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Gender: Male
Current location: New Jersey
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 25,115

Journal Archives

100% of the top 20 ten year CO2 concentration increases at Mauna Loa took place since 01/01/2019.

As I've indicated several times over the last two months as new records have been set for the concentrations the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide, I somewhat obsessively keep a spreadsheet of the weekly data at the Mauna Loa Carbon Dioxide Observatory, which I use to do calculations to record the dying of our atmosphere, a triumph of fear, dogma and ignorance that did not have to be, but nonetheless is taking place. That's a fact. Facts matter.

Most of my comments on this data - there are many in this space - involve comparisons between the data recorded in a particular week of the year with data in the same week of the year before, in other words, annualized increases.

In many of these posts on this topic I say this:

As I often note in this space the readings are sinusoidal, superimposed on a steadily rising slightly less than linear axis, as this graphic, which I often reproduce, from the Mauna Loa website shows:

Perhaps as a result of the Covid crisis 2020 has given some rather noisy data with respect to the annual peak, with several all time peaks in the concentration of carbon dioxide in the planetary atmosphere, followed by weeks which did not represent peaks, then followed by weeks that were peaks.

The final such weekly average peak was recorded in 2020 for the week beginning May 24, 2020, when the concentration of the dangerous fossil fuel waste carbon dioxide was measured at Mauna Loa as 417.34 ppm. The peak in 2019 was recorded during the week of May 12, 2019, when the peak was 415.39, meaning that - unusual for these times - the peak to peak increase from 2019 to 2020 was "only" 1.95 ppm.

(The annual increases in CO2 concentrations as reported on the Mauna Loa website compare average data, and not peak to peak measurements.)

Here is the data recorded this week at Mauna Loa:

Weekly average CO2 at Mauna Loa

Week beginning on July 5, 2020: 415.24 ppm
Weekly value from 1 year ago: 412.12 ppm
Weekly value from 10 years ago: 390.39 ppm
Last updated: July 12, 2020

The week to week comparison with the same week of a year ago is 3.10 ppm.

The range of such measurements in the year 2020 goes from 1.47 ppm, recorded in the week beginning February 23, 2020 to 4.28 ppm recorded in the week beginning March 23, 2020.

Because of the noise in these measurements, it has occurred to me that a better measurement of how we're doing with climate change - it is a crime against all future humanity and all future living things how poorly we're doing - is to record the ten year trends, which kind of "average out" the trends. Indeed, the Mauna Loa observatory records and posts these weekly, as they have done above.

Compared to the same week ten years ago, that is in 2010, the increase is 24.85 ppm, or, on average, 2.485 ppm/year. Some months ago, I used the data in my spreadsheet to play with these 10 year figures, for instance by sorting them for ranking the largest values ever recorded. The figure for this week, again, 24.85 ppm, is the 9th highest ever recorded out of 1,863 data points going back to May 20, 1984, when the ten year increase was 14.06 ppm higher than the same week of 1974.

Of the top 20 highest such readings, 100% of them - I choose to angrily and contemptuously utilize the "percent talk" used by the assholes pretending that so called "renewable energy" is saving the day - have occurred since January 1, 2019. Seven readings are greater than 25.00 ppm per year increases. Four of these occurred this year. The highest value ever recorded, 25.85 ppm over the same week a decade earlier, was recorded in the week beginning January 19, 2020.

In a thread on this website discussing the German Nuclear Phase Out, which I personally regard as a crime against humanity given the holocaust associated with air pollution, I remarked that so called "renewable energy" has not worked, is not working, and will not work, it has come to my attention that a correspondent - happily one on the ignore list that I maintain for the most annoyingly ignorant people who inflame me - informed the audience that I was obviously mistaken that so called "renewable energy" doesn't work because, um, a city in that coal mining hellhole Australia, Sydney, is running on "100% renewable energy." I'll address this selective attention and accounting bullshit below.

Yes, you can produce an electric current with a solar cell or with a lanthanide laced redundant generator in a wind turbine. That's not what I meant about "working," since I'm not a trivializing ass. I meant working as in "working to address the climate crisis," one of the most serious crises in world history, by which comparison to the Covid crisis, makes Covid seem, well, trivial.

And let's be clear on something, OK? The extent to which so called "renewable energy" works may as well be at lab scale. There's a lot of Trumpian scale delusions going around to the effect that so called "renewable energy" has driven coal out of business. This is a head up the ass lie. According to a succession of annual publications from the International Energy Agency, the World Energy Outlook - I have 15 pdfs of editions going back to 1995, and every edition from 2009 to 2019 in my files - the fastest growing source of primary energy on this planet in this century is coal.

Indeed, from 2017 to 2018, the latter year being the last year for which data is available, the amount of primary energy produced by coal rose at nearly twice the rate - by 2.97 exajoules to 159.98 exajoules - as compare to all the solar, wind, geothermal and tidal energy combined, which grew by 1.63 exajoules to 12.27 exajoules.

It is a lie to say that so called "renewable energy" is responsible for a coal phase out, except perhaps locally, where "heads up their asses" "renewables will save us" types like to focus their very selective attention, being gasbags, quite literally.

As for the claim that Germany has already phased out coal using so called "renewable energy," a claim reported here as "Germany has successfully phased out coal and nuclear" this is in conflict with a recent article in an English language German news report here on an action by a German commission that Germany will close it's coal plants by 2030:

A government commission has agreed that Germany should phase out all coal-fired power plants by the end of 2038. The government is already planning to shut down nuclear power plants over the next three years.

government-appointed commission has agreed that Germany will stop producing energy from coal-fired plants by 2038, sources told local media early on Saturday.

A final agreement was reached after 21-hour talks that lasted well into the night, with only one opposing vote in the 28-member body.

The decision aims to reduce Germany's carbon emissions from coal, which drive climate change.

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz welcomed the proposal, stressing that it was important for Germany to keep power prices stable while at the same time creating new jobs in coal-producing regions.

"If we all work hard and don't lose sight of the joint goal, then we can further develop Germany into a role model in energy politics," he told the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper...

...Reliance on coal

Germany currently produces nearly 40 percent of its electricity from coal and has failed to meet targets agreed to under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

Financial considerations and the exact date of the phaseout were major sticking points during the marathon session, as energy companies had insisted on compensation to hedge against rising electricity prices.

Germany's coal-producing regions, meanwhile, demanded firm financial commitments to cope with the structural upheaval from the transition away from fossil fuels.

Deutsche Welle (DW) 1.26.20: Germany to stop using coal by end of 2038. (This report came to my inbox from the Carbon Brief newsletter on July 10, 2020)

Germany will "phase out" nuclear energy "by 2022" for real, and they will burn gas and coal way beyond 2038 because all this "by such-and-such-a-year" bull that I've been hearing my whole damned adult life - I'm not young - which is a cold blooded and cynical means by which we dump responsibility for doing what we are unwilling to do ourselves on future generations.

Again, air pollution, to which coal is a major contributor, kills between six and seven million people every year. Nuclear power, um, doesn't. And yet, in Germany as in many other places, nuclear power is "too dangerous" and coal is not "too dangerous."

If any of this stuff about the CO2 concentrations being more than 24 ppm than it was ten years ago, don't worry, be happy.

Head on over to the "E&E" forum and read this benighted nonsense about the wonderful accounting tricks in Sydney, Australia:

All the City of Sydney’s operations – including street lights, pools, sports fields, depots, buildings and the historic Sydney Town Hall – will now be run on 100% renewable electricity sourced from local solar and wind projects. The switch is part of a $60 million deal with electricity retailer Flow Power, the biggest standalone green energy deal of its kind by a council in Australia.

The deal is projected to save the City up to half a million dollars a year over the next 10 years, and reduce carbon emissions by around 20,000 tonnes a year – the equivalent to the power consumption of more than 6,000 households. The City calculates that the new deal will see it reach its 2030 of reducing emissions by 70% by 2024, six years early.


The power purchase agreement will see the City source renewable energy from the 120 MW Bomen Solar Farm in Wagga Wagga, the 270 MW Sapphire Wind Farm near Inverell, and the 3 MW Shoalhaven Solar Farm, a not-for profit community-owned solar scheme near Nowra on the south-east NSW coast. The deal will see three-quarters of the City’s power sourced from wind generation and one-quarter from solar.

Look at that, the streetlights will be powered by solar energy. Wunderbar, nicht war?

I'm a scientist, not an airhead. As a scientist who cares about climate change, I know how much carbon dioxide is dumped each year while we all wait like Godot for the grand renewable energy nirvana that never comes. It's 35 billion tons per year, roughly, with another 8 to 10 billion tons being added by land use changes, at least some of which involve so called "renewable energy."

Thus in "percent talk" so popular among the anti-nuke aficionados who have bet the future of the planet wind turbines on posts made of steel that was made by heating coal with coal to make coke, wind turbines which will largely be landfill "by 2038" - since the Danes report average service life for them to be about 17 to 18 years - the grand 100% renewable energy accounting trick for Sydney's 100% renewable energy scam amounts to 20,000/35,000,000,000 X 100% = 0.000057% of the little carbon problem, little at least in little minds, just accounting for the amount we dump directly, and not including land use changes.

As for accounting, no, they don't shut the streetlights in Sydney when the wind isn't blowing and the sun isn't shining. They divert energy from the dangerous fossil fuel plants that run continuously in Australia and pretty much everywhere else in the world. They then hire a fucking accountant to subtract the energy produced by so called "renewable energy" when no one needs it, from the total consumption, and Voila, a convenient lie we tell ourselves to pretend we are not destroying the world.

But we are destroying the world, with ignorance, denial and self delusion, left and right.

(The same accountants cannot ignore the O&M and debt service costs for the redundant dangerous fossil fuel plants that need to fire up when the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing. These costs, represented stranded costs when the sun is shining or the wind blowing account for the fact that the two most expensive household electricity prices are found in Germany and Denmark, where they couldn't care less if poor people can pay for electricity.)

If I sound angry, it's because I am. I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I wasn't.

But like I said, don't worry, be happy. Cheer for Sydney and maybe for "by 2038" or "by 2050" or "by 2100."

I lived through "by 2000," and, um, things have been getting worse, not better.

Meine Geschichte ist nicht angenehm, sie ist nicht süß und harmonisch wie die erfundenen Geschichten, sie schmeckt nach Unsinn und Verwirrung, nach Wahnsinn und Traum wie das Leben aller Menschen, die sich nicht mehr belügen wollen.

(Hesse, Demian)

I can no longer lie to myself.

Trump will be a bemused contempt filled footnote is some history graduate student's Master's thesis in time discussing the fall of the United States, and Covid, probably a footnote as well, and still climate change will still be with those living in the future we created.

Have a wonderful Sunday afternoon.

If you could have a name like Vasilis Fthenakis, would you?

I'm reading a paper I picked up some years ago by an author named Vasilis Fthenakis, at Brookhaven National Laboratory.

I have one of those ridiculously common names; my wife has a name that many people find difficult to pronounce, and so we gave her name to my sons because I've always been annoyed at having such a common name.

But even she, and my sons, can't match Fthenakis.

Maybe it's a pain in the ass to always have to spell your name or have people mangle the spelling your name, but I'm always thrilled when someone doesn't know how to spell my name.

(I complemented my son's high school principal for being the only official person in the school in the 15 years I had kids in the district, to being the only person who correctly pronounced his name, something she did at an awards ceremony.)

What's the verdict on "Fthenakis?" Too beautiful for words, or a pain in the ass?

Thank goodness my wife and son are more ethical than I am.

I got an email this morning from someone at Linkedin asking me to be a paid consultant for a market intelligence company working for China on opportunities biologics market "because of my accomplishments."

(I'm actually not all that accomplished, but hey...).

(I often have these MBA types, "picking my brain" on their investments. I usually offer advice for free, but my wife was really pissed off when I gave her rich uncle advice, whereupon he bragged about how much money he made because of it, and didn't offer us a dime.)

Anyway, I told my wife about the email, and the first thing out of her mouth was, "They just took Hong Kong!"

I said, "...but it's money."

She said, "no way!" and then directed me to talk to my son, who, when he got his lazy ass out of bed - he's working 12 hour days for his company because of an impending high value project - proceeded to tell me about every immoral act committed by the Chinese gov't for the last ten or twenty years.

"No way! No way Dad!"

Then for amusement, I offered to split the money with him.

"No way! No way!"

OK...OK...they win.

I'm glad they're more ethical than I am, otherwise, I might do the wrong thing.

I'm very proud of, and very much in love with, my wife. I'm very proud of my son.

Wonderful people, they are, even if they stoop to hanging out with the likes of me.

Former Bay (Wisc.) Republican Chairman: When Trump's Gone, the Republican Party Needs to Answer...

...for its complicity:

My oldest son carries on with a family tradition: Dissing his father politically.

We had the (meaningless, as always) NJ Primary this week, and we mailed in our ballots over the weekend.

I did the usual, voted straight down the line for Biden, Booker, etc...etc...

My son, however, went through this exercise of going to everybody's website - and then voted for that asshole Bernie Sanders and some guy named Hamm.

I offered to mail his ballot, and he insisted on accompanying me to the mailbox to make sure I mailed it.

The prompted a story from me about how when I was about his age - he's 25 - I went to court and got an injunction - from a judge whose son was a friend of mine - to be allowed to vote by machine, because the registrar's screwed up and they gave me a ballot that they wanted me to sign; I insisted on a secret ballot and came back with the court order.

In New Jersey, we sign our mail in ballots. I'm too old to fight these things now.

Later, we when got back to the house, my son - who loves stories of his grandparents (who he never met) - told me what my mother (a swing voter) used to say to my father (a devout Republican) whenever she voted Democratic. "I canceled your vote!" my son told me in honor of his grandmother.

Little bastard. (Actually, he's not so little; he towers over me; he's six foot four.)

Later we went up to meet his brother's new girlfriend, a very nice young woman, and my wife told her about the family tradition whereby my father and I would have heated political arguments while my wife and step mother went out for a nice quiet and peaceful breakfast.

When I'm gone, I hope my son will love my memory as much I love the memory of my father, Republican bastard though he was. I'd do anything to have a screaming fight with my father again.

I love my sons.

In working to kill children as well as the old, Trump...

...shows that the effects of his malignity can still do vast damage to our country, even if defeated.

This should stand as a warning about the interregnum, which will be filled with his cruelty and moral emptiness.

Children who contract Covid and who suffer health effects, including but not limited to neurological damage may be with us until the approach of the 22nd century.

Although I wish all humans good health, harming rising generations with irrersible physiological damage is worse than killing off those of us of my generation, since, as Shakespeare put it, we "should have died hereafter," but killing our future is much, much, much worse.

Cause we ended as lovers.

Here, on this website, right now, is a lecture that is one of the most powerful, I have ever seen.

In my opinion, if you do nothing else this holiday weekend, an hour and forty minutes may prove the most important discussion of your country and its history that you will ever see: The Truth About the Confederacy in the United States (FULL Version)

I have never seen a lecture on White Supremacy anywhere nearly as powerful. It's on the right side of the screen as I write.

Anybody wonder what happened to the guy with the flag in this famous photo?

The caption:

Nurse Laura Leander stands in counter protest to as people march to the Arizona State Capitol to protest Governor Greg Ducey's stay at home order

The answer to the question might offer some suggestion of the existence of a just God, who might have a delicious sense of humor.

The pressure to assimilate

A "Working Life" article in the current issue of science: The pressure to assimilate (Montrai Spikes, Science Science 26 Jun 2020: Vol. 368, Issue 6498, pp. 1506

An excerpt:

“Why are you dressed so nicely?” a fellow graduate student asked me in passing, after noticing my collared shirt, slacks, and dress shoes. “Oh, I have to teach today,” I replied. He stopped and stared at me for a few moments, the confusion written plainly on his face. “As a Black man, students treat me with more respect when I dress up,” I explained. What I did not say was, “Our society's current idea of professionalism is so intertwined with straight, white, masculinity that underrepresented people must go above and beyond or risk being seen as incompetent.”...

...During my first year as a teaching assistant (TA), I noticed some students didn't fully trust or respect me as an instructor. For example, one of my students emailed another TA to ask the very same question I'd answered for them earlier in the day. Another incident that got under my skin was when a student said I looked like rapper Wiz Khalifa, then proceeded to touch my dreadlocks. I felt embarrassed and violated, but I pretended their comment and action didn't bother me. I feared that correcting the student would only present me as an “angry Black man.”

To garner more respect and confidence from my students, I started to diligently craft a mask that I thought would signal my professionalism. I wore nice clothes on teaching days and I reduced my use of Ebonics, an English dialect spoken by some Black Americans that I often used growing up. This mask seemed to work...

... was waiting in my office for a student, another Black man, to arrive to discuss his lab report. As I responded to emails, a rap album by Kendrick Lamar was playing. I was startled when the student exclaimed, “Yo! Trai, I didn't know you got down with Kendrick.” This catalyzed an animated discussion about rappers, growing up in big cities, and people of color in STEM. My guard dropped, the Ebonics slipped out, and for a short period I was simply me. As I shifted our conversation to his assignment, he said offhandedly, “I wish you were more like this in class.” He wasn't ill-intentioned, but his comment did prompt introspection.

I realized that although my “professional” mask appealed to my white students, it had unforeseen consequences. The mask I crafted was disingenuous and was alienating students of color while reinforcing the misconception that the only way to succeed is through cultural assimilation.

After this revelation, I discarded my mask...

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