Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Honey That’s Sticky but Not Sweet

This is fun:


USA Today’s Greenhouse blog has the story:

The ad campaign, which has included TV spots aired in New Mexico and elsewhere, is funded by H. Leighton Steward, a retired oil industry executive and co-author of the Sugar Busters! dieting books, reports The Post.

It's part of a larger lobbying campaign to defeat Obama's push for an energy-climate bill to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Last month in his first Oval Office address, Obama said the Gulf oil spill shows how much the nation needs to reduce its dependence on polluting fossil fuels.

Steward is not hiding away. He’s right up front on the page the ad references – sometimes, corporations and individuals who want to promote an unpopular idea do so secretly, so credit to Steward.

On the page you’ll find another video with a demonstration:

Isolated for 42 days in chambers of ambient and elevated CO2 concentrations, we periodically document the growth of cowpea plants (Vigna unguiculata) via time-lapse photography.

And if you want to find out more, the page sends you here – it’s like a honey pot, with all the stickiness but none of the sweetness.

It’s all quite mad, though it benefits from being so cheerful about something so dangerous – see it as an irony writ large and you’ll enjoy it because it’s the kind of thing that no one will take seriously.


Jason Ribeiro said...

Too much of a good thing is not good. The earth has a limited capacity to process a given amount of CO2 and deforestation doesn't help in that area either. I'd rather not use the earth as a giant experiment just to see what happens at 1200 PPB CO2.

Looking at the trendline of CO2 growth at is very alarming.

Anonymous said...

Carbon dioxide is not dangerous as carbon monoxide or methane or ammonia are. This entry is ridiculous. We need nuclear power not because of carbon dioxide but because of disasters like the oil geyser in the Gulf of Mexico and because of the lung cancer deaths caused by particulate emissions from burning fossil fuels.

This kind of blog entry is disingenuous at best and dishonest at worst. Pandering to the god of global warming is most unbecoming of NEI.

DocForesight said...

What continues to astound me - granted, not a climate scientist nor a physicist, just someone using common sense and a modicum of science (healthcare) background - is the alarmism surrounding an essential trace gas necessary for life on Earth.

Do other people look at other evidence besides their bookmarked sites for contrary information? Why do greenhouses increase their CO2 concentration to 1,000 ppmv to achieve excellent growing results - with no ill effect to employees?

I agree with Anon, mostly, in that this blog entry is unbecoming of NEI. Nuclear power's primary focus is on electricity, process heat and desalination. Transportation fuels are a long way down the list for the time being.

Please, NEI, focus your attention on promoting nuclear power where it has its greatest advantage - replacing coal-fired power plants. The environment will take care of itself in the process - just like adding scrubbers have improved air quality over the past 40 years.

@Jason - Does anyone really know what that "capacity limit" is? Or how or when we'd reach it? You are too smart to fall for alarmism.

David Bradish said...

Doc, you may or may not have read, but to be clear, NEI doesn't have a position on climate change. As in probably many other organizations, there are a diverse set of viewpoints with regards to cc. NEI is no different. I haven't taken a survey of NEI but I can tell you that there are some who think climate change is real and there are some who are a bit skeptical of the science (me being one of them).

Nevertheless, I think we can all agree (or maybe most of us) that the science isn't out yet on climate change. It's hard to ignore the fact that the world pumps out 30 BILLION metric tons of CO2 each year and climbing. Should we forget about this? What happens if we continue along this path and the world pumps out 100 BILLION metric tons per year? Can we continue to ignore this? As Jason said: "I'd rather not use the earth as a giant experiment just to see what happens at 1200 PPB CO2."

You say NEI should focus our "attention on promoting nuclear power where it has its greatest advantage - replacing coal-fired power plants." Maybe I'm reading the wrong things but from what I see, CO2 is what people ARE MOST concerned about from coal plants, coal ash maybe a little, but CO2 is the greatest. If we should focus on replacing coal, then shouldn't CO2 be the obvious start?

Mark has one view, mine is a little bit different. This blog is about expressing all of these ideas to of course generate discussion and debate. Our blog isn't official NEI policy, otherwise you would probably be seeing our VPs writing the posts and not us. Keep that in mind.

DocForesight said...

@David -- Thank you for the response and clarification. As to the CO2 issue, I don't believe that was the primary (or secondary or even tertiary) concern of the public until the pro-AGW lobby made it front-page news. And the drum beat didn't abate until the past year or so.

My understanding of the Clean Air Act was to use tested technology to remove known pollutants: SOx, NOx and Particulate Matter specifically. That was an appropriate use of the CCA to achieve a societal good. CO2 was not then considered a pollutant and wasn't until the Supreme Court adjudged it so recently.

We have been told by various alarmist cheerleaders, like Al Gore, that "the science is settled and the debate is over" since as far back as 1992. It is reassuring to note that he was wrong then and remains so. The stifling of the "debate", though, has been difficult to overcome. Yes?

How much CO2 can the atmosphere absorb without deleterious effect? How quickly would that effect, if reached, result in catastrophic climate change? No one knows nor probably can know. Given the vast complexity of global climate forces and responses, the best we can do is be good stewards of our resources and promote the most efficient ones to be dominant.

Thanks for the opportunity to add my two bits. BTW, I am in solar and battery back-up systems.

Jason Ribeiro said...

First, I made a mistake, PPB should have been PPM.

@Doc, honestly I don't know what the CO2 process capacity of the Earth is so I would have to look it up. I have some good ideas about where to look it up, but for now I think we can agree this is a an amount that is in constant flux depending on many conditions. We might also agree that this process capacity can be over capacity at certain times, thereby adding additional CO2 to the atmosphere. An MIT professor coined this the bathtub theory. To keep the "bathtub" from overflowing, we need either a larger drain or less flow from the spout.

Some people, like the producers of this ad for sure, might say "so what, we added some CO2 to the atmosphere, that actually might be good for us and besides it's not a pollutant." Well then should we all rest at ease and continue with business as usual I guess. As long a reliable electricity comes out of my wall socket and gas is affordable enough, then why should I care as long as I got mine right? And that is what I find alarming, not so much a trend line, but the attitude behind the video. They really don't care about the CO2, they care most about not having their business affected.

I'm not bothered by Al Gore's raising awareness of environmental issues. I'm bothered by his dogmatic reluctance to recognize nuclear energy as a viable emission free energy source that can be a major part of the solution set he advocates.

I agree with you that we need to be good stewards of our planet so why not strive to use the best technology, the best practices, and the best strategy to do so? I truly believe we can do much better and we are not trying hard enough. Again, this is our only home so I'd rather not experiment with it if we don't have to.