Monday, March 30, 2009

Global warming (updated)

I haven't posted too much recently on global warming, or Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), or as it is now known, climate change. But a few stories have popped up that deserve mention.

It was Earth Hour Saturday night. In case you missed it, you were supposed to turn off all your electricity for one hour from 8:30 pm to 9:30 pm. This was a worldwide event, although I'm not sure how that was going to work. This was another one of those stunts that's supposed to somehow make us feel better about climate change without really making any impact on the actual problem. So--let's look around and see how things actually went.

The good folks at WattsUpWithThat link to some graphs of power consumption in California that show that the whole thing was a bust, at least in our most environmentally conscious state. As you can clearly see, there is no step down in power consumption, no decrease in the power load during the magical hour--none. The Saturday night graph is compared to the graph for Sunday night, and they are almost exactly the same.

But surely Al Gore participated in this altruistic exercise, right?
President of the Tennessee Center For Policy Research Drew Johnson took a Saturday drive by Al Gore’s during the time most environmentalists went dark:

I pulled up to Al’s house, located in the posh Belle Meade section of Nashville, at 8:48pm – right in the middle of Earth Hour. I found that the main spotlights that usually illuminate his 9,000 square foot mansion were dark, but several of the lights inside the house were on.
In fact, most of the windows were lit by the familiar blue-ish hue indicating that floor lamps and ceiling fixtures were off, but TV screens and computer monitors were hard at work. (In other words, his house looked the way most houses look about 1:45am when their inhabitants are distractedly watching “Cheaters” or “Chelsea Lately” reruns.)
The kicker, though, were the dozen or so floodlights grandly highlighting several trees and illuminating the driveway entrance of Gore’s mansion.

Gore responded this morning to these observations, claiming that his lights were definitely off, and proudly trumpeting the fact that his home is "powered by geothermal power." However, as one commenter noted, "Adding a geothermal system is roughly like spraying silicone on a rusty bicycle chain – both actions reduce the amount of energy needed to achieve your task, but it would be as wrong to call the bicycle “silicone powered” as it is to say his house is 'geothermal powered.'" As another commenter put it, "I thought the point of the event was to show support for energy-saving efforts, and thus “save the planet” efforts, by not using power for that hour? If that WAS the point, then Mr. Gore missed it."

But hey, who cares, right? Magical thinking is fun!

And finally, our neighbors in Fargo are suffering through some of the worst flooding in years. Guess what? Yep--it's all because of the pesky global warming! Obama even says so:
If you look at the flooding that's going on right now in North Dakota and you say to yourself, 'If you see an increase of two degrees, what does that do, in terms of the situation there?'" Obama told reporters at the White House Monday. "That indicates the degree to which we have to take this seriously.

Except for the FACT that there is no evidence that global warming/AGW/climate change has anything to do with the Fargo flooding. In fact, there is good evidence that record cold in the area has helped stave off an even worse disaster:
The river crested in Fargo at 40.82 feet (12.44 meters) shortly after midnight yesterday, never reaching the 42-foot forecast the weather service expected, which would have put it at the top of some city dikes. The crest broke the record of 40.1 feet set in April 1897.
The river was at 40.27 feet as of 4:15 a.m. local time this morning and was forecast to recede to 38.1 feet as of 1 a.m. on April 5, according to the National Weather Service.

Freezing Temperatures
Temperatures as cold as 7 degrees Fahrenheit froze water running into the river and are responsible for turning back the flood, said David Kellenbenz, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Grand Forks, North Dakota, about 80 miles north of Fargo.

Hmmmmm . . .

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Write something interesting.