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back to article Boffins build program to HUNT DOWN CO2 polluters where they LIVE

Environment-loving boffins have developed a software capable of pointing the accusatory finger of carbon-emitting blame at individual buildings. Hestia's hourly, building-by-building map of CO2 emissions in Indianapolis The program, named Hestia after the Greek goddess of the home, can map CO2 emissions across urban …

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Can't reduce what you can't measure

... and you can't _measure_ what each building is producing, only _simulate_ it with a model.

Unless the model knows the construction, air-con thermostat setting, level of occupancy and level of insulation, it can't do even that in any meaningful way.

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Re: Can't reduce what you can't measure

Do you really have the impression that buildings produce CO2 through electricity use? And the 7 people upvoted you? When a building uses electricity the CO2 emissions that produces are made at the power plant that supplies the building with power, not at the building itself.

"Unless the model knows the construction, air-con thermostat setting, level of occupancy and level of insulation, it can't do even that in any meaningful way."

Surely all they need to know is the sum of electricity used by the building and the powerplant which supplied that electricity. In the case the building uses gas they also need to know how much gas the building used. Both of these things are easily obtained from billing information. There's no need to know about the things you claim such as thermostat settings and occupancy levels.

But again this seems so simple to me that I must be missing, because you got upvoted 7 times. I give more credit to reg readers than to have 7 of them pile on upvoting nonsense. So please put me out of my misery and correct me if I am wrong.

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@NomNomNom - Re: Can't reduce what you can't measure

"using public databases, traffic simulation and building-by-building energy consumption modelling. [...] Local air pollution reports, traffic counts and tax assessor information has all been pulled into to the modelling system"

Nowhere there does it say that they're using the sum of electricity or gas used by the building, nor that they have access to anyone's billing information (nor should they).

So all they're doing is taking a guess at how much CO2 people are producing based on inaccurate and incomplete information.

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Re: @NomNomNom - Can't reduce what you can't measure

You are right, I went and checked the paper and they do model air conditioners, insulation, etc. So I was wrong and withdraw my previous comment.

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Big Brother

Thanks boffins

bossy surveillance. just what this world needs more of.

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Big Brother

Re: Thanks boffins

Let the Witch Hunt Begin!

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Meh

There is a word for this.

Bollocks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There is a word for this.

Exactly.. change your Petrol car for an EV and yes your electricity consumption will rise, but slower than your petrol consumption plummets. When you only measure one thing it's going to be wrong.

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Boffin

Why countries don't sign climate change treaties

"Many countries are unwilling to sign a treaty when greenhouse gas emission reductions cannot be independently verified."

No.

They are unwilling to agree to greenhouse gas emission reductions because want to lift their populations out of poverty. They want power grids, advanced transportation systems, low bills for manufacturing, etc so they can have a developed economy.

If they don't build these they will be chucked out and some other politician will. They need the cheap energy to do so and right now fossil fuels == cheap energy.

Sorry Tarquin, Jemima and all you middle class climate change campaigners - the game is over. And you still don't get why you lost.

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Re: Why countries don't sign climate change treaties

> And you still don't get why you lost.

If they've lost then the likelihood is that we have all lost.

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Re: Why countries don't sign climate change treaties

If they've lost then the likelihood is that we have all lost.

Nope. Once the professional climate whingers realize they lost (they usually do this around the time of UN climate conferences, but unfortunately forget it a few weeks later) the sooner the rest of us can get back to the business of working, poor countries can drag themselves out of poverty, and industrialized countries don't have to shut themselves down.

Anyone remember 2009?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/copenhagen-climate-change-confe/6701307/Copenhagen-summit-is-last-chance-to-save-the-planet-Lord-Stern.html

That was the last chance to save the world. So why are people still whinging about climate change?

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Re: Why countries don't sign climate change treaties

"They are unwilling to agree to greenhouse gas emission reductions because want to lift their populations out of poverty. They want power grids, advanced transportation systems, low bills for manufacturing, etc so they can have a developed economy."

That's demonstrably wrong. Look at France, it gets most of it's electricity from nuclear, so clearly a developed economy does not require burning as much carbon as possible. The false future you advocate, one where countries require fossil fuels to be developed, is also highly pessimistic one given fossil fuels are finite.

Also note that plenty of countries, developing and developed, did agree to first step climate reduction schemes such as Kyoto. Notably the US didn't - I am sure that has nothing to do with very strong lobbying from the fossil fuel interests...did you know that an oil company lobbied the US government to put pressure to replace the former head of the IPCC, which is exactly what they did and what happened shortly after? He was replaced.

There is nothing more than climate "skeptics" want than to make everyone shut up about the very real threat from climate change. Climate skeptics have recently been burned by the record drop in Arctic Sea Ice (they had pooh-poohed all the scientists who had warned of this) and so now climate skeptics are realizing their best bet is not to have to deny things at all, and the way to do that is to make everyone shut up about climate change. That way when things do go "bad", no-one can blame the skeptics for their reckless denial.

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Re: Why countries don't sign climate change treaties

"That was the last chance to save the world. So why are people still whinging about climate change?"

So deserving of more than the single upvote I have to offer.

Perhaps El Reg can allow us to adjust the value of our votes, so that I could perhaps offer 0.3 of an upvote for something amusing, but then be able to offer you ten for this gem.

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Re: Why countries don't sign @NonNomNom

"That's demonstrably wrong. Look at France, it gets most of it's electricity from nuclear, so clearly a developed economy does not require burning as much carbon as possible"

But with the exception of China, developing countries can't afford the 5x higher capital costs of a nuke plant over a thermal plant. China is different partly because of the centralised planning by the communist party, but largely because it has the money due to vast trade imbalances with the west.

You are quite right that the developing countries signed Kyoto, but why wouldn't they? Kyoto damages the developed world's economies, but puts no restrictions on the developing world. Take China. Not withstanding a handful of nuke plants, it continues to build out a vast fleet of thermal fossil plant. Every six years, its CO2 emissions INCREASE by more than the ENTIRE EU emits each year in total. India's not far behind, either. So why do these countries clearly not give a hoot about their emissions? Could it be that they see through the dodgy science, and through the alarmist, plagiarised and dishonest claptrap peddled by the IPCC?

Europe clearly couldn't manage a p*** up in a brewery. Their politicians have repeatedly denied that the eurozone had a problem, that they had fabricated the figures, that they needed a bailout, that they didn't hold bungabunga parties, that they aren't printing money like water. All lies, and much more besides. They can't tell the truth on the reasons for going to war, they can't tell the truth on an expenses claim, they can't tell the truth on inflation, immigration, public spending. They believe in works of fiction like the HS2 business case. But on the subject of "climate change" you evidently believe that suddenly these dishonest half wits come to a sensible decision supported by objective and unimpeachable science, they then tell the truth, and follow the correct policies?

Don't make me laugh.

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Re: Look at France

Yes, let's take a look at France. France pushed their nuke policy through because they had a fascist (although they called themselves socialist) government that pushed it through without having popular support. Everywhere there is a truly democratic government the enviro-weenies have convinced everyone nukes are more dangerous than the Third Reich was and are off the table.

That leaves fossil fuels or unicorn farts. I'll take fossil fuels thank-you.

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FAIL

And this is a very good reason

why we don't want, no we REALLY don't want, smart meters

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Well I've just checked and they've put their FTTC rollout back by another 2 months for my area ... so forget FTTH, I'd personally be happy to get any connection over the pathetic <2Mb we currently get.

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Sorry? Did you mean to comment on this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/10/10/ftth_council_uk_penetration_knocked_again/ ?

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£350 they shuold have spent

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/400W-WATT-MAX-OPTION-WIND-TURBINE-GENERATOR-KIT-12-24V-VOLT-ELECTRICITY-j6-/300610571755?pt=UK_BOI_Industrial_Tools_Generators_ET&hash=item45fdc94deb

and 1 of of these http://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/dc-geared-motors/0718133/

and make a single base unit with controller, inverter etc all in to tower

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you could probaly put one of these on to control the speed of the motor http://www.aliexpress.com/item/20-PCS-LOT-DC-Voltage-Regulator-Module-4-5-24V-to-1-20V-2A-DC-Digital/553711409.html

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P_0

I think I spotted Al Gore's house in the picture. Can you guess which one it is?

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Flame

"tax assessor information"?

What the hell does the amount of tax you are paying have to do with the amount of CO2 you are emitting? I'm looking for a causal analysis, not one of those Freakonomics statistical soft shoes routines.

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Re: "tax assessor information"?

I'm looking for a causal analysis, not one of those Freakonomics statistical soft shoes routines.

If modeling of complex systems depended entirely on causal analyses, we wouldn't have any.

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Mushroom

This is all you need to know

http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/statements.htm

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Re: This is all you need to know

goes rather well with

http://www.answersingenesis.org

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Re: This is all you need to know

Do yourself a favour and read the website. Then do please come back and explain why it is wrong.

Comparing the work to a theological nutcase website, really is very demeaning

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Re: This is all you need to know

That website is making extraordinary claims. I was sceptical and it took me 5 minutes to find out why it is wrong. It's a shame you didn't make the effort to do the same before spreading nonsense around.

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Re: This is all you need to know

That website is making extraordinary claims,

Let me explain something to you. I made no assertion about the validity or otherwise of the website. You assumed that i agreed with its contents.

Then you assert that it is "making extraordinary claims" without saying exactly what or why the science is wrong.

Don't you think the sceptical scientists have a point of view as well? And we need to know why governments are taxing the hell out of CO2 producers on the back of an unproven theory.

So come on, put up or shut up

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Re: This is all you need to know

Based on what you've just posted there, presumably you do agree with its contents though? If you don't agree with it, then why post it? As pointed out by NomNomNom, there are websites for all sorts of crazy nonsense out there and you wouldn't go around posting those and expect people to waste time refuting them.

Anyway since you asked, the claim that this guy made was that there was a huge increase in CO2 concentration in a very short time around the 1940s which after a few years suddenly dropped to its previous value. The amount of CO2 involved requires us to believe that there was a source of CO2 that is 1000 times greater than any known today. Not only that but that there was a sink that was able to absorb all of that CO2 over a similarly short time scale. Either that, or the measurements were wrong, which in fact is what most scientists think and for plausible reasons. For example, the end of the wild swing in CO2 happens to coincide with when accurate monitoring of CO2 started.

The ridiculous thing is that the people who unquestioningly accept this sort of nonsense have the nerve to call themselves sceptics.

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Re: This is all you need to know

Yes i read the refute from here, http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/beck_data.html and yes its true that there is an anomaly around 1942 and that it is easily debunked.

The point is that i can find no refute of Becks basic theory that if CO2 was responsible for global warming then the climate would follow the levels of measured CO2 and this appears to be not the case.

He asserts that the climate has been colder when CO2 levels have been high and vice versa.

There is also considerable doubt that the "norm level" of 280p.p.m is accurate.

http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/03/06/historic-variations-in-co2-measurements/

Recently there has been a complete change in scientific thinking about the "big bang theory" and yet it was only 10 years ago that they were trumpeting the fact that they had proved it.

Now, when the scientific community cannot agree amongst themselves and can disprove each others theories, don't you you think that mere mortals like me have a right to remain very sceptical about the cause and effect of global warming?

Especially now that it has become a crusade in some peoples minds.

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Re: This is all you need to know

Beck's website is such a hotch potch that I am not sure where this basic theory about global warming not following CO2 is. I found the link to this document: http://www.biomind.de/realCO2/literature/CO2-no-climate-driver.pdf . Is that what you meant?

His first point in there seems to be a variation on the standard 'no warming since 1998' argument, which relies on cherry picking the starting point, ignoring the impacts of El Nino and La Nina, and in general not recognising that 10 years is too short a time to separate signal from noise (unless some special effort is made to eliminate known anomalies). I'm not even sure where he got the data in his graph from because it doesn't seem to tie up with anything else I can find.

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Re: This is all you need to know

His sources are quoted at the bottom of the page and it may be true that 10 years is too short a time. However, lets not forget the point. CO2 levels are measured very accurately now; agreed? As is temperature?

Therefore, according to the IPCC, temperature should follow CO2. It doesn't!

But perhaps the most important point is this. There are some very well qualified detractors listed there and if they can't agree what chance do we have?

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Re: This is all you need to know

"CO2 levels are measured very accurately now; agreed? As is temperature?

Therefore, according to the IPCC, temperature should follow CO2. It doesn't!"

No you are missing the point that I made in my previous post. You can't look at temperature over a very short time span and simply say it's going up or down. This is because it is a noisy signal and affected by short term variations (such as El Nino etc.). So it's not simply a question of whether it is measured accurately. What you need to to is to look at the data over a long enough period to extract the signal from the noise. There are well understood techniques for doing this. One relatively simple approach is to take a rolling average of the data over a time period. This has the effect of smoothing out the short term ups and downs so that the long term trend is discernible.

Another approach is that it is actually possible to take the data from the time period in question and adjust it for known anomalies caused by such as El Nino and volcanoes and people have done that. The problem is that 'sceptics' would probably regard that as manipulating the data, even though the techniques in question are not out of the ordinary in science in general.

The point is that every study that has really looked properly at the data has detected a warming trend. The BEST study last year was initially supported by sceptics as it was expected to disprove warming but its basic finding was to support the previous studies.

"There are some very well qualified detractors listed there and if they can't agree what chance do we have?"

I agree - it's difficult. What you've got to remember though is that just because someone has a string of qualifications after their name, it does not necessarily mean that they know what they are talking about outside their area of expertise. This bloke Beck, for example, he was a biology teacher. Looking around the internet, it's easy to come away with the impression that there is a huge debate and lots of controversy. However, most of it is the same stuff repeated in different blogs. The amount of real scientific research underpinning the sceptical positions is quite small. People like Lindzen were reasonably well respected but his theories and predictions haven't stood the test of time and yet he is still feted on the sceptic sites. Ditto Roy Spencer, who has repeatedly been shown to be wrong.

Also, once you start to look into it you find that there are actually all sorts of different sceptical arguments and it is not possible to put them all together and come up with a coherent theory. For example, I've never seen a convincing sceptical argument that explains both how climate sensitivity is low and the Medieval Warming Period was a global phenomenon and yet those are both claims that a typical sceptic will try to make.

I'm no expert but, for me, the real sceptical position is to assume that there are no conspiracy theories that involve all climate scientists, all the major national science institutions, etc., and that the broad consensus on the science is there. On the other hand, there *is* past form for vested interests spreading misinformation to avoid environmental regulation etc. (e.g. see the tobacco industry and attempts to block control of CFCs). Very similar techniques are now being used by so called climate sceptics - spreading doubt about whether the science is solid, implying more controversy than there really is, repeating myths that have already been debunked, recruiting tame experts, and so on. Indeed it is not that hard to find links between organisations currently generating sceptical material on climate change and those fighting against CFC, acid rain and tobacco regulation in the past.

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Re: This is all you need to know

Then we have to agree to disagree.

Beck may have been just a Biologist but he surely was not stupid and is credited with having done an intense analysis of CO2 even from his detractors, many of whom disagreed with his conclusions.

If we step back and look at all the scientists and their papers, you don't need to be a scientist to see that there are contradictions all over the place and while that fact is true, then you have to accept that AGW is only a theory and should not be accepted until it is proven.

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Re: This is all you need to know

"AGW is only a theory and should not be accepted until it is proven"

You do realise that 'only a theory' is one of the standard arguments that creationists use against evolution? First of all, what do you mean by a theory? In casual usage, it means something like a hunch or a guess. In science it tends to mean something that is supported by a large body of research and evidence, that holds up to scrutiny and is accepted by most scientists. Second, you are never going to prove anything in science. All you can do is to find more and more evidence that supports the theory, including testing it against other possibilities that people come up with (which, relating to the topic in question, doesn't mean repeating the same old claims again and again).

What would it take for something to be proven to you? In many areas of science you are not going to get some nice neat summary that you can read in 10 minutes and be convinced by. Or at least you might, but it won't capture the detail of everything that underpins it. In reality, there are going to be areas that are less understood than others. Real data is going to be messy and need cleaning up. What tends to convince scientists is where there are multiple lines of evidence that can be brought together consistently so that they point in the same general direction. This is called 'consilience' (look it up on Wikipedia - it does a better job of explaining than I could here). In general the AGW theory is consilient: there are multiple lines of evidence that support the same conclusion. The point I tried make previously is that the sceptic arguments do not seem to try to put forward an alternative model for the physics of how the climate evolves. Instead they pick on individual areas to criticise which, in any case, can usually be rebutted individually but, more generally, they don't form part of a broader theory and body of evidence. Returning to where I started with this post, it's exactly the same tactic that creationists use.

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Re: This is all you need to know

Like i said before, 10 years ago most of the big names in science had us all believing that they had proved the big bang theory. They even made TV programmes in which Hawkings appears to explain it all. (It wasn't him who claimed the proof)

Where are we today? Oh err its not a big bang at all, or there are parallel expanding universes or it was a black hole that wasn't really...err

Enough said, you believe what you want to believe. I trust you will be happy with your 7% rise in gas and electricity prices this winter.

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Anonymous Coward

New Meaning for Hestia

El Reg is a truly wondrous resource. Up until now I had thought that Hestia was an acronym* used by an antipodean maker of Bulgarian airbags holders and 'ladies' foundation garments'.

I now know it's useful in convincing climate botherers that they can visualise where all the nasty stuff is coming from.

You live and learn.

* For those who missed out on a classical Oz education - Holds Every Size Tit In Australia

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Anonymous Coward

Is that going to help the Old Bill

find the ones who are growing pot in the basement?

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Our city and surrounding region has a mandatory vehicle pollution testing program called AirCare. It's a costly program for motorists, and it has largely outlived its usefulness since the "testing" today consists of connecting to the OBD-II data port on the vehicle to make sure that the Check Engine indicator isn't on. At the time this program was originally launched, an alternative proposal was made to use roadside CO2 monitors which would detect polluting vehicles as they pass using an infrared laser beam, and then take a photo of their licence plate just like a speed radar. This latter proposal was much less costly and more effective at targeting polluting vehicles, but needless to say, the government adopted the universal testing program instead.

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"El Reg is a truly wondrous resource. Up until now I had thought that Hestia was an acronym* used by an antipodean maker of Bulgarian airbags holders and 'ladies' foundation garments'."

And here was I thinking it was just another font set DOH!

Seems a lot of guess work wrapped up in another end user license fee paid for by the tax payer to me

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