The Carbon Thread

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
I think epiphytes grow on other other plants without deriving nutrients from them - like moss on a tree-trunk - as opposed to true parasites like mistletoe.

Just yesterday, as it happens, I was reading on WP about myco-heterotrophs which sound pretty weird - apparently they can act as epiparasites in plants (parasites that live on a parasite!). Crazy stuff. :rolleyes:
 

HMGovt

Bamber Clatscoigne

dHarry

Well-known member
^ including a letter from Wunsch in the comments:

My appearance in the "Global Warming
Swindle" is deeply embarrasing, and my professional reputation
has been damaged. I was duped---an uncomfortable position in which to be.

At a minimum, I ask that the film should never be seen again publicly
with my participation included. Channel 4 surely owes an apology to
its viewers, and perhaps WAGTV owes something to Channel 4. I will be
taking advice as to whether I should proceed to make some more formal protest."
 

HMGovt

Bamber Clatscoigne
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/3869753.stm

Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high
By Dr David Whitehouse
BBC News Online science editor

A new analysis shows that the Sun is more active now than it has been at anytime in the previous 1,000 years. scientists based at the Institute for Astronomy in Zurich used ice cores from Greenland to construct a picture of our star's activity in the past. They say that over the last century the number of sunspots rose at the same time that the Earth's climate became steadily warmer. This trend is being amplified by gases from fossil fuel burning, they argue.

'Little Ice Age'

Sunspots have been monitored on the Sun since 1610, shortly after the invention of the telescope. They provide the longest-running direct measurement of our star's activity. The variation in sunspot numbers has revealed the Sun's 11-year cycle of activity as well as other, longer-term changes. In particular, it has been noted that between about 1645 and 1715, few sunspots were seen on the Sun's surface. This period is called the Maunder Minimum after the English astronomer who studied it. It coincided with a spell of prolonged cold weather often referred to as the "Little Ice Age". Solar scientists strongly suspect there is a link between the two events - but the exact mechanism remains elusive.

Over the past few thousand years there is evidence of earlier Maunder-like coolings in the Earth's climate - indicated by tree-ring measurements that show slow growth due to prolonged cold. In an attempt to determine what happened to sunspots during these other cold periods, Dr Sami Solanki and colleagues have looked at concentrations of a form, or isotope, of beryllium in ice cores from Greenland. The isotope is created by cosmic rays - high-energy particles from the depths of the galaxy. The flux of cosmic rays reaching the Earth's surface is modulated by the strength of the solar wind, the charged particles that stream away from the Sun's surface. And since the strength of the solar wind varies over the sunspot cycle, the amount of beryllium in the ice at a time in the past can therefore be used to infer the state of the Sun and, roughly, the number of sunspots.

Latest warming

Dr Solanki is presenting a paper on the reconstruction of past solar activity at Cool Stars, Stellar Systems And The Sun, a conference in Hamburg, Germany. He says that the reconstruction shows the Maunder Minimum and the other minima that are known in the past thousand years. But the most striking feature, he says, is that looking at the past 1,150 years the Sun has never been as active as it has been during the past 60 years. Over the past few hundred years, there has been a steady increase in the numbers of sunspots, a trend that has accelerated in the past century, just at the time when the Earth has been getting warmer. The data suggests that changing solar activity is influencing in some way the global climate causing the world to get warmer.

Over the past 20 years, however, the number of sunspots has remained roughly constant, yet the average temperature of the Earth has continued to increase. This is put down to a human-produced greenhouse effect caused by the combustion of fossil fuels. This latest analysis shows that the Sun has had a considerable indirect influence on the global climate in the past, causing the Earth to warm or chill, and that mankind is amplifying the Sun's latest attempt to warm the Earth.
 
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mos dan

fact music
This documentary has been heavily criticized, a lot of the people involved in it have since come out against it.

Full story here:

http://news.independent.co.uk/environment/climate_change/article2347526.ece
my girlfriend's a geology grad student at a pretty damn reputable uni, and her tutors wouldn't even sanction the idea of their students watching it, not even on a 'know your enemy' kind of tip. pure contrarian bullshit.

i saw 'an inconvenient truth' finally last week. is this a good place to bring it up, or should it be in a separate thread..? *goes off to look*
 

nomos

Administrator
it's very alarming how little critical discourse there is around biofuels, such is the desire for a magic bullet that requires no sacrifice or change in habits. suddenly we have great numbers of "environmentalists" arguing in favour of industrial scale, biotechnologized monoculture which will, in fact, do us in just as readily as carbon, given that we'll need as much plant diversity as we can hold onto if we hope to adapt to globally-warmed mutant ecosystems.
 
it's very alarming how little critical discourse there is around biofuels, such is the desire for a magic bullet that requires no sacrifice or change in habits. suddenly we have great numbers of "environmentalists" arguing in favour of industrial scale, biotechnologized monoculture which will, in fact, do us in just as readily as carbon, given that we'll need as much plant diversity as we can hold onto if we hope to adapt to globally-warmed mutant ecosystems.
Yeah, its a - green - variation on "we'll do anything rather than change the capitalist status quo " - even Greenpeace members are now seriously arguing in favour of nuclear power plants, as other "environmentalists" defend Clean Coal while China opens a new coal-fired power plant every week...

"Al Gore, self-appointed alpha Earth savior, and most of the environmental mainstream, are on record as talking about the future promise of clean coal and forest biofuel technologies; just another reminder of the extent to which the mainstream environmental movement has neither diagnosed the seriousness of the global biosphere's condition nor presented solutions adequate to sufficiently address ecocide in a timely manner without making things worse. Energy and climate solutions that increase pressures upon the biosphere are no help at all."

It seems, though, that Gore has - just last week, speaking in Argentina - begun questioning his former assumptions: “Every potential solution much be handled carefully and the danger with biofuels is that extremely valuable forests will be destroyed unnecessarily ... Another danger is that, if it is not pursued carefully, it will drive food prices up.” The problem, of course, is that it's no longer a case of "will be" - its all already happening.

The history of global heating has largely been written by coal and forest loss, now wrongly hailed as climate change solutions

Two of the biggest, most dangerous lies being promoted in response to global warming are that clean coal exists and the world's forests are adequate to provide biofuel. Dirty coal and industrial forest harvest for energy only accelerates the root causes of looming Doomsday for the Earth - that is destruction of the biosphere's atmospheric and terrestrial ecosystems.

Coal burning and forest loss have been the leading culprit in climate change to date, and should their continued use at any scale be pursued as the solution to climate change and energy security, it will prove the death-knell for the Planet. We need less fossil fuel use and more forest regeneration, not the reverse.

The myth of "Clean Coal" is pernicious nonsense, as promised carbon sequestration technologies remain unproven, are not likely to be pursued at any scale anytime soon and are primarily used to put off limits on burning coal. Coal is cheap, plentiful and dirty. Carbon emissions from burning coal have been the leading cause of global warming. The world's coal reserves hold some 3500 gigatonne of carbon, compared to the atmosphere currently holding around 800 gigatonne (600 gigatonne before the industrial revolution). If this coal is burnt and carbon vented into the atmosphere the planet will be several times past the concentration of carbon dioxide considered able to be adapted to safely.

China is opening another coal plant every 7 to 10 days. The U.S. coal industry is rushing to build some 150 new plants before mandatory carbon caps, carbon taxes or carbon sequestration are put in place. Each of these new dirty coal plants uses the oldest of technologies, locking the world's two greatest polluters into dirty coal for at least 50 more years. I know of no plans to make carbon sequestration mandatory any time soon for new coal plants. It will be at least 10 years before we know if geosequestration even works. Carbon capture and storage is expensive, increasing the costs of power generation by 40 to 80%. Despite all the promises of coal gasification and carbon sequestration, it may never be possible to produce energy from coal without atmospheric carbon emissions.

Could it be that carbon sequestration like the hydrogen automobile is a red-herring to allow the fossil fuel industries to squeeze every last drop of profit from the Planet before being forced to stop? In the world of nine billion consumers to come, with the condition of the atmosphere in such tatters, the majority of the world's filthy coal reserves must be left in the ground as we transition exclusively to clean renewable energy alternatives.

Many herald the promise of converting woody biomass - primarily forest "waste" such as sawdust, forest thinning, and agriculture residues such as straw - into cellulosic ethanol as a source of biofuel. Cellulosic ethanol technology uses enzymes to break down the woody bits of plant cellulose. The fact that woody materials may provide for more energy than corn or soy based ethanol does not in itself justify large-scale establishment of such an industry. Just as hasty efforts to promote corn ethanol have lead to sharp price increases for corn worldwide, production of biofuel from forest and agricultural "waste" will have grave unintended consequences.

The world's forests have been hammered for millennia; and are barely able to continue providing ecosystem services of cycling of nutrients, energy and water while providing for traditional wood products. Removal of forest biomass and agricultural residues from natural ecosystems and human agro-ecosystems at the industrial scale envisioned will be yet one more massive drain upon the Earth's net primary productivity. The woody forest "waste" materials to be used; including forest slash, thinning, bark and sawdust are the nutrient materials that new forests depend upon.

Surely woody biomass requirements will be met by vast plantations of genetically modified fiber bearing plants and/or by encroaching into regenerating forests and land used to grow food. A large biofuel industry based upon ethanol from cellulose will lead to greater deforestation, forest diminishment and degradation of agricultural lands. Ancient forests will replaced to grow genetically modified crops in plantations, regenerating secondary forests will be logged into further decline, and land use will shift from food to fiber even as soils become more degraded. One must only look at oil palm in Asia, sugar cane and soya in Brazil and corn in the U.S. to see this is true. To presume that the massive energy needs of the world can be met by already overworked and still diminishing forest and agricultural ecosystems is true folly.​
 

tryptych

waiting for a time
Actually, some recent research has shown plants themselves (along with animals) produce a lot of "greenhouse" emissions - so simply re-foresting may not make things any better...

I will dig up the ref.
Interestingly enough, this was in the science news again last week. The original study a year or so ago showed that a staggering 30% of world methane emmissions seemed to be coming from plants themselves, prompting re-thinks about the strategy of planting more trees.

However, new results have just been published which seem to show that this methane gas was in fact somehow trapped within the plant matter, not being produced by the plants themselves and thus being no net generation of methane.

New Scientist editorial here - subsc only, and my subscription has lapsed otherwise I would post it in full:

http://www.newscientist.com/channel...-research-standoff-do-plants-produce-gas.html

(Those of you reading the "Critiques of Science" thread may enjoy the rather self-congratulatory anti-inductionist strapline - "As two teams produce different results, it's a reminder that a single study does not provide scientific proof")

And first report back in 2006 from Science News (free):

http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20060114/fob1.asp
 
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Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Staff member
even Greenpeace members are now seriously arguing in favour of nuclear power plants
Is this the case? I thought just last year they staged a rather stroppy 'demonstration' at (i.e. completely disrupted) a big debate on nuclear energy, with the express intention of stopping even dialogue about it, let alone allowing more power stations to be built.
 
Is this the case? I thought just last year they staged a rather stroppy 'demonstration' at (i.e. completely disrupted) a big debate on nuclear energy, with the express intention of stopping even dialogue about it, let alone allowing more power stations to be built.
Greenpeace, like Friends of the Earth and other lobby groups, is of course anti-nuclear. I should perhaps have been clearer by stating that "many former members" now favour nuclear energy.

"When I helped found Greenpeace in the 1970s, my colleagues and I were firmly opposed to nuclear energy. But times have changed. I now realize nuclear energy is the only non-greenhouse gas-emitting power source that can effectively replace fossil fuels and satisfy growing demand for energy."

===>Patrick Moore. An advisor to government and industry, Dr. Patrick Moore is a co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace, and chair and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. in Vancouver, Canada. He and former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Christine Todd Whitman are co-chairs of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, which supports increased use of nuclear energy.
 
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