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The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Friday, November 21, 2008, 9:40 AM

Economy

 

Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae Announce Ban on Foreclosures Until Jan. 2009

Mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac revealed Thursday afternoon they will work to keep Americans in their homes, announcing a suspension on foreclosures starting Nov. 26, 2008 until Jan. 9, 2009.

The two companies said no evictions will take place during that time period.

Furthermore, they instructed loan servicers and attorneys working for them to suspend foreclosure sales of single-family homes.

The release on Fannie Mae's website said, "The temporary suspension of foreclosures is designed to allow affected borrowers facing foreclosure to retain their homes."

The release from Freddie Mac had a similar reasoning: "The temporary suspension is also expected to give servicers more time to help borrowers avoid foreclosure."

 

HUD Modifies HOPE Program to Assist More Borrowers

On Wednesday the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced changes to the HOPE for Homeowners Program (H4H) to help more distressed homeowners refinance into affordable, government-backed mortgages. HUD hopes that the changes will enable more borrowers to afford monthly mortgage payments and reduce the program's costs for both consumers and lenders. 

 

DataQuick: Foreclosure Resales Almost Half of Bay Area California Activity

Last month 44.8 percent of all existing homes sold in the Bay Area had been foreclosed on at some point in the prior 12 months, up from 41.9 percent in September and 8.2 percent a year ago.

 

Consequences of De-leveraging

by Hans Wagner, TradingOnlineMarkets.com | November 20, 2008

The explosion of credit taken on by consumers and some businesses is the major cause of the current economic problems faced by the U.S. Over the last 20 years consumer debt has risen to $2.6 trillion. In the past when the economy faltered, the consumer has been able to generate a robust recovery. Is this time different?

Growth in Consumer Credit

Consumer credit (auto loans, bank loans credit cards) has expanded in dramatic fashion over the last 30 years reaching $2.6 trillion in October 2008 as reported by the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank's ALFRED® (Archival Federal Reserve Economic Data) database. That is $8,500 for every man, women and child in the U.S. and it does not include mortgage debt.

...Much of this consumer debt came from mortgage equity withdrawals, which accounted for 3% of the annual GDP from, 2002 – 2007. (Sources and Uses of Equity Extracted from Homes by Alan Greenspan and James Kennedy) About one third of this money was used to pay down high rate auto loans, bank debt and credit cards. One fourth of this money was spent on consumer goods helping to push up the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) of the country. Well over half of all the money withdrawn from a home’s equity was spent on goods that have no lasting value.

...Credit has powered the U.S. economy for many years. The problem is the source of this credit is drying up and not likely to return for a number of years. Housing prices have declined and further declines are coming, possibly another 15 to 20% to get to their long-term moving average. These prices could even fall further as often prices fall below the average, before turning up. Even when they do bottom and start to move up, the value that can be extracted from them will be very limited.

 

Sherman's Comment: This article is a good read. Back of the envelope calculations: Chris's video Chapter # 16 Fuzzy Numbers shows that GDP is calculated like Enron's books. We can knock off about 40% of GDP $13,800,000,000,000.00 so we really have a GDP of about $8,280,000,000,000.00. Below from this article less borrowing we see Census figures which total $2,226,000,000,000.00. If you're like my family right now if it isn't essential it simply isn't being purchased. I see GDP down to $6,054,000,000,000.00 not taking into business and government reductions. Top down "Bail Outs" wont fix this issue. I see a long slide ahead.

 

What "essentials" do the Boomers invest all this borrowed money in every year? The U.S. Census bureau provides the answers: 

$200 billion on furniture, appliances ($1,900 per household annually)GM ended September with $16.2 billion, down from $21 billion at the end of the second quarter. Through the first nine months of 2008, it burned through more than $14 billion.
$400 billion on vehicle purchases ($3,800 per household annually)
$425 billion at restaurants ($4,000 per household annually)
$9 billion at Starbucks ($85 per household annually)
$250 billion on clothing ($2,400 per household annually)
$100 billion on electronics ($950 per household annually)
$60 billion on lottery tickets ($600 per household annually)
$100 billion at gambling casinos ($950 per household annually)
$60 billion on alcohol ($600 per household annually)
$40 billion on smoking ($400 per household annually)
$32 billion on spectator sports ($300 per household annually)
$150 billion on entertainment ($1,400 per household annually)
$100 billion on education ($950 per household annually)
$300 billion to charity ($2,900 per household annually) 

 

GM Cash Burns

GM ended September with $16.2 billion, down from $21 billion at the end of the second quarter. Through the first nine months of 2008, it burned through more than $14 billion. 

 

GM Spends $17 Million Per Year on What?

Lifestyle drugs - chiefly Viagra - are costing General Motors $17 million dollars a year and the cost is passed along to car, truck and SUV consumers. The blue pill is covered under GM's labor agreement with United Auto Workers, as well as benefit plans for salaried employees. 

 

Sherman's Comment: Dear GM: You might want to read the following article. Prescription Drugs Kill 300 Percent More Americans than Illegal Drugs!?!? I don't have cable so I just watch 30 minutes of local station pumping the National News and in between Tom telling me about who is getting laid off I cringe at the side effects of the Med commercials.

(NaturalNews) A report by the Florida Medical Examiners Commission has concluded that prescription drugs have outstripped illegal drugs as a cause of death.

An analysis of 168,900 autopsies conducted in Florida in 2007 found that three times as many people were killed by legal drugs as by cocaine, heroin and all methamphetamines put together. According to state law enforcement officials, this is a sign of a burgeoning prescription drug abuse problem.

 

Hedge fund investors pull out record $40bn

Hedge fund investors pulled a record $40bn out of the industry in October as poor performance prompted a flight to cash, according to data on Thursday.

Hedge funds were hit by more redemptions in October than at any time since Chicago-based Hedge Fund Research started compiling figures in 1990, and it predicted worse to come.

 

Commercial Real Estate

bk.jpg

 

The unemployment numbers and high-profile liquidations (Linens-N-Things, Circuit City, etc.) are sure signs of a recessionary downturn. But the one that grabbed my attention today is a business located near the McDonald's where I occasionally buy a "senior" coffee.

"Oskar Huber thanks you for 81 years" reads the sign over the entrance. You don't need a calculator to do the math: 2008 minus 81 equals 1927.

This business was an infant during the Crash of 1929 and was pre-schooled by the Great Depression. But 2008 marks its demise. Eighty-one years - that's close to a healthy human life span.

Best wishes to all the Oskar Huber employees for speedy new employment.

 

Ex-Senator Phill Gramm's Firm

The investment firm where former McCain adviser and ex-Sen. Phil Gramm serves as a vice chairman is taking heat for helping affluent Americans cheat the US Treasury out of some $2 billion-but the world might never have known had Bradley Birkenfeld not sung like a canary.

The Boston-bred Birkenfeld was a banker for UBS, a Swiss financial behemoth with major US operations. His specialty: devising tax shelters in the form of offshore shell companies and peddling them to the superrich. According to court documents, 85 to 90 bankers in UBS's wealth-management divisions drummed up business at high-roller events like the America's Cup yacht race and Miami's prestigious Art Basel exhibition; Birkenfeld took pains to keep his customers happy, going so far for one client as to purchase diamonds overseas and smuggle them into the US in a toothpaste tube to avoid taxes and duties.

 

Sherman's comment: I'll bite my tongue.

 

Foreclosure Phil

NEWS: Years before Phil Gramm was a McCain campaign adviser and a lobbyist for a Swiss bank at the center of the housing credit crisis, he pulled a sly maneuver in the Senate that helped create today's subprime meltdown. 

 

phil-gramm-320x240.jpg

It's not exactly like Gramm hid his handiwork-far from it. The balding and bespectacled Texan strode onto the Senate floor to hail the act's inclusion into the must-pass budget package. But only an expert, or a lobbyist, could have followed what Gramm was saying. The act, he declared, would ensure that neither the SEC nor the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) got into the business of regulating newfangled financial products called swaps-and would thus "protect financial institutions from overregulation" and "position our financial services industries to be world leaders into the new century."

 

Fantastic Interactive Chart Comparing Current to Past Recession or Depression (Up to Date Daily)

 

Unprecedented Volatility!

 

Singapore falls into recession, cuts 2009 outlook

HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Singapore became the third major Asia-Pacific economy to fall into recession after data released Friday showed the economy had contracted for two straight quarters.
Gross domestic product growth contracted 0.6% in the third quarter from a year earlier, or 6.8% from the previous quarter, the Ministry of Trade and Industry said in a statement Friday.
The contraction, which followed a revised 5.3% fall in the second quarter from the first, means Singapore technically follows Japan and Hong Kong into recession.

 

Environment

The Most Important Number on Earth

The final piece of the puzzle came early this year, and again from James Hansen. Twenty years after his crucial testimony, he published a paper with several coauthors called "Target Atmospheric CO2" (.pdf). It put, finally, a number on the table-indeed it did so in the boldest of terms. "If humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted," it said, "paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm."

Get that? Let me break it down for you. For most of the period we call human civilization, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere hovered at about 275 parts per million. Let's call that the Genesis number, or depending on your icons, the Buddha number, the Confucius number, the Shakespeare number. Then, in the late 18th century, we started burning fossil fuel in appreciable quantities, and that number started to rise. The first time we actually measured it, in the late 1950s, it was already about 315. Now it's at 385, and growing by more than 2 parts per million annually.

 

How to kick-start clean tech

THE FEDS' PRIORITIES. If it seems hard to believe that Detroit couldn't see far enough ahead to recognize that the days of SUVs and Hummers were numbered-well, Washington had no more foresight. Since Reagan took the solar panels off the White House in the 1980s, and all the way to the early 2000s, the share of total federal R&D funds dedicated to energy has plummeted from 15 percent to 1 percent. DOE's annual research budget has finally been climbing for the last three years-though less than half of that increase is for renewables, with the rest directed toward coal and nuclear. And the boost, explains Kei Koizumi of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, won't pay off right away: "It's going to take time for research results to translate into new technologies, and even more time for these innovations to diffuse through a fairly well-established energy marketplace." 

 

Bright Ideas

When plants are burned or decay, carbon is released, combining with oxygen to become CO2. But when the same plants are heated in a kiln without oxygen, a process called pyrolysis, about half of that carbon turns into charcoal, a substance so inert it takes hundreds of years to revert to CO2.

Pyrolysis can be performed on an industrial level-a Wisconsin-based company called BEST Energies sells a device that processes about two tons of wood or other biomass (including turkey waste) an hour-or on a small scale anywhere on earth. The resulting "agrichar" or "biochar" makes a great soil amendment, which means fewer greenhouse-
enhancing fertilizers, and more crops that can be turned into more biochar...It's the most virtuous of circles.

Added bonus: Pyrolysis produces a gas that can be burned to produce more energy than the pyrolysis itself requires-energy that beats wind or solar in that it's actually carbon negative. Cornell University's Johannes Lehmann, a leading expert on the subject, believes the US could convert huge amounts of logging and agricultural leftovers into biochar, and even grow crops just for that purpose. Pyrolysis, he estimates, could eventually offset nearly a third of America's CO2 emissions.

Sherman's Comment: This is a very uplifting read. My hope, is that innovation, such as this, will lift our economy and protect our planet! Our children deserve better.

 

Along that vein, Can We Save the Planet and Rescue the Economy at the Same Time?

By Al Gore
November/December 2008 Issue

THERE ARE times in the history of our nation when our very way of life depends upon dispelling illusions and awakening to the challenge of a present danger. In such moments, we are called upon to move quickly and boldly to shake off complacency, throw aside old habits, and rise, clear-eyed and alert, to the necessity of big changes. Those who, for whatever reason, refuse to do their part must either be persuaded to join the effort or asked to step aside. This is such a moment. The survival of the United States as we know it is at risk. And even more-if more should be required-the future of human civilization is at stake.

 

 

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79 Comments

mred's picture
mred
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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

The following snippet may be a little old, but it is interesting to see a congressman declare that they were effectively threatened in order to pass the bailout:

how many of these stunts can we expect so that further bailouts can approved? "Too big to fail": one of the most destructive statements ever uttered.

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ozzybeef
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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Good summary Davos!

 Great to see mention of Agrichar.   My dad farms in Australia and he his using this technology for fertilizer.   Farm land could become a huge carbon sink.

 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Those are some very good articles.  Thanks for posting them!

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

where does the energy come from to heat the kiln?  i would like to see more on this.

i do not understand how pyrolysis can produce more gas than it uses. 

kilns operate at pretty high temps.

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

This is from the November 2008 Investment Outlook by Bill Gross** at Pimco. (Bolding is from the original.)

The world seemed so caught up in the long-term unfolding of the “Great Moderation” that almost everyone assumed that nothing could go wrong. I heard a brilliant, high-IQ portfolio manager describe himself on the radio a few days ago as a “child of the 25-year secular bull market – trained to buy on dips.” In fact, we all are bull market children. But those that define it by “dip buying,” or a secular time frame encompassing only the past quarter century, are certainly self-limiting and perhaps lacking in common sense. The era now coming to an end is not a one-generational bull market that was born out of the ashes of double-digit inflation, and the end of governmental strangulation of private initiative in the early 1980s. It was much more, and much longer in duration.

The past era can best be described as a more than half-century build up in credit extension and levered finance. While home mortgages or buying a washing machine on “time” began in the early decades of the 20th century, the use and innovative application of credit really began when – well, when I was born. 1944 is as good a year as any to chronicle the beginning of our levered economy. I was a child of war, but also a child of a new global leadership confirmed at Bretton Woods and founded on faith in the U.S. dollar and the healing power that its printing could bring to the global community. That Richard Nixon amended the bargain in the early 1970s did no immediate damage save for the inflationary decade that followed. Credit continued to be the mighty lubricant of capitalism’s engine, allowing its pistons to accelerate at an increasing pace as financial innovation mixed with our own animal spirits produced more and more profits, more and more jobs, more and more everything. Mortgage-backed GNMAs in the 1970s, financial futures a bit later, swaps, then credit default swaps (CDS) – the litany is too long to list.

What is important, though, is that at some point early in the 21st century, things began to go terribly wrong with this miracle of modern finance. It was spreading substantial benefits via diversification and indeed the productive powers of lending upon which capitalism depends. But it had assumed an arrogance – if a secular phenomenon can be personified – that nothing could go wrong. It was promoting not just smooth sailing – a moderation – but a “great moderation.” Unstoppable. Except, of course,  for that homeowner in Modesto, California, who bought a marked-up home for $500,000 with no money down and a 2% teaser interest rate. Even the pinnacle of levered finance could not support that fantasy and so, as yields inevitably rose and the defaults began in 2006, our great moderation was exposed for what it was – a naked swimmer at high tide.

Much more...

**Bill Gross is a lot of things, but a doom and gloomer he is not.

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Davos...

 

Saddened by your articles w/r/t Climate Change.  Any person (scientist or not) opinions not relevant...only proper analysis of data...applying scientific/management standards with valid findings, conclusions and recommendations is.   Can only surmise your not familiar with basics of Climate Change.  Thus succumbing to Environmental lobby.  Do you consider Mother Jones an objective source?  

This is our greatest threat...ignorance.   On all issues!! 

No one source or person has all the answers...but if interested in using "science" to Climate Change.  Suggest following link from a close colleague who attempts to brief Congress on the facts...

http://climatesci.org/

Then review main conclusions as a start.

BTW...late 1980's into mid 1990's...I funded James Hanson and all the primary US Climate Institutes...resulting in at least 60 peer reviewed papers and probably many more indirectly.

Neither political side routinely asks the correct questions on Climate Change...stuck in partisan and special interest dogma.  It's been that way for 20+ years.   One example why system is broken...history will not show we've addressed this wisely or effectively. 

Please consider educating yourself more on Climate Change...then can parse articles accordingly.   Media put lots of stuff out some good...most incomplete...unbalanced or simply biased.

We all have our biases...but to address and solve challenges we must strive for objectivity.   Frown

--Nichoman (Atmospheric Physicist)   

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

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Davos
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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Hello Nichoman:

I appreciate your input, and the site you linked to and I will be reading through it. Mother Jones is not my only source, it is just one of about Gosh knows how many sites I go to each day as I scour the news.

Personally, "my" view on the biggest problem the earth/environment faces - expoential population growth and I plan on putting some of Dr. Albert Bartlett's information on future contributions. As always, please email me at [email protected] with any good links, I'm very open minded and love to learn and pass on good stuff.

Take care,

PS OzzyBeef, I'd love to hear more about your Dad's farm and this process!!! 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Glad to see There is one other here not quite on the whole man made global warming band wagon. I detest the politics and Al Gore and his cronies trying to have us further taxed over something that we may not even be able to affect to a significant degree and they know this but want to get their laws in place now before the majority get wind of it. Not saying that we shouldn't do more to take care of our earth. I especially love the agrichar ever since learned of it. It has been shown to do many good things for our soil, just nowdays people are too lazy and take the quick way out and slash and burn as opposed slash and char.

Nichoman's picture
Nichoman
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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Hi Davos...

Thanks for your response.  Regarding links...can apply several...but 30 plus years experience illustrates all have their limits.  As stated earlier, we all have filters and why must always strive for proper use of facts consistent with educating audience.  Because of this...need to understand how much you know about Climate Change...what you want to know...concerns and so on.  Successful education includes relationships.   For me to assist you...we need to start a dialog.  I pledge to assist you in any way and encourage you to ask questions.   My commitment to you is to do best to offer balanced view of all aspects and can decide for yourself.

 

There is no shortcut on most complex subjects and issues.   Would be doing you a disservice to just provide series of links.  Broadly speaking...agree with ~80 percent of Dr Roger Pielke points at link provided earlier...but we differ on some...because were all human and our backgrounds.  Gave it to you as a first step because consider overall one more balanced and scientific in Climate Change but still incomplete.  Again why strive remove opinion and apply scientific/management principles.

 

Key point...worked very complex and important issues...believe all can be framed somewhat succinctly so layperson can grasp it.   One item appears share with Chris.  

 

Just because any of us has multiple degrees or titles in a subject doesn't make them correct (including me).   Have found human values, virtues and vices very important in parsing information from any expert.  Other words; how something is stated is more important than what's said.   Examples: tone...emotion...humility...arrogance...open/close mindedness...respect...focus to name a few.

 

Please let me know if your interested.

 

Nichoman (Atmospheric Physicist) 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

AgaPilot:

Well, I'm really torn between both, man doing it and man not doing it.

I watched a great documentary (darned if I can recall the name) and it had a scientist building a huge filter, much like a wind turbine, and it took carbon out of the air. He tossed out the 350 parts per million number and said I don't need to know what that is to know what it will do.

Then while watching "A Crude Awakening"  on Peak Oil the scientist explaining how oil was formed slipped in, and I forgot how many millions of years ago, how the atmosphere reached either 350 or 385 ppm and we had an ice age, well 2 acctually. Safe, I think to say, that man wasn't adding carbon into the atmoshpere then.

Having said that, I think if it was up to me, and it isn't, I'd advocate clean vs dirty, but I'm not going to chose sides on this one :) 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Thank you Davos for all your links.

I think that we get too attached to “climate change” instead of thinking of other ways to treat our environment a little better. If we always refer to other options for a better environment then people that hate the concept of climate change can see that there are many options for fuel, fertilizers and my other everyday stuff that will be good for the environment that has nothing to do with climate change. At the end CO2 is needed for our survival and the survival of our plants. I think we are attached to this phrase (climate change) and we have to get away from that in other for all the “smart scientists” to be working for a better environment.

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Hello Nichoman:

 Please email me any and all points of view, comment dialog anything, I have an extremely open mind and read A LOT. Many thanks!

[email protected]  

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Davos

If you wish to really develop an understanding of the science of climate change, I suggest that your first resource should be realclimate.org.  There is no more complete source of information, links to peer reviewed literature and informed discussion on the web.  Pielke's pov is well represented and he is a sometime contributor to the discussions.

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

A couple more useful links regarding non-manmade climate change.

 http://www.petitionproject.org/

 http://www.surfacestations.org/

One thing I always wondered about the Greenhouse gas effect...if the point of a greenhouse is to trap the heat...then why do we have days like today where the temperature is almost 20 degrees below normal, as it has been all week? Following the logic of heat-trapping gases, then it shouldn't be so cold today. It should get warmer and warmer every year. Last year, the worldwide average temperature dropped enough to nearly wipe out the temperature gains that are causing this warming argument. Don't get me wrong, I'm a peak-oil believer, friend of the environment, pro- clean and renewable alternative energy type. I just think Al Gore and co. have ulterior motives, such as more taxes on people. Al Gore is invested in several alternative energy companies. Think about it, if he gets carbon taxes passed, where would that money get funneled too? Probably companies that he's involved with and where he stands to profit. We always complain about lobbyists controlling Washington, isn't Al now one of them?

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Thank you sir, may I have another?  How about they simply give us six months worth of crude free of charge instead?

 

US seeks 300 billion dlrs from Gulf states: report

KUWAIT CITY (AFP) – The United States has asked four oil-rich Gulf states for close to 300 billion dollars to help it curb the global financial meltdown, Kuwait's daily Al-Seyassah reported Thursday.

Quoting "highly informed" sources, the daily said Washington has asked Saudi Arabia for 120 billion dollars, the United Arab Emirates for 70 billion dollars, Qatar for 60 billion dollars and was seeking 40 billion dollars from Kuwait.

Al-Seyassah said Washington sought the amount as "financial aid" to face the fallout of the financial crisis and help prevent its economy from sliding into a painful recession.

The daily said the United States plans to use the funds to help the ailing automobile industry , banks and other companies suffering from the global financial turmoil.

The four nations, all members of OPEC, produce together 14 million barrels of oil per day, around half of the cartel's production and about 17 percent of world supplies.

The four states are estimated to have amassed close to 1.5 trillion dollars in surplus in the past six years due to high oil prices that rocketed above 147 dollars in July before sliding to just above 50 dollars.

The daily also said that the United States has asked Kuwait to forgive its Iraqi debt estimated at around 16 billion dollars.

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gyrogearloose
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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21
joe2baba wrote:

where does the energy come from to heat the kiln?  i would like to see more on this.

i do not understand how pyrolysis can produce more gas than it uses. 

kilns operate at pretty high temps.

I am currently Building a pyrolysis plant ( I am the designer ). Have been doing test runs over the past couple of weeks. As is not terribly unexpected in the level of scale up we have a few problems we are now working through resolving.

In our one we have a feedstock of old tyres that were going to landfill. The energy to run the plant comes from a mixture of hydrogen, methane ethane, propane etc that remains uncondensed by the cooling system.

Other product streams are Liquid fuels, Carbon and steel. All are sold in established markets.

"how pyrolysis can produce more gas than it uses"

Roughly for every kilo of tyers that go in to the pyrolysis unit, we get 0.2 kg gas, .3 kg liquids 0.17 kg steel and the rest as carbon. Burning just the gas stream provides 1.5 Mw of heat, more than enough to run the plant.

Once fully operational, and from our test runs data, we expect to put through 20,000 kilos per day 24/7

This is close to the entire stream of tyres that were going to landfill in the city in which we are based.

Cheers Hamish

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gyrogearloose
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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21
Nichoman wrote:

Hi Davos...

Thanks for your response.  Regarding links...can apply several...but 30 plus years experience illustrates all have their limits.  As stated earlier, we all have filters and why must always strive for proper use of facts consistent with educating audience.  Because of this...need to understand how much you know about Climate Change...what you want to know...concerns and so on.  Successful education includes relationships.   For me to assist you...we need to start a dialog.  I pledge to assist you in any way and encourage you to ask questions.   My commitment to you is to do best to offer balanced view of all aspects and can decide for yourself.

 

There is no shortcut on most complex subjects and issues.   Would be doing you a disservice to just provide series of links.

Nichoman (Atmospheric Physicist)  

You are refreshing to hear.

I got hammered for saying that, as I see it, there is a lack of dispassionate scientific rigour in the global warming "debate".

Damnthematrix wrote:


The second biggest problem with the AGW "debate" is a lack of dispassionate scientific rigour."

Just where did you get that one from?  I see passionate rigour from
people like me who are convinced (and the likes of Al Gore) but
scientists?  Scientists might get a bit pissed off from being ignored
on such an important issue, but I'm certain their research is
objective.

Mike. 

Climatology is certainly not my field, I am a hands on Chemical Engineer, but when reading articles I expect them to make logical sense. But often I see the people have a blind spots about the body of their report when writing their conclusion.

I have found myself looking at the conclusion and thinking "how can you safely reach that conclusion when you dismissed, without logical reasoning as to why, that particular datum. "

Both sides of the "debate" are guilty of it.

Hamish

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Damnthematrix
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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21
gyrogearloose wrote:

I am currently Building a pyrolysis plant ( I am the designer ). Have been doing test runs over the past couple of weeks. As is not terribly unexpected in the level of scale up we have a few problems we are now working through resolving.

In our one we have a feedstock of old tyres that were going to landfill.

You're burning tyres..?  Are you aware they're full of really nasty and toxic stuff like Cadmium?  Do you scrub all this stuff before releasing any of the emissions to the atmosphere?

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21
Davos wrote:

Hello Nichoman:

 Please email me any and all points of view, comment dialog anything, I have an extremely open mind and read A LOT. Many thanks!

[email protected]  

 

Davos... 

Will send you some introductory information next few days as a first step.   Then based on your thoughts...we can take it from there.

 

Nichoman

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

The ARC ( Auckland regional council )  demanded we chop down an entire forest before giving us our discharge permits etc Tongue out

P.S. I created a new thread  "Solar PV ERoEI"  to continue our discussion on that, as it was again a bit of topic in and now very long thread.

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21
joemanc wrote:

One thing I always wondered about the Greenhouse gas effect...if the point of a greenhouse is to trap the heat...then why do we have days like today where the temperature is almost 20 degrees below normal, as it has been all week?

That's called WEATHER!  Weather must NEVER be confused with climate.  All it takes is the wind to come from the pole, and bing you freeze.....  then if it blows in from the equator, you boil.

If there was no CO2 in the atmosphere, average temperatures would be ~ 24 degrees C colder (sorry, we don't do Farenheit here anymore...), so if you're concerned about your localweather being so cold right now, imagine how much worse it would have been without our greenhouse gases!

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Nichoman

I'm a bit confused about why you had a go at Davos.  The article he posted was pro man-made GW, so the only thing I can figure out is that you disagree with the concept of switching to renewable energy and instead believe we should be altering our land useage....

Surely we should be doing BOTH?

Mike. 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21
Damnthematrix wrote:

Nichoman

I'm a bit confused about why you had a go at Davos. 

Mike

I Thought he was quite clear in what he was having a go at.

Nichoman seems to think simarly to me ( see my above post to him.... )

Cheers Hamis

 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

gyrogearloose

Well I re-read your post, but obviously my brain's not functioning properly today, or I have a complete blindspot on what exactly it is you are arguing about......

Can you clarify?  Sorry to be a pain......  but this sounds like something I should understand!

Mike 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Here's a wee link in the interest of balance:

 

http://www.climatedebatedaily.com/

 

 

Both sides of the coin on one page. You decide.

 

dd 

 

 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

dirtydonkey, for me there's no debate.  The only debate is HOW BAD will it get.  And HOW SOON.

Many people will read the article and believe that global society
can reduce the impact of climate change by reducing emissions so the
level does not reach the 'tipping point' of 350 ppm of CO2e. It is
already well above that level and still rising. There is nothing we can
do to stop it rising further. Reducing our use of fossil fuels, either
voluntarily or because they are running out, will only slow down the
speed at which the level will rise. The oceans do a good job of
absorbing about half of our emissions but the marine ecosystem pays a
heavy price for this.

The simple reality is that our exuberant use
of fossil fuels has initiated a dual natural problem. The climate and
the marine ecosystem are changing and there is very little we can do to
mitigate either one. The irony is that these two issues constitute only
part of the Ireplaceable Natural Mineral Resources that civilization
is using up.

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21
Damnthematrix wrote:

Nichoman

I'm a bit confused about why you had a go at Davos.  The article he posted was pro man-made GW, so the only thing I can figure out is that you disagree with the concept of switching to renewable energy and instead believe we should be altering our land useage....

Surely we should be doing BOTH?

Mike. 

Hi Damnthematrix...

I'm absolutely for renewable energies!  Especially Solar long term...circa 2012-2015 and beyond because of Energy Return On Energy Invested or EROIE coupled with scalability.  Be aware though, oil is used and is a vital ingredient in most (maybe all?) Solar Generation processes.  

Regarding Climate Change (Natural and Man-Made)...both are going on.  Problem is as stated in my earlier comments.   

Media are well meaning folks...I do believe they can improve as any profession.  Done countless interviews with carefully crafted comments which sometimes still get sliced and diced to prove or support media's point...either written or TV.     The truly exceptional ones will get back with you to ensure your comfortable with how they quote you BEFORE goes public.  Simply put its in their best interest to maintain a long term relationship and trust.   Yet, this is not often done. 

These articles as most are on both sides of Climate Change issue are unbalanced.   The average reader will not pick up on this which hurts everyone.   

I'm a scientist...we are about searching for the truth...nothing more or less.  It's our responsibility to aid those who are not given correct information. 

Misinformation and ignorance are among the greatest threats to humanity in my view.   Just as Chris is wrestling with and key reason for his superb efforts with creating the crash course.

Hope this helps,

 

--Nichoman      

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Mike

I just re read both my reply to him and what he said and I will try again.

Basically I am disappointed by the number of scientists etc who don't seem to
have an instinctive grasp of the difference between subjective and
objective reasoning, and fail to do double blind studies when doing
comparison studies.

I contend there is a lack of dispassionate scientific rigour in the global warming "debate"

I can't seem to find another way to say it other than repeating it then asking you to read the following wiki page.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

Hamish

 

 

 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

>>These articles as most are on both sides of Climate Change issue are unbalanced.   The average reader will not pick up on this which hurts everyone. >>

 

 Could you point me to a balanced article or paper on climate change. I have no strong opinion on the matter as I will be dead soon. I'd just like to find out the truth. My girlfriend is a scientist but she is not that bright.

 

dd 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21
dirtydonkey wrote:

Could you point me to a balanced article or paper on climate change. I have no strong opinion on the matter as I will be dead soon. I'd just like to find out the truth. My girlfriend is a scientist but she is not that bright.

 

dd 

 

Hi dd...

There isn't one that can recently recall.  Suggest you read main conclusion as mentioned earlier at ClimateSci.org on this subject above.   FWIW...this why so many colleagues in my field are frustrated.  We've politicized science which is an oxymoron.  To say many of us have compromised our integrity for AGW research money is a reasonable question.

 

--Nichoman

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21
dirtydonkey wrote:

Could you point me to a balanced article or paper on climate change. I have no strong opinion on the matter as I will be dead soon. I'd just like to find out the truth. My girlfriend is a scientist but she is not that bright.dd

Call me biased, and I know someone will, but 'balancing' arguments over truth is a stupid waste of time, it's like publishing an article explaining the Earth is round, and wasting the same amount of space arguing that it's flat......

One of the main reason that virtually nothing has been done about the greatest problem/crisis facing the planet is that denialists are given far far too much time and column inches.

Fiddling while Rome burns. 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Thank you Nichoman

 

I shall have a look at that site. It is difficult for me as a non-scientist to understand the complexities of statistics, analysis and experimental design.

 

I have been reading a guy called Karl Popper to better understand the scientific method but it is heavy going. Would I be better finding a different source?

 

dd 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Hello:

When it comes to Carbon and Global Warming I'll try to broaden the selection of articles I post, and as I stated earlier I welcome all input. I sincerely took no offense to any comments or questions I received and most of all I sincerely hope I didn't offend anyone with my limited selection of articles covering some highlights to our environmental concerns.

You guys know where I stand - I know we have had high ppm's if I recall 50 and 100 million years ago, likely without man screwing anything up then, but since I wasn't around I wouldn't swear that no man was Laughing. Not positive they caused both ice ages (the high ppms) but I'd bet they had something to do with them. My gut feeling is that less is safe and healthy (pumping carbon into the atmosphere) and it seems to me everything man does to the planet is a disaster and as we square our numbers we square the impact of us on "our" planet. My hunch is destroying the planet will be our claim to fame.

One thing I noticed after 9/11 when only the bin Laden's and the military were allowed in our airspace (talk about a weird mix) is the sky became very clear. A few scientist observed what pilots noticed and studied this. They concluded that our pollution was trapping hot air in and reflecting sunlight which could cause a rapid cooling. I'll dig up their studies, it like everything else, has holes in it too. Just thought if we are going to toss everything in the mix we can even add this.

All interesting stuff and I look forward to reading and learning and broadening my horizons!!!

I also feel there would likely be less need for war if we made alternate renewable cleaner energy and I think it would be a great thing for our economy. I'm hopeful that we could then manufacture and even export more than we import giving us a surplus rather than a deficit. I think though, in a addition to clean energy we need to address food and sustainable living as Chris's videos pointed out - we are chewing through just about anything and everything on this planet. Also, if we don't do this I, and I'm sure most here, worry about peak oil. Even with alternate energy I wonder how things are going to be made with less oil.

http://www.albartlett.org/articles/art2008jun10.html

On Monday night, June 10th [2008], CU's Dr. Albert Bartlett presented to an overflow crowd at Boulder's Chautauqua Park--a compelling reality check on energy and overpopulation. Current energy prices indicate 'symptoms' of our greater dilemmas as to water, clean air, food and natural gas shortages. We import a 'perfect storm' of consequences into our country monthly. He said, "Our solutions have created more problems! Every time we add an extra lane to I-25, we create ever greater traffic flow. That, in turn, creates more air pollution and traffic gridlock. That creates greater demand and higher fuel prices. We cannot continue on our current consumption path."

 

 

I'll post more of Dr. Albert Bartlett's work. He is a really, really smart man. 

 

 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21
dirtydonkey wrote:

Thank you Nichoman

 

I shall have a look at that site. It is difficult for me as a non-scientist to understand the complexities of statistics, analysis and experimental design.

 

I have been reading a guy called Karl Popper to better understand the scientific method but it is heavy going. Would I be better finding a different source?

 

dd 

dd...

Not familiar with Karl Popper w/r/t Atmospheric Physics and Climate Change Issue.

Scientific research is broadly 5 steps...

1.)  Observing

2.)  Collecting Data--capabiities and limitations

3.)  Analyzing Data--tools/techniques w/ caveats toward applications

4.)  Findings--statistically driven one form or another in my field>>>

5.)  Conclusions--Normally overview of findings toward what original research goals were and where need to go next.

  

Believe Dr Roger Pielke's site has a wealth of information (professionally peer reviewed oriented papers) but click through his many links including notable testimony to Congress In June Link.

Good Luck!

--Nichoman 

 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Thanks again, Nichoman.

 

dd

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Hamish,

I fully agree with you.

Man's most successfull atribute is his capacity to make and test observations, to apply logic and reasoning and to draw conclusions. These conclusions remain the model until new observations / conclusions replace the model.

People (even well meaning types - scientists themselves are not immune) often become so commited to a model that they become blinded to alternatives. This can lead to important problems being hijacked by zealots and revelationists - a step back to the dark ages!

With regard to global warming, I speak as an interested layman with a scientific background. Our sun has been responsible for heating the earth's surface long before man arrived on the scene. It seems to me that observations / correlations between the sun's activity and our climate might potentially be of greater significance than man's perturbations.

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/images/solarcycleupdate/ssn_year...

Stan

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21
stan.chucks wrote:

Hamish,

I fully agree with you.

Man's most successfull atribute is his capacity to make and test observations, to apply logic and reasoning and to draw conclusions. These conclusions remain the model until new observations / conclusions replace the model.

People (even well meaning types - scientists themselves are not immune) often become so commited to a model that they become blinded to alternatives. This can lead to important problems being hijacked by zealots and revelationists - a step back to the dark ages!

With regard to global warming, I speak as an interested layman with a scientific background. Our sun has been responsible for heating the earth's surface long before man arrived on the scene. It seems to me that observations / correlations between the sun's activity and our climate might potentially be of greater significance than man's perturbations.

http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2008/images/solarcycleupdate/ssn_year...

Stan

Stan:

 

There are numerous studies suggesting a link of varying strength to our climate which is logical.   There are discussions about the weighting and methodology used in studies.  Institutions and dogma are like giant ships...takes a lot of effort and time to instigate change (especially when politicized).  There are still several issues in this area requiring more research to convince me.   This involves sun spots intensity and their length...sun'smagnetic field changes...even solar system planetary and galaxy feedback issues.  Climate Change is very much an immature science.

There is evidence of as strong or stronger link between global sea temperature changes than even the sun.    Also, internal earth geophysical dynamics questions need further research.   Many believe we will have a much better understanding of Earth's Climate in next 10 years or so...I'm one of them.

 

Nichoman   

 

 

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I don't like where this is going...

The Crach Course and Chris' message are great.

It's great that the daily digest explains what's happening and puts it in the context of Chris' message.

But sometimes, I have the feeling that it is leading to an "I-told-you-so" kind of thing. On occasions, it sounds as if people are actually "happy" about all the negative news ; simply because it confirms their beliefs (which is always rewarding of course).

Do other people feel this too ?

I think that we should not fall into this trap : all this is, and remains, very negative news !

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for the climate undecided

Our
planet's climate is anything but simple. All kinds of factors influence
it, from massive events on the Sun to the growth of microscopic
creatures in the oceans, and there are subtle interactions between many
of these factors.

Yet
despite all the complexities, a firm and ever-growing body of evidence
points to a clear picture: the world is warming, this warming is due to
human activity increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,
and if emissions continue unabated the warming will too, with
increasingly serious consequences.

Yes,
there are still big uncertainties in some predictions, but these swing
both ways. For example, the response of clouds could slow the warming
or speed it up.

With
so much at stake, it is right that climate science is subjected to the
most intense scrutiny. What does not help is for the real issues to be
muddied by discredited arguments or wild theories.

So for those who are not sure what to believe, here is our round-up of the most common climate myths and misconceptions.

There is also a guide to assessing the evidence.
In the articles we've included lots of links to primary research and
major reports for those who want to follow through to the original
sources.


<MUCH MORE>

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Re: for the climate undecided

Damnthematrix...

 

Thanks for the article.  Unfortunately, this article has very little science in it.  This is the type of stuff that frustrates us.  It comes from both sides.   Full of opinion and arrogant half truths.   Galileo, DaVinci, Max Plank, Einstein and others would never talk this way.  The average reader is not able discern what's true and not accurate.

 

Sad... 

 

--Nichoman  (Atmospheric Physicist)

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Hi Nichoman and others,

It is refreshing to hear from people who are concerned about the climate and renewable energy and yet have also looked at the scientific evidence and the evidence passed off as scientific evidence. As a lay person in this area, I am all for minimizing man-made adverse contributions to the environment. I do believe the climate change (used to be called global warming more frequently until that natural cycle reversed) is mostly a natural phenomenon and not a man made one.

In the recent historical past is was much warmer than today (what, about the 900s to 1300s) when trees grew in some areas of Greenland. It may simply be my ignorance, but given the warmer climate then, I fail to see the problem from a temperature point of view. Finally, I have read that the evidence from the last ice age showed rapid change toward coldness that would be much harder to adapt to than a change towards warmness (such as glaciers covering large areas within 100 years or less).

A site worth reading, from a personal who has had many careers and exposures in his long and still active life, someone who has multiple graduate academics degrees, has experience in politics, etc. is www.JerryPournelle.com. Please check out the view and mail sections especially. There is frequently extensive discussion of climate change. Guaranteed to not please everyone but Dr. Pournelle does try to maintain objectivity.

Interested in hearing further discussion on this and on what is going on on Dr. Pournelle's site. Links to many of the things I mentioned are on Dr. Pournelle's site.

Excelsior!

 

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Global Warming Scaremongering

Yet
despite all the complexities, a firm and ever-growing body of evidence
points to a clear picture: the world is warming, this warming is due to
human activity increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,
and if emissions continue unabated the warming will too, with
increasingly serious consequences.

Horshit! The so-called evidence is their computer models which are composed of a lot ot guesses and incomplete data. Real science is based on theories supported the weight of real evidence. These global warming committees have a political agenda. You know, like be afraid; send money.

Carbon dioxide comprises only 0.038% of our atmosphere and is a weak greenhouse gas. 97% of earth's carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes from nature; the remaining 3% from man. So that's 3% of 0.038%. Even a drastic 10% (.3% of 0.038%) reduction of man made carbon dioxide would have a negligible effect. Conclusion:The CO2 scare has been blown out of proportion for political effect.

Another error in this CO2 global warming fantasy is to treat the sun as a constant heat source. Sunspots have virtually disappeared. If they don't pick up soon, we're in for some serious cold weather. Here in New Jersey, I haven't seen weather this cold this time of the year since the 50s.

Since Al Gore won the Nobel Prize, I've come to the conclusion that it's become the equivalent of an Oscar.

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Climate Change

The way I see it, adding CO2 to the atmosphere traps heat.  Surely no one contests this?

It could be argued it doesn't make a lot of difference.  But what if it does?

If we switch to cleaner energy, will we have done any harm?  It might even be the economic stimulant we have to have!

What if we switch to cleaner energy, and we were wrong, CO2 makes no difference.  The worst that could happen is that we spent some extra money (or whatever the new world order will have to offer) and we'll have cleaned our act.

But if we're right, and CO2 is making a big difference, and we do nothing, and we fry the planet, what's the worst that could happen?  Mass extinction?  The re-creation of all the oil we burnt?!

If you got in your car KNOWING you were going to be killed in a crash, would you drive off?  See, it's the uncertainty that you might get killed in a crash that makes you take the risk.  You know the risk is very small, but with Climate Change there's at least (in my opinion) a 50% chance that we'll fry the planet.

Sorry, but I'm not willing to take that chance. 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

The way I see it, adding CO2 to the atmosphere traps heat.  Surely no one contests this? 

I think I was very clear in exposing the relative insignificance of man-made CO2.

Sorry, but I'm not willing to take that chance.

That sounds like religion to me. I gave you the facts and you ignore them. That happens when I argue with Christians too.

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21
hewittr wrote:

That sounds like religion to me. I gave you the facts and you ignore them. That happens when I argue with Christians too.

It also happens every single time someone presents facts that conflict with your beliefs. 

You are the most religious atheist I've ever come across!

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Hey Switters

I laid out the facts. Let me know when you disprove them. To make me the subject only proves the emptiness of your hysteria.

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

In addition to the links provided by damnthematrix, here are a number of sites that discuss the denialist assertions:

Informed, but seeking serious discussion of common contrarian talking points:

All of the below links have indexed debunks of most of the common points of confusion:

Read any significant portion of these sites objectively and it becomes very difficult to defend a denialist position.

Doug

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

I can't decide if global warming is nature-worship or Puritanism.  --   solar scientist

http://www.friendsofscience.org/

It's getting colder, not warmer, and will continue to do so.

 

 

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

hewitrr - "Another error in this CO2 global warming fantasy is to treat the sun as a constant heat source. Sunspots have virtually disappeared. If they don't pick up soon, we're in for some serious cold weather. Here in New Jersey, I haven't seen weather this cold this time of the year since the 50s."

Curious that this point seems to be the denialists' latest talking point.  Two points:

1. Local weather says nothing about AGW.  If it did I would be a denialist at the moment, as I look outside my window at a foot of snow.  However, if I thought about it during our more regular summer heat waves, I would conclude exactly the opposite.

2. Yes, we are in a period of unusually low sunspot activity.  One would conclude, therefore, in the absence of AGW, that global temperatures would be cooling.  They aren't.  Many of the 10 warmest years on record have occured in the 21st century.

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Re: The Daily Digest - Nov 21

Facts Doug. Facts. Not hearsay. Opinion does not change facts, no matter how abundant.

I laid out critical facts above that undermine the global warming hysteria. I demonstrated with facts that can be confirmed anywhere that human contribution to global warming is insignificant. That is what needs to be addressed. I'll be watching for a rebuttal that addresses those facts. All the rest is noise.

I'll even go as far as saying that if there was a significant human contribution to global warming, it should  be welcomed. It would make more land arable and expose more land to natural resources.

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