back to article Climate change behind extreme weather, says NASA

James Hansen, the head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has written a Washington Post op-ed in which he discusses a new climate study he says recent heat waves have “... virtually no explanation other than climate change” The study will be published on Monday, US time, in the Proceedings of the National Academy …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Repent now, the end is near

    ...there is still time!

    </sarcasm>

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Is that why we have seen no summer in the UK?

      1. Flatpackhamster

        Hush, now.

        That's not climate change, unless it suits the narrative, when it is. So three cold winters with heavy snow in the UK aren't climate change but the lack of rain that led to the hosepipe ban - that's climate change.

        See the difference?

        1. h4rm0ny

          Re: Hush, now.

          But the climate is changing all the time anyway. If we have more "extreme" weather now than we did before, that is "climate change" because it is a change in the climate. It's a circular argument.

          Did they mean to say it is a result of Anthropogenic Global Warming (i.e. human caused increase in mean global temperature) instead of a result of "climate change". Because saying the latter is both meaningless and a kind of implicit strawmanning of AGW-skeptics by implying our position is that the climate never changes, which is not the position of any except a ill-educated fringe at all.

          1. James Micallef Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Hush, now.

            The article was wtitten by James Hansen, you can take it as read that when he refers to Climate Change he is referring to human-caused climate change

            1. Steve Crook

              Re: Hush, now.

              The alternative headline could have been "Hansen Says IPCC Wrong". Earlier this year the IPCC released a report where they said it was impossible to attribute any extreme weather event to man made climate change and that there was a lot more data required before any such determination could be made.

              It doesn't help that the paper is published in PNAS, where the people that write the papers also get to choose the reviewers, so it's not been peer reviewed in the accepted sense. In addition, Hansens high profile campaigning means we're long past the point where it would be possible to consider any remarks or papers to be genuinely objective.

            2. h4rm0ny

              Re: Hush, now.

              "The article was wtitten by James Hansen, you can take it as read that when he refers to Climate Change he is referring to human-caused climate change"

              Which unfortunately makes debate more confusing. Maybe it's not deliberate, but it has the effect of making what he says hard to argue with, because the way he phrases is it (as well as being a tautology) makes it sound as if anyone who disagrees with him disagrees that the climate changes, which is far from the case. It's like the "have you stopped beating your wife" sort of debating trick - slow your critics up and force them to start explaining something they shouldn't have to explain.

            3. Sailfish
              FAIL

              Re: Hush, now.

              The guy is a self-admitted warmist advocate, all the while receiving tons of money from tax-payers and questionable speaking fees. More at:

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Hansen#Critics_of_Hansen

              Beside, he's a jerk, too.

  2. mememine69
    Happy

    The big green liberal fear machine is pushing votes Romney's way.

    Get up to date girls!

    -Occupywallstreet does not even mention CO2 in its list of demands because of the bank-funded carbon trading stock markets run by corporations.

    -Julian Assange is of course a climate change denier and a hero.

    -Obama has not mentioned the crisis in the last two State of the Unions addresses.

    -Canada killed Kyoto with a newly elected climate change denying prime minister and nobody cared, especially the millions of scientists warning us of unstoppable warming (death).

    IPCC:......"Climate change is real and COULD be a crisis."...... is not consensus, of anything let alone death by CO2 for my kids. Its a consultant's wet dream from the same world of science that gave us pesticides.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    fee

    Can we please, for once and for all, forget about idea that taxes are the solution for everything?

    1. Local Group
      Happy

      Re: "forget about idea that taxes are the solution for everything"

      In the case of climate change, what we need is a stylish, but killer (in the good sense of the word) gas mask.

    2. Steve Crook

      Re: fee

      In principle, Australia's carbon tax was a reasonable thing if pitched at the right level. The plan was to ensure that there was no overall change in the tax burden, but to switch the emphasis to carbon so that companies would have a direct financial incentive to reduce their footprints.

      Of course, in a country that relies so heavily on coal and heavy industries that use the energy generated from it, it was always going to be a hard sell. Particularly when it came from a party that had promised categorically that there wouldn't be such a tax.

      It does seem that you need a politician to make a crisis out of a drama.

    3. Mips
      Childcatcher

      Re: fee

      If you do not agree that the polluter should pay then you are part of the problem not part of the the solution.

      Aynyway the guy was not saying MORE taxation but DIFFERENT taxation. If we tax fuel we can stop taxing something else.

  4. scarshapedstar
    Coat

    No other explanation, eh?

    Well what about sunspots? Yeah, that's the ticket, also drinking makes you feel hotter and people drink more during a recession, so constroversy and stuff.

    (hey, Lewis, want me to deposit your Heartland Institute check while I'm at the bank tomorrow?)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: No other explanation, eh?

      Scientists acknowledge that the climate system here on Earth is so complicated as to be currently beyond the realms of our understanding. We truly do not really know what is going on and how it all works but we take highly educated stabs at it, and yet this man claims he can work out what's going on beyond doubt (his probability argument). I say he's up for a budgetary review come the election and he's nowt more than a f*cking charlatan out to secure his research funds.

      'We don't truly understand it but this is definitely what's happening'. What utter crap.

  5. vagabondo

    Hansen's got that backwards

    Climate is how we describe the normal/average/expected weather pattern. If the seasonal weather changes of a time (measured in centuries) then we have climate change. Climate does not change the weather. School geography has taught us for at least fifty years that urbanisation will change the local climate, and geology tells us that the Earth has experienced dramatic climate changes over millions of years. Whether man's efforts will have a global significant effect or not; there seems to be a lack of good evidence at the moment.

    However irrespective of climate change, it seems stupid to needlessly pollute our own environment for the short-term financial advantage of a few. It also seems sensible not too wastefully deplete finite resources, when they could be used more efficiently with little effort.

    1. Steelhead

      Re: Hansen's got that backwards

      Far too balanced and well thought-through for here!

      In future could you please reuse one of the following replies:

      A) WE ARE ALL DOOMED! MAN-MADE CO2 IS GOING TO TURN THE EARTH INTO ANOTHER VENUS!!!!! ANYONE WHO QUESTIONS THIS IS IN LEAGUE WITH THE DEVIL / BP / THE REPUBLICANS.

      or

      B) Actually, climate change has been made up by a load of raving lefties and hippies who have smoked too much grass and want to turn the Earth into their own personal Gaia. The Earth isn't warming, it's all a conspiracy created by said lefties and, in fact, is cooling down!

      or

      C) Climate is constantly changing (just look at the geological records), we have had ice-ages, hot spells and the thought that human beings can in ANY WAY change the world around them is simply obsurd. These so-called 'climate scientists' cleared obtained their PhD certificates from the back of a packet of Kellogs Cornflakes!

    2. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Hansen's got that backwards

      "However irrespective of climate change, it seems stupid to needlessly pollute our own environment for the short-term financial advantage of a few."

      True, but then again it makes little sense to impoverish the masses to subsidise fuel sources that clearly do not, can not, and will not work here in the UK: wind is hopeless as it requires a fossil base load, and solar laughable this far North. Nuclear is the realistic option for us but that doesn't suit the green energy lobby. By going to the other end of the spectrum and supporting the green energy lobby we are impoverishing the working classes in order to also benefit the few financially in the short-term. The rich are always on a win-win, with politicians also feeding at the same trough with their vested interests and directorships, so let's try not to keep f*cking over the poor by making them choose between food and electricity.

      1. vagabondo

        Re: Hansen's got that backwards @Mark 65

        I was thinking of energy management, heat exchangers, and better insulation etc. rather than "alternative" energy.

        I do not think there is any rationale in using wind or photo-voltaic to supply the grid. They do seem more suitable for powering remote irrigation pumps; telephone boxes etc. Tidal power is the most attractive renewable in areas with sea-lochs and fjords. Nuclear would probably have been much cleaner and more efficient if it had been developed primarily as a power source, rather than a source of weapons-grade uranium with some electricity as a by-product.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hansen's got that backwards

      CO2 != pollutant -- despite what the politically motivated might say. You might as well call O2 a pollutant for all the sense it makes

      No-one disputes the notion of preservation of finite resources, incl. you and me.

      1. vagabondo
        Joke

        Re: Hansen's got that backwards

        > You might as well call O2 a pollutant

        Of course it is! Where do you think O3 comes from?

  6. jake Silver badge

    For gawd/ess's sake, that's an OP-ED!

    He's speaking for himself, not for NASA!

    Furrfu!

  7. Thought About IT
    Boffin

    FUD

    "In Australia, from where your correspondent types this missive, a carbon tax along the lines proposed by Hansen has proved extraordinary potent political poison."

    That just shows how extraordinarily effective the propaganda campaign of FUD (assisted by some leading lights here at El Reg) has been. As Professor Robert Manne says, "they have won a dark victory":

    "For the denialists to be “victorious” they do not need to "prove" that global warming is a "hoax". All they have to do is to "manufacture doubt", that is to say to create a substantial level of public doubt about the solidity of the science."

    http://www.desmogblog.com/victory-declared-climate-science-denialists

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FUD

      FUD? Coming from Sceptics? No way! Shame on them. Don't they know FUD is the domain of the 'consensus'?

    2. itzman

      Re: FUD

      A Big Lie comment to an article about a Big Lie.

      1/. Extreme weather events are not getting more extreme or more common.

      2/. I am sure it was the IPCC who assured us that in any case weather was nothing to do with climate and vice versa.

      3/. It is not the skeptics (there are no deniers at all except those who deny the evidence that the climate isn't in fact changing very much at all) that are spreading the FUD - what is fearful about 'the highest probability is that nothing much is/will happen at all' ?

      No, the FUD is coming from the purveyors of high taxes, wind turbines and solar panels.

      "COULD result in.." "COULD power up to...."

      As justification for the most arrogant blatant and disgraceful campaign of marketing and rent-seeking I have ever seen in my considerable life.

      Ever since WWII there has been a realisation of just how much money people can be persuaded to accept on their tax bill if they are scared shitless. The Cold War. The War of Mutually Assured Destruction,. The War Against Communism. Star Wars, The War on Terror, and now the War Against Climate Change.

      Only this tome they have got the protestors on the side of the very thing they normally protest against. A master stroke of marketing.

    3. Mark 65 Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: FUD

      Propaganda campaign of FUD? No my friend, it's reality with regards Oz. The populous in Australia don't like tax hikes any more than the next man and they are particularly over-taxed as a nation. The carbon tax is a tax hike hence it is political poison, and especially so considering Gillard claimed at the election she would not introduce it then u-turned because she couldn't form a Government without the Green party. Australians like lying bastard politicians even less than tax hikes and lying bastard politicians that introduce tax hikes they said they wouldn't are never going to be popular or quickly forgotten. That's not FUD, that's life.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: FUD

      Stop.

      Right there.

      It is supposed to be about science, not a religious holy war.

      If the science is sorted enough, honest enough, and accurate enough right thinking people will see through the propaganda either side puts out.

      However the people thinking like you, in some crazed religious zeal who seek to crush any discussion with the mighty light of your goodness shining out your bottom suppress actual science taking place just as surely as any oil funded thinktank, and set all my alarm bells ringing. That's what's so alarming about the IPCC stuff, and phil jones and co. Not that they were doing good or bad science, but they'd taken it on themselves to crush the dissent and suppress any discussion with secrecy and collusion and admitted as such.

      I read statements like this, and every pore of my analytical bordering on aspergers engineering mind wants to run screaming and treat you with distrust. We're engineers and thinkers on here because that is what the industry demands (except those people who thought up prince2, they're the spawn of the devil) , able to grasp concepts and with a fair grasp of stats etc. Please don't treat us like sheep or daily mail readers needing to be spoon fed what to think.

      Now, go away and learn how not to be such a zealot, and put your arguments concisely in engineering concepts.

      1. Thought About IT
        Thumb Down

        Re: FUD: Stop right there

        "If the science is sorted enough, honest enough, and accurate enough right thinking people will see through the propaganda either side puts out."

        So, you didn't read what Professor Robert Manne has to say about this then. It's impossible for scientists to fight propaganda with evidence, because by the time they've mustered that evidence, the propagandists have moved on. The AGW denialists don't have that problem, because they hardly have any evidence of their own to defend. For example, they made a huge amount of noise about releasing the raw data, so they could verify it, and have done nothing with it since they won that battle over a year ago. They just moved on to attacking the scientists. Disgraceful!

    5. NomNomNom

      Re: FUD

      WTF is a FUD? is it short for "fuddy duddy"? I dont even know what that means but I have heard it before. Hope it isn't racist...

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: FUD definition

        FUD = "Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt". At the risk of criticism, I submit this Wonkypedia link for your edification: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_uncertainty_and_doubt

  8. -tim
    Coat

    An end to fiat currencies?

    Carbon taxes seem to be a way to tie currencies to energy. That works great if you're in a country that has plenty of energy and not so good in others. If we look back at history, we can see Golgafrinchans learned using carbon for a basis for finance makes perfect sense.

    My coat is the one stuff full of leaves.

  9. paulc
    Black Helicopters

    Meanwhile... HAARP installations are on full power

    messing things up. We're in the middle of a weather war... both sides are messing with the weather to further their agendas

    1. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: Meanwhile... HAARP installations are on full power

      Didn't you mean to use the "Joke" icon there? Surely you don't believe that nonsense?

  10. johnB

    But only to replace VAT

    I've long thought a carbon tax seems both rational & sensible - but only if it replaced VAT as a spending-type tax. Unfortunately, I just don't trust politicians sufficiently to replace VAT. On past form, it would be brought in as yet another additional tax.

    1. Andy Fletcher

      Re: But only to replace VAT

      Already happening to me. I drive a Peugeot 107 and pay £20pa to tax the little git. My missus pays £160pa to tax her Avensis. Or more correctly, I pay £180pa and someone else gets to drive a nicer car.

  11. ideas

    1. if you were in a small room and started lighting a candle at a time, the room would become increasing hotter, besides creating some nasty stuff to breathe;

    2. when you burn fossil fuel, you are taking something that has the temperature of its surroundings and converting it to heat with carbon dioxide being released and releasing some contaminants that increases the risk of COPD, lung Ca, heart problems, etc.;

    3. when humans started the industrial revolution, they increased the use of fossil fuels exponentially over time for factories, for developing other fossil fueled powered devices like motor vehicles, planes, power stations, drones, etc., and moved from an agrarian society to large cities to suburbs;

    4. if you will glance at world growth charts on "motor vehicle" in wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motor_vehicle), it provides a possible basis to believe the world has quickly grown extremely dependent on motor vehicles, which have motors that produce lots of heat from when they are started to when they cool off after running;

    5. I believe the Germans originally mass produced the VW as a people's car;

    6. I recently noticed that in India they are working hard on a car to run on compressed air that needs an electrical charge (http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679969/an-ultra-cheap-compressed-air-car-moves-closer-to-reality?partner=pob), alternatively I noticedan expensive electric one with a range of 373 miles (http://www.tgdaily.com/sustainability-features/64919-one-electric-car-to-rule-them-all), and there are probably a lot more ideas out there for elctrical vehicles;

    7. with the world/national economic slowdown and the need for another stimulus, which Republicans and Democrates had no trouble quickly doing in the middle of the last Presidential election with socialism for the 1%, when faced with housing bubble burst, banks ready to go belly up, and AIG on the verge of melting (all as a result of a massive, insured real estate fraud) and kick starting the auto industry through buying clunkers to stimulate the purchase of new primarily gasoline motor vehicles, change can come to possibly save this planet (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719?link=mostpopular1) with this: (inter)nationalize the production of an inexpensive/free electrical vehicles with a replaceable battery pack to be charged by (inter)nationally produced solar cells installed on the south sides of roofs and/or sides of suitable buildings and parking lots (with community shared vehicles available for congested metropolitan areas); and

    8. this might show a concern for our neighbors and better stewardship of the planet.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      > if you were in a small room and started lighting a candle at a time

      We are not in a small room, we are on a planet that radiates heat into space.

      > production of an inexpensive/free electrical vehicles with a replaceable battery pack

      The electricity to run these cars needs to be generated, transmitted to your home, stored in the battery, extracted from the battery and converted into motion. Each and every step in the process has inefficiencies and as a result the whole process has an efficiency of less then 20%. Batteries also degrade with use so this efficiency will drop significantly as the battery ages.

      A petrol engine has an efficiency of between 25 and 30% and a diesel engine about 40%. The efficiency of the engines will not decrease significantly over the lifetime of the engine.

      Since most electricity is generated using gas or coal then switching to electric cars will result in more CO2 being released into the atmosphere.

      1. Wilco 1
        FAIL

        Electric cars are far more efficient

        It's easy to spread FUD if you don't know what you are talking about.

        Actually overall efficiency of an electric car is 80%, nowhere near the 20% you claim. Petrol cars do about 15% and diesel about 20% (diesels can reach 40% efficiency but only in huge engines such as used in ships).

        Since electric cars are so much more efficient, even if you used coal to generate the electricity, it would emit less CO2 than a diesel. In the UK for example, using an electric car saves 40% on CO2 emissions over its lifetime, even taking into account recycling the car and battery.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Electric cars are far more efficient

          > Actually overall efficiency of an electric car is 80%, nowhere near the 20% you claim.

          Try reading it again. You are only talking about converting the energy in the battery into motion. That energy does not magically appear it has to be generated first, then transmitted to you home and finally used to charge your battery. Each and every stage involves efficiency losses. The end result is that less than 20% of the potential energy of that lump of coal used to generate the electricity ends up as motion in your car.

          1. Wilco 1
            FAIL

            Re: Electric cars are far more efficient

            Neither does the petrol magically come into existence at a petrol station, or does it? If you want to compare well-to-wheel for an electric car, then you have to do the same for petrol/diesel.

            Efficiency of pumping oil out of a well, transporting it, refining it, and transporting it again is at best 80%. Only about 50% of a barrel of oil can be turned into petrol (lower quality oil such as tar based oil does about 25%). So given a barrel of oil in the ground, at best you end up with a 40% of that at the petrol station, less than electricity generation efficiency (60% for a combined cycle plant).

            So well to wheel efficiency of an electric car is far better than a petrol/diesel car, which is why they emit less CO2 overall. With more low-CO2 generation the electric car efficiency improves even further.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Electric cars are far more efficient

              > Neither does the petrol magically come into existence at a petrol station, or does it?

              And neither does the coal/gas/oil magically appear at the power station. Extracting and transporting costs are there whether you are extracting to generate electricity or to drive your car.

              > Only about 50% of a barrel of oil can be turned into petrol

              Actually it is only about 21 to 35% depending upon the crude oil. Petrol is one of many products extracted from crude oil. You also have:

              LPG - Used for heating, cooking, generating electricity to power electric cars

              Naptha - Used for paraffin, solvents, polish, lighter fuel...

              Kerosene - Used for heating, lighting, solvent, insecticide...

              Fuel oils - Used for shipping, heating, generating electricity to power electric cars.

              Lubricating oils - Used in electric engines, petrol engines....

              Paraffin wax - Candles, crayons, waterproofing, food...

              Asphalt - Used to surround weather stations

              Tar - Sealing, waterproofing...

              Petroleum coke - Used for fuel and in the production of aluminium, steel, titanium

              The current price of a barrel of crude (42 US Gallons) is about $100. Out of this barrel you will get 12.5 gallons of petrol. This should make the wholesale price of petrol $8 a gallon and yet the retail price is about $3.50. This indicates that petrol is simply a by-product and not the main reason for refining crude.

              1. Wilco 1
                Boffin

                Re: Electric cars are far more efficient

                Extraction and distribution costs are relatively low for electricity generation, around 12% for gas and 11% for coal. In the UK overall generation efficiency is 33% for coal, 42% for gas, and 32-35% for wind energy.

                That shows that even with coal, an electric car would beat a diesel: 80% efficient electric car * 33% coal efficiency = 26.4% vs 17.7% well-to-wheel efficiency of a modern diesel (according to http://cta.ornl.gov/TRBenergy/trb_documents/an_assessing_tank.pdf). That means 33% less CO2 emissions for electric cars even when powered with 100% coal.

                In the US about 50% of a barrel of oil can be turned into petrol, but then the amount of diesel you can get is much lower. In Europe refineries are tuned to produce much more diesel. You're right that the "waste" is useful in many other ways, but the bulk of oil is "wasted" in inefficient IC engines.

            2. DragonLord

              Re: Electric cars are far more efficient

              I believe that you are forgetting that very little of the rest of the barrel of oil is wasted, as it is used to make plastics and other hi-tech materials, road coverings, lubricants, and other fuels (aviation as an example) diesel also comes out of the same barrel. Additionally AFAIK almost 100% of the oil in the well comes out of the well with no spillage, and the cost of extraction is less than $20/barrel (pumped land based <$10) and with current prices of Brent crude at $101 that puts a minimum efficiency of %80 by price, given that most of that price is going to be man power, the actual efficiency in terms of energy is going to be much much higher.

              The reason for the huge efficiencies is the shear volume of oil that is being lifted and transported around the world, and the fact that the transportation costs are fixed to 2 million barrel chunks.

              Sod it, Someone else has done the maths (http://www.teslamotors.com/goelectric/efficiency) for me, and the well to forecourt efficiency of petrol is %81 if the car is then 25% efficient then that gives us an end efficiency of 20.25% (someone else may want to check my maths) - Note that the source of the calculations assumes a gas fired turbine, and 50mpg for the car and only covers petrol cars. Given that modern cars can have fuel efficiencies far exceeding the quoted figures (esp. if they are diesel). Either way at worst a modern car is comparable to the efficiency of an electric, and at best 8% more efficient.

              1. Wilco 1

                Re: Electric cars are far more efficient

                You're very optimistic assuming 25% tank-to-wheel efficiency. It's typically 15% for a petrol car, so end-to-end efficiency would be 12%. Compare that to the 26% worst-case of an electric car powered by coal.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Electric cars are far more efficient

                  > You're very optimistic assuming 25% tank-to-wheel efficiency. It's typically 15% for a petrol car.

                  25% is on the low side. Gasoline Direct Injection fuel systems (as used in Ford, Mazda, BMW etc) have increased the fuel to wheel efficiency to 35%.

                  1. Wilco 1
                    FAIL

                    Re: Electric cars are far more efficient

                    No that is engine efficiency, not tank-to-wheel efficiency. If you just want to compare engine efficiency, an electric motor can be over 90% efficient. An ICE can never get anywhere near that.

                    http://www.consumerenergycenter.org/transportation/consumer_tips/vehicle_energy_losses.html

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Electric cars are far more efficient

          > Petrol cars do about 15% and diesel about 20%...

          Now whose spreading FUD

          From wikipedia:

          "Modern gasoline engines have a maximum thermal efficiency of about 25% to 30% when used to power a car. "

          and

          "Modern turbo-diesel engines are using electronically controlled, common-rail fuel injection, that increases the efficiency up to 50% with the help of geometrically variable turbo-charging system;"

          1. Wilco 1
            FAIL

            Re: Electric cars are far more efficient

            I was talking about cars, not just the engine. Peak engine efficiency is only obtained at a narrow rpm range, so you typically don't drive at maximum efficiency. And engine efficiency doesn't include transmission losses, gearbox and wheel losses. Tank to wheel efficiency is far lower than maximum engine efficiency.

            See: http://cta.ornl.gov/TRBenergy/trb_documents/an_assessing_tank.pdf

            Petrol car: 14.8% tank-to-wheel efficiency

            Diesel car: 20% tank-to-wheel efficiency

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Electric cars are far more efficient

              > And engine efficiency doesn't include transmission losses, gearbox and wheel losses.

              I guess electric engines have 100% gearbox, transmission, and wheel efficiency. How do they do it?

              1. Wilco 1
                Boffin

                Re: Electric cars are far more efficient

                An electric car gets ~80% efficiency based on 99% battery charge/discharge efficiency, 87% electric motor efficiency and 94% drivetrain/wheel efficiency.

                Unlike a ICE, an electric motor only requires energy when you drive/accelerate, and when you do it always works at maximum efficiency. This is why hybrids and start/stop can make a big difference.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Electric cars are far more efficient

          Big 2-stroke diesels used for PGSs areat or just over 50% when you add in the waste heat re-cycling etc.

          This is why we build diesel PGSs. They are mighty efficient, highly reliable, and burn gunk that does not really have an alternative use. OK, what comes out the stack needs to be scrubbed (or not depending on local rules), but an effective use of fossil fuel it most definitely is.

      2. NomNomNom

        "Since most electricity is generated using gas or coal then switching to electric cars will result in more CO2 being released into the atmosphere."

        The whole point of switching to electric transportation is to switch the power stations away from fossil fuels too...

      3. ideas

        I envision solar cells on all south facing roofs and south sides of buildings in the northern hemisphere with such initially wired to the vehicle(s) being charge first; this is to lessen line length loss as much as possible to increase the amount of electricity to charge the electric vehicle and to meet other problems of reducing heat generated from gas explosions occurring in petrol vehicles, eliminating production of carbon dioxide (http://epa.gov/climatechange/science/causes.html), eliminating all the other deadly/toxic substances coming out the exhausts of petrol vehicles; any excess electricity can then be used in the building the solar cells are attached to or wherever else it might be efficiently used; I also envision smaller, more efficient windmills that would generate electricity with less wind than the big windmills now require; I also envision parking lots with light posts and charging pods equipped with both solar cells and small efficient windmills; this obviously will not work in all places, but most people are concentrated at their jobs or home or shopping areas where it can possibly work; I also realize this may not be the best answer, but it is a place to start trying to implement a change for humans so they can survive in the future as long as they have already been here.

    2. andreas koch
      WTF?

      @ ideas -

      Just don't get caught with whatever it was that you smoked (shot up, snorted...); it just can't be legal.

      1. ideas

        Re: @ ideas -

        would test clean on any test given; see a problem (millions of engines running off exploding gasoline [and gas an oil on 2 cycle engines]); starting to share thoughts for possible solution to at least a part of the problem (how do petrol motor vehicles operate without generating lots of heat? ever change oil by hand from a hot engine? ever touch a lawnmower engine?); collaboration without thoughts of personal profits; if you aren't part of the solution, well . . .

  12. ratfox Silver badge
    FAIL

    "virtually no explanation other than climate change"

    What lack of imagination. Is this what passes for science these days?

    "Ice ages were caused by aliens. There is virtually no other explanation"… Because we have no explanation at all.

    1. itzman

      Re: "virtually no explanation other than climate change"

      Actually there are several explanations all of which fit the facts better than carbon dioxide.

      But none of which lead to increased spending on useless technology and profit guaranteed by government. and a *moral* crusade against sane people of intelligence.

  13. General Pance
    Facepalm

    Australia's Carbon Tax

    It's also unpopular because:

    only the most gullible believe making energy more expensive will directly improve the weather.

    only the most gullible believe money from such a tax will result in the invention of an alternative energy source.

    everyone understands making energy more expensive will worsen one's standard of living.

    Plus, the sheer level of bluffing bullshit sprouted by those introducing has been breathtaking.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: Australia's Carbon Tax

      and don't forget, most important of all, they said they wouldn't introduce it at the election.

  14. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "100 percent of the money *rebated* to all legal residents on a per capita basis. "

    I'll take a wild guess that the Australian tax does not do this.

    But I could be wrong.

    1. Mark 65 Silver badge

      Re: "100 percent of the money *rebated* to all legal residents on a per capita basis. "

      It doesn't. If you earn up to a certain income as a family it pays back 100% of what they ***predict*** the increased costs to be but if you are over that - it often isn't a particularly realistic income level - you're f*cked. For an individual earning $50k or more or a couple with kids earning $100k or more (that's less income than two teachers would earn) you will generally be out of pocket. Hence Labour look like they will be destroyed at the next federal election and we will be ruled by the mad monk as he says he'll scrap it - you could literally get elected with that policy alone.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "100 percent of the money *rebated* to all legal residents on a per capita basis. "

        Labor got destroyed at the last election. Sadly parliamentarism failed us and we got Gillard and her "paid by the vote" turncoats as a majority. A blip on the political history radar - or at least I hope so.

        Off topic. Has anyone noticed how much Julia looks like Tilda Swinton?

        1. The Axe

          Julia looks like Tilda Swinton

          And just as mad and nutty.

  15. asdf Silver badge
    FAIL

    too darn late

    Its pretty obvious like almost everything else this complex ,nothing proactive will ever be done and in fact if anything ever is done it will be so reactive as to be too late for at least a few generations. Lets just hope this phenomenon is more like a passing cold instead of like VD or cancer which seldom get better on their own when ignored.

  16. Livinglegend
    Mushroom

    Doesn't add up

    '100 percent of the money rebated to all legal residents' . Amazing, the first tax in the world with zero administration costs. No-one paid to collect it, no-one paid to check on the amount, no-one paid to distribute it. If climate change is as accurate as his economics, then he is way out on his theories. Another piece of pseudo science, mumbo-jumbo without any reality involved.

    1. Martin Budden

      Re: Doesn't add up

      Paying people to administer the tax is just another way to "rebate" the money to legal residents.

  17. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Don't believe or deny. Just observe

    There's an easy way to tell IF your climate is changing - though it provides no information about WHY.

    Consider the meteorological record. Let's assume that it's been measuring things like temerpature and rainfall for 100 year.

    In year #1 there was no previous highs or lows.

    In year #2 the odds of an average being the highest (or lowest) on record was ½ there being only 2 values.

    In year #3 the odds of that year being the highest or lowest for a given attribute are 1/3rd

    and so on.

    So in the 101'th year, what are the odds - assuming purely random changes in temperature, rainfall or whatever else you're measuring being the highest on record?

    Now, consider Harmonic series. How many "record years" would you expect in (say) temperature readings if there was no underlying trend and each year's data was independent of all previous years? The answer is 1 + 1/2 + 1/3 + 1/4 ... + 1/N, which for a 100 year stretch would mean you'd expect 5 or 6 record years.

    Now, check out how many "record years" there have been, where you live, in the past century. If the number is greater than 5 or 6, something's causing a temperature rise. if less, then there's cooling taking place. The underlying causes are not revealed, just the result.

    You decide.

    P.S. This is my distortion of a piece from the book 100 Essential Things you didn't know you didn't know"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't believe or deny. Just observe

      > ... and each year's data was independent of all previous years?

      This is where your theory falls down. Each years temperature is not independent of the previous years. There are cycles that run for 11, 30, 60 and even more years. If you happen to be at the top or bottom of a couple of the cycles then you will get multiple "record years" or even a record decade or two.

      1. Pete 2 Silver badge

        Re: Don't believe or deny. Just observe

        Re: sunspot cycles

        No. A cyclic event won't affect the long term data, as there will be as many "ups" as "downs". Now, the ups will contribute more record years - but a hot year during a cycle max. won't necessarily be any hotter than one during the previous or subsequent maxima - so their effect will be less significant. Also the cycle minima will nullify the effect (on your assumption that sunspot cycles affect global temperature) that some, randomly "record" years won't happen. The overall effect, therefore, of a cyclic phenomenon will be zero.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't believe or deny. Just observe

          > The overall effect, therefore, of a cyclic phenomenon will be zero.

          That is only if your period of time encompasses the lowest common multiple of the cycles.

          As an example if there is an 11 year and a 17 year cycle then the time period needed to exclude cyclic phenomenon is 187 years. If the there is a 6 year and a 30 year cycle then you only need 30 years.

          Climate reconstructions indicate that there is at least one 150 years cycle.

          1. Dan Paul
            Devil

            Re: Don't believe or deny. Just observe

            This is so interesting when one considers that the temperature data we are using has only existed for a few hundred years since the inception of the thermometer. We are also extrapolating data from samples whos origin would be considered "questionable" if the data was related to ANY OTHER SUBJECT!

            The trouble with human nature is that we are not content to "just observe".....

    2. vagabondo

      Re: Don't believe or deny. Just observe

      > greater than 5 or 6, something's causing a temperature rise. if less, then there's cooling

      Lack of temperature rise is not the same as a temperature decrease.

      Before coming to any conclusion you should consider whether the trend is statistically significant or not.

      If you follow this: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/07/30/watts_et_al_temperature_bombshell/ then the effect of changes in the local built environment during the measurement period would have to be factored in.

      I heartily recommend http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/more_or_less/ for elucidation and entertainment, especially for anyone that hasn't done statistics since secondary school.

  18. Andy Fletcher

    50,000 extra heat deaths in 2003

    Lomborg (quite rightly I thought) observed that while we had 50000 extra heat deaths in 2003 in Europe, we also had 85000 LESS cold deaths. I wish they'd stop quoting this stat, it's not meaningful or helpful to either side of the debate. It's certainly nonsense to argue that 50000 didn't deserve to die, but 85000 did.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 50,000 extra heat deaths in 2003

      And the 50,000 extra heat deaths only occurred in 2003 where as the 85,000 less cold deaths occurs every time there is a mild winter.

  19. Robinson
    WTF?

    Nutts?

    Hansen is nuts. He's also a gigantic prick. Why has he still got his job at NASA? He's an embarrassment to them.

  20. Archivist

    NASA and statistics and agenda

    I'm not a climate change doubter, but I am a NASA statistics doubter.

    After the Challenger disaster, NASA needed to bring in Richard Feynman to show them that the the odds of catastrophic failure of a Shuttle flight was closer to 100:1 than the 100,000:1 NASA calculated.

    That's a major disparity. You have to ask were/are they incompetent? I don't think so, there must be another reason....

  21. James Pickett

    "Hansen also says in the piece that his previous predictions on climate change were “too optimistic” and that the world is getting hotter, faster."

    But he always says that.

  22. Crisp Silver badge

    El Niño

    Are they sure it's not El Niño?

  23. flibbertigibbet

    just to correct a few miss understandings

    Australia's carbon tax indeed isn't revenue neutral. The nett effect on the treasury was to reduce(!) the governments tax income to the tune of 4 billion over a few years. It could even be described as a tax cut.

    And tes there must indeed be an overhead for collecting the tax, but in this case it is probably negligible as it only effects 300 corporations.

    The first audit of the carbon tax appeared in the news today, and the effects on prices were less than predicted by treasury. There is some speculation this is because the utility bill's (it mostly effects electricity) haven't hit businesses yet. The more likely explanation in my is it is having bugger all effect because it does bugger all. It planned to transition to a European like trading scheme in the future, and like the European scheme it is supposed to get some real teeth in the future too, but that will require more legislation.

    For the most appropriate description on the carbon tax is it is more an attempt at income redistribution. The poor have been overcompensated, and those earning above $90k (average wage is $60k and the mode is lower again of course) will end up paying more. This probably isn't a bad thing. It isn't welfare (as you only pay tax if you are earning something) and Australia's GINI index has been going up over the past decade.

    As for the long tailpipe argument going on here, yes electric cars won't make much difference is you get the electricity from fossil fuels but that misses the point. They are one of the few things ideally suited to the intermittent power produced by renewables, and when you power them with renewables there emissions are close to 0. Still, they aren't useful while batteries suck, and it looks like batteries will be sucking for decades yet.

    Finally blaming the fortunes on the Gillard government on the carbon tax is a bit of a stretch. Gillard is a lousy politician (after all she gave most people a tax reduction and yet _she_ labelled it a tax) and she has the charisma of a lamp shade. It's a pity people judge her on that, because she has puledl the budget back into balance during a period of declining tax revenue due to a world wide downturn. To me she looks like a dull but effective administrator.

  24. Andy Watt
    FAIL

    Hot air...?

    I'm a firm believer in one thing: In human societies, when large groups of vested interests line up against each other (especially if one side has a lot to lose), the likelihood of something actually being done to alleviate a perceived negative impact is directly proportional to the clout of the protesting side.

    Human societies have to fall completely for something to change. I'm afraid we're doomed, it's built into our power structures.

  25. John A Blackley

    Recent changes in climate

    cannot be explained except by climate change.

    Brilliant!

  26. Marshalltown
    FAIL

    Confirmation bias

    Just for grins, redo Hansen's "analysis" using the 1920s to '40s for baseline data. The result becom profoundly different and entirely unalarming - in so far as warming is concerned anyway. One of the most problematic aspects of anaiyzing time series data is that trends can be imposed by carelessly or deliberately chosing the span for the baseline data. Hansen's choice are the coldest decades in the 20th century. You could analyze the data backward using his baseline and fin the same "trend." Personally I suspect madcow

  27. Lonesome Twin

    Actual Genuine Global Warming?

    All these hundreds of millions of cars and trucks have great big black things at the front, the purpose of which is to conduct 'waste' heat to the atmosphere. Has anyone done the maths on what this all adds up to and if it could actually be significant?

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's not a tax.

    It's not a tax, it's a temporary fixed carbon price until the emissions trading scheme starts. Yes there is a difference.

    Also, the only reason we have the temporary fixed carbon price is because the Greens insisted: without them, the government would have been able to keep its promise to go directly to the emissions trading scheme.

    Get the facts right, this stuff matters, no matter what FUD the opposition is spreading.

  29. ideas

    In comparing the efficiencies of petrol engines to engines from electric vehicles, I may have overlooked noticing any factoring in of costs of huffing/smoking the exhausts of the two types of vehicles. (Obviously some choose to efficiently use petrol exhausts for suicide.) Years ago TV news programs were regularly providing the smog indexes for various cities on a daily basis. I drew the possible false conclusion that my lungs might be healthier (and my life possibly longer) in an area with less smog.

    A possible significant corollary is that (though fought tooth and nail by the tobacco profiteers and other deniers for years), people have finally generally concluded that the use of tobacco, which is an addictive legal drug, (even second hand {since we are really talking about polluting fluids [i.e., air] around those in the household, job site, motor vehicle, etc.}) probably causes cancer. Many areas have trampled the "rights" of tobacco polluters by banning their use in establishments. We are probably better off for such. To evaluate tobacco on a cost benefit analysis, it seems appropriate to consider not just

    "Worldwide, tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths per year, and current trends show that tobacco use will cause more than 8 million deaths annually by 2030.3

    In the United States, tobacco use is responsible for about one in five deaths annually (i.e., about 443,000 deaths per year, and an estimated 49,000 of these smoking-related deaths are the result of secondhand smoke exposure).1

    On average, smokers die 13 to 14 years earlier than nonsmokers"

    http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/

    but the direct costs of health care treatment for the slow, expensive deaths, but the direct costs of health care costs for those various other diseases.

    Cause and effect has constantly been the argument of the deniers/doubters.

    You cannot have millions of heat producing (that is dangerous to the plants needed for food we directly consume and for food we indirectly consume from the consumption of meat [http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107132543.htm]), carbon dioxide producing [http://epa.gov/climatechange/science/causes.html], toxin releasing petrol engines running in exponentially increasing numbers without damaging the fluids (needed for our minute by minute survival) they are blowing their wastes into.

    When you want to get muddled about efficiency of electric vehicles to petrol engines, consider these additional costs in making a choice as to what you support.

  30. Andy 18
    Terminator

    yeesh

    This thread is a perfect example of why I've moved to a house at the top of a hill, installed a hurricane proof roof and bought a shotgun.

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