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Heat: How to Stop the Planet From Burning

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  • Posted January 3, 2011

    One of the most thorough analyses of how to significantly reduce CO2 emissions

    This is a very thorough analysis of how to really get CO2 emissions down to 20% of today's levels. It is a welcome bit of reality on quantitative points often avoided, for example, which renewables are likely to be too expensive, and which aren't large enough to make a significant difference when the scale is 80% reduction. It is thoroughly researched, although it covers every sector of the economy and thus cannot get all the details right in every one of them.

    This book will no doubt attract "customer reviews" from climate deniers. This shows that they not only don't understand climatology (we knew that) but also they don't read the work they are frothing about, since this is about solutions (which of course have other benefits) not about what the evidence is for climate change.

    This is highly recommended, conceptually honest and quantitatively very good, yet in a readable format.

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  • Posted January 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Misleading and dangerous

    Green publicist George Monbiot claims that climate change is `the greatest danger the world now faces¿. How great is the danger?<BR/><BR/>Monbiot relies on the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change¿s reports. Its 2007 report says, ¿For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2oC per decade is projected¿, as in the 1980s and 1990s. At this rate, it would be 1.8oC warmer by 2100. Instead, Monbiot warns us of the possible effects of a 6.4oC rise, three and a half times the predicted rise. (In fact, although global CO2 emissions have continued to rise, temperatures have not risen since 2001 ¿ contrary to claims that emissions raise temperatures.)<BR/><BR/>The global average sea level has risen by 29 centimetres since 1860, at a rate of 1.96 centimetres a decade. At this rate, it would be 17.6 centimetres higher by 2100. (The IPCC¿s 2007 report says, ¿The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003: about 3.1 mm per year. Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer-term trend is unclear.¿ At this rate, the global average sea level would be 28 centimetres higher by 2100.) Instead, Monbiot warns us of the possible effects of a 3.4 metre rise, 19 (or 12) times the predicted rise.<BR/><BR/>On the incidence of tropical cyclones, Monbiot misrepresents the IPCC¿s conclusions. He claims that its 2001 report said there was evidence for `an increase in intense tropical cyclone activity in the North Atlantic since about 1970¿. No, it didn¿t say this (he seems to be quoting from its 2007 report). The 2001 report actually said, ¿There is no compelling evidence to indicate that the characteristics of tropical and extratropical storms have changed.¿ It also said, ¿Based on limited data, the observed variations in the intensity and frequency of tropical and extra-tropical cyclones and severe local storms show no clear trends in the last half of the 20th century, although multi-decadal fluctuations are sometimes apparent.¿ The IPCC¿s 2007 report confirmed, ¿there is no clear trend in the annual numbers of tropical cyclones.¿<BR/><BR/>The IPCC¿s 2007 report says, ¿Globally, the potential for food production is projected to increase with increases in local average temperature over a range of 1 to 3oC, but above this it is projected to decrease.¿ So, on the IPCC¿s projected 1.8oC increase, the world¿s food production will rise steadily over the next 90 years, as warmer weather produces higher crop yields in temperate regions like Western Europe, Midwest and eastern USA and eastern China. Also, in cooler regions, it means longer growing seasons and faster growing crops. <BR/><BR/>The IPCC¿s 2007 report says that global warming¿s one `virtually certain¿ impact on human health is `reduced human mortality from decreased cold exposure¿. Far fewer people die as winters get warmer.<BR/><BR/>So, the IPCC¿s reports do not back, never mind prove, Monbiot¿s claim that climate change is `the greatest danger the world now faces¿. (He showed what he really thought of science when he helped to trash a GM crop trial.) He dismisses Bjorn Lomborg¿s estimates of the costs of cutting carbon emissions, $8.5 trillion, and of not doing so, $4.8 trillion. He calls this `an amoral means of comparison¿, presumably because it refutes his argument.<BR/>Monbiot calls for a 90% cut in greenhouse gases by 2030, which would cause enormous harm. When environmentalist Meyer Hillman was asked what an 80% cut would make of Britain, he replied, 'A very poor third-world country'.

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