The Old Forgotten Skills

The skills that human beings require change radically over the millennia. I would not be successful at hunting, farming making textiles or building a shelter any more than a person two thousand years ago could do any of the divers tasks that I have to do each day.  I suppose that I could learn skills that my ancestors had eventually and perhaps even make do after a fashion.

Today we teach the young to be adaptable because we expect that they will have to frequently learn new skills in order to make their livings.  Few are the jobs that will last a working lifetime. For example, surgeons, cooks, drivers of cars and lawyers will eventually be replaced (wholly or partially) by robots. Continue reading

Climate Change Protests

Like many Londoners I have been inconvenienced by the climate change protestors. I am sure that they do not care much and would hold that wasting a few hours of my time or causing me to walk a few extra miles is nothing compared to the threat to humanity and to all who live on the earth that climate change will bring. Continue reading

Trends In Carbon Dioxide Emissions

The latest measurements from the Earth System Research Laboratory show that in November 2018 the atmospheric content of carbon dioxide was 408.02 ppm compare with the November 2017 measurement which was  405.12 ppm. There are many figures that try to show carbon dioxide emissions but most of these rely on estimates, albeit highly scholarly estimates. The ESRL actually measures atmospheric content of carbon dioxide and using its measurements we can establish that the trend is continuing for there to be higher and higher proportions of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, notwithstanding of all humanity’s rather futile attempts to lower carbon dioxide emissions by carbon trading schemes, treaties, and the like.

We are beginning, I believe, to see the results of the higher concentrations of CO2 in our weather; the climate in many places is slowly and surely changing although we do not yet know if the changes will be benign or malignant. It is unlikely that they will produce, on the whole, more benign weather, as traditional people have settled in places where the weather is kind and predictable and built in those places to take account of those conditions, and not more severe conditions.

The Earth System Research Laboratory will not, in the short term at least, be able to provide any more measurements about global CO2 concentrations, due to the deadlock between the US President and Congress which has led to a partial government shutdown. The US is at odds with itself about building a wall on its border with Mexico ostensibly to prevent unlawful immigration. Last Summer, the President suggested that the wall, when built, might be covered in solar panels generating electricity and providing an income to offset a small part of the cost of wall building. We have not heard too much of any development of this idea.

Some calculations indicate that the electricity generated could power 220,000 homes, although no allowance in these calculations seems to have been made of the intermittent nature of the electricity generated.

Climate Change

I have not written an essay on these pages for many months but I have been shaken out of my indolence by being reminded from several quarters about the importance of designing and implementing strategies to cope with Climate Change. Continue reading

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

Although recent reports indicate that global carbon dioxide emissions are not increasing it is important to bear in mind that atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing. The most recent daily average measurement of carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa is 406.29 parts per million. This measurement is much more precise than the statistics we are given for global emissions, which are based upon assumptions as much as upon measurements.

The International Energy Agency estimates that global energy related carbon dioxide emissions were flat for a third straight year in 2016 due to growing renewable power generation, switches from coal to natural gas, improvements in energy efficiency, and structural changes in the global economy. My guess is that overall carbon dioxide emissions are rising, notwithstanding the increase in renewable energy. After all the population of the most intensive creators of carbon dioxide, humanity, is growing very quickly and most humans are living longer than they did in previous generations.

It is ironic that in November 2012 when Mauna Loa reported atmospheric CO2 at 392.81 ppm there was far more interest and general reporting of climate change whereas five years later the issue is hardly reported, except en passant. When I first started writing on WordPress  in 2007 concentrations were around 380 ppm. 250 years ago the concentration was thought to be around 280 pmm.

I told you so

According to a new study published by Chatham House burning wood pellets is not carbon neutral and creates more emissions than burning coal. I told you so and have been telling you so on these pages for many years.
Governments do not listen. I told them so too, but they obviously thought they knew better. The UK government created a Renewable Heat Incentive based around burning wood pellets under which they subsidised the fuel and the subsidies, paid out of our taxes were very high indeed. In fact in Northern Ireland the RHI became a source of income as the subsidy was greater than the cost of the fuel.  Continue reading

Latest Data of Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide

I suppose we could continue to bury our heads in the sand but I think we should all know the latest measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide from the Earth System Research Laboratory at  Muana Loa. Continue reading