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Earth Politics Science

Let's Call It 'Climate Disruption,' White House Science Adviser Suggests (Again) 568

Posted by timothy
from the let's-just-settle-on-nuclear-winter dept.
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "First there was 'global warming.' Then many researchers suggested 'climate change' was a better term. Now, White House science adviser John Holdren is renewing his call for a new nomenclature to describe the end result of dumping vast quantities of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into Earth's atmosphere: 'global climate disruption.'"
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Let's Call It 'Climate Disruption,' White House Science Adviser Suggests (Again)

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  • nuclear (Score:4, Informative)

    by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @11:52AM (#46913427) Journal
    He also promotes using nuclear energy as part of the solution.
  • by perpenso (1613749) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:17PM (#46913601)

    He also promotes using nuclear energy as part of the solution.

    Well, it is.

    As much as we would all really love solar and wind to scale to a level necessary for global needs that is not going to happen with current technology. Its many decades off. Lots of science and engineering are needed to get solar there. We need something to bridge the gap between today and that future date where solar scales.

    If not nuclear then its natural gas, oil and coal.

    Even environmentalists are starting to realize this, including a co-founder of GreenPeace.
    "Moore says that his views have changed since founding Greenpeace, and he now believes that using nuclear energy can help counteract catastrophic climate change from burning fossil fuels. Says Moore, "The 600-plus coal-fired plants emit nearly 2 billion tons of CO2 annually -- the equivalent of the exhaust from about 300 million automobiles." Moore also cites reports from the Clean Air Council that coal plants are responsible for 64 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions, 26 percent of nitrous oxides and 33 percent of mercury emissions. "Meanwhile, the 103 nuclear plants operating in the United States effectively avoid the release of 700 million tons of CO2 emissions annually," says Moore. "Nuclear energy is the only large-scale, cost-effective energy source that can reduce these emissions while continuing to satisfy a growing demand for power. And these days it can do so safely." Moore points out that the average cost of producing nuclear energy in the United States was less than two cents per kilowatt-hour, comparable with coal and hydroelectric. He predicts that advances in technology will bring the cost down further in the future. According to Moore, British atmospheric scientist James Lovelock, father of the Gaia theory, also believes that nuclear energy is the only way to avoid catastrophic climate change. Concerns about past accidents in the nuclear industry were also mentioned, as he claims the Chernobyl nuclear disaster as example, calling it "an accident waiting to happen. This early model of Soviet reactor had no containment vessel, was an inherently bad design and its operators literally blew it up". He also recognized the difficulty of dealing with nuclear waste."
    http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Gr... [wikinews.org]

    Regarding nuclear waste from current reactors. 4th generation reactors can use this waste as fuel. And the waste from 4th gen is short lived. Hundred of years rather than tens of thousands.
    http://www.ga.com/energy-multi... [ga.com]

    NASA also thinks nuclear has greatly improved the environment.
    "Using historical production data, we calculate that global nuclear power has prevented an average of 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent (GtCO2-eq) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would have resulted from fossil fuel burning. On the basis of global projection data that take into account the effects of the Fukushima accident, we find that nuclear power could additionally prevent an average of 420,000-7.04 million deaths and 80-240 GtCO2-eq emissions due to fossil fuels by midcentury, depending on which fuel it replaces. By contrast, we assess that large-scale expansion of unconstrained natural gas use would not mitigate the climate problem and would cause far more deaths than expansion of nuclear power."
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/... [nasa.gov]

  • by oculusprime (1250270) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:36PM (#46913719)
    Ah, so the conversation has degenerated to the "controversy" over whether burning fossil fuels could be altering the earth's climate. Look, Carbon Dioxide IS a greenhouse gas. No scientist disputes that if we just keep shoving the stuff in the atmosphere forever, eventually things will warm up. The only question is whether or not we are putting enough up there right now to have this effect. So lets do some simple math: 1 gallon of gasoline requires about 100 tons of biomass. 1 barrel of oil makes 20 gallons of gasoline. The world uses 85,000,000 barrels of oil per day. Doing the simple math, we use the equivalent of 170,000,000,000 tons of biomass per day. The earth's current biomass is estimated at 560,000,000,000 tons. So we burn the equivalent of 1/3 of all the earth's current biomass every single day. I find this pretty compelling.... And don't forget the methane, which we're also pumping up there (both directly by co-release with oil drilling and fracking, and as a side-effect of arctic climate change), and which is a much more potent greenhouse gas than is carbon dioxide.
  • Re:Eh? (Score:5, Informative)

    by OneAhead (1495535) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:38PM (#46913737)
    If you're going to mindlessly regurgitate debunked climate myth #11 [skepticalscience.com], at least get the decade right with respect to the canon...
  • by Stumbles (602007) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:42PM (#46913773)
    Water vapor is a greenhouse gas so lets get rid of that why you're at it.
  • Re:Shut Up (Score:5, Informative)

    by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:48PM (#46913825) Homepage

    The only scam here is the environmental exploiters funding junk science and junk social engineering so they can continue to profit from fouling the global commons without cost to themselves. Big Tobacco could have learned a trick or two from these guys.

    Actually, it's the other way around-- the tactics used to spread confusion about climate science are ones that they learned from the tobacco industry's fight against health science, when the cigarette companies were trying to discredit the science that showed that cigarettes were bad for health.

    It's not merely the same strategy that is being used for spreading the illusion of doubt, it's many of the same people doing it.

  • Re:Shut Up (Score:5, Informative)

    by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @12:58PM (#46913873) Homepage

    Devil's Advocate here: Last I checked, Al Gore wasn't a professor.

    Last I checked, Al Gore wasn't relevant in any way. It is only the climate change deniers that are interested in Al Gore-- but they seem to be completely obsessed with him. He's not a scientist, he hasn't written or contributed to any of the papers laying out the science behind anthropogenic climate change, he is not part of the scientific literature. If he didn't exist, the climate models, the analysis of climate data, and the conclusions would be unchanged.

    If you're talking about Al Gore, you're really not talking about science. At best, he's a popularizer.

  • Re:Fourth options (Score:5, Informative)

    by wjcofkc (964165) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @01:03PM (#46913905)
    We banned chlorofluorocarbons [wikipedia.org] and other ozone depleting [wikipedia.org] chemicals.

    The hole in the Ozone Layer was very real, yes we did cause it, and yes we took international measures to fix it that worked. If you don't believe that you are either daft, very young, trolling, or all three.
  • Re:Shut Up (Score:5, Informative)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @01:10PM (#46913957)

    Big Tobacco could have learned a trick or two from these guys.

    This is completely backwards. The funded part of the denialist movement directly copied the methods of the tobacco lobby, and in many cases employed the same lobbyists [wikipedia.org].

  • Re:Shut Up (Score:2, Informative)

    by Penguinisto (415985) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @02:16PM (#46914397) Journal

    A lot of the global warming "solutions" proposed by a politicians may well be exploitative power grabs, but that's true of a lot of *everything* they propose. That doesn't mean the problem isn't real, just that they're power-hungry bastards trying to exploit a very real problem for personal gain.

    The point isn't whether or not AGW is real or not - the point is that, contrary to GP's post, there are huge incentives to promote the theory, and more importantly, to shut down any and all opposing viewpoints (as they tend to impede the flow of money).

  • Re:Shut Up (Score:4, Informative)

    by dryeo (100693) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @02:35PM (#46914531)

    Depends on the government. Currently the American government is in thrall to the banking industry whereas the previous government was in thrall to the oil industry. The banking industry will make money no matter what and see climate change as a chance to build a new bubble so it is kind of true that the American government has an interest in supporting the climate change science as there is money to be made by the bankers but the bankers will make money no matter what.
    Here in Canada the government is definitely in thrall to the oil industry and only exists to make sure they make maximum profits. When it comes to science, all they've been able to do is shut it down. Most all climate science stopped in the name of saving money when what they'd really like is science that says man made climate change is bullshit. Seems the scientists would rather be unemployed rather then make up science.

  • by Xyrus (755017) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @03:25PM (#46914881) Journal

    The science is fake? You're right. People like Fourier back in the 1820's just started the whole "Global Warming" thing because he wanted to get rich of green energy. I suppose Ahrennius developing the first global climate model in the late 1890's and quantify the possible anthropogenic effects on global temperature was to further capitalize on the big "Green Energy" cash cow.

    Maybe Al Gore invented a time machine and went back in time and had a little chat with some of these famous "scientists" in the 1800's just to help line his pockets. After all, what's developing a time machine compared to creating the internet.

    And while your being a complete idiot, HAARP is controlling your brain, the Black Night Satellite is real and was sent from Alpha Centauri to gather Krispy Kreme Donuts, and the Lochness Mosnter isn't really a monster, he just needed the money.

    Honestly, you act like global warming is some brand spanking new theory developed out of nothing with no supporting evidence. The theory of global warming was first proposed close to 200 years ago, and scientists from as far back as the early 1900's have been warning that unchecked human activities could result in an altered climate. It existed long before Al Gore and Green Energy, or even before the photovoltaic effect was put down on paper.

    You have a brain. Use it. You can verify the effects of greenhouse gases with basic high school math and physics. Fourier did it before the invention of the fucking light bulb, let alone calculators and computers.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @04:09PM (#46915121)

    Well, for 30 or so years. But what then? Then you have a huge pile of radioactive crap sitting there that you can't really get rid of sensibly and that will continue to sit there for a few millennia.

    4th gen reactors use waste from previous generation reactors as fuel. The 4th gen waste is only hazardous for a few hundred years.
    http://www.ga.com/energy-multi... [ga.com]

  • Re:Shut Up (Score:4, Informative)

    by sphealey (2855) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @06:00PM (#46915541)

    - - - - - - Michael Moore - - - - - -

    Yeah, Michael Moore is a professional filmmaker. He makes his living making films. That's what "professional filmmaker" means.

    Funny thing is that as the years go by most of Moore's documentaries look better and more prescient. I image the current managers of General Motors wish their predecessors had spent a little less money on giant SUVs and a little more on the internally developing the electric car research that they licensed to Toyota instead.

    sPh

  • Re:Shut Up (Score:5, Informative)

    by TapeCutter (624760) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @06:26PM (#46915623) Journal
    Precisely, and the summary is still propagating their bullshit. Researches did not change the terms, it was yet another false debate, both terms had been in use for decades, there was (and still is) a journal called "climatic change" that was established in the 70's, around the same time the term "global warming" started appearing in the literature to describe the current direction of change. The term "climatic change" goes way back, it was in the title of a 1950's paper and probably goes back further than that.

    The entire "scientists changed the name" meme was the brain fart of a PR advisor to GWB ( Frank Luntz [wikipedia.org]) who suggested in a memo to Bush that the government change the phrase in it's communications to the public in an attempt to "challenge the science" (ie: shameless propaganda)

    From the link: In a 2002 memo to President George W. Bush titled "The Environment: A Cleaner, Safer, Healthier America", obtained by the Environmental Working Group, Luntz wrote: "The scientific debate is closing [against us] but not yet closed. There is still a window of opportunity to challenge the science.... Voters believe that there is no consensus about global warming within the scientific community. Should the public come to believe that the scientific issues are settled, their views about global warming will change accordingly. Therefore, you need to continue to make the lack of scientific certainty a primary issue in the debate, and defer to scientists and other experts in the field."

    They did a similar thing to James Hansen, he gave a talk on his work and was told he couldn't talk about it in public without permission from NASA's political minders. Hansen went to the NYT and the courts to protest and get the censorship lifted, the government complied but then changed the wording of NASA's mission statement [ucsusa.org], removing the "to understand and protect the home planet" words that justified Hansen's budget.
  • by Richy_T (111409) on Sunday May 04, 2014 @10:21PM (#46916341) Homepage

    http://www.theguardian.com/mon... [theguardian.com]

    You need to use a ceramic cup 1000 times for the resources used in making it to to match the equivalent single uses of polystyrene cups. You can argue that you might but it only takes a couple of mugs being mishandled and your average is way down.

    Of course, I prefer a ceramic cup anyway but you really have to be careful when you assert some things are green over others. Especially when things are price driven. Price tends to (but not always) be an indicator of resource usage.

    My grammar is all to pot above. Hope it makes sense.

  • by perpenso (1613749) on Monday May 05, 2014 @01:23AM (#46916977)

    Maybe. Coal emits a ridiculous amount of radiation... Also, according to the Torch report, 60k people died from Chernobyl, which is a tragedy, but a drop in the bucket compared to coal.

    "Using historical production data, we calculate that global nuclear power has prevented an average of 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent (GtCO2-eq) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would have resulted from fossil fuel burning. On the basis of global projection data that take into account the effects of the Fukushima accident, we find that nuclear power could additionally prevent an average of 420,000-7.04 million deaths and 80-240 GtCO2-eq emissions due to fossil fuels by midcentury, depending on which fuel it replaces. By contrast, we assess that large-scale expansion of unconstrained natural gas use would not mitigate the climate problem and would cause far more deaths than expansion of nuclear power."
    http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/abs/... [nasa.gov]

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