Let's Review 50 Years of Dire Climate Forecasts and What Actually Happened

Mish

Here are 21 headlines from various news sources regarding dire climate predictions over the last 50 years. Many of the predictions are outrageously funny.

Climate Forecast Headline Predictions

  1. 1967 Salt Lake Tribune: Dire Famine Forecast by 1975, Already Too Late
  2. 1969 NYT: "Unless we are extremely lucky, everyone will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years. The situation will get worse unless we change our behavior."
  3. 1970 Boston Globe: Scientist Predicts New Ice Age by 21st Century said James P. Lodge, a scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. 
  4. 1971 Washington Post: Disastrous New Ice Age Coming says S.I. Rasool at NASA. 
  5. 1972 Brown University Letter to President Nixon: Warning on Global Cooling 
  6. 1974 The Guardian: Space Satellites Show Ice Age Coming Fast
  7. 1974 Time Magazine: Another Ice Age "Telling signs everywhere.  Since the 1940s mean global temperatures have dropped 2.7 degrees F."
  8. 1974 "Ozone Depletion a Great Peril to Life" University of Michigan Scientist
  9. 1976 NYT The Cooling: University of Wisconsin climatologist Stephen Schneider laments about the "deaf ear his warnings received."
  10. 1988 Agence France Press: Maldives will be Completely Under Water in 30 Years. 
  11. 1989 Associated Press: UN Official Says Rising Seas to 'Obliterate Nations' by 2000.
  12. 1989 Salon: New York City’s West Side Highway underwater by 2019 said Jim Hansen the scientist who lectured Congress in 1988 about the greenhouse effect.
  13. 2000 The Independent: "Snowfalls are a thing of the past. Our children will not know what snow is," says senior climate researcher.
  14. 2004 The Guardian:  The Pentagon Tells Bush Climate Change Will Destroy Us. "Britain will be Siberian in less than 20 years," the Pentagon told Bush.
  15. 2008 Associate Press: NASA Scientist says "We're Toast. In 5-10 years the Arctic will be Ice Free"
  16. 2008 Al Gore: Al Gore warns of ice-free Arctic by 2013.
  17. 2009 The Independent: Prince Charles says Just 96 Months to Save the World. "The price of capitalism is too high."
  18. 2009 The Independent: Gordon Brown says "We have fewer than 50 days  to save our planet from catastrophe."
  19.  2013 The Guardian: The Arctic will be Ice Free in Two Years. "The release of a 50 gigaton of methane pulse" will destabilize the planet.
  20. 2013 The Guardian: US Navy Predicts Ice Free Arctic by 2016. "The US Navy's department of Oceanography uses complex modeling to makes its forecast more accurate than others.
  21. 2014 John Kerry: "We have 500 days to Avoid Climate Chaos" discussed Sec of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabious at a joint meeting.

The above items are thanks to 50 Years of Failed Eco-pocalyptic Predictions.

The article has actual news clips and links to everyone of the above stories.

What Happened to the Glaciers?

On January 17, 2020 Montana Public Radio reported Scientists Predicted Glacier Park's Glaciers Would Be Gone By Now. What Happened?

Last week, Glacier National Park announced that it will be changing signs warning that its signature glaciers would disappear by 2020. The park says the signs, put in more than a decade ago, were based on the best available predictions at the time.

In terms of the predictions, the latest that I've seen actually comes from a group of Swiss researchers. So I would have to look at their results in more detail than is possible from looking at the paper they published to be able to say definitively when all the glaciers are are hosed and no longer present, but certainly by 2100.

New Predictions and Stories 

Ocasio-Cortez called the fight to mitigate the effects of climate change her generation's "World War II." 

"Millennials and Gen Z and all these folks that come after us are looking up, and we're like, 'The world is going to end in 12 years if we don't address climate change, and your biggest issue is how are we gonna pay for it?' " she said.

OAC then blasted the GOP for taking her doomsday prediction literally. 

We have had 50 years of this kind of BS and yes, many people do take it literally.

On February 7 2020, she unleashed her Stunningly Absurd "New Green Deal" that suggests she was serious.

  1. Upgrade all existing buildings in the US
  2. 100% clean power
  3. Support family farms
  4. Universal access to healthy food
  5. Zero-emission vehicle infrastructure
  6. Remove greenhouse gasses form the atmosphere
  7. Eliminate unfair competition
  8. Affordable access to electricity
  9. Create high-quality union jobs that pay prevailing wages
  10. Guaranteeing a job with a family sustaining wage, adequate family and medical leave, paid vacations, and retirement security to all people of the United States

More $90 Trillion Solutions

In 2015, Business Insider noted A Plan Is Floating Around Davos To Spend $90 Trillion Redesigning All The Cities So They Don't Need Cars

The $90 trillion proposal came from former US vice president Al Gore, former president of Mexico Felipe Calderon, and their colleagues on The Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. 

Where is the CO2 Coming From?

Annual CO2 Emissions2

CO2 Stats

  • Please note that the US reduced its carbon footprint from 6.13 billion tons in 2007 to 5.28 billion tons in 2019.
  • Meanwhile, China increased its footprint from 6.86 billion tons in 2019 to 10.17 billion tons in 2019.
  • In the same timeframe, global output rose from 31.29 billion tons to 36.44 billion tons.
  • In 2007, the US accounted for 19.6% of the total global carbon footprint.
  • In 2019, the US accounted for only 14.5% of the total global footprint.

Key Questions

  1. How much money are we willing to spend to reduce our 14.5% and falling percentage of carbon emissions?
  2. What would it cost to cut that by half in 10 years?
  3. Assuming we could cut that in half in 10 years, what would it do to total carbon output?
  4. By what force do we get China, India, and all the developing economies in the Mideast and Africa to reduce their carbon output?
  5. Assuming we achieve number 4 peacefully by some sort of economic buyout like cap-and-trade what is the cost to the US?
  6. What about inflation?
  7. Sure, China is producing goods for the US and EU but do we want that to stop? When? Why? How? Cost?
  8. Does not China, India, Africa, etc., have the right to improve their standards of living?
  9. What do the above points imply about the US standard of living?
  10. How the hell do we pay for this?

Looking ahead over the next 100 years, the US is a minor part of the carbon problem.

Bonus Geopolitical Q&A

Q: What happened when Merkel went along with the Greens and did away with nuclear?
A: Germany imports more coal-based energy from neighboring states and is more dependent on Russia for natural gas.

Q: Is wind and solar ever going to make a serious dent in China's growing energy demands.
A: No

Q: What happened in France when Macron pushed through a gas tax to support the Green movement?
A: How quick we forget the Yellow-Vest Revolt that went on for months.

I have yet see AOC, John Kerry, any Mish reader, or anyone else address any of the above questions in detail.

Final Questions to All Those Demanding Government Do Something

What the hell are you doing?

The #1 thing someone can proactively do eliminate their carbon footprint is to stop breathing.

Since that seems a bit impractical, the #2 thing someone can do is not have kids.

Instead, most demand the government do something. What?

Until someone can put a realistic price on this while addressing my questions, forgive me for not agreeing that a total rise in the ocean of 3 inches in the last 20 years is the existential threat of our time.

Politicians Will Not Solve the Problem

Clean Energy

I am a big fan of natural gas and believe it is clean energy. The byproduct of burning natural gas is carbon dioxide and water.

Neither is a pollutant in any way shape or form. Plants even need carbon dioxide to survive.

Coal is another matter.

Burning coal releases SO2 and NOx pollutants that cause Acid Rain, huge respiratory problems and will devastate forests.

If the atmosphere is polluted with sulfur dioxide (SO2) or nitrogen oxides (NOx), rain becomes oxidized by ozone (O3) or hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to form H2SO4 or HNO3 before falling to the ground. They are known respectively as sulfuric and nitric acid.

Acid rain will dissolve panty hose on the spot.

There is a huge difference between burning coal and burning natural gas.

Anti-Coal, Pro-Natural Gas

For environmental reasons, I am anti-coal but very much in favor of Natural Gas. And that has been my position forever. 

I am totally fine with eliminating coal for environmental reasons but to expect China to be 100% wind and solar is nonsense. 

There is no reason for Germany to abandon nuclear power and the results have been anything but green.

Libertarian Philosophy

Many of my readers blame me and Libertarians in general. They understand neither.

As noted above I am anti-coal. Why? It pollutes with SO2 and NOx causing acid, respiratory illnesses, and it kills fish.  

I have seen too many environmental cleanups. I have never commented on this before but my degree at the University of Illinois was in Environmental Engineering.

I have bashed China's air and water pollution consistently for decades. I have bashed Germany's diesel industry consistently too. 

Doing nothing about actual poison and doing nothing about CO2 are two very different things. 

There is nothing Libertarian about letting companies pollute then walk away in bankruptcy. 

One clever reader researched my coal and water pollution stance and noted I said the same things in 2006. Indeed I did. 

My position has been consistent.

Don't Accept 100% of the Climate Change Story and You Get Labeled a Racist

There we numerous global cooling warnings in the 60s and 70s and that is what we were taught in school. I did not believe the hype then, and I do not believe the hype now.

Point any of this out and guess what happens: You Get Labeled a Racist, as I did.

I am grateful that 50 years of sensational headline now look laughable, but they keep coming and coming.

Why should anyone take these models seriously? 

No Wonder People Don't Believe the Hype

How many times did we hear the arctic ice would all be gone by now? That Miami if not all of Florida would be underwater? 

Flashback 2010: The glaciers will all disappear by 2020. Now the best estimate is another 80 years. 

Flashback 1989: UN Official Says Rising Seas to 'Obliterate Nations' by 2000. What a hoot.

Flashback 2009: Gordon Brown UK Chancellor of the Exchequer says "We have fewer than 50 days to save our planet from catastrophe." Hmm. Have 50 days passed? 

Flashback 1969: "Everyone will disappear in a cloud of blue steam in 20 years. The situation will get worse unless we change our behavior."

That's my favorite.

A Word About Predictions and Urgency

Believe in man-made climate change all you want. There is some truth to it although the models have not been remotely accurate to say the least.

After 50 years of nonsense hype, it's no wonder anyone with a modicum of common sense is more than a bit skeptical of these dire predictions and the alleged urgency to do something immediately about them.

If after all these now laughable headlines, you still have faith in the predictions, why? 

And if you don't believe the predictions, then do you still want to spend $90 trillion to solve the alleged problem?

Mish

Comments (204)
No. 1-45
oee
oee

you are cherry picking as always. However, the trend is a friend for the climate scientists. Shell Oil Corporation scientists predicted the range of temperatures for the decade for 2010's in the 1970's. the hottest decade that has been measured was the last one. the warmest in recorded history.
the scientists have been largely correct.

AJJ
AJJ

https://www.climate.gov/news-features/understanding-climate/climate-change-global-sea-level#:~:text=Global%20mean%20sea%20level%20has,two%20and%20a%20half%20decades.

My simple question...based on the data, sea level was already rising before the introduction of the Model T...so, what makes you think that it will stop rising if we end all use of ICE's? How much are you willing to sacrifice to try the experiment?

Anon1970
Anon1970

In November 1980, Congressman Al Ullman, head of the House Ways and Means Committee, lost his job merely for proposing a national value added tax. No, I don't want to spend $90 trillion on AOC's Green New Deal.

Frilton Miedman
Frilton Miedman

Not entirely sure why it's so important to relitigate the topic, consensus has it global warming is real.

That aside, there is debate as to whether, or how much, CO has to do with it.

Who cares?

To me, the decider is price of energy and jobs (here vs Saudi Arabia), wind turbines are cheaper than NG, solar technology is advancing rapidly, home with solar roofs are reaping cost benefits.

For the countless billions oil companies spent over the decades to lobby and fund campaigns, the untold trillions we've spent on wars in the mid east to control oil - it baffles me why splitting hairs or parsing the issue is an imperative.

I'm sick of our oil dependence, screw the climate debate.

I don't think anyone's debating global warming is real, just the extent, so if the worrying Liberals are incentivized to promote technology that yields us cheaper energy, hell yeah, why not.

Sechel
Sechel

Is climate science the only science you disagree with or are the scientific method? I'm simply not persuaded by the "no it isn't" logic. But it was a great Monty Python skit.

amigator
amigator

Good Stuff. At one time there were swamps in New Mexico... There have been no swamps way before man burnt his first bit of coal. The climate is always changing.

This is a big Tax package the politicians can smell it and it's perfect the climate is always changing so will the Taxes.

goldguy
goldguy

Mish, great post, one of your best.

CEOoftheSOFA
CEOoftheSOFA

We actually are entering another ice age. The warm, interglacial periods last for 11,500 years and, of course, it's now 11,500 years since the last ice age ended, give or take a few centuries. The Arctic is currently at the same temperature that it was at for the start of the last ice age. The current average water vapor content of the atmosphere isn't yet high enough yet to start an ice sheet. The only thing we will notice for the next several centuries is an increase in rain. In several thousand years, Georgia will have the current climate of Ohio, and New York City could be under a mile of ice like it was during the last ice age.

Anda
Anda

Suprisingly peaceful considering in 1935 population was around 2bn... makes you wonder what happens if people lose it at some point in the future though :(

yanee
yanee

The ozone thing... we figured it out and fixed it. Well, mostly.

CO2 also kills fish by dissolving into the ocean, becoming carbonic acid and bleaching corals. Lower level organisms need corals to survive, they die, then the next rung of the food chain dies... then the next... etc.

You're making decent points, there is lots of hype but the actual data says things aren't going great. I suggest looking into CO2's effects on the ocean and the general ecosystem. Your article is mostly claiming pundits are liars and politicians are corrupt. I 100% agree.

CJWLKR
CJWLKR

I think NNTaleb has the correct perspective here:

Realist
Realist

Wow Mish. You can't let this go. You are in a hole, and you just keep digging. You do realize that you are not quoting scientific papers right? You are referencing stories by reporters, who sensationalized and misinterpreted actual scientific reports in order to write an interesting story. That's not science. As always, I am happy to discuss the science with you. I will repeat what I recently posted in your earlier post on global warming.

Hi Mish. I would be happy to discuss this topic with you. I keep offering. You keep ignoring my offers. Why? I won’t call you a racist.

My only goal is to discuss the science, as I keep repeating. I am not here to talk about AOC, Biden, Kerry, the green deal etc. Just the science.

I am not advocating for anything, other than understanding the science. Once you understand the science, you are free to do whatever you want with that knowledge.

I will start here. Feel free to respond.

The sun is the key energy source in our solar system. It provides enough energy to warm our planet to around -18C.

Given the amount of energy the sun provides, our planet should be a much colder place. Thank goodness it isn't that cold. Fortunately, our planet also has a thin atmosphere around it that can trap and distribute some of the energy received from the sun. Because of that atmosphere, our planet currently has an average surface temperature of 15C. How much energy our atmosphere traps depends on several factors, but primarily greenhouse gasses, such as CO2. Scientists can see from the geologic records over many millions of years, that higher levels of CO2 are associated with warmer global temperatures, and lower levels of CO2 are associated with colder global temperatures.

For example, 500 million years ago, there was almost no CO2 in the atmosphere, and the earth was completely frozen over. This period is referred to as snowball earth. So, we certainly don’t want to get rid of all the CO2.

And 55 million years ago, CO2 levels were 1700 ppm and our planet was a hothouse. There was no ice anywhere, turtles and palm trees at the north pole, and the equator regions were too hot for most life. Sea levels were 200m higher. Florida was under water, as were all other current coastal regions. We don’t want CO2 levels to get that high again.

Fortunately, we are in a relatively sweet spot for CO2 and temperature right now.
So why are scientists sounding an alarm about global warming?

Because the current trend is one of increasing CO2 levels and increasing temperatures. It is easy to dismiss these increases, because they don’t seem very significant. One hundred years ago, CO2 levels were around 280 ppm and the average global temperature was about 14C. Today CO2 levels are around 415 ppm and the average global temperature is 15C. Which doesn’t seem like much, does it?

After all, there have been far greater changes in CO2 and temperature in the past, right?

So, what’s the big deal? Well, it’s all about the rate of change. When CO2 and temperature levels change naturally, it happens over tens of thousands (or more) years. The geologic record shows that temperatures often change as much as 1C every 10000 years. That pace of change allows nature to adapt to the changes. In fact, prior to the last few hundred years, our planet had cooled about 1C in the previous 10000 years.

But in the last 100 years, mankind has overwhelmed the planet’s natural cycles, by pumping lots of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, including CO2. As a result, we have warmed the planet by 1C in 100 years. The problem with this increase, is that it is happening too fast for the planet to adjust. One example: The rate of species extinctions is now happening at 10000 times the natural rate. I will not list any more issues, because I am sure you are tired of hearing them.

The next problem that scientists are trying to warn us about, is the length of time these greenhouse gasses stay in the atmosphere before they filter out. For CO2 (the main culprit) it can take several decades and up to two centuries for most of it to filter out. Which means that we won’t be reversing any of the problems that are currently happening anytime soon. The problems we are already seeing today, will be with us for a long time, even if we could magically stop all emissions today and in the future. The only way to reduce the next several decades of consequences is to find a cost-effective way to remove greenhouse gasses ourselves.

The next warning is that we are making the problem worse every day, as we continue to emit more greenhouse gasses.

But it gets worse. Our planet has incredible stores of carbon dioxide and methane, currently locked in permafrost and other areas. As we continue to warm our planet, we are beginning to release these stores. The worry is that once these stores begin adding to the levels of greenhouse gases, they will accelerate the warming much faster, which will begin a feedback loop where every year the extra warmth causes the release of more trapped carbon, which causes more warmth, which causes more release etc. This is one of the 3 big tipping points scientists often talk about. Releasing this stored carbon would dwarf what mankind has done so far. This could lead to runaway, unstoppable global warming in this century. However, by the time we figure out whether we have crossed that tipping point, it will already be too late.

I am not here to tell anyone to stop emitting greenhouse gasses. I’m not telling you to stop driving, or stop heating your house, or cooking your food, or to stop breathing. And I’m not going to call you a racist because you don’t understand the science. But I would be happy to keep explaining the science, should you wish to discuss it, because I want to help people understand the science.

Up to this point, humanity has done very little about this problem. I suspect that we will continue to do very little.

As a result, the costs of global warming will continue to increase every year. Much of the cost will be financial. It is going to cost us a lot of money to do nothing. It is going to hurt the economy severely. At some point, the financial costs are going to overwhelm us.

But the biggest cost will be human. There is already a lot of suffering and death, and it is only going to get worse every year.

Okay Mish. That’s a beginning. Feel free to explain the science to me. Tell me what I have wrong. There is so much we can discuss. It’s a big topic.

One-armed Economist
One-armed Economist

For the VAST MAJORITY it's maybe 30 yr's. "50" is a false choice.
'course I'm sure you can call an earth evolutionary change more precisely.

Realist
Realist

You're welcome. My goal is simple. To help people learn the science. What they do with the knowledge is up to them.

The part that bothers me is the level of resistance that many have to understanding the science. It's because their political beliefs prevent them from looking at reality. They are all drinking their particular political cult kool-aid. It's why I am apolitical.

Mish
Mish

Editor

OK - for the sake of argument let's say I accept 100% of what you say. I said similar things in my post.

So now what?

What the flying F do we do about it that makes much of any sense given that I am already to give up coal.

Too much BS
Too much BS

The sun keeps getting bigger and it's ray larger and hotter. Meteors, moons, and any debris that comes into it's gravitational pull- 150,000,000 kilimeters gets sucked in and keeps adding to its size. Suns gravity is 28 times that of earth. The political Fear Green House Science paper is full of misinformation and omissions about the carbon effect on earths life. Threes and vegitation take in CO2 and give us wood, plants, food, and oxygen. Politicians cannot control the sun but can controll taxpayers who get fleeced by bogus science that omits the effect of Glass skyscrapers solar panels (glass magnifys light and heat) Concrete black tar roads, Electrical transformers, Car, trucks, planes, ships homes, to spin Carbon Tax, Wind turbines, solar panels and EVs. Earths life is sustained by carbon. No carbon no life. The sun will keep growing and the earth will keep adapting.
Signed To much BS. (My icon disappeared)

register1
register1

Is it worth commenting when no one who matters will listen? Here goes. Global climate is more affected by sunspot activity than increased carbon. Increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is scientifically associated with increased food production and favorable climate conditions for humans and animals. But, I'll provide you with the way to successfully reduce man-made carbon. Build the new, safe, small, modular, nuclear power reactors everywhere you need power. The NuScale Power reactor is safe and produces massive amounts of hydrogen ( clean fuel for transportation ) or using sea water, produces massive amounts of pure water, in addition to electric power, sized for the demand of your city.

numike
numike

“The Earth is nothing but phlegm spat out by the Sun, and our immediate solar system a whirlwind of boulders. There is no "delicate balance".”
― A.E. Samaan, From a "Race of Masters" to a "Master Race": 1948 to 1848

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

Millions of Texans were left in the dark for days after winter storms triggered power outages. But people in El Paso, the upper Panhandle and parts of East Texas kept their lights on — thanks to power drawn from other parts of the country.

Casual_Observer
Casual_Observer

State leaders thought having its own grid and not winterizing wouldn't be worth the cost of federal regulations. They forgot to calculate the cost of problems even after power comes back. All those companies that moved to Texas probably didn't even know this and just looked at the lack of regulations as a good thing.

Sechel
Sechel

The lawyers for the wind turbine companies should call up the lawyers for Dominion Voting Machines to discuss how to handle this organized lying on the part of Fox and other conservative outlets that wind turbines don't operate in the cold.

Bungalow Bill
Bungalow Bill

Fear sells. Fear controls.

vboring
vboring

SO2 and NOx emissions from coal plants burning the right coal and using the right controls are minimal. If you're not worried about CO2, there is little reason to oppose coal.

If you are worried about CO2, you might check out the Net Power plant technology. It burns gas using a different power cycle where the CO2 is captured with little energy or cost penalty: https://netpower.com/

If you are worried about fossil fuels for other reasons, the only realistic option left is nuclear. Building an economy on renewables MIGHT work in a few parts of the world with few people, mild weather, and little industry. Even the 1950s version of the technology is safer than any other energy resource. Modern versions will be even safer, if regulators ever let them get to market.

njbr
njbr

Science evolves. Knowledge increases.

Science is an iterative process.

The scale of modeling the climate is enormous and modern super-computers are pressed beyond their limits.

Old predictions may be laughably wrong, but science is always trying to get closer to the truth.

At one point leeches and bleeding were all the rage in medical treatment. We can laugh at that, but it was serious attempt to treat conditions. And, as it tuns out, leeches are still valuable in certain situations in medicine.

The trial AND error method of proceeding into an area of new knowledge is how humans evolved into what we are. To condemn an entire field of research based on early, apparently laughable results would have led to the early demise of humans as a species.

njbr
njbr

The takeaway..."ERCOT’s biggest miss came in preparing for outages at what it thought were “firm” resources — gas, coal, and nuclear. Those outages topped 30 GW, more than double ERCOT’s worst-case scenario....

....ERCOT knows that those average conditions don’t happen all the time. So before each season, it issues a resource adequacy assessment to be sure the lights stay on when demand peaks. This winter’s plan expected “operational resources” (mostly gas, plus coal, nuclear and hydro) to provide 67 GW of power. Since it’s not always windy or sunny, ERCOT guesstimated just over 6 GW would come from wind and solar combined.

In a “normal” winter, operational resources could have satisfied peak demand, even without any help from wind or solar. Aside from the peak, wind and solar avert emissions while saving costlier fossil fuels for when we’ll need them most.

ERCOT realized not every winter is typical, so it planned for several what-if scenarios and associated risks. (All of their estimates are publicly available.)

Those scenarios display the typical temptation to refight the last battle. In this case, that meant planning for a repeat of the 2011 freeze that last caused rolling blackouts. Those lasted just hours, not days, and weren’t nearly as widespread.

Even so, ERCOT didn’t do too badly predicting peak demand — 67 GW in its extreme scenario. We don’t know how high the actual peak would have been without these rolling blackouts, but perhaps around 5 GW higher, with some conservation by industrial consumers.

Scheduled maintenance played a role too, as plants tune up for summer peaks. Why so much of that maintenance continued amid week-ahead forecasts of an Arctic blast deserves a closer look.

But ERCOT’s biggest miss came in preparing for outages at what it thought were “firm” resources — gas, coal, and nuclear. Those outages topped 30 GW, more than double ERCOT’s worst-case scenario. Just one of those gigawatts came from a temporary outage at a nuclear unit. Most of the rest came from gas.

That doesn’t necessarily mean a lot of individual gas power plants broke down. Most outages came because delivery systems failed to supply gas to those plants at the consistent pressures that they need.

These failures highlight the unique vulnerabilities of relying so heavily on natural gas for power. Only gas electricity relies on a continuous supply of a fossil fuel delivered from hundreds of miles away. And that fuel is also needed for heat. So when an Arctic blast drives up demand and drives down supply of heat and electricity at the same time, power plants languish in line while homes and hospitals get the heating fuel they need.

That makes these blackouts an energy systems crisis, not just a power crisis. Every one of our power sources underperformed. Every one of them has unique vulnerabilities that are exacerbated by extreme events. None of them prepared adequately for extreme cold.

Daniel Cohan is an Associate Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Rice University

njbr
njbr

On Sunday, Ms. Ocasio-Cortez took issue with Republicans for taking her statement seriously.

“This is a technique of the GOP, to take dry humor + sarcasm literally and ‘fact check’ it,” she tweeted. “Like the ‘world ending in 12 years’ thing, you’d have to have the social intelligence of a sea sponge to think it’s literal. But the GOP is basically Dwight from The Office so who knows.”

KidHorn
KidHorn

There is so much BS from the left about global warming. And the people in charge do not understand it at all. They simply spout, rising CO2 levels cause the planet to get warmer and some scientists think it's bad. The biggest problem are those who have a little knowledge, like some of the posters above, and think they understand it. Like the old saying 'A little knowledge can be dangerous'.

So we have people who have little to no actual understanding of what's happening demanding particular solutions. Since they don't understand the science, they have no way of knowing if their solution will do much, if anything.

Take for example, electric cars. They think because the car doesn't directly produce CO2, it's green. The car gets electricity from somewhere. About 65% of our electricity comes from burning fossil fuels. Which produce CO2. So one might logically conclude, it's still green since about 1/3 comes from renewables. It's not that simple. An ICE car gets mechanical work directly from burning fuel. An electric car get electricity that comes from converting mechanical work to electricity and then the car converts the electricity to mechanical work. Every step of the way is inefficient. And on top of that, electric cars weigh a lot more than ICE cars. They require more BTUs to travel a given distance. So a typical electric car used in a typical location in the US actually produces more greenhouse gasses than an ICE car.

RonJ
RonJ

1974 Time Magazine: Another Ice Age "Telling signs everywhere. Since the 1940s mean global temperatures have dropped 2.7 degrees F."

Temperature declined while CO2 rose.

AnotherJoe
AnotherJoe

Oh goody lets now review all the gold predictions last 50 years....

Quanta
Quanta

Lot's of BS in most climate discussions. The truth is it's been clearly shown that climate change is on a dangerous vertical hockey stick path, and it's too late to do anything about it now. Methane from permafrost in Siberia is being released into the atmosphere, glaciers are melting. The great inflection point is already here. Billions will die as a result.

TwisterTim
TwisterTim

This debate will all be moot by 2050 because the hydrogen economy will be in full swing.....hydrogen powered cars,hydrogen powered electricity generating plants,etc.
Power companies are already outfitting dual purpose systems , burning natural gas now,and hydrogen gas later when supplies catch up. There are already Hydrogen powered Fuel Cell Cars that get 500 to 1000 miles per fill up. The Infrastructure will be built out over the next 30 years. The push for EV cars to replace ICE will never happen because Hydrogen is the future....the only pollutant is water!! There won't be a need for the expensive and TOXIC rare earth heavy metals for EV batteries ,which is an extreme environmentally damaging hazard and labor intensive process to obtain. Hydrogen = Clean Energy( for Real!!)

LewisM
LewisM

So many articles lately purporting to dispel the "myth" of climate change and not a single article about how the deregulated libertarian paradise of Texas failed to provide water and power to its citizens in a crisis. Hmmm.

Keith E.
Keith E.

Technical note: burning natural gas generates NOx too. Virtually all combustion processes generate NOx because the air is predominately N and O. It is the combustion process itself that creates NOx by creating the high temperatures that facilitate its formation.

Kick'n
Kick'n

Actually CO2 is absolutely a pollutant. It gets drawn into the ocean and creates carbonic acid causing acidification. This is killing the coral and other marine life in the lower part of the food chain that we rely on as well as phytoplankton that create oxygen. Additionally, sea water can only hold so much CO2. Increasing temperatures also reduce the amount it can hold. Once the maximum concentration in the water is reached, CO2 concentration in the atmosphere will accelerate.

In the 70's scientists talked of an ice age based on the data and knowledge they had (though there was I remember a B/W film for school children from the 50's which did mention the potential for greenhouse heating due to CO2). Anyway, all that ice age talk went away when we began investigating Venus. We quickly learned that Venus was insanely hot for a planet not unlike ours save for large amounts of CO2 and other GHGs.

As for the glaciers in GNP there are now 25. In 1850 there were about 150. That's about 3 glaciers lost every 4 years. That's a really raw estimate but that would put their demise at about 35 years or say 2055. Only I would lower that a bit due to still increasing CO2 production. Also, more than 90% of the world's glaciers are in retreat and picking up speed. The polar ice is also shrinking getting closer to a year over year, annual basis. It's not just the surface area, it's the thickness as well. This means it's march to become ice free in the summer will become rapid at some point.

You have to realize the Earth's climate is not balanced wrt CO2. The atmosphere is trying to catch up to this geologically rapid increase in CO2. That means if we stopped producing CO2 today the excess would still be there and the climate still equilibrating for some time. There are many different estimates on the time this would take and the time for the CO2 to return to normal levels. But as of this moment there is still guaranteed temperature increase until the atmosphere fully equilibrates with the new level. The longer CO2 increases the longer it will take to equilibrate unless we can use carbon capture to bring it backdown.

Unfortunately the press likes to hype so much of this and it's better to read the more legitimate scientific articles. There is still much to learn but the direction is not good and there could be very bad unintended consequences such as we are seeing with the polar vortex, hurricanes, floods, and tornados. Sea level rise will take awhile but one fact is Miami has a $500M program to literally raise their streets by paving them higher, by as much as 30 inches. This is because many of their streets are flooding every month due to the tides. This won't help property owners though because the ground just can't be raised and no one will ever want to buy them out. Just another casualty...

bradw2k
bradw2k

The field of climate science has lost credibility. Any reasonable person can see that it is biased. It is an amazing and frankly horrifying thing for an entire field of hard science to be corrupted like that, but there it is.

I take climate science as the (now dead) canary in the coal mine revealing that the 20th century's philosophical disintegration is well on its way of spilling over from the philosophy departments (absolutely no one cares what today's professional philosophers say), to the rest of the humanities, and now to the hard sciences.

FWIW my model tells me that in 100 years if the oceans are 4 feet higher than now no one will care. Humans have always dealt with a changing planet and will continue to do so. Let's try not to infantilize future generations -- who I suspect will laugh at our apocalyptic BS.

irelet
irelet

everything u said is true I agree

Quanta
Quanta

Lets forget the predictive forward-looking models for a second, and focus on measurements first. Most scientists in the field don't need their peers to perform measurements and analyze them. For example, when measuring glaciers melting, ocean temperature rising, atmospheric temperature rising (on average globally), C02 concentration rising, methane emissions from Siberian permafrost, frequency of occurrence of tropical storms & precipitation. All of that data is unlikely to be biased in any way, because you simply put up a bunch of sensors and collect data. Assuming scientists are intellectually honest (which, being one, I'm 100% believer in) , they're not going to fudge the data to "remove" or "inject" global warming into it.
That covers the measurement portion of it - it's been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that humans are 100% responsible for anomalous rise in most if not all of the above measurement categories.
Now, let's talk about predictions - yes the models are extremely complex. However even from a very basic modeling perspective - almost all of the above effects have a POSITIVE FEEDBACK mechanism, this should be absolutely terrifying to anyone. Melting glaciers - decreased reflection or albedo = more heat, and even more melting. More C02 = more heat trapped, and even more C02. More methane = even more heat trapped, even more methane emitted. Rising temperature = ocean can store less C02 = more C02 = ocean can store even less C02.
Scared yet?