Trump Administration Dumps Devastating Climate Change Report On Holiday Weekend

Even as its leader continues to deny the reality of Global Climate Change, the Trump Administration has released an utterly devastating report on the impact of such change over the course of the coming decades.

On the day after Thanksgiving, when much of America was on holiday break and most of official Washington was out of town, the Trump Administration released a long-anticipated report on climate change that warns of dire consequences as a result of global climate change:

WASHINGTON — A major scientific report issued by 13 federal agencies on Friday presents the starkest warnings to date of the consequences of climate change for the United States, predicting that if significant steps are not taken to rein in global warming, the damage will knock as much as 10 percent off the size of the American economy by century’s end.

The report, which was mandated by Congress and made public by the White House, is notable not only for the precision of its calculations and bluntness of its conclusions, but also because its findings are directly at odds with President Trump’s agenda of environmental deregulation, which he asserts will spur economic growth.

Mr. Trump has taken aggressive steps to allow more planet-warming pollution from vehicle tailpipes and power plant smokestacks, and has vowed to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement, under which nearly every country in the world pledged to cut carbon emissions. Just this week, he mocked the science of climate change because of a cold snapin the Northeast, tweeting, “Whatever happened to Global Warming?”

But in direct language, the 1,656-page assessment lays out the devastating effects of a changing climate on the economy, health and environment, including record wildfires in California, crop failures in the Midwest and crumbling infrastructure in the South. Going forward, American exports and supply chains could be disrupted, agricultural yields could fall to 1980s levels by midcentury and fire season could spread to the Southeast, the report finds.

“There is a bizarre contrast between this report, which is being released by this administration, and this administration’s own policies,” said Philip B. Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center.

All told, the report says, climate change could slash up to a tenth of gross domestic product by 2100, more than double the losses of the Great Recession a decade ago.

Scientists who worked on the report said it did not appear that administration officials had tried to alter or suppress its findings. However, several noted that the timing of its release, at 2 p.m. the day after Thanksgiving, appeared designed to minimize its public impact.

Still, the report could become a powerful legal tool for opponents of Mr. Trump’s efforts to dismantle climate change policy, experts said.

“This report will weaken the Trump administration’s legal case for undoing climate change regulations, and it strengthens the hands of those who go to court to fight them,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton.

The report is the second volume of the National Climate Assessment, which the federal government is required by law to produce every four years. The first volume was issued by the White House last year.

The previous report, issued in May 2014, concluded with nearly as much scientific certainty, but not as much precision on the economic costs, that the tangible impacts of climate change had already started to cause damage across the country. It cited increasing water scarcity in dry regions, torrential downpours in wet regions and more severe heat waves and wildfires.

The results of the 2014 report helped inform the Obama administration as it wrote a set of landmark climate change regulations. The following year, the E.P.A. finalized President Barack Obama’s signature climate change policy, known as the Clean Power Plan, which aimed to slash planet-warming emissions from coal-fired power plants. At the end of the 2015, Mr. Obama played a lead role in brokering the Paris Agreement.

But in 2016, Republicans in general and Mr. Trump in particular campaigned against those regulations. In rallies before cheering coal miners, Mr. Trump vowed to end what he called Mr. Obama’s “war on coal” and to withdraw from the Paris deal. Since winning the election, his administration has moved decisively to roll back environmental regulations.

The report puts the most precise price tags to date on the cost to the United States economy of projected climate impacts: $141 billion from heat-related deaths, $118 billion from sea level rise and $32 billion from infrastructure damage by the end of the century, among others.

The findings come a month after the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group of scientists convened by the United Nations, issued its most alarming and specific report to date about the severe economic and humanitarian crises expected to hit the world by 2040.

But the new report also emphasizes that the outcomes depend on how swiftly and decisively the United States and other countries take action to mitigate global warming. The authors put forth three main solutions: putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions, which usually means imposing taxes or fees on companies that release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere; establishing government regulations on how much greenhouse pollution can be emitted; and spending public money on clean-energy research.

A White House statement said the report, which was started under the Obama administration, was “largely based on the most extreme scenario” of global warming and that the next assessment would provide an opportunity for greater balance.

The report covers every region of the United States and asserts that recent climate-related events are signs of things to come. No area of the country will be untouched, from the Southwest, where droughts will curb hydropower and tax already limited water supplies, to Alaska, where the loss of sea ice will cause coastal flooding and erosion and force communities to relocate, to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, where saltwater will taint drinking water.

More people will die as heat waves become more common, the scientists say, and a hotter climate will also lead to more outbreaks of disease.

The report also details the impact that climate change will have in areas that include trade and regulation, agriculture, and other areas due to the impact of more severe weather of all kinds, flooding, fires, and a wide variety of other issues. Additionally, the report notes that these environmental changes are likely to lead to social, political, and other disruptions that could have a serious impact on domestic and international politics, especially in parts of the world where difficulties growing food and lack of access to water are going to begin having a serious impact both on prices and on basic health.

The Washington Post’s report on the release focuses on the issue of the increased impact of natural disasters in coming decades:

As California’s catastrophic wildfires recede and people rebuild after two hurricanes, a massive new federal report warns that these types of disasters are worsening in the United States because of global warming. The White House report quietly issued Friday also frequently contradicts President Donald Trump.

The National Climate Assessment was written long before the deadly fires in California this month and before Hurricanes Florence and Michael raked the East Coast and Florida. It says warming-charged extremes “have already become more frequent, intense, widespread or of long duration.” The report notes the last few years have smashed U.S. records for damaging weather, costing nearly $400 billion since 2015.

The recent Northern California wildfires can be attributed to climate change, but there was less of a connection to those in Southern California, said co-author William Hohenstein of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“A warm, dry climate has increased the areas burned over the last 20 years,” he said at a press conference Friday.

The report is mandated by law every few years and is based on more than 1,000 previous research studies. It details how global warming from the burning of coal, oil and gas is hurting each region of the United States and how it impacts different sectors of the economy, including energy and agriculture.

“Climate change is transforming where and how we live and presents growing challenges to human health and quality of life, the economy, and the natural systems that support us,” the report says.

That includes worsening air pollution causing heart and lung problems, more diseases from insects, the potential for a jump in deaths during heat waves, and nastier allergies.

“Annual losses in some economic sectors are projected to reach hundreds of billions of dollars by the end of the century — more than the current gross domestic product (GDP) of many U.S. states,” the report says. It’ll be especially costly on the nation’s coasts because of rising seas and severe storm surges, which will lower property values. And in some areas, such as parts of Alaska and Louisiana, coastal flooding will likely force people to relocate.

“We are seeing the things we said would be happening, happen now in real life,” said another co-author Katharine Hayhoe of Texas Tech University. “As a climate scientist it is almost surreal.”

And Donald Wuebbles, a co-author from University of Illinois climate scientist, said, “We’re going to continue to see severe weather events get stronger and more intense.”

What makes the report different from others is that it focuses on the United States, then goes more local and granular.

“All climate change is local,” said Pennsylvania State University climate scientist Richard Alley, who wasn’t part of the report but praised it.

While scientists talk of average global temperatures, people feel extremes more, he said.

“We live in our drought, our floods and our heat waves. That means we have to focus on us,” he said.

The Lower 48 states have warmed 1.8 degrees (1 degree Celsius) since 1900 with 1.2 degrees in the last few decades, according to the report. By the end of the century, the U.S. will be 3 to 12 degrees (1.6 to 6.6 degrees Celsius) hotter depending on how much greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere, the report warns.

Outside scientists and officials from 13 federal agencies wrote the report, which was released on the afternoon following Thanksgiving. It was originally scheduled for December. The report often clashes with the president’s past statements and tweets on the legitimacy of climate change science, how much of it is caused by humans, how cyclical it is and what’s causing increases in recent wildfires.

Trump tweeted this week about the cold weather hitting the East including: “Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?”

Friday’s report seemed to anticipate such comments, saying: “Over shorter timescales and smaller geographic regions, the influence of natural variability can be larger than the influence of human activity … Over climate timescales of multiple decades, however, global temperature continues to steadily increase.”

Releasing the report on Black Friday “is a transparent attempt by the Trump Administration to bury this report and continue the campaign of not only denying but suppressing the best of climate science,” said study co-author Andrew Light, an international policy expert at the World Resources Institute.

The fact that this report was released on a day when few people would be paying attention is hardly coincidental, of course. As with most people on the right and, it seems, the entire Republican Party, the Trump Administration has taken it upon itself to deny the reality of global climate change, to deny the fact that global temperatures have been steadily increasing over the past several years at least, that there is apparent connection between these facts and the verifiable fact that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have been increasing at rates far above normal over the past 150 years, and that there is at least some connection between this and human activity. Instead of acknowledging these facts, the right has typically responded with denial and by pointing to irrelevant facts such as short-term cold snaps that do not rebut the generally verifiable fact that average global temperatures are rising and that there have already been measurable changes in climate in the form of rising sea levels, increased melting of polar ice caps, the accelerated retreat of glaciers in Europe and North America, as well as increasingly severe seasonal storms during both the summer and other times of the year in various parts of the world. Despite these realities, conservatives generally reject the findings of virtually every climate scientist in the world in favor of the denials of the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and President Trump. Given these denials, it’s not surprising that the Trump Administration would seek to release, or to put it more accurately bury, this report on the biggest “Take Out The Trash Day” of the year.

Beyond the purely political motivations behind releasing the report last Friday, there’s little about what it tells us that ought to be surprising.

For some time now, it’s been clear that worldwide temperatures have been on the upswing since at least 1970 and that those temperature spikes have become more common since the turn of the century, with each new year seeming to set new records either worldwide, for particular parts of the planet, or both. While it’s true that the records we’re talking about only reliably go back to the late 19th Century, additional evidence uncovered via the examination of soil samples and other methods seem to indicate that this trend is a real phenomenon rather than just a fluke that will pass us by in a few years. At this point, one would have to deliberately be sticking their heads in the sand to ignore the clear scientific data that shows these facts, and already there is evidence from around the globe of the impact that these rising temperatures are likely to have in years to come, from rising sea levels and daily temperatures in major cities to increasingly erratic weather in many parts of the world. The world is getting warmer, this will have an impact on climate at all times of the year and could just as easily lead to severe winter weather as it is to lead to increasingly warm and dry summers. It’s also clear that there is going to come to a point at which we will be powerless to do anything about it, assuming, that is, that we haven’t already passed that point. Instead of recognizing that reality, though, many people in the United States continue to deny the basic facts that show that the global climate is undergoing radical change and have chosen instead to attack those who are attempting to make this information public.

In addition to the fact of global climate change, it also seems undeniable that human activity has played at least some role in bringing the current situation about. The lifestyle that much of the world has come to know to rely upon depends on vast quantities of energy, and in large part that still means relying upon sources of energy that dump carbon into the atmosphere on a regular basis. In some nations, such as China, this has resulted in things such as days on which Beijing and other cities are so covered in smog that one can barely see buildings across the street. In others, it has led to already measurable increases in sea levels that, if they continue, will have an impact on everything from recreation and housing to freshwater supplies. Droughts have been an issue in several parts of the world for many years now, leading many people in the third world to abandon agricultural areas for major cities that are already crowded and barely able to accommodate their current populations. This isn’t to say that human activity is the only cause of the current round of climate change, of course, or that we should all go back to some sort of pre-industrial way of living in order to ‘save the planet.’ The first idea ignores the reality that global climate is a complex phenomenon that is influenced by a wide-ranging series of factors, many of which we have no control over. The second is simply an unrealistic strawman typically used by those who deny the reality of climate change to shut down any discussion about what, if anything, can be done to at least stem the tide of change that appears to be headed for us in the coming years and decades.

As I’ve noted in the past, there is very little ground for denying the reality of global climate change. The data is all there, and the vast majority of scientists studying the climate are in agreement that it is in fact happening. Additionally, as I said, there seems to be little doubt that human activity has played some role in bringing this about. What’s unclear is what, if anything, can or should be done in response to these facts. Some responses, such as accelerating research into forms of energy production that minimize the amount of carbon that ends up in the atmosphere seem to be self-evident, for example. Additionally, there seems to be very little wisdom in continuing to subsidize forms of energy such as coal that is clearly bad for the environment. Beyond that, though, there is plenty of room for debate about the appropriate response to what seems to be an increasing reality. Rather than engaging in those debates and offering alternatives aimed at either slowing down the rise in global temperatures or seeking to minimize or mitigate the impact that climate change will have on billions of people, the critics seek to stick their heads in the sand and ignore reality, perhaps because they realize that they’ll likely be dead when the worst of the impact can be expected to begin to be felt.

Despite that denialism, and notwithstanding the fact that the Trump Administration chose to avoid the reality set forth in devastating detail by its own report, reality is what it is. Either we begin to deal with it now, either via efforts to try to slow down the buildup of greenhouse gases or to mitigate the impact of climate change, or both, or we and our descendants will be forced to deal with it later when it most assuredly be too late.

In any event, you can read the full report, which exceeds 1,000 pages but includes summary documents that explain the report and its conclusions fairly succinctly, In doing so you’ll likely be one step ahead of the President, who was probably too busy golfing and playing around on Twitter to pay any attention to this report.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Donald Trump, Environment, Global Climate Change, Politicians, Science & Technology, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    Does the report produce a profit for Trump personally? Does it cause people to cheer him? No? Then obviously it’s Fake News.

    We are at least two years away from being able to do anything positive on this or any other issue. We have two more years of accelerating American decline.

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  2. Norman Hagen says:

    @Michael Reynolds: @Michael Reynolds: We might not have to wait two years. Maybe we do—I am not sure dumb bell Pence would be any better.

  3. MarkedMan says:

    This is the fundamental tragedy the modern Republican Party has brought to the nation: the fact that there is only one party that strives to deal with difficult problems. And when the Dems make hard choices, the worthless Republicans will attack them for it. So we have ended up with a holding cycle where Republicans in power neglect or worsen every pending issue, followed by a brief cycle where Dems regain power, do what they can to fix things, and then lose again

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  4. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Given that we aren’t doing anything about it, I really hope that global warming really is a Chinese hoax as Trump has declared. Otherwise, we’re pretty screwed.

  5. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We are at least two years away from being able to do anything positive on this or any other issue. We have two more years of accelerating American decline.

    Voting is about Harm Reduction. The results of three weeks ago aren’t that we’re going to do great new things soon. It’s that the even worse things Trump would have otherwise done may not happen.

    A few months before the election the GOP was talking about another giant giveaway to the rich. Permanent business cuts IIRC. They can’t do that now. Next year’s trillion-dollar deficit is going to suck, but the GOP wanted to make it $1.5 trillion, and that harm has now been eliminated.

  6. gVOR08 says:

    There is no reason to doubt that human activity is causing Global Warming, there simply isn’t. And it’s quite clear the results can already be seen and will, in the long term, be catastrophic. Yet Republicans insist on doing nothing, or less than nothing,simply because they’re being paid to do nothing. This is the issue that makes it crystal clear the Republican Party is insane and evil.

    ( I make a distinction between GOP voters who are entitled to a degree of scientific ignorance, and national level pols and professionals who have no excuse for maintaining, or pretending, such appalling ignorance.)

  7. mattbernius says:

    In before someone posts something from the Heartland Institute stating that this report is the wrongest report in the long history of wrong reports.

    (They’ve been doing the usual denialists rounds already, and sadly the major networks keep booking them and other denialists)

  8. Teve says:

    The basic fact of global warming was figured out in the late 1800’s. It’s basic chemistry. CO2 traps heat. We burn carbon by the Metric Assload* and make CO2. The earth’s gonna get hotter. Svante Arrhenius put 2 and 2 together in like 1897.

    Global Warming Denial is for-profit nonsense.

    *(The world emits 36 billion tons of CO2 every year at the current rate)

  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Conspiracy theories everywhere.
    Birtherism.
    Ghost Caravans.
    The Deep State.
    Fake news.
    But hand the idiot a 1,600 page report compiled by 13 Federal Agencies…and he doesn’t believe it.
    Unfortunately, the real world doesn’t care what he believes.

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  10. Kathy says:

    While technological advances are moving int he right direction (more efficient engines, recycling, etc.), the increase in population largely negates such advances.

    On the other hand, the price of renewable energy sources keeps coming down, just not fast enough. And many of these have inherent problems that can’t be transcended (such as being intermittent, dependent on weather, etc.)

    So things will get worse before they get better.

    It may be time to consider a carbon tax, and making more subsidies available for renewable energy, at the consumer level.

  11. Teve says:

    A serious carbon tax starting decades ago would have been smart. A serious carbon tax starting now would at least possibly mitigate the damage. And we probly can’t get one.

    I actually have thought lately that perhaps the only way we get it is if the rest of the globe bands together and tells us we are going to be subject to a worldwide tariff unless we get with the program.

  12. johnK says:

    The whole “man-made global warming” is a hoax, hogwash, a massive fraud going by REAL science. This “new” report contains nothing new in it at all and in fact, is based on old data, old ICCP reports which have been proven wrong already. Wow how a few liberal journalists and liberal scientists can fool so many people is scary. The ICCP lies and cheats like crazy. Their data is wrong, false, manipulated. The leaked emails prove that. No one yet has shown let alone proven 0.036% of CO2 in the atmosphere causes the earth to warm. No one. The computer models have consistently been proven to be wrong. The truth is the earth has been cooling for the last 8,000 years (the Holocene period). The little blip in the past ~200 years is nothing, all well within the fluctuating range. I could go on and on with true facts, not false ones (like how ICCP’s and “scientists” computer models don’t even include water vapor – a component well over 90% of the atmosphere). But in short, it is the sun which controls our climate (in the sense of temperatures), not man.

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  13. Teve says:

    New troll, or old troll under a new name?

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  14. DrDaveT says:

    @Norman Hagen:

    Maybe we do—I am not sure dumb bell Pence would be any better.

    Well, we have now (at least temporarily) avoided CASE NIGHTMARE WHITE, which involved Pence becoming President while the GOP still held both houses of Congress. Where Trump is a loose cannon that rolls over everyone before crashing through the gunwale, Pence is targeted evil and potentially much, much more effective at causing irreversible harm.

  15. johnK says:

    To All – this blog does not post my comments. I have been respectful, used no foul language, stuck to facts. Maybe because I disagree with “man made climate change” – so I don’t have free speech?? In the sense because I disagree my comments can’t be posted? What a joke.

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  16. Teve says:

    water vapor – a component well over 90% of the atmosphere

    water vapor is 0-4%. Try again, lunatic.

    Nitrogen (N2) 78.08%​
    Oxygen (O2) 20.95%​
    Argon (Ar) 0.93%​
    Neon, Helium, Krypton 0.0001%​
    Table 1: Constant Components. Proportions remain the same over time and location.

    Carbon dioxide (CO2) 0.038%​
    Water vapor (H2O) 0-4%​
    Methane (CH4) trace​
    Sulfur dioxide (SO2) trace​
    Ozone (O3) trace​
    Nitrogen oxides (NO, NO2, N20) trace​
    Table 2: Variable Components. Amounts vary over time and location.

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  17. Kathy says:

    @johnK:

    (like how ICCP’s and “scientists” computer models don’t even include water vapor – a component well over 90% of the atmosphere)

    90%? If that were so, we’d be so soggy and moist, you couldn’t start a fire under most normal conditions.

    The actual proportion of water vapor in the Earth’s atmosphere averages around 0.4%. And It’s not Ignored At All

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  18. johnK says:

    @Teve: So I state true facts, based on real science, and I am labeled a troll? Real open mind you have.

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  19. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @johnK:

    So I state true facts

    The whole “man-made global warming” is a hoax, hogwash, a massive fraud going by REAL science.

    like how ICCP’s and “scientists” computer models don’t even include water vapor – a component well over 90% of the atmosphere

    Not one of those statements are “true facts”.

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  20. Teve says:

    go take some jr. high-level science classes, Troll. You’re not good at this.

  21. Teve says:

    But in short, it is the sun which controls our climate (in the sense of temperatures), not man.

    And the moon is at roughly the same distance w/r/t the sun, but has drastically different temperatures. Gee…I wonder why…

  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve: @Kathy:
    BTW, if I’m not mistaken it was @MarkedMan who suggested a way to deal with trolls: refute them but don’t @ them. I thought it was a clever idea.

  23. Teve says:

    @Michael Reynolds: Oh I’m just having fun with a demented lunatic. I doubt he’ll stick around and become a problem. Amusingly, if, as he suggests, the atmosphere was 90% water vapor that would mean the oceans were literally boiling.

    At that point, sure, CO2 wouldn’t be our biggest problem 😛 😛 😛

  24. Teve says:
  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @johnK:

    stuck to facts

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA….

    gasp…. wheeze…. alternative facts.

  26. Hal_10000 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    We’re a lot further away than that, I think. Electing Democrats won’t magically make global warming go away. We simply don’t have the tech to replace fossil fuels at this point. We need to re-orient the federal strategy less toward subsidies of existing/marginal tech and more toward research funding on breakthrough tech. Technology is the reason the US has seen its CO2 emissions fall over the last decade while other countries have seen theirs surge (or get outsourced to other countries). More efficiency, switching from goal to natural gas, some alternative energy. These are only stalling the day of reckoning. But that’s the best we can do given the current state of technology.

    TBH, I’m almost as disappointed with the Democrats as the Republicans on this issue (almost). The Democrats are turning their backs on nuclear, the only real viable alternative to fossil fuels. Germany is seeing their greenhouse gas emissions go UP despite alternative energy because they’re shutting down nuclear plants. This means all that alternative energy has to be backed up by fossil fuels. And ramping up and down makes them far less efficient. Any energy strategy without nuclear is as bad as no energy strategy at all.

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  27. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    My advice is not to feed the troll. I did not follow my own advice, like Alice (“I give myself some good advice, but I very seldom follow it.”)

    I guess I couldn’t resist such an obviously wrong datum.

    But we can talk about water vapor. It makes up only 0.4% of the atmosphere (on average). It’s an effective greenhouse gas, but it also forms clouds that shield the planet from sunlight. I don’t know what the balance is. We do emit water vapor (see how much steam power is still in use), but even if we didn’t, lots of it evaporates naturally from the vast majority of the planet’s surface that’s water. As the planet heats up, more water should evaporate, too.

    There are many factors involved.

  28. steve says:

    Dont feed the troll, especially one who has never taken and passed a science course.

    Steve

  29. Hal_10000 says:

    BTW: The latest denialist talking point is that global temperatures have fallen for two years. They’re right … but only because 2016 was an El Nino year — a spike above the trend. It’s 1998 all over again. 2017 and 2018 will still be among the five hottest years on record and are returning us back to the 0.1-0.15 C/decade trend.

    (TBF: a lot of global warming … believers? … accepters? … supporters? … said in 2016 that this was the beginning of accelerated warming. Turned out not to be the case. At least, so far.)

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  30. Kathy says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Any energy strategy without nuclear is as bad as no energy strategy at all.

    Almost as bad.

    Fear of nuclear energy is greatly exaggerated. The waste issue is real, but again not as dangerous as it’s made out to be. Fuel can be extracted from waste, too, though that carries security concerns. ON the last, I wouldn’t worry about nuclear fuel reprocessing plants in the US, Western Europe, Japan, or Canada.

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  31. mattBernius says:

    @Hal_10000:
    God, that is so sadly predictable… So much so that I was saying that would happen two frigging years ago.

    Btw, @johnK: the water vapor copy pasta is one of the easiest to debunk denialist lines. That dog don’t hunt son:

    https://www.skepticalscience.com/water-vapor-greenhouse-gas.htm

    PS. Enjoy all the sourcing of actual data and analysis at that link… Something your ranting seems to be missing.

  32. Modulo Myself says:

    @Kathy:

    Fear of nuclear is completely warranted. Fear of well-regulated government-controlled unprofitable nuclear is not, except for Cherynobyl.

  33. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000:
    Yeah, I know, hence ‘anything positive’ as opposed to ‘something successful.’

    I like to divide problems into ‘sht I can do something about’, and ‘sht I can’t.’ I doubt there’s a heck of a lot I can do about this, and quite honestly, my kids can deal with it. I’ve got a great big Pez dispenser of worry – deal with one, the next one pops up. You chew ’em up one at a time. Right now my political problem is there’s a chimpanzee in the Oval Office. Nothing useful can be done till we solve that problem. Then we’re going to have to reduce the GOP to below-veto-levels, as we have in California. And then maybe we can get something useful accomplished.

    The country is constipated, it has a great big intestinal blockage called the Republican Party. We need to flush them out. (Callback to the earlier sht theme.) We cannot move forward while a white supremacist party of people who hate science, hate education and love Trump holds significant power. Once we’ve passed that giant turd we can look at other issues.

  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Teve:
    The atmosphere is 90% water but only in Louisiana, in summer.

  35. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @johnK: I’m not sure of what your complaint is because I’m reading your comments just fine. In what way are you being silenced?

  36. Mister Bluster says:

    Once we’ve passed that giant turd we can look at other issues.

    who stated Wednesday;
    “just shut the hell up and get on the helicopter. Give us a rest from your crazy. You don’t know the 9th circuit from a circuit breaker. It’s Thanksgiving for crying out loud. Let us be thankful for your silence. You’ve said enough this week.”

    A. Nancy Pelosi
    B. Moe the Bartender
    C. Michael Steele

    Click HERE for answer.

  37. PJ says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    BTW, if I’m not mistaken it was @MarkedMan who suggested a way to deal with trolls: refute them but don’t @ them. I thought it was a clever idea.

    My suggestion for OTB would be this, do what balloon-juice do, get something like their server based pie-filter, that allow commenters to hide or scramble all comments from other commenters. Smother the trolls with silence.

    And remove the down-vote. I’m pretty certain that some trolls get validated by the number of down-votes they get.

  38. Mikey says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: A recent whine of the idiot right is their belief they are being persecuted by liberal websites with “shadow bans” (a thing they don’t understand either but whatever). In truth they are just too stupid to understand how algorithms work. Or, in the case of the moron to whom you are responding, how to use the refresh button.

  39. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    The waste issue is real, but again not as dangerous as it’s made out to be

    While I agree with this in theory, the reality is that in more than a half century there has been no progress in storing the waste long term. It is literally sitting on site in pools of water. Decades old pools. Another pro-nuclear argument is that modern reactors are fail safe. But that doesn’t change the fact that we have more than a dozen Fukushima-like plants operating here (some near population centers) and the industry successfully lobbied against doing anything to make them safer. And remember, Fukushima melted down not directly because of the earthquake or resultant tsunami but because the power went off for a number of hours. I used to believe that nuclear was a solution but have subsequently realized the industry reflexively buries its head in the sand whenever a potential problem comes up.

  40. Resistance Ron says:

    So the GDP in 80 years might be 10% less than it otherwise might be, if it continued to grow without any effects of climate change and with no changes in technology, etc.

    That doesn’t sound too bad to me.

    What’s an 80 year estimate of economic growth anyways?

    Pure guesswork.

    Let’s estimate the GDP in a century, make the giant assumption that finally all these climate predictions are correct, and then ignore every other variable that will affect economic growth.

    And lo and behold! What’s the solution! More taxes and regulations!

    Honestly, I did not see that coming.

  41. Resistance Ron says:

    And why are the CA wildfires even being discussed as part of Climate Change? The NYT (via the journal BioScience) warned us back in January of this year that dead trees and poor forest management were setting the stage for horrific fires there.

    The wildfires are only applicable when discussing governmental regulatory overreactions (specifically in this case the bans on logging) to the hype surrounding Climate Change.

  42. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @Resistance Ron:

    The NYT (via the journal BioScience) warned us back in January of this year that dead trees and poor forest management

    Why do I just assume J-enos is leaving important conteext here?
    Oh…because he does in every comment…that’s why.
    You were banned…show some self-pride and go away like Bunge did.
    Moderators?

  43. mattbernius says:

    Hey @Resistance Ron, before I actually attempt to share science with you, I’m just checking, are you still “challenging” the anthropomorphic effect on climate change?

    1) I challenge the anthropomorphic aspect of the global warming/climate change/climate disruption theory. The effects of factors entirely out of our control — vulcanism and solar cycles, just to name two — dwarf the factors we can control.

    source: https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/house-science-committee-has-investigated-aliens-more-than-it-has-investigated-climate-change/#comment-1927139

    Because that was all easily dismissable bullshit when you posted it back in 2014…

    Here’s a summary of why Volcanos DO NOT account for the warming:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/volcanoes-and-global-warming.htm

    Here’s a summary of why Solar Cycles DO NOT account for the warming:
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

    Both use actual citations to peer-reviewed, published research to support those views.

    9
    1
  44. lynn says:

    @mattbernius: “n before someone posts something from the Heartland Institute stating that this report is the wrongest report in the long history of wrong reports.”

    You mean this Heartland Institute? “In the 1990s, the Heartland Institute worked with the tobacco company Philip Morris to question or deny the health risks of secondhand smoke and to lobby against smoking bans.[2][3]:233–34[4] In the decade after 2000, the Heartland Institute became a leading supporter of climate change denial.[5][6] It rejects the scientific consensus on global warming,[7] and says that policies to fight it would be damaging to the economy.[8]” wiki

  45. mattbernius says:

    For non denialists, here’s a rundown of the connections between the California Wildfires and climate change:

    https://www.yaleclimateconnections.org/2018/11/the-many-ways-climate-change-worsens-california-wildfires/

    A well-sourced article from Yale University’s School of *Forestry* and Environmental Science. The summary take away:

    Forest management does play some role in creating wildfire fuel, but some wildfires aren’t even located in forests. Moreover, scientific evidence clearly shows that climate change is exacerbating California’s wildfires in different ways:

    * Higher temperatures dry out vegetation and soil, creating more wildfire fuel.

    * Climate change is shortening the California rainy season, thus extending the fire season.

    *Climate change is also shifting the Santa Ana winds that fan particularly dangerous wildfires in Southern California.

    * The warming atmosphere is slowing the jet stream, leading to more California heat waves and high-pressure ridges in the Pacific. Those ridges deflect from the state some storms that would otherwise bring much-needed moisture to slow the spread of fires.

    Looking forward to a well-sourced counter-argument from an expert source with equivalent credentials.

  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Mister Bluster: C. and I didn’t need to cheat.

  47. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    I used to believe that nuclear was a solution but have subsequently realized the industry reflexively buries its head in the sand whenever a potential problem comes up.

    That makes them like all other industries.

    But unlike most others, the nuclear industry has taken care of its waste since the beginning. Long term storage of waste could be eased by reprocessing fuel, though not eliminated.

    The thing to keep in mind is that it’s a business like any other. Investors won’t put their money on nuclear to save the world, but to make money. If we see it as the savior of the world, we’ll be disappointed.

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  48. gVOR08 says:

    Above I @gVOR08: commented that denialism clearly shows the insanity and evil of the Republican Party.
    This morning Dr Krugman was kind enough to agree, The Depravity of Climate-Change Denial.

  49. Kathy says:

    About the denialist mentality, I highly recommend one of Asimov’s best works, “The Gods Themselves.”

    Minor spoilers follow for part one:

    It’s largely about a new energy source, called the electron pump, which is clean, cheap, and produces no waste at all. The minor inconvenience is that continued use will blow up the Sun.

    Now, there’s no overwhelming consensus that this is the case, but some research into the matter is suppressed. And in parts one and three of the novel, we see the rationale used by various people to dismiss the danger and keep using the electron pump. Also the political calculus involved in the matter.

    In part two, things are even more interesting.

    I keep hoping someone would do a movie of this novel.

  50. Franklin says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Some of us don’t see new comments until we reload the page or something. That might have happened to our new friend.

    /I’m using “friend” in the same sense that women sometimes do when discussing their monthly visitor

  51. Franklin says:

    Ron- OK, so you don’t want taxes and regulation to help control the damage to our environment, but it seems that you’re hinting that you accept the damage is real. What is your proposal for paying for that damage without somehow involving the government? I would agree that it’s extremely difficult to estimate that damage in advance.

    As Neils Bohr or perhaps Nostradamus said, “prediction is difficult, especially about the future.”

  52. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy:

    Long term storage of waste could be eased by reprocessing fuel

    Could be. But hasn’t. And there is nothing in development. My skepticism comes from a number of incidents.
    – In 1982 there was a serious radioactive leak at Ginna nuclear plant near where I lived. I listened to local radio for several hours as the plant officials lied, got caught in the lie, then merely switched to another lie as if nothing had happened. Sometimes it was only minutes before they said the lie, got caught, and then said another lie to replace it.
    – I worked briefly for a company near New Orleans that had done a lot of training related work for the local nuclear power plant. A number of power plant officials attended our company Christmas party and I met one young guy. Recent college graduate. Had immigrated rom India just a year or so before being hired. Very dark skinned. (Remember, this is LA.) He struck me as naive, enthusiastic and very young. When I asked him what he did at the plant I discovered he was in charge of safety. (See “Fall Guy”).
    – A relative lives in Richland, WA. This is prime red territory, real Trumperville. A lot of nuclear research was done there starting in the 50’s. A lot of waste “safely stored, constantly monitored, yada yada yada.” Suffice it to say that contamination has been a fairly constant refrain over the years. In one case the “state of the art storage” turned out to be barrels out in a field somewhere and covered in concrete then literally forgotten about. The internal heat eventually ruptured the barrels and cracked the concrete cover and radioactive waste leaked into the water table. It was discovered when local citizens found significantly radioactive mosquitos. There are dozens, maybe hundreds of such incidents over the last several decades and they all are discovered by private citizens. In this “well controlled constantly monitored” somehow the officials never find the problem, only private individuals. And it always plays out the same way: they trot out an earnest, good looking spokesman who acknowledges vaguely that “they should have communicated better”, that they are digging in to find the facts and any problems that may exist will be dealt with. Without actually saying it, they imply that these types of things might have happened in the bad old days but now they are responding and have it under control, so let’s put the past in the past and move forward from here. Concern gradually dies down until a few years later there is another incident and a different earnest and good looking spokes is trotted out to repeat the charade.

  53. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: I believe I read this as a teen but I’ll have to check it out again

  54. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    I wonder what effect all of Dennison’s hairspray has on this? Maybe that’s why he is in denial. Imagine if they took his hairspray away? The only thing worse than being fat and orange is being fat and orange and bald. Nothing against baldness…just fat orange baldness.

  55. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    My two favorites are “The Gods Themselves” and “The End of Eternity.”

    Asimov kind of reused the former, well part two, in a novella called “Gold,” found in a collection also titled “Gold” containing his last short works. It’s about a new art medium using subliminal effects, synthetic voices, etc. An author offers a director of this medium gold coins (I never got that part) in exchange for producing “Three-in-one.”

    I like describing the novel as “Well, the world’s in peril, and a family’s struggles with having a third child.”

  56. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Could be. But hasn’t. And there is nothing in development. My skepticism comes from a number of incidents.

    I don’t dispute that. Clearly stronger oversight is needed.

    But coal pollution carries a fair deal of radioactivity from impurities in the fuel, and that simply gets released to the air (along with other toxic compounds which are byproducts of combustion). So nuclear remains cleaner, even with leaks of radioactive materials.

    No energy source will ever be 100% clean or without consequences. Solar cells pollute through the mining and manufacturing required, ditto wind turbines, and the latter also kill lots of birds. Fusion, if it ever gets developed, will produce radioactive waste as well (like the whole reactor core and other irradiated areas). Trade offs and compromises will always be necessary.

  57. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: Yep. So it’s a real shame that the nuclear industry is so dishonest and messed up. If the waste disposal problem had been dealt with and they had responded to Fukushima by anything other than lobbying against new safety messages I would be a big promoter. But lest you think I’m exaggerating about the potential (near certainty over a longer time line) of a Fukushima level disaster in the US:

    [these] U.S. plants have the same key vulnerability that led to the crisis in Japan. The basic problem is that the Japanese reactors lost both their normal and back-up power supplies, which are used to cool fuel rods and the reactor core. The reactors had batteries that could supply power for eight hours until the back-up system or normal power supply was restored. But officials were unable to fully restore either. Most U.S. reactors are designed to cope with station power outages (where both primary and back-up power supplies are out) lasting only four hours. Measures that increase the chance of restoring power within that four-hour time period, and provide better cooling options if that time runs out, would make U.S. reactors less vulnerable.

    In addition, we know that earthquakes can cause fires at nuclear reactors, and U.S. reactor safety studies conclude that fire can be a dominant risk for reactor core damage by disabling primary and backup emergency systems. Yet dozens of U.S. nuclear reactors have operated for years in violation of federal fire protection regulations, with no plans to address these safety risks any time soon.

    Finally, U.S. reactor emergency plans assume that a reactor accident would be the only demand on emergency response resources. The accident in Japan is another reminder of the need to revisit emergency plans to ensure that emergency responders are able to respond to both a problem at a nuclear power plant and the needs of the surrounding community.

  58. mattbernius says:

    @Resistance Ron:

    I’ve been commenting here what….2 months now? Ish? Something like that.

    Sure you have (btw, when do you think that telltale gravitar is going to pop-up next to your identity as it has with all of your past sock puppets?).

    So what are your thoughts on anthropomorphic global warming? Because your grasp of science doesn’t seem to be any better than Jenos’ given your “why is someone talking about climate change in relation to the wild fires” BS.

    Also, I love how your reasoning is so eerily similiar to rational laid out by a poster from 2014 who you claim to have no connection to… (just has happened ever other time).

  59. Tyrell says:

    @MarkedMan: The goal should be a working nuclear fusion reactor by 2025. Clean, safe, cheap.

  60. just nutha says:

    Indeed! The technology for a fusion reactor has been a decade away since I was about 9 or 10 years old. But, as many have already noted, fusion will bring more or less the same problems that fission does.

  61. Mister Bluster says:

    @johnK:..so I don’t have free speech?? In the sense because I disagree my comments can’t be posted?

    The First Amendment to the United States Constitution Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech,... prohibits the United States Congress from shutting your pie hole.

    OTB Policies states:..any comment deemed abusive or offensive may be deleted without warning or appeal by the post author…
    I have yet to read any item posted on OTB authored by a member of the United States Congress.
    Apparently you don’t know the difference between them and the authors at OTB.
    This would make you the joke.

  62. Kathy says:

    @just nutha:

    Fusion is 20 years away and always will be 🙂

    But it won’t be the panacea everyone thinks. Yes, the “waste” is neutral, non-radioactive helium-4. But the fusion reaction produces a lot of radiation (lots of positrons occur in fusion). This gets contained in the reactor, yes, but you don’t just stop radiation; instead you get lower-level secondary radiation. Long story short, the reactor itself becomes radioactive with time. So after a few decades of operation, you’ll have accumulated a lot of reactor radioactive waste.

    That aside, there are plenty of advantages. One, fusion produces a lot of energy (see the Sun); Two, fusion fuel is plentiful(*); Three, in time we may, or not, use fusion reactors to build up heavier elements.

    So it’s absolutely worth doing. But the engineering challenges are huge, and we ought to keep things in perspective.

    (*) Fusion fuel is usually described as hydrogen, which is true, and there’s plenty of hydrogen on Earth, as in the oceans for example. But for fusion the most effective fuel is deuterium, a hydrogen isotope with one proton and one neutron in the nucleus. Deuterium exists in nature. If you’ve heard of heavy water, that’s water with a higher than normal proportion of deuterium vs hydrogen atoms. But by far most of Earth’s hydrogen isn’t deuterium.

    There’s a third hydrogen isotope, tritium, which has two neutrons and one proton. It’s slightly radioactive, and it glows in the dark. It’s in very large demand, and it can be made in fission reactors. It’s also very expensive. One price you often hear it’s like $50,000 US per gram. It’s even more effective for fusion. So much so, it’s used as the explosive agent in thermonuclear (fusion) bombs.

  63. Tyrell says:

    @Kathy: That is a good explanation and information.
    Watch “The Pioneers – Fusion Energy”
    Plants being built in US and France.

  64. MarkedMan says:

    Anyone besides me remember the crazy Fusion guys that used to harass people at the airport? Along with the Hare Krishnas and the Moonies…

  65. gVOR08 says:

    For future reference Grist (motto: Gloom and doom with a sense of humor) has How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic: Responses to the most common skeptical arguments on global warming, an extensive list of arguments and responses organized into a convenient taxonomy. johnK’s claim that no one has shown CO2 causes the earth to warm is covered by a link in bullet three under Stages of Denial, 3. Climate change is natural, c. It’s not caused by CO2. Perhaps less complete, but more convenient, is the numbered list with linked responses in Skeptical Science, Global Warming & Climate Change Myths.

    @johnK:

    The ICCP [sic] lies and cheats like crazy. Their data is wrong, false, manipulated. The leaked emails prove that. [35, 64, 71, 87, 92, 124, 129, 162, 175, 182, 187] No one yet has shown let alone proven 0.036% of CO2 in the atmosphere causes the earth to warm. No one. [30, 47, 77, 140, 17, 181] The computer models have consistently been proven to be wrong. [6, 186] The truth is the earth has been cooling for the last 8,000 years (the Holocene period). [5, 48] The little blip in the past ~200 years is nothing, all well within the fluctuating range. I could go on and on with true facts, not false ones (like how ICCP’s [sic] and “scientists” [sic] computer models don’t even include water vapor – a component well over 90% of the atmosphere). [Say what? And 181] But in short, it is the sun which controls our climate (in the sense of temperatures), not man. [2, 51, 90, 118, 143]

    Much more efficient.

  66. Teve says:

    TBH, I’m almost as disappointed with the Democrats as the Republicans on this issue (almost). The Democrats are turning their backs on nuclear, the only real viable alternative to fossil fuels. Germany is seeing their greenhouse gas emissions go UP despite alternative energy because they’re shutting down nuclear plants. This means all that alternative energy has to be backed up by fossil fuels. And ramping up and down makes them far less efficient. Any energy strategy without nuclear is as bad as no energy strategy at all.

    I sympathize with what you’re saying here but this is too extreme. Long before I got a degree in physics I was pondering this.

    Pros:
    ○ Yes, nuclear is ~ carbon neutral.
    ○ Yes, Gen IV reactors might be meltdown-proof* **

    *Some only if serious technological fixes appear out of nowhere, like metals that can withstand molten corrosive fluids for years without incident)
    **the history of nuclear energy is wildly over-promised benefits.

    Cons:

    ○ Humans have leaked serious radiation from commercial reactors 3 times in 50 years. There are many people whose entire careers will be spent cleaning up Fukushima.
    ○ nuclear is more expensive to run than any other energy source.
    ○ nuclear plants are more expensive to build than any other plant.
    ○ even the already-licensed designs take fucking forever to bring online.
    ○ we can’t deal with the waste they’ve already generated. We’re leaving most of it in “temporary” holding pools with no idea WTF to do.
    ○ decommissioning a plant means hundred of tons of radioactive metal which’ll be radioactive for eons.
    ○ uranium is non-renewable.
    ○ potential terrorist target

    While I’ve gone back and forth for 20 years, my current opinion was most recently tilted by the simple fact that for a couple hundred bucks Joe Blow the hunter can buy a cooler which’ll keep his deer meat or whatever cool for days. Modern thermos technology is ridiculous. We just need serious Manhattan/Moon-Launch levels of public investment into building solar and solar-thermal plants with high-heat-capacity storage, and a $Bajillion in high-voltage transmission lines and using natural gas as the baseline.

    Nuclear has always been a problem child with unnecessary headaches and we don’t need to depend on it. We need a republican party that is willing to spend more than the current 1/3rd of what China is spending to develop this tech. These prostitutes to hydrocarbon money are fucking us over.

  67. Teve says:

    (*) Fusion fuel is usually described as hydrogen, which is true, and there’s plenty of hydrogen on Earth, as in the oceans for example. But for fusion the most effective fuel is deuterium, a hydrogen isotope with one proton and one neutron in the nucleus. Deuterium exists in nature. If you’ve heard of heavy water, that’s water with a higher than normal proportion of deuterium vs hydrogen atoms. But by far most of Earth’s hydrogen isn’t deuterium.

    Back when I was in physics I knew lots of nuclear physicists, some of which were working on Groundbreaking New Designs for fusion reactors. One, named Bill, even showed me a prototype his team was building for a containment vessel.

    That was 15+ years ago. That shit went nowhere. ITER is garbage. tokamaks are garbage, stellarators are garbage…

    Nothing was more disappointing to me than the promise of fusion.

    We’ve got a big stable fusion reactor in the sky dumping 1,300 W/m^2 around the clock. Let’s just use that shit.

  68. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    we can’t deal with the waste they’ve already generated. We’re leaving most of it in “temporary” holding pools with no idea WTF to do.

    You could always try to pay a third-world country to take it. Iran would pay you to take it, I’m sure 😉

    ○ uranium is non-renewable.

    Yes, but there’s plenty, even accounting for the need for enriched uranium. Briefly, you want more U-235 than U-238, as the former is more radioactive (for a bomb you need even a higher proportion of U-235; pure U-238 can’t be made to detonate).

    BTW, addendum to my earlier post: tritium does not occur in nature, except in trace amounts. It has a half-life of 12.3 years. It decays into Helium-3 (two protons, one neutron). Deuterium is stable.

  69. Guarneri says:

    This report (Snicker) was produced largely by Obama holdovers. Many portions were completed before Trump even took office, and sub-reports were funded by Steyer and his crazies. It’s a political, not a scientific, work product. Even global warming supporters find its alarmist conclusions to be bizarre and self defeating in its silliness.

    Only the nut jobs and criticize Trump at all costs, but I repeat myself, paid any attention to it. I’d play golf too. But who knows, maybe one of these centuries they will be right. As of today they are 0 for 50 years.

  70. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    You’ll want a fusion reactor to power interstellar craft at a decent fraction of c.

  71. Teve says:

    @Kathy: I’m a rarity among my physics geek peers but I think interplanetary and especially interstellar space flight is garbage.

    Antarctica is 1000x easier to get to and live in, and virtually nobody ever goes there because it isn’t worth it and it sucks.

  72. Tyrell says:

    @Kathy: The ion type engine shows promise as far as lab tests. A trip to Mars in 6 weeks? What type of g forces would that mean?

  73. Teve says:

    A friend of mine who was low on physics and high on SF used to tell me manned explorations were worth anything they cost, robots were junk.

    His explanation? A probe wouldn’t have the insight to know where to drill, what rock to kick over, to find extraterrestrial life. My response: Well then you’re saying the only life we’ll find is some boring mildew on a rock, or some shitty bacterial mat. Because if there’s interesting life it won’t take a human. If we’d never been to africa we could detect life there with an unmanned probe pretty easy.

    “Okay the probe landed.”
    “Ok turn on the camera.”
    “Holy shit what is that horse looking thing with the huge neck and spots? OMIGOD it just got eaten by a thing like your housecat on Growth Hormone and Steroids. Fuck! We found life!”

  74. Teve says:

    @Kathy: I’m a rarity among my physics geek peers but I think interplanetary and especially interstellar space flight is garbage.

    “Flight control, report.”
    “Captain, the .9c drive successfully activated! They’re on the way to Proxima Centauri. Only a few years til they make it.”
    “Ah great.”
    “Dang.”
    “Dang what? Flight, what was that glitch on the board?”
    “Lemme see. Ah, yes. After several seconds at .9c the starship hit a microscopic grain of asteroid and completely annihilated in a supernova-looking explosion.”

  75. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    I’ll tell you what a biologist who does science popularization on the radio said once: In Mars there’s no environment to protect.

  76. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Did you ever see Alien Planet and Future Planet on the Discovery Channel? Those were fun speculation.

    Point is people will want to go. As they went and still go to Antarctica for exploration and research.

    Oh, and by a respectable fraction of c, I meant something like 5-10%. Build your interstellar ark thick enough, add some icebergs in front to act as shields, and you should be fine. 45-90 years to Proxima with very mild relativistic effects.

  77. Teve says:

    Yeah just a bunch of nasty perchlorates and other things.

    We are so well-adapted to Earth we don’t grok just how hostile and toxic space is.

  78. Teve says:

    add some icebergs in front to act as shields, and you should be fine.

    You’ll want to get that water from asteroids or somewhere off-planet. Because right now NASA can lift a gallon of water into orbit for like $50,000

  79. Teve says:

    w/r/t our main topic on this thread, i thought this was cute:

    Scott Linnen

    @ScottLinnen
    Follow Follow @ScottLinnen

    Scientists have again landed a spacecraft on a proverbial dime on a planet 40 million miles away that rotates at 241 metres per second. Think I’m gonna trust them on this climate change stuff.

    12:43 PM – 26 Nov 2018

    😀

  80. Teve says:

    In general though I’m more concerned with health care for all US citizens, because I don’t think humans are politically capable of dealing with a problem like climate change. Too many people are too dumb, and too many of the rest are too greedy. Let’s have a rational healthcare system for a few decades before the famines and hellscapes arrive.

  81. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    You’ll want to get that water from asteroids or somewhere off-planet. Because right now NASA can lift a gallon of water into orbit for like $50,000

    Saturn. Is Saturn ok?

    But, let me guess, carbon nanotubes and space elevators are garbage? 😉

    I’m with Clarke on this one. Until and unless we develop a cheap means of lifting massive amounts of material off planet, we won’t have much of a space travel industry (with caveats).

  82. Tyrell says:

    @Teve: The Tokamak project is scheduled to be on line in 2020. I am not sure about the NIF project in this country. Imagine safe, cheap, and endless energy.
    See “Is Fusion energy the answer”. CNN, “Pioneers” – an excellent source of science and tech information – great for students.

  83. MarkedMan says:

    @Tyrell: Tyrell, you are a national treasure.

  84. Teve says:

    @Kathy:

    But, let me guess, carbon nanotubes and space elevators are garbage?

    carbon nanotubes are not strong enough to build space elevators IIRC, and chemists are at a loss about even a conceivable material that could handle that tensile strength.

    Sure, history is littered with predictions of impossibility that failed, but the more we know, the more confident we can be in our knowledge, in a bayesian sense.

    Because some things got better at absurd rates, like computing power, we tend to imagine all tech can have an exponential future. In reality most exponential curves are just the left side of an s-curve, and diminishing returns kick in after a while.

  85. Teve says:

    similar to how cell phone tech developments unintentionally led to VR devices, I think maybe if they get that Hyperloop stuff up and running it could lead to an EM ramp like 10 miles up which shot cargo into orbit. I’d put much more $$$ on that, than space elevators.

  86. Teve says:

    A space elevator would naturally be extremely unstable. It would be very difficult to stabilize because of basic wave propagation. And an unstable space elevator could potentially kill millions of people Bond-villain style. 😀

  87. just nutha says:

    @Kathy: Earth First! (We can stripmine the other planets when we’re done here.)

  88. Moosebreath says:

    @MarkedMan:

    “Tyrell, you are a national treasure.”

    Now we just need to figure out for which nation.

  89. Teve says:

    @Teve: “Hey, everybody check out the space elevator! What’s up with that cool shape that looks like a Bessel functiOMIGOD RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!!!!!!111 😀

  90. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve looked to see if there is a radical improvement in something outside the electronics fields only to find incremental or no change. I remember looking at a 50 year old strength of materials for metal alloys with a high degree of stiffness and strength for a specific instrument we were designing, then consulting with someone with up to date experience, only to find there was nothing new that was a huge improvement, at any price.

  91. MarkedMan says:

    OK, one of my few “one degree of separation” pieces of nerd street cred. On my first co-op job I worked in the Power department of Comsat, which was the first private geosynchronous communications satellite company. There were two unusual things that played into my brush with coolness: they gave their first share of stock to Arthur C. Clarke, who first came up with (championed? popularized) the geosynchronous satellite idea in one of his books; and at that company every department had a “resident genius”, a polymath who had no specific duties but was recruited for particularly difficult problems and for brainstorming sessions. I consulted my department’s guy all the time for my project and in so doing found out what he was spending the bulk of his time doing: Clarke had reached out to Comsat for some help in making sure a concept he had for a story was mathematically and physically sound, even if it required unobtainium in order to work. It was the space elevator from “The Fountains of Paradise”.

  92. Tyrell says:

    @gVOR08: “We sure could use some of that” global warming around here”. Yes indeed. This past Thanksgiving was one of the coldest in history.
    Most of the people around here aren’t buying the “climate change” theories.

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    2
  93. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    Next you’ll be telling me we can’t have a Ringworld, either, or a Dyson Sphere (at least a solid one).

    But “It’s hard to make predictions, especially about the future.” I know that “they said it couldn’t be done” is not a rationale for doing anything one wants, like a space elevator or a hyperdrive or a time machine or a perpetual motion machine.

    My approach is different. I think “would this seemingly impossible thing be of great use?” and if it is, then it’s worth looking into ways of making it possible. Not a perpetual motion machine, of course. But fusion, space elevators, interstellar travel, terraforming other planets, etc. I don’t expect to live anywhere near long enough to see any of that, FWIW.

  94. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    It was the space elevator from “The Fountains of Paradise”.

    Cool!

    Fountains is probably Clarke’s best work. And not because he weaves three stories set in different times into one plot (or is it four stories?) The only thing wrong with it is how Morgan ends up. It seemed too artificial to me, not growing out of the plot.

  95. Teve says:

    @MarkedMan: In the last 100 years, food production went way up. Electronics capabilities and communications went way up. Life-Saving Vaccines made a big difference.

    That’s about all I can think of.

  96. Teve says:

    @Kathy:

    I don’t expect to live anywhere near long enough to see any of that, FWIW.

    I think that’s actually responsible for some of my attitude–if a space elevator or fusion or neuralink or .2c drive happen, there’s no way they’ll happen within my lifetime, so…I kinda don’t care…¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  97. Kathy says:

    @Teve:

    At one time I wondered whether I’d live to see online shopping. really. Around 1991, I had an amazing amount of trouble convincing people a modem was a good idea.

    Now I wonder whether I’ll live to see mainstream, overland supersonic air travel. It doesn’t look good, even though Boom is working on a 1.5th generation prototype.

    Other than that, speculating about the future is fun, whether I get to live to see it or not.

  98. MarkedMan says:

    @Teve: Yep. In that, only electronics have advanced exponentially. Most things are incremental, if that. We e been flying in roughly the same planes for more than a half century. Bridges and dams and skyscrapers aren’t dramatically bigger or different than a century ago. Cars may be breaking out though. They remained on the very slow incremental path until about four or five years ago, but now seem to be on the verge of a leap.

  99. Kathy says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Yep. In that, only electronics have advanced exponentially. Most things are incremental, if that. We e been flying in roughly the same planes for more than a half century.

    Largely it’s a matter of money.

    New electronics cost a lot of money to develop, especially if they require new manufacturing infrastructure. But they sell by the millions. a new airplane costs billions of dollars to develop, including manufacturing facilities, and take years fo design, testing, and certification. And in the end you sell only a few thousand of them over decades.

    Boeing has been producing the 737, in many variants and with improvements, for 50 years, and has sold about 10,000. The Boeing 787 Dreamliner, on the other hand, is new, as planes go, and has sold well. But it cost so much to develop (~$32 billion), and has presented so many operational problems (battery fires, engine troubles), that it’s likely Boeing won’t see a profit on it for some time. About 750 have been made.

    So anything like a different fuselage, supersonic speeds, lifting bodies, etc. is a huge gamble with very high stakes. Companies are not likely to engage in it.

    Take the Bombardier C Series aircraft. While they look like small twin jets, no different in principle from the A320 or B-737, they’re proving revolutionary as regards fuel efficiency and passenger comfort (in this day and age!) Development costs were too high and orders too slow. Bombardier wound up selling a majority of the program to Airbus (for $0). Airbus can build it a bit cheaper, and has better sales channels. It can also keep the plane small, rather than make it a competitor to the A320 and B-737. It’s now known as the A220.

  100. Mister Bluster says:

    @Kathy:..whether I get to live to see it or not.

    In five weeks I will bump over 71.
    I figure everytime I wake up in the morning I’m seeing the future of yesterday.
    Works for me.

  101. johnK says:

    What a massive hoax the whole “man made climate change” theory is! They use fake science to promote such nonsense. They (I mean the ICCP and the 32 govt. computer models) don’t even include the sun in their models (solar irradiance), they don’t include water vapor…which is over 4% of the atmosphere, where CO2 is only 0.03%. How can any sane person even consider the computer models output when they don’t include these two? wow! The earth is not warming due to anything man is doing. It is warming, if at all, due to the sun. We are well within the oscillating ranage from the Holocene period – which shows the temperature has been declining for 8,000 years. And this little warming period only began in around 1830…oil was not discovered until 1850’s and wasn’t in larger usage until into the 1920’s. One can match the sun’s effects very closely with our earth temperatures – short, medium and long terms. One neat measurement is the ice caps on Mars have matched our earth’s growing and declining exactly. That can only be due to the sun. The ICCP is knowingly using wrong numbers. They use fake numbers. They massage numbers. The 32 computer models, which the ICCP bases their reports on, are ALL WRONG. Not one has correctly predicted the earth’s temperature. The only one even close is the russian one, and that is wrong too (predicted temps. would be higher when they are not). How can so many people be duped by this? wow once again! The real temp. numbers show CO2 and the earth’s temperatures have gone in opposite directions many, many times over the years. I’m talking 10,000 years to millions of years. In fact there have been several ice ages millions of years ago when CO2 was four times higher than it is today. There have been times also where CO2 rises have FOLLOWED temperture increases – the exact opposite of the “man made global warming” kooks’ theory. The sun on the other hand gets warmer, and colder, the earth’s axis tilts back and forth, the sun has sunspot activity going up and down – and you know what? It all matches exactly with our earth’s temperatures. It is the sun, not man.

  102. johnK says:

    No one – ever – has ever scientifically shown let alone proven that changes in CO2, at 0.03% of the atmosphere, cause temperatures to go up, or go down. Not once. Show me the report or study that claims that and I’ll jump into the details and show you how they faked it.

  103. johnK says:

    This report was published on November 2, 1922 in The Washington Post…96 years ago. The AP news organization reported the same back in 1922 also!
    “The Arctic Ocean is warming up, icebergs are growing scarcer and in some places the seals are finding the water too hot … according to a report to the Commerce Department yesterday from the Consulate at Bergen, Norway. Reports from fishermen, seal hunters and explorers all point to a radical change in climate conditions and hitherto unheard of temperatures in the Arctic zone. Exploration expeditions report that scarcely any ice has been met as far north as 81 degrees 29 minutes. Soundings to a depth of 3,100 meters showed the gulf stream still very warm. Great masses of ice have been replaced by moraines of earth and stones, the report continued, while at many points well known glaciers have entirely disappeared. Very few seals and no white fish are found in the eastern Arctic, while vast shoals of herring and smelts which have never before ventured so far north, are being encountered in the old seal fishing grounds. Within a few years it is predicted that due to the ice melt the sea will rise and make most coast cities uninhabitable.”
    It is all a scam folks, a hoax foisted upon the world. There is no link at all between CO2 and temperature. Every single one of the 32 computer models has been wrong, all of them. And you’re not going to at least question that? Not even getting into the massive fraudulent conduct of the “scientists” spewing their “massaged” data.