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#61 MattP

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 07:12 PM

QUOTE(Tony Watkins @ Sep 27 2006, 12:22 PM) View Post

QUOTE
I am strongly motivated to seek a solution which lies outside the cessation of recently popular human activities (such as driving automobiles).

Yes, but what? If it turns out to be the case that all this warming is purely natural (and as I've said, that's not what the consensus view of the evidence is), what could we do about it? We still only have control over human activities. Wouldn't it still mean drastically reducing greenhouse gases etc.?

If, as you theorize, all of the warming is purely natural, that would mean that our greenhouse gases have no recognizable impact on global climate, which would mean it would be pointless to reduce greenhouse gases, at least as far as trying to control climate change is concerned.


QUOTE(Alan Thomas @ Sep 27 2006, 05:12 AM) View Post

"were" saying is irrelevant to science. Based on that assumption, sooner or later scientists will come back to saying the Earth is flat.

It may not be particularly relevant to current scientific study, but it's certainly relevant to whether we choose to believe said science (or at least how much *I* choose to believe it).

Your analogy of the flat earth would be more accurate if scientists had at one point said the earth was flat, then round, then just a generation ago flat again, then round again, and were currently admitting that while they were certain the earth was round, there was alot about the shape of the earth that they still didn't really understand very well, and much of their belief that the earth was round was based on theoretical computer models. In that case, I might very well be skeptical about whether or not the earth really was round.

#62 anglicanbeachparty

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Posted 27 September 2006 - 07:34 PM

QUOTE(Tony Watkins @ Sep 27 2006, 03:22 PM) View Post

The industry has done an incredible job of cleaning vehicle emissions up, but I confess to being a bit surprised that the air coming out is cleaner. I accept everything you say - for a brand new vehicle. I don't keep up with car engineering developments like I used to, but don't 3-way catalysts for petrol engines have a relatively short useful life? I only know one person who has bothered getting a replacement cat - but as far as I know emissions are only checked annually on diesels in the UK so why should they? If all the modern cars driving around have steadily degrading catalysts, the situation is immeasurably better than it was, but there is still net pollution. And there are still significant numbers of older vehicles on the road - especially in developing nations. I wonder how many cars in a large Chinese city would be modern enough. My experience of India is that there were very few indeed. Then there's the problem that catalysts don't work at 100% efficiency because you can't make an engine run at stoichiometric all the time - or can you with clever engine management systems? Isn't it also the case that 3-way cats need to run hot - so don't work efficiently on cold engines. Mind you, I haven't noticed many whiff of sulphur dioxide from cold engines for a while. As I say, I don't keep up very well any more. Do cats clear up all the benzene emissions now? Last I heard, they reduced it by 50%. Still, fantastic progress is being made and continues to be made.

On the life of the 3-way cats, I haven't seen that data. I think that they must be pretty good for the first several years, to get past the annual Smog checks in states like California. But, your point stands; they dod degrade.

And, yes, you caught me fudging a bit on the Chinese city example. One of the main reasons a new car could clean the air like that is that all the old cars first put the pollutants there.

We do incredible amounts of computer modeling (for example, some people I work with use finite-element-based thermal analyses to design exhaust manifolds which will "light off" the cats more quickly). I think most modern catalytic converters reach steady-state performance in under a minute.

I'm sorry, I also don't know about the benzene.

QUOTE(Tony Watkins @ Sep 27 2006, 03:22 PM) View Post

So, OK emissions is at least partly a red herring. But the problem of finite hydrocarbon resources certainly isn't. Developing clever ways of producing fuels from coal instead of crude can't be the final answer since the quantity is finite, however good we get at extraction from shales.

I think there is a lot more oil that we are not (yet) willing to drill for. But again, it's only a matter of time. So, once again, your point stands. I have heard some talks from ethanol and methanol proponents, but they haven't really satisfied me. The one thing that this problem has going for it is that the consumer is on the side of the engineers, in that we all want to drive. It's not the same for the catalytic converter, where (without government intervention) most would want everyone else to buy one, but not voluntarily spend money themselves. If I had to bet on a solution for 100 years out, it would be either electric battery vehicles or hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles with, in both cases, the potential energy ultimately having been produced at a nuclear plant.

QUOTE(Tony Watkins @ Sep 27 2006, 03:22 PM) View Post

QUOTE
I am strongly motivated to seek a solution which lies outside the cessation of recently popular human activities (such as driving automobiles).

Yes, but what? If it turns out to be the case that all this warming is purely natural (and as I've said, that's not what the consensus view of the evidence is), what could we do about it? We still only have control over human activities. Wouldn't it still mean drastically reducing greenhouse gases etc.? What else could we do? Actually, I heard a suggestion the other day. Since large volcanic eruptions put vast quantities of ash into the air which have been shown to reduce temperatures, couldn't aero engines be configured to spray volcanic ash into the air and weave us a blanket to reduce the intensity of solar radiation for a while?

I don't know either, but we need to start looking. I am enjoying your thought provoking questions, so thanks!

#63 Tony Watkins

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 03:41 AM

QUOTE(anglicanbeachparty @ Sep 28 2006, 01:34 AM) View Post

One of the main reasons a new car could clean the air like that is that all the old cars first put the pollutants there.

Ah yes, I see what you mean. It raises the interesting possibility of having pollution control officers tailgating old cars to suck up their emissions!

QUOTE
We do incredible amounts of computer modeling (for example, some people I work with use finite-element-based thermal analyses to design exhaust manifolds which will "light off" the cats more quickly). I think most modern catalytic converters reach steady-state performance in under a minute.

That is seriously impressive.

QUOTE
I'm sorry, I also don't know about the benzene.

It seems it might be a bit of red herring. I've disovered that in the UK at least, benzene content must now be under 1% of the fuel and the benzene levels in the air are around 1 part per billion (the legal limit is 5 ppb). Mind you, it still shouldn't be there at all since there are no natural sources of benzene pollution.

QUOTE
The one thing that this problem has going for it is that the consumer is on the side of the engineers, in that we all want to drive. It's not the same for the catalytic converter, where (without government intervention) most would want everyone else to buy one, but not voluntarily spend money themselves. If I had to bet on a solution for 100 years out, it would be either electric battery vehicles or hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles with, in both cases, the potential energy ultimately having been produced at a nuclear plant.

I agree. I would like to see fuel cells developing much faster than they are, though I realise that several of the oil companies are working hard on them because they don't need a crystal ball to predict the future trends for their primary product.

QUOTE
I don't know either, but we need to start looking. I am enjoying your thought provoking questions, so thanks!
Likewise!

Popechild wrote:
QUOTE
If, as you theorize, all of the warming is purely natural, that would mean that our greenhouse gases have no recognizable impact on global climate, which would mean it would be pointless to reduce greenhouse gases, at least as far as trying to control climate change is concerned.

You're right. I was careless ot use the word 'all', but the main point I was trying to make is that we can't sit around doing nothing on the offchance that our current inferences from the evidence are wrong and we're not to blame.

#64 TexasWill

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 07:07 AM

QUOTE(anglicanbeachparty @ Sep 27 2006, 07:34 PM) View Post

QUOTE(Tony Watkins @ Sep 27 2006, 03:22 PM) View Post

The industry has done an incredible job of cleaning vehicle emissions up, but I confess to being a bit surprised that the air coming out is cleaner. I accept everything you say - for a brand new vehicle. I don't keep up with car engineering developments like I used to, but don't 3-way catalysts for petrol engines have a relatively short useful life? I only know one person who has bothered getting a replacement cat - but as far as I know emissions are only checked annually on diesels in the UK so why should they? If all the modern cars driving around have steadily degrading catalysts, the situation is immeasurably better than it was, but there is still net pollution. And there are still significant numbers of older vehicles on the road - especially in developing nations.

On the life of the 3-way cats, I haven't seen that data. I think that they must be pretty good for the first several years, to get past the annual Smog checks in states like California. But, your point stands; they dod degrade.


Speaking from my limited experience, I have a 1995 Toyota that, under Texas law, has its emissions analyzed every year as part of the inspection process. When the tests are complete, the technician is required to give you the results of the test that includes an analysis of your emission levels compared to the current standards. In the years I have owned the Toyota, there has been no measurable decrease in the efficiency of the emissions system. And I have not made any repairs to any portion of system either. I am always amazed by the extremely low levels of CO2 that my Toyota releases. I am way below the state standards for emissions. Before owning the Toyota, I had a 1984 Ford Ranger pickup truck that would not pass emissions testing no matter what I would do. I received deferments for several years (after spending more than $500 each year on emissions-related repairs) and was then forced into getting a new vehicle because the Ford would not have passed the newer and tighter emissions requirement when it was brand new.

So, for at least the first ten years of my Toyota, there has been no loss of efficiency. That may change, but most Americans don't keep a vehicle more than a decade or so.


#65 TexasWill

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 07:18 AM

QUOTE(Tony Watkins @ Sep 28 2006, 03:41 AM) View Post

QUOTE(anglicanbeachparty @ Sep 28 2006, 01:34 AM) View Post

QUOTE
I'm sorry, I also don't know about the benzene.

It seems it might be a bit of red herring. I've disovered that in the UK at least, benzene content must now be under 1% of the fuel and the benzene levels in the air are around 1 part per billion (the legal limit is 5 ppb).


My brother and I were talking about benzene levels in gasoline last year (my brother is an organic research chemist who does a lot of cancer related work) and he informed me that benzene is no longer present in gasoline refined in the United States.

#66 Tony Watkins

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 07:28 AM

QUOTE(TexasWill @ Sep 28 2006, 01:18 PM) View Post

benzene is no longer present in gasoline refined in the United States.

Hurrah for the USA (not often I say that! wink.gif)! Maybe the UK will catch up on that one soon.
QUOTE
In the years I have owned the Toyota, there has been no measurable decrease in the efficiency of the emissions system.
Impressive. I don't know what factors contribute to deterioration, and maybe it's much less significant now if your experience is anything like representative.

#67 TexasWill

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 10:12 AM

QUOTE(Tony Watkins @ Sep 28 2006, 07:28 AM) View Post

QUOTE
In the years I have owned the Toyota, there has been no measurable decrease in the efficiency of the emissions system.
Impressive. I don't know what factors contribute to deterioration, and maybe it's much less significant now if your experience is anything like representative.


Toyota makes high-quality vehicles, so I don't know if our domestic manufacturers have the same kind of track record. Other posters from Texas may be able to add their experience to this discussion, since we receive data sheets from our emission inspections.

Do other states do emission inspections and provide test results to motorists?


#68 Tony Watkins

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 10:19 AM

QUOTE(TexasWill @ Sep 28 2006, 04:12 PM) View Post

Do other states do emission inspections and provide test results to motorists?

AFAIK this only happens with diesels in the UK.

#69 TexasWill

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 10:31 AM

QUOTE(Tony Watkins @ Sep 28 2006, 07:28 AM) View Post

QUOTE(TexasWill @ Sep 28 2006, 01:18 PM) View Post

benzene is no longer present in gasoline refined in the United States.


I may have spoken too soon.

I may have misunderstood my brother, but I could have sworn he told me that benzene has been eliminated from domestic gasolines. It came up because he we were talking about the incidents and effects of benzene exposure (our father worked for 35 years in an oil refinery laboratory and was literally up to his elbows in benzene every workday when he cleaned the testing equipment). He mentioned that "until this year" (it was 2005), gasoline included trace amounts of benzene.

So take what I have reported with some skepticism.


#70 Tony Watkins

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 10:44 AM

QUOTE(TexasWill @ Sep 28 2006, 04:31 PM) View Post

I may have spoken too soon.

I may have misunderstood my brother, but I could have sworn he told me that benzene has been eliminated from domestic gasolines. It came up because he we were talking about the incidents and effects of benzene exposure (our father worked for 35 years in an oil refinery laboratory and was literally up to his elbows in benzene every workday when he cleaned the testing equipment). He mentioned that "until this year" (it was 2005), gasoline included trace amounts of benzene.

So take what I have reported with some skepticism.

I withdraw my praise! biggrin.gif

It's an interesting article. Given that it reports a proposal for 'cutting toxic emissions from cars nearly in half by 2030', that does seem to indicate that the emissions thing is not something which the auto industry has dealt with completely. I was struck by this paragraph:
QUOTE
Benzene, a naturally occurring carcinogen, accounts for about 1 percent of gasoline content; it causes an estimated 40 to 60 U.S. deaths a year. Under the Bush administration's proposal, by 2030 passenger cars would emit 45 percent less benzene than today and release 350,000 fewer tons of benzene and other toxins.


#71 Tony Watkins

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Posted 28 September 2006 - 03:02 PM

This article in The Independent today is timely given that we've just touched on emissions in China:
The explosive growth of the Chinese economy over the past seven years has been linked with a rise in emissions of man-made methane, a study has found.

Methane is the second most important greenhouse gas and, molecule for molecule, it is about 20 times as potent as carbon dioxide in its ability to exacerbate global warming.


#72 Tony Watkins

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Posted 04 October 2006 - 10:29 AM

And even worse news today . . .
QUOTE
Drought threatening the lives of millions will spread across half the land surface of the Earth in the coming century because of global warming, according to new predictions from Britain's leading climate scientists.

Extreme drought, in which agriculture is in effect impossible, will affect about a third of the planet, according to the study from the Met Office's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research.

It is one of the most dire forecasts so far of the potential effects of rising temperatures around the world - yet it may be an underestimation, the scientists involved said yesterday. . . .


#73 KCAQT

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 01:39 PM

I'm the producer of a new film about climate change called THE GREAT WARMING. It's narrated by Keanu Reeves and Alanis Morissette and is coming out in Regal Theaters on November 3rd. This is the third film I've produced about the issue, and I can attest to the absolutely non-debatable fact that global warming is real and is human induced, and that we need to act now to deal with it.

You'll also be interested to hear that this film goes beyond dire warnings of disaster (which I don't believe help much to galvanize people), to present the issue not only in terms of science, but also as a moral, ethical and spiritual issue. THE GREAT WARMING also includes many voices of faith and has been endorsed by a huge coalition of "allies" that includes conservative Christian groups, environmental organizations, etc.

We want to make this film a real catalyst for action, and have created what we call the GREAT WARMING CALL TO ACTION. Go to www.thegreatwarming.com and click on "Join the Call to Action". Take a look at the people who've signed our statement, download fact sheets, send away for a free 24page booklet, download a 60 page Biblical study guide, etc. Or you can make a difference by organizing a peaceful demonstration for the Nov 4th global climate change action day - there's an organizer's kit online.

All this to say that we all need to join hands on this one.

Karen Coshof - Producer THE GREAT WARMING

#74 anglicanbeachparty

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 04:48 PM

QUOTE(KCAQT @ Oct 14 2006, 02:39 PM) View Post

This is the third film I've produced about the issue, and I can attest to the absolutely non-debatable fact that global warming is real and is human induced

Did you even read this thread? Or are you just here to advertise for your film?

Of course it is debatable. We are debating it right here, to some degree.

#75 MattP

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Posted 14 October 2006 - 08:12 PM

QUOTE(Alan Thomas @ Oct 14 2006, 04:26 PM) View Post

Sure--that the Earth is round is debatable...

Context is an inconvenience isn't it.

#76 Tony Watkins

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 08:47 AM

Tearfund (UK evangelical Christian relief agency) have got some good coverage in the Independent today over their forecast of how global warming will impact on poor people:

Mass movements of people across the world are likely to be one of the most dramatic effects of climate change in the coming century, a study suggests.

The report, from the aid agency Tearfund, raises the spectre of hundreds of millions of environmental refugees and says the main reason will be the effects of climate - from droughts and water shortages, from flooding and storm surges and from sea-level rise. . . .


#77 KCAQT

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Posted 20 October 2006 - 10:52 AM

On Wednesday, we issued the Great Warming Call to Action statement (see it on our website) and yesterday there was a national teleconference with Dr. Joel Hunter (pres. Christian Coalition), Dr. Gerald Durley (pastor Missionary Baptist Atlanta and one of the original civil rights leaders), Dr. Tony Campolo (evangelical lecturer) and Dr. Paul de Vries (Pres of NY Divinity School and Bd Member of NAE). We're getting an audio transcript of the conversation and will post it to our website as soon as I get it. You'll be amazed at the passion these leaders bring to the table for action on climate change.



#78 Tony Watkins

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Posted 31 October 2006 - 03:40 AM

The Stern Report is now published with some dire predictions. This from yesterday's Independent:
Climate change has been made the world's biggest priority, with the publication of a stark report showing that the planet faces catastrophe unless urgent measures are taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Future generations may come to regard the apocalyptic report by Sir Nicholas Stern, a former chief economist at the World Bank, as the turning point in combating global warming, or as the missed opportunity.

As well as producing a catastrophic vision of hundreds of millions fleeing flooding and drought, Sir Nicholas suggests that the cost of inaction could be a permanent loss of 20 per cent of global output.

That equates to a figure of 3.68 trillion - while to act quickly would cost the equivalent of 184bn annually, 1 per cent of world GDP. . . .


The Indy has some very thorough coverage of this including this:
Average global temperatures have increased by less than 1C since the Industrial Revolution, but they are projected to increase by up to 5C over the coming century if carbon dioxide levels continue to rise without restraint. With each 1C rise in average global temperatures, the Stern Review portrays progressively more serious scenarios.

The five degrees of disaster

1C: Smaller mountain glaciers disappear in Andes, threatening water supply of 50 million people. More than 300,000 people extra die from increase in climate-related diseases in tropical regions. Permafrost melting damages roads and buildings in Canada and Russia. One in ten species threatened with extinction, 80 per cent of coral suffers regular bleaching. . . .


And this:
What is the Stern report, and what's so special about it?

It is the first really comprehensive review of the economics of climate change. For nearly 20 years it has been the science of climate change that has made all the headlines, as the world gradually realised that the continuing accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere was causing global temperatures to rise remorselessly. We have heard about disappearing glaciers, catastrophic floods and fatal heatwaves, and we have heard of dire predictions of worse to come in the future. We've heard a thousand calls to action, to stop global warming happening. But what would that cost the world? And what would doing nothing cost us? Hitherto, no one had any real idea. But now Sir Nicholas Stern and his team have come up with concrete numbers. . . .


#79 Tony Watkins

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Posted 05 November 2006 - 04:40 PM

Yikes! A UN report suggests that the world's industrialised nations are going backwards on global warming measures:
QUOTE
International attempts to cut the pollution that causes global warming have gone into reverse just as evidence mounts that it is putting the planet in grave danger, a startling official report will reveal.

The findings by the United Nations - which will be presented to the world's governments tomorrow at the start of crucial negotiations about whether to tackle climate change seriously - show that after reducing emissions during the 1990s, the world's richest countries have in fact increased them since the start of the Millennium. . . . (from The Independent on Sunday


#80 Tony Watkins

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Posted 17 January 2007 - 11:50 AM

This may be of interest to some:

BBC Radio 4 Sunday Worship.
8.10-8.50 a.m. 11th February 2007. Live from Jesus College Chapel, Oxford. Sir John Houghton will
be preaching, and giving a Christian response to Climate Change. This service will be on the Radio
4 website - www.bbc.co.uk/radio4 - for about a week afterwards.


Sir John Houghton is a committed evangelical Christian, former Director General of the Met Office and chairman of the Royal Commission on Climate Change.