Articals of interest to the coal industry.

Monday, December 25, 2006

The Liberal Scare Du Jour on Global Warming

Sealing the Fate of Antarctica
By Patrick J. Michaels

Published 12/20/2006 12:07:02 AM

The scare du jour on global warming is a massive inundation of our coast caused by rapid loss of ice from Antarctica. It's a core point in Al Gore's science fiction movie, and it continues to be thumped by doomsayers around the world, in the echo chamber of the alarmist media. It's also a bunch of hooey.If you could take the boredom, you could have read hundreds of news stories on this since An Inconvenient Truth debuted on May 25. But you'll find very little mention of a paper that appeared a mere six weeks later, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, which should have stopped the whole show cold. The work is by Brenda Hall from the University of Maine and several co-authors.First, Gore's science fiction. Due to the warming of the surrounding ocean, big ice-shelves begin to crack off and float away. Because that ice is floating, it doesn't raise sea level a bit. But then the ice cracks all the way back to where it is grounded on the ocean floor. That stuff isn't floating and the ocean rises dramatically, some twenty feet in a hundred years. Much of Manhattan, the movie suggests, is under water, along with just about every other coastal city.Now, the truth. The notion that this is going to happen soon has just been fatally harpooned by giant Elephant Seals (Mirounga leonine). They generally hang out a long distance form Antarctica. Most of their breeding rookeries are a good 2,000 miles away on islands in the open ocean, where they feed. Most of the Antarctic coast is hemmed by huge ice shelves that prevent them from finding food.But that wasn't always the case. According to Hall's paper, a large area of the Antarctic coast was ice-free between 1,100 and 2,300 years ago. Elephant seals established multiple rookeries on the continent. Temperatures had to be much warmer than they are today, for at least 1,200 years, and yet there was no disintegration of the large ice shelves. Hall et al. then noted another similar period, almost twice as long, from 4,000 to 6,000 years ago.The warm millennium ended as the world's temperature descended from what scientists call the "Medieval Warm Period" into the "Little Ice Age." Antarctica has yet to fully recover from this last period, as temperatures averaged across the continent actually showed a net cooling in the last three decades.Hall studied ancient Antarctic beaches, which could only contain relics of large numbers of elephant seals if there were open water. Others have examined extinct penguin rookeries and found that those happily footed birds tended to be absent when the seals were present. That's because penguins feed along the edges of sea-ice, so if there isn't any, there aren't any birds.Of course this also means, even as temperatures warm to degrees seen for more than half of the last six millennia, that penguins will be displaced from their current rookeries. The horror of natural climate variability! Cute little penguins driven from their homes by cruel Mother Nature!!Hall et al. give a quantitative perspective on today's climate. Current thinking is that the Antarctic ice shelves become susceptible to rapid breakup when the January (Summer) temperature averages about -1.5 degrees Celsius But the seals only thrive, according to the paper, "when the mean January temperature exceeds 0 [degrees] C, usually by considerable margins."So Hall and her colleagues conclude that "January temperatures...surpassed the -1.5 [degrees] C threshold during two long periods at ~1,000-2,300 and 4,000-6,000 years b.p. [before present]."George Denton, one of Hall's University of Maine colleagues and coauthors, summed it up in the school's U Maine Today Magazine: "Through her discovery of elephant seal remains over a widespread area where they do not exist today, she [Hall] shows evidence not only that a warming occurred, but that the Ross Ice Shelf survived that event. It's important because it speaks to the staying capacity of the ice shelf in the face of global warming."Stories about an imminent collapse of Antarctic ice shelves can go back to the science fiction shelves, where they belonged all along.For that matter, so can this whole apocalyptic myth. If Antarctic ice remained stable for thousands of years with temperatures considerably warmer than they are today, how in the world are we going to provoke a catastrophe? Among other things, we will still have to be powering our society on fossil fuels in the year 4,100.Patrick J. Michaels is Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies at the Cato Institute and author of Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media.


Concerned Community of Citizens said...

"The science says we need to act," says Duke Energy CEO James E. Rogers. James Rogers and many other executives are convinced the United States is likely to join Europe in placing limits on carbon dioxide emissions. Half the country's electricity comes from burning coal, by far the largest industrial source of carbon dioxide. -

NASA's Interactive Ice Cap Melter -

You neglect to mention the fact that ice sheets work to hold it's neighboring "land" ice in place. In fact, it only took 35 days for the Larsen B, an ice shelf the size of Connecticut, to disappear. -

Also, burning coal is leads to other problems including biological accumulation of mercury. In water that contains 1 to 10 parts of mercury per trillion parts of water, methylmercury can bio-accumulate to 1 part per million, a level found in some top predators like tuna, swordfish and shark. -

In 2003, a memo from Frank Luntz, the president's pollster, to the president saying that if you go through with the evisceration of America's environmental law, you are going to alienate not just Democrats but the Republican rank and file. Eighty-one percent in both parties want clean air, they want stronger environmental laws and they want them strictly enforced. Luntz said that to the president, and he said, if we do this we have to do a stealth attack. He recommended using Orwellian rhetoric to mask this radical agenda: They want to destroy the forest, they call it the Healthy Forest Act, they want to destroy the air they call it the Clear Skies Act. Most insidiously, they have installed the worst, most irresponsible polluters in America, and the lobbyists from those companies, as the heads of virtually all the agencies and sub-secretariats and even Cabinet positions that regulate or oversee our environment. The head of the Forest Service is a timber industry lobbyist who is probably the most rapacious timber industry lobbyist in American history. The head of public lands is a mining industry lobbyist who believes that public lands are unconstitutional. The head of the Air Division at the EPA is a utility lobbyist who has represented the worst polluters in America for twenty years. The head of Superfund is a woman whose former job was advising companies how to evade Superfund. The second in command of EPA is a Monsanto lobbyist - these are not exceptions, these are the rules across the agencies. -

When turning coal into energy, what are the solutions help eliminate mercury and excess carbon from the common resource we all share called the atomsphere? What is the status of the most promising technologies for capturing these emissions, as well as, underground sequestering?

Anonymous said...

Where will we get the power we DEMAND if it does not come from COAL?

In the last generation we have added 30 years to the life span of American's.

Its just not getting worst its getting better. Face it1