce air pollution using data from fifty years ago to claim that the United States has the worst air quality is simply lying. The air quality in the United States has improved as has the water quality and general reduction in pollution in the United States has been almost unbelievably remarkable. But protesters like to claim that the United States is the greatest evil in all things but when it comes to Earth Day, the United States could and should be held up as the example for other nations to follow and to accomplish what has been accomplished in the last half century by the United States in reduction of levels of pollution and increased air and water quality. Unfortunately, this is not a message one is likely to hear at any of the Earth Day rallies, which is a shame and once again falling for emotion over fact and reality.

 

World Pollution Index from 2017

World Pollution Index from 2017

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

 

June 15, 2017

Coming Failure of Paris Accords With or Without United States

 

There has been a huge amount of clamoring since President Trump pulled the United States from the Paris Climate Accord. Claims that this will guarantee it will fail are farcical at best and sheer straight-faced lies at worst. The Paris Climate Accord will stand or fail on its own merits. The reason for the commotion is due to the loss of being able to point an accusatory finger at the United States and excusing every other nation failing on the fact that the United States also failed and apparently their failure was worse than these other failing nations thus giving them room for excuses. Here is a little secret which is seldom if ever stated, anybody can easily predict which nations will fail and which will actually reach or exceed their Paris Accord numbers and it is easy. Simply determine whether each nation has a growing or declining economy. Those nations with a growing economic output will fail to reach their set goals and those whose economic indicators are in decline, they will be able to reach their set goals. The reason for this being the indicator is with a higher economic output a nation will require increasing energy while a declining economic outlook will lead to their lessening their energy needs. It really is that easy.

 

So, now you ask if there would be some way of taking this into consideration. The truth is that it would be very easy and could be done by altering the means by which the carbon output is calculated. Instead of simply measuring the total carbon footprint and simply using that gross output without taking anything else into consideration, the measurement should be measured against GDP and population. The solution is to take this total output and divide the number by some version of GDP or other economic measure such that you end up with carbon footprint per unit of economic production. This is the true measure of the advance or lack of addressing pollution and its controls on a scale, which is fair and places everybody on an equal measuring basis. But this is not the reason for these ecology agreements like the Paris Accord or the Kyoto Protocols. They have little concern when it comes to bringing pollution and carbon footprints into order and lessening the actual pollution; otherwise, there would be stiffer demands made of countries such as Brazil, India and China. Taking China as an example, it has been found that China is estimated to have released nearly twice the carbon emissions as the United States and around two and a half times the European Union. Yet China is usually given a pass or an inflated target which allows them to continue at their higher levels without embarrassment. The real reason for these climate change and impact treaties is to force the industrialized world to transfer their manufacturing output and production to the third world and thus transfer a large percentage of the new wealth from the industrialized world to the third world. There are a number of problems with this concept and much of it has to do with actually cleaning the environment, something such a transfer would increase the carbon emissions by many fold, potentially as high as a ten-fold increase.

 

Perhaps it is time to inspect many of these undesirable effects such as a transfer of production from the developed world to the developing world would produce. While many nations in the industrialized world have decreasing carbon emissions per unit of economic output, the developing nations would have a steady and unchanging or slightly increasing carbon emissions per unit of economic output as they would continue using coal fired plants and many of the new ones they would require in order to facilitate increased industrialization would be hastily built coal burning plants with little if any sanitizing of the output and transferring carbon emissions straight and untreated into the atmosphere and any other pollutant the new manufacturing would produce would potentially end up in the land or waters also untreated plus the increases of other pollutants such as nitrates and phosphates and other dangerous gasses and water pollutants. Much of this is because these nations do not have the necessary infrastructure to treat and control such forms of pollution and currently do not have the current infrastructure and technology. Due to lack of capital these undeveloped nations have largely agricultural economies and thus depend mostly on coal fired electric generation as this is the least expensive to construct and also the least expensive to operate thus the most production for the least outlay. These nations being forcibly pressed into increasing manufacturing capability over a short period of time rather than gradually allowing for increasing capital paralleling the increasing manufacturing forces them to have to use the least expensive power generation systems to meet the large increase in electrical demand. On the other hand, if allowed to slowly and naturally, then there would be a general increase in revenue as the initial manufacturing is built allowing for any new power generation to be implemented with carbon suppressing equipment such as scrubbers. Then as industrial output increases, the nation can handle it in stages with better planning. Slow and steady is better than forced feeding.

 

For some reality about the United States, we can realize that if every nation could match the United States going forward, then we would have progress in reduction of carbon emissions in a real sense, measured emissions per unit of economic output. This is best displayed using graphs. This graph depicts the carbon emissions per person from energy production from 1960 through 2012. There is one fact which bears keeping in mind exactly what this graph depicts. This is actually two graphs in one, the 1960 through around 1985 and then 1985 through 2012. The end period of both segments shows dropping per capita carbon emissions released in the energy generation industries. There was a reason that the per capita increase after about 1985 was due to the general use of air conditioning plus the movement of people from the north into the south as there was a general migration as airconditioning became less expensive. Additionally, with the end of the 1980’s began the computer revolution and the electronics revolution. The per capita energy use began to explode as the per household electrical demands took off with entertainment systems replacing small televisions and often two such systems in an average upper middle class home. Add in two, three, four or more computers per household and more kitchen appliances and more and more electronics and the power consumption kept climbing yet the increase in carbon emissions was finally reduced to a point where despite each household used four, five, six or possibly ten times the electrical use per household compared to the usage in 1960 and the carbon emissions increased by less than one-tenth. Despite this phenomenal increase in electrical demand there was very little increased in actual carbon emissions release per person. This is one means of making the total carbon emissions make more sense by measuring it against something that also represents demand, which represents actual people and their usage is what is being measured.

 

United States per Person Carbon Emissions from Energy Production

 

Another means for measuring and giving it more meaning rather than simple gross carbon emissions alone is to measure total greenhouse emissions per person, against GDP and with showing populations and GDP from 1990 through 2014. While both populations and GDP increase, both greenhouse emissions measured per person and per unit of GDP decreased from 1990 through 2014, which is impressive. All of this and the different measures of the United States is all well and good, but is what the United States has accomplished at all impressive? That is an excellent question which is also best answered with more graphs.

 

United States Total Greenhouse Emissions Per Capita and Per GDP with Population and GDP

 

Let us now see how China, the European Union and the United States compare in total carbon dioxide emissions with projections into the next decade plus. The comparison is stark and also reveals what we spoke about earlier, if the world were really serious about greenhouse emissions, they would be less concerned with President Trump pulling the United States out of an agreement which is more about transferring wealth from the developed world to the third world and the developing world, in particular China, India, central and southern Africa, South America and much of Asia.

 

Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions for China Compared to European Union and United States

Total Carbon Dioxide Emissions for China Compared to European Union and United States

 

The reality is the global emissions accords have worked in sending many hundreds if not thousands of manufacturers to build their plants in China to the point that China was building more than one large coal fired generating plant per month with some estimates putting it at one such plant per week. Such a rate of production of generating plants does not leave much room for building more than the generation plant and little as far as carbon suppression or mitigation equipment. When China sponsored the Olympics in Beijing, it was necessary to all but close shop on all the local manufacturing and request that residents not use air conditioning and other unnecessary electronic equipment and devices. These steps were taken so that the power company could shut down the majority of their power plants starting with those closest to the Olympic camp only restarting some to power the Olympic park and events themselves. This did manage to improve the air quality in Beijing such that the athletes would not be adversely affected due to competing in the Olympics. As a side benefit, the people of Beijing were treated to almost six weeks of clean air which was probably their greater joy and probably had them wishing they could sponsor the Olympics constantly.

 

The Truth About the Air in Beijing and Breathing Masks

The Truth About the Air in Beijing and Breathing Masks

 

The above picture shows two young women and one of the Red Guards stationed outside the Forbidden City in Beijing on the right and a breakdown of some of the chemicals that are found in the air in the city. It also tells of the history and how horrific the air quality can reach when the winds die and the pollution accumulates. Having driven into Denver in August when there are often temperature inversions and a reddish-brown bowl sat over the city in the late 1970’s and having read in the late 1960’s how people were safer to breathe through an unlit cigarette (some even claimed a lit cigarette) rather than breathing the air straight as the pollution was making air quality so horrible. I was in Cleveland in late June of 1969 when the Cuyahoga River caught fire, yes, the river caught fire, and burned for quite a distance (see video below). During that time period, Lake Erie was so filled with nitrates and phosphates that the plant life literally made the lake impossible for supporting fish. These were the days when the United States had its worst pollution and industry began to clean up their acts. Power plants installed scrubbers and manufacturers began filtering and treating their wastewater before permitting them to flow into rivers and streams. What people will claim is that government forced them to clean up their acts with the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act. The truth is fortunately different. The American public began demanding that Congress do something about the problem and by the time they finally agreed upon what legislation to pass, industry had surpassed their legislated levels by a fair margin with some specific, and often too spectacular, exceptions, which did need persuading. This was the reality; industry even began using their efforts in their advertising in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. So, once again we had Congress passing legislation to close the barn door after the horses had escaped, been rounded up, returned to the paddock and the barn door closed and locked. Then the Congressional representatives ran for reelection bragging about how they saved America from becoming a polluted wasteland. The truth is all too often Congress passes legislation addressing a problem after the problem has passed and then claim they fixed it for the next decade or two.

 

 

There is pollution in the world and some of it is dangerous. In Brazil, farmers will burn down square miles of rainforest in order to make farmland they can work, as that is cheaper than trying to buy existing lands. China we have talked about but India is not that far behind them and the Ganges River, which many Indians wash themselves in because the waters are presumed to be blessed and sacred, are instead actually dangerous. The danger levels of the water increase ever mile that one gets closer to its exit into the Indian Ocean. The world would be better served if the third world and developing world were first introduced to modern farming techniques so they could increase yields and feed their people at a lesser cost. By increasing their agricultural output, their economic situation would improve. There should also be work to improve their governance such that they become rule by law and not by man. The laws must apply equally to all including the rulers as other than the Queen and Queen’s Mother in England, nobody is above the law (actually neither are the royals in England though they probably are in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar and so forth). Once they have an improved agricultural economy then they can begin to improve their industrial base and with assistance in building clean energy plants, they can do this with minimal decrease, if any, in air and water quality. This is something that should be done properly and in stages and with each nation brought forward only once they have good governance.

 

The age where dictators and their cronies are made wealthy charging for food and other relief sent by the developed world while the people remain hungry, ill, lacking medical care, and impoverished while Big Cheese Who Cares reaps in millions of dollars. Probably the prime example of this is in Gaza with Hamas and with the Palestinian Authority and Mahmoud Abbas and his gang of merry terrorists. Yes, the developed world has a responsibility to lead and to do so properly and with respect and dignity given to all people. Further, the developed world has a responsibility to share their knowledge and experience in governance to improve the world and spread the rule by laws over other systems which keep people impoverished while their governing classes drive Mercedes on the nations’ dirt roads. Finally, the United Nations has proven completely incapable of performing these tasks and perhaps a new international group of developed democratic nations which can lead and assist the developing and third world nations and provide a message and example through which these nations will desire to learn and progress and have their development made in such a manner that their environment remains clean and their progress performed in proper and planned stages bringing them forward at a pace which matches their ability to develop clean power and their education systems produce a working class capable of the technologies as they are introduced. We believe here at BTC through examples of how such programs have been completed successfully in agricultural development such as this one in Kenya, Ethiopia and elsewhere, medical progress such as providing training and equipment for hospitals to perform surgeries on children with heart problems and other similar programs that these things done properly are doable if only people and nations are willing to make the efforts. Please do check these last links as they depict what is possible and is being accomplished through efforts of people who care for all people.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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