Andrew Hamm: the Bipolar Express

Ruminations on theatre, music, and just about anything else that crosses my bipolar brain.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Global Warming Update: 2/28/07!

According to the National Weather Service, this was the coldest February in Richmond since 1979. Coincidentally, 1979 is the year Newsweek published their groundbreaking scientific expose on Global Cooling and the coming ice age that would cover the northern third of the U.S.A. in glaciers.

But you can just add this to the pile of inconvenient truths that the Inconvenient Truth crowd turns a blind eye to. Al Gore's political agenda isn't served by snow in southern California for the first time since 1962, it isn't served by record snows in the Midwest and Northeast, and it certainly isn't served by NASA scientists noting that Mars' polar ice caps are shrinking more than usual. Either someone's driving a whole hell of a lot of Hummers up and down Olympus Mons or there's a force much more powerful than man controlling climate fluctuation. Like the Sun, for example.

You want to talk about the GWBA fostering an environment of fear to enable a social agenda? How about looking at Global Warming Incorporated, which efficiently obfuscates or discredits scientists who even suggest that man-made causes just might not be a major culprit in climate change.

Pretty soon, they'll be writing the Ice Age out of history books...

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  • At 3/01/2007 4:33 PM , Blogger Scott Wichmann said...

    What is the problem with wanting to create a sustainable lifestyle that promotes recycling, moderation and efficiency in energy use, reduction in dependance on foreign sources of oil, and development of alternative methods of energy? We could all be on the same page here and make a real difference, and it would be absolutely awe-inspiring.

    Its' a topsy-turvy world we live in when 'conservatives' rail against conservation.

    The prevailing attitude coming from the right is that Global warming is a myth foisted on the world by people with some sort of agenda. Really?? An agenda to... what? Look cool??

    I was a boy scout when I was a kid, and the biggest thing I took away from it was the phrase "Leave it as you found it." I bring that same philosophy to bear in my life as an adult-- recycling, turning the lights off, brushing my teeth without the water running, taking short showers, composting food waste, walking to work when possible. I'm saving to buy a hybrid car. That's not some George Soros checklist, bro, that's how my father taught me to conduct my affairs.

    It's common sense. It's time the republican party, the party of common sense ideas, got back to acting that way and rid itself of this notion of planetary entitlement and 'divine right of burger kings' to swallow every resource on the planet without a thought to the consequences.

    Oil companies and car corporations have been the biggest impediments to finding alternative sources of fuel and energy efficient modes of transportation. We as consumers would gladly be a part of the solution-- we just need more choices. We have seen a global change in the way we communicate, treat diseases, even listen to music, yet we cannot change the way we get around or the way we live? The technology is already there, and the only reason it isn't being advanced is because the old guard sees dollar signs in big oil and can't bear to let go.

    I propose huge corporate tax breaks (yes, tax breaks-- liberal ol me) to companise which triple or quadruple their efforts to make alterntaive fuel vehicles and put them out into the marketplace. Then, as the old republican addage would have it "Let the marketplace dictate" what happens. I guarantee you that if you give people a choice and educate them, seventy percent of america will make the right choice for the sake of the future.

    Same goes for petroleum companies-- tax breaks and incentives to develop and provide the fuels needed to keep new autos running. There could be a huge revolution in both busines and technology for the betterment of the whole planet, and america could be leading the way in shaping a new economy... "but it's just too hard..." "We aren't smart enough"... there is no problem to speak of... "Go back to bed", "I need a sweater, so no-- the rain forest isn't being destroyed, and the polar ice caps obviously aren't melting..."

    "Yawn. It's all the liberals fault, and it's annoying. Here, throw this away and get me another one."

    We sent a man to the moon, but somehow we cannot switch from gas-powered vehicles to hybrid cars?? And lefties cant bring up the subject without being called 'godless communists' or purveyors of lies??

    I for one am sick of the sight of piles of garbage in fast food restaurants and hotels, malls and just about anywhere you go. It makes no sense to me why this disposable culture we have created for ourselves cannot allow us to begin to cultivate the habit of recycling as an operating principle. As habitual as brushing one's teeth without leaving the water running. We can reduce the amount of crap we put in landfills. A town in florida incinerates it's waste at 10,000 degrees farenheit and produces almost zero co2. They use it as an energy source to power most of the town. Atlanta GA recycles tires and uses them to pave the highways. Brilliant.

    Of course, if Al Gore thought of it, you'd have a problem with it.

    We figt wars for strategic oil resources, but Al Gore is the bad guy for reporting science that is based on observable fact. Al Gore tells you to bring your own shopping bags to the grocery store, reduce waste by recycling, composting, replacing your light fixtures with energy-efficient bulbs and walking to work or carpooling-- But Shawn Hannity, Bill O'reily and the religious right have a problem with that, so it must be some sort of evil lefty conspiracy to foist lies on the american people and... Whatever. We all need to get our heads out of the sand and live with common sense.

    And yes, I am a hypocrite, because I love baseball, which uses up trees to make bats-- but you can plant a tree for fifteen dollars by going to


  • At 3/01/2007 4:56 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Brilliant Scott! I remember when I was a kid I was watching this show on new invention’s...I must have been about 10 years old. Anyway, there was a guy who had invented this washing machine that washed your clothes with sound waves, thus eliminating the need for laundry detergent. I thought it was so cool and they talked about it being on the market soon. It has never happened…but the technology is out there. And don’t get me started on the whole diaper industry. It goes on and on…and it makes me so friggin sad! I find it interesting that in NY you can recycle just about anything and they will pick it up for you! Here in Richmond it is limited to a few items AND there are huge areas of the city (in rich neighborhoods no less) that still do not offer pickup. Oh sure, you can drop off stuff in locations through out the city…but come on, we are lazy Americans! My next car will be a hybrid as well. Have you checked out this site:

  • At 3/01/2007 11:40 PM , Blogger Frank Creasy said...

    Without getting into the debate itself...does anyone else find it ironic that Al Gore, who served under an administration which cut funding for the EPA by ONE THIRD, is still considered an environmental HERO???

    Hey, I'm just asking.

  • At 3/02/2007 7:42 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    Scott: excellent post. But for the most part it has nothing to do with what I’m talking about.

    My issue with Global Warming Incorporated--and, I suspect, Hannity’s and O’Reilly’s—is the way global warming hysteria is being used to advance an agenda of one-world government global socialism. Every single “solution” proposed by the international community involves massive distribution of wealth, meaning Americans give money to other countries.

    But the biggest problem I have is the silencing of dissenting opinions in the scientific community. There are many many researchers who don’t believe that global warming is a man-made phenomenon, and their work is silenced, their grants are denied, and they are called tools of the right. Science is not a democracy, it is free inquiry. Theorists like NASA climatologist Roy Spencer (PLEASE look up his work) are being treated exactly the same as Galileo was. This time, it’s the Church of Global Warming enforcing the dogma: don’t you dare contradict the teachings of our holy father, Al Gore!

    Most of the stuff that Scott’s father taught him to do, my father also taught me to do--my old school, Limbaugh-listening, Buckley-reading Republican father. I’m totally on board for conservation, and “leave it as you found it” is a mantra in my house as well.

    The impediments to finding alternate sources of power are wide and varied, and blaming big oil is awfully easy. It’s also only part of the story. The technology is not that close in many cases; for example, the amount of energy used in the complex manufacture of solar cells means the panels have to function for over 20 years before they become energy-positive. It takes them more than two decades to generate as much electricity as it took to make them in the first place. And wind-generated power is under some justifiable scrutiny for interfering with the environment of indigenous birds. Some of this stuff is simply still science fiction at this point. It shouldn’t be disregarded, of course, but we are quite a ways from being able to use any of these options in anything resembling a practical way.

    What we need is a President who is willing to earmark more Federal money toward alternate fuel sources than all other Presidents combined. Oh, wait: you mean we already have one? Yes, that’s right: George W. Bush allotted more funding to alternative fuel research in his first term than all previous Presidents combined. But of course he’s an oil man, so he must have some evil ulterior motive.

    Hybrid cars are cool, but doubling your fuel mileage only slows the bleeding. The long-term answer is hydrogen fuel cells, which are still too expensive to manufacture. As for commercial power generation, we’re way behind Europe in building nuclear power plants, and way behind logic in developing tidal electricity generators.

  • At 3/02/2007 8:28 AM , Blogger Frank Creasy said...

    A brisk dialogue guys!

    But I would like to commend Mr. or Ms. Anonymous on the point about recycling: While Better Half and I don't live in a "rich" neighborhood, last year we built the home we hope will carry us to retirement, and it is in a very nice neighborhood, to be sure (in my book anyway - it's taken us decades of toil and equity in other homes to get to this place in our lives). As I put out my recycling today, as I do every other Friday, I'm stunned by the absence of similar recycling bins from my neighbors (most of whom, unlike us, have children and copious amounts of recycleable material). As they set out the SECOND large trash container for pickup (my one being less than half full), I wonder how these folks can, on the one hand, express concerns about their children's safety and future while on the other hand spurning a simple practice that can so benefit our environment?

    Hopping into my Saturn and driving past their SUV's and mini-vans, I'm confounded by the ignorance and lack of awareness some folks exhibit. Reading this blog, I'm at least comforted in the knowledge that such self-absorption is not universal.

    By the way - I've met many of these neighbors. They're not bad people. But I would hope they'd re-assess their priorities at some point.

  • At 3/02/2007 8:36 AM , Blogger Frank Creasy said...

    Missed one comment - Scott's post ends with a note about planting trees. There was a time when, lacking other employment, I took a job as a "tree planter". We replanted clear-cut land near Farmville, VA for two cents per planted pine seedling.

    The process: Hold iron planting bar in one hand, bunch of pine seedlings in the other. Chunk your planting bar into the soil, wiggle back and forth once to establish a planting hole, stick seedling in the hole, chunk planting bar ONCE AGAIN into ground adjacent to seedling and wiggle once to close the planting hole. Take a giant step forward and repeat until you reach opposite side of the field.

    My best day? One thousand seedlings. Twenty bucks. Drinks on me!

  • At 3/02/2007 1:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said... neighborhood is very poor and almost everyone has their bins out on Tuesday. I wonder what THAT says about people? Jeez!

  • At 3/02/2007 2:27 PM , Anonymous Harry Hood said...

    What is deal with Conservatives calling out Al Gore's "Political Agenda"? What exactly IS Al Gore's political agenda?
    A man who graciously conceded presidential defeat. And then moved his efforts to work towards raising awareness about the environment through the type of inquiry stated above. Last time I checked, Al Gore was not running for president. But consistently I meet people who crucify this man relentlessly for being a liberal with political ulterior motives.
    Incidentally, Scott-o's response has everything to do with what you are "talking about". You instigated a discussion through the cunning use of sarcasm and indirect inferences.
    How can you, in good conscience, make that claim about silencing voices of dissent? Your hero George W. Bush is the man who silenced the dissenting scientific community for YEARS by accusing the findings of irregular increases in ozone depletion and water depletion as "fuzzy science" and a bevy of other horribly authoritarian maneouvres to quell any opposition to his various business ventures. To whit, big oil. Of course the president is pursuing alternative resources. How can he not with democrats back in the balance. He may be dumb, but he's not stupid. But then, he's already made his money hasn't he? You think he didn't take part in the Kyoto Treaty because of his scientific beliefs?

  • At 3/02/2007 3:00 PM , Blogger Scott Wichmann said...

    I will definitely look up Roy Spencer and familiarize myself with his story.

    But I do take issue with your notion that the science is years away-- We have hybrids at present, plus GM killed off the electric car in the mid-nineties because of political pressure by big oil advocates. Exxon Mobil has also spent close to 16 million dollars in the last year alone trying to discredit Global Warming Science and keep the issue off the table, yet you cast a blind eye to exactly the kind of free-inquiry squelching which you're so angry about!! Oil companies want to protect their bottom line, just like any business-- and they are holding on for dear life.

    I mean come on-- Freaking Willie Nelson drives a working, functioning biodiesel BUS fer crissakes, and he's high as a kite half the time!! You're telling me that we can't have a nationwide scientific effort to rid ourselves of the burdeon of fossil fuels in transportation in ten to fiteen years?? We could be pushing science in education in the service of a truly important cause!!

    It's not as 'Star Trekky' as you think. My elementary school (In Vermont) used to heat itself with columns filled with water inside a solar panel and a thermal blanket was lowered when it was cloudy to trap the heat in. Voila. We were never cold, even in the worst winter. Mister Fuleihan's class was the warmest 6th grade in the Green Mountain state, and they were a bunch of crunchy-granola hippies in the boonies. Imagine if they had some sort of a huge budget to work with.

    This is from the EPA's own website. This is the problem. The government (albeit belatedly)acknowledges it.

    Global warming:

    "For over the past 200 years, the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, and deforestation have caused the concentrations of heat-trapping "greenhouse gases" to increase significantly in our atmosphere. These gases prevent heat from escaping to space, somewhat like the glass panels of a greenhouse.
    Greenhouse gases are necessary to life as we know it, because they keep the planet's surface warmer than it otherwise would be. But, as the concentrations of these gases continue to increase in the atmosphere, the Earth's temperature is climbing above past levels. According to NOAA and NASA data, the Earth's average surface temperature has increased by about 1.2 to 1.4ºF since 1900. The warmest global average temperatures on record have all occurred within the past 15 years, with the warmest two years being 1998 and 2005. Most of the warming in recent decades is likely the result of human activities. Other aspects of the climate are also changing such as rainfall patterns, snow and ice cover, and sea level.
    If greenhouse gases continue to increase, climate models predict that the average temperature at the Earth's surface could increase from 2.5 to 10.4ºF above 1990 levels by the end of this century. Scientists are certain that human activities are changing the composition of the atmosphere, and that increasing the concentration of greenhouse gases will change the planet's climate. But they are not sure by how much it will change, at what rate it will change, or what the exact effects will be. See the Science and Health and Environmental Effects sections of this site for more detail."

    Go here for more information:

  • At 3/02/2007 4:52 PM , Blogger Scott Wichmann said...

    I re-read your post, and this stuck out again-- it hit me right in the head.

    "Hybrid cars are cool, but doubling your fuel mileage only slows the bleeding."

    How so?? If you could cut in half the amount of fuel you personally require to get around, you've cut your personal emissions in half and let that much less co2 into the atmosphere. If hundreds of thousands of people switch to hybrids, the exponential decrease in fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is staggering!!

    "Slowing the bleeding??" No, they help to SOLVE THE PROBLEM. They present a major reduction right in fossil fuel use and CO2 production andrew, yet a cursory "Hybrid cars are cool, but..." is all that Hybrid technology merits?? I personally am amazed and inspired by them and you're like "Meh."

    Let me get this straight-- you're all for conservation and the preservation of the ecosystem, you just don't agree with Global Warming and the science that backs it up. Am I right??

  • At 3/02/2007 10:29 PM , Blogger Scott Wichmann said...

    Andrew, really quickly, I read up on the Kyoto protocols on wikipedia, and found this bit of info which enables me to better understand what you are talking about when you refer to the global socialization of the world environmental movement:

    "The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change agreed to a set of a "common but differentiated responsibilities." The parties agreed that
    The largest share of historical and current global emissions of greenhouse gases has originated in developed countries;
    Per capita emissions in developing countries are still relatively low;
    The share of global emissions originating in developing countries will grow to meet their social and development needs.[8]
    In other words, China, India, and other developing countries were EXEMPT from the requirements of the Kyoto Protocol because they were not the main contributors to the greenhouse gas emissions during the industrialization period that is believed to be causing today's climate change.

    HOWEVER critics of Kyoto argue that China, India, and other developing countries will soon be the top contributors to greenhouse gases. Also, without Kyoto restrictions on these countries, industries in developed countries would be driven towards these non-restricted countries, thus there would be no net reduction in carbon.

    Financial commitments
    The Protocol also reaffirms the principle that developed countries have to pay billions of dollars, and supply technology to other countries for climate-related studies and projects. This was originally agreed in the UNFCCC."

    So-- I have made a step towards understanding your position. Why pay for other countries to come up with other technologies (money which they may just pocket anyway) and have a billion-plus-pound-per-day carbon producer like china go exempt from the most stringent regulations?? Color me informed!!

    Still, I think if we as a nation begin to get our environmental house in order and hold ourselves to a stricter standard, then we will regain the moral high-ground on the issue.

    Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to read about Roy Spencer.

    Andrew, btw, I think we have the makings of a buddy sitcom called "Right and Left"...

  • At 3/03/2007 12:51 AM , Blogger Scott Wichmann said...

    Sorry dude, but I'm like obsessive about this topic.

    "Troposphere Warming, Too: Studies Find Flaws with Earlier Climate Data

    Three new studies find fault with temperature data purported to chill evidence for global warming. While the earth's surface temperatures have been rising over the past several decades, data taken from satellites and weather balloons showed that temperatures in the troposphere, the lowest level of the atmosphere, have remained steady, even dropping over the tropics. Climate computer models suggest that since the troposphere butts up against the earth's surface, this discrepancy should not exist if global warming is occurring. In the largely political debate over climate change, the tropospheric temperature readings have proved to be a hot spot for those on the hunt for uncertainties in the science.

    University of Alabama at Huntsville scientists John Christy and Roy Spencer are the two scientists who have mined the vast amounts of data from weather balloons and satellites to compose the troubling tropospheric temperature history. In doing so, they had to correct for environmental effects. The new studies, all of which were published in the online version of the journal Science, assert that their corrections, and hence their calculations, were wrong. One of the studies showed that Christy and Spencer had over-corrected for the sunlight's warming effect on temperature sensors attached to weather balloons. Another put forward that they also made a mistake in calculating for the way wind moved around the satellites. A third study factored in the errors, and came out with a warming of the troposphere very much in line with rising surface temperatures and computer models.
    Christy and Spencer agreed that they had made mistakes in calculating the balloon and satellite data. But they still believe that the warming rate for the troposphere is out of line with that seen on the surface. "We still have this modest warming," Christy told the New York Times. Other climate scientists say the new work puts to rest any talk of discrepancy.

    Mars seems to be experiencing some sort of loss of ice caps, but no one pursuing the Sun-Warming theory has mentioned the fact that Mars has a thinner atmosphere and relatively little (if any) cloud cover or ability to trap moisture and gas. Mars gets hit with the sun's rays constantly, yet the reasons for the earth's temperature rise seems to be a distant cousin of the phenomenon occuring on Venus, the grandaddy of all galactic greenhouse effects.

    I certainly think it is worth looking into (Which, in a veeeery roundabout way, means I agree with you on your point about not squelching dissenting voices) but I also think that there seem to be two different things happening on earth and Mars. I am interested, though, and I will keep abreast of the theory...

  • At 3/03/2007 1:39 AM , Blogger Scott Wichmann said...

    Sorry, I should have said "Mars' unprotected atmosphere" gets bombarded directly by the sun constantly"-- Of course, earth gets hit with sunlight 'constantly' but has a protective layer which deflects some rays and absorbs others...

  • At 3/03/2007 8:56 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    I don't have time to respond right now, because I have to shower up and get dressed for Twelfth Night rehearsal. But I do want to say one thing: Scotto rules.

  • At 3/03/2007 9:04 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    Dammit! But I have to say something!

    My point about hybrids slowing the bleeding is actually more about the dwindling oil supply than greenhouse emissions. I'm totally with you on the need for new fuels. Go, Eco-Willie! But hybrids are not new fuels, they're just more efficient engines burning the same finite supply of oil. With the Hubbert Peak either looming or recently past, we need to start planning for a world without oil. Your commute to work isn't burning nearly the amout of oil that the trucks transporting over 90% of America's foodstuffs is. That's where we need to start, with commercial transportation. When the oil is gone, there better be a gasoline-free means of disbursing food or we're going to see an economic crash that makes the Great Depression look like, well, last Tuesday.

    My fear is that the people who are really going to make a difference (largely liberals) are so enamored of hybrids that they develop a romantic notion that hybrids are a solution and not a stopgap.

  • At 3/03/2007 9:06 AM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    As I read the above paraghraph, I'm realizing just how left-wing it is. Hurrah! Andrew the Radical Moderate has retuirned!

  • At 3/11/2007 2:48 PM , Blogger Andrew Hamm said...

    And I'd like to re-iterate that this is one of the greatest things Scott has ever said:

    It's a topsy-turvy world we live in when 'conservatives' rail against conservation.


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