It has long been known that the Sun is neither featureless nor steady. The Sun produces radiant and thermal energies. Climate change is impacted by our sun not carbon dioxide. A visit to your Indiana State Museum and you will see proof that Indiana was once tropical and drowned in water with fossil of sharks, ferns and palm trees. Our world is dynamic and always changing “Cap and Trade” is just a clever way to tax our citizenry and another “bucket of water” on our economy. Consider learn more about our sun and particularly solar flares before you sign on for lowering emissions from our Indiana Industry of coal.
Solar flares are intense, short-lived releases of energy. They are seen as bright areas on the Sun in optical wavelengths and as bursts of noise in radio wavelengths; they can last from minutes to hours. Flares are our solar system’s largest explosive events. The primary energy source for flares appears to be the tearing and reconnection of strong magnetic fields. They radiate throughout the electromagnetic spectrum, from gamma rays to x-rays, through visible light out to kilometer-long radio waves
Dedicated to Eric Stallsmith for creating a forum of discussion
Your posts have certainly caught my attention, and should catch the attention of other readers of this forum. Jeff's indignation for science, government spending and environmental regulations are ironic since they are his bread and butter. He is the head of an industry group of operators of wastewater treatment plants and works for an engineering firm that builds treatment plants and laboratory buildings. Quality wastewater treatment is certainly important to the environment. Sewage treatment is a significant source of greenhouse gases; carbon dioxide, methane (16 X the greenhouse effect of CO2), and nitrous oxide (310 X the greenhouse effect of CO2 and a contributor to smog). Wetlands are natural water treatment systems which are a large natural source of methane, but as a point of reference wetlands constructed for the purpose of treating sewage produce 250 times the methane of a natural wetland. There are now more than 6 billion sewage producers from our species, and all of our livestock as well. Does that make you a professional denier Jeff? It might appear to those of us that want a healthier environment that you have a financial incentive to malign climate science. Your statements about the waste of tax dollars and the burden of regulations sound rather hollow since you derive much of your income from tax dollars. In fact, thanks to the mandates of the Clean Water Act and the EPA, that business is booming. Your version of the entrepreneurial spirit is mostly about exploiting the socialism that springs from the joint needs of a community for large capitol investments to deal with basic and inescapable needs. Those fat grants from the federal government that you find so evil, probably provide you with a pretty good living. Do you give the taxpayer a good value for that investment, or is it more like the cheapest way of attaining minimal standards (which you think are excessive) and a healthy profit built in? Indiana's water quality is by most accounts pretty poor, does the company you work for (Jones & Henry Engineers ltd.) aspire to excellence or do your attitudes about regulations and government standards reflect the companies culture? Taxpayers and citizens would like to know. After all, as consumers of your services, we are somewhat removed from the purchase decision, and can't easily take our business elsewhere once you've done a bad job.
Yes, I enjoy public discourse on subjects of grave importance. I make no apologies for demanding better environmental stewardship from the State of Indiana, the Federal governmemt, corporate entities that profit from their use of the resources of the commons and individuals. Much of your post was spurious. I abhor hypocrisy and you sir appear to be a closet socialist. I reread your last post, and you clearly fantasize about men in their underwear. It is especially disturbing that you fantasize about me in my underwear.
First-off, I would respectfully request withdrawl of the closing statement of my last post. You are most definitely not in my thoughts...and it was juvenile on my part.
SOooo, YES, I do work in the wastewater industry. I would think that might QUALIFY my opinion on wasted tax dollars in this arena. I am (was) the President of the NIOA, the Northern Indiana Operators Association for the last two years. The NIOA is made up of an amazing group of hardworking, often underpaid municipal wastewater operators STRUGGLING to protect the environment, often on a duct tape and bubble gum budget.
As I said in earlier posts, the EPA, the clean water act and the clean air act were vital pieces of legislation. WE AGREE.
I also agree with your opinion of constructed wetlands. In many, many instances "constructed wetland" have been a disaster. I would point to this as a PRIME EXAMPLE of legislation and funding pushing theoretical (untested and unproven)applications of a process that in reality were poor choices. Thank you, YOU ARE MAKING MY CASE. I think this is the third time we have agreed on something.
In regard to the "Fat Grants" that I find so evil... I find WASTE evil...I find FAILING Infrastructure leaking millions of gallons of sewage into the ground... while we fund rain gardens and bio-swales, REDICULOUS. I think rain gardens and bio-swales are great! BUT, they should not be a state or federal priority or mandate. You and I can do that on our own. YOU and I CANNOT replace the 100 year old sewers in our own city that have been in need for decades. As an Industry, and as a Company, we aspire to excellence...despite the sometimes misguided or misinterpreted mandates of elected officials.
As you point out, the EPA has created the need for our business...the NEED is booming, it has been for years, the ability to fund is not.
Mark, you appear to be an excellent researcher...see if you can find the actual dollar amount of funding for ARRA et al. that actually went to genuine green infrastructure or green energy. IT IS A JOKE...I believe it is about 11-14% (this is probably generous). If that seems appropriate to you, then we disagree.
The "shovel ready" requirement ment more rain gardens and roundabouts. Anything that could be designed on a McDonalds napkin could be shovel ready in the time allotted.
It takes years to design a wastewater treatment facility. In the process the state or federal dishcharge requirements may have changed or been reinterpreted on numerous levels. Towns do not have the funding to engineer a project and then let it collect dust on a shelf...only to become functionally obsolete.
I would like to believe ALL environmental engineering firms are striving for the very best.
Some do not...some provide political funding,...or change their name when needed. You are absolutely RIGHT about being removed from the "decision" I see cities and towns every day that are "stuck" with some poor design, facility, or process, ( the constructed wetland being an excellent example). We demand excellence, but we demand proven technologies. We will not experiment on a client. We have been in business over eighty years. Our clients treat and clean hundreds of millions of gallons of sewage daily. It is unfortunate the a few "evil capitolists" or "asinine spouting liberals" screw it up so badly for the rest of us.
I need clarification on what you deem "spurious" or hypocritical. I am no socialist of any variety. I am tired of people pontificating about that which they know little...at the expense of the rest of us. How is it that I qualify as a "professional denier"? I am a professional opposed to misguided waste of (our) money that does nothing to genuinely improve my (our)environment. Anyone who thinks "those of us that want a healthier environment" is some subset of humanity is an ass. I remember a time when I could backpack in Montana, or Alaska and actually drink the water without pumping it through the latest MSR or Kat filter set...it only took twenty years. Where will we be in the next twenty?
Great Idea...I am a computer tard...(I am sure Mark will agree) you will have to lead the way. I will stay current as time allows. I know very little about the distributions, except that the monies I saw being distributed seem hollow attempts at best.
Merry Christmas, Seasons Greetings, Happy Hanukkah, Rhamadan, and Kwaunza to ALL. I am sure we are all frustrated in our own way with what we see daily.
I will re-aspire to "gentlemen".
All man has manipulated the environment from earliest existence to present day.
Prairie burning does keep the woodland at bay, and allows multitudes of grasses and flowers to grow and feed grazing animals. This is how Native Americans survived. See the Kentucky barrens that are still being burnt.
Lightning burns too. Fire is a tool.
The video cited by Mark referenced the Bell Telephone company of the 1950's, as well as various Bell Telephone Hour Television and radio broadcasts.
I would agree that fire is a tool. "lightning burns too."...can't argue with that. Fire used by nature is different from fire used by Mark. Guns, hammers, and saws are tools too. Totally benign unless mis-used by the individual. I was questioning the use of fire to manipulate ( at one mans desire) the natural environment. Relativism : "That's true for you but not for me." ...similar to "hypocrisy".
Thanks for a more considered response. I acknowledge your expertise on wastewater treatment, and the importance of updating that aspect of our infrastructure, which is a major failure of many local governments and state enforcement. It should be a top priority. With all due respect, your comments deserve some suspicion. It was disingenuous to imply that responsible stewardship of a garden plot used to teach landscape restoration and ecology was somehow a breach of sound environmental philosophy. By your logic, the sound ecology of using fire to maintain healthy ecosystems is wrong, but burning fossil fuels for transportation and generating electricity is essential and harmless. Most of the people that frequent this site are a lot deeper thinkers than that. People who are sincere about their personal beliefs are more likely to post on their own time than someone who only posts during business hours. That is why I asked about the culture of your workplace, Jones & Henry Engineers ltd. being a government contractor, and your motivation. I don't doubt the sincerity of your personal beliefs; your tracks are all over the web with posts attacking liberals and progressives on every issue, the focus primarily being that they are liberal thinkers. That may rankle you, but since you raised the point of how ignorant stereotypes are, we seem to have yet another point of agreement. You are eloquent when you address politicians as a salesman. I would hope that you are sincere about the environment. It is not clear that you have an understanding of the broad range of ecological principals outside of your field. The default of conservatism is to oppose change. The history of progressivism is to change the mistakes society has made. It is a messy process, with wrong turns along the way, but eliminating tyrants, slavery, bias against women and minorities, and extending the vote have been steps forward that were each opposed by the conservatives of the day. Why do so many conservatives have so little interest in conserving natural resources? We are not done with the quest for justice; the environment is the modern battleground where the rich and the powerful, knowingly or out of ignorance, exploit a wealth that all should have a stake in. Extinction is a natural process over millions of years, but our species has only been a little slower than an asteroid collision and not much smarter. The genetic heritage of thousands of species is a wealth that is being squandered for short-term profit. Each of those species has solved each of the environmental challenges that it has faced. That is the inestimable value of nature, and the heritage of evolution that we must leave to our children. There is a lot bigger waste going on than tax dollars.
In my circle of friends and associates are a variety of people of diverse beliefs and employment, including municipal planners, politicians, scientists, laborers, farmers, contractors, educators, and small business owners (actual entrepreneurs) most of whom make a modest living, doing honest work. Their interests rarely coincide with businesses that have offices in several states, or invoice work that exceeds the income of some poor countries. I have asked several scientists actively engaged in doing research (some in paleo-climate, several in ecology and one in solar physics) to comment on these forums. Most have grown tired of the public debate, especially now that the debate has grown so rancorous. There are very few scientists that deserve to live in fear. Do you have any idea how tiresome it can be for an astronomer or geologist to state rational, non-controversial science only to be attacked by people that insist that they will be doomed to hell for believing that the earth is older than a few thousand years? This is commonplace on the Internet on sites that were meant to keep people informed on developments of advanced science. It is hard to move a democracy into the 21st century when so many of its citizens are stuck in the 19th century. It is contemptible that some politicians exploit those beliefs. Galileo did not face opposition from the scientific community to the degree that he did from the church. Not because the pope disbelieved him, but because the pope made a purely political decision to maintain power. I’m sure that chilled freethinking at the time. Your argument that we cannot trust science now because of the politics of the 17th century is spurious. Let the experts’ sort out the data and not the popular culture that has a fetish for scandal.
Looking for common ground, I will wax nostalgic about Montana. I lived, worked, studied, backpacked and fished there. Agriculture has had an impact on water quality there. Cattle, irrigation, and runoff from crops have profited a few at the cost to all. The most egregious pollution in that state has come from mining. Gold and other mines have removed billions of dollars worth of mineral wealth and then declared bankruptcy leaving the taxpayer with cleaning up some extremely toxic runoff. The energy crunch is now resulting in similar problems with the extraction of coal bed methane, oil shales, and tar sands. Mountain top mining in West Virginia is devastating to watersheds. Much of this is occurring with the blessing of lax government regulations and enforcement. Developers should use rain gardens and construct wetland basins to protect watersheds, but even in progressive towns like Bloomington, where ordinances have been enacted and enforced, many developers fight against the regulations or cheat when they can. It is naive to think that all businesses strive for excellence instead of greater profits.
Wow...I'll try to touch on as much as possible. And I correspond at lunch...or now...while I'm still working.
First, I am of LIBERAL origin, and have the dusty collection of Mother Earth News and Whole Earth Catalog to prove it.
"By your logic, the sound ecology of using fire to maintain healthy ecosystems is wrong, but burning fossil fuels for transportation and generating electricity is essential and harmless. Most of the people that frequent this site are a lot deeper thinkers than that."
If we are being DEEP...My logic would question why your manipulation of nature is any more or less significant then any other...or more or less noble. Certainly the magnitude is different. Sin is sin...only man assigns magnitude.
"I would hope that you are sincere about the environment. It is not clear that you have an understanding of the broad range of ecological principals outside of your field."...please talk down to me some more,...YOU ARE CORRECT, at least to the extent that I would not write or create Political Policy. I will speak only that which I know...not "feel". I would be willing to bet you and I both know far more then the individuals voting on our policy and our future. This is my problem with the ENVIRO-Political movement. The environment is their vehicle, not a destination.
"The default of conservatism is to oppose change. The history of progressivism is to change the mistakes society has made."...even if they make it worse in the process. I think the best alloy would be an altruistic conservative. Conservatives are not by definition evil, republican, or wealthy...but they have learned from the past, and their past mistakes. Many are the loving grandmother that knows better...but knows you won't listen. MOST youthful energetic liberals simply lack perspective...most old liberals simply lack reality. Please keep the liberal political agenda out of TRUE Environmental Solutions. Solutions will be based in the reality of math, science, and biology...not emotional social policy.
"Let the experts’ sort out the data and not the popular culture that has a fetish for scandal."...AGAIN WE AGREE...why are we seemingly at such odds? The GREEN Movement of Washington is crap, and they are using all of us (me and you) that genuinely try to make a difference as a tool. Now it seems they are intent on bankrupting us in the process. How much positive environmental impact do you see in bankrupt and impoverished countries? Social engineering is not REAL engineering...and what they will "Create" will be just as real and viable.
"...the pope made a purely political decision to maintain power. I’m sure that chilled freethinking at the time. Your argument that we cannot trust science now because of the politics of the 17th century is spurious."
Really? My comment is that POLITICAL AGENDA driven by the ruling church is exactly what punished Galileo...POLITICAL AGENDA is what is punishing science and all of us today. In my limited view, I've not seen conservatives shouting down opposing views..."free thinking" allows for disagreement. If we apply Occam's razor...Washington will solve very little, at GREAT cost.
I'd be glad to trust the experts, but the whole point of climategate is the corruption of science by politics and greed. Who are the experts?
"It is naive to think that all businesses strive for excellence instead of greater profits." Try using the word AND...Excellence AND Profits. If you are good...you should thrive in our economy. Some will always have "MORE"...and some of them will buy green.
How many poor people are driving hybrids, installing solar panels, wind generation, or tidal power...funding research, buying high efficiency furnaces, hot water heaters, insulation, organic produce, vegan produce, free range produce? How many bankrupt countries are able to feed more then just THEIR citizens, or provide disaster relief, or clean water and waste water infrastructure? For all of our warts, we are the most generous, effective, and green country on earth...and it appears we are about to land in the compost heap.
The sun or cosmic rays are much more likely to be the real causes of global warming.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) notes that between 1750 and 2005, the radiative forcing from the sun increased by 0.12 watts/square-meter—less than a tenth of the net forcings from human activities [pdf] (1.6 W/m2).
Svensmark’s cosmic ray theory of cloud formation is not well proven. I would agree with him that it is a formative theory and needs a lot more evidence and authentication before I am ready to say it represents how the world works.
But the interesting thing to me is Svensmark cosmic ray theory could equally well apply to anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming theories. Both have been demonstrated in the laboratory, but it is unclear how either works in the complex climate system. Both have a few correlations going for it historically, but no smoking gun of causation.
Background: Henrik Svensmark (born 1958) is a physicist at the Danish National Space Center in Copenhagen who studies the effects of cosmic rays on cloud formation. His work presents hypotheses about solar activity as an indirect cause of global warming; his research has suggested a possible link through the interaction of the solar wind and cosmic rays.
There is some meat in this post. I read Svensmark's work last summer and I find it interesting, especially that the effect is inverse to solar activity following the 11 year sun spot cycle. When the data is sifted for cyclical patterns the 11 year cycle has a small impact on tempertures which is masked by other factors. There is a low signal to noise ratio. The Milankovitch cycles are also expressed in the record, but also overwhelmed at times by factors thought to be caused by greenhouse gases and land mass distribution. Continental drift has a very large effect on the distribution of energy. The sun is 40% brighter now than it was 4 billion years ago, but the rate of change has been measured accurately for decades and there has been no distinct trends outside of the 11 year cycle. Weak response to sun spots, strong response to greenhouse gases. There are different sources for data to bear this out.
Your post was factual. I have read Svensmark’s work and find it interesting, but it doesn’t prove your hypothesis. Of course the sun is an important component to global climate. There is evidence not only correlating incoming cosmic rays with cloud formation, but also an inverse relationship to sun spot activity, which has an 11-year cycle. This could lead to an important causal link between sunspots and climate. The sunspot cycle is well known with historical observations over centuries. When data of global temperatures is sifted for these cycles, they are indeed expressed, but are frequently masked by other factors thought to be influenced by greenhouse gases (normally moderate changes) and changes in the distribution of land masses caused by continental drift (very slow changes with very strong influence) and cyclical variations of ocean currents like El Nino (strong influence, capable of sudden changes). The same is true of Milankovitch cycles (3 highly predictable cycles defined by the earths motion around the sun and around it's tilted axis). A low signal to noise ratio in the data does not imply an overwhelming influence, but add two or three of these influences together and you can get a big change. The most profound effect of the earths tilted axis is that the northern hemisphere heats or cools opposite of the southern hemisphere, not just annually, but over long periods of time (precession). This is not evidence that overall global warming does not exist. The sun is thought to be 40% brighter now than it was 4 billion years ago, but it has not changed much since the 17th century when there was a period of lower temperatures. Of course measurements were less precise then. We have very accurate measurements of solar output for decades, across the entire spectrum, and outside of the regular 11-year cycle there is no upward or downward trend. The global temperatures over this period shows far more influence from the exchange of heat between the atmosphere and ocean varying with the cyclical oscillations of ocean currents. This past august the north Atlantic set all time records for high temperatures. During this time, plant communities are showing a steady trend that would be expected from shorter winters and longer summers. There are profound effects in the arctic where residents have no doubts about warming trends. The increase in greenhouse gases cannot be ignored and does correlate closely to rising temperatures over several decades. The basic physics of the greenhouse effect has been accepted for more than 100 years and the evidence for rising temperatures is far too diverse to ignore. Evidence of rising temperatures preceding rising concentrations of greenhouse gases during some periods in the distant past, only proves that several different factors can cause periods of global warming. There is no data to show what the solar activity was then. It is complex, but we may soon see that warming periods have a strong feed back as thawing tundra and wetlands in the arctic release trapped carbon dioxide and methane. We are conducting a dangerous, worldwide experiment.
I apologize for my aggressive response to this controversy, but I am sick and tired of media personalities that have no integrity for accurate journalism and various special interests, PR firms, and political operatives funded by those industries most responsible, casting aspersions on people that I have known to be hard working individuals doing honest work to find the truth. Most people have an opinion, but few are well informed and many repeat erroneous beliefs. The fact is there is far too little interest in the truth. Most people cling to what they want to believe. My opinions are my own, based on what I have learned, updated daily, with no financial ties to government or industry and no ideological ties to political parties or religious organizations.