[GWSG] Poisoned well; Exxon to tell all; grid parities; Mann on threshold; a box of rocks; Showtime series

Tilley, Al atilley at unf.edu
Fri Mar 28 09:53:50 EDT 2014

1.  Many people have been convinced that scientists are corrupted by money and cannot be trusted.  The propaganda strategem behind this conviction is to poison the well of science in general so that no scientific information is accepted.  As is often the case, the weakness of the propagandist (corruption by greed) is projected onto the target.  I first ran into it among my students over twenty years ago.  It is easy to roll my eyes at the simplicity of someone vulnerable to such nonsense, but hard to see how to counter it.   http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2014-03-21/climate-scientists-biggest-challenge-isn-t-scientific   The challenge is not limited to the US.  Here is a British view.  http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/mar/22/climate-change-deniers-have-won-global-warming  My best response does not counter the fallacy directly.  Ask people to investigate the risk they are running from climate change in their area.  At this point do not argue causes.  When they understand that the situation is serious, they will be ready to wonder about causes and cures.  In other words, help them become more scientific.

2.  ExxonMobil, under pressure from stockholder groups, has agreed to report on the impact of carbon pricing and unusable “carbon bubble” reserves.  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-21/exxon-mobil-agrees-to-report-on-plans-for-low-carbon-future-carbon-risks.html

3.  Commercial solar power is now as cheap as conventional power in Germany, Italy, and Spain.  Mexico is closing in.  The regulatory situation is too unsteady in the US for renewables to compete generally with fossil fuels, though they do in some areas.  http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/03/24/3418145/solar-grid-parity-italy-germany/
Deutsche Bank estimates that ten US states are already at grid parity.  The utilities’ battle against batteries is part of the picture.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2014/03/25/grid-parity-why-electric-utilities-should-struggle-to-sleep-at-night/

4.  Michael Mann gave a seven minute interview on his article in the April Scientific American, “Earth Will Cross the Climate Danger Threshold by 2036.”  Mann has summarized various lines of evidence as to when we will have incurred 2° of warming.  To avoid the threshold, we will need to peak greenhouse gas emissions in the next few years and begin ramping down at a couple of percent a year.  (To keep warming to 1.5°, as it seems we should, we presumably need to embark on drawing carbon from the atmosphere.)  http://climatecrocks.com/2014/03/26/mike-mann-irreversible-climate-change-a-few-years-away/
Here’s the article, but you must battle some annoying popup ads.  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-e-mann/climate-danger-threshold_b_4994235.html

5.  A new (to me) way of storing energy: drag a railroad car full of rocks up a hill when you have surplus energy, and let it roll back down creating power with its engine when you don’t.  The arrangement has already been piloted in CA.  http://grist.org/news/is-this-train-the-little-engine-that-could-for-clean-energy-storage/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Daily%2520March%252027&utm_campaign=daily

6.  On April 13 Showtime initiates the climate series “Years of Living Dangerously.”    It is said to have good production values and to attempt to convey emotional reactions to scientific findings on climate.  http://www.yaleclimatemediaforum.org/2014/03/celebrities-climate-and-showtimes-years-of-living-dangerously/#more-21640
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